An Interview with Carlos G. Vallés

This post is also available in: Spanish, Catalan

Carlos G. Vallés is a Jesuit and a Mathematician who has lived most of his life in India, where he has become quite a preeminent figure. He very kindly agreed to answer all our questions in an interview which we reproduce here:

What is the Universe made of?

he Universe is made of matter. Of molecules and atoms and protons and electrons and all the subsequent particles Physics will keep on discovering. We have always believed we had found the last one and we have always found a new one. ‘Atom’ means ‘indivisible’ in Greek (from ‘atomos’, where ‘a’ means ‘no’ and ‘tomos’ means ‘division’), and that’s what scientists believed when they discovered it. But it divided. And so it will happen again.

What is knowledge?

Knowledge is noticing the connection between things, their causes and effects, their utility and finality, their qualities.

What can we know?

Everything that reaches our senses. A proverb in Latin says: “there’s nothing in the mind which hasn’t been in the senses before”. And, for the same reasons, “everything that reaches the senses can reach our understanding”. Outside of that, we can know nothing.

What is consciousness?

The personal, intimate and unavoidable feeling that we’ve done something favorable or unfavorable for life.

What is free will?

The clear perception that, writing this, I could perfectly stop doing it. Nothing and nobody is forcing me to.

What is life?

Life is the period which goes between birth and death and which, in humans, involves the consciousness and free will we mentioned before.

What is time?

Time is what St Augustine said: “if you don’t ask me, I know; if you do, I do not know”.

What is the meaning of life?

Men and Women have been asking the question since they started to speak, and the fact that there are so many answers means none of them are the final one.
My favorites are these two. Saint Ignatius of Loyola: “Man is created to praise, revere and serve God our Lord and, through that, save his soul.” Jiddu Krishnamurti: “Life has no meaning and does not have to.”

See this author’s biography.

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