. Theory Of Exception: Erwin Schrödinger & Upanishads & Vedanta

Follow me on Twitter

Friday, August 27, 2010

Erwin Schrödinger & Upanishads & Vedanta

You may recall the Schrödinger's Cat paradox, which was first published in its "scientific form" in 1935 in Zeitschrift der Physick. However in his 1925 essay he recounts an ancient Sankhya Hindu paradox that, jazzed up with some technology, became the cat paradox. In that original form the paradox was cast in the form of two people, one looking at a garden, the other in a dark room. The modern equivalent would be one person looking in the box to see if the cat is alive or dead, while a second person waits out in the hall. As we discussed, in this modern form the state "collapses" for the first person while it does not collapse for the second person.
In 1925 Schrõdinger resolved that paradox the way the Vedantists did: he asserted that all consciousness is one. As he wrote:
"But it is quite easy to express the solution in words, thus: the plurality [of viewpoints] that we perceive is only "an appearance; it is not real. Vedantic philosophy, in which this is a fundamental dogma, has sought to clarify it by a number of analogies, one of the most attractive being the many-faceted crystal which, while showing hundreds of little pictures of what is in reality a single existent object, does not really multiply the object."
Here is another fragment of that essay:
"... you may suddenly come to see, in a flash, the profound rightness of the basic conviction of Vedanta: ... knowledge, feeling and choice are essentially eternal and unchangeable and numerically one in all men, nay in all sensitive beings."
Do you think that Schrödinger had such a flash of insight? Is this the sort of insight which in the Eastern traditions is sometimes calledenlightenment?
Finally, Schrödinger himself makes an interesting analogy between Vedantic philosophy and modern physics:
"If finally we look back at that idea of Mach [that `the universe is not twice given'], we shall realize that it comes as near to the orthodox dogma of the Upanishads as it could possibly do without stating it expressis verbis. The external world and consciousness are one and the same thing."

Erwin Schrödinger (Source Wikipedia)

Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger (German pronunciation: [ˈɛʁviːn ˈʃʁøːdɪŋɐ]; 12 August 1887, Erdberg – 4 January 1961, Vienna) was an Austriantheoretical physicist who was one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, and is famed for a number of important contributions to physics, especially theSchrödinger equation, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933. In 1935, after extensive correspondence with personal friendAlbert Einstein, he proposed theSchrödinger's cat thought experiment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget

Share It