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Descending Knowledge

September 30, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

This was posted by me as a comment in the ‘Atheist or Intellectual’ post. Thought it might actually be good to have this as a blog post.

Vedic methodology acknowledges that we are limited in our knowledge gaining capabilities, through direct sense perception, logical inference or historical records. These processes have their uses, but cannot guarantee correct knowledge at all times, especially so when the object they are trying to understand is infinitely complex and our position and capabilities are infinitesimal.

This understanding is the first prerequisite for what the vedic methodology recognizes as the process of descending knowledge, called ‘Shabda’ or revealed sound, in which perfect knowledge descends from the absolute being, AKA God, who is conscious of all time and space simultaneously.

This knowledge is passed down through an unbroken line of qualified, unalloyed loving devotees who are bonafide spiritual masters. That line of teachers is commonly known as ’sampradaya’ or disciplic succession.

Now comes the question – How can we differentiate what is true Shabda?

Absolute or perfect knowledge is one that is never subject to change. Contrary to modern scientific methodology where theories are almost always being ‘improved’ upon, there absolutely no place for speculation in the process of shabda. Given that this knowledge comes from, and is basically part of, the absolute being, it is perfect and if someone attempts to change any of that information through speculation, it would inject inherent imperfections in to that knowledge too. So, any speculative changes made in transit would render the knowledge, as well as the person passing it on, as non-authoritative.

In summary, the objective of the vedic methodology is to know the absolute being. Understanding that the knowledge descends from the absolute being through the line of masters is the only way to progress in this methodology.

Of course, if a person considers the vedic literature to be imaginative creations of mortals with their inherent defects, then they hold no authoritative value for that person.

Categories: Philosophy, Science
  1. February 3, 2010 at 2:31 AM

    Hello Ambi!

    I was planning to do a blog post in based on and partly in response to your this post. Is it alright if I quote a part or the whole of your current post in it? Quoting the whole post because as such very few readers come to my blog, and a few that do, do not click on the links!😛

    Thanks in advance!

    Take care.

  2. February 3, 2010 at 9:26 AM

    Ketan,

    I prefer that you don’t quote the entire post.

    You can quote parts of it, but you will have to link back to this original post in any case.

    • February 3, 2010 at 11:43 PM

      Thanks!

      And of course, I would be linking back. I, as a principle do not claim to be mine what is not written by me on my blog.

      I will let you know when I publish the post, though that may not be soon.

      Take care.

    • February 3, 2010 at 11:54 PM

      And one more reason, I might require to eventually quote each and every line from your post is that it is very concise – there is nothing that could be missed to make complete sense of it.

      • February 4, 2010 at 7:07 AM

        Ketan,

        Do not quote each line of the article.

        If conciseness is an issue, don’t quote anything at all… just give the link, those who want to read… will read it.

  3. February 4, 2010 at 11:28 PM

    Okay, I will try to quote as little as possible. But I hope, you must have anticipated that I am on the whole not in agreement with what you have written. So, personally, I would not like to distort what you meant. Any kind of selective quoting does lead to distortion. But I repeat, I will try to keep the quoting to minimum possible if that is what you wish.

    Or if you do not mind, I will simply link to this article, and provide my interpretation of what you have written? Would you be alright with the second option?

    And this might seem out of context here, but hope you understand, though we have debated things fiercely in the past and there are things I still disagree with you on, I do respect you. And no, this is not generic kind of respect, but at the very least for your attempt to live not just like an automaton, but that you pause and ponder upon things like purpose of life, the way it should be lead, and also observe people and their characteristics. That we use (somewhat) different methods and have probably reached drastically different conclusions is indeed an irritation for me. Irritation, because that serves as a lurking doubt – am I believing the wrong thing? Because everyone likes to believe what they know and believe in is right (definitely, me included), otherwise ideally they should not be believing it! Yes, despite trying my best, I might fail in striking this distinction between is something right because I have come to believe it OR I believe in something because it is right? But then I am aware of this possible flaw in my outlook and do try to guard myself against it.

    Why did I say all this suddenly?

    I really don’t know! It was also not impulsive. In the sense that I always wanted to say this, but was not finding a context. A few things I said were sarcastic and possibly offending (especially, in your ball of karma-post). I apologize for the anger/irritation behind those statements, but of course not for the fact that I disagree with you.🙂

    Take care.

  4. February 5, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    I was just wondering… what is the purpose of you taking up this activity of writing a ‘response’ to my article? What end does it serve? As I said earlier, we have clearly seen that we do not have common ground on which to debate. So what is the point?

    Anyway.

    “Or if you do not mind, I will simply link to this article, and provide my interpretation of what you have written? ”

    I don’t mind the linking… but ‘your interpretation’? To ‘interpret’, you actually must have at least a basic exposure to my philosophical standpoint, lacking which it would be nothing more than another rendering of “Here’s what I think”. And there is nothing to interpret in that text, even from a ‘scientific’ viewpoint. Lack of common ground, as mentioned above.

    “That we use (somewhat) different methods and have probably reached drastically different conclusions is indeed an irritation for me. Irritation, because that serves as a lurking doubt – am I believing the wrong thing?”

    That is fine. Doubt is the basis of modern science! Does this mean you are skeptical about your skepticism? Probably not… so it really doesn’t matter if this doubt exists or not. Then again, it is not my place to be pointing out each and every differences between our standpoints. But the fact is Truth is not a manifestation of our belief. The difference in belief comes out in how we perceive the Truth.

    If I had to worry about sarcasm or offending statements, I should probably quit blogging. I write about what I learned because I would like to share the knowledge with those who want it. I am not in this for material profit, so I don’t and can’t change the philosophy (same as you) to please everyone.🙂

  5. February 5, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    There is also one small point:
    “you pause and ponder upon things like purpose of life, the way it should be lead, and also observe people and their characteristics.”

    All this I write and discuss… these are not products of my ‘independent thought’. My contribution comes only in the presentation part.

    I don’t think anyone can claim, in this era, they have thought up something absolutely and phenomenally original.

  6. February 6, 2010 at 12:13 AM

    When I said “response”, it was only because the idea to do a post about it had come when I had read your post for the first time. In my observation, what you have presented is the binding theme of all the major religions. Why I try to argue against supernaturalism (not as much as against religions)? Possibly because, I do not believe in the idea. When I complete the post, you need not respond to it if you feel you do not want to enter an argument, which I am sure will go in roundabout circles, because as you rightly pointed out, probably we already know where our fundamental axioms have diverged.

    And I would have done a post like that even without your post, but your post presents the methodology of “descending knowledge” very well. I do write on too many things that fall in the domain of atheism, science, skepticism, naturalism, whatever name you call it.

    Yes, I am skeptical about my skepticism. In the sense, I know, all that I think to be correct could be wrong – if it so happens that there is some kind of screen between our senses and the “absolute” reality that distorts the perception. But this skepticism is more of theoretical kind – it does not reflect in my day-to-day life, or I do not need to take it into account unless and until I actually find a reason to believe that such a screen actually exists.

    The reason I apologized for a few of the possibly rude comments was not so much because it could have hurt you, but most because there is a minimum standard of decorum I expect of myself, and if I do not maintain it, something about it is shameful. Anyway, sometime yesterday night I thought I would clarify, which portions did I think of as rude:

    “Yes, but I’d got a slight idea of the possible nature of solutions that Ambi might come up with when he’d asked that – “For a dog who sleeps on the side of the road and a human who sleep on a soft bed, fundamentally, what difference does it make?” (when discussing improvement in our lives that science has brought).”

    My question regarding the reasons why you would not jump was not sarcastic not meant to be rude.

    As to the second part of your comment. Yes, you may have not developed the ideas on your own, but having an interest in trying to answer those questions is what I consider admirable, and “un-automaton”-like.

    Yes, you are very, very right about the last sentence in your second comment. And that is the reason I hold those with innovative streak in such high esteem. And that is why I respect the modern researchers so much, and it could hurt me sometimes to see their efforts, contributions and achievements being undermined.

  7. February 6, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    You still haven’t answered ‘why’ you want to write about this. It’s probably just your neurons compelling you to do so, and make ‘you’ believe…😉

    “In my observation, what you have presented is the binding theme of all the major religions.”

    This post of mine is very specific to the Vedic methodology. Have you taken the effort to study the basic tenets of the major religions? Because your observation is wrong. But these are pretty intense topics related to Theology, which I assume you have no interest in.

    “if it so happens that there is some kind of screen between our senses and the “absolute” reality that distorts the perception”

    The absolute reality, as per the Vedas, is beyond the capabilities of our senses… so trying to maintain that stand is basically stalemate.

    “The reason I apologized for a few of the possibly rude comments was not so much because it could have hurt you…”

    I knew this already.

    Actually speaking, modern science is not doing anything new. We are imitating natural phenomena at all levels… just adding cost in terms of time, matter or energy. That’s all. You see it as ‘advancement’… I don’t.

    I see things like sending robots to Mars and scattering debris all over the place as expressions of vanity and a colossal waste of intellectual capital and money for satisfying childish curiosity.

    But I am not completely against modern science. I simply point out to the fact that scientific methodology does not and will not be able to provide answers for questions regarding concepts or reality that transcend our senses or existence. To argue such things cannot/ do not exist is, to say the least, unscientific.

  8. February 6, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    Yes, I truly believe that I am the way I am, and the way you are, are both because of how our neurons behave, which in turn may have antecedent events, like genetics, nurture, etc. If you ask me “ultimately” why things (genetics, nurture, the state of the Universe – irrespective of whether we can fully ever gauge it or not) are the way they are, then I would have no answer. But I also believe, beyond the fact that the Universe exists the way the things in it exist, we cannot go into reasons for that. Because there might not be a reason! People might speculate various things, and all of them could be right or wrong, because we would have no standard to judge those speculations against. And, I love arguments!

    Anyway, to answer your question most directly, yes I believe my emotions, thoughts, and even future thoughts and decisions are all determined by how my neurons behave, which is a very simplistic phenomenon. Also, that this answer is basically extremely depressing. The first time I had realized this, I was extremely depressed in coming to terms with the fact (if you would call it that!😉 ) all emotions that I hold so important are mere chemical activities. The significance of “life” diminished in my eyes greatly. You had asked roughly put, what makes nonliving chemicals “living” – again the answer is the manner in which they interact with each other. This is also a very insipid answer, making life seem like a very mundane, “routine” thing with nothing great about it. And both of which I take as unpleasant facts. But then there is an emotional aspect to my life. I do enjoy living and the pleasures, and am afraid of death and pain, which are the guiding forces behind most of my actions, whether I am consciously aware of them or not. That I know (of course, very roughly) the mechanisms behind these forces does not make them any less real for me. Anyway, you had not asked all this, but had you wished you could have asked.😀

    No, I have not read any of the religious texts directly. But Ambi, I wanted to point out one thing. If you remember I had asked you once that: all those who consider themselves Hindus, have they read the Vedas? They have not. Yet, they feel, they follow some religion or the other. For me, what I see around is religion, and not necessarily what is written in the scriptures, because the vast majority of people do not themselves read these scriptures. Also very honestly, I am not even trying to improve the society. I used to have this vision of every human being happy someday. But I have given up on all that long back. I do not think it is possible. Part of the reason is everyone slightly differs in what happiness is, but bigger reason is even those who agree on their meanings of happiness, are somehow unprepared for living peacefully and sensibly. Here, you might or might not disagree as to what “improvement”, “sensibly”, etc. mean, but I guess, you would still agree that people considering someone exactly as much as human as them as “God” and ending up doing harmful things definitely needs to be countered (assuming, there is some absolute “good” way for the society to exist in).

    I hope I have answered your question.🙂 What I try to counter is not what is written in scriptures, but the reasons people present to me when I disagree with them. Whether those reasons are to be truly found in the scriptures or not, is largely redundant for the time being. I might take up more detailed studies of scriptures much later on, but is unlikely (and it is unlikely because life is limited and I have to prioritize what all I would like to learn). But yes, a few verses of Quran I had read on the net – explained through “modern”, “peaceful” interpreters, and yet, what “lesson” one could take from following them was revolting to say the least. And, I have said this already a few times, whatever I have read from Wikipedia about Upanishads, about ideas like “brahman” was much more advanced than Quran or Bible. In fact to compare ideas in Upnanishads with the other two holy books would be entirely inappropriate. And I do not even shy from saying that I found the philosophy of Upanishads somewhat appealing (as compared to other religions’ scriptures), but it is difficult to tell people who believe in being “secular” that some of the writings of the religion I was born in are better than other religions. You must have seen how it has become fashionable to state – “all religions are equal, all teach peace,”, etc. Because this stand would be taken as some kind of conflict of interest.

    Let me ask you this question, which is not to mean to offend you at all. Do you think had you been born into some other religion, say Christianity or Islam, and had you got the opportunity to read Vedic scriptures, you would have ended up following them as faithfully as you do now? I am assuming you “follow” the Vedic scriptures. My question is what is the ultimate basis of your choosing the set of beliefs that you currently believe in? Is the love for the religion one is born in one of the factors?

    ““The reason I apologized for a few of the possibly rude comments was not so much because it could have hurt you…”

    I knew this already.”

    Which is not to mean I wanted to hurt you. Also, somehow I had been uncomfortable with the fact that you are older than me. Which is not to mean that I can be somewhat rude to someone younger than me, but having been brought up in India, it is natural for me to be more careful in behavior to those older than me.

    “Actually speaking, modern science is not doing anything new. We are imitating natural phenomena at all levels…”

    I entirely agree. There is nothing that only man can do, which would not occur in “nature” without man’s presence. We just make some events more likely than others.

    Personally, I am not in favor of sending robots to space for the time being, but that is because there are lot of other areas of research where resources could be diverted and could ‘benefit’ us.😉

    “I simply point out to the fact that scientific methodology does not and will not be able to provide answers for questions regarding concepts or reality that transcend our senses or existence.”

    And as you pointed out, my question has always been does reality that transcends our senses definitely exist? Or is it merely a possibility we admit because we can “imagine”? Yes, as always we will reach an impasse at this point.

    But you know, this impasse is the end-result I was seeking. If you remember, I had told you that whenever we disagree, there has to be some fundamental assumptions that are different, and that they are more of preferences, rather than reasons. I believe this (or something intimately related) is that fundamental assumption on which we disagree. I cannot really term your assumption as wrong, but I would not take that assumption as right also.🙂 I will think of it as a merely interesting possibility.

    And lastly, of late my messages have been getting lengthier. There was no fixed agenda/purpose of these messages. I was just finding communicating them to you interesting, and also reading your views in return.

    Thanks for your time!

    Take care.

  9. February 6, 2010 at 9:32 PM

    And, very, very lastly, you need not reply if you don’t find time, or are bugged by my responses. I won’t mind.

  10. February 6, 2010 at 10:34 PM

    It is sad that someone of your caliber cannot see or accept the difference between you and your neurons. You being a doctor and professing something to the extent of this neuron theory is mind baffling.

    “Because there might not be a reason!”

    That’s an absurd notion, to say the least. To say that all this (entire existence) just came about by chance, and accept it completely, takes a lot more faith than people normally profess. Probabilistically, the odds of this happening are completely out of the scale of so-called scientifically accepted time line for this ‘creation’. You want proof? Mathematical calculations? I can give it if you are interested!

    There is no standard to judge what is right and wrong… if you do not want to accept one and most people just take what feels nice to them. I hold a Master’s degree in Science. And yet I do accept the limitations of scientific methodology, but not discard it fully!

    “Do you think had you been born into some other religion, say Christianity or Islam, and had you got the opportunity to read Vedic scriptures, you would have ended up following them as faithfully as you do now?

    Upfront, I don’t know. But if that was meant to happen that way or I chose to do so… may be.

    And this is not about ‘loving’ religion! This is about spiritual science. This is not some sentimental hodgepodge. This is about knowing the Truth. Sure, one’s family background does play a part, but then it is not the deciding factor. If it was so, we won’t have a concept called ‘conversion’, isn’t it?

    “And as you pointed out, my question has always been does reality that transcends our senses definitely exist? Or is it merely a possibility we admit because we can “imagine”? Yes, as always we will reach an impasse at this point.”

    Reality beyond our senses does exist. All it takes is an open minded scrutiny to find out.

  11. February 6, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    And I am not that old… not even 30 yet. And that is also something which I find amusing, considering the opposite standpoints we have concluded upon and accepted.

  12. February 7, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    Ambi,

    The truth is I find it more rational to believe that there was no underlying cause for “coming” into existence. I feel, it is our psychological trap as humans that makes us feel that everything that exists needs to be created. I wouldn’t like to get into a very long message here because I suspect you must have already got bugged by now!🙂 I had given someone an example of a tree. We look at trees and feel they got “created” from the seed. But the fact is it is only oxygen, carbon dioxide and water that got “transformed” into it. We look at a watch and we know that it was “made” in a factory. But again the fact is, it was some metals that were fantastically transformed into a watch that started serving our purpose. “Nobody” (my belief) actually created oxygen, CO2, water or metal. They ‘always’ existed. Nothing gets created or destroyed, they only get transformed. Our mind cannot accept causeless occurrences (probably, scientists, naturalists suffer from this flaw most acutely). What suddenly becomes less useful, we call it getting “destroyed”; what gets transformed into form we find useful, we call getting “created”. If you look around, whatever we loosely call as getting “created” is actually just a form of transformation of something that already existed (but may be invisible or scattered) into something much more tangible and organized. But just because we suffer from this psychological limitation of compulsively wanting to assign a creator to everything that exists, does not mean there necessarily has to be a creator! And as you must be aware of this argument, then – “who created the creator”?

    As to your reference to neurons and me (that is my ideas, thoughts and emotions) being the same thing – caliber (emotional strength if you would like to call it) was required to acknowledge it as a fact, rather than in telling myself that “no someday I will find some other answer”. Because I believe that itself is the answer. It’s just that the answer is unpleasant.

    I know, people eventually believe what they like, that is why I had made reference to the fundamental axiom-ic assumptions, in which you and I differ. I was asking myself why did I open up to you so much in last couple of day!! I think it is because, I on the whole like your blog. If you remember, my initial few responses on your blog were of emphatic agreement, and then when I suddenly saw my name written in one of your blog posts, I was taken aback. But of course, that is not the reason I had got into argument with you. I realized we (or, I) were (was) arguing too much needlessly (what is needful and needless can also be debated!). And I also realized there could also be a lot we agree on, which also again a redundant fact. Basically, I like your blog. And I had to convey that!

    When I asked you about your birth in some other reason, I was not trivializing emotion-based stances. Even if some component of your current religious beliefs would be based in emotional attachment, I will find it quite understandable. I do see humans as machines, but machines with emotions!😉 And I knew it was a loaded question, that is why I made that clarification of your not wanting to take it offensively.

    I had guessed your age to be just under 30, or maybe I read it somewhere I don’t remember. But still you are older, that is all I had meant.

    “Reality beyond our senses does exist. All it takes is an open minded scrutiny to find out.” – Difficult for me to accept, and I think you anyway know the reason, anyway.

    Yes, part of the reason I argue with people, who I think have stronger reasons for their (differing) beliefs (for instance, you) is because I want to understand the most fundamental psychological, attitudinal, philosophical causes for those differences.

  13. February 7, 2010 at 1:13 AM

    “I hold a Master’s degree in Science. And yet I do accept the limitations of scientific methodology, but not discard it fully!”

    If you remember, in our earlier interaction, I have already conceded that scientific method has some underlying assumptions, and that are also its limitations. Plus, of course there are other human-factor limitations that Stupidosaur had pointed out like dishonesty, error of judgment, “love” for one conclusion to be true, etc. I think my position on this would more accurately be naturalism. Of course, the most significant outcome of naturalism is the scientific methodology.

  14. February 7, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    “They ‘always’ existed. Nothing gets created or destroyed, they only get transformed. Our mind cannot accept causeless occurrences”

    Can you see the contradiction in the statements? If they always existed, what caused them to exist? We people, who believe in God, attribute causeless existence ONLY to God. You have just replaced God with ‘what is’. You probably don’t know that you have simply restated Vedic truth which explains manifestation and un-manifestation of energy, which simply ‘exists’ as part of the ‘energetic’, termed as God, except that you removed God from the picture.

    “As to your reference to neurons and me (that is my ideas, thoughts and emotions) being the same thing ”

    You misunderstand. I said ‘You’ and ‘Your neurons’ are NOT the same. It is your ideas, your thoughts, your body, your eyes, your neurons… who is the you, then? Acceptance on that point is where our paths diverge.

    “We look at a watch and we know that it was “made” in a factory. But again the fact is, it was some metals that were fantastically transformed into a watch that started serving our purpose.”

    That’s an odd statement from you. It is simple to see that transformation was caused by intelligence… of people who ‘created’ the watch. It is illogical even for a scientifically adept person to claim that everything that is, is a product of randomness.

    Maybe a time will come, when your ‘pursuit’ would throw a multitude of questions at you, leaving you frustrated enough that you would look to other paths, with a more open mind. It has already happened to me, believe it or not.

    And maybe I will still be around then, physically or through your memories of what I have just said.

  15. February 8, 2010 at 5:18 AM

    “Can you see the contradiction in the statements? If they always existed, what caused them to exist?”

    No, seriously I don’t see a contradiction. As I said just because something exists, it does need another entity that “causes” it to exist. One of the things, for instance I do not understand about the way people (magazines, TV shows, etc.) talk about big bang and related theory is why we talk of “start” or “end” of the Universe? For instance, it is possible that some very long time back, Universe would have been very small – condensed, but why do we need to think that “time” also “started” at the same ‘time’? By talking of starting and ending of time, are we not falling into linguistic traps by adding another parallel scale of time? So, I look at time as infinite continuum, which is independent of existence of the Universe. Time just keeps on progressing, it does not require a witness for time to proceed. These are my vague ideas. I am no expert in these matters. So, when you had asked me, why do I believe in speculations about big bang and everything I had told you that my belief is not very firm. I just look at those theories as just another plausible hypothesis. And also because they do not contradict anything significant in how I look at the World currently. But suddenly, if someday a scientist would get up and say valency of carbon is not 4, but is 3, I would find it extremely difficult to believe. The prominence of scientist would not matter. I would actually find it more believable that someone got resurrected from death!!!

    It is not an interesting answer, but satisfactory to me. So, I am not frustrated by it. Though, I would have loved to believe that there is a creator and there was a purpose behind my coming into existence.

    “You have just replaced God with ‘what is’”

    Yes, you are very right. And I see no problems with it. You could call “what is” as everything that exists, or in other words – the Universe. In Vedic terminology, it could be analogous to brahman. I am not claiming to have a deep understanding of Vedas, but this has been roughly my understanding.

    “You probably don’t know that you have simply restated Vedic truth which explains manifestation and un-manifestation of energy, which simply ‘exists’ as part of the ‘energetic’, termed as God, except that you removed God from the picture.”

    Since this portion was becoming extremely long and become irrelevant to most of the post, I have transformed it into a separate blog post. It is here: http://ketanresponds.blogspot.com/2010/02/possible-ways-in-which-god-could-exist.html

    If you find time, you could respond to my ideas, either here or there.

    Now, the thing is I have understood those ideas at a grossly philosophical level, and in fact prior to my transition into atheism, I used to believe in all of ideas comparable to those, of course not in details but at an instinctive level. The problem is all the four (or in fact, number of hypotheses) could be true. I don’t think it would be through argument or observation ever possible to declare as more appropriate than the other. One might take all or any of the beliefs in God on faith. But which one, and why?

    But then I realized, things need not be so complicated! And I “chose” to believe that:

    1. There is no underlying cause or purpose for Universe to exist.

    2. There could be a realm of Universe that could be beyond our senses. But then, how would I “know”, if senses are the only way we can “know”. Yes, we can imagine. We can imagine and hypothesize, but just because we can hypothesize things do not become ‘true’. So, if a realm of Universe is such that it is totally inaccessible to our sensations, and by consequence it cannot influence our ‘naturalistic’ (accessible to sensations and their extensions like scientific instrumetnts) world, then what is the point is taking that assertion of a supernatural realm to be true? It may or may not exist? How could I ever be sure? Moreover, how could I ever be sure of its nature? So why not assume such a realm to not exist? Because, as it is even without acknowledging its existence Universe can be explained equally sufficiently or insufficiently.

    3. All my emotions and decisions are outcomes of chemical interplay. How all this gives rise to emotions precisely has not been understood. But someday, it could be. But reason I believe this is: when the levels of chemicals called neurotransmitters get altered in the blood and ultimately, in the brain, changes we see in people are pretty much consistent. For instance, and excess of dopamie makes people get delusions and hallucinations. In fact, the drugs that inhibit actions of dopamine in fact are able to cure psychotic disorders very effectively (though they have other side-effects). I hope, you get what I mean. To demonstrate what we are as results of chemicals is not very difficult. The challenge currently is in “recreating” such systems. But even failing to do that what I stated here does not get invalidated.

    4. Likewise, “life” is not a thing, but it is a series of processes. These series of processes give rise to some unique properties that the socalled non-living things do not possess, but apart from these unique properties same laws govern the non-living and the living things. For instance, the ‘acceleration due to gravity’ would remain same for me as well as a stone! I remember you had meant to ask something similar in the ball of karma post.

    Anyway, coming back to a few other questions you had raised.

    —–

    “who is the you, then”

    I have tried to answer this question here: http://ketanresponds.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-is-i.html

    —–

    ““We look at a watch and we know that it was “made” in a factory. But again the fact is, it was some metals that were fantastically transformed into a watch that started serving our purpose.”

    That’s an odd statement from you. It is simple to see that transformation was caused by intelligence… of people who ‘created’ the watch. It is illogical even for a scientifically adept person to claim that everything that is, is a product of randomness.”

    It sounds odd precisely because our psyche is tuned that way. However, I have never said that it is randomness. Because the entire event is just as natural as say, a rock falling from a cliff and breaking into pieces. None of the laws of physics get violated in falling of the rock or the process by which metal gets converted into a watch. At every step in trasnformation of a watch, it is known what would be the consequence of each act (and it is this precedence of “intention” that gives us an illusion of creation). And intelligence is a very vague term, here. Can intelliegence transform “nothing” into a watch? Or to give you another example, can a 100 gram watch be created out of 90 gram of metal, without addition of extra energy? But yes, again if you see, it is only the immense utility of watch that makes us see its conversion from metal as something special. And because it serves a very specific purpose, we call it creation. The same amount of metal, if everything goes wrong would get converted into a pellet, and we won’t call it “creation”, because it does not serve the desired purpose. Creation is a linguistic trap. There is no true creation. Psychologically, because we humans want to see ourselves as significant, just like the watch, we want to see ourselves as the final products that serve some purpose. We know, we exist, but we cannot accept the possibility, that the way in which we are existing is not serving any purpose. So, we reverse the chain of reasoning. We start searching for answers with this emotionally charged assumption that our lives serve a purpose. But they have to serve a purpose for “something”. What is that “something”? God. And because we serve God’s purpose, God must have created us. This line of reasoning keeps all of us happy.🙂

    —–

    “Maybe a time will come, when your ‘pursuit’ would throw a multitude of questions at you, leaving you frustrated enough that you would look to other paths, with a more open mind. It has already happened to me, believe it or not.”

    Very honestly, as I said what I consider to be answers to some most personal questions that you have raised,like what is “I” or “how did the Universe come to be” are such that they are unmotivating to life, but I find them philosophically very adequate. Just like how you are satisfied with the idea of God creating himself (or in other words, always existing), the Universe, and us, humans as “answers”, I am satisfied with Universe having always existed, and events happening in such a manner that in some corner(s) of the Universe, many particles assembled into self-replicating pieces of matter called living organisms. I am satisfied philosophically to believe that some chunks of living matter assembled into brain, and they can synthesize “subjective” entities like “color” and feeling of “I” and “consciousness”. Of course, I am not aware of exact mechanisms involved at all places. And I do consider them to be “answers”. I repeat, these answers are depressing and not likable, but that does not make them any less likely to be the answers. But there is a difference between how you and I view Universe. You may reject naturalism (“The absolute reality, as per the Vedas, is beyond the capabilities of our senses”), yet you use its principles day-in-and-day out. But I reject supernaturalism, and I do not use the principles of supernaturalism. And if you ask me, what is the most fundamental reason for my stance it is this only, that however hard we try to degrade our sense organs, intellect, consciousness and cognition, the fact remains they are our only interfaces with anything that exists in the sense we know them to exist. And it is for this reason I had asked you that question about jumping from the terrace. The reason I believe you won’t jump is because your worldly (natralistic) experiences would “predict” that the consequence of doing so would be undesirable. This “undesirable” is also a purely human construct from our sensations, past naturalistic experiences and intelligence. But the thing is you act upon that!!!

    I am not sure, if I have been able to explain my stance clearly enough, but basically you have to use two set of theories to live and understand the Universe. And I use only one! This makes life easier.

    Also, when I had turned atheist, and before that when realized that (as I said before) my emotions, including the desire to live, and the fear of death, which basically drive me to survive and live, were all outcome of chemical interactions – both were events of intense personal emotional crisis. I did overcome them. Yes, in absolute philosophical terms, life does seem less worthy of living with the acceptance of these realizations, but that I cannot use as bases to reject what I now believe to be the truth. So, the chance that I again get baffled by same questions is less. Yet, I do not rule out the possibility of your suggestion. Because if such emotional crises have to occur, they will occur. And if I try to overlook my own emotions, that would be something stupid that I would be doing.

    And I hope you do not find it difficult to believe that whatever I say to you is not with a feeling of wanting to “win” an argument. In such intensely personal matters, I have gone beyond that. I have no problems saying “I don’t know” – something that I have said so many times already in my response to you. At many places I have indicated that these are merely my guesses. Some of the things I typed out because anyway I might publish them in my main blog some day.

    Thanks, again for your time and comments!🙂

  16. February 8, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    I see that we differ very much even in the basic understanding of cause and effect theory. I guess there is nothing more that we can continue on with this topic.

    All I can do is request that whenever you feel like it, get “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” (or read it here http://vedabase.net/bg/en1) and read through it at least once, just to know something from the ‘other’ side. Maybe you will find better clarity even on your position.

    I will leave the readers of this blog to judge for themselves the standpoints we have taken.

  17. February 8, 2010 at 11:02 PM

    Thanks for the link! I was not even conscious of the possibility while typing out all this it was to be judged by some readers. As I said earlier, I only have been interested in trying to understand the fundamental reasons for our differing opinions, and I feel to quite a great degree I have been able to understand. Thanks, again for your participation. TC.

  18. February 9, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    Well, we both are not the only people who are interested in the dialog.🙂

    I appreciate your participation too.

  1. November 5, 2009 at 10:30 AM
  2. December 17, 2009 at 10:14 AM

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