What are we?
This is the fundamental question at the root of all existence. The beasts don’t have the capacity to self-reflect the way we humans can. So let’s use that capacity to explore this fascinating question. You might find this will relax you more than you think.
First, I need to talk about something called chunk size because that will help you understand. Here is a great little clip illustrating the concept. (Yes, it was originally designed for kids but watch it anyway because it demonstrates the idea better than any of the other videos I’ve seen.)
So first we have to start with the proper chunk size. Now, on the human scale, we are individual people living in a sensory material world, along with other people, plants and animals. Obvious, right?
Let’s go deeper.
On a cellular level, we are made up on individual cells. Is a cell a human? No, but are we just cells? No, we are interesting arrangements of cells.
Let’s go even deeper.
We (and all our cells) are made of molecules. So on a molecular scale, we are interesting arrangements of molecules. And molecules themselves are interesting arrangements of atoms.
Can we lose some of our atoms and still be “us?” Yes, clearly. But how many? Which ones? At this chunk size it’s not obvious anymore what is us and what is not us.
So what “are” we? It becomes obvious we are not just material components – we are interesting configurations of components. So we can then posit or infer some level or plane of reality that “contains” the patterns – a substrate that contains the information on arrangements, configurations, purposes, and similar information.
If this sounds familiar, it is similar to Plato’s theory of Forms or Ideals. Makes more sense now, doesn’t it?
Now let’s consider what would happen if all our atoms and molecules just stopped. Would we still be us? Or even alive? So we realize we are not just inert matter. There is another component: energy. Movement, motive force, the spark of life, the divine spark, call it what you want, it amounts to the same thing.
So we can now infer a third level of reality: a substrate that movement, energy, intent, and motive force exist in.
These levels are related according to the Hermetic Law:
That which is above is like to that which is below; that which is below is like to that which is above.
Similarly to the way sound waves create patterns in sand sprinkled on a surface, the energy-level emanations create patterns in the material substrate or material world.
Sound vibrations bring patterns to chaotic arrangements of salt particles
Now let’s take this to its conclusion: what would happen if all our atoms and molecules were taken out of their current configuration and all the motive power governing their movements were re-appropriated to other uses?
You may experience a kind of clinical curiosity about the idea. It’s interesting, not threatening. Seems like a mechanical process.
Well, this is actually a description of what we call death.
Now do you see why all the gurus, mystics, saints, shamans, high priests, ascetics, and wise men are and have always been, completely unafraid of death?
Death is just a rearrangement.
So – and here’s where it gets really interesting – what if it were possible to continue to exist on the energy and pattern/form substrates after your physical components had been re-arranged and re-appropriated?
This subtle and complex idea – not easy for most people to understand – has been spread to the majority in more basic terms: Westerners call it “heaven” and Easterners call it “liberation.” They are both echoes of the same actual concept: existence after physical vessel rearrangement.
And when you think about it that way, you might notice how you feel about death now. A bit different, is it not?
The untrained mind identifies itself with its thoughts, so when one of its thoughts “dies” that mind experiences a form of grief.
The trained mind knows that the self is not mind or emotions or body, but is eternal soul, so when any of those others “die” that mind is still well. https://t.co/rOB3Vc4W8c — Jason Andrews (@PersuasionRisng) March 2, 2021
From here, what can we infer about the universe itself? And “God?” And what can we do with this understanding?
That will be in the next post.
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