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Theory of Existence is Science
January 20, 2001
Science is now understood as the field of discovery of the laws of Nature. In common practice, Science is mistaken for technology. Science came into its own when it challenged the ruling thought of superstition in almost all walks of life. Over the centuries, science has lived up to its original claim and now, all over the world, in every field conceivable, science is the ruling philosophy, the inspiring vision and a mental incentive for the multitude. It is said that the conqueror is often conquered. The aim of this paper is to understand what Science is as against what it should be by its own professed aims.
Science is knowledge. Knowledge is organised mental comprehension of events of life and the doings of men. Knowledge is complete only when it is practically useful. Knowledge is power. That knowledge which is unable to express as power is incomplete knowledge. If knowledge is our aim, what is it that we should aim to know? Obviously, we must seek an ultimate if there is one. The characteristics of that which we term knowledge will be,
- Mental comprehension of what is incident on the mind.
- This comprehension must be a body of organised knowledge that is useful.
- For such an organisation to be useful, it cannot have harmful side effects or be incomplete in its scope.
- As the field we hope to cover is from matter to mind, it is better to know wherefrom they originate.
- Between mind and matter, there is a term -- life.
- One needs to know the origin, construction, constitution, and functioning of mind, life and matter.
- Many may feel Spirit is the origin of mind or may say the higher reach of the mental plane is spirit. Whether it is called by the name mind or Spirit, we need to know the same things about Spirit.
- We do know mind finds its origin in consciousness. If we go beyond consciousness, we can think of Existence. It may have come out of something finite or infinite.
- Whatever it is, the science that we seek must be the theory of that ultimate. For the present, we can say Science is the Theory of Existence.
- We should state what we mean by ‘Body of Knowledge.’
- If our aim is to define Science as above, we need to consider every aspect of science as we now find it existing.
- Our foremost endeavour will be to examine how far science has been conquered by the superstition it began to revolt against.
- This, initially, needs a dissertation on superstition.
- Should superstition be evaluated, we need to employ logic and rationality.
- One must pronounce on logic as applied to the field of knowledge that sets about organising itself as a comprehensive body without theoretical or practical flaws.
- Rationality is best discussed by its correlative ego and its lower members of senses and its higher status of intuition.
- As the society has grown in the last two centuries to abnormal intensities of power and has absolutely nothing to do with knowledge on its prowl, we should examine how far society and its powers have encroached into this domain.
The world we see today was not there when man lived as a forester. It is he, the forester, who created this world. All this has come out of his mind, out of its own conception. Behind that mind, if there is a consciousness and Existence, the logic stretches itself to allow us to conceive that the mind too was created just as it created the world. By applying the same argument, it is not very difficult to conceive that the Existence too should have an origin.
- Behind this visible created world of ours, human rationality permits us to concede the existence of a mind without much dispute.
- This mind is invisible to other animate beings on earth, but man is aware of it, as he possesses it himself.
- So also, behind consciousness and existence, something invisible can be posited of which only he who possesses it may be aware.
- Many have spoken of its existence as God. Whether we concede that as a fact for our argument, we need not have any hesitation to conceive that mind itself – as well as consciousness and existence – originated in something invisible to the mind. If there are theories about its existence or experiences of it, rationally we cannot refuse to discuss them until we have experimented as the professors have experimented.
- Even when we come up with an alternate theory, it is but right we discuss the views of others.
- The theory we come up with must be,
- comprehensive as a body of knowledge;
- useful in a flawless manner or must explain the flaws without dismissing them as freaks;
- in a position to offer an explanation to every phenomenon of life.
- If our theory satisfies our standards, then we must compare it with the claim of others.
- If the other theory does satisfy our standards and ours does not, we are compelled to give it a full consideration.
- Not only was one such theory expounded 80 years ago, but it was also extended in application to social evolution and business management, apparently satisfying the above criteria.
- To restate the kernel of our standard above, “When knowledge is organised and applied to daily life, its power and comprehensiveness can be such that there need be no failures. If there are any, they can be rectified by a more thorough application of that knowledge. Such a knowledge exists and has been offered to the world.”
Spirit of Inquiry
The spirit of Inquiry is the very opposite of conservative, conventional conformism. Man is always free. At no point is he compelled to follow a course dictated from outside. The human spirit is indomitable. Its final law and last consummation is Freedom. Therefore, man is faced with a choice at each moment. There is no force on earth that can deny him that freedom. Nor does heaven admit such a force.
- His choice is decisive either for good or otherwise.
- On either side of the HOUR, his choice can be beneficially and rightly exercised.
- On the side of the forward looking future, the inquiring spirit is always or mostly beneficial.
- Even on the opposite side of the past conservation, an infinite field opens up as the atom opens up a new world to the scientists.
- It is obvious that his choice must be positive whether he goes forward or backwards in time.
- What is most dangerous is the capacity to be conservative, superstitious, negative, narrow, to practice bigotry in the name of progress, rationality, positivism, broad-mindedness and spontaneity.
- To say the frontiers are reached is the very opposite of inquiry. There is no end to inquiry. No one has a right to cry a halt.
Man is compelled to inquire into new possibilities by adverse circumstances. The number of such discoveries is legion. But it is the smaller or lower side of the picture. Inner urges to inquiry represent the scientific spirit better. The outer is seen by the senses. The inner is perceived by mind. The senses are the subordinate functions of the mind. The emphasis must always be on the mind, not the senses, on the inner, not the outer.
Freedom of the Soul
The birth of democracy is traced to the spirit of individuality of the human soul represented by Protestantism. The dicta of the officiating priest between man and his God met its death blow when the soul raised its banner of revolt. The liberated human soul embodied itself politically in the institution of democracy. Its extension to economies is the free market when one is free to produce and sell, dictated not by a central economy, but by his own perception of what is good and beneficial for his own self. Freedom of worship and freedom for religious instruction arise from there. Having achieved all these fundamental freedoms over the centuries all over the globe, it is a sad ending of an uninspiring story that submits valid opinions on science to the social status of scientists. Science should rule, not the scientists’ status. Thought should have precedence over social power which is not mental, but vital. Eminence is for science. The eminent scientist should not be allowed to replace the priest of the church. Impersonal knowledge shifting to personal status is to organise the death of science and inquiry. There arises the seed of fundamentalism, the Amish culture’s purblindness. The speed of computer functioning is conquering Time and eventually Space which has been the expression of advancing civilization. Such an advance must find its foundation in scientific life in clearer logic and severe rationality, not in social or organisational prowess. Democratic legislations should not rely on royal assents.
The accumulation of political power, material prosperity, religious enlightenment, scholarship, industrial and imperial power and the social preeminence of the male have created the politically oppressed, the poor, the ignorant superstitious masses, the lumpen proletariat and the uneducated docile woman drowned in domestic chores. All these are reversing in varying measures. It would be the irony of fate to create scientific superstition just at this moment. Science, being knowledge, should be entirely free in every aspect of existence.
Education and Science
Education is the one institution that passes to posterity the accumulated wisdom of the past. With respect to Science, it has a two-fold responsibility: 1) to give the spirit of inquiry, and 2) to give the knowledge accumulated. The latter is a social function while the former transcends the social function. In practice, the spirit of inquiry is passed on to future citizens as part of the social belief or culture. The spirit was of the pioneers, not of the society as a whole. Education is a social institution with a universal spread. Here is an obvious impossibility of a social institution wedded to social stability trying to pass on the adventurous creative spirit of the pioneers to ardent, budding souls.
It is true that the inspiring visions of one’s soul are
established in one’s life as his personality is organised.
The same is true of the collective. One inevitable result is society and one’s status remain sovereign or paramount. Instead of preserving the spirit of inquiry, science has largely succumbed to the wet blanket of social beliefs that are superstitions. Two views have emerged. The first is a pity and the next is a sin, at least an unpardonable ‘crime’ of the mind.
- The spirit of inquiry unconsciously subordinates to the reality of social power.
- The upward thrust of the inquiry gets reversed and is offered theoretical validity. The scientist begins to look for consciousness in matter just as the German rationalists have cut open the body to locate the human soul.
The purpose of education is to give what the society has already gathered and more importantly, the SPIRIT in which it acquired it. That would be in different places different things.
- In India it is the spirit of having discovered the ultimate, zero, etc., which is truly a spirit that cannot be shut up in any social bottle.
- In the West, it is that spirit of thinking on one’s own and arriving at the truth by a process of thought.
When the social decay set in in India, inquiry gave place to rituals and education was handed over to memorisation. In the West, the dead weight of the organisation of educational system could stifle thinking but as the spirit of nation building was very much alive, it could not fully be spoiled. Thinking gave place to understanding.
Thinking is with a vengeance individual and cannot bring into the arena of approval the non-thinking society. It seeks confirmation of the experiment, rationality and logic. Understanding is, on the other hand, not strictly original as we try to understand what another has written. Therefore, it has a tendency to know what others understand. Hence the social approval is able to linger in their minds.
- Education is a social system. It enables the young to know the available knowledge. Its primary duty is NOT to create the thinking faculty, but to foster what is available and hold it as the ideal before the students.
- Instead of relying on the authority of great minds to understand the validity of what they have discovered, the student must be led to think on his own how valid it is.
- This is very controversial. All that we wish to say is there is an unconscious slide in favour of the undesirable.
- It is not impossible to devise educational systems that will produce only products who will think for themselves before accepting or understanding. Several token efforts are afoot.
There may be general agreement on the statement that science searches for Truth. Those who agree to this must spell out their definition of Truth. Fact can be easily distinguished from Truth, but not laws. Law can be mistaken to be the Truth or the knowledge of the process of producing or creating something can pass for Truth. Some may argue, though rarely, that the result is truth. We may win our day against facts and results. It is not so easy to argue or explain that the process of producing water from two gasses is not the Truth of water, if it is so believed. Philosophy says that the objective state of the ultimate Existence in subjectivity is Truth. Science should offer its definition. Also it will be right to describe the various aspects of Truth.
- Fact is not Truth.
- Nor is the result, law or process the truth.
- What else is Truth?
- Look at the hundred activities of man or hunred articles a man uses. They are not his Truth.
- He is the truth of all his activities and the articles he uses.
- On earth, man is one of the million beings and objects.
- What is their Truth, if they are not Truth?
- They all hover around something called life or existence.
- The Truth of earthly life is Existence.
- Existence is the Truth the scientist may go after, not energy.
- Existence is beyond laws, processes and even principles.
Reality – Truth – Principle or law – process – result
An analogy of the society can help somewhat. Man has created the civilization we live in. The comforts and conveniences we enjoy today are the results and nothing more. The process by which these results are achieved is a social process of administration and execution of which all aspects are on record. It has its principles or laws behind. The increasing consciousness of humanity and the organisations it has developed are the principle by which these results have accrued. Of course, they are not the Truth of man. The Truth of man is he desires to exceed himself. Behind this Truth of man lies his Reality which takes us into the pure domains of philosophy.
Science that is seeking Truth should define what it has in view excluding the results, processes and principles that are laws. In fact, the inquiry should go beyond Truth to the Reality of which the truth is an essential aspect.
The Personality of the Scientist
The spirit of democracy rightly pervades all fields and therefore the field of science. It is not only honestly believed that anyone who has the aptitude for research can take to it, but nowhere do we hear the question, “who can be a scientist?” To prevent anyone from this field would appear to be an abomination. This is a question worth thinking about. A degree in science is an evidence of mental capacity. Scientific findings are not only knowledge, but go into daily use in human lives and have far reaching human implications. One who can drive well is given a license, but when he is an alcoholic his license is withdrawn, because his driving has human implications.
A social service must allow the entrants based on social utility and social fitness, not merely on mental capacity which is one of the requisites.
The personality of the scientist must have its direct bearing on the findings of his work. There are social regulations of the end use of scientific knowledge. But this aspect of the scientist’s personality having a direct bearing on his findings is worth considering, as it will help keep research on the right path.
Technology is not science, at least the whole of science
This point is not worth explaining as it is an obvious truth. This is mentioned here, as a popular misconception of such a shade exists. Technology, as we understand it, is an elaborate sophisticated tool. When Matter expresses the organisation of knowledge so as to convert it into power, a tool arises. Technology is not science, but scientific knowledge embodied as a useful tool.
The issue before humankind is not so much Science or Superstition as the evolutionary possibilities for its growth. It can be conceived of as the ideal being practiced.
- An ideal is mental or spiritual.
- Practice is vital or physical, the organisation in these planes.
- Conversion of mental ideal into physical practice can be called in the language of evolution the process of descent.
- It is easier to conceive of an ideal and offer it to the world, but not so easy to follow it oneself, even when the world has taken to it with zest.
- Oracle was said to have made this discovery at one time about one of their popular programmes.
- Sri Aurobindo and The Mother did not find it possible to persuade Sri Aurobindo Ashram or Auroville to follow their ideals.
- Some ideals are too exalted and others are too unrealistic. Each fails for its own reason.
- Mahatma Gandhiji’s ideal of Ahimsa – non-violence – simply does not exist in life or nature or even in spirit. But, being a leader of eminence he could make 40 crores of people follow it for 40 years. When that policy yielded freedom without armed revolution, he exclaimed that the blood that was not shed in the revolution was shed in communal carnage.
- Man’s capacity to follow the NEW in his own OLD fashion is infinite as well as creative. The issue is to recognize this phenomenon and overcome it ourselves. The issue is the evolution of the physical into mental and spiritual.
- Should man succeed here, he will find ONE great truth in its several expressions.
- Social development of different velocities in different parts of the world can change. The least can use the most. The most backward population can take on the speed of the most developed population.
- Man will recognize forces of greater power in existence now.
- Money has become self-multiplying and creative.
- Every low point in society has recognised the power of transformation and is being driven by that.
- The Supramental Force is there in the earth’s atmosphere and supramentalisation is at work.
Body of Knowledge
Man started learning by his limbs until he was awake in his mind. The physical learning of long millennia gave birth to the active conscious mental faculty in him. Now in the last several centuries, man has come to learn by the mind and pass that learning on to his vital and physical parts.
Man has become a mental being.
We see this process everywhere where the mind begins learning a new skill and passes it on to the body as in typewriting, cycling, writing, etc. This is now known as,
The subconscious becoming conscious
Writing skill in children becomes perfect when they write automatically, i.e. when the writing is taken over by the subconscious. Any knowledge for man is complete when his subconscious takes it up.
- Such subconscious learning is perfect execution of what it learned.
- Within that scope, there will be no failures, no side-effects.
- The conversion of the conscious into subconscious is in the subtle plane, invisible to the eye, but, when the eye is determined to see, there is always something to see.
- It is a process where all the parts recognise the whole and endeavour to live in terms of the whole.
- This region is also governed by rationality and logic but not the rationality enveloped by senses or the human logic. It is called the logic of the Infinite.
When a body of knowledge is organised as knowledge, it will be the practical knowledge of the subconscious fully rational and logical, admitting no failures. Instincts are thus organised. Intuition explained rationally and organised to have the force of instincts will be this body of knowledge. So we say,
Organise Intuition as Instincts.
Explain Intuition rationally.
The first casualty here is superstition and its present powerful carrier social eminence. Society is vital. Knowledge is mental. Power is physical. Society being a middle term between the origin of knowledge in the mind and its expression as power in the physical can only let each pass through it as a channel and cannot usurp it for possession. All intermediary powers do so for any period that intervenes. Man must see this happening, realise its evolutionary role and status and fully overcome it.
If neither result, nor law nor the process is knowledge, is there an essential knowledge beyond this? If there is one, man does not have it today in any field.
As the process enables us to make a thing, the essential knowledge must enable us to transmute one object into another. Some semblance of such a knowledge is being talked of in bio-technology now.
The clay that makes the pot can be reduced to clay, before it is put into the kiln and another object can be made out of it. Is there such an essential knowledge in the world by which every object can be reduced to an original substance?
The knowledge that expresses its central Truth will be perfect in expression. Presence of imperfection indicates that what is expressed is not the central Truth. Imperfection will persist when partial truths are expressed or when the central Truth is partially expressed.
Perfect power of expression is possible when the central Truth is fully expressed.
The stated aim of science, its professed goal is to study Nature. This is to make Nature final and ignore the mind that he commissions to study that Nature. Again it is to shut one’s eyes to the vast firmament of deep spiritual experiences of thousands of great souls all over the world. It is ignorance, maybe willful ignorance. It is but right that Science should restate its goal to deserve that name. It should study Nature and spirit or Nature and its being. Philosophers would call it Being and Becoming.
It is not difficult to conceive why the great minds engaged in science often speak this way. All of them may not profess so, but all scientists fall in line with those who proclaim that science is the study of Nature. If it is explained that Nature includes his version of God or Spirit, we can withdraw our contention.
On our side, we have a very powerful argument, though not a perfect one. It is not perfect as the field from which it has risen is imperfect. We can argue that our position is perfect if it is seen that the maximum perfection possible in an imperfect field is imperfect. The argument is,
- Man, who began to emerge out of animal existence and organise his life around his mental cognition, possesses the ‘perfection’ seen in the expression of the central Truth. (For him, the central Truth is survival which he expresses.)
- The true perfection of the central truth lies in the instinctive life of the animal.
- Man progressed into this slight imperfection and aims at reaching the perfect perfection when Pure Mind organises itself in his body’s present subconscious,
- All the elements of a Truth we expect in the scientists are there, in all but perfect measure, in the life of the primitive man whom we call forester.
- The scientist chooses a partial field – Nature – because his instrument, mind, is partial. Mind is partial in the sense that it can only see part of what is presented to man, as it is seeing through its senses. A complete instrument will be a Mind that can see fully, and see through not the senses but directly. Man does not possess it now. And he has no right to dismiss the vision of these complete minds.
- Truth is self-existent.
- Truth is complete when the Subjective completes the Objective truth.
- The truth of evolution of forms will be completed by the truth of evolution of consciousness.
- Truth completes itself when the positive seeks out the negative to include it in itself.
- Personal truth widens itself by extending to Impersonality. Impersonal truth will complete itself as a WHOLE when it can express itself as Personal truth.
- Facts become valuable when they are objective facts. The value of objectivity lies in the domain of the external.
- Truth is not objective, facts are. Truth is Subjective. He who does not see the truth subjectively has not seen the Truth. Conception which we value in all fields of knowledge, particularly in mathematics, will vanish into thin air if removed from the subjectivity and severely confined to the external objective world seen and perceived by the senses.
- The subjective Truth is far more essentially valuable for all that has been achieved in this objective world of ours.
- Neither the objective facts, nor the subjective conception makes for the whole. Both of them represent partial knowledge. That subjective Truth which is objectively valid or useful represents the whole Truth as represented by that conception.
- Science that searches for its Truth must be subjectively valid and objectively factual. Of course, it cannot afford to be negative. The fact that emerges must be positive or centred in the positive.
The moment the field moves away from objectivity, illusion, error, mistake, falsehood and superstition have a field day. Any of them can rear their head. Objectivity is a corrective to superstition. Subjectivity offers a clear unhindered field for superstition. This is inevitable. Each level of perception as sensation, sense impression, thought, feeling, imagination, etc. creates superstition appropriate to that level. The field of science needs to be scrutinized from each of these perspectives and cleansed for rationality or logic to step in.
Faith and Superstition
Faith is a higher knowledge based on either external experience or inner undefined knowledge. Faith, in time, matures into knowledge, after which no superstition can arise. Between the observed external fact and the hope that is created in the mind which later matures into faith, there is a wide nebulous field in which superstition normally arises. By the same process, between the inner illumination and the outer result, mind is capable of creating varieties of superstition. At the turn of the last century, a book entitled, “Varieties of Religious Experience” became famous. To commission a set of scholars to write a book, “Varieties of Superstition” will be of service to rationality.
Faith is awareness of unidentified knowledge. Superstition is faith in non-existent knowledge.
- All men who achieve, achieve by faith, calling it by other names.
- The agnostic who refuses to believe in anything announces his faith in the yet undiscovered Truth, which is a faith of a higher order.
- The world man has built, is built on faith. Its central reinforcement, money is all faith. There is no question of man giving up faith.
- Faith becomes superstition through half knowledge, error, mistake, etc. which must be given up, not faith.
- No one can rid himself of superstition. One can only have less of it. Superstition may be a curse word. We all function by the mind whose awareness is half knowledge. Naturally, in the absence of full knowledge, superstition will continue to build up.
Look at the truth of life “men love women when they abuse them.”  Such truths are there in every walk of life. That is the measure of rationality when it comes to choosing a wife, the most important event in one’s life. If one sufficiently probes into great discoveries, many would have traveled through the landmarks of superstition.
Intellect, Reason, Ego
Intellect is the function of the brain. It gets its data from the senses. Sifting the data for pure facts, intellect fashions thought. It is not pure thought, but thought created by the apperceptive mass already lodged in the brain. Its main forms are gross thought, preference, prejudice, construction and mental habit. The brain does not create conceptions; it creates thoughts related to events and persons which produce gross thought. The mind conceives. Pure mind not influenced by brain or sense or by the past accumulations can conceive on its own. It is subtle thought. This is not gross as it exists by itself and is not influenced by any component of gross thought. Subtle thought leads to ideas and knowledge. Gross thought fashions the practical intellect and leads to creativity in practical work. It is known as innovation. Thought that inquires into ideas, and knowledge or its origin consciousness and Being soar high and are pure. They are not practically useful. The moment thought has a social end, it becomes gross as it looks down to utility.
The higher the intellect, the greater is the scope for creating illusion as well as superstition as in the case of Shankara. Buddha is seen as the greatest intellect who walked on earth. Even those who denounce Shankara acknowledge that his intellect is greater than that of Buddha, though the latter may be a far mightier soul. Shankara’s intellect has created the greatest illusion the world has known. Superstition is the minor version of illusion.
Man’s intelligence has the capacity to coordinate. Its center is described as Reason. Ego too has been thus defined by one philosopher. In that sense, reason is synonymous with Ego. When reason is separated from the senses it becomes free of ego and becomes higher reason or intuition.
All the three have the common factor of being fed by the senses. The senses have to be given the goby if we are to exercise the pure mind and produce creative thoughts. Science, or anyone searching for Truth cannot bind themselves to sensation.
Society seeks greater power and achieves it by organisation. A product becomes the symbol of that achievement. The spread of that product does not stop until the whole society is covered. Through this process the new organisation so developed integrates with every existing organisation and leads further to the birth of complex social existences. Land, machine, factory, money, electricity, car, phone, plastic, coal, oil, computer, telecommunication represent such products, organisations and resources.
During such periods of transition, the greatest progress is witnessed in areas where such a product is more thoroughly used. Any organisation that comes forward today to fully exhaust the use of computer grows ten times faster than its compeers. Information is the latest product that is disseminated over the Internet. Information coming to play this role is the awareness of the society of the ultimate knowledge as information is at the low end of the chain of which knowledge is at the other end.
Sense impressions – observed facts – data – information – organised information (statistics) – thought – idea – knowledge of the environment – knowledge of the inner perception – pure knowledge.
Internet gives the user the knowledge of the professional or expert on individual issues offering him almost subtle knowledge by the width of information. Internet extends the individual’s domain of information horizontally and offers him the possibility of acquiring subtle knowledge.
To rid this new instrument that is an institution at this stage, of the privilege of being burdened by innumerable superstitions will be a service to the search for Truth.
- The word intuition is used in this article in the sense of a knowledge that is scarcely visible but is concretely felt by long experience as well as a higher keenness of the mind.
- Intuition of one age handed over to the next age as a permanent possession is instinct.
- It is found in all the planes -- physical, vital, mental, spiritual and supramental.
- The process of intuition is occult.
- Every major or minor advance of civilization or knowledge was by intuition.
- Intuitive knowledge is inexplicable or indefinable. But it is not a complete impossibility. When rendered intelligible to intellect, it uses higher reason and the logic of the infinite. The measure of a society’s capacity to acquire intuitive knowledge is the measure of its true progress.
- The capacity to acquire intuitive knowledge enables one to achieve at the mental level.
The value of Internet is not only multifarious but in almost all fields in which it exercises, it has opened up new avenues. But, its primary value lies
- in its being an institution, an institution that maybe for the first time skipped its gestation period of having to be an organisation;
- in its being an instrument of subtle knowledge and in that role this is the first time for any such instrument;
- in its capacity to dissolve the ego of the professional expert.
It has been the capacity of man to become the slave of the instrument he creates and to try and reverse it roles and make it work for the preservation of values it has come to destroy. Science must emerge out of these reactionary roles itself and come forward to prevent the social efforts to hamstring the Internet.
It is up to us to define knowledge as an activity or an activity as knowledge. Thus agriculture can be seen as newly acquired knowledge by humanity or philosophy and metaphysics as human activities of the mind.
Any new activity begins as the physical moves to the vital, mental and spiritual levels. We can say the activity matures as physical skill, vital attitude, mental understanding and spiritual values. The physical is gross, mental is subtle. Vital may be partly gross and partly subtle. We can add one more dimension as causal or simply say, higher subtle levels. All these things have been going on in each field of human endeavour. Speech that started as articulated sounds signifying acts or emotions has become fluent in expressing thoughts. At greater heights, it expressed organised ideas as conceptions and richer ideas as poetry.
Agriculture began as the source of food, became the spring of manifold comforts when it produced for the market and went on to improve its role as one that can secure social status and political power. In money, we see this progression well marked.
Science too has traveled along these paths passing through stages of practical innovation, exploration of the environment, probing into processes, discovering laws etc.
- Science should continue the march and seek the knowledge of the ultimate, the origin of energy and should organise itself as a proper body of knowledge, resorting to higher reason and the logic of the Infinite.
- It has a right to weed out superstition of all types.
- Should science persist in its love of superstition and ignorance and undertake a crusade for it, the march of progress will wipe it off the face of the earth or in its compassion preserve it as a museum of organised superstition idolized and idealized.
Science should pronounce on the finding of the Rishis ONLY by having the experience they had, not by polemics. To speak about an inner experience without having that experience is, to say the least, beside the point.
Tradition is valued in all traditions. The older the tradition, the greater is the veneration. It is of cultural sentiment. Beyond that there is a truth of life in this. It is really truth of work ripening into truth of life.
A new work is begun by a pioneer. By the time he successfully demonstrates it, he develops hundreds of work attitudes, mental aptitudes towards that which completes the work which are known as details. The very fact that he is able to demonstrate implies he has created, tested, perfected ALL the essential major and minor attitudes for a successful demonstration. It is known as experience which in these pages I have called subtle knowledge. No one who learns all the rules of that work can go home and do it himself unless he also acquires all those details of subtle knowledge. It extends to all the assistants he employs, the work spot he uses, and the tools of his choice. All these together go by the phrase ‘work atmosphere’. Over the years, the community he lives in takes after him and develops that atmosphere as a community. Those who have tried to print an English book without errors and produce it properly in India where printing in English is over a hundred years old will fully appreciate the hazards in this adventure. Of course, there is NO accomplishing it here even today.
The pioneer’s company and his little town over a few decades become the center of that particular activity. In psychological terms, we can say the place has acquired a personality for that work.
Each phase is followed by a wider phase of the activity and the standard continues to grow. Should each phase positively spill over into its next, soon the activity will touch its acme. Life admits of a choice at every creative point. It can go up or down. Normally the negative side begins to organise itself and a compromise is arrived at. It is through such reversals the conqueror is conquered.
The search for Truth will also open itself to the other side. Such compromises are always possible if not inevitable.
In a practical world, theory is frowned upon. Men who are successful through hard work even now frown on degrees. Notwithstanding their views, theory is of value.
- At least one practical man extolled the virtue of a good theory.
- The world is speaking of a Final Theory.
- Learning has reached such heights now that humankind no longer has the luxury of the primitive ancestor to learn by doing.
- Almost all learning, if not all, now starts with the mental understanding that is passed down as a physical skill.
- Theorising is the acme of mental learning.
- Theorising the process of learning is to render the intended knowledge subtle.
- It is worth remembering that the world does not yet have a theory of creation and the one that was advanced long ago has not yet received attention.
For science to emerge in its true glory, it should give precedence to Theory over practice. Literature – fiction particularly – can represent the times or be immortal. Gross thought produces passing works of literature. When the writer’s thought enters the realm of impersonality, thought becomes subtle. It is subtlety of thought that gives literature its longevity and makes it immortal.
Theorising makes gross thought subtle, making it of lasting value.
Lessons of civilization
What do we learn from the experience of man who created settlements, cities, language, culture, etc.? His life is determined by external circumstances. He has won a physical mastery over those circumstances. It was a physical vital effort. Even when he developed thought, his instrument was mind, which can know only about himself directly, not others. Mind cannot be the instrument of his whole being, nor is it capable of direct knowledge. Direct knowledge is philosophically called Intuition. Einstein said that intuitional knowledge is essential for the search for Truth. Our aim is to evaluate the field of science and its present instruments as to their adequacies for the purpose of reaching Truth. If suitable, they can be perfected. If not, another instrument must be sought after. On the contrary, the extremely valuable physical instruments science is now developing will gradually begin to claim supremacy over the Truth the field is in search of.
- The field loses touch with the aim and concentrates on developing finer tools.
- The same happens in the mind. The mental tools become the fetter.
- Two such tools are logic and rationality.
- The march of civilization can be reinterpreted or rediscovered as the quest for knowledge, the knowledge of the ultimate.
- Wars were the process by which the physical prowess of man was trying to learn to live in amity.
- The increase of comforts and conveniences conquering drudgery and labour is the endeavour to live in a more human way and less like animals.
- The conquest of poverty, disease and ignorance is the effort of human vital to learn the art of safe living.
- Advance in every field of learning is the mental effort to know or master its environment.
- Religious and spiritual aspiration is the recognition of the higher inner source – Spirit or Pure Mind – or our origin.
- A greater conquest of Knowledge is possible in all these areas and it can be the advance of Science when that knowledge is discovered and utilized in life.
- Such an advance has several prerequisites:
- We must redefine what is the ultimate knowledge that we seek.
- Our final theory may be Existence and its Expression in life.
- Each further level of advance should discover its own means or instruments.
- Every present instrument must be recast to serve as a new instrument.
- Such a new instrument cannot be imperfect nor have side-effects or negative consequences.
- The aim of the paper is to explore the ways of closing such a gap.
- He who speaks of the ultimate, speaks of the ultimate of thought, while thought is not the ultimate. Maybe it is the ultimate instrument we now have.
From First Principles
Mind, life, matter, Spirit, Time and Space need definitions from first principles, satisfying the higher criteria of our two tools. Force occupies a special place. Force or Energy must be so explained. Is it self-existent or is it a power of something else, say Being? In terms of such an explanation, the drive in nature, the intelligence we see in Nature need an explanation.
For the metaphysical scholar, Time is a concept and only a concept. It has no reality. We live in a world of realities. He who searches for the Truth should know the plane of Time he is living in. His ideas cannot be mere concepts, they have to have a dimension of reality. Man is using his mind for this exploration. He lives a life and handles objects of matter. The phrase ‘life sciences’ has come into vogue. What we need is a Science of Life. Whether we have an ultimate answer or not, we need to have the initial definitions. If Science of Life is conceded, further questions arise.
There was a time in history, maybe two or three thousand years ago, when knowledge was meant to be poetry. When they discovered that poetry rested on philosophy, knowledge had two branches and now it has 200 branches. Conceding the need for a Science of Life, the argument extends to the Science of Mind, Science of Matter, and Science of Spirit, Science of the outer man, inner man, the Science of the Individual and if we trace the origin to the Absolute, we should speak of the Science of the Absolute.
It has a further dimension. As man has moved from physicality to mentality, we see man has moved from the externals to inner makeup. Man does not accept the environment determining him anymore. He, the inner man, wishes to determine the outer circumstances.
In the last two or three centuries, we see the centre of life moving from natural resources, money, land, market, economics, politics to MAN, to the point of the 20th century being known as the century of the common man. It has to move one more step for the present.
The 21st century may well be the century of the inner
man, the thinking man, THE INDIVIDUAL.
Citizens all over the world should aspire to become that Individual and it is mandatory for those who are in search of the Truth to become that emancipated Individual, emancipated from the social thraldom. It is a psychological emancipation.
To seek knowledge is an adventure that excels in significance any other adventure in the battlefield or the political arena. It should commence not at the knowledge end but at the end where knowledge is applied, rather misapplied. The unexpected negative results of knowledge misapplied are many, such as pollution. To understand how pollution is caused and work from below to the origins of knowledge is a sure way of getting at the Truth. There are several such points for one to begin. Humility before knowledge acknowledges the failure of application of that knowledge. Humility is knowledge in the application of it.
A programme of software called Oracle became popular. Sometime later, the management of Oracle found out that in their own company that programme was not being used. The US has sponsored the computer revolution and the spread of computer is maximum in that country. But even in the US the resistance to benefiting from the computer in all walks of life is considerable. The business community does not seem to have realised it because of this resistance. Computer saves 90% of time. Time is money. But computerisation of American business is far less than the desirable or possible level.
As the US does not benefit from the computer, and Oracle does not use its own programme, we must ask whether science in its existence and functions is allowing the scientific spirit to rule.
A perfect science can be created on a false premise.
As life exists in layers of graded substance, it is also found in valid concentric circles even as we find matter from the atom to the bulky stone. Atom is a unit of the universe of matter. Act is a unit of Life even when it is spread over the whole universe.
- The laws of existence are true within each concentric circle with the variations necessary for size and energy content.
- The same laws will be apparently contradicted in a plane above or a plane below.
- The seeker of Truth must recognise these realities and should not fall into errors of those who do not see the above facts.
- A law that is fully valid within one set of limitations has no power to validate those limitations elsewhere. This is one area where logic can be used illogically.
Indian astrology is based on the assumption that the sun goes around the earth and most of its predictions are amazingly true. Its precision to know the past is proverbial. The modern astrologer knows that it is the earth that goes round the sun. Still, he practices his trade by what he knows to be untrue. It cannot lead the astrologer to declare that “as my predictions are valid, my assumptions are valid too.” True, his assumptions and results are valid within the context of life governed by the past initiated energy which works out its consequences. His own science of astrology declares that astrology is not true if the soul-force enters life as in the case of the sannyasi. Science cannot afford to entertain that erroneous notion – as the results in one concentric circle are predicted with unfailing accuracy, these assumptions are valid outside its context. Perhaps the scientist will find it hard to concede a zone outside his context.
Idea – creative idea – Real-Idea
Man’s knowledge and will are separate. Having the knowledge of a work does not enable one to do it. For that, he needs the sanction of his will or his will must be inspired by the knowledge he has. In the lower rungs of human hierarchy, the cleavage is full, at the higher levels they co-exist. The lower and the higher can be called Idea and Real-Idea. While conceiving a middle status, we can call it creative idea. While idea and creative idea are well known, the concept of Real-Idea can be conceded. This is a classification that exists in all branches of existence. Its ascent, i.e. an ascending order, is now known. We know a descending order too is in existence from the mind through the vital to the body.
Those who are in search of Truth will do well to consider this hierarchy of knowledge in their ascent to Truth.
Higher Knowledge in a plane of lower consciousness
This appears to be a paradox, though this phenomenon is widely prevalent as the Totality of the higher knowledge begins to gather in trickles of its part. A mechanic of original creative ability about a part of a machine, cannot on that strength alone build that machine. The part of the knowledge he has is valid and may only be valid to him. It may not have the energy to communicate itself to one of higher consciousness. His knowledge may be of information value to one of higher consciousness. Very tasty food prepared in unsanitary and unhygienic conditions cannot be safely consumed by those who live in sanitary surroundings. One may use his recipe.
The Two Instruments of Mind
Seekers of Truth have employed logic and reason to achieve their aim. Reason is fed by the senses. Mind has the primary necessity of sifting the fact from sense influences. When made pure of sense impressions, reason has the potential of becoming intuition.
Reason and logic are presently functions of a context.
That is how they are functioning. Culture-specific, century-specific, etc. is the rule. To relieve reason of its context is to restore it to its pristine purity. So also logic. In our finite circumstances, our logic is the logic of the finite. Life is permitting the invasion of the Infinite. We need the logic of the infinite.
Man seeks freedom in all fields. Freedom leads to the infinite. Hence reason and logic too must serve the cause of Infinity, at least must show a tendency to move towards the infinite in finite objects.
Knowledge of the whole
If knowledge is a whole and of the whole, science cannot shun philosophy. Science has to spell out the philosophy on which it stands and must justify itself by that philosophy.
Until man comes by that Mind which can see directly, whatever he does or not, he cannot assert his partial mind’s vision as final. It is the sense mind that we now use. The mind that can extricate itself from the overpowering influence of senses is not there now but the two instruments we have enable us to use that higher faculty of mind. The two faculties are reason and logic.
- To use these two faculties in their pristine purity so that their higher potentials will emerge requires a severely disciplined intellect.
- As the greatest intellects of the past could not escape that error, we who stand on their shoulders must benefit by their errors to avoid it.
- That which avoids those pitfalls are,
- the wholeness of the field of inquiry.
- the practice of the idea in the material plane;
- its capacity to be error-free.
Both of these instruments to be perfect must answer the needs of practical life. The insufficiency of logic for life is well known. One classic example to illustrate that is from mathematics.
Rs. 1.00 = 100 paisa
= 10 x 10 paise
= 1/10 rupee x 1/10 rupee
= 1/100 rupee
Rs. 1 = 1 paisa
The logic of mathematics shows one rupee is equal to one paisa which is not true. To most of us the fallacy is not apparent. As it arrives at an obvious unreality, we think. Illogical ideas or irrational ideals do not always end in fallacies in our minds, until we begin to practise them.
The touchstone of science is Life, not the laboratory.
Knowledge is valid only when it can be practiced.
In the above calculation, we say 1/10th of a rupee x 1/10th rupee. This is mathematically untrue. 1/10th of a rupee can be multiplied by 1/10, not 1/10th of a rupee. If we do, we will get not 1/100 rupee but (1/10) 2 rupee which is non-existent.
This does not mean logic is illogical or unsuitable for life. Logic as the human mind understands it, often leads through several byways to unreal situations. Therefore, use of logic must be resorted to by a well-disciplined intellect.
Shankara’s famous intellect enabled him to conquer the whole of India from Buddhism back to Hinduism. But his reason directly led him to the conclusion that life is an illusion. It is easy for us, the lesser intellects, to fall into such traps. That needs to be avoided. The acid test is life. Hence we raise basic questions:
- How far can rationality and logic serve the purpose of Science?
- Can Science become a spearhead of human progress?
 From the film American President: “Don’t ask me why. It is a fact.”