Sunday, 19 June 2011


Perception is a representation of reality in the perceptual module of the mind.  Objects are representations of some features of reality that are meaningful for us.  Objects are defined in the mind as a collection of properties. However certain properties are given more value and meaning and are considered as the essence of the object.  For example the essence of the currency note is attributed to the property of  its  monetary value and not the paper its printed on . However the essence is a figment of cognition and does not exist in reality.  What exists in reality is a complex network of causes and effects.
All phenomena are dependent for their existence on this complex network of causes and conditions.  Going by the same example of the currency note for instance, the currency note is dependent on the printing press that printed it, the miners who extracted the ore out of which the metal for the press was smelted, the trees that were pulped for the paper, the State treasury, and so on.  All wholes are dependent on their parts, and parts on the wholes they help to make up. The currency note for example depends for its existence on the particles of paper and ink that constitute it but also, for its existence as a currency note, on the entire economic system it is in.  Finally, all phenomena are dependent for their identities on conceptual imputation.  The currency note is a currency note, as opposed to a book mark, because the treasury and government so designates it.  Hence to exist means to exist dependently in these senses, and hence to be merely conventionally existent.   Thus to exist interdependently is to be empty of essence. Since all phenomena are interdependent, all phenomena are empty of essence. Hence emptiness is not a nihilistic stance but rather a true understanding of the nature of things.   Not knowing the true nature of things, the mind clings to the peripheral and often sensually attractive aspect of things and in its opinion perceives it as the essence of the thing.  Using an alternate perspective; Essence or identity of a thing means that aspect of the thing that remains same through out and does not depend on anything else . In other words the essence should be free from causation and change, existing eternally in its own weight.  However the nature of reality is that, all phenomena are dynamic and all phenomena are interdependent.  Hence the perception of an essence or identity is a mere cognitive bias (Essentialism Bias). If one were to apply the essentialism bias one could possibly come to an erroneous conclusion that, the self, consciousness, the universal reality and so on are independent absolutes.  However if one is devoid of the essentialism bias, the interdependence and true nature of reality can be perceived.  This perception of interdependence devoid of individual essence or identity is termed emptiness. 

1 comment:

  1. This post is a philosophical and cognitive explanation for the poem "Emptiness"