Friday, May 24, 2013

the anthropic principle(s)

Cosmologically we are at the instant, the moment of recognition of the utter relativity of existence. Modern history consists of a series of “decenterings,” “Copernican” moments when we recognize that our former seemingly-solid frame of reference is in fact just a minor part of something larger.  E.g., realizing that the earth goes around the sun, the sun is one small star in a galaxy, which is one of billions, and that our universe is just one part of a larger reality. Even physical laws are not definite.

Recognizing our finitude, our composite character, our emptiness, our sense of self fragments, dissolves, explodes. But this World Two, the transcendent, nirvana!  The anthropic principle tells us not merely that if we weren’t in a suitable world we would not see what we do, but that we recognize the infinite depth of reality by being who we are. That is, to be fully human is to see through our limitations. The crucial point is not that we are just who we are and where we are, and that these two facts are correlated (the weak anthropic principle) but that our existence is in its essential nature one of recognition.  The fact that only beings placed where we are in the cosmic order could see the truth is much less important than the bare reality of that seeing itself. We cannot but recognize (because it is part of the recognition of emptiness) that that recognition is itself of ultimate significance.  The strong anthropic principle is not a “fact,” it is a realization, and seeing it is enlightenment. 

The above is a statement of the conclusions of the Yoga Sutras and Samkhya Karikas. My discusson of the “purusarthic” principle (at says the same thing.

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