Sunday, May 30, 2010
Right now I am reading a terrific new novel by a favourite writer of mine, Ian McEwan. The book is called Solar. He is writing at the height of his powers -- stay tuned for some excellent thoughts on the book.
A while ago I mentioned that I would revisit a passage that piqued my interest.
It's from Barbara Gowdy's book The Romantic. Let me refresh you -- and keep in mind, this is spoken by one of her characters, in an essay he had written:
Life is oblivion erupting, for a brief moment, into non-oblivion in order so that oblivion may proclaim: 'I am.' The assumption being, of course, that living things are aware enough to make such a proclamation. Let us suppose that they are. Let us suppose that they are, to a degree, self-aware. This makes for the possibility of life recognizing itself, yes, but not as oblivion, only as life. In order for life to recognize itself as a fleeting pulse of oblivion, self-awareness must be refined into pure awareness, which is observation unimpaired by either ego or preconceptions.
This passage does nothing to "explain" the state of existence, no.
No passage can!
But, in my humble opinion, it does serve a very important purpose in any discussion of the essence of existence.
For one thing, it highlights the fact that any understanding [if there can be such a thing] of Existence must preclude our own.
Our own what? Our own --> "existence." I mean, as human beings, as homo sapiens.
The universe is not here because we are. We are, because it is!
Maybe it is inaccurate to use the phrase "preclude" our own [existence]. Preclusion connotes impossibility. Let me rephrase and say, "Any objective [rationally justifiable] understanding of Existence must apply, were we ourselves [as sentient beings] existent or not."
Those last two words ["or not"] are infinitely important.
Because let's face it --> at one point in the distant past, we [human beings] were non-existent. To believe otherwise is, well, sort of crazy. So….. there was a point in space-time [pre-human Existence] when we were simply not here to ask questions of why we are now here.
And now -- we ARE here. Hence, we ask the questions of why.
But before the first [human] mind evolved to a place where the question could be asked, an understanding of what the actual answer to the question "is" was already in existence.
There was an Observer before any human being observed.
This entity [notice, not a "being"… but an "entity"] is what Gowdy's character is calling in his essay --> "pure awareness."
I believe he is very much on to something.
This entity exists whether we exist or not.
In my opinion, the failure of religion [those religions that depend upon an external being… the Grandfather In The Sky scenario]… the failure of religion is to anthropomorphize this entity -- this Prior Existence or Prior Awareness -- and assume that the Entity is "like" us.
The Prior Awareness is not "like" us. Nor are we "like" The Prior Awareness.
But, in our inability to grasp the magnitude of our evolutionary fortune -- which can be defined as a "tapping in" to this Prior Awareness -- our stories, with all the limitations inherent in faltering and errant words, have relegated Existence Itself to the level of a "Being".
Existence is not dependent upon us. Nor has it ever been.
We have arrived… evolved, just in time to ask questions of a Program Already In Progress.
But if every single human being on the face of the Earth died right now, literally suffocated and died, Existence, a.k.a. "Pure Awareness" would not change nor diminish. It would continue to be what it was before any human being ever lived.
A world void of human or animal life would continue to EXIST…… and not only so, but would be "observed."
Not by the God of the Bible.
But by the "real" god.
The one which is, and has always been… "Observation Unimpaired By Either Ego Or Preconceptions."