2.5 THE PHYSICAL & THE NON-PHYSICAL
THE TWO BASIC MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SELF
"Man has no body
distinct from his soul, for that called body is a portion of
the soul discerned by the five senses, the chief inlets of soul in this age"
"If only matter is real, then what is real in man is only matter. And matter is
essentially competitive. A basic law of matter is that two bodies cannot
occupy the same space at the same time. The more I eat, the less there is
for you. The more of my money I give you, the less there is for myself.
Only spirit transcends this law. If spiritual things like love, truth and beauty
are real, I can give them away without losing anything. Teachers don't
lose knowledge when they share it with others. Lovers don't lose joy or
happiness or self esteem when they give their very self to each other.
But material goods like money, power, territory, fame and glory diminish
when shared, whereas spiritual goods like wisdom and love multiply when
shared. So if those things are not objectively real, and what is objectively
real in man is matter, then any two men are fundamentally competitive."
.......................TMS P. Kreeft
"What you see, I think is the morphogenetic field. The invisible world that holds
everything together. Not the net of matter and light, but the net of casuistry
— of intentionality, of caring, of hope of dream — of thought. That all is there, but
it has been hidden from us for centuries because of the exorcism of the spirit
that took place in order to allow science to do business. And that monotonous
and ill-considered choice has made us the inheritors of a tradition of existential
emptiness — but that has impalded to us to go back to the jungles and recover
this thing. ... The question is, can we dream a dream that is sufficiently noble that
we give meaning to the sacrifices that have been made to allow the 20th century
to exist ... I am convinced that if there were no shamanic pipeline, there would be
no higher life, as we know it, on this planet. ... We are all cells of a much larger
body, and like the cells of our own body it is hard for us to glimpse the whole
pattern of the whole of what is happening, and yet we can sense that there is a
purpose, and there is a pattern..."....Terence McKenna
between conscious and unconscious poses particular
problems in the dancer because the body is the soul of action."
SELF (Dict.) One's total being. (This definition is used in the present context also)
BEING (Dictionary ) The state or quality of existing.
But for a more strict definition, the Self is defined in this work as a living being
having a finite existence, in space and time, from the moment of birth, ( before
which a 'Self' did not exist ), till the moment of death, after which the 'Self'
ceases to exist, and after which a 'Self" is no longer defined. Thus a 'Self' , in
this work is considered as a mortal being in its existence, but whose totality
or essence, if realized and expressed in form or actions, is immortal,
that is, transcends death.
"Such was the end
of the man who I think was the wisest, most just and
the best man that I have ever known. I could not help thinking that the
gods would still watch over him on his journey to the other world, and
that when he arrived there, it would be well with him, if it were ever
well with any man".....Plato on Socrates
"The thinker dies,
but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction.
Men are mortal ; but ideas are immortal"......Walter Lippmann
Thus the experience of an individual living being, defined here as Self, is
a constituent of current reality, and the essence or totality of a
being is a constituent of ultimate reality.
" The poet gives us
his essence, but prose takes the mould
of the body and mind entire. " .............Virginia Woolf
The Physical and the Non-Physical are directly related to
and correspond to the sensory and the non-sensory
2.5.1 THE DISTINGUISHING PARAMETERS
"The red man
divided mind into two parts, -- the spiritual mind and the physical mind.
The first is pure spirit, concerned only with the essence of things, and it was this
he sought to strengthen by spiritual prayer, during which the body is subdued by
fasting and hardship. In this type of prayer there was no beseeching favor or help.
All matters of personal or selfish concern, as success in hunting or warfare, relief
from sickness, or the sparing of a beloved life, were definitely relegated to the
plane of the lower or material mind, and all ceremonies, charms, or incantations
designed to secure a benefit or to avert a danger, were recognized as
emanating from the physical self"
.................Eastman ( The Soul of The Indian )
Definitions for the purpose of this work:
PHYSICAL : That element of reality that is detectable, derivable and
definable in terms of sensory data is defined here as the Physical.
So the physical is the domain of the senses and their derivatives. This
definition is useful in order to clarify and distinguish the physical domain:
the domain where Time (or at least linear Time) and Space have meaning.
It is also the domain of the concepts of processes and functions as distinct
from the concepts of forces and fluxes that are more applicable to the
non-physical. These are crucial distinctions.
NON-PHYSICAL : That element of reality that cannot be defined in terms
of sensory data, rather the term data itself becomes invalid here and
alternate terms like will, spirit, force, abstract, dynamic, flux, emanation,
etc. become as possible candidates for representing its presence. One
of the relevant terms use to describe the manifestation of the non -
physical is - instinct or the instinctual. The word metaphysical which
basically means 'beyond physical' also refers to this domain, and such
concepts like soul, spirit and will are metaphysical concepts indicating
that the reality to which these concepts refer to is not a physical
reality, that is, it is a non-physical reality which is not perceptible
through the sensory systems and also cannot be derived from the
concepts related to the physical.
"We explain in the
same way the reappearance of complicated
instinctive actions in animals that have never set eyes on their
parents and therefore could not possibly have been "taught"
by them" .....C. G. Jung
COMPLETE DOMINATION OF THE PHYSICAL
"A live body
and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally,
there's no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts.
Why should I be concerned?”― Alan Moore
The domination of
the physical in all our thought today is complete because in a
science based education, the alternative assumptions are never taught. In science,
anything that cannot be accounted for by the laws of science does not and cannot
exist - this is the assumption in science that is never even acknowledged as an
assumption. Science is therefore blind to everything except the physical, but this
concise definition itself is not clearly made even among scientists.
I use a narrow definition of science because I try to stick closely to the definition
of definition, and that is because if you define something/concept of something too
broadly, then it tends to deflect from the true nature of that thing by being too
inclusive, and misleads us to the conclusion that there is no counter aspect
to that thing.
In this case if we have too broad a definition of science, which I define as testable data
about physical reality, then we lose sight of it’s counter-aspect, which is non-physical
reality. Because of the complete dominance of science based thinking, in the modern and
post-modern era, hardly anyone even has any cognition or conception of non-physical reality
any more – which is synthesis-experience based, and not sensory based. The non-physical
reality which is a noumenal realm has been reduced to the physical by brain scientists insisting
that these experiences are merely neurologically generated and thus hallucinations or
This obviously contradicts all philosophers like Plato, Kant, Schopenhauer etc. but the
domination of science is so complete that even philosophy is now almost defunct.
Another similar example is that of the materialism (there is only matter) versus idealism (reality
as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial.)
Typically most people take one extreme and deny the other. I prefer to explore the limits
and the domain of applicability of each, as well as where they meet or interact or mediate.
Of course, language plays a very vital role in all our thinking, but in pure experiencing
mode, language is suspended. Language, properly understood and used, is a
tool for our thinking, and should not be used to substitute reality itself.
Ponty observed is to "know what part freedom plays
and whether we can allow it something without giving it everything."
That sober remark summarized the issue neatly. What is the proper
place of the human being in the material and cultural world?
Against the materialists, specifically the dialectic Marxist materialist,
existentialism argues that the human being is 'more' than the sum of
physical, psychological and social forces. That 'more' is our conscious-
-ness with which we can assess and respond to these forces. But against
the spiritualists, (we had in mind the religious right, as we would say
today) the existentialist emphasizes our situated-ness, beginning with
our embodied ness that gives us our perspective and frustrates our
every attempt to volatize existence into that of some free floating spirit
hovering over the world.
It is between these extremes that the existentialist tries to make sense
of his or her existence."....Thomas Flynn
"M. Taine, in the
introduction to his history of English
literature, has written: "Whether facts be moral or physical, it makes
no matter. They always have their causes. There are causes for
ambition, courage, veracity, just as there are for digestion, muscular
movement, animal heat. Vice and virtue are products like vitriol and
sugar." When we read such proclamations of the intellect bent on
showing the existential conditions of absolutely everything, we
feel--quite apart from our legitimate impatience at the somewhat
ridiculous swagger of the program, in view of what the authors are
actually able to perform--menaced and negated in the springs of our
innermost life. Such cold-blooded assimilations threaten, we think, to
undo our soul's vital secrets, as if the same breath which should
succeed in explaining their origin would simultaneously explain away
their significance, and make them appear of no more preciousness,
either, than the useful groceries of which M. Taine speaks.
commonest expression of this assumption that spiritual
value is undone if lowly origin be asserted is seen in those comments
which unsentimental people so often pass on their more sentimental
acquaintances. Alfred believes in immortality so strongly because his
temperament is so emotional. Fanny's extraordinary conscientiousness
is merely a matter of overinstigated nerves. William's melancholy
about the universe is due to bad digestion--probably his liver is
torpid. Eliza's delight in her church is a symptom of her hysterical
constitution. Peter would be less troubled about his soul if he would
take more exercise in the open air, etc. A more fully developed
example of the same kind of reasoning is the fashion, quite common
nowadays among certain writers, of criticizing the religious emotions
by showing a connection between them and the sexual life. Conversion
is a crisis of puberty and adolescence. The macerations of saints, and
the devotion of missionaries, are only instances of the parental
instinct of self-sacrifice gone astray. For the hysterical nun,
starving for natural life, Christ is but an imaginary substitute for a
more earthly object of affection. And the like.......
--the effects are infinitely wider than the alleged causes,
and for the most part opposite in nature"
Like common sense itself, Aristotle just
can't make up his mind upon how
important material goods of fortune are. On the one hand the materialist is
certainly wrong: the suicide rate, which is a spectacular index of happiness
does have a definite relationship with wealth. Very poor individuals and nations
have very low suicide rates. So material things don't make you happy. On the
other hand the Platonic idealist who discounts the body altogether, is wrong too.
The body is not a motel room or a prison house - it's part of our being - our nature.
So good or bad can happen to us beyond our control because of our body. Aristotle
does not agree with Socrates that the self is just the soul, and therefore no evil can
happen to a good man by chance. .....TMS P. Kreeft
( Note of dissent: Nothing bad or evil can happen to a good man by chance, but it
happens by design, as a challenge to the good man and for the sake of his own
betterment depending upon how he tackles that bad or evil)
DISTINCTION TABLE :
|SENSORY||BEYOND-SENSORY, Extra Sensory|
|UNDERLYING ORDER||UNDERLYING FLOW|
|HAS FORMS, SHAPES||FORMLESS|
|PROCESS||EVENT or Force that acts on the process or modifies process|
|RULES-LAWS, PROPERTIES, DEFINABLE||NON-DEFINABLE|
|CONSENSUS Possible||CONSENSUS not the rule but maybe exception|
|FUNCTIONS||FORCES that effect functions|
|DEFINABLE CONCEPTS||FUZZY CONCEPTS|
|SPATIAL LOCATION||NO SPATIAL LOCATION|
|TIME LINEARITY||TIME Not necessarily LINEAR|
|OBJECT||WILL or INTENT|
|CONSCIOUS and SUB||SUPRA CONSCIOUS|
|CONCEPTUAL MEMORY||PERSONAL MEMORY|
|EMOTIVE or RESPONSIVE||MOTIVE or WILL|
It should be noted here at the outset that the non-physical has no
direct physical manifestation as such, and is manifest basically
through a living being. The non-physical should be understood
as that hidden attribute of reality that goes undetected by the
sensory systems. But it should be clear that although this split is
fundamentally important and clear cut, ( since the physical has
been clearly defined as related to the sensory systems and their
derivatives ), this split is, after all, only a split. Therefore every
"observed physical event" impacts the non-physical domain and
every non-physical happening has its impression or impact upon
One extreme example of the distinction between the non-physical
and the physical is the glaring distinction between the emotions of
love and lust. One of the heights of self-deception is to confuse
one with the other, and this is quite common.
Love is one of the most profound non-physical emotion that is also
transcendental, whereas lust is purely temporal, and is basically
negative (tends to deceive) but like any other negative (?) emotion
can be the trigger point for self-analysis.
I have used this distinction to illustrate that a higher emotion like
love is not sourced in matter nor can be attributed to physical
causation, but to non-physical causation, although it impacts
the physical, just as physical causation impacts the non-physical.
In other words, just as the physical reality has a reflection in the
non-physical realm, the non-physical reality also reflects in the physical.
To make a hypothesis for the sake of explanation and simplicity it has
been presumed that the nervous system - the brain is the bridge, the
gateway, that connects, impacts, as well as reflects the the two domains.
The reality of experience is where the domains converge, and neither
is more important than the other in the functioning of a being. Neither
is primary insofar as the functional value is concerned, although the
non-physical consciousness - the supra-conscious is primary
DEF in the CONTEXT of this work : For the purpose of this work , the
SELF of a being is defined as the totality of the being in terms of the
physical as well as the non-physical :
1) THE PHYSICAL manifestation of the being in form and material
substance and in time and space called the BODY of the being which houses :
A)THE BRAIN (or the Central Nervous System ) of the being , an
essential component of the body, through which the being controls, comm-
unicates and interacts with the rest of the body , the physical world , and also
possibly and potentially the non- physical world or worlds (if one so believes).
The brain has built in programs or instructions for basic survival and a
hardware structure with built in general purpose goals and faculties
of organising and learning through the sensory inputs .
(Under exceptional circumstances through non - sensory inputs also)
BODY(Dictionary)The entire material or physical structure of an organism
especially human beings or animals.(This def. is used in the
present context also).
B)The sum total of all memories, programs, control programs (goals),
beliefs & concepts is labeled as the MIND of the being .
Some programs are inbuilt, other programs, beliefs and concepts are learned,
acquired or created and linked with each other to form a complex construct or
sort of structure that models or generates paradigms of the world
perceived by the being primarily through the sensory system and as a logical
consequence models oneself also as part of the overall model.
The construct of the MIND of a being is included here as a physical component
of the SELF, since the construct of the mind is fundamentally built through
interactions with the physical world.
MIND (Dictionary) The human consciousness that originates in the brain and is
manifested especially in thought, perception, memory, emotion, will & imagination.
The difference in this work is that a consciousness is presumed to be primary to
the physical perception organ, the brain, which is presumed here to be the data
processing organ, whether this data is processed through the sensory systems
or synthesized from the abstract. The Mind's consciousness is presumed to be
secondary to the primary consciousness : the supra-conscious, or the non-
physical consciousness. ( see assumptions....art 2.5 )
C) The peripheral , motor and support systems (vital organs) are the
other parts of the physical body that provide the primary perception organ,
the BRAIN with the resources needed to operate. ( Again a simplification has
been made here in order to be concise.)
2) THE NON-PHYSICAL manifestation of the being , having no form
and material substance and unspecific in time and space , and whose existence
can only be realizable through direct personal experience which however can
said to be the vital but intangible essence of the being is labeled here as the
NON- PHYSICAL SELF , also analogous to the concepts of the SOUL (essence)
of or the SPIRIT ( animating force ) of a being.
SOUL( Dictionary )The animating and vital force in human beings often conceived
as an immaterial entity that survives death. The central or vital part of something .
Embodiment of an intangible quality : a persons emotional and moral nature .
SPIRIT( Dictionary) The animating force within living beings ; soul .The part of a
human being associated with mind, will and feelings . A mood or emotional state .
The actual though unstated sense or significance of something .
SPIRITUAL (Dictionary) Relating to or consisting of spirit. Synonym of
immaterial: having no material body or form .
The difference here in this work is that in this non -physical self also
includes that part of the mind that has been created from non-sensory
inputs from essentially unknown sources as well as other non-physical
aspects which are essentially un-definable and unknown (to be
potentially knowable through experience).
anything but a blind and indefinite impulse, since it proves to be attuned
and adapted to a definite external situation. This latter circumstance gives it its
specific and irreducible form. Just as instinct is original and hereditary, so too, its
form is age-old, that is to say, archetypal. It is even older and more conservative
than the body’s form. ~Carl Jung
ASSUMPTION ! : The physical self connects and communicates with
the physical world and with other beings through the sensory systems
and the non-physical is also connected but through modes and means
that are as yet unknown in general scientific terms, analysis and
probing, and will probably forever have to remain so since a certain
essence or core of nature must remain inaccessible to general abuse.
"Plato cannot and
does not prove that materialism is false and that
there is a non-material intelligible reality. Plato believes that the
philosopher must over and over again take up the challenge that
materialists present, and invite them into dialog and see what
happens. In my view, in addition to the enormous and obvious
historical influence that Plato has had on western philosophy,
this is his greatest legacy - that sophistry and materialism are
very basic and powerful intellectual options ( insofar ) as they
can't simply be dismissed, for they will always be adopted by
Plato teaches us how to argue against such opponents and the
many strategies he uses, but even these strategies are limited.
We cannot once and for all simply dismiss or refute these
opponents. History seems to confirm Plato fully as both the
sophists and materialists are still here ( and stronger
than ever). The dialog therefore is perennial."
.....TTC.. D. Roochnik
“I shall die
here. Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one. An inch.
It's small and it's fragile and it's the only thing in the world worth having.
We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never
let them take it from us.” ― Alan Moore
One may as well question the rationality in assuming about a supposed part
of the self that has no form and substance and has no physical attributes
of its existence that are verifiable, about which one can barely even
conceptualize for oneself, let alone for others, and whatever experiences
of which one may have are ultimately only of symbolic value (for the over
critical minded) !
This is the domain where rationality falters . The excellent and seemingly
infallible tool no longer works ; for the non physical self is not confined in
space and time and therefore independent of cause-effect relationships !
Therefore, even the mention of anything non-physical takes it outside
the domain of Science, but does not immediately imply that it falls in the
domain of Religion or even faith. The problems stem from trying to
classify experiences of the non-sensory type into a domain where these
can be proven scientifically, or established as faith and worshiped.
Science has ensured that whatever cannot be verified and agreed upon
under controlled conditions is rejected as irrational or faith. Thus the
entire reason of man has been seized by science, to the point that
for anything to be reasonable, it must be scientific.
[young children] into kindergarten where their reasoning
powers are ruined; or, if we can afford it, we buy Montessori outfits
. . . or we send them to outdoor schools and give them prizes for
sleeping"......Katherine F. Gerould
terms that are loaded with prejudice like 'it's all speculation'
in an attempt to debunk any expression of non-physical reality. Incidentally, the so called
'pure speculation' of Thales is what led to a series of speculations and arguments based
on them is from which science emerged.
But the activity that can give us some sense of the non-tangible and abstract is imagination
and intuition, but I would not rule out reason. However what trumps everything else is direct
experience of the non-tangible, which however still needs to be processed into
language for it to be expressed.
This is what poets, writers, myth makers, story tellers, meta-physicians like Plato, Kant, Hegel,
Schopenhauer etc. do. And some of them have presented explanatory principles about these
hidden non-tangible realities. Although all these also do not present the complete picture,
they never the less provide valuable snapshots.
Myths, fables and stories is very empowering human activity that promotes consciousness
of what it means to be human as well as promote imagination from which all knowledge,
including scientific emerges.
Materialists ask "What evidence do you have that such supernatural causation occurs? ” To
which the answer is: You have to stretch your logic and reasoning beyond the current
assumptions on which your reasoning is based - and that is to consider that there are intangible,
hidden realities to which Metaphysicians refer to such as Plato, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and
many others (according to the materialist's assumptions these all are deluded people) as also
many writers and almost all poets - but materialists have a vested interest to disregard all these
poets and philosophers because they did not show 'evidence' or proof, and therefore fatally
for themselves the materialists will never find any.
They take the stand that only science is a reliable method of establishing 'evidence' to
know anything. Everything else is rejected because 'it is not science'. This itself proves
the point I am making - that the materialist denies any reality 'because it is not science' - this
itself is a myth they fanatically believe in and perpetuate without even knowing it.
Their terms have definitions are forced upon others, and so I find them incapable of
comprehending any viewpoint other than their own self serving logic and the religious
community they belong to ( that of Materialism or Naturalism) with its dogmatic and
They choose to remain in one unreal-reality - the so called objective one. I keep my choices
open and explorative - not eternally fixed as theirs is."...Eudamoniac
“Reality, at first glance, is a simple thing: the television speaking to you now is real.
Your body sunk into that chair in the approach to midnight, a clock ticking at the threshold
of awareness. All the endless detail of a solid and material world surrounding you.
These things exist. They can be measured with a yardstick, a voltammeter, a weighing scale.
These things are real. Then there’s the mind, half-focused on the TV, the settee, the clock.
This ghostly knot of memory, idea and feeling that we call ourself also exists, though not
within the measurable world our science may describe.
Consciousness is unquantifiable, a ghost in the machine, barely considered real at all,
though in a sense this flickering mosaic of awareness is the only true reality that we can
ever know. The Here-and-Now demands attention, is more present to us. We dismiss
the inner world of our ideas as less important, although most of our immediate physical
reality originated only in the mind. The TV, sofa, clock and room, the whole civilisation
that contains them once were nothing save ideas.
Material existence is entirely founded on a phantom realm of mind, whose nature and
geography are unexplored. Before the Age of Reason was announced, humanity had
polished strategies for interacting with the world of the imaginary and invisible:
complicated magic-systems; sprawling pantheons of gods and spirits, images and
names with which we labelled powerful inner forces so that we might better understand
them. Intellect, Emotion and Unconscious Thought were made divinities or demons so
that we, like Faust, might better know them; deal with them; become them.
Ancient cultures did not worship idols. Their god-statues represented ideal states which,
when meditated constantly upon, one might aspire to. Science proves there never was a
mermaid, blue-skinned Krishna or a virgin birth in physical reality. Yet thought is real, and
the domain of thought is the one place where gods inarguably exist, wielding tremendous
power. If Aphrodite were a myth and Love only a concept, then would that negate the
crimes and kindnesses and songs done in Love’s name? If Christ were only ever fiction,
a divine Idea, would this invalidate the social change inspired by that idea, make holy
wars less terrible, or human betterment less real, less sacred?
The world of ideas is in certain senses deeper, truer than reality; this solid television
less significant than the Idea of television. Ideas, unlike solid structures, do not perish.
They remain immortal, immaterial and everywhere, like all Divine things. Ideas are a golden,
savage landscape that we wander unaware, without a map.
Be careful: in the last analysis, reality may be exactly what we think it is.”
― Alan Moore
"If you have an
apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I
will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange
these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."....Charles F Brannan
2.5.3 THE RATIONAL TRAP
"Believe nothing, no
matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter
if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own
common sense ..... Buddha.
all whose minds are not strong enough to master her."
.......G B Shaw
In a science and reason based educational system, we are made to believe
that whatever is not generally accepted as rational has to be irrational
and unscientific and not worth going into. Once such a logic is accepted,
we then fall into the very trap we would wish to avoid - the rational trap
Therefore anybody who gives expression to an experience that cannot be
repeatedly verified under controlled conditions by other 'trained' people
(scientific ), is treated as a nut who utters nonsense.
The entire domain of a very powerful tool of reason has been reduced and
limited to only the narrow domain of general agreement. Reason is taught
rather than exercised. People have stopped reasoning on their own, it is
given readymade to them. And what is taught as reasonable is never to be
questioned - the very antithesis of reasoning and inquiry.
Its like a workman throwing away the tool and giving up work just because
he has been taught to use it only in a prescribed way, and in any new or
seemingly alien situation it is not supposed to work.
The failure of science to tackle reality beyond atoms, particles and
equations is an example of the rational trap. The rational trap says that
whatever cannot be put into a generally verifiable and testable cause-
effect relationship, exists only in someone's imagination.
phrase for the rise of the modern world was ‘The Enlightenment’
– a movement that wanted to free the human mind from superstition and dogma,
from the adherence to prejudice. This is the goal of enlightenment – beautifully
stated by Kant as: dare to use your own reason – have the audacity to reason
for yourself. The enlightenment, by the rise of capitalism also fuelled a terrible
increase in the power of science and its ability to fuel technology.
The attempt to de-mystify the world - to make it transparent to reason carried
with it a strange dark side with it. The more we cleared the fields of the traditional
religious views, the more we became convinced that science or as Marcuse
uses the term - 'instrumental reason : reason used as an instrument for changing
human beings and nature'. The more the enlightenment project progressed, its not
that we became less afraid in the face of the unknown - now the unknown became
more terrifying than ever. It's not the case that we became less dogmatic, as a
matter of fact now that the sciences have branched into so many areas that the
only way anyone can believe any of them is dogmatically since no one has the
time to study them all. so in a paradoxical way, the enlightenment builds up a kind
of intellect that is intelligent enough to see through the mystification, but such an
intellect then becomes totalitarian ( without knowing it ).
The flip side of enlightenment has been to give up before the overpowering force
or power of technology - an abject surrender beyond any than that was called for
in religion. Given the current state of the powers of technology - they far surpass
the characteristics we associate with God. In the Bible, the apocalypse is a
magnificent myth, but long ago it became in our society a technologically
achievable reality. We didn't need any longer to conjure up ten headed beasts
to be afraid of - now we had systems - 'rational' systems whose outcome is
not rational but paradoxically irrational.
Because the enlightenment focused upon reason as individuated, they didn't
see the overall effects of the workings of reason that might themselves
prove to be irrational. Ironically reason itself became a force of mystification.
The enlightenment did not kill the myth, but carried it along with it ( in different
form), and this entwinement of enlightenment and myth is most important to
understand the situation that we are in now, for now the technologies are
themselves quasi-mythological - like virtual reality.”
….Rick Roderick ( TTC Self Under Siege )
In the domain of the non-physical, 'taught reasoning' fails to work, only a
flexible, self- developed reasoning works. This is so because beyond the
physical is the realm of a "world" that has no direct relation or interaction
or similarity of rules and laws with the physical world . The only relation
that is possible is through individual living beings. Some elements of this
world can be sensed by not-knowing all that is known about the physical
world, in other words through our faculties that do not operate from our
construct of existing beliefs and concepts, ( the intuitive, imaginative) since
our learned and operating beliefs and concepts themselves tend to block
experiences that are alien to them.
Let us ponder boldly - 'tis
Abandonment of reason to resign
Our right of thought - our last and only place
Of refuge ; this, at last, shall still be mine :
Though from our birth the faculty divine
Is chain'd and tortured -cabin'd, cribb'd, confined,
And bred in darkness, lest the truth should shine
Too brightly on the unprepared mind,
The beam pours in, for time and skill will couch the blind.
2.5.4 THE SPIRITUAL- EXPERIENCE TRAP
So this realm indeed is difficult to access and perhaps rightly so - for
just to blindly enter this realm without knowing or at least attempting
to know one's physical self and mind, its unique attributes, limitations
and purposes, the journey will only turn out to be an exercise in self
indulgence and at best " high quality mystical entertainment ".
The abuse of hallucinogenic drugs is ample indication of this tendency
for a "quick-fix spirituality and mysticism".
We should not
rise above the earth with the aid of “spiritual” intuitions and run away
from hard reality, as so often happens with people who have brilliant intuitions.
For we are also now in a realm where there is no general meaning or
significance of anything - there is only personal meaning and personal
significance of one's experiences of the realm of the non physical self.
Agreements and generalities are important and have great significance
when we conceptualize about the physical world relating to our sensory
perceptions, so that we have working and testable models on how we
live together (with minimal conflict) and communicate in a social
system and share physical resources.
The spiritual trap is the trapping effect of a 'high' or 'out of this world'
experience that the mind cannot appropriately rationalize, and ends up
overvaluing the experience, thereby rejecting the intellectual and
rational translation or significance of the experience. It also leads to
erroneous conclusions about the physical world like 'the world is all
an illusion'. What is worse is that such people induce others to believe
in them as a matter of 'faith' that the 'experience of ultimate reality'
is all there is to life.
"When the primitive
world disintegrated into spirit ( non-physical ) and
nature ( physical ), the West rescued nature ( physical ) for itself. It was
prone to a belief in physical nature and only became more entangled
in it with every painful effort to make itself spiritual. The East, on the
contrary, took mind for its own, and by explaining away matter as mere
illusion ( Maya ) , continued to dream in Asiatic filth and misery.".....Jung
2.5.5 THE INTERPRETATION TRAP
It is important to understand here that any conceptualization arising from
experiences that are non-physical based ( non-sensory, or transcendental or
mystical to use some alternate terms here), are only symbolic, or vaguely
representative of any non-physical elements of reality, since these are
ultimately expressed or conceived in sensory terms only. The sheer
intensity or strangeness of the experiences that are non-sensory based
makes most people present these in their expression as Reality or
even Ultimate Reality, without realizing that these expressions are
interpretations of their experiences.
This is the most critical trap that most people fall into: that any
understanding, or any symbolism, or any conceptualization or any meaning
is only a processed interpretation of an abstract or non-sensory
experience, that has been translated and interpreted by our
existing set of concepts and beliefs.
The interpretation trap has been entered when someone insists that what
they are saying is 'the truth' or 'ultimate reality' or some such assertion
without realizing that they are only expressing, in language, an
experience that has been interpreted and evaluated by their mind.
"We are shaped by our
thoughts. We become what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts
we make the world."............Buddha
2.5.6 THE RELIGION TRAP
The natural tendency of the mind of man is to attribute the strangest of
one's experiences to entities beyond one's own self. This leads to the
religion trap : the conclusion that the source of everything is in an
entity ( God ), or entities that is/are beyond self, the self is itself
an illusion, or only a manifestation of this entity ( God ).
This is the most fatal flaw in all religions, namely that they conceptualize
non-physical elements or entities in a fixed manner and present them as
generally valid for everybody for all times with such a conviction that they
end up fooling even themselves, without realizing that there can be no
fixed and generally valid concepts in the non-physical domain. Even
more disastrous is the fact that most of these people do not even
realize or admit that what they are presenting are concepts describing
elements of the non-physical, rather these are presented as irrefutable
truths about "ultimate reality" that are absolutely applicable for all
and sundry for all times to come.
The Religion trap has been entered when someone insists or emphasizes
that an entity or entities beyond the living beings in the world is/ are the
source, and therefore the controller/s of all that occurs. This is usually
presented as valid for everyone.
2.5.7 PRIMARY and SECONDARY CONCEPTS
It is of utmost importance to distinguish between primary concepts that
are derivatives of sensory systems, having been acquired and learned from
interactions in the physical: family, teachers, peers, society, books, school
etc and those that are derived as a synthesis from non-sensory based
experiences, since both are finally expressible in the primary concepts
and sensory terms only.
The secondary concepts are thus a combination of both existing
primary concepts and synthesized from non-sensory experiences.
It must be noted that non-sensory experiences are processed and sensed
in different ways, depending upon the sensitivity or development of one's
faculties, namely these can be a) visual (Vision) b) sound (hymn)
c) string of words (poetic) d) emotional ( sadness, terrifying,
elating or ecstasy) e) intellectual ( a new idea, abstraction,
concept or solution)
Again this is not to say that an expression of the abstract non-sensory
is an undesirable affair, since all creative expression emerges from the
abstract that emerges from the non-sensory. On the contrary, humans
are beings of diverse creative expressions, and it is in our nature to do
so in order to realize and develop our potential, but the two points that
are pertinent are that a) any expression derived from the non-physical
has essentially a personal validity and only non-essentially (if at all)
does it have general validity. b) This expression when given a definite
form only has transitory or temporary value. That is, form given to
any expression derived from the non-physical has by nature, only
a temporary value having a limited span of validity even in the
Failing to understand this basic distinctions has disastrous results
as can be observed from the failure of various religions to provide
for a sustainable social system.
So it is summed up here that although a very significant aspect of our
existence as human beings is manifest in terms of whatever we create,
or give form to, from our experiences, this self-expression must firstly
be enriching, harmonizing and enhancing to one's own self, and
secondly should preferably also co-relate meaningfully with our
social environment. It can be concluded that those expressions that
have both personal as well as a wide general or social validity are
of the highest value.
2.5.8 Summary : The need for
In this article I have tried to show that the assumption of a non-
physical self as well as a non-physical reality is indispensable
not only for self - exploration and expression but also for any
meaningful discourse or understanding or ( metaphysics )
modeling of Reality.
From this comes the differentiation of concepts into :
1. Experiential concepts : These are concepts that are meaningful
only in the experiential domain, and any usage of these concepts
for analysis, discourse or even expression is usually frivolous,
redundant and misleading. For example the concept of God.
These are useful insofar as they signify entities that one encounters
in one's deepest personal experiences.
These have personal validity limited to their usage for internal
cohesion, stability, faith etc. These have been highly abused in
religions and cults, where a leader who develops the concept
through ' a revelation ' then induces the followers by first giving
vivid descriptions of the concept through a script, and then finding
methods by which a similar experience can be recreated in the
subjects, so as to have a general agreement that binds the
subjects in a bond of ' faith '. Most eastern religions follow this
2. Non - Physical or metaphysical concepts : These are secondary
concepts which can only be useful and meaningful if there is some
experience to which they can relate to, or else their usage is
likely to be misleading and deceptive . These have very limited
general validity but are important for expressing elements of reality
that are independent of physical phenomena. By nature, these cannot be
defined or their characteristics agreed upon, and their usage demands a
minimum creative imagination, both in expression as well as
comprehension of the expressions of others.
These concepts represent the 'forces' or 'fluxes' that act upon a
being or that emanate from within a being
For example, Spirit, Soul, Moral force, Power, Consciousness, Intent etc.
However, in any discourse the context and usage should be in proper order
and the general limitations of its usage understood.
3. Physical concepts : are those that describe or symbolize physical entities
or attributes are the usual concepts like body, earth, atoms, energy, light,
sound, time, space, etc.
Proper distinction and the usage context or domain is essential in order
to retain clarity of mind and purpose, or else one is likely to fall in one
trap or another : the overvaluation of experience trap, the trap of
getting mired into the reasoning taught by others and thereby the
paralysis of one's own reasoning power, the trap of not treating the
interpretation of experience as one of the many possible interpretations,
the religion trap where one starts believing in an entity as ultimate
and finally the trap of improper usage of concepts and language.
"To avoid the various
foolish operations to which mankind are prone,
no superhuman genius is required. A few simple rules will keep you,
not from all error, but from silly error.".................Bertrand Russel
With this crucial distinctions in mind, the next article deals with the
foundations of knowledge : what it is, what does it mean to know
something, and most important of all : the validity of knowledge
in its formation and application, and how knowledge "moves"
towards a higher order of coherence, or towards destruction of
existing order, by its counterpart - power.
NEXT PAGE 09 : 2.6 Knowledge and Power
epistemology, philosophy, metaphysics,
religion, belief, system, social, cultural, paradigm, knowledge,
ontology, power, moral, fundamental, force, Will, Spirit, Intent, knowing, Heart, Mind, reason, intuition,
autonomous, unique, being, existence, space, time, meaning, purpose
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