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For the complete debate with materialists see this list

Rational Spirituality  

An exegesis on Being and Nonbeing.    

by Ali Sina

Rationality and spirituality are two human faculties. Both are intrinsic parts of our nature and both are fruits of our evolution.  

As evolutionary products they are still evolving. We are neither fully evolved rationally nor spiritually and in fact there is a dichotomy between the two. It even appears that one is the antithetic of the other. Humanity is divided between those who call themselves spiritualists and those who claim to be rationalists. Neither one accepts the other and the debate between them is irreconcilable and fiery.  

On one hand we have a group that denies reason and sticks to religious doctrines as the only divinely ordained truth. And on the other, we have those who deny any notion of spirituality and dismiss the possibility of the existence of any reality beyond the matter.  

These two groups that can be rightly defined as ‘pseudo rationalists’ and the ‘pseudo spiritualists’, seem to be at two extremes of the pole, but the fact is the pole is curved and these two extremes almost meet and sometimes they seem to be indistinguishable. Although at the first glance their disparities seem to be irreconcilable, in reality the differences between them are less than their similarities. They represent two sides of the same coin. They have the same mindset, the same attitude and the same blind faith. Their beliefs are different but their faiths are alike. In other words, they may have different belief systems but they are equally fanatic about their belief and equally blinded by faith.  

Both these groups are dogmatic. For the pseudo spiritualists, the dogma is what they believe is dictated by God. The presumed word of God is above everything and it can defy even commonsense and reason. Their hallmark is credulity. They are convince that one day science will vindicate their beliefs and they will be proven right.  

For the pseudo rationalists, the dogma is what can be empirically verified through material means. Love, compassion, justice, altruism, sacrifice, perception, intuition and other spiritual faculties that cannot be quantified empirically or repeated in controlled environment are not part of their “science” and hence can be dismissed as mere sentiments. They dismiss any evidence of the existence of immaterial realities, as “imagined” and "anecdotal” or simply say one day science will be able to explain everything and with this stop wondering whether the reality may be much more than what meets the eye.  

This article attempts to underline the fallacy of this dichotomy and demonstrate the oneness of Being, including that of Rationality and Spirituality. 

In a previous article I spoke of a Single Principle underlying the creation and I called it a Nonbeing. I said the Nonbeing is the mother of all Being, and that it is not only the law of creation, it is also its creative impulse.  Someone questioned, how can this Nonbeing, which has no understanding, create something that feels, loves and understands.  

To understand each other we have to agree upon the meaning of the terms that we use.

First of all, the Being and the Nonbeing are relative terms. Although I may risk confusing you further I would like to state that the Being in relation to Nonbeing is non-existent and the Nonbeing is the only reality that exists. In other words, this world that you see is the product of our imagination. It is only real to us. It has no substance. What is real is the Nonbeing. The Nonbeing is a misnomer. It is the only self-subsisting, absolute and eternal reality that exists.


How can the Being be unreal? 

The being is made of matter and matter is made of atoms. Atom is not a solid object. Most of it is made of empty space. The solidity of atom is an illusion. It is caused by the spin of the electrons around the nucleus of the atom that forms a cloud. Between this cloud, that constitutes the “shell” of the atom and the nucleus of the atom there is a vast emptiness, just like the vast emptiness between the planets and the sun.

If you could become so small that you could penetrate inside an atom, you’d see no sign of matter. This whole Universe disappears for you. All you’d see is a mass, made of protons and neutrons and charges of electricity called electrons, whizzing around it. So matter is real to you only if you are made of matter. If you are made of a “non-material substance”, or if you are a particle smaller than atom the material world becomes inexistent to you.
 

So the Universe really does not exist?  

Originally it was thought that atom is the fundamental building block of matter. Then it was discovered that atom has a structure. It consists of Nuclei made of protons and neutrons and electrons that seamed to have no structure. Later it was discovered that protons and neutrons are also made of smaller particles called quarks. At one time it was believed that atoms are like Russian dolls. Inside them there is proton, inside proton there is quark, inside the quarks there are sub-quarks and inside them there are sub-sub-quarks and so on. Now that theory is discarded.

The new theory that explains the structure of the matter is the “string theory”. The basic idea of string theory is that all the particles, all the carriers of the forces, (we will discuss them below) and even the carriers of the force of gravity, are excitations of string-like objects.

According to this theory, quarks are not viewed as points anymore but as one dimensional strings made up, not of three sub-quarks, but an infinite number of sub-quarks all around the string. That is a very large change in the way we construct physical theory.

Previously, it was believed that elementary particles were points, with no size at all, just mathematical points. This idea ran into trouble when gravity had to be taken into account.

In string theory, particles are no longer seen as points but as strings. I.e. instead of having no dimensions they are now believed to have one dimension, namely they are lines, they have no thickness at all, but are one-dimensional curves or to be precise they are loops. According to the string theory elementary particles are loops of one-dimensional elementary objects and not points.

This theory unifies the existence. The substance of all the particles and hence all atom and matter is one. It is also called the Theory of Everything. This is the most fascinating theory, because it points to the oneness of existence.

In the words of David Gross of the Princeton University and one of the co-authors of the Superstring theory:

“There is about as complete unification as one could desire. Within this theory one is not saying that there are a few kinds of objects, and that everything else is built out of them. In some sense, we are saying that in string theory there is one object, which is extended, which is one-dimensional, which is a string-like object, and such an object can appear to us in many different forms.”

Gross explains:  

“In the same way that if you take a violin string, and you pluck it, it has many kinds of vibrations. So, one violin string can give rise to many sounds. All of the tones of a vibrating string are different modes of one object. In the same way, there is one fundamental string whose distinct vibrations we observe at low energy, large distances, as elementary particles. The same object vibrates one way, looks like a quark, vibrates another way, looks like a photon, which is the particle of light, vibrates another way looks like an electron, vibrates another way, looks like a graviton, the particle that gives rise to gravitational forces.” 
He concludes:

"It's all in this theory, the different vibrations of the same object. That is true unification of everything, in that all the particles in the theory, and all the interactions, the particles that govern interactions, are all vibrations of the same string."


How the variety is achieved?

It is not the atom, the proton or the quark that is the fundamental building block of mater but strings. One string can vibrate in infinite ways and become infinite particles.

“What is unifying and simple about a string is that all of those particles are all excitations of the same one object." Says David Gross. According to this definition there is only one string, but an infinite number of elementary particles.  

However, the universe in which these strings that generate the matter operate has 9 or 10 dimensions.



What are the 10 dimensions?

We only know of three dimensions, i.e.. x, y, z, which is known as the Cartesian coordinates, or simply width, depth and height. The physicists tell us at the Planck length or the very minute universe where particles interact, there are 6 more hidden dimensions.

Take the dimension x for example. If you live in a line and your world is one dimensional, you can be only a point that can go to the left or to the right of the line. You are unaware of the existence of other dimensions. Now, if you are very small (planks length) you’ll see that the line you are living on is actually a tube and you can go around the diameter of the tube. This is not along the y and the z coordinates, because you actually cannot go up and down in Z coordinate or forward and backward in Y coordinate. All you can do is go in circle and end up in the same place. So at sub atomic universe there are two more hidden dimensions per each coordinate. In total there are 9 dimensions and if you take time into consideration there would be 10 dimensions. In other words the meaning of space and time dissolves at the Planck length.

David Schartz of the California Institute of Technology and a co-inventor of String theory says:

“It seems likely, when we develop a better formulation of the theory in the future, one which brings out more of these underlying mathematical features in a clearer way, that we will see that the meaning of space and time somehow dissolves at the Planck length. It's not entirely clear yet how that works, but we already have some evidence that it's happening."

All these scientists are trying to tell us is that the reality of the Universe is not what meets the eye. That it is much different from what we perceive. That matter, time and space are illusions. They are relative to us but at the subatomic level they lose their meaning.

They are telling us that matter is made by excitation of strings of energy vibrating with different intensity. Our thoughts are also vibrating energies. In other words the universe is made with the same substance that our thoughts are made. Is this Universe only a thought? This is the concept of oneness of existence. It is the Theory of Everything and indeed a fascinating subject.

This should serve as a waking call to the pseudo rationalists who cannot see beyond their nose and deny the existence of any reality that does not fall within their limited understanding of matter.

Pseudo rationalists have the same dogmatic mentality of the people behind the Flat Earth Society.


The Flat Earth Society folk are in denial of the fact that the Earth is round. Their dogma does not allow them to accept this fact. Likewise the pseudo rationalists are in denial that matter may have other hidden dimensions. Scientists are now postulating a 10 dimensional world, but there is no reason to assume that more dimensions will not be discovered in future.  

The string theory is just a theory. It may never be proven. We are talking of objects that compared to the size of an atom are like a tree compared to the size of the solar system. Despite its theoretical nature, and despite the fact that it may never be proven, the string theory is logical and it is not contrary to reason or science.  

This proves that not all theories must be empirically observable to be accepted as theories. Theories are just that. They are educated guesses. They are not facts and they do not need to be proven empirically to be valid as theories. Once they are proven empirically, they seize to be theories and become facts.  

Another example is the theory that our Universe is not the only one but there may be infinite number of universes like ours that may never be detected because they belong to other time/space quanta.  

It is not illogical to assume that the same natural laws that kicked the Big Bang and gave birth to our Universe could have done the same elsewhere and elsewhen and that actually there maybe a multiverse comprised of billions of universes.  

It is a logical fallacy to suggest that anything that cannot be proven empirically does not exist. If a theory is logically viable, then that theory has its merits. It must be discarded only if it is proven to be false logically and scientifically. E.g. the idea that Earth is flat is false because it is proven to be false. 

A voyage inside an atom?

We can enter inside an atom with our thoughts. What if you were made of pure thought? Would you be limited by matter at all? Would you be limited by time, space or any other, physical constraints?

Furthermore the subatomic particles are made of leptons and hadrons. The electrons are made of leptons while the protons and the neutrons are hadrons. Hadrons are created by the spinning of smaller elements called quarks. If that spin stops, everything stops. The nucleolus, just like the atom itself has no real existence. Is exists because of the excitation of the quarks.

Also according to the String Theory, what we perceive as particles are actually vibrations on strings or membranes in a 10- or 11-dimensional space, respectively. These theories resolve the incompatibility between general relativity and quantum mechanics and unify them.

In simple terms the material world or what we see as real and “being” is nothing but vibration.

Your body, which is also made of atoms and particles, is vibration. Everything that to you seems real is unreal. It is only vibration. The whole Being is vibration. 

What is the essence or reality of vibration? Nothing! Everything is nothing. This world is unreal. It does not exist. It is a mere vibration. It is a mere thought.

Let me make an example. Imagine you have a loaded slingshot, which you spin very fast. You see a disk is formed. The disk is not real. It is just an illusion. However it looks and feels as real. You can’t put your hand through it.  Atoms and their particles are formed in this way. They are formed by the spinning of the electrons and the vibration of the quarks. There is nothing real about them and hence there is nothing real about this Universe. Nevertheless this Universe looks and feels real to us because in the dimensions that we live, it is real.

 

If nothing exists then who am I?

That was the question Descartes asked himself and his conclusion was “cogito ergo sum”. He concluded, I must exist because I think. Even if this world exists only in my imagination, I must have a real existence to imagine it this way.

Yes of course, I exist, you exist and the world exists, but our existence is relative. In absolute terms we do not exist but in relative terms we do. We are functions of speed, just as the disk you see by spinning the slingshot is a function of speed. If I become smaller than atom, the entire Universe becomes meaningless to me.

Also speed is a function of time. Where there is no time, there is no speed and there is no matter. v=d/t (velocity is distance divided by time)

 

Does Nonbeing exist?

Yes it does. The Universe is governed by natural laws or principles.

There are 4 fundamental forces that have been identified in our Universe. They seem to have different properties.

• The strong interaction. This is responsible for holding the nuclei of atoms together.

• The electromagnetic force. This causes electric and magnetic effects such as the repulsion between electrical charges or the interaction of bar magnets.

• The weak force: This is responsible for radioactive decay and neutrino interactions.

• The gravitational force: This is a weak force, but very long ranged. It is always attractive, and acts between any two pieces of matter in the Universe.

These four fundamental forces are responsible for making the Universe what it is. There are other forces of which we know little. For example recently it was discovered that cosmic expansion is speeding up. This defies our understanding of science, since according to the second law of thermodynamics the expansion of the Universe must slow down and eventually come to a halt and go back to a Big Crunch. So obviously there is another unknown mysterious force at play that now the scientists call it “dark force”. It is possible that this is caused by the gravitational pull of a substance called dark mater. We really know nothing about the dark force or the dark matter, which is believed to make 95% of the mass of the Universe. It is just a theory.  

Although it appears that the fundamental forces in the Universe are distinct and with different characteristics, many scientists speculate that in the very early Universe when temperatures were very high, the weak, electromagnetic, and strong forces were unified into a single force. Only when the temperature dropped did these forces separate from each other, with the strong force separating first and then at a still lower temperature the electromagnetic and weak forces separating to leave us with the 4 distinct forces that we observer in our present Universe. The process of the forces separating from each other is called spontaneous symmetry breaking.

There is further speculation that at even higher temperatures all four forces were unified into a single force. Then, as the temperature dropped, gravitation separated first and then the other 3 forces separated as described above.

If this theory is correct, the Universe must be governed by a single force or a single principle that is expressed in different forms. This single principle underlying the creation is not the creator but it is responsible for the creation.  

The more we learn about science the more we come closer to discover its unity. The string theory tells us about the unity of matter and now we learn about the unity of forces governing the matter.

This force may have other facets and dimensions of which we are not aware. The dark force is still a mystery. There could be other forces. The sum of all these forces makes the Universe work.

These forces, or better yet, this single principle from which all natural laws derive, does not have physical existence. It is not a being or a thing. This does not mean that it is nothing. It is the principle underlying everything. Nothing can exist without it. The Nonbeing is therefore, the mater of matter (mother of all things). 


How does this Nonbeing, which has no understanding create something that feels, loves and understands?

The Single Principle that governs the Universe has no physical existence. Yet the whole physical Universe exists because of this non-physical principle. How can something, which is a Nonbeing give birth to Being? This is the answer to your question. The Principle need not be “understanding”, “loving” and “feeling” to give birth to a world that is understanding, loving and feeling. The Principle need not be aware to be the source of all awareness.

If you have a blueprint to build an airplane the blueprint does not have to be able to fly for the airplane to fly. Think of the Single Principle as the blueprint or the software of the Universe. It is the force behind it. We call this force the creative impulse and this is manifest in both the animate and the inanimate beings. It varies in its intensity.

The hardware or the material world is an illusion caused by vibrating energy. This vibrating energy is the creative force or the élan vital.

The Principle is not aware; it is “Awareness”. The Principle is not loving; it is “Love”. According to my thinking, if I am right, Love, Awareness, Consciousness or Wisdom, exist on their own as principles. Like natural laws, they are different manifestations of the Single Principle. When matter evolves, it gradually becomes capable of reflecting these principles.

Therefore, when vibrating strings communicate, quarks and particles are formed. When particles join, atoms are created. When atoms network, molecules and mega molecules are structured. When molecules interact, cells are born and when cells cooperate, organisms come to life.

These are evolutionary steps of matter. On each step matter acquires more existence and becomes more being.


What is existence?

The simplistic explanation of existence is what we all know. According to this explanation anything that has material (atomic) existence, exists and anything that does not have such existence does not exist. For example, a stone, a tree, a cow and a man exist because they are made of matter.

However, this definition does not differentiate between the existence of a stone and that of a man. This is not a comprehensive definition. There are levels of existences that the above definition does to quantify. A stone exists materially but it has no life. A tree exists materially too, but it has life. It grows and reproduces. Life is a form of existence that stones do not have. So a tree has two kinds of existences, one is material (physical) and the other is vital (life).

An animal has material existence like a stone, it has vital existence, like a tree and it has other faculties that a tree and a stone do not have. An animal has feelings, has instincts, and has emotions, etc. An animal is much more aware of what is going on around it than a tree or a stone. So it is fair to say that animals have forms of existences that plants and inanimate materials lack. In addition to material and vital existence, animals have animal existence. 

Humans possess most of the animal faculties, but they have evolved intellectually far more and their awareness is greater than that of animals. So, although humans, animals, plants and stones have all physical existences, there are forms of existences in humans and in animals that are inexistent in plants and especially in stones. What this means is that existence is relative. A man that can only vegetate but does not show any mental sign of existence is obviously not a man. He exists physically and even lives but that is not enough existence to call him a man. A man who dies does not lose his physical existence. Yet he has no life and he can’t be considered a man. The conclusion is that existence is relative. Life is a form of existence, Intelligence, consciousness, feelings are all forms of existence that become manifest in more evolved forms of life.

What distinguishes humans from animals is their  consciousness, their sense of justice and their altruistic love. These qualities are exist also in animals but they are not strong. These are characteristics of humans. Animals have not evolved that much to evince such lofty qualities such as empathy and universal love yet. So what if a man does not possess these qualities? Can we still call him a human?

This is the struggle of evolution. Matter evolves in order to exist more. Existence is relative. "Spiritual" existence is the highest form of existence only available to the most advanced products of evolution, i.e. humans.

What we call spiritual is also a biological function of our existence. Ever wondered how some people can “put themselves into another person's shoes” and some people cannot? Our ability to empathize with others seems to depend on the action of "mirror neurons" in the brain,. This is what researches have found recently.


Why matter evolves?

There is an inner force inside the matter that is the engine of evolution. Why life should form at all? Why life should evolve at all? The Darwin’s theory of evolution tells us how the evolution takes place, but it does not tell us why.

Evolution is not mere adaptation. It also implies a gradual acquisition of perfection. Darwin
’s theory of evolution through natural selection explains why some members of a specious with certain characteristics survive and why others perish. It tells us how species change. However, evolution is not just adaptation. It is also perfection. Why amebas and single cells should evolve at all to become humans?

There seems to be a force, like the four fundamental physical forces mentioned above that is responsible for evolution. It is thanks to this force that matter evolves.

The French philosopher Henri Bergson called this force 'elan vital,' ‘creative impulse’ or ‘living energy’.

You can say that the whole evolutionary process that makes an amoeba to evolve into a human is a process of 'vitalization'. Through this process living beings become progressively more animated. They acquire more existence. As living beings evolve they grow in consciousness.

"To be or not to be!” This is the question of evolution. Elan vital is the inner force that operates on matter, just like gravity, and pushes it up in an evolutionary spiral towards higher levels of existence. It operates on every living organism and increases in intensity as the organism evolves. If conditions permit, evolution takes place thanks to the impulses of this creative force. Evolution does not take place by design. The Universe is not teleological. Things are not created for a purpose or by an intelligent being. The laws of the Universe are responsible for everything.

Let us make an example. If you pour a continuous flow of water from a hilltop, eventually a stream is formed. Sometimes this stream flows to the left, sometimes to the right. Sometimes it makes a puddle and sometimes a waterfall. In segments of the stream the water is calm and in other parts it is rough. Who designed this stream? No one! No thought went into its design. The stream is formed by itself. The water was not thinking where to go; it went where gravity dictated. Gravity and the topography of the land were responsible for the design of the stream.  

This stream may look beautiful to you. Who made that beauty? No one! The beauty is your perception. It is you who interpret things as beautiful or ugly.

The topography of the Earth is also formed by natural phenomena such as earthquakes, winds, erosions, etc. This is how mountains are formed. This is how rivers, oceans, continents and other features of the Earth are formed. All planets are formed through these natural forces. All galaxies are formed by these very same forces. The whole Universe is subject to these natural laws and is formed in the same manner. No thought has gone into its creation. The Universe was created thanks to the natural laws just as your little stream was created by the same natural laws.

A couple of years ago I went to see the Grand Canyon . The afternoon sun was shining in the Canyon and creating surreal images of breathtaking beauty. Another tourist overwhelmed by that much beauty exclaimed; “How can anyone deny God after seeing this?” He said it so loud that everyone in the group heard. I could not resist. I said: this is all the work of erosions, earthquakes, winds and other natural phenomena. I see no hand of God here. Everyone turned to see who this loudmouthed atheist is! The man thought for a second or two and retorted triumphantly, “But who created the winds, the erosions and the earthquakes? God operates though these means.” I responded: “These are all natural phenomena. God does not operate them. If he did, then he would be also responsible for the killing of innocent people and children that die though such phenomena.” He looked at me for a while as if trying to say something. Instead he slowly turned his gaze towards the Canyon. No one said a word. There was only silence.

There is no intelligent being running this Universe. However, there is intelligence in the Universe. This cosmic intelligence is the Principle and the Force behind the creation.


If here is no intelligent being running this Universe, what is the source of consciousness?

Think of living organisms not just as biological machines but also as receptors. The consciousness does not reside inside the living beings. People think that the brain is the organ of consciousness and the thoughts are generated inside the brain. This may not be entirely the case. It is also possible that mind could act as receptor and that consciousness reside outside the brain. In other words, brain functions both like a ‘computer’ and a ‘radio’. While operating like a computer, it processes the thoughts and when it operates like a radio it receives them from an external source.

If this theory is true, the information received from the external source is what we call ‘intuition’ and what is processed by the brain, is called ‘thought’. Brain acts both as thought receiver and thought processor simultaneously. It is also possible to switch off temporarily one function of the brain in order to enhance the other function.

Meditation is the process of calming down the thought processing function of the brain or what is known as the “chatter of the mind” and tuning to the external source of thoughts. Thinking is the effort of the brain to process the information that is already there. The information to be processed is the fodder of the thought. It can be input through sensory means such as reading, observing and listening or through intuition.

There is no dispute over the brain’s function as the processor of thoughts. What the western science has no understanding of, is the function of the brain as the receiver of thoughts.

Our senses are always busy taking in external images and sounds, while our brain processes them. Or our mind is just busy, “chattering away” to itself with no purpose at all. It is simply regurgitating the thoughts and the stimuli, like driving a car around with nowhere to go.

When we stop driving our mind aimlessly, and shut down our sensory activity, the mind’s processing activity and sometimes our physical activity, something amazing happens. The mind can be tuned to an external source and become the receptor of information that was hitherto unavailable to receive. This is like tapping into a source of knowledge beyond ourselves. This is how we receive intuition and this process is responsible for most human creativity, discoveries and science.

If you input data to a computer, the computer can process it for you and give you the result. All a computer can do, is to compute. A computer cannot discover new information, which has not been fed to it. It is just a ‘processor’ of information. If our brain was nothing more than an advanced computer, then there would be no ways for human knowledge to grow. Nevertheless we see that generation after generation human knowledge is increasing. It means that younger generations, are not merely learning and processing the information left to them by the previous ones, but they are also creating more knowledge. Whence that knowledge comes from? This is done mostly through intuition.

Sometimes ideas pop into our minds while we are awake and sometimes while asleep. Often inventors, scientists and artists report that they owe their discoveries and inspirations to dreams and intuitions. A few examples are as follow:

Dr. F. Banting claimed that while searching the cause of diabetes, he had a dream that led him to the process of developing insulin.

Otto Loewi said he dreamed of an experiment with frogs to demonstrate the chemical, rather than electrical, nature of nervous impulse transmission. This discovery earned him a Nobel Prize in 1936.

A dream led Elias Howe to beat Singer to the patent for the sewing machine. In the dream, Howe saw a group of savages holding spears, with holes near their tips attacking him. When he woke, he realized that putting the hole near the tip of the needle would make a working sewing machine.

Mendeleyev saw the complete periodic table in a dream.

Herschel "discovered" the planet Uranus in a dream.

Beethoven, Wagner, and Stravinsky heard musical arrangements, from fragments to entire canons, in their sleep and Bob Dylan recalls composing music from his dreams.

When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I used to hear melodious music in my head when I closed my eyes before falling asleep at nights. Alas I never paid much attention to it and the music stopped. If I had, and if I had taken lessons how to write them down, I could possibly be a famous musician. 

Tomas Edison used to sleep on his workbench holding weights in his hands and wake up and write down what he dreamt as soon as the weights fell from his hands. Were those ideas that he received during his dreams, backed with his own genius to make them work, responsible for his 1000 patented and inventions?

Niels Bohr, the Nobel Laureate, discovered that atomic structure resembles a solar system in a dream.
Another Nobel Prize winner, the chemist Fredrick Kekule, also credited his discovery to a dream. He told about a dream he had when he fell asleep on a London omnibus.

“I saw atoms flicker. I always imagined them as eternally moving, but I had never been able to visualize their way of motion and relative arrangement. However, I saw two of them forming a pair, two of these pairs forming a larger unit which in turn combined again into ever larger units, all of them rushing and turning. I awoke.”

That evening he sketched the images, which had appeared to him in his dream and the theory of closed atom chains was born.

Kekule also credited his discovery of structure of benzene molecule to a dream and in reporting his discovery to a scientific congress said, “Let us learn to dream gentlemen, then perhaps we shall learn the truth.”

We all have had dreams that seemed to be prophetic or flashes of intuition when awake and our mind was relaxed, not busy thinking.

I personally had once a brief moment of “epiphany” when without seeing anything or hearing anything, my mind was inundated with answers that now make the backbone of my thinking, or if I may say, philosophy. That was a time that I had finished reading Bertrand Russell’s “History of Modern Philosophy” and my mind was imbued with these amazing philosophical thoughts. One morning when I was taking a shower, suddenly, it seemed that gates of knowledge flung open in front of me and I received answers to questions I had not posed. The experience lasted a few seconds, less than a minute but it would take me pages to write about what I learned during those brief seconds. The amazing thing was that the knowledge did not come to me in linear form, the way we gain them by reading a book or listening to someone, but in a flash, all at once. This was the most exhilarating experience of my life. What I learned in those seconds I had not read elsewhere. They came to me like a flash of lightning. It was like I was standing in the dark all my life and suddenly there is lightning. It lasts only a few seconds but in those few seconds I got a glimpse of a world hitherto unknown to me. The experience is a sensation of aha, when something “clicks” and everything falls into place.

The information we receive through intuition cannot come from our mind. These are new information that were not available to us before. They most likely, come from an external source.


What is this external source?

That is what I think is the source of all being. It must be the same Principle that is the cause of creation. All existence, all knowledge, all laws and all being most likely derive from this Single Source. What we see as being is in reality a reflection of this Nonbeing. The Nonbeing is real, absolute and self-subsisting.

If the Nonbeing is real, why call it Nonbeing?

The Nonbeing does not have any form or existence. It is not a being, it is not a thing and it is not a spirit or energy. It is a reality, a law, a principle. It is the Law of everything and it comprehends everything. All good and all bad come from this principle. Good and bad are relative. In absolute terms there is no such thing as good and bad. Ladybirds are good to humans and the plants because they eat the aphides (plant lice) but they are bad to aphides. The giant asteroid that hit the Earth 65 million years ago and led to the extinction of dinosaurs was a disaster for the dinosaurs but it was a blessing for mammals including us humans who got a chance to evolve and thrive. If dinosaurs were not destroyed, mammals would not have had a chance in this planet.

The single principle is not God. It has no emotions, no feelings, no thoughts and no will. It is not aware of us, it does not answer our prayers, it does not send messengers, it does not act and it does not need our worship. We can’t do anything to please it or make it angry. Everything depends on this Principle while IT is oblivious of everything. We are bound by Natural Laws but Natural Laws are not mindful of us. 

The Principle is not the creator because creating is an act and principles do not act. Everything is created or evolves through this Principle but the Principle is not aware of them.

The Principle is everlasting, eternal, self-subsisting, omnipotent, and omnipresent but it is not God. God is a being. A being is a thing. Things are limited.

If God is outside the creation then it ends where the creation begins and hence is not omnipresent.  

If God is inside the creation then it is comprehended by the creation and therefore limited by it.

If the creation is inside God then the creation is part of God. In that case wherefrom comes the imperfection in the creation? What is the source of evil?

God as a limited or imperfect being cannot be eternal, self-subsisting, omnipotent and omnipresent. If he is not all the above, he cannot be God. God is simply redundant. If he exists he too would be under the sway of the Single Principle.


If good and evil are subjective and if the Single Principle is unaware of us does it mean that it makes no difference if we humans do good or evil?

Good and evil do not exist in absolute terms but in relation to us they do and as far as we are concerned they are real. Is gravity good or is it evil? This is an irrelevant question. Gravity is neither bad not good, but if you drop yourself from a ten-story building, you'll die. Gravity can kill you if you abuse it. However, without gravity there would be no life and nothing would exist. The fundamental laws of the Universe cannot be broken. They deserve our respect.


The laws that apply to us humans are defined by the Golden Rule.
Do not do to others what you would not like to be done to you. The laws defined by the Golden Rule are the fundamental laws of the Single Principle applying to human realm. They are natural laws and they are self-evident.

Love, for example, is a fundamental principle no different from other natural laws. Love applies to higher levels of existence just as gravity applies to every mass in the universe. Love is a natural law. Humans cannot live as humans without love. They need love to grow as infants. They need love to evolve emotionally. They need love to integrate, to procreate, to cooperate and to survive.

Principles cannot be broken without impunity. Just as breaking the law of gravity has consequences, breaking, what we term as "spiritual laws" applying to human sphere is not without consequence. Laws of the nature and spiritual laws are essentially the same. They are manifestations of the same Law in different spheres of existence. 

The nature’s struggle is to ensure the survival of the genes. This is why some male animals fight over their females. They want to ensure that their genes survive. We humans are no different. We want our genes to survive. Through this survival we gain immortality. However, we all have mostly the same identical genes. Our genetic differences are minimal. When I sacrifice myself for my son, it is because he is the hire of my genes and if he succeeds, my genes survive and I succeed. My nephew also carries the same genes that I carry, my cousin, my second cousin, my race and eventually all the humanity carry the same genes that I carry. If I believe that “genes are selfish”; then it is in my “selfish” interest to help my fellow beings, who also carry my genes. This level of awareness can be achieved though understanding the principles governing this universe and becoming conscious of the oneness of existence. The distinction between ‘you’ and ‘I’ is illusory. There is no you and I. There is only ‘We’.   

"We" are more than bodies. We have intellects and souls. As humans we do not strive just for the survival of our genes but also for the survival of our civilization. Our civilization is the patrimony of all mankind. Why scientists strive to make new discoveries when they know, most likely, they will not benefit from their own discoveries? Why philosophers try to find the meaning of life when they do not benefit from their work? Unlike most animals we humans do not live in function of our own selves. We live in function of our species. We strive to better the life for our future generations a generation that may not include our own children. Why this “obsession” to advance the civilization when we may not profit from it ourselves?

The answer is that subconsciously we humans are aware of our oneness. Instinctively we delight when we see a fellow human escapes danger and we are saddened and even traumatized when we see people whom we had never known before are in danger.

I recall when the 9/11 happened; I heard it first on the radio while I was driving. I stopped at a coffee shop to see what was going on, on TV. Others also were standing and watching dumbfounded. You could hear their sigh of anguish and some including myself were sobbing. The same outpour of pain and sorrow was seen across the globe. The whole humanity (with the exclusion of those who had lost their humanity) was crying. As I write these notes all mankind is again grieving for the death of innocent people in train bombing in Madrid. Why? Why we should even care if people whom we have never met die? Because, we are all members of one family - limbs and organs of one body - the body of humankind. We are all part of humanity and we feel our oneness, instinctively.

This awareness of our oneness is not developed in animals to the extent that is in humans. Humans are capable to put in danger and even sacrifice their own lives to save someone else who might be even a stranger. It is very clear that the survival of our genes and our own lives is not all that we care for.  

We go to war and fight and die to save our country. We stand persecution and face death to defend an ideal. This is contrary to the concept of the selfishness. There is an element of altruism within us that is more powerful and even overrides our instinct to survive. We want our species to survive and for that we are ready to give up our own lives.

As humans, we are also spiritual beings. It is, only through understanding this aspect of our humanity that we can understand the strange and “illogical” willingness of man to sacrifice his own life for the sake of his fellow human.

You may say that the development of empathy has a lot to do with environment. 

That is absolutely true. Human spirituality evolves through its association with the matter and hence education and the environment have a lot to do with its growth. We learn empathy through imitation. Most criminals are victims of childhood abuses that has hampered their spiritual growth.   

Even if we are never told, as long as we are not spiritually dwarfs, we know instinctively that mankind is One. Children are saddened when they see someone in pain or crying. Even at such an early age they want to help others who may live in different continents, are of different race, culture and language. This feeling that humanity is one is engrained in our subconscious mind. It is an innate faculty that needs to be developed. 


Not everyone has this sense of oneness of humanity. How about criminals, terrorists and hate mongers?


Evolution is a gradual progression. Not all humans who have evolved biologically and are part of human race genetically, have evolved spiritually enough to be called humans. To be human one must have ‘humanity’. Some humans are way behind in the evolutionary path. These people have no feelings for their fellow human beings, no concerns for others. They think only about themselves. They use others for their own selfish gains. They manipulate others, abuse them, oppress them and destroy them, and feel no remorse.

We call these people "evil," but the correct definition is that they are less evolved. Their emotional and spiritual evolution has halted. They have human intelligence, but animal conscience. This is a dangerous combination. If you give a ferocious beast the astuteness of a human, it becomes extremely dangerous.

They can become monsters and often cause tremendous harm. Hitler, Genghis Khan, Stalin, Muhammad, Pol Pot, Mao, Saddam and Bin Laden are a few examples of such people whose intelligence is often above the average but spiritually, they are not evolved as humans. These people lie with unwavering conviction and strive to dominate others with a single minded determination, through manipulations, false promises and deceits. They destroy anyone who may stand in their way and have no regards for the sacredness of human life. They are capable of killing thousands and even millions with no pang of conscience.


Some of these less than human people do not rise to power and fame. They seem to be ordinary people living among us. Yet they prey on innocent victims, cheat them and if they think they can get away with it, they can even torture them, rape them and kill them. They cause pain to others, but they are oblivious of the hurt that they cause and often justify their evil deeds.

Not all those who have human features and intelligence can be called human. A man whose spiritual faculties are not evolved, who is not loving, caring, compassionate, fair and just, is not an evolved man. According to the thirteenth Century Persian humanist poet Saadi, such a person should not be called human at all. He wrote:

"Human beings are all limbs of one body.
They are created from the same essence.
When one limb is in pain, the others cannot rest.
If you do not care about the pain of others,
You do not deserve to be called a human being."

The principles governing the physical universe are fundamental physical laws. Every sphere of existence has its own laws. The laws governing plants and other living organisms are not the same as the physical laws. Living organisms must abide by physical laws as material entities, but as living beings they must also abide by laws of botany that would ensure their survival, growth and procreation. 

The principles governing humans are specific to humans. Love, cooperation, compassion, empathy, justice, mercy and similar principles are not unique to us humans but they are essential to us. These principles are called spiritual.

In essence, there is no difference between spiritual principles and physical principles. They are all manifestations of the Single Principle underlying the creation. Just as physical forces separated in the process of spontaneous symmetry breaking, spiritual forces manifest and became effective when matter evolves into human. Although these principles are eternal, they appeared in this planet merely a few thousand years ago and they are yet evolving. There can be no manifestation of love and consciousness when universe does not contain life, let alone intelligent life.

Man (read human) is the most perfect evolutionary artifact of the universe. The laws applying to us are fundamental to our survival.



Would we evolve even more?

Perfection is unlimited and evolution is the matter’s way to gain perfection. In our evolutionary trajectory we pass through different stages of existence. In each stage we gain more existence and more awareness. This is what we called the creative force or the élan vital. As we evolve we become more sophisticated instruments and can receive more of this creative force.

Life is just one manifestation of the creative impulse. Consciousness is another. Plants receive this impulse and that is why they are alive. Animals receive it in bigger dozes and hence they are more conscious. Humans receive it in much greater intensity and that is how we became masters of this planet. The intensity of this creative impulse is not the same in all humans. Some humans have not received any spiritual impulse. Hitler, Muhammad and other monsters of history are among people who were never touched by this spiritual power. Their level of spiritual consciousness has remained at the level of other beasts. Some humans receive plenty of this spiritual power and they have risen to a level of sanctity and consciousness that is beyond the level of average men.

Chinese call this force Qi (pronounced chi). They believe it is this Qi that we give out as we go about our daily lives. It is through Qi that we think, work, feel and perceive what is happening around us and maintain the healthy functioning of our bodies. It is this Qi that is recharged when we sleep, which drains out of us when we overload our physical and mental faculties. And it is this Qi that leaves our body when we die.

Qi must be real, because the entire Chinese medicine, acupuncture, qigong, tai qi and even their herbal medicine is based on manipulation of Qi, and Chinese medicine works. It works even in cases where the modern medicine fails. It works even on animals, dismissing that its effect is suggestive. 

In Sanskrit the word for this energy is Prana. Prana is the principle underlying the exercises of hatha yoga.

Even in our western idiom we have expressions such as “I feel run down”, “I am low in energy”, “I need to recharge my batteries”, “I feel energized” and similar expressions that show, at a subconscious level, we are aware of this life energy within us.

According to the ancient wisdom of the East, this creative impulse is independent from our body. It is reflected in the body. 


Where the creative impulse comes from?

It is possible that the creative impulse is not a function of our body but rather the force behind it. When amebas are formed, they start pulsating with life. This life possibly is not generated inside the ameba. It may be rather what makes ameba a living being. Life is reflected in ameba like light reflecting in a mirror or waves received by the radio transmitter. When ameba is formed, it becomes the receiver of life.

As organisms evolve they receive more of this vital energy. For example, a radio can receive only sounds. It can’t receive images. A television can receive sounds and images. Television could be seen as an evolution of radio. The next stage is receiving images in color and then sharper images. The more the instrument is perfected; the more it can receive.  

The image and sound are not generated inside the radio and the television but they are captured by them through waves. They are of exterior source.

This is a good example to understand the evolution of the living organisms. The more they evolve, the more consciousness they acquire.

However, living organisms are only receptors. Life, creativity and consciousness are not functions of the matter but rather they are reflected in the matter. The source of this live energy is outside the body. If the body, hosting this energy perishes, the energy does not perish. Like when a radio is broken, the sound can no longer be heard but the waves do not die.



Is it possible that our vital energy survive our body? Is it possible that it can function independent of our body?

If this vital energy exists, and it is very likely that it does because we see its effect, and if this thing is independent of the body and not a function of it, and if it this energy is what makes matter, then it is also reasonable to assume that this it will survive the death of the body. We can't say this for certainty but we can say it is a theory that is plausible. This theory is just as valid as the String Theory or the theory of parallel universes. It is logical and there are some evidences that make it plausible.  

In the western world we call this “soul”. Interestingly all cultures from all parts of the world have a name for it and acknowledge its existence. Note that not all cultures believe in God. The concept of a single god exists only in Semitic religions and their offshoots. Hindus believe in many gods and Chinese do not believe in any god. All these people believe in the existence of a force inside humans. The belief in this force is most likely the only common denominator of all cultures.

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that this creative impulse, soul or qi, exists. It is also not unreasonable to assume that it survives the death of the body, although there is no evidence for such belief.

Now, if all that is true, then the evolution of soul could continue even after the death. In fact this validates Teilhard de Chardin’s idea that we are spiritual beings having a material experience. For some reason we associate ourselves with matter, may be to acquire perfection and then we leave this body to continue our spiritual journey in a different plane of existence –a plane that is not bound by matter.

Viewed from this perspective, we can appreciate that the evolution of the matter is a necessary step for the soul to evolve in consciousness and acquire spiritual qualities. If souls survive the death of the body, then evolution is the mechanism for it to acquire perfection. This world can be likened to an egg for the soul to evolve. The egg is hatched until the soul is evolved and then it breaks and the soul is born in the immaterial world or perhaps in a world of different dimension.

All these are speculations. We can't be certain of these theories. They are interesting theories. It is good to theorize, but it is not wise to confuse them with facts. 

Does soul have awareness?  

The soul’s awareness is in human’s intuitive power. It can feel and perceive. This is the faculty of the soul. Rational thoughts are the domain of the brain. They are both essential for our development and evolution as humans.  

Einstein wrote:
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”.   [Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium (1941) ch. 13]  

By religion, Einstein did not mean religious doctrines but rather human spirituality. We do not need religions but we can’t live without spirituality. Rationality without spirituality is heartless. The Nazis and the Bolsheviks were not “unreasonable” people. They were however, spiritually dead. You can be even religious and not spiritual. Khomeini ordered the cold blooded murder of thousands of his political prisoners, but he did not miss a prayer. 

Science without spirituality is lame, because intuition plays a great part in the discovery of science.

In the same way, spirituality without rationality is, as Einstein states, blind. Our perceptions and intuitions if not confirmed by reason can lead us to disastrous consequences. People who follow religions and cults do so because they follow their heart. They believe, something inside them tells them this is the right way. That something, if not backed by logic, could bring dire consequences. The victims of the Jonestown, followed their heart but not their mind. They paid for that neglect with their lives.    

The Islamic terrorists feel deep down inside them that they are doing the right thing. They are certain that God is pleased of them and their murderous crimes will be rewarded handsomely. How could anyone agree to kill himself if he is not deeply convinced that what he is doing is the right thing? Feelings, perceptions and intuitions are domains of the soul. If they are not checked and validated by reason, they could lead one to hell.  

Spirituality and rationality are both human faculties. Neither one without the other can bring us happiness. Human happiness, not just as individuals but as the society and humanity can only be achieved when we learn the balance between our soul and our mind, our spirituality and our rationality.  

Human spirituality and his rationality need not be mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they are complimentary and interdependent.  



The conclusion:


The universe is governed by natural laws that operate at different levels. These are all manifestations of a Single Principle underlying the creation. The Principle does not have material, or even spiritual existence. It is a Nonbeing. Laws do not have substance. The Nonbeing is the mother of all beings. Not only the Being is created through the dictum of this Principle, but also the creative force that is the impulse of life and the force behind the evolution is one of the facets of the Principle. All laws, all knowledge, all wisdom are contained within the Principle. The evolution is the process of perfecting the mater and its struggle to become aware. Evolution is the mechanism through which matter acquires consciousness and becomes aware of the Principle underlying the creation. Man’s evolution is not limited to his physical existence but it also includes his intellectual and spiritual evolution. Spiritual laws are not separate from physical laws. They are all aspects of the same Single Principle. Evolution may not end with death. We may posses a soul that uses the matter as a vehicle for its own growth. When the earthly experience is over, the soul will continue its evolution in other worlds – worlds that are of different dimensions distinct from this world but not separate from it.

Existence may be more complex, more profound and greater than what we can see and perceive with our senses. Yet all that is in the real of speculation and it is not prudent to hinge our lives of something that is speculative in nature. 

It is time that we stop believing in religions that deny reason, stop believing in gods that are man’s own figments of imagination and stop believing in pseudo rationalisms that deny human spirituality. It is time that we stop “believing” at all; but rather use our own rational faculty and unravel our own spiritual reality. True rationality cannot be in contrast with spirituality just as true spirituality cannot be irrational.

Let us begin our journey of Rational Spirituality where we would be our own prophets and our rationality, our holy book.

 

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Dare to Doubt

Dare to Know

 

 

 

 

 

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