Mediocre Minds Plead Reason, Higher Ones Transcend It …
Right from the beginning man has been in pursuit of acquiring knowledge. Initially he did it with the observations of the surroundings. Subsequently this study of surroundings was named as science. The sciences explained how the events take place, what are the causes and effects of particular events. This development of science took place in the background of religious beliefs where the rituals were mainly related to some unobservable results. For example the religious beliefs asked people to do good to get wealth in heavens. Sciences asked them to follow a particular series of acts to get wealth in this world. The religion asked for unobservable results mainly based on faith while the sciences asked for observable outcomes based on achievements. Human psychology preferred the later. People found sciences more convenient to them.
This preference was based on the observation of people that this world is objective which has an ultimate reality. They thought that this ultimate reality could be discovered through the scientific discoveries. This belief of people that the ultimate reality is discoverable through some scientific procedures was strengthened by those procedures themselves. When the science broke a particle a new sub-particle level was found. It was, therefore inferred that one day as the technology provides a suitable gadget the ultimate sub-level will be discovered and thereafter the sciences will reach their ultimate peak. This optimism of people about the ultimate reality through the scientific methods made them develop a psychological mental framework regarding the superiority of sciences, matter, objectivity, reason etc.
Today people draw their heritage based on this mental framework. This is how the people perceive this world. They perceive that science undertake experiments on matter; objective results are obtained; these results have reasons behind them.
The world exists and proceeds independently. Some observers call it a creation of god and the others call it a product of Big Bang. This world without being thwarted by people’s interpretation and perception exists and continues in its own mode. The difference is extended only to the perception. The process of the world does not halt to wait for one or the other perception, this keeps proceeding on. However, in the era of Copernicus, Galileo, then
Maxwell, Faraday, Laplace etc. this framework of objectivity, materialism etc.
was further substantiated and enhanced. For them the world was composed of
matter and the matter was the only reality. Newton
Then it came the twentieth century. A scientific revolution also came along with. Einstein, Heisenberg, Dirac, Plank, Bohr, Bose, Schrödinger and a lot more scientists joined the stride. Einstein told people that it was not the matter only but the energy was also equally important. Matter and energy were inter-convertible. When this all was on, Heisenberg put forward his revolutionary idea. He said that the position and velocity of a particle both cannot be ascertained simultaneously with the same precision. He gave a particular number that the imprecision would always be greater than that number. As per Prof. Dave MacCallum,
November 20th, 2000 later it was realized that
Heisenberg's uncertainty principle applied not only to the relationship between
momentum and position, but between non-continuous observables. If the spin of a
particle in the z direction is known, then the spin in the y direction cannot
be known. This is equivalent to the probabilistic aspects of quantum mechanics
demonstrated in the Stern-Gerlach measurements and in the interpretation of the
wave-equation. These probabilistic results are quite disturbing for a belief in
absolute truth. Please recollect it, that it was the science itself which
propagated the idea of the absolute truth at some sub – sub- atomic level of
the matter. That idea was put at the stake by the scientific theories
Not only Heisenberg was shaking this belief of absolute truth but others were also doing something similar to that. The French research scholar de Broglie proposed that the matter can be a particle and wave both simultaneously. This was something similar to saying that the life can be a cat and a vacuum simultaneously. The first time sciences were facing a problem. This was the problem of insufficient diction of the language. This was the same problem which was initially felt by Wittgenstein and then shrouded A J Ayer and his
circle of logical positivists.
Nevertheless this problem was encountered through the other discipline of
knowledge i.e. the philosophy. Vienna
Coming back to the science, Schrödinger is known for his declaration regarding the demise of the matter. Another contemporary, Neil Bohr was also saying the same thing but in different words. Neil Bohr proposed the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory, which asserts that a particle is whatever it is measured to be (for example, a wave or a particle), but that it cannot be assumed to have specific properties, or even to exist, until it is measured. In short, Bohr was saying that a particle may or may not exist at the same time. In other words he says that the objective reality does not exist.
Feeling not much satisfied with this quantum theory Einstein was busy with theories of relativity. After his special theory he gave his general theory of relativity. Here he concluded that the velocity of light was the maximum velocity for any object to attain. He also postulated that when the speed (velocity) of an object is increased some strange effects start to ensue. The mass of the object start increasing, its length begins contracting and for it the time would start dilating. At a speed equal to that of the light its mass would be infinite, its length would be zero and there would be no time passing for it. At a speed comparable to that of the light- mass, time and length they all lose their usual meanings, as you know them now.
These conclusions of Einstein attack the “Reality” in two ways. Firstly, as no action can move faster than light therefore the mankind is always constricted to have a very limited glance of the universe. They can not know the universe as it is “Now and Here”. If a space station receives a signal from a celestial body ten billion light years away then it means that they view that celestial body as it was ten billion years back and they have no means to know how it is now. Today’s picture would be available ten billion years henceforth. This is a mechanism in the nature itself that it has not allowed you to look it “all at once”.
Secondly, the mass, length and time will be in a different existence at the relativistic speeds. Some learned ones say that at the speed of light as no time passes therefore any one can go any where and no time would pass for him. He may cover any distance within no time as the time would infinitely dilate for him. They say that this would be further easy by the contraction of length. At the relativistic speed all great distances would be reduced to zero and hence there would be no problem to cover them. But the nature is not so accessible. As soon as the speed becomes relativistic its mass approaches to become infinite. Hence no physical body can ever attain the speed of light.
This has one more aspect. Mass, length and time the three basic dimensions would be in different type of existence at the relativistic speeds. This theory scientifically shows that the existence can be there in different and more than one form, which you are acquainted with. This may be a great scientific lesson for those who are prone to refute things if these are not familiar things. Einstein is teaching a lesson that familiarity should not be set as a pre-requisite to accept new knowledge.
Contemporaneously, after Heisenberg's wave challenge to the particle theory of matter de Broglie a French scientist, as stated above came forward and submitted his Ph.D. thesis postulating that at the sub-atomic level a particle can be both – a particle and a wave simultaneously. Science did not find anything wrong with this postulate. This theory of “Dual Nature of Matter” opened a new vista for the thinkers that a linguistic contradiction is a hurdle only before the languages. The existence of nature has no problems with contradictions. For the first time in the human history “Contradictions in terms” were assigned a suitable place in the dust bin of knowledge.
Those who accept the new knowledge only if it is “contradiction – free”, should now reconsider their premises. The science never takes recourse of logic. It pursues observations. It then generalizes those observations and this generalization is called a scientific law. Logic is used by those who are not scientists, and want to discover the ultimate knowledge with the help of languages they use. They presume that their language is all capable.
To dispel there such belief consider one example. In Songhay, a language of African Sahara region, there are about 87 words pertaining to sand and 34 words for oasis. Each of these words has a specific reference to its individuality. If one has to translate a paragraph from Songhay language to a European language having almost single words for each of the sand and the oasis, then the one has to lose some information each time one so translates. This is a drawback of the languages and not of the existence i.e. the sand or the oasis. Languages are generated by the past experiences of that section of population. It contains only those descriptions which this society has already encountered in the past. For a new incident, the languages always hesitate as they are unequipped.
Logic proceeds on syllogism. In syllogism a conclusion is deducted from the relationship of two earlier sentences called premises. It is all about the relationship, harmony and conjunction of these threes sentences, however they are called propositions. The father of syllogism Aristotle himself defines syllogism as "a discourse in which, certain things having been supposed, something different from the things supposed results of necessity because these things are so." (24b18–20). This syllogism discovers nothing new. It merely analyzes the internal harmony of the “premises” and the “inference”. It is only analytic. It tells nothing new. It is merely an attempt to find, create and propose such sentences of language which are devised to avoid contradictions. Logic does nothing more than this.
Prior to touching another aspect of this article one more answer is required to be given to the logists. They say that Logic is the art of conforming one's thoughts to the Law of Identity. The law of Identity, as propounded by Aristotle says that everything existing exists with a unique identity. This unique identity is composed of attributes of that thing. Two different things cannot have all the same attributes.
It is sufficient here to say that this is nothing more than an approximation of this macro world where Aristotle, John, Plato, Ramesh, and their families and animals etc. exist and come under the purview of Law of Identity. Probably the large scale production of factories producing goods with the same parameters violates this law of identity. It is not clear if Aristotle could be able to propound the same law had he seen the million of pieces of a product of a toy produced by a Chinese factory, producing five million pieces per day for a length of six months. Some people might find some emotional problem here, so let’s move to another instance.
There are two types of subatomic particles – fermions and bosons. Fermions have some characteristic values assigned to them (called their quantum numbers) while the bosons do not. No two bosons are distinguishable from each other. Are they all one – as per the Law of Identity? If not, is this some illusion? Scientists say that these bosons contribute more than the contribution of fermions in this universe. Then, for being violative of the Law of Identity, is this world a hallucination? Those who cite Aristotle even for curing a rotten tooth will not find a satisfying answer here. Leave them.
Now come to “reason”. (As per Wikipedia) The concept of reason is connected to the concept of language, as reflected in the meanings of the Greek word "logos", later to be translated by Latin "ratio" and then French "raison", from which the English word derived. As reason, rationality, and logic are all associated with the ability of the human mind to predict effects as based upon presumed causes, the word "reason" also denotes a ground or basis for a particular argument, and hence is used synonymously with the word "cause".
A few things about “Reason” should be made clear. “Reason” is associated to those things which are the past expereince. No reason can be addressed to some new situations. No body can reason the behaviour of a human body on a new planet. For that he needs to know the pressure, temperature, oxygen etc. over there and then he would relate those variables to his past experience as to how a varied composition of these variables affects a human body. No body can address a reason for a planet X having an atmosphere of gas Y and a temperature T and pressure P unless some pre-known values are given to these variables X, Y, T, P. You can not rely upon a reason until select to be revolving in a given periphery of already known situations.
What has been seen so far is that the logic is nothing but a linguistic game like a game of riddles and puzzles. Reason makes you revolve round in a given periphery and by its nature it is deaf for the unknown circumstances, may it be of unknown future or of unknown experience. It is useless there. The logic and the reason both follow the languages. They end where the languages end. The languages are not natural. They are artificial. The logic and the reason stand even on a lowere padestal simply because they need that artificial language for their own life.
Only the science remains to explore new things. It reveals new aspects of the existence but not through the logic or the reason. It does so through the observation and the explorations. That is why sometime on a new discovery they do not have a diction-backup and use some ad-hoc words like Young’s modulus, Raman effect, Chandrashekhar limit or Hubble Telescope. The sciences do not follow languages. They follow the existence. But here again there is a problem, however of different kind.
Sceinces put a limitation on the ultimate effort of revealation of “THE EXISTENCE”. One cannot go down breaking the matter beyond a particular level fixed by Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. One can not go beyond a particular distance in space and that limit is already there in Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. The existence is not available to you at all levels and all distances.
The existence is to be explored below the Heisenberg’s limit and beyond the Einstein’s limit. Sceince is not able to cross this scientific limit. New ways are to be devised. Age old tools of logic and reason, both made up of tautological material, are to be abandoned. New ways are to be evolved. But how? And what?
We will discuss it in the next article – “In The Pursuit Of Higher Consciousness”.
This article tells how people mislead themselves by supposition that the logic and the reason are the supreme tools of finding truth. These are only the linguistic games. The sciences themselves put a sceintific limit on the efforts to find the ultimate knowledge. This article raises the question then where is the way out.
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