Next chapter is called ¨Atoms and Macroscopic Objects” and after reading it the full impact of what it was supposed to convey might not be immediately felt. I don’t think I can cover it in one day and by tomorrow it might become clearer. The explanation of transfer of information that begins this chapter deserves a separate book on its own.
Usually, we assume that we have a perception such as sight or color because light travels from distant objects and we happen to be in its path when it hits our eyes. This is an illusion and it’s not what happens according to Sāṅkhya. The version presented in this book isn’t Sāṅkhya as it appears in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam but adaptation of Śāṅkhya to modern ear so it uses words like information loss and gain first, before tying it to familiar concepts of time and karma.
Instead of light travel there’s a gain of information in the observer and this gain is correlated to the loss of information in another object. This experience of gain and loss is due to karma and so we are talking about correlation of loss and gain in space-time, not about actual transport of information by some material vehicle, like light or a flash drive.
In Sāṅkhya the appearance (gain) and disappearance (loss) of information is not due to information transfer but due to information becoming manifest or unmanifest. Information becomes manifested or unmanifested by karma, which is actualized by time. This is why we have different stages of karma and talk about “manifest karma” elsewhere in our literature.
The rest of that paragraph has an important footnote to it and, taken together, it relays more or less this – the universe as a whole is being created at each instance in time because individual states are determined by the state of the universe and not the other way around as in modern science where “big” things are defined as a collection of “small” things. The unmanifested possibilities of the universe lie in the ocean of Garbhodaka and time brings them out. Everything within the universe, every event is then made to fit its overall state. In this sense events are chosen BEFORE the observers who can only decide whether to participate in them or not – more in line with our usual understanding of free will then with how it was presented in previous chapters. Willing participation in these events makes us responsible for them even though we are not the ones choosing them – universe does. There was a paragraph somewhere earlier that I skipped then and it talked about effects of changing the state of the universe on its constituents as coordinate shift for each one of them. It makes sense now – when the universe changes everything on the universal tree shifts a little, too.
The paragraph continues to state that appearance and disappearance of information depends on the change in the state of the universe and not on information transfer between objects, which is an illusion but an understandable one. Scientists link this gain and loss together and treat as one being the cause of another and talk about it as information exchange. Sāṅkhya, on the other hand, teaches us to see gain and loss as connected to the universe, which is connected to God, and not as relationships between ourselves which are God-less. So, we don’t talk to other people, we rather talk to God and He then talks to them. Everyone is related to each other through God only and there are no direct connections between us. Nice, huh? Now we have a scientific explanation for a vision of a paramahaṁsa.
Back to the book – there’s no information transfer but the next state of the universe has more information in one place and less information in the other, that’s all. Not to forget the mechanics of it – next state of the universe determines guṇa and karma and by guṇa and karma actual experiences are created (via prāṇa and senses, I suppose).
The next part is not obvious as it states that while locations of gain and loss are fixed by the universe the participant objects aren’t. Gain and loss are two separate events while the objects involved are trajectories that connect these events. This looks like yet another two-dimensional way to describe Vedic space-time where we have events and trajectories to describe what happens. I sense that it is become too abstract for me to follow. Trajectories will come back big time in the later chapters. Why trajectories are needed here is not clear but, perhaps, the clue lies in the last sentence which implies that trajectories are formed by observers – we know what will happen but we don’t know who will take part in it and who will fill the roles and therefore we need selection of observers – trajectories. This brings us back to free will – do we really get to choose or can we only say “no”?
Science, under the illusion of information exchange, attributes it to existence of “particles” which travel from one object to another. Particles is in quotes here because most of the time they are waves creating fields rather than small physical objects. One object thus emits light in the form of a photon, the photon travels in space, and then another object absorbs it. Because this model is based on illusion science can’t predict when and why a photon would be emitted, where it would go, and what will it hit in the end. They talk about probabilities to solve this but actually it only hides the incompleteness of quantum theory.
In Sāṅkhya this incompleteness is avoided because there are two agencies responsible for these decisions – karma and time. Time has an active role in Sāṅkhya because it picks which karma to manifest but in science time is passive, it just flows. Unmanifested karma can’t be perceived by senses so it doesn’t exist from the scientific point of view. Too bad for them, but that’s what happens when you purposefully restrict reality to that which can be perceived by senses. Your theories then become incomplete.
I’ll continue with this chapter tomorrow – I haven’t gotten anywhere near the significance of difference between atoms and macroscopic objects today.