Is there any connection between String Theory, Quantum Waves and Mental Waves? The focus of this article is to investigate this connection. You will be surprised to learn that all these 3 elements are one and the same thing. They seem separate elements, but they there are the same. To get the ball rolling, let us briefly understand each of the 3 elements:
String Theory: The purpose of the string theory is to find the theory of everything. In the 1970’s it was discovered that everything in this universe is made up of the 12 elementary matter particles and 4 underlying forces. They called this the standard model. However, the goal is to look for Singularity – a single basis for the Theory of Everything – a single entity which is the substratum of all the elementary particles/forces.
This is the background in which the String Theory was developed. As the name suggests, all the elementary particles are made up of strings. These strings vibrate in different ways to create the different elementary particles and 4 forces. The mathematics for the string theory is quite solid and it has been able to unify many of the particles and forces. For this unification to work, it meant that the string vibration must have 10 dimensions.
String Theory has shown promise, but many scientists have the following objections.
1. We know space is made up of only 3 dimensions. So, how do we understand the 10 dimensions? Where can you find the 10 dimensions in the 3 dimensions of space? The believers of string theory have suggested that the additional dimensions are curled up within these 3 dimensions. How this is done, they cannot answer convincingly. Since it is impossible to find the additional dimensions within space, the only solution is to look elsewhere. But where? The simple answer is the Mind. If properly understood, mind is a powerful tool. It has the capacity and capability to handle the additional dimensions and much more. We will be discussing this further later.
2. The vibrating strings are so small that it is impossible for science to experimentally discover them. This lack of evidence has discouraged many scientists. The problem is that science will not discover the vibrating strings in the outside world; it needs to find them elsewhere. Once again, the mind is the right place to look for them.
Quantum Waves: Quantum Physics took off in 1920’s, when it was discovered that every object in the universe has a particle as well as a wave property. Right from micro particles like quarks and atoms to macro items like planets and stars, everything in the universe has a particle/wave duality. This includes both living and non-living beings. Yes, particle/ wave duality is a fact. This means every object can be a particle and a wave.
We are aware of the particle version or the gross version of objects around us. The world out there only has the particle version. The question always remains where do the wave parts of the objects exist? The waves must exist, but where? Unfortunately, no serious investigation has been made in this regard. The wave existence of particles is so subtle, that it is not possible to see, touch or feel them. That is true, but they do exist somewhere. It is important to investigate this fact.
Before we move forward, we must acknowledge the similarity between string theory and quantum waves. Both are vibrations. String theory suggests that there are strings which cause the vibration. Nobody knows what these strings are. What are they made of? This may not be that important. What is important is that there is something which is causing the vibrations. In the same way the wave part of objects are also vibrations. Both string theory and quantum waves are vibrations. A good question to ask is: Do quantum waves and vibrations in the string theory have the same source? There is no scientific proof, but it is reasonable to assume that the source which causes vibrations in elementary particles must be the same which causes the waves for all the objects.
It is logical to assume that quantum waves and string theory have the same source, but even so there are questions to be asked.
Question 1: Where do the waves reside? ‘Out there’ or ‘in here’? One thing is clear: it cannot be within the particle object, because the particle objects only show up when their wave functions collapse (based on Schrodinger’s wave equation). The wave comes first and then the particle; therefore, the wave cannot exist within the particle.
Question 2: The waves need some sort of medium to propagate. What is this underlying medium? At one time, scientist speculated that there is some sort of ‘ether’ in which the electromagnetic waves travelled. Experiments have proven that there is no ‘ether’ underlying this universe. So, what is the medium through which waves travel?
Question 3: What are the waves made of? Nobody has seen a wave, but it must be made of something, it cannot be made of nothing.
It is important to answer these questions. Unfortunately, science is unable to answer these critical questions. The only choice we have is to look elsewhere. Luckily, we have the teaching of Vedanta. If you have a proper understanding of Vedanta, you can answer the questions raised above.
Mental Waves or Vrittis
Vedanta teaches us that there are mental waves in the mind. These mental waves are called vrittis. To understand these mental waves, it is important to understand that each one of us has the following 3 bodies. Even the universe has these 3 bodies. The seed body germinates to become the subtle body. The subtle body manifests to become the gross body. Let us discuss this briefly to get a better understanding of the 3 bodies and see how mental waves fits in.
The seed body is like a seed from which a tree, with branches, leaves and fruits comes out. A seed already has the potential form of the tree built into it. You could say that the tree is in an un-manifest condition inside the seed. The seed body is also called a causal body because it is the cause for the tree to grow from the seed. For us humans, too, the individual seed body will become an individual human being with all its genetic character traits, or tendencies (called Vasanas). These are also the blueprint of that person’s life including all the karmas that one will exhaust in this life.
Under the right conditions, this causal body or the seed body germinates and grows into the subtle body and the gross body to play out the blueprint that is contained within. The seed body is the driving force and is the cause for the creation of the subtle body and the gross body.
The subtle body grows out of the seed body. The subtle body can also be called the mind. The subtle body is full of vibrations and waves. Vedanta calls these vibrations – ‘vrittis’. These mental waves represent the different objects or combination of objects including emotions and feelings. Everything in this universe can be represented by mental waves. Vedanta teaches us that there is a fully functioning subtle universe where the different waveforms interact with each other to form new complex waveforms. Every thought, every experience in the mind is made up of vrittis or mental waves.
How to understand mental waves? There are two major sheaths within the mind – manas and buddhi. The mental waves are a combination of these two sheaths. These two sheaths are the substratum of the mental waves. Manas is the source for the different object forms. The buddhi is the knowledge/intelligence component of the mental waves. Manas has the power to become objects and buddhi has the power of knowing. Where do manas and buddhi get these powers? These powers come from the Power of Awareness, also called Maya Shakti. The Power of Awareness has the following three powers:
Powers of Awareness = Power of Knower + Power of Knowing + Power of Known
Power of Awareness = Maya Shakti
If you wish an in depth knowledge about the Powers of Awareness, please read my post ‘Analyzing Awareness’.
Manas: It could be seeing, hearing, feeling (touching), smelling, or tasting, the perception of these sensations and the objects which give rise to them takes place only in the manas. For example, when the input signal is a tree – this signal superimposes itself on the manas and the manas creates the required material which makes up the tree. This is not physical material, but the waveform representing these materials. This object waveform has the required ingredients for the tree. If the input is music; it creates the material waveform which makes up the sound for the music. In this way, it handles all the input signals coming from the outside world.
It may not be easy to grasp this concept, but the manas has the power of becoming the object which is superimposed on it. A good metaphor to explain this is that it is like a lump of playdoh which is formless. You can manipulate the playdoh to any shape. It can take any shape or form. In the same way the manas can take any shape or form superimposed on it. This is the amazing power of the manas.
Buddhi: Buddhi has intelligence. It decodes the input signal from the manas. In the process of decoding, it adds intelligence to the object waveform. The object waveform is now made of knowledge. Knowledge is the substratum of the waveform. The object waveform has the knowledge of what the waveform represents.
So, we can say that the substratum of the mental waves or vrittis is intelligence and object form. The mental waves themselves have the knowledge of what objects they represent. That is the nature of the mental waves.
Gross Body: The intelligent mental waves manifest themselves to become the gross objects. These are the gross objects we see out there. A good example to understand this is a JPEG file. The JPEG file for an image is in a subtle form, while the actual image you see on your computer is the gross version of the JPEG file. This is a good way to understand the connection between the subtle and gross bodies. The subtle body is the software version, and the gross body is the physical version. The software version functions within the subtle body or the mind. The subtle body must come first. Without the software code, no gross version is possible.
After understanding the seed, subtle and gross aspects from Vedanta, I think we are ready to answer the questions raised earlier.
Answer 1: Where do the waves reside? The only place where the waves can reside is either in space or in the mind. Space is made up of gross objects only, there is no place for waves or subtle objects. We have seen that the subtle objects create the gross objects. The subtle objects must come first. Based on this, the correct conclusion is that space (and gross objects) is created by the subtle objects. Since subtle objects create space, therefore, the waves cannot exist in space. Mind is the only logical place for the waves to reside. The teachings of Vedanta support this conclusion.
It is important to connect the mental waves taught in Vedanta with the waves in the wave/particle duality and the strings in string theory. Everything subtle can only reside in the mind. Quantum waves and the vibration of the strings can only exist in the mind. If this is correct, waves as described in quantum physics are the same as the mental waves taught by Vedanta.
Yes, it does seem radical to think that everything subtle exists only in the mind. Even in quantum physics, the particle pops up when an observation is made of the wave. An observation is necessary for the wave to collapse. The ultimate observer is within you, the observer who witnesses everything coming in from the different senses. Vedanta calls this observer the Jivatma. When the intelligent mental waves from the buddhi comes in the presence of the observer, the intelligent waves collapse to become the objects we see in space.
Answer 2: what is the medium through which waves travel? Science has shown that there is no ‘ether’ in space for waves to propagate. Since there is no ether, the waves cannot propagate in space. Therefore, there can be no waves in space. We have just seen that the only place the waves can reside is the mind. So, the question which can be asked – is there an ‘ether’ within the mind? This is an interesting question. Understanding the mind, does give a clue to the ‘ether’ within the mind. As we have discussed in other articles, the mind is composed of the following two items.
Mind = Awareness + Mental Waves (Vrittis)
The mind is filled with Awareness (or consciousness) and the different mental waves are superimposed on this Awareness. When these mental waves superimpose, the observer becomes aware of the object. Awareness is the ‘ether’ within the mind. The mental waves propagate upon Awareness.
Answer 3: What are the waves made of? We have discussed earlier that the mental waves are made up of manas and buddhi. The manas has the power to become any object, representing the incoming signal from the 5 senses. Buddhi adds inteliignece to the mental wave. The mental wave knows what object/s it represents. Intelligence and knowledge are the substratum of the mental waves.
The vibrations in string theory and quantum waves, are the same as mental waves. The vibrations and quantum waves are made of intelligence. The waves have the knowledge what they represent. String theory requires 10 dimensions. No one really knows the internal functioning of the mind. I am guessing having 10 dimensions within the mind should not be an issue. So, in conclusion, mental waves are the same as the waves in the particle/wave duality and they are also the source for vibrations in string theory. Everything happens within the mind.