The Physical basis for meaning

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    I presently read the book by mr Dalela “Six Causes” about the physical basis for meaning. And I find  these concepts very intriguing. It is starting to look very promising that this approach could be a bridge between the more comprehensive and encompassing thinking of the East and the many times somewhat lacking Western thinking.
    Well,  I would be very greatful for  some help to clear this sentence from the beginning to the book “The mind creates new choices within matter”, what it is referring to is that one draws boundaries to make collections of things, and whence these collection are made, they will infer new meaning to the object that make out the group. The new meaning comes both to the individual parts and the collective. I am wondering; what are the new properties that also the individual constituents of the group get? Some meaning that are extra apart from the meaning the whole group get as defined entity. Or is the new meaning that of being “member” of a collection (group), so that the added qualities come from designation, in other words; that the characteristics comes from the top to the bottom.
    Also quoting, [Mind does not control matter directly. Rather it changes “forms” in Ether, which in turn change properties in matter] (p. 8). Is this interaction also connected to mind making boundaries in the space-time (by constructing collections)?
    The physicist Aage Bohr saw matter in it’s different guises as non-material, instead he said that matter is conceptualized in different ways, possibly the approach from samkhya is the same.

    Ashish Dalela

    I haven’t yet come across a Western philosopher who said that changing your thinking will change the world. In short, by your mind, you can control the world. When Descartes created the mind-body problem, he did not even ponder the problem that changing your mental state could change your own body. Today, when you are sick, every doctor will tell you to relax as it will help the body in healing. But they are unable to go forward and say that if the mind can change my body, how about other bodies? Can you control the world through the mind, just by thought?

    Underlying Sāńkhya is the idea that you don’t need machines and industrialization. You can change the world with your mind. There is a science behind this, but we don’t understand it very well because the theoretical underpinnings are not understood, and the minds are not advanced. People think that modern society has become ‘advanced’ due to industrialization. How could people in the past have been advanced when they did not have machines? The answer is that they had advanced minds. They did not need machines. They did not need factories.

    We have already discussed one example in which you look at a face-vase picture, and depending on how you draw the boundaries, something is either a face or the background of a vase. So, we know trivially that by changing our perspective we can change the mental representation.

    The question is — can this change in the mind also affect the world? That’s what is tangentially referred to in these books. A better book to read in this regard is Sāńkhya and Science.


    That we create our own reality goes against the grain of all our thinking tradition the West, therefore it is a proposal is quite unusual. Only exception comes from physics, where the discoveries in quantum physics do indicate to some degree that universe is something that is a dual process involving one observing part and one observed. This however is not something that is very much known fact, it is not something that we easily take in, it seem that the mind shuts such insights down and continue to go about the classical physics. The aim of my book is to try and show that for the general public. But for that to be possible I need help from where it all started, it all started in the Vedas.
    I suggest the following; for us Westerners could it not be an easier way into the very novel concept of mind creating reality, to literary show this from perception? This is easier and not too hard to understand, we all have access to perception. But still there seem to be some fundamental misunderstanding when it comes to how reality is constructed. Most people do not see that it is constructed from bottom starting with the very fundamental going to be more advanced.
    Another approach could be to state that everything created in the universe is real. Therefore thoughts, mind, intentions and reflection are all real substances, no less than matter only different.  If one ponder that it soon becomes clear, that thinking and wiling is quite literary actions that creates and manipulates. Wanting or thinking, something is no less productive than building a house. Once that is realized it is quite is to see that we become more empowered and free.
    Something that can start the thinking is also paradoxes, we have a lot of them in western thinking. When one see that one’s thinking is leading into a paradox that make people to start rethinking.  Maybe some more than the mind-body problem could aid in this mission?

    Ashish Dalela

    There are dozens of problems — beyond physics — that illustrate this issue you are talking about. The incompleteness of all theories that involve numbers is well-known for many decades. Owing to this, you cannot have computers that deal with meanings or thinking. But every time you find a problem, someone says that maybe there is another way to solve the problem without breaking materialism. For example, the latest fad in cognitive science is to say that brains are not computers (Turing Machines). They are neural networks, and everyone is trying to push the boundary in terms of AI, foregoing one simple problem: the neural network doesn’t understand what it is doing. But then the materialist will say — understanding is an illusion of the brain. So, how did the illusion arise? Nobody can say, but they will postpone the problem.

    You have to ask yourself: Why this resistance to change materialism? And the short answer is that it is presented as an alternative to Western religion. The greatest struggle people in the West have is with their religion. Science came out of the problems of religion. They started disliking religion and created a new way of thinking. So, if you want to fix that problem, you have to go back to why people dislike religion in the West, and what is wrong with Western religious ideas. If you can find alternatives to those religious ideas, then you have an alternative science.

    Unless you go deep enough and understand why science emerged as an alternative to religion, and how you can address the Western resistance to religion, you can’t attack materialism. I’m happy you have started on this journey, but you have to go deeper into the roots.


    Good point,
    So far I have been looking historically to see how materialism emerged in the 17th century, in the Age of Enlightenment. This when rationality seem to be the cure for all ills and it came to be the tool for understanding the world. But the use of reason for the whole of the universe leads to some significant dilemmas. But the problem is very complicated, since reason is the cause of so many good things. And of course that is why it has been so successful and beaten not only religion but all other competing systems of thinking here in the West.
    What to do then? The trick is to remove what is bad and while keeping the good . Something that is like a very complicated operation where a surgeon is to remove a very small aneurysm in the brain, while being painfully aware that one wrong move with the knife and disaster is immanent.
    My approach is to try and find just the right movement of the knife as to discern what is causing the bad conclusion and at the same time keeping reason for general purposes and for the bigger picture. With this approach you can have the cookie and still eat it.
    Another much harder point, where I will have to put in a lot of work in the future and that is the law of contradiction. We have a simplified system of contradiction in the West, only two positions are allowed, p and not-p, this rather childish view of opposition forces thinking into a one-way street. Here I have been thinking of using quantum mechanics that shows that nature itself does not obey the Greek invention of non-contradiction. That is a very strong argument, because it comes from science itself.
    But as you suggested, I more than willing to go even further into this fascinating subject. It is of outmost importance that I myself understand the depths and complications that lies at the bottom of this great dilemma. What are your views on contradictions in general and from a samkhya perspective?

    Ashish Dalela

    As far as rationality is concerned, there are two uses — discovery and verification. There is a well-known mathematical claim called P not equal to NP. It means that you can verify in polynomial time (finite time) but you need non-polynomial time (exponential time) for discovery. I have given the example of password discovery and verification. Verification of passwords requires a very small time, but the discovery of passwords (by hacking) takes a very long time. So, rationality has a role in verification, but the scientific method uses it for discovery. That is where the issue is.

    The is another issue with rationalism, which is that all reason ends in axioms. You cannot test axioms by reason. You cannot test axioms by empiricism either, because many axioms will equally suffice for the same explanation. You choose axioms, based on what you consider “good postulates”. But, what is good in this context is not good in another context. So, questions of “good” don’t take us far. Then we defer to what is the right choice — for me. Truth doesn’t stand alone; it needs the support of good and right, and the three combine to provide knowledge. So, the fault in rationalism (or empiricism) is that they try to consider just truth.

    Then again, even this ‘truth’ is contextual (because axioms are good for me, right for me). And it must always remain contextual because all meanings involve oppositions. You cannot define top without defining bottom, left without right, etc. So, you cannot have a logical universal truth in the sense of something that avoids contradictions, if you are dealing in meanings. All truth is local truth, which we also call ‘relative’ truth, rather than ‘absolute’ truth.

    The Absolute Truth is that which is self-contradictory. It is all the contradictory propositions as its aspects. In Vedic philosophy, this Absolute Truth is also known as ‘God’. One aspect of God is gentle, another aspect is ferocious; one aspect is honest and another aspect is deceitful; one aspect is the biggest and another aspect is the smallest. To understand this Absolute Truth, one has to go beyond conventional logic and understand how opposites emanate from Him.

    Then, as a matter of routine, the idea that the world moves due to reason is false in Vedic philosophy. The world moves due to contradictions or conflicts. If you write a book, you have these problems to deal with; if you don’t write a book, you have another set of problems to deal with. So, you are conflicted between these alternatives, and that conflict creates choice. The soul makes the choice, but the choice is forced by contradictions. So, the cause of change is not consistency but contradiction. In science, we assume that reason moves the world through cause and effect (because the effect rationally follows the cause). But if you examine human thinking, it is always caught between cost-benefit analysis alternatives. If the best thing was also the easiest thing, then consciousness would never need to make choices. The choices are forced because there are tradeoffs and we cause change by selecting on specific tradeoff.

    In summary, there are many levels at which ‘rationalism’ is wrong:
    1. It helps in verification, but not in the discovery
    2. The quest for truth is inadequate without right and good
    3. All self-consistent truth is contextual; the universal truth is self-contradictory
    4. Matter creates contradictions, choice resolves these contradictions

    Each of these themes has been discussed at length in various posts and books if you are interested to delve deeper into the topics. I haven’t yet put them together in one place, but you can do it if you like. Rationalism believes that (a) it can discover the truth, (b) that the truth is universal, (c) that the truth stands without right and good, and (d) the world is rational. Each of these claims can be disputed, and I have disputed them. The above is a summary.

    Devon Bonner

    If combining axioms ( within a context) creates new knowledge, then what is the procedure for combining axioms within a given context ?

    Ashish Dalela

    It’s not a simple process, I am trying to write a book just to describe this process.

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