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Deconstructing Reality: Two Levels of Reality

Graham P. Smetham


As we shall illustrate in this paper, it appears that quantum ‘particles’ might be thought to have aspects of both reality and unreality, and this is a paradoxical viewpoint which leads us in the direction of some dramatic claims about the nature of reality made by Buddhist metaphysicians such as Dharmakirti and Nagarjuna, claims which move towards providing an answer to Penrose’s quandary: “can real objects be constructed from unreal constituents?” According to Nagarjuna: “everything is real and not real, both real and not real, neither real nor not real which is the Lord Buddha’s teaching”. The resolution of the apparent paradox will become clear as we explore the relationship between the implications of quantum theory and the Buddhist doctrine of the ‘two truths’, or ‘two realities’, in detail. In fact we will discover that an appreciation of the Buddhist perspective throws significant light onto quantum conundrums. We shall discover that Dharmakirti’s philosophical analysis, alongside other Buddhist insights, which lead to the ‘ultimate’ realm of ‘empty’ Mindnature, prefigures modern quantum discoveries, particularly the notion of an ‘Epiontic Universe’ which derives from the ‘quantum Darwinism’ perspective suggested by Wojciech H. Zurek.

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ISSN: 2153-8212