History And Philosophy Of Science | Physics and Mysticism
X100 | 2776 | Scott Tanona

Can meditation teach us the same things as modern physics?  Are the
worlds of physics and spirituality incompatible?  Developments in
physics in the last century have drastically altered the way
scientists think about the physical world around us.  These
developments have forced many to reconsider the preconceptions they
had about the nature of our universe and the way we interact with it.
Some people have taken modern physics to confirm the mystical teaching
of Taoism, Buddhism, and other eastern mystical traditions that have
been around for thousands of years.  How does modern physics connect
with these eastern traditions?  For one, an element of some eastern
religions stresses the untiy and connectedness of the universe as a
whole - and some people understand quantum physics as saying that the
smallest particles in the universe are somehow located "everywhere",
spread across space and connected with everything else in the
universe.  Others have interpreted quantum physics as saying that it
is our consciousness that makes particles "real" and believe that this
connects up with eastern ideas about the illusions of reality and the
power of the spirit to change these illusions.  In this class we will
learn about the part of modern physics that have given rise to these
kinds of claims, and in particular will focus on some of the weirder
aspects of quantum physics.  No previous knowledge of physics or math
is required.  We will learn about some of the teachings of eastern
religions and will examine the different ways people have claimed they
relate to modern theories in physics. Along with these types of
claims, we will examine other ideas about what modern physics teaches
us about ourselves, our bodies and our minds, and how our free will
might affect and be affected by the underlying reality of the
universe.  In the process of examining these issues, we will examine
the degree to which science can change the way we think about the
world and ourselves.