Thursday, June 29, 2006

Unity Through Synchronicity: The Acausal Universe Rides Again!

I'm getting a little behind on things, so please bear with me if I'm taking a time responding to questions. There's a good question from the Wilber Forum about what exactly is non-dual practice that I want to get into, but it may take the weekend. First, I'm going to respond to a couple of really good comments on my last post on The Acausal Universe. Check them out first if you want the context of my answer.

The first issue to clear up is to define what I refer to as “levels”. My use of the term may be different from Wilber's; I'm not really sure how he defines it. I see it as synonymous with “viewpoint”, or really, fragmented attention. The simplest example is that of the material world. Friend points out that the material world is not separate from the Unity of non-dual reality, and treating it as not causally linked to any other level, as separate and distinct, therefore seems erroneous. But what I am suggesting is that the material world is not a separate world or place or thing, it is a distinctive viewpoint. It is the “material” viewpoint, or the “gross physical” viewpoint. The material world does not actually exist, but only the material viewpoint makes it seem so. And so it is with all viewpoints and worlds.

As beings who somehow seem to be grossly born, we have already assumed this gross physical viewpoint. It's not the only viewpoint we have, but it is a distinctive viewpoint that we can all acknowledge. There are many other possible viewpoints, and we take up those viewpoints one at a time, often in rapid succession, but the problem with conditional birth is exactly that: out of the infinitely possible viewpoints that could be taken, we have taken up a material, physical one as our shared commonality. And while born, we may range through many different viewpoints, not just the gross physical, but we can only take up one at a time, just as we can only take up one body at a time.

When we do science, we are taking up the gross physical viewpoint, and the answers we find in science will be answers from that viewpoint. When we write poetry, we are taking up a different viewpoint, and the answers we get are poetic answers, not scientific ones. This does not make either of them superior to the other, but they address different viewpoints, and can't be mixed, because we can't hold both viewpoints in mind at the same time. Science will not supply you the answers to poetic questions, and poetry will not supply you the answers to scientific questions. Both are important questions, and both viewpoints are valid in their own right, and even complement one another. But people tend to be parochial about their viewpoint, and think one is superior to others, and try to downgrade other viewpoints. Scientists (at least those who are strongly identified with that viewpoint) tend to think that poetry is meaningless because it cannot fulfill our need for concrete answers and solutions to material problems, and poets (who are strongly identified with their own viewpoint) tend to think science is empty because it cannot fulfill our need for artistic meaning and beauty.

Some people can see the value in both viewpoints, and I think Wilber is one of those people. But there's a fallacy that such people are prone to, a synthetic, romantic fallacy, based on their own conviction of nature is a unity (a conviction I sympathize with), but a unity based on the principle of cauality, rather than synchronicity. They think that God or some higher power (an "erotic force", say) is always intervening and causing things to happen, making things work out for us, making evolution follow certain favorable lines of growth, etc. Or they think that angels and higher beings of a metaphysical nature are working to cause things to happen in this world. Or even that devils and demons are creating havoc among us. They thinks that these two differing worlds or viewpoints must be inclusive of one another, that the “higher” viewpoint must direct the lower, and thus the lower must somehow be subject to the laws of the higher.

When Wilber speak of an “eros drive” that is at the core of the evolutionary process, he is speaking in poetic language of a poetical, metaphysical intuition. This is fine and good. In the poetic sense, and even in the higher sense of metaphysics itself, this is a valid principle, one that I can find sympathy with. I don't doubt that the nature of the universe is "Shiva-Shakti" a Unity of male and female cosmic forces, of consciousness and energy. The problem comes when Wilber tries to crossover with this poetical, metaphysical principle into the viewpoint of science, and insist that this “erotic drive” actually somehow must intervene in physical, biological processes that govern mutation and evolution in the material world, actually causing mutations, in a manner that may be more sophisticated than creationists, but not of a different order. When he does so, he is trying to mix two entirely distinct viewpoints, and the result is not meaningful to either. As I say, try as they may, scientists are never going to find an “erotic force” behind evolution, the way there are gross physical forces of DNA mutations and so on that produce evolutionary changes. Why? Because science sees the world from the viewpoint of gross material objects and forces, and within that viewpoint there simply is no “erotic force”, at least not as Wilber speaks of it. The erotic force of attraction exists in the poetic, metaphysical sphere. In the gross world, that force is simply a symbol, a metaphor, a literary allusion, not a scientific principle. But as metaphor, it has correspondences nonetheless, if one knows where to look.

So there can't be a causal link between these two worlds, not because they are truly separate from one another, but because attention and viewpoint makes them so. Unity is not the senior principle of manifest nature, separation is. Why do I say this? Because viewpoint and attention are separated and separative in conditional nature, and they create the illusion of separate beings and separate worlds. You are right that there is no material world in the true, non-dual universe. But there is also no erotic force in the non-dual universe. How could there be? An erotic force would require separation to exist, that some force would seek to bring it together through attraction. Both the material world and Wilber's erotic force are the result of a shattering of attention, a shattering of viewpoint, from a Single and Ultimate Unity, to all these infinitely modified realms of attention and energy. The material world is one such dimension. The poetic metaphysics of Wilber's erotic force is another.

An infinite number of worlds, dimensions, and levels exist, because an infinite number of viewpoints exist. For the sake of simplicity, however, we like to talk about major categories of viewpoint. But the problem with this shattering of viewpoints, as I said earlier, is that we can only “see” the universe from one of them at a time. We can conceptualize them and create systems which include multiple perspectives, but when we do so, even then we are only looking at the universe from one perspective, a conceptual overview perspective. Our inclusiveness is purely on a conceptual level, we are not actually seeing the world from multiple perspective simultaneously. What rules is not inclusiveness then, but the partialness of viewpoint itself. When we say that we are “developed” in higher levels, it means that we are able to move from viewpoint to viewpoint with greater ease, that we have many viewpoints in our repertoire. But it's like having a huge library of books. We can still only read one of them at a time. We can only think one thought at a time too. It's the same problem we have of only being able to be one body at a time, out of all the billions on the planet. Welcome to conditional reality.

It also needs to be said that viewpoint creates the world it views. Viewpoint is a way of splitting the unity beyond attention into fragments, taking the Whole and making it Many, and then focusing in on just one of those pieces. That focusing of attention creates a whole world. It's the viewpoint that is the fragment, and it creates the objects seen in accord with its own qualities. The physical world is the product of just this kind of fragmented viewing of Reality. Our poetic world is likewise a creation of attention focusing in on that fragment, and makes a world out of it. We exist in only One World, but attention makes fragments of it, and we only know one fragment at a time, one thought at a time, one experience at a time, one body at a time, one partial world at a time. Each of these could be said to be a level, a mini-level perhaps. The physical world is not actually a single thing, a single level, a single body, but a collection of fragments, each of them a separate viewpoint we lump together because of a certain commonality. So we call the “physical world” a level because of that basic commonality, but it isn't really a thing sitting out there, but a viewpoint that creates a world based on the qualities of that viewpoint.

So viewpoints and levels are not causally linked to one another. One didn't create the others. Attention did. If there is a hierarchy to attention, it isn't a causal one, it's a synchronous one. Synchronicity is the product of this fragmentation of viewpoints into a multiplicity of simultaneously existing “worlds”. All worlds exist simultaneously as viewpoints of attention, not as truly separate levels or worlds. But viewpoint makes them not only seem so, but to function in that manner. They are not casually linked to one another, because they do not arise from one another. They arise from the Source, the Unity. So their linkage to one another is through synchronicity, through a sharing of pattern, of recognizable complementary form.

An example: Wilber's erotic force may not exist in the physical universe, but fundamental forces of attraction do exist: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, etc. These are not the “erotic force” Wilber speaks of, but they share a similar pattern, that of attraction that brings elements together and ends up producing life, bodies, children, even physical sex. So when I say that in the physical universe we don't need to postulate an “erotic force” to account for evolution, it's because the physical forces that correspond to this “erotic force” already exist, and are able to produce “children” by their own innate capability. Wilber's search for some “other” force that can turn raw dirt into a poetry-writing machine fails to take into account that dirt and its constituent forces is already alive with all the erotic force it needs to do just that.

But Wilber's famous question, “How does dirt get up and write poetry” is a false question based in ignorance. Dirt doesn't ever write poetry. It can't. When we write poetry, we are not operating in the physical world. We are operating in a poetic world. We have entered into another realm of existence. That our bodies seem to physically “write poetry” is akin to the famous metaphor about an infinite number of monkeys writing on infinite typewriters producing all the works of Shakespeare. That metaphor is an excellent one, because it represents us, as physical monkey bodies, randomly producing poetry. The joke is that as bodies, we can't product poetry. Only by entering the world of poetry can we produce poetry. And our bodies only go along for the ride, working in synchronicity with our work in other realms. The fact is, if you break it down mechanically, you can't really figure out how we write anything at all. There is no “order” that my writing mind is giving to my physical body to type these words out. They just appear simultaneously. Speech is similar. Almost everything we do happens like this, as a synchronous event rather than as us trying to command multiple realms and levels to work together in some “inclusive” viewpoint.

When I was growing up I wanted to be nuclear physicist studying the great theories of the universe. I was fascinated by Einstein and the whole GUI debate. I didn't end up going down that line, but if I were to give any suggestions to anyone trying to develop the next great idea in physics, the next leap after Einstein, it would be to develop a theory of synchronicity and patterning that could be inclusive of Einstein just as he was inclusive of Newton, worked out to the same degree of mathematical elegance as the theory of relativity. It occurs to me that one might in the end find a way to eliminate the whole notion of causality altogether, even within the physical universe, and explain all seeming causation as just a special case of synchronicity.

So anyway, what I am saying is that from the point of view of attention, these levels and distinctions do exist, and they have to be respected. You cannot impose poetry on science and vice-versa. No, ultimately they don't exist at all, but then why talk about them? We talk about them because we are creatures of attention who live in fragmented viewpoints we switch between, and we can't understand how they realte to one another. We can't have it both ways. We can't talk about them as creatures of attention and then claim that the levels don't really exist, and so we can presume causation crosses all viewpoints. That's simply not possible. The conditional cosmos is the result of fragmented attention, and thus all that fragmented attention creates worlds, levels, views, all of which are distinct, and between which there is no connection except synchronicity. Within any viewpoint things function through causation, or at least they seem to, because they are all held together by a single viewpoint of attention, but not between viewpoints. My writing mind is not causing my physical body to write these words. It just coincides. My deeper mind coincides with my physical brain, it does not cause the brain to think its thoughts. Analyze my brain as deeply as you can, you will never find some “hole” through which my higher mind sneaks in and tells my brain what thoughts to think. They arise simultaneously.

The point here is that if you are looking for a principle that defines “unity” between levels, synchronicity is that principle, not causation. If you understood this, you would be rejoicing, because synchronicity is much easier to observe and understand than causation. Finding a causal relation between levels is virtually impossible. It requires ridiculous leaps of faith and imagination, as creationists are finding. But noticing synchronicity of pattern between levels is easy as pie, once you know what to look for. So what I'm saying is not bad news that the universe is some kind of materialistic reduction program, that physical evolution proceeds without any other factors involved. It's just that all those other factors arise simultaneously, not causally. We are linked together not by causes, but by simultaneous arising. And thus we don't have to waste time looking for mystical causes for physical events. It doesn't mean there is no mystical dimension that is related to the physical, it only means that it is related by synchronous patterning, not by causal reaction and “guidance” from above. The study of the interrelationship of levels and types and patterns isn't a study of causes, by a study of simultaneous correspondences. It is this simultaneous correspondence that is the true sign of unity. Don't miss it!

One more thing: when I mentioned that the Self doesn't appear in the conditional realms, but functions purely as Witness, I didn't mean that the Self is identified with the Witness as a separative point of view. The Witness is not fragmented attention anyway, it is beyond that. It's only that for us, there is no way to relate to the Self in any other practical way, because we are fixated in points of view. When we conceive of the "point of view" of the Self or God, we can't help but think of a point of view like our own, but more inclusive, or bigger, some position from which we could act and make things right. But that's an inaccurate way of thinking about God or the Self. The closest we can come is seeing Self as the Witness, as motionless being, Witnessing all states, all points of view, all worlds, but identifed with none of them. To live as the Witness, and not to try to cause action, but to allow all action to aise spontaneously, synchronistically, is the enightened way of life. Remember, action and causation are karma. The viewpoint which sees action and causation dominant is the karmic viewpoint. Freedom from karma means freedom from that viewpoint, which means mere witnessing spontaneous simultaneous synchronicity of action, just like letting the words come through without "ordering" them.

Okay, I planned to write so much more on other aspects of the comments from below, but will have to wait a little. Thanks so much for your comments. Don't imagine I find them bothersome or irritating. People who disagree with me often provide the best stimulus to working these ideas out. So thanks to all of you who bother to poke their heads in here.

10 comments:

friend said...

Thanks for that reply. It's interesting how we all use certain words differently, referring especially to your use of the word viewpoint, but also others. In some ways I think we are actually saying the same thing to each other but misunderstanding or mis-hearing each other's use of words, by which I don't think I mean just semantics, at least not in the ordinary sense I usually think of as semantics. It's almost a cultural difference and we have to acculturate ourselves to understand each others use of language and thought. My immediate reaction is that there is still an error in your thinking (especially with egard to your idea that "Unity is not the senior principle of manifest nature" which emphasis I see as your particular bias.) but rather than trying to get into that more extensively right now, I'll just say that I believe you have actually said the same thing as myself, as well as what I think Ken is basically getting at, in this one sentence, "The conditional cosmos is the result of fragmented attention, and thus all that fragmented attention creates worlds, levels, views, all of which are distinct, and between which there is no connection except synchronicity." indicating that awareness or attention is a prior reality in relation to its fragmention and even its sychronous 'result', the worlds or viewpoints that are created. That attention is senior to its own fragmentation.

Also when I suggest that materiality is the substance of consciousness, I see that I am basically saying the same thing as you are with your sense of synchronicity, and yes, this synchonicity is their unity rather than their fragmetnation. So, I think we are largely saying much the same thing there, although we are saying it in different ways. But even that is useful as a refreshment of mind. Certainly you have some interesting distinctions that are not entirely foriegn but which I don't frequently use and will have to allow far more time to mesh with my normal use of such ideas. In any case, I'll have to drop this for the most part right now since I simply can't keep up with your remarkably prodigious output. Lots of fun though. Thanks for your responses. All the best.

Broken Yogi said...

Yes, I think we do use different wrods to say similar things. But it may also be that our way of looking at things is slightly different, which is only to be expected.

An example is when you object to my saying "Unity is not the senior principle of manifest nature", and go on to say,"attention is prior to its own fragmentation". What I would say instead is that attention is that fragmentation. I stress that unity is not the principle of manifest nature because manifest nature is the product of attention. It is itself a fragmentation of consciousness. When we speak of levels, stages, parts and pieces, we are speaking of a fragmented mind and a fragmented world, not a unified one. Synchronicity is not unity, just a way of describing the connection between these fragments. Synchronicity is not satisfying, you know. Yes, you could say it'a a kind of echo of prior unity, but that's the problem, it's simply an echo, not unity itself. In unity there are no fragments, no levels, no stages, no parts and pieces. It's only the effort to unify these things that beings about some notion of interconnectivity. WHen I speak of synchronicity, I'm not really talking about a cosmos governed by unity, but a cosmos governed by disunity, separation, distance. I'm simply pointing out that the causal connection simply doesn't apply to the connections between viewpoints, but only within viewpoints.

I understand why Wilber likes causation. It seems more direct that syncrhonicity. Its the same impulse that makes people want to believe in a creator God. If God caused this world to come into being, we are okay somehow. But if the world has simply fragmented, if our disunity is not ordained and holy and if there is no way back to that unity in time and space and effort, it makes everything so hopeless and beyond our capacity to understand or move beyond. Synchronicity makes our heads spin because it has rather dismal implications for our actions in this world. It makes a mockery of our efforts, even Wilber's great efforts to integrate and make unity the principle of manifest life. It isn't. It's just a goal we envision in the midst our our disunity.

And yet, unity is of course reality. Which means what exactly about manifest reality? It means it isn't real. What a party pooper of a message that is for us all. No wonder Wilber simply won't go down that road. The simple truth is, there's no way to base a system of unity on levels, stages, development, types, etc. It's a bit of hubris, or tragic naivete. There's simply no unity down that road, nor is unity the basis for that road. Disunity is the only basis for it, and disunity is what we get along the way and at the end. This is not a message people want to hear. That doesn't make it untrue, however.

friend said...

Hi BY,
I wonder from your last reply if you are hearing yourself? Let me quote you. "The point here is that if you are looking for a principle that defines “unity” between levels, synchronicity is that principle, not causation. If you understood this, you would be rejoicing, because synchronicity is much easier to observe and understand than causation. Finding a causal relation between levels is virtually impossible. It requires ridiculous leaps of faith and imagination, as creationists are finding. But noticing synchronicity of pattern between levels is easy as pie, once you know what to look for. So what I'm saying is not bad news that the universe is some kind of materialistic reduction program, that physical evolution proceeds without any other factors involved. It's just that all those other factors arise simultaneously, not causally. We are linked together not by causes, but by simultaneous arising. And thus we don't have to waste time looking for mystical causes for physical events. It doesn't mean there is no mystical dimension that is related to the physical, it only means that it is related by synchronous patterning, not by causal reaction and “guidance” from above. The study of the interrelationship of levels and types and patterns isn't a study of causes, by a study of simultaneous correspondences. It is this simultaneous correspondence that is the true sign of unity. Don't miss it!"

Doesn't that contradict what you have just claimed was your position in your latest reply regarding sychronicity and unity?

In addition, I'd say this last reply suggests an even more fixed position with specific regard to your bias on unity/fragmentation which, it seems to me, you are unwilling to question but merely argue in favour of. It's not that I don't understand what you are saying (I'm pretty sure) or that I don't see the value of it, but it's not "the way it is" as it seems to me you are suggesting so firmly. From my point of view, your insistence on the separation of reality and the physical world or the fragmentation of attention is just your particular prejudice at the moment, which of course one is entirely entitled to.

The message that "the world is not real" is not something that people don't want to hear at all. In fact, from my own experience I can say that that insight, if I can call it that, was exactly the understanding that initiated my whole disatisfaction with the scientific/atheistic view of things and my whole search for a resolution in the first place and I am sure I was hardly alone in that. But, as even franklin famously points out, reality is still not absent, despite all the fragmentation and multiplicity. The denial of that is where I see your fixedness.

Our usual confusion is just a matter of what we are identifying as reality and what we are identifying this obvious reality with. Once we realize the relatively simple fact that reality is not limited, defined or identified solely by what is fragmented and changeable then one is free to exist in the multiplicity or fragmentation of the physical world, and of attention, in full cognizance of, and relative comfort with both reality itself as well as the unity of the physical world and the unity of reality altogether.

As I said in the beginning of this conversation, I'm hardly defending Ken with all his levels etc. so I don't want to get all that confused with what I am saying. I was simply arguing for the one point regarding the seniority of consciousness over materiality (and it's necessary frole in and influence on the physical world), or depending on one's use of words, the seniority of the witness over attention and its fragmentation, or the seniority of what is real over what is relative, or the seniority of unity over multiplicity.

But that shouldn't lead us to, what is in my view, the mistaken conclusion that the presence of one denies the other, as it seems to me you suggest and what I keep hearing as your fixed bias. Manifest reality and reality itself are not mutually exclusive as you seem, to me, to be convinced of. The physical world and reality can and do exist together, and they do so without problem as long as we don't confuse them by identifying one exclusively with the other. At least that's the way it seems to me.

Broken Yogi said...

Friend,

Hi BY,

“Doesn't that contradict what you have just claimed was your position in your latest reply regarding synchronicity and unity?”

I can see how it might seem so. Let me explain the nuances. When I say that seeing synchronicity rather than causality is good new because it implies unity between levels, or at the source of levels, I didn't mean to imply that syncrhonicity was the same as unity, or that unity exists as some force within and between existent levels. It's just that if one is coming from the separative position, and sees and experiences the bewildering chaos, arbitrariness, and separation of life and all its levels and worlds, syncrhonicity is a good sign, a sign that implies unity somewhere, somehow. You know what it's like when some kind of bizarre or unlikely syncrhonicty appears in your life? It tends to lighten you up, fill you with wonder and mystery. Scientists who look at everything from a causal point of view will scoff and explain probability theory to you, but syncrhonicity isn't a contradiction to probabilities, it's simply a sign of the interconnectedness of things which is not causal in nature. So that's the good side of synchronicity. The bad side is that synchronicity is still a symptom of separation. Sure, it's the way things really are interconnected between levels, but it is not a sign that levels are themselves unified in some way. It is merely an “echo” of unity, of a unity long gone from this universe.

If you recall the myth of Narcissus, “Echo” is Narcissus' lover, who he ignores after falling in love with his own image. She fades away from neglect, and finally dies, until all that remains of her is the echo of her voice. And that is how it is with our original unity. We have become obsessed with our own image in manifestation, and our original unity has died, so we are left with only the echoes of it. Syncrhonicity is one of those echoes. It's an invisible reflection of something we have neglected and forgotten. So it's good news when we begin to hear the echo. But hearing the echo leads us to see what we have done, and that is not pleasant news. Finding out that we have neglected to the point of death our true love and unity is very hard news to face up to. So syncrhonicity has this negative message also. Of course, that negative message is also a good thing, in that if we face up to it, we can rediscover the unity we have neglected and lost. We can “follow the echoes” back to the source, which in many respects is what self-enquiry really is.

So synchronicity is one of those echoes pointing back to the source, but in the world of echoes, which is what conditionality is, it also directly points to the nature of our conditional existence as separation and fragmentation, which we have to face up to if we want to rediscover our original unity. The point being that synchronicity is not consoling. People tend to take it that way, and get stuck in the feeling of unity that comes with synchrononous recognitions, and mistakes those signs of unity for unity itself, skipping over the negative implications of synchronicity in order to stay positive about conditional existence. People even go around looking for those magical signs of connectivity, little synchronous moments they think “mean” something. It's no wonder that Wilber and so many other sensible people hate astrology and anything smacking of synchronicity. So the point is that syncrhonicity is both a positive sign that unity is the nature of reality, but also that fragmentation and separation is the nature of conditionality.

The problem comes in when people think that non-dualism means that non-separation is the nature of conditionality. It isn't. Conditionality is an illusion. There is no conditional world. What we see and experience as conditionality isn't even there, isn't even happening. The structure of conditionality is based on separation and illusion, and synchronicity is one of the mechanisms of that separation and illusion. It's dualistic, in other words, because it requires separate objects and levels to exist and be synchronous with one another. It points to unity, because that's its source.

“From my point of view, your insistence on the separation of reality and the physical world or the fragmentation of attention is just your particular prejudice at the moment, which of course one is entirely entitled to.”

You're not getting my point, even if you think you are. The world as we experience it IS separate, no question about it. You're telling me you don't feel separate from the world, from others, from your own body, on and one? You're telling me everyone and everything doesn't feel that way, look that way, actually seem by all accounts separate and individuated? People get the idea that non-dualism means that it's just that feeling of separation that's unreal, that we can feel and be “connected” to everything in a non-separate manner. And that's true, we can, at least to some degree. But even the feeling of being connected is a sign of separation. You only connect things that are separate. Going beyond separation means going beyond all things, all conditionality, not just the physical universe, but any object or feeling. And what does “going beyond” mean? Somehow the idea is that conditional things actually exist, and going beyond them either means going beyond their illusory separateness, or going beyond them in an “unbalanced” exclusionary way, which Wilber decries. But what it really means is seeing that there are no things at all, that there is no conditional world, there is only unconditional reality, not just a world of things that are connected, but no world at all, just One without a second. Everything else is just “sentimentality” so to speak.

“The message that "the world is not real" is not something that people don't want to hear at all. In fact, from my own experience I can say that that insight, if I can call it that, was exactly the understanding that initiated my whole disatisfaction with the scientific/atheistic view of things and my whole search for a resolution in the first place and I am sure I was hardly alone in that.”

Well, I didn't mean everyone. It's good that you find it attractive. But people in general like to think there is something real about all this world of ours.

“But, as even franklin famously points out, reality is still not absent, despite all the fragmentation and multiplicity. The denial of that is where I see your fixedness.”

Of course reality is not absent from the conditional worlds. It's the only “thing” that is actually present. But reality is not a quality of the conditional worlds either, one of its attributes. Reality is not found in or as any conditional thing. It's not even the “basis” of conditionality. There is no basis to conditionality. That's what makes it possible to transcend.

“Our usual confusion is just a matter of what we are identifying as reality and what we are identifying this obvious reality with. Once we realize the relatively simple fact that reality is not limited, defined or identified solely by what is fragmented and changeable then one is free to exist in the multiplicity or fragmentation of the physical world, and of attention, in full cognizance of, and relative comfort with both reality itself as well as the unity of the physical world and the unity of reality altogether.”

We are already living in multiplicity and fragmentation, and nothing about that is “free”. When you use the word “solely”, it implies that reality is, indeed, in some sense defined or identified by conditionality. My point is that reality isn't in any way defined or identified with conditionality. True, for us this seems only partly true, as we begin to get a sense for reality, for our uncondiitonal nature. But one of the mistakes we make in that process is to somehow try to see the two as actually being “one” with one another, that illusion is somehow “at one” with reality, that the two bleed together. This only works for a while, and then even that breaks down. One begins to realize there is no coexistence between the two, there is no compromise, there is no two even. There is a choice between reality and illusion, and that is of course a fairly easy choice if understood that way. It's not an easy choice if one is presented with a half-real, half-unreal world that seems to have both “qualities”. The temptation is to try to see this world as a unity, and to look for signs of unity in it. Synchronicity is one of those signs. It's not a false sign, but it's a sign that points beyond the world, not to the world as somehow a unified manifestation. There is no unity in it. Even synchronicity is not “in” it.

“I was simply arguing for the one point regarding the seniority of consciousness over materiality (and it's necessary frole in and influence on the physical world), or depending on one's use of words, the seniority of the witness over attention and its fragmentation, or the seniority of what is real over what is relative, or the seniority of unity over multiplicity.”

I understand the argument of “seniority”, but I have to disagree with it, because it makes unity a dualistic quality, rather than simply the nature of reality. It's not that consciousness is senior to matter, unless you mean conditional consciousness. Conditional consciousness and matter simply co-exist, there is no superiority or seniority involved. Conditional consicousness doesn't tell matter what to be or do. Try telling a table to be a walrus. Doesn't happen. We think we manipulate the world around us, but we don't. Only the body does. We are simply the witness to all of that, even though we think othewise. This is part of the illusion we have to transcend. Transcendental consciousness isn't “senior” to matter either, it's simply the nature of reality. Not the nature of matter, but reality itself, in which there is no matter. Matter only appears in illusory worlds. The nature of mater, or of any conditional thing, is unknowable, because it is illusory. If you really inspect matter, or anything else, what you find is not that it is “consciousness”, but that it is an illusion. Now you could say that the witness is senior to attention, because both are simply conditional parts and levels, but you are really talking about one illusion being senior to another, which is perfectly all right within the framework of conditionality, but it bears no relationship to reality itself. Even the witness is not reality. And unity is not senior to multiplicity. Within the conditional world, there is no unity, only multiplicity. So in the conditional worlds, multiplicity is senior to unity And if you look honestly at the conditional worlds, multiplicity certainly dose rule. It trumps unity at every step of the way. In reality, unity doesn't trump multiplicity, because there is none. There is only unity.

“But that shouldn't lead us to, what is in my view, the mistaken conclusion that the presence of one denies the other, as it seems to me you suggest and what I keep hearing as your fixed bias.”

I think experience proves me right. The presence of multiplicity does indeed deny unity. Unity does not deny multiplicity, except from the point of view of multiplicity. In reality, there simply isn't any multiplicity. What needs to occur within multiplicity is an awakening to these two truths: 1) that multiplicity is an illusion, and 2) that unity is the only reality. TO some extent this does require a denial. One has to just say no to the drug of conditionality. One has to go cold turkey at some point. Trying to have both doesn't work.

“Manifest reality and reality itself are not mutually exclusive as you seem, to me, to be convinced of. The physical world and reality can and do exist together, and they do so without problem as long as we don't confuse them by identifying one exclusively with the other. At least that's the way it seems to me.”

Exactly. That's the way it seems to all of us. And that's the illusion. “Manifest reality” is an oxymoron, if by manifestation one means the appearance of levels, objects, things, etc. Reality does not manifest as any of that. Only the mind creates such things. “Manifest reality” is what appears when exclusion becomes the principle of consciousness, so the question only arises once exclusion has already occurred. Reality does not exclude manifestation, because it doesn't see any manifestation to exclude. Seeing the rope doesn't exclude the snake, because there is no snake. But seeing the snake does exclude the rope. Pretending that one can have both rope and snake in some kind of unity is sheer craziness, a sign of holding onto the snake image even when one has begun to see that there's really a rope there. Maybe for a while that seems sensible, that there's a hybrid creature that's part snake, part rope, but eventually you have to realize that there is no snake there, only a rope. There's no need to balance the snake with the rope and not go to extremes. The extreme view in this case is the true view. And the same is true about non-dualism altogether. It's hard to accept, and believe me, it's hard for me too, but I'm beginning to see the sense to it.

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