TAT ASMI PRABHO – CONSTITUTIVE AND REGULATIVE PRINCIPLES OF EXISTENCE
Man has Subjective and Objective Experience of reality called Existence. Man has to account for this Experience using Faculty of Understanding, and Faculty of Reasoning. I recognize ‘TAT ASMI PRABHO’, a statement made by Indian thinker ‘SHANKARA’ as ‘Fifth Mahavakya’ or Fifth Great Aphorism, a short, concise statement of Principle expressing a general truth about man’s essence and man’s existence. The word ‘TAT’ refers to man’s essence that constitutes man’s identity in physical world. The word ‘ASMI’ refers to unity, harmony, agreement, concord, or arrangement of parts that will produce a singular effect that establishes oneness of that which is made up of distinct elements. The word ‘PRABHO'(PRABHU) refers to LORD GOD Creator as the Supreme Being or Supreme Power. To arrive at complete understanding of man’s existence, it is important to make distinction between Constitutive and Regulative Principles of Existence. To describe Constitutive and Regulative dimensions of Human Existence as subject matter of Natural Science, I would begin with my tribute to Immanuel Kant who explained difference between constitutive and regulative concepts.
CONSTITUTIVE AND REGULATIVE PRINCIPLES OF KANT’S PHILOSOPHY
The term ‘Constitute’ refers to having power to establish, appoint, or enact to make a thing what it is. It includes substances and their causal connections that may account for appearance of a thing. The term ‘Regulate’ means to rule, to adjust to a particular standard, to adjust so as to make operate accurately, to make methodical, orderly, a rule or law by which conduct is regulated. The term ‘Regulatory’ means ordered, prescribed, a person or thing that regulates, a mechanism for controlling or governing movement of parts of an integrated System. Constitutive concepts and principles, regulative concepts and principles are central to Kant’s philosophy. In the Critique of Pure Reason this distinction marks the division between the faculty of reason and the faculty of understanding. The principles that objectively state what is present in the object itself, that is, what is the constitution of its physical appearance, is Constitutive Principle. Such principles of pure understanding describe standard and necessary constituents of the world of appearance. Constitutive Principles are contrasted with Regulative Principles, which are rules to show how experience may be organized or regulated without reference to constitution of the object. Regulative Principles play no part in determining the objective character of the world of appearance. They are maxims, neither provable nor disprovable and are not to be understood as true or false. They serve to guide our inquiry within experience and lead us to transcend the limits of reason from the conditioned to the unconditioned. Kant recommends that we must observe the distinction between these two kinds of principles.
The faculty of understanding is constitutive of the possibility of experience. All experience must conform to the concepts and principles of the understanding, which are realized or instantiated in experience: experience contains substances, causal connections and so on. The faculty of reason, by contrast, is merely regulative in relation to experience. Although reason plays an indispensable role in experience, the concepts used in reasoning process, such as the idea of God, or the idea of world as a complete totality, cannot be realized or instantiated in experience at all. Nevertheless, ideas of reason still function legitimately to guide empirical inquiry of objects that can be given experience.
HUMAN EXPERIENCE – CONSTITUTIVE AND REGULATIVE PRINCIPLES OF EXISTENCE
Man is the Subject and is the Object of his experience called Human Existence. Such experience requires operation of two principles; 1. Mass or Substance that constitutes what is present in the Object itself without which there can be no understanding, and 2. Gravitation Force or Power that regulates Subject’s experience of Object’s Mass or Substance. The experience of human existence will be incomplete without Regulative Principle or Power. Regulative Concept and Principle helps in complete understanding of the constitution and connection of the Subject with Object of experience. Man knows that he exists for he has experience of his own body weight. Gravitation is a Regulative Force or Power that organizes or regulates man’s experience without reference to constitution of the Object. All things that have Mass experience the same Regulative Force or Power but Regulative Principles play no part in determining the objective character of the world of appearance. Man has Subjective experience of Objective reality of his body Mass for he is constituted of a principle that has awareness or consciousness of such Subjective experience. Gravitation does not determine constitution of man or man’s ability called understanding.
For experience of Body Weight, body mass is the Constitutive Principle that determines man’s physical appearance in the world. But, this experience of body weight is not the same at all locations in universe. Gravitational Force is the Regulative Principle that regulates or governs man’s experience of his body mass or weight. The faculty of Reasoning is more concerned with Regulative Concepts and Principles and it is important for it provides the complete understanding of experience of Body Weight.
Man has experience of Body Weight for he thinks he is a stationary object. In realty, every point on the surface of Earth partakes in the motions of Earth. Man exists on the surface of a fast, spinning object. If man has direct, sensory experience of the speed of Earth, man will not have the opportunity to have sensory experience of his Body Weight. Regulative Concept and Principle is of fundamental value in understanding of constitution of man as a living object with sensory experiences. In its regulative use, reason guides our work in striving for knowledge, helping us to correct errors and arrive at more comprehensive insights.
There are several Regulative Principles that govern man’s existence as a mortal Physical Being. Man exists in world without ability to rule, govern, or regulate living functions performed by individual, living cells of his own body. It is not easy to prove operation of such Regulative Principles using method of experimental verification. The problem is that of constructing existence using, assembling, and putting together the building blocks of human existence. But, using faculty of Reasoning, man can declare that the things in World must be considered as if they derive their existence from a higher Source of Knowledge called God or ‘PRABHU’. It does not mean that faculty of Reasoning can define God as an Object and give description of what constitutes thing called God. However, faculty of Reasoning as it is related to Regulative Concepts and Principles will provide guidance to relate man’s constitution and connection with all objects of his experience. Faculty of Reasoning will guide man to use ‘Devotion’ as a method of Scientific Inquiry for man cannot construct his own existence.