I.4 Entanglement is more than collaboration

For more than 2 billion years, unicellular microbes thrived, until they decided to entangle by fusing their cells. We are only capable of doing complex things, like building a computer, using our hands to type on the keyboard, compose a musical masterpiece, play a piece of Mozart on the piano, or pursue a complex line of thinking, because our ancestors, monocellular organisms, decided about 600 million years ago to join forces, and merge into the first multicellular organisms.  Even to today’s unicellular organisms, entanglement gives a huge advantage, for instance the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens forms multicellular mats on surfaces to gain better access to oxygen. However, once the mat exists, individuals who will not produce the glue necessary to form the mat will thrive and grow faster than their siblings working for the collective. But in the end a collective with too many free-riders – individuals unwilling to contribute to the common good – will starve the mat, destroying it. This is already a classical “tragedy of the commons” where a community with too many individuals which are too greedy and not willing to work for the good of the community will destroy it. The multicellular organisms with the most collaborative unicellular organisms where each cell is willing to behave altruistically by putting the common good over its own profits will be the most successful. In other words, the most entangled multicellular organisms will be the most successful. Organizations whose individual members are the most altruistic and most oriented towards the common good of all members will be the most successful.

The concept of “entanglement between two people”, and of “entangled swarms” is inspired by quantum physics, where two particles can be entangled over long distances. Entangled particles will share the same properties, which, when changed for one entangled particle, will be changed instantaneously by the other particle too. For instance, if the angle of rotation in space for one quantum particle is changed, its entangled twin anywhere on this world will change its position too. Recently quantum entanglement has even been shown between one particle circling earth in a satellite, while the other was residing on a base station on earth’s surface. The same is true for entangled people. They will know what the entangled others feel and desire almost instantaneously, because they will keep them in their mind, and as they know them extremely well, they will be able to predict their reaction to events as soon as the event touches the other person.

In the animal world there are numerous examples of entanglement. Social insects such as bees, ants and termites are perfect exemplars. For instance, without central control, termites self-organize in huge mounds with millions of members where they coordinate to create a perfect microclimate to maintain a “garden” of fungi for food. Termites of the genus Macrotermes communicate through pheromones and other as yet unknown ways to build mounds of up to 8 to 9 meters of height, which, through thermoregulation, provide a moderate temperature throughout the day in the most arid and inhospitable climates. If intruders come into the nest, the termites bang their heads to the wall to create vibrations and release pheromones that call the termite soldiers. Similarly, entangled hives of carpenter ants create farms with aphids which they farm like cows, milking a sugary secretion similar to honeydew for food. Bee hives coordinate through the “waggle dance”, where a “leader” bee communicates the location of a honey source or a promising new location for a swarming bee hive by dancing and rhythmically touching the other bees with her body.

How does entanglement among humans work? Multicellular organisms communicate through synchronous oscillation. Just look at our heart that is keeping our body functions synchronized through its rhythmic beat. The same is true for entanglement among different individuals. Similar to bacteria, termites, bees and ants, entangled humans form organizations that subconsciously communicate to reach a common goal. For instance, simply walking through a company’s cafeteria will tell if this is an entangled organization – the atmosphere will be radiating a positive vibe with people sitting together at tables, smiling and greeting when passing by each other, and engaging in animated discussions, while in a non-entangled organization, people in the cafeteria will sit by themselves at the tables, devouring their food, and not greeting or talking to each other.

If two strangers are locked together in the same room for extended periods of time, they will either start liking each other becoming entangled in this process, or they will kill each other. A Quora author describes a beautiful story that perfectly illustrates this process of entanglement: At the end of a class at a university, a male student, Arjun, was finishing some work in the classroom, while Kriya, a female student was also still idling in the classroom to wrap up classwork. They did not know each other besides having seen each other’s faces during class. Kriya was waiting for her brother to pick her up, but he was late by at least one hour, so Arjun offered Kriya to accompany her to the bus to get home. However, when they wanted to leave the classroom, the door was locked, and there was no way to get out, as the classroom was on the third floor and it was impossible to get out other than through the door. Both Arjun and Kriya tried to call one of their friends on their cellphones to come and help them get out, but none of them was around and available. Kriya got really afraid and suspicious to be locked in the room with a male stranger. Arjun noticed how upset she was, and resorted to inviting her to watch a short funny movie on his phone about two strangers locked in a room. This took away the fear from Kriya, and in turn she showed Arjun a short movie she particularly liked. They took turns showing each other favorite movies, and started sharing some other small secrets. During the whole time Arjun made sure to keep always at least a meter away from Kriya, which further alleviated her fear and assured her that he was trustworthy and would not harm her. When Kriya’s brother finally appeared to let them out of their locked classroom, both Kriya and Arjun were truly sorry to leave and step out of the magic atmosphere that had engulfed them. Fast forward three years, Arjun and Kriya were still dating each other and planning to get married.

This story strikingly demonstrates how entanglement among strangers develops, from disgust and distrust, to building up trust by mirroring each other and sharing small secrets, leading in the end to mutual love and entanglement. The key for building successful entanglement is getting away from seeing the differences to seeing the commonalities. This is what Arjun successfully did, by creating a common basis of finding short movies that both Arjun and Kriya liked. Mirroring each other, sharing small secrets, and the same movies, built up entanglement and engagement. Looking at longtime successfully married couples, they share the same habits, preferences, political leanings, even the same little gestures and body language. The same entanglement also happens between humans and their companion animals like dogs or horses.

As the story of Arjun and Kriya illustrates, entanglement is like a successful marriage. A well-entangled couple has no need to talk, each spouse will immediately know what the other wants to say, and will be able to communicate without words. Going through a divorce means breaking up an entangled relationship. A disentangled couple has been moving apart, until there is no common ground anymore and the entanglement is broken.


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