Has any religious doctrine ever supplanted a scientific discovery? I used to answer that question with an emphatic no, but I may have been wrong about that. It is highly likely that Newtonian physics was supplanted by the Upanishads—the ideas from Hindu philosophy called quantum mechanics.
What’s different about the Upanishad -vs- say, Christianity, is the Upanishad can be made into math by the most skilled of all scientific minds. It can be tested, and it can be fit into what we know about the nature of duality, consciousness, mind, and matter.
Is it mere coincidence that physics can be so mystical in similarity, that uncertainty is certain, and that through observation we find that waves become particles (matter) and that the “real world” is illusory (not what it appears to be) upon our observation of them?
“The Upanishads describe how reality arises out of consciousness. But consciousness cannot be found inside our bodies as a substance or an organ.” That trying to see the Self (Brahman) with the same electrons and photons as It, the projector only records interference because me are mixing waves of the same substance. What is sought is the seeker—the seeker is the sought.
“Since we haven’t been able to locate or explain this interaction, we’re left with a deceptively simple choice: either consciousness or reality doesn’t exist”—Erwin Schrödinger
But I despise the two choice debate. And as we see psychologically, consciously, physiologically, and every where in between, that consciousness is reality. There is no such thing as experiencing a non-experience. It’s all one thing. Everything is waves—some long and some short. Some last a lifetime while others millennia, but nothing is permanent —so no thing is real but one thing.
Realizing this has boosted physics out of the arena and into space.
On the other hand, the Upanishads uphold an idealist view – that consciousness exists by itself, and that the physical world depends on it. There is no objective reality that exists independently of the observer. Schrödinger supported this view and lamented the aversion for it: “it must be said that to Western thought this doctrine has little appeal, it is unpalatable, it is dubbed fantastic, unscientific. Well, so it is because our science – Greek science – is based on objectivation, whereby it has cut itself off from an adequate understanding of the subject of cognisance, of the mind”
Curious to know what other physicists of the era were influenced by the upanishads?
Werner Heisenberg, Carl Sagan, Robert Oppenheimer, Erwin Schrödinger, Niels Bohr, Nikola Tesla…
The golden age of physics and invention had a common thread that is wont to ignore (customary). The Upanishads and Indian philosophies date back about 5000, years. Their rebirth was witnessed at the turn of the 20th century.
“I do believe that this is precisely the point where our present way of thinking does need to be amended, perhaps by a bit of blood-transfusion from Eastern thought”—Erwin Schrödinger