talk about thesists and atheists. I fear I don't belong to either of these. I
belong to a third category:
I am in a worship service - Christian, Hindu, Unitarian, or whatever - I melt
into a transrational phase where I deeply feel a Something-Beyond, and an
Unfathomable Mystery touches me deeply. This
also happens when I pray for an ailing or dying one for whose well-beibg I care.
These are not pretend-words and motions to please neighbors or community, but
genuine modes of my being.
course, all this may be explained in terms of cultural upbringing or
neuron-misfiring now and again. I understand and accept that,
but that is irrelevant for me.
the other hand, when I am debating with a scriptural literalist or sectarian
fundamentalist I cast off my spiritual hat, and argue in the framework of
physics, history, evolution, and science.
am not complaining or feeling sorry for what others may regard as a problem or a
predicament, On the contrary, I feel immensely enriched by this apparent
schizophrenia, which I once described as bipetasian (two-hats) naturalism.
is because of this personal experience that I tend to be sympathetic to those
who have deep conviction in matters transcendental, even if they are not able to
argue their case to the satisfaction of non-theistic naturalists.
confused, and utterly ignorant as I am (and have always been) about issues
pertaining to the nature of God and post mortem possibilities, I can never be
harsh and judgmental towards <believers>, since I happen to know many
people of faith who are intelligent, learned, and scientific too; I myself
derive much peace from participating in religious services. Nor can I decry
unbelievers as misguided or evil: since I also know a good many of them who are
bright, decent, and helplessly well-meaning in their categorical rejection of
non-theists feel sorry for theistically inclined people, they forget that the
latter have reciprocal feelings of sympathy towards those for whom the
Transcendental is beyond reach. Or, as they sometimes say, how can the deaf ever
know the glory of grand music?
shivam, sundaram: Truth, Goodness, Beauty
may be good or bad, beautiful or ugly.
may be true or false, but is always beautiful.
may reflect truth or not, but is always good.
the Hindu theological/metaphysical framework, God is viewed as that which is a
seamless synthesis of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
Divine is thus described (in Sanskrit) as satyam-shivam-sundaram
(Hindu) triune principle for the Divine has found its way into Western writings
where the notion is used in non-theological contexts, and hence becomes rightly
one shifts theological/spiritual categories into a lay framework and vice versa,
contradictions and confusions may be expected.
have found it difficult to wrap my mind around monism when I conceive of a chain
of causality that is simply linear, for, at some point, it seems that nature's
givens and primitives are going to either totally mutate or totally elude me,
approaching one singularity or another.>
I understand the term in Western philosophy, both idealists and materialists are
monists: One group regards mind as the only ultimate reality; the other
regards matter as the only ultimate reality, each insisting, in keeping
with Abrahamic tradition, that the other is mistaken.
the Hindu framework, monism (advaita: non duality) refers to the tenet
that ultimately there is no distinction between the individual experiencing
entities (jeevaathmans) and the cosmic experiencing entity (paramaathman).
I see it, monism is the philosophical conviction that there is only one ultimate
reality which manifests itself in countless modes. This seems reasonable, but I
also regard this as an aesthetic predilection which may or may not have
objective validity. Einstein's life-long commitment to his fruitless efforts to
find a single <field> of which the gravitational and the electromagnetic
are two different manifestations was inspired by this aesthetic prejudice: it
had absolutely no empirical foundation whatever. The relentless search for a TOE
by theoretical physicists is another manifestation of commitment to monism. The
human mind seems to have an obsession for ONE, perhaps because it
simplifies everything: it is better than zero, but not as complex as two or
more. TWO is evoked only in conflict-contexts.
is not clear to me why a chain of linear causality should stand in the way of
subscribing to monism: All it means is that the single original ONE burst forth
into countless multiple pieces because of the unleashing of the causal chain.
choice for Nature (or the Creator) was between letting the One stay for ever and
for ever with no plurality, and transforming it into a multitude through
physical attributes (mass, charge) and the fundamental interactions (causality).
I am glad (?) the latter course was chosen, because it has led to lots of
fun-experiences for lots of people. And (I suspect) it has cut down on the
boredom that must have been part of unmanifest Oneness for eons and eons before
the eruption of the big bang.