Friday, August 5, 2011

Free Fall From Belief

Have you ever experienced a free fall ? I did. In a very fast elevator. Also during some occasional jumping stunts as a kid, under strict inspection of my elder cousin. As we are moving slowly in a virtual world, I was imagining free fall of a different kind. From our belief system.

No, it is not some crazy approach to break the rules. Rather, it is imagining the disappearing of rules which we hold close to our existence.

For a start, imagine what happens if you forget all the passwords to your machines. And then, there is no way to restore those because the admin also forgot the master password (this happened once to my knowledge). You turn back to the book of secret recipes to unlock your machine. To your horror, no such book exists. You start approaching your peers. They turn you away without any viable solution. You leave the computer and turn back to more primitive mechanical stuff. Hard luck as the car refuses to start. Now you tell me that Murphy's law cannot get that bad. I do think so, too. It is just imagining. We are yet to enter the depths of it.

Now, you turn towards your intelligence and memory. You find at least one thing to failing - in order to leave you a fair chance. Let it be memory. Our experience tells that, you never should trust it, at least if you want to break new barriers in any field. So, you are left with your intelligence to recreate everything you had achieved so far. As Feynman has put it "What I cannot create, I cannot understand". Interestingly, there are people who took this much pain to recreate things from scratch - real practical things - like a toaster. To get rid of these practical hurdles, you may turn to higher abstraction such as logic. Once again there you create your world based on axioms, which you can never prove to be true if you are inside that world. You need to get out of that system to see if that system is valid. This external journey is, apparently, endless.

Obviously, with any form of experimental truth, things get even blurrier as you work with devices and unreliability.

Beyond this intellectual toil, you pray. Imagining you fail, you turn to your close ones. If you are an atheist, you seek love, solace and inspiration. Otherwise, you pray to some power, some God, some formula. Whatever. In the free fall from belief system, you find that there is no support at all. Everything you believed to be true - disappears. You have only one weapon, your intellect, without the sensory feeding.

I think, that is the point where real truths appear.

This simple mental exercise is what essentially constitutes the ancient Jnana Yoga (Path of Knowledge). The Vedantist denounces this world, including one's own senses and seeks to go beyond the veil. Only after experiencing the free fall, albeit in simulation, I realized how courageous it is to be a Vedantist.

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