Heisenberg, Quantum Physics and Indian Philosophy

न्यूटनने (Newton) मांडलेल्या आधुनिक वैज्ञानिक तत्त्वज्ञानाची चौकट आईनष्टाईनच्या सापेक्षतावादाच्या उपपत्तीने (Theory of Relativity) मोडून टाकली. न्यूटनचे जडवादी, द्वैतवादी (ऊर्जा आणि द्रव्य ह्यांचे शाश्वत संधारण – conservation of energy and mass अशा) विचारांवर आधारित असणारे सर्व मूलभूत सिद्धान्त सापेक्षवादामुळे कोलमडून पडले आणि आईनष्टाईनने पूर्णतः आगळ्यावेगळ्या प्रकारच्या, सामान्य माणसांना अशक्य आणि काल्पनिक वाटेल अशा वैज्ञानिक तत्त्वज्ञानाचा पाया घातला. आणि त्यावरच पुढील (श्रॉडिन्जर, बोहर, हायझेनबर्ग इत्यादी) श्रेष्ठ पदार्थवैज्ञानिकांनी पुंजकणवादाची उपपत्ती (Quantum Theory) अधिकाधिक विकसित केली. ही उपपत्ती भारतीय तत्त्वज्ञानाच्या अद्वैत तत्त्वज्ञानाच्या (सर्वं खलु इदं ब्रह्म) आणि विश्वाच्या पूर्णत्वाच्या सिद्धान्ताच्या (पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं…) अगदी जवळ जाते.

वर्नर हायझेनबर्ग हा नोबेल पारितोषिक मिळालेला (Nobel Laureate) आधुनिक विज्ञानशास्त्राचा अध्वर्यु. त्याने भारतीय आध्यात्मिक तत्त्वज्ञानाचा नीट अभ्यास केलेला होता. (पहा – He had been well aware of the parallels between quantum physics and Eastern thought, but also that his own scientific work had been influenced, at least at the subconscious level, by Indian philosophy.) म्हणूनच त्याने त्या लेखात सांगितल्याप्रमाणे विधान केले. तो पुढे असेही म्हणाला, “Some of the ideas that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense. That was a great help for me.”

म्हणजे इथे तो असे सुचवतो की “आम्ही अनेक प्रयोग करून शेवटी जे निष्कर्ष काढतो तेच सिद्धान्त प्राचीन भारतीय तत्त्वज्ञ ऋषींनी आत्मज्ञानाच्या पातळीवर जाणून घेऊन हजारो वर्षांपूर्वी लोकांत मांडलेले आहेत. आमचे निष्कर्ष प्रथम आम्हालाच विचित्र, अविश्वसनीय, शंकास्पद आणि भांबावून टाकणारे वाटले तरी प्राचीन भारतीय ऋषींनी ते सिद्धान्त आधीच ठामपणे मांडलेले आहेत, हे पाहून माझ्या मनाला दिलासा मिळाला आणि मन शांत झाले.”

भारतीय विद्वानांनी प्राचीन काळी विविध ज्ञानक्षेत्रांत फार मोठे काम करून ठेवलेले आहे. परंतु दुर्दैवाने गेल्या काही-शे वर्षांत त्याचा अभ्यास करून त्यात नवीन भर घालणे तर सोडाच, उलट आपल्या प्राचीन ज्ञानपरंपरेची हेटाळणी करण्याची फॅशन आजच्या पाश्चात्यशरण भारतीय विचारवंतांमध्ये पडलेली आहे. अशा परिस्थितीत आपल्या प्राचीन ऋषींनी अंतःप्रज्ञेने, अंतःस्फूर्तीने सांगितलेले तत्त्वज्ञान आजही भारतातील मेकॉलेवादी आधुनिक विज्ञाननिष्ठ बुद्धिप्रामाण्यवाद्यांच्या टिंगलीचा विषय असला तरी त्याच तत्त्वज्ञानाच्या दिशेने आज आधुनिक विज्ञानाचा वैचारिक प्रवास चाललेला आहे, ही आपल्यासारख्या प्राचीन भारतीय तत्त्वज्ञानाच्या अभ्यासकांना आश्वस्त करणारी, संतुष्ट करणारी आणि त्याच्या अधिकाधिक अभ्यासाला प्रोत्साहन देणारी बाब नव्हे काय?

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पुढे प्रकाशित केलेल्या फ्रिट्‌जॉफ काप्रा (Fritjof Capra) ह्यांच्या लेखातील काही महत्त्वाचा भाग प्रथम वाचा.

When I asked Heisenberg about his own thoughts on Eastern philosophy, he told me to my great surprise not only that he had been well aware of the parallels between quantum physics and Eastern thought, but also that his own scientific work had been influenced, at least at the subconscious level, by Indian philosophy.

In 1929 Heisenberg spent some time in India as the guest of the celebrated Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, with whom he had long conversations about science and Indian philosophy. This introduction to Indian thought brought Heisenberg great comfort, he told me. He began to see that the recognition of relativity, interconnectedness, and impermanence as fundamental aspects of physical reality, which had been so difficult for himself and his fellow physicists, was the very basis of the Indian spiritual traditions. “After these conversations with Tagore,” he said, “some of the ideas that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense. That was a great help for me.”

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फ्रिट्‍जॉफ काप्रा ह्यांच्या मूळ लेखातील काही अंश खाली प्रस्तुत केला आहे.

Conversations with remarkable people

by Fritjof Capra

From Uncommon Wisdom: pp. 17­21, 40­43, 48­63, 65­70

Howling with the Wolves

Werner Heisenberg

At the end of 1926, physicists had a complete and logically consistent mathematical formalism, but they did not always know how to interpret it to describe a given experimental situation. During the following months Heisenberg, Bohr, Schrodinger, and others gradually clarified the situation in intensive, exhaustive, and often highly emotional discussions. In Physics And Philosophy Heisenberg described this crucial period in the history of quantum theory most vividly:

An intensive study of all questions concerning the interpretation of quantum theory in Copenhagen finally led to a complete . . . clarification of the situation. But it was not a solution which one could easily accept. I remember discussions with Bohr which went through many hours till very late at night and ended almost in despair; and when at the end of the discussion I went alone for a walk in the neighboring park I repeated to myself again and again the question: Can nature possibly be so absurd as it seemed to us in these atomic experiments?

Heisenberg recognized that the formalism of quantum theory cannot be interpreted in terms of our intuitive notions of space and time or of cause and effect; at the same time he realized that all our concepts are linked to these intuitive notions. He concluded that there was no other way out than to retain the classical intuitive concepts but to restrict their applicability. Heisenberg’s great achievement was to express these limitations of classical concepts in a precise mathematical form which now bears his name and is known as the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. It consists of a set of mathematical relations that determine the extent to which classical concepts can be applied to atomic phenomena and thus stake out the limits of human imagination in the subatomic world.

The uncertainty principle measures the extent to which the scientist influences the properties of the observed objects through the process of measurement. In atomic physics scientists can no longer play the role of detached, objective observers; they are involved in the world they observe, and Heisenberg’s principle measures this involvement. At the most fundamental level the uncertainty principle is a measure of the unity and interrelatedness of the universe. In the 192Os physicists, led by Heisenberg and Bohr, came to realize that the world is not a collection of separate objects but rather appears as a web of relations between the various parts of a unified whole. our classical notions, derived from our ordinary experience, are not fully adequate to describe this world. Werner Heisenberg, like no one else, has explored the limits of human imagination, the limits to which our conventional concepts can be stretched, and the extent to which we must become involved in the world we observe. His greatness was that he not only recognized these limitations and their profound philosophical implications but was able to specify them with mathematical clarity and precision.

At the age of nineteen, I did not by any means understand all of Heisenberg’s book. In fact, most of it remained a mystery to me at this first reading, but it sparked a fascination with that epochal period of science that has never left me since. For the time being, however, a more thorough study of the paradoxes of quantum physics and their resolution had to wait while, for several years, I received a thorough education in physics; first in classical physics, and then in quantum mechanics, relativity theory, and quantum field theory. Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy remained my companion during these studies and, looking back on this time, I now can see that it was Heisenberg who planted the seed that would mature, more than a decade later, in my systematic investigation of the limitations of the Cartesian world view. “The Cartesian partition,” wrote Heisenberg, “has penetrated deeply into the human mind during the three centuries following Descartes, and it will take a long time for it to be replaced by a really different attitude toward the problem of reality.” . . .

………

This led me to discuss the broader philosophical framework underlying quantum physics and in particular its relation to that of Eastern mystical traditions. Heisenberg told me that he had repeatedly thought that the great contributions of Japanese physicists during recent decades might be owing to a basic similarity between the philosophical traditions of the East and the philosophy of quantum physics. I remarked that the discussions I had had with Japanese colleagues had not shown me that they were aware of this connection, and Heisenberg agreed: “Japanese physicists have a real taboo against speaking about their own culture, so much have they been influenced by the United States.” Heisenberg believed that Indian physicists were somewhat more open in this respect, which had also been my experience.

When I asked Heisenberg about his own thoughts on Eastern philosophy, he told me to my great surprise not only that he had been well aware of the parallels between quantum physics and Eastern thought, but also that his own scientific work had been influenced, at least at the subconscious level, by Indian philosophy.

In 1929 Heisenberg spent some time in India as the guest of the celebrated Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, with whom he had long conversations about science and Indian philosophy. This introduction to Indian thought brought Heisenberg great comfort, he told me. He began to see that the recognition of relativity, interconnectedness, and impermanence as fundamental aspects of physical reality, which had been so difficult for himself and his fellow physicists, was the very basis of the Indian spiritual traditions. “After these conversations with Tagore,” he said, “some of the ideas that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense. That was a great help for me.”

At this point I could not help but pour out my heart to Heisenberg. I told him that I had come across the parallels between physics and mysticism several years ago, had begun to study them systematically, and was convinced that this was an important line of research. However, I could not find any financial support from the scientific community and found working without such support extremely difficult and draining. Heisenberg smiled: “I, too, am always accused of getting too much into philosophy.” When I pointed out that our situations were rather different, he continued his warm smile and said: “You know, you and I are physicists of a different kind. But every now and then we just have to howl with the wolves.” [a German equivalent of to run with the pack] These extremely kind words of Werner Heisenberg-“You and I are physicists of a different kind”-helped me, perhaps more than anything else, to keep my faith during the difficult times.

At my second visit, Heisenberg received me as if we had known each other for years, and again we spent over two hours in animated conversation. our discussion of current developments in physics this time was concerned mostly with the “bootstrap” approach to particle physics in which I had become interested in the meantime and about which I was very curious to hear Heisenberg’s opinion.

The other purpose of my visit, of course, was to find out what Heisenberg thought about The Tao of Physics. I showed the manuscript to him chapter by chapter, briefly summarizing the content of each chapter and emphasizing especially the topics related to his own work. Heisenberg was most interested in the entire manuscript and very open to hearing my ideas. I told him that I saw two basic themes running through all the theories of modern physics, which were also the two basic themes of all mystical traditions-the fundamental interrelatedness and interdependence of all phenomena and the intrinsically dynamic nature of reality. Heisenberg agreed with me as far as physics was concerned and he also told me that he was well aware of the emphasis on interconnectedness in Eastern thought. However, he had been unaware of the dynamic aspect of the Eastern world view and was intrigued when I showed him with numerous examples from my manuscript that the principal Sanskrit terms used in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy-brahman, rta, lila, karma, samsara, etc.-had dynamic connotations. At the end of my rather long presentation of the manuscript Heisenberg said simply: “Basically, I am in complete agreement with you.”

As after our first meeting, I left Heisenberg’s office in extremely high spirits. Now that this great sage of modern science had shown so much interest in my work and was so much in agreement with my results I was not afraid to take on the rest of the world. I sent Heisenberg one of the first copies of The Tao of Physics when it came out in November 1975, and he wrote to me right away that he was reading it and would write to me again once he had read more. This letter was to be our last communication. Werner Heisenberg died a few weeks later, on my birthday, while I was sitting on the sunny deck of my apartment in Berkeley consulting the I Ching. I shall always be grateful to him for writing the book that was the starting point of my search for the new paradigm and has given me continuing fascination with this subject, and for his personal support and inspiration. . . .

◊ ◊ ◊

संपूर्ण लेख खालील दुव्यावर उपलब्ध आहे.

Conversations with remarkable people (by Fritjof Capra)

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Tags: Adaita Philosophy, अद्वैत तत्त्वज्ञान, उपपत्ति, उपपत्ती, पदार्थविज्ञान, पुंजकणवाद, पुंजवाद, भारतीय ज्ञानपरंपरा, भारतीय ज्ञानप्रणाली, भारतीय दर्शन, भारतीय दर्शनशास्त्र, भारतीय संस्कृती, भौतिकशास्त्र, वेद, संस्कृत, Heritage, Indian Culture, Indian Knowledge System, Indian Philosophy, Sanskrit, Vedas, Vedic Knowledge

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