Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem

1. Mathematician Kurt Gödel, in his Incompleteness Theorem, proved that it is impossible to find complete “truth” or “complete explanations” of a system from WITHIN a system.

  • No theory that any scientist discovers is, thus, cannot be proven to be the “ultimate truth”. This is another way of saying that by examining the parts one cannot get the complete picture of the system, IF one is within the system.

2. The Buddha transcended “this world” by developing his mind; see, “The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma” for a description of the 31 realms of existence.

  • This is again something that cannot be proven by a human being. One accepts, as I have, of the truth of that by examining the evidence: that the Buddha was able to explain so much about “this world” 2500 years ago. By “this world” it is meant not only the Earth or even this universe, but total existence.

3. The only way to disprove what I stated above is to find inconsistencies within the Buddha Dhamma (this is the same method used by the scientists in assessing scientific theories). I have not found any.

  • If you find anything inconsistent about the Buddha Dhamma, that is because there have been numerous “alterations” over the past 2500 years. But if you find any inconsistencies at this site, please let me know. If there are any, that is due to my possible carelessness or ignorance and I should be able to fix them.
  • In fact, this is the only way to get rid of any inconsistent “bits and pieces”. Just like if you have a piece of a puzzle at the wrong place that will only hinder the progress of solving the puzzle, having wrong information somewhere will only slow down our progress in “figuring out the pure version of the Buddha Dhamma”.
  • However, I do believe that the “big pieces of the puzzle” are in correct places here.

4. Kurt Gödel would have really enjoyed Buddha Dhamma. It would have been tremendous if he was alive to go trough the material here and point out any inconsistencies. Many of the scientists that I admire, including Einstein, Feynman, Gödel, Heisenberg, de Broglie, Sagan, and many more would have been able to easily grasp the message of the Buddha, but unfortunately they never came across the pure Dhamma; David Bohm came close.

  • I hope the current generation of scientists and philosophers will get an opportunity to examine the pure Dhamma.

5. I do not want wrong impressions to come out of this post. I love science and physics in particular. Before discovering the pure Dhamma, physics was my passion and I still try to keep up with new findings.

  • Yet I have realized that discovering how inert matter behave is a minute fraction of the knowledge about the whole existence. We cannot even discover everything about matter, until we start finding out more about the mind.  The Buddha said, “mano pubbangama Dhamma…“, or “the mind precedes everything in this world….”.

6. Let me give some examples. Albert Einstein introduced his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905 and his General Theory of Relativity in 1915. The first showed that Newton’s Three Laws of Motion were only approximately correct, breaking down when velocities approached that of light. The second showed that Newton’s Law of Gravitation was also only approximately correct, breaking down when gravitation became very strong.

  • We could not see anything wrong with Newton’s laws of motion until we developed technologies that transcended our “level of consciousness”; see, “Expanding ‘Consciousness’ by Using Technology“. They worked well within our “probing sensitivities”. Even today, scientists do not use relativity equations to map out rocket trajectories to the Moon; Newton’s equations are good enough to that.
  • In the same way, everything that science discovers just expands our horizons, but never will provide the “ultimate answers”. We can find “everything about this world” just by purifying our minds; see, “Expanding ‘Consciousness’ by Purifying the Mind“.
  • The above statements may not mean much right now. However, I ask you to be patient and go through the material at the website, and gradually you may realize what I am trying to say.

7. A “good theory” is all about “testable predictions”. As I stated on the home page, I try to present material on Buddha Dhamma as a “theory on how the nature works”. As I pointed out in many essays, many of the “predictions” or “statements” about the nature of this world have proven to be correct by science over the years, especially during the past few hundred years.

  • I can make another prediction just for the records. Darwin’s theory of evolution will be proven to be only partly correct, and only for limited spans of time. The theory of evolution is correct only over the recent past of this planet, where we can trace the past events using techniques such as radiocarbon dating; the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by radiocarbon dating go back to around 50,000 years ago. Even if we put the limit at a million years, that is only a tiny fraction of over four billion year lifespan of the planet.
  • What is correctly stated in the theory of evolution is that species arise when conditions become suitable for them to arise  AND  for them to survive.

8. However, it is dangerous to talk about concepts that are not amenable to our minds. That will lead only to “loss of faith”. It would be impossible to explain to someone who time traveled to the present time from several hundred years ago, how a light bulb can light up just by flipping a switch. There is no way for that person to “grasp” the concept of an electric current; he/she would believe it to be a “magic trick”.

  • The Buddha never revealed any details of the nature that were not discernible to at least his top disciples at that time. Let me give an example from the Tipiṭaka. One time Ven. Moggallana, who was only second to the Buddha in Abhinna (supernormal) powers, saw a large number of beings in the peta realm near the Gijjakuta mountain. Beings in the peta realm have very fine bodies that can be seen by those with abhiññā powers, and some varieties have such fine bodies that only a few people with highly-developed abhiññā powers can see them.
  • So, none of the Arahants that were there who had abhiññā powers, could see them and they told Ven. Moggallana, “how come we cannot see them?”. Ven. Moggallana told them to ask the Buddha. The Buddha told those Arahants that he had actually seen them previously. When the bhikkhus asked why the Buddha did not mention it to them, he told them that, “If I tell you something that you cannot verify by yourselves, that will only lead to doubts. That is why I did not mention it. But now that Moggallana has seen them, there is at least one person there to confirm it”.

9. Even today there are people with abhiññā powers that can see some of these beings in other realms. My teacher Theros say they can see them and I have no reason to doubt them. Developing abhiññā powers requires being able to get to the fourth jhāna AND then working to develop those powers. So, it is not an easy task. If I ever get to that stage, I will mention that here.

  • Developing abhiññā powers or even jhānā is not necessary to attain Nibbāna. One can even attain the Arahanthood without developing any jhāna ahead of the time.
  • What is important is to experience the “cooling down” of Nibbāna even without getting to the Sotāpanna stage. That itself provide incentive to continue with the practice; see, “How to Taste Nibbāna“.


For those who would like to read more on this subject, the following references could be useful. However, I do not encourage anyone to “go off the track”. I included this section to make the point that all existing scientific theories are incomplete, because they all were generated within the system. The Buddha was able to transcend “this world” and thus was able to provide a complete world view.

“Gödel’s Proof”, by Ernst Nagel and James R. Newman (2001).

“Gödel – A Life of Logic”, by John L. Casti and Werner DePauli (2000).

“Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel”, Rebecca Goldstein (2005).

“There’s Something about Gödel”, Francesco Berto (2009).

“Gödel, Escher, Bach – An Eternal Golden Braid”, by Douglas R. Hofstadter (1979).

Next, “Consciousness – A Dhamma Perspective“, ………

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