The Quantum State Function, Platonic Forms, and the Ethereal Substance
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Ranjbar, V. “The Quantum State Function, Platonic Forms, and the Ethereal Substance: Reflections on the Potential of Philosophy to Contribute to the Harmony of Science and Religion”. The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 32, no. 1-2, Jan. 2023, pp. 7-40, doi:10.31581/jbs-32.1-2.501(2022).


Werner Heisenberg, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, argued that the quantum state function for elementary particles should be understood as belonging to the realm of Plato’s idealized Forms. In this paper, I suggest that this connection between two concepts of fundamental importance in our understanding of reality, from science and philosophy respectively, can be plausibly further correlated to concepts from the knowledge system of religion, as described in the Bahá’í Writings. I argue here that ethereal substance (maddiy-i-athiriyyih) as described by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and alluded to by Bahá’u’lláh also belongs to Plato’s idealized realm. Further, the description of ethereal substance in the Bahá’í Writings resonates with the modern understanding of a quantum field, which itself is derived from the concept of a quantum state function. The paper also considers the implications of apparent parallels drawn in the Bahá’í Writings between the ethereal substance and the human spirit, and concludes with refl ections on the possible relationship between consciousness and quantum mechanics.
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