Saturday, May 26, 2018

WORK, REWARD AND LEARNING

It is well known that in the process of learning, concepts of reward or reinforcement, and withdrawal of reward, or punishment play a crucial part.

The details of the process can be summarised.

Certain actions involving a certain pattern of neural connections produces for the subject a reward which satisfies him, and which induces a readiness to repeat the performance. Here one must carefully observe that the most important element in the process, the man who is conducting the learning experiment, is not in the foreground. But, for a full appreciation of the totality of the process of learning, he has to be pushed into the foreground.

Now, this man called the scientist offers the monkey a banana or stops an electric current, if the monkey succeeds in doing something - work a typewriter, or play the piano, or add two and two. (Obviously, if the whole object of the man, if we may call him thus, was merely to give a banana to the monkey or relieve it from pain of electric shock, simply because he loves the monkey, the whole exercise is useless. What new knowledge arises in such a mutual interaction between the man and the monkey is of another domain.)

What the monkey does in this business is useless for its existence - typing banging the piano and adding two plus two - left to itself without the kind tutorial of this very objective scientist. Therefore, the whole business in the objective science of learning-theories consists of a man who makes the monkey do some things that interest the man, things it would not normally do, using its love of bananas and fear of pain as the palpable intermediary goals for the monkey. The experimenter being an objective phantom does not need any rewards excepting the salary he gets for this business or the thunderous cheers he gets for his thesis from fellow phantoms. Such rewards are not at all stressed out of sheer modesty and scientific humility.

The least obvious aspect is that which happens to the nervous system of the monkey and its teacher. Since the monkey has not yet been taught how to do brain surgery and examine slides, the benevolent objective scientist cuts open the monkey’s brain to go to the roots of the learning process. The teacher, no doubt, is successful in learning the steps of man’s evolutionary descent into ape - its idle and destructive curiosity and its tendency to pull things out to expose the roots.

These, then, are the four cornerstones for the edifice of learning theory: Reward for the subject, reward for the objective scientist, and that which happens to the nervous system of the subject and that which happens to the nervous system of the scientist.

Let me examine the case further:

Just as basically a monkey wants a banana or avoid pain, so does a man, presumably, wants food and wants to avoid starvation. The social experimental situation is thus arranged. A rich man wants a chair. That is his reward. He cannot make a chair. So, he catches hold of a subject who can make a chair. This man and his friends so arrange affairs that the chair maker cannot get food which is his primary aim or reward and unless he produces a chair which is perfectly useless for himself. So far so good. Society organises itself so that everyone is made to produce rewards which he himself does not need in order to get the rewards he needs from the first lot.

Now, let us see what happens if the monkey can hoodwink his teacher, the reward-bestowing God and manages to snatch away a banana which is what it really needs. When the human being is the subject of the experiment the possibilities are quite interesting. Many human beings manage to directly snatch the banana without having to go through the beastly bother of making chairs and the learning process. The whole human society is completely arranged around the laws of learning so ably revealed by the objective scientists who need no reward. The man who is in the position to offer rewards is first of all in a position to withhold rewards, and is certainly not in need of any vulgar rewards. Only, he wants a chair for the sake of the chair, art for art's sake, food for food’s sake, sex for its own sake and objective science for its own sake.

Now, if you offer ten bananas for making a chair, and if the subject of learning experiment is able to get at the bananas more easily by making a hollow chair made of cardboard, or if he is more enterprising and can waylay his reward giver, mug him and take away forty bananas instead of the miserable ten, the name given to this very unscientific but extremely sensible biological activity is lawlessness, corruption etc., because it flouts the laws of learning laid down by the professors.

A few in this jungle come out of the trap of reward and are concerned with the drive of their inner urge to find out if they can train their nervous system to do without bananas, if they can get out of the terrible limitation which binds them perpetually to bananas and the laws of learning.

The Sufi speaks of two harvests which are the result of any work done by man: the external harvest, the yield, the grain produced which gives food, which also gives frustration and pleasure according to the yield, putting the whole of the man's compex being at the disposal of the vagaries of the wayward yield.



Statue of Nasredd─źn Hodja in Bukhara. Faqscl, Wikimedia Commons
The other harvest is what happens to himself during the work - the patience he developed, the joy in putting his muscles to work, the joy he gave and got in looking after the trees and cattle and workers, and his own ascent into higher and higher and more and more harmonious expressions of behaviour he and his body are capable of. The second learning is the ascent of man to something higher than himself as he is, and his miserable dependence on numerous things for his comfort, where comfort is seen not as a state of being, but is seen as a sum of articles and objects.

One of the most important objectives of science and technology is to provide comforts to man. The immediate and ultimate object of these comforts is to prove that man's body is totally unnecessary. The degree of comfort is measured by the degree to which a man need not use his organs. A man has two legs. The first sign of civilisation is when he has found it unnecessary to have legs when he found it easier to apply the laws of learning and climbed on a horse or on other men's backs.

The logical end object of a comfort-offering science and technology is to abolish man, all men, excepting the objective scientists who will find a hole in Mars. This abolition of organic man can be achieved by subtle or gross means. The subtle means are to provide cars so that the legs may be found unnecessary, learning theories to show how you can make another man work for you; theories of human personality founded on scientific investigations to show that man is really an ape and it is better to stop there; the gross methods are by mass murder with bangs or hisses or completely noiseless lasers.

What the work does to you is the reward. The rest is biological theory propounded by objective science and made by self-declared robots who have left their humanity in the cupboard or bank vaults.

Real human inquiry begins with the subject himself, not as subject of this or that inquiry or operation.


***

Friday, May 18, 2018

NEGATIVE EMOTIONS

Long ago, Krishna in the Gita stated that anger, depression, greed, egocentricity, etc., are demonic qualities. They are damaging to harmony and have very little external causation.

It does not require much ascetic tapasya in caves to know that these reactions can come into play for a variety of reasons. The same reason or cause may produce different responses of anger, depression etc., of different degrees, the same reason which produces anger at one time in one situation may fail to do so at another time, the same set of reasons which produce anger in one person may fail to do so in another.

Sixteen faces expressing the human passions-coloured engraving by J. Pass, 1821, after Charles Le Brun
Compiling huge volumes on the causes for these emotional responses is a relatively sterile occupation.

You are driving your car. Some muddy water gets splashed on your windscreen. If you do not at once do something to wipe your windscreen, but look this way and that to find the 'CAUSE', who threw the mud, why and so on, you will get into a crash.

Each time a reaction of anger or depression is provoked in you, a run-away circuit is set up in your vehicle called your body, the most potent and dangerous machine on earth. With anger and depression your headlights get dimmed, you will be pressing accelerator instead of clutch or brake and you head for disaster to yourself and others. Your search for causes is not an innocent or innocuous legal or objective pursuit for truth. Each so called 'cause' becomes a stimulus for further chaotic defensive action provoking counter measures in the other cars around you.

Let us say, you have received a dangerous cut on your body and the blood is flowing freely. Would you first rush to do something about it, got to a hospital, bandage, or do something to stop the bleeding or would you start a court of enquiry to find out by whom and how and why the cut was inflicted? You see you first attend to the cut because the damage is obvious. But you don't take any immediate action on your anger or depression because the dangers are not obvious, though anger and depression are playing havoc with all your inner subtle control mechanisms - your heart, lungs, blood vessels, intestines, etc. You justify them, you will go to a doctor who provides you further sophisticated justifications for your almost wicked determination to destroy yourself.

When you can learn English, Algebra, all sorts of of gymnastics, what is the hassle, humming and hawing, medical or philosophic disputation about learning to do something about the deadly accidents that confront you every minute on the road of your daily life?

Attend to the disturbance: not to its so-called cause.

The first step is to realise, to feel that this disturbance is damaging the most priceless possession you have, without which you are nothing, your body.

Have the dignity and pride of being master of your own car, which you are. If you can make your body scowl, sulk or shout you can jolly well make it smile, shut up and breathe easy at some point of time in relation to the disturbance. Do the smallest thing, control the smallest possible movement to show you are the driver.

Otherwise, give your body over to the family, doctor or guru, in fact to the driving school for public buses. You will be taught driving lessons. The family will advise you rest in bed, knowing full well that the most likely place to get a heart attack is in bed; the doctor will chemically or physically annihilate your amygdaloid nucleus because even a chimpanzee without this nucleus smiles at the experimenter cutting it to bits, and the guru teaches you how to walk gently so that ants won't get crushed. You will be like the car driver who has been taught to drive at 25 mph in the first gear with a proper silencer attached to your car no matter how the road is.

You hand over the driving of your car to the public school for driving. You will ensure the maximum insurance, covering the cost of staying in an intensive care unit in Switzerland and a safe passage to the abode of the Gods.

There is nothing wrong or immoral about anger or depression. They are words. Remember: Do not fall into the trap of saying anger or depression is bad. it is, that some learnt reflex responses covered by these words are damaging to your car and prevent your reaching the objective you have in view. Saying that anger or depression is bad has no operative value. That way, laugher and love are bad. If you cannot help laughing or making love when the house is on fire and your stated objective is to put out the fire, then laughter and love are bad.

Therefore, what is central to the discussion is that there are no good and bad emotions. The issue is your inability to modify your responses.
The mechanisms for learning are within you and with you. The motivation for learning the skills are thwarted by a social conditioning which in the guise of helping you makes you helpless, takes away your interest in learning, provides you with justifications and paralyses you.

Then to say that all society and organisation is bad is equally stupid. To avoid using these words and to attend to the type of responses you make to them, and the capacity to modify them in the interests of your harmony and growth is the issue.

***

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

TERRITORY AND STEWARDSHIP

I came into the world as a child. I have been looked after; from this I learnt to look after others.

I am a child of Mother Earth. Not satisfied with the milk and food she has given me for my daily need, I, Man, Nature's youngest child, and now the eldest, have only learnt eating, grabbing, pilfering, and not a bit of the love the Mother has shown me. The Great Mother has made me out of Her body and given me the means to grow, and the means to be delighted with her creations, and as the eldest and cleverest, to look after her creations. But, I have become like her first brainless children, a great eating machine, and today there is no beast on earth who has greater appetite and greed; I have become the cleverest eater and my whole brain is employed for the purpose of plundering the earth for my sole food and enjoyment.  


Let me examine myself.


I walk from here to the post office. I see nothing, hear nothing, and my whole wonderful, complex brain is employed with the single miserable question - will there be a letter for me. I go there with blinkers, and there I have to wait, for there is some delay. I stand under  the glorious sky, under this beautiful tree, and the birds flying about, and much besides, but my mind is filled with impatience and annoyance, for the whole world has been reduced to the one miserable fact of receiving a letter.



"Appearance of sky for weather forecast, Dhaka, Bangladesh", Mohammed Tawsif Salam - Wikimedia commons


Thankfulness and wonder have been shut out, and I feel bored and angry with the world, for I am too small a fellow for this wonderful gift given me - great complex radio, TV, telegraph, telephone, recording, playback, receiver, transmitter, amplifier, air conditioner, and a thousand other things combined into one compact machine called my body. Truly I must be a miserable little wretch, if this vast machine given to me was just for a meal, or receiving a letter whose ultimate basis is for a meal or some form of gobbling up something or other.

That tree, that wonderful sky, this beggar and that dog become wonderful only if I see them on the TV, and then too I have to feel happy because I can afford this TV and my neighbours cannot - and all the while, this machine of mine is ticking away, burning itself out. 


I, Man, have evolved as the highest, to be a real master, a steward, and not a mother-killing monster. All I am, all I see, hear, feel, think and imagine is my territory, and I am the master, the steward of all this immensely rich territory I must look after. I shall wither and dry up if I am given all the food, and no one loves me, and nobody has any need for me, nobody has any pleasure in me; so the trees, animals, things and others.


I live because my Mother loved me and loves me. Let me learn to love and give joy, and the first thing to do is to give attention to all that comes to me. Let me get away from the greedy child's habit or the dog's habit of only keeping attention on the sweets and bones.


A farmer cuts channels to bring water to the field and the trees. The channel for love is attention, and love is the origin of all manifestation and the supporting energy behind it. Love is the first of foods.



Dammed water channels in a field near Scamblesby
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Chris - geograph.org.uk/p/3904975

A modern factory manager sits in his office with telephones, TV facilities and all sorts of other gadgets around him so that he can monitor and control the many aspects of his factory or territory, to be able to personally look after it.

Like that I am the steward for my earth, and I have been give a huge office for that purpose, equipped with a rich machinery which no one can duplicate. Only, I, small fool, child or demon, am in charge only on the lookout for grabbing, earing or burying the bones, not for looking after.


Truly I must be an idiot not to know the power of love as a sustainer of life and strength; for I know how I feel when I am liked and loved and how I feel when hated and despised. I need not spend days and years doing penance, reading scriptures to know the power of love. Let us say that I have a bad skin disease, even friends and relatives stop coming near me even just to say hello from a distance, what condition of mind I shall be in, how depressed and suicidal I must feel.


So in so many ways I have personally benefited from attention of love. Why then do I doubt its power!


Well, I may be told that human beings can respond to love. Animals, trees and objects do not.


Then, excellent! Start with human beings. Then, I shall cultivate the capacity to transmit love, the love that seeks no return, and the art of paying attention - the channel, how deep and wide it should be, what type of water and so on, for which plant etc. For love is like water and has its laws, and one gains experience as one goes along; whether the channel should be wide or narrow, whether it should be by thought, word, deed or gesture and so on. Later I can see by this experience what might be the result on trees etc.

Let alone a tree. See what happens to your bicycle if you pay no attention to it for a month; and then meditate on the power of love and attention.

I am the steward of my territory and I must look after it, and must become a skillful manager.  Despite this vast kingdom, if I get bored with life, then I must know who I am. Next time, when I pass a tree, or beggar, a friend or enemy, let me not pass without directing a kind word, thought or feeling or sheer joy as the case may be, and my purse is never empty for the bank account for love is inexhaustible; the more you spend, the more you receive. 

It is said of the Buddha that he used to go for alms, not to get a meal, but as one excuse for meeting people and things and transmitting the vibration of love.

The world is in such a sorry state, not because of black marketeers or others, but because most of us have learnt to receive the benefits of love and hold on to them, rather than how to transmit it; and we die early with too much love we receive but do not give out, just as surely a man will die if he only breathes in and not out.

Referring to the biblical story of Esau and Jacob, the Mother commented that it is man's birthright to be the son of God and to be like Him, the Master, but man sells his birthright for a mess of pottage.


Giovanni Andrea de Ferrari  (1598–1669); Esau and Jacob, oil on canvas

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

THE TYPEWRITER MODEL

What do you think of a typewriter, if when you press one key, a dozen keys jump up?


© Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar

Similar is the case with a man in whom some single thought, emotion or perception evokes undifferentiated mass reactions. From the general reaction of an earthworm to a pinprick, to the whole repertoire of differentiated reactions to a pinprick in man, is the jump that has become possible by the evolution of the nervous system. In fact, your education has been made possible by the fact that you have an apparatus, your brain and body that makes differentiated responses possible. Your cerebral cortex needs to be educated, not only in knowing that 2+2=4, but also that you need not react with hyperacidity whenever someone criticises you.

You can go to a school of Hatha Yoga or a Buddhist monastery or a behavioural therapy unit for days to learn that your own brain has some say in the matter. All this is only another sophisticated way of putting your own car at the disposal of some special Yoga or Guru or Scientific Therapy to perpetuate the basic error - to put your very special vehicle at the disposal of experts who are highly specialised versions of average knowledge of others.

Why should a single word uttered by someone make you jump and swear and damage your heart and lungs and stomach and lose sleep and appetite, excepting that you have been systematically pampered and trained to behave thus, considering that your reversion to the level of an earthworm is the hallmark of your claim to be a truly normal man, that is to say, average man.

If you want to be really free of the lack of freedom you complain of, have love and respect for the most wonderful machine you have been given - your body.


***

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

THE EPIDEMIC OF INSANITY

Ladies and gentlemen,

They have decided that by 2000 AD there should be no malaria, filaria, yellow fever, malnutrition, illiteracy, unemployment or misery. By they, I mean all the people who are in a position to advise, decide, publish and print.

It is high time that the psychiatric society boldly declares that by July, 1999 there shall be no hysteria, schizophrenia, dementia, sexual maladjustment, insomnia, psychopathy, accident-proneness or sheer bloody-mindedness. Also, more humbly, that there shall be no war. No effort shall be spared and no stone left unturned, and no one allowed to rest in peace till the decision becomes decided.

I may look at some of these efforts unspared,and the stones turned up over the years with increasing dexterity, sophistry and unquestionable scientific method and dedication.

First, the number of mentally ill to be eradicated must be counted. We have been counting and recounting and continuing to count the number of mentally ill. Lest some might be inadvertently left out, we have also devised ways of trapping those who are liable to catch mental illness. This is not such an easy job as a layman like me might suppose. Large numbers of specialists worked out and continue to work out the definition of what and who is mentally ill. I have gone through this interesting literature printed on increasingly glossier paper, printed in journals which also carry advertisements for cosmetics, contraceptives and car rentals.

Two conclusions stand out:

  1. A definite number of persons are mentally ill. Their distribution in the population varying from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 1,000, to 1 in 100, to 1 in 50, depending on the year of observation and the admirable bloodhound tenacity of the observer in scenting out the slightest odour of mental illness. There are serious dangers if the figure is increased to one to one of the population. After all, we must not only be scientific but also reasonable. It is quite silly to ask what is reasonable.
  2. This second inference is really an axiom that requires no proof, and no effort of understanding. No definition of what is mental illness fits any psychiatrist dead or living. All those are not psychiatrists are mentally ill.
The king can do no wrong. The psychiatrist is born mentally sound, trained to count, measure and succour the mentally ill on a global scale, and is destined to ascend to heaven in a pristine state of unadulterated mental health.

I hear laughter. So did the Bourbons when reminded of the clay beneath the pedestal of their divine right. “We are not really Divine, but what the hell!” “We know we are not really free from mental illness, but after all we are human. But what the heck!”

The definition is operationally clarified. Having counted the number of the mentally ill, the next question is how to help them. This is being achieved with great tenacity of purpose and much general good heartedness:

  1. To spare no efforts to see that psychiatric help reaches every single man, woman and child and pregnant woman in every nook and corner of this small globe. 
  2. Since a single psychiatrist, poor soul, is likely to be overworked, he is accompanied by a traveling troupe of psychologist, psychiatric social worker, aftercare supervisor etc.
  3. A self-contained ambulance equipped with a condensed branch of May & Baker to supply Largactil; an ECT apparatus - since electricity is freely available to every village; a small section of the biochemistry department to detect the amount of gamma-globulin in those who are likely to be mentally ill, one or two guinea pigs or one higher ape in order to study the effect on their brains and liver when exposed to incipient mental illness. A portable typewriter and statistician are mere peanuts which can always be fitted, information via the satellite to experts at the centre to enable quick decisions, for mental illness must be caught on the spot and eradicated with a speed commensurate with our space age. It will not be difficult to accommodate an anti corruption officer on top of the ambulance to prevent pilferage of petrol and drugs. A representative of Yoga can always find a place near the horn announcing the inherent link between the Vedas and Valium, and how the whole unit is really the traditional outcome of adherence to scriptures.
  4. Since mental illness affects all those who are not psychiatrists, who have a natural immunity to the disease , it is necessary to induce acquired immunity to selected members of the mentally ill, by inducting them into courses for psychiatry and allied subjects. This solves the problem of personnel required for the treatment fo the mentally ill.
The degree of immunity is gradable. With a basic immunity of 15% after MBBS, a person becomes increasingly so after DPM MD, till he reaches undisturbed and undisturbable immunity by the time he becomes senior enough to be a world consultant.

5. Sound health work must be based on sound research. All sound research must be based on animal experiment.


The number and variety of animals sacrificed on the altar of mental health and health - in the drug testing laboratories, in the behavioural laboratories etc. should be sufficient to appease the heart of the most bloodthirsty Kali on earth.

Some Indians still consider smallpox as due to a Goddess and sacrifice goats, cocks and buffaloes. This admirable procedure of finding scapegoats for human failure and sacrificing them is being carried on - the dress and nomenclature of the priest has changed.

In order to understand why human beings commit suicide, it is absolutely, scientifically, objectively necessary to drive chimpanzees to suicide and study their EEGs and brains at various stages in the process.

Bearing these formidable efforts in mind as a mere sample of the gigantic efforts that are really going on, I must say that the decision to eradicate all mental illness by 1999 is too modest and pessimistic an estimate of the milestones set.

If you are amused, it is merely a gratuitous result of my effort at being deadly serious.

Platitudes are merely unpleasant truths of life which you laugh at or laugh off only to meet the tragic consequences of the neglect. If it is a platitude that all are mentally ill to a certain extent, and that mental health specialists can also be mentally ill, and the psychiatrists laugh it off, well and good. But they are also engaged in actively trying to cure and prevent mental illness in others and set the fashion for health. Imagine the result if a number of typhoid carriers were to be engaged seriously in a typhoid eradication program without taking the slightest measure to root out the condition in themselves.

Morbidity increases exponentially to the efforts made to remove it. If an engineering firm were entrusted with the task of plugging a hole in a dam and each effort of this firm resulted in more leaks and holes, and recommendations to multiply the number of like firms and their branches, what would be the reaction of the employers? Yet, by a special blessing, the medical profession seems to be immune from such an inquiry.

I am not a philosopher nor is it my aim to entertain you. It is to raise the question in all its seriousness.

Is it not time that our fundamental assumptions about health and disease are examined in depth? Are not distinguished institutions like yours the very places where some evidence should be given of this concern? I think that there is some evidence of this concern. I speak to those who seriously feel this concern.

What you see as frank mental illness in your hospitals and clinics is only the tip of a colossal iceberg whose base is wide and deep. Much of mental illness goes unrecognised, because many of the minor forms have acquired socially acceptable labels, their results are catastrophic.

The medical student who does not examine the urine for sugar, but cooks up a false report and hoodwinks the professor, whatever be the results on the patient is a hell of a jolly good fellow and the darling of his hostel and family. He is not called a budding psychopath - only a damn clever chap. Next, he copies, crams, butters his bosses and gets his MD, and becomes a professor and gets to be in-charge of a hundred students and thousands of patients, and gets an opportunity to display his cleverness on a larger scale. If quite a few of his students and assistants and families and relatives get duodenal ulcers, or quite a few of the patients die against the background of beautifully recorded and doctored case sheets, what does it matter - for he's a jolly, reckless, clever, successful fellow who can hold his liquor well, and what beautiful lectures he gives on preventive medicine, and has he not also become an international consultant for Lagos or Togos?

There is the other gentleman who eats only pure ghee at home, but delightfully, gleefully sells contaminated masoor dal and mustard oil, and if hundreds get crippled, it is not mental illness. Anything but. He has donated one lakh to charities.

The psychiatrists who conduct group psychotherapy sessions take no account of their own group behaviour at home or office, do not suffer from neurosis. The behavioral therapy is meant for patients. The students who attend whole sessions of lectures on group interactions and field theories of behavior have not a jot of interest in their own behaviour in hostels. There should be an animal laboratory to show evidences of gentlemanliness and rascality in a group of rats or chimpanzees caged in the premises.

By a sly sleight of head and hand, the word average has been made synonymous with ‘normal’. Normal behaviour means the behaviour that is displayed by the largest number of hypothalamic hyenas on the road.

The amount of murderous anger, jealousy, hatred, intolerance and inconsideration shown to one another in even families of the so-called elite is seen to be believed. But these are the cream of society, and most of them are prominent persons and quite a few of them give lectures on peace, prevention of war and the Bhagavad Gita. They absolutely refuse to believe that there is any relationship between their own behaviour at home and the wars they deplore. One member of the family is brought to the psychiatrist with complaints of insomnia, becoming easily depressed and irritable, anxiety and suicidal tendencies, thus adding to the statistics and offering a sacrifice. The systematically cultivated fashionable psychopathy enables the head of the house or office to bring one member to the clinic ignoring his own role in the genesis of the illness, and by drugs, ECT, psychotherapy and by profitable collaboration between informant and psychiatrist, the depression is beaten down to respectable proportions.

Once a father took a son to the senior Sankaracharya - the son was being unreasonable, aggressive and the psychiatrists were getting to be helpless. He was calling the father a rascal and a scoundrel and not at all showing him any respect. The Sankaracharya is reported as having said, ‘It will be a pity if your son is cured of this habit. Then, who will be there to tell you that you are a rascal and a scoundrel? He might be alright when you stop being both!’ This was reported to me by the psychiatrist who attended the interview. The father was being a successful psychopath, perhaps adulterating foodstuffs with muck, and asking the son to be truthful and obedient, and the son unsuccessfully reacting to this becomes classified as being mentally ill.

"Paramacharya" by A Search in Secret India by Paul Brunton. Via Wikipedia 

Medical science is, perhaps, lay opinion and practice confirmed by technology.

Bear with me. I am not engaged in flogging a dead horse or making a rehash of Jonathan Swift’s satires of two centuries ago for your delight. I am searching for an answer.



jaci XIII, Gulliver's Travels 6

Then, people, including medical experts began saying, “Yes, yes! We must all agree that man must change.” Immediately they pursued the matter with great vigour and variety. The religious leaders collaborated with undisguised glee. Research in Yoga, Yoga clinics, place of religion and Yoga in medicine began. Man must be changed. So, the best thing to do is to change the other man. The operational definition of man is every other man, but the man himself. Religion says, serve others, be compassionate, truthful and honest, bathe in cold water, eat moderately, be this and that. Do anything as long as it is advising the other fellow to do it. Do unto others as thou doest to yourself. A man first of all deceives himself, and proceeds inevitably to do the same to others who reciprocate with interest.

Religious attitudes combined with polygraphs is the deadliest combination camouflaging the real subject of the matter, ‘I’, ‘I’, the man whom we are talking about. I am the source, recipient, and reflector of all that is happening to me and inside me. It is my body, it is my mind that is going to dogs every time I do certain things.

If each one of the members of these research institutes considers himself and his body as the main laboratory, and systematically trains himself and his body towards the goals of health he prescribes for others, verifies for himself on himself for at least one hour a week, or at least five minutes of a day, then I would be happy. Whether it will lead to any results, I cannot guarantee, but at least it would be honest.

The verification and modification of your own behaviour in the course of your daily occupation is the essence of the matter. This is also a profession, the profession of self-realisation or auto-piloting. This view is so assiduously preached as a platitude, and equally assiduously flouted in practice, that it is necessary to realise that you deceive yourself and your body, and disease is the name given to this self-deception.

You and your body are the most complex, comprehensive instrument on earth, compared to which all the glossy apparatus in this institute is a village blacksmithy. It is here, you should learn the skills of healthy and harmonious driving. The classroom, the clinic and laboratory are merely subordinate supports. Your life, both with yourself and in the hostels, homes and clubs are the highways and byways on which you test your driving skill, the management of your car and its maintenance. These institutes are not just to preach health, but to produce specimens of health. Health is what you yourself preach to others. This I presume, is what the institute is for.