Last week in Rome the 5th Coffee Break Conference took place. During his introductory speech Andrew Ollett asked why was such a project, ...
Monday, February 8, 2010
But, after all, … reality is multifold (tò ón pollakōs légetai)!
Independent of its original meaning, the syādvāda theory and several other tenets of Jainism challenge today's attitude to Identity and Difference. I will not pause here on the possibility to just tolerate differences (e.g., through relativism) because I am afraid this attitude cannot really make place for the contribution these differences can offer to the world. On the other hand, the idea that there is only a legitimate view, no matter how liberal this is, has as result a significant impoverishment. This is not just a pity for the sake of ideo-diversity (which cannot be argued for as an end in itself), it is a pity because in this way we risk to miss the chance to understand reality, which is often much more complex than we would think (at least: until now it has always been the case that reality was much bigger, wider and more complex than our forefathers would have thought). The last two centuries have witnessed important changes, such as the discovery of the subconscious, that of the double nature of photones, that of the indecidibility of an electrone's position. This makes me think that the challenge of difference has to be taken seriously. It is possible that the quest for non-contradiction just does not hold. I am not saying that we should give up the attempt to think consistently, on the other hand, I think we should explore more possibilities (Jainism? Aristotle?) to think through what appears contradictory, without just pretending to explain it away. Differences may be here to stay.