April 30, 2017

The concept of species is controversial

Saturday, 29 April 2017, Vinod Sehgal
Dear Ram and  Satsangiji,

It is not that only neurons creates  the experiences. Experiences in the normal awakened state  are created from by the joint aggregate of neurons in the physical brain and  astral mind as transcendental to physical brain. In the state  of Samaadhi, experiences  can arise with only astral mind also.

It is not that all the states  of  Samaadhi  are bliss dominant.
Experience of  the  ultimate reality is made in the highest state  of Samadhi by consciousness when mind and brain no longer exist. Therefore. In that state though consciousness  can have experience  of cosmic  consciousness  but no interpretation, analysis, recording  of that experience due to absence of the mind. Afterwards, when consciousness returns to mind and brain , interpretation  of that  experience is made by mind  depending upon Sanskaaras present in the made. Therefore, experience if the ultimate reality  and its interpretation has nothing to do with neural  basis.


Vinod Sehgal

Dear Vinod ji,


In my view, neurons do not create the experiences (materialism) or vice versa (idealism), rather they are the physical and inseparable mental aspects of an ontic/conscious state of a mind-brain system. The dualistic Sāṅkhya’s terms such as astral, causal, and manifested worlds (if really exist!) are NOT real in the physical world where we live. Therefore, there is no point in getting confused with those entities which are not real, rather they are simply illusions (like dreams) in our physical world. None of us live in those worlds; let them to discuss who can travel and live in those worlds; for us, they are not very useful; we cannot take for granted what others say; we have to experience ourselves because NS-state experiences are ineffable. Therefore, we should first try to understand phenomena of our own real physical world.

As we discussed before, if you would like defend Sāṅkhya then you must first address its 8 serious irresolvable problems, until then we should work on the least problematic foundational Dvi-Pakṣa Advaita (eDAM) framework and critically examine if it can explain all phenomena of our physical world including us.  The problems are elaborated in Chapter 2 (Section 2.4 for Sāṅkhya) of (Vimal, 2012c).

Kind regards,
Rām Lakhan Pāndey Vimal, Ph.D.

Dear Sarvesh Gyawali Ji


You have asked “How then do u explain human child's inability to perform certain functions which are very well performed by babies of other mammals right from the point of birth? Why are babies or other mammals more equipped with for survival and much less helpless than we human babies are?” 

Unlike animals, human life is meant to inquire about our true constitutional position and that whole process needs some degree of surrender. Thus human life right from the beginning (birth) teaches us that humility which is necessary for proper surrender. On the other hand, nonhuman body is not equipped with this special rational ability and thus they are focused only on immediate biological needs: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Being ignorant about the true nature of self, animals may only engage toward the goal of (false) survival, but the true survival (eternal life) is only possible when one realizes and establishes himself/herself in the true spiritual nature as insignificant serving unit of the original organic whole (ādi-puruṣa or primeval personal Absolute).

Thanking you. Sincerely,
Bhakti Niskama Shanta, Ph.D.      

Dear Dr. Ádám Kun
 Namaskar. Thank you for your reply.

You have told “Richard Lenski's study of E.coli evolution is not a study of macroevulution. Long-term evolution does not equate to macroevolution... So it does prove that novelty can arise in evolutionary experiments.”

We repeat that there is no empirical evidence that can support the idea that macroevolution is nothing but the repeated rounds of microevolution added up. The notion that in future microevolution will produce macroevolution is a mere dogmatic faith and there is no valid reason for believing that studies founded on such mere belief system have some scientific standing.  

Your have stated “Please have this argument with those well-versed in the philosophy of science. I admit my limitations. To be honest we do not know if the Sun will rise in the east and set in the west.” If you feel that rising of Sun example belongs to the domain of some sophisticated philosophy of science then let us consider another pure and simple empirical example. We smell by our nose and taste by our tongue. Like evolutionists someone can dogmatically argue that in future it will be reversed: we will smell by our tongue and taste by our nose. When someone challenges that irrational argument then he/she may dogmatically challenge that opposition with the argument similar to yours (Can you prove that macroevolution cannot happen?) “can you prove that in future we cannot smell by our tongue and taste by our nose?” Such naive arguments prove that the supporters of evolution are deviating from the core principles of science and in the process embracing a mere dogmatic attitude to support evolution. Please clarify whether you accept this plain fact or not, because apart from such unscientific arguments you have also repeatedly asserted without any empirical/scientific evidence: “all our knowledge about evolution and the history of Earth tells us that species came from other species.” (you should remember here that the concept of species is controversial in science and what we are arguing here is about the macroevolution and not about a mere reproductive isolation).   

You have further argued “Developmental process can explain some morphological changes. But if that would be the sole difference and it would always be responding to the environment then (1) A chimp raised in a human family would become a human (2) all living organism would share the same genome. None of it is true. Development alone cannot explain the diversification of life.”

Embryological development from zygote to the adult organism empirically proves that it is a miraculous process that can produce not only varieties of cells but also varieties of organs that can perform different function in the body as a whole. After the developmental process is finished, except some special cells, the same cells of an organ produce the same cells to meet different requirements of the body. Similarly the first life (God) can miraculously produce varieties of things that are inconceivable for ordinary processes. Your argument that “A chimp raised in a human family would become a human” is irrelevant because a mere environmental pressure will not force the heart organ to transform into an eye organ. The next argument of yours “all living organism would share the same genome” simply emphasizes the uniformitarian mindset that is commonly practiced in physical sciences but there is no scientific reason to believe that life/nature is enslaved to follow that dictum. You may read about chimera (genetics)  to sense the complex nature of life on our Earth. Thus all empirical evidence confirms that the miraculous developmental process alone can explain the diversification of life. Science must accept miracles because it is empirically observed fact (embryological development) and our scientific methods cannot imitate the same (all the science and all the scientists in the world together cannot make a single blade of grass).   

You have told ““If changes occur in the network as a whole, then the various nodes (species) change accordingly, to maintain the harmony of the network of life." And that is one way to describe evolution. I'm glad that you are on board :)” If you think that evolution and developmental process are one and same then we have no problem to agree with such a concept of evolution.

About the views of scientists under you have told “Did they ever question the basics of evolution...?” Please elaborate what are those basics of evolution.

By citing the transient nature of material world (everything has a beginning and an end) you have strangely concluded that “The ape ancestor is our beginning, and an evolved human being is what will come after us. We cannot come from nothing.” What is the scientific basis for this radical conclusion? Moreover, a frog in a well cannot understand the phenomenon of gigantic ocean and thus our tiny brains cannot conceive the realty that is much beyond our observational limits. The transient material world is only a perverted reflection of eternal spiritual world. The word temporary has no meaning if there is nothing permanent.   

You have also told “Survival of the fittest. This is a catchy phrase. It does not equate the "only one one can remain" (as in the Highlander movie). So we also need food, and our being fit includes the survival of other species too. Exploitation has an evil connotation. We are heterotrophs, thus we eat other beings (or parts of other beings). I do not think that it makes us evil.”

On what basis you justify the practice of exploitation attitude! Do you think that there is a way to overcome it? Obviously the concept of evolution does not have any foundation to help us overcome the spirit of exploitation. But the concept of an organic whole does teach us that there is a way by which we can overcome the exploitative spirit. But we leave that to you to understand it by yourself.   

You have asked us “We cannot explain how we became intelligent. We generally cannot, so it is not the problem of evolution or any other branch of knowing, it is our lack of knowledge. Do you know how we become "knowing"?”

At least we know from empirical observation that every intelligent being comes from a preexisting intelligent being and an intelligent being does not appear from the mechanical or chemical aggregation of dull matter. Thus, an intelligent sentient life is primitive and reproductive of itself – omne vivum ex vivo – life comes from life. Moreover, in the miraculous developmental process a heart organ is endowed with the intelligence to perform the function of heart, an eye organ is endowed with the intelligence to perform the function of eye and so on. So the varieties of intelligent cells and organs appear from the developmental process and not by evolution. Similarly, different living organisms are part of an organic whole and are endowed with the appropriate intelligence to serve the purpose of that whole. Therefore, it is not the lack of knowledge but the practice of stubborn support for evolution that forces us to embrace the ignorance by simply denying the evidence.  

You have also not provided any scientific basis for your final conclusion “Evolutionary psychology has a scientific basis. As it involves humans, it is not very easy to do experiments. If any kind of study of the human mind is unscientific, then what is this mailing list about? If inquiry about the mind is a valid scientific pursuit then evolutionary psychology is fine.” Study of human mind is not unscientific but, to dogmatically insist that it came from nonhuman mind is unscientific. One cannot simply inquire and know things, otherwise why we have schooling system. To have proper knowledge one also needs some significant practical help from someone who has the higher knowledge.

Thanking you. Sincerely,
Bhakti Niskama Shanta, Ph.D.          

Dear Whit, Avtar and Priyedarshi,

All laws  exist in   and  emerge out from consciousness. This we observe  in our daily life in the areas of technology, IT and  social life. At the localized level, laws emrrgre  from the conscious  mind. Once emerged out of the conscious mind, laws get  transposed in the entity to which such laws pertain to. For example. , laws pertaining to the working of an aeroplane take birth from  a conscious mind and transposed to the design and structure of the plane.

At  the macro/ cosmological level, design, creation of the universe is much much more complex than  any man  made product.. Therefore.creation of the universe can't proceed ahead blindly as some  accident  or randomly  as some hit and trial. Initiation  for the creation of universe, chartering  across during the  course of creation  of the universe and working of the nature in present course of action in nature must be governed by some pre-existing Laws. Since before  the creation of the universe, there is no space/time/matter/energy, therefore, laws of creation pertaining to these entities can't reside  in such  entities. Laws pertaining to programming  of a computer  can't exist  in a computer  before the hardware  of a computer is ready. Similarly, laws of creation of the universe pertaining  to. space/time/matter/energy  can't reside in such entities before such entities take  birth. In view of this, all such laws pertaining to the creation of universe  take birth from the womb of the cosmic  consciousness  which is absolute  in nature  having no parallel with any thing in the universe. In different spiritual traditions, the aggregate if all such laws  has been indicated by different names. In Upanishadjc tradition, the aggregate  of all such laws of creation has been termed as " Shabada". In modern physics, aggregate if all laws  of the creation has been termed as "Information"
One more interesting aspect. Propagator  of any Laws  also retains the power to alter  the laws as per His will and requirement. This  we observe in our daily  worldly life also. Therefore, cosmic  consciousness, which is the propagator  of all laws of the universe, can also  alter  any one of such Laws  as per His Will and requirement.. When some great fully realized Saints/Yogis, who have identified with cosmic consciousness, take any "Sankalapa" (Resolution) to accomplish something special in nature which is treated as supernatural, nature alters  its Laws temporarily  and locally in order to Sankalapa of the Saint/Yogi to fulfil. But people who dub such  supernatural powers of  some  true and fully  realised  Saints /Yogis as frauds or illusions  or dreams forget the principle that propagator  of Laws can also  alter Laws at any time as per His will and  requirements in nature.

Vinod Sehgal 

priyedarshi jetli Apr 30, 2017
Awareness as a type abstracted from token awarenesses may not exist. I don't know what is this pure awareness. There are token (or particular awarenesses) such as awareness of typing on the key board now. Each of these awarenesses can be dealt with at the nominal level and explained within the physical world without going beyond to a transcendental world.

Respected Priyedarshi Ji
You are right Sir that Indian Philosophy is rich with diverse schools of thoughts, for further reference we can read the details given by (H.H.) Dr B.M. Puri Maharaja in the article “SIDDHANTA” [Advaita, Dvaita, Visisadvaita, Acintya Bheda-Abheda Tattva, Matter, Ego, Maya, Consciousness, Spirit] so that we can understand these subjects more precisely.

There is no conflict between these Schools of thoughts because according to one’s understanding and developing stages of consciousness one adopt a different kind of philosophy. When he/she cross that developmental stages then only one can enter and could understand the next higher kind of stages. In Indian Philosophy there is possibility for everyone to elevate their consciousness by following the different kind of process which is most suitable and soothing according to our present stage. 
Thanks with regards

Dr Shilpi Saxena, MRSC, Ph.D, FICCE 

Savitri Era Learning Forum: Survival of the fittest doesn't mean that it has to be cruel or destructive
I don't think anyone living having any "spiritual experience" and so apprehending the world from one's limited perspective is rather honest. If you can inform names of spiritual people with modality of selecting them and their respective levels, it'd be a great service to seekers. Subjective impulses, feelings, or experiences can't be put before others for verification. So scientific/philosophical investigation valid. You can go on expanding on the idea to weave a distinct ontology. I simply objected to your labelling certain human experiences as spiritual.

[Our brains are tricking us all the time, seeing what we have been preconditioned to perceive and leaving out much]
You confine to yourself; disseminating Sri Aurobindo's ideas doesn't bother you, perhaps. Else, others have to be approached at their level. Fine, you may like - Surviving in the Corporate Jungle: A Backpacker's Guide by Ashok Kumar Bhatia
Fictions as a genre. You can have a separate rubric for spiritual. Btw, all writings, including philosophy, are fiction, says Postmodernism! DF may have been important at a particular stage of your intellectual growth but it's one sided. Just give a reading

A recent book, "Hegel's India" brings into focus his tryst with Indian philosophy and how his notions were inspired by it.
History of Western Philosophy can no longer be understood as neatly as before as genealogy of Hegel's ideas seem to be imbricated with India
Hegel's India can explain Modi, perhaps.

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Survival of the fittest doesn't mean that it has to be cruel or destructive

Dear Anirudh ji,

In the Dvi-Pakṣa Advaita (eDAM), a physical energy is a part of the 3pp-physical aspect and a spiritual energy is a part the inseparable 1pp-mental aspect of a spiritual state (such as Samādhi state) of a mind-brain system. It is the same information, but 'viewing' it from two different perspectives: 1pp (1st person perspective) vs. 3pp (3rd pp). 

I agree that there is no evidence of the 5th mysterious force in addition to four physical (gravitation, EM, weak and strong) forces. However, the 6th sense in us is a possibility to explain paranormal, rebirth, NDEs, OBEs, Samādhi state experiences, which may not be explained thru our five senses. This is because all these experiences must have neural basis as per neuroscience. For further detail please see Section 2.1, 2.3.3, 5.8.3, 5.32.1, 5.35, 5.37-5.40 of (Vimal, 2009d).

Kind regards,

Dear Dr. Ram
Thanks for your very nice response.  But all our experiences whether temporal or spiritual have their neural bases.  Our all experiences even what we get during meditation or state of samadhi are given meaning at our brain level.  And there is all possibilities that such experiences are explained differently by different persons who receive these experiences even if they are identical experiences. The difference of recall of these experiences is dependent on the geographical conditions, language, culture etc. Kindly also enlighten us on this topic.

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi 

Dear Anirudh ji,

I agree with you. Since experiences are personal and depend on the infrastructure of a mind-brain system, on the context/environment, and other factors, they can be different. Trichromats will experience a ripe tomato reddish, but achromats it will be grayish. Theist Vedāntists report different experiences compared to atheist Buddhists for Samādhi state experiences. However, some of the experiences (such as bliss/ānanda at Samādhi state) are more or less common to most of the subjects because their neural bases are also more or less common.

Kind regards,
Rām Lakhan Pāndey Vimal, Ph.D.
Apr 30, 2017

I wish I had your confidence when I was young like you. I still don't have it. But you are obviously in some high level of deep thinking of a philosophical plane to decide that Lokayata is a poor philosophy. One of my senior colleagues, V. P. Verma wrote a book on Indian atheism and won the Birla prize for the book on Hindi. Indian philosophy is rich with diverse schools that are Nastik, do not accept the existence of God. I am afraid you have a very narrow conception of what Indian philosophy is. Indian philosophy on the whole is never dogmatic or doctinaire like you claim it to be. 

History of atheism is much richer in the history of Indian philosophy than it is in Western philosophy. You would be hard pressed to find atheistic schools in Western philosophy before the 18th century. I have been doing shallow thinking philosophy for 45 years and will continue to do so but I will still not accept the existence of a soul or a non material consciousness. And I am not the only one. There are a lot of inferior to you and shallow thinking philosophers who are in the same boat as I am. In fact, a lot of the concepts of God, Divinity, Theism, and so on which are currently used to spell out some of the Indian texts are imported from the West. The literal meaning of 'Theism' is not there in ancient Indian texts. 

Unfortunately, a person I admired a lot, and met a few times when I was a child, Radhakrishnan, is partially responsible for the Christianizing of Hinduism and of Indian philosophy. Advaita is not the paradigm of either Hinduism or Indian philosophy as it came much later, at the fag end of when the activity of Indian philosophy with vicious debates among schools and within schools came to an end and since then Indian philosophy has become stagnant as your dogmatic statements clearly indicate.

Apr 30, 2017

Thanks. My phrasing there was responding to Avtar's "Meaning of the laws conjured by beings and minds will always evolve/change while the eternal laws remain unchanged." Now rereading Avtar I wonder if he pictures there to be precise laws which stand beyond time, in contrast to our approximations of those laws which we derive within it. Insofar as he's suggesting our understandings are only evolving approximations, I agree with him. But he's also claiming "fundamental existence," in which laws it seems are perfectly understood before "universal awareness" -- again, beyond time -- or somehow in a time before time.

As for what I understand by "consciousness," that's a good question, yet I'm not sure it's the sort of word whose understanding best consists in definition, as compared to pointing at it. Some linguists and psycologisgts have been recently focused on "conjoint attention" as a way in which
children learn to see and speak of the world. The child sees where another person is focusing their attention (typically their eyes) and joins them in that focus. Then the child learns to fit what is said to whatever is being conjointly seen.

Well, "consciousness" is the aspect which is there in the background of all of our episodes of conjoint attention. The world, as we understand it particularly with language, is the world of which we are conjointly aware with other persons (and, for some of us, other animals). One way of breaking down the English word "consciousness" is to Latin roots for "see together."
That would fit with this. Then again, metaphor and analogy, so basic to our understanding, also comes in "seeing together" -- although in this case seeing different things together, rather than different people seeing the same thing together. The second "seeing together" is more subjective; the first "seeing together" -- the social act -- is more objective. But there's not a sharp divide between them.

If this is right, then consciousness is the most objective fact before us. When we miss its objectivity, that's because it is so universal to our awareness, as has been said, "like water to a fish."

Whit Blauvelt 
Apr 30, 2017

Why Biology is Beyond Physical Sciences?:

Life and consciousness – The Vedāntic view:

Dear Debashis Banerji,

Survival of the fittest does not mean, that it has to be cruel or destructive toward others.
In the examples of organelles and cells inside our body, it is the unicellular organism and the multicellular body which maximizes its fitness by controlling its organelles and constituent parts. Those part were individuals in the evolutionary past, but now they are part of a new whole, a new evolutionary unit (an eukaryotic cell or a multicellular body).
Certain organisms maximize their fitness by cooperating, or by being mutualist toward other organism. So in the end we see a lot of positive interaction in Nature. The phrase "struggle for existence" (by Darwin) might be better than the survival of the fittest (by Herbert Spencer), as in struggles we can very well come together and aid each other.

Ádám Kun 
Apr 29, 2017

Thanks dr kun... that is what i feel it is... the 'coexister' in the 'struggle for existence'... under pressures of 'selection'.... wish one had a time machine to ride by and be able to visualize the genomic transitions, their expressions, the resultants, in the context of human induced environmental and climate change...our contribution to 'the struggle for existence'... of interest have been eg., some classic examples of rapid evolutionary changes and emergence of heavy metal tolerant plant species etc., under extreme selection pressure...

Debashis Banerji
Apr 29, 2017

Feel Philosophy: In struggles we can very well come together and aid each other

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April 28, 2017

There is no science as such


Realms of mind and consciousness are not explainable since their ontology does not fall within the physicality as known to the Science of the day. Physical signals of em energy and other physical energies are unable to piece thru the Astral and causal realm of nature where mind resides, Realm of consciousness is even transcendental to the Astral realm of the mind. If you are conversant with the basic Upnishadic/Sankhya philosophy, you get a fair idea of such transcendence.

 Transcendence of the Astral realm of mind and Consciousness are not speculative and theoretical ideas. In the state of Samadhi, the existence of mind and consciousness as distinct from the brain can be experienced in a quite vivid manner. In the area of spiritual research, subjective evidence as flowing from the experience in Sammadhi is akin to empirical evidence in objective scientific research. I am not repeating for the sake of repetition. Need is to seriously follow the description of such experiences in the state of Sammadhi.

You asked why mind and brain are distinct? Very simple since they belong to quite different realms of nature. Brain belong to Physical realm and mind comes from the Astral realm. Though both realms are physical but their physicality and laws governing thereupon are entirely different,  The key problem has been that current knowledge of the Science is limited up to the Physical realm only which represent only a slice of the entire spectrum of nature. If one would like to explain everything say mind-body problem within the known physical realm, then obviously problems are bound to arise. In the state of Sammadhi, Astral realm of nature including the ontological reality of mind can be vividly observed and understood. Now, what is the Astral realm of nature? Either it is a particle in nature with scale in the Planckian regime or it is not the particle  in nature but some quite different nature.

To assume that physicality is limited up to the ends as known to Science of the day and that everything should be explainable within the known physicality is a travesty of rationality. If scientists, particularly Physicists and neuroscientists could sincerely follow and understand the ontology of the transcendental Astral and Causal realm of nature, as given in the description of experiences of the state of Sammadhi and as given by spiritualists of past as well as present, there is the likelihood that their approach towards mind and consciousness may undergo a radical shift. Alternatively, if in future  Physicists and neuroscientists are able to know the expanded range of the physicality and fall on the astral plane of nature, then also they may have new insight on mind and consciousness.

You asked why not legs, arms, mouths, brain ...... and mind.? I have explained above since mind and brain belong to quite different ontology despite both being physical. Here word physical need to be expanded. Any ontological entity which lacks innate consciousness and power of propulsion is physical. Any ontological entity which has consciousness and propulsion power as innate is non-physical or conscious one.


Vinod sehgal


In the absence of consciousness and mind, , where  and how Laws if nature  and numbers  will exist as psychological stable  and sharable. Illusions? All the psychological phenomena including  illusions are the products  of mind. In the absence  of the mind, how such products will be produced.

Vinod Sehgal 

We can derive the existence of computer, (in the original mathematical sense of Church, Post, Kleene, Turing) in elementary arithmetic.
Then, mind can be explained by the self-referential ability of those computers (universal numbers) with respect to each other and with respect to the (infinitely many) computations (realized in arithmetic). That is needed because the universal numbers cannot know which numbers they are, still less which computation or universal numbers supports them.

This does not need computationalism to be proved. But computationalism justifies that the law of physics must be retrieved from some statistics on the first person experiences supported by those infinities of infinite computations.

Contrary to what many materialists believe, materialism is not epistemologically compatible with mechanism. (I can argue for this).

Before suspecting a reductionism here, it is useful to understand that Arithmetic has been shown to be something highly not computable, and that all machines and apparently ourselves can only hope to scratch at the surface of It. Any of our theories are only tiny windows on something which is unnameable as seen from "inside", in the first person perspective.

Brains, computers, cells and physical universes are examples of universal numbers involved in deep computations. 

The universal numbers constitute in Arithmetic a sort of Indra Net, as each universal numbers reflects all the others including their behaviors. They do not produce consciousness or semantic, but filter the consciousness/semantic/sense inherent in the arithmetical truth (plausibly, and in a highly dissociative state). It differentiates and "lost itself" on all sufficiently consistent histories/dreams. Materiality is a relatively persistent pattern when the histories/sharable-dreams cohere enough to make universal numbers meeting themselves, ... and recognizing themselves, or not.


In fact, IF we are machine, THEN we cannot which machine we are. Saying "yes" to a doctor needs an act of faith. And reality is made bigger.

I would say that computationalism is the most anti-reductionist position. It refutes, and show that all universal machines/numbers refute the reductionist conception of machine and numbers. It gives them a soul and explains that it is not a machine.

The real question is more like "do you agree that your daughter marry a man who has got a digital brain transplant". Somehow. For a christian, the question might be "should we baptize the computers", etc. 

Non-computationalism needs to add magic to distinguish human from machine, and that might only mean that human have not yet understood or listen to them.

Nobody claims that computationalism is explaining everything. It is just an hypothesis, and eventually it changes the perspective, entails afterlife, for example, and makes Reality *far* bigger than what we can infer by observation, which appears to be a temporary "illusion", somehow. 

There is no brain. I like to say that the brain is all in the brain. It is an appearance only, provably so when we assume computationalism. Physics will be reduced to machine theology, and so we can test it by comparing the physics "in the head of the machine" with the physics that we extrapolate from observation.

Bruno Marchal


Again, thanks for your detailed response. I agree with you on truth. I think the truth condition should actually be dropped and could be replaced by approximate truth in most cases. In mathematics as you suggest the situation is different. Truth is always defined under an interpretation I in logic. So, essentially this condition will have to be refined contextually in different domains of knowledge.

I need to look at the last part more closely and research it a bit.



But how do you know in a deep coma that your body/matter has any existence in a deep coma? What is evidence that matter or body really did exist when you were in a deep coma?

Vinod Sehgal

priyedarshi jetli Apr 27, 2017

Your reasoning continues to be fallacious. You simply assume that there is a consciousness and its required for existence. I could make the much more plausible and common sense assumption that first there existence and then there is consciousness. After all you argue that consciousness has an existence. I claim, that what you mean by consciousness does not exist. Grammatically 'is' and 'exist' are prior to 'conscious'. When I say "I am conscious" this presupposes existence not consciousness. Existence to me is unquestionable, whereas the existence or reality of consciousness, as you use the term, is debatable at best. 

As for your example, it is misguided. Vision is not the only sense through which we access the physical world. When I am sitting in a dark room I am sitting on something that is a physical object. I am feeling sensations of smell, touch, even vision, as I see darkness, smells and taste. I have never experienced any moment when I am not experiencing something bodily and physical. Further, I do not understand how anything can be non physical.


Donald DeGracia Apr 27, 2017
Professor, Department of Physiology
LOL! There can be no existence without consciousness! They are, in fact, one and the same. In the West, Bishop Berkeley was the first to say this. Lesser minds went on to call it “idealism” but it is much deeper and the Hindu teachings are much better to study once one gets this, the most fundamental of all insights that consciousness = existence. Consciousness IS “is-ness”.

The arguments you raised below were addressed by Berkeley in the early 1700s. You simply cannot have existence without consciousness. And, in fact, it turns out they are the same thing when you think it through.

Dear Diego

You refer to "identifying" as if that term did not refer to an identifier [the one doing the identifying].

Thus when you write

". . . upon identifying it at the most basic level with the manifestation of a singularity/inhomogeneity/difference on a context, the motivation IS THE SELF-MANIFESTATION of them . . ."

I may have misunderstood this, but I take this to mean that YOU are identifying motivation with the manifestation of a singularity.It is not intrinsic to a singularity. 

By using the term manifestation, you apparently mean it just happens by chance or some unknown means that a boundary or difference is established within what is otherwise a homogeneous continuity. It is difficult to reconcile such a contingent occurrence with an intentional motive.

However, if the boundary is determined by a thinking person, with an intention or motive, then the motive and the boundary are not identical, as I am sure you can agree.

You then write

". . for me the primeval distinction, its formal representation as the sign and the observer are identified . . "

But Pierce writes: "Nothing is a sign unless it is interpreted as a sign.' 

In other words, in the use of the word 'sign' you have an interpreter [observer] and the sign. If they are not different then the word 'sign' cannot be meaningful at all. When you say "formal representation' you are speaking about an abstract mathematical formalism. But an abstraction does not represent what is in reality a distinction. For instance, an ideal gas is an abstraction for which a certain law or equation applies, but real gases have components that interact with one another and therefore violate such equations.  

Saussure further specifies that a sign implies two things: signifier [image/object] and signified [concept]. In Hegelian philosophy a concept and its reality are inseparable as a dialectical identity in difference, never as a mere or abstract identity. 

The next question is: If a singularity is an indivisible identity, how does a singularity produce a path that closes upon itself? Please provide the essential details of how [by what agency/necessity] it divides itself and then produces a path back to itself.

As Hegel remarked, a oneness or non-dual logic can only produce a 'night in which all cows are black.' The difference implied in the word 'all' cannot be eliminated by the paradoxical saying 'all is one.' The 'all' does not fall into the one and disappear, otherwise there would be no meaning to 'all.'

Thank you for trying to explain your ideas to me, but even Maturana's autopoiesis applies to any machine/computer that is made of purely dead matter, which we might call processing but none of which we would identify as cognitive or living. 

B Madhava Puri, Ph.D.

Whit Blauvelt Apr 27, 2017
Hi Priyedarshi,

To me, as a working engineer, not even scientist, the point of the label "reductionism" isn't whether someone embraces it for themselves. When you speak of "the domain of the explanations of science," well of course we have good workable explanations in some domains. I'd certainly go to science (or engineering) to get a good explanation of a steam engine. Yet we had Freud try to extend from our explanation of steam engines to explain the workings of the human mind. So we can have scientific explanations from one domain that work pretty well, then attempts to extend them to other domains which are downright silly. Just as with steam engines, so it is with more recent attempts to explain the mind based on the engineering of computers.

Such silly attempts at extension from a proper domain into domains where the concepts at best fit only poorly, and only by metaphor, is what the philosophers call reductionist. Also, the notion that the various often-disjoint domains where science-like methods work well can all be reduced to a single domain of "science" -- that's obviously reductionistic. If we look closely, there is no "science" as such, merely a bunch of different sciences with a family resemblence. They no more blend to form a single "science" than the spiritual practices of different cultures blend to form a single "religion."

Best regards,

Hi Whit:
Meaning of laws is a subjective judgment that has nothing to do with their eternal existence. Being and things came long after the Big Bang that was governed by the eternal laws. Meaning of the laws conjured by beings and minds will always evolve/change while the eternal laws remain unchanged.

Please do not mix up subjective meaning and fundamental existence (laws representing universal awareness).

Best Regards
Avtar Singh, Sc.D.
Alumni, MIT
Author of "The Hidden Factor - An Approach for Resolving Paradoxes of Science, Cosmology, and Universal Reality"

Universal laws are not - "...only as psychological stable and sharable "illusion", as you say but implicit, unmanifested, eternal, and omnipresent reality in the universe representing universal awareness or consciousness. They were there before the big bang, before humans evolved on earth, and will exist long after humans become extinct for any unpredictable cause. These laws govern everything including all beings, minds, and things in the universe. Human constructs that do not follow these laws are delusions.

Best Regards
Avtar Singh, Sc.D.

23 hours ago - In pursuing an English private school education in 90's urban India, one thing that was quite natural for a student like me, was developing a sense of admiration for Western thought, culture and way of life. In literature ...

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Science is the business of finding the most parsimonious and consistent explanation or reason for observations › ... › Metrolife
“Though I haven’t been reading a lot lately, I enjoy the works of Sri Aurobindo. I started off with ‘Letters on Yoga’. His style of writing can put one’s doubts to rest even as they are reading something really difficult. He has explained a range of concepts like consciousess and human behaviour, which I try to follow in my life. I also read a lot of books on theatre and acting. I appreciate author Jerzy Grotowski’s works including ‘Towards A Poor Theatre’. I also like Peter Brook’s writings and ‘The Empty Space’ by him is another favourite.”

Barry Urie Apr 27, 2017
I really liked this 'Interactive Physics' article 'Theory of Everything, Mapped' in Quanta Magazine by Natalie Wolchover. Thought some in the group may appreciate it also.
Barry U. 

Computationalism, may be of any sophisticated degree, represent only a slice of human mind.  A large territory of our mind still remains unexplored. It is not possible to even enlist, parameterize, quantify and measure  all the "elements"  which constitute mind, if we take reductionist view of the mind. Only some of the aspects of mind can be represented by computationalism and computers. Therefore none of the comutationalism or computers or AI can represent human mind in toto.

Second aspect is that human mind  and consciousness are distinct entities Consciousness is  the one due to which brain and mind get functioning ability to perform. And these functions are also experienced/perceived by consciousness. So whatever little part of the mind has been mapped in computers via brain is not consciousness but that part of the mind and brain which is "computable".

Mind and brain are also distinct entities. It is not necessary that all the territory of the mind is necessarily reflectable at the brain

Vinod Sehgal


Since without consciousness, none is of your existence. Yours very "you" and mine  very "me" exist as long as consciousness remains manifested. Had we derived our existence out of physical body/matter, even in deep coma/sleep, ours "I" would have existed and we could   observe and describe environment and body in coma/deep sleep. But this this does not happens. Please ponder over for some time and things will be clear.

Vinod Sehgal


For you consciousness is the proper functioning of the body/matter  Well, It could be, though it is a very peripherial and shallow view of the consciousness. But whether body/matter exist  or not (at least for you) itself is authenticated or evidenced by your consciousness, What is the logic or evidence  that in the absence of you ( i.e your consciousness),  body/matter has any existence? I  had highlighted on this aspect in detail in my previous email.

Secondly, in Science whenever there is difference in interpretations we go in for empirical experimentation. In the matter of consciousness, any empirical experimentation is not feasible to conduct any empirical experimentation. But subjective spiritual practice following the discipline of Samaadhi of a no of people since millennia has provided a subjective evidence that  our existence i.e our consciousness is derived from realms other than our physical body.

Vinod Sehgal

priyedarshi jetli Apr 26, 2017

I just don't see how the existence of a consciousness or the existence of a non physical mind follows from my existence. It is not a hypothesis that everyone will accept. And as you say it cannot be established. So, it is a mere dogma. That is my point.


Edwards, Jonathan Apr 27, 2017
Dear Vinod,
As a life long scientist I have never ever come across anyone using the term ‘reductionism’ except by philosophers who want to belittle science. And I never thought that what I was doing in science was ‘reducing’. I think reductionism is what non-scientists think science must be about in the way that non-car designers think that understanding cars consists of unscrewing the parts. Science is the business of finding the most parsimonious and consistent explanation or reason for observations at whatever scale suits the job. That means finding laws of regularity in dynamics. I cannot see what that has to do with ‘reducing’. It certainly has nothing to do with saying things like ‘mind is nothing but matter’.

And as I said, your queries are not legitimate because they are reductive. You want a smaller scale mechanism. I do not think science is naive to postulate that there is a level beneath which there isn further mechanism. We may not have identified that level correctly - people are still shifting about on that. But to posit a level beyond which there is no further mechanism seems entirely parsimonious since the alternative is that there is an infinite regress of further theories we will never be able to work through. Moreover, we have very good epistemic evidence for there being a level beyond which there is no mechanism - what is called the quantum level, which can be at any spatial size but is the level of the dynamic indivisible. 

So your string of questions have no answers and need no answers. They are an attempt to run off on an infinitely regressive  wild goose chase. They are distinctly naive stuffiest or materialist in motivation.

There are certainly repeating cyclical variations in field values associated with modes of excitation. But these field values relate to probabilities of actualisation of exemplars within an ensemble and so are not ‘ups and downs in real spacetime’. The relate to something much more abstract. Sadly, physics as described in the popular media is a travesty of the real subject. 


Tusar Nath Mohapatra 
Dear JE,

Your attempt to draw attention to Leibniz is certainly admirable but I'm not sure whether your claims are valid. However, reading Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine can surely give you an alternative perspective to examine your convictions. Thanks.

Apr 26, 2017

Dear PJ,

I don't know if you are aware of Sri Aurobindo. His The Life Divine is considered a very authoritative work that deals with the Dogma question you raise here. Hope, you read it sometime. Thanks.

Apr 26, 2017

Sri Aurobindo wrote extensively on Consciousness a century back but referring to his Ontology is being avoided in these conversations. He provides a much advanced point of departure to study this problem which, I hope, can help in resolving many difficult dilemmas. Thanks to everyone participating in these discussions.

Tusar Nath Mohapatra
Apr 20, 2017

priyedarshi jetli Apr 26, 2017

Thanks for the reply and sorry for the delay as I was off for a couple of days. Plato was more of a journalist of philosophy, presenting all the views up to his time. In the Theaetetus he first rejects the hypothesis that knowledge is simply perception. Then he moves on to identifying knowledge with belief or opinion, but since this would make all false beliefs knowledge, he builds in the qualification of true belief. Now, true belief being knowledge would make knowledge a lucky affair. Plato believes that the notion of knowledge should involve some hard work and that is why the condition of account or justification is added. In mathematics this would be a proof and you know how difficult proofs are to come by. Did Fermat know his last theorem since he could not prove it. Well, he said that he had a proof but did not pen it down before he died. I would say he knew it even if he did not have a proof. And he knew it in a way I could know it even if I can understand and reproduce the proof that has now been found. I have to read your comments on computability more carefully. I tend to agree with you on these. Of course Plato even rejects true account with a belief as being sufficient for knowledge which would eventually lead to Gettier's paper in 1963.

Interestingly in the Meno, earlier than Theaeteus Plato also suggests that knowledge needs a tethering down, a justification or an account. However, for action, which is the main concern of Socrates at least, true belief is sufficient for the knowledge required to perform the morally correct action.

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Perhaps all this Western enthusiasm of finding a better way will eventually lead it onto the same path pointed to by India’s spiritual tradition. While that would be the best and likely safest outcome for the world, it would be a very long and roundabout way of getting there, with a greater than necessary indulgence in ignorance.
(1) See work being done by The Neurohacker Collective, Quantified Self and Flow Genome Project.
(2) ‘The Ideal of the Karmayogin’, Sri Aurobindo, Essay from the ‘Karmayogin’, June 1909
(3) ‘Man – Slave or Free?’, Sri Aurobindo, Essay from the ‘Karmayogin’, June 1909
Shruti Bakshi is a finance professional holding an MBA from INSEAD and an MPhil in Finance from Cambridge University. Having spent a decade living and working in Europe, she now resides in Gurugram. She writes on spirituality at Twitter: @shruti_paris.