Monday, November 5, 2018

Thought Experiments

One of the greatest scientific minds was Albert Einstein. He did not have a laboratory, a physical place in which to conduct experiments. However, he did have the greatest laboratory of all, his mind. His method was creating "Thought Experiments." He would set up the thought experiment and then contemplate on it until he could come to a precises logical conclusion. The results of his thought experiments have proven to be true in many cases. We need not go into all the real world applications his thought experiments made possible. The point here is how valid thought experiments are.

Since Einstein didn't have a lab, he read scientific papers, contemplated the various implications, and created thought experiments to explain and reveal the results. Without a physical lab, he used thought experiments to develop theories and conclusions far beyond what physical science could prove at that time.

A thought experiment considers some question or hypothesis, and then through contemplation using the mind alone, proceeds to arrive at the most probable conclusion, proving or disproving the hypothesis. It is a an intentional, structured process designed to reach potential conclusions.

So, what is the point of this in a blog about non dual reality? I would like to point out that thousands of years ago, the rishis of India conducted thought experiments just as Einstein did. The difference was that their thought experiments were not directed outward toward the physical world, but inward, towards the subjective world. The method is exactly the same. Advaita Vedanta calls their method a "word mirror" that reflects the true Self.

It's been in vogue for Western science to negate the subjective discoveries of the East as non-objective and unscientific. However, if we consider the contribution to Western science provided by Einstein's thought experiments, perhaps Western science might see that some humility is in order. The subjective science of the rishis is on just as solid ground as so called "objective science."

The greatest piece of laboratory equipment in any lab is the human mind. Whereas the physical lab has a variety of equipment to measure and quantify, thought experiments typically do not. However, in recent times, the ability to measure thought waves is bringing some measuring capability to the effects of meditation on the brain and body of meditators.

It seems to me that the hard problem of consciousness will be resolved as further developments in quantum physics begin to concur with the ancient rishis who discovered that consciousness is primary. It will only be a matter of time. There is only one reality and it is a coherence. I suggest that in the end that coherence will be that consciousness is fundamental, that the physical world is nothing but an appearance in it. 

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