Sunday, December 24, 2006

On thinking - Part I

The text that follows is probably not really coherent. One reason for this might be due to the very topic chosen and the other reason being yours truly writing on the same. I really like what Neils Bohr has to say on this: 'Never express yourself more clearly than you can think'. Having said that, I want to be able to put my thoughts some place easily accessible so that I can work on them later on. Views, critiques and comments are welcome.


The focus of this blog is on: How much of what we call thinking is a mere rearrangement of prejudices and how much is sheer logic. And by the way, what is thinking?

The word think, I think, is taken for granted, so much so that when we say, "I don't think that's a good idea", for instance, we are merely communicating the prejudice we already have about that idea (for example: drunken driving is not a good idea..there is no thinking here) unless ofcourse, we pause for a while..really think and give that reply. You could also pause to recall what your prejudice is, but that would not qualify as thinking or would it?

Look at the number of definitions given by the dictionary for the word think.

One of the definitions given is: to have a conscious mind, to some extent of reasoning, remembering experiences, making rational decisions, etc.

Some key words in these definitions are: conscious mind, rational analysis and recall.

These words are by themselves a bit ambiguous. For example what do I mean by conscious mind? Atleast, when I am awake, I am aware of a mind that does my thinking. Now, I can go one step further and say, who is that 'I' in "I am aware of a mind that does my thinking"? Is that I different from the mind. As in if you say I am aware of my mind, you are larger than the mind right, only then can you look at it as a whole. Now, a great many people are skeptical of the 'I' analysis, they have labelled it philosophy and rightly so.

But I can't proceed even a nano meter further, if I am not clear about what 'conscious mind' means. At this point, we give up and make an abstraction of the term 'conscious thinking' and leave it at that. This gives me an idea that thinking is fundamentally related to what assumptions we make on the meaning of words so as to understand the world. This may seem obvious, since the world we see is mostly described through words and if we are not clear on the meaning of these words, but anyway make descriptions, our model is fundamentally flawed. And the assumptions we make on the meaning of words gives us a coloured, prejudiced view of the world unless the prejudices are proved to be indeed true. And these assumptions are also the building blocks for another word: perspective
Since, thinking seems to change or refine the assumptions we make about the meaning of words, thinking therefore has to do with broadening of our perspective or the model used to view the world.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Of values, string theory and Brahman

Values in general are passed down from generation to generation. The generation wars start when the values are not fully accepted by the younger generation provoking the older generation to make comments like: ' how they used to more obedient to their parents, etc and how the current generation doesn't even listen to their parents, less take the advice.' Anyway, there is a wide gap between the values of the previous generation and the current one. I am being vague on the terms 'previous' and 'current', but you could say 20 years back and now. The reason for this gap, I believe is the progress in science has sort of made a mockery of the religious values and ritiuals. The younger generation wants a scientific reason for following the values/rituals, while the older generation say that these values have been passed down from years, nay eons ago and that they always work well for them. The younger ones as usual cannot simply believe , they want a reason, a logic system, a scientific ground for these values so that they can see for themselves that it indeed works well as their parents/elders say. But fortunately, science has come a full circle with the growth of the revolutionary 'super string theory' which to layman can be explained as: all matter and every thing in the universe is made up of strings of energy. These strings are in a state of continuous vibration and the frequency of their vibrations decides the characteristics of the matter.

This theory currently cannot be proved because the strings are of a very small magnitude(orders of 10^ -33) and can be seen only during the process of creation(of universe),
when enormous amounts of energy is produced.

Anyway, this theory has a common thread with hindu philospohy, where brahman is explained in detail. This brahman(similar to tao, chi, etc) is the source of everything in the universe, it is not only the source, it is also the creative force that manifests itself in the universe, so that we see the things the way they are. A parallel can now be drawn between the 'strings of vibrating energy' and 'brahman' which is also energy albeit of infinte magnitude.

Attempts are being made to gain hopes that string theory could atleast faintly be validated through what are known as atom smashers, one located in us and another in france.
Till then, both the string theorists and hindu philosophers will be true believers.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Philosophy is a subject that can be both intriguing and simple at different times. It's intriguing when some concept or a riddle doesn't make sense, and it's simple when it does. Hence, there are a lot of such concepts which are intriguing at one time, that is before it's explored and which get clarified when sufficient thought has been exercised in an attempt to unravel the paradigm.

Philosophy as I see, is a riddle that takes time, a lot of time to solve, maybe even a life time or more. It is a riddle that keeps increasing in its complexity as one starts fitting the pieces of the puzzle. From a purely intellectual stand point, philosophy is of great appeal since it involves logic which comprises deduction and induction.

When the whole of world is trying to seek knowledge about the outside, the external, the universe in a broad sense; philosophy turns its enquiry inwards, towards the self, the being of the body, towards that entity that is the true identity of man.

This blog is an attempt at intellectually understanding the process of unravellment of the true identity.