Quantum Physics and Indian Philosophy
Prof. Dr BM Hegde 28 December 2015
Future science of medicine should be holistic and not reductionist
 
The science of yoga does not fit into the Western paradigm of reductionist science. However, the recent quantum physics of holism can, and does, fit into it eminently. In fact, quantum physics has come very close to the ancient Indian philosophy of the Sankhya school. German physicist, Hans-Peter Durr, who enunciated the a-duality principle in quantum physics, feels that he is just playing the second fiddle to the ancient Indian sages who have recognised a-duality in the form of advaita (non-duality or unity in duality).
 
“Many scientists do not seek to find the relationships between parts. Instead, they dissect things into smaller and smaller units. This way of perceiving the world has been called ‘Newtonianism’ or ‘reductionism’. All things exist in relationship to other things. Many scientists attempt to disconnect from these relationships and prefer to observe the world from a mechanistic viewpoint instead,” writes Jon Burras in his classic paper, The Myths of Science.
 
Reductionism, a core of Western science, loses sight of the wood while counting the trees. Bits need not make the whole; that apart, bits do not understand, or make the researcher understand, the inter-connectedness of the whole which is the real thing. Like what Dr Durr says, one can comprehend much more than what one could grasp with the five senses and reductionism.
 
Yoga research must be ‘outcomes research’ only, and not reductionist—studying surrogate end-points like blood pressure (BP), heart rate, blood sugar estimations, etc. It should aim at research in long-term holistic outcomes. Yes, such research does not get funds easily and getting it published is very difficult. That does not mean that we repeat the same bad Western science research to claim that yoga is scientific. Science is just there to understand nature and not there to teach nature a lesson or two. Today, the whole of Western science is trying to alter the natural world as it is concentrated only on making money. 
 
The human body is not built with organs put together. We are derived from one single nucleated cell generously donated to us by our ancestors, the germs, who ruled this world for the first two billion years. That single cell, the zygote, which is a fusion of ovum and spermatozoa, simply divides to make the 120 trillion colonies of interdependent cells that make up the human body. Of course, we also have 10 times that number of germ cells incorporated into that colony. They are mainly responsible for our immune system functioning at its best!
 
Consciousness, that energy which flows as waves and is not seen or felt as particles, has not been comprehended by many scientists even today. The father of quantum physics, Max Planck, however, had realised that “consciousness is fundamental; even matter gets derived from consciousness.” Visualising and trying to correct and deviation from the normal is thus possible. This takes us closer to spirituality (not religion), where the essence is sharing and caring for oneself and others. 
 
Future science of medicine should be holistic, and not reductionist, as the human body works like a closed system in systems biology. It is a self-correcting system and does not need intervention for every minor deviation from the normal. Such interventions in modern medicine result in misery for the hapless patient. We must learn to intervene only in the unlikely event of the body’s immune system failing to correct the problem in a reasonable time span to lessen our burden on humanity. Recently, and I keep on repeating it, when interventional cardiologists were away in conferences, mortality in their intensive care units (ICUs) fell significantly, showing thereby that, given enough leeway, many deviations might self-correct. Long live mankind on this planet! 
 
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS.)
Comments
Saurabh Banerjee
8 years ago
Renaissance of Indian philosophy in the light of modern science and technology is the only hope we have to avoid human kind from self destructing.
Saurabh Banerjee
8 years ago
Renaissance of Indian philosophy in the light of modern science and technology is the only hope we have to avoid human kind from self destructing.
Narendra Doshi
8 years ago
Let more & more Aam Aadmi remember this in their own interest.Well said by you,Dr. Hegde Sir,time and again.
shailesh kulkarni
8 years ago
Professor, your article reminds me of the opening sholka from Ishopanishad.

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदम् पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते |
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ||
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ||

The immense depth and deep understanding from this one sholka is too profound.
namaskaraha.

Narendra Doshi
Replied to shailesh kulkarni comment 8 years ago
Dear Shaileshji,
Pl translate/give summary interpretation for wider appreciation.tks.
MG Warrier
Replied to Narendra Doshi comment 8 years ago
Om Puurnnam-Adah Puurnnam-Idam Puurnnaat-Purnnam-Udacyate
Puurnnashya Puurnnam-Aadaaya Puurnnam-Eva-Avashissyate ||
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Meaning:
1: Om, That is Full, This also is Full, From Fullness comes that Fullness,
2: Taking Fullness from Fullness, Fullness Indeed Remains.
3: Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
Source: http://www.greenmsg.org
Narendra Doshi
Replied to MG Warrier comment 8 years ago
tks Mr Warriorji.
shailesh kulkarni
Replied to Narendra Doshi comment 8 years ago
Dhanyawadha Warrierji for the nice description.
I am still exploring the ideas put forth in ancient literature. One needs to have open mind to all ideas. That is the true spirit of science too.

In the word-to-word translation of 'Puurna' can be interpreted in various ways. It can ofcourse mean 'Full'. But I feel it points to something more deep. This is explained in various forms in the Upanishads and the Gita.

To make you more curious, try to think the 'puurna' as
1. infinity 2. energy 3. consciousness 4. atman/brahman 5....

2. energy is easy to understand in this century. Something known as E=mc*c (perhaps thats the reason so many quantum physicists are drawn closer to upanishads these days..)
well, these are my few points. I stand corrected for any misinterpretations.
MG Warrier
Replied to shailesh kulkarni comment 8 years ago
My limited objective was to give some idea aboutthe stanza 'Poornamadah...' quoted. Those who are curious need to go deeper. Shankara's bhashya of several upanishads are available in print. Back to the point you raised, the first stanza of Ishavaasya starting with "Ishaavasyamidam sarvam...Yatkimcha jagatyaam jagat..." itself tells us to think in terms of 'universe' and its oneness.
shailesh kulkarni
Replied to MG Warrier comment 8 years ago
totally agree with you. _/\_
Array
Free Helpline
Legal Credit
Feedback