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Why yes, although, I am afraid I do however still have some queries over things that are not clear to me.
I am at this stage just beginning to get somewhat of a feel for where the Samkhya philosophy is going. And I am trying to crudely sketch it in, this is how I go about these things. I excuse myself for being a bit “messy” here, but this is still learning.
Well, if I get this right, prakriti or sakti seem to be causation itself, action and what reflects, and it is the reason of evolution and the progress. This where the change stems from that we all see in creation. Then the male side of reality, purusha, would be witness and light up this progress. While at the same time reflecting itself. When thinking about this I get a sense of the “yin-yang” symbol. Where you have both opposition (like in reflecting) and complementarity; in the contradiction. These two facets to show the complementary characteristic of the cosmos.
It could be that the evolution that develop from the undifferentiated prakriti to become the manifold that is the universe with all its differences and contradictions. Could this be caused by purusha´s need to know itself? So that the mirroring (the whish to reflect itself) is the original reason, and that that need to know oneself could be “sat”, bliss or pleasure. So then consciousness and the willingness to understand more (more joy) is what turns the wheel in the universe, what is energy and possibly prana? The original energy that drives creation, action and change? The want for understanding is what is sat and working toward specification from chit to sat it drives prana as universe energy that powers the planets, evolution and the turn of day and night. The ultimate source of change. Prana could actually be a bit like elan vital , the life source. The more you feel joy for something, longing for blissful state, the stronger the current of elan vital gets.
Very intriguing indeed, it is sort of a duality where one part is the observer and the other one the observed.
One question here is that seem to be fit to put here, is purusa like consciousness, or is it just the sun that shines in consciousness and light up thoughts? Although all this is very hard to grasp, it seems very complementary (that opposite complement each other to make a whole) One sees something in the outside and it is still coming from the inside. One can begin to see what those physicists in the discovery of quantum physics saw in the Vedas. And on top of that made good use of to solve the contradictory nature of reality they found out while experimenting.
Very well expressed that Western thinking only take one part of the whole and try to generalize that to be fit for all aspects of the world. A sort of forced reconciliation. Me, for my part, side more with the nominalist than the universalists. To be a nominalist is to see that it is not always possible to generalize from the smaller to the bigger, from the singular to a multitude and so forth. I think this tendency of universalism has very old roots in the Greek civilization. Another problem that I have noted here is that as generalization has helped technology a lot and has thereby multiplied its force as practical tool and as tool for thinking. But it is a double-edged sword, because when it becomes paired with rationality it leads to a very simplified and superficial thought. Instead of honest and hard thinking, philosophy in the west stranded in word games and a hunt for some unreachable essence.
I will try and sketch my ideology that is in part inspired by the two philosophers L Wittgenstein and Paul Feyerabend, both Austrians for some reason. Their move, which shared by me, is twofold, first there is a critique of a specific trend in western philosophy that has malevolent influence of thinking. What this thinking trend is, is very hard to define in some few lines. The aphorisms Wittgenstein uses is a “hypnotic turn to look for essence” and the Feyerabendian way of putting it would be “the authority of scientific dogma”. One could also say that this trend is reductionism, whereby one reduces everything into smaller things and term that “knowledge” (I use the term “materialism” in my latest post allthoug it is in the sense of reductionism only). What I think is whatever you call this trend, it tends to put a stop to rational thinking. A dead end for knowledge if you will.
The second move is once you have liberated yourself from these shackles for your thinking, is that you can start to build a new base for epistemology. Here I go with the idea of Wittgenstein, that means an ordinary language that is liberated from superfluous and fettering misconceptions is the key to open a greater knowing. In ordinary language you will find a more natural relation to time, space and more abstract concepts. This concepts in reductionism are either rather skewed like when it comes to simple things like space, distance and time, and completely missing when comes to concepts that are more abstract and/or of the heart. By healing language from these impeding misconceptions, you will as person get your feet safely placed on the ground of reality.
So, what I have against reductionism is that it creates a barrier between how we naturally perceive the world in ordinary language and the world itself, something that can almost be described as a “distance”.
I stumble on samkhya philosophy by mistake when I found out that Schrödinger borrowed from the Vedas to solve ontological problems in quantum physics. The little I have understood so far seem very down to earth and well founded. So, I would like to ponder more into how it works, I do believe this could benefit my project of writing a book. There is also a hope that the interaction between western philosophy and what comes from the East can lead to fruitful new ways of making oneself understandable in these rather complicated matters. I have a lot of questions still, but I leave it at this for now.
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?
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?November 9, 2019 at 6:30 pm in reply to: The Hard Problem of Consciousness – The Mind-Body problem #8320
Indeed, there seem to be a lot of reasons that humans are tied to materialism. Yes, of course, prestige and power must be a part of the explanation for the popularity of this doctrine.
I might also add that it’s much easier to argue for materialism, because it is such a massive simplification. How easy is it not just too state the standard argument? Then one goes directly into the ingrown train of thought. The well-trodden path. Maybe it is that the people arguing for materialism does not think too deep about the problems. Instead they jump to a bunch of ready-made arguments, that are in such a frequent use, that they are all but too easy to make use of.
I also think that there is another problem embedded here, and that is if you start to regard parts of your consciousness as not being real, then you will most probably also disregard the effects of your thinking and other mental aptitudes you have.
That will have the effect that the person under this influence of thinking, weakens and her abilities will be less. What usually is referred to as alienation. In the end your debilitated state will make you more prone to accept what is generally stated, the so-called common-sense view will be held. In the end, this will become reality for the person. This is of course a deranged reality, that if it was possible to choose, one would never accept it, because you are diminishing yourself. If we say that perception is reality, then it would be like cutting of the branch you were sitting on by starting to think about yourself in a materialistic way. This would be akin to self-mortification, a way into a more destructive and not very healthy thinking. It could well be that this tendency will enforce the habit of 500 years even more. Could not samkhya be step into a more correct thinking that also is healthier for the person effected?
November 8, 2019 at 4:01 pm in reply to: The Hard Problem of Consciousness – The Mind-Body problem #8316
Interesting, it seems that the main problem seem to be what is so neatly formulated in the principles of first and second properties by John Locke. What is real in his thinking does not stem from directly perception, but it is largely unknowable by the senses. It is that we can only know indirectly by measuring, and in Lockes view this is what is the most real. And these properties are either something we have to measure in some way as is the case with what is real in the first properties. And then what we as humans add on, as when it comes to the second properties.These are colour, smell, and feeling, and they are subjective. A sort of an add-on from our human nature.
There are many problems with these principles. For instance the defining line between first and second property is arbitrarily drawn by Locke, and there seem to more of that hierarchy that you mentioned in your post. For example what would we say about a red triangle, where the redness defines something that is supposed to be of the first property, i. e. of being a triangle (a rebuttal from Leibniz)
But there is an even greater problem, in the end everything is down to perception. If you measure something as you would with the first properties, you stillhave to sense something(for instance see the measurement) . There is not really any way to get around that, and by that the first properties fall. Tthen we cannot longer claim that the second properties hold any longer, since the superiour reality of the first properties is what deem the second to be of derived kind.
He claims that they are add-ons or of a purely subjective origin.
Instead it rather makes much more sense to say that perception is the start of everything and that there would be no reasonable way of talking oneself out of that. But how could it be that we could be so utterly fooled ourselves as to forget the priority of the senses?
When one really think about it is rather astonishing. Somewhere in the development of thinking something got completely missed, and that miss is lead the whole thinking that came afterwards to go astray. Or put differently, that we all started to believe in a sort of a illusion
What would be the way to clear this confusion?
Why, if I will continue to follow in the path of the collapse of the superposition and see how that could be interpreted when it comes to samkhya.
Could it be that the “ability” you mention be the same as prakriti (general potentiality), and the “purpose” be guna (aim or volition) and what is “possible” would then be karma (circumstances, or actual experiment situation)? So, this would be good for things that do not make conscious choices as well, like the unconscious processes that you mentioned.
So, these different aspects are fueled by time and in they their turn express themselves as prana, which then changes the situation. If this is understood correctly then there is no real change, but it is rather prana that changes consciousness to give the new take of reality.
There is an interesting form of physics called shape dynamics that especially in the form proposed by the British physicist Julian Barbour, comes to somewhat similar conclusions. Where time and space are derived from something similar to conscious selection, and therefore they do not have a separate existence as usually seen in classical physics of Newton. In his famous book “The end of time” he develops the idea that time is a derivation from a conscious choice, and that we find our way (or invent it) from an infinite number of possible selections of time/space frames or that are called “shape-space”. Events (time) are not ordered by some external impersonal power (absolute time) and space is no longer something separate from conscious choice (it is note seen as an absolute). This is of course not exactly Samkhya, but I find that he might have some pointers toward that direction. One could say that Julian Barbour have discovered that a physics where the observer is not part of the equation, i. e. classical physics, is not coherent according to its own standards. Consciousness therefore cannot be taken out of the calculation even when you try to make the whole world separate from the consciousness from where it stems as in the world view created by Sir Isaac Newton. Time and space in his view are completely static and impersonal, and that does not hold up on a closer examine.
Why thank you Ashish for your reply, very interesting indeed.
I might be going out on a limb, but I see some parallel here with quantum physics and Samkhya, you mentioned that intention is an aspect of matter. That is vaguely similar to how an intention makes the wave-function to collapse, as to create matter (or wave). Considering this it is not very far fetch in this case to say that intention must be material.
The reason for this is that it creates matter, and more precise it is just the other side of matter. (matter and volition is two sides to a coin) . Without intention there would be no matter, nor a collapse of the wave function. The choice of measurement is the creating force, or the discernment. After what was undetermined has collapsed it will be something more determined, like a particle. One could say that it goes from something more general through the measuring process to something more determined.
My question here is; could this be like how in Samkhya where something that something that is general; Manas through a process of determination; prana, becomes the particular (or determined) Vak. I do see something of a parallel here to the collapse of the wave function, from an undefined state comes a something, a becoming. In this becoming what one gets is space, because you get a determined local point (something, a here, to compare with, to have space). And you have a before and after, a movement or a relation that we call time. We have a localization, that gives a “here” (to compare to a there) and because it is a process; going from vak to manas, we get a “before” (to compare to with an after).
Might be that I using the concepts a bit to liberal, but could there be some likeness of process here?