The Absolute (P-A) and the relative (P-B) are different contexts, therefore in any dialogue it is necessary that the participants agree in which paradigm the conversation is to occur. It is much like agreeing on the subject. Are we talking about apples or oranges? Otherwise, it is pointless to even have a dialogue, that is to say, it will “begin” but not get anywhere. The participants will simply wander farther and farther apart until contact is lost with confusion the result.
The fundamental difference between the two contexts is that one deals with Simple Reality and the other deals with illusion. Failure to make the distinction in the beginning is like talking about going fishing in a lake to the left or in the reflection of the lake on the right. Failure to have a conversation about reality could end up with nothing to eat for dinner.
However, despite our dazzling technology we must realize that in P-B communication is a dicey business at best considering the motives of the false self. For example take the worthwhile goal of integration in the American community. Most of us would agree that breaking down barriers of discrimination between the sexes and between majority whites and other races, ethnic groups and religions is necessary for a sustainable human community. Talking about a given subject like integration in P-B, the content of the conversation, the ideas and even the words would not be the same if they were used in the context of P-A.
For example, a key word like diversity can hardly be avoided when discussing creating more tolerance and fairness in a community and more clarity in communication. “Adding to the ambiguity is the fact that the definition of ‘diversity’ changes depending on who is doing the talking. The dictionary will tell you that it is ‘the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas,’ and the word is often used, without controversy, to describe things like the environment and stock-market holdings. But in reality—which is to say, when applied to actual people, not flora, fauna or financial securities—the notion of diversity feels more fraught, positioning one group (white, male Americans) as the default, and everyone else as the Other.”[i] There is that key word again (the other) without which a profound understanding of communication is impossible.
Take the example of disingenuous integration such as “token integration.” “Bragging about hiring a few people of color, or women, seems to come from the same interpretive bias, where a small amount is enough. It also puts significant pressure on the few ‘diverse’ folks who are allowed into any given club, where they are expected to be ambassadors of sorts, representing the minority identity while conforming to the majority one. All of this can make a person doubt the sincerity of an institution or organization—and question their place within it.”[ii] In short, we have the “illusion” of integration.
Taking this example to a deeper, more profound level of understanding, we can say that neither the bigoted majority nor the minority “tokens” are aware of the underlying causes of the dilemma they think is being addressed nor why their well-intentioned solutions never seem to work. Without a paradigm shift, the old context will frustrate any attempts at problem solving.
The well-intentioned and even compassionate white American males do the best they can to rationalize their efforts, policies and strategies to make the American society more inclusive. Anna Holmes, in her article “Variety Show” in The New York Times, describes this kind of communication as “mansplaining” or “whitesplaining.” The only “splaining” that will ever reveal the solution to a shattered community is when the True self is doing the talking. The so-called “differences” among the world’s peoples are an illusion, they simply don’t exist.
When did humankind begin all this pointless communication? “The paradox is that Rene Descartes’ Discourse on Method, the book that reformed the entire structure of Western knowledge and that provided the foundations for modern science, came to its author in three visionary dreams and a dream within a dream, which provided the key for interpreting the larger dream. What an irony it is that the entire edifice of rational, reductionist, positivist science, which today rejects ‘subjective knowledge’ was originally inspired by a revelation in a non-ordinary state of consciousness!”[iii]
“Similarly, in personal communications between Jung and Albert Einstein, the latter explicitly encouraged him [Jung] to pursue the concept of synchronicity because it was fully compatible with the new thinking in physics. Sadly, however, mainstream psychologists and psychiatrists have still not caught up with the revolutionary developments in modern physics and Jungian psychology.”[iv]
Oneness as a worldview holds that there is only one Mind which is used by the one True self. It is this one Mind that Sir Arthur Eddington refers to when he claims that “We have only one approach, namely, through our direct [i.e. non-dual] knowledge of mind. The supposed approach [dualistic] through the physical world leads only into the cycle of physics, where we run round and round like a kitten chasing its tail.”[v]
“One would hardly imagine that in picking up a college physics textbook, one is actually handling a ‘religious’ document that has carefully been scrubbed clean of all dirty words such as intuition, eternity, and Godhead. But the central concern of physical science revolves around the concept of energy and its transformations, whether these transformations occur in molecules, biological systems or computers. And how is this Energy described? It can neither be created nor destroyed, put together nor taken apart, and on the whole it is neither increasing nor decreasing, remaining always constant. This, in fact, is the First Law of Thermodynamics. Further, the Energy of the universe, which remains forever constant, nevertheless undergoes ‘transformations’ or ‘manifestations,’ for all types of energy and matter, whether kinetic, thermal, or molecular, are spoken of as ‘Forms of Energy.’ As a matter of fact, all phenomena in the universe are ultimately nothing but forms of Energy, so that this Energy more or less ‘underlies’ all material things. This is pure physics, but it sounds strangely familiar, and one begins to wonder whether we are discussing physics or Hinduism. Ultimately, it matters not one whit whether we say that all things are forms of Energy or forms of Brahman.”[vi]
And here is where the apples and oranges in our all-important communication fuse together into Oneness. We transcend the dualism of fundamentalist scientism into a truly rational worldview that corresponds to all of the “facts” made known to us using both our objective and subjective faculties. If we don’t take the discussion beyond the reductionist-materialist perspective, then we are stuck in the P-B illusion and the pointless despair that many of us are experiencing.
“One prominent Nobel Laureate makes no bones about it, stating that the more we learn of the universe, the more obvious that it is pointless. Such a decidedly glum assessment of our present position and future prospects is hardly inspirational. Muslim philosopher Seyyed Hossein Nasr has observed that as values lose their grounding, not only does the danger to the natural world increase, so does the probability of human atrocities. The end result of a philosophy that espouses a pointless universe can be only ugliness and destruction, for no matter in what mantle of stoic nobility one attempts to cloak it, this philosophy is no fountain of hope but rather a poison brew of pessimism. This position cannot—via any tinkering or contortion—be made life-enhancing.”[vii]
The human intellect can dazzle us with its seemingly endless capacity for invention and problem solving. In the field of communication alone, tracing the evolution of our need to connect with one another and to facilitate the expression of our false-self survival strategy can leave us awestruck.
Cave paintings and scratchings of Paleolithic (16,000 BC) humans in such places as Altamira are among the earliest expressions of the yearning for communication. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, the alphabet, the printing press, the telegraph, the telephone, the computer, and finally the internet are milestones that sweep us forward to today’s communications technology.
And yet we must not fail to reflect on the all-important characteristic of human reason. It is very limited. As we devise ever more ingenious ways to communicate, they will turn out to be worthless if we have no idea what we are talking about. For example, are we using our brains to address The First Great Question, Where Are We? which is where all human problem-solving begins.
We are perhaps afraid to ask that question because we think we have already answered it. The universe seems to most of us a place of chaos, at least that’s how we behave. Our scientific inventions may seem to us a means of gaining some measure of control so we can feel safer.
Simple Reality tells us that both control and chaos are illusions. A perfect Creation is the opposite of chaos and hence there is no need to control that which already “works” perfectly. We, being an intrinsic part of that perfect Creation need only relax, breathe, and respond to the wondrous life we have been given.
Let’s talk about that for a change, a welcome change from the topics that dominate our conversation and about which we know nothing.
[i] Holmes, Anna. “Variety Show.” The New York Times Magazine. November 1, 2015, p. 22.
[ii] Ibid., pp. 22-23.
[iii] Grof, Stanislov. The Holotropic Mind. New York: Harper, 1993, p. 170.
[iv] Ibid., p. 179.
[v] Wilber, Ken. The Spectrum of Consciousness. Wheaton, Illinois: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1977, p. 48.
[vi] Ibid., p. 173.
[vii] Haisch, Bernard. “Freeing the Scientific Imagination.” IONS Noetic Sciences Review. Petaluma, California: Institute of Noetic Sciences, September-November 2001, p. 27.