Yesterday, we noted that in a debate with four other philosophers of physics, Charles Sebens argued that there are no particles, everything is fields.
A friend now writeswrote to remind us that physics great Max Planck had quite immaterial views on the nature of the universe:
Max Planck: Gentlemen, as a physicist who all his life, within the most sober and rational science, has been devoted to the study of matter, I am certain to be free of the suspicion of being a dreamer, and so I say after my research on the atom; matter as such does not exist.
All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force that brings the parts of the atom in vibration, and keeps the smallest solar system of the universe together. As there in the entire universe does not exist an intelligent force, nor an eternal force- man has not yet succeded in inventing the perpetuum mobile- so must we assume behind this force the existence of a conscious intelligent spirit. This spirit is the basis of all matter. The visible but impermanent matter is not the reality and truth- because without spirit, matter wouldn’t exist at all- but the invisible, immortal spirit is the truth. Because every spirit belongs to a being, we are forced to assume it to be a spiritual being. Because spiritual beings do not come about by themselves, but must be created, I will not hesitate in fact, to call this secretive creator, like people of all cultures through millennia has done, God. Thereby moves the physicist who dealt with matter, from the realm of stuff to the realm of the spirit. And so is our task ended, and we must then pass on the research into the hands of the philosophers. – Lecture, ‘Das Wesen der Materie’ [The Essence/Nature/Character of Matter], Florence, Italy (1944). Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, Rep. 11 Planck, Nr. 1797. Excerpt in Gregg Braden, The Spontaneous Healing of Belief: Shattering the Paradigm of False Limits (2009), 334-35.
See also: What great physicists have said about immateriality and consciousness