Friday, June 30

Philosophy(2)


I have been reading a lot of arbit stuff lately. It began with readings on philosophy, and while at it, I read this astounding article on "Psychic Powers" by Helen Savage; Theosophical Manual . Incredibly the writer is pretty convincing in his arguments and also a lot of what he has written makes good sense. Though probably he was pretty farfetched in his ideas on astral energy and their interference, the article in itself was a written with a sound mind and firm background examples were also provided. Then I searched up some stuff on Wikipedia; String Theory and its predictions about 11 dimensions, about dark matter, dark energy(both things about which we have absolutely no idea!) and ended up reading on Chaos Theory and other stuff. Anyone who remembers anything about Quantum Chemistry that we studied will agree with one thing, that its totally vague!. Whatever we are studying, propagating, researching are mainly vague ideas which are idealized to large extents. Its almost as though, because we want to explain something we come up with theories to do it and when found that its inapplicable in certain cases, we throw them off and move on to new theories. This process has been happening on since eternity.

So while going through all these ¨attempts¨that we make to understand ourselves and nature, the picture that emerged in my mind was that of the four blind men groping at the various parts of an elephant and describing an elephant in his own way. Each one can firmly ¨prove¨ why his argument is right and yet nothing makes sense when taken as a whole. So what if this really is the case?? What if we really are blind? In our case it may not be eyesight that we lack..it maybe another sense totally unknown to us. The term ¨sixth sense¨is a cliché, but what if we really lack it and it is the key to understanding life and universe.

To make things clear, I will refer to another imaginary world. Just like Earth, or even better take it be exactly similar to Earth (lets call it E2). The Sun, Moon, planets everything being in the same position and evolution of life proceeding in the exact same fashion. BUT there is ONE difference between the living organisms in E2 and those on Earth. Its that in E2 none of the organisms developed eyesight. Except for this one simple difference everything else is the same.

So you can imagine an entire race of human beings on E2. They have the same intelligence as we do and will of course be very much inquisitive and curious about everything happening around them. In the course of time (progress will certainly be slow.. but it will happen) they will develop tools and other structures. Their entire life will revolve around sounds and they will attach to sounds more importance than what we can ever imagine. They might form social organizations, might even split into groups based on how different they sound to each other; any such crap may happen among them. But the important factor here is that they will have no clue… absolutely no clue that there is such a thing as sight that exists. Things that seem so apparent and simple to us may seem to be the greatest mysteries to them. During the course of time, they might come up with their own explanations about the workings of earth and like ourselves through the process of trial and error finally arrive at some theories which might help them ¨develop¨ in certain areas.

But the irony here is that no matter how much they think, no matter how much they develop they will never be able to comprehend the realities of the universe. They will never even begin to imagine that there are planets and stars and solar systems and galaxies. They will never ever understand the phenomena of light and other optics. All their theories and discussions will be based on ¨sounds¨and ¨touch¨ just like our theories are so much dependant on ¨sight¨. It’s not a fault; it’s just the way we have been built.

So the point I want to say here is that just like the blind human beings on planet E2, what if the real human beings are also lacking on that extra sense of perception which is required to unravel the mysteries of the universe. I know it sounds totally pessimistic and negative, but I am equally sure that no one will be able to convince the blind beings on E2 that there is an extra sense of perception present in this universe . How do you explain colors to someone who has never seen ANYTHING?.... If this really is the case then whenever we are seeking to solve any universal mystery we are like the blind beings of E2 groping around trying to explain universe from the ¨sounds¨that they can hear. This might very well expalin why the different branches of our science never seem to converge and at many times seems to be totally divergent on several aspects. When taken alone most branches are ¨pretty ¨ well explained, but if u try to combine them the result is disastrous.

There are some more points which i would like to add to this discussion. I will either write a new post or update this one in the coming days. So meantime. just think about it.......

P.S. I came across this new article on Epistemology . It sheds some light on how our knowledge is influenced by our perception. Do give it a look

8 comments:

DJ Matt said...

there is more to it da.. let's say our earth is in a dimension which is devoid of some other sense that other living species elsewhere have. we dont know what it is, because we do not know about its existence at all. probably what we now know about the 'realities of the universe' are just a minute fraction of the realities that the others percieve. how about that?
PS: I can see that you have taken up serious blogging.. way to go, man!

Mohan K.V said...

Nice post!!

Feynman in one of the later chapters of his Lectures gives an amazing introduction to Relativity and Length Contraction.. Imagine a fly living on a "hot plate", where the temperature of the plate is a function of only R, not of theta. He then goes on to prove that whatever length measurements the fly does on his hotplate world, and get confused about it (it will clearly be different from the case where the plate is uniformly 'cold'), is exactly the same kind of discrepancies we had when we dealt with curved space-time.. Just a small twist, and we have a whole new way of looking at it.. :)

wolverine said...

@deepu
hmmm da... i am not able to fully undersatnd what you are saying....but it is true that we may lack some sense that the living beings elsewhere might have and hence our perception of reality might be quite narrow indeed..
but do explain ure comment more da... and yup i do hope i can contribte something to the world of blogging :)

@mohan

hmm.. so that discrepancies that we experience while measuring length on a hot plate and those observed in curved space time are the same.. wow.. thts interesting..i think we can think of ourselves as moving forward through time just like the fly in the hot plate is moving along the radius...so in an analogy
length = time
temperature = space

but this thing is too confusing man... i mean if you think about it, it is true that space cordinates of any entity is a function of time... but its a totally non linear random function.. how do we even define it?..
and one more thing... it is true that we cannot bring about a change in space cordinates without changing time, so can it be true that if we completely stop moevment, time also stops?..i.e, at absolute zero, does time stand still?

DJ Matt said...

Just think about this: What we know about the universe is what our five senses have told us. Assume there exists more senses known to other species, but unknown to us. We are oblivious to whatever communication that is going on in the universe in those domains, because we do not have the mechanism to interpret it. At any point of time, there may be infinite communication channels in some form carrying information to us on the universe, which we are not able to decipher.
Say, why is our eye sensitive to just a very narrow range in the em spectrum? Is visual perception limited to this range? what if there are other species out there who can 'see' more of whatever is around us through their senses? what if they can 'see' our temperature (you know of IR vision, right) or even other attributes? what if they can know all about us by 'seeing' our aura or whatever?
This leaves me to believe that whatever we know of the world we live in is just a very minute fraction of all the information it contains. whatever you see right now on your desk is actually communicating much more information about itself to you than what you actually see, only that you are not able to sense it.
Now to the lighter side of philosophy. This link has something to do with our topic of discussion. do have a look.
http://www.terrybisson.com/meat.html

sam said...

my .02$

Epistemology is invariably linked to objectivism, which is another form of belief based solely on perception disregarding the relativity of it. Its true that our knowledge of the universe should have an element of uncertainty in it, a parameter thats directly proportional to our ignorance. What we may or what we may not know may range from nothing to maybe everything.

I don't see the point in this philosophy though. In our unyielding process to learn more, we may find ourselves or rather call ourselves more ignorant than we were in the past. If i were to define what is right or wrong based solely on perception, then over the years, moral standards will have to vary, simply because with the years human perception is improving. So the quesetion is, can we actually set standards knowing that our perception is highly limited. Can we formulate highly controversial theories knowing that there are n number of dimensions we know nothing of. Maybe we could just say that, man is never satisfied and this is just an alibi to validate that. You could go on and on, but in the end ignorance is bliss. Funnily enough, philosophy always talks of the unknown and maybe is a waste of time, but then so would be a lot of other things..


and the first time i heard about 11 dimensions..string theory n all was thru good ol' AO sir...

Mathew said...

kishku doing what he does best. dish out philosophy. please tell me you are not tortuting your madras buddies with all the neo-is-god crap. or it is the various finer points of lost now? posts of this kind is way beyond me. i didn't read the whole thing. but it seems like unnikuttan enjoyed it..

wolverine said...

@all dudes..

plzz don feel bad that i haven commented back.. its just that philosophy is a subject in which both the appearnce AND disappearance of ineterest happen very fast for me...

@ deepu

... the story was AWESOME... gr8 one man.. if u got anyomre plzz forward them
@sam..


yup.. good ol AO is the reason why I started LOOKING at physics probs

@mathew..

dishing out philosophy is something that I do enjoy.. but it all depends on moods..and no way is the post way beyond u or anything even close to tht.. maybe just too trivial for someone like u!

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