Kevin Wacknov's Coffee Notes

Science and the 3 Marks of Existence

Einstein said, "everything is vibration." In N.W. McLachlan's book, Theory of Vibrations, he abstracted the properties necessary for vibration to be 1) stiffness, s; 2) mass, m; and 3) resistance, r. These are present in mass-spring systems, electric LRC circuts, pneumatic vibrations, and vibrating strings. Since electromagnetic waves are lighter versions of LC circuits, it must apply here also.

In Buddhism, the necessary properties for anything that exists have been abstracted to 1) impermanence, 2) selflesness, and 3) unsatisfactoriness.

Here is a table showing how these two views are analogous to each other.

Science analogies of 3 Marks of Existence
Property Buddhist meaning Science meaning
1 impermanence all things change spring constant when displaced from equilibrium, there is a restoring force
2 selflessness there is no permanent self mass inertia slows the return to equilibrium, and makes the oscillation continue past equilibrium
3 unsatisfactoriness nothing feels good enough resistance in physical systems, the oscillation decays

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