Are Concepts Necessary?

Swaran J. Omcawr

We ideate and conceptualize; we learn and grow intellectually. We conceptualize to make things better understandable. Ideas and concepts are two much loved things our mind feeds on. New thoughts enter the mind as ideas. Ideas are conceived as flashes of insight. They take origin as insight. These are the long lost knowledge of mankind which is reminded to us occasionally. These are the internal visualization of the mind. And why not, ‘idea’means to see internally (in Greek).

Idea is a very fragile little thing. It comes to you “without willing”, “without forewarning” -means you cannot create ideas voluntarily or with effort of intellect and brain. It has a very little life of its own. It occurs as a flash in the mind, remains ambiguous and cryptic unless intellectualized and given a worldly language. It won’t stay forever with you unless you solidify it with the ‘clay’ of concept. And what are these concepts? These are the frameworks of the things known already. Since childhood we have been taught to create and nurture concepts in the mind. We intellectualize by putting our ideas into the known conceptual frames. We weigh any new idea by our previously scripted concepts.

Should we say for now that we already have a ‘preferred position’ for understanding new (idea)? Our concepts have given us the basic argumentative position as our premise. We call them as our standing principals and we have collected them since very beginning of all learning or as a basis of all reasoning we were bestowed with. All our reactions and reasons, our inferences and conclusions are build on that basis! So bad luck indeed, new (idea) has mixed with the old (concepts) and lost its novelty. We have not grown an inch more, maybe we have found a new explanation, a new theory, or a new argument.

Our concepts create all our pre-judgments and prejudices even. They cause our intellect to grow in our own sweet way. As we become more intellectual, more and more concepts creeps in, more and more we become a subject position and more and more we lose position as a conscious subject. That’s right we can argue well but to open heartedly embrace an alternative idea or different opinion is difficult.

We used to be one who were open to new ideas and new information in our younger days. We were intelligent then but not intellectual. As we grew intellectual, old and dead information started thwarting the entry of the new. Our intellect started filtering the information and restricted a part which enters without known frames. We then became product of our own text written by our own hands. We do not speak now but we are spoken; spoken by the quantity of information we collect in our head. Our life becomes a scripted event. We are now the authors of this script and we ourselves put it into action in life. From now on we always have a voice in the head, voice of authors we have read, voice of thoughts that we’ve collected, voice of beliefs we’ve harbored. This voice we hold both individually and collectively as a race. We speak from this voice.

How then is to speak from the silence, from our own inner centrality, from our feelings, we might have never wondered? Where has gone the novelty in our life, sometimes we ask surprisingly. But none other than us have shut the doors of life’s unique insights.

Perhaps that is why new idea never renews us. We never feel the vibration while we encounter a new insight. We never feel the need to go beyond your old shriveled concepts. We have devised ready made answers to our ready made problems.

Our problems are textual and answers are conceptual. Problems we talk most often are not found in the struggling world! They pertain to our “psyche” and not to “existence”. We already live a life of manipulated existence.

We are well off worldly, sound mentally, reasonable philosophically but still we are not original. We are trapped in our understanding and prisoner of thoughts. We are swayed by our own persuasions before we try to persuade others. Concepts construct our intellectual boundary. This is the point from where our intellectual blindness starts. This happens when we encounter new things. We simply term new information fantastic, we may even argue over some obvious aspects of it. But we will have to admit that we cannot understand, not even comprehend. It is difficult for us to visualize new ideas with our old spectacles. We simply have cultured the habit of rearranging known intellectual themes to produce new thoughts.

Concepts take roots as our unconscious beliefs. They settle down at deeper layers of the mind. They become an unconscious force compelling us to make an opinion before every happening. We pre-judge every situation or at least try to. We usually say ‘I know that; I have the idea; all things happen that way’. We not only suppose but validate every guess of ours before happening. We are happy when things happen according to our supposition. We blame nature when unexpected things come up. To escape from this we try to live a life of certainty. We fear the field of uncertainty, both in living and understanding that living.

So this is the reality that we avoid. When we have already avoided ‘the truth’ in our outer life how would we ever face those uncertain truths of our inner life? Your unconscious and subconscious mind has many uncertain truths. But we never face them. We never visit them. We have tendency to live life superficially in order not to experience inner void. This simply becomes dark area of our psyche. This dark area of our inner world become darker day by day. We visit them occasionally in our dreams. That reality is fearful. For smooth sailing we create a busy life. This is life of borrowed and invented truths. All the opinion we gather about God, spirit, sin and virtues are our invented truths, they are not real. We have invented the ideas of inner world and we believe in them. Our protracted following of these ideas has invented for us certain doctrines and associated rituals and we pass the entire life carrying them in our heads.Do we ever free ourselves from invented concepts altogether?

Do we ever de-conceptualize our thoughts? Non-conceptual understanding is a sort of immediate understanding. Here we don’t understand but feel the thoughts, feel the ideas as they move within. We feel the thoughts first and just wait to understand them or make a conclusion. We don’t counter the thought with another thought with argumentation or explanation. We culture a different habit of understanding thoughts without even words.

This is to put our awareness to learn first before our knowledge catches reality like an eagle catches its prey. We feel it and not speak about it. A single word uttered within mind when you look at some marvelous will contaminate its excellence. This marvelous may be anything—a great thought, a great deed or wonderful words of wisdom.

The reality we know or understand is not the reality out there. Our reality is the reality of our thoughts. We have kept it contained by our thoughts by the definitions and concepts. We need not define the reality in order to understand it. We simply need to experience it. This is the intuitive perception that goes into the ‘hearty brain’ bypassing the ‘intellectual heart’. This is the awakening of non-mind, the mind within mind that understands without words. There is a good difference between one’s own understanding of reality and the real reality. Non-conceptual understanding simply clarifies this.

All idea here is to resist knowing. Not knowing is more better virtue than that. Life is a mystery. It is charming to those who do not know their next moment. You must equally resist intellectualizing, or understanding theoretically. You may feel the things inside.

To heighten the feeling level is the indispensable quality for generating intuitive wisdom. Intuitive perception is the inner vision. Intuition is prophetic vision and is available to us only once we learn to work with transparent consciousness. The persons with cunning motives may not find it.

Intuition is the perception of same consciousness working in us which collects information as knowledge. It collects and processes the information. It is the refined processing rather. The bits of information knowledgeably processed enter into the knowledge chain. The rest unsaved information still under process may be received as intuition if we allow our mind to relate that way. Whole of the city may be in danger. Only the prophet who holds intuitive perception conveys the right thing to do by the ruler or citizens at the turbulent times.

Prophets of yore have left their time. They have given you the basic understanding to comprehend reality. But you cannot put all their solutions to your current situations. Now you are the prophet of your life. Now you need to culture the prophetic vision.

Fire is hot is repeated thousand times by your teachers, guides and masters and it only results in concreting our concepts. Only when we come across the fire and realize it ourselves we break our concepts and move a small step toward de-conceptualization.

What this idea of de-conceptualization holds to our understanding life. All this does not mean you altogether bid farewell to intellectual brain. We simply need to realize the information processing by the brain on daily basis. But the almost all the information for intuitive mind must be processed at the feeling level. We must not blunt these feelings. We must never slow down our awareness. Life’s gravest mistakes occur during laziness. There is great deal of descriptions of spirituality in our scriptures.

All religious philosophies are purely conceptual. They describe rather than present before us cognitive aspects of reality. But there is intuitive side of us which we have missed due to intellectual predominance in our affairs. Consciousness cannot be described—it must be known directly without mediation of concepts. If our mind feeds more on cooked & conceptual thoughts then spirituality becomes a matter of understanding and its similar proliferation in our mind. But the same thought can be used to awaken ourselves to altogether unknown realities.