“The human being is this night,
this empty nothing that contains everything
– an unending wealth of many representations,
images of which none belongs to him”
Hegel – Jenaer Realphilosophie 1805-06
“Where is that goddamn particle?”
This is how the so-called “god particle” was born, thanks to its blasphemous antithesis born in a burst of frustration after decades of scientific research leading to nothing. Until now.
The term “god particle” originated in 1993. It was the American physicist Leon Lederman who originally called the Higgs boson the “goddamn particle” exactly because it was so difficult to find. But his publisher changed the phrase to “god particle” to publicize Professor Lederman’s new book.
The new name of the sticky particle, pardon the pun, stuck.
But do the Higgs boson, the Higgs mechanism or the Higgs field deserve deification?
In a Vedic sense, yes. If the Higgs field “pervades the universe and creates drag on particles”, in simple terms allows everything to have mass, it could be compared in a Hindu sense with what generates the Maya, the illusion of reality.
The “god particle” could more precisely be renamed the “Maya field.”
Think of the Cern accelerator in Geneva like a wall and a rock. Throw the rock against the concrete wall. The wall throws off a bit of dust. The scientists photograph that dust before it blows away, and discover what holds the wall together, except in this case the wall is infinite and invisible – we live in it, we are it, and that secret hidden in the dust is what gives us mass, the quality of physical existence.
According to Vedic philosophy the only reality, the only thing that actually exists is Absolute Awareness, and what we experience through our senses is just an illusion created by the only one thing that exists, the same Absolute Awareness. Existence of individuals, according to non-dualistic Advaitic philosophy, is a sort of game the Absolute Awareness plays with itself, imbuing things and beings with a sense of identity that doesn’t really exist. In this sense, then, the Higgs mechanism could be the secret of this illusion.
It is the most surprising philosopher of our Zeitgeist, Slavoj Zizek, that provides a theoretical structure for this idea.
Zizek believes that “fictions structure our reality and that if you take away the symbolic fictions that regulate it, you lose reality itself.” So, only if you realize that you yourself do not exist can you achieve freedom (Moksha, in Vedic terms).
The Slovenian neo-Marxist thinker sees God as a computer programmer who programmed our experience of reality. But as in video-games certain parts are constructed with more precision than other parts (for example, a house on the far right corner might be more pixelated or less defined), the same applies to the construction of reality and of a person who, in order to be convincing has to construct only the outside of the person (persona means mask after all in Latin, doesn’t it?).
So Zizek says it is possible to conceive of the Universe’s construction in similar terms: God didn’t finish the project and left things incomplete at a quantum level. God thought that humans wouldn’t reach further in their understanding than the atomic level.
But, hey, it seems like the guys at the Large Hadron Collider managed to be a bit too intelligent and might’ve gone beyond what god had anticipated and discovered the incompleteness of his creation.
Not only is god dead, but he’s unmasked and getting a bad review by his human critics for not minding the details. We are at the edges of the set of the Truman Show, in other words.
Quantum physics asserted that it wasn’t possible to have full knowledge of particles at the quantum level, since the velocity and position of the particle could not be described together. But now things may be different.
Philosophical implications are multifold. One is said to be the “oneness” of the universe, the one constant we can say pervades the imaginable universe. The other may be, as Zizek’s theory could indicate, that there’s only one ontologically unfinished reality.
But that’s where our freedom lies, he says.
Freedom from the illusion of reality, freedom from Maya.
A perfect Advaitic conclusion.
(© Carlo Pizzati 2012)