(The material  in this section is NOT part of the web book 'Wandering Wonderings')

The Quest for Resolution of ‘Big Questions’ - minus the details

Where does all the stuff come from? Science, supported by evidence, points out that if we run the movie of observable universe back in time, it gets smaller/denser, hotter. What happens beyond ~ 13 billion years is a matter of math speculation- it either collapses into a singularity (zero volume, no time, infinite density & temp.) or is part of some eternal process. The key: it unfolds per well defined patterns (math invariances) i.e. without need (or evidence) for intervention by any entity

What is the stuff we see, touch, smell,...made out of? Atoms -> protons -> quarks/electrons -> ? i.e. quanta. But these quanta are math constructs that help calculate results of experiments - it is only when many of them come together e.g. as droplets, crystals, that they become the familiar stuff - things that can be said to persist even when not observed, that have well defined path from A to B!

How are these observations perceived, patterns detected, theories formed? Signals from the world, e.g. light, enters senses (eyes), leads to changes in electrochemical activity in the brain. That activity is correlated with e.g. sensation of a blue ball or thoughts that detect patterns or a dream episode. So a hot, dense state of the universe unfolded to become galaxies, stars, earth, life, brain, its activity this moment and sensation of blue or non physical thoughts are correlated with that activity (note: you & I can see EEG/PET/fMRI images of your brain but I can’t see your thoughts. Even the brightest imagined light can’t trigger a photodetector. So thoughts/dreams are non physical - by definition!)

So the best possible conclusion from science as we know it: objective universe is not made up of anything that can be called objective. It emerged/has been unfolding on its own. Non physical thoughts/dreams exist, they are correlated with physical brain activity but the physical properties (e.g.brain) can never derive existence of the non physical. No event has any explanation - everything happens the way it does because the universe is and has unfolded the way it has. Thoughts have no functional role in the universe! But there is no way to tell whether the waking world/brain is really ‘out there’ or is dreamlike - ‘things appear to persist when not part of experience’, in both cases!

All of the above is based on the ingrained belief that “I form thoughts to reflect my views - about myself, world ‘out there’ etc.” But presence of thoughts is evident not their formation. There is awareness of content only when related thought arises! What is such content that comes & goes with thoughts I don’t form? Time - past, future; Sense of self - story of an entity limited to a body; observer vs observed; sense of ‘world out there’ in waking & dreaming; waking vs dreaming; being (waking/dreaming) vs deep sleep; science; faith; birth-death; these very words i.e. “I in a world ‘out there’ in time” is a story = comes & goes with thoughts no I forms! So immediate sensations - sight, sound etc. and thoughts have no explanation (world doesn’t exist apart from thoughts no I forms!)

This is neither philosophy (speculations), nor belief; neither a scientific theory (prone to change with new evidence), nor ‘Truth’. But is the limit of empirical+reason: as obvious as breathing! If thought observation of thoughts- their empirically unknowable source and their role (the difference between their presences vs absence)- can’t be trusted, then nothing thought say about I, world/reality etc. can be! Only awareness of “independent entity forming thoughts” would make the above invalid!

© 2015  Nikhil Tikekar (nikhil_tikekar@hotmail.com)