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Theory of Four Kinds of Spaces

Modern science conceives space as a container separate from the objects moving in that container. Each object in this container is independent of the other objects. Such objects then interact through forces. Since each object binds together many properties, therefore, what binds these properties itself requires a binding agent which has no explanation in modern science. Modern science solves this problem by talking about fundamental particles that automatically have some properties bound together, in some unknown way.

Solution to the property binding problem requires an alternative conception of space in which space becomes the binding agency to initially bind properties and then bind the “objects” created through property binding into a bigger “object”. In the resulting object and space model, everything is a property of a higher-level object, and it is an object for the lower-level properties. Objects and properties are not independent things in this object and space model. Rather, space becomes akin to a force field that binds not just objects but also properties.

The objects and properties are themselves conceptual entities. Conceptual properties include sensations of taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight. Conceptual objects include tables, chairs, houses, cars, and living bodies. All these conceptual entities themselves constitute a conceptual space in which “distance” is based on the similarities and differences between concepts. To create a unique object, such as a table or chair, we have to instantiate these concepts into individual entities and then combine them. Therefore, a real object comprises three components: (a) conceptual types, (b) instantiation of these typed entities, and (c) a combination of these instantiated typed entities.

Accordingly, there are three kinds of real distances: (a) conceptual difference, (b) uniqueness of the instance, and (c) the manner in which they are bound together. In contrast, a perceived distance results from interactions between these entities. The weakly interacting locations in a conceptual space appear to be far in the physical space while the strongly interacting locations in a conceptual space appear to be near in the physical space. Thus, we can change our distance to an object without motion by changing the part of the world we interact with.

The Physical Construction of a Nation

One consequence of this four-fold space construction is the idea of nationhood in which things that seem far apart can be part of a single nation. For instance, a nation may include islands away from the mainland. The government on the mainland controls even the islands although they are separate from the mainland. A nation can no longer be spoken of as an “object” in the classical physical sense as a contiguous entity. A nation is rather established by an invisible force of influence that binds together physically separate entities.

If the mainland and island were truly independent entities, then the events on the mainland would not disproportionately affect the island, and vice versa. But when mainland and island events disproportionately affect each other, then we cannot call them separate entities. Conversely, some events on an island may not affect the island as much as the mainland and some events on the mainland may not affect the mainland as much as the island. Our perceived distance depends on effects: What affects us more is near and what affects us less is far. Normally, mainland events affect the mainland more than the island but this is not universally true. Sometimes, the converse is true.

Thereby, based on the dominant influence of the mainland on the mainland and the island on the island, we talk about physical proximity. But since this principle cannot be upheld in all cases, therefore, we have to revise our conception of space in which some mainland and island are just different parts of a single entity, akin to the different parts of a single body, that can mutually affect each other. Physical distance becomes an illusion when the mainland affects the island more than the mainland and vice versa. Physical models of reality then fail too.

Physical distance is now a result of an interaction. There are dominant patterns of interaction that create seeming proximity. A nation is also such an illusory sense of proximity because our material bodies and minds have causal interactions with some other material bodies and minds which makes us think that we are physically close to them. We can see that they have different types of bodies, senses, minds, intellects, egos, and moralities, but we neglect those differences. We just see the bodily proximity, created through an interaction.

Real vs. Imaginary Distances

The different locations in a conceptual space are ideological “positions”, just like left- and right-wing ideologies. Their real position is the type of body, sense, mind, intellect, ego, and body type. In the conceptual space, there is a region for atheists, another region for agnostics, and yet another region for fanatics. The land called “Earth” (Bharatvarsha) is not therefore divided by countries. It is rather partitioned by ideologies. It doesn’t matter which country you think you are part of, but only how you think, perceive, and act, because the idea of geographical proximity is based on a physical notion of space, and physical space is an illusion. All countries are perceptual illusions.

This illusion is persistent across many people because there is a dominant pattern of interaction. When Pakistan was partitioned from India, Indians stopped interacting with the places in Pakistan, and vice versa. Overnight, a new country was created in which some places became more accessible to Indians than Pakistanis, and vice versa. Physically, one can stand at the border and say that something across the border is just nearby. But they cannot cross over the border to look at it as if it were near. They have to go to the capital of the country, request a visa from a consulate, board an airplane from one airport to another, undergo immigration, and then travel to the border to see it. Physical proximity cannot be realized in the way we imagine. Therefore that proximity is just an imagination and not a reality.

The Foreground-Background Contrast

How is this illusion created? All perception involves a foreground-background contrast. If something appears vivid relative to other objects, then we consider it closer. Conversely, if something appears hazier relative to other objects, then we consider it farther. This is also how pictures create depth perception by making the distant areas faded or darker when actually they are all situated on a flat canvas. Thus, if an object is more vivid, it would seem closer. Conversely, if it is less vivid, it will seem farther. Whatever interacts with us strongly becomes vivid for us. Conversely, whatever interacts weakly becomes distant to us. The illusion of proximity is based not on actual distance in the semantic space but on whether I am interacting strongly or weakly and therefore receiving detailed or abstract information from an object.

This is also how the underlying principle based on which modern cosmology measures distances to other planets and galaxies. This is called the Inverse Square Law of luminosity: as the brightness decreases, the distance is expected to increase. Since this brightness is based on the distance to the object, therefore, physical proximity reduces to the question: Am I interacting strongly or weakly?

Once the question is posed this way, then it becomes amenable to a scientific explanation based on the strength of interaction. This near and far has no relation to the actual conceptual distance. It is just a perceptual illusion. Many people will disagree with the idea of a perceptual illusion because billions of people seem to have the illusion. How can all of us be wrong? The answer is that all of us see railway tracks converging at a distance. All of us see the sky and the land meet on the horizon. All of us can see depth in a picture that is painted on a flat canvas. This has to do with the nature of the senses and not merely with the person. Our eyes infer distance based on detail and intensity. And therefore they can be fooled. It has nothing to do with a particular person’s perception because it is a property of the senses.

Forest, Trees, and Leaves

The material world in Vedic philosophy is organized as a conceptual hierarchy. We can think of this hierarchy as the information about a forest, trees, and leaves. If you receive information only about the forest (and not about the trees and leaves) your senses will create the perceptual illusion that you are far from the forest (because you don’t see the trees and leaves). If, on the other hand, you receive information only about the leaves (and not about the trees and the forest) your senses will create the perceptual illusion that you are close to the leaves, and therefore you don’t see the forest.

You, or the trees, or the forest don’t have to move an inch. Without any motion, the perceived distance between you and the forest can be changed simply by altering the level of information that your senses are fed. Physical proximity is an illusion created by information transfer. At present, science doesn’t describe causality as information transfer, and so we treat this illusion as reality. That is, we convert the idea of perceived physical distance into the belief about real-world distance.

Therefore, when different individuals come in close contact with each other it is interpreted as nationhood, even though their bodies, minds, intellects, egos, and moralities may be far away. Nationhood is therefore a Social Construct created through interaction but has no real basis in an objective reality. At best you can say that you see the bodies closely so they are in the nation.

Two Notions of a Country – India vs. Bharat

When Vedic texts talk about a land such as Bharata, the description doesn’t pertain to the country called India. It rather pertains to the ideological “land” inhabited by bodies and minds of a certain kind. If these bodies and minds interact with other similar bodies and minds, then the “physical nation” created out of this social interaction would be congruous to the ideological proximity. This congruity is an outcome of karma that produces interactions with other people. If the karma is uniformly good, then you have to interact only with good people. If the karma is uniformly bad, then you have to only interact with bad people. In short, good people interact with other good people, and bad people interact with other bad people. And therefore you can claim a congruity between the physical land and the ideological land.

This division fails when people have mixed karma—i.e. both good and bad. In today’s time, people are not completely good or entirely bad. Mostly everyone has some good qualities and karma, and mostly everyone has some bad qualities and karma. The result of this mixed guna and karma is that you have to interact with other people who are not entirely good or bad either. This is the genesis of the mixing of races, cultures, languages, etc. Now, the ideological land is demarcated but the physical land is confused because it has people of all qualities mixing.

When the karma is pure, then we could equate the physical country called India with the ideological views called Bharata. Indeed, Bharata has been described as a triangular land south of the Himalayas, which matches the physical topography of the country called India today. But today Bharata as the ideological land is not congruous with the physical land called India because (1) many people in India do not follow the Bharata ideology, and (2) many people outside India follow Bharata ideology. As a result, people with similar ideologies are interacting with other countries, while people within the country may not interact as they are not supposed to exchange information due to karma.

The key point is that Bharata is a region in idea space, while India is a country in physical space. The country India is an illusion of physical space, while the land Bharata is real. If the thinking that constitutes Bharata can be spread to other parts of the (physical) space, then even those lands will be Bharata, although they may consider themselves different countries due to the illusion of physical space. Similarly, everyone living in India is not living in Bharata because India and Bharata are not congruous.