Modern-day pseudo-Sarvāstivāda atomism

An interesting video, vaguely tangentially related to EBTs inasmuch as that it espouses (or rather, the paradox presented within it seems to imply) a kind of atomism.


(Skip to 6:30 if you want to get right to the matter at hand, although it is very good quality, this is technically a highschool-level resource, which shows in the presentation at the beginning somewhat. The atomism is implied when the rotational principle of the circle given is extended to the context of the sphere they bring up later. The hyperwebster itself is actually any atom as well, although it lacks conventional presentation in spherical form, as any part of the totality is mutually equivalent to the totality itself if separated [i.e. it is only reducible to itself], a property of classical atoms in many classical atomic theories.)

The proposed “hyperwebster sphere” is, in effect, an “atom”, in the classical Indian definition, that is, a “self-sustaining” fundamental foundation of reality predicated solely on “own-being”. It is interesting to see this idea being framed scientifically, and not philosophically. It is also interesting to see how old ideas reemerge in new contexts.

This is not from an EBT informed Buddhist, but this is Vasubandhu critiquing Buddhist atomism of his time, just for the sake of presenting it:[quote]"A sense-object is neither a single thing, nor several things, from the atomic point of view, nor can it be an aggregate of itself, thus atoms cannot be demonstrated.

How it is that they cannot be demonstrated? Because: through the simultaneous conjunction of six senses, the atom has six parts. If there were a common locus for the six, the agglomeration would only be one atom.

When there is no conjunction of atoms, how can there be one of their aggregations? Their conjunction is not demonstrated for they also have no parts.

That which has different parts cannot make a unity, how come it is subject to shadow and concealment? It cannot be argued that they, shadow and concealment, belong to the aggregate of atoms unless the aggregate is admitted to be different from atoms.

If their unity existed, one could not arrive at anything gradually, there could not be grasping and non-grasping simultaneously, nor would there be discrete state of many, and there would be no reason for non-seeing of the very subtle."[/quote]

3 Likes

I don’t understand the connection between the Banack-Tarski paradox and atomism. The theorem is usually just presented as a theorem in transfinite set theory about point sets.

[quote=“DKervick, post:2, topic:5009”]
I don’t understand the connection between the Banack-Tarski paradox and atomism.
[/quote]Well, the “link” was merely my own free inference, not anything explicitly presented in the video. The video presents three theoretical objects, all of which exhibit the qualities that would make them an “atom”, namely, the hyperwebster, the hyperwebster-circle, and the hyperwebster-sphere. Any of the hyperwebster-derived compounds features the same “own-being” of the hyperwebster itself, namely, any “part” is equivalent to the whole completely, thus it is not compounded in any way.

Frankly, I don’t think these topics are even remotely related.

[quote=“DKervick, post:4, topic:5009, full:true”]
Frankly, I don’t think these topics are even remotely related.
[/quote]Fair enough, it is just my own inference, no need to agree with me. I do still think the hyperwebster described, if it existed, would fulfil the definition of an “atom” for many past cultures, despite its not being mentally envisioned as particularly small when it is described as a theoretically existing book, but thats not really an opinion that matters on any level.

I also wasn’t trying to draw any definitive link between atomisms of past Buddhist schools and the inferred atomistic consequences of an object like the hyperwebster. I just included the part about Vasubandhu and Buddhist atomism since its the watercooler, and I thought it was something interesting to bring up. Apologies if I made it seem like I was trying to “say something” about modern science or reality or something of the like.

Sorry, Coemgenu, I’ve been too intolerant lately.

I think living here in the US, where we have to put up with daily outpouring of incoherent verbal gas from our government and elite leaders has shortened my fuse and made me close-minded.

[quote=“DKervick, post:6, topic:5009”]
Sorry, Coemgenu, I’ve been too intolerant lately.
[/quote]I didn’t think that you came off as mean or aggressive. You just did not follow my, admittedly somewhat eccentric, connection to atomism, which is quite alright.