Friday, April 20, 2007

8 - Towards Singularity

Singularity is something that is difficult to explain with words, it is to be experienced.

Are we going to experience singularity now ?

That will require years of practice, years of sadhana, but since that is not possible here, let me begin with a series of images which are at least better than dry text ..

We begin with the perfect Brahman, without shape or form and the perfect Atman, also without shape or form, but since the perfect Brahman is obscured from the perfect Atman through the delusion or veil of Maya, which acts as a barrier to true knowledge, it perceives both itself and the Brahman – the Universe – as first separate and secondly with shape and form (that is with “horns”).[1]

But the Atman, and Maya and the Brahman are one and the same … is that not what you have said ?

You are correct, but we will be there shortly … but before we do, let me clarify a small but significant point. We have used the a lens or a veil as an analogy for Maya but perhaps we would be better off if we were to use a mirror as the analogy.

So do we replace the lens with a mirror ?

That is exactly what I have done in the next diagram.

In reality, the Atman is indeed a part of the Brahman but because of the imperfect mirror of Maya it sees itself as distinct from and smaller than Brahman. Moreover, it sees both itself and the Brahman, erroneously, as with shape and form. That is why we retain the horns.

What happens next ?

As the Atman acquires more and more knowledge through the UTM process that we described earlier, the Atman moves closer and closer to its identity with the Atman --- the horns, errors of form and shape, reduce and unknown to itself, the Atman “increases” or “swells up” to come closer to the Brahman.

Is this shown in the next two diagrams ?

Yes .. and if you note carefully there are two things happening here ..
* The Atman is approaching the Brahman in size. This is my way of saying that the Atman is losing the spell of delusion that was cast on it by Maya.
* This means that its knowledge of Brahman and recursively, of itself – since it is itself becoming identical with Brahman, is becoming better and “clearer”. It loses its images of ‘horns’ the erroneous concepts of shape and size … and starts seeing things as they are formless and without attributes – that I have represented as a circle here.

Is this the state of Nirvana ? Or what is called the state of Truth and Bliss and Consciousness, the Sat-Chid-Ananda ?

That I suppose is what is described in the next image.

This is old hat. Sankara said this eons ago. How does this tie in with the idea of the UTM that have been championing so far ?

To understand that, see the next image, where I have introduced the UTM. This UTM is the basic cognitive mechanism, initially imperfect, but as it acquires knowledge and evolves it becomes more efficient and effective in overcoming Maya. It becomes more capable of ‘seeing’ or ‘understanding’ what it experiences.

For more evolved individuals, the UTM is better and it helps him have a more accurate image of itself and the universe -- the ‘horns’ disappear.

The process continues as the UTM “reads”, “processes” more data from the environment and “understands” more and more of reality, it becomes more cognitively competent, and the Atman that it represents moves closer to and closer to the Brahman

until in the state of perfect Nirvana, the perfect UTM, and the perfect Atman achieves identity with the perfect UTM that represents the Brahman.

So can you summarize the story that you have been telling me so far ..
* The sentient or conscious mind picks up continuous series of data – or information, or cues, call it what you will – from the environment
* Initially it interprets the data in an imperfect manner. It builds up an erroneous image of itself and of its environment .. this is when it is under the delusion of Maya
* However, embedded in this data is the ability to make better sense of the data. Thus the mind acquires – some faster, others more slowly – the ability to make sense of this data. Thus the illusion becomes weaker and the image approaches closer and closer to reality.

And how do you map this to the UTM ?
* The primitive UTM of the simple mind acquires complexity along with the ability to make sense of current and subsequent data
* The complexity of the UTM approaches the complexity of the data that it is trying to process or understand.
* When it becomes equal in complexity to the complexity of what it is trying to understand then there is
+ no need for any external complexity anymore
+ the Yoga or the Union of the outer and inner data space is complete.

I see that you have mapped the knower, the to-be-known and the process of knowing into an UTM, but at the end of the day the UTM is a mathematical construct, a pure piece of thought. How is this mathematical construct implemented in the ‘real’ world.

So you are still looking for the real world ?

Don’t laugh at me ! I know that you have been trying to convince me that I have to give up the real and live with illusions. But this is too much. How can the world be governed by a mathematical idea ? There has to be some touch point with something that is real – or perhaps what appears to be real.

Don’t worry .. I am not trying to trick you but before that let me ask you a question – what is your favourite book ?

Harry Porter and the Philosophers Stone.

Now any book has two components, first the actual story and second the physical form or media in which it is presented – hard cover, soft cover, soft copy. So which of these do you like ?

Obviously the actual story is what I like, the physical form is necessary but actually quite immaterial.

Would you say that if I destroy the physical book, the novel is destroyed ?

Not at all. The story is more important than and outlives the physical medium.

So let us talk about a book and an incredible story that it contains.

What book is this ?

The book is the human genome and the story is the Universal Turing Machine that you have been looking for.

[1] For the sake of convenience, we have represented perfection as circles and imperfection as a circle with horns around the periphery. Please note that this is an arbitrary representation and there is no inherent connection between perfection and circularity.