Practice Matters

Compassion holds everything together

During the early 1980s, physicist David Bohm developed his theory of the implicate order to explain the bizarre behavior of subatomic particles: Two such particles that once interacted can instantaneously “respond to each other’s motions thousands of years later when they are light-years apart.” The implicate order theory proposes a cosmic view that connects everything with everything else. Its central theme, Bohm stated, is the “unbroken wholeness of the totality of existence as an undivided flowing movement without borders.” In other words, we are one.

In 1982, a remarkable event took place. A research team at the University of Paris led by physicist Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of the most important experiments of the 20th century. You didn’t hear about it on the evening news. In fact, unless you’re in the habit of reading scientific journals, you’ve probably never heard of Aspect, although some people believe his confirmation of Bohm’s implicate order theory may change the face of science. Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances, subatomic particles (such as electrons) can communicate with each other instantaneously, regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn’t matter if they’re 10′ or 10 billion miles apart. Distance has no effect on this connection.

In 1997, a Geneva experiment demonstrated that once a particle of energy is connected, even if it becomes physically separated, it’s still connected by energy. Scientists separated a single particle by 7 miles in each direction—a total of 14 miles—and when half of the particle was disturbed, the other half reacted. Even when broken, the connection held.

Why is this significant? Once upon a time, 13.7 billion years ago, everything in the universe was joined together physically in a single particle the size of a green pea. We are the dust and gas and energy that collided and exploded when the universe was formed. We are those quantum particles smashed into the mass of you and me—and everyone and everything else. And science now tells us that despite our “separation,” we are still connected to, and react to what happens to, the “other.”

This is the “why” of compassion, the feeling of deep sympathy we have for others. Compassion isn’t only the unifier; it’s the language of the unified field—a language of the force that holds everything together. It’s precisely what Ray Charles and others meant when they sang these words in the song “None of us are free”:

You better listen my brother


’Cause if you do you can hear

There are voices still callin’ from across

the years.

And they’re cryin’ across the ocean

And they’re cryin’ across the land

And they will until we all come to

understand

That none of us are free

None of us are free

None of us are free if one of us

chained

None of us are free.

Leah Curtin, RN, ScD(h), FAAN

Executive Editor, Professional Outreach

American Nurse Today

Selected references

Bohm D. Wholeness and the Implicate Order. Reissue ed. Routledge; 2002.

Braden G. Deep Truth: Igniting the Memory of Our Origin, History, Destiny, and Fate. Hay House; 2011.

Cramer JG. Faster-than-Light Implications of Quantum Entanglement and Nonlocality. In Millis MG, Davis EW. Frontiers of Propulsion Science. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; 2009.

Mann B, Russell B, Weil C. “None of us are free.” © Rutland Road Music. © MCA O/B/O Geffen Music.

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3 thoughts on “Compassion holds everything together”

  1. maosborne says:

    Dear Dr. Curtain
    Thank you for writing about the science of quantum physics and its application to nursing. As nurses, we need to stay abreast of the science in other fields, especially when it applies so directly to our own profession. I thank you for making this easier for me as I teach Nurse Practitioners and use your insightful articles for discussion.

  2. Leah says:

    Dear Jan,
    Indeed I have heard of Creationism, and I have read the Bible cover to cover. The Bible edifying: it is filled with allegories and moral tales, not to mention history! I think the new science – quantum physics – adds depth and understanding to the Bible’s teachings. It increases both my respect for the Bible and my faith.

  3. Jan says:

    Have you never heard of Creationism? Are you a heathen who ignores Bible teachings? Have you no respect for the beliefs of other people?

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