Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 Diary Entry – E Pluribus Unum
Let’s play a game. Because we like them so. >D
First I will tell you that I used to study microbiology for a few years or so. I enjoy science on occasion, and on other occasions I don’t. Those occasions on which I don’t would be, say, when I’ve been rehearsing plays ’til midnight and then I go home to do five hours of homework and then I fall asleep during class afterward. So I would probably have enjoyed it more if I were not so busy. But I studied microbiology before getting really into acting. I was a very good student, and an annoying student too- back then, as a young kid, I had no tact. I was very self-centered, and I enjoyed being smarter than my teachers and showing them so on every possible occasion. Also, if a quiz might call for the answer “adenosine triphosphate” I would write “adenosine tripoopphate”. I might still write that, but I hope I’ve gotten over the cocky part (yet I know I haven’t quite).
In my first biology class, there was a young girl who considered herself some type of Christian- I don’t know which type and I don’t think it matters. At any rate, she let her boxed-in-bundle-of-thoughts about her religion get in the way of her learning about the real world around her. The world which the real, living God provides. You know, reality. She didn’t care for science at all! This was because she decided that, because of her religion, she did not believe in evolution. Which is about as ridiculous as saying that one does not believe in gravity. I suppose some do that too. After all, there have been times when people did not believe that the sun is a star or that it is the center of our solar system- clerics have killed other clerics over such topics.
Which means that all the time we were learning about the first life forms from which we all evolved, that is, the microorganisms in the ocean, she sat there with her arms crossed and refused to do a thing. And so on and so forth.
Now for the game. Let us suppose that you met a person like this girl.
Let us suppose that this person, let us call him Thomas, is a Christian- though, really, I could substitute these two nouns with any other name and any other religion.
Let us suppose that Thomas has made up his mind about the way that the world works and let us suppose that he places these limitations upon everything.
Let us suppose that Thomas has never gone to school, just to add more fun hypotheticals to the mix of this game. Let us suppose that the only learning he has done has been, for example, reading the Bible. (Any other text may be substituted.) His family taught him that the Bible is the truth- which is fine- but let us suppose that Thomas accepts this at such face value that he never does more than a cursory reading. Thomas never reads between the lines. In fact, he doesn’t read the whole thing. And he never reads another book. Also, Thomas never even learns what a metaphor is. This helps him to create his limiting labels about the world, even if he doesn’t have to create them. Let us suppose that he never considers that there might be more, because he is too busy letting his thoughts control him. Now, he doesn’t need to let his thoughts control him, but let us suppose that Thomas does. Let us suppose he listens to the voice which defines, confines, and labels, even if these labels are inaccurate by virtue of the way in which he chooses to interpret them- because he simply misunderstands. And Thomas does not want to think that the voice in his head could be wrong, because he identifies with this voice and thinks it is himself, so he sticks to these labels. He knows everything he needs to know, or so he thinks!
Now. Let us suppose that you meet Thomas. This entirely sheltered and non-educated person. Let us suppose that you decide to teach him about microbiology, perhaps out of some urge to share in the hopes that he will enjoy what you show him. Let us suppose you tell him… that he is made up of trillions of individual microorganisms. That means that he is made up of trillions of individual beings, so very many living things, each their own entity. Let us suppose that Thomas denies this fact. Let us suppose he says something like, “I am not Plural living beings! I am only One living being!” Ah, again, he has misunderstood, thinking that these facts are mutually exclusive and that one precludes the other. You may tell him, “You are both One and Many beings.” And you would be “right”, based upon scientific fact.
But let us suppose he ignores this- because Thomas does not care for scientific fact if it refutes his precious preconceived notions- and he continues, “No, I am only One being; it is all that makes sense. Based upon the framework I am provided by my religious thinking, it is all that makes sense. You, and all like you who give priority to the Many, have fundamentally flawed and illogical thinking. You ignore the evidence of your senses. Just look at you- you have only to look at yourself to realize that you are only One being. You lie like Satan, and reject the wisdom of God and nature, in favor of your artificial mental constructs- for these made-up flim-flam microorganisms exist only within your mind.” So, still wanting to share the beauty of true knowledge with Thomas, perhaps you tell him, “I do not give priority to either the One or the Many, and to say that I do is a false attribution. You are misunderstanding the whole concept. I merely recognize that they are both scientific fact. It is not illogical, for I have seen the evidence; I have seen it proven.” And you would be right, if you had ever looked at these things in a microscope.
But Thomas misunderstands scientific fact and the notion of proof, still. Let us suppose he says, “Singleness is not some aberrant defect, as you claim it is! Your fascist ideas about diversity in my one body are intolerant of my beliefs regarding unity.” Perhaps you tell him that you had never thought singleness to be a defect- just to be existence. Perhaps you tell him that you believe in both diversity and unity and do not give preference to either one or the other because they are both reality.
But Thomas does not care. He continues, “There is no practical benefit to be gained from believing in these imaginary creatures. You are symbolically using violence against me. You, and all those like you, and all of these FALSE pagan religions that believe in these microorganisms-” and then he goes on to attribute many things to many religions which these religions do not support whatsoever, but which he thinks they do, because he’s made up his mind, so that’s all that matters to him. And he continues- “all these religions are a load of bunk, fundamentally flawed, and there is no way I can see that they worship the same God I do.” Perhaps you do not even bother to tell him the practical benefits, because this is beginning to seem a very ridiculous and fallacious argument in which he is clearly not hearing or understanding what you say. Perhaps all you say is that he is ignoring actual reality.
Let us say that Thomas says, “Microorganisms are not reality. They are your belief. And I do not believe in them. I do not believe in things I cannot see.”
Ok. It’s pretty much time to just walk away, at this point. Cut your ties with the negativity before it drags you down with it. As I said in the beginning, Thomas has already made up his mind, and now you know this too. Perhaps someday he will free his mind, but right now, he is still locked up and bound by it. Do not even bother telling him about the trillions of other cells which his body contains. He would not believe in those parts of the whole either. Do not bother telling him about the molecules which compose those cells. Do not bother telling him about the subatomic particles which compose those molecules. Do not bother telling him about the light which composes those subatomic particles. Do not bother telling him that all these particles came from an explosion of our sun, which came from a larger explosion, and a larger explosion in turn. And fuck, don’t mention the all-encompassing space in-between the stardust, either. He is not going to believe in either these miniscule points of light or the space that form his body and everything in existence. He does not “believe” in the real, living God yet.
We see that Thomas is still trapped in his mind, and we are not obliged to “fix” him. Consider him like a baby who has not yet grown to understand the world around him. Do not insult him as he is fond of doing to others, no matter how tempted you are to call him stupid. You would not insult a baby, after all. Merely love him, because he is a part of you- a part of you which so far misunderstands. Besides, whenever you insult someone, you are projecting your shadow- your reflection- and you are what you call it. If you call someone stupid, you’re stupid, and you’re afraid of that part of yourself. Also, though you may know things, remember as Socrates did that you know nothing. Let go of the need to be right.
Of course, this has all been a completely hypothetical conversation, so it is safe. Or was it? Actually- this entire article has thus far been satire derived from my real life. (I almost didn’t explain this, not wanting to underestimate my audience, but… I knew there would be a few who saw it from only one perspective.) I never had this entire conversation, but I have based the character Thomas upon a particular priest- a pagan priest. Because it was satire, you probably guessed that I simply flipped the entire situation around so that one might see its absurdity. I have had conversations with this priest, although no longer- it wasn’t getting anywhere, besides which he does not listen, as Thomas does not, and has refused further communication. (That seems to happen to me often enough during philosophical conversation… at least I’ve never been forced to drink hemlock.) Oh well, it was negative anyhow, and, like I said, it’s better this way. Others like myself have also tried to conduct philosophical conversations with him. All this led him to publish an article in which almost all of my above conversational points occurred, all of which could have been or were discussed with him as such by myself or others.
He and some other pagan priests are offended by some idea of what they call “monism”. I had no idea I was a monist until these priests labeled myself and others as such. More labels! At any rate, the idea of oneness offends them so much that he and another priest have even suggested their desire to commit violence against us. And like I said- these are all nearly direct quotes, or paraphrasing of said quotes, with only a few words switched into their opposites. He thinks monists are illogical persons who ignore the evidence of their senses, despite that I am aware of my senses and they lead me to see the oneness of body. He thinks we deride his belief in plurality as untrue, and so that makes us stupid- even though that is a complete strawman, because, as I said, these ideas are not mutually exclusive and we would never deny these things. But there is no need to get into everything; despite this, despite that, despite this, despite that… for no matter what, until he comes around within himself, I will be a “fascist” impugning upon his beliefs and oppressing him. That is what his unconquered mind wants him to believe, that is how it limits him, and so it will remain until he frees himself from this pattern of thought.
But as for safety and sanity in conversation, one should be very careful of what one says to these types, anyway. I have encountered very many of these types. I will remind us again what Eckhart Tolle says about what we might say:
“Facts undoubtedly exist. If you say: ‘Light travels faster than sound,’ and someone else says the opposite is the case, you are obviously right, and he is wrong. The simple observation that lightning precedes thunder could confirm this. So not only are you right, but you know you are right. Is there any ego involved in this? Possibly, but not necessarily. If you are simply stating what you know to be true, the ego is not involved at all, because there is no identification. Identification with what? With mind and a mental position. Such identification, however, can easily creep in. If you find yourself saying, ‘Believe me, I know’ or ‘Why do you never believe me?’ then the ego has already crept in. It is hiding in the little word ‘me’. A simple statement: ‘Light is faster than sound’, although true, is now in the service of illusion, of ego. It has become contaminated with a false sense of ‘I’; it has become personalized, turned into a mental position. The ‘I’ feels diminished or offended because somebody doesn’t believe what ‘I’ said.”
So it is okay to at least tell Thomas the Truth. Reality. One should be careful to not ever let identification enter into it, however. Even if Thomas is trapped by his identification with what he believes to be true- what his voice in his head tells him is true- we’ve all been there too. We have all identified with the mind. And we could go there again, easily. But there is no need to be offended. Besides, even statements which point to the truth are demonstrably meaningless; they are just vibrations that come out of your vocal folds, and, as Crowley says, anything can be proved or disproved in the confines of the mind and language given enough logical underpinning. You begin with A is A and end with A is not A. Also, science began with “the world is flat” and ended with “the world is round”, and “this is the smallest thing” no, “this is even smaller than that” and so on.
But it is okay to say that we are both One and Many.
“The Many is as adorable to the One as the / One is to the Many. This is the Love / of These: creation-parturition is the / Bliss of the One; coition-dissolution / is the Bliss of the Many. / The All, thus interwoven of These, is Bliss. / Naught is beyond Bliss.” – Crowley in “The Book of Lies”.
“I am large, I contain multitudes.” – Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”.
Luken also asked me to include the following quote, which he had me listen to a looooong time ago… I knew it to be true then, but I didn’t really care, and I never really gave it a second thought for the longest time. “Wouldn’t you like to see a positive LSD story on the news? To base your decision on information rather than scare tactics and superstition? Perhaps? Wouldn’t that be interesting? Just for once? ‘Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration – that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There’s no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we’re the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.'” – comedian Bill Hicks.
I suppose I used to think that the idea that “all is one” was a bit of hippie nonsense, but I still always knew it was true. So have I known that we are many. So have I known that both are good and beautiful. And I have learned to let go of any stigmas.
As I began to awaken, there have been days when I lay in savasana and I could feel the various fields of bacteria in my body… they were, of course, too small to see, but I could sense them all, if that makes any sense. I imagine that Mahavira, Marcus Terentius Varro, Abū ‘Alī al-Ḥusayn ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sīnā, Ibn Khatima, Girolamo Fracastoro, and many others may have used this, or some other intrinsic sense, in acquiring their knowledge of microorganisms before Anton van Leeuwenhoek ever invented the microscope.
There have been nights when I would climb up to the roof to do yoga asanas under the stars, and at first they would seem so far away, vast, but innocent. Then, as I would proceed through the asanas, they would become “closer”, almost uncomfortably so, resulting in a strange feeling. Not quite vertigo. It was partially an irrational fear that I would fall upwards off the roof into the heavens- and this is because I was sensing how my body was one with them. How within me I have a universe, and how I am within the universe, and we are all one body. As above, so below. It could be as though I was flying through space- that with every breath I took, my body expanded and contracted through every star. This always intimidated me, but I would always come back for more. I would often remind myself of the love of God- gravity- holding me to the roof.
As I said, to say that one does not believe in evolution is like not believing in gravity. It is the same if one says that one does not believe in microorganisms or the unity of reality. After all, the unity of reality, love, and gravity are usually even pretty interchangeable. But this doesn’t mean anyone has to believe me. And some don’t. I’ve been told that my experiences of oneness are “delusional”. And it’s not like I can give anyone proof beyond what is already out there, anyway- just as I can’t give proof that I’ve traveled through outer space to look at all the clusters of beautiful stars and planets, because it’s not like I can bring you a damn picture back on my iPhone or something. If someone wants to disregard my experiences, then fine. He can go make his own.
Aleister Crowley certainly did- and he also tried to approach everything with a scientific point of view alongside it. He tries to divest the mystical of all the flim-flam, whether superstitious or of the egoic mind, to strip it down to essentials. He says of Yoga, “For, like all great things, it is simple; but, like all great things, it is masked by confused thinking; and, only too often, brought into contempt by the machinations of knavery.” He also says, “When I first undertook the investigation of Yoga, I was fortunately equipped with a very sound training in the fundamental principles of modern science. I saw immediately that if we were to put any common sense into the business (science is nothing but instructed common sense), the first thing to do was to make a comparative study of the different systems of mysticism. It was immediately apparent that the results all over the world were identical. They were masked by sectarian theories. The methods all over the world were identical; this was masked by religious prejudice and local custom. But in their quiddity- identical! This simple principle proved quite sufficient to disentangle the subject from the extraordinary complexities which have confused its expression.” And as he did so, using math and physics to prove himself along the way, many studies still ended up being largely comprised of his own mystical experiences. I recommend that everyone should read his lectures on Yoga- he covers it so well. And, if I met someone who knew nothing about Yoga, I should say that it is not just asanas. It means Union, and comes from the same primordial root as the Greek and Latin and English words for yoking, for joining. Because your destiny is to attain consummation of marriage with the universe, as he terms it.
Speaking of the limb Yama, which he translates as Control, he says once that “It represents the merging of minor individual acts of control into a single gesture, very much as all the separate cells, bones, veins, arteries, nerves, muscles and so forth, of the arm combine in unconscious unanimity to make a single stroke.” All your cells come together as one. You are one. And many. Can you imagine the intelligence of so many single units all working together for such a singular purpose as moving your forearm? Damn.
Some may still need a further example. It is this last quote which made me look up these lectures again for this article- it is simply so very beautiful. And it describes unity so well. Crowley speaks of a vision he’d had- an important one he references often, but had never explained until then, because he’d thought it to be a matter of common knowledge, “just as one assumes that everyone knows that one possesses a pair of lungs,” he says. “I lost consciousness of everything but an universal space in which were innumerable bright points, and I realized that this was a physical representation of the universe, in what I may call its essential structure. I exclaimed:
‘Nothingness, with twinkles!’ I concentrated upon this vision, with the result that the void space which had been the principal element of it diminished in importance. Space appeared to be ablaze, yet the radiant points were not confused, and I thereupon completed my sentence with the exclamation: ‘But what Twinkles!’
The next stage of this vision led to an identification of the blazing points with the stars of the firmament, with ideas, souls, etc. I perceived also that each star was connected by a ray of light with each other star. In the world of ideas, each thought possessed a necessary relation with each other thought; each such relation is of course a thought in itself; each such ray is itself a star. It is here that logical difficulty first presents itself. The seer has a direct perception of infinite series. Logically, therefore, it would appear as if the entire space must be filled up with a homogeneous blaze of light. This is not, however, the case. The space is completely full, yet the monads which fill it are perfectly distinct. The ordinary reader might well exclaim that such statements exhibit symptoms of mental confusion. The subject demands more than cursory examination. I can do no more than refer the critic to Bertrand Russell’s ‘Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy’, where the above position is thoroughly justified, as also certain positions which follow.”
I also want to say that just because my hypothetical Thomas was uneducated does not mean that the educated are not equally susceptible to being trapped by their minds. In fact, sometimes, when someone is very intelligent, it is very easy to become trapped by the mind! For the mind to pretend that it is you. Just because Rabbi Caiaphas was a well-respected high priest who knew ancient Hebrew well does not mean that he paid very much attention to the true, living God at all. Jesus wanted to party in Jerusalem, and Caiaphas, for some dumbass reason, decided that was unacceptable. You know the rest. How silly of him. And just because a priest nowadays knows Greek does not mean that he is more spiritual than mind-trapped; after all, I have heard priests say the silliest things too. Both “Abrahamic”, “Pagan”, and whatever else.
These people just cannot remember God. They are too distracted by their thoughts. They need to sit still, be quiet, and stop thinking. Perhaps then they would meet God more often than just at the portals of death and near-death, which force their thoughts to stop, because their electrons no longer fire. I have had this happen to me while still alive- I experienced the oneness of the universe void of any thought that was not God; I experienced a pure sense of self stripped of all else. These people do not remember when God has held them down under the eternal waters, where they cannot breathe, to baptize them and force them to stare at the veil of eternity until they manage to face it without screaming in fear at its incomprehensibility. When God has shown them that they are a microbe in the greater whole body, Saturn’s wheel of creation and spacetime. They instead are fond of denying that they descend from Shiva… often, when I think of Shiva manifesting, I have an image which looks a lot like this painting I just found:
So… I’ve gone on enough with my talk of the oneness of the universe, for today. And I say to those within Ganymede: Don’t believe us if you don’t want to believe us. Like I said. Go find out for yourself. You will discover an immense power within yourself. You will discover strength and magic. You will discover freedom and truth. You will discover an amazing, vulnerable Love.
Love is the law. :3