Sunday, 26 February 2017

How the pathetically 'subjective' man created an 'objective' world?


Though modern world had philosophers like Soren Kierkegaard, who yelled out that 'truth is subjectivity', the mainstream world did not get the real sense of what he had said. He must have meant that, outside the individual mind, or without the medium of the individual mind, nothing external is conceivable. The Mind of the individual man is the sole and whole 'opening' in nature, through which anything external ( any external datum, knowledge or information) could enter consciousness.
Each individual consciousness is also unique in many ways. The way it perceives external objects and the world in general, is particular for each person.( sub-atomic particle world experiments reiterate this fact; reality is a unique convergence between the observing unit  and the observed object) We have created a certain standard for various objects and the realms of relations between these objects ( time and space based) by way of our LANGUAGES, hence our pathetically subjective versions gain the status of an objective reality. This way, when we see, hear, or read about an elephant, each one's subjective images vanish, and a synthetic elephant emerge in the mind as the objective model!
This is a unique fact of cognition, that we do not have anything similar to compare it with. The nearest example might be the extreme uniqueness of each of our external sense organ. Sight is a unique experience that neither the nose nor the ear could ever grasp.Likewise, the category of existence that the nose senses, eyes can not ever comprehend. But when the nose smells an elephant, the synthetic image of the elephant mind gets synchronized with that of the elephant the eye had already seen, and thus we get the sense of the object. In the case of unique perceptions of individuals, we should assume, that languages perform this synchronization function.
Individual minds are thus unique apertures to experience existence, and similarly, every other object, including the smallest of them like cells and microbes in the world, are also unique 'subjects' in themselves. Other interested single or organized group of such subjects can only force others into the synthetic category of 'objects'. For the subject ameba, man is an object, and for man, ameba is the object. Subjects 'impose' objective category to other subjects.
So, whatever is there in life and existence, only an individual consciousness is the exclusive 'aperture' through which it could reach the experience realm. We do not know, or imagine any conscious entity, or sense organ that is capable of experiencing the mythical 'objective' ( of independent substance sans our subjective cognition) reality, in its factual sense! Objective reality could be defined as something ( an object, relation or emotion) there in the external world, that such an experiencing or knowing entity internalize as a universal model of that reality, applicable to every individual of experience. We are multitudes of individually experiencing entities, each one of us capable of 'subjectively' grasping such an 'artificial' or synthetic 'notion' of the category 'objective' reality!
Objectivity is only a collective, workable notion, an idea or myth that every individual can grasp in a purely objective manner.It is a collective world view, attitude or value that our naturally subjective psyches have internalized and made to feel that the 'external' is more real than our very subjective selves, and it has an independent reality free of the individual consciousness. The net result of this ideological mass-perception was the negation of own self by modern man. He always tends to feel that whatever his subjective mind produces is hallucination and unreal. What is real is the external world, where he is an object like multitudes of other physical objects. Only the physical world exists, and mind is only a means or property of matter to perceive itself.
This is a difficult attempt to look into the various historic, political, social, religious, philosophic, psychological and economic factors that led the world to create the myth and notion of objective reality and world. This is not to propose even remotely the position of Bishop Berkeley, that the physical is unreal and everything that exists is mental. This is to hint that individual's unique experience of life and existence is the purpose of nature, and the 'objective' world is not something that exists for itself in a zero-sum game of nature. The objective world is only a category that this age has created, among its other similar myths. (ref. a helpful link:
How did we get obsessed with the notion of 'objective world' as the one and only realm of reality?

It has a lot to do with the special political features of the age in which science had got developed into a prestigious institution in the West, ie during the 16th and 17th centuries.
'Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy' quotes Austrian Philosopher Paul Feyerabend:
'All this has a political aspect, too. In the times of the scientific revolution or the Enlightenment, science acted as a liberating force that fought intellectual and political oppression by the sovereign, the nobility or the clergy. Nowadays, Feyerabend continues, the ideals of value-freedom and objectivity are often abused for excluding non-experts from science, proving the superiority of the Western way of life, and under-girding the power of an intellectual elite' ( :
The then age was totally exhausted after the long centuries of the hegemony of Church above man's mind and thoughts. The liberation that science offered was a great solace! It freed the human spirit and rational might!
After all, there is nothing in the world that man's keen mind can not observe and gain knowledge of! Galileo's telescope like gadgets gave a new confidence to the man that, with such gadgets of greater capacity, everything that exists could be seen, measured and unmasked, including God if exists anywhere!
Unfortunately, in the list of such observable and conquerable objects in the world, the subject man also got included. He too had been judged merely as a physical object. Nothing that originated in the individual mind was adjudged as real, but purely subjective, without any scientific relevance. What they individually feel within, unless it was not demonstrated as objects of the senses to one and all, was to be considered fiction. What was out there in the external world only was considered real. As every man is an observable 'object' before others and the world, the external man has also passed the test of objectivity! Not the individual man as he himself feel within about him.
The new institutions of industry and nation state too were keen on such a verdict on individual man, as they needed masses of men at the ever increasing factories as workers, as well as in the form of political material for the states. Man as some entity to be revered, or an entity with an independent mind, needing liberty and rights, and to be treated with dignity etc was NOT the kind of objects these factories needed. Hence, it was no wonder that the notion of the exclusive 'objective' reality of the external world and all its objects including men, had indeed taken a 'tyrannical'status in the new world order.
What we have touched above were the historic, political, economic and social factors that lead to the origin of the category of 'objectivity' as a scientific value.
Now let us consider the psychological and philosophic factors that contributed, and reiterated the objective reality of the world:
One of the earliest of scientists, Francis Bacon, used to describe science as a tool to plunder nature by all possible means. His popular narratives included:
Ø Nature should be haunted in her wanderingsØ She should be bound into serviceØ made her a slaveØ put her in constraintØ to torture out the secrets from her
( words like ‘haunting’ and 'torture' referred above were routinely used in Europe, around the 'witch-hunting traditions' of that age)
In such a tradition initiated by the inception stage science, man self-adopted, or claimed the status of a universal eye, or the universal observer, and whatever external to him in the universe, a vast, but a singular object.
As a value of such a science, the then society had adopted, in Freud's words:
"there is no other source of knowledge of the universe, but the intellectual manipulation of carefully verified observation, in fact, what is called research, and no knowledge can be obtained from revelation, intuition or inspiration" ( in his lecture XXXV, a philosophy of life)
Henceforth, the stuff like the mind etc had forever been ousted from the realm of science, except as a property of the physical brain of man. World population, by then floored by the glorious achievements of science, willingly adopted these values, and yearned to belong to the scientific community, or at least be its loyal follower. The modern world, especially its Western population, is still under the magic spell of science, and laugh at any talk on stuff like the human mind.They allege that such notions are products of human fear of the uncertainties of life, its end in death, or simply products of faith-based religious mysticism!
Localized minds, but cosmic claims!

Simple observation will reveal that every human being, whether he is a rocket scientist, president of a nation, or a rustic villager, lives ultimately in a small social circle.The number of men and women he directly interacts might not exceed a few scores or maximum a few hundred. Others outside this small circle belong to the 'world', a specific category in his mind. For this 'others' in the world, this man ( if he is a public figure) is a 'fiction', ie something he knows or aware of, as part of the above category of the 'external world'.
Is such image of the external world in the mind of every person would be similar? Absolutely NO! World image of every person would be pathetically subjective and different - content, quantity and quality-wise - ie. depending upon his knowledge-base, his degree of exposure to the world, and the quality and quantity of his relations etc.
Plato had long doubted that man's thinking process might be an internal conversation. But he did not ever specify, who the two entities within, between whom this conversation takes place. We have now our keen reflection to observe that, such conversation takes place between our ego, ( the social self or the self-entity evolved from one's social interaction) and the world, that is always represented in the mind in the form of a virtual 'other', or a spirit. (please see this idea depicted in all the details, at blog:
The above observation further brings to our attention that, the very 'world' idea within every mind is nothing but a 'subjective' product of its owner. It is with this 'ghost' that we engage in the act of thinking! Science's concept of the 'objective' world also forms part of this 'subjective' world of every man.
We often accuse our mentally sick persons that they see ghosts, and often interact with them. It is right. But we should admit that what makes us 'normal' is the fact that, the ghost we interact with is a common one, thanks to the well-developed media institution, we collectively subscribe to the world-notion that they provide us 24x7 ! Our selves are built using the canvas of the common world idea given by the media, so we get the idea of a single, common world naturally. No one has an escape. It is a product forced down to our brains!
The notion of the solid, mathematically measurable external world is an extremely difficult 'ghost' now for the common man to discard, or even doubt about. But the sad fact is, that we are not living in a common world, but independent, subjective worlds are living within us!
The natural oneness of man with life and existence lost forever?
Fritjof Capra, an outstanding scientist, talks about the natural oneness of man with existence in his book,' The Tao of physics' : As we study the various models of sub-atomic physics, we shall see that they express again and again, in different ways, the same insight - that the constituents of matter and basic phenomena involving them are all interconnected, interrelated and interdependent; that they cannot be understood as isolated entities,but only as integrated parts of the whole' ( p.143)
It won't be an exaggeration if we state here that the above-narrated notion of a purely objective world, and that of man as zero-sum playing, information system guided means of nature, has indeed destroyed the status of him in the modern world as an independent organism capable of higher intellectual, moral and rational growth.
If it was Church's authority that had kept minds of man in the pre-enlightenment era, today it is the matter-dogma following science and her political and industrial sponsors and partners that do the same job in a more rigid manner! The individual man has been a turned an intellectually paralyzed creature in the modern world, that he is never allowed to cross the intellectual barriers set and fixed by the establishments. Modern men of high education and intellectual status are seen pathetically yearning to show themselves as followers of science, and her various dogmas and orthodox beliefs. It gives them a 'high' in doing so, and believing so because science today has unparalleled prestige and glory!
Vast realms of yet not explored areas of knowledge are lying empty, as qualified men are lying trapped in the above narrated intellectual wilderness. Despite the Copenhagen-interpretation initiative led by leading scientists to settle the complexity between the 'observed system' and the 'observing system', the questions are still unresolved. A known critic of the Copenhagen-initiative, David Bohn also supports the view of Capra:
" we say that inseparable quantum interconnectedness of the whole universe is the fundamental reality and that relatively independently behaving parts are merely particular and contingent forms within this whole" ( Foundations of physics, vol.5,1975)
All the above serious confusions about basic 'reality' of our own selves and world demand, that man should further explore his 'knowing' organs and systems. Is he endowed with any not-yet-known and recognized 'knowing' organs, or faculties that might finally help him to find answers for above questions? Please share exciting propositions on such possibilities at link:

Author: Abraham J.Palakudy

He is an independent seeker and researcher in the fields of Mind&Reason, metaphysics,scientific method, spirituality and polity

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