=1 "To be one or to be two"

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To be one or to be two

You may say it is futile to discuss whether the foundations of the world are one or two, that it is a moot question whether reality is a monolithic whole or a multiple of things: an academic debate about monism and dualism, an abstract philosophical theory with which normal man in practical life has nothing to do. But this is not the case.

A life, a civilization, a culture based on the idea that we are all different, independent entities, or another based on the conviction, the feeling, the faith, the constant experience of the unshakable oneness of things and being, are naturally as different as night and day.

Imagine a child brought up in a universe which is considered by his father and mother, his brothers and sisters, teachers and friends to be a single being though differentiated into whatever forms he sees, a multiplicity of things and beings but fundamentally always one playing all the roles: as sun, as wind, as stars, as animals, as fruits and flowers and friends, a universe to which he himself unalterably belongs: friendly, maternal, another yourself forever and ever.

And then imagine a child who grows up in a world where all the adults seem to believe that reality is a heap of atoms built by chance, each being separate, independent, and entirely different and therefore fundamentally hostile or at best meaningless.

Or imagine a child brought up in one of our so-called great religions which teach him that there is he and there is God, forever two, creature and creator, sinner and judge – and he is lucky if his religion is ‘modern’ and doesn’t speak to him of death and damnation, devils and demons. His world too is forever cut into two, separating the saved and the damned, spirit and nature, god and man, body and soul. If the child then turns out to be asocial or a juvenile delinquent or develops a psychosis or schizophrenia, it is because his world has been cut into two by the civilisation into which he was born. Hence the importance of ontology.

Let us follow the example of the great teachers of mankind, who were all monists and tried to teach man the oneness of being which to them was evident, as it is evident to any one with an IQ of 160, or perhaps even to an IQ of 120 if he has a little help.

Of course it is not the endless ontological discussions which are the prime movers of mankind on his evolutionary way, nor is the hopeless pluralism of the West the chief obstacle. Both are merely mental expressions, mental play on the surface of things.

A much greater power we see in the instinctive confidence and optimism of young life. Each generation born looks above and beyond the old unsolved problems and hopefully starts life with its own, which will in turn be unsolved and obsolete for the next generation. Not that we have to be nihilists, but reality is something which ought not to be merely discussed. It is. A child does not discuss his own mother: he sits on her lap and is happy. In the same manner as we approach this reality, so it comes to us – as the many or the all; as illusion or justice or love; as a problem or as our mother; as something which one has to search for – or possesses always.

Let us be one with that triumphant optimism that says: “I am the life, I am all being. I am the oneness of things”.