Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Concepts- another mind mechanism for running away from reality

Studying logic we are given examples of things that cannot be coneptaulized.
For example, there is a town. There is a barber in the town. The barber cuts the hair of every person in town that does not cut his own hair. If you try to make sense of this you get into a problem: If the barber cuts his own hair, then he is one of the people in town that cuts his own hair, therefore he does not cut his own hair. If he does not cut his own hair, then he is one of the people in town that doesn't cut his own hair. So he does cut his own hair.
When exposed to this sort of idea, alot of people, including me, inately feel that there is something 'cool' going on here, something 'Deep'. It 'strikes a chord'. I think this is so because this sort of struggle of trying to conceptualize something that 'gets ruined' when you try to concetpualize it is an intrinsic part of our interaction with reality.
For a brief moment, I have a direct experience of reality. Immediatly the mind comes in 'OK, so the reality of this moment is such and such, has the following characterstics, experiencing it feels like this, ect..' . And a brief moment later, I am not in direct contact with reality anymore. The mind has interepreted and labeled it , and now I am experiencing the mind's approximation of reality instead.
It seems that, in a similar fashion to the beloved self-referential pardoxes, you cannot run away from this: You can say "I'm not going to interpret, I'm not going to label, I'm just going to experience". But the mind can label\interpret this statement itself! Just like it can create an approximated state of "Looking at a tree", and take you away from reality while looking at a tree. It can created an aprroximated state of 'Not labeling-just Experiencing'.
These approximated states happen inside your head. In the world of concepts and thoughts. Every time you have a direct expereince the mind creates a
concept that approximates the state and takes you away from reality into the world of concepts.
Sorry, next statement not self-contained:
Reminds me, of how in Gedel's theorem, adding the problematic unprovable statement as an axiom just creates a system where there is another unprovable statement.
Similarly, when finding something that is outside the world of thoughts and concepts, the mind immediatly creates a new concept.

Assuming this is the case. How do you get out of this? Can you get out of this gradually, by practicing awerness and meditation, or does it have to be an intense experience that suddenly happens? These issues are very much on my mind lately.

1 comment:

Chandan Dubey said...

When I hear one of these paradoxes, I go "Oh no ! The chicken-egg thing again. I don't want to hear about this". :D

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