(1977). <i>Consciousness and the Laws of Nature</i>, Bhaktivedanta Institute Monograph Series Number 3

(1977). Consciousness and the Laws of Nature

The Bhaktivedanta Institute Monograph Series Number 3

Publication Info: 

Thompson, Richard L. (Sadaputa Dasa Adhikari). Consciousness and the Laws of Nature. Monograph Series No. 3, Boston, MA: Bhaktivedanta Institute, 1977.


At the present time it is widely claimed that life can be understood simply as a complicated interaction of atoms and molecules in accordance with known physical laws. High school and college textbooks of biology begin with the study of chemical bonding, proceed on to molecular evolution, and flatly assert that scientists have "been able to synthesize the stuff of life in a laboratory flask." In scientific books and journals the theory that life is a combination of material elements is widely accepted as nearly unquestionable fact.

In this paper we argue that this view of life is extremely shortsighted. Not only has life not been understood as a product of matter, but our understanding of matter itself is seriously deficient. We will show, in fact, that in order to remedy the deficiencies in our concept of matter we are forced to adopt an understanding of life completely different from the accepted scientific view. We will review some of the important theories of nature of the modern scientific age. This review will culminate in a more detailed account of the present dominant theory of quantum mechanics. We shall see that none of these theories have been successful. The theories preceeding quantum mechanics have all been rejected for various reasons, and the quantum theory itself possesses serious defects which rule it out as a valid understanding of nature. . . .

A much more fruitful approach entails the ancient understanding that the fundamental principle of life is an entity – the self or atma (quantum of consciousness) – which is not reducible to matter. As such, this approach is not merely a theoretical exercise, but it has many practical, empirical consequences. In particular, it entials the direct observation and study of the atma and its relationship with the absolute consciousness, or paramatma.

Note: These volumes were recently published in a compilation edition titled, The Bhaktivedanta Institute Monograph Series.