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Superconductivity and Enlightenment

zenffzenff Veteran
edited September 2013 in Buddhism Today
Maybe this is weird but I was thinking about how there could be some sort of analogy between superconductivity and enlightenment.
Superconductivity is a phenomenon of exactly zero electrical resistance and expulsion of magnetic fields occurring in certain materials when cooled below a characteristic critical temperature. It was discovered by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes on April 8, 1911 in Leiden. Like ferromagnetism and atomic spectral lines, superconductivity is a quantum mechanical phenomenon. It is characterized by the Meissner effect, the complete ejection of magnetic field lines from the interior of the superconductor as it transitions into the superconducting state. The occurrence of the Meissner effect indicates that superconductivity cannot be understood simply as the idealization of perfect conductivity in classical physics.
Take the last sentence of this Wikipedia-quote and replace conductivity with happiness and superconductivity with enlightenment.
“Enlightenment cannot be understood simply as the idealization of happiness in classical neuroscience/psychology.”

In my layman's words (not being an expert on either natural or neuroscience) it would sound like this:

The reward system in our brain is genetically designed and programmed in life to organize our behavior in such a way that we do things that we expect will cause the release of some nice chemicals in our brain. We push the buttons that we think will give us the reward.
We can be successful in doing that on various levels. That would be something like the level of conductivity in our brain.
Meditation is like resetting the machine. We stop it for a while. Some loops in the circuits, that create extra resistance, fall away and when we restart the machine, we can feel happy a lot easier. We can enjoy the sun on our faces again, or the sound of leaves in the wind; and our obsessions are weaker or even gone for a while.
We can train this; we can work on keeping the conductivity of happiness in our brain close to perfect.

But at some point there’s a non linear change, a leap. There is this happiness which is not based on anything - not related to anything we can put our finger on. It’s just there and it’s on a different plane.

Superconductivity is rare. I suppose enlightenment is rare too.
What if we find some enlightened beings and put them in a brain scanner. It would be fantastic to have one in the scanner at the precise moment of his awakening.
What would we see? Would something as weird as superconductivity be going on in his brain?


  • wrathfuldeitywrathfuldeity Veteran
    edited September 2013
    This sounds like when I'm sitting on the loo having my morning constitutional...a giant leap of something, enlightenment...and happiness. I'd like to see if my pet scan lights up during these events.
  • This sounds like when I'm sitting on the loo having my morning constitutional...

    Yes, that too contains a rich and beautiful analogy.
  • footiamfootiam Veteran
    edited September 2013
    A church goer once say electricity is like God. You can't see but you could feel it. People will see what they believe in anything. If there is analogy between Superconductivity and enlightenment, it does not mean that superconductivity is enlightenment. Just like football is not rugby.
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