Friday, September 24, 2010

Ethics and Quantum Physics

There is never enough time to learn everything; that is not a reason to learn nothing.

So, I'm learning a little quantum physics... and so what if it happens to be that version of quantum physics that agrees with my own understanding of reality? Here, have a listen:

The proposition, foisted upon us by a materialism based on classical physics - that we human beings are essentially mechanical automata, with every least action and thought fixed from the birth of the universe by microscopic clockwork-like mechanisms - has created enormous difficulties for ethical theory. These difficulties lie like the plague on Western culture, robbing its citizens of any rational basis for self-esteem or self-respect, or esteem or respect for others. Quantum physics, joined to a natural embedding ontology, brings our human minds squarely into the dynamical workings of nature. With our physically efficacious minds now integrated into the unfolding of uncharted and yet-to-be-plumbed potentialities of an intricately interconnected whole, the responsibility that accompanies the power to decide things on the basis of one's own thoughts, ideas, and judgments is laid upon us. This leads naturally and correctly to a concomitant elevation in the dignity of our persons and the meaningfulness of our lives. Ethical theory is thereby supplied with a rationally coherent foundation that an automaton account cannot match.

But beyond supplying a rational foundation for Western culture, the rooting of ethics in science, with its universal character and appeal, shifts values toward the ecumenical, and away from those aspects of religions that are hostile to, and preach violence against, followers of other faiths. Such a shift is sorely needed today.

Henry Stapp, Mindful Universe

I know what you're thinking... quantum physics; brain candy, useless in the practice of meditation. I disagree heartily. Just reading Mindful Universe gives great insight into the everyday workings of the mind and the brain. It helps to clear up a lot of confusion about what's really going on. The amazing thing for me is how precisely it fits with what is already clearly perceived to occur, even allowing one to see the actual occurrences more clearly than before. Certainly, this is a great help for both practice and teaching of meditation, highly recommended.