Schrodinger and humanist Khat

Schrodinger and humanihumanist Khat?

Schrodinger was an Austrian physicist, one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, an early western promoter of Vedanta an Buddhist philosophy, winner of the 1933 Nobel Prize for Physics. He is popularly well known for his proposal of the Schrodinger’s cat thought experiment. The following from his “Science and Humanism” (1951)

“The scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and … delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good and bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not incline to take them seriously.

…So, in brief, we do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it; we are outside…The reason why we believe that we are in it – that we are in the picture, is that our bodies are in the picture. Our bodies belong to it. Not only my own body, but those of my friends, my dog and cat and horse… This is my only means of communicating with them.

Science is reticent too when it is a question of the great Unity – the One of Parmenides – of which we all somehow form part, to which we belong. The most popular name for it in our time is God – with a capital “G”. Science is very usually, branded as being atheistic. After what we said, this is not astonishing. If its world-picture does not even contain blue, yellow, bitter, sweet – beauty, delight and sorrow – if personality is cut out of it by agreement, how should it contain the most sublime idea that presents itself to human mind?”

Why the Cross?

There is a brilliant book by Netherlands author Harry Mulisch – The Discovery of Heaven. It isn’t an evangelical tract. It portrays the Universe from the perspective of the possibilities outside it. The potential that the Universe does not call into being. Quantum mechanics shows us that nothing is actual until observed. In that sense we, as witness engines (points of observation) call forth this particular Universe. We are enmeshed in the spacetime of our choosing. Here and now. Literally.

We ae imprisoned in the Universe as we together have created it. Why did we, humanity, create a history that includes (those infamous atheists) Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot?

The Cross is the symbol of Christ, redeemer. At it’s heart is the point of transformation, escape into the world beyond spacetime, as imagined by Harry Mulisch. And yes, through pain. Kraft durch schmerz, or perhaps Freude durch schmerz?

A Psalm for Sunday

What lies beyond SpaceTime is incomprehensible in human terms, but we’re human and can only speak our language.  (Now, we see through a glass darkly). Understanding comes through  parable and metaphor. Two thousand years ago God was described as male, as father. We created God in our image. We haven’t, though, confined or proscribed God to that image. Jesus might now easily describe God as female, our Mother. Better though, for me anyway is,  the description as – the Word existing beyond time.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This always seemed to me inconsistent with Christ’s compassion for all humanity, particularly the lost and the lonely.  It came to me today however that He was signifying that all humanity, that all through His action, is saved. His sacrifice changed the course of history. Nirvana is possible for all of us.

Steven Weinberg, honest atheist

I am interested in the philosophy and beliefs of the great scientists. Einstein, Bohr, Pauli, Schrodinger, Heisenberg. It strikes me that in almost every case they are led to a wonder at the harmony and structure underlying existence. What a refreshing contrast to the childish un-scientific preaching of Dawkins (all religion is “child abuse”).

Speaking at the “Beyond Belief” symposium in 2006 Steven Weinberg (Nobel Prize for his electroweak theory) was quoted as saying  “the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief”. He is an avowed atheist, but since he’s a proper scientist he also said:

“I have to admit that, even when physicists will have gone as ar as they can go, when we have a final theory, we will not have a completely satisfying picture of the world, because we will still be left with the question ‘why?’

Heisenberg’s Certainty Principle

” these relationships .. have been there since the creation of the world”. Heisenberg is of course most famous for his Uncertainty Principle, which states that it is NOT possible for us to know everything. The more certain we are of one factor, then the more uncertain we are of another. (In atomic physics for instance if you know a particle’s position you cannot know it’s momentum etc).

He was though, certain about a structure underlying creation. Here he is in a letter to his sister Edith in 1958:

“I have attempted an as yet-unkown-ascent to the fundamental peak of atomic theory with great efforts during the last five years. And now, with the peak directly ahead of me, the whole terrain of interrelationships in atomic theory is suddenly and clearly spread out before my eyes. That these interrelationships display, in all their mathematical abstraction, an incredible degree of simplicity, is a gift we can only accept humbly. Not even Plato could have believed them to be so beautiful. For these interrelationships cannot have been invented; they have been there since the creation of the world”.

Born claustroagrophobic

I am (apparently) claustroagrophobic. By nature seeking to be on  the shoulder of all groups, don’t want to be left out, don’t want to be too committed to anything. Ive learned that you do have to commit to achieve anything, but sometimes it still feels uncomfortable. 

It does occur to me, looking around, that I’m not alone in this. In fact alongside a plague of materialism and narcissism isn’t claustroagrophobia another modern human epidemic?

Where does birth fit in to this ? Well, have you ever considered the final condition of the foetus? We were all there once. Cosy, warm, secure. Then increasingly cramped until -wham – we’re out in the scary scary wide world. It’s only Winnicott’s “maternal reverie” and the sure holding environment of a secure infancy that gets us through this. Take that away. What do you get. A plague of claustroagrophobia….

Dixi et salvavi animam meam

(I spoke and thus saved my soul)

Wolgang Pauli in a letter to a fellow physicist, on pressure to comply with the atheistic positivism of his god-father Max Born:

“Many physicists and historians have of course advised me to break the connection between my Kepler essay and C.G. Jung… I am indifferent to the astral cult of Jung’s circle, but that, i.e., this dream symbolism, makes an impact! The book itself is a fateful “synchronicity” and must remain one. I am sure that defiance would have unhappy consquences as far as I am concerned. Dixi et salvavi animam meam!”

 

Wolgang Pauli, Nobel prize for discovery of the exclusion principle, discoverer of the neutrino and father of supersymmetry.