CHENNAI: Imagine a situation where a picture dancing on the television suddenly decides to know whether it is a projection of light on the TV screen or a real-life character. Consider this image stepping out of the screen, and learning alphabets, mathematics, light, colours, movement, binary code, and nuances of the programme to understand the process of broadcast on the TV screen. Is this not incredibly challenging and impossible?
Human beings are in the same situation. We have to sequester out of this world to know the reality of it. The next question is, ‘What should separate out of this world to understand it?’ The human being is born to know whether he/she is the actor or the spectator of this universe. Invariably, he/she forgets to explore the truth and becomes the player by default. Why is this so? Are they helpless - like objects in a giant computer simulation? If the entire macrocosm is a computer simulation, can this planet earth be compared to an ‘iPhone’?
The computer, however powerful it may be, is based on the ‘binary code’ of two letters ‘1’ and ‘0’. These are called bits. John Wheeler famously said, ‘It from bit.’ Are we and the external world are just digitised bits of information? Do these ‘bits’ steadily change into the intelligent information?
Does this information of the experience of the world becomes the memory? We live in a world of memory. The action is possible only from the recall of memory. These ‘bits’ of memory naturally become habits. We become habituated to the world sensed by our five senses.
Living in the world becomes a ‘habit.’ ‘Habit’ rules. Remove the letter ‘h’ from the word ‘habit,’ ‘abit’ remains. Should you remove ‘a’ from the ‘abit,’ ‘bit’ remains. Remove ‘b’ from the ‘bit,’ ‘it’ remains. As a scientist, Wheeler said that this ‘it’ is the ‘bit’ (information syllable). Upanishads of Vedanta say, this ‘it’ is maya. It is never there but appears to be there. The world is just a flux of information.
One who lends consciousness to this information is ‘I’, the pure consciousness. The individual ‘I’ is ‘you’.
The universal ‘I’ is ‘that.’ ‘You’ minus information is God. Therefore, “You are that.” Every new invention is the ‘information-bits’ added to our repository. Can the knowledge of the subatomic particles of quantum physics be ultimate? It can never be. Let us consider the information of an electron. Each electron has a spin. One electron has the upward spin and the other downward. Should we take these spins as the ‘0’ and ‘1’— binary code of the creation, it can give rise to a cascade of new thoughts and the generation of further information.
The world is indeed the consolidated information of quantum bits. We are the information — generated beings in the information-generated world. Is there any end to the generation of information? No, there is no possibility. What is the solution? The answer lies in realising that ‘we’ are the programmers of this information. Which part of us, is this programmer? The consciousness that witnesses this ‘clandestine-programmer-ship’ of the body/mind is the witness consciousness. The pure consciousness remains aloof like the sun, though all programmes exist because of it. In our analogy of a character coming out of the television to know ‘who he is’, everything comes to a grinding halt as if the electrical plug is pulled off.
The author, Dr R N Sreenathan, is an Academic Director at the Chinmaya International Foundation, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org