Monday, August 13, 2007

Absolute Reality - Is there any such thing?

Most of the children have imaginary characters for their friends. They play with them, enjoy with them and even talk to them. If you ask them anything about those characters, they will reply in a way, which will convince any body that those characters actually exist or they are “real”. But for us those characters are just figments of the children’s imagination. They are not “real”. Just because we cannot see hear or even sense those characters how can we deny their existence? We experience thoughts, dreams, emotions and feelings. Are these not real?

We may feel that anything we perceive using our five senses is real. So we believe and understand that all the objects that we can touch, see, feel, hear, taste are real. Well, in that case think of those myriad stars twinkling in the night sky. What we are seeing could be what was the state of the stars many years ago because as everyone knows light takes several years to reach us from the distant stars. It could be possible that some of the stars do not exist any more. We believe that they exist because we see them twinkling. The assumption here is that “Time” is absolute that is one is simultaneously able to see the stars as they are now and as they are seen from the Earth. Does that mean reality is something beyond our fives senses of perception? Probably. Any thing “real” can or should probably be defined relative to the space in which we live.

Consider the example of a seed that has grown into a tree. From our knowledge of science we know that this tree has grown from a seed. But just try to view the tree in the absolute sense. We do not call it a seed anymore. The “reality” of the tree being a seed was the past. The “reality” now is that the seed is a tree. What was “real” in the past is not “real” any more as we cannot perceive the “seed” using our five sense organs. Here the assumption is that space is absolute i.e. it is the same space where the seed was planted and now the tree is standing. This implies that “Time” needs to be incorporated in our understanding of reality.

Consider this. I understand that if I am shown the color red, it is red because I have been taught that the color is red and now I understand and believe that the color shown to me is red. But if some one is taught that the color red is green, that person will understand and believe that the color is green and not red. Here what is “real” depends on what we have defined the terms “red” and “green” to mean. Humans have written a language and created words and associated meanings with it and have laid down a universal understanding that a specific reality is associated with each word that represents anything that is tangible. So reality includes those things, which we have been taught to believe and understand as representative of a specific thing.

If you noticed, whatever we defined to be “real” was relative to some element – either time or space or a person’s understanding of what is real. If “real” is defined relative to something how can it remain “real”? We associate “truth” with “reality”. When we think of “truth” we think of it in the absolute sense. If reality is relative, then so is truth.. We have based all our knowledge of science, scientific discoveries and inventions on assumptions- assumptions some of which we believe are true and others we just intuitively know are true (the ones we call axioms). So if this fundamental understanding of truth changes can we then say that our knowledge of science if fallacious? Is it right to base our understanding of anything based on truth which by its very innate nature is relative because of its dependency on factors like time, space, beliefs? This brings me to my question – Is there something which we can call “the absolute truth” or “the absolute reality”?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Fading Identity

Recently, our team shifted to a new building far away from home and finally i am beginning to feel the pinch. Today morning when i reached our new campus(hate associating the word "office" with myself), i was reminded of the many things that i wanted to do by the time i finished college. I wanted to be an entrepreneur with the "youngest achiever" award, giving loads of interviews on the TV. But unfortunately none has been accomplished or even started...

OK, fine i am applying to b-schools and all that. So what? I am still far away from what i wanted to do. B-school is definitely not my destination. In high school i was so overwhelmed by people such as Alexander and Cleopatra that i wanted to actually rule the world someday so that my name gets etched in the history of the world and not lost once i perish. Over the due course of time that fantasy matured into the want to be an entrepreneur and own a building as huge as our new campus.

After high school i got carried away by the usual competition stuff and here i am sitting in my cube debugging code. Which competition you say? Well, the usual marks saga. I am not sure how can competition land a person into something that she doesn't want. But sadly that's the truth and that will be, till our system and values change.

This is not the future that i dreamt of nor would many "dream" of in childhood. Then why am i not going ahead and ditching my job and starting off with my dream? Probably i am not the risk taker kind. Am i the only person who is doing what she DOES NOT want to do or are there other people too?

Hats off to people like Bill Gates who had guts to ditch the "competition" saga and realize their dreams. As far as people like us, i don't even know why do we keep reading things about these achievers. I don't see us (atleast me) putting it into practice. Oh OK... Our system has taught us how to do theory not practicals right? Then how can we realize it in reality.

I don't think its too late. Probably we all still have time to live our dreams. But how many of us actually know what we want? Probably a flashback to our childhood days will help.

I just hope you and I realize what we actually want and go ahead with that, instead of sucuumbing to the situation. Else we will end up spending 15 hours a day doing something that we never dreamt of or do not actually enjoy doing, till we are 60 and then retire and wonder what happened the whole time in our lives.
A girl losing identity in her cube