Archive for February 13th, 2009

Is it a freak coincidence that mind of man can conjure up visions of Absolute Truth in so many shapes, and yet these bear close resemblance with one another? One point I have consistently maintained in my posts has to do with our inability to contain Truth in its Absolute Value. We are finite creatures. Consequently what we assert as Truth is somewhat less than the Real.

Continuing with the case of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace the latter was 14 years younger to Darwin. They  were separated by time and distance. Yet both Darwin and Wallace took  their cues partly from the theories of Malthus. ( How Malthus ‘s ideas may impress on an economist will have its own characteristics.) In a manner of speaking the work of Malthus was a kind of blueprint for Darwin and Wallace to develop their search of truth. In the absence of our inability to know Truth in its Absolute Value, Science be it social or natural, can only approximate. Rather than swallowing some mumbo-jumbo and superstitious beliefs passed on by others, Scientists search for Truth under certain controlled and precise parameters that would make sense to others.  In the realm of Science original thinkers like Malthus, Einstein and Bohr are like John the Baptist, voices crying in the wilderness. They point to the Messiah Truth that must come.

Let me now cite two examples from the world of Mathematics. János Bolyai was a Hungarian mathematician, known for his work in non-Euclidean geometry. The son of a well-known mathematician, Farkas Bolyai, by the age of 13, he had mastered calculus and other forms of analytical mechanics, receiving instruction from his father. Between 1820 and 1823 he prepared a treatise on a complete system of non-Euclidean geometry. Bolyai’s work was published in 1832 as an appendix to a mathematics textbook by his father. Carl Friedrich Gauss, on reading the Appendix, wrote to a friend saying “I regard this young geometer Bolyai as a genius of the first order”. In 1848 Bolyai discovered not only that Lobachevsky had published a similar piece of work in 1829, but also a generalization of this theory. As far as we know, Lobachevsky published his work a few years earlier than Bolyai, but it contained only hyperbolic geometry. Bolyai and Lobachevsky didn’t know each other or each other’s works. By the way Gauss and Farkas were friends and they had sworn “brotherhood and the banner of truth”. As students they had tried in vain for many years to prove the parallel postulate from Euclid’s other axioms of geometry. The work of János Bolyai was published in 1832. After seeing it, Gauss wrote to Farkas Bolyai: “To praise it would amount to praising myself. For the entire content of the work… coincides almost exactly with my own meditations which have occupied my mind for the past thirty or thirty-five years.” Truth has a Protean shape from which scientists extract in the only way they are equipped by inclination and discipline to arrive at Truth.

Artists and musicians also are in no way any less seekers of Truth. Consumed by their life’s calling haven’t painters Van Gogh, Gaugin, Modigliani and many others shown themselves of different stripe than their contemporaries? Did the brickbats from the public or the Establishment make these ‘Bohemians’ compromise or deter them from their true vocation? The artists, scientists have their religion too that is not the kind the know-nothings would approve of. The prophets who bring the Word from the highest and found new religions Mohammed Nabi, Guru Nanak, Gautama Buddha are all alike in one thing. They present Truth in a language different from what Science can. Do not their teachings sound in some ways similar? They feed our minds so we may grow sound in body and mind. The silly minds however latch onto the garnishing: dogmas, rituals and such like. In their strident cries for disciples they have become debased. Haven’t we heard of filthy dogs howl for Inquisition, Hindutva, Jihad and so on? Then as now. These sort of aberrations could have only arisen from those who have denied the wholesome marrow of Truth and entirely subsisted on bones and offal of others.

Core value of all religion is Truth.



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