This is Part 3 of a series on 'Intellectual Slavery'. Intellectual independence does not mean thinking freely or being logical or having a deep and intelligent mind. First we need to understand what the term 'intellectual independence' essentially means. Before reading further, the obvious request here is to drop all the conclusions that you already have or may have drawn while going through the first two parts of the series. The first step to understand intellectual independence is to be independent of every logic, knowledge etc., to be in the raw state of existence, to be like a child. Once it is understood, one can dissect, challenge and test the understanding like a full grown man.
We will build our intellectual independence on the two fundamental understanding, which will be dealt here first —
- The noise in the language.
- The bias for an objective answer.
The Noise In The Language
The definition of words themselves cannot have a perfect correlation with reality. This is a simple truth that we understand but fail to accept in our daily life. Language contains an inherent noise when it moves from you to the other person.
To understand it clearly, think it in terms of analog and digital. Emotions (bhaava) are analog in nature whereas words are digital. Words are created by putting the emotions through a structure using syntax to generate a semantic. In any analog to digital process there is bound to occur some noise. We can never express emotions in words perfectly. We need to understand this fact as our living experience in order to deal with the reality of the world.
There is another noise that is not inherent in the language itself but which the listener/reader creates by the simple act of listening/reading. Words do not necessarily have any meaning to it. When we read or listen to words, we ourselves are making meaning of that word and interpreting it thus. So one can never be sure that the thought has been conveyed perfectly to the other person.
Next, there is another form of noise which is introduced by intent. In order to not let the person get the real meaning, the words are twisted or presented in a way which introduces artificial noise. This is widely used in advertising, journalism and public speeches.
This is the form of the noise which is most dangerous and must be given attention. But, in reality most of us ignore this intended dangerous noise. As a result, it corrupts our inner being and we start behaving like a pawn in the hands of these forces which introduced such noise in order to gain control over us .
As a thumb rule, never ever trust or accept any information that came across you without you putting any effort to find it. Like information that reaches you on social media or in a newspaper or in a movie. Truth always is simple, so it hides under the complex structures and is susceptible to noise. One must put in effort to reveal it.
The Bias For An Objective Answer
Is there a free will or not? Do you believe in God? The affinity for human mind for an objective answer is well known. Objective answers have a sense of comfort and ease to act upon. They provide us shelter in the thick and severe forest of existence. We can easily understand and accept them which helps us to make some meaning out of life. But, we pay a heavy price for this comfort. The price is delusion and suffering.
Take this for example, when someone tries to wake you up from sleep by calling your name, do you wake up and then hear your name or you hear your name and then wake up?
There is no objective answer to the realities of life. The world is designed like this. Asking impossible questions like "why is the world designed like this", is stupid and of no consequence. Such questions even if answered do not serve any real purpose than to just satisfy one's curiosity.
If one aspires to be really independent, one must let go of the comfort zone. One must let go of easy answers. One must be free of objective answers. One must be ready to take in the reality as a whole which is neither this nor that!
We need to build our intellect (and understanding) on a foundation that is firm and will stand the test of time. So let us begin.
Stage 1 : चैतन्यमात्मा (Chaitanyamatama)
What is one thing that one can be perfectly sure of? Think about it, any law or statement or a quote or truth. One fundamental base which can never be negated nor modified upon. No law or scientific theory can stand this test. You can have thousand proofs yet one can never be hundred percent sure about it. Take for example the law of conservation of energy. Yes, it is conserved in the cases in which we can test. In all the circumstances we have checked and tested, the law of conservation of energy holds. But can we generalize and say that it holds for every nook and corner of the universe? We cannot.
If the above paragraph is difficult for you to wrap your head around, it indicates your intellectual slavery. To do so go through the whole post from the beginning. Your mind has gone too scientific that it has become dogmatic. If you are offended somehow, it indicates that an immediate intervention is required!
Let us get back to the fundamental on which we will build our intellect, which is independent. If we think and explore for sometime, we will all come to the conclusion that only thing that is firm and one is perfectly sure about is — "I exist".
We cannot be sure about why we exist, but everyone surely knows that 'he/she/it exists'. We can not be sure about the external world, its laws but we know for ourselves that our existence is there. The first stage to intellectual independence is to fully understand and make this one truth as our living experience that "I exist" is the only truth we know. We do not require any proofs for this truth. It is what we have always known and this will stand the test of time. Once we establish ourselves in this truth, we are ready for progress. We are ready to build our world with a firm foundation which is devoid of any kind of noise.
Stage 2 : Comfort Is Not Happiness
Do not think of a purple elephant. That is precisely what you are thinking right now. We have known this property of our mind, still we do not heed to it. One should never strive to be happy, because your mind will start faking it. It will start giving you reasons and methods to be happy. One common trick mind plays is making one feel that being comfortable is being happy.
The only thing that can truly make one happy is being limitless. For that to happen the necessary condition is to be free. Slavery is the biggest cause of discontent and unhappiness. Modern slavery is self inflicted. We feel that more we can accumulate, more freedom of choice we have. Freedom of choice is just a bloated limitation. It is still a prison for your intellect.
Be fearless to accept discomfort, at least intellectual discomfort. Stay away from lazy and easy truths. Put in effort to recognize that happiness is your delusion, which hides your fear of losing silly things you've have accumulated.
Stage 3 : Stop Reacting
HAVE YOU EVER sat very quietly with closed eyes and watched the movement of your own thinking? Have you watched your mind working, or rather has your mind watched itself in operation just to see what your thoughts are; what your feelings are; how you look at the trees, at the flowers, at the birds, at people, how you respond to a suggestion or react to a new idea? Have you ever done this? If you have not, you are missing a great deal. To know how one's mind works is a basic purpose of education. If you don't know how your mind reacts, if your mind is not aware of its own activities, you will never find out what society is.
Jiddu Krishnamurti talks about the importance of understanding how our mind works. It is important to realize what moves us. Our thoughts occur and come drive us or is it the other way round. One can never be truly free unless the thoughts are under control. One is bound to be enslaved by the thoughts if they occur spontaneously.
How can we bring thoughts under our control? Stop Reacting. It is not easy as it sounds. How do you ask your mind to stop reacting when it is not listening to you. One needs to practice this daily, and gradually the mind realizes how it has to behave. Do not react to a tasty food, neither to a good movie or words of appreciation or that of hate. There is a state between good and bad, which can not be named. It can only be termed as a state of 'neither good nor bad'. Observe how your mind wants one to react to things, situations and every other thing. Let mind do it on itself, you just be a witness. Do not accept the mind's reaction. Stay within yourself and stop reacting.
When you do that an intellect dawns upon you which is born out of freedom. The world starts to make more sense and your prison walls start to fall.