“I have no doubt that our thinking goes on for the most part without use of signs (words) and beyond that to a considerable degree unconsciously. For how, otherwise, should it happen that we sometimes “wonder” quite spontaneously about some experience? This “wondering” appears to occur when an experience comes into conflict with a world of concepts already sufficiently fixed within us. Whenever such a conflict is experienced sharply and intensely it reacts back upon our world of thought in a decisive way. The development of this world of thought is in a certain sense a continuous flight from “wonder.”
A wonder of this kind I experienced as a child of four or five years when my father showed me a compass. That this needle behaved in such a determined way did not at all fit in the kind of occurrences that could find a place in the unconscious world of concepts (efficacy produced by direct “touch”). I can still remember — or at least believe I can remember — that this experience made a deep and lasting impression upon me. Something deeply hidden had to be behind things.” ……………….Albert Einstein
“I see much more about the flower than my friend sees; there’s not just beauty at this dimension, there’s also beauty at a smaller dimension.” ……………..Richard Feynman
The above two quotes are from two of the leading stalwarts of Physics in the twentieth century.
Einstein, lucidly explains in a very sequential method, how we lose sense of the revelatory experiences when these are in conflict with our a priori conceptual artifacts. This can further be explained from an evolutionary perspective. From the time humans were hunter-gatherers our perception of reality was targeted toward survival. These concepts ensured that we build a reality in our mind, without any modification, through what is unambiguously dictated by our senses namely the sense of sight, sound. Touch, smell and taste. The mythological age which came with the agrarian settlements tried to bridge the gap between the concepts which had evolved through sensory perception and what was dictated by our subconscious or the universal unconscious through a revelatory process. This bridge constructed through mystical experiences and transferred to stories for ease of communication remained fossilized in the human psyche as mere objective events in the external world thus assigning a fictitious or historical attribute to these narratives.
The rational age did not provide any means of repairing or bridging the conceptual gap but further destroyed all experiences outside those which conformed to concepts deeply embedded in our space-time objective reality.
As Einstein points out about his wonderment as a child about the movement of the needle of a magnetic compass, the classical concept which resulted from an Aristotelian thinking that there need to be a prime mover as a cause for any effect to take place, leads to wonderment as how without any cause perceptible to the senses an effect can take place. If there was a flight from this wonder and a total rejection had taken place about this unseen reality, which is the magnetic field of the earth, it could not be conceptualized for further verification and rational ratification at any point of time.
In science, this course of conflict between new experiences (new observations) and a given expectation through a priori concepts started widening. A best example is the observation seen with light in double slit experiment. Here we see light behaving both as a particle and as a wave. There is no defined or permanent state of reality. Today we see increasing conflicts in understanding gravity and space-time. The granular or quantized nature of the very fundamental reality at the micro level, which is beyond rational concepts, is the very source of emanation of all reality we observe at the macro scale. This is reflected in the quote from Richard Feynman when he says “I see much more about the flower than my friend sees; there’s not just beauty at this dimension, there’s also beauty at a smaller dimension.”
These insights lead us to keep our options open and allow us not to be hijacked by our preemptive resolution of conflicts arising from deep thinking through our existing concepts. This holds good not only in science but all the more in our own journey of realization of our true Self where we have been indoctrinated with externally determined debilitating concepts.
Let me close this article with the saying in the Gospel of Thomas where Christ says:
“”Let him who seeks cease not to seek until he finds: when he finds he will be astonished; and when he is astonished he will wonder, and will reign over the universe!”
Love to you all.