On Cognition and Differences

On Cognition and Differences

I recognise a particular object, say a chair, as a chair. I recognise it as a chair since it is NOT a table, it is NOT a TV and it is NOT one of so many things that I already recognise. Now, if I comprehend something new, I recognise that object as something new as it is not already in the gamut of objects I already recognise.

So I recognise a thing because it is NOT something else. It is something “different”. I understand an object by its differences from others.

Now, do you call this “difference-from-others” as an innate quality of the object or does the object have characteristics, thanks to which it differs from others? For eg, can I recognise a bike, if I absolutely cannot recognise anything else in this world, just by looking at the characteristics of the bike? Or do I have to know something else, so that I can recognise the bike as “something-different-from-what-I-know” ?

In other words, is difference a fundamental attribute of an object or is it just a tool to differentiate innate attributes?

My answer (not original ofcourse), is as follows: “Difference is fundamental and foundational”. It forms the innate attribute of an object, because of which the object can be cognised. I recognise a bike as something different from all else I know, and something else is recognised similarly.

If the above is the case, then how at all did I recognise the very first object I saw, as soon as I was born? My mother, for example, was probably the first thing I ever saw. How did I recognise her? Remember, I do not know any other object to differentiate from my mother.

I recognised my mother, because she was an object, “different from me”. “I” was different from my mother, so recognised her as a new object. My father was not me, was not my mother and hence was recognised as a different object. Today, I recognise a person because that person is not me, not anybody else. By the same token, I recognise God, as He is not me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.