Thursday, January 04, 2007

Pure ideative mind in Plato, Kant, Descartes, Einstein

Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies
by RY Deshpande on Sat 30 Dec 2006 08:49 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
In the Synthesis of Yoga (pp. 841-61) Sri Aurobindo explains that the supermind is a superior instrumentation of the spirit and all the operations of our normal consciousness are its limited and inferior derivations. But this is a fulfilling power which does not reject the possibilities we possess; rather it uplifts them. When we organise our mental activity around it we enter into the world of pure ideative knowledge. At the higher level this ideative knowledge gets transformed into supramental thought, supramental vision, the supramental knowledge by identity, the true jñāna. This is knowledge of a superior kind than what is obtained from samyama in the Patanjali yoga.
Thus he writes elsewhere in the same book (p. 493): Vijnana “takes up our sense action and illumines it even in its ordinary field so that we get a true sense of things. But also it enables the mind-sense to have a direct perception of the inner as well as the outer phenomenon, to feel and receive or perceive, for instance, the thoughts, feelings, sensations, the nervous reactions of the object on which it is turned.” Then in the footnote he says: This power, according to Patanjali, comes by samyama on an object; but in the gnosis there is no need of samyama. “For this kind of perception is the natural action of the Vijnana.” And then p. 858: samyama, “a concentration, directing or dwelling of the consciousness, by which one can become aware of all that is in the object. But the necessity of concentration becomes slight or nil when the active oneness grows; the luminous consciousness of the object and its contents becomes more spontaneous, normal, facile.”
The thought-action of our mind is constituted of a triple motion: Habitual thought-mind basing its ideas upon the data given by the senses and by the surface experiences of the nervous and emotional being; the pragmatic idea-mind that lifts itself above life and acts creatively as a mediator between the idea and the life-power, between truth of life and truth of the idea; the pure ideative-mind lives in truth of the idea apart from any necessary dependence on its value for action and experience. Its preoccupation is with knowledge, its whole object to have the delight of ideation. This ideative-mind is the highest reach of the intellect acting for itself.
We could perhaps see some examples of the pure ideative mind in Plato, Kant, Descartes, Einstein; of the pragmatic idea-mind in Aristotle, Newton, Karl Marx, Rutherford, Niels Bohr of the recent years; there are plenty of people with the habitual thought-mind, with a kind of horse-sense, who are successful in life, like Henry Ford, Bill Gates, even fine academic theoreticians such as Adam Smith, Chomsky, Hawking, with most of the present-day professionals in various fields, including management gurus and Nobel scientists falling more or less in this category. But people like Tagore, Gandhi, Vivekananda, even Gorbachev, belong to another category where the touch of the higher mind climbing to the world of intuition is perceptibly active.
But our real difficulty is to combine these three movements of the intelligence, the movements of the habitual thought-mind, the pragmatic idea-mind, and the pure ideative-mind. Thus the pure ideative mentality of Einstein was absorbed in the construction of an abstract system for the hard physical world around us, and he was happy with it, his idea-system; in fact he considered it to be the crudeness of our mind to impose the condition of experimental verification if the idea is fundamentally logical and sound, intrinsically correct, that one should want to apply the test of experimental verification. For him internal consistency rather than observation was enough; he went even to the extent of saying that if an idea is genuine, then it must be also observationally correct. Bohr insisted on the empirical foundation. But this is a deep and harsh dichotomy which cannot be resolved by remaining in the world of thought alone. Perhaps it is here that the pragmatic idea-mind must prevail, keeping itself open to the other which might materialise in the course of long or short development, that it might acquire meaning or sense with the advance of human thought.
Until then any conclusion about human destinies based on such provisionality must be taken with great caution. It will be always subject to revision, lacking the certitude of a higher mode of knowledge. The truest certitude can come only from Vijnan. RYD

No comments:

Post a Comment