Substantive Enlightenment

by Robert Wolfe on May 3rd, 2010

What is the meaning of enlightenment? The literal meaning of the word enlighten is “to give the light of fact to; reveal truths; to free from ignorance; to make clear the nature of something: illuminate”.

And so we speak of an “enlightened scientist”, such as Galileo. Until only about 400 years ago, it was rational (reasonable) to suppose that the sun revolved around the earth, since it is apparent that the sun “rises” in the east and “sets” in the west. However, when it is clearly understood that the earth is a globe (which became obvious once navigators were able to sail around it), it is evident that the sun never actually “rises” from anywhere; it is, instead, the surfaces of the earth—in the globe's revolution—which rise to meet the illumination of the sun.

Now every rational person is an “enlightened scientist” (science means “to know”) today, because of Galileo; he was “enlightened” (free from ignorance) because he was aware of what the vast majority of people were not yet aware.

By the same token, there are other enlightened scientists (who are actually “investigators”) today. Although the form of light has always appeared to be that of a ray or beam, Einstein's theories predicted that light could be observed in the form of particles (“discrete packets” of energy dubbed quanta). Because Einstein's other theories had generally proven true (he had demonstrated his capacity to “reveal truths”), research scientists set about to determine whether this could possibly be true—however irrational it sounded. And, indeed, Einstein's enlightenment has been transmitted.

Subsequent experiments have even surpassed Einstein's intuition. Experimental physicists have discovered that if you set up an experiment to monitor light in its particulate form, it will appear as particles. But if you set up your experiment to observe light in its radiant form, it will appear as a vibratory wave. Such experiments have been replicated so many times that physicists now accept—and operate on—the fact that light does not only take the form of waves, or just particles, but both, depending upon the circumstances of observation.

Therefore, when we speak about light “waves” or light “particles”, we are speaking about the same thing. Prior to the enlightenment of science on this matter, no rational person would have maintained that a wave and a particle were interchangeably the same thing: merely different names, or description, for the fundamentally same phenomenon.

Another source of illumination for man’s science has been the discovery of a level of radiant heat in the galactic universe which indicates a primeval combustion or “explosion”. It suggests that there is a point to which all matter in the universe can be traced back to its original or common origin (so-called “Big Bang”). Out of the material of the stars, all substances we know on earth today—including our fleshy bodies—were formed. We could as well call every tree “stardust”, refer to every rock as “stardust”, and give every bird the generic name of “stardust”.

If a scientist these days were to make a comment that, “Everything is the same: it's all stardust”, another scientist would acknowledge the basic truth of his statement. But that statement, a hundred years ago, would not have been commonly accepted.

If we were to make a similarly unorthodox statement and say, “The observer is the observed”, this would not appear to be so. Our currently common (due to our training or conditioning) way of appraising this proposition would be to say, “If I am the observer, and I observe a tree, I am not the tree!” But if the proposition were phrased, “The stardust is the stardust”, the deeper meaning of the equation would be clearer; and by examining the content of this paraphrase, one can see that it points to the same conclusion as saying, “There is only stardust; everything is the same.”
If I were to take a wide bowl, full of water, and dip a spoon into it, then ask a science student, “What is this?”, she would logically reply, “A spoonful of liquid.” That would be the label or name for the exhibit—just as “a human being” is the label for what you are. If I were to take another teaspoon, dip out a second portion and hold it alongside the first, its label would be “a different spoonful of liquid”, or, alternately, a “separate spoonful”. I might even switch to a tablespoon and dip out a bigger spoonful. If I were to name the first one “Me”, and the second one “You”, we could call this third one (by way of illustration) “God”.

But what is the underlying common characteristic of all these spoonfuls of liquid? It is water. When these “separate” spoonfuls are released back into their common source of origination, the bowl, what was their condition prior to being labeled? They were all one—and the same—thing: undifferentiated water. In this reservoir, there could be no such distinguishing entities as “observer” and “observed”. If there were any “observing” at all going on within the water, it would have to be one portion of the water observing itself as an associated portion of the water.
Therefore, the full implication of the proposal that “the observer is the observed” is that the observer which is observing “that” is none other than “that” in another (or different) form, observing itself.

The intuitive recognition, or realization, of the fundamental rightness of this cosmic, or universal, relationship (or, more rightly, principle) “frees from ignorance” and “makes clear the nature” of the truth of our actuality. It is “enlightenment”.

However, we might say, enlightenment is as enlightenment does. Although Galileo's illumination changed him in no way except for his newly-aware perception, if he had ignored the importance of his insight, or realization, he would not have expressed himself as an enlightened scientist. If Einstein had said, “These intuitions cannot be true, because they are not entirely logical or indisputably rational”, an unknown German would one day have retired from the patent office.

Although it still appears that the sun revolves around the earth, once you have recognized that this is simply ignorance, you do not persist in referring to the earth as “the center of God's universe”. And once enlightened to the significance of the deep meaning of “the observer is the observed”, you do not revert to the myopic question, “Then why do I seem to be separate from the tree?”

Where there has been penetrating clarity, such a question will not be seriously entertained. Any “me” which has the capacity to wonder about the universe is recognized to be nothing other than an aspect and expression of the universe.

Your consciousness which asserts that it is “conscious” of “consciousness” is nothing more than absolute consciousness in awareness of its very own presence. The stardust which this consciousness identifies as “you”, standing in awe at the stardust of the galaxy, is the ineffable—embracing itself in its varied forms.

Even if we were to simply state that “You are that”, it would merely compound the matter. When you acknowledge that all is that, every sense of division is recognized to be merely misperception.

That which is, is; it has no obligation to follow man's notion of what is rational. To comprehend that the observer is the observed is to witness the disappearance of the “observer”, the “observed”, and the “observing”. That which remains is our own true nature. The “making clear” of our nature is enlightenment—“that which is” in comprehension of itself.

Once this comprehension is present, the false appearances fall away (are seen through) and thus the proposition is self-evident, similar to the way that a mathematical equation is self-proving.




Posted in Living Nonduality, Science and Spirituality, Monograph    Tagged with Enlightenment, Einstein, Scientists, Cosmology


1 Comments

libramoon - May 30th, 2010 at 6:19 PM
Report from over the edge
(falling or flying?)
Actors on this mundane stage
(in prelude to dying)

Revel in our role as mobile mud,
immersive experience.

Dutifully capped in belief
we would spew
pent-up poison
But, taste!
Fortified water vital
with mineral dust.

Awake, world within
moves sanely.
Renewable lake, safe to trust,
pours through this core.
Pain soothed to prophecy:
apocalyptic healing --
cleansing vision
each from within.

May 28, 2010

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