15.10: “Seeing is believing” is an insult to human intelligence
The Bhagavad-gita (15.10) reproaches as deluded (vimudha) those materialists who refuse to perceive the soul due to their excessive devotion to their senses. “Seeing is believing” is the credo that such people brandish self-righteously to justify their disbelief in anything that is invisible. Little do they realize that their credo insults their human intelligence and drags them down from the human to the bestial level both intellectually and practically.
Intellectually, “seeing is believing” is a permanent progress stopper. No deep understanding of the world around us – be it scientific or philosophical – can take place unless we infer from the visible phenomena the underlying invisible principles. As the dogma of “seeing is believing” censors everything invisible, it reduces to nought our advanced human intelligence and sentences us to the same epistemological boat as animals.
Practically too, “seeing is believing” drags humans down to the animalistic way of living. An animal wandering in a desert believes in the mirage that it sees and chases after the non-existent water, thereby condemning itself to perpetual thirst and eventual death. Similarly, dogmatic materialists believe in the mirage-like sensual pleasures that they see around them and chase after those non-existent pleasures, thereby condemning themselves to insatiable craving and miserable samsara, repeated birth and death in material existence.
Thus, it is apt that the Gita addresses the devotees of “seeing is believing” by the word vimudha, for that word invokes the image of a special ass (vi – special; mudha – ass), a human being behaving in an asinine way.