Impressions

Among the factors that impact a person right from birth include genes, environment and a third unseen factor that accounts for the missing pieces in the other two.

This third factor is assigned the name of karma which is said to carry over previous births.

A person’s life however can always be influenced by the actions taken out of their own free will. These actions cause samskara (impressions) on the mind.

The practical approach of Indian philosophy emphasizes the necessity of samskara by performing the right dharmic actions to overcome the limitations of past karma.

Understanding

However small or insignificant it may be, following the process of science has given humans the gift of understanding.

The time spent on this has been enormous.

It can be said that, broadly, the topics of curiosity have been ourselves and nature.

Evidence

Science has come about historically as a way to understand the world around us.

Collecting evidence, forming hypotheses, going about proving etc comprise the method of science which has come to be universally accepted.

It can be noted that this form of thinking in itself represents a fascinating stage in the evolution of human beings.

Aesthetics

When it comes to understanding what appears as beautiful to humans, it seems that nature is a great reference.

Nature presents itself in amazing and extraordinary ways that are a delight to partake in.

Often, great art consists in presenting nature with minimal human intervention.

What is known

Human knowledge has increased exponentially in the last few centuries thanks to many scientific and other innovations.

Though this may appear significant, it may very well turn out that there is much more that remains unknown.

Perhaps this was the thought behind the famous verses from the Purusha Sukta, part of Rig Veda, composed more than three thousand years ago.

Purusha Evedam Sarvam Yad-Bhuutam Yacca Bhavyam |
Uta-Amrtatvasyeshaano Yad-Annena-Ati-Rohati ||2||

Etaavaanasya Mahima-Ato Jyaayaash-Ca Puurussah |
Paado-Asya Vishvaa Bhuutaani Tri-Paad-Asya-Amrtam Divi ||3||

This can be roughly translated to:

The Purusha (supreme being) is indeed all this in essence. That which existed in the past, and that which will exist in the future. Everything is woven by the immortal essence of the Purusha; by becoming food of which one transcends the world.

The Purusha is Greater than all the greatness (which can be expressed by words). His one part has become all these known worlds, and his three parts rest in the divine (unknown) world.

 – Purusha Sukta, 2-3

Work

The idea behind work is to get somewhere.

Newton’s first law states:

an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force

In order to move the needle, it becomes necessary to get rid of inertia.

Mapping

Mapping one thing to another is a key aspect of thinking.

Finding analogies and parallels has been a hallmark of thinking since ancient times.

It also applies in the world of programming where concepts are fuzzy but become clear when attempts are made to map to familiar concepts.

Stories

Stories and mythology have been part of human culture since times immemorial.

History, on the other hand, has been found to be a tough discipline to get right.

Trying to fit a complicated history into some narrative or a well known pattern is bound to lead to disastrous results.

This sort of approach can be compared to how Procrustes used to try to fit all his captives into an iron bed by stretching them or cutting their legs off.