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Quantum

Physics for Total Amateurs


The Secrets You Never Learned in Physics Class:


A Brief yet Forgotten History of the Revolution

Slowly, almost unobserved, that spark of ancient Indian wisdom, which the marvelous
Rabbi had kindled to new flame beside the Jordan, flickered out; the light faded from
the re-born sun of Greece, whose rays had ripened the fruits we now enjoy.
The people no longer know anything of these things.
Erwin Schrdinger

Those general notions about human understandingwhich are illustrated by
discoveries in atomic physics are not in the nature of things wholly unfamiliar, wholly
unheard of, or new. Even in our own culture they have a history, and in the Buddhist
and Hindu thought a more considerable and central place.
J. Robert Oppenheimer

I do not believe in the possible future of mysticism in the old form. However, I do
believe that the natural sciences will out of themselves bring forth a counter pole in
their adherents, which connects with the old mystic elements.
Wolfgang Pauli

One could perhaps describe the situation by saying that God is a mathematician of a
very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.
Paul Dirac

Dirac disapproves quite particularly of the dishonesty and self-deception that are far
too often coupled to religious thought. But in his abhorrence he has become a fanatic
defender of rationalism, and I have the feeling that rationalism is not enough.
Werner Heisenberg

For a parallel to the lesson of atomic theory[we must turn] to those kinds of
epistemological problems with which already thinkers like the Buddha and Lao Tzu
have been confronted.

Niels Bohr


There must be thousands of young persons whose nervous systems were expanded and
opened-up in the 1960s and who have now reached positions of competence in the
sciencesWe expect the new wave of turned-on young mathematicians, physicists,
and astronomers are more able to use their energized nervous systems as tools to
provide new correlations between psychology and science.
Harvard Psychedelic Researcher and Spiritual Guru, Dr. Timothy Leary

Only Buddhists and students of Advaita Vedanta (which appears to have been heavily
influenced by Buddhism) have been absolutely clear in asserting that spiritual life
consists in overcoming the illusion of the selfthe teachings of Buddhism and
Advaita are best viewed as lab manuals and explorers logs detailing the results of
empirical research on the nature of human consciousness
Our common sense seems to be stuck somewhere in the sixteenth century. It has also
been generally forgotten that many of the patriarchs of physics in the first half of the
twentieth century regularly impugned the physicality of the universe and placed
mindor thoughts, or consciousness itselfat the very wellspring of reality.
Nonreductive views like those of Arthur Eddington, James Jeans, Wolfgang Pauli,
Werner Heisenberg, and Erwin Schrdinger seem to have had no lasting impact.
New Atheist, Dr. Sam Harris, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

However, there is speculation, and some evidence, that consciousness, at the most
fundamental levels, is a quantum process
If, at the quantum level, the flow of time has no meaning, and if consciousness is
fundamentally a similar process, and if we can become aware of these processes
within ourselves, then it is also conceivable that we can experience timelessness.
If we can experience the most fundamental functions of our psyche, and if they are
quantum in nature, then it is possible that the ordinary conceptions of space and time
might not apply to them at all (as they dont seem to apply in dreams). Such an
experience would be hard to describe rationally (Infinity in a grain of sand/And
eternity in an hour), but it would be very real, indeed. For this reason, reports of time
distortion and timelessness from gurus in the East and psychotropic drug users in the
West ought not, perhaps, to be discarded peremptorily.
Spiritual Guru, Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters

Preface

Political strife and upheaval, environmental disaster, the rise of religious fanaticism and
totalitarianism, the failure of modern psychiatry to alleviate the sufferings of the mentally ill, our
most afflicted and dejected social membersthe modern failings of the human mind are clear.
As the spiritual successors of Einstein and Netwon, Kepler and Plato, Spinoza and
Schopenhauer, we as a society are presently in grave spiritual danger, a danger largely of our
own creation. Quantum physicist and theoretical biologist Erwin Schrdinger observed:
A sort of general atavism has set in; western man is in danger of relapsing to an earlier
level of development which he has never properly overcome: crass, unfettered egoism is
raising its grinning head, and its fist, drawing irresistible strength from primitive habits, is
reaching for the abandoned helm of our ship.
Schrdinger further traced the root of this atavism:
Most of [our people] have nothing to hold on to and no one to follow. They believe
neither in God nor gods; to them, the Church is now only a political party, and morality is
nothing but a burdensome restriction which, without the support of those no longer
credible bugbears on which it leant for so long, is now without any basis whatever.
One of the worlds first biotechnologists, Erwin Schrdinger wrote to his readers that a blood
transfusion of thought would shortly be needed to save Western science from spiritual
anemia.
The world does not have to be this way. The idea that the conclusions of modern science must be
branded as atheistic or in some way opposed to spirituality is simply incorrect and
counterfactual, as unscientific as it is anti-historical. Such assertions run contrary to the practice
of science throughout history and are generally founded on an insidious misunderstanding of the
philosophy and history of our present day sciences. We must therefore ask the fateful
question: what has modern physics to say about its encounter with human consciousness?

Former Transcendental Meditation instructor and New Age guru Deepak Chopra smugly
assures his large, Western following: The physical world, including our bodies, is a
response of the observer. We create our bodies as we create the experience of our world.

On the other hand, the New Atheists assure us this isnt so, as per the religion-less
spirituality advocated by neuroscientist Sam Harris, writing on the advice of his friend,
theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, a man who works with the quantum theory for a
living:

Authors struggling to link spirituality to science generally pin their hopes on
misunderstandings of the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics,
which they take as proof that consciousness plays a central role in determining the


character of the physical world. If nothing is real until it is observed, consciousness
cannot arise from electrochemical events in the brains of animals like ourselves;
rather, it must be part of the very fabric of reality. But this simply isnt the position
of mainstream physics. It is true that, according to Copenhagen, quantum
mechanical systems do not behave classically until they are observed, and before
that they may seem to exist in many different states simultaneously. But what
counts as observation under the original Copenhagen view was never clearly
defined. The notion has been refined since, and it has nothing to do with
consciousness.

As neither Chopra, nor Harris, nor Krauss has much (any) experience dealing with the
philosophical foundations of physics, this is quite the misunderstanding indeed. To settle
matters, Schrdinger tells us, we must go far back. Through the course of mans slow
emergence on Mother Earth, both spiritual and scientific knowledge must continue to form a
counter-posed but nevertheless complimentary and inseparable idyllic pair of values to aid in our
understanding the natural world. This was roughly the worldview of Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung,
Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, Maxwell Planck, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrdinger, Niels
Bohr, and Werner Heisenberg among other visionaries of 20th century science, to shortly be
explored in yet greater detail.
It is the position of Cosmic Religion, a new sort of religion, so-designated by Albert Einstein:
God is a mystery. But a comprehensible mystery. I have nothing but awe when I observe
the laws of nature. There are not laws without a lawgiver, but how does this lawgiver
look? Certainly not like a man magnified.
As a mere biologist, New Atheist Richard Dawkins is certainly not qualified to speak so
authoritatively about the God of the physicist:
There is every reason to think that famous Einsteinisms like God is subtle but he is not
malicious or He does not play dice or Did God have a choice in creating the
Universe? are pantheistic, not deistic, and certainly not theistic. God does not play dice
should be translated as Randomness does not lie at the heart of all things. Did God
have a choice in creating the Universe means Could the universe have begun in any
other way? Einstein was using God in a purely metaphorical, poetic sense. So is
Stephen Hawking, and so are most of those physicists who occasionally slip into the
language of religious metaphor.
This liturgical, linguistic savvy simply amounts to a truism. Language is by definition
contextual; therefore, language by necessity ought be considered metaphor. (Remember,
Dawkins authored The Selfish Gene in 1976, wholeheartedly believing that Darwins deadly
blow On the Origin of Species, combined with Mendels genetics and the discovery of the
Crick-Watson structure of DNA, removed the need for God in biology. Chapter 3 of The Selfish
Gene, which Dawkins later remarked could equally well be termed The Cooperative Gene, is
entitled Immortal Coils.)


Compare this Dawkins pseudo-commentary to the words of Erwin Schrdinger, close personal
friend to Albert Einstein, writing in 1944 at the height of World War II about the physics of the
living organism in the conclusion and epilogue to his aptly-named What is Life?:
Please do not accuse me of calling the chromosome fibers just the cogs of the organic
machineat least not without a reference to the profound physical theories on which the
simile is basedIt needs still less rhetoric to recall the fundamental difference between
the two and to justify the epithets novel and unprecedented in the biological case
[Among] the most striking features arethe fact that the single cog is not of coarse
human make, but is the finest masterpiece ever achieved along the lines of the Lords
quantum mechanics.
is [this] not the closest a biologist can get to proving God and immortality at one
stroke[?]
If Einstein wanted to write Randomness does not lie at the heart of all things, as Dawkins so
effortlessly did, Einstein would have written so. But Einstein did not, instead consistently rephrasing his problem with Bohrs Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics:
As I have said so many times, God doesnt play dice with the world.
Indeed, individual failings can undermine neither the truths glimpsed by the sciences nor those
by religions. And again, this is not a statement that can be proven; rather, it is the pre-determined
belief system of a large majority of theoretical physicists and psychologists that has been largely
ignored by the prophets of New Atheism and the materialist domineers of academia. According
to particle physicist Fritjof Capras counterculture classic, The Tao of Physics:
Mystics understand the roots of the Tao but not its branches; scientists understand its
branches but not its roots. Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need
science; but man needs both.
Aldous Huxley, in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz, completed The Perennial Philosophy, a
study of comparative religion and mysticism, in 1945. Huxley tells us that
Rudiments of the Perennial Philosophy may be found among the traditionary lore of
primitive peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has a
place in every one of the higher religions. A version of this Highest Common Factor in
all preceding and subsequent theologies was first committed to writing more than twentyfive centuries ago, and since that time the inexhaustible theme has been treated again and
again, from the standpoint of every religious tradition and in all the principal languages
of Asia and Europe.
To understand Huxleys belief in inner divinity, we must first recognize that though Man may
become God, God may indeed still be dead. As Nietzsche phrased it in The Gay Science:

We have killed [God]. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?
What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death
under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean
ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is
not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods
simply to appear worthy of it?
Albert Einstein put the problem of Mans relation to God this way:
I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem
involved is too vast for our limited minds. May I not reply with a parable? The human
mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a
little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in
many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It
does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are
written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious
order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the
attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a
universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only
dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations.
I am fascinated by Spinozas Pantheism. I admire even more his contributions to modern
thought. Spinoza is the greatest of modern philosophers, because he is the first
philosopher who deals with the soul and the body as one, not as two separate things.
One mustnt therefore get too caught up on any single conception or definition of God. As Bohr
forewarned, we must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in
poetry. Head propagandist to the American Revolution, a deist, a scientist, and a Renaissance
man, Thomas Paine defined the goal of science thusly in The Age of Reason, the book that
ultimately turned the whole country against him for questioning and insulting the Christian faith:
That which is now called natural philosophy, embracing the whole circle of science, of
which astronomy occupies the chief place, is the study of the works of God, and of the
power and wisdom of God in his works, and is the true theology.
As to the theology that is now studied in its place, it is the study of human opinions and
of human fancies concerning God. It is not the study of God himself in the works that he
has made, but in the works or writings that man has made.
Nearly two centuries later, Schrdinger would express a deep and profound concern that the
naturalism of science had becoming increasingly synonymous with the materialism of atheism:
The scientific picture of the world around me is very deficient. It gives me a lot of factual
information, puts all our experiences in a magnificently consistent order, but is ghastly
silent about all that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell a


word about the sensation of red and blue. Bitter or sweet, feelings of delight and sorrow.
It knows nothing of beauty and ugly, good or 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 inclined to take them seriously.
Science is reticent too what it is a question of the great Unity of which we somehow form
a 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 have said
this is not astonishing. If its world picture does not even contain beauty, delight, sorrow,
if personality is cut out of it by agreement, how should it contain the most sublime idea
that presents itself to the human mind?
Quoting Schopenhauer from memory (himself quoting a poem from either the Vedanta or
the Bhagavadgita, which is inspired by the same spirit), Schrdinger elaborates:

The one all-highest Godhead
Subsiding in each being
And living when they perish
Who this has seen, is seeing.
For he who has that highest God in all things found,
That man will of himself upon himself inflict no wound.

Einstein, having too read Schopenhauer during his own youth, references The World as Will
and Representation in The World as I See It:

In human freedom in the philosophical sense I am definitely a disbeliever.
Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with
inner necessity. Schopenhauers saying, that a man can do as he will, but not will as
he will, has been an inspiration to me since my youth up, and a continual
consolation and unfailing well-spring of patience in the face of the hardships of life,
my own and others. This feeling mercilessly mitigates the sense of responsibility
which so easily becomes paralyzing, and it prevents us from taking ourselves and
other people too seriously; it conduces to a view of life in which humor, above all,
has its due place.

Einstein continues:

I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of
the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive
his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise;
such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the
mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality,
together with the single-hearted endeavor to comprehend a portion, be it never so
tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.


It is with regard to the juxtaposition of these two opposites (the eternity of life and an
individual who should survive his physical death) that one must consider Schrdingers
preference for the immortality of the soul, a belief largely derived from Schopenhauer,
Parmenides, and the Vedanta:

Briefly stated, [I advocate] the view that all of us living beings belong together in as
much as we are all in reality sides or aspects of one single being, which may perhaps
in Western terminology be called God while in the Upanishads its name is Brahman.

This is hardly a different view from that of Spinoza (also a profound intellectual influence
on Schrdinger), for [whom] the human body is a modification of the infinite substance
(God), in so far as it is expressed in the attribute of extension, and the human mind is that
same modification, but expressed in the attribute of thought.

Consider Einstein:

I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world,
not in a God who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.

Now, as Schrdinger sees it:

The structure of what I call my higher spiritual self is indeed essentially the direct
consequence of ancestral events, but not exclusively nor principally within the limits
of my physical ancestors. If what follows is to seem anything more than a bold piece
of rhetorical trickery, it is necessary to be clear on one point concerning the two
factors which determine an individuals course of development, namely (a) the
special arrangement of his genes, and (b) the special pattern of the environment
which works on him; it is necessary, I say, to realize that these two factors are of
quite the same nature, in that the special arrangement of the genes, with all the
possibilities of development which it contains, has developed under the influence of
and in essential dependence on earlier environments.

Therefore, it ought follow quite naturally that

The Self is not so much linked with what happened to its ancestors, it is not so much
the product, and merely the product, of all that, but rather, in the strictest sense of
the word, the SAME THING as all that: the strict, direct continuation of it, just as the
Self aged fifty is the continuation of the Self aged forty.

The logical and ultimate conclusion of this train of thought, as Schrdinger sees it, is
nothing less than immortality, since time is none other than a creation of the Self:

It is rather remarkable that whereas western philosophy has almost universally
accepted the idea that the death of the individual does not put an end to anything
that is of the essence of life, it has (with the exception of Plato and Schopenhauer)


bestowed hardly a thought on this other idea, much deeper and more intimately
joyful, which logically goes hand in hand with it: the idea that the same thing applies
to individual birth, at which what happens is not that I am created for the first time
but that I slowly awaken as though from a deep sleep. Then I can see my hopes and
strivings, my fears and cares as the same as those thousands who have lived before
me, and I may hope that future centuries may bring fulfillment to my yearnings of
centuries ago. No seed of thought can germinate in me except as the continuation of
some forebear; not really a new seed but the predetermined unfolding of a bud on
the ancient, sacred tree of life.

Only now can we truly envisage what was at stake in Einsteins qualm to Bohr about
whether God can be said to play dice with the universe. If quantum events are truly
random, then thoughts do and will in fact germinate without continuation, and the concept
of a predetermined unfolding of a bud on the ancient, sacred tree of life is therefore
rendered meaningless and antiquated. Schrdinger and Einstein both thought that
Copenhagen was nave with its interjection of quantum jumps and quantum
randomness, though neither man was ultimately able to present a more successful
theoretical model.
We are thus left asking: what do quantum physics, the New Atheists, the psychedelic movement,
and Indian poetry have in common?
Unfortunately for New Atheism, the process of answering this single question will significantly
undermine the worldview of academic materialism. But that is indeed for the collateral benefit of
the rest of us. As Lawrence Krauss embarrassingly botches epistemology and metaphysics in his
2012 book, A Universe From Nothing:
If the laws of nature are stochastic and random, then there is no prescribed cause for
our universeWhy is there something rather than nothing? Ultimately, this question may
be no more significant or profound than asking why flowers are red and some are blue.
Something may always come from nothing. It may be required, independent of the
underlying nature of reality.
This simply begs the question and says nothing useful. Required by whomus? If thats the
case, why should our collective pseudo-desire to inhabit some cosmos culminate in the existence
of such an astral plane? He blunders metaphysics in the epilogue even more embarrassingly:
A God or a Nature that could encompasses a multiverse would be as constrained in the
creation of a universe in which Einstein could ask the question as either would be if there
is only one choice of a consistent physical reality.
I find oddly satisfying the possibility that, in either scenario, even a seemingly
omnipotent God would have no freedom in the creation of our universe. No doubt
because it further suggests that God is unnecessaryor at best redundant.


Schrdinger, a staunch German Idealist, deemed this outlook sophistry:
Now we are asked to believe that this special modification in the evolution of the higher
mammals [the emergence of the brain as a highly specialized phenomenon] had to
happen in order that the world should dawn itself in the light of consciousness; whereas,
if it had not emerged, this world would have remained nothing but a drama played to an
empty house, not present to anyone and hence not in the real sense present at all.
If this is really the ultimate wisdom to which we can attain in this question, then to me it
seems the utter bankruptcy of our picture of the world. And we ought at least to
acknowledge it, and not act as though it did not matter to us, or jeer, in our rationalistic
wisdom, at those who try to find a way out, however desperate.
Other founders of the quantum theory would likely and largely agree that Krausss quantum
cosmological philosophy is a misuse of theoretical physics generally, the Big Bang model, or the
theory of the primeval atom specifically, and the atomic theory especially. Compare Maxwell
Planck, a self-confessed Christian:
I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.
We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we
regard as existing, postulates consciousness.
Niels Bohr, the principal author of Copenhagen, similarly held that
[Because of the] limited applicability of such customary idealizations [of the atomic
theory] we must in fact turn to quite other branches of science [] when trying to
harmonize our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence.
For Schrdinger, an atomic physicist and expert on statistical mechanics, the powerful theory of
heat and temperature derived from the works of the great Ludwig Boltzmann, the atomic
theory postulated a world of mere phantoms or archetypes, reminiscent of Platos Allegory of the
Cave and Theory of the Forms, both concepts referenced in Chapter 5 (and beyond), Science
and Religion, of Mind and Matter:
In the world of physics we watch a shadowgraph performance of familiar lifeThe frank
realization that physical science is concerned with a world of shadows is one of the most
significant of recent advances.
Further clarifying that the atomic theory had in fact possessed [its shadowy character] ever
since Democritus of Abdera and even before, but we were not aware of it, Schrdinger further
claims that
The material world has only been constructed at the price of taking the self, that is, mind,
out of it, removing it; mind is not part of it; obviously, therefore, it can neither act on it
nor be acted on by any of its parts.


For an atomic physicist, this leads to a counterintuitive and somewhat paradoxical conclusion:
The external world and consciousness are one and the same thing, in so far as both are
constituted by the same primitive elements. But we are then hardly even using a different
formula whether we express the essential community of these elements in all individuals
by saying that there is only one external world or that there is only one consciousness.
We have then forgotten who we are. The Dancing Wu Li Masters defines our conflict succinctly:
Physics has become a branch of psychology, or perhaps the other way round.
Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist, wrote:
The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it
happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided
and does not become conscious of his inner contradictions, the world must
perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposite halves.
Jungs friend, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Wolfgang Pauli, put it this way:
From an inner center the psyche seems to move outward, in the sense of an
extraversion, into the physical world
If these men are correct, then physics is the study of the structure of consciousness.
We must therefore again consider the Ethics of Einsteins favorite philosopher, Spinoza:
The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the body, but something of it
remains which is eternal.
Einsteins pseudo-religious qualms about the inadmissibility of quantum theory cannot be
logically separated from his statements about the infinite Mind of God, made in line with the
philosophy of Spinoza and the German Idealists to whom he likely subscribed:
Scientists such as Einstein and Poincare had insisted on the importance of intuition in
creative thinking. Logic alone cannot lead to the discovery of scientific theories, they
said.
Understood in light of the more recent speculation made by Sir Roger Penrose (itself inspired by
the earlier conjectures of Maxwell Planck and Erwin Schrdinger regarding the distinction
between mechanistic laworder from order and statistical laworder from disorder) that
human consciousness is a non-algorithmic or quantum process, this is a telling suggestion about
the nonlinear nature of the world indeed. Though drawing inspiration from his own intellectual
progenitor, Wolfgang Pauli observed the human mind in a yet older veil:


because [Johannes Kepler] looks at the sun and the planets with this archetypal image in
the background he believes with religious fervor in the helio-centric system [It is his
religious belief that impels] him to search for the true laws of planetary motion.
To Kepler, the Universe was a triumph of geometry, the discipline which to him ranked highest
among the sciences, the helio-centric model an embodiment of the very image of the Holy
Trinity. (Images of the wrathful Jewish God, the Christian Trinity, and the Indian Brahman will
be again relevant on a later date, also pertaining also to lessons of atomic physics.)
God himself, Kepler wrote in The Harmonies of The World (1618), has waited six thousand
years for his work to be seen, and
I am indeed casting the die and writing the book, either for my contemporaries or for
posterity to read, it matters not which: let the book await its reader for a hundred years.
As Schrdinger previously observed, no seed of thought can germinateexcept as the
continuation of some forebear. For Pauli, this forebear was Kepler. To further complicate these
matters of the spirit, Pauli and Heisenbergs shared doctoral advisor Arnold Sommerfeld
infamously agreed with Schrdingers assessment of the Bohr model: the strangeness of Bohrs
minimalistic approach to the mathematics of the atom, inserting quantum jumps and quantum
randomness, was oddly somewhat Kabbalistic (though few present-day theoreticians agree).
Two years before his death in 1961, Schrdinger would write in a letter:
With very few exceptions (such as Einstein and Laue) all the rest of the theoretical
physicists were unadulterated asses and I was the only sane person leftThe one great
dilemma that ails usday and night is the wave-particle dilemma.
He would go on:
If we are still going to put up with these damn quantum jumps, I am sorry that I ever had
anything to do with quantum theory.
And on:
I am opposing not a few special statements of quantum physics held today, I am opposing
as it were the whole of it, I am opposing its basic views that have been shaped 25 years
ago, when max Born put forward his probability interpretation, which was accepted by
almost everybody.
Jotting further notes from Keplers documents, the Jewish quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli,
undergoing intensive psychotherapy from analytical psychologist (and student of mysticism,
alchemy, and Gnosticism) Carl Jung as a means of dealing with his infidelity and alcoholism,
found himself enamored by Johannes Keplers Medieval Christian Platonism:


The Mind of God, whose copy is here [on earth] the human mind, from its archetype
retains the imprint of the geometrical data from the very beginnings of mankind.
Or again:
Reason is eternal. Therefore the geometrical figures are eternal; and in the Mind of God it
has been true from eternity that, for example, the square of the side of a square equals
half the square of the diagonal. Therefore, the quantities are the archetype of the world.
As Schrdinger envisaged so many years ago, we need steer far clear the bankrupts of modern
rationalism as well as the still-thinking silliness of faith and dogmatism, aiming instead for that
high ideal of eternal reason, the spiritual driving force behind modern mystic man:
May we call a world that nobody contemplates even that? [] A world existing for many
millions of years without any mind being aware of it, contemplating it, is it anything at
all? Has it existed?
We are thus rightly cautioned:
[Faith] is all too ready to open to any silly nonsense that comes knocking gently at the
door. Indeed, miracle is faiths dearest child. And the more fine, subtle, abstract and
sublime that faith may be, so much the more fearfully does mans weak, fainting spirit
snatch at miracles, however foolish, to be its stay and support.
de Broglie concurred, though with a somewhat different tone:
If we wish to give philosophic expression to the profound connection between thought
and action in all fields of human endeavor, particularly in science, we shall undoubtedly
have to seek its sources in the unfathomable depths of the human soul. Perhaps
philosophers might call it love in a very general sensethat force which directs all our
actions, which is the source of all our delights and all our pursuits. Indissolubly linked
with thought and with action, love is their common mainspring and, hence, their common
bond. The engineers of the future have an essential part to play in cementing this bond.
Having earlier linked the survival of living matter with the process of metabolism, that chaosreducing capability of consciousness, Schrdinger would likely have found great inspiration in
the words of Teilhard de Chardin, philosopher, evolutionist, and Jesuit priest, writing in 1934:
What paralyzes life is lack of faith and lack of audacity. The difficulty lies not in solving
problems but expressing themSomeday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves,
the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then for the second
time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.
A mere 11 years later in July 1945, Dr. Julius Robert Oppenheimer would oversee the successful
creation of atomic weaponry at Los Alamos, deployed first at a test site he code-named Trinity.


In the aftermath of this subatomic fire first known only from the stars, Oppenheimer recounted
how his own faith was rewarded:
We knew the world would not be the same [after Trinity]. A few people laughed, a few
people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture,
the Bhagavad-Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty
and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, Now I am become Death,
the destroyer of worlds. I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.
And what of the destruction? As the Gita assures its readers, those who are wise lament neither
for the living nor for the dead. Schrdinger himself renders the issue of death thusly, having
previously assumed the inadvisability of locating a mans thoughts and ideas in his head:
Materialism offers neither [ethical content nor deep religious consolation]; though there
are many people who convince themselves that the idea which astronomy give us of
myriads of suns with, perhaps, inhabitable planets, and of a multitude of galaxies, each
with myriads of such suns, and ultimately of a probably finite universe, affords us a sort
of ethical and religiously consoling vision, mediated to our senses by the indescribable
panorama of the starry heavens on a clear night. To me personally, all that is maya
[illusion, a term from Buddhism and Vedanta], albeit maya in a very interesting form,
exhibiting laws of great regularity. It has little to do with my eternal [genetic] inheritance
(to express myself in a thoroughly medieval fashion). But that is a matter of taste.
Further clarifying this Indian mysticism, Schrdinger ends What is Life? with two metaphors:
In a dream we do perform several characters at the same but, but not indiscriminately: we
are one of them; in him, we act and speak directly, while we often eagerly await the
answer or response of another person, unaware of the fact that it is we who control his
movements and his speech just as much as our own
Even if a skilled hypnotist succeeded in blotting our entirely all your earlier
reminiscences, you would not find that he had killed you. In no case is there a loss of
personal existence to deplore. Nor will there ever be.
In a note to the epilogue, Schrdinger, a poet in his youth, comments:
The point of view taken here levels with what Aldous Huxley has recentlyand very
appropriatelycalled the The Perennial Philosophy. His beautiful book is singularly fit
to explain not only the state of affairs, but also why it is so difficult to grasp and so likely
to meet with opposition.
Reviewing The Perennial Philosophy, The New York Times characterized Aldous Huxleys
magnum opus as the most needed book in the worlda masterpiece.