Space - The Ultimate Reality

Space - The final frontier
From Start Trek Original

Throughtout history space and time have been the most fascinating entities in human thought. Different philosophers and scientists right from Aristotle to Feynman have concieved various ideas about them. While there are plenty of articles on space and time, what it is made up of, why do they exist etc. covering the scientific grounds. Here in this article I intend to run through some of the philosophical aspects of Space and Time from the point of view of Physics. Many people, not excluding myself, have frowned upon the thought of physics tending towards philosophy. One is based on experiments and another based on conjectures. But here I wish to present some interesting thoughts over space and time by some interesting human beings and their theories.

The chief questions about space and time are: Are they real or imagined? What came first? Will there be an end to space and time? Let us see what the ancient philosophers of India, West and the modern physicists had to say about them. Here I am just presenting a compilation of these thoughts and not taking any stand like who thought what first. As far as concepts are concerned, I dont think that the ancient Indian philosophers were in anyway less knowledgeable about space and time than the modern physicists, especially the quantum guys. For example, Sankara's views on space and time are exactly same as that of quantum physicists. What Sankara did not know was writing that out as mathematical formulae. And thats what I think made Galileo the father of modern science. Galileo taught us to express the action of nature in terms of mathematical formula.

Philosophy and Founder Space Time
Purva Mimamsa.- Jaimini Is a substance. Vaguely defined Is a mental construction. Depends on succession of events. Flow of time is uninterrupted but divided for empirical use. Universe is not created out of time. It is the greatest destructive force.
Uttara Mimasa - Prabhakara Akasha - substratum of sound, is eternal
Dik - (space) is eternal substance
Time is eternal
Uttara Mimasa - Kumarila Akasha - Eternal, indivisible, all pervasive. Is uncreated substance Time is eternal
Nyaya Vaiseshika Is a reality, eternal
Akasha - material cause of sound
Dik (space) is general cause of all effects and is receptacle of everything in the world (Newton's space)
Is a reality. Space and Time constitute entire cosmic order. Both are efficient cause of universe. Time is creator and destructor of universe
Sankhya Yoga Akasa (space) is an evolved entity. It evolved out of Prakriti (Nature) Is a product of mind. Is characterized by succession of events
Jainism Is real, eternal, formless, all pervasive, inactive and unconscious. Akasa and Dik are one and same Is Real, independent entity. Consists of indivisible time-atoms. Universe is filled with time-atoms
Hinayana Vaibhashika Buddhism Is non-composite, uncaused, immutable, indestructible and eternal  
Hinayana Sautrantika Buddhism Is not eternal, Is pure nothing. No objectivity  
Mahayana Yogacara Buddhism Is a form Is not a reality
Mahayana Sunyavada Buddhism Is a mental notion. No objectivity  
Advaita Vedanta Is a substance. Not eternal and has a beginning. Is a receptacle (Newton's space). Was created along with universe. Akasa is filled with Prana (field). Thru Prana is everything created. Is a mental construction
Greek - Democritus Is void  
Plato Is a receptacle of everything  
Newton Is absolute  


Parts of material collected from the bookMaya in Physics