Friday, April 2, 2010

Subjective knowledge.....

A few months back, I was talking to a great person, who has written one of the finest treatise on economic revolution for India, about taking up the Chairmanship of a committee to further the movement for the economic rejuvenation. Very shyly, he took me aside and expressed his inability to take up the post as he said that "he" was not the author of the treatise, but that one late evening, as he was sitting alone, he got the urge from some mysterious force and he picked up the pen and in 3-4hours of extensive work, he wrote down the entire treatise which was dictated by some force in his mind. So, his point was that, the treatise was someone else's creation and that he could not take ownership of that. He also stated that in the past decade since he wrote the treatise, he has not had any reason to even change a single comma in the theory, even after interacting with some of the best economic thinkers, policy makers etc in the country.

That got me thinking hard, because, while meditating a few years back, I used to have a lot of insights on issues of existence and then my reading of the scriptures and quantum physics was just to validate those insights, and there was complete conviction (since validated and confirmed) that the insights were absolutely correct . So, I started wondering about this process of learning.

There are two ways of learning, the objective and the subjective. With the objective learning process, one would read, understand, experiment and build brick-by-brick solutions to achieve the result / outcome. While, in subjective knowledge acquisition, one would get it in a sudden inspiration on a subject that one is working on or work for it in a conscious process. Bhardwaja Rishi and his colleagues meditated for a long time and got the complete insights on ayurveda, which he wrote down as "Charaka Samhita" and then experimented and validated the herbs and practices. Some other examples of subjective knowledge are

1. French mathematician Henri Poincaire got his fuschian functions as he was sitting in an omnibus and then validated the inspiration

2. Fred Hoyle, astrophysicist, got inspired suddenly with the quantum mechanical problem that he was searching as he was dozing

3. Roger Penrose, one of the world's influential mathematician physicist got the sudden criterion missing as he was crossing the street

4. Similarly, Friedrich August saw the answer to the benzene ring problem that was vexing for 7 years, Scottish engineer James Watt invented a radically improved steam engine when out for a Sunday afternoon walk, Irish mathematician William Hamilton, German physiologist Otto Loewi, mathematical genius Carl Gauss, Isaac Asimov, Srinivas Ramanuj all got these "Aha" moments, where a subjective process of knowledge manifested itself.

Now, how does this happen? Let me try and explain in the next blog

1 comment:

  1. My take is that there is nothing subjective about the so called subjective knowledge....Inspiration or the moment of lateral thinking that happens to an individual when the mind comes from the state of nothingness....which was previously occupied with solving or addressing an issue that remained unresolved....

    Often,intuition or inspiration is an impulse that carries high energy for an individual to feel elated and committed