This history of ideas is perhaps the most stimulating of intellectual topics. At least to me. The pedigree of an idea tells us something of its validity—its authority, as it were. I have been reading about the early days of science. (Even the idea that science is modern is a mistaken concept; the earliest tool-makers were in some sense scientists.) A book I was reading made the point that in the Renaissance, magic was a proper competitor to science. Magic was sophisticated, based on much of what we would now call “science”—the belief was that the connections between an interconnected universe were hidden. All things were tied together, nevertheless. This presages not only the concept of evolution but modern cosmology as well. The more I thought of this, the more it occurred to me that oppositional thinking, in some sense, dooms the possibilities of finding the truth.
Quantum mechanics, which I understand only on a lay level, has been puzzling over entanglement for some years now. Entanglement was characterized by Einstein’s phrase “spooky action at a distance.” Still, experiments have show that particles that have no way of “knowing” what each other are doing, are nevertheless connected. That connection is nothing physical, nothing material. Indeed, it makes materialists quite nervous. The inert world of quanta should show no tendency towards “will” or “intention” at all. So we call it something else—entanglement. As I read about Renaissance magic, I realized that it was suggesting just this. Of course, they had no means of observing what particle accelerators, such as that at CERN, reveal. Their “science,” however, successfully predicted it. Were it not for the history of ideas we could let materialists think they’ve discovered something new. Historically, though, they haven’t. (I’m not suggesting that quantum mechanics work on the macro level, but I’m observing that magic supposed some kind of entanglement existed.)
Often I have made bold to challenge Occam. I wear a beard for a reason. One size does not fit all in the entangled universe. Some consider the exploration of spiritual aspects of life to be a waste of time. Look at any university pay scales and be so bold as to differ. The funny thing is, science is only now beginning to catch up with what we historically have called magic. There seem to be multiple explanations to the behavior of the material world instead of a single one. Once an idea becomes orthodoxy it becomes dangerous. Reason is very, very important. But reason sometimes get entangled in a world only revealed in the history of ideas.