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Saturday, September 9, 2017

View from within or without


As usual, I insert a few blogs on other topics in between the blogs on Maha Bharatha series. This current one summarizes some thoughts which came on during one of my walking meditations. Their sources are both external and internal. They appear to be important in my personal journey, and therefore I want to share them with you. Thanks for "listening". 

No system can be understood completely from within, because of our restricted perspective. The perspective we have of our earth is different from the perspectives of our ancestors who did not see pictures of the earth from space.

Any system created by human mind cannot be understood either from inside because the process of creating systems and categories excludes something.

No system can be understood from without because that knowledge will not know what it is like to be within the system. We will never know fully what the “bat” feels inside of itself, as discussed by Prof. Nagel in his famous essay. (What is it like to be a bat? Thomas Nagel. The Philosophical Review LXXXIII, 4 (October 1974): 435-50.)



That is the Paradox.



In addition, we have the problem of recursive nature of thinking. The subject (I) is inherent in any object in the external world about which the subject is thinking. We have the additional problem of our thinking having been warped by the collective consciousness of the humanity in general and our special circumstances, in particular.

That is the limit of our brain as it is structured.

The mysteries of “Who am I?” and “What is this Universe?” will be there forever, to be explored. Each one of us will have to find our way, with caution and humility.

We are not to demand final answers and explanations for cause and effect. There is no use creating words to represent thoughts and act as if the words our mind created have reality outside of our thoughts. They may or may not. Just accept the Universe as is - impermanent, intertwined with built-in chaos, disorder and unpredictability (and therefore “unfair”). That is the “rhythm” (or rta, in Sanskrit) of this universe.

Let us admire it. Be kind and compassionate to ourselves and to all living creatures. They are also in the same boat as we are. Let us enjoy the Universe as is and the journey of self-inquiry.

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