Hindu Metaphysics

     



    "The embodied spirit similarly transfers into another body after death, just as the embodied soul continually passes in this body from infancy to youth to old age." 

      ~ Bhagavad-Gita verse 21. 


    HINDU PHILOSOPHY


    Hindu philosophy is not attempted to be summarized in this text, since such an effort would get lost in the maze of millennia of knowledge. 

    We shall examine certain philosophical tenets that provide the basis for the remainder, however. 


    Three fundamental concepts in particular make the tenets of Hindu practice abundantly clear: 

    (1) the Hindu notion of identity, which holds that there is a soul separate from the body; 

    (2) the teaching of karma, which holds that every action has an equal and commensurate reaction; and 

    (3) reincarnation, which holds that the soul transitions from body to body until it achieves perfection. 

    These three principles serve as the foundation for all Hindu practice. 


    Furthermore, these teachings represent the essential principles that early Hinduism learnt via its scriptures and traditions. 


    THE SELF AND IDENTITY

    People often associate themselves with their gross and subtle bodies—their physical shape and its supporting mind or intellect. 

    Most individuals provide their name, their occupation, a description of their religion (i.e., their inherited faith), or their political connections in response to the question, "Who are you?" They sometimes identify with their origins, their ancestry, or their ties to their families. 

    Some people's viewpoints are more psychological, such as "I am sensitive; I would never injure anybody; I am honest and sensible; and I have strong relationships with individuals who share my traits." 

    The majority of readers might relate to the aforementioned personality characteristics or any of their many permutations. 

    And initially, at least in a practical, daily sense, it could seem reasonable to describe ourselves using such terms and notions. 

    But if we change our name, do we no longer exist? If our employment is lost? Or what happens if we change our religion? Do we lose our identity if our sense of morality or ethics is violated? Although our identity may alter in certain ways, aren't we still essentially the same person? 

    The issue yet remains: Beyond these mutable, tangible identities, who are we? All Vedic scriptures and Hindu practice revolve on this resounding issue. 

    What is life truly all about if we are only the physical body—flesh, bile, mucous, and so on? In truth, once our body is separated from the inner life spark, what worth do we assign to it? Not a lot. 

    Then, it is only a hollow shell. 

    According to Hindu philosophy, life is about discovering our true selves—the entities that exist independently of our bodies and minds—and nurturing them. 

    In this universe, existence is what Plato called metasy, or "an in-between condition." To him, living things were a mix of matter and spirit, a glimmer of eternity trapped in a web of time, and a quantum of wisdom wallowing in a sea of ignorance. 

    This viewpoint is shared by most Eastern philosophical traditions. 

    In accordance with the Vedic literature of ancient India, all living things are fundamentally spiritual entities who entered the realm of matter as a result of a number of intricate but subtle wishes. 

    Such embodied spirits are referred to as tatashtha-shakti in Sanskrit. 

    The line that theoretically separates land from water is represented by the root tata. 

    Sometimes the land is submerged under water, which later retreats. 

    Living things in our universe sometimes conceal their actual nature by forgetting it, and sporadically, they are revealed. 

    The goal of the believing Hindu is self-realization, which is the process of discovering one's own self. 

    An old Vedic scripture called the Chandogya Upanisad (8.7-8.12) tells a well-known tale of discovering one's actual identity. 

    The moral of this story is not only how important it is to know oneself, but also how difficult it is to do so. 

    Because of the philosophical implications of this narrative, which are fundamental to Hindu practice, all Hindu traditions accept it in some way. 


    This is the tale of two particularly endowed creatures from a higher planetary system, Indra and Virochana. 

    The head of the heavenly demons was Virochana, and Indra was regarded as the ruler of heaven. 

    At the beginning of creation, both went to Lord Brahma, the demigod sent by the Lord to construct the heavens and the earth, and inquired as to how they may have unmatched delight and utter contentment. 

    According to Lord Brahma, experiencing ultimate bliss requires understanding one's true identity—that is, one's soul. 

    Brahma assured them that since energy cannot be generated or destroyed, the energy present inside the body is everlasting. 

    Additionally, it is free from hunger, grief, sin, and material desire. 

    It is also free from birth, death, old age, and sickness. 

    Indra and Virochana lived in Brahma's company for 32 years while engaging in strict penance and reciting the Lord's holy names in order to understand the veracity of his claims. 

    They questioned Brahma to elaborate on the soul at the conclusion of this time. 

    In answer, Brahma said: "Know for sure that this entity is fearless and eternal, and that which you are now witnessing with your own eyes is the ultimate self, the soul." 

    As they approached ultimate enlightenment, Indra and Virochana confidently questioned, "Is the soul the same person we see when we gaze in water or in a mirror? 

    To put it another way, "Is the mirror we perceive in front of our eyes the soul?" With a grin, Brahma directed their attention to two separate, water-filled clay pots. 

    Then, he inquired more about what they had seen. 

    "O Lord, we see the full Self, the soul, precisely as it is, down to our sparkling toenails," they said to Brahma. 

    Brahma encouraged them to trim their nails and hair, as well as dress themselves in new clothing and accessories. 

    He leaned down as if to whisper a secret in their ears. 

    He then prompted them to examine the clay pots once again. 

    What do you see right now? Brahma enquired. 

    Indra and Virochana happily replied, "We observe that the two personalities in these reflections have trimmed their hair and toenails just as we have, and they are newly clothed in new garments and jewelry, too."

    These reflections are essentially the brave and eternal soul, Brahma stated as he gave them a direct glance. 

    Indra and Virochana departed Lord Brahma's presence glad in their hearts because they now understood that they had seen the soul, or their true, unchanging selves. 

    The leader of the demons, Virochana, returned to his people and said, "The body you see before you is nondifferent from the soul. 

    The person who correctly worships their body finds pleasure both in this life and the next. 

    He achieves the height of fulfillment and all of his wants are satisfied. 

    Indra, who told Brahma about Virochana's experience, reached a different conclusion. 

    He reflected on what he had heard from Brahma as he traveled back, and he reasoned as follows: 

    "This body gives birth, dies, goes through changes, is prone to illness, and so on. 

    Then, how can the genuine self, which is fearless and everlasting, be the same as the body? 

    Indra instantly went back to Brahma after having this thought and proceeded to inform him of his uncertainty. 

    Indra was welcomed to remain and study with Brahma in order to get a better understanding of one's true nature. 

    Brahma grinned. 

    Indra continues his strict austerities with his instructor Brahma for a further 32 years. 

    Finally, Brahma reveals a secret to him: "That one who you perceive to be your dream self—it is this person who is fearless and eternal. 

    Indeed, the "I" in your dreams represents the real spirit you are seeking. 

    Indra went after hearing this, certain that he now knew what the soul was. 

    But while he was making his way back home, he had the notion, "The self in my dreams is temporary—he disappears as the dream ends. 

    Additionally, he is a made-up, constantly shifting character; in one dream, he may be blind, in another, he might have many heads, and in a third, he might be a monster. 

    How such a self might be the courageous, eternal soul escapes me. 

    Just doesn't make sense, really. 

    With these ideas in mind, Indra went back to Brahma, who urged his now bewildered student to continue studying under him for a few more years. 

    Brahma promised him that if he did this, he would finally comprehend the essence of the soul and therefore experience complete satisfaction. 

    After another 32-year cycle, Brahma revealed to Indra that the soul is veiled during profound sleep, submerged in the unconscious mind, where neither vision nor dreaming is experienced. 

    Indra, like previously, was uneasy with his acquired information, questioned its accuracy, and went back to Brahma for more thorough instruction. 

    "I must inform you, dear Brahma, my master, that this idea of the soul as it is now understood fails, just like the others. 

    It is incomprehensible to reason or logic that one cannot comprehend or sense their identity when they are asleep. 

    In many respects, this profound sleep condition obscures the self-issue more more than preconceived notions did. 

    Brahma informed Indra that he was almost prepared to comprehend the soul in its entirety. 

    Brahma summoned him to his side after five more years of rigorous study and strict fasting and said, "Indra, now I will teach the ultimate truth about the real self. 

    The soul, which is hidden inside the physical body and is susceptible to death, only has a home there. 

    Similar to how a bull is tied to a cart, its spirit is bound to the body. 

    To know one's inner self and release oneself from this restraint is to achieve self-realization. 

    The soul really has wants, such as "I shall sight," "I will hear," or similar expressions, which are satisfied by the impure outward senses. 

    However, the soul also has a transcendental existence connected to God that exists outside of the body. 

    I was unable to share these facts with Virochana because of his demonic mindset, which was unable to comprehend the intricacies of the true self and required identification with the body in order to enjoy the trivial pleasures he desired. 

    Furthermore, I wanted you to remain with me and do austerities so you could understand the reality of the soul as an obvious fact rather than just hearing me describe these things to you through reasoning and argument. 

    The subtle body, which is often divided into the two states of covered consciousness, as in the story above, and the gross body, which refers to the mind, intelligence, and one's sense of identity, are three manifestations, if you will, of the soul that correspond to the three sheaths of consciousness described in the Vedic literature: 

    (1) the gross, physical body; 

    (2) the subtle body; and 

    (3) the Self, or the actual person within all external material coverings. 

    More than any other Hindu literature, the Bhagavad-Gita attests to the following truths: "There is no birth nor death for the soul. 

    He never existed before and will never exist now. 

    He never ceases to exist and is not killed when the body expires. 

    (2.20) The soul accepts new material bodies in a similar way to how a person puts on new clothes and discards old ones that are no longer functional. 

    (2.22) "The embodied spirit similarly transfers into another body after death, just as the embodied soul continually passes in this body from infancy to youth to old age." 

    (2.13) Such well-known words from the Gita convey a lot about Hindu beliefs concerning rebirth as well as the nature of the Self (that it is in fact distinct from the body). 

    However, it would be smart to quickly examine the related idea of karma (action and response), which is sometimes misinterpreted in the study of Hinduism, before delving into this later belief. 


    KARMA


    The Sanskrit root kri, which means "activity," is where the term "karma" originates. 

    But it also suggests the causality, or "what goes around, comes around," of activity. 

    In other words, karma is a metaphysical application of Newton's Third Law of Motion, which states: There is an equal and proportionate response to every action. 

    It is a global rule that appears in an infinite number of manifestations. 

    According to author and academic Mark Mathew Braunstein, the Western definitions of the Eastern concept of karma include supply and demand, action and response in science, cause and effect in epistemology, sowing and reaping in the Bible and in nature, and even supply and demand in economics. 


    1 In other words, karma refers to the unavoidable outcome of previous decisions—previous attitudes and ideas that produced earlier behaviors. 

    These behaviors inevitably have endlessly repeating effects, until ultimately the offender becomes aware of the reasons for his behavior and decides to alter it, if required. 

    In this sense, contrary to what some people believe, karma is not a punishment but rather a chance to break bad habits and enrich our lives. 

    So Karma is a teacher. 

    We gradually learn to stop doing bad things by realizing the effects of our actions. 

    Karma functions as a system of justice in this way by assisting us in gradually learning from our mistakes at first on an unconscious level and later when we are fully aware of right and wrong. 

    Life after life, behaving in certain ways helps us progressively get a sense of direction and the ability to recognize prior errors. 

    As self-realization progresses through time, we get a clear understanding of what should be done and what shouldn't be done. 

    Because of this, karma aids people in realizing their mistakes and changing their conduct, even if this "refining" process might take a very long time—sometimes several lives. 

    However, once the lessons that karma seeks to teach have been learnt, the realized truths become profoundly ingrained in the brain. 

    To be clear, Karma teaches us that every action has a corresponding reaction—all action has inherent repercussions. 

    And if we take anything positive away from these repercussions, then karma has fulfilled its purpose and we may continue on our path to spiritual perfection. 

    According to Hindu philosophy, an individual's karma is the culmination of all they have done, are doing, and will do in the future. 

    It would seem that there is little opportunity for free choice given the all-encompassing character of karma, but this is not the case. 

    Since we made the decision to behave in a certain manner, free will both produced and may modify our karma. 

    Therefore, karma is not fatalistic, despite what a cursory reading of it might imply. 

    Instead, human beings have the capacity to alter their own conduct, affecting outcomes that initially would have looked irreversible. 

    That is to say, the karma philosophy pushes us to rise beyond our conditioning and our propensity to behave in certain ways while paving the path for a better future. 

    But it also teaches us that if we don't make a concerted effort to break negative habits—inclinations accumulated over many lifetimes—these same deeds will disclose the darker side of karma, displaying strict rules that are as binding as our propensity to cling to conditioning. 

    Manly P. Hall (1901-1990), a prolific author and the founder of the Philosophical Research Society (1934), succinctly stated the concept in his essay: "Karma does not entail fatalism, but rather, recompense. 

    When a man purchases anything on credit, he incurs a debt, which is required to be repaid by law. 

    This would not be seen as fatalism in a practical, commercial transaction, but rather as responsibility. 


    2 The philosopher, politician, and former president of India Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888–1975) provides more insight on how karma may be seen in terms of fatalism but that it really more truly reflects an exercise in choice: The game of life is bridge. 

    The game and its playing cards were not created by us. 

    Both the rules and the dealing are outside of our control. 

    Whether they are good or terrible, the cards are dealt to us. 

    That much is determined by determinism. 

    But we have the choice to play the game well or poorly. 

    Even with a weak hand, a skilled player may still win the game. 

    Even with a strong hand, a lousy player may ruin it. 

    Our lives are a blend of need and choice, chance and necessity. 

    By wisely using our freedom of choice, we may completely dispel the determinism of nature and maintain steady control over all the components. 


    3 Karma is obviously complicated and has a wide range of possible meanings due to the many circumstances. 

    There are actually three fundamental types of karma, which we will briefly discuss below. 

    The idea will then be expanded upon in six more ways, in two sets of three, which will aid in illuminating the process by which karma operates. 

    To fully grasp the idea, it is vital to comprehend all nine of these karmic dimensions since they provide light on how karma's rules are not unchangeable and how it does not contradict the idea of free will. 

    The three main divisions may be broken down as follows to start, if the complicated Sanskrit language that generally goes along with these explanations wasn't there. 

    (1) The term "good acts" or "ordinary karma" refers to actions that are morally upright and in line with scripture. 

    Such karma produces positive outcomes. 

    (2) Negative deeds are referred to as a second kind of karma. 

    Such behaviors always result in bad outcomes, which are often proportional to the original action. 

    (3) "Freedom from works" is the exact name for the third category of karma. 


    The Bhagavad-Gita describes this: If one works as the Lord's agent, one does not partake in or experience the consequences of one's deeds. 

    Instead, even while still in this existence, one transcends the duality of action and response and finds themselves in transcendence. 


    The second category of karma's nine dimensions is more technical and deals with the time frame in which a certain action could have taken place and whether or not its results have matured. 

    In plainer terms: 

    (1) The first is the collected collection of deeds from previous incarnations, both good and harmful. 

    These have not yet been resolved and often manifest in this world as cravings, or, to put it another way, as conditioning and inclinations. 

    (2) Next is "Detained" karma. This is the outcome of decisions made in a past life. 

    They manifest in the shape of what truly occurs to us in our current existence. 

    They influence the circumstances and events of our current experience, as well as the make-up of our body, our inclinations, and our objectives. 

    (3) Then there is our current karma, which is continually produced by our constant motions in the physical world and determines what will happen to us in the future. 

    It's common to compare the first of these three types of karma—the leftover effects of all of one's cumulative actions—like rice that has been harvested and kept in a granary. 

    A little amount of the stored rice has been separated, husked, and ready for cooking and consumption. 

    This is akin to the second phase, in which the outcomes of the past are influencing the present. 

    Likewise, fresh rice is being planted in the land that was taken from the most recent harvest; this will ultimately produce a crop and be added to the grain stockpile. 


    The last three karmic factors provide valuable insight: 

    (1) Versatile—This kind of karma is readily redirected. 

    (2) Middling – This kind of karma is combattable with much effort. 

    (3) Fixed: This form of karma cannot be eliminated by human action. 


    Instead, one might liberate themselves by calling upon God's compassion via spiritual discipline. 


    4 According to the list above, the majority of karma is irrevocable or "Fixed," and can only be overcame by the Lord's grace. 

    Hinduism as a whole is based on the idea that because of our lives of selfish desire, we have constructed an intricate network. 

    And only by consistent prayer and daily devotions will we be able to draw the Lord's attention while also reconditioning ourselves to a more selfless and pure temperament. 

    By doing this, we may be able to clear the karma from our past—both good and bad—and achieve spiritual knowledge. 


    REINCARNATION

    If every action has a matching and equal response, what happens when a certain individual doesn't appear to get their just reward? 

    How is it possible that a criminal, for instance, may live a long life without getting just punishment for his awful deed? 

    Reincarnation is the Hindu explanation for this: If a villain doesn't pay for his wrongdoings today, he may always make amends in the future. 

    The soul is a quantum of energy, and according to the First Law of Thermodynamics, a quantum of energy cannot be generated or destroyed. 

    In this way, the soul survives death. 

    Where does it go, though? The Hindu replies by posing the following query: Is it more fitting for the majority of people to go to heaven or hell? No, is the answer. 

    Most are neither angelic nor evil. 

    Instead, these are individuals who are solving their issues by identifying their strengths and making an effort to outperform their weaknesses. 

    Therefore, a forgiving God would offer people plenty of chances to right their wrongs and care for their assets. 

    Reincarnation comes into play since this can need more than one life. 


    This theory is supported by the oldest Vedic scriptures. 

    For example, the Yajur Veda (12.36-7) says, 

    "O knowledgeable and patient spirit, after wandering through streams and plants, a person enters the womb and is born once again." 

    O soul, you are born in the form of all living things, including plants, trees, and water. 

    O soul, blazing like the sun, you are born anew after being cremated, having arrived at the fire and the ground for rebirth, and dwelling in the womb of your mother. 

    O soul, after repeatedly entering the womb, you blessedly laid in your mother's body like a baby dozing on her mother's lap. 

    Insight into the nature of reincarnation is provided further in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (5.11). 

    The individual self takes on successive shapes in line with its activities, just as the body is supplemented by food and drink. 

    It is also increased by its desires, sense contacts, visual impressions, and delusions. 

    The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (4.4.1-4) describes reincarnation in much more detail: 

    When a person dies, the region around his or her (the soul's) heart illuminates, and the light guides the soul as it leaves the body by the eye, the head, or other bodily openings. 

    When he leaves, the different life airs follow him to his new location. 

    His previous wisdom, as well as his actions and knowledge, follow him. 

    The soul gathers itself after letting go of the previous body and its ignorance and hooks onto the new body, much as a caterpillar collects itself together when it reaches the end of one blade of grass and after appropriately approaching another one. 

    And just as a goldsmith may transform a piece of gold into another, more attractive shape, so too does this soul, after discarding the old and worthless body, create newer and, ideally, better bodies for himself in accordance with his prior deeds, skills, and goals. 

    Reincarnation is so engrained in the Indian subcontinent at a fundamental level. 

    Hindus often hold to one of three perspectives on rebirth: The first perspective is Vedic. 

    According to this tradition, most people are involved in materialistic pursuits, and after passing away, they travel to the Yamaraja realm, also known as the nether world. 

    There, their only chance of survival depends on food and water provided by the deceased's children and grandchildren over the course of several generations. 

    Even today, the majority of Hindus who practice their religion make this customary offering during a ceremony called Pinda

    A ball of rice is offered to the deceased parent as part of a complicated series of rituals that grants them access to the ancestors' group. 

    The soul remains in a subtle ghostly form until that point (either 12 days or 12 months after death, depending on which texts one refers to), and only this ceremony allows the departed soul to enter the next stage of existence. 

    One "dies again" after an unspecified period of time in this state and passes through the various material elements (earth, water, air, fire, ether, and other, more subtle elements as well), before being "recycled" through the food chain and ultimately giving birth to one of the 8,400,000 species that make up the universe. 

    This could be a reference to the soul's ongoing journey toward its next incarnation through various intermediary way-stations. 

    A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a Vaishnava scholar and exemplary practitioner, expressed this unusual early Vedic concept of transmigrating through the food chain as follows: 

    The living being performs certain sacrifices throughout the process of sacrifice [described in the Vedas] in order to reach particular celestial planets, and as a result, reaches them. 

    When the benefits of sacrifice are used up, the living thing descends to earth in the form of rain, then changes into grains. 

    The grains are then consumed by men, who then eat them and turn them into semen, which impregnates women. 

    The living thing then regains its human form and performs sacrifice once more, continuing the cycle. 

    In this manner, the living thing travels along the material path continuously coming and going. 

    However, the Krishna conscious person shuns such offerings. 

    He immediately enters Krishna awareness, putting himself in a position to return to Godhead. 

    6 The other two viewpoints held by Hindus are as follows: The Puranic View, and the Vedic viewpoint. 

    The Puranas ("ancient histories") added the idea of an infinite variety of heavens and hells where the dead are rewarded or punished depending on their righteous or impious deeds to this early Vedic viewpoint. 

    Before being reincarnated in a new body, the Puranas claim that the soul travels among many subtle domains of existence, giving the opportunity to work toward self-realization. 


    The Samsara perspective. 

    The Vedic and Puranic ideas are combined in this sophisticated Hindu theory of death. 

    According to Samsara, the soul is reborn into the material world right after death and repeats the cycle until it attains a purified consciousness free of material desires. 

    At that point, the cleansed soul returns to the spiritual world, which is where all souls are born. 

    In the presence of God, one resumes their natural, constitutional life there. 

    This viewpoint is held by contemporary Hinduism, which includes Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and a variety of other well-known East-Indian traditions. 

    It is seen as the fundamental reality of all earlier teachings. 

    7 Thus, this is roughly how Hindus think: The soul, in its desire to rule over its own domain, departs from the spiritual realm, where God is sovereign, and enters Brahma's world as an angelic creature (which is considered the highest heavenly planet of the mundane universe). 

    A tiny number of souls may then go from there to their celestial condition. 

    However, the majority sink to the lowest species on lesser planets because of illogical impulses related to the body and because of jealousy brought on by living in a self-centered universe. 

    Then they progressively progress through all 8,400,000 kinds of life until arriving at the human form, which serves as a portal to the spiritual realm. 

    The soul learns its lessons while accumulating karma via several births and rebirths as people with different degrees of awareness. 

    These many embodied lives are intended to educate us that severing our relationship with God is terrible and that our constitutional status entails serving him again in his realm. 

    After several births and deaths, the one who is genuinely in knowledge surrenders to Me [God], knowing that I am the origin of all origins and the source of everything that is, according to the Gita (7.19). 

    Such a wonderful soul is quite uncommon.


    ~Kiran Atma




    Understanding the Essence of Man's Mythical and Symbolizing Consciousness




    The multiple ways of looking at the nature of abstract and mythical speaking "affirmation" of a Deity or God must also be regarded by anyone who tries to make an inventory of the diverse points of view with regards to documenting or studying the "about" of God within human society. There are several ways to do this. Many disciplines, such as psychiatry, sociology, psychoanalysis, literary research, behavioral anthropology and linguistics, investigate metaphors and theories. These disciplines answer the numerous issues of images and theories from their own particular points of view. At once, the demanding attitude of a certain science defines the type of response that will be received. When addressing religious images and myths, this maxim also extends to the phenomenology of comparative religion: it also talks in a certain way and attempts to arrive at a certain way of thinking.

    Philosophy, however, does not treat images and myths in the same manner as comparative theological phenomenology. When one attempts to grasp images and myths, the latter resides within the order of the symbolic. It searches for similarities, analogies and systematizations in the field of symbols.  "Understanding" is detailed and panoramic, fascinated but not concerned. The "truth" inscribed in the phenomenology of comparative religion may be called the grasping of the inner relations and the systematization of the universe of symbols, the understanding of symbols by symbols. The phenomenologist of religion himself, however, is not involved. In the phenomenology of comparative religion there is no room for the question, Do I myself believe this? One passes from one symbol to another without being oneself "somewhere" there. 

    This non-committal stance of the comparative religion phenomenologist is not that of the philosopher. We raise the question: Do I believe this myself? Not, of course, as, with reference to each and every image and myth, we raise the metaphysical question about reality, but as we seek to grasp the meaning of the symbolizing and mythical consciousness of man. In what way, abstract and mythical consciousness stands as obscurity in reality.






    Various points of view can be discerned in the quest for the metaphysical reality of religious icons and myths. In order to provide a basis for their "denial" of God, there are thinkers who deny mythical speech. Others do the same to purify God's "affirmation" but they deny only an understanding of myths that is untenable in their opinion. Finally, there are theorists who believe mythical speech to be the only way to talk "about" God. Naturally, what they mean by this depends on their understanding of mythical knowledge.

    The persons who deny myths in order to give their "denial" of God a justification generally say that the mythical consciousness is equivalent to the positive science consciousness. They are unable to acknowledge that the true consciousness of man still means a mystical component, that it is also mythical in nature. In their opinion, validity is solely assured by reason, i.e., by setting yourself objectively at a distance, the capacity to make meaning appear as impartial meaning. Mythical consciousness, they claim, does not objectively distance itself and is thus doomed by all sorts of "fictions" "fables" "fabrications" and "illusions" to blur objectivity.

    It is fair that the prestige of the positive sciences compelled these individuals to describe as logical logic the rationality they oppose to mythical consciousness. In this way, legend and science are rivals. Consciousness, they said at first, is mythical, but this consciousness is also primal. Authentic, non-primitive consciousness is empirical. Then, consciousness completely abandons its mythical period in the course of its creation. The mind of man arrives at maturity by three stages, a theological level, a metaphysical stage, and then the stage of positive science.

    Man sees nature's phenomenon in the theological process as contingent on divine causes: God, gods, or ghosts. This can be called "fictitious stage" because man depends entirely on his imagination in his attempts to connect nature's phenomenon with a transcendent purpose. We can not say that this first step has become unimportant in the history of the human mind. By comparison, any such kind of theory was essentially impossible because of the basic state of man. But this first step was also the one that made possible future growth and the human mind's eventual maturity.

    It is apparent that the transition from the theological period, which depended entirely on imagination, to the phase of constructive science could not take place without an intermediate phase. Theology and physical science are so far apart that the maturity of optimistic science needs a transitional period. This transformation was suggested by Metaphysics.

    The typical characteristic of this phase of metaphysics is that it substitutes enigmatic forces called "substances" for the divine influence of Heaven, gods and spirits. The interpretation of the phenomenon of existence is thereby no longer attributed to causes that exceed nature, but refers to causes that lie within nature itself. However, these triggers are so subtle and abstract that someone with good reason would realize that only one thing has been achieved in the final analysis: the manifestations themselves have been assigned odd names. These events, in other terms, remain mysterious, for the so-called theories are little more than fancies. This intermediate stage, however, is very important: it replaces the principles of the theological stage and opens the way for the final stage of the mind of nature.

    Anything becomes distinct at the scientific level of the creation of the mind. Now the mind turns by means of perception to the phenomenon of nature. It is no longer involved in transcendent or immanent causes, but rather in the rules by which the phenomenon are related that are empirically verifiable. Someone who is familiar with positive science should know that this is the only approach the experienced mind should adopt. The only true way to understanding, in short, is one of physical science.

    It implies, of course, that the overall spectrum of phenomena is encompassed in theory by constructive philosophy. For the belief that, on the one side, the mind sticks tight to a primitive way of philosophizing will be a paradox, yet, on the other hand, has adopted a way of thought that is entirely the reverse of that primitive approach. However, in fact, the universal spectrum of positive theory has not been met yet. There is already a significant gap in the system; "social physics" is what is most desperately needed, and this research does not yet exist.

    The philosophy will be achieved as soon as all basic views become homogeneous. Then philosophy will never change its essence again, and any future progress will merely be a matter of new additions. Optimistic philosophy will affirm its natural supremacy through the force of its universality and will simply take over the position of theology and metaphysics. In the future, historians will be involved only in the "historical existence" of these early stages.

    Theology will necessarily give up the ghost when it comes face to face with physical science. Combating the "affirmation" of God is not important. There will be so much "progress" that people interested in history at some stage in the future will wonder what has happened to the "affirmation" So it would become clear that the backwardness of the religious process in the creation of the mind has been resolved without any battle against God by constructive philosophy. The claims of the constructive sciences would then tend to have substituted theological fancies and metaphysical abstractions. The kingdom of God will then be fulfilled forever, and without leaving any unanswered questions, God will have vanished.

    The "affirmation" of God, is therefore related to mythical consciousness, but this consciousness is only "provisional" There would vanish the propensity to construct "fictions" and "fables" in which gods and ghosts are introduced to justify matters that can be scientifically explained. We accordingly refuse God's "affirmation" because we want to speed up the birth of scientific consciousness.


    Time as Space, & Space as Time

     




    The paradox of Zeno is not specifically a paradox, but a confusion. Indeed, it has the ring of a fallacy, one that reflects the simple temptations of the mind to pursue a combination of the mechanism and form categories that are the guiding forces of consciousness and, as far as we can say, its interpreted.

    In truth, what is widely referred to as the paradox of Zeno is one of many, but they all depend on the same misunderstanding between structure and method. They all share the common desire to reconcile concepts of perception, that is, conceptions of space and those of time, that can not be reconciled. His most prominent paradox suggests that if an arrow is fired at a point, it must first fly half of the distance to the target, then half of the remaining distance, half of that, and so forth, to infinity, meaning that it can never meet its target. The arrow, of course, reaches the target, hence the paradox. The logical dispute could well inspire a little wonder, as if, by force of reason, the entire world had been turned into a fantasy. However, more accurately speaking, Zeno is not a figure of reason. His definition is closer to poetry than to logical argument, for what he has found in the spatial distance phenomenon as it succumbs to calculation is a metaphor for method, not processing itself.

    This metaphor borders on transparency because the ways we lend to the physical the assumed quietness and orderliness of those spaces are so very normal, implicit in the spatial ways that we prefer to conceive of time. We spatialize time rather than we temporalize space, because time blurs, partially because space clarifies. We step imaginatively towards any feeling of superiority over time by making time a place, over our anxieties about time and the burden of non-being. With spatial models, for one thing, we have the ability to travel in space according to the needs of engagement. We will walk too long, then go back, and we have not breached the distinctive fundamentals of space, which makes space identifiable for immediate perception as such. Historically, as poets find repose in the pages of texts, they were free to take on the virtues of ambiguity that gave the act of rereading their structures. The spatial being of poems offered new freedoms of interpretive behavior to both reader and artist, of how long we live with a text, how the temporal experience with a poem as text could be restructured or re-sequenced.

    Time, though, in its slippery insistence, threatens the intellect. We can hear and ponder upon a striking passage of music, but the music continues in the meantime, leaving behind our ideas about music. In favor of a new one, to go back musically is to violate the sequential order. We can see in a book a scaled-down rendition of a painting and, in doing so, still have access to certain important elements that are significant to the whole. The eye is then alone, but cued by the composition, to make its own movements. Music, though, can not be speeded up, shrunk in time, without explicitly breaching its basics. Nor can it be extracted to make the entire experience a reliable and affective one. In order to look at the artistic form, the temporal medium of music asserts itself in a manner that demands greater surrender than a spatial medium. Music leads, and we follow, if we are to look at it. The footsteps we imitate are those of music itself. It therefore embodies the undeniable influence that time has over us, and yet it is a companion of our lord. In song, the great tide of loss and arrival takes the form of something that we can enjoy, something that lives and dies like us, that has a pounding heart, breathing words, memories that come and go. It declares the transient dominion of the moment within the sense of loss and anticipation. No surprise, though, that music so much ritualizes sadness and joy. As both immediate and transcendent, internal and immense, its scale impresses us. To accept music is to embrace life itself, but especially that part of being that most influences the heartbeat: being-in-time.

    The eye dominates as the meaning most associated to logos, owing to the greater sense of superiority and deception provided to the interpretive mind in spatial models. In comparison, from the Greek word idein, meaning "to see" comes the word concept. In order to maintain a sense of temporal recursivity in music or the cycles of nature, while recursivity and hence order belong to both time and space, those with the ability to do so turn to space. They fashion templates who are not temporal, but temporal metaphors. A model's very notion appears to be spatial. We spill it into the graphic media of treble clefs and calendars to model time and thereby open time to a style of inquiry that would mitigate the superiority of time. Therefore, the relationship between space and time mirrors the connection between reason and irrationality or confidence in the most dominant domains of metaphor. Flux and the relentlessness of creativity and loss doubt our capacity to quantify, to reason, to conceptualize. Thus, the world's traveling target comes to embody a force of mystery and resistance to the imagination.

    In a phenomenology of the senses that associate themselves roughly, metaphorically, with the categories of mind, we will further explore the various emotional and mental valences of space and time. Music is likewise intangible, as the aesthetic form much of the time. Poetry, insofar as it is spoken and therefore a kind of music, still has an intangible nature. Beyond or under the visual surface of things, music also reflects a reality, which is why it can associate itself with the supernatural. There are no paintbrushes on the angels. They've got harps. The shepherds had flutes. In his lyre, Orpheus possesses the animating energy of nature itself. If music does not lift the dead, our souls will still be lifted, partially because it is a ghost that travels invisibly around us. Thus, for that which is beyond words, music gives a language, and so, as with Stevens's blue guitar, creativity in general, the forces of faith, the aesthetic aspect of mystery as we see it in all the arts, are so often portrayed.

    Thinking, of course, is also capable of doing this, but less readily. As a consequence, crying in response to music is much more popular than in response to art. Seeing what people mean is believing them, grasping their thoughts. Yet something more personal and empathic implies listening as a metaphor. Light moves further than sound, so listening normally means closer closeness. Hearing what someone does is close to listening to someone. The narrator is a metonym for what she says. Therefore, listening reflects a more soulful or intimate connection. We may well see what an author is thinking as we read a science text. The features of light have historically been born by reason. When we are profoundly shaken by a poem, we hear what the poet says, on the other hand. If we ever feel more moved, we hear the author.

    Derrida's resistance to phono centrism, which favors speech over inscription, in his book Of Grammatology, is precisely a challenge to see words increasingly in terms of the eye and not the ear. The ear adds words to the speaker's own intimate domain. In turn, phono centrism reifies the idea of independent identification, of origin as an author. The claim of Derrida profoundly popularized the challenge to na├»ve versions of authorial sovereignty inherent in our metaphors, but one is left to wonder, however, whether we sacrifice anything critical to the reading imagination, not to mention the imaginative process, in sacrificing a sense of a writer having a voice. It is not necessarily the case that the experience of undermining the author's authority as creator empowers us as readers. We're more on our own, too. We are not freed by the extremes of anti-essentialism; there is no us. Derrida has bracketed the messy phenomena of human artistic will, what others may term a spirit, so that the question of identity is treated too reductively, caricatured too quickly and absorbed into a complementary one. In this context, his bias ironically resembles that of a material determinism in which the causal root of the system must still be material. We actually have no means of understanding this, and our knowledge of cognition is not taken into account as necessarily imaginative, as bringing into existence a new being. Inside the mind, the recognition of selfhood as intimate and complex does not contradict or justify original volition. We are both eluded by the dream of united fields of finiteness and eternity, law and liberty, matter and spirit. The imagined warmth of a human voice in prose, on the other hand, has the power to keep us company, to welcome us inside. A poem has a somewhat concealed room with a mouth, like humans, and we connect to the partly inaccessible depth more emotionally than we do with the shallow one. Eros includes metaphysics. We now perceive a threshold to be reached by their incomplete speculations by which we discuss personal relationships, and our creative longing provides the connective concept.

    Likewise, our language's synesthetic tools bear witness to the inherent propensity of the imagination to transgress, to cross borders, to reify and subvert identities and so extend them. Indeed, we should see what we hear. We can, like Zeno, see stillness in movement at a more abstract level. But if in the mystery of Zeno there is a paradox, it is the paradox of lust that takes pride in claiming at once two opposite states: relation and difference. The poetic and dual existence of consciousness manifests our love of paradox, how the impulse that drives and possibly extends consciousness is itself paradoxical. We seek harmony as well as separation, both desire and the cessation of desire. Since the mind's imaginative play attempts both to unify and to separate being, the hunger for clarity remains unresolved. Our sense of familiarity of being breeds a language focused on being as an entity, on distance.