Monday, February 1, 2010

PS Malik speaks on: Mediocre Minds Plead Reason, Higher Ones Transcend it ...

PS Malik speaks on: Mediocre Minds Plead Reason, Higher Ones Transcend it ...

The request to the learned readers is that this article touches the very existence of the human understanding therefore it sometime offends against the established beliefs and on other times it proposes new intellectual horizons. The subject matter of this article is a bit difficult, scientific and philosophical therefore a patience is humbly requested for.

When the science broke a particle a new sub-particle level was found. It was, therefore inferred that one day as the technology provides a suitable gadget the ultimate sub-level will be discovered and thereafter the sciences will reach their summit. This optimism of people about the ultimate reality through the scientific methods made them develop a psychological mental framework regarding the superiority of sciences, matter, objectivity, reason etc.


Then it came the twentieth century. A scientific revolution also came along with. Einstein, Heisenberg, Dirac, Plank, Bohr, Bose, Schrödinger and a lot more scientists joined the stride. Einstein told people that it was not the matter only but the energy was also equally important. Matter and energy were inter-convertible. When this all was on, Heisenberg put forward his revolutionary idea. He said that the position and velocity of a particle both cannot be ascertained simultaneously with the same precision. He gave a particular number that the imprecision would always be greater than that number. As per Prof. Dave MacCallum, November 20th, 2000 (Ref: ) later it was realized that Heisenberg's uncertainty principle applied not only to the relationship between momentum and position, but between non-continuous observables. If the spin of a particle in the z direction is known, then the spin in the y direction cannot be known. This is equivalent to the probabilistic aspects of quantum mechanics demonstrated in the Stern-Gerlach measurements and in the Copenhagen interpretation of the wave-equation. These probabilistic results are quite disturbing for a belief in absolute truth.

These conclusions of Einstein attack the “Reality” in two ways. Firstly, as no action can move faster than light therefore the mankind is always constricted to have a very limited glance of the universe. They can not know the universe as it is “Now and Here”. If a space station receives a signal from a celestial body ten billion light years away then it means that they view that celestial body as it was ten billion years back and they have no means to know how it is now. Today’s picture would be available ten billion years henceforth. This is a mechanism in the nature itself that it has not allowed you to look it “all at once”.

There are two types of subatomic particles – fermions and bosons. Fermions have some characteristic values assigned to them (called their quantum numbers) while the bosons do not. No two bosons are distinguishable from each other. Are they all one – as per the Law of Identity? If not, is this some illusion? Scientists say that these bosons contribute more than the contribution of fermions in this universe. Then, for being violative of the Law of Identity, is this world a hallucination? Those who cite Aristotle even for curing a rotten tooth will not find a satisfying answer here. Leave them.

Now come to “reason”. (As per Wikipedia) The concept of reason is connected to the concept of language, as reflected in the meanings of the Greek word "logos", later to be translated by Latin "ratio" and then French "raison", from which the English word derived. As reason, rationality, and logic are all associated with the ability of the human mind to predict effects as based upon presumed causes, the word "reason" also denotes a ground or basis for a particular argument, and hence is used synonymously with the word "cause".

A few things about “Reason” should be made clear. “Reason” is associated to those things which are the past expereince. No reason can be addressed to some new situations. No body can reason the behaviour of a human body on a new planet. For that he needs to know the pressure, temperature, oxygen etc. over there and then he would relate those variables to his past experience as to how a varied composition of these variables affects a human body. No body can address a reason for a planet X having an atmosphere of gas Y and a temperature T and pressure P unless some pre-known values are given to these variables X, Y, T, P. You can not rely upon a reason until select to be revolving in a given periphery of already known situations.

What has been seen so far is that the logic is nothing but a linguistic game like a game of riddles and puzzles. Reason makes you revolve round in a given periphery and by its nature it is deaf for the unknown circumstances, may it be of unknown future or of unknown experience. It is useless there. The logic and the reason both follow the languages. They end where the languages cease to prevail. The languages are not natural. They are artificial. The logic and the reason stand even on a lowere padestal simply because they need that artificial language for their own life.

Only the science remains to explore new things. It reveals new aspects of the existence but not through the logic or the reason. It does so through the observation and the explorations. That is why sometime on a new discovery they do not have a diction-backup and use some ad-hoc words like Young’s modulus, Raman effect, Chandrashekhar limit or Hubble Telescope. The sciences do not follow languages. They follow the existence. But here again there is a problem, however of different kind.

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Mediocre Minds Plead Reason, Higher Ones Transcend it ...

Shreyas Malik

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