More Hubs that provoke is another collection of essays from the author, where he looks at some more of the issues the human race considers as understood by all. In each, the aim is to portray how an alternate point of view could demand a totally different understanding of the issue. Which, by encouraging all to explore and compare the many sides of an issue before making an opinion, can facilitate a calm ambience anywhere.
It begins with the examination of a perennial question, what is life, and why we will find it difficult to answer. How theory of evolution missed the significant, how all of us are missing the substantial while naming our children, what really is human nature, and how different it is from what we think of it, are few of the remaining ones.
How to get an idea about life?
Is there something that is unknowable? Are there things we can understand with our minds and, things we cannot? What is the idea in vogue? And, if there is something unknowable, isn’t ‘our life’, top in the list?
Many explanations of life are alive at any time, thanks to one whole army of ‘spiritual leaders’ busy on the job, at all times, since the beginning of history. And it is a thriving profession, ever since. It seems the people have an unquenchable thirst, as far as theories in this regard go. That too, when for all other matters we are quite happy and contended with whatever ideas we possess. Even when a new or useful theory on such a terrain gets introduced, it will have to go through a rigorous regime of proving itself, before the theory gets accepted. Why is it like this? Why are we so eager, towards one side, and quite reluctant, to the other? I thought of investigating into it.
We know many things. We also hold a few things as beyond the mind, thus beyond understanding. Mind, on its part is conceived as an entity having its own limitations, posing another hurdle. All infinite and never-ending things are considered to be beyond the mind. And we attribute to everything, something infinite and never-ending. In such a case, it is far easy to be ‘without any idea’ of something, and be at ease, rather than to be aware of it, and be behind unknowns.
The difficulty in comprehending these things is accepted as something associated with life. And, everything that happens, the things we do, or think happens so, because of it. Should it be so?
Idea of space: space is everywhere, both inside and outside of everything. The presence thus has to be acknowledged of an infinite number of universes inside every atom in the universe. If a piece of a material is cut it in half, and cut the half in half and so on, it can go on. In this case, one will never run out of something to cut.
When you burn something, you are just turning the material into heat, light, ash and smoke etc. Also nothing is lost in this reaction. Even the electric power that runs TV or computer is not lost. One can look at electric power as water flowing through the cord into the screen. This then sprays out into the room and back into the environment again. Nothing can be considered as lost. All that takes place is just a change in form, everything moves in a circle or cycle, back and forth. This, in a nutshell, can be considered as our present idea about material things.
In a similar manner, perhaps by using the process of elimination, extrapolation, or any other method of reasoning, one can learn about life. This, I think summarizes our approach to this question.
I feel we are wrong. We are going on a tangent. That too motivated by our predilection with the unseen dimension of life, the spiritual world.
Think of a group of frogs residing in a well. And another group, consisting of ones living outside. The cosmology of those inside the well may contain ideas of universe, as well as about the variety of species that reside in it, limited in its extent. For example, they would be having strong notions of cosmic background noise, as they will be hearing a lot of noise during their lifetime without actually seeing where the sound comes from. If the owner of the well follows a pattern of cleaning the well yearly, as most villagers do, those frogs may also possess certain ancestral knowledge about the end of the universe, and the events that accompany it.. A few ones might even succeed in predicting such events and getting acknowledged for their acumen. Getting recognition of divinity is likely, if we assume that some frog, in the past, happened to escape back into the well during the cleaning process.
Now think of the other group. These frogs will be having a totally different cosmology. With better grasp about things and, relatively free of illusions like cosmic background noise, they are likely to appear epitomes of contentment. Questions like the end of universe may not occur at all to them, having never experienced a discontinuity.
What does this story show? Where do we fit in? On all matters except those concerning life, we are like the latter group. Having reached the assumption that reality could exist beyond our perception, there is no logical necessity for an end. Here we are quite comfortable, whichever facet of the universe is under consideration. But when it comes to life, I think we are severely handicapped. Like the earlier group of frogs, our idea of life is only what we experience from inside life. Unless we are able to view life from a plane different from life, all the notions we entertain about life cannot describe life in full. (Nobody can say I understand what a globe is, unless one has a look at it, that too, from the outside of it) Moreover, our fondness of the spiritual dimension of life is effectively putting a brake in our quest for new ideas.
And for What Gain..
Now that we know about our limitations in learning about life, we can end up much wiser. By being more accommodating, as far as new theories go, and more willing, to tinker with the existing ones, we shall be injecting new blood into explorations in this regard. Future then shall become the golden age of life sciences. The question, what is life, is an apt one here.