Idols of the Mind vs True Reality
by Bhakti Madhava Puri, Ph.D.
Bhakti Vedanta Institute, Princeton, NJ
Atomic Theory and Quantum Theory provide imagined wonderlands that possess some observations or correspondence with true reality. To some degree each is logical, self-consistent and complete, although Godel would object to either being at the same time consistent and complete.
If we carefully consider what science is doing here, we discover that anthropocentric or egocentric conceptions of reality – reality as it is “for us” or for me – are being erected in place of true reality as it is “by itself and for itself.” In other words, a subjective conception/theory that is “for us” is being erected as a reality “in and for itself” yet is actually opposed to objective reality as it is in and for itself. It seeks and has some correspondence with true reality and if the subjective conception corresponds with the objective reality the truth is considered to have been reached. This is called the correspondence theory of truth. However, there are problems with this as we noted above, in that different theories may have some correspondence with objective observations and yet still refer to different imagined realities.
The real problem arises when these different Idols of the Mind [Man-made images/ideas/conceptions that are for us in our subjectivity] are presumed to be outwardly objective and venerated as the True Reality [Reality “as it is” or “by itself and for itself”]. Explanations consist of descriptions in terms of the chosen theories assumed as real, even though they are abstractions from the true reality. Because they are abstractions, they never comprehend the concrete reality they merely represent.
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