UNDERSTANDING THE FUNDAMENTAL METAPHYSICAL QUESTIONS
By Sensei Erwin L. Rimban
Who are you?
“I think, therefore I am.”
“You are a child of the universe…”
“We are all in a widowed state, and our task is to remarry.”
The first one is attributed to the philosopher Rene Descartes. The second is from the poem Desiderata. And the third one is from Louis Claude de St. Martin. Throughout the ages, the greatest thinkers of humanity have endeavored to answer this most fundamental question of human existence. Let us now explore how various paragons of the ages have approached it and savor the insights we can glean from their thoughts.
“You are a creature of God,” pronounced the Western theologians. But a sinful one, they admonish and thus continue the argument by explaining how you can be saved in the form of the various theories of salvation. “You are a man, a fragment of the Universal Soul,” asserted the Eastern spiritual gurus. Sinfulness is not an issue in the East, compared to the West, but ignorance of one’s true nature is. Therefore, the Eastern spiritual traditions emphasize the need to know one’s true nature. Some would say the East presents a much more cheerful prospect. “Man is rational,” said the ancient Greeks. “Man is spiritual,” countered the ancient Eastern spiritual teachers.
“You are a body”, intoned the mechanistic Western physiologists. A lack of subtlety there, everyone can see they have a body. “You are a mind existing within the confines of the body,” championed the Platonian idealists. More subtle, assuredly. “You are a body with a mind that is full of psychosexual dilemmas,” declared the Freudian psychoanalysts. The various psychoanalytic paradigms all flowed from this concept. “Your psyche is rooted to the Collective Unconscious, countered the brilliant Jungian archetypal analysis. And their disciples have been searching for archetypes ever since, uncovering every nook and cranny of the human psyche.
“You are a battleground of the forces of light and dark,” lamented the dualistic-minded Zoroaster. Dualistic religions and philosophies flow from this theological position. You are a combination of Yin and Yang, but they are enemies on the surface only. This is a paraphrase from the Taoist masters. For them, light and dark, yin and yang, are lovers beneath, whose eternal dance comprises the phenomenal world. “You are nothing,” counseled Prince Siddhartha Gautama upon his ascendancy as the Sakyamuni Buddha, perhaps with a twinkle in his eyes. Did he mean it literally? Allegorically? Or was he thinking of something else? “You may be nothing, but you create your reality by your free will,” added the pragmatists and existentialists.
“You are a collection of atoms, obeying the classical laws of physics, argued the mechanical Western scientists. For centuries, this has been the norm of Western classical thinking. But Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and other more super-intelligent quantum physicists arrived on the scene. And they changed the landscape of science forever. “You are a monad, a fragment of the universe, complete unto itself,” offered Leibniz, co-inventor of the calculus. “And you are immortal,” echoed Vardhamana Mahavira, champion of Jainism, thousands of miles to the East. Both of these thinkers are separated by distance and time, yet show surprisingly similar positions.
So who are you?
The best answer to this question comes from the hieros gamos, the sacred marriage, of quantum physics and the mystical arts. The most advanced quantum physicists are penetrating into the deepest mysteries of space-time, nature, and the universe. They are beginning to behold the Divine Wisdom, the wisdom of the ages, which has been shrouded in mystery since time immemorial.
For centuries, the Divine Wisdom has been in the hands of the mystics of East and West. Experiencing firsthand the presence of Divine Intelligence, mystics are given a true experiential event where they apprehend personally the nature of man and the universe.
Hieros gamos. The sacred marriage. More and more quantum physicists and mystical philosophers are communicating, sharing knowledge and critical insights. This conference of minds will help usher the Golden Age of humanity.
This concludes our basic survey of the first fundamental metaphysical dilemma. It logically now leads us to the next question…..