Tag Archives: metafisika

Everything and Nothing

I once attended a spiritual self-help kind of course. Toward the end of the course, there was this exercise where the teacher would ask the question, “What are you?” Whatever answer the participant came up with, the teacher would tear it apart. Byvoorbeeld, if I said, “I work for a bank as a quantitative finance professional,” she would say, “Ja, that’s what you do, but what are you?” If I said, “I am Manoj,” she would say, “Ja, that’s only your name, what are you?” You get the idea. To the extent that it is a hard question to answer, the teacher always gets the upper hand.

Not in my case though. Luckily for me, I was the last one to answer the question, and I had the benefit of seeing how this exercise evolved. Since I had time, I decided to cook up something substantial. So when my turn came, here was my response that pretty much floored the teacher. I said, “I am a little droplet of consciousness so tiny that I’m nothing, yet part of something so big that I’m everything.” As I surmised, she couldn’t very well say, “Ja, seker, but what are you?” In werklikheid, she could’ve said, “That’s just some serious bullshit, man, what the heck are you?” which is probably what I would’ve done. But my teacher, being the kind and gentle soul she is, decided to thank me gravely and move on.

Now I want to pick up on that theme and point out that there is more to that response than something impressive that I made up that day to sound really cool in front of a bunch of spiritualites. The tininess part is easy. Our station in this universe is so mindbogglingly tiny that a sense of proportion is the one thing we cannot afford to have, if we are to keep our sanity — as Douglas Adams puts it in one of his books. What goes for the physical near-nothingness of our existence in terms of space also applies to the temporal dimension. We exist for a mere fleeing instant when put in the context of any geological or cosmological timescale. So when I called myself a “little” droplet, I was being kind, if anything.

But being part of something so vast — ah, that is the interesting bit. Fisies, there is not an atom in my body that wasn’t part of a star somewhere sometime ago. We are all made up of stardust, from the ashes of dead stars. (Interesting they say from dust to dust and from ashes to ashes, isn’t it?) So, those sappy scenes in sentimental flicks, where the dad points to the star and says, “Your mother is up there sweetheart, watching over you,” have a bit of scientific truth to them. All the particles in my body will end up in a star (a red giant, in our case); the only stretch is that it will take another four and half billion years. But it does mean that the dust will live forever and end up practically everywhere through some supernova explosion, if our current understanding of how it all works is correct (which it is not, in my opinie, but that is another story). This eternal existence of a the purely physical kind is what Schopenhauer tried to draw consolation from, Ek glo, but it really is no consolation, if you ask me. Nietemin, we are all part of something much bigger, spatially and temporally – in a purely physical sense.

At a deeper level, my being part of everything comes from the fact that we are both the inside and the outside of things. I know it sounds like I smoked something I wouldn’t like my children to smoke. Laat my verduidelik; this will take a few words. Jy sien, when we look at a star, we of course see a star. But what we mean by “see a star” is just that there are some neurons in our brain firing in a particular pattern. We assume that there is a star out there causing some photons to fall on our retina and create neuronal firing, which results in a cognitive model of what we call night sky and stars. We further assume that what we see (night sky and star) is a faithful representation of what is out there. But why should it be? Think of how we hear stuff. When we listen to music, we hear tonality, loudness etc, but these are only cognitive models for the frequency and amplitude of the pressure waves in the air, as we understand sound right now. Frequency and amplitude are very different beasts compared to tonality and loudness — the former are physical causes, the latter are perceptual experiences. Take away the brain, there is no experience, ergo there is no sound — which is the gist of the overused cocktail conundrum of the falling tree in a deserted forest. If you force yourself to think along these lines for a while, you will have to admit that whatever is “daar” as you perceive it is only in your brain as cognitive constructs. Hence my hazy statement about we are both the inside and the outside of things. So, from the perspective of cognitive neuroscience, we can argue that we are everything — the whole universe and our knowledge of it is all are patterns in our brain. Daar is niks anders.

Want to go even deeper? Wel, the brain itself is part of the reality (which is a cognitive construct) created by the brain. So are the air pressure waves, photons, retina, kognitiewe neurowetenskap ens. All convenient models in our brains. Dit, natuurlik, is an infinite regression, from which there is no escape. It is a logical abyss where we can find no rational foothold to anchor our thoughts and crawl out, which naturally leads to what we call the infinite, the unknowable, die absolute, the eternal — Brahman.

I was, natuurlik, thinking of Brahman ( and the notion that we are all part of that major oneness) when I cooked up that everything-and-nothing response. But it is all the same, isn’t it, whichever way you look at it? Wel, may be not; may be it is just that I see it that way. If the only tool you have is a hammer, all the problems in the world look like nails to you. May be I’m just hammering in the metaphysical nails whenever and wherever I get a chance. Vir my, all schools of thought seem to converge to similar notions. Reminds of that French girl I was trying impress long time ago. I said to her, rather optimistically, “Jy weet, you and I think alike, that’s what I like about you.” She replied, “Wel, there is only one way to think, if you think at all. So no big deal!” Needless to say I didn’t get anywhere with her.

Dualisme

Nadat hy roep een van die top 50 filosofie bloggers, Ek voel amper verplig ander pos op filosofie te skryf. Dit kan kwel Jat wat, terwyl waardeer die boodskap op my eerste motor, was ietwat minder as entoesiasties oor my dieper gedagtes. Ook op soek skeef na my filosofiese pogings sou 'n pluimbal buddy van my wat gekla het dat sy my poste op die dood bang die bejesus uit hom. Maar, wat kan ek sê, Ek het geluister na 'n baie van die filosofie. Ek het geluister na die lesings deur Shelly Kagan op net die gevreesde onderwerp van die dood, en deur John Searle (weer) op die filosofie van die gees.

Luister na hierdie lesings my gevul met 'n ander soort van vrees. Ek besef weereens hoe onkundig ek, en hoeveel daar is om te weet, dink en uit te vind, en hoe min tyd gelaat word alles wat te doen. Miskien is dit die erkenning van my onkunde is 'n teken van die groeiende wysheid, As ons kan glo Sokrates. Ten minste ek hoop dit is.

Een ding wat ek het 'n paar wanopvattings oor (of 'n onvolledige begrip van) was hierdie konsep van dualisme. Grootword in Indië, Ek hoor 'n baie oor ons monistiese filosofie genoem Advaita. Die woord beteken nie twee, en ek verstaan ​​dit as die verwerping van die Brahman en Maya onderskeid. Dit met 'n voorbeeld te illustreer, sê jy iets voel — soos wat jy sien hierdie woorde in die voorkant van jou op jou rekenaar skerm. Is hierdie woorde en die rekenaar skerm daar werklik? As ek een of ander manier genereer die neuronale afvuur patrone wat die skep van hierdie sensasie in jou, jy hierdie woorde sal sien, selfs as hulle nie daar was nie. Dit is maklik om te verstaan; na al, dit is die belangrikste tesis van die film Matrix. So, wat jy sien is bloot 'n konstruk in jou brein; dit is Maya of 'n deel van die Matrix. Wat is die oorsaak van die sensoriese insette is vermoedelik Brahman. So, my, Advaita beteken vertrou net die egtheid van Brahman terwyl verwerp Maya. Nou, na die lees van 'n bietjie meer, Ek is nie seker wat 'n akkurate beskrywing op alle. Miskien is dit Hoekom Ranga gekritiseer my lang tyd gelede.

In die Westerse filosofie, daar is 'n ander en meer voor die hand liggend soort dualisme. Dit is die eeue-oue gedagte-saak onderskeid. Wat is verstand gemaak van? Die meeste van ons dink van die gees (diegene wat dink dit, dit is) as 'n rekenaar program wat uitgevoer word op ons brein. Met ander woorde, gedagte is sagteware, brein is hardeware. Hulle is twee verskillende soorte dinge. Na alles, ons betaal afsonderlik vir hardeware (Dell) en sagteware (Microsoft). Sedert ons van hulle dink as twee, ons is 'n inherent dualistiese siening. Voor die tyd van rekenaars, Descartes het gedink van hierdie probleem en het gesê daar was 'n geestelike substansie en 'n fisiese stof. So hierdie siening is Cartesiaanse dualisme genoem. (Deur die manier waarop, Cartesiese koördinate in analitiese meetkunde het gekom van Descartes sowel — 'n feit wat dalk ons ​​respek vir hom verbeter.) Dit is 'n siening wat groot gevolge in alle takke van die filosofie, van metafisika tot teologie. Dit lei tot die konsepte van gees en siel, God, hiernamaals, reïnkarnasie ens, met hul onafwendbare gevolge op moraliteit.

Daar is filosowe wat hierdie idee van Cartesiaanse dualisme verwerp. John Searle is een van hulle. Hulle omhels die oog dat die gees is 'n ontluikende eienskap van die brein. 'N ontluikende eiendom (meer fancily n epiphenomenon genoem) is iets wat gebeur toevallig saam met die belangrikste verskynsel, maar is nie die oorsaak of die effek van dit. 'N ontluikende eiendom in fisika wat ons is vertroud met is temperatuur, wat is 'n maatstaf van die gemiddelde snelheid van 'n klomp van die molekules. Jy kan nie die temperatuur definieer, tensy jy het 'n statisties beduidende versameling van molekules. Searle gebruik die natheid van water as sy voorbeeld opkoms van eiendomme te illustreer. Jy kan nie 'n nat water molekule of 'n droë een, maar wanneer jy 'n baie van water molekules saam jy natheid. Net, gedagte blyk uit die fisiese stof van die brein deur middel van fisiese prosesse. So al die eienskappe wat ons toeskryf aan die gedagte is om weg verduidelik as fisiese interaksies. Daar is net een soort van stof, wat is die fisiese. So hierdie monistiese filosofie genoem physicalism. Physicalism is deel van materialisme (nie te verwar sy huidige betekenis — wat ons bedoel met 'n wesenlike meisie, byvoorbeeld).

Jy weet, die probleme met filosofie is dat daar so baie ismes wat jy verloor die spoor van wat aangaan in hierdie wilde oerwoud van jargonism. As ek gevat onder die woord onrealistisch te gaan met my blog en bevorder dit as 'n tak van die filosofie, of nog beter, 'n Singapoerse denkrigting, Ek is seker ek kan dit hou. Of miskien is dit reeds 'n aanvaarde domein?

Alle grap eenkant, die siening dat alles op die geestelike kant van die lewe, soos bewussyn, gedagtes, ideale ens, is 'n manifestasie van fisiese interaksies (Ek herstatering die definisie van physicalism hier, soos jy kan sien) geniet sekere geldeenheid onder kontemporêre filosowe. Beide Kagan en Searle geredelik aanvaar hierdie siening, byvoorbeeld. Maar hierdie siening is in konflik met wat die ou Griekse filosowe soos Sokrates, Plato en Aristoteles gedink. Hulle het almal geglo in 'n vorm van voortbestaan ​​van 'n geestelike substansie, word dit die siel, gees of wat ook al. Al die groot godsdienste het 'n variant van hierdie dualisme ingebed in hul oortuigings. (Ek dink Plato se dualisme is van 'n ander soort — 'n ware, onvolmaakte wêreld waar ons leef aan die een kant, en 'n ideale perfekte wêreld van vorms op die ander waar die siele en God leef. Meer oor dit later.) Na alles, God het gemaak word van 'n geestelike “stof” anders as 'n suiwer fisiese stof. Of hoe kon hy nie onderworpe aan die fisiese wette wees dat ons, meer sterflinge, kan verstaan?

Niks in die filosofie is heeltemal afgesny van mekaar. 'N Fundamentele houding soos dualisme of monisme dat jy in die hantering van die vrae op bewussyn, kognisie en gees het gevolge in watter soort lewe wat jy lei (Etiek), hoe jy werklikheid definieer (Metafisika), en hoe julle hierdie dinge weet (Epistemologie). Deur die invloed daarvan op godsdienste, dit kan selfs 'n impak ons ​​politieke magstryd van ons moeilike tye. As jy dink oor dit lank genoeg, kan jy die dualistiese / monist onderskeid selfs koppel aan estetika. Na alles, Richard Pirsig het nie net dat in sy Zen en die kuns van die motor Onderhoud.

Soos hulle sê, As die enigste instrument wat jy het is 'n hamer, alle probleme begin om te lyk soos spykers. My instrument is nou filosofie, so ek sien min filosofiese naels oral.

Die onwerklik Heelal

Ons weet dat ons heelal is 'n bietjie onwerklik. Die sterre sien ons in die nag lug, byvoorbeeld, is nie regtig daar. Hulle kan verskuif het of selfs dood teen die tyd wat ons kry om dit te sien. Dit neem die lig keer uit die verre sterre en sterrestelsels te reis om ons te bereik. Ons weet van die vertraging. Die son wat ons nou sien, is reeds agt minute oud teen die tyd dat ons dit sien, wat nie 'n groot deal. As ons wil weet wat aangaan op die son nou, Al wat ons moet doen, is om te wag vir agt minute. Nietemin, ons moet “korrekte” vir die vertraging in ons persepsie as gevolg van die beperkte spoed van lig voordat ons kan vertrou wat ons sien.

Nou, hierdie effek 'n interessante vraag — Wat is die “werklike” ding wat ons sien? As om te sien is om te glo, die dinge wat ons nie sien moet die regte ding wees. Dan weer, Ons weet van die lig reistyd effek. So ons moet regstel wat ons sien voordat glo dat dit. Wat dan doen “sien” beteken? Wanneer ons sê dat ons iets sien, wat werklik bedoel ons?

Sien behels lig, natuurlik. Dit is die beperkte (al is dit baie hoog) spoed van lig invloede en verwring die manier waarop ons dinge sien, soos die vertraging in die sien van voorwerpe soos sterre. Wat is verbasend (en selde uitgelig) is dat wanneer dit kom by sien bewegende voorwerpe, ons kan nie terug-bereken op dieselfde wyse ons neem uit die vertraging in die sien van die son. As ons 'n hemelse liggaam beweeg teen 'n hoë spoed onwaarskynlike, ons kan nie uitvind hoe vinnig en in watter rigting dit “regtig” beweeg sonder om verdere aannames. Een manier om van die hantering van hierdie probleem is die ondergang van ons persepsie toe te skryf aan die fundamentele eienskappe van die arena van fisika — ruimte en tyd. Nog 'n plan van aksie is die skeiding tussen ons persepsie en die onderliggende te aanvaar “werklikheid” en hanteer dit op 'n manier.

Dit verbreek tussen wat ons sien en wat is daar buite is nie onbekend vir baie filosofiese skole van denke. Phenomenalism, byvoorbeeld, is van mening dat ruimte en tyd is nie objektiewe werklikhede. Hulle is bloot die medium van ons persepsie. Al die verskynsels wat in die ruimte en tyd gebeur is bloot bundels van ons persepsie. Met ander woorde, ruimte en tyd is kognitiewe konstrukte wat voortspruit uit persepsie. So, al die fisiese eienskappe wat ons toeskryf aan die ruimte en tyd kan net van toepassing op die fenomenale werklikheid (die werklikheid soos ons voel dit). Die noumenal werklikheid (wat die besit van die fisiese oorsake van ons persepsie), teenstelling, bly buite ons kognitiewe bereik.

Een, byna toevallige, probleme in die herdefiniëring van die gevolge van die beperkte spoed van lig as die eienskappe van ruimte en tyd is dat enige uitwerking wat ons nie verstaan ​​kry onmiddellik verban na die wêreld van optiese illusies. Byvoorbeeld, die agt minute vertraging in die sien van die son, want ons kan maklik verstaan ​​en skei dit van ons persepsie met 'n eenvoudige rekenkundige, beskou word as 'n blote optiese illusie. Egter, die ondergang van ons persepsie van vinnig bewegende voorwerpe, Hoewel oorsprong uit dieselfde bron word beskou as 'n eiendom van ruimte en tyd, want hulle is meer kompleks. Op 'n sekere punt, ons het om vrede te maak met die feit dat wanneer dit kom by die sien van die heelal, Daar is nie so iets soos 'n optiese illusie, wat is waarskynlik wat Goethe uitgewys toe hy gesê, “Optiese illusie is optiese waarheid.”

More about The Unreal UniverseDie onderskeid (of die gebrek daaraan) tussen optiese illusie en waarheid is een van die oudste debatte in die filosofie. Na alles, dit is oor die onderskeid tussen kennis en die werklikheid. Kennis word beskou as ons siening oor iets wat, in werklikheid, is “werklik die geval is.” Met ander woorde, kennis is 'n weerspieëling, of 'n geestelike beeld van iets eksterne. In hierdie foto, die eksterne werklikheid gaan deur 'n proses van al ons kennis, Dit sluit persepsie, kognitiewe aktiwiteite, en die uitoefening van suiwer rede. Dit is die prentjie wat die fisika het gekom om te aanvaar. Hy erken dat ons persepsie onvolmaakte mag wees, fisika aanvaar dat ons kan kry deur middel van toenemend fyner eksperimentering nader en nader aan die eksterne werklikheid, en, meer belangrik, deur beter teoretisering. Die Spesiale en Algemene Teorieë van Relatiwiteit is voorbeelde van briljante aansoeke van hierdie siening van die werklikheid waar eenvoudige fisiese beginsels meedoënloos agtervolg deur die formidabele masjien van suiwer rede om hul logies onvermydelik gevolgtrekkings.

Maar daar is nog 'n, meeding siening van kennis en werklikheid wat reeds vir 'n lang tyd. Dit is die mening dat met betrekking tot vermeende werklikheid as 'n interne kognitiewe verteenwoordiging van ons sensoriese insette. In hierdie siening, kennis en beskou die werklikheid is beide interne kognitiewe konstrukte, Hoewel ons het gekom om te dink van hulle as afsonderlike. Wat is eksterne is nie die werklikheid soos ons dit sien, maar 'n onkenbare entiteit wat aanleiding gee tot die fisiese oorsake agter sensoriese insette. In hierdie denkrigting, ons bou ons die werklikheid in twee, dikwels oorvleuel, stappe. Die eerste stap behels die proses van waarneming, en die tweede een is dat kognitiewe en logiese redenasie. Ons kan hierdie siening van die werklikheid en kennis tot die wetenskap van toepassing, maar om dit te doen, ons het die aard van die absolute werklikheid te dink, onkenbare soos dit is.

Die gevolge van hierdie twee verskillende filosofiese standpunte hierbo beskryf is geweldige. Aangesien die moderne fisika het omhels 'n nie-phenomenalistic siening van ruimte en tyd, dit bevind hom in stryd met daardie tak van die filosofie. Hierdie kloof tussen filosofie en fisika het gegroei tot so 'n mate dat die Nobelprys wen fisikus, Steven Weinberg, gewonder (in sy boek “Drome van 'n Finale teorie”) waarom die bydrae van filosofie fisika is so verrassend klein. Dit vra ook filosowe stellings soos te maak, “Of 'noumenal werklikheid veroorsaak fenomenale werklikheid’ of 'noumenal werklikheid is onafhanklik van ons sensing dit’ of "ons voel noumenal werklikheid,’ die probleem is dat die konsep van noumenal werklikheid is 'n totaal onnodige konsep vir die ontleding van die wetenskap.”

Vanuit die perspektief van kognitiewe neurowetenskap, alles wat ons sien, sin, voel en dink is die gevolg van die neuronale interkonneksies in ons brein en die klein elektriese seine in hulle. Hierdie siening moet reg wees. Wat anders is daar? Al ons gedagtes en bekommernisse, kennis en oortuigings, ego en die werklikheid, lewe en dood — alles is net neuronale firings in die een-en-half kilogram slissend, grys materiaal wat ons noem ons brein. Daar is niks anders. Niks!

In werklikheid, hierdie siening van die werklikheid in die neuro is 'n presiese eggo van phenomenalism, wat van mening alles wat 'n bondel van persepsie of geestelike konstrukte. Ruimte en tyd is ook kognitiewe konstrukte in ons brein, soos alles. Hulle is geestelike foto's van ons brein bewerk uit die sensoriese insette wat ons sintuie ontvang. Gegenereer uit ons sintuiglike waarneming en vervaardigde deur ons kognitiewe proses, die ruimte-tyd kontinuum is die arena van fisika. Van al ons sintuie, oë is verreweg die oorheersende een. Die sensoriese insette te sien is lig. In 'n ruimte geskep deur die brein uit die lig val op ons retinas (of op die foto sensors van die Hubble-teleskoop), is dit 'n verrassing dat niks vinniger kan reis as die lig?

Hierdie filosofiese standpunt is die basis van my boek, Die onwerklik Heelal, wat ondersoek die algemene drade bindend fisika en filosofie. Sulke filosofiese musings kry gewoonlik 'n slegte rap van ons fisici. Om fisici, filosofie is 'n heeltemal ander gebied, 'n ander silo van kennis, wat die besit van geen relevansie vir hul pogings. Ons moet hierdie geloof te verander en waardeer die oorvleueling tussen die verskillende kennis silo's. Dit is in hierdie oorvleueling wat ons kan verwag groot deurbrake in die menslike denke te vind.

Die kinkel in hierdie storie van die lig en die werklikheid is dat dit lyk asof ons al hierdie het bekend vir 'n lang tyd. Klassieke filosofiese skole lyk gedink het langs lyne baie soortgelyk aan Einstein se gedagtes. Die rol van die lig in die skep van ons werklikheid of heelal is in die hart van die Wes-godsdienstige denke. 'N heelal sonder lig is nie net 'n wêreld waar jy hom het die ligte af. Dit is inderdaad 'n heelal sonder self, 'n heelal wat nie bestaan ​​nie. Dit is in hierdie konteks dat ons die wysheid agter die stelling te verstaan ​​dat “die aarde was woes, en nietig” totdat God veroorsaak lig te wees, deur te sê “Laat daar lig wees.”

Die Koran sê ook, “Allah is die lig van die hemel en die aarde,” wat weerspieël word in een van die ou Hindoe geskrifte: “Lei my uit die duisternis na die lig, lei my uit die onwerklik om die werklike.” Die rol van die lig in die neem van ons van die onwerklik leemte (die niks) 'n werklikheid is inderdaad vir 'n lang verstaan, lang tyd. Is dit moontlik dat die antieke heiliges en profete geweet dinge wat ons nou eers begin te ontbloot met al ons veronderstel vooruitgang in kennis?

Ek weet ek kan gedruis in waar engele vrees om loopvlak, vir wending die Skrif is 'n gevaarlike spel. Sulke uitheemse interpretasies is selde welkom in die teologiese kringe. Maar ek soek skuiling in die feit dat ek is op soek na instemming in die metafisiese menings van geestelike filosofie, sonder benadeling hulle mistieke en teologiese waarde.

Die ooreenkomste tussen die noumenal-fenomenale onderskeid in phenomenalism en die Brahmaan-Maya onderskeiding in Advaita is moeilik om te ignoreer. Hierdie tyd getoets wysheid op die aard van die werklikheid van die repertoire van spiritualiteit is nou herontdek in die moderne neuro, wat behandel werklikheid as 'n kognitiewe verteenwoordiging wat deur die brein. Die brein gebruik die sensoriese insette, geheue, bewussyn, en selfs taal as bestanddele in concocting ons sin van die werklikheid. Hierdie siening van die werklikheid, egter, is iets fisika nog te kom met. Maar tot die mate wat die arena (ruimte en tyd) is 'n deel van die werklikheid, fisika is nie immuun teen die filosofie.

As ons druk op die grense van ons kennis verder, ons is besig om tot nou toe ongekende en dikwels verrassende verbindings tussen die verskillende takke van die menslike pogings om te ontdek. In die finale analise, hoe kan die diverse domeine van ons kennis onafhanklik te wees van mekaar wanneer al ons kennis woon in ons brein? Kennis is 'n kognitiewe verteenwoordiging van ons ervarings. Maar dan, so is die werklikheid; dit is 'n kognitiewe verteenwoordiging van ons sensoriese insette. Dit is 'n dwaling om te dink dat die kennis is ons interne voorstelling van 'n eksterne werklikheid, en dus apart van dit. Kennis en realiteit is beide interne kognitiewe konstrukte, Hoewel ons het gekom om te dink van hulle as afsonderlike.

Erkenning en die gebruik van die interkonneksies tussen die verskillende gebiede van die menslike strewe om dalk die katalisator vir die volgende deurbraak in ons kollektiewe wysheid wat ons wag vir wees.

Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow

I first found this modern-day classic in my father’s collection some thirty years ago, which meant that he bought it right around the time it was published. Terugblik op dit nou, and after having read the book, as usual, many times over, I am surprised that he had actually read it. May be I am underestimating him in my colossal and unwarranted arrogance, but I just cannot see how he could have followed the book. Even after having lived in the USA for half a dozen years, and read more philosophy than is good for me, I cannot keep up with the cultural references and the pace of Charlie Citrine’s mind through its intellectual twists and turns. Did my father actually read it? Ek wish I could ask him.

Perhaps that is the point of this book, as it is with most classics — the irreversibility and finality of death. Or may be it is my jaundiced vision painting everything yellow. But Bellow does rage against this finality of death (just like most religions do); he comically postulates that it is our metaphysical denial that hides the immortal souls watching over us. Perhaps he is right; it certainly is comforting to believe it.

There is always an element of parternality in every mentor-protégé relationship. (Forgive me, I know it is a sexist view — why not maternality?) But I probably started this post with the memories of my father because of this perceived element in the Von Humboldt Fleischer – Charlie Citrine relationship, complete with the associated feelings of guilt and remorse on the choices that had to be made.

As a book, Humboldt’s Gift is a veritable tour de force. It is a blinding blitz of erudition and wisdom, coming at you at a pace and intensity that is hard to stand up to. It talks about the painted veil, Maya, the many colored glasses staining the white radiance of eternity, and Hegel’s phenomenology as though they are like coffee and cheerios. Vir my, this dazzling display of intellectual fireworks is unsettling. I get a glimpse of the enormity of what is left to know, and the paucity of time left to learn it, and I worry. It is the ultimate Vang-22 — by the time you figure it all out, it is time to go, and the knowledge is useless. Perhaps knowledge has always been useless in that sense, but it is still a lot of fun to figure things out.

The book is a commentary on American materialism and the futility of idealism in our modern times. It is also about the small things where a heart finds fulfillment. Here is the setting of the story in a nutshell. Charlie Citrine, a protégé to Von Humboldt Fleischer, makes it big in his literary career. Fleischer himself, full of grandiose schemes for a cultural renaissance in America, dies a failure. Charlie’s success comes at its usual price. In an ugly divorce, his vulturous ex-wife, Denise, tries to milk him for every penny he’s worth. His mercenary mistress and a woman-and-a-half, Renata, targets his riches from other angles. Then there is the boisterous Cantabile who is ultimately harmless, and the affable and classy Thaxter who is much more damaging. The rest of the story follows some predictable, and some surprising twists. Storylines are something I stay away from in my reviews, for I don’t want to be posting spoilers.

I am sure there is a name for this style of narration that jumps back and forth in time with no regard to chronology. I first noticed it in Vang-22 and recently in Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things. It always fills me with a kind of awe because the writer has the whole story in mind, and is revealing aspects of it at will. It is like showing different projections of a complex object. This style is particularly suited for Humboldt’s Gift, because it is a complex object like a huge diamond, and the different projections show brilliant flashes of insights. Staining the white radiance of eternity, natuurlik.

To say that Humboldt’s Gift is a masterpiece is like saying that sugar is sweet. It goes without saying. I will read this book many more times in the future because of its educational values (and because I love the reader in my audiobook edition). I would not necessarily recommend the book to others though. I think it takes a peculiar mind, one that finds sanity only in insane gibberish, and sees unreality in all the painted veils of reality, to appreciate this book.

In kort, you have to be a bit cuckoo to like it. Maar, by the same convoluted logic, this negative recommendation is perhaps the strongest endorsement of all. So here goes… Don’t read it. I forbid it!

Die onwerklik Heelal – Reviewed

Die Straits Times

pback-cover (17K)Die nasionale koerant van Singapoer, die Straits Times, loof die leesbare en gesprek styl wat gebruik word in Die onwerklik Heelal en beveel dit aan enigiemand wat wil leer oor die lewe, die heelal en alles.

Wendy Lochner

Oproep Die onwerklik Heelal 'n goeie lees, Wendy sê, “Dit is goed geskryf, baie duidelik te volg vir die nonspecialist.”

Bobbie Kersfees

Beskryf Die onwerklik Heelal as “so 'n insiggewende en intelligente boek,” Bobbie sê, “'N Boek om te dink leke, hierdie leesbare, diepsinnige werk bied 'n nuwe perspektief op ons definisie van die werklikheid.”

M. S. Chandramouli

M. S. Chandramouli graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in 1966 and subsequently did his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. After an executive career in India and Europe covering some 28 years he founded Surya International in Belgium through which he now offers business development and industrial marketing services.

Here is what he says about Die onwerklik Heelal:

“The book has a very pleasing layout, with the right size of font and line spacing and correct content density. Great effort for a self-published book!”

“The impact of the book is kaleidoscopic. The patterns in one reader’s mind (mine, dit is) shifted and re-arranged themselves with a ‘rustling noise’ more than once.””The author’s writing style is remarkably equidistant from the turgid prose of Indians writing on philosophy or religion and the we-know-it-all style of Western authors on the philosophy of science.”

“There is a sort of cosmic, background ‘Eureka!’ that seems to suffuse the entire book. Its central thesis about the difference between perceived reality and absolute reality is an idea waiting to bloom in a million minds.”

“The test on the ‘Emotionality of Faith,’ Page 171, was remarkably prescient; it worked for me!”

“I am not sure that the first part, which is essentially descriptive and philosophical, sits comfortably with the second part with its tightly-argued physics; if and when the author is on his way to winning the argument, he may want to look at three different categories of readers – the lay but intelligent ones who need a degree of ‘translation,’ the non-physicist specialist, and the physicist philosophers. Market segmentation is the key to success.”

“I think this book needs to be read widely. I am making a small attempt at plugging it by copying this to my close friends.”

Steven Bryant

Steven is a Vice President of Consulting Services for Primitive Logic, a premier Regional Systems Integrator located in San Francisco, California. He is the author of The Relativity Challenge.

“Manoj views science as just one element in the picture of life. Science does not define life. But life colors how we understand science. He challenges all readers to rethink their believe systems, to question what they thought was real, to ask “why”? He asks us to take off our “rose colored glasses” and unlock new ways of experiencing and understanding life. This thought provoking work should be required reading to anyone embarking on a new scientific journey.”

“Manoj’s treatment of time is very thought provoking. While each of our other senses – sight, klink, smell, taste and touch – are multi-dimensional, time appears to be single dimensional. Understanding the interplay of time with our other senses is a very interesting puzzle. It also opens to door to the existence possibilities of other phenomena beyond our know sensory range.”

“Manoj’s conveys a deep understanding of the interaction of our physics, human belief systems, perceptions, experiences, and even our languages, on how we approach scientific discovery. His work will challenge you to rethink what you think you know is true.”

“Manoj offers a unique perspective on science, persepsie, and reality. The realization that science does not lead to perception, but perception leads to science, is key to understanding that all scientific “facts” are open for re-exploration. This book is extremely thought provoking and challenges each reader the question their own beliefs.”

“Manoj approaches physics from a holistic perspective. Physics does not occur in isolation, but is defined in terms of our experiences – both scientific and spiritual. As you explore his book you’ll challenge your own beliefs and expand your horizons.”

Blogs and Found Online

From the Blog Through The Looking Glass

“This book is considerably different from other books in its approach to philosophy and physics. It contains numerous practical examples on the profound implications of our philosophical viewpoint on physics, specifically astrophysics and particle physics. Each demonstration comes with a mathematical appendix, which includes a more rigorous derivation and further explanation. The book even reins in diverse branches of philosophy (e.g. thinking from both the East and the West, and both the classical period and modern contemporary philosophy). And it is gratifying to know that all the mathematics and physics used in the book are very understandable, and thankfully not graduate level. That helps to make it much easier to appreciate the book.”

From the Hub Pages

Calling itself “An Honest Review of Die onwerklik Heelal,” this review looks like the one used in die Straits Times.

I got a few reviews from my readers through email and online forums. I have compiled them as anonymous reviews in the next page of this post.

Click on the link below to visit the second page.

Die onwerklik Heelal — Sien lig in Wetenskap en Spiritualiteit

Ons weet dat ons heelal is 'n bietjie onwerklik. Die sterre sien ons in die nag lug, byvoorbeeld, is nie regtig daar. Hulle kan verskuif het of selfs dood teen die tyd wat ons kry om dit te sien. Hierdie vertraging is te danke aan die tyd wat dit neem vir die lig uit die verre sterre en sterrestelsels om ons te bereik. Ons weet van die vertraging.

Dieselfde vertraging in te sien het 'n minder bekende verskynsel in die manier waarop ons sien bewegende voorwerpe. Dit verwring ons persepsie so iets kom na ons sal lyk asof dit kom in 'n vinniger. Vreemd soos dit mag klink, hierdie effek is in astrofisiese studies waargeneem. Sommige van die hemelse liggame lyk asof hulle beweeg 'n paar keer die spoed van lig, terwyl hul “werklike” spoed is waarskynlik 'n baie laer.

Nou, hierdie effek 'n interessante vraag–Wat is die “werklike” spoed? As sien is glo, die spoed sien ons moet die werklike spoed. Dan weer, Ons weet van die lig reistyd effek. So moet ons die spoed voor ons sien glo dat dit korrek. Wat dan doen “sien” beteken? Wanneer ons sê dat ons iets sien, wat werklik bedoel ons?

Lig in fisika

Sien behels lig, natuurlik. Die beperkte spoed van lig invloede en verdraai die manier waarop ons dinge sien. Hierdie feit moet skaars kom as 'n verrassing, want ons weet dat dinge nie soos ons dit sien. Die son wat ons sien, is reeds agt minute oud teen die tyd dat ons dit sien. Hierdie vertraging is nie 'n groot deal; As ons wil weet wat aangaan op die son nou, Al wat ons moet doen, is om te wag vir agt minute. Ons, nietemin, moet “korrekte” vir die ondergang van ons persepsie as gevolg van die beperkte spoed van lig voordat ons kan vertrou wat ons sien.

Wat is verbasend (en selde uitgelig) is dat wanneer dit kom mosie sensing, ons kan nie terug-bereken op dieselfde wyse ons neem uit die vertraging in die sien van die son. As ons 'n hemelse liggaam beweeg teen 'n hoë spoed onwaarskynlike, ons kan nie uitvind hoe vinnig en in watter rigting dit “regtig” beweeg sonder om verdere aannames. Een manier om van die hantering van hierdie probleem is die ondergang van ons persepsie toe te skryf aan die fundamentele eienskappe van die arena van fisika — ruimte en tyd. Nog 'n plan van aksie is die skeiding tussen ons persepsie en die onderliggende te aanvaar “werklikheid” en hanteer dit op 'n manier.

Einstein het verkies om die eerste roete. In sy baanbrekerswerk papier oor 'n honderd jaar gelede, Hy het die spesiale relatiwiteitsteorie, waarin hy skryf die manifestasies van die beperkte spoed van lig aan die fundamentele eienskappe van ruimte en tyd. Een kern idee in spesiale relatiwiteit (SR) is dat die idee van gelyktydigheid moet herdefinieer word nie, want dit neem tyd vir ligte uit 'n gebeurtenis op 'n afgeleë plek om ons te bereik, en word ons bewus van die geval. Die konsep van “Nou” maak nie veel sin, soos ons gesien het, wanneer ons praat van 'n gebeurtenis gebeur in die son, byvoorbeeld. Gelyktydigheid is relatief.

Einstein gedefinieer gelyktydigheid met behulp van die oomblikke in die tyd wat ons ontdek die geval. Opsporing, as hy dit gedefinieer, behels 'n ronde-reis reis van die lig soortgelyk aan Radar opsporing. Ons stuur lig, en kyk na die besinning. As die weerkaatste lig van twee gebeurtenisse bereik ons ​​op dieselfde oomblik, hulle gelyktydige.
Nog 'n manier te definieer gelyktydigheid is met behulp van waarneming — kan ons twee gebeurtenisse gelyktydige bel as die lig van hulle bereik ons ​​op dieselfde oomblik. Met ander woorde, ons kan die lig wat deur die voorwerpe onder waarneming gebruik eerder as die stuur van die lig vir hulle en kyk na die besinning.

Hierdie verskil kan klink soos 'n muggezifterij tegniese, maar dit maak 'n groot verskil in die voorspellings wat ons kan maak. Einstein se keuse lei tot 'n wiskundige prentjie wat baie wenslik eienskappe, sodoende verdere ontwikkeling elegante.

Die ander moontlikheid is 'n voordeel wanneer dit kom by die beskrywing van voorwerpe in beweging, omdat dit ooreenstem beter met hoe ons meet hulle. Ons Radar gebruik nie die sterre in beweging te sien; ons bloot die lig voel (of ander bestraling) kom van hulle. Maar hierdie keuse van die gebruik van 'n sensoriese paradigma, eerder as Radar-agtige opsporing, die heelal resultate in 'n effens minder mooi wiskundige prentjie te beskryf.

Die wiskundige verskil toegevoeg verskillende filosofiese standpunte, wat op sy beurt deur sien tot die begrip van ons fisiese beeld van die werklikheid. As 'n illustrasie, Kom ons kyk na 'n voorbeeld van astrofisika. Gestel ons neem (deur 'n radio-teleskoop, byvoorbeeld) twee voorwerpe in die lug, ongeveer dieselfde vorm en eienskappe. Die enigste ding wat ons weet vir seker is, is dat die radio golwe van twee verskillende punte in die lug bereik die radioteleskoop op dieselfde oomblik in tyd. Ons kan raai dat die golwe het begin om hul reis 'n geruime tyd gelede.

Vir simmetriese voorwerpe, As ons aanvaar (as ons gereeld doen) dat die golwe begin die reis ongeveer op dieselfde tydstip, ons eindig met 'n foto van twee “werklike” simmetriese lobbe meer of minder die pad sien hulle.

Maar daar is 'n moontlikheid dat die verskillende golwe ontstaan ​​uit dieselfde voorwerp (wat in beweging) op twee verskillende oomblikke in tyd, die bereik van die teleskoop op dieselfde oomblik. Hierdie moontlikheid verduidelik sommige spektrale en temporale eienskappe van sodanige simmetriese radio bronne, dit is wat ek wiskundig beskryf in 'n onlangse fisika artikel. Nou, Watter van hierdie twee foto's moet neem ons as 'n ware? Twee simmetriese voorwerpe as ons sien hulle of een voorwerp beweeg in so 'n manier om ons te gee wat die indruk? Is dit regtig saak watter een is “werklike”? Doen “werklike” iets beteken in hierdie konteks?

Die filosofiese standpunt in geïmpliseer in spesiale relatiwiteit beantwoord hierdie vraag onomwonde. Daar is 'n ondubbelsinnige fisiese werklikheid van wat ons kry die twee simmetriese radio bronne, Hoewel dit 'n bietjie van 'n wiskundige werk te kry om dit te. Die wiskunde reëls uit die moontlikheid van 'n enkele voorwerp wat in so 'n manier as twee voorwerpe na te boots. Wese, wat ons sien is wat daar buite.

Aan die ander kant, As ons gelyktydigheid definieer met behulp van gelyktydige aankoms van die lig, sal ons gedwing word om die presiese teenoorgestelde te erken. Wat ons sien is redelik ver van wat is daar buite. Ons sal bely dat ons nie ondubbelsinnig kan ontkoppel die ondergang te danke aan die beperkings in persepsie (die beperkte spoed van lig om die beperking van belang is hier) van wat ons sien. Daar is verskeie fisiese realiteite wat kan lei tot dieselfde perseptuele prentjie. Die enigste filosofiese standpunt wat sin maak, is die een wat verbreek die Deteksie werklikheid en die oorsake agter dit wat waargeneem.

Dit verbreek is nie ongewoon in filosofiese denkrigtings. Phenomenalism, byvoorbeeld, is van mening dat ruimte en tyd is nie objektiewe werklikhede. Hulle is bloot die medium van ons persepsie. Al die verskynsels wat in die ruimte en tyd gebeur is bloot bundels van ons persepsie. Met ander woorde, ruimte en tyd is kognitiewe konstrukte wat voortspruit uit persepsie. So, al die fisiese eienskappe wat ons toeskryf aan die ruimte en tyd kan net van toepassing op die fenomenale werklikheid (die werklikheid soos ons voel dit). Die noumenal werklikheid (wat die besit van die fisiese oorsake van ons persepsie), teenstelling, bly buite ons kognitiewe bereik.

Die gevolge van die twee verskillende filosofiese standpunte hierbo beskryf is geweldige. Aangesien die moderne fisika lyk na 'n nie-phenomenalistic siening van ruimte en tyd om te omhels, dit bevind hom in stryd met daardie tak van die filosofie. Hierdie kloof tussen filosofie en fisika het gegroei tot so 'n mate dat die Nobelprys wen fisikus, Steven Weinberg, gewonder (in sy boek “Drome van 'n Finale teorie”) waarom die bydrae van filosofie fisika is so verrassend klein. Dit vra ook filosowe stellings soos te maak, “Of 'noumenal werklikheid veroorsaak fenomenale werklikheid’ of 'noumenal werklikheid is onafhanklik van ons sensing dit’ of "ons voel noumenal werklikheid,’ die probleem is dat die konsep van noumenal werklikheid is 'n totaal onnodige konsep vir die ontleding van die wetenskap.”

Een, byna toevallige, probleme in die herdefiniëring van die gevolge van die beperkte spoed van lig as die eienskappe van ruimte en tyd is dat enige uitwerking wat ons nie verstaan ​​kry onmiddellik verban na die wêreld van optiese illusies. Byvoorbeeld, die agt minute vertraging in die sien van die son, omdat ons geredelik verstaan ​​en skei van ons persepsie met behulp van eenvoudige rekenkundige, beskou word as 'n blote optiese illusie. Egter, die ondergang van ons persepsie van vinnig bewegende voorwerpe, Hoewel oorsprong uit dieselfde bron word beskou as 'n eiendom van ruimte en tyd, want hulle is meer kompleks.

Ons het om vrede te maak met die feit dat wanneer dit kom by die sien van die heelal, Daar is nie so iets soos 'n optiese illusie, wat is waarskynlik wat Goethe uitgewys toe hy gesê, “Optiese illusie is optiese waarheid.”

Die onderskeid (of die gebrek daaraan) tussen optiese illusie en waarheid is een van die oudste debatte in die filosofie. Na alles, dit is oor die onderskeid tussen kennis en die werklikheid. Kennis word beskou as ons siening oor iets wat, in werklikheid, is “werklik die geval is.” Met ander woorde, kennis is 'n weerspieëling, of 'n geestelike beeld van iets eksterne, soos getoon in die figuur hieronder.
Commonsense view of reality
In hierdie foto, die swart pyl stel die proses van die skep van kennis, Dit sluit persepsie, kognitiewe aktiwiteite, en die uitoefening van suiwer rede. Dit is die prentjie wat die fisika het gekom om te aanvaar.
Alternate view of reality
Hy erken dat ons persepsie onvolmaakte mag wees, fisika aanvaar dat ons kan kry deur middel van toenemend fyner eksperimentering nader en nader aan die eksterne werklikheid, en, meer belangrik, deur beter teoretisering. Die Spesiale en Algemene Teorieë van Relatiwiteit is voorbeelde van briljante aansoeke van hierdie siening van die werklikheid waar eenvoudige fisiese beginsels meedoënloos agtervolg gebruik formidabele masjien van suiwer rede om hul logies onvermydelik gevolgtrekkings.

Maar daar is nog 'n, alternatiewe siening van kennis en werklikheid wat reeds vir 'n lang tyd. Dit is die mening dat met betrekking tot vermeende werklikheid as 'n interne kognitiewe verteenwoordiging van ons sensoriese insette, soos hieronder geïllustreer.

In hierdie siening, kennis en beskou die werklikheid is beide interne kognitiewe konstrukte, Hoewel ons het gekom om te dink van hulle as afsonderlike. Wat is eksterne is nie die werklikheid soos ons dit sien, maar 'n onkenbare entiteit wat aanleiding gee tot die fisiese oorsake agter sensoriese insette. In die illustrasie, die eerste pyl stel die proses van waarneming, en die tweede pyl verteenwoordig die kognitiewe en logiese redenasie stappe. Ten einde hierdie siening van die werklikheid en kennis toe te pas, ons het die aard van die absolute werklikheid te dink, onkenbare soos dit is. Een moontlike kandidaat vir die absolute realiteit is Newton-meganika, Dit gee 'n redelike voorspelling vir ons beskou die werklikheid.

Om op te som, wanneer ons probeer om die ondergang te danke aan persepsie te hanteer, het ons twee opsies, of twee moontlike filosofiese standpunte. Een daarvan is die ondergang as deel van ons tyd en ruimte te aanvaar, as SR doen. Die ander opsie is om te aanvaar dat daar 'n “hoër” werklikheid te onderskei van ons Deteksie werklikheid, wie se eiendom kan ons net vermoede. Met ander woorde, een opsie is met die ondergang te leef, terwyl die ander is opgevoede raaiskote te stel vir die hoër werklikheid. Nie een van hierdie opsies is besonder aantreklik. Maar die raai pad is soortgelyk aan die oog in phenomenalism aanvaar. Dit lei ook natuurlik hoe die werklikheid beskou word in kognitiewe neurowetenskap, wat die studie van die biologiese meganismes agter kognisie.

In my mening, die twee opsies is nie inherent duidelike. Die filosofiese houding van SR kan beskou word as komende van 'n diep begrip dat die ruimte is bloot 'n fenomenale konstruk. As die sin modaliteit stel ondergang in die fenomenale prentjie, Ons kan argumenteer dat een sinvolle manier van hantering is dit die eienskappe van die fenomenale werklikheid te herdefinieer.

Rol van lig in ons Reality

Vanuit die perspektief van kognitiewe neurowetenskap, alles wat ons sien, sin, voel en dink is die gevolg van die neuronale interkonneksies in ons brein en die klein elektriese seine in hulle. Hierdie siening moet reg wees. Wat anders is daar? Al ons gedagtes en bekommernisse, kennis en oortuigings, ego en die werklikheid, lewe en dood — alles is net neuronale firings in die een-en-half kilogram slissend, grys materiaal wat ons noem ons brein. Daar is niks anders. Niks!

In werklikheid, hierdie siening van die werklikheid in die neuro is 'n presiese eggo van phenomenalism, wat van mening alles wat 'n bondel van persepsie of geestelike konstrukte. Ruimte en tyd is ook kognitiewe konstrukte in ons brein, soos alles. Hulle is geestelike foto's van ons brein bewerk uit die sensoriese insette wat ons sintuie ontvang. Gegenereer uit ons sintuiglike waarneming en vervaardigde deur ons kognitiewe proses, die ruimte-tyd kontinuum is die arena van fisika. Van al ons sintuie, oë is verreweg die oorheersende een. Die sensoriese insette te sien is lig. In 'n ruimte geskep deur die brein uit die lig val op ons retinas (of op die foto sensors van die Hubble-teleskoop), is dit 'n verrassing dat niks vinniger kan reis as die lig?

Hierdie filosofiese standpunt is die basis van my boek, Die onwerklik Heelal, wat ondersoek die algemene drade bindend fisika en filosofie. Sulke filosofiese musings kry gewoonlik 'n slegte rap van ons fisici. Om fisici, filosofie is 'n heeltemal ander gebied, 'n ander silo van kennis. Ons moet hierdie geloof te verander en waardeer die oorvleueling tussen die verskillende kennis silo's. Dit is in hierdie oorvleueling wat ons kan verwag deurbrake in die menslike denke te vind.

Hierdie filosofiese grand-staande mag klink arrogant en die bedekte self-vermaning van fisici verstaanbaar onwelkome; maar ek hou van 'n troefkaart. Op grond van hierdie filosofiese houding, Ek het met 'n radikaal nuwe model kom vir twee astrofisiese verskynsels, en dit in 'n artikel getiteld, “Is Radio Bronne en gammastraaluitbarstings Luminal gieken?” in die bekende International Journal van die moderne fisika D in Junie 2007. Hierdie artikel, wat gou is een van die top toeganklik artikels van die tydskrif deur Jan 2008, is 'n direkte toepassing van mening dat die beperkte spoed van lig verwring die manier waarop ons waarneem beweging. As gevolg van hierdie ondergang, die manier waarop ons dinge sien is 'n ver van die manier waarop hulle.

Ons kan in die versoeking wees om te dink dat ons so 'n perseptuele beperkings kan ontsnap deur die gebruik van tegnologiese uitbreidings aan ons sintuie soos radio-teleskope, elektronmikroskope of spektroskopiese spoed metings. Na alles, hierdie instrumente het nie “persepsie” per se en moet vry van menslike swakhede ons ly wees. Maar hierdie siellose instrumente ook ons ​​heelal te meet deur inligting draers beperk tot die spoed van lig. Ons, dus, kan nie die basiese beperkinge van ons persepsie ontsnap, selfs wanneer ons gebruik van moderne instrumente. Met ander woorde, die Hubble-teleskoop kan 'n miljard ligjare verder sien as ons blote oog, maar wat dit sien, is nog steeds 'n miljard jaar ouer as wat ons oë sien.

Ons werklikheid, of tegnologies verbeterde of gebou op direkte sensoriese insette, is die eindresultaat van ons perseptuele proses. Tot die mate dat ons 'n lang reeks persepsie is gebaseer op 'n ligte (en word dus beperk tot sy spoed), Ons kry net 'n verwronge beeld van die heelal.

Lig in die filosofie en Spiritualiteit

Die kinkel in hierdie storie van die lig en die werklikheid is dat dit lyk asof ons al hierdie het bekend vir 'n lang tyd. Klassieke filosofiese skole lyk gedink het langs lyne baie soortgelyk aan Einstein se gedagte-eksperiment.

Sodra ons waardeer die spesiale plek verleen aan die lig in die moderne wetenskap, Ons moet onsself afvra hoe verskillende ons heelal in die afwesigheid van lig sou gewees het. Natuurlik, lig is net 'n etiket wat ons heg aan 'n sensoriese ervaring. Daarom, meer akkuraat te wees, ons het 'n ander vraag te vra: As ons nie enige sintuie wat gereageer het op wat ons die lig noem, sou dit invloed op die vorm van die heelal?

Die onmiddellike antwoord van enige normale (dit is, nie-filosofiese) persoon is wat dit is voor die hand liggend. As almal is blind, almal is blind. Maar die bestaan ​​van die heelal is onafhanklik van die vraag of ons dit kan sien of nie. Is dit al? Wat beteken dit om te sê dat die heelal bestaan ​​as ons nie kan sin is dit? Ag… die eeue-oue raaisel van die val boom in 'n verlate woud. Onthou, die heelal is 'n kognitiewe bou of 'n denkbeeldige voorstelling van die lig insette tot ons oë. Dit is nie “daar,” maar in die neurone van die brein, as alles anders is. In die afwesigheid van lig in ons oë, daar is geen insette verteenwoordig te word, ergo geen heelal.

As ons die heelal modaliteite wat bedryf op ander spoed het gevoel (echo plek, byvoorbeeld), dit is die spoed wat gedink het in die fundamentele eienskappe van ruimte en tyd. Dit is die onafwendbare gevolgtrekking uit phenomenalism.

Die rol van die lig in die skep van ons werklikheid of heelal is in die hart van die Wes-godsdienstige denke. 'N heelal sonder lig is nie net 'n wêreld waar jy hom het die ligte af. Dit is inderdaad 'n heelal sonder self, 'n heelal wat nie bestaan ​​nie. Dit is in hierdie konteks dat ons die wysheid agter die stelling te verstaan ​​dat “die aarde was woes, en nietig” totdat God veroorsaak lig te wees, deur te sê “Laat daar lig wees.”

Die Koran sê ook, “Allah is die lig van die hemel en die aarde,” wat weerspieël word in een van die ou Hindoe geskrifte: “Lei my uit die duisternis na die lig, lei my uit die onwerklik om die werklike.” Die rol van die lig in die neem van ons van die onwerklik leemte (die niks) 'n werklikheid is inderdaad vir 'n lang verstaan, lang tyd. Is dit moontlik dat die antieke heiliges en profete geweet dinge wat ons nou eers begin te ontbloot met al ons veronderstel vooruitgang in kennis?

Ek weet ek kan gedruis in waar engele vrees om loopvlak, vir wending die Skrif is 'n gevaarlike spel. Sulke buitelandse interpretasies is selde welkom in die teologiese kringe. Maar ek soek skuiling in die feit dat ek is op soek na instemming in die metafisiese menings van geestelike filosofie, sonder benadeling van hul mistieke of teologiese waarde.

Die ooreenkomste tussen die noumenal-fenomenale onderskeid in phenomenalism en die Brahmaan-Maya onderskeid in Advaita is moeilik om te ignoreer. Hierdie tyd getoets wysheid op die aard van die werklikheid van die repertoire van spiritualiteit is nou herontdek in die moderne neuro, wat behandel werklikheid as 'n kognitiewe verteenwoordiging wat deur die brein. Die brein gebruik die sensoriese insette, geheue, bewussyn, en selfs taal as bestanddele in concocting ons sin van die werklikheid. Hierdie siening van die werklikheid, egter, is iets fisika nog te kom met. Maar tot die mate wat die arena (ruimte en tyd) is 'n deel van die werklikheid, fisika is nie immuun teen die filosofie.

As ons druk op die grense van ons kennis verder, ons is besig om tot nou toe ongekende en dikwels verrassende verbindings tussen die verskillende takke van die menslike pogings om te ontdek. In die finale analise, hoe kan die diverse domeine van ons kennis onafhanklik te wees van mekaar wanneer al ons kennis woon in ons brein? Kennis is 'n kognitiewe verteenwoordiging van ons ervarings. Maar dan, so is die werklikheid; dit is 'n kognitiewe verteenwoordiging van ons sensoriese insette. Dit is 'n dwaling om te dink dat die kennis is ons interne voorstelling van 'n eksterne werklikheid, en dus apart van dit. Kennis en realiteit is beide interne kognitiewe konstrukte, Hoewel ons het gekom om te dink van hulle as afsonderlike.

Erkenning en gebruik van die interkonneksies tussen die verskillende gebiede van die menslike strewe om dalk die katalisator vir die volgende deurbraak in ons kollektiewe wysheid wat ons wag vir wees.

The Philosophy of Special Relativity — A Comparison between Indian and Western Interpretations

Abstrakte: The Western philosophical phenomenalism could be treated as a kind of philosophical basis of the special theory of relativity. The perceptual limitations of our senses hold the key to the understanding of relativistic postulates. The specialness of the speed of light in our phenomenal space and time is more a matter of our perceptual apparatus, than an input postulate to the special theory of relativity. The author believes that the parallels among the phenomenological, Western spiritual and the Eastern Advaita interpretations of special relativity point to an exciting possibility of unifying the Eastern and Western schools of thought to some extent.

– Editor

Key Words: Relativity, Speed of Light, Phenomenalism, Advaita.

Inleiding

The philosophical basis of the special theory of relativity can be interpreted in terms of Western phenomenalism, which views space and time are considered perceptual and cognitive constructs created out our sensory inputs. From this perspective, the special status of light and its speed can be understood through a phenomenological study of our senses and the perceptual limitations to our phenomenal notions of space and time. A similar view is echoed in the BrahmanMaya onderskeiding in Advaita. If we think of space and time as part of Maya, we can partly understand the importance that the speed of light in our reality, as enshrined in special relativity. The central role of light in our reality is highlighted in the Bible as well. These remarkable parallels among the phenomenological, Western spiritual and the Advaita interpretations of special relativity point to an exciting possibility of unifying the Eastern and Western schools of thought to a certain degree.

Special Relativity

Einstein unveiled his special theory of relativity2 a little over a century ago. In his theory, he showed that space and time were not absolute entities. They are entities relative to an observer. An observer’s space and time are related to those of another through the speed of light. Byvoorbeeld, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. In a moving system, time flows slower and space contracts in accordance with equations involving the speed of light. Lig, dus, enjoys a special status in our space and time. This specialness of light in our reality is indelibly enshrined in the special theory of relativity.

Where does this specialness come from? What is so special about light that its speed should figure in the basic structure of space and time and our reality? This question has remained unanswered for over 100 jaar. It also brings in the metaphysical aspects of space and time, which form the basis of what we perceive as reality.

Noumenal-Phenomenal and BrahmanMaya Distinctions

In die Advaita3 view of reality, what we perceive is merely an illusion-Maya. Advaita explicitly renounces the notion that the perceived reality is external or indeed real. It teaches us that the phenomenal universe, our conscious awareness of it, and our bodily being are all an illusion or Maya. They are not the true, absolute reality. The absolute reality existing in itself, independent of us and our experiences, is Brahman.

A similar view of reality is echoed in phenomenalism,4 which holds that space and time are not objective realities. Hulle is bloot die medium van ons persepsie. In hierdie siening, all the phenomena that happen in space and time are merely bundles of our perception. Space and time are also cognitive constructs arising from perception. So, the reasons behind all the physical properties that we ascribe to space and time have to be sought in the sensory processes that create our perception, whether we approach the issue from the Advaita or phenomenalism perspective.

This analysis of the importance of light in our reality naturally brings in the metaphysical aspects of space and time. In Kant’s view,5 space and time are pure forms of intuition. They do not arise from our experience because our experiences presuppose the existence of space and time. So, we can represent space and time in the absence of objects, but we cannot represent objects in the absence of space and time.

Kant’s middle-ground has the advantage of reconciling the views of Newton and Leibniz. It can agree with Newton’s view6 that space is absolute and real for phenomenal objects open to scientific investigation. It can also sit well with Leibniz’s view7 that space is not absolute and has an existence only in relation to objects, by highlighting their relational nature, not among objects in themselves (noumenal objects), but between observers and objects.

We can roughly equate the noumenal objects to forms in Brahman and our perception of them to Maya. In hierdie artikel, we will use the terms “noumenal reality,” “absolute reality,” of “fisiese werklikheid” interchangeably to describe the collection of noumenal objects, their properties and interactions, which are thought to be the underlying causes of our perception. Net, we will “phenomenal reality,” “perceived or sensed reality,” en “perceptual reality” to signify our reality as we perceive it.

As with Brahman causing Maya, we assume that the phenomenal notions of space and time arise from noumenal causes8 through our sensory and cognitive processes. Note that this causality assumption is ad-hoc; there is no a priori reason for phenomenal reality to have a cause, nor is causation a necessary feature of the noumenal reality. Despite this difficulty, we proceed from a naive model for the noumenal reality and show that, through the process of perception, we can “derive” a phenomenal reality that obeys the special theory of relativity.

This attempt to go from the phenomena (ruimte en tyd) to the essence of what we experience (a model for noumenal reality) is roughly in line with Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology.9 The deviation is that we are more interested in the manifestations of the model in the phenomenal reality itself rather than the validity of the model for the essence. Through this study, we show that the specialness of the speed of light in our phenomenal space and time is a consequence of our perceptual apparatus. It doesn’t have to be an input postulate to the special theory of relativity.

Perception and Phenomenal Reality

The properties we ascribe to space and time (such as the specialness of the speed of light) can only be a part of our perceived reality or Maya, in Advaita, not of the underlying absolute reality, Brahman. If we think of space and time as aspects of our perceived reality arising from an unknowable Brahman through our sensory and cognitive processes, we can find an explanation for the special distinction of the speed of light in the process and mechanism of our sensing. Our thesis is that the reason for the specialness of light in our phenomenal notions of space and time is hidden in the process of our perception.

Ons, dus, study how the noumenal objects around us generate our sensory signals, and how we construct our phenomenal reality out of these signals in our brains. The first part is already troublesome because noumenal objects, per definisie, have no properties or interactions that we can study or understand.

These features of the noumenal reality are identical to the notion of Brahman in Advaita, which highlights that the ultimate truth is Brahman, the one beyond time, space and causation. Brahman is the material cause of the universe, but it transcends the cosmos. It transcends time; it exists in the past, present and future. It transcends space; it has no beginning, middle and end. It even transcends causality. For that reason, Brahman is incomprehensible to the human mind. The way it manifests to us is through our sensory and cognitive processes. This manifestation is Maya, the illusion, wat, in the phenomenalistic parlance, corresponds to the phenomenal reality.

For our purpose in this article, we describe our sensory and cognitive process and the creation of the phenomenal reality or Maya10 as follows. It starts with the noumenal objects (or forms in Brahman), which generate the inputs to our senses. Our senses then process the signals and relay the processed electric data corresponding to them to our brain. The brain creates a cognitive model, a representation of the sensory inputs, and presents it to our conscious awareness as reality, which is our phenomenal world or Maya.

This description of how the phenomenal reality created ushers in a tricky philosophical question. Who or what creates the phenomenal reality and where? It is not created by our senses, brain and mind because these are all objects or forms in the phenomenal reality. The phenomenal reality cannot create itself. It cannot be that the noumenal reality creates the phenomenal reality because, in that case, it would be inaccurate to assert the cognitive inaccessibility to the noumenal world.

This philosophical trouble is identical in Advaita asook. Our senses, brain and mind cannot create Maya, because they are all part of Maya. As Brahman created Maya, it would have to be just as real. This philosophical quandary can be circumvented in the following way. We assume that all events and objects in Maya have a cause or form in Brahman or in the noumenal world. So, we postulate that our senses, mind and body all have some (unknown) forms in Brahman (or in the noumenal world), and these forms create Maya in our conscious awareness, ignoring the fact that our consciousness itself is an illusory manifestation in the phenomenal world. This inconsistency is not material to our exploration into the nature of space and time because we are seeking the reason for the specialness of light in the sensory process rather than at the level of consciousness.

Space and time together form what physics considers the basis of reality. Space makes up our visual reality precisely as sounds make up our auditory world. Just as sounds are a perceptual experience rather than a fundamental property of physical reality, space also is an experience, or a cognitive representation of the visual inputs, not a fundamental aspect of Brahman or the noumenal reality. The phenomenal reality thus created is Maya. Die Maya events are an imperfect or distorted representation of the corresponding Brahman events. Sedert Brahman is a superset of Maya (of, equivalently, our senses are potentially incapable of sensing all aspects of the noumenal reality), not all objects and events in Brahman create a projection in Maya. Our perception (of Maya) is thus limited because of the sense modality and its speed, which form the focus of our investigation in this article.

In summary, it can be argued that the noumenal-phenomenal distinction in phenomenalism is an exact parallel to the BrahmanMaya onderskeiding in Advaita if we think of our perceived reality (of Maya) as arising from sensory and cognitive processes.

Sensing Space and Time, and the Role of Light

The phenomenal notions of space and time together form what physics considers the basis of reality. Since we take the position that space and time are the end results of our sensory perception, we can understand some of the limitations in our Maya by studying the limitations in our senses themselves.

At a fundamental level, how do our senses work? Our sense of sight operates using light, and the fundamental interaction involved in sight falls in the electromagnetic (EM) category because light (or photon) is the intermediary of EM interactions.11

The exclusivity of EM interaction is not limited to our long-range sense of sight; all the short-range senses (touch, taste, smell and hearing) are also EM in nature. In physics, the fundamental interactions are modeled as fields with gauge bosons.12 In quantum electrodynamics13 (the quantum field theory of EM interactions), photon (or light) is the gauge boson mediating EM interactions. Electromagnetic interactions are responsible for all our sensory inputs. To understand the limitations of our perception of space, we need not highlight the EM nature of all our senses. Space is, deur en groot, the result of our sight sense. But it is worthwhile to keep in mind that we would have no sensing, and indeed no reality, in the absence of EM interactions.

Like our senses, all our technological extensions to our senses (such as radio telescopes, electron microscopes, red shift measurements and even gravitational lensing) use EM interactions exclusively to measure our universe. So, we cannot escape the basic constraints of our perception even when we use modern instruments. The Hubble telescope may see a billion light years farther than our naked eyes, maar wat dit sien, is nog steeds 'n miljard jaar ouer as wat ons oë sien. Our phenomenal reality, whether built upon direct sensory inputs or technologically enhanced, is made up of a subset of EM particles and interactions only. What we perceive as reality is a subset of forms and events in the noumenal world corresponding to EM interactions, filtered through our sensory and cognitive processes. In die Advaita parlance, Maya can be thought of as a projection of Brahman through EM interactions into our sensory and cognitive space, quite probably an imperfect projection.

The exclusivity of EM interactions in our perceived reality is not always appreciated, mainly because of a misconception that we can sense gravity directly. This confusion arises because our bodies are subject to gravity. There is a fine distinction between “being subject to” en “being able to sense” gravitational force. The gravity sensing in our ears measures the effect of gravity on EM matter. In the absence of EM interaction, it is impossible to sense gravity, or anything else for that matter.

This assertion that there is no sensing in the absence of EM interactions brings us to the next philosophical hurdle. One can always argue that, in the absence of EM interaction, there is no matter to sense. This argument is tantamount to insisting that the noumenal world consists of only those forms and events that give rise to EM interaction in our phenomenal perception. Met ander woorde, it is the same as insisting that Brahman is made up of only EM interactions. What is lacking in the absence of EM interaction is only our phenomenal reality. In die Advaita notion, in the absence of sensing, Maya does not exist. The absolute reality or Brahman, egter, is independent of our sensing it. Weer, we see that the Eastern and Western views on reality we explored in this article are remarkably similar.

The Speed of Light

Knowing that our space-time is a representation of the light waves our eyes receive, we can immediately see that light is indeed special in our reality. In our view, sensory perception leads to our brain’s representation that we call reality, of Maya. Any limitation in this chain of sensing leads to a corresponding limitation in our phenomenal reality.

One limitation in the chain from senses to perception is the finite speed of photon, which is the gauge boson of our senses. The finite speed of the sense modality influences and distorts our perception of motion, ruimte en tyd. Because these distortions are perceived as a part of our reality itself, the root cause of the distortion becomes a fundamental property of our reality. This is how the speed of light becomes such an important constant in our space-time.

The importance of the speed of light, egter, is respected only in our phenomenal Maya. Other modes of perception have other speeds the figure as the fundamental constant in their space-like perception. The reality sensed through echolocation, byvoorbeeld, has the speed of sound as a fundamental property. In werklikheid, it is fairly simple to establish14 that echolocation results in a perception of motion that obeys something very similar to special relativity with the speed of light replaced with that of sound.

Theories beyond Sensory Limits

The basis of physics is the world view called scientific realism, which is not only at the core of sciences but is our natural way of looking at the world as well. Scientific realism, and hence physics, assume an independently existing external world, whose structures are knowable through scientific investigations. To the extent observations are based on perception, the philosophical stance of scientific realism, as it is practiced today, can be thought of as a trust in our perceived reality, and as an assumption that it is this reality that needs to be explored in science.

Physics extends its reach beyond perception or Maya through the rational element of pure theory. Most of physics works in this “extended” intellectual reality, with concepts such as fields, forces, light rays, atome, deeltjies, ens, the existence of which is insisted upon through the metaphysical commitment implied in scientific realism. Egter, it does not claim that the rational extensions are the noumenal causes or Brahman giving raise to our phenomenal perception.

Scientific realism has helped physics tremendously, with all its classical theories. Egter, scientific realism and the trust in our perception of reality should apply only within the useful ranges of our senses. Within the ranges of our sensory perceptions, we have fairly intuitive physics. An example of an intuitive picture is Newtonian mechanics that describe “normal” objects moving around at “normal” speeds.

When we get closer to the edges of our sensory modalities, we have to modify our sciences to describe the reality as we sense it. These modifications lead to different, and possibly incompatible, theories. When we ascribe the natural limitations of our senses and the consequent limitations of our perception (and therefore observations) to the fundamental nature of reality itself, we end up introducing complications in our physical laws. Depending on which limitations we are incorporating into the theory (e.g., small size, large speeds etc.), we may end up with theories that are incompatible with each other.

Our argument is that some of these complications (en, hopelik, incompatibilities) can be avoided if we address the sensory limitations directly. Byvoorbeeld, we can study the consequence of the fact that our senses operate at the speed of light as follows. We can model Brahman (the noumenal reality) as obeying classical mechanics, and work out what kind of Maya (phenomenal reality) we will experience through the chain of sensing.

The modeling of the noumenal world (as obeying classical mechanics), natuurlik, has shaky philosophical foundations. But the phenomenal reality predicted from this model is remarkably close to the reality we do perceive. Starting from this simple model, it can be easily shown our perception of motion at high speeds obeys special relativity.

The effects due to the finite speed of light are well known in physics. Ons weet, byvoorbeeld, that what we see happening in distant stars and galaxies now actually took place quite awhile ago. A more “advanced” effect due to the light travel time15 is the way we perceive motion at high speeds, which is the basis of special relativity. In werklikheid, many astrophysical phenomena can be understood16 in terms of light travel time effects. Because our sense modality is based on light, our sensed picture of motion has the speed of light appearing naturally in the equations describing it. So the importance of the speed of light in our space-time (as described in special relativity) is due to the fact that our reality is Maya created based on light inputs.

Conclusion

Almost all branches of philosophy grapple with this distinction between the phenomenal and the absolute realities to some extent. Advaita Vedanta holds the unrealness of the phenomenal reality as the basis of their world view. In hierdie artikel, we showed that the views in phenomenalism can be thought of as a restatement of the Advaita postulates.

When such a spiritual or philosophical insight makes its way into science, great advances in our understanding can be expected. This convergence of philosophy (or even spirituality) and science is beginning to take place, most notably in neuroscience, which views reality as a creation of our brain, echoing the notion of Maya.

Science gives a false impression that we can get arbitrarily close to the underlying physical causes through the process of scientific investigation and rational theorization. An example of such theorization can be found in our sensation of hearing. The experience or the sensation of sound is an incredibly distant representation of the physical cause–namely air pressure waves. We are aware of the physical cause because we have a more powerful sight sense. So it would seem that we can indeed go from Maya (klink) to the underlying causes (air pressure waves).

Egter, it is a fallacy to assume that the physical cause (the air pressure waves) is Brahman. Air pressure waves are still a part of our perception; they are part of the intellectual picture we have come to accept. This intellectual picture is an extension of our visual reality, based on our trust in the visual reality. It is still a part of Maya.

The new extension of reality proposed in this article, again an intellectual extension, is an educated guess. We guess a model for the absolute reality, of Brahman, and predict what the consequent perceived reality should be, working forward through the chain of sensing and creating Maya. If the predicted perception is a good match with the Maya we do experience, then the guesswork for Brahman is taken to be a fairly accurate working model. The consistency between the predicted perception and what we do perceive is the only validation of the model for the nature of the absolute reality. Verder, the guess is only one plausible model for the absolute reality; there may be different such “solutions” to the absolute reality all of which end up giving us our perceived reality.

It is a mistake to think of the qualities of our subjective experience of sound as the properties of the underlying physical process. In an exact parallel, it is a fallacy to assume that the subjective experience of space and time is the fundamental property of the world we live in. The space-time continuum, as we see it or feel it, is only a partial and incomplete representation of the unknowable Brahman. If we are willing to model the unknowable Brahman as obeying classical mechanics, we can indeed derive the properties of our perceived reality (such as time dilation, length contraction, light speed ceiling and so on in special relativity). By proposing this model for the noumenal world, we are not suggesting that all the effects of special relativity are mere perceptual artifacts. We are merely reiterating a known fact that space and time themselves cannot be anything but perceptual constructs. Thus their properties are manifestations of the process of perception.

When we consider processes close to or beyond our sensor limits, the manifestations of our perceptual and cognitive constraints become significant. Daarom, when it comes to the physics that describes such processes, we really have to take into account the role that our perception and cognition play in sensing them. The universe as we see it is only a cognitive model created out of the photons falling on our retina or on the photosensors of the Hubble telescope. As gevolg van die beperkte spoed van die inligting draer (naamlik lig), our perception is distorted in such a way as to give us the impression that space and time obey special relativity. Hulle doen, but space and time are only a part of our perception of an unknowable reality—a perception limited by the speed of light.

The central role of light in creating our reality or universe is at the heart of western spiritual philosophy as well. 'N heelal sonder lig is nie net 'n wêreld waar jy hom het die ligte af. Dit is inderdaad 'n heelal sonder self, 'n heelal wat nie bestaan ​​nie. It is in this context that we have to understand the wisdom behind the notion that “die aarde was woes, and void'” totdat God veroorsaak lig te wees, deur te sê “Laat daar lig wees.” Quran also says, “Allah is the light of the heavens.” The role of light in taking us from the void (die niks) to a reality was understood for a long, lang tyd. Is it possible that the ancient saints and prophets knew things that we are only now beginning to uncover with all our advances in knowledge? Whether we use old Eastern Advaita views or their Western counterparts, we can interpret the philosophical stance behind special relativity as hidden in the distinction between our phenomenal reality and its unknowable physical causes.

Verwysings

  1. Dr. Manoj Thulasidas graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, in 1987. He studied fundamental particles and interactions at the CLEO collaboration at Cornell University during 1990-1992. After receiving his PhD in 1993, he moved to Marseilles, France and continued his research with the ALEPH collaboration at CERN, Genève. During his ten-year career as a research scientist in the field of High energy physics, Hy is die mede-outeur van meer as 200 publikasies.
  2. Einstein, A. (1905). Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper. (On The Electrodynamics Of Moving Bodies). Annale van fisika, 17, 891-921.
  3. Radhakrishnan, S. & Moore, C. A. (1957). Source Book in Indian Philosophy. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NY.
  4. Chisolm, R. (1948). The Problem of Empiricism. The Journal of Philosophy, 45, 512-517.
  5. Allison, H. (2004). Kant’s Transcendental Idealism. Yale University Press.
  6. Rynasiewicz, R. (1995). By Their Properties, Causes and Effects: Newton’s Scholium on Time, Ruimte, Place and Motion. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 26, 133-153, 295-321.
  7. Calkins, M. Die. (1897). Kant’s Conception of the Leibniz Space and Time Doctrine. The Philosophical Review, 6 (4), 356-369.
  8. Janaway, C., ed. (1999). The Cambridge Companion to Schopenhauer. Cambridge University Press.
  9. Schmitt, R. (1959). Husserl’s Transcendental-Phenomenological Reduction. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 20 (2), 238-245.
  10. Thulasidas, M. (2007). Die onwerklik Heelal. Asian Books, Singapoer.
  11. Electromagnetic (EM) interaction is one of the four kinds of interactions in the Standard Model (Griffths, 1987) of particle physics. It is the interaction between charged bodies. Despite the EM repulsion between them, egter, the protons stay confined within the nucleus because of the strong interaction, whose magnitude is much bigger than that of EM interactions. The other two interactions are termed the weak interaction and the gravitational interaction.
  12. In quantum field theory, every fundamental interaction consists of emitting a particle and absorbing it in an instant. These so-called virtual particles emitted and absorbed are known as the gauge bosons that mediate the interactions.
  13. Feynman, R. (1985). Quantum Electrodynamics. Addison Wesley.
  14. Thulasidas, M. (2007). Die onwerklik Heelal. Asian Books, Singapoer.
  15. Rees, M. (1966). Appearance of Relativistically Expanding Radio Sources. Aard, 211, 468-470.
  16. Thulasidas, M. (2007'n). Is Radio Bronne en gammastraaluitbarstings Luminal gieken? International Journal of Modern Physics D, 16 (6), 983-1000.

1984

All great books have one thing in common. They present deep philosophical inquiries, often clad in superb story lines. Or is it just my proclivity to see philosophy where none exists?

In 1984, the immediate story is of a completely totalitarian regime. Inwardly, 1984 is also about ethics and politics. It doesn’t end there, but goes into nested philosophical inquiries about how everything is eventually connected to metaphysics. It naturally ends up in solipsism, not merely in the material, metaphysical sense, but also in a spiritual, socio-psychological sense where the only hope, the only desired outcome of life, becomes death.

I think I may be giving away too much of my impressions in the first paragraph. Let’s take it step by step. We all know that totalitarianism is bad. It is a bad political system, we believe. The badness of totalitarianism can present itself at different levels of our social existence.

At the lowest level, it can be a control over our physical movements, physical freedom, and restrictions on what you can or cannot do. Try voting against a certain African “president” and you get beaten up, byvoorbeeld. Try leaving certain countries, you get shot.

At a higher level, totalitarianism can be about financial freedom. Think of those in the developed world who have to juggle three jobs just to put food on the table. At a progressively subtler level, totalitarianism is about control of information. Example: media conglomerates filtering and coloring all the news and information we receive.

At the highest level, totalitarianism is a fight for your mind, your soul, and your spiritual existence. 1984 presents a dystopia where totalitarianism is complete, onherroeplik, and existing at all levels from physical to spiritual.

Another book of the same dystopian kind is The Handmaid’s Tale, where a feminist’s nightmare of a world is portrayed. Hier, the focus is on religious extremism, and the social and sexual subjugation brought about by it. But the portrayal of the world gone hopelessly totalitarian is similar to 1984.

Also portraying a dark dystopia is V for Vendentta, with torture and terrorism thrown in. This work is probably inspired by 1984, I have to look it up.

It is the philosophical points in 1984 that make it the classic it is. The past, byvoorbeeld, is a matter of convention. If everybody believes (or is forced to believe) that events took place in a certain way, then that is the past. History is written by the victors. Knowing that, how can you trust the greatness of the victors or the evil in the vanquished? Assume for a second that Hitler had actually won the Second World War. Do you think we would’ve still thought of him as evil? I think we would probably think of him as the father of the modern world or something. Natuurlik, we would be having this conversation (if we were allowed to exist and have conversations at all) in German.

Even at a personal level, the past is not as immutable as it seems. Truth is relative. Lies repeated often enough become truth. All these points are describe well in 1984, first from Winston’s point of view and later, in the philosophically sophisticated discourses of O’Brien. In a world existing in our own brain, where the phenomenal reality as we see it is far from the physical one, morality does lose a bit of its glamor. Metaphysics can erode on ethics. Solipsism can annihilate it.

A review, especially one in a blog, doesn’t have to be conventional. So let me boldly outline my criticisms of 1984 asook. I believe that the greatest fear of a normal human being is the fear of death. Na alles, the purpose of life is merely to live a little longer. Everything that our biological faculties do stem from the desire to exist a little longer.

Based on this belief of mine, I find certain events in 1984 a bit incongruous. Why is it that Winston and Julia don’t fear death, but still fear the telescreens and gestapo-like police? Perhaps the fear of pain overrides the fear of death. What do I know, I have never been tortured.

But even the fear of pain can be understood in terms of the ultimate fear. Pain is a messenger of bodily harm, ergo of possible death. But fear of rats?! Perhaps irrational phobias, existing at a sub-cognitive, almost physical, layer may be stronger than everything else. But I cannot help feeling that there is something amiss, something contrived, in the incarceration and torture parts of 1984.

May be Orwell didn’t know how to portray spiritual persecution. Gelukkig, none of us knows. So such techniques as rats and betrayal were employed to bring about the hideousness of the process. This part of the book leaves me a bit dissatisfied. Na alles, our protagonists knew full well what they were getting into, and what the final outcome would be. If they knew their spirit would be broken, then why leave it out there to be broken?