Advaita Philosophy, Yoga Philosophy

The filling up of Vacuum


In modern quantum physics, there is no real vacuum!

Theorists have filled up the vacuum with virtual particles. Anything and everything that can be dreamed up by mathematics exists in this vacuum.

When we look at the stars, we are in fact looking through, not just air, but all these virtual particles that fill up every inch of space, both the space between the air molecules in the earth and also the deep space from the earth’s atmosphere to the star.

It is quite astounding when we first think of it: there is no empty space anywhere. We are all surrounded by this tightly enmeshed cloud of virtual particles.

What exactly does ‘virtual’ particle mean as opposed to a ‘real’ particle? No one knows the answer, in fact only a non–physicist would ask such a question. True quantum physicists know well enough that if they are to be true to their calling, they must never never ask such ‘classical’ questions! Virtual presumably means non–real, in the sense that they do not actually exist, so that they cannot be seen or felt. But yet it also means that they have more reality than something which is totally imaginary and does not exist, because they can come into existence under appropriate conditions.

In other words, ‘None of these four statements can be made of them: they exist, they do not exist, both exist and not–exist nor neither exist nor non–exist.’ These though are not the words of a quantum physicist but of an ancient Buddhist philosopher: Nagarjuna of the Madhyamika nihilistic form of Buddhism.

These particles moreover, are not just a theoretical abstraction but actually impact on the world. For example, there is something called g–value. This g–value if there were no virtual particles in vacuum should have been exactly 2.

But when we use the equations of quantum mechanics, we get a slightly higher value for this. For example, there is a particle called a muon. This muon is a heavy form of an electron. Now when the muon travels through vacuum, it is surrounded by virtual photons according to this theory. Photons can be described as a pair of electrons and anti–electrons. So the virtual photon can be described as a pair of virtual electron and anti–electron. So in the calculations of quantum mechanics, it is found that a pair of virtual electron and anti–electron appears fleetingly around the muon. This disturbs the muon in its path and this causes a minimal change in its g–value, so that it is not 2 but 2 (1.001165918).

This minimal change in the g–value for the muon has been verified experimentally, and so the presence of virtual photons around it is also proved.

Every particle exists in vacuum, and so all particles are surrounded by these virtual particles. Space contains each and every kind of possible virtual particles, not just virtual photons but virtual electrons, virtual quarks, etc.

Any and every kind of virtual particle that can be predicted by mathematics exists around each particle, and around each of us.

So many particles and fields have been proposed for vacuum that if we could only develop the mathematics to support this, scientists would accept without demur that there are virtual bunnies hopping around in space and they could come to life momentarily!

If the mathematics work out to prove that such virtual bunnies have an influence on our lives, we could even devise experiments to prove this and the experiments would come out right!

We could for example theorize that there are virtual aliens from the planet Kra which surround us. These aliens fill up all of vacuum along with all the other virtual particles. We could say that they appear suddenly sometimes in pairs and grab us from both sides, but they appear and disappear so suddenly that no one ever sees them. Now if we want experimental proof, we could say they hate drink, and so when someone is drunk they appear for a longer time and make him totter. Now for an experiment, all we have got to do is to make a sober man and a drunk one walk a straight line and see which one totters...

Besides these virtual particles, there is another field that fills up vacuum, the Higg’s field. This is another interesting phenomenon. This field is filled up with virtual masses, masses which because of the situation of the Higg’s field, are struggling to manifest. It is these masses from the Higg’s field which gave mass to all the universe. Till now, the size of the masses and their properties are not known, and that is what the Super Hadron Collider of CERN is trying to find out.

This collider will literally pull out a rabbit from a magician’s hat; it will pull out a Higg’s boson from nothing! Its aim is to collide a proton with an anti–proton. Collision of matter with anti–matter results in the complete annihilation of both and release of tremendous energy. Now when this energy is released into the vacuum, it will make a Higg’s boson pop out from this vacuum. Something will really be produced out of nothing.

Vacuum is being filled up with newer and newer ideas. A recent idea proposes that all of vacuum is filled up with the Zero Point Field or ZPF, a field of electromagnetic radiation. It proposes that each point in space is filled up with an infinite energy. There are even suggestions that this Zero Point Energy can be extracted. This would of course solve all of our energy problems. This theory is for now in the field of hypothesis.

This idea, of the filling up of vacuum, has its importance for Advaita. In Advaita, there is no vacuum, the universe is ‘set’ within Brahman. (see Advaita and Quantum Physics and Is Advaita provable). So the fact that particles and even matter can pop out of this vacuum is an indicator that the idea of Brahman is not wrong. Hence these theories of quantum physics are in a way supportive of the idea of Brahman.

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* To read more on Advaita Vedanta and Yoga and its harmony with modern science and reason, you can go through my book on Amazon:

Advaita Philosophy, Yoga Philosophy

The Circle of Fire: The Metaphysics of Yoga

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