Alan Kirker

Entanglement

April 29th, 2021 by

“Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when a group of particles is generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the group cannot be described independently of the state of the others, including when the particles are separated by a large distance” (Wikipedia, retrieved April 2021).

From our personal and social interactions, do we capture some of each other’s essence to carry with us, even after we separate? Do we not each embody some composite aspect of our collective relationships; our parents, siblings, partners, relatives, friends; all those who take up residence in our heads, so to speak, whether invited or not? Can looking at human consciousness from such a wider social perspective yield insights into the nature of individual volition and intention? Do such interactions inform the chemical and electrical activity going on in our bodies and minds and thus help shape our perceptions? And, what enables entanglement under such social circumstances and what are its implications in the context of larger groups?

Nationalist trends including issues around immigration, country borders, and dividing walls, amount to a tendency towards segregation and division between people which runs counter to human nature. From the Birmingham, Alabama, County Jail, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. asked in a letter: “Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness?” (1963 p. 457). In social contexts more broadly, cooperation, openness, trust, and unity are what is rather needed, as philosopher William James wrote:

“A social organism of any sort whatsoever, large or small, is what it is because each member proceeds to his own duty with a trust that the other members will simultaneously do theirs. Wherever a desired result is achieved by the cooperation of many independent persons, its existence as a fact is a pure consequence of the precursive faith in one another of those immediately concerned” (1897 p. 388).

Such cooperation is similarly called for by historian and author Johan Norberg in his book Open: The Story of Human Progress (2020): “When open minds, open exchange and open doors come together for a sustained period of time, the result is discoveries and achievements that facilitate new discoveries and achievements” (p. 167). He states further our perspective must look beyond notions of ‘us’ and ‘them’ :

“We are not necessarily doomed to tribal warfare. The coalitions we pay attention to can and do change all the time. This is why recent immigrants are almost always seen as strange and threatening, whereas previous immigrants now seem like model citizens. They are no longer ‘them’, they are now ‘us’. The problem, of course, is that this new identity is often created and strengthened by contrasting ourselves with new outsiders” (2020, p. 235).

A Sheaf of Golden Rules from Twelve Religions | Confucianism:
“Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all of one’s life?” The Master said, “Is Reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not to others” (1946, p. 310).


Hoople, R. E., Piper, R. F., & Tolley, W. P. (1946), A Sheaf of Golden Rules from Twelve Religions, in Preface to Philosophy: Book of Readings (pp. 309-310). New York, United States: The Macmillan Company (1952 ed.)

James, W. (1896), The Will to Believe in Essays in Popular Philosophy [HTML document]. New York, United States: Longmans, Green and Co.

King, Jr., M. L. (1963), Letter From the Birmingham County Jail: Why We Can’t Wait in Philosophy: Paradox and Discovery Third Edition (pp. 456-461). New York, United States: McGraw-Hill (1990).

Norberg, J. (2020) Open: The Story of Human Progress. London, United Kingdom: Atlantic Books.

Separation

April 28th, 2021 by

It was the spring of 1998 and my business was thriving. I was doing graphic design for a number of my own public sector clients, including school boards and health care organizations.

From my apartment, this work was done using a Macintosh Centris 650, colour monitor, colour scanner, and  black and white laser printer that I had dropped nearly fifteen thousand dollars on. Like many of my designer friends, work was plentiful for self-starters who had some studio or agency experience, and valuable new software skills. These skills enabled the execution of complex design, illustration, photo-retouching, and layout tasks, now on a computer, instead of artboards and paste-up, and which were disrupting the entire publishing, and print advertising industries at the time.

(to be continued…)

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