In a movie Brad Pitt and George Clooney are nuclear scientists. About ten minutes into the movie Brad Pitt’s son wins the high school science project with a proton decelerated. At work Pitt and Clooney discover the world is going to implode in ten hours. At the end the device that saves them is the proton decelerator. All movies have devices. Sometimes, like this movie they are physical objects. Sometimes they are emotional where love saves or binds. And sometimes mental, for instance, a detective movie or a movie like The Sixth Sense which depends on your cognition of the plot.
Awaken from Mechanical Routine
Devices to awaken people from their mechanical routines are similar. Some are physical. The master whops his stick on the disciple’s noggin. Some are emotional, as in prayer by identifying with love, compassion, and forgiveness—by opening the heart to your savior, Jesus or Buddha or God—you obtain those qualities. Some are mental. What are mental devices?
The time track of philosophy goes back before the Greeks and uses a special device called a “thought experiment.” Early philosophers such as Xenophane developed the thought experiment that if a stone fence existed at the end of the universe and you could shoot an arrow over that wall, then the universe was infinite.
Also thought experiments appear in the context of science. In fact, Einstein sitting in his office as a clerk daydreaming developed the concept of relativity by the thought experiment that changes in light were time. He did this by the thought experiment that by moving faster and faster on a train away from a light source—this created a relative condition.
Is there a thought experiment which would awaken those who engaged in it? There are many. Here’s one:
You are in a dark hallway. You can touch the walls and feel a texture and the rug gives way a bit under the weight of your feet. Yet, it’s very dark until you see light at the end from a skylight. As you look up through the glass you see dark clouds. Right then . . . the clouds part and sunlight streams into your mind.
In the next blog we discuss hidden truths.