Hinduism and thermodynamics

Chennai, India, march 26th 2009CERN Shiva

Any trouble with quantum mechanics and thermodynamics ? Try Hinduism! When Robert Oppenheimer had to say something after the first nuclear success of the Manhattan project, it was a quote from Shiva in Baghavad Gita (“I am Shiva the destroyer of worlds”, 16th july 1945). The big particle collider in CERN has chosen a two tons Shiva Nataraja cosmic dancer for its front door. Feynman, the nobel prize, told nobody really understands quantum mechanics(The Character of Physical Law (1965) Ch. 6). We know that it works and thus it should describe the world, but what this theory says is so far from what we see every day that we use it only like a wonder tool to built computers, lamps and all our mobile gimmicks. Heisenberg and others famous scientists like Shroedinger or Prigogine (order out of chaos notion) were interested to Hinduism. Shroedinger, the inventor of the most useful equation about reality (EΨ=HΨ), explicitly affirmed his conviction that Vedantic jnana represented the only true view of reality as a set of existence probability(Mein Leben, meine Weltansicht, 1985). Why? Because the world describes by Hinduism is very similar to post-modern science and philosophy. Let us see gods: Brahma is the creator of the world. He acts like a sprinter. He “big-bangs” the world creating matter and energy from vibration (the magic syllab Om ॐ ). When he finishes, he sleeps to remember how the world was and rebuild it when it will be destroyed. One day of Brahma is a kalpa (8.71 billions year). Our sun is currently at its half life (4.57 billions year), thus a kalpa is a good approximation of our star's longevity. Vishnu is in charge of sustainable development: He has to make sure that the order of the world (called Dharma) is unchanged. He is in charge of thermodynamics reversible processes, in fact he is like the enthalpy. Each time something threats the order of the world, he creates an avatar that will restore the order. The successive avatars he already creates (fish, turtle, beast, dwarf, lion-man, warrior, man (Rama),Krishna (thinker)) is very close to Darwin species evolution from fish to mammiferes then to the series of prehumans the human.. Shiva is in charge of the creation and the destruction. That means he can increase or decrease the entropy (as a measure of the order). He is in charge of irreversible processes. Sometimes, Vishnu honors shiva, like in Ramayana under the form of his avatar Rama, because Shiva manages the free enthalpy of the world, difference between enthalpy and energy lost in chaos. So, we can easily memorize Brahma is like mass or energy (equivalent according to general relativity), Vishnu is like enthalpy and Shiva is like entropy. During the eight century,the hinduism thought about duality : vishnu disciples thinks that the world is real and vishnu or a part of him is in any thing or being. Shiva disciples thinks that the world is not real but just an illusion and only Shiva is real. The question of the virtuality as proposed by post-moderns philosophers like Heidegger has thus been early studied in Hiduism. Indeed, it is impossible for a virtual avatar running in a software to determine if he is real or not. So this question can only be treated by a philosophical approach. The notions proposed by thermodynamics second law (entropy) and quantum mecanics (probability of existence) are strongly in opposition with our every day experience of the life. It would not be an issue if these representations of a so weird world would not be so accurate and so relevant, making it possible to realize computers, softwares, communications… I didn't find a set of knowledge as close as Hinduism to represents this fuzzy reality. Could we considere Indian Uppanishads as an aide-memoire for modern science understandings?