Sunday, 27 November 2016

Marking Territory

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam"

Planet Earth is considered to be a unique planet - It is the only known planet that harbours life. The Earth has been around for a long time, a few billion years (or a few thousand if you are a devout christian) and is filled with resources such as water, trees, fossil fuel, gemstones, wildlife and more.

Let's look at the planet Earth from the point of animals, say ants. Ants are remarkable insects that live in colonies and have divided their tasks among themselves - Some are workers, some are cleaners while some others are soldiers. They divide labour, just like humans; they communicate among themselves like humans; and they are territorial, just like humans. They decide what their territories are, and aggressively defend it. Any perceived threat will result in a swarm of ants working like a well oiled machine with their mandibles pulling at the enemy from various angles. I saw a video of an ant colony dismembering a scorpion.

Ants are not the only animal group that is territorial - Dogs, wolves, tigers and a host of other animals are territorial as well. I guess we can safely assume that being territorial is a deep rooted primal quality.

The planet Earth does not belong to anyone - So, everything on the planet belongs to everyone. And yet, the reality is not so. I cannot go and see the Great Barrier Reef or Mount Fuji without taking permission from some people. Does that seem fair? Do these places belong to some people? Why? Is it because they were born in that area? And if you look at Australia, it was a pristine country with a few Aborigines which was taken over by some Europeans quite recently. And now they don't let others come in. Is that fair?

We simply accept these things as they are. We were born in a country and we become citizens of that country. Many of us aggressively support that country, defend it and even die for it. Some of the disillusioned ones leave their country for others. We have seen this all.

We like some countries and we don't like some countries. A majority of Indians and Pakistanis don't like each other, Israel and Palestine, China and a bunch of countries fight for land and water. Many people who were born in that country are told as children that they have to be enemies with the other country because they own part of their territory or intend steal part of what belongs to them.

All this seems perfectly natural to us and we consider it as part of our geopolitical reality.

But do you see how similar religion is to this? People are born into it - and children are raised being taught certain things. They support it aggressively, defend it and some even die for it. And many atheists nuts are no different from religious nuts.

However, the question is - Is it really wrong? Why is it that we feel religious fundamentalism wrong but we find territorial “fundamentalism” natural? So unless we all truly believe that the whole world should be utopic where we believe in Upanishadic quote “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (The world is one family), blaming only religion for problems is silly

Higher Dimensions

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"That we cannot sense certain things due to a limitation of our body does not imply the absence of what we cannot sense"

I was watching some interesting videos on YouTube the other day, and I stumbled upon String Theory. Matter, as we know, is made up of tiny particles called atoms. Atoms are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons. We learn about this in school And often, we hear about other sub-atomic particles like mesons, bosons etc. It turns out that protons and neutrons themselves are made up of quarks... And quarks are made up, according to String Theory, of extremely tiny particles called Strings.

From what I gathered, everything in eventually made up of tiny strings, and the different behavioural characteristics are due to varying frequencies of the strings. While this theory is still under development, it made me wonder if a string could be the same as the Brahman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman).

But let us not introduce religion into this. Continuing with his explanation, Brian Greene goes on to explain about higher dimensions, saying that they are working with 11 dimensions - 10 dimensions + time.

Now all of us understand up to three dimensions really well - a line exists in a single dimension, a triangle exists in a plane or two dimensions and a cube in three dimensions. Our world is in three dimensions. But they are talking about dimensions above this which we find impossible to visualise, primarily because of our inability to fit it with things that we see around. When we talk about something with three dimensions, I can understand it because our world is 3D. A 2D diagram on a page is easy to grasp too. But what is a 4D diagram?

A 2D triangle has each side made up of a line which is 1D. A cube is a 3D diagram which has each face made up of squares which are 2D. Therefore, should a 4D diagram have each face that should be made up of 3D diagrams? We cannot imagine it...

Our eyes have rods and cones to detect the intensity and colour of objects around us. The world looks vibrant with colours. But other animals such as dogs and bulls don’t perceive the world in the same way as we do. They lack certain the colour detecting capabilities that we take for granted. So the same object is seen differently by them - perhaps less vibrant and more dull and boring.

But remember, they are looking at the same objects as we are. The same objects are seen differently by them - less colourful. Butterflies on the other hand can sense light in the ultraviolet range of the spectrum which is completely invisible to us. This means that the butterfly sees a far more vibrant and iridescent world. The mantis shrimp is remarkable in that way - Compared to the three types of colour receptive cones of humans (five of certain butterflies), the eyes of the mantis shrimp carry 16 types of colour receptive cones. Meaning, it is seeing a different world than you and I.

What if things that we see and feel are not really what they are? What if, we are like the residents of Flatland who live in a two dimensional world? Or like the ant that traversed the mobius strip? What if there are things beyond this and that we are simply unable to perceive them due to some constraints? Are there creatures living in a different dimension like some characters from the Bartimaeus Trilogy? Are THEY “ghosts”? :P

That we cannot sense certain things due to a limitation of our body does not imply the absence of what we cannot sense

Interesting Content
Watch Visualising Eleven Dimensions