Monday, October 17, 2016

Fritjof Capra - The Tao of Physics



"The conception of physical things and phenomena as transient manifestations of an underlying fundamental entity is not only a basic element of quantum field theory, but also a basic element of the Eastern world view. Like Einstein, the Eastern mystics consider this underlying entity as the only reality: all its phenomenal manifestations are seen as transitory and illusory. This reality of the Eastern mystic cannot be identified with the quantum field of the physicist because it is seen as the essence of 'all' phenomena in this world and consequently is beyond all concepts and ideas. The quantum field, on the other hand, is a well defined concept which only accounts for some of the physical phenomena. Nevertheless, the intuition behind the physicist's interpretation of the sub-atomic world, in terms of the quantum field, is closely paralleled by that of the Eastern mystic who interprets his or her experience of the world in terms of an ultimate underlying reality. Subsequent to the emergence of the field concept, physicists have attempted to unify the various fields into a single fundamental field which would incorporate all physical phenomena. Einstein, in particular, spent the last years of his life searching for such a unified field. The Brahman of the Hindus, like the Dharmakaya of the Buddhists and the Tao of the Taoists, can be seen, perhaps, as the ultimate unified field from which spring not only the phenomena studied in physics, but all other phenomena as well. . . . .In the Eastern view, the reality underlying all phenomena is beyond all forms and defies all description and specification. It is therefore said to be formless, empty or void, but this emptiness is not to be taken for mere nothingness. It is, on the contrary, the essence of all forms and the source of all life. Thus the Upanishads say:

Brahman is life. Brahman is Joy. Brahman is the Void . . Joy, verily, that is the same as the Void.
The Void, verily, that is the same as Joy. (Chandogya Upanishad 3.14.1)

The Eastern sages make it clear that they do not mean ordinary emptiness, when they talk about Brahman, Sunyata or Tao, but . . a Void which has infinite creative potential. . . . Like the quantum field, it gives birth to an infinite variety of forms, which it sustains and eventually reabsorbs."

~ Fritjof Capra (The Tao of Physics, 211-212)
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