April 20, 2007

The Road to Singularity

This is an account of a very personal quest for the Truth. There are many ways to reach the same goal and this particular effort seeks to reflect the Truth in the still waters of a dispassionate yet rational analysis.

Sages and seers from time immemorial have held that the Truth is beyond reason, transcends the boundary of the physical world and can only be perceived at an intuitive level. This humble exercise is an attempt to see things from a slightly different perspective. a rational approach, based on physical phenomena, may have many limitations but the desire to abandon it is an act of intellectual laziness. While it is true that many mystics have perceived the truth intuitively, it may be more satisfying to take the intuitive approach as a matter of choice and not of necessity.

This analysis begins with the principles of Advaita Vedanta and maps them against known facts from the world of science. Unlike in the past we have neither tried to invoke Quantum Mechanics and other forms of modern physics – which are both dated and sometimes as unprovable as religious beliefs themselves, nor used the barren sterility of Artificial Intelligence. The analysis may not be logically complete. We admit that there could be gaps in the chain of argument but we have not taken shelter in the beliefs and mythlogy of religion. Instead we have used mathematics itself to argue that such gaps can never be completely eliminated and we need to learn to live with them. Only at the very last step, when we are at the edge of the rationality and looking at the vista of the infinite, do we introduce a glimpse of why we need the grace of the divine.

We have created a new pattern of thoughts by connecting a number of unusual dots, namely ..

• The principles of Advaita Vedanta as enunciated by Sankara in the 6th century
• The plausibility of illusions and non-material information transfer
• The computational metaphor of the Universal Turing Machine
• The persistent and evolving nature of the ‘Selfish Gene’
• Godel’s Theorem of Incompleteness

in a manner that is unique and has not been attempted in the past. Without being dogmatic and parochial about the greatness of the the Hindu relegion, we show how this ancient philosophy is not only relevent in the contemporary environment of rational science but how it has infact anticipated thoughts and ideas that have now appeared a thousand five hundred years later.

The lure of the unknown is irresistible. Any frontier is a challenge for the intrepid few who will want to push it back. This is the spirit of enquiry and enterprise that has taken human civilisation across oceans and now into the deepest reaches of interplanetary space. The boundaries of the physical sciences are no less challenging -- can they be pushed back to include the ultimate truth ? even if the goal proves elusive, the journey itself is worth the effort. And as we walk along this path it is but natural that we meet fellow travellers with whom it is a pleasure to exchange our thoughts.

Hence instead of using the platform of the we-know-all discourse, we have used the format of a dialogue between a seeker and a sceptic to first articulate, then challenge and finally reaffirm the mosaic of ideas that add up to an unusual image of the Truth.

If you want to read the full text, please follow this link.

Calcutta
Akshyaya Tritiya,
6th Baisakh, 1414 BS
20th April 2007.

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