An essay on Self & Beyond ...

The distinction of 'self' and 'beyond' has been the sole marker that has helped humans rise above the level of plain animal instinct claim the protagonist; the sole bane- the reason for the segregation of the society,claims the antagonist, on the other hand. Like a motion picture flowing in its rhythm the story has its ups and downs and both the central characters have their time - "I told you so" moments. So first, the preface.

Science, in modern time is not limited to one domain, and the sapient have been burning the night oil, to bring about an integration of the various aspects of human learning. And the debate of the supremacy, or at times, even the legitimacy, of philosophy or Science has been raging for ages now. There have been proponents of the theory that neither of these can exist sans other. While most still adhere to the notion of a valley between the two poles. Where I'm getting to is this distinction and how to treat this in the coming discussions. Should I accept the inevitable integration of the two as a presumed assumption or should I flow with the current and treat them as two separate sane birds. As far as I can, I would leave the distinction to the reader. What I present is a mirror of personal opinion on the backdrop of the preface mentioned.

Physiology,Anatomy, Endocrinology, and to come extent Biochemistry have all ceaselessly worked towards unravelling the mystery of the complex processes that govern human interactions, the distinguishing patterns of the 'supreme species', some call; each branch diverging into its own domain of expertise and travelling to varying depths. While Anatomy restricts itself to the physical distinctions of the race, Physiology and biochemistry go to the atomic- the cellular levels. Club this with Genetics and you have the perfect mixture of what Science can provide you to solve the intricate puzzle of human appearance,behaviour,interacting and the existence of human ecosystem(talking more in the metaphorical sense).The efforts put in by James D. Watson in the field of human understanding of what controls our behaviour, our traits - the DNA are magnanimous. The Human Genome Project has had promising reviews and the ardent supporters of Genetics are calling it the single biggest boon to the advancement of human knowledge and its understanding of self.

The companion of Science in its search for the 'inner-self' has been Philosophy. It has chosen its own path and its own tools based on logic, reasoning and deductive knowledge, to bring upon us the light of wisdom. From Plato and Aristotle to Ayn Rand, Kafka and many others, the philosophers have pooled their acumen at various times and at various levels to put forward their own claims upon the elixir of wisdom. Some of these have explained in well defined rules, what forces govern human interaction ; while others have taken a more conservative route, by highlighting the general guidelines and leaving the enactment under these principles to the interpreter to his liking and will.

But one point that all claim is the distinction that humans have from the other animal creatures on this planet, and how this distinction has or has not elevated us to a superior level in the cosmic scheme.

It is this that I propose to debate on. The distinction of 'Self' and 'Beyond'. What demarcates the boundary of self, and what provides cadence to the scheme of the self segregated by the beyond; where's the connecting link, if the distinction is a reality? If you talk to me as a proponent of Science, I would have to rely upon the logical deduction methodology used by the Philosophers to counter you, for your claim of providing definitive evidence is too strong to be refuted. Certainly there exists physical boundaries that separate the living creatures, not only in terms of their mental stature, but also their position in the pecking order of the cosmic scheme. And if you talk to me as a proponent of Philosophy, I would have to refute your claim with the Scientific facts that I have, for your deductive reasoning is a self confined spiral.

The society, today however, has satisfied itself with the claims of Science, and lives in a world governed by well defined demarcations, at every level. And the philosophy of demarcating has penetrated our system to such an extent that we have started to define different set of rules for 'Self' and 'Beyond'....Yes, certainly the bane of humans. To comment on any situation where an individuals decision might have been prejudiced by the theory of demarcation has the limitation of defining other structures and situations that might be influencing his decision. To present a more acceptable study, one must create a model where other factors are considered null and void, or at least for the duration of the experiment considered as ineffective.

So, assuming myself at the center of the experiment, I must create an environment around me where no other factor- circumstantial or otherwise, influences the decision that I take for 'Self' and 'Beyond'. Now assuming I have to take a decision where in a 'Yes' would mean accepting  that whatever I did in the past was a mistake( A particular thing in question ). While a 'No' would mean that I hold good my decision in the past and have no regrets. Now if I have to take the call for my'Self' , I would only be considering the effects that the answer would have on me, keeping in mind that I have reserved all other circumstantial or individualistic influences. But I certainly cannot remove the mental faculty that takes the decision for me. So I would be compelled to think of the effect of my answer on self - "The seed for Self-respect and selfishness alike".

But if I have to take the same decision for the 'Beyond' world, say a person belonging to the circle of 'Beyond' in the Venn diagram of my life, I would be in a fix. Approaching the problem, categorically helps us understand why. I am the center of the experiment. And now I have to take a decision for someone else. That is I have been asked to 'judge'. For an effective and impartial result, I must be presented with all the facts. But the pre-condition of the experiment demands that no circumstantial or individualistic influence must govern me or my decision. So, the facts that I have with me are nil. I have a question, i have a person, and I have a decision to make. Now to come to a fair decision, I must interact with the foreign entity. And interaction brings influence. But such influence would be synergistic with the experiment and hence would not break the pre-condition rule. And so, invariably the subject is compelled to interact with the foreign entity(guiding simply by the desire to make a fair judgement). And now when the subject makes a decision, its through a coloured eye.

The second problem with this being that the decision is a judgement proclaimed about the life of some other entity.And so the person's view as to how the decision effects the subject himself becomes important. Because if the decision effects him adversely, he would be tempted to choose the path that is good for himself. Again this tilt came while in the process of decision making and not before that, so completely out of the purview of our pre-condition. And this 'Selfishness', if you may like to call it, is a principle trait of humans, and a part of the faculty that has been deciding for the subject.

This creates the distinction of Rules that governs one's decision, when faced with the same question regarding 'Self' and 'Beyond'.... The elimination of this distinction from the thoughts and philosophy of the human and the integration with the oneness,is what every religion teaches - the transcendental theme. Till then, we need to keep checking the premise...

- Ashk


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