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Absolute Present, Zen and Schrödinger’s One Mind

  • Peter D. BruzaEmail author
  • Brentyn J. Ramm
Chapter
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 414)

Abstract

Erwin Schrödinger holds a prominent place in the history of science primarily due to his crucial role in the development of quantum physics. What is perhaps lesser known are his insights into subject-object duality, consciousness and mind. He documented himself that these were influenced by The Upanishads, a collection of ancient Hindu spiritual texts. Central to his thoughts in this area is that Mind is only One and there is no separation between subject and object. This chapter aims to bridge Schrödinger’s view on One Mind with the teachings of Dōgen, a twelfth century Zen master. This bridge is formed by addressing the question of how time relates to One Mind, and subject-object duality. Schrödinger describes the experience of One Mind to be like a timeless now, whereas subject-object duality involves a linear continuum of time. We show how these differing positions are unified in the notion of ‘absolute present’, which was put forward in the philosophy of Nishida Kitarō (1871–1945). In addition, we argue that it is in this notion of absolute present that the views of Schrödinger, Dōgen and Nishida meet.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The first author respectfully dedicates this article to Professor Shimon Malin, who made the first author aware of Schrödinger’s views on One Mind as well as for his thought provoking views about quantum theory. The first author also thanks Michel Bitbol for the inspiring discussions in the subject area of this article.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science and EngineeringQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Independent PhilosopherFremantleAustralia

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