Faith

Philosophy at an unexpected place

Last weeks  I was in Singapore for 2 days. After doing a lunch meeting at Singapore Cricket Club near Padang, I had rest of the day free. I got a suggestion that I visit the “Asian Civilisations Museum” that was just opposite on the other side of the road. Next 4 hours it was a learning experience for me at the museum – I will talk about what I saw in a latter post.

After few minutes into the museum I was taking photos with my iPhone (seen below), an elderly Caucasian gentleman came to me and asked how is my experience with iPhone. Generally at public places I keep to myself, but when people start a conversation I love to engage on it provided it is interesting!

Photo taken which started a philosophical talk

The gentleman (his English showed German American accent) started by saying how Digital technologies (iPhone, Internet & Mobile) have impacted profoundly Human race, the way we think/learn/invent have changed phenomenally in the last 10 years. Nothing else has affected evolution in such a short time as Digital technologies. He went on to say he was a retired Neurosurgeon in USA. Several decades back when he started his career, brain surgery was at its infancy. He had to fight his way when he said we got to look deep into brain cells, magnify them many times so that you can see it to understand what’s happening. Without seeing you can’t understand it. He went on this for over 10 minutes and when I thought he was done, he went to next topic.

He said there are phenomenal amount of energy found deep inside earth (Science Daily reference I found later), in the dark matters (Wikipedia reference for Dark matter) everywhere in the Universe and the same energy flows and is present inside our body (I could relate what he said to Yoga Chakras or Chinese Chi, though he never mentioned them). This went on for next 20 minutes, I asked the gentleman to take a photo of me thinking that will break his flow, it didn’t, he used the break for drinking some water and getting recharged.

The final topic he discussed is how he explained about Body & Soul to an Chinese Professor at a Singapore University. The Neurosurgeon (Gentleman) said he was an atheist in belief, knowing this a Chinese Professor asked him a query, which was universally thought to have an easy answer. The query was which is ever present or not destructible – is it Body or Soul. The Neurosurgeon answered it is NOT soul, but body. Being exposed to Asian religions I was surprised on this answer as they all say Soul has no death. Supporting his claim that Body is not destructible, the Neurosurgeon said all the atoms in our body have been created billions of years back during the creation of this earth. After death whether body is burned or buried, the atoms go back to earth or atmosphere and a new body is created only from these earlier atoms. This was a new thinking to me especially since all Asian religions (Hinduism, Buddhism or Jainism) preaches body is disposable, it gets created new on every birth. When I did some search on this alternate view, it seems to be a scientific truth that the atoms (not necessarily all of them) in our body were formed shortly after the Big Bang began 13.7 billion years ago.

After 30 minutes, the stranger finished his mini-lecture. Wanting to be casual in asking his name and not being intrusive to his privacy, I asked whether he had a blog or somewhere I can read more about him. He said he didn’t have anything like that and we both parted our ways and the Neurosurgeon remained nameless. A stranger who left some thoughts for me to ponder for long!