"Essay on Bridging Life and Death"
James H. Bath
Do we live forever?
This paper presumes that the reader knows that all measurements are manmade and based upon comparisons between one thing and another, and that nature makes no such comparisons but simply exists wholly as it is.
Having neither the time nor the inclination to read all the philosophical papers that have dared broach the realm of metaphysics, there is little doubt I will present some ideas here that the reader has been aware of for some time. On the other hand, I have little doubt that some of this material is original and very important, from both a philosophic and a pragmatic point of view. So a reasonable approach is to skim over what is familiar but slow down and consider carefully what seems new.
One of my intentions is to crack the shell of humanness and take a peek at what lies underneath and beyond that façade, at the real us behind our masks, and what benefits this knowledge may have for us.
We try to interpret events from a limited perspective when we approach life from the viewpoint of a single ego occupying one point in space and deluged with one tiny set of narcissistic issues. This leaves a huge part of the infinite raw material of our universe unconsidered. That is, it leaves every other point in space and time unconsidered; and it must be remembered, here, that even when space and points within that space are considered, they are only mental constructs that we create for purposes of forming thoughts and foundations for thought.
As human beings we have shrunk ourselves down to virtual microscopic sizes in relation to the rest of the universe. One reason for this is that we have trained ourselves to think in point values, in tiny, limited quantities, and then committed the huge sin of identifying with that impotent smallness. We have forgotten that we are much more than that. The energy manifesting as our individual lives is vast and immeasurable. It comes from many directions at once – sun, vegetation, atmosphere, gravity, electricity, the angular momentum of the rotation of the Earth, subatomic forces, and much more.
Our energy, which is inseparable from our beingness, is omnidirectional and omni-dimensional. It doesn’t begin with us and then flow outward into the universe. It flows from the universe and through us like water flowing through a complex piping system. It gets transduced into many different forms as it works its way through our complex digestive system and exits in different forms from that which came in. It exits from us not only as feces, sweat, urine, and carbon dioxide, but as labor, speech, and dreams as well.
When we do things to transform the world, we let that energy flow in constructive patterns. Our troubles afflict us when we exert our will in ways that move against this natural flow. We must learn to recognize the natural flows and merge our movements with them. Otherwise, we create friction and this friction creates disharmony in the forms of illness and destructive activities.
All points within a rotating sphere move at different velocities and yet with perfect coordination and harmony with each other and with the sphere as a whole. If a point near the center of the sphere decided it wanted to move as fast as the points near the outer surface, all havoc would break lose. This is because, being closer to the center, the point has less distance to travel to make the same revolution around the axis that the outer points make and so must go slower to stay in step with the outer points. And just so we human beings must move in step and in harmony with all other points in our universe, or all havoc breaks lose as a result of our rebellion against this natural law.
When we allow the world to transform itself, and we are participating in the process, we are actually hitching a ride with the flow of that energy. It’s like running to catch a bus, hopping on, then letting the bus do the moving for us from that point on; we merge with the motion of the bus and thereby relax fully, relative to that motion – and we get to where we’re going without expending personal energy! When we synchronize with the bus or any larger energy system, as any microbe does when it perches on the hub, spoke, or rim of a turning wheel, thereby adopting the energy of that moving wheel, we trade our small, insignificant energy for the greater energy of a vaster system. In our relaxed state – that is, the state of hitching a ride and synchronizing with the energy of the universe itself – we are in harmony with cosmic amounts of energy.
We are receiving and transmitting the universe’s energy all the time, radiating in concert with the complex interplays and vibrations of all that exists. That is, when we are not working against the grain and causing ourselves uncountable episodes of grief, we are spearheading the power of existence itself. A popular leader like Napoleon is not a force that pulls a populous behind them, but an individual who rides the crest of a unified wave of humanity; in other words, he merges with that energy and happens to occupy a position at its head which is viewed as a position of leadership.
Individuals are linked to the world around them as firmly as every grain in a mountain is linked to the whole mountain. If the mountain moves, the grain moves too, because it is an integral part of and holds a perfectly balanced relation to the whole mass. When one part of the mountain moves, every part of the mountain moves.
It’s only a matter of viewpoint to say the grain moves as a result of the mountain moving instead of saying the mountain moves because the grain moves. They both move at the same time and as the same object whose properties are at once “mountain” and “grain.” It’s just that when we focus on the grain we are focusing on a single point within the one object, the mountain; and when we focus on the mountain we are focusing on many points within the object at one time, the grains.
We are dealing here with a dimension described by orders of magnitude of focus as well as of physicality, rather than our usual three-dimensional reality which is described in terms of width, length, and height. We are dealing with volumes and magnitudes that relate to spaces such as those that bridge the tiny and the huge, not the distant and the near (though, in the magnitude sense, these too apply). At one end of this magnitude, we see the grain; at the other end we see the mountain; at one end we see Napoleon, at the other end we see France; yet they are both aspects of the same entity.
The integrity of the grain remains the same in relation to the mountain and to every other grain inside the mountain. It’s not in our power to judge which is the mover when the whole mass moves, even if we entertain the illusion, based on contemporary thought patterns, that the huge and many overpower the small and few. But we can see that movement happens in the mountain and the grain at the same time, and that the mountain and the grain share the same movement energy. In this sense, they, the grain and the mountain, are one thing on a fundamental level; and this connection is no connection at all, but unity.
The magnitude dimension of which I am speaking, and groping for adequate terminology to describe with, can be seen in the similarities between the wave-like pattern of an expanding ant bed, the wave pattern emanating from a drop of water in a pond, the wave pattern of an expanding population of people or bacteria cultures over time, and the wave patterns of light radiating from stars, and sound waves from voices. These fractal-like similarities can be seen in the very small as well as the galactic and beyond. But the pattern is essentially the same thing – wavelike and emanating outward from a center – the sameness persisting through the whole dimension of magnitude, and the primary differences in material substances (ants, water, fire, bacteria, etc.) being superficial to the greater relevance of the “pattern” itself.
The deeper we probe into the microscopic realms of the universe, the vaster the vistas we unveil, new vistas just as vast and numerous in detail and parts as the great star-pierced cosmos exploding over our heads. On this fundamental level, in this magnitude dimension, both starry firmaments and tiny nuclear flashes share the quality of oneness; they are fundamentally the same. Our consciousness can become as absorbed in a tiny spark of flint as it does in a cosmic explosion of stars. And both are as real as the back of our hands.
Humanity as a body of societies and cultures shares this same fundamental unity with each individual person contributing to the whole of that humanity. Our primary essence is as deeply rooted in the person as it is in the larger society. This fundamental essence is where the individual and society unify as one being. This applies not only to a single person’s connection with all of humanity but applies to its reciprocal as well – all of humanity’s connection to that individual. And going even further into this underlying fabric of connectivity, down through the dimension of magnitude, that single person is connected in the same way to all the cells of her body, which in turn are connected to all the molecules and atoms of the cells. Whereas the person can be seen as the sum total of all her cells, a single cell in her body can be seen to possess a reciprocating partnership with the wholeness of her body, which is the unified totality of her cells, just as her human-level self has a reciprocating relationship with all of humanity.
Moreover, we can view this omnidirectional sharing of life as a sharing of consciousness, for at all levels we see some kind of conscious interplay between entities, both laterally (cell to cell, person to person) and vertically (cell to person and person to society).
This primal relationship connecting all our parts may be a bridge between the life and the death of a single human being, for it’s a bridge between the individual and the greater body of humanity, unifying the two; and so when the one dies and the many remain alive perhaps we too remain alive just as we do when only one cell of our bodies die leaving the rest to carry on the process of our being alive. Our deepest sense of self may survive the physical death of the body by virtue of the fact that our self is intricately a part of the whole, and therefore inseparable from the whole. Who’s to say that when I die and hence lose my sense of smell, I won’t continue to smell things through ten other, or a thousand other, people’s noses who are still breathing and moving about in the world?
The object is not to extend any one individual human life but to remember the omnipresence and continuity of the primal human self, which spans the tiny through the huge, in orders of magnitude, and happens to be the most personal and most familiar self we have, quite aside from the temporary components of what we have been conditioned into thinking are our real identities, components such as unfulfilled personal wants, images in the mirror, and the pains and itches of our individual personal bodies.
To bridge life and death we must become less entranced by our individual point presence and more cognizant of our extended self, all of humanity, and at the same time embrace the two consciously enough to see where they are one on that most fundamental dimension of human existence which has its being in the realm of magnitude of consciousness and beingness rather than distances between points in space and in time.
We must see the forest as well as the trees, and know that we are the forest as well as the trees. Not only does this free consciousness to reacquaint itself with its more permanent self, the greater body of humanity, but with the greater body of the universe as well, which includes everything that exists – us, insects, birds, colors, patterns, thoughts, heat, light, dreams, smells, and all the other infinite details of our kaleidoscopic reality, which go quite beyond what human beings have come to believe is the physical universe, but things that our senses, both known and not yet discovered, readily apprehend when we have not limited our perspective to a few familiar patterns and attachments.
There is a vast infinity in a nugget of amber and another in a spark of fire and another in the color yellow or blue. Each of these infinities is every bit as huge as the spaces that cloak our planet and our dreams. It’s just a matter of perspective which we are free to mold for ourselves. But to see these infinities, this special perspective cannot stay anchored in our customary 3-dimensional ideas of space, neither can it stay anchored to only a few items within that space, which results from measurements made from point-origins, with individual humans being the points of origin as well as the measuring apparatuses themselves. The points are conceived for arbitrary moments of convenience but exist as entities of conception only in a boundless universe which spans the so-called physical, the mental, and everything else that has any form of existence what-so-ever, be it illusion, intuition, or so-called hardcore physicality.