4. And for reasons that are not entirely clear this renewed my interest in science. I am not sure how this works for you, but some passions wax and wan, others are more constant. In any event, this renewed interest coupled with a more constant and general interest that is characterized by my interest in Krista Tippet’s On Being lead me to The Quantum and the Lotus—A Journey to the Frontiers where science and Buddhism meet.

As Adlai Stevenson… said in 1952, "Nature is neutral, Man wrested from nature the power to make the world a desert or to make the desert bloom. There is no evil in the atom—only in men’s souls” 

This allows me to complete my first circle of dots and returns me to Our friend the Atom. But let us continue a bit further because what fascinated me was the merging of quantum mechanics and Buddhist thought. 

Here we begin to see that quantum mechanics which features Heisenberg and his uncertainty principle as it interacts with the Buddhist concept of interdependency.

"Obviously, the phenomena we all see around us aren’t nonexistent, but if we examine how they exist, then we soon see that they can’t be viewed as a set of independent entities, each with its own existence. … Like mirror images, they can clearly be seen, but has no separate existence. … Their evolution is neither random nor fixed by divine intervention. Instead, they follow the laws of cause and effect in a global interdependence and reciprocal causality."




Now that quote may take a few moments to digest, it did for me but it is heady stuff. Bottom line our experience is the interaction of a multiplicity of events and ‘things’. (If you wish to pursue that particular rabbit hole, consider A Thousand Year Non Linear History.) 

From a healthcare perspective we know this to be true. We bump into this when we try to use ‘big data’ to identify risk factors and they only explain 60% of the difference. What are we missing? We bump into this when we talk about the ‘Swiss Cheese’ approach to safety issues – “An error may allow a problem to pass through a hole in one layer, but in the next layer the holes are in different places, and the problem should be caught. Each layer is a defense against potential error impacting the outcome.” And we have a heuristic, short hand to describe these interactions, “Shit happens.”

I find the mashup of science and religion fascinating, while they both pull in seemingly opposite directions, that may not be the case. As Heisenberg said, 

"The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you."

Care to delve a bit more, here are two videos that discuss the relationship between Quantum Mechanics and Buddhism

Click here to continue your journey

Click here to return to the thought map