The Quantum of Fungus

IMAGINE THAT YOU could pass through two doors at once. It’s inconceivable, yet fungi do it all the time. When faced with a forked path, fungal hyphae don’t have to choose one or the other. They can branch and take both routes. One can confront hyphae with microscopic labyrinths and watch how they nose their way around. If obstructed, they branch. After diverting themselves around an obstacle, the hyphal tips recover the original direction of their growth. They soon find the shortest path to the exit, just as my friend’s puzzle-solving slime molds were able to find the quickest way out of the IKEA maze. If one follows the growing tips as they explore, it does something peculiar to one’s mind. One tip becomes two, becomes four, becomes eight—yet all remain connected in one mycelial network. Is this organism singular or plural, I find myself wondering, before I’m forced to admit that it is somehow, improbably, both.

entangled-lifech. 2

~ double slit experiment, the forked paths of lightning, path integrals, "fungal entanglement"

speculation in emperors-new-mind that biology is connected to quantum mechanics in some deep way


emperors-new-mind Penrose, Roger. 1999. The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics. Oxford University Press. ↩︎ 1

entangled-life Sheldrake, Merlin. Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures. ↩︎ 1