[Advaita-l] Science and Vedantha
Mahesh Ursekar
mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com
Wed Nov 30 00:11:58 CST 2005
Pranams:
>> Now there IS one big assumption that I tend to make and which might
>> ultimately be incorrect, but here is the assumption: "if there exist
>> questions that reason alone cannot answer (as proven mathematically
>> and thus beyond "doubt") then the ULTIMATE question (nature of
>> brAhmaN/advaita etc.) has a high probability of being one of these
>> questions." What is your opinion on this?
I am familiar with Godel's theorem and its implications and it is
interesting that you should mention this in this context. One of the great
phyicists of our time - Roger Penrose has attempted to use Godel's theorem
to prove that consciousness is beyond the realm of current physics. You can
find the proof in his book 'Shadows of the Mind' in which tries to prove the
assertion that to study consciousness a "new" physics would be required. I
do not know where I read this but I believe later logicians have found some
flaws in his reasoning and hence the nature of consciousness is still an
open debate. In fact, the fundamental question 'What is consciousness?' is
still open in science and philosophy.
Humble pranams, Mahesh
On 11/30/05, Aditya Varun Chadha <adichad at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Greetings,
>
> this mail is a bit of a digression from the usual frame of reference
> on this email list, but i couldn't resist the opportunity i saw.
>
> On 11/28/05, Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:
> > While I agree to the above, all I am doing is try to search for clues
> that
> > "the master has left behind" (so to speak) for the analytic among us who
>
> > wish to find clues as to how the fundamental assertion of Advaita can
> > be arrived at without recourse to the scriptures.
>
> It is wonderful to go this way. And not so surprizingly, some work has
> been done in the field of pure analysis (mathematical logic), although
> I don't know if many people realise the relevance.
>
> Bertrand Russel et al. tried to codify all "truth" into a mathematical
> theory that they thought could be used to answer ANY question that
> could be put forth mathematically. At the time when they achieved this
> mammoth codification, they were not able to prove their claim that
> this was a complete codification of "mathematical truth".
>
> Along came Kurt Godel, and he PROVED using mathematical logic alone
> that "any (powerful enough) mathematical logic that can ever exist is
> not complete enough to prove all true statements". In other words,
> within any system of "rational, analytical thought", there exist
> statements that are undoubtedly true, but cannot be proven. Godel did
> this by finding a way to codify the statement "this statement is not
> provable" in any system of logic you could come up with.
>
> So you are right, and I have agreed with this always, that rationality
> is the ideal (working) state of the human mind. And much can be proven
> / disproven / analysed using reason alone. Incidentally, as I
> explained in the paragraph above, reason has proved that "there are
> reasonable statements that are true, that cannot be proved using
> reason". In other words, mental endeavor has proved that mental
> endeavor is not enough to answer all questions. If you like I can give
> you the bibliographical sources for all my claims. You can start by
> googling "Kurt Godel"+incompleteness.
>
> Now there IS one big assumption that I tend to make and which might
> ultimately be incorrect, but here is the assumption: "if there exist
> questions that reason alone cannot answer (as proven mathematically
> and thus beyond "doubt") then the ULTIMATE question (nature of
> brAhmaN/advaita etc.) has a high probability of being one of these
> questions." What is your opinion on this?
>
> So when I say that faith is required as a final leap into waking
> brAhmaN-hood, I am not saying so based on blind faith. In a convoluted
> way, pure mathematical logic itself says so. This is why I like
> mathematics, it is a strict and honest discipline, even when defining
> its own limits :-)
>
> So in the context of advaita, while mental activity is important,
> those who reach its pinnacle (Godel is considered one of the greatest
> rational thinkers of ALL time) realize that it cannot answer all
> questions. Do remember that this is not being said because of "blind
> faith", this is being said because there is a mathematical proof for a
> formal version of this.
>
> But on the constructive side, rational thought can lead to a very
> solid faith in advaita. And Mahesh ji is right in dismissing blind
> faith. To me faith comes only after rationally scrutinizing a subject.
> Because rationality itself keeps us aware of its own limits. So for
> some people, Reason is the guru who can guide us towards advaita, can
> show us the door, but still, we have to leap through it to the "other
> side"!
>
> --
> Aditya Varun Chadha
> adichad AT gmail.com
> http://www.adichad.com
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