Insight 30 - Plateau #6:
I Am That – The Implications of Oneness to Life
My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff!
Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
A while back, we discussed some of the advantages and disadvantages to approaching the world from a materialist perspective. I think the biggest disadvantage is this: It lacks a dimension.
Not so long ago, about 600 years, painters applied color to flat surfaces in with great care and artistry, yet the results still looked flat to the observing eye. Perhaps beautiful, possibly intricate, certainly colorful – but flat.
Then in the early 15th century, Fillipo Brunelleschi changed all that. He invented linear perspective, a systematic, even mathematical, projecting of the three-dimensional world onto a two-dimensional medium, such as a canvas or a wall, in a way that sufficiently conveyed the missing dimension to the onlooker. As a result, everything he painted from then on looked “more real.” Virtually all artists after Brunelleschi had no choice but to learn and incorporate the technique into their own work. And today, anyone with a reasonably well-trained eye can learn to spot pre- and post-Brunelleschi paintings. The difference, well, practically jumps off the page.
Brunelleschi was an artist who was also a scientist. But scientists like Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, and the many physicists who developed quantum mechanics are equally artists, bringing those who are willing to engage with their work new and beautiful ways of seeing the world.
Materialism isn’t wrong and it isn’t dead. It’s just flat. Perhaps you sensed this flatness before you ever picked up this book, without quite having a way to describe it. Maybe your life, too, has at times felt flat, embedded in a flat universe.
Oneness – seeing consciousness as the source of matter (and everything else) rather than the other way around – adjusts this perspective. It doesn’t contradict or invalidate the myriad discoveries, inventions, and advances of science. It simply grounds them philosophically in a way that is undeniable once you start noticing it.
All the objective knowledge that humanity has ever attained has entered, in one form or another, subjectively – which is to say, it has arisen in the consciousness of one person or another. Because that statement is self-evident, no wise thinker has ever attempted to refute it, while a few merely clever ones have “tried to port around it,” as the pilot of the Titanic also had a go at. Instead, as a culture, we all have a collective share in ignoring it one way or another, which, as I mentioned earlier, Alan Watts aptly identifies as the taboo against knowing who you are.
A personal disclosure: Almost 40 years before this writing, on an overnight psychedelic trip at The Saint, a downtown dance club in Manhattan, I arrived at my first-ever break-the-surface understanding that the entire universe, including I and everyone in it, is made of love. Along the treacherous path I’ve stumbled from there to here, I’ve often forgotten, doubted, or denied this essential truth.
I can’t pretend to know all or even 1% of the meaning implicit in that understanding. I only know that as I’ve gotten older, its overarching truth has only further crystallized into clarity. And the times in between, when I’ve fallen out of alignment with it, have been dry, painful, at times agonizing.
What I’ve been calling consciousness is simply love. And if you have begun to see that you, along with everything else in the universe, are in and of that consciousness, then you must know in some visceral, unshakeable way (even though it will be shaken, as all things are)…
That you and all things are love, and only love...
Whatever that means – in this moment – where everything resides.