What is Real? Discussions with Ranga.

Tue, May 22, 2007 at 3:31 AM

Your introductory para starts-off suggesting that there is a process creating Maya and by understanding this process one can see why light is so special in our phenomenal notions of space and time. However, the concluding argument tapers off without completely explaining why light is so special. You probably left out some parts in this email?

In any case, why should light be so special? No doubt, it has a special place in Einstein’s theory; it’s currently understood to place a limit on the speed of movement of objects in the world (mass-less objects taken to be able to reach this limit); it has invariant speed in all media and in all coordinate systems; it has special significance for vision as the most important sensory modality in humans because of its spatial reach, extent (we can see the stars) and resolution, our “supposedly superior” outlook made possible by it, etc. And, it appears somewhat special to physicists. But by any of these arguments, light (or any form of electromagnetic radiation) does not have any special significance, in understanding “absolute reality” It does not explain AR by its own accord, neither emphasizing on it more makes reality better understood. It is but a product of the phenomenal world, as much as objects and events are part of this world. Light is not a fundamental property of reality, although it appears very important for us humans. As you have verily said elsewhere, for a bat sound is its “light” (you probably did not use the same words). Sound is important no doubt for explaining its phenomenal world, but a bat cannot hope to explain the so called AR with notions of sound alone. In fact, there is no way one can explain AR with notions of anything phenomenal, because by definition anything phenomenal is a product (at best) and an artifact (at worst, depending on the way you look at it), of the phenomenal world.

Now you see the futility in trying to further an explanation for absolute reality all such explanations are at best “illusions” or Mayas, in themselves. By removing or pealing away the so-called perceptual errors one cannot reach absolute reality because every process pealing away involves using the same senses and intellect other products of which we are trying to peal away. This is at once a humbling yet rejuvenating insight. This does not mean we should stop trying to explain the world around us or we will be able to we are, as living beings compelled to do as is our wont. We don’t know any other way. Every organism tries to explain its phenomenal world in someway by simply reacting to it, and behaving in it. We feel that our behavior is our theory of the universe! We hope that we can live better by explaining our surroundings better. Anyway, this is how I feel.

The causal relationship between Brahman and Maya is not necessarily linear even by any stretch of theorizing. Brahman does not have to be seen as an agent with a purpose to cause the signals to fall on our senses which in turn create a model of the surroundings that in turn are presented to our conscious awareness etc. leading to Maya or illusion. One cannot hope to circumvent the problem of who creates Maya by explaining away by a certain purpose or form. As much as Brahman cannot be reached by pealing away all the perceptual errors, Brahman or noumenon cannot also be reached by summating all beings’ phenomenal world. You may imagine a being having all possible senses and intellect (of bats echolocation, of elephants infrasensing etc). But that means you would then embody the whole noumena itself in that being! (Here I may be incoherent to you as I’m just typing away very fast as thoughts occur to me).

What this means to me is that, Brahman and Maya are one and the same. To make this more understandable to ourselves, at the cost of fouling it up — it can be seen as the constant flux in the Brahman, constant interaction of the universe the objects and beings in it as manifestation of the phenomenon. This interaction begets a certain differentiation the identification of objects and beings as individuals and the need for the survival of these individuals. The birth of this differentiation is the beginning of the phenomenal world I’m not talking in terms of evolution or emergence of life here. The critical insight that we are actually part of a whole is the death of this differentiation and the resubmission to the Brahman the realization of this is called Atman. This does not happen in us, allegedly, except in extreme circumstances (so-called Nirvana or Samadhi) and certainly not in a sustained way. And hence, our constant need to be individualist and different and to prove our difference and make theories about the world we see around us.

So, to sum it up, the point I would like to make is that the notion of Absolute Reality separate from Reality is flawed. The notion that one can reach the AR through better analysis of R is even more flawed. So, what does that leave us with? That if you explain something (such as GRBs), you are explaining both the AR and R because they are intertwined. Further, the beauty of this that any theory conceivable (proven or disproved, falsifiable or not in a scientific method) explains both AR and R, because the explanations are products of our senses and intellect, which are parts of our world. If we have perceived it, it should be in the world AR or R or otherwise.

This may not be tight enough as arguments go, but this is the best I could come up with.

Mine, perhaps, confuses and bewilders more than it explains, but who cares. The world is not a simple thing to explain, is it? Nevertheless, it is enjoyable and invigorating to think about all this. Especially interesting are the notions of causality, reversals of notions of time, perception of time in the brain etc.



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