Advaita and Science – III
In the earlier post in this series, a Vedantin-Scientist’s conclusion on the advaitic way of the development of modern physics was presented. In the following excerpts this view is seen to be shared and reiterated by others as well.
Namaste Sri Ananda,
>Einstein’s basic approach was simply to ask what reality is
>seen in common, beneath the varying appearances that depend
>on different points of view. And he saw that while space and
>time are varying measurements, light shows us a background
>continuity that does not vary in this way.
It was enjoyable to read what you said about relativity and Advaita.
Here are just a couple of comments to consider.
Einstein’s theory of relativity really rests on one fundamental
pillar, not two or three, as sometimes reported. It is that the
fundamental laws of nature are the SAME for all observers.
For example, Maxwell’s laws of electromagnetism are the same for all
observers, and hence the speed of light is the same for all
observers, since this follow directly from the equations. From the
constancy of the speed of light, everything else in the special
theory follows, namely that spatial and temporal measurements of the
same events will be different for different observers in relative
So the spatial and temporal measurements differ, but the laws are the same.
I can’t help but think that this uniqueness of the laws must be a
manifestation or reflection of the fundamental advaitic unity of the
divine nature. It seems like too much of a coincidence otherwise.
That is, when the ‘unity’ of the divine consciousness manifests in
the multiplicity of phenomena, the laws governing those phenomena
somehow reflect the underlying unity of the divine source, which
remains latent in the swirl of multiplicity.
But I draw a further conclusion from relativity, which nobody else
seems to. If measurements of the same events differ for different
observers, then this can only mean that there CANNOT be any objective
reality outside of consciousness corresponding to the events. For
example, if the measurement of the length of a rod is different for
different observers, then there cannot be a ‘real’ and unique
material rod external to the observers, which they are all looking
at. If there were such a unique rod, external to consciousness, then
it could not have a varying length. This is my own unorthodox
interpretation of relativity, which most physicists would probably
The various rods are thus only in the consciousness of the observers,
which is how they can have different lengths in the first place.
They are all images in the minds of the observers, or else they are
purely hypothetical entities derived from images (i.e. observations).
I make that last remark, because sometimes scientific measurements
are made without being able to see an image, e.g. on meters and dials
and so forth. In that case, the alleged object is entirely
fictitious, but since this idea is so radical, I won’t belabor the
point. (Some would argue that this is in fact a reason to
reintroduce realism, but I am prepared to fight them to the death.
Well, I guess we don’t need to be so melodramatic.)
Anyhow, relativity can be used to give INDEPENDENT confirmation of
idealistic principles, which I already believe in for entirely
different reasons. And the proper philosophical idealism is the true
interpretation of Advaita, which makes it all clear and reasonable.
That is why I am so enthusiastic about it, even though many others
stubbornly resist it, because they do not fully understand it.
And I might add that other unrelated developments in quantum
mechanics are totally consistent with this viewpoint and are
virtually inexplicable except in terms of some kind of idealism. It
is not New Age nonsense to claim that modern physics cries out for
the principle that Consciousness is everything. The arguments are
very subtle and profound and require the utmost intelligence. This
represents the current frontier of human thought, and the recent
developments are astonishing, even more so than the original
relativity and quantum mechanics of the early 20th century.
Advaita Vedanta has influenced modern science enormously. Schrödinger was a Vedantist, and he claimed to have been inspired by it in his discovery of quantum theory. According to his biographer Walter Moore, there is a clear continuity between Schrödinger’s understanding of Vedānta and his research: “The unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. In 1925, the world view of physics was a model of a great machine composed of separable interacting material particles. During the next few years, Schrödinger and Heisenberg and their followers created a universe based on superimposed inseparable waves of probability amplitudes. This new view would be entirely consistent with the Vedantic concept of All in One.”. Fritjof Capra‘s widely proclaimed book The Tao of Physics. The Tao of Physics (full title: The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism) was a 1975 book by physicist Fritjof Capra. It was a bestseller in the United States, and has been published in 43 editions in is one among several that pursues this viewpoint further, as it investigates the relationship between modern (and particularly quantum – a quantum is the smallest increment into which many physical properties are subdivided. Most commonly, quanta are the fundamental units of something measurable. Electromagnetic energy, for example, is quantized into photons, wavelike packets of fixed freq) physics and the core philosophies of various Eastern religions including Hinduism,
Om Tat Sat