Franco Dell'Oro..
Street 173-1, #3
P.O. Box 4543
Asmara - ERITREA


 
 
We cross this world of light like shadows, renewed daily till dawn and sunrise will blend and we'll vanish, albeit not those traces left behind.
 

A life-long search is the pedestal supporting this essay. Obviously, and not abnormally, ideas and views change as we move forward in time and therefore discrepancies between the actual viewpoint and the former position will be apparent to anyone who may happen to read other writings of mine; however, some original ideas may attract interest. The material included in the previous works bespeaks a flowing unremitting search and the discernible inconsistencies may be taken as rungs on a ladder toward a better understanding of the mysteries surrounding us.

Every inquiring mind does not fail to realize that the dividing line between truth and fantasy, sanity and insanity, proof and error, is very shaky. Unequivocal or seemingly final truth has many facets to polish and refine and the acquired reflections will only point the way to further search, to an apparently unending quest. Hence, what follows is neither truth nor some sort of presumed teaching; it must be taken for what it is: a mental exercise which may be either stimulating, or useful, or utter nonsense: brain jam! That is strictly subjective. No human - or for that matter - any other intelligent being can explain reality. Reality is its own secret.


"While nineteenth century materialism closed the mind of man to what is above him, twentieth century psychology opened it to what is below him." 1

Within what we define as a normal frame of mind there are two things of which we can be absolutely sure. Close your eyes for a while and imagine, look at your body. You sense it, with no doubt whatsoever; you see it within your mind’s eye. From this image of yourself you reached another conclusion which leaves no doubt whatever: you experienced an alert cognitive state in which you were aware of yourself and of your actual situation, that awareness that we call consciousness – in this specific case, self-consciousness. From the above we deduce that: we are, with no doubts, a physical entity and, also in this latter case with no doubt, that we have a mental process - as such, obviously, not physical - which we call consciousness and that belongs to that great and mysterious realm which is the psyche and which is placed in the ineffable domain of mind.

There is, however, something which you will never be able to prove, apart from what you were told by your parents, your tutors, or someone else, or from what appears on the official records: that you had ever been born; that you have ever been a foetus, and, before that a "sorry germ"2, a spermatozoa. Without any knowledge of what you have been told or any other sort of record or material proof (and without the dubious assistance of the psychoanalyst or hypnotist!) can you positively assert that once you were not and that subsequently you became a living entity? Are you really what your consciousness suggested when you closed your eyes, as hinted above, that is, being so and so with a birth-date?

An obstetrician, or a midwife, who as such brings about the nascence of countless infants – that is the most reliable evidence of birth – or of what we call birth - will undoubtedly confirm it, people come to this world as tangible and screaming infants. Or, yes, as well the woman who gave birth to a child: rightfully, who can be more reliable than a mother who went through pregnancy, the pains and toil of parturition, and the subsequent upbringing of her child? Little doubt that this world’s individuals are born, all of them but me. Will me ever die as well? Clearly every one dies, unless he is unborn!

Try it differently now, close you eyes and think “Was I ever born”? Whatever your assessment, close your eyes just once more for a few moments and think: “Was me ever born”?3 It is very hard to guess your reaction to these thoughts; any answer, whatever it may be, is obviously strictly subjective. "Me" and "I" are something like two twins, but not-mono-zygotic, they appear to have a different reality one from the other. So now, reflecting upon it, the next question is whether who came before was me or, vice versa, I; leave it to the depth psychologist at least for the moment. This me and I topic will find a place for discussion later in this essay, while "you" will be met with further on.

Before proceeding, a remark is however deemed necessary; its import will be self-evident as we read along. When we look at a building in its complex, we perceive its outlines; then within the same its distinctive features strike our imagination: nice outfits and ornaments, or old and falling apart, or whatsoever. We hardly, if ever, give a thought to that which is hidden beyond the plaster, namely, bricks, stones, cement or whatever keeps it standing. Sadly, we normally do the same thing when we look at or think about our physical temple; we se an image and appreciate its youth, or its beauty; or we despise its manifest old age, or its ugliness and all sort of things. All in all we perceive a living entity, so dressed, so moving, so behaving, or so attractive or so repulsive. Still, we look at it just like we look at the building above mentioned; we hardly if ever give a thought to the hidden structure which lies behind the skin and bones which keeps it together. We are struck and narcissistically attached to the outward appearance. This hidden structure however, as we are too well aware, is made up by a myriad of living organism at a very primitive level, acting in concert – the cells which make up the various important organisms within the body itself. Each of these cells, singly among thousands of billions of them, has a life of its own, a motive power and intelligence and thence this temple of ours, as such, is not an individual living being but the sum total of uncountable microscopic organisms’ lives, each thriving with an exact purpose, an unerringly set goal. As to the purpose of this remark: so much so as it is useful to look within our mind, something equally precious is hanging on the other side of the rope but we never give it proper attention. We are hardly conscious that these myriads of lives are the very pedestal not only of our physical frame, but as well of our intangible mind and that this complex frame of ours should, likewise, be properly visualized for what it is and not from the outward appearance of the structure. Looking at ourselves in such a wise a different reality is perceived, a greater, incomparably richer image teeming with life strikes our mental vision and widens its horizon towards border less visions. Calling it “our physical temple” is not inappropriate because here it is that, like in prayer in a holy place, a greater discernment of our real place in nature, as well as a greater understanding of the nature within ourselves develops and matures; a keener view of what we really are.

Please, be patient: soon you will have to confront the marvelous greatness of life, (even if, pessimistically, life may come along as a fatal wound!) as perceived by a tiny brain trying to appear rational and to prove that he, the me referred to above, is not the only unborn-undying in this world.

This is not going to be a science fiction story. You may find some of the statements held in this essay – that will largely depend on your frame of mind and upheld beliefs - strange, or even odd, irreverent and even obnoxious, nonetheless as far as possible sound and logical or, anyhow, food for thought and not outright nonsense. This world is overflowing with meaninglessness, with strange tenets and doctrines, with fantastic stories which feed hordes of gullible, with fables which are at variance with a healthy intellectual formation in young people and negatively impress and imprint their future. We are, veritably, in the era of science and technology where the mysterious is progressively discomfited and unveiled while marvelous gadgets enrich, seemingly unceasingly, everyone’s life and comfort; at least that is the outward appearance but the truth is that the manifest effect of this all is hardly, if any, in agreement with our inner life and balance. We can get with little difficulty almost whatever satisfies our physical – outer needs – and as it happens, even a good deal of useless surplus, but this is a kind of suicide of our inner life and that is not mere appearance. What is worst is that we are well aware of this state of things but, either because we are helplessly transported in the common trend – the environment and quandary of a queasy society - or simply because it fits us better, the contact with our inner reality vanishes in this manifest contemporary disarray.

To this all someone dares to add that no one is ever born and that no one ever dies: mentally unsound? Demented? He writes that this world is overflowing with meaninglessness, strange tenets and doctrines and fables for the gullible and then he throws himself headlong in the same muddy pond! Hence it is up to you, now, either to toss this rubbish in the trash bin and spare useful time for something more creative or jump into it and get hooked to some farfetched ideas which may have some plausible grounds of truth even if they cannot stand the acid test of reality – insofar as reality is, indeed, what it appears to be to common sense and experience.

Before going further on let us give a thought to eternity! Eternity implies infinite duration, but our concept of duration implies time – seemingly our mind cannot dissociate eternity from time. Time implies movement and movement implies action and as such existence, in whichever form it may exist and manifest itself. Hence the unborn and undying cannot be in eternity but in whatever is beyond eternity – clearly, beyond time – and as the human mind is inconceivably imaginative this will bring us to the concept of a different dimension, a dimension implying neither time, nor space; not even a dimension as a construct of our mind and its implications, but however creatively causative, functional, neither static nor inert, possibly the source of eternity, another construct of our mind.

I and me

This is not the proper place for a course in English language and grammar but in this essay a significant stress is placed on the pronouns "I" and "me“, hence a few tedious notes about “I“ and “me“ follow.
You have me made me (Object) what I am. (Objective complement).4
The O. E. form of I was ic. In Chaucer’s time the forms ich, ik, and I were used. Me is used as a direct object, as “He hurt me,” and also as an Indirect or Dative Object, when it is used before the impersonal verbs, methinks, etc., or after interjections in such expressions as, Ah me!5
I – The pronoun of the first person is the nominative case form, me the objective case. Also used colloquially as a predicate complement with a linking verb.6
The subjective form is used when a pronoun is the subject of a sentence, the subject of a clause, the complement of a subject, or an appositive identifying a subject.7
The objective form of a pronoun is used when the pronoun is the direct or indirect object of a verb or verbal, the object of a preposition, the subject of an infinitive, or an appositive identifying an object.8

The few ho-hum lines above were felt necessary to avoid any misunderstanding or incomprehension since reference to the main actor in this essay will point to the personal me rather than to the person I (namely, the ego defined as: "an individual’s experience of himself, or his conception of himself, or the dynamic unity that is the individual."9) because the former is more intimate, it discriminates, recognizes, and hides several important personality’s factors while the latter is the open, to all appearances the outward and easily accessible – as well as, more often than not, misleading - manifestation of the personality.

This brings us back to the first two paragraphs in the opening section where we clearly distinguish between the physical I“, the one with closed eyes imagining himself as a physical being and the less substantial me“, equally conscious but looking at the same situation from an insubstantial position closer to the person’s intimate reality, that which borders with and questions the unconscious. From the dichotomy of these two not-mono-zygotic twins, as termed above, the corollary and perhaps farfetched but not unreasonable postulate follows that the purely physical person, with all his senses and perceptions, is formed by the gene - namely, this transmits the "structural photocopy", or blueprint, of the genome; strictly, the living organism as an automaton, and as such we may not discount that “We are survival machines, vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known to us as genes."10 while the less tangible, and more real person, is informed by the genes, that is, not just by the purely mechanical information coded into the genome and which is functionally indispensable for its "photocopy" to meet its own environment simply to survive in the same and foster its own reproduction. In other words, that intelligence, information, coded within itself which, unlike that of the formed genome strictly necessary for survival and reproduction, adds scope to the organism: be it an amoeba, a bee, your pet or a human being. This scope - its function - is evolutionary from the simplest organism to the most complex that we know of, man as a unique species. Manifestly, there is neither place nor possibility of survival, in nature, for zombie-like creatures. Furthermore, the informed twin is pliant. It is not blindly pushed along by its own coding but it is plastic, it will be able to absorb, retain and transmit additional information thanks to feedback (sense-related) information from the environment and acquired intellectual faculties. Conceivably, part of such information will be passed along to the dumbest genome so as to direct its proper adaptive evolutionary needs. But it will also receive some other information which, besides the purely adaptive, will not be lost. Even if the electron microscope can never hope to have the last word, we are justified in thinking that where some form of evolved intelligence subtends it, like in human beings, its experiential endowment in all likelihood will be passed along to the next generation; and from the proto-human to the present time this process has never stopped. From the flint to the stone axe, from writing to our footsteps on the moon and, not less so, to the specter of human extinction around the corner.

The next proposition, as seen from the complexity of the individual cell or neuron, would be that even if the sense of I is of necessity manifest first in life – namely in the infant’s open egotism - the me precedes it, with all the payload of information necessary to the organism’s growth to maturity. Hence the latter’s term of life would far exceed the former, at least ex post facto, that is to say retroactively. The former, the I, would then be but the me’s husk – all important as a vehicle for experience and species-transmittal in a physical environment while the kernel, the me, would be the vehicle capable of crossing diverse stages in time but, mind, not as something indicating metempsychosis and reincarnation. Metempsychosis and reincarnation are here brushed aside as they are none but figments of the mind, created to overcome the inborn fear of death, the fall in a dark precipice with no following - extinction - a fear innate in all human beings unless they discover their being unborn and undying, which is the theme of this essay.

Going back a moment to the ex post facto above mentioned, this statement implies that the transmission in such case implies offspring and as such the transmission of both the ken and kernel - as explained above - of the genes but while the ken may not find continuity in physical expression - that is, from lack of offspring - the kernel implies also a memory of the race - or species - and as such is endowed also with some sort of individual existence apart from an individual’s offspring, as an antecedent, the mentioned “is informed by the genes”. It is part and parcel of the gene’s entity but, at the same time, is has a different existential relation to the same, as such separate, a diverse reality or, better stated, plane of existence – that reality which most properly belongs to the psyche. Somehow, it fosters its own memory in time along parallel lines but on a different dimension that transcends time, therefore animalism and physicality. So, stated differently, evolution might come to a standstill physically, as referred to a species and its eventual demise – such as the Neanderthal, (extinct robust human of Middle Paleolithic in Europe and western Asia) or the Cromagnon, (the extinct human of Upper Paleolithic in Europe) to cite two instances of the earth’s prehistoric past, with reference to the human taxa - but not as a process with its related memory and experience. This last statement would fit in, and somewhat explain and justify, along different lines, also Jung’s theory of the archetypes. Nor would it be at odds with Darwin’s theory of evolution and, more so, this would create a plausible “Mendelian bridge” between Darwin’s and Jung’s worlds. Additionally, it may be seen as a new theory explaining the demise of diverse proto-human species along the timeline of the earth's historical past. Obviously, this raises the difficult question of where or how this hypothetic memory may be stored.

Here we may now shift our attention to that most important topic which has haunted generations of great thinkers and that, notwithstanding the impressive advances in neurology, psychology and psychiatry, has not yet reached a definite agreement within the related scientific disciplines, (possibly because while many big brains are studying the mind, many big minds are studying the brain) namely: are the brain and the mind the same thing or are they different entities?

The brain, to put it very simply, is an extremely complex biological machinery which can synthesize or break down molecules in such a way as to obtain an optimal performance of its own operations, an incredible chemical factory and electrical powerhouse with the task of directing the proper substances and necessary energy to the biological organism over which it has responsibility for its growth and survival in the physical environment which, in turn, supplies it with the essential substances to carry out its task.

The mind, again to put it very simply, is the immaterial casket wherewith sense perception, instincts, reason, feeling, emotion and all the host of “things” which we ascribe to it are analyzed, processed, evaluated and passed over to the brain which will respond in the most appropriate way to the set of received instructions.

A clear example of the brain-mind interaction is how the thoughts here expressed, born mysteriously in an intangible kingdom which retains, analyzes, sorts and filters the whole life experience of an individual, act on the brain which responds and sets in motion the nervous system, in such a marvelously discriminating way on the fingers which are hammering this keyboard so as to make them, through an artificial medium, again perceivable by sense perception, namely by the visual system and, relayed back to the brain, have, from the latter, a feedback which in turn is relayed to the mind in view of possible textual modifications.

The conundrum of whether the brain and the mind are the same thing or two different things is a sort of unresolved mental gymnastics simply because they are not “things” but two different processes within different realms,
18 not very different from the husk formed by the genes and the kernel informed by the genes mentioned previously. While this last statement appears reasonable it has also the advantage of relating two diverse realms, that which forms and that which informs the organism, that thus allow biological life to manifest, express and transmit itself both in a physical realm and, as well, in a medium which we might term - due to our impossibility of comprehending the intangible in specific cases - a function of the law which informs it.

Within the mind we have placed a psyche, a smaller casket that contains all those processes which make up our mental life and condition our physical life. A self-growing artificial implement, which we cannot dispense with, that therefore has grown from myths and superstitions to pure empiricism and from here to a full grown science and as such extremely useful in an advanced technological environment. Mysterious in its workings because we have not yet properly come to terms with the processes and ways of the mind so as we would like to understand them and, as well, because not all the concerned professionals agree in the explanation of these processes and the way they are molded and conditioned. But, let us stress it, extremely useful. The psyche is like a ladder to the firmament of mental mysteries where countless rungs are still to climb up.

Another casket which we have placed in the mind, a casket far greater than that which contains the psyche and possibly as great as the mind itself contains the spirit (as a mirror-image of the mind or at least of some of its innermost processes), that which explains the whole cosmic reality - which cosmic reality obviously we cannot properly explain - even if things spiritual or metaphysical topics are a most common discourse since they are connected with religion, where no one is wrong in his beliefs and tenets, nor in his explanations of the cosmic reality even if religious beliefs are discordant and causing endless strife and sufferings since the inception of the gods. The spirit, which quite like that mental artifact which is the soul - more and so that there is no definite dividing line between soul and spirit, since the soul, while different from the spirit, belongs altogether to the spiritual kingdom - is usually conceived as an intangible entity to which metaphorically even a personal identity is applied, i.e., "my spirit". Perhaps a more apt definition would be "the personal realm of intangibility" and "the incomprehensible vehicle linking the sacred and the profane".

The spiritual experience, whatever form or value it may assume is the psychical reaction to the relation between the physical plane and the unknown and as such another of those mysterious tools of the mind necessary both for evolution and survival in the human kingdom. We may think that the spirit is “another face of the psyche”, showing or pointing us a goal but leaving a freedom of choice among different paths or possibilities. Being the shrine of body and soul, the source of the pure, immaculate spiritual experience, of the ecstatic vision and trance the spiritual experience per se may be the result of the perfect silencing and functional synchrony of the two cerebral hemispheres.11 This last hint, as well, is confessedly probable - if not indeed true in regard to the physiological process referred above - since the meditative, pure spiritual practice, requires utmost quietude and tranquility. In that perfect synchronicity the sum total of the physical and the psychical experiences is achieved and a new dimension is disclosed which eludes both the physical and the psychical experiences which in that amalgam - that is, the blending and silencing of the physical and the psychical – achieves transcendence over the plane of sensations. The psychical and the physical substrates vanish and the emptiness which is left behind is filled with the transcendent experience of the cosmic whole. It is a return to the source behind any conceivable condition, namely, that which we can conceive and express is only in terms of our limited and intimate sensorial experience hence no words can relate or bring about the manifest meaning of the experience, or state, of transcendence since transcendence implies beyond – beyond words, beyond meanings, beyond the purely human condition. We must be contented with the term's proposition which explains that which cannot be related or explained: transcendence. It remains, therefore, impossible to prove the validity of the spiritual experience in itself in practical terms although we can discern in the same a remarkable influence in social and cultural fields even if the experience is, by its very nature, strictly subjective. Here, in trying to relate the beyond, to give an account of the transcendent or mystic experience, possibly are the roots of the world’s mythology and the global similarity of all mythological characters, images, events and tales; it is nevertheless worth of notice in this respect that archeological and anthropological progress are proving that many myths have a sound foundation. The return from transcendence becomes sacred, is sanctified and, in the profane world, related through symbolic language, images, metaphors and secret language accessible only to initiates and elects. Clearly, this does not preclude deviancy like in those malpractice aimed exclusively at personal gain at the expense of the gullible, namely, miraculous thaumaturgy, magic arts, divination and so on.

Concerning the next intangible, the soul, it is nothing existing per se, or, stated differently there is no soul even if Fechner (the German physicist who founded psychophysics) attributed souls to all objects, including the sun, moon and stars.: here we can only hypothesize a cosmic consciousness, the numinous. What we conceptualize as soul, as an intangible reality within our being, is a purely mental caricature linking the physical and the spiritual worlds, the profane and the divine, in the temporal being. Differently stated, we give the name soul to something that is the mediator and interpreter between diverse realms, the tangible and the intangible. This, however, is a way to ideally (or most likely the illusory way) to experience the living reality defying the terror of death without a following; the dread of extinction, whatever this unavoidable reality, physical death, might actually be. Apparently, it is another fictitious ladder - to wit, a delusional tool - which our soul ascends in its way to some God, or to an eternal Shangri-la, or to limbo, or to some terrific netherworld, when the appointed time inexorably strikes. Unlike the psyche and the spirit, even if at times it is confused with either one of the aforementioned, somehow the soul has found its abode in the body and someways it is the body's intangible double. Hence the soul is here depicted as a non-instinctual but contrived survival aptitude which reacts, often without conscious cognition, against the threats menacing its own demise which eventually implies our loss to utter nothingness. Since, on a purely intellectual stand we are unable to solve the mystery of death a way ought to be found to fight the constant, deeply ingrained anxiety brought about by the fear and terror of a complete extinction. Here the intellectual faculties come to our help by creating an illusory double which will cross behind the threshold of physical death. As such, a delusory double – thriving in our illusion! – would survive in a different dimension, a diverse world which responds to our imagination, in accordance with our religious, mythical and social beliefs.

Not unlikely, the soul might be none other than a deeply ingrained long-lasting experience created by our schizophysiology,12 a dissociating process between the two cerebral hemispheres albeit a sort of benign schizophrenic process, in this particular instance a non-deleterious and apparently necessary mental illusion and a widespread human delusion; hence many of those things attributed to the soul and the physical's double which - just like the two hemispheres within the bony shrine above our neck in manifest schizophrenic episodes - can dissociate itself from the body and happily wander in astral travels, incredible adventures which are factually experienced by not a few lucky individuals. Were it so, many mythological facts, many magical flights, could be reinterpreted and seen under a diverse perspective. The strength of such illusory double is such that it can manifests itself as a mental formation with a life of its own, real albeit unreal, and tangible to the subject concerned to the point that it may even show up as what it is spoken of or believed to exists, i.e., a subtle immaterial entity, a double capable of astral travel and other marvels.13 The possibility should be considered, however, that such a manifestation is not very different from a sort of benign – as an inherent existential necessity – form of schizoid manifestation which belongs and follows humanity as a whole since the time of the inception of reason, the time when humans discovered their impotence against death and the fear and dread of the unknown.

I t was dutiful to mention also the spirit and the soul in this context to complete the picture even if, clearly and understandably, these last ideas as here expressed, may be rejected or repulsed by the reader, in particular by the genuinely religious reader. Let us look at the world as it appeared a few centuries ago and as, regretfully, still appears in some groups now: the universe revolving around the earth, the earth being the center - the pivot - of the cosmic vault and the only planet which, by the divine decree of some - more often than not, terrific - anthropomorphic god, could host the life he created from naught. Clearly, life in such a context would have no meaningful purpose, but to satisfy human imagination and bar the fear of the unknown; it would be a pure, meaningless, chance happening irredeemably doomed to extinction. This is all openly discounted in this essay and you may as well trash it here and now if you think, or believe, in such fables which, however and undeniably, did serve a useful purpose in the realm of gnosis and a long standing maladapted social evolution.

"... the man of the archaic society strove to conquer death by according it such an importance that, in the final reckoning, death ceased to present itself as a cessation and became a rite of passage... In short death comes to be regarded... as the beginning of a new spiritual existence." 14 This has not - if ever - radically changed and it has followed humanity through its history to the present time. It is our heritage, with multifarious tints depending on its socio-religious environment since we cannot disregard the fact that from the primitive magician to the shaman, from the priest to the divinely appointed ruler, to the prophet and the messiah, this concept of a spiritual life has apparently been with humanity since man became self-conscious, namely, since differentiating from purely instinctual drives he was faced, intellectually, with the mystery of life and death. As far back as we may trace its evolution in time, the source must remain an unresolved interrogative, so much so the universality of religious symbolism unless we take into consideration a genetic informed factor, or a prehistoric tutor in the form of some vanished evolved civilization from whom, however rudely understood by prehistoric humanity, these concepts were obtained; while excluding, a priori, mythical ancestors and gardens of heaven.

What does death bring about of which we do have unerring proof? A corpse! Rigid, decaying, fetid and to be disposed of, in one way or another, as soon as possible. Most important of all, the chemical factory and electrical powerhouse - the brain - will loose its most important fuels, oxygen and glucose and within less than a minute it will be a useless and unrecoverable piece of spongy scrap. This means only one thing, the most dreaded moment has overcome us. As for the useless piece of spongy scrap above mentioned, its demise has other far-reaching unwelcome consequences: its creatures will fade away, its visions will disappear; the resultant of its functioning will cease to be. To state it differently, whether we like it or not, psyche and mind won’t be anymore; what will be left following death will be total extinction, whether we had been a good Der Fuhrer, a bad pope, a great emperor, a nice gentlemen, a crone, or the other way around. Death is irreverent, obnoxious, it won’t respect anyone and undoubtedly, with it, it carries a definite meaning, that which is most dreaded: extinction. Let us go back for a while to a strange statement we met in this essay’s initial part: "Little doubt that this world’s individuals are born, all of them but me. Will me ever die as well? Clearly every one dies, unless he is unborn!".

The hearth and crux of this sentence is the “me” which, nevertheless with the “I” and its own brain’s demise, vanishes with everything else: the soul's illusion and the spirit, whatever they may be; the psyche with all its appendages (conscious, subconscious, persona, anima, shadow, id, ego, superego and whatever else you will), and the mind. Nothing at all survives. Our soul will not go to any of those heavenly kingdoms yearned for, or travel to some of the many available wondrous paradises; our spirit will not meet anyone of the innumerable gods available in the spiritual world, who, as a special favor, may grant us even reincarnation in a welcoming paradisiacal planet or else drive us headlong to some burning hell where we will be welcomed by those demons whom we unwelcome most. The mind too has vanished and hence there is nothing to be done to remedy this terrifying, tremendous happening: extinction! Truth is cruel, oftentimes crude, irreverent and even obnoxious, like the fetid corpse ensuing from death.

We can now give a meaning to that “me”: that “me” was a living being seen as a function of the brain – not a patent work of the brain expressed such as soul, spirit, psyche and mind which did disappear for good. A function implies something very important, a resultant, an outcome, a consequent effect. This function is extremely important since, in some way hard to visualize and describe, it is that which survives our total extinction. (This, however, does not in the least change the fact of the total extinction.) Since a function implies a resultant, an outcome, something very important becomes immediately apparent: our life, that irreparable loss, was neither meaningless nor useless, although while to all reasonable appearances while we were greatly concerned with it we never discovered that that life was not, directly, our concern. In other words, we never thought of it – of our life – as a function; namely, part but not parcel, of our narcissistic psychical makeup.

Potentially, life is ubiquitous in the universe. Given the suitable conditions where atoms can assemble into molecules which can form into nucleic acids, amino acids and proteins, where crystalline structures and living beings are related and unlike any other known objects in the universe, it will obtain. Although we do not know of diverse forms of life different from those which thrive on our planet, by now we have little doubts that life can exist somewhere else in the cosmos and not necessarily in the wise we know and experience it. This means that, behind life, there is a principle – or intelligence – which orchestrates this incredible symphony and that the mentioned intelligence is part and parcel of our being, so long as the elements which compound our physical temples do not go back to the dust in their purely elemental form in the atomic and subatomic realms.

We do not know, nor we ever will, the function of life in the universe; nor the function of the existence of the cosmos, nor the function of, to quote from the former section, that “me”; that “me” was a living being seen as a function of the brain – not a work of the brain such as soul, spirit, psyche and mind which disappeared for good. A function - a relation such that each element of its domain is associated with elements of another domain - implies something very important, a resultant, an outcome, a consequent effect; it is none but a concept, a mental construct to express a condition of relation, to express and visualize a proposition. As such a function is nothing that exists per se. But it does imply a cause and an effect, it involves a logically necessary sequence and the resulting consequence. It is causative.

Here we created a functional chain – so to say: "me", life, universe or cosmos: all this must have a meaning but, at the same time, so as we perceive and experience it, all this happens in the dimension of time. We cannot vouchsafe for the eternity of time since it appears to be strictly related to physical existence in a domain where either one or the other (time and matter) cannot exist by itself, hence, life and the cosmos as well are not eternal - and, as aforementioned the word we use, eternity, implies time simply because we cannot dissociate fron it, we must go beyond either the big bang (the cosmic explosion that is hypothesized to have marked the origin of the universe) or whatever was the source of that which gave existence and meaning to time and matter.

Just for the necessity of expression, we might name it “root function” and as such, also in this case, a concept which transcends our comprehension since it goes beyond time and physical existence. As such that something can have neither beginning nor end – in terms different from our concepts of both eternity and existence which, as we express them, involve time and matter. A function expresses a relation which chains variables and gives meaning but it is not creative per se. Therefore we cannot attribute neither a beginning, nor an end, neither life nor death, nor anything whatsoever which can be visualized or apprehended by the human mind to that root function but we can only think of it as the root, yet distinct from any concept of the temporal and physical, far removed from any concept of source which the root implies. It does not imply birth and death, an unborn and undying like me but this last, the unborn and undying, is undoubtedly functionally related to the root function.

Nevertheless this is not the end of the story, what we read thus far has no meaning in itself, it is vacuous; what justifies such a state of things? These chained concepts, a function of a function of a function is meaningless jabber and clearly we may extend this chain, these factitious functions, indefinitely so long as our mental faculties will allow so we will short-circuit the problem by saying that: all is relayed back to the root function, in other words, the cosmos is a feed back to this root function that insofar as we understand things to be, in terms of cause and effect, must have a purpose and a meaning – which in all likelihood may not be purpose and meaning so as we understand them to be in our restricted mental environment - in a possibly far greater evolutionary scale than that which we can visualize and experience in the cosmic life surrounding us, stranded as we are in this speck of cosmic dust which we call Earth.

Here we may add that life, life as a form of intelligence – and there can be no doubt about it - is enriched by its own experience which, as well, is the experience of the cosmos since, to repeat it, potentially, life is ubiquitous in the universe. Potentially is tied to time in the sense that if the right conditions do not obtain at a certain moment they might obtain in a different moment and hence, on an infinitely vast time-scale, all the cosmos may, albeit not simultaneously, experience some form of life.

 

A problem which we cannot surmount is that this function, in our minds, becomes objectified, it becomes a thought form, one among many mental phantoms that we cannot catch up with because that is an apparently insurmountable natural limitation, we cannot in conscious awareness dispose of anything as nonexistent and immaterial; and, behind conscious awareness, whatever lies hidden in that niche, we cannot bring it back in a rational image expressible through the means and power of words: that is a faculty which presently eludes us.

Now, if you go to a psychiatrist and tell him: "Look doctor, my problem is that I was never born and that I will never die. I have defeated the inborn archaic fear or death and that is quite problematic since I don't know anymore how to go to Paradise... I have lost the ladder! And, pitiful! I am even accused of being a heathen." that would make him very happy by adding a uniquely new chapter to the annals of psychiatry. But in studying and following your case he might happen to think of a new sort of benign schizophrenic syndrome due to some sort of relation between the cerebral hemispheres, so far undiscovered, and like any serious scientist he would involve himself in some sort of experiment in order to comprehend, in vivo, how you had reached that uncomfortable situation. Days after, at the next session, as you look inquiringly at him waiting for the miracle which will restore your sanity he will simply tell you: "I don't know my friend, I've lost my ladder to hell!"

The Buddha, and not less so many impressive mythological characters before his time, was an "unborn" and his passing into Nirvânâ might not have been very different from experiencing that unexplainable no-state - or rather an understanding of that state - which has tentatively been described as a function; but, as we shall see, not yet in its highest degree or untainted form. That is, not quite dissimilar from your me, which going through these lines surely has not been significantly altered even if some of that me's deformation might be reflected in the reaction to reading this jabber because, willy-nilly, whatever goes through our perceptions, at whatsoever level, sinks somewhere in the subconscious and there it remains so long as an active, healthy and thriving psyche does not reject it; or, as well, it may even become part of the mentioned dichotomy of the not-mono-zygotic-twins so that the information will not be lost at any cosmic level. (Let there be no misunderstanding, this has nothing to do with fantastic Akashic Records and peyote! there is no room for mescal buttons in this essay.) This means, clearly, that the effect of life is not restricted to the temporal manifestation of a human or any other form of life; it goes in a casket where it can be subsequently retrieved - as a creative experience - beyond any bounds imposed by time and space. On a purely terrestrial plane we have seen how more or less overtly, this may happen, as in the psychiatrist's story and, since you are still in his studio and a little spell bound by his having lost his ladder and having come to your side, albeit in the very opposite world, you ask him to interpret some events of your psychical life which happened, strung on a string spanning well over thirty years, and you relate them to him:

"It is quiet and dark. Laying on my back I stare at an invisible ceiling as all of a sudden I find myself within a magnificent golden egg. The thought crosses my mind whether to remain in that incredible, wondrous world of supernatural peace and beauty, or to get out, which is what I opt for. Immediately the vision - not really a vision, not even a hallucination, it all was too real - vanishes and the invisible ceiling returns. Many years later I find myself immersed in a marvelous silvery lake, a little shore boundary is perceived, and a small bat appears in the sky. As I observe it, it vanishes and an enormous, menacing and apparently unfriendly pterosaur appears above my head. I sense the danger and wisely escape the dream waking up only to find myself, again years later, on the shores of a lake in the breaking darkness of dawn. I see myself, on the backside, close to a woman; two dark shadows intimately close in the darkness while the sun's light is slowly appearing in front of us; she is on my right side, perhaps she is blonde and with long hairs. My member senses the contact of her thigh's velvety skin and that communion, indeed, delights me but this does not bring about a sense of lust. We move along the dark shore and, alas! part, as I return to that reality whence, time afterwards, I see a trap door in front on me; a young, pleasing familiar woman is on my right side. A blue, iron-tubing ladder, invites me to go deep down. As I reach the floor I find myself in a boundless - seemingly on all sides - cement vault, or a bunker, immersed in suffuse light and after a while down there I return to the world."19

The friendly psychiatrist will now explain to you that time and space do not belong to the psyche; the complex world of the psyche thrives in another dimension populated by symbolical displays and archetypes still little if any understood but your story can clearly be explained, so and so; as for the female characters in the dream, he will surely interpret and explain the meaning in terms of his psychological curriculum and they will be interpreted accordingly to his school of thought which might be Freud's, Jung's or a more contemporary amalgam of these trends. He will place the contents of his mind in front of you pretending that it corresponds to the contents of your mind. The sanity and beauty of transference, adding: "They are all rings of a single chain - without any doubt. Tout ensemble, that is what caused your ladder's loss."

As it happened, the regrettable loss of the ladder brought us back to the psyche and its - to a certain degree stereotyped – reactions. These reactions, to our knowledge, fall within a certain pattern, so much so that, relying on the help of both brain and psyche, painstakingly a model of the former might even be constructed, a tangible biological model, not less complex and complete than the brain itself and then, plainly, our difficulties would arise because we would have no means to insert a thriving psyche in our model nor bring it to life and have it comprehend the psyche through our model brain or, inversely, comprehending the brain through that psyche which we cannot grab and as such leaves behind a orphaned brain. Not less so, the hoary problem of trying to relate a mass of spongy tissue to a no-mass of intangibleness rebel to temporal and spatial constrictions, which does not obey any of the physical laws that we know of. All in all, this intractable relation between the brain and the psyche might even be, in the last analysis, that “unary-dichotomy”- if such terminology makes any sense - which lies in that still farther and fuzzier degree of imperceptibility which is the mind. Hence we may now, at least temporarily, discard the intractable puzzle “cogito ergo sum” or vice versa and, are brain and mind a single thing or two things? To our experience the former is something, the latter however is nothing that we can properly describe save as the resultant process of the interaction of brain and psyche. To the mind we shall return.

Mentioning the psyche as “stereotyped as it falls within a certain pattern” somehow makes sense as, if we ask to our friendly psychiatrist who laboriously went through countless books of academic psychology, neurology and psychiatry to be of help to poor mortals as we are, he will cite an extensive collection of data which will show unequivocally, albeit mainly on pathological basis, that within a certain population similar mental problems obtain both in pathology and in saneness which means that this sampling is, by itself, indicative of those traits common to the human race as a whole.

Here, therefore, we may visualize the psyche as a common substratum – albeit individually manifested (independently of the usual contemporary collective psychosis!) of the species; in other words the differences between individual psychical exhibits – or manifestations, so as we are well aware of, are based on environment, growth and a host of other factors to which the psyche reacts accordingly and, clearly, which cannot obtain but individually. Whatever the shades, no identical experiences can exist between or among similar guinea pigs. As guinea pigs, we have been naturally favored by a brain's outgrowth, a thin layer of unmyelinated neurons, or cerebral cortex, that gray matter which enabled us to jump ahead of the apparently pure instinctual kingdom of the Cavia cobaya, namely the real guinea pigs and those species which, unlike us, are not favored with the self-inflating appellative "culmination of creation".

However, since you read all of this to the point of reaching the psychiatrist's studio, it would be not unwise to look at it all as a third millennium's mythology. Verily, it does not, intrinsically, differ from this: "The 'old age' (jyesta) of the Buddha is a figure of speech, meaning that he was already present before the birth of the World, that he saw the World's coming into existence and the first appearance of time";15 and, "By many ways and starting from different points of view, religious man has always been trying to regenerate or renew himself by periodically re-entering into the "perfection of the beginnings",16 the main difference being that the Buddha and his contemporaries were not apparently aware of the structure and the relation of the brain to life and the physical world, even if, so far back in time as 500 BC Hippocrates, in a lecture on epilepsy delivered to an audience of medical men, said: "Some people say that the heart is an organ with which we think and that it feels pain and anxiety. But it is not so. Men ought to know that from the brain only arise our pleasures, joys, laughter and tears. Through it, in particular, we think, see, ear, and distinguish the ugly from the beautiful, the bad from the good, the pleasant from the unpleasant ... To consciousness the brain is messenger ... The brain is the interpreter of consciousness".17

Early in our first school years we were introduced to the concept of two dimensions, by drawing a geometrical figure - i.e., a rectangle, or circle, or a simple straight line, on our copybook. However, nothing can represent a two-dimensional world better than a shadow.

Now, imagine that a large sphere is interposed a few meters high between the sun and the floor – an eclipse of sphere! And, again in your imagery, you are the shadow cast on the ground, as luck would have it endowed with a sense of sight, and some sort of intellectually active machinery. Therefore, you will perceive a dark disk with a dim and fading aloe of light in the blue sky but all that will be perfectly flat simply because, being a shadow, you lack the perception of the third dimension, in your ill-fated case height; and, worst of all, lacking the sense of height that dark disk will be intolerably oppressive. It will be some kind of immaterial but indeed real weight on your shadow-body and no matter how you slide on the floor to evade it, it will follow you everywhere. A perennial daily nightmare with no way out; and there is no way you can comprehend that situation because you do not know what is causing it, you cannot visualize, still less, imagine the bright sun shedding light above the sphere.

We are, somehow, in that very distressing predicament insofar as our comprehension of the brain, the psyche and the mind are concerned if we substitute the brain to the shadow, the psyche to the sphere, and the mind to the sun behind the sphere. We have some knowledge of the brain because we are the shadow; some knowledge of the psyche because we are subject to the pressure of that apparent disk-like something, and practically we are in total ignorance of the mind because, of the sun beyond the sphere we perceive nothing but a dim and fading aloe of light although we sense that something beyond the sphere is the origin of our unbearable distress.20

Frequently we use parables and metaphors to express some ideas and the little story above can clearly be visualized, even transferred so easily to a painting canvas so that even Giotto could easily do it as it is so simple a matter as to draw three circles of different diameters and shades of color spaced along a perpendicular axis (great! o0 even a keyboard can do it!). Quite different from searching the roots of E=mc2 in a sliced brain preserved in three different jars of formaldehyde solution after having mercilessly dissected it.21 (A clear instance of what appears as the most strikingly materialistic example of scientists seriously at work.) We don’t know if the neuroscientists who had a chance to analyze and study the slices of the same could find the tangible root of the equation E=mc2 which, probably, has been hidden in the ashes, fire, horror and misery of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not less so, probing the living brain with electrodes and, given its startling results, asserting that we are in touch with the mind appears to be far off the target. "In all our studies of the brain, no mechanism has been discovered that can force the mind to think, or the individual to believe, anything. The mind continues free. This is a statement I have long considered. I have made every effort to disprove it, without success. The mind, I must conclude, is something more ..."22 This is an intractable difficulty met with also with the hapless situation of our shadow, however simply it can be graphically represented.

A small digression here, as mentioning Einstein's brain reminds us that his momentous discovery – which nonetheless was already in the air in other minds, brings to our attention the fact that he had the main hint in a dream, (this is the story35) not unlike other great discoveries, of which a celebrated example is Kekule's discovery of the ring structure of benzene. Here we are briefly taken back to our psychiatrist’s study since “No one seriously doubts that the properties of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep are radically different from those of NREM (non-REM) sleep or that they easily justify a separate consideration.”23 This REM phenomenon, unsuspected until it was discovered in 1953 by Aserinsky and Kleitman24 does not, so far as we know, take into consideration something which may be significant, succinctly suggested above in this work, namely, the movement, or rolling of the eyes when we think either “I” or “me” with closed eyes albeit awake; what could the up and down motion of the eyes evince, in such a wise, during REM sleep?

Back to our subject, when a human brain is not enclosed in jars and drowned in preserving chemical solutions and, as such mind-less, but is still doing its own job inside its bony shrine it is a single but all-important part of the triune, the shadow (brain) below the sphere (psyche) and the mind (the causative light) and as such the mediator between the lowliest and the highest kingdoms: the sub-human,25 the typically human inclusive of the mental - or psychical, and as such the mediator between the beast and the divine - the last, the mind, being the supra-human kingdom. This brings us back to the shadow which now, due to some unexplainable portentous event and an extreme effort somehow has leaped onto the sphere. There cohering to the sphere, it experiences a strange sensation due to its curvature and the possibility of a different, strange and mysterious world is envisaged and therefore it moves upward; but as it crosses above the spheres’ middle section it is annihilated by the sunlight and no one but an inert sphere, a psyche without a brain, is left to tell the story. We then realize that the psyche vanishes as well as you are annihilated; the shadow (you) annihilated and fused into the sunlight returns where it belongs to, that domain which gave you a tangible, albeit flat existence with its life's experience.

Natural phenomena have, little as we know since pre-eolithic times, always been exemplary and inspiring to humanity and that is a faculty both contemporary with the emergence of reason and constantly evolving, which we have not totally lost, but rather relegated in some remote corner as obscured by the technological age. A simile explaining the shadow's predicament would be a raindrop falling from a cloud into the ocean: as the raindrop reaches the ocean, sight of the cloud is lost and it looses its own individuality - albeit not its intrinsic nature - in uniting and spreading into the vast ocean's waters. It will no more be a drop but somehow the ocean itself to which it contributes its small experience from the physical world. We have no doubt that the ocean will liberate more vapors thus forming new clouds that, successively, will return countless drops the ocean, nor of the cyclic recurrence of this event.

And so we have reached the sun, the indescribable symbol of illumination, the mind, and somehow we metaphorically explain it by the shadow's annihilation in the sunlight or the raindrop fusing into the ocean. We are not concerned here with mystic symbolism and experience but with some ineffable reality. But we do obviously meet the very same difficulty met with by the saint, the mystic, or the shaman in trying to relate, rationally and in an intelligible manner, transcendence. Metaphors stimulate understanding yet the latter explains but does not dissect reality and, furthermore, we intend to go beyond the sun!

At this stage, however, same wise as the drop becomes the ocean, we have become the sun and furthermore we see a greater implication within this unthinkable event, we depend on the sun so much so as the sun depends on us. "But for you, I would not have created the world"26 than takes a clear meaning: there is a unique, continuous dependence from the most elemental particle of matter to the vastness of the cosmos, each one is a system unto itself and the system as a whole, that is, the cosmos, cannot exist by itself but only in dependence of its own innumerable subsystems.27 This applies to the world of matter as well as to the domain of mind, here exemplified by the sun. Nor is there any real separation, apart from our stand in a material world and our incomprehension of a purely mental word, from that which we call mind. Indeed this is not a new discovery, as clearly exemplified by the ancient Hindu's concept of mâyâ, they are complementary and one cannot exist without the other. We have however not yet discovered those words which can clearly depict a whole story rather than a nebulous, or a terse meaning and we are well aware of the poverty of language when it comes to the transcendental. And here is not the end of this story; we are simply not happy with the transcendental but we want to cross beyond, beyond the realms of life where neither life, nor death, not even eternity exist as that is where we belong to, that is what we are. The sun has its own limits, just like the human mind and the cosmic mind. We are not content with illumination, with the Buddhist's nirvânâ, like the Buddha, who said "I spent my whole life seeking enlightenment just to see that it is useless",33 the Hindu's moksa, the Persian's fana, or whatsoever; they are just one more threshold which in some way may be perceived and eventually attained to. They may even be real states but bounded creatures, slaves of the human mind so far as we can tell. We must cross that threshold!

"The unreal never is: the Real never is not."28 We perceive reality and unreality, or so we think, but more properly, we make and undo reality and unreality in conformity to what we cannot evade from our psychophysical constriction. Meanwhile somewhere ahead the psychopomp lies in ambush that he may throw us in the utter darkness of extinction or in an imaginary paradise. Whether true, illusional or delusional states, that is not our concern; birth was not our lot!

Our trusted psychiatrist, who patiently followed our thoughts thus far, would not confine us to an isolation ward in the county hospital as we are not yet overtly dangerous. However, he would justly start reasoning that such thinking would have people throw their strictly personal gods, their cherished, intimate anthropomorphic images, behind their shoulders; they would abandon their places of worship in flocks uncaring of crumbling temples and alms-less priests. Images and statues of cherished saints would be abandoned to a dire dusty destiny in museums' subterranean vaults from where only the best artworks would on rare occasions emerge. Without widespread religious strife and killing and condoms-forbiddance social cohesion would have to be regulated by a new set of laws with a more standardized, global value. The sacred would lose his throne on the globe to be replaced by a new, indeed more divine society because people would start to think “What am I?” instead of “Who am I” thus defying a strictly egocentric trait of our innate character and personality.

He would also recall that queerly, following our insane mentation, someway in the therapeutic transference process he suffered the loss of his ladder to hell and this happening might be a tangible menace to his profession. But here we stand, straightaway ready for the ultimate step in trying to explain him how we buried that enticing concept of the hereafter and immortality - painstakingly gained under the domes of beautiful churches and temples and infallible tutors - and abandoned the congregation of the immortals. How our defeated karma has lost its power to bring us back to transmigration and rebirth through innumerable aeons to be finally delivered, in this or some other world, from the domain of strife and suffering.

"Verily, doctor, it is not really easy to explain how our ladders got lost, yet, we had no birth! Thence there is no end in sight. Tell me, am I possibly insane?"

To put it in a nutshell, we have seen that we have a brain and a psyche and that they act in concert. If the psyche goes awry we are mentally crippled, deranged or even zombified; if the brain goes amiss we will have a double-crippled, if the brain fails we will have a corpse happily feeding the worms it creates. Since brain and psyche act in concert and this brings about our perceptive mind, with the emergence of the corpse the mind, as we have seen a function of the acting in concert of the brain and the psyche, will fail as well or, more properly, it will vanish. From these non-mono-zygotic-twins' demise nothing whatsoever will be left but the rotting and malodorous decaying corpse, which, most probably out of innate kindness and as per eventual disposal circumstances will feed the lower biological realms. As for those who have a soul, they need not worry about overloading the psychopomp at the proper time, illusions and delusions have a weight only in the psyche and he won't feel the burden, he thrives in that very same psyche who holds the cherished soul to bring to salvation or to some suitable hell.

Nevertheless the lost mind was a function of life itself, of a greater cosmic design, of a supreme mind, hence its passing through - or experiencing - a material, lively world, had in itself a scope which goes beyond our innermost perceptions. We may recall that this mind itself had a function and a function is a concept (just like E=mc2 35 or the phi coefficient29 or any other formula expressing relation) that denotes a process and a result, (an: "if" ... "then") not unlike that which we formulated in the similes of the shadow’s life and the water drop and, on a less abstract basis, we may construct another simile: on a purely physical (biological--chemical) plane, we discovered that an enzyme, namely any of several complex proteins that are produced by cells and act as catalysts in specific biochemical reactions - an indispensable brick of the castle of life - within its domain will invariantly catalyze a chosen target with specific properties; nonetheless, the structure of the protein is dictated by the structure of a gene, freely, arbitrarily and seemingly with a cognitive function. This of course happens in a very intricate biochemical environment and in a very complex way, however we may safely deduce that this is its function which, translated into action, makes life possible. Here we may perceive the function of the enzyme,30 however there is a code of instructions behind all these wonders, specific laws which inform the enzyme at a presumable cognitive level. If we can say that the enzyme has a function, can we say, as well, that it has a purpose? Apparently yes if we adduce that it must be cognizant of the laws which inform it. On an abstract basis in trying to understand the purpose in relation to the function we find ourselves in the position of the canvas trying to understand both the painter and why he is smearing and tickling it. On a life-basis, we see that the intelligence behind the enzyme flourishes progressively to full life in the cosmic vault to the extent that we know and experience it.

And here we are left with nothing but the idea of a supreme intelligence, the bosom of life in the cosmos as we know and experience it.

Withal, our enquiring minds are never really satisfied and we feel like missing a step on the ladder and falling plumb line to oblivion if a cause to an effect is not found. Here we will revise our knowledge of astronomy and cosmology and trace our steps back to the big bang, or to string theory, or to black holes and antimatter and this all, in one way or another, makes sense even if mostly unproven theoretical formulations – somehow not very different from what we have been reading so far. Still, something lies behind: what was it before the big bang and the monstrous black holes? How did physical existence (creation or spontaneous creation34 are here absolutely excluded, we leave it with scholars concerned with ethnology, theology, mythology, astrophysics and so on) come into being? Simple, it did not; it had no birth, it won’t know an end, even. Surely so even if physics has certain scientific value; things in the expanding universe will change, the sun will become cold, the earth lifeless and so on possibly all the way to the next big bang, the birth of new galaxies, quasars, supernovae, black holes and so on. What we call creation, or the material manifestation from the elementary particle to the cosmic whole – and that means life in itself in its totality since, as we saw before, everything is a system in itself and indispensable to the whole, immense cosmic system – is, to repeat it, just a function of a function: a function of a cosmic intelligence – life itself in all its multifarious aspects. Hierarchically we can therefore place ourselves in a lower position, as a function of Life. The manifestation of life, the opera of an incomprehensible intelligence, is a cosmic function, a function of the cosmic mind. This cosmic mind is a function per se hence it stands on no pedestal which we can conceive or understand; still less any purpose - or motivation - inspiring it. Hence, life is not our experience but we are an experience of Life.

That the ocean and the sun have a function, namely the materialization and maintenance of life, it is manifest, albeit not their purpose. If the drop and a shadow have a definite purpose, but to manifest life, we are totally ignorant of it. As to what may be the purpose of life we are it total obscurity and that is why we attribute a beginning and an end to it and see it as a limited creative process in space. These limits might only be surpassed by increasing, in our minds, this functional hierarchy and, no doubt, the mind with its imaginative power can achieve it - and finally, like the classical serpent biting its own tail which however hard it tries cannot wholly eat itself - summate them up to what it can hardly dispose with: a creator, a supreme god, or any suitable anthropomorphic figment of the mind and we, intelligent visionaries as we are, may even go as far as to state what his purpose is. Just to throw us back in mental fancies. This is what, in the last analysis, brings about the undying-unborn of this essay: the drop returning and fusing into the ocean or the shadow annihilated by the sun. Beyond this uppermost position in the functional hierarchy there must be a condition, totally independent of any of those functions here mentioned, so abstract that the mind cannot conceive, in the least, any way to visualize it, let alone the word condition. Otherwise we are forced back in a closed circle, in the wise of the classical serpent biting its own tail.

"When was I less by dying?" 31 Here we may go a step further: "What was you before the stars appeared in the firmament"?

"Outside tradition there can assuredly be found some relative truth or views of partial realities, but outside tradition there does not exist a doctrine that catalyzes absolute truth and transmits liberating notes concerning total reality." 32

NOTES:

1 A. K. Coomaraswamy, quoted in W. Perry, "Drug-induced Mysticism", Tomorrow 12:2 (1964), 196.
2 "Reflect upon that whereof ye were created. Every one of you was created of a sorry germ". Baha'u'llah. Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 55. Baha'i Publishing Trust. Wilmette. Illinois. 1971.
3 – However - and this is obviously a strictly subjective experience but nonetheless quite interesting: closing the eyes and thinking "I" the body-complex is visualized. Closing the eyes and thinking "me" the eyes turn upwards, towards "Descartes' brain" - the pineal gland or, anyhow, the brain. And the state of conscious perception is apparently shifted to an interior focal point, with regard to whether the thought implies the "I" or the "me". Interesting the direction pointing to by the eyes in the "me" case, since the pineal gland is also the mythical third eye, not less than Lobsang Rampa's source of numerous, yet interesting, paranoiac's tales. But, remarkably, that particular brain's location is extremely important in Buddhist and Taoist yoga and other similar disciplines.
4 – C. E. Eckersley, M. A. and J. M. Eckersley, M. A - A Comprehensive English Grammar for Foreign Students – p. 12 - – Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd. – London – 1966.
5 – William. Davidson. B. A. and Joseph Crosby Alcock and E. M. Alcock, M. A.– English Grammar and Analysis – Allman & Son – London – 1959.
6 – Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary – Deluxe Second Edition – 1983.
7 – H. Ramsey Fowler – The Little, Brown Handbook – p. 160 – Little, Brown and Company – Toronto & Boston – 1983.
8 – Ibid – p. 161.
9 – James Drever - A Dictionary of Psychology – Penguin Reference Books – R5 – Great Britain – 1964.
10 – Quoted in "The Mind's I" - Douglas R. Hosftader and Daniel C. Dewnnet. Middlesex. Penguin Books.1292.
11 – "The brain’s left hemisphere ... dictates behavior that is rational, rule following, verbal and aggressive ... The right hemisphere grooves on colors, music, and intuition, feels no particular loyalty to a ‘normal’ time-space frame, and has a that’s-cool-I-love you attitude toward the world" or "the flat, obsessional, analytic, verbal mode of the left hemisphere ... the labile, emotional, impulsive, visual, intuitive mode of the right hemisphere". OMNI. November 1980. p. 83 & p. 110. Interview - Arnold Mandell.
12 – Arthur Koestler. The Ghost in the Machine. p. 296. London. Pan Books. 1975.
13 – Concerning the soul, the Tibetan practice of Pho-wa, namely the transference of the principle of consciousness or," the yoga of the illusory body", (one of the most jealously guarded secret yogic doctrines of Tibet and India, and in other forms met also in mystical Taoist texts) deserves careful attention. See W. Y. Evans-Wentz's "Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines". Passim.
See also Alexandra David-Neel: "Magic and Mystery in Tibet". Passim.
14 Mircea Eliade. Myths, Dreams and Mysteries. p. 230. The Fontana Library of Theology and Philosophy , 1960.
15 – Ibid. p.115.
16 – Ibid. p.115-116.
17 – Wilder Penfield. The Mystery of the Mind. pp. 7/8. Princeton, NJ. Princeton University Press. 1978.
18 – We must not forget and be aware that these two "realms" are relative to the psyche and soma so as we perceive them in our life through the sensory channels which endow our physical being. A discussion of this topic would just plunge us in deep metaphysics bringing us nowhere.
19 – Those related are real experiences.
20
If you are keen on meditation sessions, forget for a while your kundalini and your astral body and lay down, relaxed, in quiet and dark surroundings; close your eyes, breathe deep and regular and visualize yourself in the place of the shadow, trying to perceive the light beyond the disk. --- Disclaimer: this exercise is not suggested if you have any psychological or psychic problem.
21 – Gina Maranto. Einstein’s Brain. Discover. May 1985 p. 29. - The only data released about the structure of Einstein’s brain is that it had a higher percentage of glial cells than average; the data was obtained by comparing it with the brains of eleven deceased veterans. Also, ".. Einstein’s brain had four times more oligodendroglia - helper cells that speed neural communication - than the brains of 11 gifted people she (Dr. Mariam Diamond) also studied". Sharon Begley. Newsweek. 06.28.93. - But more recently – C.R. – Scientific American, September 1999 p. 20 under the caption "Why Einstein was Einstein": "The June 19 Lancet partially explains why Albert Einstein was Brilliant." Einstein’s brain "was 15 percent wider in both hemispheres, thanks to one centimeter more growth in the inferior parietal lobes – a region implicated in visual interpretations, mathematical thought and imagery of movement. The growth may have compensated for Einstein’s missing parietal operculum – a blend in the cerebrum that normally covers the so-called Sylvian Fissure" - See also ‘KEY BRAIN PLAYERS’ - Scientific American Mind – March/April 2010 – p. 70:“… Marian Diamond, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley … in the 1980s she analyzed preserved pieces of Einstein’s cortex and compared them with the same brain regions of other adults. Einstein’s neurons were indistinguishable from those in other brains. The only thing extraordinary about his brain came as a shock: it was a veritable explosion of nonneuronal cells called glia, which scientists had never associated with intellect. Einstein had twice as many glia as is normal – an observation that suggests that they may have been responsible for his genius.”.
22 – Wilder Penfield, 1970.
23 – American Handbook of Psychiatry; edited by Silvano Arieti. William C. Dement. Psychophysiology of Sleep and Dreams, p. 292. Basic Books, Inc. Publishers. New York/ London, 1966.
However, this may remember us the "I"s and "me"'s reaction, i.e., the rolling of the eyes which I described as a strictly subjective reaction.
24 Aserinsky, E., and N. Kleitman. “Regular Occurring Periods of Eye Motility, and Concomitant Phenomena during Sleep,” Science 18 (1953), 273-274.
25 – On what demonstrable, foolproof basis are we justified to deny but instinctual life to the sub-human kingdom?
26 – I have to trace the source (Baha'i publications) of this phrase for proper reference; nor may it, as here stated, correspond to the exact original quotation.
27 However, General System Theory is somewhat fuzzy: it can by resourcefully applied to our fields of knowledge but it cannot be binding, that is, an inescapable law, as we can find many apparently arbitrary processes which could not evolve in a closed system, even if as complex as our galaxy.
28 – The Bhagavad Gita - 2:16
29 An index of the relation between any two sets of scores that can both be represented on ordered binary dimensions (e.g., male-female).
30 However, an enzyme's invariance can also be duped, non only in the laboratory, but also in nature as it turned out with retroviruses, (any of a group of viruses that contain two single-strand linear RNA molecules per virion and reverse transcriptase (RNA to DNA); the virus transcribes its RNA into a DNA provirus that is then incorporated into the host cell) such as the HIV virus, and cause mutation, namely an event that changes genetic structure; i.e., any alteration in the inherited nucleic acid sequence of the genotype of an organism. .
31 Jalal al-Din Rumi (Jalal Al_din Mohamed Ibn Mohamed - 1207 - 1273). Quoted by A. J. Arberry. Classical Persian Literature. London. George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1958.
32 Frithjof Schuon, "No Activity Without Truth" in The Sword of Gnosis, 36.
33 – Quite likely not the exact words - I cannot trace the source of the quotation.
34 – "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.” Stephen Hawking: God Has No Role in Universe.
35 - Concerning E=mc2: Olinto De Pretto, an Italian scientist, had already published E=mc2 two years before Einstein did. See The Origin of the Equation E=mc2

Belief is for the gullible; faith for the constrained; discrimination for the wise. Wisdom means power. Through power the rings of the chain enslaving the mind’s phantoms are dissolved and both the beginning and the end of the road are discerned.

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