When I think about life, what is forefront in my mind is the ultimate unknowability of things. All we know of most things are sensory impressions mixed with a hodgepodge of opinions that we draw out of a faulty memory. We cannot know anything in its entirety because that would require knowing everything about the universe. We can only know a small slither of information at any point in time, which denies us the ability to declare “facts”. At best we can claim “apparent facts”. We can say that something appears to be true, but can never be truly definitive about it.
For example, as I sit here at this computer I have to be honest and admit that I do not know what exists up the road. I have a memory of how it used to be. My memory, like everyone else’s, is often faulty. Memory is not a reliable source of truth. I cannot say what is up the road, I can only guess.
If I go up the road and have a look, who knows what I will find. It will always be a new experience, in the same way that you cannot step in the same river twice. Testimony from others is also unreliable. They are just talking from memory too.
Today I watched some scientists talk about evolution. They have “facts” on their side. The only constant about their facts is that they are constantly being revised. Did you know that scientists are revising the age of the earth so often that it is getting 40,000 years older every year?
My philosophical point of view is Brahman: Brahman is real. The world is unreal. Brahman is the world.
The world is consciousness, not a product of consciousness, but is consciousness. The world appears to be matter, but that is just an appearance.
Imagine you fall asleep and dream that you climb a mountain. Is the mountain real? Does it exist? Where is it now? The sweat and effort you put into the mountain and the physics you applied to climb it, were they real? No. They just appeared to be real at the time.
Now imagine you are back on that mountain and you wake in the dream and realise that it is just a dream. The dream carries on pretty much the same as before, but if you try to tell anyone in your dream that it is a dream then they will provide you will all kinds of “facts” and physical evidence to prove that it is real. In fact, they would probably consider you to be quite stupid. They may hit you on the head and say mockingly, “Is that real?”
The dream people proudly present their material theory of billiard ball physics, which may appear to be real in the dream, but their whole position is defeated by the knowledge that the whole shebang is just a dream.
How can you know for sure that life is only consciousness – a dream? By discriminating between the subject and object. Then the subject comes to be known independently from the object. As an analogy, imagine sitting in a cinema and you are so engrossed in the movie, that you actually believe you are in the movie. By discriminating between the seer and the seen, then you will realise that you are actually sitting in the cinema and the life you thought you were living in the movie was just a light show.
Actually, you cannot even be certain that life is a dream. The philosophers of the Vedanta says that the manifest world is neither real nor unreal – it is a mystery. But they also say that it is definitely unreal and the real never happened.
“Neha nanasti kinchana” – Manifest diversity is unmanifest – there is nothing else.
Confused? It’s one of those things that you have to know to know, but when you get it, it is dead obvious.
So when I hear talk about climate change, I think about “facts” and the incredible (or should I say uncredible) amount of certainty that scientists and their believers have. Their billiard ball physics creates a prison for them and denies the infinite which is all around them, as them. This doesn’t make me a climate change denier. Nor does it make me an anti-science creationist. It just means that I have a different point of view that encompasses both and more.