Sunday, November 28, 2010

Anatomy of man's realities

Anatomy of man’s realities- - some metaphysical facts simplified  

 Man, at every given age in history,thought very high and proud about his knowledge of the external world . . .always at certain degree higher than that of his predecessors. Same is the case with our age too - we  are extremely proud of our mastery over our environment ,and our deep reach into the secrets of nature. We feel that we are far superior in knowledge than our predecessors.

But the imbalance between our knowledge about the external world,and the knowledge about the seeker, about ourselves, is glaring. We are far behind in our knowledge about matters of who we are, and why our realities are the way they are! It will be quite interesting to have a bit serious look at man’s day to day realities, especially our collective realities about the world as it appear in our print and electronic media. We can check why and how the world depicted by the media remain the way it is; its genre, usual myths around it, and how absolute is it ,and  whether we could take it as a common for all, collective reality ?Hope our age is intellectually quite mature to have some decent thoughts on the said subject.

Some fundamental classification of realities

We here are concerned only about the now and here realities of our day to day world, not the absolute reality concerning theme and concept of life and existence. The former is what takes place in front of our eyes, the closest to us in time and space. Rain is a reality when it wets you. It is with you now in time and space, hence it is very real to you.  Heat of sun upon sea water, formation of cloud etc.(the prerequisites for the rain) are also realities, but not as real as the rain that wets you now. In other words, the cause of the rain is more distant in time and  space. 

In this sense, the absolute realm of reality, about who we are and why we are here, is the ‘farthest’ in time and space for man, so it is the most unreal. Here we may have to accept the two distinct realms of time and space - - -one, the now and here realm, and the other, the realm of eternity. Man is capable of conceiving both the realms as 'possible intuitions', if we lend that usage from Kant.  

So instead of calling it a kind of ‘absolute’ reality, let us classify it as ‘cause’ rather than ‘reality’. This distinction  between cause and reality would end some confusion for the mind. Before our knowledge advancement,man did not know the secret cause behind rains, but now the cause has become a reality. Likewise, many of our root cause in the absolute reality realm is becoming part of our daily reality realm, as we advance in our knowledge.

Public reality and private reality

The 'here and now' class of reality again can be divided into two categories: public reality and private reality. Till an experience is shared with one or more persons, it can be called a private reality. The reality of clouds behind the incident of rain was once a private reality in the mind of a single person,(the scientist) as an idea, but when he could demonstrate it to the world rationally, it has become a public reality, though some distance away in time and space from the reality of rain. When the private theory of rain had appealed to the reason of one and all, it has become a public reality.

Many a times, certain kind of private realities never ever stand demonstrable to the other person as an object of the sense organs. For example,love and pain, or an intense spiritual ecstasy are very real and close in time and space, but one can only experience it very subjectively within him. But for the ones who have had similar experiences for themselves before, such experiences also become public reality upon its sharing with  others. 

When two individuals caught up in the enigmatic passion of love,the intensity and reality of it can be experienced only by themselves at those moments of ecstasy. Both partners express their deep most, never ever expressed dimension of life, create special realities between
them, and then add-up such newly found realities to their respective selves. In this unique act, both become a kind of new individuals.

Hence, upon break-up in love, men and women get their such special entities lost, at least momentarily for a period of time.  When a sizable majority agree upon the reality of such human experiences, it gains the status of  a public reality. 
Primary realities and secondary realities

This classification would consist both aspects of the fundamental divide - -‘here and now’  realities, and the remote- - what is located in the obscurity of time and space, in the realm of ultimate causes. Most men are tied-up with the here and now. It is primary for them. But for a minority few, causes are more primary than the resultant ‘now’. For them the remotest realities are primary, and the here and now- what is close to them in time and space is secondary. at least in the degree of relevance. Sages of all kind,and the spiritually oriented general public belongs to this category.  Meditation is a technique that helps one to ward off the spell of of the here and now reality  at least momentarily. Gradually and by regular practice,they could make the realm beyond here and now, a part of their regular reality of life. It is an attempt to make a different canvas of the world to place oneself in, in the course of life and to offer it a deeper dimension.   

Mind, our sole and exclusive organ of knowing both kinds of realities 

Like one’s nose or eyes, mind would be better understood if we look at it as another organ - - with its limited range of reach. Eyes can see only limited distance in the world, and ears and nose too give us data it captures within its limited range. Likewise, our mind organ also gives us  only such preset drama of life as famously found by our modern era’s greatest philosopher Emmanuel Kant. 

Mind is similar to a forcibly worn color spectacles on man by nature . …to make us see life and world the way it has been preset or preordained for our special kind of perception. We can not ever cross this barrier of mind in its usual application, and understand absolute reality, or the reality ‘in itself’. We see and understand a given object or reality only as our subjective ‘impression’ it has created in our mind. This impression has nothing to do with what the object is ‘in itself’. Kant said that such absolute ‘in itself’ reality is well within the reach of man but  only through ‘the faculty of 'intuition’.  He has not elaborately touched upon the details of  this unfamiliar  route of intuition. But he however certified the findings of science, as science has nothing to do with  the ‘in itself’ aspect of any reality.  Science is concerned only with how, and to what extent it could serve man’s  practical purposes of life.

This revolutionary idea about Kant’s notion of reality has philosophical similarity with the finding of the great scientist Heisenberg, in his ‘uncertainty’ principle. When the scientist had attempted to study the jump of an electron as an independent phenomenon, what he could learn was that, the jump of the electron was merely its reaction to the probes he had introduced to study the phenomenon. These two findings of the great men throw doubt as to whether an ‘in-itself’ reality really exists at all for objects in the scheme of existence. What man could observe is only the object’s ‘REACTION’ to the seeker. This reaction is what we carry as our impression about such objects, relation or experience., in the name of reality. For a new born baby, his/her mother's breast is an altogether different reality than what  it would be for her passionate lover. The object is same, but for both the parties, it is unimaginably different reality!

Close similarity of our other sense organs with the organ of mind

It is interesting to note the close similarity of mind with our other sense organs - -our ear drum will burst if exposed to sound beyond its capacity to bear. Eyes will go blind if exposed to extremely bright light, beyond its maximum range. It can not see objects smaller than its usual range. A mighty world of microbes exists in the world beyond man's eyes-range. Similar is the case of his nose and ears - -if our ears could hear all the  frequency of  sound in the world, he could never have been able to sleep. 

Very similarly, mind also will break if exposed to extreme emotions like fear, grief or even confusion. In short, what we enjoy  or experience as life is not an independent ,
'in itself 'phenomenon as we generally think.  It is a specially prepared menu for man, and for each of the species.

Our so called 'free will' is merely our freedom to respond to this life the way we feel fit,and in this process of reacting freely, create our own entity, and our own world. In short, mind in its routine, its usual use, provides him with series of specialized realities, and in this process gives birth to his entity as a unique individual. 

Few central features of man’s realities

Will our usual seeing things, processing it and making impressions in our mind make realities? No. Such subjectively formed impression has to be shared or communicated with at least one more person, and when both agree on it, it has attained the status of a reality. Think what would have happened if Einstein did not have anyone in the scientific community to understand and realize his theory of relativity during his time? All such unexpressed ideas and impressions would remain only as ‘subjective’ fiction, like an unborn child, till it is shared with the world.  Millions of supernovas and other remote cosmic events might be taking place every moment of time  in the far away galaxies but man live his life in his corner only with his 'known 'realities. Such unknown realities do not at all exist for him. Man makes his world with whatever is known to him, and familiar to him.

This essential fact about the origin of reality strongly points towards the very  secret behind the phenomenon of existence itself - - -creation of universe, and then the parking  of entities therein with a mind like organ  was for the very sake of the origin of realities, and for  the birth of entities for relishing such realities! It was an act of transforming nothingness into something . . .or singleness into duality. If the first step in this duality process was  a knowing mind and the objective phenomenon as 'feed' for the mind, the second step was setting up  many minds  (society) to interact  each other and create realities together.

1)     Hence, the first ingredient in the making of realities was the ‘duality’ in the scheme of existence. Hence the theory is, for origin of any reality, there should be at least two agents, the communicator and the receiver. This explains the existential  relevance of    ‘duality’.

But the necessity of  duality for the origin of reality need not always  be two individuals . . .it could be a duality within the same individual itself, between two divisions of his self. One part of the division is  his personality, his subjective entity he displays before others, and the other what he thinks of himself. Every one is familiar with the ‘phenomenon of self-talk’, the reasoning with oneself.  Man creates realities  within him whenever interaction takes place between two of his said internal entities. 


2) When something is expressed by one and grasped by the other, a reality is born .But does it qualify for the status of ‘objective’ reality - -independent of both parties? No again. Both could keep only their own subjective ‘impression’ about the agreed thing or experience. Words originated as sound symbols to identify such agreed upon items, and  language developed to express such ideas in human society. Everyone knows that a given word creates different images in the minds of people,according to his familiarity  with the subject item or idea. But our practical purpose of communication stood solved by the invention of language,irrespective of such dissimilarity of images that words create in the mind of the parties.

3) The third ingredient that influence the making of reality is the varying degree of familiarity  with the given object or relation for the communicating parties. Everyday and every moment, man add up new experiences to himself. It is like a mathematical aggregate, added-up with smaller sums. Elephant is an entirely different entity for its mahout than a casual onlooker because ,the mahout’s familiarity with the animal is far greater than that of the casual on looker. Thus it is different realities for both the parties.  Quality of such ‘impression’ of external realities thus differs constantly, depending upon the then quantum of the aggregate. So, this  'aggregate' aspect also goes into affecting  or making one’s reality.

4) The fourth is the initial communicator’s tone, the emotion in which he has 'packed'  his impression.The effect of a cool political speech, and a fiery one is known to every one - -the second kind can move a crowd to assault, and even kill the opponents.

Mass communication and creation of mass realities

The first and foremost mass reality that you and me are aware is the great reality of the ‘world’- - - world of the mass media and governments, but not the world of  the Scientist. It consists the people of the world, their socio-political institutions ,beliefs and myths, their climate, wars, disease and death, and every such thing covered by the media. It is here that our egos live ,and whose reality affects us directly. It is close to us in time and space.

The reality of the physical universe, of planets, stars and the infinity of space is immaterial to us with regard to our ego's life in the world of mass media - -our ancestors of few hundreds years  ago lived here with their belief that earth was flat ,and sky  a dome! Our present picture about the same place, with all our knowledge about sub-atomic particles and the remote galaxies would be looked down upon by our future generation of few hundred years ahead,as we have briefed in the beginning of this write-up. If it was the mere ‘impression’ of our past generation, it is now our ‘impression’. But we are far ahead of them in exploring many more secrets of nature and making it part of our ‘world’ reality, dragging it close to us from the remoteness of time and space, from the realm of CAUSES.

Mankind’s dream is to drag  everything close to him from the remoteness of time and space, and make them part of his familiar world  - - -  leaving nothing out there in the realm of absolute reality or absolute cause!
As already described, 'here and now' realities of the world originates when men share experiences between each other.

In the past, before the emergence  of  newspapers and TV channels, in its present mass scale, world was very different for people living at different parts of the globe. Their realities were different. Now, thanks to globalization, it is almost one world at least for the educated, paper reading, TV viewing  class. But still there are pockets of smaller worlds in many parts of African, Arabian and Asiatic regions where the mass images of one world and its realities have not penetrated yet.

One of the central features of mass communication is its one sided-ness - - -it is not two way, but one way. Mass ideas and images bombarded on people in the form of ready made realities. Such ready made realities get added up to the receivers, ie. common man and his aggregate factor changed in the process every day. Hence his realities too. change every day. We have seen that pure objective reality is a myth, hence mass ‘impressions’ unknowingly ,or even intentionally communicated, get transformed into realities of the world, and people within no time.

The role of the ‘world’ as a canvas for drawing self-identity of men, or, a massive object to react/respond to       

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We have seen the central fact of duality in the act of making realities, the initiator and the receiver. Existentially both the initiator and the receiver are vacuums, a non-entity, as the absolute reality about life and existence lie in the remoteness of space and time, in the realm of  first causes. 

Hence the initiator, as well as the receiver, often draws their identities from what has been communicated or received, like  ‘I am the one who initiated the communication or the one who received it, or the witnesses to the reality we had created together! In other words, the entity of man often gets created upon what reality he has created! This existential fact is true even for a newborn child - -he gets his early identity as the object of his mother’s attention and love, and then it progresses ahead in this fashion through other relations, his schooling, and finally a world member. In other words, thoughts and realities come first, thinker, I, later, though it may appear a puzzling proposition initially. 

In short, man generally draws his self-identity as a member of the world, it being the ready-made reality in front of him. He uses the world as a canvas to draw his picture in! His personality evolves around the pattern he has chosen to respond to the world. The way the world is, the way man is. In other words, my entity can be summed up as my ‘REACTION’ , or my ‘RESPONSE’ to the world, its objects, or the people in the world. ( Invite interested readers to share our latest blog-post on the notion of WORLD, at link:

If a different world reality can be created by altering the theme and the tone of the mass communication-institutions, it would bestow altered reality to man, and he would be able to draw an altered self-image for himself or a changed self-reality.  

 It is not that this central fact about mass communication is not in the awareness of the minds behind the world media, but many a time such worlds are intentionally created for marketing, or market-oriented, or even 'political-power' oriented propaganda purposes. But there can not be two opinions that world is a created reality, a manufactured product, or at least an 'alterable reality'. Hence man’s realities are never static - -he can experience  different kind of realities if the canvas, his world and its reported contents are altered.

Inseparable relation between man’s realities and his personal ENTITY

Man’s personality can be said to be a ‘circuit’ made out of his realities. Mind can not go on indefinitely watching  data inputs - -it has to make his conclusions or beliefs. The nest has to be made with the collected realities. Once this nesting process is over, it becomes one’s personality. Once the circuit is made, it becomes one’s entity itself. Hence forth any attack on his beliefs would be taken as an attack of one’s self-hood and would meet with stiff resistance, at par with the biological ‘self-protective’ instincts of all living beings. 

It seems  that  the cosmic laws that control the life of man on earth have necessitated to have ENTITIES this way, as subscribers to certain set of self-acquired beliefs and realities! Like one’s physical self, man is expected to safe guard his notional self too, hence man’s wars and terrorist activities for the sake of protecting one’s beliefs! He is under great cosmic compulsion to have his realities and beliefs to be always correct - - -as we have already seen, realities can originate only when it is shared. When this sharing business gets tough due to extreme differences in the beliefs of others around him, he has no other option but to use force to impose his views and beliefs. It is a question of be ,or not to be. Hence the inevitability of wars and terrorist activities in the world.

Most men go for the less violent, other option - -instead of pressing hard to communicate and make his realities and beliefs  accepted by others, they choose to conform to the realities of the majority, ignoring his personal stuff. If the world is violent, cruel and intolerant, he too goes the world’s way, and feels his reality. The circuit is maintained. Thumb rule is that ,imbalances in the area of personal realities and world’s realities is a matter of great concern. One has to choose between the above two options- both paths equally dangerous for a healthy society.       

Such beliefs and realities do not restrict to religious or historic spheres. It applies to even to the day to day personal opinions, likes and dislikes, decisions and traits ,that usually go into the making of one’s personality. As civilization expands, it seems man is opening up slowly to become less intolerant to the other, his entity and his beliefs. His science  and its method  has also has helped to teach  all men for agreeing to conclusions derived out of observed facts ,in the process of reasoning and logic.

It further appears that man is supposed to live with his own beliefs and realities for the integration of his self - -when forced to live with some one else’ realities, he becomes a void, a dead entity. More than the correctness of one’s realities, it is the degree of the strength of his belief that gives one his desired result. The mystery energies behind the phenomenon of
the‘ power of determination’ etc. demand science’s relentless attention ,and curiosity equal to what it usually pays  towards the material aspect of it. Science should thoroughly probe  to find out  what secrets lie behind man’s spiritual urges, or instincts like ‘quest for reality and truth’. It was this mysterious instinct that led man to achieve all the success and advancemetns of science. 

Banishment of the entity of man on account of the excessively expressed reality of  world

Though it has been observed that world, or the ‘other’ is giving birth to the personal entity of man, it  often knocks out  his very entity itself ! When the spell of the mass communication becomes excessive and indefensible, individual entity dissolves, and the spirit of the impersonal world seizes him. World and its notion of the collective often knock out the center of the already formed individuality, or many a time, this spell prevents the very formation of such vital center in men. When such entity-less men share their experiences, the reality of the world as a diabolic entity gets stronger and stronger. These men represent the entity of such diabolic world. Such men are a very familiar feature of today’s democratic societies.

They are generally found in-capable of even imagining anything above the seen and heard, anything beyond space and time reality, at the realm of ultimate causes. They generally form the so-called lumpen elements of the familiar democratic crowds, willing to loot and kill upon orders from their leaders. The highly dehumanized police force in countries, the habitual criminals, underworld gang members are examples around us.

What we observe here is the modern-day phenomenon of the 'observed realities swallowing the observer' and in the process, completely making him extinct!

Reality for this people is made by the interaction between the only available two mandatory entities; the world at one end, and the self declared members of  such a world, the unfortunate victim- man. 

Final word on the reality of the knower, man, and the known, the world

We have now seen that reality of both the knower (Man) and the known (world) is purely relative and totally subjective. It was different few centuries ago, and it will be unimaginably different  a few centuries from here. If a new ideology grab the world tomorrow concerning his socio-political status, and  media projects it up with the required hype, it would a different world altogether for man from next day, a different object to respond to, and a different canvas to draw his picture in.

 Simple example of this phenomenon is an office where the boss undergoes an ideological change of mind one fine morning, about his attitude towards his subordinates, or a stunning behavioural technique towards customers. He calls every one for a short meeting to introduce the change, and orders issued for the adhering to the changed behaviour pattern. Lo - - -! This office would be a changed world for every one from next day, and men will go back  homes as different personalities! 

In the life of married couples, if one party suddenly decide to adopt a changed behaviour pattern as part of a new year resolution, in no time life of both would get changed! It is a simple fact about man’s realities. Reality is nothing but what gets exchanged among people.

The reality of the great silence behind the mind and the world curtain      

If back again to the realm of absolute reality, or absolute cause behind life and existence, in the remoteness of mind and world curtain, first, one should have a quick, rational look into whether such a realm really exists or not. 

Mind, we have seen, is just another organ that gives man his entity first, and his realities later. But some part of the mind, or a part, or realm above it , or parallel to it, or leave away its spatial location, is what gave us this very notion of something 'beyond it.' Like mind looking at our physical body and say ‘it is my body’, this mystery part say ‘it is my mind’. It proves that there is something beyond, and outside the mind, which can observe it as an external organ. We need to probe a bit more deep on this drama.

We used the word ‘rational’ very casually, concerning the application of man’s faculty of Reason. It is considered to be the faculty of mind that checks consistency of our thoughts and conclusions. But can we just stop there at understanding our faculty of Reason ?

Truth is, that many of this mystery faculty’s features are still unexplored and unknown. What makes the scientists feel that their knowledge about universe is grossly in-complete ,despite all his deep peep into the structure of atom, and at far away galaxies? Reason not only judges upon the consistency of the given set of data, but also taunt man about the ‘missing links’ ! Who flashes novel hypothesis before  inquiring minds, and  compel it to look at new possibilities and relations? 

Yes, Reason acts like a prism many a times. When a ray of new thought is allowed to pass through, it splits it into its constituents. So, Reason must be understood as a hidden SEAT OF ORDER  or a hidden sensor of order. ( similar to a sensor in the camera  for light ) It perpetually taunt the inquiring mind for finding order, not only in thoughts, but also for his surroundings.

Beauty is nothing but ORDER, hence man’s appetite for beauty, and his nativity for art forms of all kinds. (music, painting, poetry, sculpture) What other mystery organ helps even a layman to realize the discord  in a tune when played incorrectly? Or what makes him to yell out when he sees a photo-frame fixed in a tilted state on the wall?

He fiercely seeks freedom because, without it, this seat of Order does not work. Leaders and reformers are under compulsion to change the world because what they seek unknowingly is order around them. 

Sages relentlessly search for truth under its spell. Cause for his moral and ethical compulsions within him is also nothing  different. Man seeks ultimate answers for life and existence due to this ever burning piece of fire within him. 

Without answers to fundamental questions about life and existence, he has no peace. This is the work of this central piece of mystery in man, his link to realities beyond the world ,and the mind curtain. Human Reason, thus, is the singular faculty in man that links him  directly to the hidden mysteries of existence! This Reason organ need to be seen as distinct and different from the primary organ of mind. When mind separates man by putting its veil upon ultimate realities, Reason directly links him to such realms beyond time and space. Mind gives man his entity by its interaction with the world, but Reason enters the stage later to tease and taunt him about the foundation of his very entity, and then the realities provided by the mind.   

Man’s world can change overnight if flashes of these realities are brought to the day to day awareness of common man by the mass media, and make the world different stuff to
react, and place man’s entity in. 

The very awareness and acceptance of the existence of such realms above the mind, and beyond the curtain of the world would be enough to add spice to the now sterile life on earth. It would offer the life of man a real link to the miracle called existence. 

It will dramatically transform the canvas of the world. It could open the  door to a  ‘one for all’ new spirituality for the entire world  sans the sectarianism and ritualism of existing religions.

By: Abraham J.Palakudy
He is a seeker and researcher into subjects like Faculty of Reason, Mind, Spirituality, Metaphysics, and finally human society&Polity
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Twitter: Voice of Philosophy@jopan1

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