“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest…a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in it’s beauty.”
For centuries now, the inclination to defer to the will and opinions of people in positions of authority has been something the average citizen in the majority of societies across the world has accepted as ‘natural’. It’s just what you do. They know best. Our history books are full of accounts of times when it became obvious that various hereditory kings and emperors were as daft as the proverbial brush and had to go, but the mantle of emperorship simply shifted to a different class of ‘emperor’ and in no time the citizenship were once more repeating the mantra ‘they know best’. Ditto with religious authority, overturned in favour of science, much of which has now degenerated into little more than religious repetition of assumptions which have long ago been shown to be false. But still we’re singing the same old song “they know best”.
More and more these days it seems that what reaches us through the media concerning government, corporate and scientific reasoning and endeavour, and in the op-eds and interpretations of the stories by the media itself, are so lacking in basic common sense as to appear little short of idiotic (for recent examples from this blog alone, see Bees on their knees, Anti-nonscience and Dumb and dumber). More insidiously and significantly, fear-based psychic epidemics are whipped up and propagated to justify actions that no citizen of a democracy could possibly condone were they not spinning hopelessly in the vortex of terror that they’ve bought into by reason of their faith in the various ‘authorities’ involved. Weapons of Mass Destruction? Bird flu? It’s becoming ever more obvious that not only the emperor, but his entire entourage, administration, advisors and reporting structure, have barely a stitch of clothing between them.
And while all this is going on, ‘ordinary’ people communicating through the internet are showing more and more evidence of having worked things out for themselves and come to rational conclusions that have much greater coherence, make far more sense than anything the supposed ‘experts’ have to say on the subject. It seems the ‘experts’ have been barking so long up the individual tree of their particular niche specialty, that they’ve long ago lost all sight of the wood.
I’m old enough now to look back and say once there was a time when we could trust ‘the experts’ to come out with something sensible, and if we couldn’t, then the independent intelligent media would soon sniff them out and expose their mistakes. Or was that just an illusion too, based on a belief I held then which I no longer do now? In many ways, the degeneration of the whole set-up into the pastiche it’s now become forces us to face the fundamental mechanisms underlying this misguided behaviour and finally see it for what it is. This is the only thing that will ensure it’s not continualy repeated as we once more come to the threshold of deposing one set of authority figures in favour of another.
Ultimately it all seems to boil down to the belief in an objective reality in which there can be only one ‘correct’ interpretation, one way of doing things, one ‘truth’. Despite all the evidence to show that there are innumerable valid perspectives on things, that even ‘our’ perspective, ‘truth’ and methods are constantly changing so can hardly amount to ‘the one true way’, we are collectively driven to trumpet the supremacy of our own particular perspective, bully others into accepting it, and discredit any evidence to the contrary.
Yet invariably it’s the case that there’s truth lurking in our basic impulses. It’s in the interpretation that we get it all back to front and inside out. The sense of ‘there can be only one’ is true. At the level of collective consciousness, we are inseparable from the entirety of existence. We are one, purely and simply. But unity is NOT uniformity. It becomes uniformity when the basic apprehension of unity becomes warped and twisted by the illusion of separation, and by virtue of its torsion acquires kinetic potential – ie. it creates an impulse to move, to motivate, to enforce uniformity, which is a warped expression of unity.
In realising that we are fundamentally, completely and utterly inseparable from the entirety of existence, no matter what, the illusion of separation and disconnection melts away, resulting in far greater tolerance of individual variation in perspective, method, thought. Quite simply, if you can’t be disconnected, then you always ‘belong’ and are free to REALise the expression of your relatively individualised consciousness with its unique perspective which is no more and no less valid and valuable than every other single perspective on the planet. You are your own authority, your own expert, and nothing can invalidate your point of view. Even if it’s apparently incoherent with a collectively-held viewpoint, your point of view is what in-forms your own experience of reality and is thus ‘true’ at your own individualised level of experience. But equally well, it’s no more ‘true’ than anyone else’s viewpoint, and thus cannot be forced on others as ‘the only way’. The validity of your viewpoint cannot invalidate anyone else’s.
The solution to the question of what has wider or ultimate truth emerges most readily on a level playing field where conscious unity is taken as a basic premise. In such an environment, the sense of ‘self’ is recognised as largely illusory, contingent on a sense of separated existence. The concept of ‘ownership’ of ideas thus becomes an irrelevance, and ego games don’t get a look-in. It’s only in putting all our collective subjective expertise together and testing its coherence in relation to the whole that we finally comprehend that no viewpoints are mutually exclusive and all are informed by our connection with the whole. Each viewpoint is just a different facet of the same gem, and only when you turn a gemstone over in your hand and see all its facets do you understand what the gemstone really is. The ‘expert’ studying a process in minute detail has no more ‘authority’ than the person seeing it in a wider context. To be coherent, both perspectives require inclusion and rationalisation within an overall process which connects with every other process in existence.
And such is the level of synchronicity at the moment, that just as I was finishing up on this, Paul Levy’s latest essay Breaking the vow of silence came in, which addresses much the same dynamic.