Monday, 25 June 2012

IS MY GREEN YOUR GREEN? : A PHILOSOPHICAL YET MATHEMATICAL QUESTION



Imam Al-Ghazali wasn't just being philosophical when he asked can we ever verify whether we are living in a prolonged dream or not. In fact, he was really discussing the limitation of the verification of what we perceive as physical truth or reality, leading him to conclude that the only truth one can get, will never be from physical observation (or measurement) hence deduction, but from the ‘religious experience’ specifically termed as kasyaf.  

Kurt Godel second him in this matter when conjecturing that true or false can no longer be determined when we fail to agree on a given axioms; as contained in his Incompleteness Theorem.  Our progress in any deductions is built upon our acceptance towards some fundamental premises or axioms (some called them as postulates). The very basic nature of axiom is that, they must be accepted (without the need for proofs or evidences) for one to progress in the paradigm of the deduction.  In turn, one is free not to accept the axiom but this will only mean that he or she can no longer be in the same paradigm, he or she will be totally out of the system and must make his or her own system if one ever wants to proceed. 

The two above might be too confusing for any don to comprehend, so let me try to propose my own version of the idea. Let’s start with asking a question “How do we know or verify whether we are looking at the same color?” This is another way to ask, “Is my green your green?”  

Yes, you can answer YES to the question and provide further explanation such that we can always measure the characteristic of the color Green, say for example its wavelength and frequency and if, somehow we can show that the same wavelength (or frequency) has entered both my eyes and your eyes,  that means we are seeing the same Green color.

Aha! But isn’t this what I said in the first paragraph above that “..the only truth one can get, will never be from physical observation (or measurement) hence deduction,…”.  Let me explain further.  

Despite the fact that we can measure the characteristic of the light (hence color) that enter into our eyes and indeed we can always verify such a measurement, but down to the point of what our brain interpret exactly can never be verified, we alone know what our brain ‘tells’ us and us alone. 

And I am not talking about the physical phenomenon of electrical pulse produced and perceived by our neuron and brain cell, these are still physically measurable, instead I am referring to the state of consciousness, the state where meaning start to exist. Maybe brain is not the proper word for it, it should be the SOUL. Down to the level of how SOUL interpret the physical data or information; all verification fails. We are then left only with ourselves and of course GOD. 

But, if this is true, why there is seemed to be a perfect synchronization with the rest of us. Why there is no conflict between you and me when we talk about Green color? The answer lies in the consistency of our SOUL in interpreting the physical information. With the given wavelength, our SOUL always tells us, be it 20 years ago or 5 minutes ago, it is Green. Since childhood, our parents have been telling us this is Green and that is Red and we live with that for the rest of our life. 

But such synchronization is not verification in its strict sense, it just means that we are progressing in the same paradigm because we have agreed upon the axiom “That is Green and that is Red” and never once we doubt it, hence the prevailing of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem. 

So if all these are true, what is the implication? The implication is, while we live in the same world, but in my world the sky is blue and in yours, the sky maybe red. It sounds a bit scary, isn't? Haha..But should we verify this? NO, because as I said, there is no way we can do that and NO, because we must never doubt the accepted axioms else we can no longer be in the same paradigm, meaning we can no longer be together, anymore. 

Another implication of this is that, it limits the deterministic nature of science because science is the knowledge deduced from our five senses. A fact in science or theory as we call it, is a tested hypothesis and since we have argued that we can only test or measure only so much, then science itself must be limited. But do not get me wrong, I am not saying that sciences and maths are wrong, but all I am saying is, if they are right or correct, such a correctness must only be accepted in a very limited domain, that is in the domain which is measurable and of course in accordance to the earlier accepted axioms. "Seeing is not believing" after all and there is totally "something more than what meets the eyes". But having said this, we can not easily brush off any ideas of science simply because it does not fit us, as this is really a matter of how deep we really know about science itself. If we want to against any proposal in science, we still got to do it in its own paradigm; you got to fight it fire against fire. I am not to elaborate on this here because I have written about in a previous entry. Those who are interested can refer to it by clicking HERE.

And how all these from Islamic perspective? The way I see it as a Muslim, this is when we the concept of Iman comes into play. In the time when nothing can be verified, we are lucky to have the ultimate truth sent by Allah that is Al-Quran and in Al-Quran, is therefore we must just believe and beriman

I believe the last two paragraphs above are in a close agreement with those by Imam Al-Ghazalli's. Wallahhualam.

3 comments:

MURO- ZADEL said...

superb entry doc.

Ghab said...

It is a mind boggling journey while encountering every facet for understanding truth . As a Muslim , keimanan takes the insight path , " the ultimate truth sent by Allah that is Al-Quran and in Al-Quran, is therefore we must just believe and beriman "

Anxiously and as skeptical as it could be , the truth will prevail . That the God who is there has been scrutinized since Man come to life . There would be enlightenment for those who seek and otherwise .

Someone says , the thing you see is not what you really see . Life is just an illusion and just a figment of your imagination in connotation . When we see an object , a glass for an example , it is a bunch of compressed molecules and particles culturally called glass but the same molecules and particles in the glass are also found in millions within our vicinity . These molecules and particles are invisible from our naked eyes . Also , these are structurally make up of our bodies . The call for , that Man is part of just molecules and particles persist .

Further , it is all relative . To know that God who is there or not there , Man must have his point of reference .It has to start with something . If man have to draw a cycle , he has to start with a point and that point or dot is his point of reference . In the end , it is yourself is the point of reference that penned the dot and not God .

This agnostic and humanist see nothing else but his own order of realty . Being that he had failed as a student . He failed all subjects in school but ended up as one of the geniuses as proven by his own order of reality . His order of reality is his truth and he himself is the point of reference justifying for the ignorant who follows , call ' life ' is actually illusion . In other words God don't exist .

It is similar to what had been said , it is all in the mind , where the soul could be in the form of molecules and reformed to physical being or absorb in the period of absorption in the wheel of incarnation . In other words , God is made of Man image . With all of the good deeds , Man could reach his absorption period , a period of perfect peace of mind . In this state of horizon , there be no personal identity or boundaries of mind remain , and that He is also God . In conjunction , if Man thinks wisely that the world is an illusion then he does not act as if it is real , he will escape the suffering .

In the mystic and the metaphor that life is the dreams of the dreamer . It means we are just the dreams of whom the dreamer . Dream is real in its own term . Dreams have meaning moreover dreams do vanish upon awaking but that brief experience do not detract from its significance . The fact that we are up against of being delusion of finding truth with this metaphor . So does , the playwright who said that the world is the stage and all men and women merely players .

Like I said in my above topic sentence , it is a mind boggling journey to understanding truth ; however , " The True Greatness of Man Lies in his Capacity for Eternal Progress.
-The Alchemy of Happiness, Imam Al-Ghazali

Airilsametok said...

al-Munqidh min al-Dalal (Deliverance from Error)