MY EXPERIMENTS WITH PHILOSOPHY
My life story has many unexpected twists and turns, which reveals the specific intentions of almighty, the reality of universe. This brief autobiographical note is intended to reveal the trials and tribulations, which I experienced in the course of my philosophical quest. I was born on 03 June 1953 as the eldest son of Aleykutty and P. L. George belonging to Puthankulam family of Thodupuzha Taluk in Kerala state, south India. Father was a teacher of Malayalam language. I am a member of Roman Catholic Church of Christianity.
Starting life in an underdeveloped part of Kerala state, I studied in Malayalam medium schools – at Neyyassery (1958–62) up to fourth standard and afterwards at Kodikulam (1962-68). In the primary and middle levels I was very poor in mathematics. But during the year of eighth standard I had a sudden interest in Geometry, particularly in proving theorems. It kindled my aptitude for mathematics, which in coming years helped to expand my brain power. I passed SSLC in 1968 meritoriously, having placed at fiftieth rank in the all-Kerala list. I received the national merit scholarship also.
During the vacation after SSLC examination, I started reading books available in local library. Having good proficiency in reading and writing essays, I curiously read books on popular science including the articles that appeared in periodicals like Mathrubhumi weekly, especially relating to Quantum Physics and Cosmology. This interest in scientific topics prompted me to think on the deeper aspects of world and to brood over philosophical questions. My mathematical and logical mind became suitable for creative thinking on the ultimate issues, though I did not have formal education in philosophy.
I graduated from Newman College (1968-73) at Thodupuzha, securing second rank in B.Sc. (Mathematics Main) of 1973 Batch of Kerala University. It is worth mentioning that I got hundred percent marks in all Mathematics papers. My postgraduate education was in the Department of Statistics, Kariavattam Campus, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. I secured first rank in M.Sc (Statistics) of 1975 Batch. Though there was an offer of lectureship from a good college, I was interested in higher studies; hence continued in the same Department for newly started M.Phil (Statistics) course and came out in next year with A Grade.
By that time, having studied econometrics in the post graduation level, I was pondering to do research in some practical problem related to economics. Keeping this aim in view and due to other circumstances, I joined Reserve Bank of India in Mumbai on 28-09-1976 as Statistical Assistant and became Staff Officer on 28-04-1982. Then I switched over to National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and served as Assistant Manager at its Mumbai Head Office during 1983-85. With next promotion to the post of Manager, I was transferred to the regional office at Thiruvananthapuram (1985-1993) and later to Pune (1993-2001). During these twenty-five years, I could acquire professional experience by conducting various studies in connection with official work including inspection of cooperative banks.
While working in Mumbai, my intellectual life was immersed in banking and other fields of economics. I tried to do part-time research in economic department of the University of Mumbai; but my request was turned down due to lack of M. A. degree in economics. This prompted me to conduct self-study of economic texts; but I could not write exam for post graduation in this subject on account of other priorities.
Reaching Thiruvananthapuram, I continued my struggle with serious subjects alongside official work. I can recall that the seed of my interest in philosophy was sown by a special incident in 1988. On a Sunday morning, I was electrocuted while operating the washing machine in my home. Lying in water with electricity flowing through my body, unable to move or speak, I was expecting the imminent death. At that time my co-brother, who was in the next room, came and saw my danger; he rushed to put off the main switch, thus saved my life. This near-death-experience caused churning in my mind and death became a frequent subject for thought. Subsequently, the aptitude for learning philosophy had been growing in the forthcoming years. I used to get shivering due to wonder over the thought that the universe is extended infinitely without end.
Since my temperament was tuned to research activities, the job related to banking appeared to be quite routine and uninspiring. Taking books from the great libraries of British Council and Center for Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram, I attained considerable depth in various topics of economics. The production function model of classical and neoclassical economics was the center of my intellectual fascination.
During the last period of my stay in the city, my ambition of part-time research in economics was revived. With the guidance of Professor M. A. Oommen, I prepared an article titled Productivity of Capital Investment on Marine Fishing Crafts of Kerala and got it published in July-Sept. 1993 issue of Productivity, Journal of the National Productivity council, New Delhi. On the basis of this article, I was selected in February, 1993 for research in Dept. of Economics at Kariavattam Campus of the University of Kerala. But the PhD program could not be started due to the immediate transfer of my official posting to Pune, which is reputed for better academic atmosphere. After reaching Pune, I could get the support of a guide for part-time economic research in the Mahe center of Pondicherry University, but I was denied permission on account of the lack of concerned post graduation.
Major highlight of my thought process, in the next phase, is the deviation from the ongoing study of economic themes. As a tryst with destiny, in November 1994, I purchased the popular book of Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point, which was originally published in 1982. Here Capra describes various layers of world – subatomic phenomena, biological organisms and different social organizations – as evolving systems, which are wholes of interconnected parts. Then he resorts to Chinese mysticism for addressing the ultimate questions. Since a whole is more than the sum of parts, it has holistic, ecological and dynamic existence. Accordingly, Capra’s systems view of life and economy appeared to counter the mechanistic approach of the corresponding disciplines.
The treatment of systems in Capra’s book triggered my critical mind and it became the turning point in my intellectual pursuit. I recognized that Capra has not explained the origin of life in the inanimate macromolecules like DNA. And, he failed to present a philosophical perspective about systems. What is the philosophy about the interconnected but layered world? How can we compare mysticism with the alternative thoughts about reality? What are the essential principles behind capitalism and communism? These questions agitated me and I decided to take up the study of philosophy as a new venture. I enlarged my reading by purchasing hundreds of useful books in philosophy, social sciences and related subjects from exhibitions and book stalls.
The persistence of poverty and high inequality of income-asset distribution had been a matter of grievous concern to me, in the course of analyzing the economic problems. Another issue that pained me was the cruelty and destruction due to wars as well as terrorism. Why do political leaders commit such atrocities, even though religions profess love and peace? Pondering over these problems I came to the conclusion that most of the crimes and evils are performed at the social level, rather than at individual level. The main drawback of idealism and religious philosophy is its focus on individual mind without giving due importance to the patterns of social behavior.
Thus I began to use the social perspective for deliberating about world. The most important challenge for me was to explain that social systems exist by the complementary relation of opposites. Matter-energy, space-time, body-mind, self-society, capital-labor are prominent examples of opposites, when we consider various phenomena. Continuous exposure to my books and thinking over different aspects of world generated a unique idea in me that our life is spent in seven global social systems; this principle is denoted by the phrase seven life systems. It became the key to start my philosophical project, which was named System Philosophy.
In this context, I got an intuitive idea that the production function model of economics would give an innovative method to study the interconnected behavior of opposite entities as well as social systems. However, for articulating this proposal, I have to study philosophical doctrinesseriously. Gradually I realized that the routine of official job is a hindrance to my progress in this direction. Moreover, I was suffering from diabetes for some years on account of the continuous strain of banking career and private study. Due to the pressure of such circumstances, I voluntarily retired from NABARD service on 29-9-2001 for engaging with the research, writing and publication in the field of philosophy.
Sitting at home, I plunged into the selected books in my possession for developing the themes of System Philosophy. The dialectical method that I resorted was to take notes in English and then translate it into the mother tongue Malayalam. Then the reverse method also was adopted. This bilingual process has helped me to increase the clarity of philosophical issues.
My deep interest in the production function model of economics generated a novel idea in me for depicting the reality of universe as well as our social systems. It is the first time that a mathematical model is employed in philosophy for explaining its abstract concepts.
Inspired by the hope to articulate System Philosophy in an innovative manner, I engaged myself for three years in preparing the manuscript of my first book in Malayalam. Then I approached certain important publishers, but they refused to publish my philosophical book, holding that it is difficult to sell in current scenario. So I self-published the book in April 2004 with the title Saptaloka Darshanam Samgraham (philosophy of seven life systems – a summary) under the banner of PGL Books, Changanacherry, Kerala – 686 101. This work was mainly intended to explain the theoretical concepts of the seven global systems namely nature, economy, politics, family, ethics, religion and art. Due to the popular and traditional importance of number seven, many readers were amazed at my classification.
Next development is my participation during 2004-2005 in the program of the School of People’s Economics, conducted by the NGO called VICHARA at Mavelikara, Kerala. It consisted of about thirty days of discussions and seminars on various topics, which sharpened my philosophical ideas. As a result, I prepared an article titled From Modern Science to System Philosophy and published it in the June 2005 issue of the journal OMEGA of ISR Aluva, Kerala.
As a matter of divine providence, I got the opportunity to join a research program during 2005-08 under the Association of Science, Society and Religion (ASSR) of Jnanadeep Vidya Peedh (Papel Seminary), Pune. The discussions and seminars conducted in December month of these years as well as the library facilities helped me to research on the interface between science, religion and philosophy. I presented a dissertation on this topic and it became the spring board for my intensive pursuit in the following years. So far I have purchased over thousand academic books that serve as authentic references for full time creative work, while remaining in the modest facilities of home.
I presented a paper – titled Whitehead and particle-wave duality: A critical appraisal from the perspective of System Philosophy – in the 7th International Whitehead Conference, January 5–9, 2009 held at Dharmaram College, Bangalore.
In March 2015, I self-published an authentic book jeevanum parinamavum (Life and Evolution) in Malayalam language discussing the theories of biological phenomena in the light of System Philosophy.
I presented weekly Radio talk on various subjects regularly for six months in 2015-16.
I have some letters to Editor regarding social issues published in news papers and periodicals of Malayalam language.
I got an article titled Ayurvedathinte Jnana Sithantham (Theory of Knowledge of Ayurveda) published in the May & June 2017 issues of OUSHADHAM Journal of Ayurvedic Medicine Manufacturers Organization of India (AMMOI), Thrissur, Kerala.
Started in 2006 a website www.systemphilosophy.com for presenting the topics of System Philosophy in simple English and Malayalam. I have posted a few important articles in this website.
Further, recently I have some posts pertaining to philosophical ideas in my account at www.facebook.com/LukeGeorge.
Organized the Academy of System Philosophy under a Trust to disseminate the new philosophy among wider audience.
I regularly participate in seminars and discussions concerned with science, religion, philosophy and various social issues.
The foregoing is the background for preparing the manuscripts of the comprehensive books on System Philosophy. In the recent years I have exchanged ideas with many well placed scholars; but to my surprise they are finding it extremely hard to understand the principle of system as elaborated in my writings. Generally people are obsessed by the thought that opposite entities are separate, without any interconnection. Here I may mention the fact that acquiring knowledge is a social process, which is influenced by the ideologies and vested interests of powerful individuals of society. If a new idea comes from a lover of wisdom, who lacks the support of institutions like universities and media, it will normally face the struggle for existence. I believe that the esteemed readers of my book will help its natural selection in future because human mind has an innate tendency to prefer truth and discard falsehood.
Many teachers, friends, relatives and well wishers have helped me in the course of my life so as to contribute to the evolution of my philosophic views. My deep gratitude to all of them is beyond words. I would specifically thank Professor Hardev Singh Virk, for showing keen interest in reading my previous articles, perusing the manuscript and finally gifting me with an introduction to the present book.
I am especially indebted to many writers of philosophy and related subjects, as mentioned in the notes of chapters as well as the bibliography of this volume. I can emphasize that my limited words are not sufficient to express my acknowledgement of the ideas received from the forerunners in the history of thought.
03 – 06 — 2018