Lately I’ve been reading My View Of The World, a book by Erwin Schrodinger, the famous Nobel laureate physicist. He was the creator of the wave equation used in quantum mechanics. I’d like to share some passages from it, along with passages from his other books as well.
What I want you all to notice is that physics, to him, is a quest to understand God, himself, and the universe. It was his personal journey to tackle the deepest questions of our existence. Even so, philosophy was more important to him than physics.
“This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as ‘I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world.'”
“There is no kind of framework within which we can find consciousness in the plural; this is simply something we construct because of the temporal plurality of individuals, but it is a false construction… The only solution to this conflict insofar as any is available to us at all lies in the ancient wisdom of the Upanishad.”
“Vedanta teaches that consciousness is singular, all happenings are played out in one universal consciousness and there is no multiplicity of selves.”
– Erwin Schrodinger, My View Of The World
Schrodinger believed we are all aspects of consciousness and are beyond space and time. We are immortal.
In one his other books, Nature and the Greeks (1954) he makes this very clear.
“We do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it; we are outside. We are only spectators. The reason why we believe that we are in it, that we belong to the picture, is that our bodies are in the picture. Our bodies belong to it. Not only my own body, but those of my friends, also of my dog and cat and horse, and of all the other people and animals. And this is my only means of communicating with them.”
“The observing mind is not a physical system, it cannot interact with any physical system. And it might be better to reserve the term “subject” for the observing mind. … For the subject, if anything, is the thing that senses and thinks. Sensations and thoughts do not belong to the “world of energy.”
“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.”
“Science cannot tell us a word about why music delights us, of why and how an old song can move us to tears.”
– Erwin Schrodinger, Nature and the Greeks (1954)
In his book Mind and Matter (1958), he states that we are all the same ‘thing’, one unified consciousness, one mind.
“There is obviously only one alternative, namely the unification of minds or consciousnesses. Their multiplicity is only apparent, in truth there is only one mind.”
– Erwin Schrodinger, Mind and Matter (1958)
Interestingly enough, Schrodinger thought this world may have been created by some sort of accident, but that is not true of consciousness, which we are all aspects of.
“Although I think that life may be the result of an accident, I do not think that of consciousness. Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
– Erwin Schrodinger, The Observer, 11 January 1931