How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

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Kenneth Chan
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:43 pm

boda wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:
Wooden puppets are not conscious, while sentient beings are. Also, there is no evidence that mind is derived purely from matter, so sentient beings are not entirely "composed of the very same matter which is being observed."

Is there a source for your claim that there's no evidence that mind is derived purely from matter?

I believe there is evidence. The contents of our minds are derived from sense data (stimuli via the nervous system), or sensed physical matter. A mind cannot develop without sense data, and a developed mind cut off from sense data, regardless of the initial response to sensory depravation, will rapidly degenerate in continued depravation.

We simply don't know things that are not derived from the physical world around us. Further, we only know a fraction of what goes on around us, due to the limitations of our physical form. Even if we developed new sense organs or enhanced the physical sense organs that we have, our physical minds don't possess the structure to process the new sense data. In other words, our minds are limited by the physical structure of our form.

This issue is covered in my paper in Section 5.4 (http://kenneth-chan.com/physics/direct- ... cs/#Direct). Allow me to reproduce it here for you. Perhaps you can read it first and, after that, we can discuss any further issues you may have concerning this.

5.4 The Case Against Materialism

The case against pure materialism, and against the claim that consciousness must be derived from matter, is actually very strong. In the first place, there is no actual scientific evidence that consciousness arises from matter. All we have is evidence that the content of consciousness is linked in some way to the functioning of the physical brain, but that hardly amounts to concrete scientific evidence that the material brain must be the source of consciousness. A link between two things does not necessarily imply that one created the other.

Such a rash conclusion would perhaps be akin to the thinking of a primitive man should he stumble upon a modern television set. This primitive man, who has never encountered a television set before, notices that the picture on the monitor is linked to the control panel on the television. When he fiddles with this control panel, the picture on the screen changes, in the same way that we notice our consciousness being affected by any change or damage to our physical brain. However, if we then insist that this is proof that consciousness must be derived from the physical brain, that would be akin to the primitive man insisting that the picture on the monitor must be derived from the physical parts of the control panel itself. That would be totally illogical and unscientific. That is why we actually have no concrete scientific evidence that consciousness is derived from matter.

The very insistence that consciousness is derived from matter is, in fact, a curiosity in itself. This is because we have no conceivable idea how such a thing can be possible. In most cases of scientific ignorance concerning the cause of a phenomenon, what we do not know is which one of a whole range of possible causes is the correct one. This is definitely not the case with regards to how consciousness may be derived from matter. Here, we do not know of even a single mechanism how consciousness can possibly arise from matter! That is why philosopher David Chalmers calls this problem the “hard problem.” This fact alone makes it curious why so many scientists dogmatically insist that consciousness must, somehow or other, be derived from matter!

Now we have yet another strong reason to doubt this dogmatic claim that consciousness must be derived from matter, and that comes from the very formulation of quantum mechanics. Right from the onset we can see that quantum mechanics pivots around the observer. The formulation provides rules for what the conscious observer finds and not rules for the behaviour of matter directly.

A direct experiential interpretation of quantum mechanics, without ad hoc additions, inserted by hand, tells us that, in fact, particles are dependently originated. Crucially, this dependent arising of the object requires the act of measurement or observation by the conscious observer. Using Heisenberg’s terminology, we can say that physical particles only make the transition from the ‘possible’ to the ‘actual’ upon the act of measurement by the observer. How then can the reverse also be possible? In other words, how then can physical particles also be considered to be the cause of the mind of the observer? It would be like claiming that we can lift ourselves up from the ground by pulling on our own bootstraps. This is the fundamental incompatibility, and it needs to be recognized.

In other words, mind and consciousness cannot be derived purely from matter. It is quantum mechanics that tells us that this is impossible, since there is no inherently existing elementary particle that is not dependently arisen. And given that one of the factors required for its dependent arising as an actual particle is the mind that apprehends it, how can this entity, or collection of such entities, be what the mind is purely derived from, in the first place? That would be totally illogical.

It is the denial of this fact that consciousness cannot be purely derived from matter—a fact that is inherent in the very formulation of quantum mechanics—that has led to all sorts of ad hoc additions, inserted by hand, in order to try to make the original formulation somehow fit into some hypothetical scheme that negates the observer. The large number of repeated attempts at reaching a logically consistent interpretation of quantum mechanics, through ad hoc additions—like infinite parallel universes, hidden variables, spontaneous wave function collapses, collapses due to consistent histories, and so on—are essentially attempts at salvaging the idea of materialism. The fact that all these attempts have still not succeeded, after more than a century of persistent attempts at getting rid of the observer, is very telling!

Should physicists continue with this endeavour to remove the observer from quantum mechanics? Apart from not adopting the principle of Occam’s razor, there is, of course, no problem with trying, if one so wishes. Still, it is perhaps time to recognize that such attempts may be futile. This is because the very formulation of quantum mechanics revolves around the observer.

As mentioned, quantum mechanics does not directly provide rules for the behaviour of particles per se. Quantum mechanics, instead, only provides rules for the results of measurements by the observer. So all these persistent attempts at trying to get rid of the conscious observer, from quantum mechanics, may be destined to fail, simply because the observer is an intrinsic part of the quantum mechanics formulation. There is no point in denying this fact just to cling on to materialism. In other words, quantum mechanics is directly pointing to the fact that materialism is probably an incorrect idea.

Given that the theory of relativity is also telling us that our science is actually a science of our experience, and not a science of the material world “out there” independent of us as observers, it is surely reasonable now to end our dogmatic insistence that consciousness is derived from matter. At the very least, as scientists, we need to admit that we actually do not know that consciousness is derived purely from matter.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:06 pm

Kenneth Chan wrote:
You are talking about ultimate analysis.


In Madhyamaka, that is the only kind there is.
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Minobu » Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:57 pm

Kenneth Chan wrote:I am not lecturing anyone. I am merely sharing my understanding, as everyone of us posting here is doing, including you. This is a discussion forum, not a lecture podium. Just as you are free to post your disagreement, I am free to post a rebuttal, and so on. Why am I suddenly accused of lecturing?

uh ya you did, you ignored me and explained
Kenneth Chan wrote:Please do not get fixated over the literal meaning of individual words taken out of context.t.


Kenneth Chan wrote:Also, I am not introducing the term "true existence." It is used by Geshe Tashi Tsering. The reason why I quote Geshe Tashi Tsering often is because he is a Lharampa Geshe, the highest educational qualification within the Gelug tradition, and because he speaks excellent English; so what he writes does not need to be translated. So technically nothing is lost in translation (which unfortunately can occur in translated teachings).


If you could be so kind as to post the words "true existence." written by the Geshe .
i would like to see the context as well.
i realize a link mught not be available , i trust your own copying of the words from a book.

I find it hard to believe that a Gelug Geshe would teach Sunyata whilst using the wording "true existence."
for there is no "true existence."

i'm also concerned for yours and others karma produced by teaching wrong view in regards to Sunyata.

Where did you learn , as asked here

Kenneth Chan wrote:

You mention lineage and transmission.
Which Qualified Teacher actually sat you down and taught you Madhyamika , which method of meditation and Buddhist practice did you use to come to your understanding of Madhyamika..


god i sound like an asshole.
Last edited by Minobu on Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Minobu
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Minobu » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:01 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:
You are talking about ultimate analysis.


In Madhyamaka, that is the only kind there is.

thats sounds condescending to me.
in the sense of:

ultimate analaysis ? condescending when cherry picked and answered with no explanation.
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Bakmoon » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:35 pm

Kenneth Chan wrote:You are talking about ultimate analysis, and my statement is specifically a response to boda's comment, and is an attempt to illustrate what is revolutionary about a particular way of thinking. The context is completely different. Please try to see context.

My feeling is that most of your objections to the Gelug interpretation of Madhyamaka also arises because you are failing to take into consideration the context in which certain statements are being made.

Are you claiming that conventionally, phenomena are produced from other? Because Chandrakirti says quite clearly in Madhyamakavatara 6.32

Just from planting a seed
Worldly beings claim, “I produced that boy!”
Or, “I planted that tree!”
Therefore, even worldly beings do not assert arising from other.

Which indicates that production from other isn't part of conventional truth.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Minobu » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:47 pm

I get this weird feeling people are trying to discredit Gelug from the posts.

hmmmmm.
ya i know i am slow.
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:55 pm

Bakmoon wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:You are talking about ultimate analysis, and my statement is specifically a response to boda's comment, and is an attempt to illustrate what is revolutionary about a particular way of thinking. The context is completely different. Please try to see context.

My feeling is that most of your objections to the Gelug interpretation of Madhyamaka also arises because you are failing to take into consideration the context in which certain statements are being made.

Are you claiming that conventionally, phenomena are produced from other?

I never even mentioned "production from other" let alone claim anything of this kind. Please read the posts carefully.
Last edited by Kenneth Chan on Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Bakmoon » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:56 pm

Kenneth Chan wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:You are talking about ultimate analysis, and my statement is specifically a response to boda's comment, and is an attempt to illustrate what is revolutionary about a particular way of thinking. The context is completely different. Please try to see context.

My feeling is that most of your objections to the Gelug interpretation of Madhyamaka also arises because you are failing to take into consideration the context in which certain statements are being made.

Are you claiming that conventionally, phenomena are produced from other? Because Chandrakirti says quite clearly in Madhyamakavatara 6.32

I never even mentioned "production from other" let alone claim anything of this kind. Please read the posts carefully.

Then what kind of production are you talking about?

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:58 pm

Bakmoon wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:Are you claiming that conventionally, phenomena are produced from other?

I never even mentioned "production from other" let alone claim anything of this kind. Please read the posts carefully.

Then what kind of production are you talking about?

What "production" did I mention? Where did I talk about "production"?

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Bakmoon » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:10 am

Kenneth Chan wrote:What "production" did I mention? Where did I talk about "production"?

You objected to Malcolm's argument that on the conventional level, causes are not causes because they are neither prior to nor simultaneous with their results. A result coming from a cause different from itself is other production.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:33 am

Bakmoon wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:What "production" did I mention? Where did I talk about "production"?

You objected to Malcolm's argument that on the conventional level, causes are not causes because they are neither prior to nor simultaneous with their results. A result coming from a cause different from itself is other production.

What?? I never wrote anything even resembling this. Where exactly is this post you claim I wrote?

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:35 am

Minobu wrote:Which Qualified Teacher actually sat you down and taught you Madhyamika , which method of meditation and Buddhist practice did you use to come to your understanding of Madhyamika..

god i sound like an asshole.

Minobu, I do not even know who exactly you are, and you are demanding all these personal information about me on a discussion forum? If you refuse to understand that this is a discussion forum and not a lecture podium, that's your problem. Also, I have already quoted Geshe Tashi Tsering using the term "true existence." Please do not turn this discussion into an ad hominem kind of thing. The only reason why I am here is because I feel it is beneficial to clarify things and to interest people (who are not already on the spiritual path) to actually embark on it. When this is no longer the case, I will stop responding.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Minobu » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:52 am

Kenneth Chan wrote:
Minobu wrote:Which Qualified Teacher actually sat you down and taught you Madhyamika , which method of meditation and Buddhist practice did you use to come to your understanding of Madhyamika..

god i sound like an asshole.

Minobu, I do not even know who exactly you are, and you are demanding all these personal information about me on a discussion forum? If you refuse to understand that this is a discussion forum and not a lecture podium, that's your problem. Also, I have already quoted Geshe Tashi Tsering using the term "true existence." Please do not turn this discussion into an ad hominem kind of thing. The only reason why I am here is because I feel it is beneficial to clarify things and to interest people (who are not already on the spiritual path) to actually embark on it. When this is no longer the case, I will stop responding.

ok sorry, but you come off like you read Classic comics instead of the actual play.
many a young lad went for the 25 cent comic version instead of reading the book.

Image

So i take it you only know Madhyamika from books and are self taught... it shows ...and that is not an ad hominem.

I doubt very much if he used the term true existence or ultimate existence as you say when giving instruction on sunyata which i doubt was complete and meant for those who were actually taught by a qualified teacher.

So basically you are self taught and decide to be as much as an expert on it to make scientific claims to quantum physics.

by the way , your version of quantum mechanics is more akin to biocentrism

it all just reeks ...
sorry but you need to know.
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Wayfarer » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:58 am

Kenneth Chan wrote:The very insistence that consciousness is derived from matter is, in fact, a curiosity in itself. This is because we have no conceivable idea how such a thing can be possible.


The materialist will respond: actually, we do have such an idea - namely, via the processes of evolution. This began with very primitive life-forms that existed for hundreds of millions of years, before gradually diversifying over aeons of time, to finally give rise to mammals, and then to h. sapiens, which has a large fore-brain, and is capable of abstract thought, language, and invention, among other things.

As it happens, I too am highly sceptical of that claim (on philosophical grounds, I should add, not because of anything like ID) - but the convinced materialist has plenty of ammunition. Once you've seen through the illusion of materialism, then you can see how hollow it is. But many people haven't, including many highly-educated people.

You are probably aware of the book by well-known philosopher, Thomas Nagel, called Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False, which was published in 2012. This book was hugely controversial, with many mainstream science popularisers condemning it as ignorant and uninformed. Whereas, it was very well-received by many spiritual or religious philosophers, and was favourably reviewed by a Western Buddhist journal.

I discussed that book at length on three philosophy forums. The consensus amongst all the 'secularist' type philosophers was: Nagel was wrong, he doesn't understand the science, it's basically all starry-eyed navel-gazing that has nothing to do with reality as Science has revealed it. These conversations have made me realise that takes something more than argument to dissuade that kind of commitment - it takes a genuine 'gestalt shift' or an epiphany of some sort.

IN any case, I am on the same side of the ledger as yourself, but I think I'm also a little more cynical about the prospects of 'quantum idealism' cutting through scientific materialism.
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:11 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:The very insistence that consciousness is derived from matter is, in fact, a curiosity in itself. This is because we have no conceivable idea how such a thing can be possible.

The materialist will respond: actually, we do have such an idea - namely, via the processes of evolution. This began with very primitive life-forms that existed for hundreds of millions of years, before gradually diversifying over aeons of time, to finally give rise to mammals, and then to h. sapiens, which has a large fore-brain, and is capable of abstract thought, language, and invention, among other things.

As it happens, I too am highly sceptical of that claim (on philosophical grounds, I should add, not because of anything like ID) - but the convinced materialist has plenty of ammunition. Once you've seen through the illusion of materialism, then you can see how hollow it is. But many people haven't, including many highly-educated people.

You are probably aware of the book by well-known philosopher, Thomas Nagel, called Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False, which was published in 2012. This book was hugely controversial, with many mainstream science popularisers condemning it as ignorant and uninformed. Whereas, it was very well-received by many spiritual or religious philosophers, and was favourably reviewed by a Western Buddhist journal.

I discussed that book at length on three philosophy forums. The consensus amongst all the 'secularist' type philosophers was: Nagel was wrong, he doesn't understand the science, it's basically all starry-eyed navel-gazing that has nothing to do with reality as Science has revealed it. These conversations have made me realise that takes something more than argument to dissuade that kind of commitment - it takes a genuine 'gestalt shift' or an epiphany of some sort.

IN any case, I am on the same side of the ledger as yourself, but I think I'm also a little more cynical about the prospects of 'quantum idealism' cutting through scientific materialism.

I am glad you are "on the same side of the ledger." I only need to add that evolution does not at all answer the question of how consciousness could conceivably have been derived from matter. This problem of how consciousness could conceivably be derived from matter is a well recognised problem in philosophy of mind, and is called the "hard problem."

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Minobu » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:57 am

it is all mind
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:04 am

Minobu wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:
Minobu wrote:Which Qualified Teacher actually sat you down and taught you Madhyamika , which method of meditation and Buddhist practice did you use to come to your understanding of Madhyamika..

Minobu, I do not even know who exactly you are, and you are demanding all these personal information about me on a discussion forum? If you refuse to understand that this is a discussion forum and not a lecture podium, that's your problem. Also, I have already quoted Geshe Tashi Tsering using the term "true existence." Please do not turn this discussion into an ad hominem kind of thing. The only reason why I am here is because I feel it is beneficial to clarify things and to interest people (who are not already on the spiritual path) to actually embark on it. When this is no longer the case, I will stop responding.

ok sorry, but you come off like you read Classic comics instead of the actual play.
many a young lad went for the 25 cent comic version instead of reading the book.

Since you insist on pushing me, I will let you know this much. Almost all of my Tibetan Buddhist teachings come from FPMT. I did not begin my journey in Tibetan Buddhism but was led to Tibetan Buddhism because of the spiritual path I adopted, which is simply this: progressively take every next step we know we need to take to transform into a better person. This is a lot harder than it sounds because it usually means having to progressively surrender something.

I am still struggling on this same path and have a very long way to go. No matter how many steps I have taken, there always seems to be yet another step that I know I have to take, and then some more. Try it and you may understand where I am coming from. Then again you may already be doing this, in which case, I am happy for you. Anyway I am telling you this because I realise there may be some benefit in my saying so. I hope I am right.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby KarmaOcean » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:09 am

Kenneth Chan wrote:
KarmaOcean wrote:
KarmaOcean wrote:In relation to these statements, I ask;

If sentient beings are composed of the very same matter which is being observed, and do not possess any "self", then how come the wave-function has been scientifically verified to be applicable to a sentient beings and, for example, not found to be also applicable to wooden puppets ?

Thanks.

Wooden puppets are not conscious, while sentient beings are. Also, there is no evidence that mind is derived purely from matter, so sentient beings are not entirely "composed of the very same matter which is being observed."


Thanks for your reply which I presumed would, as my post did, use non-philosophical terms for discussion, in this thread relating to Quantum Physics, where, in my post, I've used words with scientific meaning such as; matter, scientifically verified & wave-function)[/i]

Firstly, your post implies
being conscious or conscious beings (you provide no distinction either way)
In relation to the above; is there any scientific evidence of "conscious" ?
Secondly, it states
"mind is derived purely"
In relation to the above; is there any scientific evidence of "mind" ? and therefore also any evidence that "mind" is "derived" (purely or otherwise) ?
Regarding your third statement...
"...sentient beings are not entirely "composed of the very same matter which is being observed.""
Here you clearly imply that sentient beings, in their entirety, are composited with non-universal (alien) matter or an otherwise (alien) non-specified element. Further the validity of this statement is precariously predicated upon the two previous speculations.

At this stage I would like to ask you, directly, the following: should we, as readers, presume that all your statements are secondary conveyances based upon your personal beliefs and best guess estimates, or do you genuinely promote these statements de facto ?

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby KarmaOcean » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:17 am

Kenneth Chan wrote:
boda wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:You are missing the point. It is not the interplay per se that is a revolutionary way of thinking. It is the fact that the "elements" in the interplay do not inherently exist. In fact, it is more like we only have the interplay, with no elements at all.

To reiterate, most can easily understand the body as an interplay of organs, and the organs an interplay of cell, and the cells an interplay of molecules... and all of it transitory in nature. This is not revolutionary in the least. The only difference is that most don't incorporate this insight into a religious narrative or find it spiritually meaningful. Indeed Madhyamika philosophy may add a measure of meaning to Quantum physics for you, but for others it may not. In any case, meaningful interpretations and solving practical problems are two different things. The former is the domain of religion and the latter is that of science.

You are still missing the point. In an interplay, we usually think of two or more separate entities coming together and interacting. Here, we have a situation where there is interaction but there are no separate entities to begin with! If you find that hard to imagine, that is exactly what makes this way of thinking revolutionary.


If fire engines are always red and there's some unlabelled cans of paint,.. it's also "revolutionary" to state that "fire engines solve mystery of unlabelled cans of paint" ?

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:59 am

KarmaOcean wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:
KarmaOcean wrote:
Wooden puppets are not conscious, while sentient beings are. Also, there is no evidence that mind is derived purely from matter, so sentient beings are not entirely "composed of the very same matter which is being observed."

Thanks for your reply which I presumed would, as my post did, use non-philosophical terms for discussion, in this thread relating to Quantum Physics, where, in my post, I've used words with scientific meaning such as; matter, scientifically verified & wave-function)[/i]

Firstly, your post implies
being conscious or conscious beings (you provide no distinction either way)
In relation to the above; is there any scientific evidence of "conscious" ?
Secondly, it states
"mind is derived purely"
In relation to the above; is there any scientific evidence of "mind" ? and therefore also any evidence that "mind" is "derived" (purely or otherwise) ?
Regarding your third statement...
"...sentient beings are not entirely "composed of the very same matter which is being observed.""
Here you clearly imply that sentient beings, in their entirety, are composited with non-universal (alien) matter or an otherwise (alien) non-specified element. Further the validity of this statement is precariously predicated upon the two previous speculations.

At this stage I would like to ask you, directly, the following: should we, as readers, presume that all your statements are secondary conveyances based upon your personal beliefs and best guess estimates, or do you genuinely promote these statements de facto ?

You seem to be under the impression that only science can verify things. This is so wrong. So called "scientific evidence" actually means something detectable by scientific machines. But machines cannot detect everything. That is why there is actually no "scientific evidence" that consciousness even exists. There are simply no machines that can directly detect consciousness. So does that mean that consciousness is nonexistent, and we are all zombies?


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