I was reading a book by Yogi Ramacharaka a few days ago, and a particular part of it held my attention.

It was about the "why" of everything. As in, the Big Why: why do we exist? why are we separated spheres of consciousness? why the seeming infinite progression upward?

In effect, it was asserting that the "why" can never be answered, and that any attempt to answer it is more or less attributing human characteristics to the Infinite. Which is, of course, a fallacy- one that is evident in almost every religion to date. Something to certainly be avoided.

This makes me wonder, what is the point of intellectual debate and truth seeking if the "why" will never be made known to us through it? Is there a point at all? Do we do this just so that we may know the "how?" Is that worth the effort? 

And if all of this intellectual striving is just to figure out the "how" of how everything works, what happens once we understand it all? What would happen if we hypothetically knew all there was to know about how it all works?

A lot of "what if" questions, I know, but I feel they are important for getting at the root of what really motivates us to do the things that we do. Thanks for reading this, and I'm really looking forward to any input you all may have.

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Comment by John on December 30, 2013 at 11:48am

Hi David -

you should peruse the discussions on spirituality. Your statement is false:

The why and how of something are inextricably entangled with the what. Why something is, and how it used are influenced by what it is. Of course what something is influences how it is used and why.

Scientists are no closer after 100 years of QM as to what it says about reality. It is about possible correlations between information. That is as far as it has gotten. No other theory of interpretation seems to work. Even the possible information is not real. Only the information of a measurement. What you measure is just untold by the math.

Scientists will argue with the above, but each experiment to check this has held water. Others keep failing. Very strange. The above interpretation is heavily challenged, as it should be, from following the heuristic argument you put forth above.

It appears to be the pathway into a truly subjective reality. I find that inspiring and good. (well - my opinion anyway).

Comment by Capt. Anand Kumar on December 29, 2013 at 11:01pm

Thanks Jeffery.

Is there any evidence, experiential or otherwise, to show that metaphysics can answer these questions?

Comment by Jeffrey Soule on December 29, 2013 at 2:31pm

I agree that this is the line of pursuit to achieve the negation of the "i".  this past week Mr. kumar and Mr. Mead were discussing quantum physics.  I think this illustrates Whitehead's apt concept of "misplaced concreteness". Physics is interesting but like all science, descriptive. The better question is WHY is there gravitational attraction?  WHY do subatomic particle have spin? WHY do they have charges? This goes beyond physics to metaphysics--the realm of the ultimate question, is the universe purposeful?  I believe that it is, but I have no evidence of it. I would like to hear your opinions and experiential evidence, not theory or description or self illusion.

Comment by JOHN KEITH JACKSON on December 28, 2013 at 5:13pm

I recently discovered these forgotten books by Yogi Ramacharaka and consider them the clearest, most authoritative works on the Indian Yoga teachings ever written. They were ahead of their time and contain lessons that the West is only now able to appreciate especially in reference to the growing interest in Atma Vichara. [edit by moderator]

I suspect you are referring to the chapter in his Advanced Course in Yoga Philosophy LESSON X.: The Riddle Of The Universe. I find his answer quite reasonable. It is restated in his Gnana Yoga:

"In this consideration of the Highest Yogi Philosophy, and its teaching, we would again say to our students,
that which we said to them in _"The Advanced Course"_--that we do not attempt to teach the "why" of the
Manifestation of The Absolute, but rest content with delivering the Message of the Yogi Sages, which deals
with the "how." As we stated in the lessons referred to, we incline to that school of the Higher Teachings,
which holds that the "Why" of the Infinite Manifestation must, of necessity, rest with the Infinite alone, and
that the finite mind cannot hope to answer the question. We hold that in all the Universal Mind, or in any of
its Mind Manifestations, there is to be found no answer to this question! Wrapped in the Essence of the
Absolute Spirit, alone, is this Final Answer!"

However it seems to me very much related to the issue of freedom for the 'monad/souls' the 'one life'  - he discusses many issues related to the question of the Absolute with great rigour and clarity. 'Why' implies teleology which makes our very existence nonsensical. Non duality implies that the why must be answered by the 'Creative Will' of the monads which is not pre-ordained.

So I am reminded of one the Buddhas sayings to the effect that the question is wrongly framed in the first place.

Comment by Capt. Anand Kumar on December 23, 2013 at 9:58pm

WHY? It is perhaps the most important question to be asked in this community in a very long time. Thank You Seth.

For far too long we have been sold the HOW ( the process plus the product) as the WHY (the principle). Perhaps because the WHY is beyond the hardware of which humans are constructed. The highest system of Indian Philosophy the Advaita (Non-Dualism) indicates clearly that it is unknowable. The advanced practitioners of Chinese system of Tao too proclaim that if you have understood it you cannot describe it. Buddhism came up with its own concept of Sunyata (voidness) which again leads to similar conclusions.

That is not to say that the human DNA is not capable of fashioning the new hardware which can tackle this question. In fact, that the question is being asked itself is a pointer that we are moving in that direction.

Comment by David Allen on December 22, 2013 at 8:56pm
The why and how of something are inextricably entangled with the what. Why something is, and how it used are influenced by what it is. Of course what something is influences how it is used and why.

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