While going down in an elevator, it recently occurred to me that the elevator doesn’t move unless we indicate the floor it has to go to, quite different from an escalator which keeps moving regardless of whether anyone has anywhere to go to. This difference is a useful way to understand how quantum “motion” is different from classical motion. This post explains the difference using the elevator vs. escalator analogy. The motion of the elevator explicitly employs meaning and purpose, while the motion of the escalator doesn’t. The difference helps us see why addressing many scientific problems needs a revision to our analogies about nature, and what such analogical shifts can do to science.
Since the time of Greek philosophers—Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates—it has been believed that the present universe is comprised of two things: form and substance. Forms are the ideas that exist even when substances don’t; the world of things combines form and substance, kind of like the form of a statue exists in the mind of a sculptor and is applied to a substance—e.g., stone—to create statues. Without the form, the material world is amorphous, and without the substance the forms are invisible. This post examines the duality of idea and substance and argues that there are no substances; only forms are real. Whatever we call substance, thing, or object, is also a form—i.e. an idea.
The Mind-Body problem in Western philosophy concerns the difficulty in conceiving the nature of interaction between mind and body, considering that these two are supposed to be different substances—one physical and material while the other spiritual or mystical. In Indian philosophy, matter itself transforms into spirit and how this transformation occurs poses a serious problem.