the first blink

an essay in the series “views from the mountains” expanding on ONE

first: May 12, 2019, last: May 26, 2019 leave a comment

We directly perceive and understand only a minute part of our World. Larger parts – the knowledge of their very existence, their integration into our current understanding, and concepts about their functioning – become accessible only through learning. Such learning comes along perspectives, often organized in schools through which it is handed down and developed, from generation to generation.

Old mystics offer one such perspective on our World. This spawned the diverse religions. Natural sciences offer another and much younger perspective. This spawned technology. Both perspectives are largely consistent within, and both have been elaborated by generations of outstanding and deep personalities. Yet, they are clearly different, often contradictory, and so are the schools, cultures, and approaches to the World that emanate from them.

I cannot imagine this World as many, however, I can only imagine it as ONE, beyond our dualities of science and spirituality, of good and bad, of black and white, beyond all our further categories, yet encompassing them all. All our perspectives on the World are thus fundamentally incomplete. The World is larger. With all the learning of all humanity so far, we apparently grasp only rather isolated aspects of the World. Naturally, we have no idea how big that part is, what may be lying just beyond our perception, and what may be farther away still.

This ONE is the primordial mystical cloud.

This ONE – the World at large and our attempts to comprehend it with our hearts and minds, ourselves being part of that very World – is the primordial mystical cloud. Following our current scientific understanding as well as old learning, I envisage this ONE as having emerged, out of Emptiness, and as continuing to unfold, with humankind as a forerunner, probably just a local one, and just for some time, our time.

Envisaging an unfolding World necessarily goes with recognizing the origin, the transition from nothing to something, the mystery of all mysteries. I cannot other than leave it as such.

It is the continuing unfolding of our world that we can observe directly and it is our time that opened the door to a deeper appreciation of this marvel. Recognizing this unfolding – its nature and our role in it – brings the inkling that understanding ONE may well remain an eternal longing. Not because it is too big, which it is, but more fundamentally because it is unfolding right in front of us, the forerunners, and right because we are, because life is. And yet it is fundamentally beyond, untouchable, because we can only see and comprehend what already has unfolded. Journey into the Unformed, into the Void, eventually just a stage on this road, maybe a stepping stone.

limited perception

If the above about our limited perception und understanding sounds strange, just project yourself a few hundred years back, contemplate the then fashionable perspectives on the World, and on this basis answer: How did those mountains rise? How did my people appear? What was that flash of light followed by a loud thunder? What is it with my stomach hurting so badly? Where did last night’s dream come from, what does it mean? Where did my father go when he died?

Some of the questions we readily answer today, because we now have a deeper understanding of our world’s functioning. But beware – put aside the natural arrogance that we today are not as dumb as they were back then – and recognize the signs. And then, there are the questions we still ask, still yearning for answers.

not esoteric, or is it?

“Esoteric” refers to something that can only be understood by a small group of initiated people. As such, almost all the knowledge of our culture is esoteric. Or would you know how to build a car, maybe just its front window for that matter, and could you explain the basics of quantum mechanics, of the biomolecular machinery that underlies all life on Earth, of the biochemical basis of our mind?

However, “esoteric” is also often understood as esotericism, which refers to a wide field of concepts that are largely outside of both, science and orthodox religion. Many of these concepts have deep roots in our culture and strong ties with both science and orthodox religions. This is exemplified by the work of C. G. Jung – Psychology and Religion or Psychology and Alchemy – and of many others.

In contrast, some popular parts of esotericism are of a very recent origin, with claims and projections alluding to old roots but going far beyond and, naturally, lacking the test of time. The World as an undivided whole is for instance an old concept and it would appear to be readily acceptable. In contrast, one of its extensions – that this whole is self-conscious, has existed unchanged for all times, and will continue to do so for eternity – does not go down easily with all.

It appears prudent to abstain from exotic extensions and to rely either on deep-rooted concepts that have been well-tested by generations of sincere searchers or, conversely, on the lightning of immediate understanding. Specifically, the ONE we envisage and attempt to approach here does follow the old concept of an undivided whole. It is not an eternally unchanging and self-conscious World, however, but it emerged, and it continues to unfold.

secret teachings

At times, a romantic notion of secret teachings is entertained, particularly with lighter forms of esotericism. Supposedly, such teachings, once discovered, will turn a knob and I will be able to do wondrous things. Such secret teaching does not exist and there is nothing actually hidden, apart from the recipe to brew Coca Cola.

Still, there apparently is knowledge that is not widely available and corresponding teachings that are not readily accessible. They are not hidden per se, however, but by the long and arduous path it takes to reach them from ordinary life. This path may include learning of a language – mathematics, music, meditation,… – to communicate about the realities of interest, often also to access them.

In our ordinary life, we learned some languages already, our spoken natural language or our culturally determined body language. At the lowest level, these are directly linked to material manifestations – objects and actions between objects –, and we just tag them with words, with the elements of the respective language.

In situations that are too complicated to be pointed at with a finger, an ecosystem for instance, or that are not accessible to our senses, tagging is no longer easy because words have no inherent meaning. Associating them with meaning is that long and arduous path to the “hidden” knowledge.

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