29) Paradox of Existence

Recently I have been on a short trip to Sweden. On one of the calm and serene boat trips, I was observing the beautiful nature and a cute rainbow. It was little bit chilly and cold, but the heat that was generated from the many bombarding thoughts kept me warm. The following is the essence of those thoughts.

We deal with so many things every day. We speak, we converse, we transact and we exchange ideas or objects with each other. But, have we ever questioned the intricate and intimate processes that underlie these daily routines? We hail ourselves to be the smartest of the species. But, how often do we tend to be smart? To be smart, we need to first have a strong sound base of our own existence. But do we have such a strong base for our existence? Let us see!

Let us start by any statement or idea that comes to our minds. For example, here, I choose to say “I love Apples”. It has three parts. “I”, “Love” and “Apples”. In this world, is there anyone who can explain me these three words as to what they “mean?”. I hardly doubt. The first of these – “I”, is itself called a subject of philosophy. Many of us use “I am ….” in many a situations. But did any of us ask “WHO AM I” or “WHERE AM I” to ourselves? We for sure know that we are not the body. If we were, then when ever we go to haircut or an operation theater, we have to loose ourselves and we would exist as 40% (instead of 100% ) of ourselves or so.  Scientist may say the “I” belongs to brain. Well, then, what is in the brains? Neurons. Among so many neurons, which neuron is causing this sense? No one knows. Let us say for simplicity, either a neuron A or a group of neurons G is causing this sense. But neurons are physical entities. Is the sense of “I” physical? If physical, we can quantify. Can we quantify the sense of “I”? Can we say, “I” is of so and so kilos and so and so cm in length? It neither has time nor space constraints. Though we know that, we are helpless in “knowing” it. The irony is, even if we want to know and say we have discovered, we would say “I now know I”. Its kind of ridiculous! The process of knowing happens through the “I” and the end goal is the “I”. So, before knowing the “I”, we are using it to know the “I”, which is very weird to think! So, excluding the claims of sages, WE are helpless and have no clue as to what or who “I” is and yet we use it every second of our lives. 

May be you would say that the study of “I” belongs to Socrates or Ancient sages so we are not experts in it. Ok then, let us go into the favorite fruit of almost everyone – The APPLE. We know how it looks, we know how it tastes and thus we could identify it in a market and buy when ever we want. But if I ask you “What is an APPLE, actually?” what would you say? Is it the looks (round shape) or the smell or the taste? To be on safe side, you may answer it to be a product of all the three. Well then, when you bite an apple, that which you are chewing – is it apple or not? We would say “Yes, I am eating the apple”. AT every stage of eating, we only chew “part of an apple” and yet we have the sense of “eating the apple” as a whole. Where is the apple here? Is it the part or the whole? What about its taste? We said we love apples because of its taste right (may be color or smell, but lets take taste here as an example)? Does the taste of an apple belong to the apple or our tongue? If apple were sweet to itself, then we would have tasted our tongue as well. But, can we know the taste of our tongue? Can our eye see itself?  In fact, does the taste belong to our tongue or our – self? WHAT IS TASTE finally? I have no answer. If biologists say that taste is an electric potential, I would ask them what is an electron? and what is a charge? 

So, In this series of thoughts of questions, what I concluded is, we actually do not “know” anything in this world except for those attributes that surround it. In case of apple, the taste, color, smell, the idea of its past taste, etc., are the attributes. The same loop of questions can be asked to each of those and we will end up at nowhere! But, stripped of those attributes, we do not know what an apple is at all. WE also do not know who we are! I think this is because, the “apple” and “we” are permeated by the aspect of oneness. Just like our eye can’t see itself, we can not know ourselves nor the TRUTH of an apple. To know, we need to be separate. When we want to know the apple, we are separate from it. But when we are eating it, we are enjoying its taste. Can we know its taste while tasting it? I feel that When we taste it as such, we do not  taste it, i.e., only when our mind is away from tasting the apple, can we convey to other person/ourselves that apple is delicious. But if the mind is truly cherishing the taste, it is impossible to acknowledge the taste. Why? the same reason – To acknowledge or to know, we need to be separate from the object. But when we are the object, we have no means to acknowledge or know the object. So, in order to appreciate the taste of apple, we have to sacrifice some moments of not tasting it!

In summary, we use everything and deal with everything without a proper knowledge of what they mean or what they are actually. Is it not a paradox of existence?

 

17 Comments

  1. It is interesting how you occupied yourself mentally with some fundamental questioning and thoughts while enjoying the nature along the boat ride to Sweden. Usually the jumble of thoughts coming and going are of insignificant nature. But what you dwelt into makes quite a thoughtful reading. I would say it was a thoughtful meditation in the changing scenes of nature.

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  2. The first thought that came to my mind was this: I love apples. Is this the immutable truth? I am referring to ‘apple’ as a metaphor for many things. I might like apples today, but tomorrow my preference may change. My definition of love may change. I may lose all my teeth and start hating apples. I am not getting into defining ‘I’ as it is impossible for me to define it.

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    1. I was just contemplating on your comment …. Is “immutable” immutable? Even if the answer is YES or NO, in which jurisdiction does this immutability lie in — Like mind or physical world or what exactly? Also, “Immutability” is, no matter what, associated with TIME – is it not! Then, where and what is TIME! TIME changes and the “change” shows the immutability or no change … Hahah …seems strange!!

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      1. But does it not require a constant medium or support for it to change? How are we able to say something is changing? I feel there is a changeless background over which change occurs. If not, the change can not be noticed. For example, say an apple turns into a fruit from a bud stage. The memory of bud and fruit relatively tell us the change. But, where do they both exist?…. Phew… Abyss of illusive depth

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  3. As a mortal human being, our mind is clouded with ignorance, uncertainties, desires etc and we can’t visualize the sky which is relatively constant. And we get lost in the ever-changing images that are reflected back to us.

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      1. Be aware of your ignorance. I guess this is where it all begins. Then gradually (might take years or many lifetimes), with his/her grace, effort and desire, the layers of ignorance will go away!

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      2. So for almighty, does change and time exist? If he has to rise us above the change at right time, he has to see his divine watch :p. Well, then that means, he has to wait till that time. So constrained by it. But he is beyond it. I am in a deep web of these thoughts now 😮

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