Sunday, October 21, 2012

Creatio ex Nihilo god and god particle: Part II: Atomos and Anu; Causality and Adristam

In the ingrained philosophy of the Indian subcontinent, god or divinity is in all things animate or in-. As a first or instinctive conclusion, this view is particularly consistent with the impression of what we have of, what is known as, Higgs’ field. This field is postulated to permeate everywhere in space, meaning that its value is non-zero so that it acts on any particle. Since, in Newtonian kinematical terms, a force is measured by the acceleration it produces on a mass, one may, at least intuitively, assume that an all-pervasive Higgs’ field gives a mass to all particles. A particle may then exist because it has mass. If the Higgs’ field is associated with the existence of a particle, then the Higgs’ particle may be treated – in quasi-theological or multi-media-religion terms - as a god-like particle or “god-particle.” If god is something which gives mass to a particle (“soul”) then there may be many gods acting by different fields in different sub-worlds. The Higgs’s particle is the god that gives mass even in the absence of other fields or other worlds.

However, the obvious question that arises in the mind of an inquisitive, partially informed, layman is “shouldn’t it be the same as a gravity field that permeates everywhere there is mass? If god is something which gives mass (“soul”?) to a particle, then there may be many gods acting by different fields in different sub-worlds.

An informed analysis (not mine) states that the force acting due to a field (say gravity) depends on the existence of a gradient of that field. If the force exerted by another field (say Higgs’ field) is uniform everywhere there will be no effect on the gravity field by the Higgs’ field, provided the two fields do not influence each other. (they are orthogonal which my computer says it means they are mutually independent, non-redundant, non-overlapping or irrelevant; in computer terminology, something ... is orthogonal if it can be used without consideration as to how its use will affect something else.) So there is no loss of quantification of the influence of gravity if the Higgs’ field is arbitrarily chosen to be zero. This could be equivalent to making the vacuum energy density to be zero. This is convenient. it seems, because the vacuum energy density cannot be calculated as yet with accuracy. There are other such problems --- such as a cosmological constant or dark energy --- for the theoretical physicists in their search for a mathematical absolute truth.

From an Ockham’s razor (see previous blog) point of view, perhaps, we may say that there is a self- consistency emerging from the empiricism (remember Godel? of “Godel, Escher, Bach”?) of mathematical formalism which explains the behaviour of some class of particles.

The question to ask is (always perhaps) which came first ... the Higgs’ field or the Higgs’s particle. Which is the “god” that gives mass and therefore existence to particles even in the absence of other fields or other worlds?

In philosophical terms, is it the atomos-anu particle or causality-adristam concepts of Greco-Indian philosophies?

Since I have no licence to speculate on either particle physicist or philosophy, I guess (using Ockham's razor), I may have a better chance of putting forward from the perspective of an ordinary what the main issues could be. We need to be logically consistent even if we need not be mathematically correct to understand what ancient philosophers had to say about the very beginning.

Atomos of Leucippus-Democritus-Epicurus

Philosophical issues such as the indivisibility of matter or the first matter or atomos has been attributed to Democritus-Leucippus in the western world. The concept of there being an “uncuttable” (atomos) state of matter is attributed to Leucippus or earlier while Democritus probably has to be credited with the establishment of the concept of atomos by building upon it quantitatively in mechanical terms and by proposing mathematical laws. The senses are a reaction to changes in time of the different configurations of atoms.

While Democritus did not deny the existence of sense and sensibility (awareness) the interpretation of an observed (therefore true) phenomenon due to such senses may be subject to misinterpretation and is therefore subjective. The more objective truth behind the phenomenon that is registered by our senses is derived from the influence of the motion and rearrangement of atoms in void. This is the real truth whereas all other phenomenon are (in a well quoted phrase) “... sweet by convention, hot by convention, cold by convention, color by convention ... .”

There is this contradiction between Democritus and Epicurus which formed the basis for Karl Marx’s thesis. Epicurus stated that reality can only be defined by the senses. What we learn from our senses is the only legitimate knowledge. Epicurus followed the same postulates of Democritus regarding the atomos. Yet they came to opposite conclusions. The difference between Democritus and Epicurus is, I presume (after reading Pierre-Marie Morel’s Epicurean Atomism) basically in the way infinity has been used. Democritus conjectured that the atoms have infinite shapes which may be extended to saying that atoms could have infinite sizes. When this is done, it contradicts the notion that atoms are invisible and indivisible. At the same time if there are infinite shapes of atoms and infinite number of rearrangements that accounts for the seemingly infinite number of sensations. There would then be no way to distinguish between subtle changes of sensations and shapes because it would be impossible to discern their boundaries and thereby feel distinct sensations. This is the contradiction studied by Marx. Two philosophers teach exactly the same science, in exactly the same way, but — how inconsistent! — they stand diametrically opposed in all that concerns truth,

One of the concerns of Epicureans is the role of pain of body and trouble in the mind and the way it has to be removed to feel pleasure which is the only good. The role of religion is to provide this good. All desires which create no pain when unfulfilled are not necessary (see The concern with death is tackled by reducing it into nothing. The second of his four-fold cure for anxiety says

Death is nothing to us because a body that has been dispersed into elements experiences no sensations and the absence of sensation is nothing to us.

In der Zwischenzeit, between the beginning from atoms and dispersal into atoms is life.

Epicurus would have the living extract pleasure from sensations as the only reality. This is Marx’s dilemma. How do Democritus and Epicurus starting from the same atomos concept come to diametrically opposite conclusions? Longfellow had perhaps examined this aspect by this line “dust thou art to dust returnest” from his poem “A psalm of life” but he did not intend it in the Epicurean sense (perhaps). His poem has the lines
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,/Is our destined end or way;/But to act, that each to-morrow/Find us farther than to-day.

And still they gazed and still the wonder grew how one small head could carry all it knew.
This section has been put in as a diversion. One looks at inanimate images (sculpted or sketched) of faces and one tries to figure out from the face if there is an additional hint about their life.

It would have been nice to have lived in the times of Leucippus-Democritus-Epicurus --- the time after Buddha got his enlightenment --- and decide, if necessary, for ourselves what they meant. For the present we can only look at their images as created by the artist that made their images while they posed, say. The final image of their face could be a reflection of their reaction to their artist. But if one has posed for some time, this reaction would have been washed off and one could perhaps get a true equilibrium state of their minds as a composite of their left- and right-brain activities.
The images of Leucippus and Democritus as well as Epicurus --- as taken from Wikipedia --- are given in the centre below. Each of these images have been have been split into half. The left and right halves (facing the page) are then copied, pasted, flipped horizontally, and then joined back to give the composite left and right faces. The left-and right sides of the images are actually the right and left side of the face towards the artist. The expressions on the right side of the face is controlled by the left half of the brain which is the analytic half (logic, math, science, creativity, details, making strategies) while the right half of the brain works on the more synthetic aspects (shapes, pictures, melody, beauty, possibilities). The expressions on the left side of the face (right-side of the picture) is thus controlled by the artist side of one’s personality. That on the right side of the face (left of the picture) is controlled by the analytic aspects of one’s mind.

The point that I am trying to make (besides finding an excuse for putting in a picture as otherwise Alice may not read it) is that Leucippus, who thought of atomos first had a balance between the analytic and synthetic sides of his mind. Democritus’s mind had his left side seemingly active with conflicts about his analyses, while his right side had no such conflicts. Democritus therefore went into details of the atomos concept, visiting the world, learning and debating and preaching

The left brain activity of Epicurus seems to suggest a “I told you so” look of a man who is not too concerned about the beginning and the end but just the simple joys of living-hood.

The right-brain activity as expressed in the images seems to show increasing doubt on going from Leucippus through Democritus to Epicurus.

The concept of anu.

In my search of the internet for the philosophy behind anu, the Indian philosophical equivalent (so we have been told) of atomos, I understood from Wikepedia that the philosophy of anu is in the Vaisesika sutra. I could find (besides Wikipedia) two documents that gives the Vaisesika sutra of Kanada as translated by Sinha and an article by one Roopa Narayan on “Space, Time and Anu in Vaisheshika” which is really a more readable (and probably more inaccurate) version.

It seems from Sinha’s translation (page 2) that vaisesika means ‘characteristic’ or ‘distinguishing’ and that from Panini’s grammar rules for Sanskrit vaisesika is derived from visesa so that vaisesika sutra is a treatise on visesa. The word visesa itself is differently interpreted, so that to ordinary mortals like us we cannot, even if we knew Panini rules, know what visesa means. Sinha’s translation gives “species, distinction, difference, excellence, superiority” (did he mean hierarchy?) for visesa.

It turns out, after I formed an oopinion, that part of the confusion may lie in the possibility that the root of visesa may not be in Sanskrit at all, but in older languages such as Tamil or Bengali (!). After all, we Tamilians begin our day asking “enna visesam?” and we Bengalis begin with “ki bishoi?”. These are probably the English equivalent of “what’s new?”. In this sense we may say that vaisesika sutra deals with the origin of matter (material or spiritual).

This interpretation also opens up the possibility that the thoughts on visesa might have come before the time vaisesika sutra was written in Sanskrit (assuming as I do that Tamil, Bengali were developed before Sanskrit, if only because these languages, like English, do not have genders for their nouns). But more on this later.

There is this tendency among mis-informed Indian-western thought that the corresponding Indian (I don’t know what I mean by “Indian”) term for atomos is anu. The English translation of Sinha suffers from the fact that it was written in deeply colonial times when the best Indian scholar had to follow or be validated by the best western traditions of scholarship, such as John Stuart Mill’s 1845 book on “A System of Logic”. It is therefore not clear to what extent western philosophy subconsciously dictated the translation. Thus Nanda's translation uses the word atom for anu without seemingly trying to differentiate between the two.

The translation of Sanskrit texts is something which is subjective. The Sanskrit texts have considerable parsimony in their use of words and the translation would depend on the interpretation by the readers which in turn will depend not only on the knowledge of the grammar but also on the life-experience of the reader (e.g., the word visesa itself or the word anu as discussed above). Thus a sutra (learned treatise) would have a connected string of aphorisms (statements that says something wise and true, my computer informs me) that keep adding up to a bigger self-consistent truth. Since hwat I don't know about Sanskrit would fill all books written on it,

I am attaching the Sanskrit texts from Nanda’s translation without adding his commentaries in most cases. This text breaks up the sanskrit words into its components and gives an interpretation of what the aphorism could meam in English. This is not a good thing to do because the modern idiomatic interpretation of English may be very different from the ancient idiomatic interpretation of the texts as read by the Greeks or by Sanskrits.

The reader has the chance to make his own interpretations depending on his life experiences. I also have used a sequence of aphorisms in vaisesika sutra in order to suit my own string of thoughts. I actually start from near the end.

In Nanda’s translation of the Vaiseshika sutra, the word anu for a small object cannot be defined by contrasting it with the word mahat for a massive object. The first meaningful attempt in trying to define anu comes (7-1-6; the sequence here means book 7-chapter 1-aphrism 6)) in a negative sense by saying what largeness may mean
In the next aphorism (7-1-10) anu is used in a general sense as meaning small (and not atomic, as Nanda may have misinterpreted, I think). The anu is said to be what largeness is not.
Then comes a more difficult passage for an ordinary mortal (not a Sanskrit scholar) The definition of smallness or largeness are obtained simultaneously. It comes after one has first defined the eternal as something that has always existed and not created because of any cause.
Such a duality of opposites anu and mahat is probably necessary. It seems to me that the concept of very small first requires the concept of the infinity in space or its equivalent, the eternal in time. Thus the aphorism 4-1-1
From this the Vaivesiska sutra continues (aphorism 5-1-2) with the definition of what Nanda calls the ultimate atom. The effect that we see because of a cause is because of the lingam of the anu (mark of the ultimate atom).
Other effects on our senses arises by what Democritus would call convention in a cause and effect manner.
Because there is a sequence discerned in causality, the sequence of events give the notion of time. There is no time without events.
Once the featurelessness of the featureless eternal is perturbed by a sequence of causes and effects (movement of the jewel and the approach of the needle) marked, say, by the heaven-created time-beats of the the dance of Shiva, appearing as Shiva the creator
This is where the concept of adristam (perhaps the physicists equivalence of a field) is invoked. It is through adristam that there is earthquake, or circulation of water in the trees, or thunder and lightning.

The Vaisesika Sutra of Kanada is really an analysis of cause and effect or of adristam. Very early (aphorism 1-2-1) causality is introduced,
One cannot expect the analyses of cause and effect will allow one to predict or foresee all events in space and time from the beginning till the end. Even in our finite time-scale we will not be able to predict accurately such small things as weather conditions if we are not sure of the boundary conditions --- the conditions in the beginning and end of the time interval concerned. This is often put (in quasi romantical terms) as the “butterfly effect” by which a butterfly flapping its wings in one place alters weather conditions far away,

The butterfly effect is perhaps one way of way of saying what adristam is. The commentary in Nandalal’s translation in vaisesika sutra is equally poetic. I reproduce the English commentary simply to suggest that the butterfly effect can be put in more complex language, such as that below:-

Whereas it is seen that in spite of earth, wheel, water, potter, thread, etc., being brought together, there is non-existence of the pot, if there is non-existence of the; potter s staff, and that in spite of earth, water. etc.. being brought together, there is non-existence of the shoot if there is non-existence of the seed : it (i . e., non-existence) cannot be explained without the relation of effect and cause between the potter s staff and the pot or between the seed and the shoot. Otherwise there will be non-existence of the pot even on the non-existence of the loom, etc., and there will be non-existence of the shoot even on the non- existence of pieces of stone, etc. Moreover it is seen that the pot, a piece of cloth, etc, exist for a time only. That even cannot be explained without the relation of cause and effect. For they being non-existent at one time, their temporariness in the form of existence at another time is not possible but by the dependence of existences upon causes.

This concept of adristam and maaya are two philosophies that are accepted in our Indian (the true meaning of Hindu) lives in a quite secular manner. The adristam is something one has no control of although we know that it is a result of the past (and therefore necessarily future) cause and effects as long as time is not still. Activity in the ultimate anu comes because of adristam in the time that between the beginning and end of the (cosmic) cycle. Because of this we may understand the entry in Wikipedia which states that anu “... come into being and vanish in an instant” in one form of the cosmic cycle. The truth between these instants are phenomena which may be described as maaya which is not the absolute truth (not Brahman; maaya transliterates into “not that”). This interpretation is perhaps close to being Democritean.

Adristam is also something that is ingrained (modern science would perhaps say it is expressed in one’s gene or DNA without really clarifying it further) and is to be distinguished from instinctive action that comes from a past experience. Nanda cites as example, the lust for women in young men even though they have no previous experience of them or the fear of snake bites.

Adristam is well ingrained in Indian vocabulary. One philosophically accepts events in one’s life as something like “that is my adristam”. Yet what is real is more material as visesa. The malayalees of Kerala --- a place in the south where philosophies of northwestern invaders would have arrived late --- call their new year day as vishu. Vishu Punniya Kalam is said to be a time before vishu when nothing exists. Recommencement as existence of material space begins after vishu. This recommencement is symbolized as kai visesam, --- the giving of a gift from the hands of an elder.


The philosophy of anu and adristam has in it components of the Leuccipu-Democritus-Epicurus thoughts on atomos. It is therefore not clear whether the vaisesika sutra was influenced by their thoughts. Sanskrit scriptures as documented are usually dated to 300 BC which is certainly after the times of Leuccipus-Democritus and contemporaneous with Epicurus.

This is certainly not acceptable to Hindus (Indians) like me. However, I will put up with it reluctantly, after making a few qualifying remarks.

Earlier references to anu comes from Babylonian king of angels in Chaldean. In we find
“,,, There seems little doubt that the Chaldean Anu and the Sanskrit Anu (atom) are identical in origin. Anu is a title of the formative Brahma who philosophically is often envisaged as the cosmic atom or infinite universe. The mystical significance is the ever-invisible, unreachable divine center -- whether of a being or universe -- which is the divine-spiritual focus of essential consciousness, from which flow forth all the streams of consciousness in its multiform varieties." ... WOW!!!

There are various names that begin with anu and which are associated with beginnings. Thus Anukriti (creation), Anubhav (experience), anubhuti (feeling), anubodh (awareness), anudeep (bright light), anugraha (divine blessing) and so on.

An interesting aspect is that while the Sanskrit word krithika means creative, anukrithika in tamil means “no”. The implication, as Tamilians always maintain, is that Tamil came before Sanskrit. A proof (even if not entirely convincing to most) of this could be read into anukrithika (implying vacuum in Tamil) coming before creation (krithika in Sanskrit)???

As another “proof” we have the English word "annunciation", from the Latin Annutiatio nativatis. It conveys conception to virgin (vacuum?) Mary. This even is also associated with the time (nine months before Christmas) of the vernal equinox which is a time for the New Year.

Kanada, who compiled the Vaisesika sutra, is said to belong to the lineage (gotra) of one of the seven great sages (sapta rishi) Kashyap who (according to Wikipedia) is the father of all humanity and who is also from Orissa which is as close to as one can get to Bengal (suggesting to my satisfaction that Bengal is the origin of every thing). I am not suggesting any connection but the name for tortoise or turtle is kochop, in Hindi kachua, and in Marathi of Maharashtra it is kasa.


Since images of anu can only be captured by the influenceof adristam, when time exist, when can only reprsent the action of adristam. In the aphorism 5-2-13 of Vaisesika sutra we have
One can, I suppose, make an imagery of the forces of adristam acting on anu. One has done so in the internet and we come up with somethings in the image below One image (Fig 5 left) of anu seems to roughly incorporate the descriptions of adristam above (from In the blog on a mathematician’s view of the god of Abraham, there is a representation of a 4-dimensional Hypersphere which has the same volume of a solid Torus in 3-dimensions (see which is vaguely similar (Fig 5, top right).
The tortoise plays an important role in Hindu Vaishnavite (Vishnu) mythologies. For some reaon (not necessary for this blog) the forces of good (Devas or god’s people) ahd to churn the seas along with their foes (asuras, which I interpret as Assyrians) had to churn an ocean of milk with a serpent as the churning rope and a mountain as the churning rod. During the churning as the mountain sank into the ocean Vishnu took (see form of a turtle to bear the weight of the mountain. The whole purpose of the churning was to restore immortality to the Devas. Since anu is immortal the shape of the tortoise may be taken as the shape giving time or mortality to anu or its adristam.

There is little more that I can do to show any connection with images of anu and Hindu images, except to point out a rough resemblance (Fig 5 right bottom)to the tortoise or kochop in Bengali. The tortoise is present outside the main idol in many temples in Mahrashtra.

The various parts of the turtle represents the heavens (shell), earth (body) underworld (undershell) and is thought to have rought about the creation of the universe or at least to have restored (by the churning of the seas) the parts of the universe when it was destroyed after the great flood.

So, in a roundabout way I have found the link between the tortoise and anu and adristam. This is not the purpose of this blog. It is just its adristam.