Not Less Than Everything
On the Unity of the World
A Word On What We Know
When time and extension have lost their definitional grip upon the world the Tautological Paradigm arises from ashes that have known no burning. Memory and location are the constituents that provide movement to time and magnitude to space. These are the basis for the placement of our consciousness. The grounding of what we call mind exists here and now. That there might suggest an elsewhere, a footstep or galaxy away or that a now might posit another time—either past or future, is not necessarily evidence of anything beyond the reality of which we are presently conscious. From the standpoint of the paradigm we are witness to dimensionless depths in the totality of time.
We are of the opinion that minds are myriad. The tangle of others is the bedrock of the world. Aligned with this truth (though more rarely entertained) is the supposition that consciousness is a singular presentation of universal totality. The Paradigm infers the Universe to be a singular entity and also that what we take to be a fragment must embody the further most reaches of time and space. The one, which is the many, and the many which is the one is a conundrum as old as western thought. The problem and its resolution are found among idealists in the occident or in oriental religious traditions.
Emerson is the most lucid and entertaining of the first:
Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. All is a riddle, and the key to a riddle is another riddle. There are as many pillows of illusion as flakes in a snow-storm. We wake from one dream into another dream. The toys to be sure are various and are graduated in refinement to the quality of the dupe. The intellectual man requires fine bait; the sots are easily amused. But everybody is drugged with his own frenzy, and the pageant marches at all hours, with music, and banner and badge.
Our paradigm, simply put, suggests the cosmos is fully present in the apprehension of any time or locale to which the mind is directed. There is only one thinker and only one thought behind a multitude of masks assembled for the drama: In the eyes of God he who kills a single man destroys the world. [I]
[i] Paraphrase of Borges citing the Sanhedrin of the Midrash, Chapter 5
In many men, the finite self remains always the gaoler of the universal soul; in others, there is a momentary escape; in a few, the prison walls are demolished wholly, and the universal soul remains free through life. It is the escape from prison that gives to some moments and some thoughts a quality of infinity, like light breaking through from some greater world beyond. Sudden beauty in the midst of strife, uncalculating love, or the night wind in trees, seem to suggest the possibility of a life free from the conflicts and pettiness of our everyday world, a life where there is peace which no misfortune can disturb…The things which have this quality of infinity seem to give an insight deeper than the piecemeal knowledge of our daily life. The quality of infinity which we feel, is not to be accounted for by the perception of new objects, other than those that at most times seem finite; it is to be accounted for, rather, by a different way of regarding the same object, a contemplation more impersonal, more vast, more filled with love, than the fragmentary, disquiet consideration we give to things when we view them as means to help or hinder our purposes. It is not in some other world that beauty and that peace are to be found; it is in this actual everyday world, in the midst of action and business of life. The evils and the smallness are not illusions, but the universal soul finds within itself a love to which imperfections are no barrier, and thus unifies the world by the unity of its own contemplation.
The longer I live the more I doubt myself and others. I have seen much, thought much, experienced quite a bit, and have come to one conclusion: nobody really knows what they’re talking about– about anything. This is not a problem. This is not a bad thing. This is simply the way things are. Of course some people “know” how to build a bridge, fix a flat tire, mend a bad heart, make spaghetti, or get to the moon. But this kind of “knowing” is not what we’re talking about. This kind of knowing is like birds knowing how to fly, spiders knowing how to make a web, beavers knowing how to build a dam, cats knowing how to catch mice, or me knowing your phone number. It is living in a world and functioning in that world…something all living creatures do. But none of these creatures “know” who they are or where they came from. None “know” what is inside the mind of another. None understand the infinite complexity of any creature, much less any moment in history. None know how their consciousnesses function and if what they perceive and think corresponds to the reality of the world. None know why they are the way they are or why anything else is the way it is. None know what existence is, how Being came to be, or the real causal chain of anything. All that is beyond our reach, beyond our being, beyond our ten fingers, beating hearts, bouncing brains, and so-called minds. We don’t like to admit it, but, in the end, life is not a riddle to be solved, not a mystery to be understood, not a problem with a solution, not good or bad, right or wrong, true or false, long or short, profound or shallow, simple or complex, interesting or boring, beautiful or ugly, worth living or not worth living…No…Existence is none of these things Existence defies definition. Existence cannot be captured or grasped. One lives it. One dies it. One eats it. One shits it. One wanders through it like a blind dog in a carnival. Some will find a warm hand and a bowl of food. Others will get a kick in the ribs, a parking ticket and a brain tumor. All will be themselves for as long as they exist. But those selves will not be known or understood by anyone including themselves because all are infinitely complex and deeply deeply rooted and melted into the fiber of Being.