by Marinus Jan Marijs
Theoretical physicist and Nobel-laureate Erwin Schrödinger was one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century. In his books “What is life” (1944) and “My view of the world” (1964) he puts forward his thoughts about the nature of consciousness. According to Schrödinger “consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown; that there is only one thing and that what seems to be a plurality is merely a series of different aspects of this one thing, produced by a deception.” In his books he refers to the Upanishads insight: “Atman = Brahman means the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self”. To Schrödinger, consciousness is only One, singular and identifiable with its universal source: Brahman, the Absolute. The statement that “consciousness is One, singular” is similar to Plotinus’s famous statement that “the Absolute is one without a second”. The Absolute transcends space and time, being timeless, spaceless.The concept of union of consciousness is also to be found by Nick Herbert: in his explorations of the mystery of consciousness, also wants to know why there is a felt-sense of the “unity of conscious experience”: “Although we know the brain to be a massive parallel processor with many billions of operations going on at the same time, our inner experience seems to possess a single centre: whatever is going on seems to be happening to only one being.” Nick Herbert, Elemental Mind, op. cit., p. 46.