NIAS Wednesday Discussion: Ontology of Time: Dōgen to Einstein by Prof. Sisir Roy, NIAS Lecture Hall, 4.00 PM

NIAS Wednesday Discussion


Topic:              Ontology of Time: Dōgen to Einstein”


Speaker:          Sisir Roy

                        Senior Homi Bhabha Fellow and Visiting Professor, NIAS



Chairperson:     Dinesh Kumar Srivastava

                        Homi Bhabha Chair Professor, NIAS



Date:               4th December 2019


Time:               4.00 PM


Venue:             Lecture Hall, NIAS



Abstract: Scientists and Philosophers talk about subjective time, objective time, proper time, time perception, sidereal time, time dilation, reaction time, space time etc. Still, the exact nature of time has troubled great minds, both scientific and philosophic both from east and west: especially from Nagarjuna to Dogen , Aristotle and Sophocles to Heidegger , Newton and Einstein to Prigogine. Time in Newtonian framework is considered to be an independent dimension than space and acts like container. Einstein in his theory relativity, introduced new perspective regarding the nature of time. Here, now does not remain any more special than here, implying that all moments in time are as equally real as all locations in space – here and now. Modern cosmology based on Einstein’s theory raises very deep issues regarding the space, time etc. The universe is manifested from the fluctuation of quantum vacuum and the question regarding space and time before Big Bang is not a meaningful one. This is strikingly similar to Dogen’s metaphor The time we call spring blossoms directly as an existence called flowers. The flowers in turn express the time called spring. This is not existence within time; existence itself is time. Dogen underlines this in Uji with such statements as, Time is existence, and existence is time. This vitalizes the basic principle of Buddhism. And it is clear that time takes form in space. Dogen's standpoint here has some of the flavor of modern existentialist philosophy, particularly the ideas in Heidegger's Sein und Zeit. Moreover, from the moment of Big bang until now, the randomness, fluctuation and chaotic disorder of the universe have been evolving through irreversible time into self-organizing pattern, order, complexity.These are called irreversible processes that involve with arrow of time. Ilya Prigogine in his book “order out of chaos” states “Today we are becoming more and more conscious of the fact that on all levels, from elementary particles to cosmology, randomness and irreversibility play an ever-increasing role. Science is rediscovering time.”


About the speaker: Sisir Roy is currently Senior Homi Bhabha Fellow and Visiting Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru. Formerly he was Professor, Physics and Applied mathematics Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.


Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Organised by: 
NIAS Lecture Hall