Quest of Mankind

Socrates said, ‘All men are fool. I am a wise man; because I know that I am a fool’. It was said in 470 BC. We are living in 21st century, which make us almost 2500 years older since these words were spoken. Can we say today, ‘We are wise; because we know that we are fools’.  Let us realize that we are fools; and be wise!

Much before Socrates, something more pithy was said by Indian Rishis in Upanishad. ‘Kena Upanishad’ said:

यस्यामतं तस्य मतं मतं यस्य न वेद सः। अविज्ञातं विजानतां विज्ञातमविजानताम् ॥2:3॥

Its English translation reads, “If you think you know it, then you do not know it, and if you know that you cannot know it, then you know it”.

It is higher degree of wisdom. A fool knows nothing. And, if a person realizes that he knows nothing, he is a wise person. Ironically, if a person realizes, ‘I know nothing’, ‘he may be wise but he is ignorant, he is helpless. But if a person knows that he cannot know it, then in fact he knows. It is not ignorance; it is not helplessness. It is the wisdom with knowledge.

The pleasure of a man is better than the pleasure of a pig, said that wise man again. The pleasure of man is better than of pig because man is never satisfied with himself and he longs to know the unknown while a pig is preoccupied with self-indulgence and satisfied with its existence. The inmost being of man is always thirsty for something that is yet unknown to him. This inner core of his existence always spurs him to move on in quest of the unknown. In his quest for the unknown, man is able to formulate and put straight questions to him, and seek answers to them. And more than that, he is able to wonder. This, his unique ability, alone has propelled humankind’s civilizations on an ever higher trajectory and this has enabled it to reach the dizzying height where it is today.

  The very existence of world is a great wonder. Everything in this world is wonderful and, among all these things, life is wonder of all wonders. And, the crown of life – human being – is the greatest of all these wonders.

  All these things, when pondered over by man, raise serious questions about them. The more man becomes enlightened, the more questions arise for his attention. Why and how did he usurp the place of the sole leader of an earthly caravan of varied life forms? Why this life-caravan is solitary, as far as he knows, in a unfathomed universe? Where this earthly caravan of life’s evolution is heading for? We put questions to ourselves to seek answers about all these things but still we do not put enough questions. We remain primarily and for most of our lifetime pre-occupied with ourselves – making provisions for our food, cloths, pleasures and petty needs – and our thoughts remain centered on them, and acts remain guided by these motives.

  Putting question is the secret key for opening the Gates of the Unknown. Every question, howsoever insignificant it might be, if put with diligence and investigated with due earnestness for an answer makes a discovery. For example, you ask: why is the sun the way it is – always shining and pouring light all around? You search for the answer and you find the nuclear fusion. You ask: why do apples fall from the tree down to the ground only and not go up above and you make the discovery of gravity.

  The greatest quality of human mind is to experience wonder:  wonder at things and at the way they are, wonder at the mystery behind all that exist and at the amazing phenomena behind all this creation. Human mind is his sole powerhouse that propels his development, his civilization and his evolution.

  Man is at the apex of life-evolution on earth. He has mind capable of wondering and questioning. It is worthy of him to wonder, to question and to seek answers. A civilization that encourages human beings to seek pleasure in and remain satisfied with their self-indulgence is below the dignity and the esteem of mankind, which is the leader of life evolution on earth. Man has risen above animal and its kingdom’s rules by his persistent struggle with himself. He has come out of his self-indulgent animal existence by evolving Mind and putting questions. He has to go forward, and not backward, on the life’s evolutionary path.

  It is worth human dignity that enquiring man rises above his petty pre-occupation of self-indulgence and gains freedom for his mind from the slavery of body needs and biased seeking by a goal oriented society. It is to his own advantage that he designs a civilization that encourages people to pursue this unbiased search and provides citizens the required leisure for this undertaking. It is also in his own interest that he bestows social recognition and appreciation on them whose labors bear the fruits of discovery.

  It requires the boldness of mind and sincerity of heart to put questions, for to put questions one has to rise above petty-minded self-indulgent culture. Let man put enough questions and seek answers to them. There are more than enough wonders around him to be amazed at and to be explored for answers.

 At the one extreme are the universe – infinite and mysterious – and its riddle, and at the other is the man himself who is more mysterious than the mystery of entire universe. We search the material universe and discover galactic systems with their solar systems, black holes and its (universe’s) creation with a Big Bang, and space-time continuum. At the other end, we search the life and discover its blue print – the genetic code. We search the consciousness of mind and discover Conscious, Sub-conscious and Unconscious parts of Mind. We search for what may lie  beyond Mind and we discover the existence of “ESP” (Extra  Sensory  Perception),  “NDE” (Near  Death Experience), “Life after Death”,  “Rebirth”, “Planes of Consciousness” which are higher than man’s Mind, Jesus Christ’s “God”, Lord Buddha’s “Nirvana”, Sri Aurobindo’s “Divine Being” et al. Of the countless questions that one may ask and search for answers, the most natural one –  and the most important too to him –  is to ask: ‘Who am 1’? Today man, with all his amazing science and developed evolutionary stage at his side, is capable of putting this pristine question to himself and of seeking an answer to it.

  Man goes about his daily life, without understanding almost anything of the world around him. He finds no place in his mind for any thought about the machinery that generates the sunlight that makes life possible, the gravity that glues him to the earth that would otherwise send him spinning off into space, or the atoms of which he is made and on whose stability he fundamentally depends. Few of our race, which we call a race of rational beings, spend any considerable time wondering why nature is the way it is. Or, asking where the cosmos came from or whether it was always here; if time will one day flow backward and effects will precede causes; or whether there are ultimate limits to what we humans can know. However, children are much more imaginative and inquiring of questions than we – the adults – but for that very reason we dismiss them as being childish and worth not paying any serious attention.

  It is worth human beings to put questions; let us be humans and not animals; let us put questions to ourselves and not remain content in petty self-indulgence.

  A wise person aptly observed, “I Think, therefore I am.” We may go a bit further and add: “Because I am, the world is there.” Yes, the world is there for all of us to see, live in and judge by. But how did this world start from its initial point? And, did it ever start at all?

  Eminent British physicist Stephen W. Hawkins in his celebrated book ‘A Brief History of Time’ vividly reveals the depth of these questions when he says: “In order to predict how the universe should have started off one need laws that hold at the beginning of time. If the classical theory of general relativity was correct, the singularity theorems that Roger and Penrose and I proved show that the beginning of time would have been a point of infinite density and infinite curvature of space-time. All the known laws of science would break down at such a point. One might suppose that there were new laws that held at singularities, but it would be very difficult even to formulate such laws at such badly behaved points, and we would have no guide from observations as to what those laws might be… We don’t yet have a complete and consistent theory that combines quantum mechanics and gravity. However, we are fairly certain of some features that such a unified theory should have… To avoid the technical difficulties with Feynman’s sum over histories, one must use imaginary time. That is to say, for the purposes of the calculation one must measure time using imaginary numbers, rather than real ones. This has an interesting effect on space-time: the distinction between time and space disappears completely…. If the universe really is in such a quantum state, there would be no singularities in the histories of the universe in imaginary time. … This might suggest that the so-called imaginary time is really the real-time, and that what we call real-time is just a figment of our imagination. In real-time, the universe has a beginning and an end at singularities that form a boundary to space-time and at which the laws of science break down. But in imaginary time, there are no singularities. So maybe what we call imaginary time is really more basic, and what we call real is just an idea that we invent to help us describe what we think the universe is like. But according to the approach I described in Chapter 1, a scientific theory is just a mathematical model we make to describe our observations: it exists only in our minds. So it is meaningless to ask, “Which is real, ‘real’ or ‘imaginary’ time?” It is simply a matter of which is more useful description”.

  We are dealing here with the beginning of Time, the singularity of time and space. (It is not the so-called beginning of the time with the Big Bangs of Black Holes.) But in the context of the singularity of time and space, which one of the pulses of Time are we talking here? We are living in “our” time and if we go backward in this our time, we would reach its starting point or the singularity of the space-time of “our this” universe. But if this our time has a commencing point, was there “another” run of time earlier? And, if there was another run earlier also, then in this cyclic run when was the commencement of the cyclic process? What would be the nature of laws ruling the cyclic-runs of Time? These are the questions of the highest order of the human intellect. Unfortunately we are living in “our this” time only and can talk meaningfully about this time alone.

  At the initial point – the singularity point – of space-time, we are told by these scientists, there must be the infinite density and curvature (of this universe’s space-time continuum). What do we understand by the infinite density of this continuum? Our universe is existing in the four-dimensional space-time continuum and if we are able somehow to squeeze and confine this universe’s mass into a narrower space, it would be denser. If we go on with this process of squeezing, how much dense would it become? We put this universal mass (which is only relative!) onto a single point of space (again, space is only relative!) and get its most dense state. But still it is not infinite.

  What about the infinite curvature of our universe’s space-time continuum? Corresponding to the increased density of mass, the curvature of space too increases. An infinite curvature of the space created by the infinite density of mass of our universe would be a closed point on all its sides if the curvature is positive and an open point on all its sides if the curvature is negative. Can we visualize such a state of our universe as existing without time and without space? Existence without time and space would seem a contradiction in terms but contradictory things do exist in Nature. Our universe is material. What is matter?

  All that exists is essentially ‘matter’ and we do not know anything existing that is not material. What is it that we call ‘matter’? We all live in and deal with ‘space’ and seem to know what it is. Do we really know what ‘space’ is? And, our ‘developed’ civilization is almost wholly dependent on our dealing with ‘time’. Does ‘time’ really exist? Matter, space and time are eternal in existence and man’s presence has no impact on the mystery of this ‘existence’.

  However, now human being has come on the scene to marvel at them and to fathom their mysteries. But then, is the ‘human being’ not a creation of this trio of matter, space and time? And then, does the ‘human being’ not amount to this trio marveling at it and trying to fathom their secrets? These are the mysteries of the supreme order. Let man compare his proud possession of modern scientific knowledge with all that he yet has to know and let him question the legitimacy of his arrogant attitude towards the truth spoken of by people like Buddha and Christ. He is still an infant trying to grasp the meaning of world around him.

  In addition to humility, man requires patience on his part. The uncovering of mysterious truth behind matter, space and time is the sole business of science and human mind powering this pursuit is doing its job marvelously. Though the human mind on account of its analytical process of comprehension has limited scope of knowing the truth of the world around him with full spectrum, the search itself makes human mind conscious of its inherent limitations and prepares man to go beyond mind. Science is not only uncovering the truth behind things step by step but also slowly preparing human mind to accept that there may be truths that are beyond the pale of mind’s consciousness and that there may be other and better ways to know them than by mind. The universe and things therein, is not only complex in nature but also are immense in dimension.

Note: We may remind the reader that here in this series of write-ups under Vision Document, we are dealing with the origin of life, and the history and future of mankind on Earth.

It is a coherent story of cosmic evolution, which offers a logical explanation of the past, in the light of the lessons learnt from that past casts an obligation on us in the present and provides an insight into the future.

This document is systematically sequential. Read NEXT HERE.

Join discussion:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: