When people say that the world is made of matter, what, pray tell, do they mean
by the word matter, something inert and insentient, and made of atoms like
a stone? It may be so, but where do the atoms come from? And the Vedantins say that the world is not made of matter,
but is the result of the mistake of seeing,
in space and time, an
undivided, infinite and changeless Underlying Existence that is not in space and time, and they suggest that what we see as
electricity and inertia may be the result of that Existence
showing through. But let's look at the alternatives?
If the world were made of matter, where would we get gravity? Why should things like
And if the world were made of matter, where would we get electricity? Why should the minute particles be electrical,
and why would like charges repel
And if the world were made of matter,
where would we get inertia? Why should moving things coast? Why should matter resist changes in its state of
And if the world were made of matter where would we get sentiency? Why should matter
be aware of other matter?
Some of our scientists think the Universe might be made of forces, but for each force there's an equal
and opposite force; so the total force stands at zero.
And the total
momentum stands at zero. The Universe isn't going somewhere. And the total angular momentum stands at zero. The Universe isn't
the total electrical charge stands at zero. If the
charge of even one electron in a billion billion hydrogen atoms was too big or too small by only one part in a billion
billion, gravity wouldn't pull the clouds of hydrogen together. The total electrical
charge also stands at zero.
So back to the Vedantins, because their model explains gravity, electricity, inertia, and even sentiency.
Only if seeing the world in space and time is a
mistake, as the Vedantins
suggest, would we have sentiency wound in at the start, simply because you can't have a mistake without a take. You can't
your friend for a ghost without seeing your friend, and seeing
your friend requires sentiency. What we call consciousness is just a form of sentiency, awareness.
And only if the Underlying Existence
is undivided would gravity be wound in from the start, because the undividedness of the Underlying Existence must
show in the dividedness just as the height of your friend must show in the ghost.
And only if the Underlying
Existence is infinite would electricity be wound in from the start, because the infinite must show through in the smallness
And only if the Underlying Existence is changeless
would inertia be wound in from the start, because the changeless must show in the changes.
How would a materialist define what he
means by matter except to say that it's something that responds to gravity, electricity and inertia? But gravity,
electricity and inertia must themselves be explained, and the materialists have no
such explanation. The existence of gravity, electricity and inertia stand totally
unexplained in our materialistic physics.
Finally, from the equations of our physics as Einstein had it in 1905, the Universe
appears to be made out of energy, not matter, and, as the Vedantins
pointed out long ago, energy appears to be the Underlying Existence showing through in space and time. Gravity appears to
be the Undivided showing
through in the dispersion of the particles
through space. Electricity appears to be the Infinite showing through in the smallness of the particles. And inertia appears
to be the Changeless showing through in the changes.
John L. Dobson, February 22, 2006, Hollywood, California