Friday, 3 July 2009

Identity and Death

This piece of article intends to take a deep dive into philosophy of identity.

I just finished the book Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. A very difficult read and certainly one of those books which literally enchanted me and I had visions beyond comprehension. However, its something which that book forced me to realize that I wish to jot down. Besides the common fact that Quality is the undefined essence of life, the book questions the objective truths . What does a "person" constitute of ? If looked objectively , it would tend to list organic entities, hand, face, legs, mind and so on. But Objective view isn't the only view,rather its a skewed view. So used to believing ( through the senses of sight and reasoning) the individual as an objective entity are we that we get blinded by our own reasoning. Subjectively an individual is much more than the sum of his parts. He is part of a framework. But, what happens when he dies?

Author has aptly raised the issue of identifying "he" in the above sentence. What is "he"? What am "I" ? If I am to be looked as only the sum of my biological parts, then I am aptly wiped by that definition. However, I am more than that. I am part of a thinking framework , in which I exist, my "ghost" had always existed , it never died, for it was never born. In saying this I seem to concur with a phrase in "Gita" ,

"Neither One Dies, nor one kills".

However, let me take you through the thought process which culminated on it.

If Science has made everything better, and keeps making better, then certainly what existed earlier was just good, but not as good as latter. Where does this lead to? If something which existed, was not good , what is the purpose of existence in a "non-better" world, that endlessly chases better world thereby never reaching it. There can never be reached a full stop point in this view, as the science progresses and keep on striving for better and better. For Science can have no end , if it does then certainly science isn't the end in the means. Wow! Certainly then , science is not the absolute of this changing world, its just an another tool in the entire scheme of things.

I could safely conclude over here that science is just a tool of the world and not an end in itself and so is reason. Reason gives birth to science and nurtures it , but reason isn't all. Its just part of a scheme.

What about death then? I think of my Grandfather. He expired 7 years ago, but what died was based on this reasoning mind's perception of physical form. He certainly did die in that way, but he lived through the way of his presence . His works, deeds, existence. He exists now as well and can not be perceived by every sense that I have. In this framework of world , he existed , sought quality , shed its last breath , but he still exists , in thoughts, in this scheme of things.

To say that what exists in your mind is actually virtual is like saying eye is the absolute.To the argument which says that whatever can be looked through an eye only exists, science itself comes to my rescue and debunks this myth. I am , as an existing creature ,part of this framework of world. I have never been born and so will I never be killed, I will exist just as existence itself is. What moves me is a quality decision. A decision to "better" things, not necessarily a better world. World has always been what it is, never good never bad.

I understand now what Tao means when he says,

Do you want to improve the world?
I don't think it can be done.

The world is sacred.
It can't be improved.
If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it.

And When he says the following I understand what he means.

The Tao is infinite, eternal.
Why is it eternal?
It was never born;
thus it can never die.
Why is it infinite?
It has no desires for itself;
thus it is present for all beings.

But as I begin to feel an understanding of "it". I hear the following words:

Those who know don't talk.
Those who talk don't know.

Close your mouth,
block off your senses,
blunt your sharpness,
untie your knots,
soften your glare,
settle your dust.
This is the primal identity.
And thus I draw myself in now, unknowing things and in effect knowing them.


vidya said...

Well,not sure how much I have not understood, but doesn't it seem analogous to the saying "Soul never dies" or "Live by your deeds,not age?"

I extremely loved the thought put forth in the follwing paragraph ...

To say that what exists in your mind is actually virtual is like saying eye is the absolute....

and love this "soul" and the "existance" that will always remain ,not sure if by the "deeds" but yes by the "thoughts ,reasonings,attitude" ...

Siddharth said...

You can call it by any name, it doesnt matter.