The Humble Pebble, The Lofty Hermit (Part 1 of the Lofty Hermit Series)

So there was this hermit on a hilltop. He had been sitting still for so long that anthills grew around him, on him and in him. Trees had dropped their branches and with every wisp of air, the leaves tickled his nostrils. Vines crept mirthfully around him, entangling his thumb with his forefinger. The rain fell as on a pillar, the sun beat down its uv’s, the winds blasted his hair off their sockets and the cold froze his shoulders. Seasons passed, ants crawled, bees buzzed, spiders spun, and he sat on, seemingly oblivious. No water entered those lips, no food touched that belly.

He has attained Nirvana, everyone said, staring at him in awe. They filed past him in reverence which he never saw. They brought him food that he never ate. They adorned his seat with flowers that he never smelled. They chanted his praise that he never heard. They sought his blessings that he never gave. Years passed. He sat still.

He has attained Nirvana, everyone said. He is beyond hunger, thirst and greed, they said. No sorrow, no joy, no emotion could move him, they claimed. His is in the ultimate state, they said. That for which one needs to do penance for years, endure hunger and thirst for eons before they fade away. Forget family, forgo love, shun hate and ignore greed, until one feels that inner peace.

It takes a great deal of introspection, everyone said. Scouring hundreds of religions, thousands of gods, dealing with the mirth of agnostics and philosophical thoughts. It takes grit, they said. And a burning desire to find the truth.

He has attained Nirvana, everyone said, it takes devotion and deep thinking. He is one that has gone beyond the need for food, for water, for love, for plain laughter.  He has attained the sate of nirvana, they said, he is now so still, so unmoved, so without desires and needs, much like the pebble at his foot, everyone said.

The pebble at his foot.

The pebble at his foot had been lying there for years, no one said. They did not file past it in reverence. They never brought it food. They never adorned it with flowers. They never chanted it’s praise. They never sought it’s blessings. Years passed. Vines grew on it, ants danced on it. Spiders crawled, spiders spun. The pebble lay still.

It is beyond hunger, thirst and greed, no one said. No sorrow, no joy, no emotion could move it, no one claimed. It is in the ultimate state, no one said. It has no wants, no hunger, no thirst, no desire, no one said. The pebble must have done penance for years to reach this state, no one said. It is in the ultimate state, that for which one needs to be a seeker for years, endure hunger and thirst for eons before they fade away, no one said.

The pebble is the state of Nirvana, no one said.

It took evolution millions of years, everyone had said, to make the first life form out of rocks and pebbles, reptiles out of amphibians, humans out of monkeys, and even more to refine a hermit out of a human. So had everyone said.

The hermit became a pebble, while the pebble stayed a pebble. Evolution made a human out of a pebble while nirvana made a pebble out of a hermit.

The hermit and the pebble are but in the same state, no one said.

Wrinkles in Time

We see the world as made up of discreet units – living or otherwise The rock, the wave, the shore. The bug, the plant, the carnivore. Tom, Joe and Dumbledore. Each living their parts out on this plane of existence with their various life events, sometimes interacting, mostly self-absorbed, sometimes self-aware and always self-fulfilling.

We think of ourselves as ending in the tips of our toes and fingernails. That the skin encases all that is I, Me or Mine. Our minds define the self as the body that it can immediately control by physical movements and conscious will. The hands, legs, the neck, the mouth…each moving to the will of the mind the puppeteer, or so we think.

But the self really extends beyond. Beyond your pedicured feet and above the frizzy tips of your permed hair. It exudes out into the flower you pluck, the rock you move, the words you type and the pat on the friend’s back. The core of you, the amorphous I, the focus of your existence is not really contained in your immediate body. It is flows into all that you influence. And it does so for everyone, and as our spheres of influences intertwine, we become extensions of one another.

Every single entity has orbs of influences generated by neuronal activity or of potential energy – living or non living as the case may be. Since we ‘feel’ our hands and feet, we think of ourselves as defined by that we can feel and touch or that which is encased within that which we can feel and touch. But our influences very obviously extend beyond what we can feel and touch. We move our hands and we move the rock…the rock a part of you then as much as the hand. The self, the body, the food, the rock, concentric circles radiating from the core…extending all the way into the adjacent orb. Intersecting and intertwining with the circles of those around physically or mentally. The boundaries of the self extending with every influence – intellectual, emotional, purely physical or a permutation of the three or even more. And when you die, the influences die, and you become the core.

Like wrinkles on a sheet of fabric in 3d, pinched out upward, downward or sideways, depending on the pulls and tags on it, we are all but points on a graph in the very same space time fabric, sometimes long and thin, other times extending laterally, influencing the peaks and valleys next to us, and constantly changing the topology of the fabric. We may think we are distinct from the peak to our left, and/or bigger than the one on the right, but we are all but peaks and valleys all the same, off of the very same fabric. Of Space and Time. All made up simply of the exact same sub atomic particles that oscillate between matter and energy, between being and nothingness.

Once you stretch you mind to take this in, you do but stretch this space time fabric and all the wrinkles flatten out into a one unique, rather singular identity. Or none.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eye for an I

Your “I” is your evil ego, lose it, they said; do not think of yourself as an ‘I’. How is that possible, I asked. If I do squish my I into an shapeless mass, devoid of individuality, it is still an I, albeit an amorphous I. Until someday that I transpose viscerally into another perhaps, living or otherwise, I shall remain this very I, and even if I did transpose, the other will now be my I. There is no escaping this I. It is here to stay, said I.

Do not obsess about your I; do good to others, they said, and forget about your “I”. Let your I dissolve into this water nourishing others, they said. Yes, I dissolved my I, but it surfaced in others. What of them, I asked. They are all but I’s, in you and you and you and in him and her and them.

We may give up the little “i” in one to benefit the larger communal I, but the I remains. It becomes even bigger than before, bursting with all the self-righteousness of your selfless deeds. The individual I becomes the collective I.

It is not my I or your I, that we need to lose, if we are to lose the ego, for the ego of one soul is neither different and nor distinct from the collective ego of the species. We need to lose the ego of the race, of being, of existence – of this need for survival of ‘our’ race, ‘our’ species, of this humano-centrism that we are so preoccupied with, of this desire to live out this life, on and on, if we are to truly to find and free ourselves of all I.

I is the thinker and the thought. I is the epicenter of it all. If all is one, one is all, all is I. You, me, I. Every focus of thought is an I – you think you are an I, I think I am I, they think they are each an I, so are we all, all eyes of thought.

Our I’s are but multiple reflections of a singular eye on multiple planes of glass. All scattered in time and space. Rip time, warp space, and you’ll see that there is but one I.

In all. Living or otherwise.

Life – A Fractal Fantasy

 

Fractals are everywhere… in the foliage of the trees, in the waves of the ocean, in the neurons of the brain, in the atom, to the solar system. Fractals pervade all existence.

The idea that the world and life itself are a tapestry of intricately woven fractals is nothing new. When fractals were discovered, it became quite apparent that they are everywhere. Some fractals are obviously simple recursive units, other more complicated copies of multi themes. However, our mind seems to compartmentalize our knowledge as theories and realities and more often than not fails to apply  theory to the reality. Even when the idea is no longer a theory but a fact.

For it is the whole that the mind grasps, not as a sum of it’s parts.

Once we realize that all existence is but a fractal, a conglomeration of multi fractals within fractals, we are no longer intimidated by the complexity.

Fractals not only remind us that the manifest world is really very simple, if one focusses on the unit rather than the whole, but also provide an answer to the big question, how could this complicated world arise out of nowhere. When one looks at the sea, the trees, the rivers, the sky, the stars, the bugs, the birds, and of course the ever-present teeming millions of humans, the mind reels from the complexity and variety of life, of nature, of matter. Many a mind has been boggled with confusion at the sheer complexity of existence. The mind wonders, how could such complexity have evolved? And therefore invents a superpower to create it. Then over the ages, the superpower acquires more accessories in terms of myths and miracles and voila, a religion is born. But is the universe really that complex? All existence is really simple. Simple, elegant and therefore deeply understandable – if only we look for the core of everything.

This stretch of existence that we call ‘Life’ is but a unit of a mega fractal with multiple planes of existence both emotional and physical. On a larger scale, it is composed of life-life interactions, such as the food web, the matings, the emotional interchanges, and the drama they beget. This mega scale is but a fractal of individual life forms which in turn are fractals of cells. The basic unit of the cell are the biochemical processes that generate energy, energy within the cell to respirate, to replicate. And when one bores down these biochemical processes, they are but chemical reactions. All life boils down to this – chemical reactions. And all chemicals are but made of the  very same subatomic particles. And so are all galaxies, all cities, all populations, all life, all atoms, all subatomic particles…a part of this multi fractal, each getting closer and closer to the core as it gets smaller and smaller.

It is not just the tangible things that could be part of fractals, but the intangible as well. We scream as anger ebbs in us, the scream the fractal of tiny emotional outbursts in the neurons. After all, neurotransmitter molecules rule the brain. Their interactions along the neuronal walls fractalize to form emotions.

Even our quest for knowledge follows the fractal pattern. Just as we are unaware of what lies before or after life, we ponder over the before and after of the world’s existence. On a smaller scale, we ponder about the subatomic particles and what lies within.

Will we ever fully understand every nuance of this tangled world? As scientists, we chip away at the mysteries, one rock at a time, at various points on the fractal, hoping that all this knowledge, aggregated, would solve the puzzle for us. But this manifest universe is infinite and there are infinite factoids that can be mined within it and therefore this approach will never offer complete knowledge of this universe, which is by definition infinite. It hence follows that it would serve us much better to hone in on the unit of which all this is comprised so that we may extrapolate the rest.

We need to rethink our thinking. We need to shed the complexity. We analyze loads and loads of data, make connections and draw conclusions. We are trained to see the ‘big picture’ and oftentimes forget that the picture is but a sum of its parts. We get entwined in the arms of the fractals, mired in their apparent complexity, while life’s secrets lie in plain sight, in the sublime core.

 

 

 

Our (il)Logical Fallacies

Save my dog, eat the chicken. No, you cannot eat a horse, but a lowly pig is fine. My religion, my god, my beliefs are fine, yours are the pits. My country, my way. My great grandparents migrated, but you cannot. I can slay the natives, you bow down to us when you come in. Speak my language or else! Save the soon to be extinct walrus so my great-grandkid gets to see it in an aquarium. My bigotry is better than yours. Think my way or think not? Oh, yes, we are a free people.

This seemingly hypocritical way of thinking is but logic gone wrong.

The human mind is rife with inconsistencies. The root cause of which might just be an evolutionary advantage of having ‘preferences’. In countries where the average skin color is lighter, people tan themselves to cancer and where dark is the norm, fairness creams rule the roost, perhaps as a way of standing out and attracting better mates. While we publicly espouse equality, we secretly harbor notions of superiority.  Prejudices can be harmless unless of course they morph into mass hysteria.

Apart from the fact that such logical fallacies cause much human angst, and even war, they also cause the human mind to get stuck on a discordant note in their beliefs. We each have our plateau. We take our train of thoughts so far and then, stop. As the human mind evolved and consciousness started peeking out from underneath the layers, awareness dawned. And with awareness came curiosity. Curiosity not just of how this world works, but why.

Science evolved. Experiments came up with amazing discoveries or proofs of discoveries every once in a while, adding to our repertoire of knowledge.  Technology evolved. And with that, came a whole new way of thinking. We started to channel our collective thinking force into inventing the next smart apparatus that would make life easier, or provide better entertainment.

The minds that brooded over technicalities of logic started brooding over the technicalities of a smarter car. The curious minds that shaped the birth of philosophies were put to use to design the next solar panel. For all external appearances, life changed dramatically, but the life of the mind – not so much.

How far have we really come, form our earliest thinking days? Not far, not far at all. Our lifestyles dictate that introspective thinking take a back seat to applied thinking. Of what use is it to brood over the meaning of life when brooding over the next political hopeful in an syndicated column can fund your next meal and possibly car?

What we really need is introspection and involution. We have collectively decided that philosophical brooding is best left to feudal lords with trust funds and the best minds should be applied, well, to so called applied science. How then, will we ever solve this puzzle that we call life?  After all,  it took experimental physicists over a 100 years to ‘prove’ with their tools, what Einstein’s brain churned out, with his “thought experiments”. We need to get out of our comfort zone and rethink the universe we live in and rethink our very existence. Pure and simple thinking, the fountainhead of knowledge is as yet too underrated, as a stand alone tool, to decipher the world.

Think.

 

The New Epoch

The New Epoch

By S. Ganapathy

The human species has entered a new phase, an exciting phase- combining physics with metaphysics. It is of course difficult -even perplexing for those in the earlier generation to comprehend and grasp fully the mindset of this new epoch we are in. It is not just the generation gap  but something mystic. A metaphoric expression, as it were.  This epoch baffles the conventional psychologist- Freud as well as the  Jung school.
I have had the privilege of long discussions with noted psychologists in the 50s and we covered in our talks  major psychologists from Hevelock Ellis to Addler. I do believe that psychology as a science and a clinical discipline has its limitations. There are aspects of human behavior which are yet to be unraveled by psychology –  It is becoming increasingly obvious that there are aspects of life which are apparently  not amenable to reason or logic. 

Psychology fashionably describes these aspects as periods of depression. because of an inability to comprehend and appreciate the epochal aspects of an emerging behavioral pattern, the tendency is  to categorize these aspects as symptoms of depression. The new epoch is just not something that could be held captive by a terminology. It is an error if it is sought to be explained by a common psychological phrase – depression   The new Epoch is an attempt to interconnect the physical with the metaphysical. One of my late friends who was a professor of physics in the university of Mysore and an acknowledged scholar was fond of saying that metaphysics begins where physics ends. This is a pithy statement, too concise to encompass adequately the truth.
The new epoch is naturally going through a struggle to weld  the two critical thoughts into a single alloy. The struggle will triumph. To illustrate the point, the child of the new generation talks of  biology, ecology and  mathematics are a kind of fulcrum while simultaneously his thoughts  dwell on the validity of existence. He seeks for meaning and the purpose of life. Whenever he airs his quest aloud, the elders – the other generation folks are alarmed. This is not normal for the boy they exclaim in chorus. And the  experts pronounce their judgment.  What a pity! The elders, the experts and the other generation, as a whole have become obsolete, outdated- their relevance and validity are lost. One should recall  Lord Tennyson’s immortal lines “Old Order changeth yielding place to new, lest one good custom should corrupt the world ( and the truth)”
So all that burdened inferences and conclusions have long outlived their relevance. The emerging thoughts and attitudes coming out of the intellectual  “New Epoch ” foundry have already replaced  an untenable old order.

The Call Of The New Order

The emerging epoch  is obviously a synthesis and the world which is slowly waking up, to this totally new and hitherto hidden phenomenon,  stands at the cross road . It is a kind of revival of the evolutionary process, if one wants to describe the unfolding in the terminology of physical science (biology) . But I think the emergence of the new epoch is beyond reach .  May be it can be surmised loosely as a cosmic transformation, the relevance of mysticism is still to be understood.  Metaphysics has to be acknowledged… Survival has reached the point when synthesis of the physical and the metaphysical  has become the only way.

The new epoch will be the product of this synthesis. This leads us to the realm of consciousness, mysticism and metaphysics. Consciousness is the fundamental concept of metaphysics in the same sense that energy is the fundamental concept of physics Awareness and being alive ,a synthesized order is unfolding  Synthesis of the physical and the metaphysical is the New Order.

The great synthesis!

The flowing force

Of time and change

The twilight hour is drawing to a close

Dawn is breaking – A New Epoch  –

A New Order replacing the Old Order. Synthesis of the physical and the metaphysical. And the Bard who sang paeans of the French Revolution (Wordsworth) would today exclaim “Bliss is it in this dawn to  be alive and be consumed by this cosmic synthesis.”

The SAGA has begun.

We will watch the breaking of dawn from the ring-side and resume in 2013

 

 

Beyond Science, Beyond Religion

 

***This blog will remain in a constant state of flux, between the edited and the updated…constantly changing…like life itself…evolving as thinking evolves…***

Some of the world’s dominating religions would like us to think that only a couple thousand  years of human civilization are relevant and that the world was either comatose or in a state of moral and psychological chaos before their inception. However, human race has been flourishing for over 5000 years and surely the inquiring mind came up with other workable theories before then. Of course it is hard to put a ‘date’ on some of the older religions such as Judaism and Hinduism. While Judaism may be more streamlined, Hinduism is more akin to branches of alternate thinking tied together by some commonalities.

However, this is not a treatise on religions and I am sure there are ‘experts’ towards that goal, the point is not which one of these religions is superior and which one decreed as the ultimate by a higher form, but rather how relevant are these systems and where do they stand today?

Religions are but theories of this enigma called life – how it came to be, why it came to be and a how-to – at least for those who need or want a set of instructions to go with it. Religious thinking evolved as human consciousness evolved. Religions started as an exquisite marriage between the need for social norms to ensure societal survival and the more individualistic mind yearning for answers to profound yet fundamental questions. Some amount of individualism has to be sacrificed for communal good and this would only happen if those rules were etched in so called holy books and trimmed with futuristic consequences extending oftentimes into the afterlife. This ensured that society sailed more smoothly.

However, over the years, the religions gathered more and more moss, traditions got tarnished with superstition, high priests established themselves as demigods and more importantly, many of the basic tenets of the religions lost their relevance. But then peoples’ minds had become so mired in the rituals and moors of the religion they were born into that it became impossible to break free. The fear of consequences and now and in the life after, fear of excommunication and ridicule kept the outliers more inline, bound by the chains of their religion.

The mind continued to think, ask questions, science evolved, aided by the few who ventured into the woods, their logic and scientific methods as tools of choice to chip away at this mystery called life. Science developed as the logical alternative to religion, the pathway of the mind as a flowchart of ifs, hows and whys. Theories were formed, tested, some proven with tools created. The proofs however limited by the tools.  How can you measure that for which there is no tool…yet. Do all tools have to be of the physical form? Thought matters, is that tool enough?

However, as of yet, science does not have all the answers, especially so for the big questions  such as the ‘why’ of life. Science as it is today and religion are both but crutches, temporary aids to living life. If one limits science to materialistic tools, that is. Religion, limited by logic, science limited by its tools. But the mind yearns to go beyond beyond science and religion, knowing that it knows nothing yet. Science has been merely chipping away at the edges of questions, religion shrouds them with a cloak of theories.

It is because of the limitations of the knowledge we have today that religion is still filling in the cracks, as a band aid, an instant gratification of sorts, so the mind could then look beyond the questions and get on with this mundane life. There has always been a constant tug of war between religion and science. Those that stick to empirical formulas and facts limp behind, forever caught in the duality of living a life they have not fully understood yet while those mired in religious beliefs go on unperturbed, but ignorant.

What if the mind broke free? Of every tenet, every decree, every tradition of their religion? What if we stood naked, draped only by our thoughts, evolving, spinning a web around us? Is it possible? More often than not, it is the fear that something ‘bad’ would happen that keeps us from this nakedness. The fear of some materialistic loss in this life that we lead as a consequence of our transgression. Ridicule of friends and family or fear of an after life in hell. What if we rose from such fears and did stand tall?

What then, where then, is the answer? The mind screams. Its neither science as it stands today nor religion. It is something beyond, an off shoot of their intersection. Some minds cling on to religion in order to fill in those gaping holes science is yet to fill. Is this necessary? Why not leave the unanswered questions just as they are, unanswered, instead of spinning theories to mask them? Whom are we cheating? What does religion accomplish today anyway? There is more strife, hatred and abject terrorism in the name of religion than any positive consequence from it. Individuals may seek and obtain peace, or even respite from the unsettling nature of life’s deep questions as they rest on their deeply ingrained religious beliefs, but then they give up on true liberation, and get mired forever in the web of hypocrisy.

The only valid argument religionist have had so far is that science has not answered any big questions yet. However, we should stop considering the scientific method from the purely physical nature that it has now, and explore other planes of thoughts. We need to extend science beyond what is today. It is at present an analytical tool on the observable universe. We need to extend it and go further into metaphysical and ethereal realms.

If we are to find the essence of all, we need to look beyond the tools of the physical world, beyond tools such as microscopes and telescopes. What we need  are thought accelerators more than particle accelerators. We need to delve deep into thought and introspection. It is a deep knowing, not defined by our thoughts, beyond our thoughts, not quite a feeling, but a subconscious perception that comes when one sheds all, accepts all, brings the inside to the outside into one seamless existence. It is  a personal strife, a personal journey that encompasses all, undefined by words or even thoughts or emotions.

A sanyas of the soul.