A TRILOGY ON MAN AND HIS
TO WORLDS OF THE MIND
By Uriah J. Fields
The Gestalt Approach to the Cosmos and Beyond,
Being and Nothingness, Existence and Nonexistence.
Could it be that it is in the mind and that there are worlds of the mind? In this trilogy we propose to answer this twofold question in our presentation of a three-prong philosophical paradigm on existence and nonexistence - being and nothingness - which enables us to take a glimpse into ALL that is and is not - the totality. This approach or way of perceiving should allow us to understand the underpinnings of reality, personal and collective karma is the incontrovertibleness of destiny that brings man face-to-face with his utter helplessness, not that it matters, and the inconsequentialness of his existence.
"This" - the immediate, today and present - "is it," the - total and ultimate point of existence . "All" that is and not - "is vanity," to no purpose, destitute of reality, unimportant and is not to be taken seriously but as a cosmic joke. "So what" is the acknowledgment of, and the full and ultimate response to being and nothingness which declares that it really doesn't matter. It just is.
We may inquire as to whether the 16th century theologian John Calvin was correct in accepting "predestination," a doctrine which holds that God elected some people to be saved and others must be eternally lost? Whatever else salvation means it involves the quality of life a person experiences while a mortal being. There is also a Biblical injunction which says "Many are called but few are chosen." Both of these views more than suggest that we, individually and collectively, have very little, if anything, to do with our sojourn on planet earth and that we play the only part on the stage of mortal existence that we can. That is to say, we cannot do other than what we do, given the consciousness we have at the time. Answers to questions raised by these views will be presented as we proceed with this discussion.
Here, we offer no prescriptions for happiness and there is no guarantee that employing these principles or following this map, which fits the terrain, will necessarily assure a person self-fulfillment, although such is more likely to occur if the philosophy presented here is applied to a person's living. Consequences from not adhering to this view are well known. Much of the human misery and suffering in the world result from man's failure to accept, in fact or an attitude consistent with this fact, the inherent and explicit truth about existence and nonexistence. But destiny or providence remains what it always was, the karma-directed and fate-decreed endlessness of eternity, including each person's eternity. Yet, even providence doesn't compel; it impels, permitting a choice and the consequence of that choice. Thus, personal response is a factor but the outcome is, more often than not, unpredictable.
What then is the rationale or value for compliance with these principles? Ultimately, each person must answer this personal question for himself, however, because of the very nature of man which prescribes his function, and even more inescapably true, his balance or harmony, (existence and nonexistence) depends upon the internalization and application of the content of this philosophical paradigm. Let us now discuss this three-prong perspective in detail.
1. This Is It
What are you looking for?
Where are you going?
Why are yo dreaming?
This is it.
There is nothing to create,
nothing to discover and
nowhere to go.
There is nothing new under the sun.
This is it.
This is all there is and
all there will ever be.
This is the eternal now.
Both remembrance of the past
and hope for the future are illusions,
non-reality and psychic entrapment.
This is it.
While strolling in an elite neighborhood I saw two signs displayed on the lawns of two next door neighbors. The sign on the Christian's lawn read "I found it" and the sign on the Jew's lawn read, "I never lost it." While attempting to fathom the meanings these signs had for their presenters it occurred to me that an appropriate replacement sign would read, "I am it."
I recall that when I first began reading Sheldon B. Kopp's book, "If You Meet the Buddha On the Road, Kill Him," I launched into it with a compulsion wanting to find out "Who is the Buddha?" It was not long before I discovered that "I am the Buddha." This discovery brought back to my mind a statement one of my seminary professors made about "original sin" and the "Fall of Adam." He said, "Every man is his own Adam." And, he could have added, "Every man is his own Christ."
Buddha is it. Adam is it. Christ is it. And I am it. It is all. It is the I am. this is it. Translate "This is it" and it spells experience. Experience is it. Outside of experience nothing exists. Outside of your experience nothing exists for you, not even what you acknowledge as you.
What you do with what is is also experience. Experience can be divided into three zones of awareness:
(1) Awareness of the outside world. This is sensory contact with objects in the present. It is what I actually see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. Right now I see the moon, I hear the airplane noise and I taste the sweet fruity taste of strawberries in my mouth.
(2) Awareness of the inside world. This is actual sensory contact with inner events in the present: what I now feel from inside my body - muscular tensions, itches, discomfort, joy, well-being, etc. Right now I feel a tightness in my hand and the skin on my forehead itches.
These first two kinds of awareness encompass all that I can know about the present reality I am experiencing. This is the unalterable fact of my experience in the moment which neither I nor anyone else can negate. The third kind of zone of awareness is different, namely, my awareness of images, of things and happenings that do not exist in present reality.
(3) Awareness of the fantasy world. This is mental activity which does not involve present awareness of ongoing experience. It includes imaging, thinking, guessing, explaining, remembering, anticipating the future, etc. Right now I am wondering how long it will take me to finish writing this discourse. I have a picture in my mind of what it will look like when it is finished, and wonder how the readers will respond to it. All this is my fantasy, unreality.
Yet, experience is never without some reality even if it is hidden reality. Illusion itself may be defined as a minuscule portion of reality. No event is entirely separate unto itself, but is rather connected with both visible and invisible facets of reality. Experience is always in the present even when it involves or consists of memories from the past and imaginations about the future. Both remembering and imaging exist in the conscious now. Experience is it and it is now. This is it and this is all there is. It is either absolute or relative or both absolute and relative. It is in the mind. This may be illustrated by the experience of two boys with bees. One boy got honey and the other boy got stung. One boy came from the beehive calling the bees "honey bees" and the other came away calling them "stinging bees."
The supreme lesson to be learned from this philosophical model is: be aware that this is it and then live and enjoy life to its fullest extent today because it is the only day you'll ever have. It matters not what you do in particular as long as you have your own life and live this day as if it is the only day you'll ever have.
So, whatever you have to say, say it now, whatever you have to do, do it now, whatever you have to share, share it now, and express it with love - full presence. This is the eternal now, unique, unprecedented, and never to be repeated livingness. Absolutely and definitively Infinity validates every experience affirmed by the "Declaration of Totality" which proclaims "This is it."
2. All is Vanity
Wise man Solomon said, "...all is vanity" (Ecclesiastes 12:8). Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," "Vanity Fair," depicts the world as a scene of vanity and folly, and a novel by W. M. Thackeray satirizes the weakness and follies of human nature. They all confront man with the greatest truth ever proclaimed. But man has been slow to acknowledge it and determined to not accept it. Instead, he has resisted it.
When one thinks of vanity, that which is characterized by frivolity and is "to no purpose," such words as trivial, useless, unreal, worthless, empty, ostentatious, futile and abortive come to mind. Funk and Wagnall's "New College Standard Dictionary" defines vanity as "the quality or state of being vain or empty; or destitute of reality."
The Psalmist exclaims, "When I consider the heavens,... the moon and the stars... What is man, that thou art mindful of him." (Psalm 8:3-4). Theologians have given this statement a reverse interpretation which extols man's greatness. But the Psalmist appears to be saying that man is something less than the heavens, moon and stars. Perhaps a truer statement, however, would be they are all the same stuff, same essence, cosmic mess. All is vanity.
The French philosopher, Rene Descartes formulated a classic phrase, "cogito, ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am). He assumed that by thinking he could establish his being. The statement has two drawbacks: (1) thinking is an illusion, a fantasy and unreal, and (2) it emphasizes being without recognizing nothingness. Life which is indestructible consists of both being and nothingness, the "yin" and the "yang" of "ex-un-istence."
How important is man in the scheme of things? How significant is anything, anybody, everything, everybody? Is something more than nothing or are they one and the same? And, what about security - social security, economic security, psychological security? What about paradise, hope for the future, eternal bliss? These questions with their numerous variations and derivatives occupy the mind of man, almost perpetually. They determine his behavior and cause him to live a lie. Man refuses to face reality, to the degree possible, and in so doing he does not perceive life's answer to these questions. Life says it is all vanity, this is why there is neither justice, peace or salvation, so the cat eats the mice, the bird eats the worm, and man eats the cow. What gets justice? Who gets justice?
Man's obsession is with PIECE, not PEACE. He is on an ego trip. Greed and possessiveness, lust and exclusion make any pursuit of peace merely vapor. Conquests have been made, science and technology have revolutionized man's world and knowledge has been amassed in abundance, but man is not saved. He is not free and at the sight of freedom he escapes, even from the illusion of freedom. It may be too late. Perhaps it has always been too late. Maybe man was born late, too late. The last to be created, how could man catch up with the birds and bees or the monkey who would probably take exception to Darwin and other evolutionists who claim that man evolved from the monkey? The monkey apparently has proof that he can do better. It would be more accurate to say, "monkey sees who is 'monkeying around'," than to say, "monkey does what monkey sees."
Can man, by thinking or acting, change the leopard's stripes? Can he control his own appetite or change his nature? Can he bring order out of chaos? Can he survive? Strutting around in his make-believe world he roars with Shakespeare, "How like a god". But he is not a god. He is an animal. This, he cannot accept because he has pseudo-pride, and he takes credit for being the masterpiece of Creation. He assumes in his arrogance that he is more than and better than any other "piece" that was created and that he can improve upon Creation.
How far is man from nothingness, nowhere, and oblivion? Answering these questions may enable him to see himself as he is and become conscious of his precarious condition. If it's all vanity, does it matter what path you take, illusion you accept or destination you choose? You'll never get out of here alive and while alive you'll never experience full aliveness, aliveness with the fragrance of flowers, the swiftness of the ocean current, and the sparkle of a galloping star."
So be what you were created to be. Vanity is. All is vanity. It's all right to let frivolity ring, be empty, engage in triviality and experience the futility of it all. To do differently is to invite disappointment, be dead serious, and realize, much too late, that it was a dream, maybe a nightmare, a mistake, a waste and irretrievable or irreversible. Who's afraid of REALITY when it spells:
3. So What?
"There is no justice." "Nobody understands me." "Death is certain." Familiar? These are truisms and constants which obsess humanity. To these we may add the two all-encompassing truths just discussed, namely, "This is it" and "All is vanity." The only adequate response to these eternal truths is, "So what?"
"So what?" is not a question which man asks life but rather it is is a question which life asks man - every man. So what? acknowledges all that is and all that is not. It is a reprimand for the person who takes credit for his achievement, a rebuke to the person who thinks he is important, and a revelation to the person who wants to know "why?" It raises the question,"Does it matter"? Does it really matter if it's night or day, if you are rich or poor, black or white, a winner or a loser, not going anywhere and you know it, or not going anywhere and you don't know it? Does it really matter if your name is carved in stone so you can be remembered or if you are never remembered, maybe not even known?
To every moment, every happening, to "being and nothingness," the eternal or ultimate response is "So what?"
Job, an existentialist, asked the question, "If a man dies, shall he live again?" He went on to say, "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." At the risk of being not merely profound but divine, he could have added, "Our being here really does not matter, at all." It is just a happening. Perhaps it is human - partly animal and partly divine. It is certainly a cosmic process that is like unto an endless line or a continuous flow that moves ceaselessly on and a cosmic joke to be laughed at and toyed with. It matters not where one is in that process because process existence is momentary and it renders time and place inconsequential. Experience in the now is unalterable, irreversible and a never to be repeated event. It is all it was meant to be. One may accept it or reject it. So what?
The Creator (God) and the created (being) came out of nothingness. And, that from which anything is derived has to be, even if it is nothingness, not less, but more, than what was created out of it. This "being in nothingness" - cosmic mess - declares that "this is it" and "all is vanity"? "So What?" if "this is it" and "all is vanity"?
Because "this is it' and "all is vanity" there is no tomorrow or yesterday. To reiterate, life is a cosmic joke. Therefore, any attempt to divide reality into past, present, and future or take life seriously, be a hero, or play God is ultimate denial of "being and nothingness"or, in a word, denial of "totality."
Why does anything have to be a certain way? Can we really change anything? Is it true that "what will be will be"? If we answer in the affirmative, so what? If we answer in the negative, so what?
Since eternity is both the "eternal oneness" and the "eternal nowness," it really doesn't matter what you think or what you do or if you do not think or refuse to do it. It doesn't make any essential difference. But even if it did, so what? Can you prevent the sun from shining or empty the water from the ocean?
So what...if darkness colors the day,
the desert becomes a sea
and there is wind visibility?
So what... if there is desolation in the
land, laughter turns to lamentation
and gloom is the name of the mood-game?
So what... if the search and struggle
lead to nothing - to nowhere
and if all culminates in death?
It really doesn't matter. It's no big deal or small thing. It just is, SO WHAT, then, is an acknowledgment and acceptance of what is. What is, is. So what if what is, is? So what if what is, is not - is nothingness? So what?
If SO WHAT is the state of "being in nothingness," hence experience and un-experience, or supra-experience, what shall I believe? What shall I do? Where shall I go? Believe nothing. Belief is the chief enemy of experience and awareness. It is the stuff that makes the "true-believer" a trickster...most of all tricking himself. The question is not, What shall I do? It is, how aware am I? There is no place to go. Any attempt to go somewhere is merely an abortive departure from one's destination which can only mean he is not going any place.
SO WHAT, then, is a formal principle, just the same as justice, a universal law, like the "law of gravity," and the cosmic spirit which declares that being and nothingness are not two but one - totality.
In summary, awareness that "this is it" "all is vanity" and "so what" enables a person to be authentic and, in such a state of genuineness, live free of anxiety, without goals in total insecurity, and enjoy it entirely in the present moment. It permits a person to make the best of it now.
(Taken from: "Religion Par Excellence: Actualization of the Seven Storey Nature of Man" by Uriah J. Fields, pp. 1991-2011)