Inanimate vs Animate Dualism
If there is agreement about three primary orders, 1. God, 2. Soul/Spirit, and 3. Matter, I refer to Soul/Spirit as the vital principle of life guiding, controlling, coordinating interactions between animate and inanimate matter. While Physics explains all known physical interactions of matter, it cannot account for Biotic interactions; interactions between different species(Interspecific interactions), between members of the same species(Intraspecific interactions) and interactions between cells of the same organism. Man’s ability to acquire energy from external environment is not explained by Physics. I may not have said or suggested that Physics explains or accounts for all kinds of interactions that occur in Nature.
There is this concern about Time and Space. Time is not an Unit of Measurement. Time is durtation or interval between two events. If there are two separate events such as Sunrise and Sunset, the experience called Time can be easily described. As per Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, time is relative to the location of observer in the universe. On Earth, we created time zones depending upon the location of observer who may experience time. If Earth is removed or ceases to exist, we need a reference point to account for phenomenon called Time. There is never absolute experience of Time. Each living thing has its own experience of Time that determines its lifetime or life span. The concept of ‘pralaya’ has to include as to what ceases to exist, the location of observer, and what can be observed.
The dimension called ‘Space’ is of equal importance to describe any change in world and universe. If space is removed, the universe shrinks in size. It affects structural and functional configuration of all known entities. No entity can maintain structure that we can describe, and will not be able to perform functions that we know of. The concept of ‘Pralaya’ has to include a reference point to understand dimension of Space. For example, Sun after lapse of time, may expand into Supernova, and eliminate protective barrier of Space between Sun and Earth. In such scenario which is very likely, the dimension called Space is relative to location of Sun and Earth.
I am simply asking you to provide basic details as traditions vary from place to place. There are concepts of great Flood, and of scorching Earth in huge fire like apocalypse.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4162 USA
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
On Saturday, February 6, 2016 7:51 AM, Devinder Singh Gulati wrote:
My primary issue remains unresolved. In the Indian tradition there is cyclic withdrawal of creation. There are minor pralayas and major pralayas. In between the major pralayas, matter itself is completely withdrawn.
Your issue is you will look at reality from the scientific paradigm. You are restricted to a Newtonian world. Quantum mechanics has introduced the term ‘conscious intent’. This conscious intent of the observer influences the observation itself. Observed result depends on the consciousness of the observer.
Then there is an additional consideration. Where is the observer? Is he within the system or outside it?
You apply the laws of physics to biology. “Reductionism is the dominant approach practiced among the physicalists and is grounded in the belief that all phenomena are based on material processes that are ultimately reducible to the natural laws. Reductionists claim that theories and laws in different fields of science are nothing but special cases of theories and laws formulated in some other, more basic branch of science, in particular of physical science. Leaving aside biological systems, reductionism is even unable to explain the nature and teleological function of artifacts. For example, to understand the nature and function of an earthen pot, reductionists may apply appropriate natural laws and also determine what kind of soil the pot is made from, then they can study the structure of that soil under the microscope, and carry on downward through chemistry to the basic molecules, atoms, and elementary particles of which the soil is composed. Such an approach cannot contribute anything towards understanding the properties of a pot as a pot.
The ” knowing self” is the observer. This observer is spirit or soul. Where is it located?
Aristotle’s four aspects of causes  will be a good explanation to demolish the great brick wall that we often come up against the attempt to understand living organism from a non-reductionist viewpoint. Let us consider the ‘brick wall’ example (which is an example for external teleology) in the context of Aristotle’s four aspects of causes. If someone asks why a ‘brick wall’ was built then following a reductionist approach we can only address the two causes from Aristotle’s four aspects of causes: (1) the material cause – that out of which ‘brick wall’ is made and (2) the efficient cause – the natural laws that are important in the art of ‘brick wall’ construction. However, the simplistic reductionist approach cannot address another two subtle causes: (1) the formal cause – the form or the shape of the ‘brick wall’ (which was in the mind of the architect) and (2) the final cause – the end or the purpose (external teleology) for which the ‘brick wall’ was built. This is a major limitation of reductionist approach commonly practiced in physical sciences.
Dead matter is a state of consciousness of spirit. It is distinct from living matter in that life does not animate it. Life itself is a state of consciousness of spirit.
|SELF AND KNOWING-SELF
I am not sure about term called ‘dead matter’. It is important to make distinction between animate and inanimate but the separation need not be formulated as living and dead unless specific meaning is attached to ‘dead’.
I ask people to carefully use the term ‘consciousness’. It will be useful to know the difference between 1. Contents of Consciousness, and 2. Composition of Consciousness. For each living organism, it demands identification of specific anatomical structures involved to perform these functions. For example, in man, most of the contents(not all of them) are known in different areas of Cerebral Cortex where the contents of Consciousness become Cortical Awareness. Most of us, we describe these contents of Consciousness called Cortical Awareness. There is a huge flood of information within human body and we cannot really cope with the entirety of information known to human organism. Reticular Formation in Brain Stem composes Contents of Consciousness that could be of use and projects this information to areas of Cerebral Cortex. We derive sensory information such as vision, hearing, taste, and others because of this information relayed by Reticular Formation which blocks other kinds of information to give us a degree of freedom from information overload. This anatomical site involved in Composition of Consciousness is Primary Seat of Consciousness. When a person with head injury or in clinical condition called ‘Coma’ arrives, physician checks for activity at this Primary Seat of Consciousness. A common diagnostic test is called light reflex test. If this site is active, man is alive even if he is not aware of his feelings, thoughts, moods, emotion, and his external environment. Things such as feelings, thoughts, moods, and emotion are contents of consciousness and hence are distinct from Primary Seat of Consciousness that is Conscious.
The term that I like to use for Spirit or Soul is, ‘Knowing-Self’. This refers to part, or site, or organ, or location where living organism knows fact of its own living condition. In case of complex human organism, I like to place Soul or Spirit at this site called Reticular Formation which includes millions of nerve nuclei. This site knows Self even if Self exists in a condition called Coma. Some people survive for decades in this ‘vegetative condition’, the basis for human existence.
You have not defined the terms Time and Space, the two immaterial dimensions. I cannot comment on concept called ‘PRALAYA’ unless you provide a reference frame for Time and Space.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4162 USA
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
On Wednesday, February 3, 2016 4:51 AM, Devinder Singh Gulati wrote:
Yours is the classic objective subjective response. You acknowledge the immaterial indicating a movement from the purely material.
” Now, there are four positions possible with regard to the world and reality, depending on the relation between the observer and the observed, the subject and the object. They are: (I) subjective, (2) objective, (3) subjective objective and (4) objective subjective. The first two are extreme positions, one holding the subject as the sole or absolute reality, the object being a pure fabrication of its will and idea, an illusion, and the other considering the object as the true reality, the subject being an outcome, an epiphenomenon of the object itself, an illusion after all. The first leads to radical or as it is called monistic spirituality the type of which is Mayavada: the second is the highway of materialism, the various avataras of which are Marxism, Pragmatism, Behaviourism etc. In between lie the other two intermediate positions according to the stress or value given to either of the two extremes. The first of the intermediates is the position held generally by the idealists, by many schools of spirituality: it is a major Vedantic position. It says that the outside world, the object, is not an illusion, a mere fabrication of the mind or consciousness of the subject, but that it exists and is as real as the subject: it is dovetailed into the subject which is a kind of linchpin, holding together and even energising the object. The object can further be considered as an expression or embodiment of the subject. Both the subject and the object are made of the same stuff of consciousness – the ultimate reality being consciousness. The subject is the consciousness turned on itself and the object is consciousness turned outside or going abroad. This is pre-eminently the Upanishadic position. In Europe, Kant holds a key position in this line: and on the whole, idealists from Plato to Bradley and Bosanquet can be said more or less to belong to this category. The second intermediate position views the subject as imbedded into the object, not the object into the subject as in the first one: the subject itself is part of the object something like its self-regarding or self-recording function. In Europe apart possibly from some of the early Greek thinkers (Anaxagoras or Democritus, for example), coming to more recent times, we can say that line runs fairly well-represented from Leibnitz to Bergson. In India the Sankhyas and the Vaisheshikas move towards and approach the position; the Tantriks make a still more near approach.
Further there is the difficulty of defining soul. You would identify inanimate matter as soul, but for the fact it does not have knowledge which is present in animate matter. So the difficulty arises. This has been resolved by Indian tradition thus:
THE difference between living organism and dead matter is that while the former is endowed with creative activity, the latter has only passive receptivity. Life adds, synthetises, new-creates – gives more than what it receives; matter only sums up, gathers, reflects, gives just what it receives. Life is living, glad and green through its creative genius. Creation in some form or other must be the core of everything that seeks vitality and growth, vigour and delight. Not only so, but a thing in order to be real must possess a creative function. We consider a shadow or an echo unreal precisely because they do not create but merely image or repeat, they do not bring out anything new but simply reflect what is given. The whole of existence is real because it is eternally creative.
Now the centre of this energy, the matrix of creativity is the soul itself, one’s own soul. If you want to create – live, grow and be real-find yourself, be yourself. Let each take cognisance of the godhead that is within him – for self is God – and in the strength of the soul-divinity create his universe.
In one’s own soul lies the very height and profundity of a god-head. Each soul by bringing out the note that is his, makes for the most wondrous symphony. But because each is itself, therefore each is grounded upon the fundamental equality of things. Not to do what others do, but what your soul impels you to do. Not to be others but your own self. Not to be anything but the very cosmic and infinite divinity of your soul. Therein lies your highest freedom and perfect delight. And there you are supremely creative.
http://motherandsriaurobindo.in/#_StaticContent/SriAurobindoAshram/-09 E-Library/-03 Disciples/Nolini Kanta Gupta/-01 English/Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta/Volume-1/-02_The Creative Soul.htm
Lastly you have not really addressed the problem of pralaya. In Indian tradition there are cycles where the world ceases to be. Creation is withdrawn by the creator into itself during which period there is nothing; no time, no space, only itself. The tantra tradition calls it Bindu, a singularity. Dot.
|What is Soul?
Chemical Elements are building blocks of Matter that constitutes Universe. Matter is three-dimensional and for Matter has Mass, it occupies Space. Hence Universe has additional dimensions such as Space and Time that influence structure and organization of Matter. However, Space and Time are immaterial dimensions. We cannot know and understand Universe if we ignore ‘immaterial’ dimensions.
In Indian tradition, a distinction is made between matter and soul which is interpreted in various manners. The problem becomes apparent when Indian tradition divides human body into perishable body, and imperishable soul. I do not want to reject Indian tradition, rather I would like to clarify the statement using reason and accepted, verified knowledge provided by Science.
Chemical elements constitute both animate and inanimate matter. We call animate matter as perishable, transient, or temporary for it cannot retain its form and appearance at all times. Animate matter changes all the time under external influence of time and has lifetime or life span at the end of which it dissolves into constituent elements like carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and others. These elements behave as if they are unborn, uncreated, immortal, imperishable, indestructible, immutable, immortal, and eternal. In Physics and Chemistry, the Fundamental Laws of Conservation explain that certain quantities like mass, energy, and momentum are neither created nor destroyed. Chemical elements share the very same attributes that Indian tradition uses to describe thing called soul or spirit. It clearly demonstrates the fact of soul or spirit deriving its attributes from chemical elements that constitute matter. The distinction between matter and soul is still required for there is fundamental distinction between animate and inanimate matter.
Indian tradition while describing attributes of soul or spirit, apart from the above mentioned attributes, associates soul or spirit with knowledge. This knowledge is not acquired, and is not a product of learned experience. It is ‘innate’ knowledge or implanted knowledge which is present from the beginning. If knowledge is present, it can be verified by testing for its presence. We do it all the time to test and verify acquired or learned knowledge.
In Biology, innate knowledge refers to biological information carried by genes or hereditary information transmitted from one generation to the next. However, the study of ‘GENETICS’ has not helped to define the meaning of spirit or soul. In fact, we know about thousands of disorders, birth defects associated with gene mutations and inborn errors of metabolism caused by genetic defects. If spirit or soul is immutable, it has to be distinct from knowledge or biological information propagated by genes.
In Indian tradition, spirit or soul represents “PRAJNANA”(Great or Supreme Knowledge) implanted in all kinds of living entities. The physical evidence of this knowledge is presence of ‘consciousness’ which is in its essence is a cognitive function( the ability to know). This cognitive ability is a biological or living function and should not be confused with cognitive abilities acquired by education or learning experience. This ability cannot be implanted by using genetic engineering. The knowledge associated with consciousness and spirit or soul is not acquired and it does not demand intervention by a teacher or instructor.
In my analysis of cell anatomy(structure), and physiology(function), I have identified the cognitive abilities of living cells. Cell knows the fact and condition of its existence in given physical environment. To begin with, cell establishes its existence by separating itself from its external, physical environment which may include other living cells apart from inanimate matter. This barrier between cell and its environment is called biological membrane or plasma membrane. Apart from defining outer limits of cell, the membrane surrounds structures found within the cell such as nucleus, mitochondria, ribosomes, and others. The entire living matter called protoplasm,cytoplasm, or cytosol consists of network of this membrane system and it helps to make distinction between Somatoplasm and Hyaloplasm. This Membrane System helps living cell to identify chemical molecules with which it comes into contact. It helps cell to allow controlled entry and exist of matter. Mitochondria, for example identify thousands of different protein molecules. I live in this world, I perform living functions in this world due to knowledge implanted in this Membrane System. I breathe in air or gas without performing analysis in a Chemistry laboratory. The Membrane System identifies oxygen molecules, carbon dioxide molecules and various other chemical molecules present in the air I breathe. This ability associated with consciousness is immutable but it can be impaired if I consume alcohol or for other external reasons.
It is futile to speculate about the beginning and ending of things. I use a method of scientific inquiry called ‘Devotional Inquiry’. As I said in previous paragraph, living thing has to establish its own boundaries if it has to perform its living functions. Virus particle is inactive and when it enters a host, living cell, it acquires a protein coat or membrane using host cell’s manufacturing ability. I have to set boundaries, and recognize limitations for my reasoning abilities. Devotion helps to transcend boundaries or barriers caused by limitations of man’s reasoning ability. I can use my reasoning and claim that I cannot fully account for my existence while I know that I exist.
The concept of ‘pralaya’ or End Times is still relevant. All living things do not die at the same time or same hour. Planet Earth witnessed several major and minor extinction events. In most recent times, all species of Homo genus other than that of Homo sapiens sapiens became extinct. I issued death certificates fully knowing that dead bodies are still alive, for all the cells do not die at the same time.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4162 USA
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
On Thursday, January 28, 2016 10:53 AM, Devinder Singh Gulati wrote
|Rudranarsimham Rebbapragada Sir,
you have an interesting take – that soul force is product of matter. Your interpretation of the Gita that soul is nothing but plasma state of matter is ingenious. Soul is imperishable; matter is imperishable. Ergo.
We need to know as to how the terms soul and consciousness are defined. What is Soul? Is it a material principle or is it an immaterial principle? What is Consciousness? Is it a mental function? Is it a psychological function? Is it a biological function? What is the relationship between soul and consciousness? I am sure that these authors may have provided more information on their views at some other place or in their book. But, the story provides some information that is good enough to doubt this theory. Micro tubules are found in all living cells of all living organisms other than bacteria, blue-green algae and viruses. If micro tubules are found inside brain cells or neurons, it is not a surprise. They tend to perform the same functions in all types of living cells called eukaryotes(cells with true nuclei). All the cells of the human body are derived from a single, fertilized egg cell. We need to discuss this topic called soul and consciousness in relationship with this egg cell. Does this egg cell display consciousness? If the egg cell is conscious, does it have a soul? In that context, we have to answer similar questions about Amoeba proteus, is it conscious? and does it have a soul?
What then do you make of pralaya or the widrawal of creation. When there is no creation what happens to matter?
From: Rudranarasimham R
What is your objection to soul being immaterial?
The egg cell certainly has life. It has intelligence. It can organize its own growth into a zygote.
We can say it has consciousness.
The discussion about spirit and spiritual practices should be preceded by proper identification of entity called ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’. To begin the conversation, we should be able to make distinction between ‘material’ and ‘spiritual’ things. Kindly tell me if ‘spirit’ is material or immaterial. Most functions, actions, reactions, and interactions that we observe involve participation by material things. We need a basis to make distinction between material functions and spiritual functions. For example, if consciousness is a spiritual function exhibited by living things, terms like cosmic or universal consciousness will have no valid basis as we cannot demonstrate such living things occupying extraterrestrial domain. We all will be saying different things until the basic issue is resolved. If spirit has no material basis, man will have no interest in that topic.