Sunday, August 12, 2012

Reality, and how different approaches could alter its final outcome

This reflection attempts to show how different approaches to discover ultimate reality could alter its ultimate outcome. Man and his science have been after reality from macro to micro - - to understand life and the world, he attempted to find out its ultimate building block- the structure of the atom. This approach involved a base pattern; ie. ignoring the reality of the whole, thinking that the reality would be in the realm of the parts.

Early science assumed that a state of 'rest' is the base nature of matter, hence it started research to reach at time event of putting the whole universe into ' motion'. This blog attempts to journey through the various aspects of the above philosophical approaches,and the possible alternatives man could adopt to approach and understand reality.

Pursuit over the 'matter' was at the cost of ignoring mind 

It won't be an exaggeration if we state that our modern scientific and political institutions look at the man of mind as more a fiction than a reality, thanks to the over emphases on 'matter' during the start of the scientific probe after reality. Mind always considered a property of the base stuff,matter.

This choosing of matter over the mind was the result of Europe's following the classic Greek tradition in their scientific discipline. Fritjof Capra, in his best seller book ' Tao of Physics' confirms this idea:

' Greek natural philosophy was based on geometrical considerations. It was; one could say,extremely 'non-relativistic' and its strong influence on Western thought may well be one of the reasons why we have such great conceptual difficulties with relativistic models in modern physics' .

He was explaining the conceptual shock that the western mind encountered at the subatomic particle level findings on the matter. There was no trace of solid matter at the end of the long drawn experiments ! What scientists encountered was a constant 'dance' of subatomic particles, getting annihilated, and reborn in every millionth of seconds, in certain yet unknown rhythm and pattern !

As against this model of the Greeks, the Eastern thought ( especially religious thought) was more from the macro - -accepting life as the final truth, instead of going for its atomic root, at the 'parts' level. Hence, the latest quantum physics findings resemble more the eastern model of reality than the western. Reality can be known only by finding rational explanations for life at its surface level ! It is the final end result that nature had intended, with all her secret complexities at the subatomic particle level etc.

It is a clear example of the falsehood of  looking at the 'structure' to understand the 'essence'.

Mere adoption of a certain pattern of finding the reality and its effect on the end result was quite amusing !

This particular pattern,and especially the 'values' involved in such a pattern was well evident from certain narratives used by one of the pioneers of the early scientific movement - Francis Bacon. He asserted the role of science in exploring nature in the following usages: ( expressed in his various writings)

> Nature had to be haunted in her wanderings
> She should be bound into service
>  . ..made a slave
> . . .put in constraint
> . . .to torture the secrets out from her !

During his time, 'witch-hunt' was popular in Europe, hence, his words resembled the pattern of this social evil of the time.

Man, his mind and his life realities were at the center in the past, as well as today. But, instead of probing 'why' life is, in its existing form and complexity, man and his science opted for a knowledge system of dissecting a whole into parts, and then understand its working. Though mankind gained a lot from this model of knowledge, he lost also a lot, in the form of  wastage of many centuries, spent on the wrong direction of his efforts. Modern physics is really at cross roads today, bewildered and puzzled, though the puzzlement is yet to be flown in the mainstream world, into the minds of common man.

Man and his life stand still, unexplored and unanalysed even today ! His individual and social course of life are full of dilemmas and complexities, seeking immediate attention of scientists instead of political players.What was thought unreal earlier has to be treated as real now, replacing the excessive relevance accorded to the opposite direction so far.

When  life is attempted to be viewed from the angle of the centrality of  human experience, the Western world ridicule such attempts by calling by the name 'solipsism' ! Such explanations of reality imply that man was at the center of the existence of the whole. So, they invented another name to nullify and even ridicule such attempts by calling it 'anthropocentrism'. In the Western world, it has become a science of a sort in identifying such world-views, and she often dares to brand them as signs of disorderly minds! One who is accustomed in the 'scientific-jargon' to correctly identify and name such mental 'disorders' properly is considered as normal,straight, and a truly scientific minded personality !

Man's faculty for judging the ultimate SENSE ! 

When men compare the two ultimate points of view about life and existence, ie:

1) Is the existence of material reality prominent over that of the life realm ?
2) Is the life realm of existence more prominent and central over the realm of matter ?

We have no other reference point or knowledge mechanism to depend upon to, other than our inherent and ultimate 'SENSE ' of deciding between the two. As every man 'experience' such a SENSE, its reality can not be overruled. When American and French revolutionists declared that FREEDOM and LIBERTY of man SELF-EVIDENT in nature, no one denied it ! The entire world accepted the said the AXIOM as UNIVERSAL ! It was a silent acceptance of man's inherent inner ( unknown) faculties to make out the ultimate SENSE out of things and matters !

Similarly, when one of the fathers of democracy, Pericles the great of Greece, declared the universal validity of Democratic principles, he said: 'and we are also taught to observe those unwritten laws whose sanction lies only in the universal feeling of what is right.'. 
These examples show that man indeed has a universal faculty in  'deciding' what is more sensible from a given set of options. Here if we put forth the above two questions before the said faculty of man for deciding the degree of 'sense', it will be the second option that would be the winner on account of better sense ! 
This is because, life is the central concern and reference point of man from where he had emerged as the seeker of truth. It is ridiculous to conclude that he himself is meaningless and senseless, and the structural realm of existence, the matter realm, is the central cause as well as the effect of existence. Such a viewpoint simply doesn't make sense !

Rest or motion is more natural ? 

Another basic preference shown by the ancient science was REST over MOTION. This was another random pattern chosen by man;s knowledge system, in the line of the above-seen preference of going for parts instead of studying the 'whole' itself.

Now we observe that there is nothing in the cosmos that we observe that is static, or at rest. Every heavenly body is in move. This tends us to conclude that 'motion' is more fundamental in nature than the state of rest.

But the early Greek thinkers assumed that 'rest' was the natural state, hence their probe started to locate the point in time when everything was put to motion. They had also pictured God as the 'unmoved mover' of  everything in motion !

Two travelers interacting each other in two parallel moving trains at the same speed, will never come to know that they are in motion. Motion is equal to a static state, if every moving body is in same speed.

Such examples show that our pattern of  approaching, or seeking knowledge would seriously affect the net outcome of our efforts.

This was just an attempt to throw a casual reflection into these rarely traveled fields, that involves defining and treating knowledge in different perspectives !

Abraham J.Palakudy
A humble seeker of ultimate truth. He is also interested in Mind,Reason, Spirituality and fundamentals of Polity

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