The Quantitative Description of Reality
- Everything we experience involves qualities. These include sensations of taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight; concepts like table, chair, house, and car; activities such as walking, talking, writing, studying, etc.; emotions such as love, hate, fear, and hope; relationships such as parenthood, marriage, employment, and friendship. The judgments of truth (whether something is a table or red), good (whether something is emotionally pleasing or unpleasant), and right (whether actions conform to the moral expectations of a relationship) are also based on qualities.
- And yet, modern science describes reality as quantities. The quantity view is so entrenched at present, that it might surprise people to know that it can be applied to only those scenarios where a whole can be reduced to its parts, the parts can be separated from each other, each of these separated parts can be measured in isolation, and the resulting numbers can be catalogued and summarized via equations, to a reasonable degree of approximation. Such scenarios are very few. The dominant scenario is that of distinct but inseparable qualitative parts.
- There are several easy examples of this fact. A collection of musical notes has different effects than isolated tones. A collection of colors has different effects than those colors in isolation. A team of cooperative people, or a well-connected family, is way stronger than the sum of its separated individuals. An animal outside its natural habitat behaves differently. A person outside their culture behaves differently. A religion in a different society is practiced differently. We cannot separate subjects such as psychology, economics, and biology because the mental qualities of people change the supply and demand of goods, as well as their physiological states. Even when we are able to separate and isolate things from each other, we change the reality that we hoped to study unchanged.
- When reduction, separation, isolation, measurement, numbers, and equations are forced on a qualitative reality, scientific theories fail. Those failures are irrevocable. They cannot be fixed by a different scheme of reduction, separation, isolation, measurement, numbers, and equations. A revision to the scientific paradigm is necessary.
The Qualitative Description of Reality
- Vedic philosophy describes reality as mutually defined qualities; hot is defined in opposition to cold, rough in opposition to smooth, hard in opposition to soft, and so on. Even when we see separated things, they are entangled; their properties and behaviors depend on the properties and behaviors of other parts in a whole that cannot be studied in isolation. Their separateness is an illusion, proven by the inadequacy of all scientific models that try to divide them into independent things. The root cause of this “holism” is that reality comprises qualities.
- The unique traits of qualities, such as their hierarchical structure, cyclical pattern of manifest and unmanifest, the emergence of opposites from each other, the competition and cooperation between opposites, and the laws that govern this dynamic based on an alternative system of reasoning, pervade everything in Vedic philosophy.
- This includes theories of space, time, and causality; theories of society, economy, and governance; the hierarchical origin of life forms from an original life form; the natural law of choice and consequence; and the description of partial and complete consciousness. The dualisms of mind vs. body, society vs. individual, man vs. nature, material vs. spiritual, nature vs. nurture, animate vs. inanimate, and freedom vs. lawfulness, disappear. Every subject is discussed differently, bereft of the inconsistency and incompleteness of the present-day theories.
Overview of the Manifesto
- This manifesto describes what the quality worldview is, how reality is described as qualities, and why it must be studied in that way. Everything here is backed by an elaborate book. The Vedic system is a library, which keeps expanding as statements in previous texts are elaborated and explained for a contemporary audience. That sometimes makes things harder: People have to study more. So, this manifesto takes the opposite approach: Condense a library into a document. Condensation without loss in detail is hard. Brevity demands that we forego some details. That is not because we are unaware of those details. We just do not mention them here.
- With that caveat in mind, we still aim to present a sufficiently complete (although not always thoroughly argued) viewpoint. The reader may view this as a preface or introduction to the Vedic library of texts. Or, those who may have encountered that library in the past, but still don’t see its relevance to modern times, can see how it challenges the prevalent ideas and establishes new ones. We view it as a succinct but broad outline for a newcomer.
Why Write a Manifesto?
- A manifesto aims to announce a worldview, explain what it is, how it works, and why it is needed. Sufficient clarity is needed for an audience to appreciate it. If they can appreciate it, then there is much more to read. A manifesto is required when worldviews diverge. We cannot present the Vedic worldview within the current orthodoxies.
- This manifesto can be useful to several groups of people. First, there are those who think that the Vedic worldview is unnecessary in modern times; they will discover fatal flaws in modern thinking that necessitate the quality alternative. Second, there are those searching for alternatives due to perceived failures in modern thinking, but don’t know what the alternative may be; they will find a consistent and complete alternative description of reality. Third, there are those who have found the Vedic view, but want to accommodate it within modernity with minor modifications to it; they will find that the quality viewpoint rejects all fundamental ideas in modern thinking.
The Rejection of the Quantity Worldview
- Struggles with quality definitions led Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke and Rene Descartes to conjure two worlds—public and private—pertaining to quantities and qualities. The realm of quantities was public objective knowledge while the realm of qualities was private subjective opinion. In the public realm (a) complexity was to be simplified by dividing the whole into parts, (b) the parts had to be studied in isolation by performing measurements using instruments, and (c) the results of measurements had to be modeled by mathematical equations. Thereafter, reduction, isolation, measurement, instruments, and equations became the mainstays of modern thinking.
- Neither the supposed private-public distinction nor the conjured separation of quality vs. quantity realms is real. People with empathy and intuition can understand the “private” realms of other people. Meanwhile, everyone uses ordinary language to describe the everyday “public” world in terms of qualitative sensations, concepts, and judgments, upon which the sociological, economic, and political discourse depends. The private is qualities vs. public is quantities distinction is sheer myth. The fact is that both private and public realities comprise qualities.
- The rejection of quantity thinking does not replace science, reason, and observation with myth, belief, and superstition in Vedic philosophy. Instead, the world is described rationally and empirically based on qualities. Quality science doesn’t follow the laws of arithmetic (e.g., the associative, commutative, and distributive properties of number addition). But it follows laws nevertheless. Whether we are comfortable with qualities is irrelevant. We have to study reality as qualities because our experience comprises qualities and reality is inseparable parts.
Why: Study Conscious Experience
- The “why” is relatively easy. We cannot understand perception, mind, and conscious experience in the quantity worldview because all of our experience comprises qualities, and when reality is quantified, then we can never explain ordinary experiences (let alone spiritual experiences). The quantitative worldview makes unprovable claims: All experiences are byproducts of some quantity interactions, governed by some mathematical laws.
- The result is spiritual and moral decline, loss of meaning and purpose in life, and the inability to explain experiences. The quantity worldview diverts attention away from these problems by creating the allure of technology. Every new problem is supposed to be solved by a new technology, which exacerbates the main problem. If we want to solve the problem, then we need a worldview in which reality is described in terms of qualities, and reduction, separation, isolation, and quantification are seen as flawed dogmas. This is the “why”.
What: Reality as Movement of Consciousness
- The “what” is harder. It involves the study of nature in terms of three qualities, which combine and divide in infinite ways. These qualities pertain to the nature of consciousness, and everything that comes into our experience is some combination and division of these three qualities. The hardship is that we have to begin the study of qualities by studying the nature of consciousness, which is the inversion of the modern scientific method that begins by studying the motion of billiard balls and water waves and tries to model consciousness after that motion.
- All the laws of nature are the laws of conscious experience, which are the laws of the movement of consciousness from one set of qualities to another. There are also varied types of consciousness, such that some consciousness moves within a “larger” consciousness, which constitutes the “space” for the “smaller” consciousness. Then, the larger consciousness is also within an even larger consciousness, until we come to the complete consciousness that contains everything. In short, everything we experience is not the movement of billiard balls or water waves, but the movement or dynamics of consciousness. By inverting the process of studying the world that begins in the nature of consciousness, we change the idea of movement and the laws that govern it. This is the “what”.
How: Conscious Movement Follows Semantic Laws
- The “how” is the hardest. This is because the rationality or logic of the movement of consciousness differs radically from the rationality and logic used in modern science. While many can appreciate the need for an alternative worldview, and some can say that we have to begin in consciousness, what they cannot accept or fathom is that in the process of doing so, we have to reject classical logic, traditional arithmetic, and all quantitative models of modern science. Even those who are convinced about the need for alternatives, or of the need for consciousness, cannot accept that there is something wrong with modern logic, numbers, arithmetic, the idea of geometry as extension, distance as the length between points, and everything constructed from these fundamental ideas.
- Unless these are accepted, the previous two—i.e., “why” and “what”—remain pointless rhetoric. To go past the rhetoric, this manifesto discusses the problems of logic, numbers, and quantitative models, before outlining how an alternative system of logic, numbers, and qualitative models works. If we cannot make these shifts in thinking, then we cannot embrace the worldview of qualities, and without that worldview, we cannot reinstate ideas such as goodness, morality, meaning, consciousness, and the complete consciousness. All problems of religion transform into the problem of understanding the nature of consciousness, which transform into the problem of qualities, which transform into a problem of present logic and arithmetic, and its alternative. This is the “how”.
Theological Basis: God and His Energies
- God is the primordial reality, the complete consciousness, and the cause of all other causes. He creates the world like thought in His mind, which is then separated as speech; His thoughts are parts and aspects of His persona.
- Consciousness comprises three aspects called sat-chit-ānanda (we can call them relation, cognition, and emotion). Therefore, God is the whole sat-chit-ānanda, and everything created by His divisions is partial sat-chit-ānanda.
- There are three kinds of partial sat–chit–ānanda, which are called God’s energies. They are also labeled as “external”, “internal”, and “marginal” energies. We can use ordinary terms such as “matter”, “spirit”, and “soul” for them.
- Why three? Why not five or one or seven or anything else? There are several answers to this question.
- First, God has three natures—(a) enjoyment, (b) exertion, and (c) solitude. The enjoyment nature is what God truly is, and to fulfill this nature, God creates the spiritual world. This world is God’s home, where He has a father, mother, brother, friends, lovers, personal servants, and so on. In His home, God’s deepest nature is revealed. However, just like people leave their home to go to an office, similarly, God creates the material world. The office is governed by rules and regulations; there are challenges, troubles, and sacrifices, followed by a reward. Here, God is the boss, and there is formality and distance between Him and His employees. The sincere workers are rewarded and the insincere are punished. An office is a place of enjoyment by achievement. However, since achievement needs a sacrifice, hence, it is not as great as the home. One needs to repeatedly prove one’s worth in the office. But one doesn’t need to prove themselves in the home; they can be whatever they are. Finally, God likes solitude: Being for the self, in the self, and with the self. This nature creates a world between material and spiritual worlds in which everyone is self-absorbed, self-satisfied, away from both their home and office. The happiness of solitude is greater than the happiness of office. And the happiness of home is greater than the happiness of solitude. God’s three energies—the spirit, matter, and the soul—pertain to these three natures: home, office, and solitude. God creates these domains to enjoy in different ways
- Second, these three can also be described as being produced due to three types of desires in God—(a) wanting, (b) needing, and (c) willing. The spiritual world is what God wants to do, the material world is what God needs to do, and the solitude is what God is willing to do. The contrast between three kinds of desires can be illustrated by an example—(a) I want to eat, (b) I need to eat, and (c) I am willing to eat. Wanting is the highest kind of desire because there is fulfillment, without an acquiescence, or necessity. Willingness is the next best desire; it is better than the pressure of needs but not as great as the fulfillment of wants. Finally, necessity is the worst of the three, because one is compelled by needs. We can combine this with the previous description to say that God wants to be at home, He is willing to be alone, and He needs to go to the office. We must remember that even when God is acting out of needs, they are His needs. So, factually, He is not suffering under those needs.
- Third, as already noted above, we can call them “internal”, “external”, and “marginal”. God’s inner desire, or the deepest want, is to be at home, with his family, friends, lovers, and intimate servants. His innermost nature is love and intimacy. However, He reveals this innermost nature only to those who love Him. God’s external desire, or the most superficial need, is to project power, authority, supremacy, etc. He reveals this powerful, authoritative, and supreme nature to those who are rebellious, envious, selfish, and narcissistic. Finally, in between the inner want to be surrendered in love and the outer need to project supreme power, is the marginal, insignificant, and a slight desire called willingness to be alone. The willingness to be alone is contrary to the need to project power, and the wanting to be at home is contrary to the willingness to be alone. And yet, because they are distinguished as want, need, and will, therefore, they are not contradictory. In simple words, God doesn’t want to project power, but there is a need to project power. God doesn’t want to be alone, but He is willing to be alone. The mutual contrariness between the three natures defines them mutually—want is not will or need, will is not want or need, and need is not will or want. The three energies are thus distinguished by their mutual opposition. And yet, they are all part of God’s seemingly contradictory nature. That contradiction is resolved when they are described as pertaining to God’s inner nature, outer nature, and marginal nature.
- God’s home is sometimes divided into two kinds of lifestyles—(a) an urban life, and (b) a rural life. Urban life is more formal. There are neighbors, who visit each other occasionally upon invitation. There are citizens who have a mutual affiliation, bond of camaraderie, but with boundaries. There are many powerful individuals who live in harmony, but somewhat independently. There is an attraction between individuals, but it is dulled by the fact that they are all wealthy, powerful, famous, and capable. In contrast, rural life is more informal. The residents walk in and out of God’s personal space as if it were their own. God treats their property as His own property, and they love being treated as God’s own. God doesn’t need to be invited to go anywhere. He goes wherever He wants, takes whatever He likes, and does whatever He enjoys. The intimate rural life is superior to formal urban life.
- Due to this rural-urban division, all reality is sometimes divided into four parts instead of the three parts noted above. Likewise, since God is the source of all these four realities, therefore, God is sometimes treated as the fifth reality beyond the four that follow. These numerical assessments are not contradictory, nor are they different from each other. They are just different descriptions, some more detailed and elaborate than others.
- The separation between God and His energies does not make God weak. God can still do everything Himself, and yet, He likes His energy to do things for Him. This is just like ordinary people. For instance, I can cook for myself, but I still like someone to cook for me. I can read by myself, but I still like someone to read to me. I can clean my own home, but I still like it when someone cleans it for me. The separation between God and His energies is therefore meant for enjoyment. By this separation, God pretends to be the want, need, or will, without the power to fulfill Himself, and His energy becomes the power to fulfill that want, need, or will. This pretension is for enjoyment, not God’s inability to do things that He wants, needs, or wills to be done. Since God can still do everything Himself, therefore, He is also the energy. And since the energy likes to do things for God, therefore, the energy is also will, want, or need. It is incorrect to say that God is not power, or the power is not will, want, or need.
- They are rather distinguished as masculine and feminine persons. The masculine is predominantly will, need, or want, which seems helpless because of the want, will, or need for someone to fulfill that want, will, or need. Similarly, the feminine is predominantly power, with the will, need, or want to fulfill God’s will, need, or want.
- The seeming helplessness of God to fulfill His own need, will, or want, and the seeming empowered position of His energy, is also seemingly contravened by saying that the energy is a “servant” God. Some people are repulsed upon hearing that the feminine is a servant of the masculine because they don’t understand the complete picture. The fact is that since God is all-powerful, therefore, His energy is merely His part. Likewise, since God’s will, want, or need is embedded in His energy, therefore, God is part of the energy. Thus, the energy is in God, and God is in the energy. They cannot be truly separated, and yet, they have separated purely for the sake of enjoyment.
- Each of the sat, chit, and ānanda are further divided into six parts. The division of chit is described as knowledge, beauty, wealth, power, fame, and renunciation. The sat is divided into six relationships—self, appreciation, servitor, friend, parent, and lover. Finally, ānanda is divided into six kinds of primordial emotions called desire, aggression, pride, greed, wonderment, and competition. By the relative domination of these six types of sat, chit, and ānanda, infinite variety is produced, which are called the different divisions of the spiritual and the material worlds.
- These divisions are also called the parts, the parts of the parts, and the parts of the parts of the parts of those energies. God appears in all these subdivisions, but as a part, part of the part, and part of the part of the part of His original persona. These subdivisions are the part, part of the part, and part of the part of the part of God’s original want and need. As the energy expands into many parts, similarly, God also expands into many parts.
Theosophical Basis: Oneness and Difference
- All the forms of God seen in the various divisions of His energies are simultaneously one and different. They are different because they embody different wants and needs. And they are one because when a partial want or need is fulfilled, then the fuller want or need is also fulfilled. Therefore, we cannot say that the original form of God is not the partial forms. And we cannot say that the partial forms of God are the full form.
- The oneness of the various forms of God is the rejection of polytheism (as the term is defined in modern use) because all these forms are factually one. And the difference between the various forms of God is the rejection of monotheism (as the term is defined in modern use) as there are indeed many forms. A new term—aspectism—must be employed to describe God in which there is an original form, and other forms are His aspects.
- Different parts of God’s energies, which include the soul, know some aspect of God, based on their want or need and relation to God. Each energy and its parts, therefore, becomes a context in which the whole truth is contextualized and some part or aspect of God is known. Thereby, there are literally infinite valid conceptions of God, although all the conceptions are not equal. Some conception is better than other conceptions.
- Each of the six parts of sat, chit, and ānanda are simultaneously one and different from each other, which means that even though they are distinct, they are also mutually inseparable. To illustrate this oneness and difference by an example, we can say that knowledge is not beauty, however, knowledge is beautiful. Likewise, knowledge is not power, however, knowledge is powerful. God’s father is not His friend, but he is friendly. God’s lovers are not His mother, but they are motherly. God’s desire is not His aggression; however, His desire is aggressive.
- Due to the presence of all of God’s attributes in some or other attribute, we cannot say that any aspect of God is missing in any form of God. Even when each of God’s attributes is not present in every other attribute—which we would call their full resplendence—they are present as qualifiers of some attributes, which are then qualifiers of other attributes, and so on. Due to the presence of all attributes, no form of God is not God. However, because these attributes are not in full resplendence, hence these forms are not identical to the original form.
- The partial sat–chit–ānanda are simultaneously one and different from God. Their oneness with God is that God is everything, and the difference is that everything is not God. The whole is also part, but the part is not whole.
- The sat, chit, and ānanda are also simultaneously one and different. Their oneness is that they can never be separated; they always occur together. This means that whatever we call “conscious experience” comprises three aspects, and if one of these aspects is missing, then there is no experience. Their difference is that they are different aspects of the same conscious experience. They are different as aspects and one as experience.
- Matter, spirit, and soul are also simultaneously one and different because they are all parts of God, but no part can be defined independently of the other parts. Hence, matter can never be studied in isolation from the spiritual world, God, and the soul. If matter is not studied alongside spirit, soul, and God, then it cannot be understood.
- The oneness and difference (a) between the different forms of God, (b) God and His various kind of energies, (c) between the various energies of God, (d) between sat, chit, and ānanda in each part, and (e) between and within the six aspects of sat, chit, and ānanda, is called the Bhedābheda doctrine of Vedānta philosophy. This is the only Vedānta doctrine that reconciles all seemingly contradictory Vedic statements and is hence regarded supreme.
- Bhedābheda means “distinct but inseparable”. The distinctness is bheda and inseparability is abheda. Even as the whole truth is analyzed into distinct aspects, these are not separable, and cannot be studied in isolation.
Philosophical Basis: Dualism and Non-Dualism
- The term sat–chit–ānanda denotes contextuality, universality, and individuality. The universals are concepts, the individuals are instances of concepts. Contextuality is the relations between such instances.
- The whole is the six-fold embodiment (individual) of the six-fold primordial meaning (universal). Six-fold relationships divide this whole into parts, thereby producing many partial embodiments (individuality) of primordial meaning (universality). Subsequently, the whole exists in a relationship (contextuality) with its parts.
- The material sat–chit–ānanda is inner contradictions between and within sat, chit, and ānanda; the spiritual sat–chit–ānanda is consistency between and within these three, and the soul can be either internally consistent or contradictory. Thereby, the soul is considered “fallen” in the material world and “liberated” in the spiritual world.
- Thereby, the material world is called duality and the spiritual world is called non-duality, and the soul can be either in duality or non-duality. The transition from dualism to non-dualism is the goal of spiritual practice.
- The inner contradictions in a dualistic reality mean that universalities are mutually opposed, such as hot and cold, bitter and sweet, the individuals are envious of each other, and all relationships create varied competitive dynamics.
- The inner consistency in a non-dualistic reality means that the oppositions create a mutual attraction rather than contradiction, the individuals are loving rather than envious, and all relationships are cooperative dynamics.
- Dualism creates the false appearance of a difference (rather than oneness and difference). For example, two enemies are defined by their mutual enmity; if one side ceases to exist, the other does too. Their mutual entanglement as enemies is their oneness, and their mutual opposition is their difference.
- In non-dualism, envy, competition, and contradiction are destroyed. But it is still oneness and difference in which individuals are mutually defined, via loving relationships, and the lovers are attracted due to opposite qualities.
- In simple words, “opposites attract” in the spiritual world of non-dualism and “opposites clash” in the material world of dualism. Since both worlds have opposites, hence, non-dualism doesn’t mean the dissolution of variety.
Scientific Basis: Space, Time, and Objects
- Since the world is created by successively dividing the whole into parts, therefore, the reality is hierarchical where the whole is the higher truth, and the part is the lower truth. This hierarchy of whole and parts creates a hierarchical space, in which universality, individuality, and contextuality are also hierarchical.
- This hierarchical space is eternal possibilities, however, all the possibilities are not always manifest. The unmanifest is “space” in the conventional sense that it seems empty. The manifest instead is called “matter” in the conventional sense that it can be perceived. Since the perceivable matter is nothing but the transformation of the unperceivable space, therefore, there is no distinction between matter and space. Rather, space is matter. A collection of many such possibilities forms a universe—i.e., a closed space. This is also the result of hierarchy; flat space is open, and hierarchical space is closed. We cannot go out of a universe because we cannot step outside a space.
- The contradictions between and within universality, individuality, and contextuality create a cyclical pattern in which one side dominates temporarily, to give way to the other side temporarily. Thereby, cyclical change is created.
- The cyclicity of change is seen as the periodic creation and destruction of the universe, the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, and a constant struggle with contradictions, choices that prioritize one side, only to reverse them later on.
- The possibilities in the universe are not always likely. Causal Time makes some possibilities likely. For instance, dinosaurs are more likely at some times than others. Once something becomes likely, then the soul can convert that likelihood into a reality. Thereby, likelihood causes the big changes and the soul’s choices cause small ones.
- Thus, time can be described in two ways: (a) as large-scale changes or cosmic time, and (b) small-scale changes or individual time. The cosmic time makes the universe what deterministic and individual time makes the universe who indeterministic. That is, what will happen in the universe is predetermined, however, who will do what is not. Thus, the perfect determinism of events in the universe is compatible with the perfect choice of the soul to participate in some events. The universe can be described as a drama in which the script is predetermined, however, the actors are not. The clash between choice and determinism in modern science is false.
- Time here is synonymous with choice and choice means a specific scheme of prioritization that resolves the conflict between and within universality, individuality, and contextuality. Cosmic time is God’s choice, and individual time is a soul’s choice. Things we enjoy create the appearance of shorter durations because choices are easy and quick and the things we suffer create the appearance of longer durations due to choices being difficult and slow.
- Thereby, four notions of time are created: (a) time is atomic as choices are indivisible, (b) durations seem slow or fast because choices are easy or hard, (c) time is objective due to God’s choices that create Cosmic time, and (d) the cause of time is eternal because soul (the cause of individual time) and God (the cause of Cosmic time) are eternal.
- Likewise, four notions of space are equally applicable: (a) the atomicity of matter, (b) the eternity of matter as a possibility, (c) the variability of the distances in space due to hierarchical locations (higher-level reality is the whole, and hence bigger), and (d) the objectivity of potentiality and its conversion into perceivable facts.
- Modern science is unable to reconcile these four ideas because the variability of duration and distance seems to imply non-objectivity of space and time, eternity seems contrary to change, atomicity seems contrary to infinitesimals, and potentiality or possibility seems contrary to objectivity. These contradictions are the result of thinking of space and time as physical quantities. If we think of space and time as consciousness, that divides itself to create a hierarchy, the division is a choice, all choices are indivisible and hence can be called atomic, and yet high-level choices have big effects whereas low-level choices have small effects, then such contradictions disappear.
- Time and space are correlative because matter is conflicts, choice is conflict resolution, and succession of choices is time. If we stop our choices, then we get the experience of timelessness, but time is still objectively passing.
- This correlation is presented in classical Greek cosmogony as a feminine “chaos” (conflict and contradiction) that combines with a masculine “order” (choice to resolve conflicts) to produce the cosmos and the soul is caught in the midst of order and chaos. Chaos is space, Śakti, and the Mother, whereas order is time, Shiva, and the Father. The soul is the object, and the child of the Father and Mother, and its chaos (inner contradictions) and order (the choice to resolve the contradictions) are parts of the cosmic chaos and order. Hence, they are at once one and different. Thus, modern impersonal ideas of space, time, and object are personalized as Father, Mother, and child.
- Thereby, the dualistic version of “Vedic science” involves (a) the study of matter as three qualities, (b) space as a hierarchy, and (c) time as a cycle. In contrast, physical science studies matter as quantities, space as a box, and time as a linear arrow. The contrast between these models of nature is clearly visible and expressible.
- Then, the non-dualistic version of “Vedic science” involves qualities without inner conflict and contradiction. In this science, nature is still hierarchical, and time is still cyclical. However, there is no destruction, death, or rebirth. Rather, days and nights, months and years pass with continuous progress. We can also call this progressive time linear but that linearity is not opposed to cyclicity, nor does it mean cyclicity in the sense of the material world. Under progressive time, happiness increases, relationships get stronger, and knowledge grows with time.
- Therefore, when the soul leaves the material world, it gets out of conflict resolution and experiences eternity. Factually, the soul is eternal even within the material world, although it doesn’t experience eternity. Then, if the soul enters the spiritual world, it experiences eternity (since nothing is destroyed) although time passes cyclically.
- Both dualistic and non-dualistic conceptions of oneness and difference are beyond current physical conceptions, and the study of these two kinds of oneness and difference defines what we mean by “Vedic science”.
Conscious Experience: Freedom and Bondage
- A soul is attached to the material space by prāṇa, creating an experience. When the prāṇa is attached to a different part of the material space, then the soul obtains a new experience. However, neither matter nor the soul moves; only the consciousness moves due to changes in the prāṇa attachment to space. The prāṇa is the connection between soul and matter. We can call this the solution to the mind-body problem in Western philosophy.
- The soul can control its next position in space by controlling the prāṇa. Thereby, a soul can “go” to any place in the universe. That “going” to another place in the universe is analogous to flipping a book to a particular chapter, section, paragraph, and sentence. Conversely, space can also control the prāṇa. Thereby, the soul is forced to move to a new position. All the laws of material nature are about how space controls the prāṇa. And all the spiritual practices are about how the soul can become free of this material control, or control material nature.
- In the materially conditioned state, the space controls the prāṇa and thereby forces the soul to move in the universe. In this state, it seems that the soul has no free will. Recovery of that free will, by obtaining control over the prāṇa, is therefore sometimes stated to be the preliminary condition to a soul being able to practice further spiritual progress by controlling the body. Therefore, even as people might assert that they have no free will in the embodied state, there is a process by which free will can be recovered and used for the soul’s purposes.
- The control of prāṇa is also called “willpower”, in which the will is due to the soul, and the power is due to prāṇa. Willpower grows by developing endurance: A regulated life, renouncing pleasures, and performing austerities. As willpower grows, one gains greater control over their mind, body, and surroundings. Hence, those who say that they have no free will can realize its existence by performing austerities, renouncing pleasures, and leading a regulated life. This is the bare minimum condition to realize the existence of free will and the soul. By engaging in a hedonistic life, endurance is lost, and people say that there is no soul. Basically, they have become weak by incessant enjoyment and have no capacity to tolerate hardships. That weakness is called “no willpower”.
- When this free will is recovered, then the soul gains amazing powers by which it can perform great material feats normally impossible for people controlled by material nature. This is due to the mastery over prāṇa.
- Material nature is described in three ways as Śakti, Prakriti, and Māyā. The Śakti is prāṇa, the Prakriti is space, and the soul’s delusional covering that leads to the idea of separation and independence from God and the pursuit of individual greatness (even as the soul is controlled by Prakriti via Śakti), is called Māyā or the delusion of freedom during slavery. Alternatively, the delusion of being great even though enslaved by nature is Māyā.
- The soul is initially covered by the delusion called Māyā or the idea of independence from God. Then it is covered by Śakti which makes it feel empowered to misuse its independence. Finally, it is controlled by Prakriti, undermining its power and independence. The ideas of independence, power, and its refutation make life self-contradictory.
- Prāṇa is like a rope by which the soul can control matter. However, using the same rope, matter can also control the soul. Prāṇa, which connects the soul to matter, therefore, is like a double-edged sword. A soul needs to control prāṇa to practice spiritual life, to get liberated from the clutches of material control. However, the same prāṇa controlled by matter causes the soul’s bondage. Therefore, it is correct to say that the soul has free will, and it is correct to say that most people are controlled by matter and cannot perceive the existence of free will.
- The material energy when it binds the soul is called evil, and when it assists the soul’s liberation is called good. The material energy when it creates a delusion of invincibility is called evil, and when it leads to humility is called good. The material energy when it hides the truth is called evil, and when it leads to the truth is called good.
- The evil side of the material energy (suffering, bondage, and ignorance) is seen if the soul insists that it is separate from God, independent of God, or God doesn’t exist. The good side of the material energy (happiness, liberation, and knowledge) is seen if the soul accepts that it is a part of God, a servant of God, and starts loving God.
Material Motion: The Movement of Consciousness
- Even the experience of a flying ball involves a succession of states in which the ball at one position is one experience and the ball at the next position is another experience. All such ball positions are eternal possibilities, but they become manifest to consciousness one after another. Even when we see the ball flying in the air, factually the ball is not moving; rather, the consciousness is moving from one possible experience to another.
- When a conscious choice causes the manifestation of a hidden possibility, some of the previously visible objects or properties are hidden, and new objects and properties become visible. By the revealing and hiding of eternal possibilities, an ordered succession of experiences is created. We think that the world is changing, whereas we are static. However, the fact is that the world is static and the consciousness is moving from one state to another, some things are revealed whereas others are hidden, which is perceived as a change in the world.
- The movement of consciousness, the revealing and hiding of possibilities, and the experience of change are the same process. Change occurs because consciousness moves. Like when we draw our attention from one thought to another, the previous thought is hidden and a new thought is visible, similarly, even sensation changes are due to the movement of consciousness. Both body and mind are material and parts of a space. The apparent movement of a ball is as much an effect of the movement of consciousness as the apparent change in thought.
- Since a dynamical law is about the movement of consciousness rather than the movement of matter, therefore, the separate laws of physics, chemistry, biology, cosmology, etc. are completely false. Perfect scientific predictions don’t require dozens of subjects with their separate laws. One law of the movement of consciousness is sufficient. However, since this law is not known, therefore, numerous domain-specific inadequate laws are created in modern academia. True science means the law pertaining to the movement of consciousness in the material space.
Dynamical Laws: The Succession of Experiences
- The law of the movement of consciousness is called the law of the “transmigration of the soul”. The soul is continuously transmigrating from one bodily experience to another in this life and the same thing happens at the time of death. Therefore, the dynamical predictive law is identical to the law of the soul’s transmigration.
- The law of nature is the principle that choices are not free. Always, something is lost to gain something else. The law of nature fixes what will be lost against what is gained, but we can choose a loss to obtain a gain. We choose what we consider “good”, and nature decides an outcome that is fair or “right”. Thereby, fairness rather than simplicity (Occam’s Razor) is the most basic principle of natural law, and nature’s law is called dharma or righteousness.
- Simplicity is a subordinate principle, used to achieve the righteous result in the simplest manner, based on the tradeoff that we have chosen as something “good” for ourselves. Choice and law are thus not contrary ideas; this conflict is created if simplicity, rather than fairness, is believed to be the highest natural principle. Nature’s laws are therefore also the laws of justice, fairness, and retribution, quite like the government’s laws. Greeks modified the idea of law into logos or the simplest truth, rather than ethos or fairness in tradeoffs. Thereafter, a divide between natural and social laws was created due to the upholding of different principles in social and natural laws. If the same principles are upheld, then nature is governed by a government, comprising God and demigods. This government enacts the principles of righteousness, justice, and retribution. This is also called karma.
- Freedom from the law of nature means freedom from the principle that choices are not free. This is called “liberation” and it leads to a world of free choices where nothing needs to be lost in order to gain something else. For example, you can eat your cake and have it too because the loss of cake upon eating the cake is based on the principle of some loss for some gain (modern science calls this the law of conservation of energy). Liberation means freedom from laws of loss and gain. If you don’t want to lose, you can keep gaining. The spiritual world thus expands constantly. If the material law is understood, then the freedom from material law is understood.
- The immediately visible succession of hidden and revealed states is called a material law in modern science, and it includes the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, cosmology, etc. These are side-effects of a moving consciousness.
- Then there are delayed effects: (a) habit formation, (b) improving ability, and (c) moral consequences. Due to habit formation, a choice made once is repeated. Due to improving ability, a person gets better at doing something. Due to moral outcomes, a person’s access to objects and properties increases or decreases. The ability, habit, and consequence are also hidden potentials; due to the similarity with material space, this is also a material space, although deeper than conscious reality. Hence it is called a “subtle” reality. When it is manifested by time, then the “gross” body is produced, with some habits, abilities, and opportunities to interact with parts of the world.
- Due to the moral laws, the outcome of all experiments can differ based on the experimenter’s entitlements created due to the moral laws. Practically speaking, no two experimenters can ever replicate an experiment identically. The foundation of modern empiricism, namely, perfectly replicable experiments, is therefore false.
- The law of transmigration determines what will happen and time determines when it will happen. At the appointed time, a specific how (which modern science calls “causality”) is also decided. That “causality” is not the sole cause; the same thing can happen at the same time in other ways; the same thing can happen at a different time in another way. Complete causality is the combination of three separate factors—what, when, and how. This completeness requires God as time, the soul as the moving entity, and matter as the creator of effects.
The Logical Mechanism: Quality Dynamics
- In the dualistic world, the three qualities are mutually contradictory, and change is produced in the attempt to resolve their inner contradiction, by giving higher priority to one of the many contradictory qualities. When some quality gets a higher priority, then the lower priority qualities compete to gain prominence again. Since each person is caught in a conflict between qualities, which are cycling between dominant or subordinate states, therefore, the self is never satisfied. It is always caught in an inner conflict and always struggling to create inner harmony.
- Thereby, “balance” is touted as the key solution to the problem of conflict. In this “balance”, different qualities are permitted to become dominant alternatively and for an almost equal number of times and durations. However, every attempt to rebalance the conflicting qualities involves a reprioritization of qualities, and it never produces perfect balance, because in prioritizing one quality over another, always a new conflict is created.
- In the non-dualistic world, the three qualities are mutually attractive, and each quality increases the prominence of some other qualities. This change is also cyclical in the sense that different qualities become more prominent (relative to other qualities) alternatively. However, when a quality becomes more prominent, it tries to increase the prominence of other subordinated qualities, rather than struggle to prevent them from becoming prominent.
- The difference between dualism and non-dualism is that some prominent qualities “push up” the subordinated qualities into prominence in non-dualism, rather than the subordinated qualities “pulling down” the dominant qualities in dualism. This type of cyclical change does not destroy inner harmony and stability.
- This process is like two organizations—one in which the junior tries to bring down the senior, and the other in which the senior tries to pull up the junior. In the former case, the organization is destroyed by conflict, and in the latter, the organization is strengthened by attraction. The strengthening of the organization is cyclical, but not repeated creation and destruction. Rather, the organization grows with time. The parallel to such growth is that the spiritual world constantly grows, and is devoid of death and destruction. It is just like a cooperative organization.
- The modern idea that the world is evolving due to mathematical laws—which are based on the principles of logical consistency—is hence rejected when reality is described in terms of qualities. Time indeed produces a new state from the current state, but in one case the change is caused by a contradiction and in the other case it is caused by the attraction between opposites. That dynamic of attraction or contradiction is different from logical consistency.
- In a logical consistency system, a premise leads to a conclusion. However, if this progression is temporal, then the premise must be destroyed when the conclusion is produced. Effectively, the “past” now ceases to exist, and the “future” doesn’t yet exist. Only the present exists. In the quality system, governed by contradiction or attraction, the past, present, and future exist simultaneously although they are reorganized in a different hierarchical structure. The past as history may be subordinated, although not destroyed. The future as goals exists presently although it is subordinated, and will become prominent again. And while the present is dominant right now, it will become subordinate again. The universe still evolves logically, but the logic is based on quality dynamics.
- The qualities that are dominant or subordinate temporarily have an original state in which some qualities are naturally more dominant than others. This original state is the nature of that system. This is like saying that even when a senior pulls up a junior, he remains a senior although it appears that the junior is prominent. Thereby, each quality is associated with a native position, which makes these qualities less or more true, right, and good.
The Rejection of Classical Logic
- In modern logic, all truth is equally true, but in a quality system, some truth is more true. In this hierarchical idea of truth, something can be true at some time, place, or situation, but it is not universally true. Statements true in one context can seem contradictory to statements true in another context. These contradictions result from universalism in which things are either absolutely true or false, and truth is not progressive. In a system of hierarchical truth, there is one Absolute Truth and innumerable contextual truths. Thereby, universalism is rejected.
- While we reject universalism, it doesn’t mean radical relativism, or that all statements are true. The statement that correctly describes the bigger whole is more true than that which describes the smaller whole. Similarly, any contextual claim that contradicts any of the successively bigger partial truths is false. Hence, there can be falsities, contextually true truths, truer truths that pertain to bigger wholes, and finally, the complete Absolute Truth. Everything that is not Absolute Truth is not false, and the inversion of falsity is not Absolute Truth.
- Due to many levels of truth, classic true-false mutual exclusion (either true or false) must be rejected. Because a partial truth can also be regarded as true, therefore, classic non-contradiction (not both true and false) must be rejected. Since the whole is part but the part is not whole, therefore, the principle of identity (A is A) must be rejected. Thus, we reject classical logic entirely. We replace it with Semantic Reasoning which delineates many levels of truths (which can be called relative truths) that progressively lead to the complete Absolute Truth.
The Rejection of Classical Arithmetic
- In this progressive conception of truth, the thing that comes first—and can be designated by the number 1—contains everything that follows, designated by higher numbers. Thereby, numbers are qualities such that 1 contains all the subsequent numbers, and “higher” numbers are smaller qualities. As a result, all quantitative ideas of arithmetic addition must be replaced by the addition of qualities. We sometimes call this a Type Number Theory.
- For example, suppose you combine a triangle with a circle—i.e., make a circle more triangular or a triangle more circular. The result would be something in between a triangle and a circle, which is neither a triangle nor a circle and yet has shades of both. Conversely, if you combine a circle with a circle, the result will always be a circle. In the former case, either-or is replaced by neither and both, and in the latter case, a quality added to itself infinite times produces the same quality. If shapes are treated as numbers, then the “addition” of two different numbers produces something in between the two, and the addition of a number to itself produces the same number.
- Now imagine that you are in a space in which different locations are different shapes—triangle, circle, square, pentagon, hexagon, octagon, etc. Ask yourself: What is the distance between these locations in space? How far is the hexagon from the pentagon? What does it take to move from one location to another—e.g., transform a hexagon into a pentagon? How much “energy” is required for this movement, i.e., a transformation? Does it make sense to talk about “uniform motion” in this space? Or is it more appropriate to say that different kinds of “energies” are needed to convert a triangle into a square than to convert a square into a pentagon? Can the same formula that transforms a triangle into a square also transform a square into a pentagon? Or do we need completely different formulae to go from one point to another, such that there cannot be a mathematical formula for motion?
- Modern science is based on the idea of an infinitesimal and dimensionless point in space. When all locations in space are points, then the discussion of a “distance” is easily quantified, uniform motion makes sense, and a universal formula that describes that motion becomes easy. If that space is not dimensionless and infinitesimal points, then all these ideas collapse simultaneously. The qualitative view of reality rejects all these ideas because locations in space are no longer infinitesimal points; instead, they are like different geometrical shapes.
- Quantitative addition is now an aberration of treating different geometrical shapes as dimensionless points. Yes, if the shapes are very small, then from a macroscopic perspective, you can say that the differences between triangle, square, pentagon, etc. are not very important. That we can dissolve these differences and just treat every shape as an infinitesimal dimensionless point. But that creates a false ideology about nature and science in which motion, laws of motion, and determinism of motion are created as incurable dogmas about the world we live in.
- Quantitative addition is an aberration of treating all truths as just truths, rather than as different types of truths. The fact is that some truth is like a square and another truth is like a triangle. Quantitative addition dissolves this difference. It is useful in day-to-day life because we try to count many truths as the same type of truth. For example, we can say that a table, clock, chair, bed, and wardrobe are collectively 5 “things”. While counting, we dissolved them into point particles and counted the particles as a quantity. But this is an oversimplification of reality.
- The rejection of classical logic and arithmetic doesn’t mean that we will stop weighing wheat or counting miles on a road. It means that mere usefulness does not make something true. This is a subtle rejection of Pragmatism: All truth is useful, but everything useful is not true. It is still a fact but fact and truth are different things. Facts are the appearances, and the truth is the reality that lies behind the appearances and causes them.
The Rejection of Classical Geometry
- The use of quantities creates many problems in atomic theory because one thing appears to have many positions. This is not a problem per se because objects have many positions even in classical physics. The trouble is that the succession of positions is not deterministically predictable in atomic theory, although it can be predicted probabilistically. This probabilistic predictability is due to the reduction of qualities to quantities.
- To illustrate by an example, while eating a pizza, we perceive qualities like taste, smell, hardness, heat, color, etc. but not simultaneously because consciousness moves between the tongue, nose, eye, ear, and skin, and within each of these senses, to perceive different qualities. In a quantum experiment, this movement of consciousness between and within the senses is converted into the movement of consciousness from one detector to another, which produces a succession of clicks. Analogous to the experience of eating a pizza, we can say that each detector is like a sense that perceives a specific quality and the succession of clicks is the movement of consciousness from one quality to another. But modern physics cannot say that one position is a “spicy taste” while another is a “sweet smell” because they are just physical points. We are not accustomed to the idea that matter is static and consciousness moves. Therefore, we think that each detector click involves a moving particle hitting a detector, rather than the movement of consciousness. The next problem is that since some qualities are more prominent than others, therefore, these detector clicks have different probabilities. This is just like a pizza can be dominantly spicy than sour, and consciousness will move to spicy more often than sour. Probabilities result from quality domination, but we cannot understand that in a quantitative view as all positions in space are the same.
- To solve the quantum problem, we have to say that some physical position is “spicy taste” and another is “sweet smell”. Then, the succession of observed detector clicks would be just like the movement of consciousness from one quality to another, collectively called the “experience of eating pizza”. That experience has atomic parts—sensual and mental concepts. A quantum experiment now closely mimics the movement of consciousness, although even classical motion was the movement of consciousness. The collapse of classical determinism just means that we must model everything as the movement of consciousness, rather than the movement of material objects.
- In terms of the idea of matter, each property of an object is also a separate particle and yet, it is attached to the object through a hierarchy. Thus, a quantum particle can be “pizza”, “sweet smell”, or “spicy taste”. Pizza is also a quantum particle rather than a classical macroscopic object. Therefore, the universe only comprises quantum objects. And yet, some quantum particle is a “big” object like “pizza” and another quantum particle is a “small” property like “spicy taste” on one of the taste buds of our tongue. Both macroscopic and microscopic are quanta. However, what we call “macroscopic” is a quantum object perceived by the mind, instead of the senses.
- In the classical conception of particles, all their properties are measurable simultaneously. Quantum mechanics disproves this. Even though a pizza has taste and smell, the nose perceives smell, the tongue perceives taste, and the mind perceives the object-concept “pizza”. All these perceptions follow each other in some seeming random order due to the movement of consciousness from tongue to nose to mind, etc. That sequencing of conscious experiences destroys the classical physical conception of particles that have simultaneously measurable properties. Now, we can know “pizza” separate from smelling it, tasting it, seeing it, touching it, or hearing about it.
- The quantum particle “pizza” is in a definite position, and we don’t need to say that it is everywhere or nowhere. But since this position is “higher”, hence, the “sweet smell” and “spicy taste” are parts of “pizza”. Consciousness moves up and down this hierarchy or the space, sometimes experiencing a part, then a bigger part, and then a whole.
- The qualitative view of space and position has always existed in the everyday world. For instance, we call different places in a house a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, study, garden, porch, and so on. Space in the house is not “uniform” due to qualitative designations. In traditional Indian households, someplace is “higher” because it is occupied by the Lord’s deity. Moving in the house—e.g., going from a bedroom to a kitchen—is a movement of consciousness. Of course, you can measure the length and breadth of a room in a house, but that won’t tell you if it is a bedroom or a study. And without knowing that quality, if a person walks from one room to another, you would call it “random motion” rather than a purposeful activity like “going to the kitchen to make my dinner”.
- Whatever Descartes called res extensa which assumed that all locations were identical, is false. The truth is that every location in space is different qualitatively. We can contrast these differences by calling them circles and triangles, sweet smell and sour taste, or bedrooms and kitchens. The specific qualitative designation of a place differs from place to place. But all these designations are qualitative rather than quantitative.
- Movement in a qualitative space is always the movement of consciousness. And locations in qualitative space are always higher and lower. Classical logic destroys the hierarchy of truths in conceptual reasoning. Then, arithmetic destroys the qualitative differences by counting things as equal individuals. Finally, quantitative models of science destroy qualitative differences in space and time. Each of these three is effectively the dissolution of qualities although they are carried out in different domains. They are equally rejected if qualities are accepted.
The Rejection of Classical Computation
- People since antiquity have dreamed of building perpetual motion machines. Even though modern science thinks of the universe as a logical and mathematical system, the fact is that there is no foundation for a self-perpetuating logic, that will then produce eternal laws. The eternity of mathematical laws is an unjustified pipe dream.
- The space-time complexity associated with the mathematical computation of any natural law postulated in modern science exceeds the size of the universe. Newtonian mechanics has the simplest laws, and the evolution of the Newtonian universe with N particles requires the computation of N(N-1)/2 pairwise equations. For a universe of 3 particles, we have to compute 3 equations. For a universe of 4 particles, we have to compute 6 equations. The number of equations exceeds the number of particles, for any universe with greater than 3 particles.
- If a universal computer, far bigger than this universe, computes the laws of this universe, then that computer needs another computer—far bigger than itself—for it to function. Even that bigger computer needs yet another bigger computer, leading us to infinitely cascading computers, governed by the formula—(((((N2) 2) 2) 2) 2) 2 ….—where N is the smallest universe. Each of these computers requires more energy for just a single universe to function.
- The problem of the computation of laws makes any real classically computational universe impossible because we can never find the biggest universe, as there is no upper limit to the size of the biggest universe.
- For anything to exist, the universe must be self-computing, and its computational complexity must be precisely the size of the universe (i.e., space, time, energy). Since there is no scientific theory in which the computational complexity of the universe is identical to the size of the universe, therefore, all such theories are theoretical fictions. The size of the universe sets an upper limit to the computational complexity of the theory describing it.
- A larger universe can have more complex laws, and a smaller universe can have simpler laws. If, however, the laws of the larger universe are simple, then it means that the universe is mostly static. It is not evolving, so it requires no laws of change, and therefore it doesn’t need to compute any such law. However, without changes, such static parts of the universe can never be known. Therefore, for all practical purposes, we can say that the size of the knowable universe must be precisely determined by the computational complexity of the laws that govern its functioning.
- Any self-computing universe needs to be hierarchical, which means that the change in some reality is controlled by the computation of laws carried out at the next level, and the computation of the laws is itself a movement of that reality, which must be controlled by reality at the next higher level. Such a universe would be finite only if the computational complexity reduces as we go up this hierarchy (unlike the current mathematical laws where the computational complexity explodes exponentially as we go to the successive levels of computation).
- A hierarchically computing universe is like a stack of virtual machines in which the higher-level machine is also a deeper reality and the lower-level machine depends on the higher-level machine for their work. The top-level machine, however, must be self-computing, and its self-computation makes all other machines functional.
Basic Principles of Semantic Reasoning
- A cause can produce many effects, and an effect can be produced by many causes. How do we know that a specific cause produced a specific effect? This requires two criteria that are called necessity and sufficiency.
- In physical causality, we cannot establish necessity. For example, in classical mechanics when two particles collide, they could merge into one particle or split into many particles; the two particles are sufficient to produce many outcomes, but none of the outcomes is necessary. Similarly, the same split-merged outcome can be produced by many other particle pairs; in this case, many causes are sufficient to produce the same effect. Therefore, given some effect, we cannot fix the cause. And given some cause, we cannot fix the effect. This is indeterminism.
- Necessity and sufficiency are established by stating that the effect is within the cause, and the cause is within the effect. This is called Satkāryavāda. A cause is sufficient to produce an effect if and only if the effect is already within the cause. We don’t have to look to the future to determine if it can produce it, because it is already within the cause. Likewise, an effect is necessarily produced by a cause if and only if the cause is within the effect. We don’t have to look to the past to determine if that cause produced it, as the cause is in the effect at present.
- Let’s take the example of speech. Before you utter a sentence, the meaning was in you; therefore, you are sufficient to cause the sentence. And after you utter a sentence, you are present in the utterance; therefore, from the sentence utterance, we can necessarily identify the speaker. This type of connection is possible only with meanings.
- Furthermore, the causes can take three forms—premises, questions, and answers—just like effects. Hence, a question is present within the premise, and an answer is present within the question. A premise is sufficient to produce a question, and a question is sufficient to produce an answer. However, the connection from a premise to a question to an answer is not necessary or deterministic. Therefore, a choice is required to sequence them.
- The choice of a question based on a premise can be good or bad, and the choice of an answer based on the question can be right or wrong. Thereafter, a new premise—which is true or false—is produced. Thus, if we ask bad questions, or give wrong answers, then we are led to false premises. If instead we ask good questions and give the right answers then we come to true premises. Even if the answer is true, it may not be the right answer. And even if the premise is true, the question may be bad. Both lead to false conclusions, which lead to evil and suffering.
- The practical application of this principle is that a genuine seeker (asking good questions) who has performed moral deeds (righteous answers) meets a true guru, who gives them the knowledge of the truth, which improves their questions and answers. The seekers who ask bad questions or who have performed unrighteous actions, instead meet charlatans and cheaters who give them false ideas, which worsen their questions and answers, exacerbating their ignorance, immorality, and suffering. Therefore, truth cannot be known just by reasoning. Truth is known by moral actions along with good questions because these lead to an encounter with a true guru.
- When a person gets tired of that evil and suffering, then he might change his questions and answers, and slowly, the premises begin changing too. This means that one starts experiencing a new kind of life in which one can see better premises, which then make good questions and right answers more natural or likely. This sequence of premise, question, and answer, followed by a new premise, is the law of the evolution of conscious experience.
- The original premise, the question that follows, the answer that comes next, and the new premise produced by the judgment of choices are successive states of consciousness. While all premises, questions, and answers are eternally possible, due to the movement of consciousness, they are occasionally visible. That visibility is controlled by a law that changes the premise based on the choices of a person, creating their temporal experiences.
- Every answer is potentially a good, right, and true answer to some contextual question. Hence, truth, right, and good can be contextual—i.e., a contextual matching of questions and answers. If a person is fixed in a context, then their contextual truth, right, and good can also be called an individual truth, right, and good. Finally, the Absolute Truth is a true, right, and good answer to every question; hence, it is the universal truth. Thus, the truth, right, and good can be contextual, individual, and universal. By the Absolute Truth, they are mutually reconciled.
Self-Perpetuation and Self-Correction
- Even though many questions can follow a premise, and many answers can follow a question, there is always the best question to follow a premise and the best answer to follow a question. Lower than these best questions and answers are better questions and answers, lower than which are good questions and answers, and lower than them are bad questions and answers. Choices to ask a question or pick an answer can also be bad, good, better, and best. The system of Semantic Reasoning takes us from bad to good to better to best. The natural law of choice changes the premises so we can change our questions and answers to reach the best question and answer.
- Semantic Reasoning requires a crucial distinction between proof and truth. Proofs comprise (a) the choices that we make to manifest some reality out of a given set of possibilities and (b) the judgment of these choices to change the premises. Since bad questions and wrong answers can lead to false premises, therefore, proof does not always produce truth. But, since good questions and right answers lead to the truth, therefore, proof does not always lead to falsity. Logical inference can produce evil, falsity, and suffering, as well as good, truth, and morality.
- Whether some question is good or bad, and whether some answer is right or wrong, is a contextual rather than a universal judgment. Each context limits the attainment of an ideal state, however, the most ideal state that can be attained in that contextual limitation determines a good question and a right answer. That universal ideal is God. By knowing Him, we can also ask good questions and provide righteous answers. By ideal choices, the cycle of premises, questions, and answers comes to an end. The cycle perpetuates due to non-ideal choices. However, the law of nature pushes everyone toward the ideal, often through suffering, until that ideal has been attained.
- This perpetual motion machine is self-correcting, self-improving, and self-perfecting. Hence, the universe is not purposeless, or worse, immoral. Rather, the natural system of semantic reasoning takes us to perfection.
- The law cannot be anything else because only this law leads to perfection. The law is self-evident because perfection is self-evident. Every other idea depends on perfection. For instance, we can say that knowledge is better than ignorance because knowing is more perfect than not knowing. Likewise, we can say that beauty is better than ugliness because beauty is more perfect than ugliness. Therefore, knowledge and beauty are properties of God, because of a deeper principle of perfection. We can say that God is perfection or by “God” we mean perfection.
- Whatever we consider imperfect is the outcome of rejecting perfection—i.e., God. As we embrace imperfection, we suffer, because suffering is less perfect than enjoyment. We call it evil, but it arises because we rejected perfection. The law of nature forces us toward greater perfection, and that force is also sometimes called imperfection and equated to evil. But it is the most perfect method to achieve perfection. Any other law would be less perfect.
- Thereby, the necessity of the natural law is established because there cannot be a better law. Similarly, the sufficiency of the law is proven by the attainment of perfection. That which is necessary and sufficient is true.
Immanence and Transcendence
- The thing that emerges from a source, contains the source from which it was produced. For instance, the idea cow is in the idea mammal, and the idea mammal is in the idea cow. The idea mammal is therefore both transcendent and immanent to the idea cow. This immanence of the bigger truth inside the smaller truth means that everything is inside everything else, however, it is not always visible to us. To make it visible, we have to ask different kinds of questions about the same thing. By changing the kinds of questions we ask, deeper and more varied aspects of that thing can be revealed. Thus, if we perfectly knew just one thing, we will also know everything. Hence, going “deeper” into studying one thing, is also going “broader” into studying everything. Conversely, by broadening our knowledge, we can also deepen our knowledge. In simple words, deeper is not narrower, and broader is not shallower.
- The contradiction between depth and breadth in knowledge is created by physical and quantitative conceptions of reality. Under such conceptions, the study of a table cannot be the study of God, and the study of God requires us to reject the study of a table. In the semantic conception, we can know the table by studying God, and we can know God by studying the table. Thereby, all contradictions between religion and science are summarily rejected.
- If the existence of the world is a premise, questions about how the world works, why the world works in this way, and whether there could be a world that works differently, can progressively take us to the Absolute Truth.
- All answers to all questions are hidden in any premise and can be revealed. We just need curiosity to ask the questions. Knowledge, therefore, doesn’t have to always begin with God. It can also begin in ordinary subjects such as physics, chemistry, biology, economics, sociology, cosmology, psychology, etc. However, once we begin with any subject of our choice, we must go deeper into that subject, and by that deepening, we can broaden our knowledge until we know everything. If that subject has been formulated semantically, then each subject can take us to the complete truth. Subjects are limited in their knowledge only due to physical conceptions of reality.
Logic and Consciousness
- Logic is the process of consciousness in which the chit is the premise, ānanda is the question, and the answer is a part of the premise or the chit, which is connected to the premise through a relationship called sat. Thereby, each person can simply dig deeper into their existence, and find the whole truth, because that truth is immanent in them. Hence, the knowledge gained by studying the external world can also be gained by introspection.
- In principle, we do not need anything other than the self in order to know everything other than the self. This is the solution to the age-old problem in Western philosophy that observation of the world always creates an appearance, and reality that lies behind this appearance can never be known. The solution to the problem is that certainty about reality is obtained by looking within the self rather than by looking outside the self. Thereby, all doubts are destroyed and absolute certainty is established only through inner spiritual experience and realization.
- Since the self is currently deluded by the idea of separation from God, therefore, external methods that purify the self of this delusion are also prescribed. In these methods, the surroundings, body, and the mind are treated as being parts of God, connected to God, and used for His service. By undergoing such a process, the soul gradually realizes that it is also a part of God, connected to God, and a servant of God. In principle, such external methods are not necessary because the soul can realize its connection, parthood, and service to God without them. However, since such realization is improbable, external methods are prescribed for increasing the chances of success.
- God creates the world by introspection; He asks a question of Himself, whose answer lies within Himself. Before asking the question, He is the premise. And after producing the answer, the answer is just His part. The process of asking the question simply reveals a fact about God that was previously hidden in Him. When the answer is produced, then the premise from which it was produced is hidden within the answer. Thereby, if the answer is treated as a new premise, then the premise from which everything was produced is also within the answer.
- In simple words, we can say that God produces everything, and God is in everything—including us. But we need to have the curiosity to find God within ourselves. That doesn’t make us God, and yet, it can enable us to know God. When we know God within us, then we have known a part of ourselves, and we have a relationship with that part. However, that part is also the whole, that became immanent within us, after He had produced us.
Causality as Conversations
- Modern scientific causality is based on the idea of push and pull forces. In the semantic reasoning system, we replace these forces with conversations. A sender asks a question, and the receiver then provides an answer. Both senders and receivers evolve via the exchange of information. This leads to many novelties.
- First, all change caused by the application of forces must be small and continuous. However, the change caused by the information exchange in a conversation can be large and discontinuous. Thereby, the information exchange model can explain both continuous and discontinuous changes, but the physical force model can only explain continuous changes. All physical models of causality collapse if we observe discontinuous changes.
- Second, a question can be targeted to a specific receiver, and the answer can be targeted to a specific sender. The presence of some sender doesn’t entail a change to everything else around it, because everyone is not a receiver. Rather, it only entails changes to the specific parties involved in the conversation. Those changes can propagate to other parties through other conversations. But that propagation is not concurrent with the changes caused due to other conversations. As a result, nature is not uniform—i.e., the same questions and answers, followed by the same effects which appear as the evolution of the conversing parties—do not apply to the entire universe.
- Third, all conversations are purposeful. Therefore, apart from the exchange of meaning in a conversation, there is an intended state to be achieved by the conversing parties. That intended state lies in the future, and yet, the intention exists in the present. It limits the conversations between a few parties, limits the scope of the conversation between two parties, and then limits the nature of the types of questions and answers exchanged.
- Based on the intention of the conversation, some conversation can be good or bad; it is good if it achieves the intended state; it is bad if it doesn’t do so. Similarly, a conversation can be right or wrong because all parties are not supposed to receive a question and are not supposed to give all answers. Those inappropriate questions and answers are wrong, but appropriate questions and answers are right. Finally, the conversation can be true or false. If the meaning exchanged during the conversation is consistent with the Absolute Truth, as best realizable within a conversational context, then it is true. Otherwise, it is false. This adds judgments to the causal process.
- Hence, after we say that a causal exchange is a conversation, then we can say that the conversation can be good or bad, right or wrong, true or false. All the conclusions about the truthfulness, righteousness, and goodness of questions and answers (i.e., how the conversation evolves due to the truth, right, and good) can now be applied.
- As already noted, the law of nature is that if we ask bad questions, or give wrong answers, then the premises—e.g., the party with whom we are conversing in this case—change. This party now asks bad questions and provides bad answers, which means that we will not achieve our intended state. Similarly, the conversing party gives us wrong questions and answers, which means that we are compelled to do inappropriate things due to inappropriate pressures of the circumstances. Finally, the conversing party gives us false questions and answers, thereby detracting us from the truth, giving us false ideas, and changing our view of reality—due to the conversation.
- Thus, semanticism involves a simple change in modeling a causal interaction from push and pull forces to questions and answers. A question can be loosely equated to a “pull” as it creates an absence that invites an answer. Likewise, an answer can be loosely equated to a “push” as it tries to overcome that absence. Due to that superficial similarity between semanticism and physicalism, it is possible to treat information exchange as push and pull forces to some extent. However, that modeling gives rise to three false ideas: (a) change is continuous, (b) nature is uniform, and (c) there is no meaning and purpose in nature because everything is moving due to the push and pull forces.
- When we find that change is discontinuous and that nature is non-uniform, then a physical model cannot solve the problems of causation because the solution necessarily requires acknowledging meaning and purpose. However, since the push and pull force model has worked to some extent in the past, therefore, advocates of this model are extremely reluctant to totally overhaul the idea of causation, model of change, and natural laws.
- It is easy to show that the problems of discontinuity and non-uniformity can be solved by thinking of causation as a meaning exchange in a conversation. Hence, the critique of the problems of science—which identify the inability to explain discontinuous changes and non-uniform interactions—followed by the prescription of their solutions is quite straightforward. The simplicity and reasonableness of the solution, however, are not easily accepted.
Semantic Attraction and Repulsion
- Truth, right, and good further employ certain principles. A good choice uses the principle of identity of goals and the matching of the opposites of supply and demand. A right choice uses the principle of complementarity between different roles to achieve a goal, and the compatibility between abilities to fulfill the role. A true choice uses the principle of consistency within knowledge and activity, and simplicity to attain that consistency.
- Thus, we can say that: (a) opposites attract if they are related as supply and demand, (b) identity attracts if they are identical goals, (c) complements attract if they are mutually complementary roles to attain a certain goal, (d) compatibility attracts because a certain type of knowledge and activity fits well into a certain role for a certain goal, (e) consistency attracts because knowledge and activity need to be internally consistent, and (f) simplicity attracts if that consistency between knowledge and activity is achieved with the minimum number of entities.
- Similarly, we can say that (a) opposites repel if they create inconsistency in knowledge and activity, (b) identity repels if everyone has an identical role, (c) complements repel if they constitute different goals, (d) compatibility repels if the goals are changed to fit the abilities, (e) consistency repels if they are both demands or supplies, and (f) simplicity repels if we try to minimize the goals to the bare minimum achievable within a certain role or ability.
- Semantic reasoning employs the principles of identity, opposites, complementarity, compatibility, consistency, and simplicity. However, each of these principles has a specific domain of applicability. We cannot rationally extend these principles from one domain to another. Therefore, when we make a choice, rationality means the application of some principles suited or appropriate for a certain domain. And irrationality either means misusing those principles by universalizing them to all domains or applying the principles of one domain to another.
- When the principles are correctly applied within certain domains, then we can say that the choices are true, right, and good, and by applying those principles correctly, we can also rationally explain our choices. But if we misapply the principles, then we produce irrational outcomes, which are false, bad, and wrong. They can still seem rational as we are still using the principles of rationality, although we are misapplying them from one domain to another where they don’t apply. For example, someone can say that because simplicity is a principle, therefore, the simplest goal of survival must be the only goal of life. This is a perversion of rationality, and it is irrational because even as simplicity is a principle of rationality, it can only be applied to issues of truth, and not to issues of good or right.
- Therefore, semantic reasoning can also be described as six principles, with different domains of applicability. When these principles are correctly applied, then, there is a natural attraction, cohesion, cooperation, stability, progress, and eternity. But when these principles are misapplied, or some principle is neglected, or one principle is universalized over others, then, there is antagonism, conflict, competition, instability, regress, and temporality.
- Since the correct and incorrection applications of these principles lead to attraction and repulsion, therefore, change can be described as pull and push, and the idea of push and pull forces in nature has some basis in rationality. However, this push and pull, or attraction and repulsion, has to be understood semantically rather than physically. Then, an alternative science—which is also rational, and indeed more rational—can be understood.
- The religion that explicates the true principles of rationality, and the domains of applicability, is more rational than current science based on physical push and pull. It explains why the world is moving due to push and pull, but it also explains why some push and pull are discontinuous, why that push and pull is not uniform (with everything, in the same way, at all places and times), and why it is not contrary to the existence of meaning and purpose.
- Semantic attraction and repulsion do not require the existence of speculative physical forces governed by mathematical laws involving arbitrary numerical constants, because it is rooted in pure reason. The arbitrary particles, forces, laws, and constants of modern science have no rational justification because we can never explain why some specific laws, particles, properties, and constants are true. We claim their truth because these things seem to work partially and temporarily, although they are contrary to other partial and temporary assertions.
Thinking in Six Perspectives
- We have earlier noted the six divisions of sat, chit, and ānanda. The six divisions of sat are components of right, those of chit are components of truth, and those of ānanda are components of good. These are not arbitrary; they are necessary and sufficient. Necessary because if any component were missing, then the truth, right, or good would be less perfect. And sufficient because by adding more principles, we cannot make anything more perfect.
- For example, the truth must also be beautiful, powerful, and useful, for it to be true. An ugly truth, a powerless truth, or a useless truth is not perfect truth. Similarly, the truth that is pervasively true, is a more perfect truth than a truth that is only true contextually. Finally, the truth that is self-justified, and doesn’t require justification from anything else, is a more perfect truth than the one that depends on other things for its justification.
- This perfect truth is called non-dual knowledge and it is the nature of chit. However, because this truth is also perfect, therefore, it is also beautiful, powerful, useful, self-justified, and pervasively true. Thus, the perfection of the truth requires us to add five more properties to the truth, and collectively they are the six divisions of chit.
- Therefore, when we say that the truth must be consistent and simple, we must additionally clarify that these are always secondary principles to perfection. Some simple and consistent truth that is ugly, powerless, useless, limited in scope, and not self-justified, is actually not perfect truth. Thus, to truth, we must add five properties—beauty, power, usefulness, pervasiveness, and self-sufficiency—as they define the perfection of truth.
- The self-sufficiency is called God’s detachment, as He stands apart from the world. The pervasiveness of the truth is called God’s fame. The usefulness of the Absolute Truth in every situation is God’s wealth; everything is wealth because it is practically useful in some way. The truth is called knowledge, and beauty and power are its attributes. Thus these six properties collectively define the nature of the truth and they are mutually consistent.
- The consistency among these six properties is also called the non-duality of the truth. The material world, in contrast, is called dualistic, which means that in the material world, when knowledge is powerful, it is also often ugly. A beautiful theory is often useless. So many theories have limited applicability. And most theories are not self-justified. Hence, when we use the terms ‘simplicity’ and ‘consistency’, we don’t mean the same things as in modern parlance. They are rather the attributes of perfection, in the context of knowledge or the chit. For knowledge to be perfect, the fewest number of mutually consistent attributes must define simplicity and consistency.
- We can contrast this idea of truth to that used in Western philosophy and called “Occam’s Razor”. According to Occam’s Razor, a simpler truth is a more perfect truth. Thereby, perfection reduces to simplicity. Of course, truth must also be internally consistent. So, one could argue that when we speak of simplicity and consistency, we are speaking of Occam’s Razor. But we are not talking about simplicity itself as perfection. We are rather talking about the simplest definition of perfect truth. Quite simply, perfection is prior, and simplicity is next. We must define perfect truth using the fewest number of words. And that definition is: truth must be beautiful, powerful, useful, pervasive, and self-justified. When all these criteria are met, without creating a trade-off, then truth is perfect.
- Such a truth is also the simplest truth because we cannot eliminate any of the above six attributes without sacrificing the perfection of truth. Likewise, such truth is also consistent, because there are no tradeoffs or compromises between truth, beauty, power, usefulness, self-sufficiency, and pervasiveness.
- Therefore, non-duality of the truth means the same as the six attributes of chit, which means the same as simplicity and consistency, which means the same as the perfection of the truth. They are different descriptions.
- The criteria of perfection are applied to defining the nature of the right or sat, which appears in roles and relationships. The romantic relationship is the most perfect, because the lovers are not just performing the romantic role, but also the fatherly, motherly, brotherly, sisterly, friendly, servitor, and respectful roles. A romantic relationship in which the romantic partner is not any of the above attributes is an imperfect romance.
- Finally, we can apply the same criteria to the good or ānanda, which denotes moods. The original mood is romantic love. This love is also aggressive, proud, greedy, wonderful, and competitive. A servant’s love for the master is primarily wonderment and has no aggression, pride, or competition. However, aggression, pride, and competition exist between siblings and friends. That doesn’t mean the absence of wonderment. Hence, even when there is familiarity, there is no contempt. Therefore, aggressive competition between two proud individuals, which is not contemptuous and always filled with wonder for the other, is a more perfect emotion.
- Due to the greater perfection, a romantic mood is also called ādi-rasa or the “original mood”, because it includes all the other moods. Just like the perfection of knowledge requires the presence of beauty, power, usefulness, self-sufficiency, and pervasiveness, similarly, the perfection of a relationship is a romantic relation, and the perfection of love is romantic love. That type of relationship and love includes all other relationships and forms of love.
- Hence, when we say that different roles must be complementary, and a role must be compatible with a person’s abilities, we are just speaking about the different kinds of relationships that require different abilities. Then, when we say that there has to be an identity of purpose, and the opposition between supply and demand, we are just speaking of different kinds of love. Love involves the identity of purpose and the opposition of moods between the lovers. A relationship is complementary to other relationships, and a mood is opposite to that of the lover.
- The romantic relationship and love, transform the truth or knowledge into its most beautiful, powerful, useful, self-justified, and pervasive forms. That knowledge is music, art, poetry, and dance. Music, art, poetry, and dance are beautiful. They are powerful. They are useful. They are self-justified. And they are pervasive. Pervasive means that even walking is poetry; it is musical; it is artistic; and, of course, it is a dance. Every activity requires some knowledge, but there are many grades of perfection of that knowledge. An activity becomes most perfect when it is musical, poetic, artistic, and dance-like. The fine arts are also therefore the perfection of knowledge.
- Even within fine arts, there is a progression. Dance includes music, poetry, and art. Hence, dancing is the most perfect art, which is the perfection of knowledge as it is beautiful, powerful, useful, pervasive, and self-justified. That dancing in a romantic relationship, based on a romantic mood, is the perfection of knowledge.
- The theoretical, conceptual, and philosophical knowledge is not as perfect, although it explains the nature of perfection. If that perfection is understood and put into practice, the practice of perfection is more perfect than philosophy. Therefore, philosophy is the theory of perfection, and dancing is the practice of perfection.
- In this way, there is thinking in six perspectives, which define the six aspects of perfection. That perfection applies to the truth, right, and good. And there is a limit to that perfection in a romantic relationship with God, which is not just romantic, but also fatherly, motherly, brotherly, sisterly, friendly, servitor, and appreciative; it is based on romantic love, that is also aggressive, proud, greedy, wonderful, and competitive; and it employs knowledge and activity in its most perfect form, i.e., dancing, which includes other perfect forms like music, poetry, and art.
- The study of the (a) perfection, (b) as it initially divides into perfect truth, right, and good, (c) then divides further into six aspects of truth, right, and good, (d) then progressively curtails the perfection by hiding the six aspects of perfection to various extents, (e) which gradually hides the perfect truth, right, and good to create the material world of falsehood, suffering, and immorality, is science and philosophy. The goal to attain perfection and the practice that leads to that goal is religion. And how that perfection involves an Original Being or God who expands into everything else is theology. If any of these is perfectly known, then they can all be perfectly known.
- What we call the “laws of nature” are the laws of the evolution of imperfection. When something is imperfect, then it changes. Why? Because it is trying to become perfect. When it becomes perfect, then it stops changing, since there is no more perfection to be attained. Therefore, perfection is eternal, and imperfection changes.
- To study these laws, we must prior know the nature of perfection. Then, we can know what is missing in imperfection, and why it is changing. That evolution is not purposeless, because it is driven toward perfection. It is not meaningless, because perfection involves qualities. It is discontinuous because when one quality becomes dominant, then other qualities become subordinate; that reversal of the dominant-subordinate pattern creates discontinuity. It is not uniform, because everyone and everything is in a different state or level of perfection.
- All these states of relative imperfection constitute the material space, in which the consciousness moves from one state to another. Therefore, we can also say that all these laws of nature are not truly laws of nature, but the laws of the evolution of consciousness toward greater or lesser perfection. The law is simply if-then propositions, where the if is the choice of the consciousness, which can be bad, wrong, and false, or good, right, and true. Semantic reasoning is nothing other than the understanding of if-then propositions and how a choice leads to consequences, which can be more or less perfect, in one of the infinite types of perfection or imperfection. Those if-then propositions can also be described as attraction and repulsion, as we have discussed above.
Six Perspectives in Scientific Causality
- The questions of scientific causation can also be divided into six perspectives—what, when, where, how, why, and who. These are perspectives because no answer to any of these questions is independent of the answers to the other questions. Therefore, even though they are distinct questions, they are not truly separable. We must use the principle of oneness and difference to understand them. That oneness and difference simply mean that if one of the six questions has been answered, then the answer to the other questions is constrained.
- For example, if we talk about WWII, then that event is the “what”. How it happened, involves some tanks, airplanes, and submarines. When it happened involves some dates. Since tanks, airplanes, and submarines did not exist previously, therefore, how it happened is not independent of when it happened. Likewise, submarines cannot be used on land, and tanks cannot be used in water. Therefore, when some battles involving tanks or submarines happened is not independent of where it happened. Those who participated in that war had to be born at that time. Therefore, the question of who is not independent of when. In this way, there is a oneness and difference between the six perspectives. The oneness is that these six perspectives are not independent, and the difference is that the answer to one question doesn’t become the answer to another question. For instance, a different set of soldiers could have been deployed on different battlefronts, therefore, knowing the what and when doesn’t fix the who.
- Classical physics tried to reduce these six questions into a single question, such that each particle (who) moves deterministically in space thereby fixing the when and where, the trajectory of movement is how, the force that causes the motion is why, and each successive position of the particle is the what. In this reduction, if you know the answer to one question, then you know the answer to all the questions. For instance, if we know the force, then we can determine the trajectory. Or, if we know the trajectory, then we can determine the force. By knowing the trajectory, we also know the particle, because the answer to the questions of who and how are the same.
- The failure of classical physics, and its replacement by quantum physics, is the failure of determinism, which is the failure of the belief that six questions are reducible to one. The new idea of causality must use oneness and difference, which means that there are six questions and answers, the answer to one question doesn’t fix the other answers, however, all those answers are not totally independent of the answers to the other questions.
- Vedic philosophy solves this problem by dividing the six questions into three pairs, involving three actors—God, soul, and nature. God decides what will happen and when it will happen. Nature determines where it happens and how it happens. And the soul determines why it happens and to whom it happens. Since what and when are fixed by God, therefore, there is perfect what-determinism. Since these things can happen in different ways, therefore, there is how-indeterminism. And since these things can happen to different souls, therefore, there is perfect freedom. For instance, bad things will happen in the universe, but we don’t have to do them, and we need not bear their effects. Our experience depends on our choices. Thus, choice and determinism are not contradictory ideas.
- Oneness and difference also mean that God, the soul, and nature are neither completely separate nor are they completely identical. This means that we cannot separate space (where), time (when), observer (who), causality (why), event (what), and motion (how). And we cannot reduce any of these to any of the others.
- This curious property of oneness and difference between space (where), time (when), and trajectory (how) appear in relativity theory, but it is incomplete because there are three other questions—who, why, and what. The trajectory is not the observer; the same trajectory can be followed by a different observer. Why a specific observer enters a trajectory is not identical to the trajectory or to the observer; that depends on the observer’s choices and their consequences. Similarly, events (what) are created by trajectory intersection, but the same events can be produced by the intersection of different trajectories, making relativistic dynamics and its theory indeterministic.
- A complementary kind of oneness and difference between who (observer), why (their choices), and what (events) appears in quantum theory. John von Neumann, for instance, postulated that the observer (who) makes choices (why) that then lead to events (what). We could say that an observer predominantly makes certain kinds of choices because the observer has a personality (who), which then leads to different probabilities of quantum events. However, that would make the outcomes observer-dependent; a different observer should see different probabilities. To maintain objectivity, we have to say that matter is evolving, and consciousness is being dragged by that change (remember that matter can control the movement of consciousness). Thereby, there is an objective reality, although it causes a change to our experience. Then, that objective evolution involves three questions—where, when, and how—which are definitionally outside the scope of present quantum mechanics.
- Thus, all problems of incompleteness, indeterminism, and uncertainty in science are surface symptoms of the deeper issue that any causal explanation requires answers to six questions, which are neither totally identical nor totally separable, and we cannot conceive of any physical form of causation that follows this principle. Classical physics created a false caricature of nature when it said that these six questions are identical. Subsequent developments in science have tried to create newer theories that try to answer a subset of these six questions, which makes them incomplete, indeterministic, and uncertain. This type of diagnosis of the problem paves the way to a clear solution, namely, reality itself has to be conceived using oneness and difference.
The Rejection of Violence
- Modern science models nature as a boxing match—collisions, pushes, and pulls—and it is based on a violent idea of nature and humanity. Vedic science models nature as a conversation—exchange of information, questions and answers, meaning and purpose, truth, right, and good—and it is based on a peaceful idea of nature and humanity. A boxing match can also be called a conversation—one man throws a challenging punch and another man throws a responding punch—however, boxing “conversations” arise when peaceful conversations have failed.
- If a person is peaceful, then they will model nature as a conversation, and fights will also be modeled as conversations. If a person is violent, then they will model nature as push and pull, collisions and clashes, and conversations would be seen as colliding particles. Thus, apart from the technical superiority of the conversational model of causality, we have to also speak about the cultural background within which such a model appears.
- A scientific model of nature is the extension of a self-image. Sāñkhya philosophy describes how the ideas about the world, and then the world, manifest from an ego. If we are aggressive and violent, then we cannot appreciate the conversational model of causality. Conditioned by our inner violence, we will find the violent idea of nature quite natural. Then, we will also create a world of internal combustion engines, bombs and guns, aggressive competition between people, and a violent struggle for survival. We will question why an alternative is needed. A conversational model of nature will also appear very complex to us, whereas a model of violence would seem very simple. Yes, this is natural and simple for those who are violent, as they extend their ego to humanity, and then to the rest of nature. But it is unnatural for those whose ego is about finding the nature of truth through a conversation.
- Acceptance of non-violent ideas of causality needs a non-violent society, in which unnecessary violence such as killing animals for food, experimenting on animals, polluting or destroying nature, etc. is shunned. One can take what one needs, and curtail the wants. Food must come from the soil, water, sunlight, and air. Similarly, we have to end debt and minimize our consumption. This is a precondition to a peaceful life, which is a precondition to destroying inner violence and aggression, which is a precondition to knowing the nature of truth.
- Nature is a mother trying to converse with us, to tell us what is right and wrong, good and bad, true and false. If we don’t listen, then the mother gets violent. But if we listen, then the mother is simply trying to have a conversation with us. The disobedient and arrogant children will see the mother’s violent side and say: We see nature this way. And the obedient and humble children will see a mother’s calm side and say: We see nature this way.
- Francis Bacon thought that nature is a witch to be tortured until she revealed all her secrets to us. In Vedic philosophy, we think of nature as a mother who punishes us if we are disobedient. Similarly, Thomas Hobbes stated that life was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” and this was the “state of nature”. In Vedic philosophy, life is eternal, and it can be friendly, hopeful, prosperous, and kind if we are also those things; everything depends on our attitudes. These are huge cultural differences that underlie everything else that follows in science.
The Rejection of Fragmentation
- Modern thinking is defined by the fragmentation of reality into many incommunicado academic disciplines. Separate mathematics from physics, separate physics from psychology, separate psychology from economics, and separate everything from the questions of happiness, purpose in life, the pursuit of transcendence, and God. Then, attain partial success in each domain by postulating arbitrary principles, theories, and laws. Use that success to build some technology and then a business. And then assert that economic success indicates the truth.
- This fragmentation brings confusion because each academic discipline uses different ideas, and yet, each person exists in each of these domains studied by different academic disciplines. To exist in all domains, everyone must imbibe contradictory ideas from different academic disciplines to operate in many domains. When they imbibe all these contradictory ideas, then the contradiction between theories, disciplines, and departments enters each person, rendering them confused about the nature of the truth, what to do when, and how to choose.
- Based on a person’s relative ignorance about the problems of one domain, and relative familiarity with the partial and temporary successes of principles, theories, and laws in another domain, each person thinks that they know something when they actually know nothing. Ignorance of problems creates the appearance of truth.
- All academic disciplines are like blind men who make contradictory claims about the elephant as rope, tree trunk, ball, fat pipe, or flat surface. All those claims are false. It is not that physics is correct and psychology is yet to figure out the nature of the mind. Unless we take into account psychology, whatever we claim to know in physics is false. It is just like calling an elephant’s tail a rope. Yes, every blind man can empirically confirm that there is a “rope”, and yet, every such blind man would be wrong despite that empirical confirmation. To actually know, one has to incorporate the understanding of other blind men who are describing the trunk, ear, stomach, and legs of the elephant. This is the bare minimum requirement to arrive at knowledge, and it means that the different departments and disciplines of modern science must gather together to find a common understanding.
- If the blind cannot converse with each other, and they cannot be made unblind, then there is no solution to the problem. Each blind man would be a Tower of Babel, talking in a different language, asserting different ideas, and citing his “evidence”. The evidence is true, but the interpretation of that evidence is false. We cannot change that interpretation unless we become unblind, or at the very least, try to find a common interpretation of evidence outside our narrow ambits. Such attempts will at least enlighten us about the problems.
- It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that the world cannot be divided into boxes with separate theories, laws, and constants. All these boxes are artificial constructions produced by people with specific inclinations choosing to study limited subjects, speculating endlessly on limited problems, and then asserting universal claims based on their frog-in-the-well theories. The frog must either get out of their well or at the very least talk to other frogs in other wells. Then, they can get some understanding of the nature of the truth. This means rejecting the fragmentation of knowledge into dozens of academic departments, which produce their theories independently. Every single frog-in-the-well ideology is false because the data is limited, its interpretation is conditioned by previous frog-in-the-well experiences, and its claims contradict the claims of other frogs in other wells.
The Rejection of Individualism
- A fragmented idea of knowledge appears in an individualistic society. In this, the world comprises independent particles, society comprises independent people, and academia comprises independent departments. Independence gives people the freedom to advance their personal agendas, disregarding the greater good. It means that they cannot be trusted. What they are doing is not for the greater good. In the academic system, it means that people will do whatever it takes to publish papers, increase citation, and get tenure, funding, and power.
- Individualism is founded upon the idea that we are free by birthright. Free speech, freedom of ideas, and freedom of academia are all believed to be virtues in themselves: A society is better just because people are free to talk, whether or not they know the truth, are doing the right thing, or aiming for the greater good. The fact is that we are not free by birthright. Rather, freedom has to be earned. Everyone is free to the extent that they know the truth, do the right things, and endeavor for the greater good. Therefore, those who know the truth, act righteously, and aim for the greater good can be free. And those who don’t, should not be permitted any freedom.
- Children, for instance, cannot be given equal freedom as adults because they don’t yet know the truth, may not do the right things, and cannot aim for the greater good beyond themselves. The person performing wrong acts and aiming to harm others can also be put into prison. Truth, right, and good are preconditions to freedom.
- Freedom and individualism are bad ideas because they give ignorant adults the right to speak, even as the freedom of children is curtailed. If everyone is free by birthright, then children must be as free as their parents, and due to individualism, they must fend for themselves. Similarly, if we are born free, then why should anybody be put into our prison? Weren’t they simply exercising their freedom, their right to their personal good, just like everybody else?
- Children are born unfree. Then they must be educated about the truth, right, and good. When they understand these three words, then they can be given freedom. That is adulthood. And if they violate the truth, right, and good, then their freedom can be reduced or ended. Freedom is not a birthright; it has to be earned by education.
- Therefore, academics cannot be free unless they know the truth, right, and good. We don’t have the freedom to speculate on the nature of the truth, right, and good individualistically because speculation depends on freedom, and freedom is not a birthright, therefore, people uneducated about truth, right, and good cannot have freedom. Education is the precondition to a person being given freedom. Individualism, however, puts freedom before truth, right, and good. Conversely, the rejection of individualism puts truth, right, and good, before freedom.
- The rejection of individualism requires a system of descending knowledge—i.e., we are given the perfect truth, right, and good by our parents, teachers, and spiritual authorities, and we can verify that it is true, right, and good. Tradition gives us knowledge, but it is not blind faith in the tradition because you can validate it through reason and observation. If we are convinced that the teaching received by us from parents, teachers, and spiritual authorities, is true, right, and good, then we are free to advance, teach, protect, and serve that truth, right, and good.
- If we are not convinced, then we can go to another society or find like-minded people to create our own society. There is no need for violence because you are free to find a like-minded society or create one yourself.
- All discordant societies based on different ideologies were disconnected from each other for thousands of years. The Aryans for instance recognized the existence of other ideologically discordant societies whom they called Mleccha, Yavana, Kirāta, Hun, Khasa, and so on. The Aryans kept away from such societies and protected themselves from interference from such societies. Thereby, the Aryans divided the world into regions based on ideological differences. However, they remained friendly and intimate with those who were ideologically similar.
- Individualism and fragmentation thus reappear in the Vedic worldview, as the choice to reject the Vedic system, choose another system, and then live in a society of people with similar beliefs. This individualism is based on a radical choice, but it is not a rational choice. If you want radical irrational freedom, you are free to do so, but leave the rationally free people alone. Then, you alone will bear the consequences of your irrationality.
- The Vedic system thus doesn’t believe in forced conversions. It invites rational discussion and observational confirmation. But it is disinterested in those who are disinterested in the Vedic system. The current situation is the result of deceitful, immoral, and selfish people who decided to foist their ideologies on truthful, moral, and selfless people. They have destroyed the system of knowledge that is truthful, righteous, and good for everyone.
- There is a battle of ideologies to the extent that the harms of that forced transformation of the world by deceitful, immoral, and selfish people can be undone, and give people the choice of a better alternative. That doesn’t mean that everyone will want that. But at least, they will be able to choose for themselves. That is also individualism and fragmentation, but it is a distinction between good and bad, right and wrong, true and false. The dissolution of individualism and fragmentation doesn’t mean the dissolution of the distinction between truth and lies.
The Rejection of Arrogance
- The incompleteness of all mathematical systems is well-known. All physical theories created thus far are provably indeterministic. No computational system can process meanings like the human mind. Cosmology says that we don’t know anything about 95% of the universe. There is no theory of the origin of life, and descent with modification fails to explain current biodiversity. Numerous discontinuities in the evolutionary process are well-known. After two thousand years of philosophy, there is no method for certainty in knowledge.
- When all these problems are presented, then scientists claim to have made the world more prosperous. However, even that claim becomes false if we take into account the costs borne by native populations during colonization which fueled the first phase of industrial growth, followed by the destruction of wildlife and forests, the pollution of air, water, and land that fueled the second wave of industrial growth, followed by the accumulation of debt to be repaid by the future generations that is presently fueling the third phase of industrial growth.
- By stealing wealth from the past, present, and future generations, and concentrating it into a short-lived bubble, people have created the illusion of progress and prosperity. But that bubble has to inevitably burst.
- Science has contributed to the destruction of net economic prosperity by (a) giving people the power to exploit others, (b) stating that there is no meaning to life except sensual pleasure, and (c) mocking the questions of moral responsibility. The stated superiority of modern thinking is based on a swindler’s accounting system that extolls the gains and hides the losses because the losers in this process are either dead or unable to protest.
- Economic progress means improving the quality of consumption, rather than increasing the quantity. Food grown in natural sunlight, air, and soil is better quality food than the food created by industrialization. Clothes that increase our love for the other person is better quality clothing than the one that increases our lust. Housing that keeps the mind calm, and improves immunity, is better quality housing than congested, closed, or noisy housing. Books that enrich our minds with the knowledge of the truth are better quality books than fictional entertainment.
- When the quality of consumption improves, then the quantity of consumption declines automatically. However, to the extent that we cannot improve the quality without reducing the quantity, quantity reduction is a precondition. That doesn’t mean poverty, starvation, or suffering. It means incrementally reducing the quantity to improve the quality, such that the higher quality commands the same economic value as the larger quantity.
- There are practical limits to high-quantity consumption, but there are no such limits for high-quality consumption. When economic growth is based on improving quality, then it can grow endlessly. It is limited only by our ingenuity, not by the scarcity of natural resources. Therefore, spiritual life is not contrary to economic prosperity, provided we define the system of economic growth based on improving quality instead of increasing quantity.
- If science is not causing economic progress, and its various problems are well-known, then what underlies the prestige of modern science? The answer is propaganda, which appears (a) at the level of schools where the true issues of science are never highlighted, (b) in the popular media where any speculative theory that advances the current dogma is highlighted as progress, (c) in the academic journal system where radically different voices that question the current paradigms or propose alternative paradigms are suppressed and excluded, and (d) in the awards, rewards, grants, and promotions for those who comply with the established orthodoxy.
- The question is: What type of people give birth to a science that uses false propaganda to portray its superiority? Don’t the scientists, whom we respect so much, have a conscience by which they can accept their flaws?
- The answer is simple: It is a culture of arrogance and pride, which prevents people from acknowledging their problems. To accept a problem in oneself requires humility. But the culture of arrogance and pride has no humility. It sees the world not through the lens of truth and falsity, but through the lens of friends and enemies. Those who fuel one’s pride are friends, and those who question that pride are enemies. Truth cannot prosper in arrogant people, because they are not interested in the truth; they are only interested in advancing their pride and achieving things that make them feel good about themselves. So, they carry on the delusion, even deluding others, because they cannot accept their mistakes. Their ideology has trained them to value their pride over truth.
- Truth depends on humility, and truth cannot exist in an arrogant culture. Therefore, we don’t even have to analyze the problems of truth. If we find that a culture is arrogant, then we can know for sure that it has no truth and no interest in truth. But you cannot say that, because then they will see you not as truthful but as an enemy.
- When the culture of arrogance takes over a society or an institution, then the destruction of pride leads to nihilism: Either my claims are perfect, or all claims are imperfect. Nihilistic people are destructive and violent. If they cannot prove their supremacy, then they want to destroy everything. Therefore, pride and nihilism are just two sides of the same coin. In Vedic philosophy, they are called the modes of rajo-guna (pride) and tamo-guna (nihilism). A person struggles for supremacy, but if he fails to achieve that, then he becomes destructive, angry, violent, and negative. Now, he claims: There is no truth, right, and good. Why? Because my version has not worked for me.
- Therefore, modern society is imbued with two superficially opposing tendencies—(a) either our version of truth, right, and good is upheld, or (b) there is absolutely no truth, right, and good. The nihilist says: “This is your opinion”, implying that it is just your opinion and not the truth. However, he also says: “I believe”, implying that he is free to consider his opinion the truth. Nihilism is a side-effect of arrogance. Under arrogance, we think that others are wrong. But when our ideas are proven false, then the last bastion of truth—the self—is destroyed. Now, there cannot be any truth, right, and good. Until then, people say: “I believe” asserting their independence.
- We should not confuse nihilism with humility. The person who says “This is your opinion” is not humble; he is a nihilist. The humble person says: “This is not true, right, or good”. That is a constructive claim because it can be debated. It doesn’t relegate anything to anyone’s opinion, doesn’t claim that my opinion is best because I have the right to believe in whatever I do, and doesn’t claim that all opinions are equally relative to the individual.
- Acceptance of a variety of opinions is not humility. Courtesy and politeness to ignorance, immorality, and suffering is not humility. All these are forms of nihilism that have arisen from the destruction of false pride. People have become cynical through a long period of lies, immorality, and suffering. So, they view the world cynically.
- When cynicism is confused with humility, then any claim of perfect truth, right, and good is taken to be arrogance. This is because of a person’s history: He or she thinks that because my version of truth, right, and good has failed, therefore, nobody can know the truth, right, and good. Most people at present are conditioned by arrogance or its opposite, cynicism. They equate humility with cynicism and any claim of idealism with arrogance.
- Rising above arrogance and cynicism is called the mode of sattva-guna in Vedic philosophy, and it constitutes humility. Under that humility, we discard arrogance and cynicism and seek the perfect truth, right, and good.
- Cynicism is opposed to arrogance, and humility is opposed to both arrogance and cynicism. This is due to the nature of qualities in which there are three opposites, rather than two. The third quality of sattva-guna is neither of the two opposites, so it is opposed to the previous two, but not in the same way as the mutually opposed qualities of rajo-guna and tamo-guna. Since these qualities are defined by their mutual opposition, therefore, they are inseparable. And because they are mutually opposed, therefore, they are different from each other. This is another kind of oneness and difference. Like the other forms of oneness and difference, it goes beyond current logic as it recognizes the reality of “neither”, rejecting dualistic either-or. Humility is neither arrogance nor cynicism.
- When humility is practiced, then we find the Absolute Truth that is all the three qualities. So, it is “beyond the three modes of nature”. The knowledge of the Absolute Truth leads to pride, because it is the perfect truth, right, and good. That knowledge leads to cynicism about anything in the separated modes. And yet, the knowledge of the Absolute Truth remains humble in acknowledging the existence and the choice of the separated modes.
- The humility is that the deceitful, immoral, and selfish person is also free to make their choices, and cannot be compelled or coerced into the truth. The cynicism is that their choices are deceitful, immoral, and selfish. And the pride is that the knowledge of the Absolute Truth is free of such deceit, immorality, and selfishness.
- Hence, the transcendentalist cannot be called arrogant, because he is also cynical and humble. He cannot be called cynical, because he is also proud and humble. And he cannot be called humble, because he is also cynical and arrogant. All designations are applicable, and yet, no designation—in the sense of the absence of the other designations—can be applied. A transcendentalist is therefore considered beyond the modes of nature.
Critique: Problems of Modern Science
- A closer examination of modern science, and its contrast with Vedic science, shows us how different they are. Vedic science rejects quantities to uphold qualities. It rejects logical consistency to uphold change by contradiction or attraction. It rejects difference to uphold identity-and-difference. It rejects reductionism to uphold whole-part thinking. It rejects materialism to describe the movement of the soul, rather than of matter. It rejects the modern ideas of space as a box and time as an arrow to describe hierarchical space and cyclical time. Purely material causation is rejected to uphold the causation by soul and God too. Morality is not a human-created law; morality is a natural law, enforced by a universal government. Instead of dividing academia into dozens of departments, Vedic science merges everything into a single subject, which is partially studied in different departments. Now, ordinary subjects such as economics, sociology, psychology, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, or cosmology are not Absolute Truths, and yet, they are not contrary to such truth and can lead us to Absolute Truth. This progressive idea of truth leads to the rejection of classical logic, arithmetic, and all quantitative sciences.
- This critique of modern thinking is essential to grasp the unsolvable problems created by the ideas of radical individualism in social sciences, radical differentiation and reductionism in physical sciences, the notion of absolute true-false distinctions and the equality of all truths in logical sciences, the problems of meaning in mind sciences, the problem of organisms in life sciences, and above all, radical universalism or relativism in philosophy.
- In natural sciences, reductionism leads to problems of understanding the nature of atoms in quantum theory. In logical sciences, absolute true-false distinctions lead to the inability to conceive deeper levels of reality organized in a hierarchical fashion using logical language. The idea that logical truth is also universal truth makes it impossible to understand contextuality. If instead contextuality is imbibed, then contradictions are produced, due to universal notions of logical truth. Materialism in life sciences makes it impossible to understand organisms based on the ideology of independent particles. Individualism in social sciences leads to immorality and selfishness. The inability to reduce meaning to physical particles makes it impossible to describe the mind in mind sciences. Finally, the ideologies of universalism and relativism either force a single truth upon everyone, or reject all notions of truth, right, and good. The critique is harsh, but it is the only way to reject the false dogmas of modern thinking.
Advancement: Bhedābheda and Semanticism
- Bhedābheda can be described in many ways: Whole and part, oneness and difference, a distinction without separation, semanticism, qualitative thinking, perspectivism, and aspectism. It uses alternative ideas of logic and numbers and rejects classical logic, arithmetic, mathematical theories, and all quantitative sciences.
- Clarifying how Bhedābheda is the consequence of a qualitative conception of reality is the next step. Bhedābheda becomes inconceivable when we employ a quantitative view of reality as that creates logical contradictions. Hence it is also called Achintya or inconceivable. Conceivability necessitates a shift from quantities to qualities.
- The qualitative view is semanticism, in which everything is some combination of the three kinds of meanings, namely, sat, chit, and ānanda, or contextuality, universality, and individuality, or the three qualities.
- The clarity in a complex subject is a method; if things are clear then we can call a clarified description “science”. Hence, clearly presenting the above spiritual and material theory is itself a scientific presentation.
- However, we need not be so naive to think that biases are easily overcome, just because the problems of modern science are demonstrable. Given the extent of the problem, it is impossible to incrementally change modern science to create a Vedic science. Such changes will never work because every single idea in Vedic science differs from modern science. As a consequence, it is hard to teach Vedic science to people already accustomed to modern science. They find it impossible to surmount all that they have learned over decades of school and college.
- If Vedic science cannot be evolved by incremental changes to modern science, and it is hard to teach it to those with modern education, then what can we do? The answer is that Vedic science can thrive, grow, and prosper in an alternative system of education, learning, and thinking. If that system grows, then it can overtake its competitors.
- Even according to modern studies on radical changes in ideology, all radical changes occur on the fringes and outside the mainstream. The mainstream ignores these changes, then fights them, but it is slowly overwhelmed by them. To imagine that such changes will occur in the mainstream is to underestimate their radical nature.
Goal: Spiritualization of all Subjects
- In the framework of whole-and-part, oneness-and-difference, qualities-and-meanings, the goal is to present Vedic philosophy as the Theory of Everything. This includes God, soul, matter, and spirit. The presentation must be rational and verifiable, in order to distinguish Vedic philosophy from others who lack such clarity and verifiability.
- Since most people are not inclined toward God, soul, and spirit, therefore, to help them study Vedic philosophy, another goal is to explain the nature of the material world, in a way far better than modern science.
- This requires reformulating modern subjects, such as logic, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, economics, politics, and cosmology, using qualities instead of quantities, oneness-and-difference rather than difference, and semanticism rather than physicalism. By this, Vedic philosophical ideas appear in all subjects, not just religion. By such proliferation, the study of every subject is the study of Vedic philosophy.
- Then, there is the goal of presenting all the above content through mediums such as books, audio, video, essays, papers, discussions, lectures, conferences, and so on. More mediums generally mean more access.
- Thereby, there can be “the science of the soul, God, material, and spiritual worlds”, which is also “the science of logic, numbers, things, mind, society, economy, government, cosmos, etc.”, available in many mediums.
Tradition: Continuity and Novelty
- The Vedic civilization is not just the oldest surviving civilization today but was also the most advanced scientifically and philosophically in a not too distant past. This civilization endures because it preserves tradition. It has been preserved by a succession of enlightened teachers and disciples who stayed independent of political, social, and economic forces, unlike many other systems that compromised their teachings and principles to accommodate such forces. Its time-tested endurance indicates that it needs no compromise for modern times.
- However, great teachers of the Vedic system have also endeavored to present Vedic knowledge according to the needs of time, place, circumstances, and people’s natures, thus seemingly and superficially deviating from the tradition. Esoteric and complex theological doctrines have therefore been historically presented through allegories, examples, stories, and conversations, thus adapting the style to what the receiver may be accustomed to.
- The scientific presentation of Vedic philosophy is a continuation of that trend. The same theology, philosophy, science, and practice can be presented, using the problems of logic, mathematics, physics, biology, psychology, cosmology, economics, sociology, political theory, and organization theory as backgrounds to illustrate Vedic ideas. These are not considered deviations. They are regarded as reformulations of the message, suited for a time.
- The traditional Vedic system was inward-looking, but when the Vedic system is compared, contrasted, and analyzed in relation to other sciences, philosophies, and religions, then it becomes outward-bound. This too can seem contrary to the inward-bound tradition, but it is not a violation of principle. It is a reformulation of the message, although phrased in terms of contrast, comparison, differentiation, and real-world application.
- These reformulations can exist side-by-side with the traditional expressions of the same message. Thereby, these are complementary ways of grasping the message, and each such way presents the same message.
Two Systems of Debate
- Every system of knowledge begins with assumptions and tests their validity against observations. The assumptions constitute a metaphysics and their validation constitutes physics. Modern science makes many metaphysical assumptions: (a) the existence of uniform space and time, (b) that nature is governed by mathematical laws, (c) concepts like particles and waves, mass and charge, which can never be observed, although they are useful in explaining observations. These assumptions constitute a scientific metaphysics—that cannot be verified by observations. The experiments used to test theories constitute physics that can be used to falsify assumptions.
- Productive debates pertain to the usefulness of some metaphysics in explaining some observations. For instance, can the metaphysics of reduction, separation, isolation, measurement, quantification, and mathematical laws explain all the observable phenomena of separation and inseparability? If not, then the metaphysics is useless. Conversely, can the metaphysics of qualities and their associated non-binary logic explain the phenomena of both separation and inseparability? If yes, then the metaphysics is useful. Using the same standard to assess or evaluate two different metaphysics is productive. A double standard for one metaphysics vs. another is unproductive.
- And yet, most people debating these issues tend to use double standards. For instance, atheists seek empirical evidence for one metaphysics (e.g., soul and God), but judge the other metaphysics (particles and waves) by its usefulness in explaining observations. The fact is that the first metaphysics is also useful in explaining some observations. For instance, all legal systems assume that personal identity endures through childhood, youth, and old age. Crimes committed in the past can be prosecuted at present. Money borrowed during college education has to be repaid during the working years. Private property acquired during youth doesn’t become public property in old age. The postulate of a soul explains this identity endurance. It is no more metaphysical than the postulate of a particle or wave controlled by forces and laws is useful in explaining observations of motion. And yet, atheists demand a more stringent criterion of empirical confirmation for the metaphysics they abhor but allow and endorse a more lenient standard of empirical confirmation for the metaphysics they love. This double standard on metaphysics transforms debates into futile arguments. We might be better off without such debates.
- We can demarcate the two systems of debate. The first involves validating any arbitrary axiomatic metaphysics against all the available evidence. The second involves selectively prejudging one metaphysics based on our prior acceptance of another metaphysics. The former constitutes reasoning—establishing if the conclusions derived from the postulated premises match observations. The latter constitute arguments—clashes between two diverging sets of assumptions based on the assumed truth of one set based on partial usefulness in explaining observations. It is often useful to have debates based on reasoning and always useless to have debates based on arguments.
Using Metaphysics to Judge Metaphysics
- Every system of knowledge employs metaphysical assumptions about truth. We might believe that “truth is one”, “the simpler claim is truer”, “truth is beautiful”, “truth is governed by logical principles”, “truth must be necessary and sufficient”, “truth must be consistent and complete”, “truth always wins over lies”, “truth stands alone in the face of adversity”, “truth is eternal”, “truth is powerful”, “truth will set you free”, “truth leads to happiness”, “truth is not always pleasing”, “truth is still truth even if nobody believes in it”, “truth is its own justification”, etc.
- Before any meaningful or productive discussion, we must agree on the metaphysical assumptions about truth. For example, if you believe that “the simpler claim is truer” then you will naturally discard more complex claims in preference for a simpler claim. If you believe that “truth is beautiful”, then the system with greater symmetry and proportionality would be preferred over one that has asymmetry and disproportion. If you believe that “truth must be consistent and complete”, then a system of multiple inconsistent theories that are partially useful for some phenomena would be considered false. If you believe that “truth must be necessary and sufficient” then the absence of logical necessity in any theory would naturally indicate that the theory is false—even if that theory seems empirically sufficient. If you believe that “truth leads to happiness” then you would not be satisfied with a theory that doesn’t tell you how to become happy. If you believe that “truth is still true even if nobody believes in it”, then you would be inclined toward believing even in unpopular theories based on other truth criteria.
- Whatever we call “truth” is sandwiched between a world of facts and a metaphysics of truth. Einstein was once asked—What would have happened if facts had not confirmed your theory? He responded: So much the worse for the facts. Different systems of knowledge assign different priorities to different metaphysical assumptions about truth. Different fields of science assign different priorities to different types of facts. Psychology accepts subjective facts of emotion, belief, morals, etc. as relevant evidence but physics does not. Economics believes that money is objective but other disciplines consider it subjective. If we cannot agree on the physical and metaphysical criteria for judging truth, including the priorities we assign to them, then we cannot have a meaningful discussion.
- We use metaphysical claims about truth to judge the truth of other metaphysical claims. For example, a logically consistent theory is true, while a logically inconsistent theory is false. A beautiful theory is true and an ugly theory if false. A consistent and complete theory is true and an inconsistent and/or incomplete theory is false. A necessary and sufficient theory is true and an unnecessary or insufficient theory is false. The more constraining our metaphysics of truth, the fewer the truth claims. The more permissive our metaphysics of truth, the greater the truth claims. There cannot be a convergence on truth, without a convergence on the metaphysics of truth.
The Limits of Argumentation
- We have noted four discursive criteria—(a) validating the truth of a metaphysics based on a physics, (b) not prejudging a metaphysics based on a prior accepted metaphysics, (c) validating the truth of a metaphysics based upon a consensus metaphysics of truth, and (d) the impossibility of determining the truth of a metaphysics without a consensus on the metaphysics of truth. If all these criteria are applied, then discussions can falsify all that is untrue and verify the metaphysics of truth based upon its usefulness in explaining observations.
- The rational and empirical verification of the metaphysics is not the same as the experience of the truth. There is an important difference between verifying the inferences from some assumptions and verifying the assumptions themselves through a personal experience. We can call these indirect and direct verifications respectively.
- Most discussions don’t even reach the pinnacle of indirect verification that can in principle be achieved by debates because debaters do not agree on the metaphysics of truth. For instance, some people may not agree that truth must be consistent and complete. They might not even agree that truth must be one. They might insist on the possibility of many incompatible truths that are useful in different cases with some limitations. Without consensus on the metaphysics of truth, discussions become infinite and futile. To sustain some belief, truth criteria can be arbitrarily relaxed. They might be applied selectively to some claims than others. This is an exercise in futility.
Verification vs. Experience
- To experience what has been previously verified indirectly, we need a method to bring what is outside current experience (and hence called metaphysics during a discourse) inside experience. That is the path of yoga. The Sanskrit term yoga means “union” or “to join” quite like religion originates from the Latin term religare which means “to bind”. Union, joining, or binding require two things, one of which is the person practicing yoga and the other is the truth. Yoga is the process of encountering the truth, by joining or binding the observer with the truth.
- The discursive process is a preliminary step toward yoga. The discussion of the science of qualities, or the theories of soul and God, is meant to bring a person to the practice of yoga by which metaphysics is converted into an experience. Experience is the direct verification of truth. Otherwise, discourse is limited to indirect verification.
- Discussions are neither necessary nor sufficient. They are not necessary because we can leapfrog indirect verification into yoga and establish the truth by personal experience. They are not sufficient because they can be infinitely long for a person with a malleable metaphysics of truth. Conversely, the method of yoga is both necessary and sufficient. It is necessary because doubt is completely destroyed only by direct experience. It is sufficient because if the truth has been experienced, then other kinds of verification become unnecessary.
- This nuanced position on verification helps us understand the role of science and philosophy: In the ultimate analysis, it is neither necessary nor sufficient. However, it can be very valuable for people who are otherwise unprepared to practice and perfect yoga. Science and philosophy gain importance if and when there is greater cynicism in people’s hearts, greater resistance to the practice of yoga, and lesser willpower to perfect it.