The Story of Zero

A unique contribution of the Indian approach to defining reality is the concept of an independent, exclusive, and objective observer. Those who questioned the nature of reality and the consequent concept of the self, not only identified the existence of such an observer, but also went ahead to meticulously study, and disseminate the process and the psychosomatic consequences of the study.

The primary question was: What is reality?

A question and an answer are the two heads of Janus- existing simultaneously yet separated by logic, and the logical journey to the answer has been cherished by many analytical minds, leaving behind a legacy of theories and models. The particular question on reality was tested by logic and conclusively answered by the fact: Reality appears as a dynamic perception within the self. It means that at this moment- I receive information through my senses and the ones that I register and recognize becomes my reality and this reality continuously alters.

The consequential question was: Who is this I – this self that perceives this dynamic reality?

The answer to this question was: I am where my awareness is.

This seemingly simple and straightforward answer spawned a plethora of philosophical models that were expressed through general social expressions for centuries to follow. Most interestingly, this answer when experimentally extrapolated to their extremes by those adventurous minds who sought the unknown, resulted in a conclusive postulate that was interestingly a psychological contradiction: I am a simultaneous superposition of everything, something and nothing.

The experimental technique that was used to arrive at this conclusion was to simply observe the thought. It was noted that thoughts were constructed by language and thus they could be clearly observed by listening to the mind. This experiment led to:

  1. A clear identification of the mind as a programmable multidimensional continuum within which clouds of identity and character formed the concept of the psychological self that associated with a body. When awareness associated with this identity the self was perceived to be a psychosomatic something, and the dynamism of this something was perceived as time.
  2. A clear identification of an independent, exclusive and objective observer to which the mind and all physical forms appeared and dissolved.
  3. To the observer, reality appeared non-fragmented and when awareness was associated with this continuum the self was perceived as everything within which somethings arose and dissolved like waves.
  4. When awareness associated with the observer, the self was perceived to be without any character and could only be defined as nothing ….and the reality of forms appeared to it as an illusion.

The three states of something, everything and nothing have been described by those who experienced them to be psychosomatic states of ego, love, and peace respectively.

The observer was recognized as a global reference but unlike logical references constructed by the mind, it does not have a frame and is the void itself. However, to consider its existence as a reference was recognized to be essential for a direct and undivided experience and understanding of reality. This void… this nothingness was represented by the symbol zero which transformed and empowered mathematics to its current holistic potential within an analytical framework.


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