What is Entanglement?

By Jay Kumar


As with all words, a rich and beautiful history exists in their meaning. Such is exactly the case with the concept of entanglement, defined as “the action or state in which objects become tangled.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word tangle came into English as a borrowing from a Scandinavian word for “seaweed,” thon-gull. The interesting story of the word tangle doesn’t stop there, as the Scandinavian stem thon- dates back several millennia, having evolved from an archaic Indo-European root ten- “to stretch, extend, span.”  Relics of the pre-historic root ten- can be seen in words like English tent, Latin tendon, Greek tonos “tone, stretched sound” and in Sanskrit tantra “web.” While the word entanglement is largely used in a specific scientific context, it also expresses a more poetic quality. One such possible meaning of the word entanglement, which adheres to its original root ten-, signifies “a universe in which all beings and life stretch and extend into an interconnected reality that spans all dimensions and levels of consciousness.” (Kumar)
While this alternative meaning of entanglement isn’t commonly recognized in modern language today, its history illumines a richly poetic and “entangled” meaning that becomes the foundation for a non-dualistic approach for us to perceive reality.


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