Innovation Science & Spirituality
Summer vacations and going to our maternal grandparents’ was fun for many reasons. Nanaji was always an early riser and we barely managed to crawl out of bed several hours after he was half way through his day. A retired Civil Servant and exceedingly learned man, there was always a nugget of wisdom up his sleeve. We could never miss going to the rail yard on his way to the park, where he used to go for morning walks. We kids managed to drag ourselves out atleast a couple of days of the vacations. The humongous locomotives shunting the bogies were fascinating. Kids and trains! Occasionally, Nanaji would allow us to get into an engine, that the staff was just too eager to oblige anyway. Learning is fun when your entire being is involved. Years later, in the physics and math classes, relative speeds of trains moving in the same versus the opposite directions and relativity made much more sense with the sounds and screeches still echoing in my head. Occasional admonishing from Nanaji for not jumping off the moving engine, on the idea of relative motion and why one would fall after jumping off from a moving object rings crystal clear in my head till date.
Living in the Himalayas with my Guruji was learning and realizations in another universe. Spirituality is too simple a term for the multi-dimensional experiential learning.
The world today is going through a phenomenal metamorphosis that is affecting all. Be it the climate change or economic downturn, political shifts or the rising unease in some parts of the world, everyone is affected. We need to come together as a human race rather than drift apart. We should leverage any and all kinds of knowledge and wisdom, to augment the quality of our lives. I find myself straddling two worlds, all the time – science & spirituality, yin & yang, east & west. Despite the dichotomy, coexistence is not a choice but a necessity. Happiness is the goal in life and everyone’s goal doesn’t have to be the same.
Recently, during a talk on innovation, I was interrupted as I explained the significance of philosophy and spirituality, in the process of innovation. The young woman at the premium institute was skeptical about even getting into philosophy as we spoke innovation. Technology, AI, and existing models were enough to her. Why even bother about spirituality, she was flummoxed. It is important for us to know who we are, where we have come from and where we are going, I explained. She wasn’t convinced. Some of the smartphone-toting people think that the world prior to the 20th century was a precursor to the stone ages. When they think science, more often than not, they are thinking of technology. I tried to explain that Science has always been in the process of discovery, using a scientific temperament of reason and logic. Be it Heisenberg’s Principle, Planck’s Constant, Kekulé’s Benzene ring or Schrödinger’s experiments that they saw in their dreams, these are not freak coincidences. These scientists were effectively in deep meditative states, emanating from extreme focus, likely on their work. This made them tap into the Turiya or the 4th state of awareness beyond waking, dreaming and sleeping. In this state, a person is able to tap into the higher dimensions and potentially experience supernatural phenomena. When one has not found that special calling and as a result, can’t get into the deeply meditative states that these Scientists did, the alternative is spiritualty and philosophy. Rather a precursor to it.
An excerpt from People and Discoveries section, PBS channel:
“In 1927, Werner Heisenberg was in Denmark working at Niels Bohr’s research institute in Copenhagen. The two scientists worked closely on theoretical investigations into quantum theory and the nature of physics. Bohr was away on a skiing holiday, and Heisenberg was left to mull things over himself. He had a shocking but clear realization about the limits of physical knowledge: the act of observing alters the reality being observed. At least at the subatomic level. To measure the properties of a particle such as an electron, one needs to use a measuring device, usually light or radiation. But the energy in this radiation affects the particle being observed. If you adjust the light beam to accurately measure position, you need a short-wavelength, high-energy beam. It would tell you position, but its energy would throw off the momentum of the particle. Then, if you adjust the beam to a longer wavelength and lower energy, you could more closely measure momentum, but position would be inaccurate.
This principle punctured the centuries-old, firmly held belief that the universe and everything in it operates like clockwork. To predict the workings of the “clock,” one needs to measure its qualities and parts at a specific point in time. Classical physics assumed that the precision of measuring is theoretically unlimited. But Heisenberg stated that since you could never with great certainty measure more than one property of a particle, you could only work with probability and mathematical formulations. (Heisenberg called this matrix mechanics, soon shown to be equivalent to Erwin Schrödinger’s more visualizable wave theory.)
The uncertainty principle was hard even for scientists to accept at first. After struggling with it, however, Bohr developed complementarity theory. This stated that there was a dual nature to things — an electron was a wave and a particle, for example — but we could only perceive one side of that dual nature. A sphere, for instance, has a convex and concave aspect. We can sense the convex from outside the sphere, but from inside it appears completely concave. This theory would affect much more than physics, but other fields of science, as well as art and philosophy.”
An excerpt from Michael Verderese and Professor Heinz D. Roth’s writings on Kekulé, below:
“In 1890, at the 25th anniversary of the benzene structure discovery, Friedrich August Kekulé, a German chemist, reminisced about his major accomplishments and told of two dreams that he had at key moments of his work. In his first dream, in 1865, he saw atoms dance around and link to one another. He awakened and immediately began to sketch what he saw in his dream.
Later, Kekulé had another dream, in which he saw atoms dance around, then form themselves into strings, moving about in a snake-like fashion. This vision continued until the snake of atoms formed itself into an image of a snake eating its own tail. This dream gave Kekulé the idea of the cyclic structure of benzene1.”
Srinivasa Iyengar Ramanujan, one of the greatest mathematicians of the 19th century, had no formal training in Mathematics. He was from an extremely poor family and was always on the brink of starvation. At the age of 10, someone gave me a Trigonometry book by Prof Sidney Luxton Loney.
In 1.5 years Ramanujan mastered Loney’s book, and he started churning out his own theorems. He could NOT even afford to buy a ream of paper.
All that he learnt was by the power of the mantras. An anecdote from his life goes like this, “When super genius Indian Mathematician Srinivasan Ramanujan arrived at London, he was greeted by Professor Godfrey Harold Hardy. To break the ice, Hardy made an innocent remark that the number of the taxi , he came in is 1729– looks like a boring number, to kick start a conversation– instead of the usual English weather..
Ramanujan had a cursory glance at the taxi number plate himself and replied casually in a knee jerk manner “Oh No, actually it is a very interesting number. .It is the smallest natural number representable in two different ways as the sum of two cubes”
–and then this brilliant man told the equation on the spot – 1729 = 1^3 + 12^3 = 9^3 + 10^3”
As I finished explaining, seemingly convinced, the student sat down and listened on. Increasingly, this argument seems to cut little ice with the youth. Primarily because of the overly specialized and segmented world of compartmentalized thinking, is leading us to analysis-paralysis of sorts. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we will never be more than who we are. We need a holistic perspective as well as a specialized one – somewhere in between ‘boiling an egg’ and ‘boiling an ocean’.
The highest creativity is sparked not in being able to do what Kekulé did after he discovered the Benzene ring or before he got to the dream, it is really in that state he was when had the vision. The goal should then be to attain that state. We waste excessive time in understating the person and what they did before or after. The focus should really be in attaining the state that person was in, while awakening to the invention.
Whether it is breaking down to the smallest truth or aggregating up to the ultimate reality, the journey is still incomplete. As Elon Musk alludes to an illusive matrix that we are a part of, I’m coerced to think of the astrological framework provided by the Vedic Rishis. Artificial Intelligence has made significant headway in the deterministic possibilities, however, one still sees and hears of cases where people can’t get a result even with 5% accuracy. The reason is found in Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle. When we interfere with the system, we invariably lessen the probability of predicting the future of the system, accurately. With research of over 5000 years and hundreds of millions of case studies and research documents, Vedic Astrology or Jyotish provides for quite eclectic and scholarly food for thought. Why not assimilate learning from both Jyotish and AI to better the human race? Speaking of which, as per one of the leading Nadi (a stream of Vedic astrology) Astrologers, the French elections May 7th 2017 will be won by Marie Le Pen.