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You are intrigued by big questions
You are looking for alternatives
You are not afraid of disruption
You appreciate intellectual rigor
You are eager to learn and discover
You can devote considerable time
Substituting Depth With Breadth Perception

Philosophy and science in India were called darshan, which means “perception”. Darshan was about perceiving the deeper reality behind the surface phenomena. That ability is presently rare. Therefore, we have to substitute the perception of depth with that of breadth. A deeper cause has a broader effect. To understand that deeper cause, we have to study the broader effects. We have to grasp why broader effects cannot be explained in current science and then grasp how they can be explained, before we try to develop the capacity to perceive the deeper causes.

Numerous examples of broader effects exist today: (a) the origin of life and the universe, (b) the role of the mind in experiments, (c) the creativity of literature, art, music, and science, (d) the problems of mathematics arising from replacing semantics with syntax, (e) the role meaning in the formation of economies and societies, and (f) how changing meaning creates history.

When we look for deeper causes, we don’t divide knowledge into many incompatible subjects. The truth cannot be divided into 20 subjects each with 1/20th of the truth or 20 independent truth claims. To know the truth, we have to look for that reality that reconciles all subjects into a single coherent understanding. That is harder than learning one fragmented subject. But it is easier than learning all fragmented subjects collectively, and certainly much more rewarding.

Implications of the Cartesian Mind-Body Divide

Modern science was born from the Cartesian mind-body divide in which the body is an object while the mind is a person. The mind-body divide creates several problems: (a) every effect of the mind on the body and that of the body on the mind is neglected by science, (b) the body is divided into independent parts because the unifying mind was removed, (c) all theories that describe these fragmented pieces of the body prove inadequate because the other parts of the body are affecting it, and (d) multiple theories from fragmented subjects remain incompatible.

Mind-body divide is not just about neglecting the mind. It is also about fragmenting the body into independent parts. When the mind is removed, then we cannot predict and explain bodily behaviors quite like we cannot explain a book based on the shape of a pen that wrote it, a musical composition based on the length of the instrument that produced it, or a work of art based on the weight of the paintbrush that created it. The physical properties of the pen, paintbrush, or instrument are insufficient to account for the creative outcome without the creator’s mind.

Dogmatic Approaches to Scientific Knowledge

Under the Cartesian dogma, a false idea of “scientific law” in which the mind plays no role was constructed. Every such “law” created by science to date has been indeterministic. It cannot predict all observable effects in the domain that the laws apply. Its explanations of what it can predict are often based on unprovable assumptions (e.g., that there are infinite points between any two points or that the universe is uniform in all places and directions). The result is the dichotomy between inconsistency vs. incompleteness. Every theory is incomplete. To overcome its limits, additional theories are necessary, although they too are incomplete in other ways. Moreover, additional theories contradict previous theories, making a unified theory impossible.

Under such a dogma, modern science has no capacity to explain even the most ordinary sensual and mental experiences. And yet, such is the propaganda about the virtues of fragmented thinking that people have learned to ignore the shortcomings of science as long as they can get technology. Anyone who talks about alternatives is ridiculed as pseudo-scientific, just as dogmatic religions earlier persecuted everyone as a heretic who dared to question their assumptions.

The Necessity of Intellectual Rigor

Understanding many problems, analyzing their causes, and connecting them to the mind-body problem needs intellectual depth and breadth. All deep and broad questions have a long history, with many partial answers, and associated controversies. Everyone doesn’t have the patience or tenacity to wade through this mess. By dividing knowledge into many incompatible departments, then splitting the departments into many incompatible subjects, then separating the subjects into many incompatible theories, modern thinking has fragmented the understanding of reality to an extent that it is often difficult to see how many problems result from the same root cause.

And yet, establishing this connection is essential to a solution. It makes the answer, for those approaching it scientifically, that much harder. We can introduce the students to theories, but we cannot compel them to think. They should want to think, which means reading, immersion, and contemplation. Stating the truth is easy. But becoming convinced that it is the truth is hard. Through a rigorous study of modern science and its problems, we get convinced of its alternative. But it is time-consuming. Not everyone is inclined toward difficulty. Most people would consider such an enterprise too arduous. We don’t want to compel them to endure that hardship.