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Default A Case For World Philosophy

C. A. Qadir


It is said about a European coming to the Middle East for the first time witnessed in an Islamic country a group of people weeping and crying loudly. When he enquired concerning the cause of that bemoaning he was told that it was due to the fact that Hazrat Imam Hussain and his band of devoted followers were mercilessly slaughtered in the battlefield of Kerbala by Yazid's army. He then enquired as to when this tragedy happened and was told that it took place about 140 years ago, to which he replied 'Have these mourners heard of it so late?'

Something of the same sort happened when the Pakistan Philosophical Congress had the first session in Lahore and Professor John wisdom -- a world-renowned philosopher of England -- came to attend the session and to deliver a public lecture. As Oxford had been the centre of logical positivism, a movement unknown in Pakistan, the organisers of the Congress asked that I prepare myself thoroughly on logical positivism. But in 1954 logical positivism had lost its force in Oxford and elsewhere and when asked if he was a logical positivist Professor Wisdom denied it most vehemently.

However, what struck me in this movement was its revolutionary spirit and its directness and clarity. Professor Ayer's book Language, Truth and Logic, written in a clear, forceful style, with the vigour of a young committed convert, had tremendous impact on me.

Logical positivism was born in 1918 in the Vienna Circle, whose godfather was Professor Schlick. The Circle came into existence ostensibly with the grand purpose of establishing science on firm foundations and eliminating metaphysics altogether. With this object in view, Professor Schlick gathered around him a group of scientists, mathematicians, historians, philosophers -- all bent on banishing metaphysics and providing factual and empirical sciences with a methodology, incontestable in spirit and indubitable in results. Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, through the rigorous application of symbolic logic and the analysis of language, provided a firm foothold. I was enamoured of the neat edifice that logical positivists had built through logic, and of the way in which they had cleaned the Aegean stable of philosophy of the rubbish that had blocked its way to progress for centuries and made it the laughing stock of scientists and logicians.

It was Aristotle who said that philosophy begins in wonder, and ends in wonder and surely there is a charm in this. But if wonder means mystification or cloudy thinking, and philosophy is said to originate and end its thinking in mystification, then the whole endeavour of philosophy will be nothing but an exercise in futility. The common man will get from it confusion and nothing else -- possibly at a higher level.

The concept of wonder" is a dominant note in Greek philosophy. With the Greeks philosophy was a search for truth or quest for wisdom, which lay in knowing how the world originated, what destiny is in store for man and what the ultimate nature of the universe is. In other words, there were three questions, namely, the creation of the universe and therefore God, His attributes and His relation to the world He created; the human soul, its nature and being after the physical dissolution of the body; and the nature of the universe, whether it is material or spiritual. All three questions about God, the soul and the nature of the universe which constitute the content of wisdom are known as the perennial questions of philosophy. They are the great imponderables. They present them-selves to every age but the great minds fail miserably to find an answer. Accordingly one philosopher after another builds his edifice of philosophy on the ruins of the other, first demolishing what has been built so far and then building his own. But as his philosophy is demolished in turn by his successors the history of philosophy looks like a shambles in which each philosophy is destroyed to make room for the next. Consequently there is no agreed knowledge in philosophy, whereas in the sciences knowledge accumulates through the collective efforts of scientists. One, wonders, therefore, what is the good of philosophy and how the great minds of the world have failed to achieve there anything substantial and solid.

This is not to imply that philosophers achieved nothing at all or that their activity was altogether futile. They did give brilliant flashes here and there and useful pieces of advice, but so far as the final output of their endeavour is concerned, that is to say, their utopias and grand systems, there is nothing which could stand the onslaught of their adversaries. The result is that philosophy, in spite of the brilliance of its protagonists, has no achievement to show. This set the philosophers looking to science and mathematics and their dazzling victories. If philosophy were like that it could present an incremental agreed upon knowledge. It could provide a calculus of reasoning, in which each symbol stood for a single meaning. In mathematics, where precision, exactness and unambiguity is the goal, each symbol, whether of negation, disjunction or anything else, conveys a single idea and can be conveyed through that symbol alone.

Leibniz did not follow this programme to the end, but the idea led ultimately to symbolic logic, logical positivism and scientific philosophy. Spinoza took geometry as his model and in his great book Ethics began his metaphysics with a number of self-evident truths, just as a geometrician starts with a number of axioms and definitions, and then deduces from them propositions and corollaries by dis-implicating what is implicitly contained in the initial assumptions. He thus made metaphysics a deductive discipline, little realising that deduction, being a closed and formal discipline, could not deal with the actual concrete reality sought by metaphysics. In the hands of such idealistic philosophers as Taylor and Bradley metaphysics became a deductive discipline. The logical positivist's main charge against metaphysics is that deduction being analytic and formal must deal with tautologies and so cannot reveal the true nature of the universe. Taylor, for example, starts by definiting metaphysics as the study of the reality as a whole. This assumes right from the beginning that (1) there is a reality and that (2) reality is a whole. Both this is too much; it assumes what should be the endeavour of a philosopher to prove. After this Taylor tries to prove the nature of reality with the help of the law of contradiction, but as formal this is suited for tautologous arguments and not where reference has to be made directly or indirectly to sense-experience and the knowledge that it generates. Bradley's book, Appearance and Realit, also used deductive logic and its law of contradiction to substantiate his claims about reality.

Underlying this indictment of metaphysics is the idea that metaphysics is a study of the supersensible reality. Indeed this is how Professor G. E. Moore has defined metaphysics in Principia Ethica. The roots of this conception about metaphysics go far back to Plato who bifurcated the entire realm of being into a world of senses and a world of ideas. He further condemned the world of senses as illusory and undependable and extolled the world of ideas, raising it to the world of perfection and completion. Metaphysics dealt with the world of ideas which is not that of the senses; it is a supersensible world standing independently by virtue of its own intrinsic nature. According to W. H. Walsh (Metaphysics, Hut-chinson University Library, 1963, p. 35) Plato held that "philosophy differs from other branches of enquiry (e.g., geometry) (a) in taking nothing for granted; (b) in its scope, which is universal; (c) in being fully intellectual, in no way dependent upon sense-experience."

Realising this difficulty Kant put forward of a priori synthetic propositions, meaning thereby that a proposition could be analytic and synthetic at the same time. He did give some examples from the field of mathematics which, while formal and analytic, yet entailed reference to mundane reality. A clear statement of this position is found in Joseph's Introduction to Logic wherein it is maintained that the laws of logic are laws of reality. His contention is that the law of identity "A is A" is true because in the world in which we live, things remain the same or their identity never changes. Likewise the law of contradiction that a thing cannot be B and non-B at the same time and at the same place is true because it never happens in actual life that B and not-B are true at the same time. Imam Ibn Taimiyya was the first person to criticise this standpoint. He maintained that the laws of logic conveyed no information about the world as it is. The law of contradiction that A cannot be B and not-B is likewise purely blind and tautologous in nature. It has no means to tell what a thing actually is. Hence to state that the laws of logic are the laws of reality is to ignore the nature of logical truths. The logical positivists hold that there is no meeting ground between synthetic and a priori propositions. Hence the contention of Kant that there could be a priori synthetic propositions has no basis. But in spite of his attempt to unite the synthetic and a priori propositions, Kant is well-known for his opposition to metaphysics. If the scope of metaphysics is confined to noumena and noumena are by definition inaccessible to the human intellect, then metaphysics stands condemned.

But the difficulties noted above in respect to metaphysics are due to the fact that metaphysics is so defined, in one case as the study of supersensible Reality, in the other as the study of Noumenon, thus making it impossible by virtue of these definitions. You can call a person dog and then kill him. But if there is no bifurcation as is supposed by Plato or if the world of noumenon does not stand over and above the world of phenomenon, then the argument against metaphysics entirely fails. In the East metaphysics has never been decried. (Here metaphysics comes first and philosophy afterwards. In Indian philosophy, metaphysics precedes philosophy. There are six systems of philosophy, though the fundamental metaphysical reality is one.) In the Eastern way of thinking, the so-called world of Ultimate Reality is not entirely different from the world of senses, but is a continuation or prolongation of the same. In pantheism Reality is not the world of senses, but is one and the same. Hence if one opts for a different definition of metaphysics and a different account of Reality than what is advocated by Plato and Kant, one can escape the criticism levelled against metaphysics.


Logical positivism was unheard of in Pakistan till 1954. It is strange that Allama Muhammad Iqbal in his lectures on the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam mentions dialectical materialism and psycho-analysis and criticises them because of their atheism, but does not mention logical positivism or atheistic existentialism, though they were equally vociferous in their denunciation of God and religion and in some respects much more than the former. Both logical positivism and existentialism had long been on the philosophic scene of the world. Logical positivism was born round about 1918 and existentialism, though born much earlier, expressed itself as a live force between the two World Wars. Many people feel that a new reconstruction of religious thought in Islam is needed so that the newer movements in the realm of thought might be accommodated and their influence on Islamic thought might be properly appreciated. Logical positivism has given birth to the linguistic philosophy of Wittgenstein, John Wisdom, Gilbert Ryle, Austin, to name but a few. These movements, some of which were contemporary to Allama Muhammad Iqbal and some were born after his death, have had tremendous effect on the theory and practice of religion. Likewise, the physical sciences have made rapid strides and revolutionised our conception of animal organism, the working of genes, artificial intelligence, E. S. P., etc., all of which require a new interpretation of religious reality.

Logical positivism has caused a revolution in the field of philosophy and is regarded as a turning point in the history of philosophy. Though its main purpose was the elimination of metaphysics and putting sciences on firm foundations, in actual practice it helped provide philosophy with a new field of enquiry and a new methodology. All the old problems of philosophy such as the existence of God, the destiny of man and the nature of the universe were outlawed; in their place a programme of elucidation and clarification of concepts was launched. The so-called perennial problems of philosophy which had blocked the way to progress in philosophy were pronounced illogical and nonsensical. They had a place neither among the problems of factual, empirical or positive sciences nor among the analytical, formal and tautologous problems of logic and metaphysics and hence were devoid of sense and significance.

The analytic method was adopted by logical positivism for clarifying concepts, but it is not clear what analysis really stands for. Certainly it has an affinity with definition, for in definition a concept is analysed into genus and differentia in order to clarify its meaning. But many philosophers like G. E. Moore are not very clear as to what in fact they are doing in analysis. In their programme of the Unity of Sciences the logical positivists attempted to reduce all sciences to the level of physics. They analysed or reduced the sentences of sociology to those of psychology, the language of psychology to that of biology, and the language of biology in turn to that of physics, thereby reducing the language of all sciences to that of physics. But is the reduction complete and final; can the language of one science be reduced to the language of another science without a remainder? Though the programme of the Unity of Sciences seemed attractive as it placed the entire gamut of human knowledge on one footing, yet it was a miserable failure for it destroyed the uniqueness of the different types of knowledge and made a mockery of them.

Though logical positivist, under the lead of the Tractatus of Wittgenstein, recognised only two types of meaningful sentences, it was soon realised by Wittgenstein and Ayer that language could not be confined to two types of meaningful sentences and that there were innumerable ways in which human beings could communicate and express their meanings. Hence, Wittgenstein introduced the idea of language games and held that each game had its own rules and so its own system of meaning. Though in the beginning I fell into the snare of logical positivism and talked as if there were two types of meaningful sentences, I corrected myself in my earlier Logical Positivism to recognize only one, namely sentences of positive sciences, as having meaning. The other type of sentences was recognised under compulsion, as without mathematics and logic the positive sciences could make no advance and could not interpret their data.

For the factual statements of the positive sciences they devised the verifiability test, namely, that the truth of a proposition depends upon the mode of its verification. This could be direct or indirect, actual or possible, but in every case it was done in the light of facts. Hence, the theory of truth for logical positivism was the correspondence theory. There are many difficulties in this theory, the greatest of which is to tell what indeed is a fact, for in the world we live in there are no facts but only interpretations. Whatever facts a scientist chooses for his enquiry they are nothing but an interpretation of a specific spatio-temporal continuum. Moreover, though there is what Rome Ray has called "the matching of reality", yet that matching also depends upon the interpretation of a scientist as to what matching would be in a specific case and how that matching is to be affected. In some cases, particularly in the case of the so-called introspective facts, matching is an impossibility for they cannot be taken out and compared with the actual living reality to judge their correspondence.

The logical positivists were not successful in formulating the 'verifiability principle'. They knew that complete verifiability was never possible in the domain of the physical sciences, as the future and past were not at their beck and call, nor even the present. Hence what they could aim at was probability, but even the notion of probability was assailed by philosophers like Karl Popper. Hence the logical positivists had to come to what is known as the 'falsifiability principle', which means that a scientist continues to cling to a theory till it is proven false. It is easily seen that the 'falsifiability principle' is a negative principle and can offer no positive guidelines to a researcher. But the greatest difficulty with the 'verifiability principle' and its different formulations is their logical status. According to the logical positivists the meaningful sentences are either the descriptive sentences of the positive sciences or the tautological sentences of logical-mathematical sciences. In order that the 'verifiability principle' be regarded as meaningful, it should be proven to belong to one of these types. But it cannot be tautological for such sentences say nothing, and it cannot be descriptive for such sentences are problematic. Thus in both cases there are difficulties which the logical positivist cannot surmount. Consequently many opponents of logical positivism have dubbed this principle metaphysical in nature. Walsh would label such statements categorical; they are necessary but cannot be proven true or false. But if the fundamental principle of logical positivism is metaphysical, the whole activity of the logical positivists is rendered ineffective. The one main ambition of the logical positivists was to eliminate metaphysics, but metaphysics enters their territory from another door. This never struck Schlick, who in a flush of enthusiasm generated by the Tractatus of Wittgenstein said by way of prophesy that philosophy "which never talks sense but only meaningless nonsense" will soon disappear, because philosophers will find that their audience, tired of empty tirades, has gone away. This prophesy, however, did not come true, and philosophy and metaphysics continued to exist with redoubled zeal.

Though logical positivism is now a spent force, yet in the language of Professor Ayer it is like a wealthy uncle from whom everybody borrows but no one acknowledges. Logical positivism has left its powerful impact upon every discipline and particularly on philosophy. It has brought sanity to philosophy by outlawing wornout, dilapidated notions and problems, thereby breaking the vicious circle in which many philosophers were caught. It laid far greater emphasis on questions than on answers. Some of the questions with which earlier philosophers tried to grapple were worded in such a manner that no answer could be given. If somebody asks what the purpose of the universe is, one can give no answer, for one can understand the meaning of purpose in relation to human beings and their activities, but not in relation to the universe which is a vast conglomeration of events. Unless one defines purpose and universe, it is difficult to say what the purpose of the universe is. Allama Muhammad Iqbal once said that he could only answer the question, "Does God exist?" if he knew the meaning of 'exist' and God' (Stray Reflections, ed. by Dr. Javid Iqbal). Voltaire's requirement that if one wanted to converse with him they must first define their terms contains a lot of good counsel though in an exaggerated form. In countries where people are accustomed to loose and irresponsible talk, it is a good piece of advice that they should first define their terms and then talk.

My own debt to logical positivism is immense; my involvement and commitment to this doctrine was intense and deep for a fairly long time. But my Logical Positivism and various articles bear out that I never subscribed to this doctrine completely, for I always felt that there was a large area of human life where logical positivists had nothing to say. In my chapter on Reason and Faith" as well as in the chapters on Language and Religion", Modern Challenges to Religion', I criticised very strongly the standpoint of logical positivism and regarded it inadequate. In the chapter on Language and Religion' I tried to refute the charge of meaninglessness against religion and held that religious discourse conveyed its meaning through the events of nature which are God's signs. However, I felt that logical positivism has done yeoman's service to science, which latter owes its existence to a large extent to the efforts of logical positivists. The Encyclopaedia of Unified Sciences prepared by the logical positivists, though incomplete, is a great step. The attention they gave to the analysis and clarification of language and its concepts removed many a bottleneck from the field of sciences and provided them with sharper tools to deal with their problems.

It is rather sad to observe within the logical positivists differences of fundamental nature between two powerful groups, one mathematical and the other linguistic or non-mathematical, between which there seemed to be no meeting ground. The mathematical group led by Carnap is busy devising the special language of symbolic logic for philosophy. The other led by the later Wittgenstein, as evidenced in his posthumous book Philosophical Investigations, is busy analysing language and putting forward the 'use theory' or its variation in respect of language and its meaning. Some of these philosophers are concerned with conceptual analysis which they regard as the main function of philosophy. Both have taken extreme positions and quarrel over trifles; like the true believers of Eric Hoffer they exhibit the same kind of irrationalism.

The trend towards mathematisation in philosophy began with Leibniz and had been developed and refined by Whitehead and Russell in the Principia Mathematica. Carnap is busy developing a special language to rid philosophy of imprecision, ambiguities and obscurantism. The programme is laudable no doubt, but one wonders if the work of philosophising is ever carried on in the language of mathematics. Professor Strawson in his Introduction to Logical Theory strongly criticised the mathematical programme of Carnap and his followers and I have pointed out the main difficulties in my "Contemporary philosophy". No doubt scientific and philosophical language has always differed from the spoken and the literary one, but it has never been so different as to be unintelligible to an ordinary educated person.

Mathematising philosophical language, besides putting philosophy in an iron cage and chaining it within the narrow confines of a highly sophisticated kind of artificial language, will impoverish it and render it ineffective and lifeless.
The other line of logical positivism which is very much alive in the Anglo-American world is headed by Austin and by Wittgenstein who played a double role. He put logical positivism on a firm ground through his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and in his later years, through his Philosophical Investigations, demolished these foundations and laid the basis for the philosophy of ordinary language. The Tractatus was based upon two ideas (i) that the world divides itself into facts (atomic facts) and into things and (ii) that each proposition ultimately resolves itself, by analysis, into one uniquely determined truth-value of elementary propositions. Hence each proposition had one and only one final analysis. Behind these two ideas was the assumption that the constituents and especially the ultimate constituents of anything are fixed in the very nature of the things. In the Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein questions these assumptions and holds that no components of a thing are uniquely determined by reality so that one account would be right and all others wrong. One account may be better for some purpose, another better for some other purpose. John Wisdom says similarly, "An account of the world in terms of things, an account of the world in terms of facts and an account of the world in terms of events is just an account of one world in three languages."

Like Plato, Wittgenstein thinks that a philosophical problem has the form "I do not know my way about." When one probes into certain notions, one falls into puzzles and confusions. Wittgenstein was always anxious to make people feel the puzzles -- he was dissatisfied if he felt they had not done this. "My aim is to pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense." Philosophy starts with riddles and philosophical problems are paradoxes so that even at the end of our enquiry we are no better than we were at the start. Other moves are possible, but they too prove to be of no avail; we remain trapped in the puzzle. Wittgenstein once remarked to Malcolm, "A person caught in a philosophical puzzle is like a man in a room who wants to get out but does not know how. He tries the window but it is too high. He tries the chimney, but it is too narrow" (Malcolm, Memoirs, 51).

According to Wittgenstein, the difficulties experienced in the domain of philosophy are not like those in the domain of sciences. Scientific difficulties can be removed by bringing in new facts, but the philosopher has all the facts before him: he needs no new facts to solve his problem. For instance no conceivable discovery a physiologist might make would help the philosopher solve his problem about sense-perception or free will. A philosopher's problem is not to find new facts, but to find some way of constructing the facts he already has, so that they do not appear to conflict one with another.

Wittgenstein arrived at the same kind of uncomfortable conclusion in the Tractatus when he said, "My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way -- anyone who understands me eventually recognises them as non-sensical, when he has used them as steps, to climb up beyond them." In other words, his philosophy is an indispensable nonsense, not just an idle nonsense. His view is that philosophy is not a theory for it does not issue into a body of assertable propositions, but rather is an activity of making the meaning of propositions clear. This type of nonsense can be compared, on the one hand, with the nonsense of metaphysics which is the least excusable one and with the nonsense of religion and mysticism which is deep nonsense.

When Wittgenstein talks of confusion and puzzlement and even of wonder he comes very near to existentialism which maintains, in the language of Marcel, that philosophical issues are not like scientific problems but are riddles or paradoxes -- to which no single answer can or should be given. The world is a mystery, not because of its multifarious activities, but simply because it exists. The mystery that surrounds life and the world cannot be resolved by discovering more facts, because it is a question not of facts but of interpreting them; all depends upon how one looks at life and the world. It is like interpreting a dream, where interpretations would differ depending upon whether one is a Freudian, Jungian, Adlerian or a devotee of some other system of psychology. Perhaps all the dream-interpreters would be giving equally true or equally false interpretations; there is no way to pronounce one as true and the other as false, and strange as it may seem they all work. As in the cure of a diseases one can be cured through allopathy, through homeopathy, through Unani Tib or acupuncture or the auyervedic method.

This is true of philosophy as well, once it is conceded that philosophical problems are mysteries and puzzles. Hence the cult of objectivity adhered to by scientists and scientifically-oriented philosophers cannot be defended. Truth is subjectivity, as the existentialists say with regard to existential truths, but this is equally true of the scientific truths.

Though I am a great believer in the fundamentals of logical positivism and its offshoots and subscribe to the programme of the clarification and elucidation of concepts, yet I feel strongly that clarity is not enough and that the soly or primary function of philosophy is not to elucidate but to grapple with the basic realities of life. What those basic realities are depends again upon one's point of view. For a Marxist the basic realities are socio-economic and the remedy for them is revolution. The Marxist believes that dialectics is the ultimate principle of human and physical reality and that there are some basic ways in which dialectics works. Dialectical Materialism also known as scientific materialism, treats philosophy as a branch of science. Religion. It considers religion an opium of the masses which clever politicians and rulers use to accomplish their ends, to silence their opponents and to create a dreamland for the masses. Instead of facing the bitter realities of life by fighting them in this world, they are given a promise of another world in which present injustices and inequalities will be repaid by a system of compensations guaranteed by an Almighty God or the law of Karma. Marxists have no faith in God or gods, but feel that what is needed is science and technology to remove the miseries of life and a revolution to change the material structure of the society which has sanctioned a system rendering the rich richer and the poor poorer. Because of their faith in science and technology, they feel that they need have no engagement with religion or God.

This, however, is going too far. No doubt religion has been exploited in the past, but that would hardly justify condemning religion for no fault of its own, but of its exploiters. Though socio-economic problems are very vital, they do not constitute the whole of life. The saying of Jesus Christ that man does not live by bread alone, though very much clouded by such dark realities of life as famine, poverty, drought, disease, serfdom, despotism and imperialism, has a truth which cannot be altogether ignored. In the Eastern way of thinking, as exemplified by yoga, Transcendental Meditation, Zen Buddhism, Tasawaf, Baghti practices, the emphasis is on inward life. This is not withdrawal from the world or its renunciation but adopting an attitude of detachment by which, while remaining in the world, one escapes its hold. The inner life of an individual or of a nation needs nourishment which comes not from wealth, prestige or domination, but by turning attention within or by, as Allama Iqbal says, suppressing temporarily the efficient self and giving freer scope to the appreciative self. It is as if the window towards the world is shut for the time being and the window towards God or the inner self opened. Marxism has no room for such experiences and consequently, in spite of its world-shaking philosophy and the material benefits that it promised, it failed to satisfy -- not because it was untrue but because it was incomplete.


Existentialism though not a philosophy of inwardness, goes deeply to the bottom of life and identifies problems which concern Being and are, therefore, more ontological than epistemological. Anglo-American philosophy is mainly concerned with two questions, "How do I know" and "What do you mean," both of which are epistemological in character. Existentialism, on the other hand, though not unmindful of the correct use of language, considers ontological problems the proper subject matter of philosophy. I realised the importance of this approach while reading Rubaiyyat-i-Omar Khayyam, where towards the end a conversation breaks out among the pots at the potter's house. One pot with a rather awry neck asked, "Why of all the pots is my neck awry? Did the hands of the potter shake, while he was making me?" To this question and similar others no answer was forthcoming. In philosophy, as we all know, questions are much more important than answers. Like all philosophers, Omar Khayyam leaves his audience and hearers guessing as to what the answer to this riddle might be. There is indeed the question of unjustifiable personal sufferings: why should a person suffer for no fault of one's own?

Sartre perhaps would not be willing to acknowledge that there is suffering right from the beginning, but thinks that whatever a person is, he can make or mar himself by his own choices. It is true that a person with an awry neck can make use of his disability in such a manner that it goes to his advantage. It is said about Lord Byron, the poet, that he limped a little, but by his charming and seductive manners he made limping a fashion in England so that every person who wanted to be looked up to limped a little. This, however, is not universally true. A congenitally blind person cannot set a fashion for blindness. Such disabilities constitute initial barriers in life and become accentuated day by day until they become stone walls, hard to cross over.

Hence persons (pots in the language of Omar Khayyam) can ask legitimately why they were born with an organism which works against them. Khayyam raises questions about creation, good and evil, reward and punishment in the life to come, the ultimate destiny of man, the purpose of the universe, death, etc. which are vital to life. On the loss of a son one asks what is this life and for what are we born; are we like flies to be swept away by the whirlwinds of fate; why this suffering to the parents, to the family and to the friends of the deceased? Some say it can be for their moral and spiritual uplift, but it is difficult for one who is grieving to believe that. Questions like those of the pot are there, but there is no answer from anywhere. The makers of the universe and the architects of fate play the joke and leave us wondering. Is it the philosophic wonder of Plato or the Ram Lila of Hindu gods who play with our lives for their sport? Whatever the case, the mysteries of life stare us in the face; they demand answers from every age and from every person for they are very basic, that is to say, they are the inalienable and indubitable truths of life.

It is said that existentialism is the product of two world wars and of the mechanical life that the modern man is made to lead because of the tremendous and rapid progress in sciences and technologies. The two World Wars brought untold miseries in their wake and machine life has created such problems as alienation, loneliness, anguish and joylessness. But we would underrate the importance of existentialism, if we did not consider it as arising from the basic realities of life and attribute it to such temporary calamities as war and machines. Even Adam, the first man, had to face existential problems. He felt lonely till Eve was created, and then had to ask for forgiveness and repent his whole life when he disobeyed the orders of God.

Adam is made to feel lonely, as the ancient mythology says, because he was alone in the beginning. That may be one cause, but the real and most vital causes were, as they remain, the absolute ignorance about what life and death are, the whence and whither of life, unmerited sufferings, the system of punishments and rewards here and in the hereafter, anguish and anxieties of life, bereavements, infidelities and so many other incomprehensible things. It is true that existentialism has laid stress on the dark side of life and failed to notice its joys and charms. Luckily this drawback has been remedied by what is called the philosophy of the Living Spirit. Though the philosophy of language with its emphasis on clarification, elucidation and proper use of language has great value in the field of the physical sciences, yet so far as culture and inner life are concerned existentialism is more helpful and should not be ignored.

Like Allan Watts, I feel that words are not enough and that we should go beyond words in philosophy: just as clarity is not enough, so neither are words. Wittgenstein, himself recognised the need of going beyond words when he concluded the Tractatus with the remark, "Of that whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should remain silent." After this, British philosophers should have remained silent, but they have not. For this reason after the Tractatus philosophy which clings to language becomes puerile and concerns itself with trivial issues far removed from life. The philosopher becomes specialist in grammar and symbolic logic and loses touch with the basic realities of life. William Earle in his essay on "Notes on the Death of a Culture" says that the new academic philosopher is a pragmatic, nine to five businessman, going to his office with a briefcase to 'do philosophy' in the same spirit as an accountant or a research chemist; this is the poverty of philosophy. Preoccupation with E. S. P. and occultism to some extent has convinced me that concern with language is but a small affair, though not a negligible one, in the wide expanse of human life. As there is a world without, so there is a world within, and just as we embellish the world without by flower pots, beautiful furniture, carpets and curtains so should we embellish the interior by the development of moral sense and by dipping occasionally into the Great Ocean of Reality. There is not one way to do it, but many out of which one should be selected which is in tune with one's own nature. In the West people hanker after Sadhus, mystics and Yogis to know what life is and how best to live it. In the East where spiritualism lies hidden in its holy scriptures but seldom is dug up, people are fast becoming as materialistic, if not more than theWesterners and thereby lose contact with their moorings. They too need to turn their attention inwards occasionally to keep themselves in touch with the basic truths of life.
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