Thursday, July 21, 2011
Wittgenstein’s failure VS Buddha’s triumph; The main cause…….
“Language is our world and the limit of the language is the limit of our world”….. Wittgenstein… Believing that most problems of the Philosophy are the result of the miscommunication of language…Wittgenstein thought it is his duty as a logician to do logical analysis of language…. So he tried all his adult life with a crusader’s spirit to fixe (or at least expose) the weaknesses of language…. “Clear communication”….he thought would automatically eliminate most of the philosophical problems…..That’s cool…. But today we see that language is still a happy mess….
I think Wittgenstein wasn’t agreeing the way Buddha come up and taught clear communication…. He must have heard that Buddhas’ clear communication was a clear scheme….that was not stressing on the language but on thinking processes….. I will make this point clear later….At the moment… I just want to say that the mistake and the cause of the failure of Wittgenstein’s logic was wrong diagnosis of problem… He saw the problem in the language while Buddha saw the problem in the thinking process……
So we see Wittgenstein didn’t come up with a scheme for clarification of language…. And he couldn’t present a practical tool of any utility for the people…. On other hand Buddha saw the problems in people’s thinking processes….especially of an untrained mind and found the causes as desires, expectations and perfectionism….that like rivers are flowing incessantly and are unlimited…. He came up in four staged schemes of the….. Observing human conditions…..their diagnosis…. then Prognosis and with….a cure…… It is famously known as Four Noble Truths……..
For those who are not familiar with the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha…. I am giving a brief description taken from pages 30-31 of “The Dhammapada” translated by Eknath Easwaran……
“….. The First Truth, brothers, is the fact of suffering. All desire happiness, sukha; what is good, pleasant, right, permanent, joyful, harmonious, satisfying, at ease. Yet all find that life brings duhkha, just the opposite; frustration, dissatisfaction, incompleteness, suffering, sorrow. Life is change, and change can never satisfy desire. Therefore everything that changes brings suffering.
The Second Truth is the cause of suffering. It is not life that brings sorrow, but the demands we make on life. The cause of duhkha is selfish desire; trishna, the thirst to have what one wants and to get one’s own way. Thinking life can make them happy by bringing what they want, people run after satisfaction of their desires. But they get only unhappiness, because selfishness can only bring sorrow.
“There is no fire like selfish desire, brothers. Not a hundred years of experience can extinguish it, for the more feed it, the more it burns. It demands what experience cannot give; permanent pleasure unmixed with anything unpleasant. But there is no end to such desires; that is the nature of mind. Suffering because life cannot satisfy selfish desire is like suffering because a banana tree will not bear mangoes.
There is a Third Truth, brothers. Any ailment that can be understood can be cured, and suffering that has a cause has also an end. When the fires of selfishness have been extinguished, when the mind is free of selfish desire, what remains is the state of wakefulness, of peace, of joy, of perfect health, called ‘that which is extinguished’; nirvana.
The Fourth Truth, brothers, is that selfishness can be extinguished by following an eightfold path; right understanding, right purpose, right speech, right conduct, right occupation, right effort, right attention, and right meditation. If dharma is a wheel, these eight are its spokes.”……………
Though it is continued into explanation of each spoke of the wheel of dharma but my aim here is not to explain the teachings of Buddha but to compare the approaches…..The reason that I am comparing both approaches is the expose the reasons of the failure of modern philosophy which have created a lapse of more than three quarter of a century in philosophy and other disciplines… Modern philosophers is out of touch with their time because they were obsessed with logic and so called “RATIONALITY”…… and they thought that, the roots of problems is lying in language……. without realizing that language is the ……“experimental field for human creativity”…..
We have already seen that, by coming of text messaging, emails and Social Medias, people have created global expressions for gestures, feelings and actions… For sure one can’t draw logical basis for these expressions…. I think it would go out of the scope of this article if I try to explain….why logicians and Philosophers of language have totally ignored the fact that human brain got two hemispheres……. and the logical thinking is the product of the left hemisphere and language is the product of the both hemispheres… symbols come from right hemisphere of brain…
Mistakes happen and they can be compensated but there is no compensation for arrogance… I tried a humble effort to compare thousands of old approach of Buddha that is still triumphant for their right diagnosis (though we may not agree with the approach as a whole)…. The title of this Philoknol may look very rude for some… but it is how philosophy works………so no waorries ;)