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There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more. ---Lord Byron
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    As It Was, so It Shall Be, Forever
    Throughout human history, people have been asking the same questions about the nature of the Universe and being. Why do we exist? Where do we come from? Is there a God(s)? What is the meaning of life? Many people have tried answering these questions, some with more success than others.


    For the past few thousand years, people have clung to the ideas of monotheism: the idea of one eternal, omnipotent and omniscient God. These ideas still remain — though some beliefs and concepts in certain religions have drastically changed — and are found throughout the majority of the world. These religions, most notably Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and some sects of Hinduism, to some extent, all believe in a moment, or ongoing moment of infinite bliss, knowledge, peace and awe. This Union, beautifully described by St. John of the Cross in his "The Dark Night," exists in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. I will classify these types of religions as Type 1.

    While most people believed in one God, many other people, primarily in Asia, have adopted another kind of religion, or philosophy, in the forms of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Jainism. The common idea behind these religions/philosophies is that everyone is on a path of awakening, which they realize or not, and the final stage of this path is liberation from ignorance (Buddhism), realization that atman, your soul, is indistinct from the supreme soul (Hinduism), that the way to live is by way of the Tao, or the force behind the natural order of the Universe (Taoism) and the shedding the soul of karmic bonds so one attains divine consciousness (Jainism). I will classify these as Type 2 religions.

    Type 1 finds themselves believing that there is a single God who is all-powerful, and that there had been extremely gifted people in the past who were able to attain a deep connection to God. He created them and the rest of the Universe. Type 2 believes that there is a state of perpetual awesomeness which anyone with the right dedication, intention and mindset can attain. Also, the Universe is usually thought of as eternal; there was no beginning and there will be no end.

    Union with God is this state of perpetual awesomeness! Well, almost… Aside from Jesus, I am not too sure about anyone else from Type 1 who was thought to have been in a state of everlasting peace and love. The many people spoken about throughout the Bible and other texts, who have had mystical encounters, did so for some reason I will get into shortly but never lasted because they didn't understand what was happening to them. This understanding is a key part of the Asian-born philosophies and is necessary to obtain perpetual happiness.

    There are many reasons why people had mystical experiences without understanding what they were feeling, but rather just attributed it to God for the sake of simplicity and out of ignorance. Many of these mystical experiences could be attributed to the consumption of drugs, such as psilocybin mushrooms and various other plants that contained mind-altering alkaloids. Other logical reasons could be from more naturally induced experiences, namely the release of dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an extremely potent and powerful psychedelic substance, from the pineal gland into the body. DMT release is thought to occur during birth, death, sex, extreme fasting and excessive physical activity.

    ——-

    For thousands of years our current culture has been shaped by these philosophies and religions intermixing. So what do we have now? Conservation biologist and author E.O. Wilson said that there are three categories: the myth of Marxism, the religious myth of Creation and the myth of scientific materialism (or is analog, spiritual naturalism). Marxists believe in the redistribution of wealth and power while maintaining that Man owns the world. Many religions believe in a Creation myth, an old story that told of the creation of the Universe, Earth and/or Man. These religions speak of a world that was given to Man, but unlike Marxism it fully deistic, in a royal way, i.e., popes, kings, lordship, etc. Scientific materialism, the myth that Wilson believed to be the only way to restore the Earth to a healthy state, assumes nothing about the story of the Universe and only uses science to prove what we can observe through trial and error. Spiritual naturalism is how humans were before their "fall," the eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. We were like the animals, plants and even the planets: instinctive, nonjudgemental, and natural. We were subjected to the power of the gods, or the natural flow of the Universe, living and dying dependent upon the natural flow of climate/weather patterns, other animals, natural disasters, etc.

    Our current problems lie with the dawn of Man. There is no definitive proof of whether or not we have evolved from monkeys, dolphins or from some involvement with an advanced alien civilization. It seems that we follow the myth of spiritual naturalism until Man arrives, which is when we decide to take over the world and use it all for ourselves in the name of God or for our own excessive well-being.

    Humanity needs a drastic change. One absent from the detrimental Creationist and Marxist myths, but one in which humans realize that life is meaningful and completely connected. A world where everyone can reach their full potential, free from social and monetary limitations. Unfortunately, this is not where I see our world going. The closest political ideology, in my opinion, that would fit this worldview would be Libertarian. People are completely free to do what they want without any social limitations so long as they are not intruding on the lives of others, i.e., murder. And just as nature is complex, so is the free market in which conservation is key for long-term survival; spending and using as little as possible is the best way to achieve the best results. Georgism, the idea that you own what you create but cannot own land, is a complex system, but one in which I think humans can most easily restore the Earth and break free from any currents limitations to maximize human potential and production of efficient and useful technology.

    So how do we get there? We can see all around us the mystical or spiritual nature of the Universe. It is in the very structure of atoms, molecules, organisms, the planets and we are slowly finding it in modern physics and even within ourselves. The golden ratio, Fibonacci sequence, sacred geometry and fractal-like patterns are found in all life. Just recently scientists have found that the golden ratio in the quantum realm! It is the idea of an all-pervading, universal force or law that basically governs how certain (possibly all) organisms — even inanimate objects — behave, grow and even evolve. It's how a caterpillar just knows to start building a chrysalis, how bees somehow know how to communicate with each other through intricate dances, how salmon know how to get back to their birth place so they can lay eggs there, how so many flowers and plants develop in accordance to the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio, how crystals form into the geometric shapes that are the same basic shapes of almost every molecule in the human body and it is what makes the spiral pattern of a sunflower the same spiral pattern of a fly's eye. Science shows that the Universe is expanding, therefore it must have been smaller at some point. There must have been a time when the entire Universe was the size of a pinhead. If everything came out from a single point, then the conditions that that point was subjected to, the conditions that allowed it to exist, must permeate throughout our current Universe. If everything is infinite, outwards and inwards, forward and backward, this force must be everywhere and in everything. The fact that it does exist, must mean that there is some reason for it to exist.

    So why do these patterns exist? Where do they come from? They are a part of an inherent method found throughout the Universe that exists to keep the Universe in harmony. It is efficiency at its best. Now this is when we look back to the Type 2 religions and find something oddly similar. They speak of a right path to follow. A path that leads to perpetual happiness, no matter what happens outside of the individual. With this state of mind, anything is possible. It is the human in his most efficient state of being. In Taoism, the phrase wu wei roughly translates to "doing not-doing." In other words, be natural, do things without trying, live in this perfect state and every obstacle will cease to be a hinderance. This natural force governing the Universe is the force we as humans must live by as well. Finding it and knowing it through personal experience is the key to optimal success in life.


    He who knows much about others may be learned, but he who understands is more intelligent. He who controls others may be powerful, but he
    who mastered himself is mightier still. (Tao Te Ching)

    There was something formless and perfect
    before the universe was born. It is serene. Empty.
    Solitary. Unchanging.
    Infinite. Eternally present.
    It is the mother of the universe.
    For lack of a better name,
    I call it the Tao. (Tao Te Ching)

    Tue, Jan 12, 2010  Permanent link

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