As we look into the rabbit hole we stare into a quantum field and see the past, present, and quantum future all at the same time. The quantum state has collapsed and not collapsed. The image looks like the thousand armed Guan Yin who is claimed by Buddhists, Confucians, and Asian Christians: a supreme example of syncretization.
When we look at syncretization we are observing the fusion of competing memes. Memes were described by Dawkins in 1976 in his books selfish memes. Memes are analogous to viruses and act in much the same way. Memes are ideas that replicate, are embedded with random iterations so that each replication (of it occurs at all) is slightly different, and will hide within a host and feed off it like a parasite as a survival strategy, or break off and become part of the code of a competing meme, and if not “fit” will be consumed by it’s host and thus not replicate.
Religions that entered Chinese culture were part of a matrix of competing theotic genes. China was the host cell to use a biological analogy. The survival of any one meme depended upon its fitness form survival. For example, Islam found its host to be toxic as it had a parallel leadership structure as part of it’s meme that did not adapt to the organizing instructions of the host and therefore did not survive except on the extreme edge of the host.
Buddhism on the other hand adapted to its host and embedded its code into the host cell (the China nation/state).
Sometimes pieces of the code of a meme will break off and be absorbed into other memes and hide in the competing memes and thus survive as did Asian Christianity.
The science of memetics has made several advances since 1976. Research in neurology has allowed more precise mapping of the brain, better understanding of the neuron cells, and even probes into the quantum fields that lie beyond the Newtonian material domain.
I have long been a student of Stewart Hammeroff’s work in consciousness. He believes the human brain in a quantum machine. Part of the structure of the brain consists of cytoskeletal microtubules. These are tiny lattice like structures not much more than an atom’s in diameter. The when atoms of water line up in these structures it triggers quantum effects. In a way, as I understand it, these serve as wormholes into quantum domains that lie beyond our physical universe.
One quantum effect is entanglement. This is where an atom can be in two places at once. Because all atoms have properties of spin, charge, and mass, if any of these properties are changed the entangled atom (no matter how far away in distance or time) will instantly change (but in an opposite way as a mirror image. This seems to violate Einstein’s law of conservation and the speed of light unless we consider that the entangled atom moves backward through time.
I know this is a lot to wrap one’s head around but it could answer how ideas enter, spread, and behave in the physical world. How does an idea (meme) appear in the human mind? An act of human will? Then how do dreams emerge or inspirational ideas that seem to come from nowhere? Why is it that ideas seem to appear almost at the same time in different places in the world?
If we consider that an idea or a meme is an energy field held within a pool of neurochemical DNA it still does not explain how the meme replicates itself, survives, and is transferred to other human brains. Recent work on the human genome identified about 40,000 genes but only 300 of them were unique to humans as compared to the genome of a mouse. This is stunning and cannot possibly account for human thought and mememic activity (unless mice think more than we realize). The material world cannot account for the mememic matrix that accounts for cultures, arts, religion, philosophy and all the things we consider part of the human species. Hammeroff and others are pointing to quantum features of the brain that lie beyond the mamalian genome.
I believe that an idea is an energy field but this is not the full explanation. It is the result of a deeper interaction that is the product of a quantum action mediated through a nano structures of the brain.
So how does this relate to syncretism and inter-religious interaction in China’s Tang Dynasty? If we consider the human brain as a quantum machine that mediates properties and behaviors of a quantum field, then culture, arts, political ideas, and resonating concepts that form civilization then we have at least a theoretical foundation for understanding how and why syncretization occurs.
We have had hints of memetic entanglement in the animal world. It is called the 100th Monkey Theory where monkeys in one part of the world is taught a skill such as how to use a tool to catch a fish and suddenly there are reports form other parts of the world where monkeys that have had no contact with the first group begin exhibiting the same behaviors. This has long puzzled biologists but it could be explained by memetic entanglement.
Rupert Sheldrake has proposed an elegant solution to this problem of what seems to be a non-material forms that acts on everything from crystals to organisms. He calls this morphogenesis: that is a quantum field that draws on all the possible fields that direct to physical form to a predetermined whole. Stem cells for example possess all possible cells in the large body of cells. What directs and determines the ultimate form. This has been a mystery in embryology. It has yet to be determined if this has a materialist determination in what has been called the ‘junk code’ of DNA or if there is a quantum force beyond the space time dimension.
Another feature is quantum coherence which emerges in physical fields. In the same way a mother’s heart will synchonize with her baby’s heart there seems to be a higher order of synchonization and syncretization occuring in human’s whose ideas resonate.
Guan Yin merges with Christian ideas about Mary. Memes resonate, images merge, hybrid ideas increase their survival value and fitness to exist in the host.