“You are the universe expressing itself as a human for a little while” — Eckhart Tolle
This undoubtedly sounds lovely, and many such quotes are available to inspire us into action. And I have to put my hands up once again and say that this one had me on for a couple of years.
Three years back, somehow I poked my head outside of the clean, white-walled confounds of my scientific career, in which I, and most scientists I’m certain, have been efficiently brainwashed into blindly believing the dogma of physicalism. That is, everything comes from matter. Life isn’t really alive, and you’re not really you…rather, your brain (which came about by chance) is somehow convincing ‘you’ that you are ‘you’. But really, you’re just atoms, and that will become apparent (well not to you at least), when you aren’t you anymore (ie. When you’re brown bread).
With a background of reducing everything to chemicals, and shirking philosophy as an unnecessary tool for such an advanced age (even though equipped with doctorate of philosophy), I was absolutely flabbergasted that I had never realised that…we are all the universe.
I’m not ashamed to say that my ego-fever reached a modest height when I starting dabbling in the art of making clouds disperse, just by the power of mind…I had a lot of time on my hands. If this sounds crazy to you, please note that I was by no means the only one experiencing delight in this concept…Eckhert Tolle is a big author! Unfortuantely, this idea is but an extended titilation offered under the holey umbrella of atheism. Basically, rather than pull God down by saying that He doesn’t exist, let’s lift ourselves up (not dogs or aardvarks though) and say that we’re all God! Fantastic…now go create a universe from ‘nothing’…nope? OK, try an atom…nope. Oh well.
It was an illuminating phase in my life, but this guy sums it up nicely:
“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former” — Einstein
Aside from attacking pseudo-spiritual stuff, I do have something positive to say!
I am keen on the idea that humans (and other organisms) are universes in themselves. We tend to think that we are ‘human’, but recent studies indicate that human cells are outnumbered 10:1 by our bacterial friends (and the bad ones as well).
This is fascinating because as we start to see more and more evidence for a remarkable interplay, and even interchange of DNA, between eukaryotes (‘organisms that have a true nucleus’…like us), and prokaryotes (‘don’t have a nucleus’…like bacteria), then the question of ‘what is a species’ becomes more intriguing.
For example, if I am a scientist who claims that I am human and my brain makes me think I am me, then there’s an issue…’you’ are actually 10x more bacteria than human. You are a universe of seemingly unending complexity, and yet somehow you’re able to easily accomplish things like walking, loving, thinking and reminiscing. Incredible no? Is everything chance and not essentially real, or are you really alive and something special? Aren’t you itching to know if you don’t already? Or have you resigned yourself to the passive place in the middle of the fence, ‘agnosticism/hurts my brain too much/I don’t have time/beer is more fun‘? If so, please note that although pleasant for a while, you are actually sitting on a rather uncomfortable barbed wire fence, and if you just peek over to the Vedic universe, you’ll see how colourful reality can really be 🙂
I would modify Mr Tolle’s quote as follows:
“You are an atemporal unit of consciousness, living in a virtual reality suit for a while, composed of so-called human, bacterial and viral ‘stuff’, and the real you is far more interesting than all the billions of material universes in existence”