Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cogito Ergo Sum


This article is written with a purpose to examine the difference between Cartesian philosophy which is dominant prevailing western thought vis a vis eastern system of non dualistc existence wherein self is seen as delusion.

Rene Descartes said Cogito Ergo Sum. I think therefore I am.He said that thought is always there and the fact that I doubt my existence itself proves I exist.Descartes concludes that he can be certain that he exists because he thinks. Friedrich Nietzsche criticized the phrase in that it presupposes that there is an "I", that there is such an activity as "thinking", and that "I" know what "thinking" is. He suggested a more appropriate phrase would be "it thinks." In other words the "I" in "I think" could be similar to the "It" in "It is raining."The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard provided a critical response to the cogito. Kierkegaard argues that the cogito already pre-supposes the existence of "I", and therefore concluding with existence is logically trivial. Kierkegaard's argument can be made clearer if one extracts the premise "I think" into two further premises:

"x" thinks
I am that "x"
Therefore I think
Therefore I am

Where "x" is used as a placeholder in order to disambiguate the "I" from the thinking thing.[6]

Here, the cogito has already assumed the "I"'s existence as that which thinks. For Kierkegaard, Descartes is merely "developing the content of a concept", namely that the "I", which already exists, thinks.[7]

Kierkegaard argues that the value of the cogito is not its logical argument, but its psychological appeal: a thought must have something that exists to think the thought. It is psychologically difficult to think "I do not exist". But as Kierkegaard argues, the proper logical flow of argument is that existence is already assumed or pre-supposed in order for thinking to occur, not that existence is concluded from that thinking.[8]

In due course of time despite criticisms,the credo gained currency. Thus thinker is seperated from the thought giving rise to dualism.A little later perhaps materialism took it further by saying that all that matters is matter.Everything in life can be explained by matter and the material world is an independent existence .Independent of human perception.There is a tremendous implication of such a belief system which we shall see in a short while.

In contrast the eastern philosophy propounded that I am and therefore I think.Exactly opposite of Cogito Ergo Sum.The seer is seen, the observer is observed and the thinker is the thought.There is only witnessing and no witness.Advaita,buddhism,J.Krishnamurti`s thoughts all say the same.The terminology may differ such as soul,stream of consciousness or just being.Ground of existence is without any attributes and traits of independent attributes are imprinted on the existence by virtue of delusion.The way human brain works essentially is such that it identifies,classifies and recalls.hence in the process pseudo I ,or ego self or shadow self emerges which is mistaken as a real solid identity that descartes mistook as seperate I.Yes I is a self generation mechanism of brain.When there is uninvolved,unbiased,nonjudgemental witnessing the whole process is crystal clear and therein the self delusion is evident. Choiceless awareness shows the way of selfless self almost like abra cadabra and gone.Perceived Reality is not independent of perception.As the famous Zen Kaon goes, There is a noise in the forest where there is no living being.Does the sound exist or not.

There is a deep difference between Cartesian Dictim of Cogito... and nondualistic perception of existence.If cartesian I exists as a seperate entity then it has license to do everything in its self interest.To ensure its survival and continuity it can function anarchically.It is only to facilitate social living that law and order is established to enforce social contract.Morality is a function of mutual convenience and not an ethical necessity.It was Russel or was it Shaw who said imagine if everyone started throwing pototoes at each other on streets of London.Therfore Gentleman`s contract of not misbehaving.Otherwise there is a license to plunder nature or pollute environment to promote self interest.

On the contrary the eastern philosophy believed in ethical behaviour and code of conduct to avoid Karmic repercussions.Non dualism recognises that there is no independent solid self and what is perceived as independent self is a delusion.Hence there is no need to promote self interest at the expense of others .Every action,every reaction and every thought can further replicate reactions and hence need to be clipped as much as possible.Ethics is to avoid repercussions of Law of Karma and not a function of social contract.Perhaps the nearest western phlosophy came near to non dualism is when Sartre wrote about Being and nothingness.Here again he got it wrong.He needed to take it one step further as his nothingness meant nihilism where existence loses its meaning.Perhaps it is no- thingness.

Anger,envy,violence,conflict of interest,plundering of nature,discontent ,debauchery and pleasure pursuits are all a reflection of dualism helped amply by the the functioning of human brain.Step aside and there is simply I am and therefore I exists.

WESTERN Philosophy vs ORIENTAL CARTESIAN vs Hinduism/Zen/Jainism I Think : I am vs I am. I Think Objective Reality vs Holistic Approach Objects & events vs Energy Flow Logical Intellectual vs Mystical Experiential (Verbal) vs (Non Verbal) Consciousness with ego vs Consciousness beyond ego. Egolessness. Process is different from vs Processor doesn’t exist processor Process is all. Droplets are different from Ocean vs Droplets is ocean (Objective Reality) vs (holistic approach) Illusory from oriental point of view vs Escapism from Western view Redemption Day vs Reincarnation Source : Partly Fritzof Capra Uncommon Wisdom

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Believe it or not

Believe or not:A quick view on belief,God,karma,rebirth and salvation.

Buddha perhaps kept an agnostic stand.One book I read said that this was one of the few questions he refused to answer.Whilst Mahavira was unambiguously athiestic which maybe oblivious to most jain.

On rebirth:
The monk and the philosopher by Francois and Mathieu Ricard gives a detailed and very clear understanding of the process of rebirth just like a stream of consciousness which thru karmic impressions and its continuity resurfaces . So in a way memory survives and resurfaces.Perfectly scientific as matter and energy cannot created nor destroyed and avoids any leap of faith(faith not bad by iteself but prone to dangers and conditioning).I atleast subscribe to it in its entirety without any mental compromise or idealistc conditioning or birth given conditioning..More like a matter of fact in the same manner as u donot challenge lets say existence of table in your room which according to quantum physics maybe nothing but empty space..It doesnot require faith. It is.Rebirth is like bucket of water from the ocean.Take a bucket from the ocean and put it back and take another one.Its water not necessarily the same water.Giving particularness to that water is meaningless.

Then ther is soul.......
Substitute stream of consciousness with soul.Though the purist maynot agree.Complete comparative analysis is available between Nagarjuna and Sankara`s philosophy. Its just the same as long as it presupposes non duality.Permanence of soul need not be particular soul.Its universal cosmic potential life force.Its all words and corruption of words and interpretational hazard..The description is not the described.

Karmic impressions( seriesof acts and events,relational ,factual and emotional) need certain energy upon which it gets emmmbedded just like software embedded on a chip.Karmic impressions can be neutralised by cessation of thought reaction processes..pretty scientific.(Because thought is subtle matter). Memory by definition survives till it is completely empty.Stop carrying images,stop memory creation. Use memory and store for survival of physical self not psychical self.

Emptiness or sunyata is the POTENTIAL on which the particular can precipitate.A receptacle to hold life.Just like you can fill an empty space.The only difference is that this emptiness is vibrant.It is no- thing and not nothing.Again in conformity with modern science viz quantum physics.Schrodingers thought experiment on cat is one example of science experimenting on when and how does reality collapse into existence.Till then it is a hanging potential or proposition.The observer makes it happen.If I- thought is not there then how do u know that u exist.If there is no experiencer there is only experience.Experiencer is the illusion emerging out of experiencing because the neurons are great storehouse.The warehouse space of neurons is infinite and hence there is an infinitesemally strong accumulated identity.It is like Kabhie Yahi and Kabhi nahin only if you are aware..Catch me if u can it prompts and laughs away playing a cruel joke.Actually self search is a metaphoric oxymoron as there is nothing to search.More like Dhoondte Rahe Jaoge situation.

It is necessary not to read buddhism or jainism or hinduism but to remain unconditioned.CHOICELESS AWARENESS takes care of everything and avoids the trap of conceptual reality.Either something is in the realm of thought or something is outside the realm of thought.either there is identification and therefore identity or there is only existence with a natural force of action.

For survival humans need identity and for salvation he needs to shed identity.Ego self is a biological creation not an existential reality.Only choiceless awareness can help.

GOD,levels of existence,mysticism and the rest requires faith to believe if u have not experienced and requires no explanation if u have experienced.Creator God is anyway a corruption of thought though god at an alternate level of existence is neither inconceivable nor preposterous.More like a rationally probable event.J.Krishnamurti`s life has been full of mystical experience which in large part he disowned and some part underplayed. It is neither relevant nor conducive to delve into something from the point of view of deliverance and hence best ignored.Truth has nothing to do with other people`s experience or believes.Thats all in the realm of thought even if the thoughts are benign and beneficial to mankind.

Having said that the jury is out still on whether world is a better place with theistic believers than athiestic non believers or not.Because max killings have taken place under Christanity during renaissance and now Islam promises to overtake .Conventional religion fails to transform.It is non transformational for most and creates illusion of superior morality and proposes non believers as inferior .Complete surender to devotion like Mirabai is transformational but is more scarce than meditational transformation.The probability is infinitesamally low towards zero.However conventional religion provides code of good conduct and promotes humanism.It also helps to alleviate misery of existence just like antibiotics help to alleviate pain of physical suffering.A true devotee is less becoming especially if he is aware.A believer who thinks of Narayan( God) on death bed carrying less karmic impressions than somebody who is wanting,desiring,regretting,revengeful,apathethic,bitter,pleasureful and so on when on death bed.A believer is supposed to be self effacing save one crutch of image ,God.Maybe its an intermediate stage.Afterall no crutch at all is so damn difficult .Almost impossible due to compulsive nature of mind to form images.

As such the debate is irrelevant . Believe and be self effacing or donot believe and be self effacing.The idea is to stop becoming.Then there is none.There is only creation.Blessed is the guy who is nobody .
Scientific Inquiry:
Quantum physics and cognitive science will take human beings to an extent closer to understanding reality.Beyond a particualr level it will require either leap of faith to cross the bridge or a change in consciousness which cannot be expressed in words. Therefore the ultimate salvation is personal. Theology and Guru can provide a platform and guidelines.They cannot describe the indescribable.Science and Guru can take you thus far and not beyond.

Ground of existence has no begining and no end and thats the only way the laws of cause and effect get explained .Otherwise there is an endless loop of cause .The levels of awareness between death and birth and between death and salvation is unfathomable and various words are put to approximately describe it.Thus atma,anatma and so on.According to principles of hologram everything can be reduced to nothing and still contain everything.This is not belief or mumbo jumbo but the most engaging inquiry of science today.(scientist Pilbrim)

There is a story.Either god is can create the world or not.If he cannot he is impotent and not god.if he can he either is compelled to create or he choses to create. Therefore either is powerless or he falls victim to his desire to create. Therefore God cannot be a creator..(Not to be mistaken with existence of God)

For more scientific students there is zeno`s paradox on God .

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Everything to achieve Nobody to achieve

If everything is projection of mind then perceiving the mind deception is awareness.In that constant state of vigil human motivations,behavioural pattern, response system ,action and reaction emerge out crystal clear.What emerges is formation of individual entity creeping in stealthily like a thief and sets out to steer the life course .Can this thief (ego self) be caught as it emerges?Is it an inevitable formation? Can it be stopped,erased or obliterated and how? Is constant awareness an energy sapping vigil or energy releasing mechanism? Such questions donot render to easy answers .
How best to deploy human energy is a constant challenge.Deploying in a broader sense of relating to life itself in a manner such that life is on auto pilot.Where there is no doubt,no compulsion,no fear,no anxiety no hesitation.state In such a state of total clarity doing things one knows the best and likes the best becomes a way of life.Doing itself is an act of certainty.Doing itself is an end.Perhaps there is no need to be deeply philosophical about it then just accepting reality as it is and conducting oneself in that reality drama simply as a natural flow.Its essential to ensure that avowed vocation is of natural fit and choice.Obstruction/distraction to natural flow would be encountered and courage has to be summoned to crossover such a hump.Courage is needed to redefine success on your terms and not societal terms and once thats anchored rest is easy.For then the stealthy thief is always at bay and not at the dictates of perceived societal approval.Then there is everything to achieve and nobody to achieve.Living itself has no tomorrow.