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Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science: [] A Critique - Pudgala : Attributes - Light And Darkness

Published: 08.03.2008
Updated: 13.08.2008

There is remarkable agreement between the views of the Jains and modern physics regarding the fundamentally material character of light. Photoelectric effect of light proves that light is a stream of photons, which are essentially particles. On the other hand, the wave-character of light has been proved by the splitting of white light into beautiful colours of rainbow and many other experiments/phenomena. The paradox of wave-particle duality, which was one of the thorniest problems of modern physics forced physicists into radically new ways of perceiving the entire physical reality, and the new perceptual frames were found to be more compatible with experience than were the old.

In fact, the duality was the end of the absolute classical view of the physical reality. The physicists had to abandon the 'Either-Or' way of looking at the Reality. They could no longer accept the proposition that light/energy/matter is either a particle or a wave, because they had convinced themselves that it was both, depending upon how they looked at it. Niels Bohr's concept of complementarity [1] is the best explanation of the dual character of light(and no one has thought of a better one yet) by emphasizing the complementary nature of both aspects - both of them are essential to understand the nature of light But one of them always hides the other, because light or anything else cannot be both - wave-like and particle-like - in the same context. It is meaningless to ask which one of them, alone, is the way light really is- It behaves like waves or particles depending upon which experiment we perform. And this, precisely, is the Jain position as we have seen earlier.

Neither the wave-like nor the particle-like behaviour is the quality (guna) of light, but both are its modes (paryaya), just as sound is not a quality of pudgala, as 'colour' is, but its modification. Each aspect is produced by the interaction of light to manifest either particle-like or wave-like characteristics or both as in the famous Arthur Compton's 'Scattering of X-rays" in-1923. It should be noted that by denying the dual aspects to be qualities, we are not denying the objective reality of light Both qualities and modes are real and are determinate ways of manifesting a real substance, which in this case, is pudgala.

[1] The Copenhagen Interpretation (CI.) of Quantum Mechanics was the first consistent formulation of quantum physics and marks the emergence of the new physics as a consistent way of viewing the physical reality. It was arrived at the 5th Solvey Congress in 1927, at which Bohr and Einstein conducted their now famous debates. The term "Copenhagen' reflects the dominant influence of Bohr (From Copenhagen) and his school of thought.

Bohr's principle of complementarity is an essential feature of CI of quantum physics. Some physicists practically equate CI and complementarity. It is subsumed in a general way in Stapp's pragmatic interpretation of quantum physics, but the special emphasis on complementarity is characteristic of CI. The CI. is considered to be the beginning of the reunion of the Cartesian division. It says that quantum theory is about correlations in our experiences It is about what will be observed under specified conditions.

  • Jain Vishva Barati Institute, Ladnun, India
  • Edited by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • 3rd Edition 1995

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Copenhagen Interpretation
  2. Einstein
  3. Guna
  4. Paryaya
  5. Pudgala
  6. Quantum Mechanics
  7. Quantum Physics
  8. Quantum Theory
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