Last week I ended with the conclusion that causality in this universe can best be described as pluralistic. But I could not leave it at that, because the traditional spiritual approach – in East AND West – is that there is unity behind all that diversity. Christians and Muslims call that unity God, in Vedanta it’s called Mulaprakriti. So I went walking just now to clear my head and come up with a new way of writing about this. I’m afraid though, that even the beauty of the sound of the wind in the leaves of the trees did not help me with this. So bear with me as I repeat what to many of you may already be obvious:
Teed Rockwell went into causes, saying that causes can be many, in fact infinite and one cannot, in this post Newtonian age, draw a neat line dividing causes that matter from those that don’t. In this he is wrong: even in Newtonian physics that line cannot be neatly drawn. This is why, even in classic Newtonian physics, every move of every object in the universe cannot be neatly computed. It would take a simulator as large as the universe to do so – or so my dad has explained to me. This is, of course, not very efficient and practically impossible.
This is significant: even in Newtonian physics the whole cannot be reduced to its parts.
The most recent way to talk about conditioning in psychology comes right back to what spiritual people have known for quite a while: conditioning determines how we see our world. How we organize our world is determined by where we were born. You’d think that showing a picture to someone in the West is no different from showing that same picture to someone in the East, but the result IS quite different psychologically. People in the West will look at the object in the picture, whereas people from the East will look much more at the background. Or putting a spin on that old image: do you see the glass as half empty, half full, or standing on a table?[Related to this is the modern way in which ordinary people with ordinary duties are ignored. The cleaning lady, the guy in the desk office, the volunteer in the nursing home. Yet they keep our world running.]
So what is the background to this whole debate about the universe? Blavatsky would say: Space.What follows are quotes from her The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1.
CHAOS — THEOS — KOSMOS.
These three are the containment of Space; or, as a learned Kabalist has defined it, “Space, the all containing uncontained, is the primary embodiment of simply Unity. . . . boundless extension.”* But, he asks again, “boundless extension of what?” — and makes the correct reply — “The unknown container of all, the Unknown FIRST CAUSE.” This is a most correct definition and answer, most esoteric and true, from every aspect of occult teaching. (p. 342)
“Chaos” is called senseless by the ancients, because it represented and contained in itself (Chaos and Space being synonymous) all the Elements in their rudimentary, undifferentiated State. (p. 342)
That Chaos, however, became the “Soul of the World,” according to Plato and the Pythagoreans. According to Hindu teaching, Deity in the shape of AEther (Akasa) pervades all things; and it was called there-fore by the theurgists “the living fire,” the “Spirit of Light,” and sometimes Magnes. It was the highest Deity itself which, according to Plato, built the Universe in the geometrical form of the Dodecahedron; and its “first begotten” was born of Chaos and Primordial Light (the Central Sun). This “First-Born,” however, was only the aggregate of the Host of the “Builders,” the first constructive Forces, who are called in ancient Cosmogonies the Ancients (born of the Deep, or Chaos) and the “First Point”. (p. 342-343)
Chaos-Theos-Kosmos, the triple deity, is all in all. Therefore, it is said to be male and female, good and evil, positive and negative: the whole series of contrasted qualities. When latent (in pralaya) it is incognizable and becomes the unknowable Deity. It can be known only in its active functions; hence as matter-Force and living Spirit, the correlations and outcome, or the expression, on the visible plane, of the ultimate and ever-to-be unknown unity. (p. 347)
Note that she describes the Ultimate Unite in both physical language (matter-force) and spiritual language (living spirit). The ultimate ground of all being then, is BOTH the source of spirit, meaning, knowledge, wisdom AND the source of the physical, the material, the form. Blavatsky’s ultimate unity does not have to choose between spirit (Goswami) and matter (scientism) – she posits an ultimate unity that is the source of both.
Her metaphysics goes on to split the two later on. Spirit does come first in the manifest universe: the plan always precedes the execution, the way an architect needs his maps before he can build anything. In this sense she’s closer to Amit Goswami then to most scientists. Still, ultimately, All is One. This is, when you think of it, only logical. After all – with all that diversity in this universe: trees, birds, grass, wind, stories, math, cars and gasoline, it’s all still part of one world.
3 thoughts on “Unity in diversity – about a holistic approach”
It’s nice to be quoted, but strange to have a disagreement about whether we disagree. I did not intend to imply that we can’t “in this post Newtonian age, draw a neat line dividing causes that matter from those that don’t. I agree with you that “even in Newtonian physics that line cannot be neatly drawn”. Check my Book ‘Neither Brain nor Ghost”, for more of my thinking on this topic.
🙂 glad we agree then.
How does her view differ from nondualism?
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