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Pavel Somov, Ph.D.

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WYSIWYC

Posted: 07/28/10 10:30 AM ET

The picture of the universe shifts from tongue to tongue. (Stuart Chase)

Consider a soap bubble on a sunny day: what color is it? It depends, right? On what? On the angle of view.

Certainty is an impasse. Reality is rarely (if ever!) either "this" or "that." Dichotomous (i.e. dualistic, i.e. 2-fold) logic is too black-and-white to capture the iridescence of reality. Syādvāda, an ancient Jainist doctrine of 7-fold postulation, allows you a multiplicity of angles of seeing reality.

Syādvāda teaches that:

- it is impossible to determine the truth of a system within its own thought

- each truth is valid within its own system

- therefore, there is more than one truth

Thus, Syadvada encourages a 7-fold way of referring to reality. Syadvada offers the following view-specific preambles when describing some aspect of the iridescent reality:

1.Syād-asti -- "in some ways something is"

2.Syād-nāsti -- "in some ways something is not"

3.Syād-asti-nāsti -- "in some ways something is and is not"

4.Syād-asti-avaktavyaḥ -- "in some ways something is and it is indescribable"

5.Syād-nāsti-avaktavyaḥ -- "in some ways something is not and it is indescribable"

6.Syād-asti-nāsti-avaktavyaḥ -- "in some ways something is, is not and is indescribable"

7.Syād-avaktavyaḥ -- "in some ways something is indescribable"

The word syadvada comes from two roots. Syat means "may be", whereas vada means "assertion". Placed together syādvāda becomes the assertion of what may be, the assertion of possibilities.

A bit confusing, huh? That's reality for you. It's too fluid for our certainty-craving mindbox.

Syadvada Quick Lube for the Mind

Here's my own (semi-poetic) interpretation of this 7-fold logic.

1.

If you can see the reality in at least seven ways

You can be at peace with it.

And one with it too.

2.

The essence of any mind-war or body-war is: "I think This" versus "I think This."

From the side it looks like it's just two people arguing about their respective version of "This" and there is a point to it.

But from inside the seven-fold Syadvada you know there isn't any one point, just a field of possible points of view.

They are fighting for the exact same thingless thing they call "This."

3.

And the name of this "This" is

The Nameless.

4.

Truth be told: truth is silent.

Closing Questions for an Opening Mind:

Did you like this post? Perhaps, you did. Perhaps, you didn't. Perhaps, you did, and, perhaps, in some ways, you didn't. Or, perhaps, in some ways you neither liked it nor disliked it. Or, maybe, just maybe, you can't quite describe what you felt. It's almost always like that....

What's this post about? About reality, of course, and, of course, about something entirely indescribable...

Final question to you: is reality colorful or transparent? WYSIWYC: What You See Is What You Choose (to see).