KINDLE PROMOTIONAL PERIOD, $0.99

PROMOTIONAL PERIOD started today for the Kindle version of “Nondual Perspectives on Quantum Physics:

“Finally science, philosophy, and religion have come to agree on one point about the nature of reality: The manifest is the vibration of the unmanifest.”

Promotional period begins from August 18th and ends on August 25th, starting from $0.99 for the Kindle version. Click here to visit the Amazon page.

Amazon Preview of the book:

“For thousands of years, mystical and religious traditions such as Advaita Vedanta have taught the concept of a nondual reality. In nondualism there is no mental, no physical—no separation between creator and creation. There is only one universe comprising variations of the same substance.

But what do these beliefs have to do with quantum mechanics and the experimentally verified theories on the cutting edge of modern scientific thought?

As it turns out, more than we could ever imagine—enough to create a natural harmony, a unity between tradition, spirituality, and science as it has never been seen before.

In Nondual Perspectives on Quantum Physics, physicist Tomaj Javidtash faithfully and objectively explains the concepts behind quantum mechanics in clear and accessible language the average layperson can understand.

Then, through a discussion of nondual philosophy and two major nondualistic traditions, Javidtash reveals the stunning similarities between these views of reality—addressing concepts of consciousness, perception, and the universe.”

Quantum Field Enigma I

In a previous post titled What is Quantum Physics I introduced the subject and its principles: Quantum Physics, or Quantum Mechanics, is the theory that explains the motion of microscopic objects such as molecules, atoms, nuclei, and all the elementary particles of nature. This is the story of its creation: Before the beginning of the twentieth century physicists were able to discover almost all the laws that governed the observable phenomena at the macroscopic level. These laws, expressed in mathematical form, explained the two main realms of nature: 1) The motion of masses and the gravitational force that is exchanged between them. 2) The behavior of charged particles and the electromagnetic forces exchanged between these charges.

The first set of laws governing gravity and dynamics of masses is known as Classical Mechanics explained by Newton’s Laws of Motion. The second set of laws governing electricity and magnetism is known as Electromagnetism obeying Maxwell’s Equations. All natural phenomena such as heat, waves, etc. could be understood within these two theoretical frameworks. These two frameworks along with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which deals with objects moving with high velocities, are together known as Classical Physics. The important point is that in classical physics we are dealing with two distinct types of objects whose collective behaviors determines natural phenomena: Waves and particles. Sound and light are examples of wave phenomena; masses and point-charges are examples of particle phenomena.

As a result of technological advancements of late 19th and early 20th centuries experimental chemists and physicists were able to probe into the microscopic world of molecules and atoms. Scientists expected to find particles obeying Newton’s laws of motion; however, it turned out they were wrong, and in fact they saw that the concepts of classical physics were hopelessly inadequate in capturing the reality of the microscopic world. Let me give you just one example: Experimental findings gave a model of an atom, which is neutral, consisting of a very heavy, positively charged, nucleus concentrated in a very small region of space, within a length of about 10-14 meters. The negatively charged electrons rotate around this nucleus, hence keeping the whole atom neutral (This model is similar to our solar system though we will see that the underlying reality is totally different.) However, this kind of motion for electrons violates the most important tenet of electromagnetism: According to electromagnetism an accelerating charged particle, such as electron, radiates energy in the form of light, hence it keeps losing its energy as long as it is in accelerating motion. We also know from classical mechanics that rotation is an accelerating motion. This means that electrons rotating around the nucleus should radiate light and hence lose their energy until they fall onto the nucleus. But experiments have shown that nothing of the sort happens. Atoms, at least most of them, are stable structures; their electrons revolve the nucleus without radiating light; these electrons emit, or absorb, light only when they jump from one orbit to another orbit, and these orbits are not arbitrary; electrons can only occupy certain allowed orbits with discrete energies. Also, their jumps between orbits are not jumps through space; when an electron jumps from, say, orbit 2 with energy 20 to orbit 1 with energy 10 it does not fly through the space in between orbits; neither does it incrementally decrease its energy from 20 to 10 passing through 19, 18, …. This energy loss is radiated away in the form of electromagnetic radiation, photon. Electron’s jump is instantaneous and doesn’t take any time whatsoever: The electron is in one orbit and then suddenly shows up in another orbit. This inexplicable kind of jump is known as electronic transition or Quantum Jump. This example was one among the many experimental findings that needed a new physics in order to make sense.

Quantum Mechanics which was developed between 1900 to 1927 by the collaboration many physicists is the theory that explains the motion of microscopic objects. In other words, quantum theory was developed as a mathematical tool to make sense of and organize the strange experimental findings in the first decades of twentieth century. Double Slit Experiment is the cornerstone of quantum phenomena and it contains almost all the bizarre features of the quantum world. Quantum Mechanics is considered to be the most successful intellectual achievement of mankind since it has been able to explain all microscopic phenomena, and it is also the most experimentally verified theory in the history of science.

According to quantum theory the basic constituents of nature are neither wave nor particle. However, depending on the measuring instrument they can manifest either as wave or as a particle but not both at once, see The Complementarity Principle. Prior to the act of measurement the quantum system (particle is a misnomer but we have no better word) is neither a wave nor a particle, and it is also nothing else: It has no characteristics, no form and no properties, no position and no velocity in space. In fact, it is not a thing or entity anymore; it is a no-thing, a no-entity. Nothing can be said about it except saying that if we perform such and such a measurement on this no-thing there is such and such a probability to get such and such a numerical value for what is being measured. This bizarre feature of quantum phenomena is called stochastic behavior, that is the microscopic world is inherently indeterminate, see The Uncertainty Principle.

This indeterminacy is a matter of principle and not of the our ignorance nor of the inefficiency of our equipment. It is not that we don’t know the position of the “particle” in space; the particle has no position, or any dynamical property for that matter, prior to the act of measurement; the measurement process creates the very position that is to be measured. This means that the quantum world and the quantum objects cannot be thought or imagined in any possible way. Even the much used statement that “in quantum world a particle is in many places at once” is a false way of putting it because in the quantum world there is no such thing as particle; it is meaningless to speak of here and there, let alone of everywhere. Place has no place in the quantum realm.

The objection may rise, as it did for myself for quite a while, that this lack of knowledge about the nature of quantum objects is a lack on our part; perhaps the particle itself contains all this missing information but it is us who cannot access it, whether due to our state of knowledge at the present time or because nature somehow doesn’t like us to have that information!

But that is not true, for if it were our everyday world would not look like what it does. It is proven and experimentally verified that the quantum “particle” could not possibly have a position prior to measurement; if it did, whether we know that information or not, then we would not observe phenomena such as waves, colors of a soap bubble, etc. These phenomena can occur and be observed if and only if the underlying constituents do not have inherent properties such as a determinate positions or velocities. In other words, the missing information about the exact properties of quantum objects is not missing at all; it does not, and cannot, exist or else we would not be seeing what we are seeing right here right now. In other words, our observation of the form of appearances is possible only if that which appears is itself formless: Form is formlessness conditioned and partitioned. The set of experiments that have consistently proven this results are known as Bell Experiments and the theory that underlie them is known as Bell’s Theorem.

In the microscopic world what determines the place and status of quantum objects is the act of observation. To avoid mystical mis-interpretations I must add that observation here is not meant seeing with eyes or anything like that, anything depending on the consciousness of the experimenter. Observation in quantum mechanics refers to a complex process in which a macroscopic machine interacts with a microscopic object. Whether or not our consciousness is there in the room, whether or not we read the display of the machine that contains the result of measurement, it is always the internal mechanism of the instrument that by itself determines the state of quantum system and the possible outcome of the measurement. Human consciousness does not create reality, for it is itself already part of a created reality.

In future posts I will continue this subject and introduce you to Quantum Field Theory, QFT for short, in which the quantum world is no more seen as a collection of isolated particles and waves but as a field spread in space-time. In QFT particles are in fact the vibrations of the field. Quantum Field Theory was created by combining Quantum Theory and Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity.

Quantum Physics & Nonduality

Nondual Perspectives on Quantum Physics reveals the common thread running through science, philosophy, and spirituality, the main three paths aiming at a knowledge of ultimate reality. Introducing the most advanced representatives of these disciplines in non-technical language I show how they all point to one and the same underlying principle:

The manifest arises from the vibrations of the umanifest.

Quantum Physics from modern science, Transcendental Phenomenology from modern philosophy, and Advaita Vedanta from traditional metaphysics are the three representatives introduced in my book as having a common ground that is essentially transcendental and nondual.

The book has three chapters: In chapter 1 I introduce quantum physics and its philosophical implications. In chapter 2 I introduce the concept of nonduality along with one traditional and one modern example, namely Advaita Vedanta and Transcendental Phenomenology. In chapter 3 I highlight the interconnections between these three disciplines and expose the common ground upon which they are standing and the ultimate reality to which they are pointing.

The Table of Contents

Chapter One: Quantum Physics

The Physics

The Philosophy

Chapter Two: Nonduality

The Idea

Advaita Vedanta

Transcendental Phenomenology

Chapter Three: Unity

Common Ground

Common Language

Quantum Reality

Nondual Reality

Unity  

Nondual Perspectives on Quantum Physics is available also at Goodreads.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N5DL1R0/

Physics & Metaphysics

I noticed I write more about metaphysics than physics. I have done so perhaps because metaphysical questions are more relevant to our lives today than abstract questions of modern physics; also because I am much more certain, in fact absolutely certain, of the metaphysical order and its eternal truths than the physical order and its facts. But during decades of working with both disciplines I have come to understand the physical order as an imperfect reflection of the metaphysical order, the mathematical laws of physics as temporal reflections of eternal truths of metaphysics. It cannot be otherwise, for there is only one truth and one fact. The truth is the One, and the fact is the fallen one, man. If man is the fallen spirit, then fact is the fallen truth, physics the fallen metaphysics, and reason the fallen intellect.

The irony of the situation is that after all these years in both fronts I have arrived at one and the same question: “How does the one become the many?”

In the context of metaphysics, I know from direct perception the unity and unicity of the Real, the nondual substance of totality which is beyond being and non-being. I also know the apparent diversity of the phenomena world, that we live in an apparently changing universe. Thus, there is a truth and a fact: The truth is that there is nothing but the One; the fact is that there is an experience of multiplicity. The question is how does that truth appear as this fact? How does the nondual, immutable One at once appear as the changing? I call this the enigma of all enigmas. No doubt the One never really becomes the many; the difference is only apparent, each belonging to different order of reality. But metaphysics is metaphysics and must ground metaphysical questions.

In the context of physics, we know that though there appears to be an infinite number of particles in the universe, their behavior is as if there were only one particle, a scenario called the One Electron Universe by John Wheeler. The question arises: How can one electron appear as the many at once being at many places? This question is the focus of my academic research as a physicist and I call it the quantum enigma.

Seeing that there is one question at the bottom of both quests I felt that insight into one may lead to insight into another. I am much more clear about the metaphysical aspect of the question but like to know its bearing on the physical plane.

For these reasons I feel I need to write something in the area of my expertise, quantum physics, in a simplified language which may interest others as it interests me; the goal is to see the astonishing similarities between the world of the mystic and the world of the modern physics. I will do so in the upcoming post(s).

Listen to The Big Bang

There are a few scientific theories that have attempted to describe the universe using the laws of physics. In all these theories the event of Big Bang is taken to be the starting point (Scroll down and listen to the sound of the Big Bang.) How did they come to this conclusion? Here is how they did it:

In the first two decades of 20th century astronomers observed that all other galaxies are constantly moving away from our Milky-Way galaxy, and studying the light coming from these galaxies they realized that everything is moving away from everything else. The way scientists can determine this using light is made possible by the same laws that make an ambulance siren sound different when it is moving away or toward us. Light too changes in its frequency when it is coming from a moving source; this is called the red-shift in physics. In 1927 Georges Lemaitre, a Belgian physicist and Roman Catholic Priest, postulated that this motion of the universe can be traced back to a point called the singularity, hence the beginning of the story of Big Bang by a Catholic priest. In 1920s Edwin Hubble provided more experimental evidence of expansion and red-shift from his astronomical observations; he also found the mathematical law that gives the speed of this expansion.

It was later shown that this explosion and the subsequent acceleration can be derived from Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. It turned out that Black-Holes and Big Bang are logical consequences of Einstein’s field equations.

In later decades scientists were able to collect more accurate data using more advances telescopes and experimental devices. They found out that the universe is expanding with an acceleration. The best experimental data, which is frequently tested and verified, comes from measurements that captures the residues from the Big Bang explosion. This data which is known as CMBR, Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, is a record of the thermal radiations caused by Big Bang and has filled the whole of space. The following image is a visual of this background radiation.

Ilc_9yr_moll4096

You want to hear the sound of Big Bang? The information in the above image is converted into an audible file and sounds like this:

(Source of Audio: http://faculty.washington.edu/jcramer/BBSound_2013.html)

The most recent theories of physics such as String Theory and Loop Quantum Gravity are attempts at unifying the laws of nature, especially Quantum Mechanics and Gravity, but they all agree on the event of Big Bang.

However, there are physicists whose research has taken them to more surprising conclusions. A group of physicists at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics have speculated that perhaps the Big Bang has never really happened! The idea is this: Though we appear to be in a universe that appears to have come from a big explosion, it is possible that the explosion has never really happened; instead our universe is projected out as a hologram. The idea of a holographic universe is also present in string theories but need more than 10 dimensions for their existence. But the new idea of these physicists at PI does not need higher dimensions. In their theory, our 3 dimensional universe is really the surface of a 4 dimensional sphere enclosing a 4 dimensional singularity at its center. The singularity never explodes; instead it projects outwardly its own infinite possibilities, and one of them is our universe.

A summary of their work is available here:

http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/news/black-hole-birth-universe

A very important advice would be to be aware of the ontological status of these various models of the observable universe. These models, though accurate and obtained by hard work, are nonetheless models. People get excited about new science stuff, such as quantum or big bang, and try to make paradigm shifts or base their ideologies and self-perceptions on these models. But this is wrong. Scientific theories describe a world that is not identical with the world of human experience, remembering that science is a small part of human experience. Science itself is one among the many human traditions; it is a human activity, and thus its results are derived and known by us and are not meant to govern or restrict us. If we are to base our spiritual or cosmic understanding on science, then we would have to change our ideas every decade or so. These models will change as better approximations and measurements become available. We see it in health science very often: One day peanuts are good and then they are not; egg is good and then it is bad, etc.

The universe of science is a mathematical model filled with endless approximations to interpret controlled experiments. The best example I can give you about the status of these models is this: What science produces is like a set of slides captured by a camera. When these slides are played they give the illusion of real experience but when we look at them they are just dead slides. Remember, film slides are a representation of reality; but reality is not the film slides.

Breast & Phenomenology of World

Dated November 3rd, 2013 

The world that we know is just a saying; it is pure hearsay. We know of it from the mouths of our so called world-professionals, from scientists, psychologists, cosmologists, philosophers and theologians, who have confused their inquiries about the world with the world itself; as if they cannot know the simplest fact, that inquiries about the world are really parts of the world, already embedded inside the very world they try to explain.

For any inquiry to initiate, the subject of inquiry must already be given, however vague and mysterious its manner of givenness. The subject of inquiry always precedes the inquiry itself. World, too, is always there beforehand we subject it to our methods of inquiry. The world is pregiven. The pregiven world is what I wished to see. No one put it better than Edmund Husserl when he wished to communicate to the philosophers how science has gone off course and missed its original goal of grounding the world: “Sciences meant to understand the world are themselves lost in the world.”

Besides the fact that the world is pregiven and must be present and presented precisely as world in the background of any inquiry, even the world that is known and explained within a particular mode of inquiry is always a function of the adopted methodology. All inquiries are erected upon and made possible by methodology. And methodology always determines what is given and what is not, and among what is given it determines what matters and what does not. So nature gives itself to us depending on the methods we choose to interrogate it. This is the most crucial point that the mass fails to grasp when they so enthusiastically take the scientific worldview as fact and put it as the ground of their existential and social self-perceptions, as if the universe of cosmologists existed apart from cosmologists themselves. It is a matter of logical distinction that what is seen, and known, depends on the instrument and the subject of inquiry. What we experience when we touch a breast is completely different from what we experience when we see it, smell it, taste it, etc; it is only later that the mind synthesizes these different perspectives to be of one and the same breast. Universe as we take it to exist is a pure mathematical construct consequent to Galilean mathematization of nature. Or to put it more precisely, nature as we know today is a product of the 17th century differential calculus created by Newton and Leibniz.

Nature is what we take it to be. I restate what I learned from quantum physics: To measure is to filter. Measurement is an instance of making something known, focusing on the object; this comes about at the cost of eliminating the rest, putting out of focus everything else. More precisely, to measure is to filter out all other alternatives until only one remains. But measurement, and all observations, do not just put out of focus; they have to destroy the alternatives in order to arrive at the intended object. This is because nature at its heart is a whole and not something essentially divided. To single something out one has to commit genocide against the rest. The energy that is released in splitting the nucleus of an atom is not the energy of the parts but the energy that keeps the whole together as a whole which is a million times greater than the sum total of all individual masses.

And it has happened to fall on our age that certain echoes of this saying called the world are stronger than others; they are shouted into our ears. Alas, we cannot hear it, for we are still busy with that breast.

How Does The One Become The Many

From time immemorial philosophers and theologians of nondual traditions, those taking the Ultimate Reality to be a one invisible and indivisible whole, have struggled to understand how this One thing appears as the many things of our phenomenal world.

There is no doubt that the world of phenomena is diverse and ephemeral. But there is also no doubt for the mystic and the metaphysician that this world has its root in a One which is undifferentiated and eternal; being such this One is characterized as both Absolute and Infinite. Some may call it God but it is really, if anything, an impersonal principle, though inexpressible under the same principle. The reality of such rootedness is self-evident to the mystic in light of his/her direct perception of the One, and it is also self-evident to the Platonic philosopher by logical necessity. Thus, they can deny neither the Reality of the One which is the most obvious thing to them nor the presence of a phenomenal world. These two brute facts are to be reconciled as far as the metaphysician is concerned. The mystic cannot really care less about this reconciliation; for him/her it is all God; the many is only a word.

This metaphysical question has recently become my serious concern within a different context. My academic research in the field of physics is focused on the foundational issues of Quantum Physics. The problem I am working on is the Identical Particles. Electrons are elementary particles in the sense that they don’t have an internal structure and cannot be divided into smaller parts. Now the problem in quantum physics is that no two electrons can be distinguished from one another. It is not just that they look alike (of course they are not the kind of objects that can look like anything at all; they don’t have a look); they have no individuality whatsoever. If we put two electrons in a box they cannot tell which is which; they have no selves, no identity, no individuality, and this in a fundamental way. This feature of the quantum world is utterly counterintuitive: In our macroscopic world everything has an identity though they may look exactly alike; they have specific histories. A chair remains itself as it endures in time; in other words, a chair is a chair because it keeps being itself as time passes. Maybe the following impossible example can clarify: Assume we have a perfect twin; they look exactly alike, both internally and externally; I mean no one in the world can tell them apart in principle. Now we take these two into a surgery room and put all their memories, somehow, together on a table and shuffle them and then put them back. What happens if we have done everything perfectly is that none of these two twins can know which is which, assuming they have not gone mad yet; they have lost entirely their sense of identity and individuality; they have no sense of “I” or “me” or “mine.” (They would pass as perfect mystics) I know it is an unimaginable scenario but electrons are like that, with the difference that they are so in principle and from the very beginning. Now how is this related to the problem of the One and the many?

One of the hypothesis that has tried to explain the above enigma of the quantum world is the One Electron Universe Hypothesis. The idea is that there are no two or more electrons; there is only one electron in the whole universe but it appears as many electrons that we observe. It says that all the electrons that constitute the substance of the material world are instances of the one single electron. This of course is a pure hypothesis and it is not yet shown that how can the One electron appears as the almost infinite number of electrons in the universe! By the way, it is believed that there are about 15747724136275002577605653961181555468044717914527116709366231425076185631031296 electrons in the observable universe.

This itself is fascinating that one of the fundamental problems of physics may require us answering the same question that was posed thousands of years ago: How Does The One Become The Many!

There are a few observations from metaphysics that may be useful for us here: First, the One never really becomes the many; the One is always the One and the Immutable, and hence never changes or becomes; the many is only apparent; it is said that only out of ignorance we perceive the many. Now there are ways of expressing this situation in the language of mathematics which is being still developed. Of course I have no answer to it for now.

One point to remember is that we are either conscious (direct perception) of the One or the many and not both at once. In other words, we are either conscious of the One or unconscious, ignorant, of the One. Being conscious but not conscious of the One we perceive the many. This implies that our consciousness of the One must lie in a higher plane of existence than our consciousness of the many. The many is not Real relative to the One. Only the One is Real. One must also be careful here not to consider this world to be an illusion: Metaphysically speaking, this world is an illusion only relative to the One which belongs to the plane of the undifferentiated Absolute. Relative to the One we too, our bodies and minds, are illusory; thus relative to us humans this world of multiplicity is real and not illusory. The very mind that thinks the world to be an illusion is itself an essential part of the same illusion. Only relative to the One everything else is illusion and unreal. In other words, the One is absolutely real while the world, including humans, is relatively real.

A familiar example of the one thing appearing as the many is very well known to all of us, namely dreaming: If we look at dreaming from a phenomenological point of view which is more empirical and scientific than the cognitive scientific approach, we see that the one consciousness, say my consciousness, when I sleep can make itself appear to itself as a world of diverse forms with many people in it. My one consciousness appears, when it goes one level down to subconscious or unconscious, as many consciousnesses in a world of many objects. See that this One that appears as the many does not dwell in the same level of reality: The higher One becomes the lower many. When dreaming, being in the unconscious which is the lower level, there is multiplicity; but the moment we wake up and hence come to a higher level of reality the multiplicity of the dream world instantaneously collapses into one single consciousness of my waking state which I call my consciousness. Thus, one consciousness can make itself appear as many things when it implodes within itself (interestingly reminds me of the big bang explosion), or we may say when it falls deeper into itself. Some say that the dream world is a manifestation of the unrealized possibilities of the waking consciousness. This rings true for the metaphysician who sees the world as apparent actualities within God who is All Possibility.

In a similar fashion the multiplicity of this world may be really the basement of a higher mode of reality which is the abode of the Immutable One. It may be that we are just characters in the subconscious of a dreaming God!

To add a note, it seems to me that maybe only consciousness has such property, that it can occupy different levels of reality, being One in a level and many in another. If this be so, then we must after all return to consciousness as the ground of reality. Quantum physics seems to have already taken this leap, though not yet wholeheartedly and by many physicists. But we all know that truth always prevails.

Anyways, the main point of this post was to jot down some ideas about this metaphysical, and recently physical, enigma. Let it be at least a food for thought.