Inference and Propensity

Dictionary definitions:

Propensity: an inclination or natural tendency to behave in a particular way.

Inference: a conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning.

In the context of spiritual philosophy:

propensity: a causal factor influencing an individual entity

inference: 1) a causal factor influencing a collective entity 2) unit of transmitted knowledge


Remember that all entities are mixtures of individuality and collectivity. Please see my article titled “New Perspective on Unification” for more on this point. An atom is an individual entity but it is also a member of a collective body (group of atoms, atomic elements). Human is an individual entity but he or she is also a part of humanity. An electron is an individual entity but it also behaves as a quantum field which is a collective entity.

Other reminders

  1. At the core of all entities there is a ‘reference’ to the Cosmic Soul.
  2. Without this ‘reference’ existence is not possible.
  3. The interdependence of all entities is due to this ‘reference’ as well.
  4. The soul of each entity is that ‘reference’ to the Cosmic Soul and the Cosmic Soul is that ‘reference’ to the Absolute Being (Godhead).
  5. All entities are alive by definition because the soul is the source of life.
  6. The soul is the source of energy as well.
  7. All individual entities have a mind+body. Collective entities have mind+body too.
  8. Mind and body are the two polarities of an entity.


In the context of spiritual philosophy both “propensity” and “inference” imply directionality: “propensity” implies a direction of development for the individual and “inference” implies a direction of development for the collective body.

All information is carried by waves

In the modern world, text, voice, images, videos are transmitted using electromagnetic waves. When we talk to people our thoughts are transmitted through sound waves. It is no exaggeration to say that all information is carried by waves.

Knowledge is more than information

Information can be purely physical but knowledge cannot be just physical. What is that extra quality that turns information into knowledge? Knowledge requires information as input and a mind to form. No mind no knowledge!

Can knowledge be carried by waves?

If information is carried by waves, is it possible then for knowledge to be carried by waves as well? Why not! But, those waves will have to encode that extra quality somehow. Sages tell us that there are such waves in the Cosmos. They call those special waves “inferences.”

Those special waves (“inferences”) have to encode the instructions for the receiving mind to form the transmitted knowledge. In crude analogy, I would say that an “inference” contains information plus meta-information which can be the model/theory that interprets the information. As an example, I could mention the Java applets or Javascript codes accompanying web page data over the internet. Data (information) and the software (meta-information) that interprets the data are transmitted in one package over the internet.  So, in some sense, “inferences” are like Javascript web pages delivered over the internet.

Knowledge is more than meta-information as well

Knowledge is more than information. Knowledge is more than meta-information as well. Knowledge is a cumulative effect. When the package of information plus meta-information is received by the individual mind it will be a drop in the accumulated pool of information and mental models of that individual mind. The integral knowledge formed from the drop of unit knowledge will depend on the accumulated pool.

“Inferences” are receiver specific

The package of information plus meta-information in the form of a  Javascripted web page cannot be received by our minds directly. That “inference” will only work when received by a web-browser-app on a computing device. The “inferences” are receiver specific.

Are there “inferences” that can be received by the human mind directly?

Yes. Sages have been telling us that there are units of knowledge (“inferences”) in the Cosmos that can be received by our minds directly. There are special waves in the Cosmos that convey knowledge. You can call them “thought waves” if you like but you have to be careful with that terminology because there are also “ideas” circulating in the universe. The “ideas” are more subtle. The “inferences” are more basic or elementary. The “thought waves” are somewhat in the middle in terms of subtlety. To describe “inferences” the word “genetic” comes to mind because of the “code” these “inferences” are carrying.

“Inference” is an entity

“Inferences” are entities therefore they have all the characteristics that were mentioned in the “Reminders” and “Other reminders” sections. They have soul + mind+body. The “mind” of an “inference” is the meta-information (software, or genetic code) that I mentioned above. “Inferences” are alive in the sense that all entities are alive because of the ‘reference’ (soul) substantiating the existence of that entity.

“Inference” is a causal factor influencing a collective entity

This characteristic differentiates it from “propensity” which is a factor influencing an individual entity. “Inferences” influence collective entities. Since all entities are mixtures of individuality and collectivity the separation is not so easy to establish.

Planes of “inference”

“Planes of inference” refers to the categories of collective (cosmic) causal factors. The modes of operation for the “inferences” will be different in different lokas.

“Inferences” originate in the primordial stage

Cosmic Mind is the Mind of God. Entire Cosmos is a thought in the Cosmic Mind. Nothing exists outside of the Cosmic Mind. All manifestation is internal to the Cosmic Mind but the individual minds within the Cosmic Mind perceive these cosmic thought vibrations as physical particles, as physical worlds.

All physical manifestation originate in the Cosmic Mind. The “inferences”, however, originate at a stage prior to the manifestation of the physical universe.

I did not say much about “propensity”

A “propensity” cannot appear before the appearance of the individual mind  – one of the two polarities of the individual entity, body being the other polarity. Existence of a “propensity” requires the existence of an individual mind. This is similar to the condition for knowledge. Remember, no mind no knowledge! “Propensities” appear when knowledge manifests. This is why there are so many mythological stories that equate knowledge with desire. The “propensities” are the seeds of desire.

Remember the distinction between “inference” and idea as discussed above. Here, I distinguish “propensity” from desire. A “propensity” is more basic (elementary) than a desire just like “inference” is more basic compared to an idea.

Did I just make an introduction to Microvita?

I don’t know! Maybe this is one of the threads that can be followed to gain entrance into the mysterious world of Microvita.

Acknowledment: inspired by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti.


About Suresh Emre

I have worked as a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. I am a volunteer for the Renaissance Universal movement. My main goal is to inspire the reader to engage in Self-discovery and expansion of consciousness.
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