January 13, 2018•560 words
I have a friend who insists he’s blind. Not lacking the ability to decipher light, but the ability to break it apart. He says, I can’t see the divisibility in things. He says, there is no you, there is no me—there is just the universe, at a particular time and place.
The Great Unfolding, he’s wont to say. I find this philosophy totally beautiful, if not utterly useless. He refutes that the binary nature of human beings is innate, and instead calls it learned. This was at first a shocking revelation: I had always thought that the dualism of nature was inherent in its design, and we the byproducts of its yin and yang.
No matter how many counter-examples I would try to give of areas that seemed inherently dualistic, he stood firm: You have been culturally conditioned to see it this way.
While you may count objects, and see here a computer, and there a person, and further there a desk, couch, and chair, it is you that is breaking apart “the scene” to divvy it up. In reality, there aren’t multiple objects, there is only 1 object, and this object is the universe. And he says that the process of breaking up what we see into separate entities is defined by language.
And I found that fascinating. Because it’s wickedly true: when we have a word for something, we’re able to identify it and separate it from the scene. When you don’t know what the constituents are named, you call it, and see it, by its overarching name. Even more tragic, when you don’t have a word for something, you’re likely to miss it altogether.
In Swedish, they have a word for "the glimmering, roadlike reflection that the moon creates on water”: mångata. Where you used to see several participants, like the moon, the moonlight, the water and the waves, the Swedish only see one thing: mångata. And while you may enjoy forest bathing (shinrinyoku in Japanese), you may miss some spectacles simply because you do not have the vocabulary for it: komorebi is the Japanese word for the sunlight that filters through the leaves of a tree.
So, my friend has a point. That the universe comes as one. And humans slit it apart with their brain. Take away the human, and you no longer have millions of disparate objects, but just one thing: the great unfolding universe. Imagine a beautiful fractal pattern infinitely unfolding and emanating outwards in triptic kaleidoscopic fashion: he says that humans aren’t observers of this phenomenon. And they aren’t separate from it. Instead, they are the tip of the unfolding. What you are, what I am, are not separate entities, but the universe at an x,y,z,t coordinate.
My friend takes inspiration from the likes of McKenna, Watts, and the Buddhist culture, and says simply: the lives of bees and flowers are so intertwined, that where we have broken down behaviors to identify two separate entities, to a different perspective, to the divine perspective, it might just be one thing.
My friend, despite my urging, does not have a linkable presence online, so remains shrouded in mystery. Until then, I will proxy his thoughts whenever possible. Perhaps, after all, there is no friend and there is no me: there is only what the universe wishes to say at this particular spacetime coordinate.