What is Real? Discussions with Ranga.

Tue, May 22, 2007 at 6:23 PM
Hi Ranga:I disagree with a lot of your comments in the last mail, so let me try to voice my views properly.

Sound is important to a bat, but is not the only way it perceives the external world let alone its own body. So is light for humans. To focus on light as a research strategy is different from saying that light is fundamentally special to us. So, in terms of AR or even R, light has no special place as such.

This assertion about light has no special place in our PR doesn’t seem to follow from the sentences before. My argument goes like this: Space is a cognitive representation of the light falling in our eyes, much like sound is a representation of the air pressure waves falling in our ears. So in our space, light has a special place. More specifically, its speed has a special place in the way we sense motion in our space.

Also, R has to be defined more clearly as applicable to all beings, or only to humans, or only to you. This itself is a conceptual maze- if you have thought about it.

PR doesn’t have to be the same for different sensory modalities, much like space and sound don’t have to be the same. Let me illustrate this with an example. Assume that you are asked to compute how to hit a moving target with a projectile. Say, an object is moving away from you and you measure the speed to be half the speed of sound, you have a gun that will shoot a shell at a constant horizontal speed of 0.75 Mach. What is the angle of the gun muzzle? You can use classical mechanics and solve it fairly easily. Let’s say that the angle is A. Now suppose you pose the same problem to a hypothetical, intelligent bat (that is blind). It can be shown that using echolocation, the bat will measure a different speed for both the object and the shell. In fact, he would be using something remarkably similar to relativistic mechanics (with the speed of light replaced by the speed of sound) because his echolocated “space” will obey that mechanics. But the final answer for the angle he comes up with will still be A. Now, just because you and the bat come up with the same angle doesn’t mean that the space as you both see (the PR) is the same. Space can be very different in different sense modalities. The bat’s space obeys relativity while yours obeys classical mechanics.

But your explanations of the phenomenal world (for example GRBs) are not based on any aspect of AR at all, as it is not accessible to us, by our own definition. So, starting off with a framework of AR (as in your block diagram of AR->Perception/Cognition->Perceived Reality- >Measurements->Science) is 1) misleading 2) not necessary as it is not used at all in the explanation of GRB.

I’m afraid I don’t agree with you here either. The GRB explanation is based on the assumption that AR obeys classical mechanics (CM) not special relativity (SR), while PR obeys SR. In my block diagram goes like this: AR (CM) ->Perception/Cognition->Perceived Reality (SR) ->Measurements->Science

The critical point in the explanation of GRB is the questioning of the light barrier which was created by a previous theory and not by any aspect of this framework.

Not quite. The critical point is that it is the PR that obeys SR. We don’t know anything about the mechanics obeyed by AR. But we can certainly work out what kind of PR we would get if AR obeyed CM. It turns out that we would get something similar to SR (indicating that CM is a good candidate for the mechanics of AR). Thus, the light barrier exists only in PR, not in AR.

This new theory has to be explained in terms of how to falsify and test it. With more perceptual observations one can then prove or disprove this theory. If one does not recognize this one gets into conceptual confusion.

My notion (I don’t know if it is profound enough to be called a theory) is merely that AR doesn’t have to obey SR. It doesn’t have to obey CM either, but if it did, we would get a PR much like the space we perceive with the strange properties in sensing motion. It looks so obvious to me, but I’m having such a hard time communicating it, much less convincing anybody.

Further, one may mislead people into believing that science by rigorous analysis can help to see absolute reality (even if one intends not to perpetuate this notion). I think you should especially avoid this notion in your book.

In my book, I state it repeatedly that AR is beyond our grasp, comprehension; it is unknowable etc. Even when I state that CM is a possible candidate for AR, I take some trouble to explain that it is only ONE possible candidate, there may be others. PR to AR mapping is one-to-many (very many, in fact).

This question is based on the assumption of a traditional notion of causation that something has to cause something else. When you are still working within this premise, you are still asking such questions. The notion of causality itself needs to be questioned. Do check J. Pearl (2000) – Causality: models, reasoning and inference and other related works. The concept of Brahman and Atman, and that of Sunyata in Buddhism, questioned causation even before Hume did it. We have to guard our scientific arrogance against taking a superiority attitude – we have yet to fathom some of these concepts.

I agree with you here, there is no a priori reason for causality to be respected in the Brahman-Maya context. I wonder if you ditch causality, will you end up in solipsism?

Can one be without the other? Can sound be without air pressure waves? That is where it is questioned whether Maya can exist without Brahman or vice versa.

Sure you can have sound without air pressure waves. In your dreams, for instance 🙂

That was a bit of tongue-in-cheek, but I have a point there. There is probably no Maya without Brahman. But Brahman can certainly exist in the absence of a conscious being, and therefore in the absence of Maya. At least, that is my understanding of Brahman and Maya. My causality-bound mind can only express it as, “Brahman creates Maya.”

There are some other comments in your mail that I didn’t respond to. I picked on the ones that I didn’t quite agree with.

Look forward to your rebuttals. 🙂

– cheers,
– Manoj


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