Ludwig Boltzmann (1844-1906) and the Re-Discovery of the Atom in Western Science

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Ludwig Boltzmann AUSTRIAN PHYSICIST

Although the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus (460-370 BCE), and his famous student Epicurus (341-270 BCE), speculated that ‘atoms’ existed beneath the surface of conventional reality (which could not be seen with the naked eye), this did not mean that following the ‘Renaissance’ in Europe (and the re-discovery of ancient Greek logic and reason), all Greek ideas were automatically accepted without question. This is the case with atoms. Western science evolved not only from the logic of Greek thought, but also from the rejection of Judeo-Christian theology (and faith) as a means to discern correct knowledge about the universe. Empirical science is premised upon the correct observation and measurement of matter and material processes. The problem with the atom hypothesis was that the existence of an atom had to be taken on ‘faith’, and because of this, many leading scientists in the 19th century refused to accept the idea of an atom on the grounds that its existence could not be confirmed and verified through observation and measurement. This is where mathematics and algebra came into play. Mathematics (and algebra) represent the meaningful arranging (or sequencing) of numbers and letters, so that empirical truths could be revealed about the material nature of reality. Ludwig Boltzmann, being fully aware that atoms had to be ‘statistically’ proven to exist, exercised his particular genius, and developed a mathematical formula which proved the existence and behaviour of atoms. In-short, Ludwig Boltzmann developed what is known as ‘statistical mechanics’. Statistical mechanics confirms the existence of atoms, and predicts how the mass, charge, and structure of an atom will behave. Such an observation determines the physical properties of matter – namely the viscosity, thermal conductivity, and diffusion. Ludwig Boltzmann lived at a time when microscopes were not yet powerful enough to observe individual atoms (or sub-atomic particles), and so had to use the power of representative mathematics to ‘reflect’ a material world that could be ‘predicted’ to exist with the human mind, but which could not yet be seen with the human eye.

Ch’an Buddhism as Scientific Socialism

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If Buddhism is viewed as a ‘religion’ – and the Buddha as a ‘theistic’ being – then Buddhism has nothing to do with modern science, and in that case, would represent one of many pre-modern theories devised by the human mind to explain reality. However, it is clear from a study of the Pali Canon that the Buddha’s system is a perceptual science premised upon the logical and rational observation of matter, and assessment of natural processes. Within the ‘five aggregates’ teaching, it is clear that the human mind is defined by the Buddha as a number of impermanent processes that ‘emerge’ from biological matter. This is why the Buddha places ‘rupa’ or ‘matter’ as first in the list of the five aggregates. The Buddha also seems to have been the first human in history to suggest that the tiniest specks of matter are ‘flashing’ in and out of existence during every moment, and that the idea that the world of matter forms a solid wall in-front of the senses is an illusion. This would suggest that the Buddha’s path is one of physical and psychological discipline that clears the mind of all ‘old’ and ‘out-dated’ modes of thought (such as an external or subjective belief in a god construct), and when coupled with the observation that compassion and wisdom manifest throughout society – serves as the foundation for the application of  Scientific Socialism. This is how Ch’an Buddhism is viewed in modern China.

The Limitations of Matter (Quantum Field Theory)

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The human senses developed over very long periods of time, and were designed to ‘detect’ the physical environment. This was the unfolding of the evolutionary process through natural selection. Human-beings can only ‘sense’ that about the physical environment, which is required for the species to survive. In other words, the evolutionary process does not grant or furnish any extra or superfluous sensing abilities outside of the minimum data-reception required, for the species to successfully procreate and survive (from one generation to the next). As a consequence, as diverse as the human senses seem to be, in reality the data they receive represents only a very narrow scale of what is actually ‘out there’ in the universe. Human logic has historically developed to perceive reality in two broad categories – namely the ‘materialist’ and the ‘idealist’. The materialist method of gathering knowledge (about the human condition), pays attention to the observation of the external world (which can include the human body, when it is ‘objectified’ as is the case of modern medicine), and has developed many theoretical assumptions premised upon these observations. The materialist model assumes that the external world is ‘real’ and that its study serves as the doorway to true knowledge. The idealist method, on the other hand, states that the inner world of thought is far more important than the external world, and that consciousness, in one way or another, is responsible for the generation of the external world of matter. Idealism is closely associated with theistic religion, and maybe perceived as a ‘modern’ and ‘secular’ manifestation of religious thinking, often presented in scientific garb (as is seen in the various theories of psychology). It has historically transpired that humanity has scientifically progressed through the observation and measurement of material objects and material processes. As religious theology has lost ground in the secular West, material science has come to dominate (with the caveat that ‘psychology’ in its non material mode, might well represent a ‘new’ type of religious thinking). Through the development of technology, humanity has been able to ‘see more’ above and beyond the scope of its limited evolutionary senses. This has meant that the world of matter has been examined over greater distances, and to a greater depth, to the extent that beginning of the universe can now be seen, as can the constituent particles and sub-atomic particles of atoms. Through this process, it has become clear that ‘matter’ is not a solid wall of impenetrable ‘stuff’ that stands silent and still in front of the human senses. It has been discovered that atoms are not the ‘tiniest’ things that exist, and that quarks (which exist within the nucleus of an atom), probably possess constituent elements. In short, modern material science has revealed that the world of matter is not ‘solid’ and ‘opaque’, but is rather ‘translucent’ in nature, whilst existing in a state of constant ‘flux’. This suggests that light, ordinary (byronic) matter, dark matter and dark energy all emerge from at least 12 different quantum fields (and probably more). Understanding this reveals that matter is not what humanity’s limited evolutionary senses first thought it to be, but equally important, this reasoning has been discovered through the empirical study of what was once thought to be ‘solid’ matter. Although idealism has attacked materialism as being a theory premised upon an illusion, idealism (and religion) has not been able to develop a science to demonstrate and ‘prove’ this assertion to be correct. In a very real sense, materially based science has seen beyond its own limited methodology, and proven its original models of the physical universe to be redundant. Simply put, (and a point of argument correctly made by the idealists and religionists), matter is not what humanity thinks it is. However, where the idealists have ‘rejected’ matter out of hand, the materialists have embraced the physical stuff of the universe, and made its study the basis of modern science. It is now known that the idea of ‘matter’ being a solid and impenetrable wall, is a flawed concept, but that the idea that matter must be studied to progress human understanding, has turned-out to have been correct. As matters stand, the basis of existence consists of highly fluid quantum fields. As the universe pre-exists and post-exists each individual existence, a direct connection between human awareness and the external universe has yet to be proven, even though certain academics are engaged in this study. This does not mean that the human mind has no place in science, after-all, it has only been through logical thinking that material science has been developed and progressed. The following lecture from Professor David Tong (at the Royal Institute) places all this information into its correct scientific narrative.

Assessing Baryonic Matter, Dark Matter & Dark Energy – the Building Blocks of Existence

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The current state of human scientific knowledge suggests that the majority of the physical construction of the universe is actually comprised of a substance that cannot, as yet, be directly observed using the most advanced technology and methodology. The majority of ‘stuff’ in the universe (multi-verse) certainly cannot be detected with the naked human eye – but it can be predicted to exist through the correct and disciplined use of the human intellect and imagination. Imagination is an important part of advanced scientific thinking, but its function is often down-played or ignored when scientific processes develop into sound theories that nolonger require ‘speculation’ to fill-in the gaps in knowledge. Of course, this might be because the human capacity to ‘misuse’ the imagination can get in the way of the scientific method, and lead the entire process away from the desired objective. Whatever the case, the constitution of the universe (multi-verse) currently looks like this:

a) 4.9% ordinary (Baryonic) matter

b) 68.3 dark energy

c) 26.8 dark matter

Human beings have evolved around perceiving the 4.9% of material stuff that comprises their immediate environment, although it is speculated that dark matter and dark energy may well be everywhere. If this is correct, then it is curious that throughout human evolution, the ability to ‘see’ these material substances was not developed – probably because the perception of these substances had no direct impact upon human survival. Another way in which these ‘unseen’ substances are known to be present is through the effect they appear to have on objects moving through what was once thought to be ’empty’ space. There appears to be a ‘gravitational’ effect on objects moving through apparently ’empty’ space that should not be happening if space was in fact ’empty’. The human intellect has devised mathematical formula to demonstrate the ‘presence’ of these still ‘theoretical’ material substances. Although the Buddha and a number of ancient Greek philosophers used their minds to state that in all likelihood perceivable matter could be comprised of ‘atoms’, it has been the development of scientific technology (as an extension of the human mind), that has allowed for the perception of sub-atomic particles, and for the detection of different types of matter and energy. The following documentary presents a very good over-view of the current state of human knowledge in this area:

Buddhism: Karma, Dukkha and Dependent Origination Contextualised

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The Buddha’s system of analysis is premised upon the existence of ‘matter’ (rupa), even if matter as the Buddha conceived it, is defined as impermanent and insubstantial. The Buddha also stated that the reality as human-beings experience it is also premised upon the agency of ‘mind’ (citta), which is also an organ of perception (manas), and a means through which humans are ‘consciously’ aware (vijnana) . The Buddha defines reality as an ‘entanglement’ or ‘integration’ of physical and psychological processes. This means that for the Buddha’s system to remain philosophically coherent and logical, he has to reject what might be termed ‘hard’ materialism (ucchedavada), whereby a physical universe is believed to exist forever in an unchanged state, and the school of thought that taught that a theistic entity (atma), rather like the Christian soul theory, existed permanently outside the world of matter – linking the realm of materiality to an imagined ‘heaven’ or some other post-mortem and disembodied paradise (sasvatavada). For the Buddha the material world exists (but not in the manner conceived by a certain school of materialists in his day) and any notion of a soul theory was replaced with a schematic of clearly defined psychological processes. Therefore, reality as defined by the Buddha is a plurality of insubstantiality that involves the organic functioning of mind and body within the external, material world. The mind (like matter) is impermanent, and is clearly the consequence of conditions extending from material existence.  This suggests that the Buddha’s conception of the mind is that it is a temporary extension of matter, but as both mind and material circumstances are impermanent, and given that the human mind is prone – through a changeable body – to interpret the world through greed, hatred and delusion, existence as experienced by ordinary human-beings (through its full range of pleasant, neutral and painful sensations), is termed ‘dukkha’ by the Buddha. Until the mind is cleared of its delusion, and the body disciplined away from destructive modes of behaviour, the entirety of non-enlightened existence is considered ‘dukkha’. This is not just ‘suffering’ in the conventional sense, but includes all modes of pleasurable living in the deluded state, and would apply equally to a opulent life-style, as it does a destitute life-style. Dukkha, strictly speaking, refers more specifically to a profoundly inadequate and non-satisfying mode of existence which includes the entirety of existence and its experience in the unenlightened state. Defining ‘dukkha’ as ‘suffering’ is therefore describing only half of its meaning, and is incomplete. The Buddha is defining existence in the deluded state as being highly ‘unstable’ (dukkha) and not conducive to inner or outer peace and tranquillity.

The Buddha defined the tiniest specks of matter (paramanu) [synonymous with ‘atoms’] to be occupying (and moving about within) time and space, whilst flickering in and out of existence. This is how the Buddha redefines matter (rupa) as being both ‘existant’, and ‘insubstantial’ (or non-existant). This means that with regard to the ‘chain of dependent origination’ (pratitya-samutpada), the conditionality that the Buddha teaches, cannot be properly associated with the cause and effect of modern Western science, as the latter assumes a closed system of events. Within science it is understood that the ‘effects’ of an event lie dormant in the ’cause’ in a never ending and predictable chain of unfolding events. However, as the Buddha teaches that each atom is flickering in and out of existence all the time, creating a false world of apparent material stability, it is not the case that he is employing the ‘closed system’ of Western science. The Buddha states that it is is the human capacity to generate ‘willed’ or ‘volitional’ actions in the mind (vedana-samna-samskara) that ‘projects’ moral (or ethical) meaning upon a morally neutral world of matter. It is this agency of ‘willed’ actions that divert the world of matter into directions of manifestation that might be termed positive, neutral or negative – it is not the material realm itself that is inherently positive, neutral or negative. The Buddha’s notion of cause and effect’ (karma) is not a closed material system that allows for one cause to lead to one effect, but is rather the product of a dynamic interaction of mind, body and environment. There is the ‘willed’ direction in the mind, the consequential bodily application of that willed direction in the environment (i.e. ‘action’), and the eventual consequences (i.e. ‘re-action’) of that ‘willed’ action, experienced through the body and mind. As ‘volition’ is the product of a deluded mind, the Buddha advocates its control, limiting of function and eventual uprooting through meditation. When there is a ‘cessation’ of volition premised upon greed, hatred and delusion, then the mind becomes calm and all delusion is extinct. In this enlightened state all volitional action ceases and karma is nolonger produced. As reality is understood in its correct formulation, there is nolonger any attachment to an impermanent world and all ‘dissatisfaction’  (dukkha) ceases. In this rarefied state, material reality is clearly reflected by a permanently peaceful and tranquil mind.

Finally, the Buddha’s understanding of reality as mind-matter, action-re-action conditionality, is very suggestive of certain philosophical speculations surrounding the subject of quantum mechanics – namely the assumption that human observation influences the material processes being observed. Furthermore, although the chain of dependent origination is not strictly speaking a ‘closed system’ of material cause and effect (as it is mediated through the agency of ‘mind’), the Buddha did teach elsewhere that not all experiences in the world are related to ‘willed’ or ‘volitional’ actions-re-actions (i.e. ‘karma’), but are in fact the product of ‘natural causes’. An example of this thinking could include the analysis of a cancerous cell in the human-body. This cancer could be considered the karmic product of a destructive and highly negative life-style (i.e. part of the chain of dependent origination), but equally it could just be the product of a malfunctioning body-cell – or the natural product of ’cause and effect’ within the material environment (the experience of which lies outside of the ‘willed’ action-re-action nexus). In this respect, it seems that the Buddha does allow for the type of cause and effect found within mainstream (modern) Western science – albeit in a natural format, not controlled or mediated through a ‘closed system’ of laboratory-oriented observation. The Buddha, therefore, allows for two distinct types of cause and effect, a) occurring through the mind and the matter it observes (i.e. utilising the operating principles of ‘volition’ and ‘karma’), and b) manifesting independently (of the mind’s conditioning influence) within the material realm. An individual is subject to both kinds of cause and effect – but is only personally responsible for the mind-body nexus manifestation (as defined in example ‘a’). Through meditation (bhavana) and behaviour modification (sila), the mind’s conditioning capability is brought under control and eventually uprooted (thus ending all karma-producing thought patterns and actions). Beyond this state there is no further conditionality – but the mind and its rarefied states of awareness (dhyana) remain firmly with the realm of matter – which according to the Buddha is comprised of existence and non-existence – or emptiness and structure. Although these two states seem to alternate continuously without end, it is also clear that the Buddha’s analysis suggests that both emptiness and form also occur simultaneously (rather suggestive of Schroedinger’s cat), This means that ‘sunya’ does not refer to a dead ‘void’ or vague ‘nothingness’, but rather suggests a ‘relative’ state of non-substantiality (i.e. a material condition ’empty’ of permanency and yet subject to change). Sunya is then that realised state of being that acknowledges that all material reality arises within a sea of emptiness – free of any eternal (and unchanging) material substance, or theistic conceptualisation.

Email: Buddha, Nagarjuna, Plotinus and the World of Matter (6.9.2017)

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Dear N

Thank you for your very interesting Plotinus quotation and Nagarjuna-related question.

The tetralemma of the Indian Buddhist monk Nagarjuna states:

1) All exists.

2) All does not exist.

3) All exists and does not exist.

4) All neither exists or does not exist.

This is how Nagarjuna (the 14th Ch’an Patriarch) summarises the entirety of the Buddha’s teaching. Therefore, we may state that:

a) The mind exists.

b) The mind does not exist.

c) The mind both exists and does not exist.

d) The mind neither exists nor does not exist.

This may be viewed as a developmental schematic of ever deepening understanding or awareness of the mind-body nexus and its essence. Exactly the same analysis can be applied to ‘matter’ but not to ‘spirit’ – as the Buddha rejected the notion of a spirit or mind that exists in opposition (or ‘outside’ of) the material world. In the Theravada School the mind-body nexus is ‘empty’ of ‘atma’ (or ‘soul’), but appears to contain a personal self (i.e. perceiving ‘mind’ function) that is a temporary coming together of elements which dissipate at death. In this school the physical world ‘exists’, but is ‘empty’ of any permanent state. In the Mahayana and Vajrayana Schools – the idea of ‘emptiness’ is exactly the same – but is extended so as to imply (or suggest) that the world of physical matter is ‘empty’ of any and all substantiality. However, as the Buddha also rejected any notions of ‘eternalism’ and ‘nihilism’ – these schools must be careful in their analysis. Therefore, we can say:

i) The world of matter exists.

ii) The world of matter does not exist.

iii) The world of matter both exists and does not exist.

iv) The world of matter neither exists nor does not exist.

Perhaps the 4th statement is the enlightened position, and although the world of matter may not exist as we think it does – it is also true from a Buddhist perspective – that the world of matter does not exist as we may presume it not to. This is not merely a matter of semantics – but a matter of actual inner and outer realisation attained through self-cultivation, experience and assessment. In the Four Noble Truths the Buddha clearly states that material existence is the basis of physical life and all subsequent philosophical development. This suggests that existence and the world of physical matter are inherently linked, integrated and entwined. In other words, the Buddha appears to be stating that a non-embodied existence is impossible, as the basis for life. In this regard, he is in agreement with the Greek philosopher Epicurus (with life being a special arrangement of atoms that congeal at conception, and fall apart at physical death). This view would correlate with the Buddha’s five aggregates – although the Buddha does seem to entertain a ‘limited’ notion of rebirth (not evident in the five aggregates themselves) which is negated at the point of the realisation of enlightenment.

As for Plotinus, it is important to consider that his original Greek thought has been translated into Western languages usually involving an underlying Judeo-Christian influence that attempts to separate his teaching into a ‘rejected’ material world and an ‘accepted’ spiritual world (that stands in opposition to the material world). One prime example of this modern Eurocentric bias is the continuous rendering of the Greek ‘psyche’ (i.e. ‘breath of life’) as the Judeo-Christian ‘soul’ which implies a completely different meaning. The Greek ‘pyscho’ refers to the spark of life in the functioning conscious mind that defines human existence – whilst the Judeo-Christian ‘soul’ is a completely different entity that links a monotheistic entity to each individual person. A ‘soul’ may be related to an individual’s mind and body – but remains continuously ‘distinct’ from both the mind and body, so that at the point of physical death, the ‘soul’ survives and moves into another dimension of existence (leaving the mind and body behind). The confusion arises from the fact that the early Christian ideologues took the Greek term ‘psyche’ and changed its definition and usage (rejecting the original Greek meaning). Later, when Christianity spread into pagan Germany, the non-Christian Germans believed in a pagan entity called a ‘soul’ which the Christian missionaries could not prevent. Their answer was to usurp this non-Christian term and use it in a Christian manner, therefore, a distorted interpretation of the Christianised Greek ‘psyche’ became commonly known as ‘soul’ within Christian theology. As I said above, the Christianised ‘soul’ concept has no bearing whatsoever upon the philosophy developed by non-Christian Greeks! I think this is important because the term ‘matter’ is often viewed within non-Christianised Greek philosophy – a priori from a Christian position. Obviously, this is incorrect and constitutes a ‘category error’. Plotinus does use various words referring to ‘divine’ or ‘god-like’ states of mind – but despite seeking a realisation of ‘Oneness’ – the schematic of Plotinus has nothing to do with monotheism. From correctly translating from the Greek, it would appear that Plotinus is advocating an ever rarefied perception of the essential nature of material existence – with lesser understanding in the material world serving to ‘corrupt’ matter. This may be taken to imply that the deep insight that Plotinus found (and according to him – all people possess) is ‘hidden’ by an obscuring layer of ‘not understanding’ material existence in its highest frequency. Perhaps today, this might correspond to human awareness (or ‘consciousness’) at its highest degree of development, being associated with light energy, and ignorance as being trapped in congealed light energy, (i.e. light energy slowed down), which constitutes material existence.

Best Wishes

Adrian

PS: Curiously, as far as I am aware, the Pali term ‘atma’ also means ‘breath of life’ – like the Greek term ‘psyche’. For religionists, this ‘breath’ or ‘spark’ is divine, whilst for materialists, this term is natural in origin.

The Connection Between the Perception of Inner and Outer Space

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The Buddha’s ideas are very similar in nature to many of those generated by the philosophers of ancient Greece. Like those ancient Greek philosophers, the Buddha used his mind in a very ‘modern’ manner, and developed a logical and rational view of existence. Again, like the ancient Greeks his thinking reflected, the Buddha developed his mode of pristine thought out of the religiosity prevalent during his lifetime. The Buddha’s life dates are uncertain, but he is thought to have lived (by Western scholars) around 2,500 years ago in ancient India, and around 3,000 years ago according to the traditional scholarship preserved within Chinese Buddhism. I have speculated elsewhere, a tentative theory that Emperor Ashoka [304-232 BCE] (and his ministers) may have developed a peaceful and wisdom-loving (secular) philosophical path, that denied the relevancy and reality of an ‘Indian’ militant Brahmanism, an Indian religion that threatened to confront and over-throw Emperor Ashoka’s ‘foreign’ rule. A passive and meditating Buddhism could have been developed by merging certain Brahmanic elements (such as the yoga of meditation), with various aspects of Greek rational thought. A candidate for the Greek input for the Buddha’s mode of thinking could be the system of thought as developed by Epicurus (370-270 BCE). The similarities between the Buddha’s system and that of Epicurus are so obvious and staggering that I am surprised that this link has not been recognised in the past and studied with a greater depth. Of course, playing devil’s advocate, I have suggested that the ancient Greeks influenced ancient Indian thought, and that Emperor Ashoka ‘created’ Buddhism out of an admixture of Indian and Greek traditions. This is purely a speculation on my part, using the rational facility of my mind. It could also be that the Buddha’s mode of modern thinking was developed hundreds of years before a similar manifestation occurred in ancient Greek (spreading to Greece from ancient Indian through trade and cultural exchange). Another theory is that a ‘new’ way of using the human mind was an evolutionary development that spread ‘species-wide’ across many human cultures that had no direct (or indepth) contact with one another. The use of the rational mind (as advocated by the Buddha and ancient Greeks), is essentially a ‘free’ and ‘unhindered’ mode of thought that lies at the basis of modern science when channelled in a certain manner. This means that ‘free-thinking’ requires various modes of constraint to direct its energy into specific forms of creativity – with perhaps art for art’s sake being its most ‘free’ expression, and scientific endeavour being its most structured and disciplined.

Epicurus was taught by Nausiphanes, and their root-master was Democritus. Democritus was a genius who – without access to microscopes (or even advanced mathematics) – used his ‘rational’ mind to determine that existence is comprised of ‘atoms’ that move around through ’empty space’. Today, through the use of advanced technology and mathematics we know that this is scientifically correct. This would suggest that Democritus had an experience no less important than the enlightenment of the Buddha, as it radically redefined humanity’s perception of reality and existence, and yet generally speaking, there are no temples containing statues of Democritus, or people applying a meditative method to replicate his mode of thought. Democritus stated that atoms moved through space in a determinate manner – but Epicurus modified this idea by stating that atoms – although moving in a definite manner through space – also possessed the ability to suddenly ‘deviate’ or ‘swerve’ in a different direction for no apparent reason. This is how Epicurus explained how unusual events happened, whilst things seemed to unfold in similar patterns. Thousands of years later, Epicurus was proven right when Heisenberg produced his ‘Uncertainty Principle’ in 1927. My point here, is to explore how space and matter is perceive within (and by) the human mind. The Buddha and the Greeks said similar things about form and void. Epicurus – like the Buddha – rejected the relevancy of religion. Both seem to suggest that gods might exist in a deluded sense, but do not exist in an ultimate sense (as many people thought). Epicurus stated that even if gods existed, they had no interest in humanity, and after-all, as there are only atoms and space that define existence, the gods themselves must be comprised of atoms just like humans, and probably subject to some-type of ‘death’ or ‘demise’. For Epicurus – who understood that life was comprised of many sufferings and different kinds of pleasure – death is the absolute end of existence for the individual because the body has ceased to function and its atoms fall apart. There is no transmigration to a heaven or a hell, or rebirth into another living form. The Buddha agrees with this, but allows for a certain ‘delusional’ existence where rebirth occurs and physical death is not the end of existence. However, when full enlightenment is attained, then all rebirth (and karmic retribution) comes to an end – and yet the Buddha clearly states time and again the reality is comprised of empty space within which physical reality manifests. In other words, empty space is not ’empty’ in essence, and physical matter does not occur in a ‘dead’ vacuum.

The Buddha and ancient Greeks were able to use their minds to ‘see’ reality in such a way that modern science has confirmed their basic assumptions to be correct. Both Epicurus and the Buddha seem to suggest that this is not just an ‘objective’ understanding, but also the product of a profound subjective experience. It could be that the Buddha and Greek philosophers like Epicurus were able to manifest a rational mind premised upon subjective experiences that had been previously interpreted in a ‘religious’ manner – an approach rejected by ‘rationalists’. The following is a fascinating scientific documentary about empty space – which is not ’empty’:

 

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