-by William Hay
This question may as well be phrased, Do I exist?
The Zen koan goes, “Does the butterfly think the philosopher or the philosopher think the butterfly?”.
Descartes, the French philosopher, spent considerable time on the question of existence and concluded with his famous line “Cogito ergo sum”. “I think therefore I am.”
When Moses in the Old Testament asked the speaking burning bush, who he was. The response was “Yahveh”, ie “I am that is who I am.” God’s response was that he was ‘being’.
Ironically, as these wordgames often appear, man is called ‘human being’ which was translated by a witty schizophrenic (?philosopher) ‘who man being”.
C.S. Lewis, the Christian philosopher said that God is creator and all else including man, his thoughts and her actions is ‘creature’.
The sense one finds in deepest solitude is of not being alone.
The Jewish philosopher Buber wrote a book called “I and Thou”. The sense of the Other or what has been called at times in Catholicism as the ‘mystery’ is the sense of duality and the sense that one is not alone.
Further the sense of “I and It” becomes for Buber the sacred moment that the ‘it’ becomes “thou”.
The Trinity of Christianity encompasses this view with reference to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit where the latter may well be called the linguistic ‘and’ in the equation of I and I. Jesus does say that “I and the Father are one”. “I and I” is the Caribbean depiction of Godness speaking to the central relationship of duality. Yet, that duality has a sense of the ‘sacred’, mystical, miraculous and awe inspiring. Carl Jung has spoken of this numinous experience. The first relationship of a child is to the mother and developmental psychiatrists have spoken to the “mother –child’ bond as the primordial relationship.
Fear has been described as the emotional response to an external threat. In contrast anxiety is the internal experience of fear where there is not an immediately identifiable threat. Anxiety has been described as the measure of the distance from God or another, and equally a measure of one’s humanity.
That sense of separation is fundamental to the awareness of individuality and in various terms has been described as the ‘dark night of the soul’, ‘existential angst’, or any number of metaphors in the equation of movement from baby to adult. It’s also the death alluded to in the phoenix rising mythology. Orgasmic realization is associated with that sense of supreme belonging and unity and loss of ‘self’ or loss of ‘separateness’ associated with immediate return to sense of ‘separation’ or ‘aloneness’.
As to creation, the question then arises , is there a Creation point or is there “always”. Creator or creation point can merely be a means to beg the question of who created the creator or who created the creation point. The big bang beginning of science could simply be one of the recurrent big bangs of the Hindu calendar. Further our ethnocentric perception can be merely the idea that our world is not just something Lilliputian to something else as occurred when the microscope found other worlds in the pond water and telescopes expanded our previously bounded universe. All of this depends on perspective.
Given that thought itself is not instantaneous but limited by neurochemical transmission the question has arisen as to whether our perception is ever anything but ‘reaction’. That gets back to the creator-creature analogy.
Fate and free will are themselves constructs and no one has ever satisfactorily resolved the determinism versus free will debate. Mostly people ‘act as if’ and in the Buddhist dogma one is encouraged to avoid praise, blame and regret though more commonly people attribute praise worthy activity to their ‘free will’ and blameworthy activity to ‘fate’.
In the beginning there was God and God created the heavens and the earth is a key example of the Creator theme. The Creator or beginning implies that there was God alone not God and ‘building blocks’. While an omnipotent God can create something from nothing, as that is the implicit meaning of creation, it is equally plausible that the Creator created the Creatures from him/her self. The best of science to date does indeed suggest a universal ‘star stuff’ to creation. The word “atom’ was usurped to speak to this meaning by phrasing it as ‘at one mind” Mystics using the analogy of sound saw “OM” as the one sound from which comic creation came forth. Certainly electromagnetic and light dynamics with their complex wave and particle theories haven’t added a lot metaphorically to these early impressions of the ancient mystics and philosophers.
The notion of relationship is scientifically first and foremost ‘association’ not ‘causation’ . I and the other is a perceptual reality explicit in the subject object relationship that one has with the world and with the unknown.
The movement from I and it to I and I or more importantly I and Thou is really the greatest journey and that is what most people would think of ‘faith’ as fear is natural for one alone, separate and quite frankly lost. Whereas the sense of belonging and being apart of is the essence of a relationship of love. Faith is the foundation for believing that the other is loving rather than fearful.
Humility is at the core of contact. Quite possibly I could destroy the other as a way ward child thoroughly unaware of how precious and sensitive the other is. Little Prince is an allegory of a space man and a rose discussing at length the relationship of aliens, or lovers or self and soul. Alternatively one must let go of the paranoia that says that I am not in control and this ‘creator’ may well be malign and have ‘malign’ or even cannibalistic intentions.
The whole subject then of the ‘nature of god’ is a separate discussion well addressed in a little book called “Your god Is Too Small”.
E=MC2 tells me that energy is ‘light matter’, that I cannot readily see ‘energy’ but accept it’s existence, but can appreciate spiritually and poetically that matter is ‘frozen starstuff” or 'frozen energy'. Time is of essence to the equation in the understanding of the concept of speed yet time may solely be a construct of a bimodal brain dualistic where reality like God may be solely omniscient. If Love could be ‘measured’ would it still be love?
For now I have faith God exists and believe God is loving.