Saturday, 31 March 2012

What we call reality is only a state of mind?

Bernard d'Espagnat a French theoretical physicist best known for his work on the nature of reality wrote a paper titled The Quantum Theory and Reality according to the paper: 

"The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment." 

The observations are in agreement with quantum predictions but there are some correlations in nature and we need to explain why and how such correlations arise in nature. More over these correlations have violated Bell's inequality and there by in violation of local realistic theories. So normally in Science if we find some unusual observed phenomena and confirm such a phenomena by repeated experiments we deduce that something might be wrong with our assumptions and we go back to the drawing room to discuss which assumptions are more likely to turned out to be false.

Bernard d'Espagnat, a French theoretical physicist, a winner of Templeton prize for his works in Quantum Physics wrote an article called the "Quantum theory and Reality" where he addresses these issues and his arguments are very much in line or in tone with my arguments. I didn't knew about his article, I read it just few days back.

Here is his excellent article on Scientfic American. Please care to read and hear it from himself and in particular page 20 where he discusses about the positivism approach of science.

Anyone with a few knowledge of the scientific method and quantum physics or a layman can easily see that there is something seriously wrong with the positivist approach of science.

As Bernard says that the violation of Bell's Inequality implies that one of the three basic assumptions of science must be wrong.

1. The Three premises of Scientific Realism.
2. The free use of Induction.
3. Einstein separability.

Scientific Realism is the belief that the objects described by physics exist independently of the mind of the Observer or exists in the external physical world. The accepted consensus by the scientific community is to reject realism and retreat towards positivism and hence physicists do not assert that the external physical world do not exist instead they say that any attempt to understand the physical nature of the quantum system must be rejected as meaningless since it is highly metaphysical.

According to this positivist approach science cannot give an objective account of reality and the aim of science is just to make predictions about the possible values of the quantum system and we shouldn't demand an explanation as to why and how such a correlation arises in nature. If science has to explain how entanglement works then it is inevitable that it has to penetrate into the objective account of the quantum system but the positivist approach of science cannot penetrate into such a system.

This is not a problem of nature this is more of a problem of the scientific method and its basic assumptions.

Therefore I am asserting that the assumption of Scientific realism and its epistemology is false, physical objects don't exist in the outside world.

In an article in the Guardian titled Quantum weirdness: What we call 'reality' is just a state of mind .

d'Espagnat wrote that:

"What quantum mechanics tells us, I believe, is surprising to say the least. It tells us that the basic components of objects – the particles, electrons, quarks etc. – cannot be thought of as "self-existent". He further writes that his research in quantum physics has lead him to conclude that an "ultimate reality" exists, which is not embedded in space or time."

The Good news is that we already have methods in other eastern schools of philosophical thought which can investigate that ultimate reality which is not embedded in space and time and these methods help us to perceive nature in a different state of mind, this opens up new observation and new ways of epistemology and this gives us an objective account of reality. We can know the noumenon, the things in itself and not as they appear to us.

Who is our True God and What is our True Religion?

'V' refers to Valentinians and 'B' refers to Brahmans.


The Godhead manifests itself through a process of self-unfolding in the subsequent multiplicity of being while maintaining its unity. He is the unknown true God or the Father.


"The Purusha there and there, He am I." It is He who has become all things and beings. The Inhabitant of all forms. The Lord, the Purusha who both contains and inhabits the universe. He is called as Isha or Savitru.


Valentinians believed that God is androgynous and frequently depicted him as a male-female dyad. This is related to the notion that God provides the universe with both form and substance. The feminine aspect of the deity is called Silence, Grace and Thought. She is also the active creative Thought that makes all subsequent states of being (or "Aeons") substantial. The masculine aspect of God is Depth, also called Ineffable and First Father.He is essentially passive, yet when moved to action by his feminine Thought, he gives the universe form.


Samkhya recognizes two ultimate entities, Prakriti and Purusha. While the Prakriti is a single entity, the Samkhya admits a plurality of the Purushas in this world.

The male aspect is the Purusha and the female aspect is the Prakriti. It shouldn't be taken literally as male and female, it only means they are forms and substance.


The origin of the universe is described as a process of emanation from the Godhead. The male and female aspects of the Father, acting in conjunction, manifested themselves in the Son. The Son is also often depicted by Valentinians as a male-female dyad. The Son manifests himself in twenty-six spiritual entities or Aeons arranged into male-female pairs. The arrangement and names of the Aeons will not be discussed here. They represent the energies immanent within Son and were seen as part of his personality. Together they constitute the Fullness (pleroma) of the Godhead.


Even in Samkhya it is stated that Prakriti and Purusha transformed into twenty four constituents.

The Godhead of the Vedas can be worshiped in two ways i.e the Samshti swaroopa and vishruta swaroopa. In vishruta swaroopa they worship his individual sons (or Aeons) or part of his divine luster. In samashti swaroopa they worship his full pleroma or the complete fullness of Godhead including all his sons.


Sophia sows the spiritual seed in all who hear the message. In some people the seed "falls on the path" and they do not respond at all. Such people are carnal by nature. In others the seed is choked by the thorns which are worldly concerns. They are hesitant and are unable to go beyond the level of rational explanations. Such people are dominated by their rational element or soul. In others, the seed was planted "in good earth" and they bear spiritual fruit. Such people are Gnostic or spiritual Christians.


Even here they say that the seed to become "Sarvajnya" exists in all and everyone can achieve omniscience.


Such a person is "in the world but not of it." They have already attained a spiritual existence such that, for them, the world has become the Fullness.


Such persons are jivanmuktas, they are completely free and they are no longer bound to the forces of prakriti, they can leave their body whenever they want or they can live here for 100 years if it is required or even can reborn again by entering into a mother's womb without any fear of losing their spiritual knowledge once again.


They believed that it was possible to lead a sinless existence through perfect knowledge (gnosis) of God's will. Sin was seen as an expression of ignorance. As it says in the Gospel of Philip, "The one who has knowledge is a free person. But the free person does not sin, for the one who sins is a slave of sin ".


Ditto, same here. Only perfect knowledge & sympathy can give perfect help and these are impossible without oneness. He is equal in soul to honor & dishonor, respect & insult, because both come from himself to himself & not from another. Success & failure are equal to him, since he knows that both are equally necessary for the fulfillment of the divine intention. He will no more quarrel with them than with the cold of winter or the breath of the storm-blast. Neither will events bring to him grief or disappointment, fear or disgust with things, because he follows that divine will & purpose in himself & in others. He shrinks from no actions which the divine purpose demands or the divine impulse commands. He has no wish to kill, but he will not shrink from slaying when it is demanded.To men who are not free a conventional morality is an absolute necessity, for there must be a fixed standard to which they can appeal.


Valentinians never rejected marriage and raising children. According to the Alexandrian teacher Theodotus, marriage was necessary so that those with the spiritual seed might be born.


Same here. All this is for habitation by the Lord, whatsoever is individual universe of movement in the universal motion. By that renounced thou shouldst enjoy; lust not after any man's possession.

Doing verily works in this world one should wish to live a hundred years. Thus it is in thee and not otherwise than this; action cleaves not to a man.(This is how the Isha upanishad starts by stating the above.)

They both have a different transpersonal psychology and they both don't believe in scientific realism and assert that the material world is only a state of mind.

The Gnostics took most of their ideas from the Neoplatonists and Plato. Neoplatonism and Gnosticism

It is worth noting that Valentinianism shows an astonishing degree of similarity to another monistic system, the Advaita Vedanta school of Indian philosophy. In Advaita, the material world is an illusion (maya) attributed to ignorance (avidya) of the true reality. Through knowledge (jnana) of the ultimate reality (brahman), the world of multiplicity vanishes. True redemption (moksha) is the knowledge of one's true nature.

This raises the intriguing possibility of some kind of connection between the two. There was some awareness of Indian thought in the ancient Roman world. However, at the time of Valentinus, there was no systematic statement of Advaita thought. It is possible that Valentinus came into contact with some form of early Advaita Vedanta teaching. Advaita philosophy as it now stands was given its definitive form by Shankara in the 6th or 7th century AD. There also exists the possibility that he was influenced by Valentinian thought. Valentinians are known to have been active in the Middle East as late as the seventh century. It is possible that Valentinian missionaries or refugees may have made their way to India and come into contact with Shankara or his immediate predecessors. However, any connection between the two remains purely hypothetical. 

If mythology is strictly introduced and its importance is taken seriously then we cannot make a reconciliation between these two monistic systems and the Clement of Alexandria was right in distinguishing and separating Gnosticism from Brahmans and Sharamanas without making any connection it to Gnosticism.

But the similarities and commonalities are so compelling that it seems that in terms of transpersonal psychology and of the anthropomorphic Gods they are talking about the same thing.

It is inaccurate to think that the view espoused by Valentinians is similar to the view of Advaita by Shankara infact the view of the Valentinians go back to the view of the world as it existed when the Isha Upanishad was revealed and formulated, its the most ancient view of the world. Not a view which was formulated by Shankara in th 7th century, this view predates way before him.

What is interesting is that the secret teachings of Jesus are similar to the ancient monistic systems by which we can speculatively say that there exists a true supreme Godhead with his own numinous world.

Buddhism, Jainism, sikhism are divergent forms of this ancient monistic system and they all can be reduced into it. Now it appears that even the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions of the middle east can be reduced to this monistic religion.

The other deities like Ahura Mazda of Zoroastrianism, Egyptian Gods, and other Gods can be thought of as Gods of the other worlds who might not be aware of their origins from the supreme true Godhead due to ignorance.

This is purely hypothetical and related to comparative religion and leads to paganism.