The universe; The colors, the sound; The pain, the pleasure; Happiness, sadness and all the emotions; The birds, the butterflies, the trees and addictive highs; The logic, the science, creativity and the prize; Reality of life, the death, celebrating the demise; The dreams we dream, reality in disguise.
I know, I wonder, and I feel the thunder. I give up, I get up, I lose, and I win. I run, I stay, I grow, and I learn. I live, I teach, I propagate the life. I see, I feel the touch, I taste, and I smell. I practice and commit, I memorize and forget; I yearn, I struggle, I cope and I perfect. I find, I seek but the mystery hides.
The Reason of Intelligence
We as life are enabled to live and feel. Humans can hone their behavior to a level that can overcome their instincts. We choose to act based on our intelligent plans rather than on our subconscious reactions. We can choose to act even when we are afraid and not to act when we feel the pleasure. ‘Fight or flight’ is so complex for us that we do not understand our own decisions. And surpassing all the emotions, we develop an emotion of ‘why’. We ask questions not only from the subject, object, time, place and method but also from our motive. This capability of asking that special question of ‘why’ separates us from all other beings but also gives birth to a more confused state of mind. Scientists, philosophers and psychologists often question that if everything we see and know is only perceived and decoded by our minds, then the reality of life, must also be only a part of this perception and that everything out there could be as fake as the last night’s dream.
The Question on Reality of Life
One of the most basic ingredients of life is ‘ego’. Ego when we talk generally means the ‘demonic pride’ but that is not the type of ego I am talking about. It was the closest word, I could find to describe the feeling of ‘Ahankar’, a word used in the Vedic scriptures that literally translates to ‘self-form’. Ego is the most basic emotion, which, with the help of other senses enables awareness. It is a selfish feeling and with its help we behave like we are one soul in one body. We know that we are made of different body parts and those parts are made of cells. The cells are made of molecules, atoms and subatomic particles. But we differentiate our body from others, and we do not feel the same about the other body, wondering what pain and pleasure means to them.
Also, ego enables us in feeling one with a foreign organ or a cumulative group by transcending itself onto other things. This gives us the capacity of dynamic pattern recognition. Based on shape, size, texture, color etc. we classify and segregate things. There are infinite examples, I need not discuss. But the interesting thing is that ‘ego’ can be cheated and only for good because it results in seeing different bodies as sum of its parts and seeing individuality of objects when they are only a part of the system. This ability of seeing self in everything gives us a new perspective and ultimately helps in our understanding of the parts and integrating them to get the bigger picture and being at advantage in making complex strategies than other beings.
The Associativeness of Ego
But just like our little imperfect universe, this working has a restriction and it becomes a major flaw in the long run. This system of projecting ego onto other things only works one way. We may think, we feel how other people feel but factually we don’t. The reason is that we project our ego onto other things, but we do not get a feedback. We have tried to perfect this by developing communication and expressions of various sorts, but it does not matter how many words we invent, we still cannot get in an object’s mind and see what it goes through. We may compare the feelings with our emotions in case of living beings which are closely related but as we study the things that are distantly related from us like other species and nonliving things, it gets difficult in understanding their life and behavior.
A new problem arises, particularly, while projecting the ego, we also project the question of ‘why’ to such objects. We try to search for a purpose in everything and every action which will always remain hidden because the sense of purpose is a unique quality of life. In addition to all of this, new perspectives give new definitions and thus new structures to things.
The Dissociativeness of Ego
For example, we see light as colors but also know it as different wavelengths of electromagnetic fields, also as different wavelengths of photon activity, electrical signals in our brains and 1s and 0s in a computer system. Another example is that vision for humans come from light, whereas for a bat it comes from ultrasonic sound. Or, infrared radiation is an aid to the sense of touch for humans, while it is a sense of vision for a snake. So, we are confused about what vision really is and why is it different in different conditions. It could have been incredibly easy to understand time, if we could understand relativity like we understand hunger.
Ultimately, we conclude that everything out there is different than what we perceive. We get confused about whether they are perceptions of our senses or that our perception is their projection and that the universe out there is out there or that it is just a fragment of our imagination and our own relative belief.
The interesting thing is that it has been and always will be an unanswered question. The Vedic scriptures have considered this philosophy and suggested that the world is Maya. Other philosophers say that it is a dream. Modern religions wonder, if we live in a simulation. The only fact is that this question of reality of life compels us to accept the grandeur of God and humbly let go of things that give meaning to the word ‘impossible’. The design of our restrictions also enlightens us and tells us that we must not wander off into the pride of curiosity of others. The answers often lie within our selves and in the present.
At this point, I would love to quote a dialogue from the novel ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’. When Harry dies in the end and goes to meet Professor Dumbledore’s soul, even after being told everything about the place, Harry does not believe that he is alive. The rest of the conversation goes: “One last thing,” said Harry. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?” Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry’s ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure. “Of course, it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
Even after all of this, if a person is confused about the reality of life, I would like to ask them a question. Do we doubt about this philosophy when we are afraid or overwhelmed or happy? Don’t we ask such questions only when we are peacefully wondering about the world, trying to solve something and working out the meaning of our next action? So, isn’t this question only valid when we must figure out our own motives of doing something? If all we must do is figure out our own motive, why are we wasting time in trying to know, why this world was made and whether it is real? We should rather wonder, how this world was made and how can all of this help us in making life purposeful while we are at it.