Reality and the Ego. I
Nine-tenths of the ideas which occupy our thoughts, which are the subjects of our conversations, discussions, discourses, public and private, have no existence in Reality.
Political, ethical, and social notions are in this category. They are phantasies, make-believe, comparable with children's games of 'let's pretend'. (Ouspensky found that he could obtain no answer to such questions, when he was in contact with the noumenal plane, and when he sought the reason he found that it was because the questions referred to something that has no existence.)
Dogmas, religious, political, or moral, are ipso facto untrue. Truth itself cannot be expressed in words. Relative truth cannot be conveyed dogmatically. Yet we confound dogma with truth! (See Chap. 13: Reality and Manifestation IV; Reality and the Ego 2)
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The unity, and ultimate identity, of what we distinguish as Spirit and Matter, which is a metaphysical concept and a tenet of Zen, would seem to make it inevitable that what we see as 'matter' may be regarded as that aspect of 'spirit' which our senses are able to perceive. We perceive it as such - a fraction of it a time - and are simple enough to suppose that what we perceive is the only reality.
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We are only aware of that aspect of the universe of which the senses we possess are able to inform us.
An insect with antennae may have only one sense: his awareness of the universe must be restricted relatively to ours. A man born blind is aware of less of the universe than a man with sight. An animal has five senses only: he has a psyche and uses it but, having percepts without concepts, is unlikely to be aware of it. A man has six senses - as oriental psychology has always understood - for he is aware of that aspect of the universe which is his mind. If we had further senses we may suppose that we should become aware of further aspects of the universe. To imagine that the universe is restricted to that of which we are aware is probably as ill-founded in our case as in that of the insect.
In the scale of colour we are only able to distinguish seven degrees, and that which is darkness to us is not darkness to the cat, while that which is darkness to birds is not so to us.
In the scale of smell many animals have a wider range than we have.
In the scales of touch and sound the blind bat has a greater sensibility than ours, as is the case with sundry insects.
Our senses have a more limited range than those of many other creatures, and a wider range than that of some. To that degree the extent of our knowledge of the universe is less, or greater, than theirs. To that degree we have experimental evidence that the universe is less, or more, restricted than the one we know.
'Birth' looks as though it were a materialisation into tridimensionality of energy from dimensions beyond the perceptive capacity of our senses. So regarded, 'birth' becomes an arbitrary point in a process of growth.
When this process reaches a certain stage of development the energising factor appears to be withdrawn, which results in the dissolution of the tridimensional materialisation into the chemical constituents out of which it was constructed. This incident is known as 'death'.
But we are only aware of the tridimensional aspect of this phenomenon, known as 'life', presented to us by our senses serially in Time. The tridimensional segments, which are all we can see of our four-dimensional totality (which is composed of everything the 'living' being has been since 'birth' plus everything he will be until 'death'), should exist simultaneously and compose an 'entity'. Moreover in the further dimension at right-angles each moment of that 'life', being an intersection of Time and of Eternity, eternally exists. There can, therefore, be no end to 'life', every moment of which should exist simultaneously and forever.
If further senses enabled us to become aware of further aspects of the universe we might expect to perceive individuals, of every genus, associated in a manner reminiscent of the leaves of a tree - all 'growing' on one branch, all attached to one trunk, all nourished by the same roots. That, perhaps, is why cats are cats, all and always cats, and why all men have approximately identical perceptions of everything they are able to know of the universe.
All awareness is subjective. Similarity in the perceptions of individuals within a genus may be due to basic identity.
The objective reality of the universe, if such can be supposed to exist, must forever be unknowable to Man as to Microbe.
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It is man's sixth sense, his awareness of his own mind, and that alone, which differentiates him from the animals, and gives him the technical superiority which he claims.
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