Man as Spectator and Actor in the Drama of Existence
For a parallel to the lesson of atomic theory regarding the limited applicability of such customary idealizations, we must in fact turn to quite other branches of science, such as psychology , or even to that kind of epistemological problems with which already thinkers like Buddha and Lao Tzu have been confronted, when trying to harmonize our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence.
The gradual clarification of the basic concepts of quantum mechanics is most clearly reflected in eight essays by Niels Bohr, written over a period of 30 years, from 1927 until 1957 (Bohr 1934; Bohr 1958). Among these essays there is a paper, originally published in Studia Orientalia (Copenhagen 1953) and entitled “Physical Science and the Study of Religions.” At the opening of this paper Bohr stresses his deep indebtedness to his colleague, the orientalist Johannes Pederson, in honor of whose seventieth birthday he was contributing his comments on the relations between the epistemology of quantum physics and the philosophy of Oriental religions. I have not read Pederson’s works, but I happen to be fairly well acquainted with the relevant books and papers of my friend Professor Toshimiku Izutsu, the eminent philosopher and historian of Chinese religions; although I am not a scholar in this field, I venture to make a few remarks on its connection with Bohr’s philosophy of quantum mechanics.