How we perceive the world around us, space and time, cause and effect, these concepts have little meaning at the subatomic level. What we think of as the atom has no basis in ‘reality’.
What is the nature of being? It is a question that has been posed ever since Man learnt how to think. Or at least we can trace back to 2,500 years ago.
Ancient Greeks did not separate out or distinguish physics, philosophy or religion. It would have been seen as an artificial distinction. Theirs was a search for the essential nature of the world around them.
No different to a mystical search for the essential being.
The universe was seen as being permeated by an energy force. This force was then separated out, given a name and separate identity and intelligence, it stood outside of and apart from the Universe, it now directed the universe. The force was given a name. It was called God.
We had separation of mind and body, spiritual development was separated from material development. The external world, even our own bodies, were simply dead mechanical devices, everything could be explained if we had sufficient detailed knowledge and sufficient computing power.
This is fine as a simple model, for performing our calculations. This is the Cartesian-Newtonian view of the world. It should not though be confused with reality.
The world is not a billiard game!
Further fragmentation took place. The economic sphere is separated from the physical world.
The world is on the point of catastrophic collapse. But it is the economic world that dominates, even though it is completely divorced from reality.
Even within this world we have fragmentation. At the recent Copenhagen Climate talks (COP15) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised extra aid to the Third World to pay for climate change. That money is to be taken from the existing aid budget, ie the poorest of the poor are to pay for the cost of dealing with climate change, as if they are not paying already.
Zen and other Eastern religions are concerned with the nature of existence. They have though a radically different approach, their approach is holistic.
Not all western thought is non-holistic. A network approach is holistic. The consideration of Gaia is holistic.
When we delve into the subatomic level, we find the Cartesian-Newtonian world-view loses all meaning. We cannot acquire detailed information, the more we try, the more fuzzy is the information that we acquire. The subatomic level is not only an essential part of the cosmos, it is in turn influenced by the cosmos.
What is the sound of one hand clapping?
To seek enlightenment is to transcend the physical world, to engage with the life force of the cosmos, that energy with which everything vibrates including ourselves, to cross the transition zone, to learn how to communicate with the Soul of the World.
We have two types of knowledge, rational and intuitive. In the West we tend to undervalue the latter.
The structure of the carbon ring came in a dream, a serpent chasing its own tale.
If we cannot rationalise or analyse what the rational mind produces we tend to dismiss it, but that does not make it any less real.
Many of us possess a level of awareness which hard won experience has taught us to heed.
We have difficulty expressing abstract knowledge, and so we do it through poetry, through koans, through art, through music.
Western civilisation in its arrogance believes it has made great advances in the acquisition of rational knowledge, but can the human race be said to be any wiser that it was 2,500 years ago?
For my lovely friend Sian who inspired these thoughts.