Broken_Mirror33

Quantum Physics and Buddhism

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Quantum Physics and Buddhism

What is Buddhism's stance on Quantum Physics?

Well, officially Buddhism doesn't have a stance, per se. However, Buddhism's stance on reality is that of "dependent origination." Dependent origination is the view that all phenomena are dependent on causes and conditions other than themselves. What this implies is that we live in a relativistic universe. So, Buddhism's stance is actually that of relativity as in the Theory of Relativity. This predates Einstein by about 2,500 years or so. Plato's Theory of Forms also attempts to explain reality in a relativistic manner. What does this mean for Quantum Theory (QT)?

Well, the problem with discerning what this means for QT is the fact that the Theory of General Relativity and QT are disjoint. This means that we can't apply the principles of General Relativity to Quantum Theory or vice versa. However, according to Brian Greene the disjoint between these two fields of Physics may be an illusion. This may, in fact, turn out to be the case as new evidence suggests the arrow of time is reversible! Proponents of this school of thought point to Quantum phenomena that can be perceived on the macro level, such as "quantum superposition." In fact, superposition has been observed in macroscopic objects big enough to be seen with the naked eye! But this begs the question: If quantum phenomena effect reality at the macro level, how does Relativity effect the quantum world?

Well, according to relativity, matter should be infinitely divisible. This is because no object in a relativistic universe can exist on its own, independently of everything else. That's exactly what the term "indivisible" implies (i.e. independent from all other phenomena). What we observe in nature is the exact opposite, however. That is, all phenomena are based on causes and conditions other than themselves. Since no [known] phenomenon is based on causes and conditions in itself, we would expect matter to be infinitely divisible, i.e., there is no smallest indivisible particle of matter.

This, in fact, seems to be the case! The more and more we smash atoms into one another, the more subatomic particles we discover. Yet, scientists have never "discovered" the fundamental particle of all known matter that String Theory supposes! Just as scientists once believed that atoms were indivisible, we now believe matter is composed of indivisible oscillating "strings!" (The key word, here, is "indivisible.") If there is a smallest, indivisible component of matter, then this would mean QT breaks the Theory of Relativity. However, if matter is infinitely divisible, then relativity is just as applicable to objects in the quantum world as it is to macro level objects! Although, it's seemingly incomprehensible how this could be; nevertheless, it could be the case!

So, essentially, the Buddhist stance on Quantum Physics stems from the Buddhist perspective of dependent origination, which we now know of today as relativity.

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A rebuttal to this could go something like this:

QT does break relativity, because quantum phenomena like "quantum entanglement" have no known causes and conditions other than themselves, i.e., they break the law of cause and effect of classical mechanics!

Of course, it is generally accepted among today's scientific community that QT does break the law of causality; thus, relativity is not applicable to the quantum world. Einstein still may have the last laugh, however, because no one really knows how quantum mechanics works exactly. So, there still may be causes and conditions as of yet unknown to us. As Einstein famously said; "God does not play dice!"


"If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics."
~Richard Feynman

Edited by Broken_Mirror33
punctuation

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Richard Feynman's statement is a little too specific and dry.  Expanded saying...

If you think you understand everything, then boy...have you got a lot to learn.

So goes science; the never ending quest of questions in search of answers leading to even more questions.

It may all come down to the type of measuring sticks used.

What is time? What precisely are we measuring? The vibration of a Cesium atom?  Doesn't the vibration being measured exist in a quantum framework. Why does the vibration 'appear' to be so reliably regular? Or is it? 

I could extend this observation out even further, but I digress. My point. Sometimes its the questioner questioning the standards used. Maybe new definitions need to be explored. 

Give you another piece to chew on.  How does the macro relate to the micro?  All of this fuzziness  at the micro give rise to interesting consistent structures with a descent 'longevity' at the macro. Are there different order of interaction that await discovery. Ie  a third or fourth party intermediate interaction, where matter and  energy as we know it are just the endpoints of the chain of events (time again, hard to get away from it).

Enough banter.  Order out of chaos in an endless loop. That's where we live.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

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20 hours ago, BeyondTheRim said:

So goes science; the never ending quest of questions in search of answers leading to even more questions.

It may all come down to the type of measuring sticks used.

This could just as easily describe the spiritual or the paranormal. Do we ever truly get answers? In fact, philosophy could be defined as the set of all questions that have no answer. So much of our lives is a mystery.

True. So much of science comes down to what can be objectively measured. To the extent that if it can't be measured it's deemed insignificant. But don't scientists put their faith in science? That faith is in man becoming master of his own destiny over nature. Science is our quest for certainty. A certainty we can never truly have.

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I wouldn't go so far as to put faith in the same context as science. That would require belief without absolute proof.  Question: What is absolute proof? If it is predictable and reproducible, you MAY be onto something, otherwise you're talking pseudoscience.

Isn't  science being utilized to study the paranormal?  It has debunked, for now, quite a few phenomena.  Does that mean, now and forever? No. Just like with light speed drive or zero-point energy, the debate goes on, testing continues, things can change in a heartbeat.

Why the need to equate the spiritual and the paranormal as being equivalent to science? Just some food for thought for another day and another thread.

 

 

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I didn't. I'm using faith as a technical term for man's quest for certainty. That "certainty" is dependent upon our mastery over nature, not "belief" in the supernatural. I was merely commenting on the fact that as far as science is concerned we can never be certain.

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5 hours ago, BeyondTheRim said:

I wouldn't go so far as to put faith in the same context as science. That would require belief without absolute proof.  Question: What is absolute proof? If it is predictable and reproducible, you MAY be onto something, otherwise you're talking pseudoscience.

Isn't  science being utilized to study the paranormal?  It has debunked, for now, quite a few phenomena.  Does that mean, now and forever? No. Just like with light speed drive or zero-point energy, the debate goes on, testing continues, things can change in a heartbeat.

Why the need to equate the spiritual and the paranormal as being equivalent to science? Just some food for thought for another day and another thread.

 

 

I find it fascinating when science starts to use mystical terms for what they are seeing and trying to prove or disprove. Charmed Quarks, multidimensional space, 8D Quasi crystals that look like Buddhist mandalas, are all fascinating to me. Will we have a science of spirituality or a spirituality of science? We'll see. Enjoy the ride!

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One take away from the lecture I just watched is that we have to give up the idea of a mind independent reality. This is true, whether we're talking from the perspective of Quantum Mechanics or Buddhism (which believes in a mind dependent reality).

From the perspective of QT a conscious observer is necessary for a particle of matter to have a definite local state. Before the particle is observed it "exists" only as a probability. The very act of observing causes the probability to collapse into a definite local state. But before the probability function collapses we cannot say anything about it. 

This gives credence to the idea that a non-local reality independent of the mind is an illusion. In Buddhism, it is taught that the mind precedes all things and if it does not, we cannot know it. So this is an interesting convergence between Quantum Theory and Buddhism, or for that matter New Age philosophy.

So true George, up to this point it's anybody's ball game!

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I am impressed that Quantum Gravity Theory talks about consciousness as a necessary assumption in order to understand QT. Is physics discovering cosmic consciousness? God? The very idea that we live in a 3D holographic projection from an 8D multiverse seems to support the idea of heaven 8D and earth 3D. As above 8D so below 3D?

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