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Can Thought Lead Us to the Universal Truth?
|by Mandar Karanjkar|
The thought was considered as an ordinary phenomenon for quite a long. Most of the old Indian scriptures focus on thought. They work on thought. They try to make the process of thinking flawless. They even talk of the state of thoughtlessness to experience the truth. This phenomenon of thinking is again under the focus of scientific study. The most striking thing is that a very reputed Quantum Physicist, David Bohm worked a lot on what is thought and how it affects the perception of things.
Up to a century ago, in the western world, thought was always considered as a right means to comprehend the data. It was taken for granted that thought is giving us the real information about the thing. It was also believed that all our reactions are the outcome of our instantaneous thoughts. But, a strong blow was given to this misconception by the experiment performed by a famous Nobel Laureate named Pavlov.
Pavlov got a fleet of dogs to perform this experiment upon. He got a surgery done over them to measure the quantity of their salivation. Now, he used to ring a bell and give them the food. This he did for near about 10 days. At the eleventh day, he only rang the bell. The observation was, dogs were found to salivate in the same quantity even though no food was given. Let us understand what happens to the dogs in detail.
At first, ring and food both were projected as associates of each other. For the first few days, dogs used to see the food and then salivate. After a few days, this thinking, that ringing is associated with food converted into a thought. What we think many times becomes a thought. Now, when bell was rang and there was no food, dogs salivated. It means that they were not thinking at that time. They reacted just out of what they had thought. So, this tells us a very basic truth about the thinking process- If we are made to deal with a condition similar to an earlier one, we are not thinking. We are just acting passively out of what we have thought. It is not going to be an intelligent response.
So, when we say, that we are thinking, we are not. Rather, in the process of thinking, ‘we’ are not at all involved. What David Bohm says is, today our thinking is just a self perpetuating set of responses where there is no space for our consciousness.
This problem becomes very severe when it is applied to human relations and also in the fields like core mathematics and quantum mechanics. All our life is regulated by our thought; let it be personal, scientific or religious. So, it becomes our first priority to bring ourselves in process of our thinking. What are disadvantages of this self propagating thought mechanism? The disadvantage is, that which is authentic in life is lost. We lose insight, spontaneity and consciousness.
It can be seen that all the scientific landmarks were outcome of some insight. Study says that most of the outstanding scientific outcomes were obtained in a thoughtless state. To give some examples, Einstein got many of his insights while playing with the soap bubbles when he was having a bath. This was the state when he was thoughtless. Schrödinger saw his wave equations when he was on his trip to the Alps. Kekule saw benzene ring structures in his sleep when he was thoughtless. Kekule was trying hard for months to design these structures but all the efforts were in vain. In his deep sleep, he just got a glimpse of these structures.
When you are full of thoughts, there is no space for the insight. Insight needs silence within. When everything is clear even for a fraction of second, an insight will pop up. This may be the reason for which all the Indian scriptures always ask us to achieve for the state of thoughtlessness. One more problem with the thought is that, thought is fragmented by its very nature. As Isha Upnishad says, thought is a result of fragmentation. This concept is very much supported by the scientists today. Thought can work on things only when they are fragmented. As Isha Upnishad says, when man fragments away himself from the existence, thought arises. Thought does not have the ability to percept the whole. To experience the whole, all the scriptures advise the thoughtlessness state. Today, scientists all over the world are trying to get the universal truth with the help of thoughts. Let us rather see, if the whole can be perceived through the thoughts.
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