What it is to be a Substance? and What it is to Exist? We need to establish knowledge about the man on a firm basis and the information it provides must be tested for its accuracy and consistency with an external reality. We have to make the fundamental distinction between the living and the non-living matter. The scientific advances of the 19th and 20th centuries reinforced the materialistic position concerning the basic similarity of organic living and inorganic physical matter. The man is viewed as a product of natural evolution and is thought to be subject to the same laws of Physics and Chemistry or mechanistic principles.
We need a methodology to study philosophy and to understand philosophical statements. Logical Positivism, also known as Scientific Empiricism aims to clarify concepts in both everyday and scientific language. It describes analysis of language as the function of philosophy. This analysis of language and of concepts is important to understand questions of belief and ideology which affect what we think we ought to do individually and socially. I would use this method of ‘Applied Philosophy’ to analyze the philosophical doctrines of India that divide the man into two categories; 1. the perishable body, and 2. the imperishable soul.
Indian Schools of Thought, Advaita (Nondualism), Visishtadvaita (Qualified Nondualism), and Dvaita (Dualism) account for the man and the world by describing three fundamental orders; 1. God (Brahman, the Absolute), 2. Soul, (Atman, True or Real Self), and 3. Matter( Jagat, the material World and the Universe). However, they fail to account for Animate vs Inanimate Dualism. This distinction is very important as most philosophers, religious scholars, and writers tend to separate the human soul (Atman) from its human body.
The Soul is explained as the immortal, immutable, imperishable, indestructible, unborn, and even uncreated principle that is distinct from the human body that is explained as perishable, insensible, inert, illusion, or even unreal.
अन्तवन्त इमे देहा नित्यस्योक्ता: शरीरिण: |
अनाशिनोऽप्रमेयस्य तस्माद्युध्यस्व भारत || 18||
antavanta ime dehā nityasyoktāḥ śharīriṇaḥ
anāśhino ’prameyasya tasmād yudhyasva bhārata
Only the material body is perishable; the embodied soul within is indestructible, immeasurable, and eternal. Therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata.
In my analysis, the division or separation of man into Imperishable Soul, and Perishable Body is fundamentally flawed.
ANIMATE vs INANIMATE DUALISM
The entire human organism is “SENSIBLE” for it receives and responds to stimuli from outside objects or agencies. The human body as such can both generate and perceive physical sensation, susceptible to stimuli, and is changing or responding readily in presence of some external force or condition. The human body begins as a single, fertilized Egg Cell that constantly responds to changing stimuli and its response is manifested by varying morphological appearances from conception to death. The term ‘inanimate’ is used to imply ‘inert’ nature of matter that is without power to move, act, or resist, and often denotes having few or no active properties.
The distinction or dualism or separation of animate and inanimate has to be discerned by observing functions and actions performed by Animate and Inanimate Matter. Actions are divided into two kinds; 1. Transitive Action, and 2. Immanent Action. Similarly, Performances are of two kinds; 1. Mechanical Operations, and 2. Vital Operations or actions done by Mechanical Power or Vital Power. Action of one inert body upon another is called Transitive Action. Heating a stone is a Transitive Action; in heating, the hot thing loses its own heat. In Immanent Action, the agent performing action is perfected by its own act. Unlike a stone exposed to Solar radiation, a plant grows and develops using Sun’s energy. Such growth and development involve sensing and understanding and the results of such actions remain in the agent performing such acts. The distinction or separation of Mechanical Operations and Vital Operations is marked by use of ‘intelligence’ in the performance of actions. Intelligent Performance involves purposiveness, guided to achieve a future end, selection of means or goal orientation, and sequential actions. Consciousness describes the difference between vital operations and mechanical operations. Consciousness accounts for differences between vital powers and capacities of inert matter. Consciousness establishes the boundary between Animate and Inanimate Matter. The nature of actions performed can be examined by understanding Oxidation-Reduction Chemical Reactions, actions that are performed by both the living and the nonliving matter.
A forest fire generates light and heat but it lacks purposiveness of fire lit by man.
The man lights a fire to accomplish a task such as preparing a meal in his kitchen or to perform a ritual called ‘Homa’, or ‘Yajna’ in the Indian tradition. While a man uses fire for a variety of purposes, a distinction has to be made between fire, combustion or rapid oxidation and Oxidation-Reduction Chemical Reaction used by living things to generate heat and energy to perform a range of living functions called ‘Metabolism’.
The Living or Animate Matter has inherent ability to attract both living and nonliving matter found in its external environment to acquire energy, to manipulate energy, and to exploit energy taking advantage of mechanical principles shared by Physics and Chemistry.
Living Operations such as Photosynthesis and Respiration are vital functions for they provide energy to further perform a variety of Immanent Actions whose results are retained by agents of those actions.
A stone when heated acquires energy but stone has no ability to further manipulate and exploit that energy to perform sequential, goal-oriented actions. Mitochondria, intracellular organelle found inside living cells, are involved in performing oxidation-reduction chemical reactions to obtain energy, and to generate new forms of chemical energy to carry out a variety of living functions. Inert or Inanimate Matter is governed purely by mechanical principles and its transformations and processes obey Laws of Physics and Chemistry. The Phenomenon of Life, and the Animate Matter involves processes and transformations that go beyond obeying elementary Laws of Physics and Chemistry.
ETERNAL, IMMORTAL NATURE OF THE CHEMICAL ELEMENTS
Both Animate and Inanimate Matter is made up of Chemical Elements which display characteristics that can be called eternal, immortal, immutable, imperishable, indestructible, unborn, and uncreated. Animate Matter exists because of this potential capacity or power of Inanimate Matter. There is cyclical flow of the Chemical Elements in Nature where this transition from Animate to Inanimate Matter plays a crucial role to operate the biological phenomena of Life and Death. While it is important to make the distinction or separation of Animate and Inanimate Matter, it is important to note the fundamental capacity or power of the Chemical Elements to maintain physical and chemical properties without changing under the influence of ‘Time’.
The division or separation, or distinction of man as perishable body and imperishable Soul is fundamentally flawed for both Animate and Inanimate Matter derive their nature from unvarying and unchanging properties of the Chemical Elements. Animate vs Inanimate Dualism is primarily based upon Vital Operations and Mechanical Operations and it is not concerned with physical or chemical properties of Matter. To that extent, in my analysis, the Four Upanishadic Aphorisms or Mahavakyas make claims not supported by the real nature of Matter.