Is Reality Stranger Than We Think For A Reason?
By Wayne Saalman
[Photo by Mohammad Metri]
MAD AS IT MAY SEEM, this world — exactly as it is — might be more perfect than we think.
The late physicist, JBS Haldane, offered his colleagues — and all of us really — a very intriguing proposition to consider. “My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose,” he once purportedly stated, “but queerer than we can suppose.”
It’s a powerful supposition, indeed.
I might just mention here, before pressing on, that Haldane died way back in 1964, so if the line strikes anyone as inappropriate or odd for this day and age, that explains it. The meaning intended, however, is easy enough to glean and I believe that the statement hits the proverbial nail on the head, for we humans do not know anything absolutely for certain.
What we do know is that some mysterious force, or source, gave rise to the stellar cosmos with its billions of hydrogen and helium-fuelled stars, and that those stars, in turn, eventually gave birth to at least one planet upon which organic biological entities flourish: our own wonderland, the Earth. (I personally entertain a suspicion that there are billions of other flourishing entities in this universe of ours, but only time will tell in that regard.)
On this planet, at least, we see that there is an inherent power that animates every atom, every molecule and every cell in every living thing. Among those “things” is our own species, of course, with its seemingly unique sensibilities and its ability to consciously reflect on its own existence.
Some sages say that human consciousness might well be essentially a microcosmic unit of Universal Intelligence or Cosmic Mind and that one may call this Intelligence or Mind, “God”, or simply, “Nature”.
What is the point of such a cosmos, however?
One can hazard a guess, certainly (and we all do), but as Haldane suggests, we need to keep in mind the fact that we humans almost certainly have less than a full picture from which to draw our conclusions. After all, on the surface of this world it appears that we are but finite creatures — mortal, material beings — and that our perspective is clearly, overwhelmingly, generated by the five senses, which means that we are subject to limitation by default.
What if consciousness itself, however, is not only stranger than we think, but purposely stranger than we think? What if paradox and contradiction has been deliberately built into the foundation of the human experience so that no single person can arrive at an absolute answer to life and thus render the quest for an ultimate answer unnecessary for others to discover in their own right?
Without an absolute answer to the mystery of our existence, we are all made to pursue and search for the answers to life in our own way and in our own time, virtually throughout the whole of our mortal span on this planet.
Which is good. A deliberately elusive ultimate answer keeps each of us galloping off on endless Great Adventures, so that we inevitably and invariably grow, not only in consciousness and knowledge, but in life experience and, therefore, wisdom.
This makes perfect sense as an ideal operative strategy for eternal beings who are in the throes of experiencing multiple lives or even beings who experience but one brief flash of existence. For experience is something that each of us distils within ourselves. This distillation resides in memory to some extent, but mostly it is tucked away deep within our subconscious and unconscious minds. To what end, though?
One possibility is that the Universal Field of Pure Consciousness is expanding and growing, in whole or in part, thanks to the billions of sentient units within the field that are expanding and growing in each their own way thanks to life experience.
In other words, perhaps, each of us, by uniquely experiencing this life, keeps uploading that essence into the Universal Field, thus contributing, however minutely, to the enrichment of the whole.
If this insight is correct, it might well offer a strategy by which one may come to accept life exactly as it is, despite the fact that there are such shockingly negative aspects to life as we know it.
Without a sense of dissatisfaction with our personal situation due to adverse factors, for example, life might lead to stasis, to no one anywhere bothering to do anything. Perhaps if we did not see the world as being imperfect, then none of us would feel compelled to try and better things in this world. Perhaps, we might even end up doing little or nothing in terms of trying to overcome such negative aspects of life as cruelty, evil and ignorance, and thus never grow spiritually at all.
Because we tend to want things better and more satisfying in our lives, however, most of us venture forth into the world, kick up the dust and go for bust. We try this and that. We go for the gold, which is actually incredibly productive, for all experience in distilled form is continually streaming inward via this ongoing process. By that I mean to include the good, the bad, the kindness and the cruelty, the pleasure and the pain, the heavenly joys and the horrendous sorrows.
What is happening is that such experience is being continually uploaded (or “inloaded” to coin a word) into the Cosmic Mind or Nature as a whole, for the specific intent of enriching the source of our existence. If we see this process as enriching our own soulful self, as well, then it turns into a win-win.
As a perspective or a paradigm, I believe, this is an extremely “enlightened” possibility, for the dualistic, paradoxical, contradictory mix of life experience — in all its unfathomable positive and negative grandeur — may be precisely what makes this life so precious and what makes the Great Adventure of life itself worth pursuing.