…Something is happening to the whole structure of human consciousness; a fresh kind of life is starting. Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world are seeking each other, so that the world may come into being.
(Teilhard de Chardin)
It was just another day. Waking up, becoming aware of myself in a context. A wonderful surround of nature, a crowd of thoughts and feelings circumvallating my personality id, the ailments and discomforts of old age settling in, the other voices with their own processes of waking, perception and needs, the daily interaction with others, the current news on TV, newspapers, phones, tablets; information, and disinformation flowing in a million bytes per second to mind.
Yes, there it was again, life, as seen from this I.
I noticed on my agenda that today I was having lunch at Ciao, a local Italian restaurant, with a good friend who is writing a book on the architecture of the universe. He had sent me a brief synthesis of his ideas, which I had read, and we were going to chat about it over lunch.
The universe - I thought - this essence that manifests in rudimentary invisible pulsations so fine, popping out of nothing, proto energies birthing out of a potential to be, splintered into smithereens, with an inherent impetus to be whole. So, they disperse, collapse, melt into each other, congregate and evolve in complexity and consciousness. In the end, each of us is naught, but an ensemble of this ancient music, now reflecting, seeing, the processes that unfolded our eyes and consciousness, to become aware of it all. We can see the flows that brought us to this vantage point. I thought about this, as I wondered about the architecture of the universe, the topic for lunch with my good friend.
I walked outside to see the sunrise. There is such a beauty in sunrise. It is an undefinable integral experience that transports you to the subtle. For a moment one can embrace an ineffable peace and have a wordless, timeless, spaceless sense of being, a sense of inner love.
There is beauty in each part of the sunrise, I thought afterwards when thought returned after a moment of awe. In the playfulness, of each one of the photons with the atoms layered in the atmosphere, their flowing like gauzy veils, creating distinct frequencies that bounce eventually into our eyes. There, they bounce against special protein receptors, that change their spatial conformation, upon receiving the bright caresses, and in confabulation send codes, via living neural tissue, in waves of ionic exchange to a convoluted brain center, where codes are sung about and interpreted.
Each one of the component parts is a hologram of beauty, a concert of being. I thought as I prepared, now back at home, to drink my morning coffee.
The joy of analysis and the analysis of joy. Joy is always a revelation, like love, not a conclusion. When you look at the processes that make up the things that you sense and catalogue, the points of beauty and function of the surround, and the constituents of what you consider yourself; your thoughts, sensations, and self-definitions, you see that they are vast, unending, like an infinite Babushka doll. You end up with a substance that is not the substance of the substance, but a reflection. A consciousness instant.
I decided to watch the news on TV and then browse the social networks. The world continued mixing its so many different points of view. So many of us - I reflected - are still falling prey to our age-old nature to believe fear-driven assumptions, about everything -about people with different ethnicities, or that the Covid-19 pandemic is a hoax born out of a conspiracy among many countries and individuals. So much anti-science is flourishing, despite this being an era of scientific and technological progress like no other. I found out, for example, that there are many people, called flat-earthers, that believe contrary to all empirical observations, that the Earth is flat. There is also a large percentage of people that do not believe in biological evolution, or do not know about it, and so on. So, humanity is still submerged in a process of deeply contrasting worldviews.
If we all could focus and integrate the facts brought about by science and technology, we could no longer escape the reality of a continuum of life and universe, the interconnectedness of each one with the surround and all others -the oneness that we hear about, in all mystical and spiritual traditions. We truly would be a global human family. Yet this is not the consciousness that prevails. It is emerging but is still being resisted by superstition, fear, religious fundamentalism, bigotry, nationalism. At this moment - I said to myself - as I finished my coffee, civilization is indeed becoming planetary, but our consciousness is tribal, so a lot of stirring is probably needed before a new renaissance.
One singular thing that drew my attention was the politicization of the present virus and its ensuing disease. This is as far as I can see a major movement, much bigger than the flat-earthers. Of course, we never had such a media reach, such an instant and constant contact with everyone - a gossip network that exceeds imagination. And never we had, political leaders participating with so much gusto, in this modern instantaneous rumor cloud, spreading false rumors and alternate facts. People like Trump, Bolsonaro, AMLO, Boris Johnson, etc. When masks, so obviously made to prevent the spread of nasal and buccal fluids where the virus thrives, are construed as political statements, rather than barriers to prevent transmission of disease, something is deeply wrong.
Deniers of a round Earth, of viruses, evolution, vaccines, moon landing, racial equality and climate change, are a modern version of the superstition-prone, that set-in motion witch-hunts and inquisitions, that followed rumors and conspirations to assuage their fears. Yes, we do have a long way to go before planetary civilization dawns.
The morning passed with these thoughts, plus the motions and interactions typical of the day; computer time, upkeeping the cat, coordinating with my wife, reading some news. It was time now for my lunch appointment at Ciao.
It was a beautiful day. I was happy to see my friend Richie, we greeted each other, sat, ordered and I was ready to have my first sip of Chianti when he looked at me and said: “Everything in the universe is comprised of something more elementary. Molecules are comprised of atoms, atoms are comprised of sub-atomic particles, protons are comprised of quarks. String theory speculates that elementary particles are comprised of strings”.
I gulped some more Chianti and looked at him, thought about Galileo talking with a friend in some Italian Trattoria a while ago, looked at the parishioners embarked in small talk, and wondered what would follow.
“Everything is constructed from something more elementary, and this includes space and time – he continued. In my book, I suggest that space-time lies at the fundamental level of the universe’s hierarchical arrangement, and it is the building block of point-particles, that is, space-time would be the substance of matter-energy. Now if space-time is comprised of a substance, what might that substance be? I propose -he added-that the most fundamental aspect of the universe is—existence. Why? Because nothing can exist without existence. I propose that existence is the property to first emerge during the Big Bang; as an individual quantum of existence, or an existence particle.”
I ordered another glass of Chianti. My friend looked at me expecting a reply, we were after all in a conversation over lunch. I blurted out, my lips still wine red, “an existon, I would call that particle an existon.” His deep eyes smiled at me, he liked it.
We talked a bit more about his book, the world, the virus, the phenomenon of man and the phenomenon of Trump, and the surging and struggling of humanity, our usual conversations over lunch at Ciao. And life moved on.
That afternoon, Richie’s theories on the architecture of the universe, brought to my mind my initial stirrings about what life was all about, I remembered how dazzled I was and always have been, about what I am doing here, since I was a child, particularly when confronting the death of loved ones at that early age. Also, how disappointed I became with doctrinaire religious explanations.
Life was always full of magic and mystery, except in the many moments when I succumbed to objective motion, to self-centered plans and I had the illusion that I was in control. When I thought I understood when I forgot the awe and the inner impulse that secretly guided my world, and which occasionally surged within.
That Being that Meher Baba said was attained by loving, that love, that Teilhard de Chardin would say was, “...the affinity of being with being … the general property of all life.” Yes, - I thought - the existon proposed by Richie was the point of departure, the seed of love-consciousness, germinating towards a full bloom, to total manifestation, through the complexification of energy, space, and time, as the energy of conscious-love manifests, as love or existence loves.
I sighed as I looked outside at end of the day, light receded, birds sang farewell songs as Earth finished her spinning dance, and the sky became filled with shining stars and the moon contrasting against the dark sky. That same awesome spectacle that registered in the human mind, since it started to coalesce in the first hominids, that capacity, to become aware of being aware, those first self-consciousness moments of life.
Martin Heidegger said that the fundamental question of metaphysics was: “Why are there essents rather than nothing?” but to me, the question lies beyond this question, the question is why are we aware of these “essents”, because it is our awareness that gives them their essence. Through us, the universe looks and ponders at itself.
I concluded my reflections that evening, rereading some notes exchanged with my friend, about his Architecture of the Universe, “…how can subjective experience arise out of the functioning of matter and energy? …an existence particle that could be considered a quantum of consciousness”. The existon, I thought and smiled.
I looked at the inexplicable continuum of “essents”, outside, felt the sense of me, proprioception of body and awareness of mind, combined in a space-time point, made up of zillions of existons, atoms and molecules in all possible arrangements and configurations, manifesting an entity, floating in a cosmic and infinitesimal multitude of things so vast, that I could not fathom number or substance.
I thought humanity is an emergent function of the universe in different stages of development, this is why there are conflicting worldviews blaring in the news and within my own self all the time.
But whatever it is, I concluded; self-conscious recombination of energy, a spiritual journey, whatever theory or concept, philosophy, or dynamic rosary of “existons”, it is an incredible and marvellous thing. And I feel humbled and privileged, to be alive, sensing sometimes that it is all a manifestation, of a love that lies beyond my capacity to understand, but that on occasion, in timeless unprovoked and spontaneous instants, I lose myself into. And maybe, maybe, remaining there is what it is all about.
an iota of space.
A blinking of an eye,
a flash inside.
Soul unto soul,
birthing a song,
announcing the sun.
an instant sublime.
I would end exhausted, albeit inspired, imagining another incomplete articulation of all the outside and inside that circumscribes and defines me, this universe, this being in it. I resolved again that it was not going to be through a thought process, no matter how elaborate, that I was going to realize what this is all about.
But it was a good day, I sighed, remembering the conversation at Ciao, the existon, and went to sleep.