Thursday, 17 June 2010

Inner dimension of reality

Namaste all,

I am quite surprised I have some followers. As you can see my last entry was last year in June. Since that time I have been rather busy with things in regular life, so I have not had much time to blog. I have a bit of free time now, so I can add some more entries. I think in the last year my knowledge in philosophy and spirituality has definitely increased, as much of my reading has been focussed in that. However, knowledge certainly has its limitation and I can feel that limitation everytime I read something new. Has my knowledge actually really increased, or have I simply reorganized old information? I feel it is the latter case. The great Greek philosopher Socrates once said that he knows nothing, and I feel exactly the same, that despite reading tons and tons of literature on philosophy and spirituality, I still feel like I know nothing.

Of course, it would be wholly inaccurate to say I know absolutely nothing, I know something at least, otherwise how could I talk about it? What Socrates really meant is that we cannot know anything in its totality or its noumenal reality, but all we can know is just empirical or intellectual knowledge of something. Knowledge is something transcendental. To truly know something is not just to look on it from outside, but to enter the being of that something and know it from the inside. Just as I cannot know you by simply looking at you, because you have an entire mental universe I am not privy too. Likewise everything has an entire inner universe that we are not privy too. We cannot know anything by analysing it, breaking it up into parts and looking at it, because it will never reveal the inner dimension of that thing.

What is the inner dimension of something? I am going to submit to the reader that it is none other than the mental dimension. This mental dimension is not just limited to us human beings, this mental dimension is in fact an objective dimension in its own right, and all things have a mental dimension. In spiritual traditions this is known as the astral and mental plane. We humans want to believe only we have an inner mental dimension and everything else in the world is just inert matter, but if we look closer we will see this is just an arrogant assumption humans make. The famous philosopher Betrand Russel has proven that is only an assumption through the argument on whether other minds exist. We only have evidence that our mind exists because we have intimate experience of our own thoughts, sensations, desires, but how do we know that anything out there has a mind because we cannot see their thoughts, sensations, desires. All we see are bodies. If we are going to draw the inference that all other human bodies have a inner mental dimension , then we should not object at the induction that all bodies in general have an inner mental dimension.

Of course there is an inner dimension of reality. There is no question about it today in science. In quantum physics it has been proven that reality at the quantum level is metaphysical. What do we already know that is metaphysical? Mind. We humans already know this reality quantum physics talks about because we have an intimate access to it. If you think about it we humans are very impressive detectors, not only can we detect the outer reality through the 5 primary senses, but we can also detect the inner reality through our internal 6th mental sense. If it was not true that there was no inner reality, then why can we not find mental content in the outer reality? Why can't I look inside your body and find your thoughts and feelings? The answer is clear, because they exist in another dimension of reality, much more subtle and fundamental than physical reality.

There is an axoim in the spiritual tradition which says, "Everything is mind" Surely enough this is what we are coming to discover in 21st century science. This world is not made out of a physical stuff, but it is a mental stuff - a spiritual stuff if you may. It is not hard and rigid like a solid substance, but it is soft, fluidic liquid-like substance intimately connected with minds.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Multidimensional Universe

In Quantum physics the role of observer has become more important than in other paradigms of physics. In Newtonian physics, the observer had no role to play, the universe operated without him like a machine governed by mechanical deterministic forces. In Einsteinium physics, the observer creeped in the theory of relativity, with Einstein showing that space and time appear differently to different observer frame of references, but again reduced this to physical variables like space-time, gravity, energy. Then Schrodinger came along with his famous cat in the box thought experiment and showed that no possibility is manifest without an observer to make an observation. Prior to the observation the cat in the box is both alive and dead, and thus exists in a super positioned state of possibility. This superposition state is not collapsed until somebody opens the box and finds out whether the cat is alive or dead. What Schrodinger was trying to show that light exists as probability wave function, until the observer collapses the wave function by observing it, leading to it appearing as a particle. Prior to this collapsing light was both a particle and wave. It was later shown by quantum physicists like Bell that Schrodinger's thought experiment was true, and even minuscule quantum effects like the spin-state of an electron does not change without an observation. All things are therefore observer dependent.

The implications of the (re)introduction of the observer into the physical world would make the universe very strange, the implications of which Einstein did not want to accept. Such things as particles being in two places at the same time, particles interacting faster than the speed of light outside of space and time, and particles being holographic projections are today common themes in quantum physics and popular science and thus have great appeal to new age religion and spirituality. I am sure most of heard of the new age adage, "You create your own reality" If it follows that reality is observer dependent, then it means that the observer has the power to manifest their own reality.

Of course, one is in danger of falling into crude idealism with such philosophy. If I can really create my own reality, then does it mean if I believe the moon is made out of cheese, that it really will become cheese? If I wanted to manifest a thunderstorm, can I simply just will it into existence? Such objections to idealism are common. Quantum idealism also has its critics such as Neil Bohr and the Copenhagen interpretation of Schrodinger's physics. The Copenhagen interpretation basically says that the observer only affects quantum phenomena, and not the phenomena in the real world. The problem with this is all course if the real world is based on the quantum world, then changes affected in the quantum world, should affect the real world as well.

Is there a way out of this quantum idealism? Yes, there is, the answer is string theory. I predict string theory is going to be the future of physics and will bring about a completely new paradigm of thinking about the world. What does string theory say? According to String theory the universe is multidimensional, consisting of 11 dimensions interpenetrating one another, of which 4 dimensions are known and perceptible and 7 which are not. It is made up of not atoms, but vibrating string of energy, and the various vibrations appear to us as various worlds. String theory does have some very interesting philosophical and spiritual implications. It is possible for other dimensions and lifeforms to exist of higher energy density and thus rendering spiritual realms and spiritual life forms as a physical possibility. The reason we cannot perceive these dimensions is because our range of sensitivity or awareness is limited only to the 4D world of space-time, but this does not mean, and I know now that it is true, that our sensitivity ends at 4D. In fact, our sensitivity extends across all 11 dimensions, and we can become aware of other dimensions as well.

Many have heard of people who see spirits and receive communications from spirits. They will also have heard of people who have had Out of Body Experiences, Near Death Experiences, and can willfully project out of their body into other planes of reality. I know that society has a tendency to scoff at these people, but in future physics this will no longer be the case. This phenomenon is widely prevalent in the world across all cultures and periods and today significant and positive peer-reviewed scientific evidence exists to corroborate them. I myself have had personal experiences of sensing these other dimensions at times and thus why I can confidently attest that they do exist and anybody can detect them. In the future maybe technology will also be available to detect them.

In spirituality these 7 hidden dimensions are known as the astral planes or the astral world which we routinely enter when we dream. In these 7 levels the laws of space and time are relative and differ from level to level. This basically means that time is flowing at different speeds at each level.
In the dream world, time is flowing faster than the waking world. In the waking world if you think of something, to manifest it requires more time than it does in the dream world. For example, if I want to go to the shop to buy something in waking it requires time to get there, in dream if I want to go to the stop, I am already there as soon as I have thought of it.
This in turn is mirrored on the physical level. On the quantum level events are taking place rapidly, but on the solid level they are taking place slowly and this gives us an illusion of solidity.

The philosophy of time or temporal philosophy is of great interest to me and I will cover this in more detail at a later date, for now all that needs to be understand is that the universe is multidimensional and consists of several levels and at each level space-time is different. So what is the role of the observer in this? Recall that the according to QM reality is observer-dependent, but as shown it is not true that we can change the physical world through mere thought, does this mean reality is independent of the observer? Instead it means that reality is observer-dependent-reflective, the observer is observing a reality, but how that reality is reflected back to the observer is dependent on how the observer accesses it.

Observer - Object

When the observer observes the object in a certain way it communicates a signal to the object, which then sends a signal back to the observer and the observer sees the object reflected dependent on how it observes it. A crude example could be seeing the object with red lens, the red lens would interact with the object and the object will appear red. Thus how we access reality is how that reality is reflected back to us. This is not quite like the "we create our own reality" paradigm. We are not creating reality, we are simply observing it. This is sure to offend many of a new age spiritual temper, so-called lightworkers, who swear by this paradigm and genuinely think if they think positive, positive things will happen in the world. Instead, whether think positive or negative, the things which are going to happen in the world are outside of their control. You could be the most positive person in the world, and still be a hit by a bus. The key difference between the old idealist paradigms and the new paradigm of the multidimensional universe is that you can choose the way in which you want to access the reality of something. A Tsunami that kills hundreds of thousands can be seen in one way as a catastrophic event, seen on another level, as nothing more than a perturbation in the field of reality. The boss firing you can be seen as a personal failure, seen on another level, as an opportunity for new experience.

How we access the world is based on our conditional reality. The external assumptions we make, beliefs and attitudes is what determines the way in which we access the world, and thereby how the world will appear to us. This is where we take our lead to start a completely new kind of physics, because empirical physics has reached its limits. All it needed to do was indicate the observer, and now that it has, it is redundant. New physics must now begin from the observer itself and scientifically investigate the observers inner-world to reveal the true outer world. This is what I call observational physics and this will be the topic I will explore in later posts.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Problem of Happiness, Part 3: A Transcendental inquiry


The Transcendental inquiry in the Chandogya Upanishad is presented as a dialogue between Narada and Sanat Kumara. Narada is very learned in philosophy, science, grammar, astronomy, the arts, the Vedas etc, but he is still discontent despite being a master of so many fields. He goes to a great spiritual master Sanat Kumara and asks as to why he is discontent despite having so much knowledge. Sanat Kumara then tells him, "All you know is name and form" that is that his knowledge is only word-knowledge and it does not bring contentment because he has not gone beyond that to their essence and integrated in into his being. Sanat Kumara regresses him through all the antecedents to the primordial, offering a remarkable scientific unification of the phenomenon with the noumenon. I will now present all the stages Kumara went through and offer commentary on each.


All phenomena begins with name and form, or signs in general. Everything we know are merely labels for certain forms that we perceive. The name ‘tree’ is just a name for the form of tree.


The names are given by expression and language. That is that there is a pragmatic cause for the nature of giving names. The differentials that we perceive in reality are made sensible to us by giving it a name for us to think about it. Inherent within this is the laws of logic, which allow the expression of language.


It is the mind that controls the language that names. All names are really just the expressions of though-forms which exist in the mind. The name does not precede the thought-form, but comes after the thought-form. I first have to perceive the object to be named, before I name it. But the paradox arises of how can one have a thought-form of something that is not yet named? There is no paradox the mental process is unconscious. Therefore we do not have conscious thought-forms until we have named them. It will be explained in the earlier antecedents how the mind distinguishes the thought form.

This can be explained by the Navya-Nyaya(neo-logical school of India) theory of discriminate and indiscriminate perception. That which we already know, i.e, that which already has name is part of our discrimination perception. That which we don’t know, which has no name or which we do not attend to is part of our indiscriminate perception.


The mind cannot distinguish a thought form before an intentional act to distinguish the thought form and that intention is rooted in a disposition or desire to distinguish that object. Hence why there is such thing as determinate and indeterminate perception. If different observers walk into a room, each observer will notice something different and each observer will miss something different. What is noticed is determinate perception and what is not noticed is indeterminate perception. For example somebody who likes shoes may notice the shoes somebody is wearing, and somebody who likes shirts, may notice the shirt somebody is wearing.

The mind only sees what it intends to see. A spider can assume different values based on different observers, that is because each observer is intuiting a different intentional act. Those who like spiders will intuit the value of “good” on the spider, and those who don’t like spiders will intuit the value of “bad” The spider itself has neutral value.


An intentional act cannot take place to distinguish an object, unless there is a memory of that object. The memory of that object could have been pleasurable or painful. If the memory was a painful one, then one is likely to intuit a negative value on the object when encountered and if it was a positive one, one is likely to intuit a positive value. If there is no memory of an object, then one is likely to completely overlook the object.

Thus emerges from this a causal explanation of why the differentiation takes place. The differentiation is not because of some laws of space and time, but it is based on practical experiences of the subject. Thus up until now we have a purely materialistic account of how qualitative values like “good” and “bad” become attached to objects, but this does not explain the actual values itself. The values inhere in the subject itself. It’s capacity to feel pain and pleasure is a qualitative act in the first place.


To concentrate on one thing is to exclude other things. The mind concentrates on the object that is to become an object of memory and isolates that object. The object after coming into contact with the body elicits it either a pleasurable or painful response. How does this phenomenon take place? By difference. The mind cognises the object as soon as it comes in contact with the body and then isolates it, and then begins to process that object, the process leads to a pain or pleasure response.


The pain or pleasure response is a realization process which involves an a priori condition which realises that pain or pleasure.
Something that is already predisposed to a certain pain or pleasure response from an object will experience that when the object is in contact with it e.g., one who is weak is predisposed to feeling pain when struck with a certain level of force. The same force may not elicit a painful response in who is strong. This weakness need to be a physical thing but can be a psychological thing.


The next logical antecedent therefore is the strength of the subject itself. If it physically weak, it has a disposition to be affected by a type of object which can give it pain. A weak shin when kicked will engender pain and then one will develop an aversion to being kicked in the shin “I don’t like being kicked in the shin” but if somebody has a highly developed shin muscle, being kicked in the shin will not engender as much pain.


The substance that can either be strong or weak must therefore be one composed of matter. If the body and mind is composed of the right material, then it is less liable to physical pain. If one kicks somebody who has a strong shin in the shin, owing to their strong muscles, they are less likely to feel pain and develop an aversion to being kicked in the shin. A great example of this is professional kickboxers.


The Upanishad now makes the next logical progression of matter to water in the physical sense. The matter before it is formed, exists in a liquid state. As physics informs us before there is solidity there is liquidity, which really is just atoms existing with more kinetic energy - they have flow. The Upanishad is referring to the principle of liquidity rather than liquid itself. In the Vedic physical theory matter exists in principles in the form of subtle manifestations.

Returning to our example of the body, the muscles before they form exist in a blood-plasma state and the mind before it forms also exists in a potential state which is not solid. The Upanishads declare the mind is made up of the essence of the food we eat, thus the mind also is a material.


It is energy that what supplies the energy for liquidity and it is this liquidity which then solidifies and forms matter. This corresponds almost perfectly to modern physical theories on how matter arises. It does not appear initially as matter, but gradually forms from a potential state of liquid matter which in turn is oscillating energy and then takes form as matter.

Thus far we have a completely materialistic account of the mind. The intentions arise from pain and pleasure, which in turn result from the disposition which arises from the strength of the material consistency of the muscles, which comes from the blood and energy of matter in a potential state. However, still we have no account of the qualitative feature of feeling. The Upanishad will explain this in due course.


Now comes the ultimate materialistic reduction reducing the material phenomena back to space. It is from space that all matter arises, space is the substratum of all material phenomenon. Hence it is also the substratum of the body and matter. All matter forms out of the seeming nothingness of space and thus the disposition that become the substrata for pain or pleasure arises from space alone.

At this point we have a completely materialistic account. The subject feels pain and pleasure because of its material consistency. If the matter which is emerged from space aggregates in a particular manner it begins to build dispositions and feels pain and pleasure because of its interactions with other objects. The disposition of glass for example is brittleness. But if you break glass does it feel pain and pleasure? No, because it does not have consciousness, it is incapable of feeling. However, the Upanishads is clearly indicating here that pain and pleasure have material antecedents. That part of their causality is based purely on material antecedents. A material arranged in a certain manner is predisposed to pain and pleasure.

But from this point on the Upanishad will take a transcendental turn.


What the Upanishad has demonstrated so far is a material reductionism, but it has reduced material as far as it can go and it has shown that we still do not have an account for qualitative phenomena. There is no more material, it has been reduced to complete nothingness, to space; to its substratum. But we still don’t have an account of quality, quality is still existing. That subject which has the capacity to feel pain and pleasure is still existing. Thus the analysis is not over and now with matter reduced to nothingness, we must take a transcendental turn.

The Upanishad now shows that above space is self-consciousness or egoity. There is no such thing as space, without there being an ego to observe it. If there was no ego, there would be no space. Space is thus imposed by something within the ego and it is within this space that ego experiences the objects of pain and pleasure. Thus the condition of pain and pleasure is antecedent to the existence of space, and therefore space is only a reflection of that condition of pain and pleasure the ego is feeling. This is not to say that physical space does not exist, only that the space that the ego operates within is intuited, and how it is intuited is based how it feels in association with it.

Thus the pain and pleasure of the ego is based on the condition of the world it is experiencing. We have entered into the qualitative territory now; pain and pleasure is a mode that the ego experiences in response to how it perceives the material world. Thus we have a cause and effect relationship. If the world is not how it ought to be, the response is pain; if the world is how it should be, then the response is pleasure. This means that the ego has a natural impulse on how the world should be.


The next step is hope. The ego’s existence in the world is not without a purpose, it looks for a particular purpose in this world. In relation to whether it actualises this purpose or not it feels pain or pleasure. Thus pain and pleasure become not just subjective feelings, but almost mechanic responses of dissonance or resonance with the purpose of the ego.

If the ego is looking for a certain kind of food item but does not find it, it experiences pain, pain is the mechanic response of dissonance because it did not get what it wanted. But we are now logically to declare that the ego is before personal identity. As the personal identity is based only on its empirical encounters, it can only forms wants within that domain, but if it has wants which precede empirical encounters, then it follows that there is an ego above personal identity which was pre-existent to it, which formed those wants in a previous empirical existence. It could be called the transcendental ego, but in fact as the analysis continues we will learn that even this ego is temporary and something precedes it.

The Upanishad explains that hope as not a hope for particular things, but a hope for self-existence. In other words it recognises that underlying the many desires of the ego, is an acknowledgement of its finitude and a desire to be more than that, a desire to be perpetuated in time and expanded in space(Swami Krishnanda) In which case the Ego is in a perpetual state of pain, because it is always in a state of finitude. If something is in a perpetual state of pain it will try to get out of that perpetual state of pain by doing things, by wanting things to fill the inner-void. Thus there is a transcendental ego that hopes for transcendence. Hence the ego that is instead hoping for a particular like a food item is subordinate to it and unreal compared to it. This also proves that the transcendental ego comes into the empirical world only because it has desire for things, but its ultimate desire is transcendence. Now I can fill in the gaps on what is it that the ego thinks the world should be like. It thinks that it should be infinite, but experiences pain when it realises it is not like that.


What is it that causes the ego to aspire to ideals which are non-existent in the world? It is the life principle. The ego is life itself, it is not something separate from life. It is life living itself out. The life principle is not particular to anything, it is a general to all living things. It is life which inheres in every living thing and it is that life that is the vital force which causes a living thing to want to live and to want to attain expansiveness in space and perpetuation in time. That life principle itself is the vital force, which propels a living being to live life. It is what wants life to preserve itself. In a more baser way it is ones survival instinct. The ideas of the infinite is the ego wanting to realise its survival.

It could be said at this point we have an account now of why ideals and pure concepts exist, it is because of the life instinct itself. This is not dissimilar to what Freud said that the essence of what we are is desire-producing machines. In a sense it is similar, but the explanation is different. Freud considered the life principle to be a naturalistic phenomenon, but it was already demonstrated earlier after the discussion on space that there is no materialistic account for qualitative phenomenon like life, that we are forced to make a transcendental turn. This principle of life cannot have a materialistic account, it is an a priori in the purest sense of the word, it precedes not only just our subjective existence, but even the objective existence. This is a vital impulse from the very core of reality itself; from the very being itself. Materials have been done with now, they have reduced them into their material substratum and rendered into a nothingness. Now all that remains to be accepted is that there is a vital impulse existing within reality itself. That reality, the universe, actually has a qualitative character, a life-force that animates it. This is the truth.


I ended my last paragraph with the sentence with a declaration of truth. This is a very powerful assertion, and an assertion that is sure to offend many in a postmodernist paradigm. But none can deny that life is a phenomenon in this world, and none can also deny that life has arisen in this world from the universe itself. Then how can one deny that there is a vital principle within the universe itself which had lead to life? The Upanishad goes onto tell us that truth is not just what is spoken such as, “this is true, that is true” it is actual knowledge. That which we know , and not just believe is true. The principles of the universe are true. Hence the vital principle is true; life is true; being is true.

The truth is the understanding that we are finite beings aspiring to and moving towards an absolute. It is true because it is knowledge.


The Sanskrit word Shradda is translated as faith, but this is not the exact meaning. The word has a more powerful sense, in that it means having full and absolute conviction in the truth of something. Faith can be blind belief, but Shradda is not blind belief, but an actual knowledge. The knowledge that there is a reality, self, an ideal existence, love is so fundamental to our being. We believe in it with such utter conviction.
Why? The Upanishads tell us that it is reality which is pushing us towards the realization of it. That is that they are real, realizable things. Since when was what was only empirically known real? No, the Upanishads tell us knowledge is not empirical at all. The empirical is not real.


Now proclaims the Upanishad that happiness is the ultimate of those ideations that we have faith in. Every action, every enterprise, every desire has in it the want of happiness. Nobody acts unless it for happiness. This is the selfish condition that cannot be overcome by any act of volition; everybody wants happiness and will not act without the promise of happiness. As discussed earlier on, the very condition of life is to aspire for the perfect ideal, and this is not to be found in the empirical and thus the ego always exists in a state of pain. It wants to release itself from this pain by achieving transcendence. The Upanishad declares that the vital impulse is happiness itself, it the motive force of everything that happens in the universe. It is the move towards the absolute.

It next poses the question on where this happiness is to be found, does it have a locality? Is it in the mind, in the world outside, or somewhere else? If it is in the mind, then why does the mind pursue happiness outside. If it is outside, then why isn’t there a universal object that can make everybody happy?

“Does the self exist in the mirror”?

Happiness is the false attribution of the subject on objects. There is nothing in the outside world that produces happiness, and likewise there is nothing in the inside world that is producing happiness. In short happiness does not have its locality in the empirical world. Where is its locality then, the Upanishad declares, “Happiness is not anywhere and yet everywhere, it is in the totality of being that you can find happiness”
There is no paradox here, there is a very profound statement on being itself. That happiness is experienced in being. That which is not this or that, that which is the totality or the whole of existence.


That which has fullness, completeness, that which is absolute is what happiness really is. Prior to our idea of happiness is this infinite and absolute being. It is due to this absolute being that the idea of happiness exists and it is due to this that we strive for happiness. We are striving not for happiness but for this absolute being.

In every desire is the acknowledgement of a finitude, that we need something more than what we have and that is this ideal of infinite being manifest in our experience. It is not just an ontological truth, it is verily a reality of life and experience.

The Upanishad now gives a definition of what is infinite and what is finite. “When one sees nothing but ones self, when one hears nothing but ones self, when one understand nothing but oneself, that is the infinite, that is the absolute; and when one sees something outside oneself, hears something outside oneself and understands something outside oneself, that is finite” The import of which is the absolute as non-duality is the infinite, and the non-absolute as duality is finite. Thus this is no mathematical infinity, this is the feeling or consciousness of completeness itself.

Finally the Upanishads concludes its analysis by declaring the antecedent of this infinite and completeness itself to be pure being. The self that it refers to is not the individual self(myself, or yourself) it is referring to the Supreme self, the universal being, the all pervading being, the eternal, perfect, unchanging completeness.

Here ends what has to be one of the most brilliant and vigorous analytics ever done. The analysis begins from the empirical and immanent reality, takes us to the extreme of the empirical and then enters into the transcendent in a series of logical steps. Not missing out a single step and giving us a full account of both quantitative and qualitative phenomena. The conclusion of which ends in the primacy of BEING. It is due to being that reality is made sensible, is understood, and is lived. If you take out being the entire universes collapses into nothingness. But even if one does that they end up with BEING again.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Problem of Happiness, Part 2: The world as a representation of intentionality

In the last post I introduced my philosophy about conditional reality and absolute reality. In this post I will explain why there is a conditional reality at all and how it arises out of pure intentionality.

Arthur Schopenhauer is famous for his philosophy that the world is a representation of our will. Schopenhauer was inspired by Kant's platonic categorization of the world into the broad categories of phenomenon and noumenon. The phenomenon is the reality that appears to us after it is processed by the mind's logical categories, or the things themselves, and the noumenon is the things before they are processed, or the things in themselves. Unfortunately, because we apprehend the things after they are represented to us by our mind, we can never see things in themselves and thus Kant says we can't ever know the noumenon. I explained in my first post how I depart from Kant's philosophy of the unknowability of the noumenon and turn towards Indian philosophy to explain the noumenon as the a priori universal mind. Schopenhauer too turns towards Indian philosophy to explain Kant's noumenon.

According to Schopenhauer Kant's noumenon is desire itself. The representations of the phenomenal that the mind processes are only at the levels of thoughts, but what precedes the level of thought is the level of feeling or desire. This would later be developed by the psychologist Brentano and later the founder of Western phenomenology Husserl as the philosophy of intentionality. When we think of something, it is always about something, this aboutness is always a priori. Every thought that we have is formed of intentional or mental acts which are a priori, and is they which give rise to thoughts. If you think about an "apple" this thought is not completely random, but there are underlying intentional acts which have caused that thought. Thus intentions or desires is what gives to the world at all and thus are the things themselves. However, as the world is fashioned out of desires, it means that if we fulfill our desires, it leads to a state of nihilism, an emptiness which we must then fill by desiring more. So as long as there is desire, there is world, and as long as there is a world there is desire and thus we can never fulfill our desires and be in the world at the same time. Schopenhauer then draws a very gnostic like conclusion that the world is the cause of all evil and suffering, and offers a Buddhist solution to the problem: transcendence of desire. The only way to end suffering is to transcend your desire by not fulfilling them, negating them and even suppressing them.

Schopenhauer skirts very close to the Indian Philosophy of reincarnation. According to which the only reason that we reincarnate in the world is because of the presence of desire and it is desire that is the cause of our suffering and keeps us locked in the cycle of birth and rebirth(Samsara) The only way to end this cycle is to transcend desire. I would like the reader to note that reincarnation is a more complex philosophy than is commonly understood. The act of reincarnation is not the coming of a soul from one world into another world, but rather in Indian philosophy the world is one and is multidimensional and ultimately is occurring within a cosmic or universal mind which has various levels of holographic extension. The lowest level of extension is the physical plane of 3D, known as Bhurloka(Earth plane). The universal mind, in turn is being interacted with by infinite individual minds, which are none other than according to Vedic cosmology the diffraction and localization of the universal mind. In the same way as in physics waves are diffracted into particles through a diffraction grating. These individual minds are interacting and participating within the greater universal mind's holographic universe(It maybe worth taking a look at Talbot's "Holographic universe" theory)

As per the laws of karma, when there is an intention or desire latent within the individual mind of the soul, it causes a projection of that individual mind into the 3D physical plane for the desires of that individual mind to manifest. These are not the same desires as we are consciously aware of, but rather they are unconscious desires emanating from the subconscious of the individual mind. In this sense this is very similar to Psychoanalytic theory which states all desires as manifest are actually the opposite of the real subconscious desires. So as long as these desires are present within the individual mind, so long will it continue to reincarnate into the physical.

Does this mean the actual physical world is just a manifestation of the desires of the individual mind? No, because that would that be crude idealism. The Indian Vedic cosmology instead purports that the physical world is a manifestation of the intentions latent within the universal mind. This can be first found in the oldest Vedic writing the Rig Veda in the Nasadiya Sukta or the hymn of creation. The relevant verses here are:

In the beginning desire(also sometimes translated as love) arose, which was the primal cell of the mind. The seers searching their heart with wisdom found the link between being and non being.

This could mean that the universal mind too can desire and its desires lead to the creation of the worlds. However, in Samkhya philosophy, which has been traditionally regarded as atheistic despite belonging to Hinduism, the notion of a perfect being that desires is contradictory. How could this being be perfect, if it desires? Is it not itself then caught up in a perpetual cycle of birth and rebirth. So Samkhya rejects a creator god. There are various answers for the Samkhya objection, some of which are:

The Yogic answer: There is a universal mind known as Ishvara which controls everything and manifest all desires, but it is different from pure being itself. In other words there is an ontic god and there is an ontological god. There is only an apparent duality here, because even in this cosmology the ontic god comes into creation and thus is secondary to pure being itself.

The Vedanta answer: There is none other than pure being(ontological god) and any apparent creation is actually a no-creation. It is an illusion that is projected from pure being, but does not actually exist. The pure being is called sat(existent) and the world is called asat(non-existent)

In my philosophy I reconcile both Vedanta and Yoga. Pure being simply "IS" and thus it is existent, and because it is, there is an isn't, but which is insofar as a holographic projection of the "IS" The world is therefore like a dream of the pure being. Thus everything in this world from god to souls or individual minds do not really exist from the perspective of the absolute reality and never came into being, but insofar as they exist as conditional reality or a dream of absolute reality, they exist for themselves. I caution the reader not to take this as solipsism or as idealism, instead the holographic extensions of the universe can be seen as multiple dimensions of being and thus each are real from their own perspective. This is critical realism. Just as the dream indicates the dreamer, likewise the world in its multi facets indicates pure being. This pure being will remain a mystery for the individual mind. The Nasadiya Sukta itself boldly declares this:

That out of which this creation has arisen
He who has fashioned it, or whether he did not
He who surveys it in the highest heaven
surely must know, or maybe, he knows not.

In the last part of this post I will look at the causation of the world from intention with reference to the Vedic text, the Chandogya Upanishad, and a transcendental inquiry presented with it. For the reader who does not know what a transcendental inquiry it is a query where one regresses from the given to the primordial. An example of a transcendental inquiry is Kant's analysis of how knowledge is possible by regressing from the world of phenomena to the logical categories which construct it. But his query only goes as far as the level of logical categories, and thus not very far at all. In the query presented in the Chandogya Upanishad thousands of years earlier not only does it anticipate Kant, but goes several steps ahead of Kant to unify the phenomenon with the noumenon, which Kant failed to do even thousands of years later. This is a very long query and I have a lot of commentary, so I do not want to bog down my readers with pages of text, so I will discuss the query in the next posting. I have already composed this post in the past, so it will only be a matter of copy and pasting with a few edits here and there.

Monday, 25 May 2009

The Problem Of Happiness: Life as a plane of suffering

I was just having a conversation in a chat room on life and the problem of happiness and this inspired me to write this post. I said I think life is a plane of suffering, but this was construed as a pessimistic view point. Really it is not, instead the realisation that life is a plane of suffering leads to the realization of liberating oneself from life, what the mystics call self-realization. In this posting I will explain why life is a plane of suffering, why nihilism is a condition we must all go through, the solutions to nihilism, and my philosophy on how nihilism arises from images which construct conditional realities and initiate impossible quests for finding meaning and coherence.

I want you to take a good look around you in the world. About 70% of this world subsists on less than 2 dollars a day, 90% of the children born today are born into abject poverty. Of course some say that it is the poor that are genuinely happy, but I think if you spend a day or two in a third world country and see many miserable unsmiling faces going about their daily tribulations, you will be compelled to disagree with this naive view. Many of in us in the modern industrialized world really do not appreciate how difficult life is for most of humanity, and how difficult life has been since time immemorial. As my lecturer once said to me, "You have not been put on this world to enjoy yourself" Life is not about fun and frolics, it is serious business. Yet many people in the modern age seem to believe life is about enjoying oneself, it is about pursuing ones desires and fulfilling them and to be happy. This is what I call the culture of "entertainment", the culture of entertainment is sacrificing yourself to the the other to be entertained by pleasurable experiences so that you can forget about actual project of life. It is living not life, but a simulation of life. When we are living in the simulation of life, we are not living life, and when we are living life, we are not living the simulation of life.

Modern life is a simulation of life because it is a culture of images. Rather than being active participants and co-creators in life, we allow ourselves to become subjects of an image of life that is presented to us by the world. This can be any image; a religious image, a peer image, an aesthetic image and through this identification we allow our consciousness to become misidentified with that image. We say "I am the image","I am a Christian/Hindu/Muslim", "I am ugly/fat, intelligent/stupid", "I am fashionable/unfashionable" and the image consumes us and defines who we are. Then every moment we spend living is not in life, but the simulation of the image of life. This is what I call Conditional reality.

When consciousness becomes conditioned it moulds itself into a conditional reality and becomes misidentified with it. As soon as the "I" becomes associated with the image, it forms the "I am image" condition and from this begins a whole series of misidentifications e.g. "I am a scientist, scientists are rational, rational means being empirical, empirical means... " and so on and so forth. Eventually we find ourselves caught up in a web of images, images referring to each other to define themselves. This is the subject-predicate net and this is what gives rise to personal identity. But personality identity is not a being in it self, because it is forever changing because of our a quest for being, a quest for finding meaning. When I make my first identification with the image, I subsequently look for meaning for the image, but this project to find meaning is impossible because the very foundation is an error.

The realization of the futility of the project to find meaning and coherent identity is what leads to the condition of nihilism and this is where suffering begins. Sooner or later the human being realises that their existential project is irrational because there is no meaning. But the fundamental contradiction is that the quest for meaning is so fundamental to form a complete personal identity, that the realization of nihilism leads to a state of dissonance and becomes a cause for suffering. This is why many people seek a culture of entertainment, because as long as they are entertained they are kept away from the realisation of nihilism. Unfortunately, entertainment is temporal, as soon as it is over, one has to return to the condition of nihilism. In the end, irrespective of whatever one does in life, everything comes back to nihilism. The feeling of futility, dread, boredom and depression.

Many philosophers have spoken of this condition of nihilism from Krishna to Camus. Krishna famously proclaimed the material world is a plane of suffering, Buddha declared the world as painful/stressful. Schopenhauer called the world a cause of evil. Sartre says existence was illogical, and fellow existentialist peer Camus called life "Absurd"

The condition of nihilism is thus very much a part of us being human and is inescapable. But Nihilism is not acceptable. Nobody really likes pain, boredom, dread, depression. etc None of above philosophers accepted nihilism either, but rather looked for solutions or a way of out of nihilism.

Camus says that life is "Absurd" Life is like rolling up a stone up a sloped hill, knowing that as soon as you take it to the top, it will roll back down. This is a metaphor for all our pursuit of happiness. To attain happiness we set ourselves goals on things that we think will make us happy, then we struggle to attain that goal, experiencing much pain and hardship and if we ever do attain our goal, we realise that we have to start all over again because it did not lead to happiness. I saw this film recently by Will Smith called, "Pursuit of Happiness" The film is based on the real life story of a man who struggle to leave poverty and become rich, and he faces much hardship to attain this goal, but eventually his sheer determination leads him to triumph and he becomes one of the most successful and richest men in the world and the film ends. We are lead to believe that he is now "happy" but what we don't see, which maybe the sequel will show if it ever gets made, that once he became rich and entered the corporate world he was beset with more struggle and hardship and more goals; more pursuits for happiness. Thus the pursuit of happiness can be like chasing a wind.

Camus offers three solutions to the problem of nihilism: physical suicide, philosophical suicide and living for others. The first one is self explanatory, the second one may need some explication for some readers. Philosophical suicide is taking recourse to faith or religion. Rather than facing life, the one who commits philosophical suicide, escapes reality by escaping into a fantasy world. Camus does not endorse neither form of suicide because he considers them cowardice.Rather, Camus's solution is to face life irrespective of its absurdity, and live for "Others" i.e., let us get over ourselves and learn to find fulfillment in the community.

The antithesis of Camus's communal solution to nihilism is Nietzsche's individualist solution, the "will to power" For Nietzsche the community is what stifles the individual and life itself, when it begins to live for the other, it can no longer live for itself, but instead lives to maintain the status-quo of the other. But then there is no progress. There is only progress when an individual breaks free of other by the exertion of the power of their will. The very nature of life is freedom, life riles against oppression of all kinds, fighting to be liberated from it. If you trap an ant under a cup, it will spend the rest of its life trying to get out. Thus the solution of nihilism is the heroic act of exerting ones will over the other. Thus Nietzsche's solution to nihilism is a culture of violence. Not compassion but war; not truth, but power.

The condition of nihilism leads to strife to end the nihilism. Some commit suicide, some sacrifice their individuality for the collective, some project power other others. Some adopt a culture of violence as an outlet to release one from the boredom of the status-quo. Some hide from this boredom and accept a culture of entertainment. In the end whatever solution we adopt to solve the nihilist condition, it seeks only to further amplify the nihilism. Camus's solution was merely accepting defeat, and though he said live for the other, he expressed sentiments of estrangement from others, and Nietzsche, he was driven mad by his unending quest for power. Therefore, the solution does not rely in solving the problem of nihilism, but dissolving the problems of nihilism and thus dissolving the problem of happiness.

First we must understand what has given rise to the nihilism. As described earlier on this arises because of our quest for finding meaning and coherent identity because of our identification with images. Thus to dissolve the problems of nihilism we identify our erroneous identifications with the image and detach ourselves from the image. To strip the subject of all its predicates, leaving only the pure subject or the Absolute reality. The Absolute reality is the unconditioned consciousness. As Sartre argues the powers of negation of consciousness allows it the power to negate any image presented to it. Thus consciousness, or as Sartre calls it, the "for-itself" is the imageless.

We must understand that every image that we have identified with about life is in-itself, it cannot be taken for granted and far as the for-itself -consciousness - is concerned it is just a possibility amongst many possibilities. If consciousness be the screen upon which these images appear, then it can host infinite images, thus no image is sacrosanct. Not even then image of an external world. For in consciousness all that exists are possibilities. It is simply a screen upon which we see images. All images occur in conditional realities are presented within absolute reality, thus can be negated because all conditional reality is based on external assumption. Discover all those assumptions and the source of those assumptions and end the condition of nihilism.

In my next post I will discuss my philosophy of why there is a conditional reality at all, how external assumptions shape it, and how these external assumptions arise from ones intentionality.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

An Introduction to my Philosophy

I am late to this blog phenomenon. I started this blog to express my views on philosophy, spirituality and science. To be honest, I think philosophy, spirituality and science are the same things, and I think the distinctions we make between them are artificial. In this blog-space I will regularly share my views on philo-spirituality, my theories and ideas. I have no intention to be famous or the next Kant or Heidegger, so anybody is welcome to take my ideas and build on them as they wish. According to me, philosophy is free and available to everybody, nobody can own knowledge and thus I will not impose any copyrights on my knowledge. In fact I would be more than flattered if somebody seeks inspiration in my ideas.

I will be expanding on my philosophies on this blog in the future. For now I just want to briefly sketch what I believe and what are my inspirations. I believe that the universe is multidimensional and governed by absolute universal logic, what I call "Higher logic" This is not the mathematical logic that we are use to, but an ontological logic - a logic of being. Thus it includes both the subject and object. As I believe the entire universe is logical, I believe that any phenomena in the universe, whether it is empirical or mental, can be accounted for axiomatically. Thus my philosophy is a scientific philosophy of unification, and I admit of no real separations or categories in this philosophy.

My philosophy of categories is Kantian. The various categories that we observe in the world are essentially the laws of space and time of the mind, which the mind intuits on the world to organise and render it sensible and comprehensible. Thus the world that we see, that Sellers calls the, "Manifest image" is simply a representation of a mysterious something, after it is processed by the mind. Therefore, as Kant maintains, I maintain that the empirical world is an ideal creation. I then depart from Kant, because while Kant says that the actual world(noumenon) is unknowable, my philosophy is that it is knowable and in fact the noumenon is the only real substance and is identical with pure being. It is outside of space and time, it is the frame within which experience occurs, and because of this it is a transcendental unity. It is absolute, unchanging and eternal.

I borrow most of my Philosophy from Advaita Vedanta Philosophy, a school of Indian Philosophy, based on the Vedic tradition. According to Vedanta, all of reality is "Brahman" which means the all-encompassing and infinite absolute being. This "Brahman" is equal to "Atman" Atman meaning the pure subject. Herein lies the E=MC^2 of spirituality: Atman = Brahman. That is the pure subject is the absolute being itself. What does this tell us? It tells us that the subjective core of every being is the same, and this subjective core is same as the entire substratum of the universe; the internal and the external are the same. It does not appear the same to us because of the manifest image created by our mind, but if mind were to disappear, then all that would remain would be the pure being.

Can there be a reality existing independently of the individual mind? This is the age old question of many philosopher and mystics, "If a tree falls and nobody is around to hear it, did it make a sound" Yes, it did make a sound, and it was heard by the universal mind. If somebody was not there to hear it, but was attuned to the universal mind, they would have heard it despite it being non-local. This kind of action is today called "spooky action" a term coined by Einstein to describe quantum effects or "action-at-a-distance" Any phenomenon that is occurring anywhere within the cosmos is occurring simultaneously everywhere at once, but to detect it one must be attuned to the phenomenon. Allow me to illustrate: Many animals can detect an earthquake just before it happens, this is because animals detect certain vibrations that elicit the "flee" response from the animal. Most humans cannot detect these vibrations because they are not attuned to them like animals are. The key concept here is "vibrations" as Quantum physics tells us everything is vibrations, and vibrations come within various modalities which are either detectable or undetectable for a sensor whose sensitivity lies within or outside the range. The universal mind has infinite sensitivity, and therefore it can detect every phenomenon.

The universal mind is a priori, and it is because of this universal mind that anything exists at all. It is the universal observer, and without this observer nothing can take place within the universe. Again, supported by quantum physics which tells us no quantum effects take place without an observer making an observation. The observer is needed to make any potential state manifest. The individual mind is not a priori, but changes within space and time, but because it is in a constant state of change, it is in actuality no-mind, for it never really exists, and because it does not exist it is not capable of manifesting anything; for something cannot come from nothing. It only appears to us that the individual mind is manifesting images, but actually the images are emanating from the a priori universal mind. Thus the dissolution of the individual mind will not cease reality, but instead illuminate the universal mind.

In Sartre's phenomenology, Sartre analyses the existential condition of the manifest image. He demonstrates that the manifest image is perpetually vacillating between being and nothingness, because of the powers of negation of consciousness. If we entertain an image in the mind, simultaneously we entertain the possibility of its negation. This means the manifest image can never have true being, for it will always be negated by consciousness. This also means that consciousness is thereby free, non-determined and presuppositionless and therefore it is identical to the universal mind in its qualities. Thus, one can adduce from this, that the negation of the individual mind cannot negate the universal mind, but rather the negation of the individual mind will reveal the universal mind.

Yoga is a practice that was invented to negate the individual mind. It is declared by Patanjali in the Yogasutras in the opening Sutras, "Yoga is the cessation of thought-waves in the mind-stuff, so that the true being becomes self-illuminated, at other times this being is misidentified with its thought-waves." The Yogasutras reads like a scientific treatise on the mind and delineates all the stages one goes through in the project to cease the individual mind, and the various effects that occur. This is of course completely at odds with the traditional Western philosophical tradition which constructs its identity based on the mind as a "thinking thing", and thus philosophy becomes a study of the constructions of the mind. But that is not really philosophy, in my opinion, but indulgence in ones own mental fantasies. Philosophy is to not solve the problems of philosophy, but to dissolve the problems of philosophy as Wittgenstein affirms, and this dissolution can only be done by dissolving the mind.

Therefore my philosophical project which will unfold during the course of this blog is to dissolve all the problems of philosophy, to end all thinking, to cease the mind, so that we can reach a state of no philosophical problems, of no-thinking and no-mind and thereby a state of philosophical bliss and pure being.