Mysticism and Rationalism

Alexis Karpouzos's picture


Mysticism: All are One, the universe is a Unity
All things in the universe are one. They are all made of the same basic matter/energy, and they interact with one another, constantly. All things on earth are one: plants, animals, rocks, oceans and atmosphere. All living creatures had a common origin, all depend on each other, and shape and are shaped by non-living things. Life has radically altered the earth's atmosphere, and molded many aspects of its geology. The Gaia system is an organic evolving whole embracing the biosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere. All humans on earth are one. We descend from the same family of common ancestors. We are, in a quite literal sense, siblings, and like siblings we depend on each other's love and care and responsibility. We are interdependent not just in our families and communities, but in nations, and increasingly on a global scale - just as we are also interdependent with nature and the earth.

Rationalism: The universe are many and different beings
Yet at the same time things are many. Matter-energy is embodied in many different particles and bodies. Life has evolved into many unique species - at least 1.5 million that we know of - and each individual of each species is unique. Diversity is essential to the beauty and interest of nature and the universe. Without it everything would be blank and monotonous. All these beings have their own separate existence. Existence as a separate individual is always more or less temporary, from the day's life of a mayfly to the billions of years of a star. Sooner or later, humans, cats, trees, planets, stars will end their temporary existence and be reabsorbed, recycled and recreated as part of new phenomena. Yet even if their existence is temporary, this does not mean that it is unreal or unimportant. Animals with nervous systems and senses have a greater degree of separation. Their consciousness make each one see themselves as separate. And in many respects they are separate: driven to seek survival, even at the expense of other individuals or other species.

Recognizing unity and diversity
We often think too rigidly in terms of either/or, black/white distinctions. Philosophical systems that talk about unity tend to deny or play down diversity, as if it were in some way not real, or not important. Yet this devalues individual things and creatures. It makes us look at them in a distant and abstract way, makes us ignore their particularity. Other systems focus too much on diversity and ignore the ways in which things are united and interdependent. This too carries the risk that we see ourselves only as isolated individuals, in competition with each other. Yet we do not have to make an all-or-nothing choice between unity and multiplicity. Both exist and for wholeness we must embrace both. Imagine you are standing on a rocky shore by the ocean, on a breezy day. The reach ahead of you is ultimately linked with every stretch of sea on the planet. It is a unity, a vast watery whole. But in front of you, where water interfaces with air, what you see is waves, hundreds of thousands of waves: some enormous, others smaller, others again tiny waves on the backs of waves. Each of these waves is a distinct entity, with its own characteristics. They are a multiplicity. The Multiplicity and the Unity are one and the same thing, a thing that is both many and one at the same time. The waves, and the currents underwater, make up the ocean. The ocean is the underlying basis for every wave. Neither the ocean, nor the waves, can be understood in isolation from each other.

The One is the Many, the Many are the One
We need a sense of the unity of life and of humans for the sake of human welfare and for the survival of the planet. We need a sense of unity with the cosmos so that we can connect with Cosmos. But we also need a sense of individuality, for the sake of our own dignity and independence and of the loving care for others. We need it to appreciate each natural form, each animal and plant, each human person in their uniqueness. We must preserve the sense of unity and the sense of diversity and multiplicity. We must recognize that the One and the Many are the same thing viewed from different angles. The One is the Many. The One is manifested only in and through the Many. It has no separate existence apart from the Many. Equally the Many are the One. Even during their temporary separation, they are always part of the One, and always united with the One. Every one of us is always part of the One, and can unite with the One at any time we choose.

Beyond Science and spirituality
The wisdom of the Eastern ancient knowledge and the Western philosophy of the contemporary scientific knowledge converge and create open thought, the thought of open Wholeness. The core of the open thought is the cosmic consciousness. In every particle, atom, molecule, cell of matter the energy and the information of the cosmic spirit is concentrated. The history of the universal spirit and the spirit of the universal history of spirit unfold through time and in different places. They are history of transformation of our relationship with the world. The knowledge of the cosmic spirit is an unchanged structure, which is expressed in multiple forms in the evolutionary history of the universe. There is an harmony between the spirit of Eastern wisdom and Western science. It attempts to suggest that modern physics goes far beyond the cold technology, that the of universal thought can be a path with a heart, a way to spiritual knowledge and self-realization.

If physics leads us today to a world view which is essentially holistic, it returns, in a way, to its beginning, 2,500 years ago. It is interesting to follow the evolution of Western science along its spiral path, starting from the mystical philosophies of the early Greeks, rising and unfolding in an impressive development of intellectual thought that increasingly turned away from its mystical origins to develop a world view which is in sharp contrast to that of the Far East In its most recent stages, Western science is finally overcoming this view and coming back to those of the early Greek and the Eastern philosophies. This time, however, it is not only based on intuition, but also on experiments of great precision and sophistication, and on a rigorous and consistent mathematical formalism. The parallels to modem physics appear not only in the Vedas of Hinduism, in the I Ching , or in the Buddhist sutras, but also in the fragments of Heraclitus, Parmenides, Plotinus, African-American philosophy, the eastern negative theology, in the Sufism of lbn Arabi, in the holistic spirit of Giordano Bruno and Meister Eckhart, in monadology of Leibniz, in the Absolute Idea of Hegel and Shelling, e.t.

All ancient spiritual traditions suggest that the world is a unity and the multiplicity is only apparent. Modern science claims that the visible world of matter and the multiplicity is only apparent, the reality is unseen and invisible. Since different roads the mysticism and the rationalism lead to the same view, the view of the open totality of the world. The mystical insight of spirituality and the rational mind of science leading to the open thought, the wisdom of life. The spiritual experience of oneness conduces to the same insight as reasoning through science. Both convey the insight of fundamental interconnection between ourselves, other people, other forms of life, the biosphere and, ultimately, the universe. Science and spirituality, far from being mutually exclusive and conflicting elements, are complementary partners in the search for the path that can enable humanity to recover its oneness with the world. Science demonstrates the urgent and objective need for it; and spirituality testifies to its inherent value and supreme desirability. We can reason to our oneness in the world, and we can experience our oneness with the world. The time has come to do both, for they are complementary and mutually reinforcing.

Presents a revolutionary new paradigm of Cosmic Thought that bridges the divide between science and spirituality. Discloses the ramifications of non-localized consciousness and how the physical world and spiritual experience are two aspects of the same Cosmos. What scientists are now finding at the outermost frontiers of every field is overturning all the basic premises concerning the nature of matter and reality. The universe is not a world of separate things and events but is a cosmos that is connected, coherent, and bears a profound resemblance to the visions held in the earliest spiritual traditions in which the physical world and spiritual experience were both aspects of the same reality and man and the universe were one. The findings that justify this new vision of the underlying logic of the universe come from almost all of the empirical sciences: physics, cosmology, the life sciences, and consciousness research. They explain how interactions lead to interconnections that produce instantaneous and multifaceted coherence–what happens to one part also happens to the other parts, and hence to the system as a whole.