As we enter the world we are infinite. We have no boundary. We are also zero. At three months, or so, we begin to distinguish that there is an “other” – the breast as part object. By 6 months old the boundary between us and the other (usually mother) is clear; and often frightening. Warmth, food, security and affection can be withdrawn as well as present. Our world is strait, though we do not know it. As we age and explore we push the boundary back; and back. If we are fortunate, and conquer our fear, we realise once more that there is no boundary. We are existence and all of existence is us. Death is an illusion. When we leave the world we can then fade to white and lose the loneliness and fear that haunts life, to experience all that is directly once more.
Milo Wolff proposes that all “matter” in the universe is in fact made up of a mesh of scalar waves – whose nodes are points of convergence of waves. (Do I have that right Tim?). Read more at
If so, then all is connected. We all perceive all together instantaneously.
In my last blog I referred to a passage by Martin Buber in which he cites reality in relation to a tree. I complete that passage – because it seems especially to speak to our potential perception of this..
I consider a tree.
I can look on it as a picture: stiff column in a shock of light, or splash of green shot with the delicate blue and silver of the background.
I can perceive it as movement: flowing veins on clinging, pressing pith, suck of the roots, breathing of the leaves, ceaseless commerce with earth and air – and the obscure growth itself.
I can classify it in a species and study it as a type in its structure and mode of life.
I can subdue its actual presence and form so sternly that I recognise it only as an expression of law – of the laws in accordance with which a constant opposition of forces is continually adjusted, or of those in accordance with which the component substances mingle and separate.
I can dissipate it and perpetuate it in number, in pure numerical relation.
In all this the tree remains my object, occupies space and time, and has its nature and constitution.
It can, however, also come about, if I have both will and grace, that in considering the tree I become bound up in relation to it. The tree is now no longer IT. I have been seized by the power of exclusiveness.
To effect this it is not necessary for me to give up any of the ways I consider the tree. There is nothing from which I would have to turn my eyes away in order to see, and no knowledge I would have to forget. Rather is everything, picture and movement, species and type, law and number indivisibly united in this event.
Everything belonging to the tree is in this: its form and structure, its colours and chemical composition,its intercourse with the elements and with the starts, are all present in a single whole.
The tree is no impression, no play of my imagination, FL;#no value depending on my mood; but is bodied over against me and has to do with me, as I with it – only in a different way.
Let no attempt be made to sap the strength from the meaning of the relation: relation is mutual.
The tree will have a consciousness then, similar to our own? Of that I have no experience. But do you wish, through seeming to succeed in it with your self, once again to disintegrate that which cannot be disintegrated? I encounter no soul or dryad of the tree, but the tree itself.
The Leaf I’m alive. I’m new and unfurling from my bud. My greens ooze with majestic succulence. I, in short, am IT. All there is, and who would want to be more. Than me? I came from nowhere and I am alone. Existentially alone. Just me and wind as it gently (and sometimes just a bit roughly) sways me here, up here in the space of the canopy. The canopy that is all there is. There was nothing before me and there is nothing beyond me and the canopy. There is no purpose, nothing beyond. Me me me.But wait, I’m withering, turning brown. The wind isn’t so much rocking me as mocking and throwing me up down and awaaaayyy. I’m falling and I’m fading.
The Tree My little bud, my dear heart – why don’t you listen to me. Feel the sap rising through me out to you. Don’t you feel that you are me? I am the canopy, but even I am just a part of the forest, which is also me. And you. You are not alone. We are all in all. Together. Ah, the autumn comes and you’ve cut yourself off from the eternal phloem. Don’t. Please. Well goodbye then. But only for short while because. Yes, it’s springtime again and I can feel you as the blanket of mould by my roots. Now you are my sap. My leibchen. Hello again.
“Primary words do not signify things, but they intimate relations.Primary words do not describe something that might exist independently of them, but being spoken they bring about existence. Primary words are spoken from the being. If Thou is said, the I of the combination I-Thou is said along with it. If It is said the I of the combination I-It is said along with it. The primary word I-Thou can only be spoken with the whole being. The primary word I-It can never be spoken with the whole being.” Martin Buber
“Einstein, stop telling God what to do! … everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.” Neils Bohr
The science says that It is OUR observation of the world that crystallises out this particular reality from the sea of potential within the quantum ocean of possibilities. We are responsible for the universe we create – either materialist (I-It, Ich-Sie) or connected to the underlying spirit (I-Thou, Ich-Du).
I have read that Buber holds that Jesus Christ is the quintessence of what it means to live a fully Jewish life? (I’m not Jewish, nor a scholar and would be interested in feedback on this please).
“To man the world is twofold in accordance with his twofold attititude
The attitude of man is twofold, in accordance with the twofold nature of the primary words which he speaks.
As experience, the world belongs to the primary word I-It. The primary word I-Thou establishes the world of relation”
Martin Buber: I and Thou
Our brother whose heart be heaven
Hallowed be thy pain
Our kingdom come
Our will be one
On earth as it is in heaven
Live in us today, our daily bread
So we give up our trespasses
And see you in those who trespass against us
And lead us not to isolation
Which delivers each to evil
For ours be our kingdom, our power and our glory
Now and for ever
What is evil?
The anti-thesis of good. Ah, but what is good? In fact are these useful constructs at all, or simply perceived positive and negative outcomes of random events?
Is it reasonable to equate good with happiness and evil with unhappiness? If so, where does happiness lie?
It is politically (but not scientifically) correct to assume a materialistic existence built on a series of microscopic random events unfolding in intransitive time. Therein lies the evil that we must embrace. In other words we focus on and believe in, like Thomas, only on what we see. We do that at least partially because we fear there is no meaning below or beyond what our sensory organs are capable of registering.
Surely one of the great lessons of the exploration of mind started by Sigmund Freud is that the more you avoid a fear, or abyss, the unhealthier you become. All of the mechanisms of dealing with unconscious pain (projection, avoidance, repression etc) simply lead at best to neurosis, at worst to psychosis.
It seems to me that the fundamental issue that haunts each of us is insecurity. That is the symptom of existential angst. How, then, to deal with that?
And it’s worth addressing.
The more secure a person is, the more creative, compassionate, generous, and capable of joy they be. Security leads to happiness and connection.(Happiness being life lived in the expectation of joy).
Conversely when we feel insecure we experience withdrawal. We become self-centred, and disconnected. Our horizons contract to a narrow unhappy world devoid of meaning. (Unhappiness broadly equating with isolation).
The thesis is then, that good is expressed through happiness and that lies in our interconnectedness. We feel able to reach out when we are secure. Conversely insecurity leads to withdrawal and unhappiness, which is nominated – evil.
Are we right to feel insecure? Are we simply minds floating on an ocean of random events and therefore at their mercy?
What does science have to say? Experiments on matter at the most microscopic levels shows that pre-existence is an infinite series of possibilities, potential – until observed. It is the act of observation that, in effect, crystallises out this particular existence that we experience from the cloud of possibilities. That raises the issue of observation. What is it? Surely there must be an “observer” to create our particular reality. Sure enough, what our species is really really good at is just that – observation, whether through science or the arts. We each of us spend our life in observation (or as some would call it – witness, some accumulation of knowledge). Interestingly our gathering of knowledge is escalating in a geometric progression. (Are we approaching Teilhard de Chardin’s “Omega Point”? Is that the Mayan meaning to the end of time?)
It appears to me that our real individual human purpose is to be just this – engines of observation – crystallising existence from potential. (Or as our ancestors put it – we are three sisters of wyrd sitting at the foot of Ygaddrsil, the tree of life, spinning fate). That puts the onus on us collectively. We, the creators of life and goodness.
So if good and evil are the outcomes of our individual witness then what are God and the Devil?
I believe, and in my experience only, that God is expressed in the space between us, in the connection between all things. It is the smile shared between strangers that briefly connects and illuminates us. There have been those who with great discipline, have been able to sense directly the mass of loving connections underlying all things. Most of us however “see through a glass darkly”, it is in only in small moments and in our intimate circle – family, friends, community, even our pets – that we touch and feel the common good. Put another way, God is an emergent property of our connections each to each, and we feel that larger love in the individual links and bonds between us.
The Devil, then is absence of good – the opposite of shared experience. Our de-mergent selves.
There is also some evidence in science, not only that existence is cystallised by observation, but also that this can run backward in time, with reverse causality. Belief or knowledge of an outcome can cause – at least at the level of the electron/photon – history to be reshaped to create the experienced outcome.
So then, perhaps God – the personalisation of the emergent property of our observation and connections to each other – lies in our future. God is what we create together in the future, and this future God intervenes where necessary to ensure that the path of existence-formation will lead to him/her/it/us. (God, the word existing beyond time…)
Was this through the lives of Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha?
Does that not change our world view? Good and evil as made by us. A secure future, which is God beyond the Omega Point. Let us accept that good and evil do exist, as outcomes of our collective path through life. When we embrace our joint task – to work for good effect around us. In that way our eyes open to our divine purpose. We no longer need to live with our eyes tight closed against the fear that we are floating on a sea of random meaninglessness. Face up to existential angst and it disappears. As the psychological defence mechanisms fall away – we’re left with the revelation of love behind all things and experienced in our connection, in the Ich-Du of Martin Buber.
It is by embracing evil that we puncture it and experience joy.