Concrete to the abstract

Concrete to the abstract

The world we live in constitutes an alliance of sensuous consciousness and concrete matter. Our knowledge is contained within the circumference of our senses and all material substances subsist within the periphery of speech, form, smell, taste and touch.

Five senses with their objects - these constitute our small world. In fact, this world is not so small - it is very extensive. But the power of the senses is very limited. They apprehend only gross material objects.

Atoms are concrete enough, yet the senses cannot apprehend them.They can apprehend only those substances, which are made up of an infinite number of atoms and have developed gross concreteness. Our senses cannot even apprehend the whole of the corporeal world. The incorporeal elements are beyond sound, smell, taste and touch.

Their atoms are different from those of the material world. Thus the effort of one who seeks to know the incorporeal world through the senses will not be successful. The knowledge of the incorporeal world is a subject of supreme extrasensory perception.

Even common extrasensory perception would not succeed. Only supreme extrasensory perception may attain it.

The starting point of religion is extrasensory consciousness. One endowed with only sensory perception cannot appreciate it. Only that person may be said to be religious who is able to appraise both the concrete and the abstract. Man is a social being. He is moulded by society. It is true, from the empirical aspect but not from the transcendental aspect.

From the transcendental aspect, a man stands alone. From the empirical aspect, each man lives in cooperation with others, each providing assurance and refuge to others. But the reality is different. Each  soul can provide refuge only to itself through right conduct.

Thus our personality is a combination of empirical and ultimate truths.

The empirical truths are directly linked with thought whereas ultimate truths pertain to spiritual knowledge, which lies beyond thought. The Ultimate, too, descends upon the ground of thought, but it still maintains its abstract form. The sphere of both the concrete and the abstract is very extensive, but to those living within the periphery of sensuous knowledge, the field of the abstract does not appear to be large enough. Consequently they do not attach as much importance to abstract thinking as to concrete thinking. The sun of spirituality is generally overcast with clouds of selfishness. For those moving from darkness to light, and for those wishing to move in that direction, it is essential to proceed from the concrete to the abstract.

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