One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Newton's Apple and Mullah's Walnut

So, we just survived an apocalypse that was scheduled by avid people (modern) who have a deterministic view of history. Although, it is fun to read the jokes around such events and then forget them soon afterwards but it is noteworthy that, it is not just Mayan Calender that was used to create global gossip and believe it or not, some philosophers and religions have their own versions of  "deterministic view of history".  As we all know, deterministic views of history are and have been the sources of painful and seemingly unending tragic conflicts. A deterministic view of history envisions global hegemony for an Utopian world at the end of history that we can call "the promised time". I expect that, "all know" religious versions of deterministic history" so I am not going to repeat them and instead  go after the most notable name among philosophers with  a deterministic view of history; George Frederick Hegel's dialectical progression of time and the triumph of reason  by the end of history (The Utopia of rationality, in which rational form of society and state will become victorious at end of history) was the source of inspiration for Marx to envision the hegemony of proletariat (victory of communist utopia) and also the source of inspiration for Francis Fukuyama's article, "The End of History" in 1989 to declare the  collapse of Soviet Union as sign of "victory of rational societies" (This article was enlarged into the book, "The End of History and the Last Man" in 1992). Fukuyama was so quick in declaring victory of "rational societies" that, the 9/11 attack and the chaotic decade following it seems the beginning of a new history  that is strongly trending towards irrational societies (He may now write, "The Beginning of New History; Are humans fed up with rationality?").

My purpose for this introduction was to emphasize that, though it is really tempting to think of an ultimate version of rationality or in case of religions, an ultimate version of belief system that people slowly realize and finally accept and bring perpetual peace but perpetual peace by dominance is both against nature and human nature (Evolution doesn't predict/envision a final product).

Let me make it light by bringing two similar legends, one from 13th century Islamic world (A time when Muslims were dominant power) and one from 17th century Europe (an early period of modern Europe) with different conclusions that each represents two different world of ideas that are condemned to not reach to a consensus (even if the contents of the observations are the same as in the case of the following myths). Although, 13th century and 17th century look distant but the core ideas of those times have come back strongly (of course in new costumes) in our time....

Again, I expect that you all are familiar with the Newton's apple incident but is not going to harm repeating it for sake of comparison; On a hot summer day after lunch, Issac Newton was sitting under an apple tree and reading that apple fell ("and hit his head"). It made him wonder, why the apple didn't go up or sideways and fell towards center of earth. This incident became the start of a contemplation and experiments that lasted for two decades to become Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation. In short, the falling of an apple on the head of Newton led him to conclusion (after two decades) that from smallest particle to largest objects in the Universe, all have to follow the forces/laws of Nature without exception.

Now, let compare it with another legend from 13th century legendary Mullah Nasreddin, a sufi and wise character that is popular for highlighting paradoxical traditions by his lighthearted and wise acts;

At noon of a hot day, Mullah stopped by a tall walnut tree to take siesta. While he was laying on his back under the tree, he noticed a big watermelon growing on a thin vine near the ground. Mullah looked up and prayed, "Oh God, I am wondering, how the small walnuts grow on the strong branches of this huge tree and the large watermelon grows on the weak vine that runs on the ground. Logically, it doesn't make sense. Shouldn't big watermelons grow on strong branches of tree and small walnuts grow on the weak vines?" .... At the very moment, a walnut fell from high up on tree and hit the forehead of Mullah.... "Ah, I understood the Nature's logic. If a large watermelon fell from  high up of tree and hit my forehead, I could have died."... Mullah Nusreddin thanked God...

Although, Newton's Apple and Nasreddin's Walnut is not comparable but still, the purpose of this comparison was to highlight that observing Nature doesn't mean reaching the same conclusions. The religious scholars observe the Nature and see the Evidence of God in them and the secular scholars observe the Nature and see no evidence for God and I don't think, this division of perspectives will be resolved at any time in coming future. But why is this important? This is important because both secular and religious scholars draw the laws from Nature, with secular emphasizing the role of humans in making of laws and religious scholars emphasize on the holy scriptures in making of laws. As the divide of secular and religious thoughts are not going to reach a census in any coming time that we could call the end of history hence, the only way out is the Humans Rights that protect all humans and allow everyone to have the freedom of their beliefs and thoughts. If only religious people and secular people, instead of emphasizing on dominating the world and falsifying each other, start emphasizing on Human Rights, the world would become much better place and would restore the trust of people in religious and secular principles. I know, it is too dreamy to even think of compromise between these two worlds but still there are a lot of people that value human lives and dignity above everything else and this knol is dedicated to them... Cheers :)

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