February 09, 2012

We are planned not to be sure that Nature has a plan

Nature's Plans? Dear Devinder, I am not sure that Nature has a plan. Where do we find a plan that nature has? Would like you to educate me on that. Regards, Viswa RE: [sbicitizen] Nature's Plans? Dear Nilanjan, I am sorry to say that it is incurred to say that Quantum-physics has revealed anything about nature’s consciousness. 
Nature simply has no goals about anything. Nature can evolve conscious beings like humans across many planets and nature can finish off these creatures in a matter of few seconds. Just as it can create universes, even multiple parallel universes, it can also destroy them along with any conscious creatures that may have evolved over millions of years. We know the story of dinosaurs who lived for more than million years and perished. 
The closest that our Indian philosophy has come to scientific data is the doctrine of unending cycle of birth, evolution and destruction (Siva’s pralaya). 
As I write this note, the two galaxies “Andromeda and our own Milky Way” are hurtling towards each other for a collision. We have no idea what will happen when the collision gets into full swing. Our own Sun will evolve into a brown dwarf in a few million years and will swallow up our own earth in its expanded version, our planet will be completely scorched by this expanded Sun. You can be sure that we will not survive this brown dwarf. 
Over the last two months, two large meteors hurtled past earth “one as close as 21,000 kms to the earth. They could have easily crashed into our planet” which would finished us off just as the dinosaurs disappeared. 
And, these are events we know. There are zillions of events that are happening that we have no idea of simply because the light rays have not reached our powerful telescopes mounted on satellites. 
I hope we will do more due diligence rather than simply claim that nature has plans. Regards, Viswa

Re: Nature's Plans? Viswa's question cannot be indubitably answered by pointing to Sri Aurobindo's remarks on the matter.  Such a response is no different than asking someone to read the Bible or Koran and believing in whatever is written there!
One would have to have first-hand experience of a greater reality in order to decipher if Nature has a plan, and that is only possible when one has advanced beyond a certain level in Yoga.  For the rest, it should be a hypothesis which is provisionally accepted because various yogis have averred on the existence of a plan of Nature.  Ancient seers called it Mula-Prakriti or Apara-Prakriti and Sri Aurobindo called it SuperNature (to avoid overloading the term "Nature")
So Viswa, you should continue with the assumption that Nature does not have a plan.   At some point in the future, if you have get initiated onto the spiritual path, and have some spiritual experiences, you might feel inclined to accept that Nature might indeed have a plan. –Sandeep [February | 2012 | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother This blog primarily discusses the Integral Yoga (Интегральной Йоги) of Sri Aurobindo (Шри Ауробиндо) & the Mother Mirra Alfassa (Мать Мирра Альфасса)] 
“The object of religion is the same as that of philosophy; it is the eternal verity itself in its objective existence; it is God. Nothing but God and the unfolding of God… [P]hilosophy in unfolding religion merely unfolds itself, and in unfolding itself it unfolds religion.” -Hegel
“Philosophy is the intellectual search for the fundamental truth of things; religion is the attempt to make the truth dynamic in the soul of man.” -Sri Aurobindo
“Religion, whatever it is, is man’s total reaction upon life.” -William James

What is the relationship between religion and philosophy? Some philosophers, like Bertrand Russell, believe it is philosophy’s job to lift the human intellect above the childishness of religion. Reason and science alone are supposed to guide our species into its adulthood. Levi Bryant’s recent post complicates this picture:

…the choice of philosophy over religion…cannot be completed by demonstrating that philosophy is the “rational” choice over religion, nor that the claims of religion are inadequate as descriptions of reality. Rather, philosophy only surmounts religion in completing its project of thinking being…

Bryant’s post is a challenge to philosophy to think not only the eternality of being (noun: “is” or “I”), but the contingency of existence, of being (verb: “to be” or “am”). Until philosophy is able to absolutize itself in this way, says Bryant, the mind (philosophy) inevitably leaves itself vulnerable to possession by the spirit (religion). (Kantian) Philosophy tends to bracket the flesh and blood of existence from its metaphysical inquiry into pure possibility, and in so doing forfeits any challenge the mind might make to the spirit’s will to believe. But we need not oppose religion and philosophy. Their object, as Hegel says, is the same. Philosophy, to remain relevant to actual life, must itself become religious. Without the madness of spirit, there is no such thing as philosophy, anyway.

Spirituality claims knowledge of something immediately (perceptually) that it has not (“yet”?) succeeded in thinking mediately (conceptually). The philosopher’s task, if it is the Absolute she seeks, is to think herself thinking being, and so to come to know who it is that she is in the world. She is pressed for time, death potentially waiting around every corner. “Who am I?” “What is this?” — these are not neutral or optional questions for her. The meaning of human life depends on these questions. If she cannot think the answer, the All, for herself before the sun sets on another day, she has no other choice but to believe being exists. If she is able to say “I am,” it is because she believes, she knows existence intuitively, without the mediation of any concept other than her “own” being. To believe being exists is not to march in step with the masses, to buy into the dogmatisms of traditional religion despite the challenges of modern science and philosophy. Faith in God need not be faith despite knowledge, but faith in order to know what/who the mind cannot (“the heart has reasons reason doesn’t know”). Faith is a movement of the heart, a love seeking the highest knowledge: knowledge of the Good. It is the kind of knowledge that requires our heartfelt participation in order to be known. Goodness is not an abstract idea, it has no essence outside its existence; it is always discovered in the act of loving.

The reality of God is not just a postulation made by morality; rather, only he who recognizes God — in whatever way — is a truly moral person. Moral laws ought to be obeyed not because they are related to God as the lawmaker (or whatever other relationship the finite mind is able to conceive) but because the essence of God and that of morality are one and the same and because by acting morally we are revealing the essence of God. A moral world exists only if God exists, and to postulate His existence in order for a moral world to exist is a complete reversal of the true and necessary relations. -Schelling, Philosophy and Religion (1804).

Religion, as James put it, is the human being’s “total reaction upon life”; it is the soul’s response to the actual time and place of its incarnation. If God exists, and it is possible not only to think, but to feel and to will the Absolute, it is because the human soul has made room within itself for God to be born into the world.
When Love said that word, my soul melted and flowed away. Where he comes in, I must go out! -Meister Eckhart summarizing the Song of Solomon (5:2-7) 

Here is my most recent post at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.  There I ask professional philosophers what they think of the relationship is between the two disciplines.  Here it would be wise to reverse that question, what do professional economists (this is not a conversation for amateur economists) think about the relationship between economics and philosophy.

1 comment:

  1. [In the passage which follows, Sri Aurobindo invites us to still for a moment the voices of doubt and fear, to take a leap of faith across the threshold of the mind, and have a glimpse of "what infinite enjoyments.... what luminous reaches of spontaneous knowledge, what wide calms of our being" may lie in wait if we would dare to take Indian psychology seriously: Don Salmon

    "Lift your eyes towards the Sun; He is there in that wonderful heart of life and light and splendor. Watch at night the innumerable constellations glittering like so many solemn watchfires of the Eternal in the limitless silence which is no void but throbs with the presence of a single calm and tremendous existence; see there Orion with his sword and belt shining...Sirius in his splendor, Lyra sailing billions of miles away in the ocean of space. Remember that these innumerable worlds, most of them mightier than our own, are whirling with indescribable speed at the beck of that Ancient of Days whither none but He knoweth, and yet that they are a million times more ancient than your Himalaya, more steady than the roots of your hills and shall so remain until He at his will shakes them off like withered leaves from the eternal tree of the Universe. Imagine the endlessness of Time, realize the boundlessness of Space; and then remember that when these worlds were not, He was, the Same as now, and when these are not, He shall be, still the Same; perceive that beyond Lyra He is and far away in Space where the stars of the Southern Cross cannot be seen, still He is there.
    "And then come back to the Earth and realize who this He is. He is quite near to you. See yonder old man who passes near you crouching and bent, with his stick. Do you realize that it is God who is passing? There a child runs laughing in the sunlight. Can you hear Him in that laughter? Nay, He is nearer still to you. He is in you, He is you. It is yourself that burns yonder millions of miles away in the infinite reaches of Space, that walks with confident steps on the tumbling billows of the ethereal sea; it is you who have set the stars in their places and woven the necklace of the suns not with hands but by that Yoga, that silent actionless impersonal Will which has set you here today listening to yourself in me. Look up, O child of the ancient Yoga, and be no longer a trembler and a doubter; fear not, doubt not, grieve not; for in your apparent body is One who can create and destroy worlds with a breath."]

    [Alphonso Lingis:
    “Go outside on a starry night and get a sense for the vastness of the universe. And realize that your fingerprint is enough to make you unique out of all that universe. And then think about how much more complicated your brain is than your fingerprint. Your brain is wired to do something that nothing else in the universe can do. And if you don’t do it, it’s not going to get done.”]