Contemplation on the Discovery of a New Owl Species

Tuesday August 21, 2012

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This morning I came across an article on the discovery of a new species of the owl.

Upon closer reading, the article described discovery of not one but ten new owl species: "There is no significant variation in their forms. It was the sound difference of their calls that was very significant in distinguishing between species".

From the Advaita perspective, human knowledge is formed when we give names to forms. Each form is distinguished by a unique combination of a physical sense experience it apparently triggers in us. And such forms we experience includes not only sight (which is the form the scientist mentions in the quote above), but also sound (which, in this case, is the distinguishing mark providing the rationale for a new name – hence treated as “a discovery”), smell, taste and touch.

Incremental human knowledge has been created by mapping a new name to a new form. These owls were around long before humans gave them unique names. Now that we have, they have become human knowledge. Humans can now interact with those newly named forms and do things with the owls and to the owls.

We create and consume such kind of knowledge every day of our lives.

What kind of human knowledge are you consuming every day? What parts of that knowledge helps you keep a balance in your life so that you have a sense of peace, calm and joy?

Jayant Kalawar is the author of The Advaita Life Practice, available at Amazon.

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