Absolute Present, Zen and Schrödinger’s One Mind

In J. De Barros & Carlos Montemayor (eds.), Quanta and Mind: Essays on the Connection between Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness. Cham: Springer Verlag. pp. 189-200 (2019)
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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.

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Brentyn Ramm
Witten/Herdecke University


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