I know that I am having an experience. That is the thing I am most sure of, that is the primary knowledge that I have. I am having an experience.
I do not know if I am dreaming, and I do not know that waking experience is more real that dreaming experience. It seems very real, and everyone else assumes that it is more real, but there is no way to know. After all, dreams seem quite real as well when you are in them.
Logically, this must be admitted. I primarily know that I am having an experience. All other beliefs and assumptions are secondary to this main knowledge that “I am having an experience”.
Here’s a statement to consider:
“I am having an experience of being inside a place that I choose to call material reality, and I am operating on the belief that my physically observable body is the extent of my existence, and I endorse the old view of classical physics which theorised that consciousness is an emergent property of biology and ceases to exist when the physical body dies.”
Most people live life in the way described in that statement above. The first part which is underlined has the greatest amount of truth. All other sections of that sentence are suppositions.
Predictably, I will happily tell you that ancient Indian metaphysics explains this situation and offers alternative suppositions with which you can experiment. But we are used to writing off that sort of stuff as fanciful and kooky. Okay.
But our scientists have known for over 100 years that the view of classic physics just isn’t true. The rules of classical physics work to an extent, but as technology has improved we have measured things in finer detail and conducted better experiments. Science has had no choice but to put discomfort aside and try to understand why cause and effect, determinism, and linear monodirectional time break down at a certain level and are replaced with what seems like chaos.
So, if 4000 years ago the great rishis of the Indus Valley knew this, and also in the present time the best physicists in the world know this, why are we still operating on ye olde worlde assumptions that humanity proposed long before antibiotics were even discovered?
The father of classical mechanics is Isaac Newton. He figured out that the Earth is a sphere. He also used his perennially existent, first person, personal conscious awareness to declare that his perennially existent personal consciousness is actually subservient to a hypothetically existent and yet apparently supreme thing called “physical matter”.
Read that a few times. He used his existence to subjugate his existence. He used his existence to appoint an object in his consciousness as separate and superior and more real. Bonkers right?
We can forgive him; those were primitive times. Isaac Newton was alive and writing his books 200 years BEFORE the invention of the Penny Farthing bicycle!
Look at that bike! Are you going to spend your life adopting the modus operandi of a school of thought from a culture that was still 200 years away from developing that amazing piece of transport technology?
Here’s another statement for to explore:
“I am having an experience where my imagination is an infinitely sized stage, within which I create figments and worlds, and a sense of individual particles and objects, where I create numerous biological organisms, including humanity, and where I create one specific individual human body into which I place a highly focused subjective mind, a mind so focused that it tends to forget that it arose from me and that I created it.”
Hey, you guys are into yoga right? Well, this is yoga.
Practice need not remain small, limited to intellectual advancements and physical gains.
In fact, even Newton wrote positively about the future. He predicted that some time in the 21st century man would come to behave beyond the paradigm of beasts who believe themselves short-lived. He kept this particular manuscript somewhat hidden, not to be published, because the doomsayers and apocalypse adherents of the time (yep, we had them then as well) had a tendency to tear down people who presented a positive view. Newton explained that he wrote this paper “to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the end times”.
These ideas are explained carefully in my book, The Spirit of the Matter, particularly in chapters 5 and 6.
There is a consequence for staying small and separate, by the way. To deny your universality is to cement victimhood and insignificance. To embed a false notion of disempowerment in your daily life is unethical, as it cannot help but lead to depression, nihilism, and violence against self and others. Reductionist materialism encourages a mindset of scarcity and brutality, and it squashes and shuns alternatives. It is literally a death cult, one that spans the Earth, and so it behoves us all to consider and share more positive sets of assumptions.