Thursday, 19 February 2015

Monist or dualist - which are you?

I am thankful for the Enlightenment; I can write this piece without fear of being burnt at the stake by the Holy Inquisition, as did Giordano Bruno 415 years ago yesterday for positing (among other ideas) that our world is but one of many.

Today, as Lent gets into full swing, I wish to enquire about no less than the nature of the Universe, 'all things visible and invisible' [wszystkie rzeczy widzialne i niewidzialne] as the Credo puts it.

So - what is the nature of these invisible things? Is the realm of the spirit, something entirely different to the physical universe in which our bodies currently dwell. Or it is? Is there nothing beyond the universe, however physicists may come to define it?

Dualism posits that body and soul are two entirely separate entities. We die and go to heaven - heaven neither a place, nor a state of mind, but being in the Presence of God. Monism posits that thought, consciousness, is an emanation of our brains - which are physical; monism is a holistic view of the universe.

Given that science has only a tenuous grasp of the nature of matter - like, just how many subatomic particles are there? And what is dark matter? Is there one universe, or an infinite number of parallel universes? How many dimensions are there - three? or eleven (including ones we're unable to comprehend?) What's quantum gravity? Where is the seat of consciousness? How did consciousness first arise? Delve deep into the many excellent Wikipedia articles on cosmology, ontology, philosophy, and you'll see how many questions there are about our universe.

We know how little we know, how much there is still is for science to discover and prove. What does this mean from the point of human spirituality?

For me at least the notion that the ultimate truth about our existence is contained within the literal Word of Our Creator, handed down directly from its source via any one of a number of competing organised religions, seems far-fetched. All we can really say, if we are honest in our pursuit of spiritual wisdom, is - "keep seeking". Keep asking, keep an open mind to new discoveries - and that way bring yourself closer to spiritual fulfilment.

The number of known exoplanets (satellites of stars in our galactic neighbourhood) that are theoretically considered capable of hosting life is growing each year. A God for our planet is also the same God as for those exoplanets too. One Creator. Made manifest here on Earth at one point in time for the benefit of all future generations of Mankind? Hmm... I do have grave doubts.

We were born to strive, the seek, to question, to journey constantly from a state of unknowing in a general direction of knowing. We know far more than our great-grandparents knew - but far less than our great-grandchildren will know.

Is there an entirely different entity that is the spiritual world? Or is this a convenient construct to assist organised religions in laying down rules useful for the creation of social order?

I do believe in spiritual evolution in the way I understand biological evolution. Step by step, closer to a singularity of awareness and will. Singularity in that all is one; whole and undivided. How then, do I see God?

This time last year:
Grim prospects for Ukraine

This time last year:
Wrocław's new airport terminal

This time three years ago:
A study in symmetry: Kabaty Metro station

This time four years ago:
To the Devil with it all - a short story

This time five years ago:
Waiting for the meltdown

This time seven years ago:
Flat tyre


dr Marcin said...

Hi Mike,

Nothing about burnt-out Łazienkowski Bridge? None of your foreign friends might be interested in a coverage? Is that bridge and its burn-out an evidence of an incompetence of HGW as the City's President?

Michael Dembinski said...

Hi Dr Marcin,

Of course the Lazienkowski Bridge will be covered - it's too big a story to ignore. The answer to your third question is a) someone was bloody stupid to leave tons of flammable wood under the bridge but b) we shall see how HGW reacts in terms of a speedy solution to what is a huge problem.