Book Review: The Theory of Being

The Theory of Being: Systems science from a traditional Indian perspective

The Theory of Being: Systems science from a traditional Indian perspective by Srinath Srinivasa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are a few books out there which can completely change how we think and model the world around us as well as ourself, and this book is one such book!

Most of us perceive the world and ourself in a machine hermeneutic way. It is discussed in detail in the first half of the book. Basically it is a mechanised design where everything is a component of the overarching system and performs its defined role. We may ourself not know how deeply such principles are ingrained in us, and affect our day to day decisions and actions!

In the second half of the book, a new model is introduced titled Theory of Being (as the title of the book). It completely contrasts from the machine hermeneutic way and looks at everything as a being. All the related terms and concepts are explained in detail and clearly distinguished from the usually believed meaning of those concepts. For example, most of us think that dharma means religion, but actually it doesn’t! Overall, the theory is just mind-blowing! Once we understand it, it completely changes our point of view. It is elaborated how this theory can be used to rethink and redesign systems with suggested steps which can be taken in order to build sustainable systems. Finally, the book ends with an intriguing vision of how the future might look in both machine and being oriented worlds!

The core principles of the Theory of Being come from the Indic thought. However, if we pick a related scripture and read it, it is really hard to understand and more importantly difficult to relate. This book presents an interpretation of that Indic thought which is understandable and relatable to a person who has some basic knowledge of systems thinking, basic mathematics and game theory. This book also shows how little we know and how superficial and flawed our knowledge is regarding our our own rich Indic systems and theories.

Also, this is one of those books, from which one can understand something new, every time it is reread! I have read some parts of this book multiple times and every time I got some new insights to ponder! Many lines lead to an aha moment! An amalgamation of the core theory along with lots of interesting examples, personal experiences and anecdotes, makes it an amazing read!

P.S.- I have had multiple insightful discussions on many concepts and ideas presented in this book with Prof. Srinath and these discussions have greatly helped me in understanding it with more clarity.

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