Humanity’s best science leads not to facts, but to deeper mysteries.
- Spooking Einstein
- Science is a religion
- The ego, soul, time, and wholeness
- Mystery and dignity
Why do we have to talk about different parts of our selves? I think it’s an interesting conditioning by reductive science. But even before the age of reason and the enlightenment, other non-western, non-European, non-Roman cultures talked about it. But I won’t go into eastern traditions of wisdom like Buddhism here. If it’s interesting to you, explore it.
The mind is mysterious. The psyche is mysterious. The word psyche pertains to the soul. The soul is mysterious. Our consciousness is mysterious.
A human being somehow senses that they transcend a moment in time. At any given moment, there is something which senses outside of the moment. In any given moment, we exist with some sense of other moments which are not that given moment. And that is not just moments of the past.
It isn’t hard to appreciate how everything we are in this moment is some mysterious summation of our past moments. But it’s more than that. It’s also future moments. It’s also potential. Somehow we sense that we will be, or can be, more than we are right now. We might sense that future potential because we look back. We have an inescapable sense of time. But we have also some unspeakable sense that we transcend time. We transcend the past, this moment, and in some mysterious sense, future moments.
There is some sense we have of the current moment, and some sense we have of the past and future moments. Time.
We have this sense of being bound by time, but not *completely* bound by it. None of us has trouble understanding the notion of learning from our past. And learning makes no sense without our construct of time.
Genius physicists like Einstein tell us that time is very “real.” Our consciousness and our senses tell us the same thing, even if more mysteriously than the mathematics around Einstein’s theory of relativity. But one of the many interesting things about that theory is a notion of time-space curvature. The notion of curved time doesn’t come very intuitively to us, perhaps because of our western emphasis on education and being learned.
Yet, maybe we do in fact have an intuitive sense of curved time. Again, we have this sense that we are more than what we are at this given moment. We have a sense of the past, and its impact on us. We have a sense about hopes and optimism and predictions or expectations of the future, and its impact on this current moment of our consciousness.
Not “all of us” is in this moment. Yet we are for sure existing in this moment.
I think this is why we have to talk about parts of ourselves, parts of our psyche, parts of our mind, parts of our consciousness and unconscious and subconscious. At this given moment, we cannot hold in consciousness all of what we have experienced or expect of the future. And yet, in this moment, all of what we have experienced, and all of what we might expect in the future, is affecting us in this moment.
There seem to be parts of us bound in time, but unbounded by time. Or perhaps they are not really parts of us, just conceptual constructions. Whatever this dichotomy is, we sense it. We “know” it. And that is why we talk about faculties which perceive it, faculties bound by it, and faculties which transcend it.
Isn’t it very interesting how we battle against time? Sometimes we are for it, sometimes we are against it. We want “to be better” tomorrow, but we know our bodies are deteriorating and not what they were yesterday. As we wish for better habits or circumstances for ourselves tomorrow, we put them off today. As we boast of our rational faculties and being reasonable, our actions say otherwise. So our reason follows our actions, like an excuse of denial; I will for sure do that tomorrow (since I didn’t do it today).
We battle time. Something within us is not comfortable with its constant passage and inexorable reality. I believe this is why we talk about parts of ourselves, divisions of our psyche, separate faculties of our mind.
We live both inside of time, and outside of time.
Our relationship with time is very mysterious.
We shouldn’t be embarrassed about how incomprehensible this mystery is. Einstein was a genius expert on space and time, Niels Bohr was an expert on matter and atoms and quantum theory, and Stephen Hawking was an expert on black holes and gravity and light. Despite our western obsession with reason and science, none of these genius physicist unraveled the mysteries of the universe. The more they probed them, the more mysterious reality is revealed to be.
Hawking believed that at the conclusion of mortal consciousness is nothingness. Bohr posited that the coming into being of matter at some point in the universe affected that phenom elsewhere in the universe. Einstein called that “spooky action at a distance” – perhaps the most explicit acknowledgment that mystery prevails.
When you are inclined to cling to the notion of scientific facts, remember these examples. Authentically wise scientists readily confess that the best science leads to more questions than settling facts. These are expressions about mystery. The more we pursue mystery, the more glorious mysteries get revealed. THOSE are the answers. THAT is the fact.
Facts are parts of the mysteries. Glimpses of the whole. But always inconclusive. Inconclusive so that they unfold more mystery. Each of us is as mysterious as the universe. Each of us has parts, and yet each of us is whole. Our wholeness is both inside and outside of time.
The ego and the soul are inseparable in this realm. Neither makes sense without the other. They are parts of the human person. They are facts. We “know” this in ways we can never know more deeply.
We talk about having parts of our psyche and mind because the whole is so mysterious. That is how each of us was meant to be, to ourselves, and to one another. To sense our wholeness is not to know our parts. It is to know our mystery.
Neil D. 2021-07-13