Spiritual Essays #3

Truths of Existence – The First Universal Law

All knowing is a Rediscovery

The First Law: All knowing is a kind of discovery. It is becoming aware of what is already present in the universe. Our knowing does not create it.

This is the truth. The universe is a store house of information. We can only know, grasp or sense or conceive what already exists in it. In knowing, we simply become aware of what is already present, which may happen through effort or by chance. All knowing is a kind of discovery of the knowledge which is already inherent in the universe either as a reality or a possibility or an idea, which may be known, unknown or yet to be known.

It is the same as in a journey where you may not yet know the destination, and you may not have yet reached it, but it has always been there whether you reach there or not. Perhaps, much of that knowledge will never be known to human beings as our minds are not made to grasp the immensity of the universe or its true dimensions. Unless we invent a superhuman mechanism to discern the knowledge contained in the universe, it will forever remain a mystery to us.

One of the questions that concerned me was this. Does knowledge arise from knowing or does knowing arise from knowledge? Most importantly, which one comes first? In the context of our minds and our lives, unless you go to the origin of your own life, it is very difficult to answer this question. For example, when did you start learning? Where, and exactly how, you got the knowledge which helped you survive in your mother’s womb?

Is some knowledge preprogrammed in you, which does not require any effort to know but is already integrated into your memory and awareness such as how to stay alive in the womb, not to breathe, keep moving your hands and limbs to facilitate growth or blood flow, or using your senses or breathe for the first time when you come out of your mother’s womb? Were you listening to the sounds that were coming from your mother’s body and from the world outside?

As you examine these issues, it becomes evident that a lot of knowledge is inherent in our minds and in the objects and beings of our existence. From that, it follows that knowledge must be inherent in the universe in various forms, and all that we can ever do is to find it or discover it in various ways to improve our lives or our chances of survival and happiness. An inanimate object may not be aware of the knowledge which is hidden in its form and structure, but it made up of that knowledge only

The Upanishads affirm this. They distinguish between manas (lower mind) and buddhi (intelligence or higher mind). The lower mind (manas) is the memorial and instinctual mind. It is a receptacle of information. It receives information from outside, but does not create anything new. (Hence, the rationale that we should not take credit for our knowledge but acknowledge God as the source of all). The higher mind is the thinking or the rational mind. It makes sense of the world by processing the memories and perceptions according to the algorithm built into it. Imagination is a part of it.

The Yogasutras point to the same. They suggest that the mind is a mirroring mechanism. The purer and quieter the mind, with the predominance of sattva, the greater will be its ability to mirror the truths of the universe. Our knowledge may arise from mirroring the information contained in the books or from others or by attuning our minds to the knowledge which is hidden in the universe. The knowledge of the srutis (the heard ones) arises from that only. So are the numerous inventions, which scientists stumble upon.

Perhaps a million lifetimes will not be sufficient to unearth even a fraction of the knowledge which the universe holds in its myriad formations, from the tiniest quantum particle to the largest nebulae. The universe is a vast information system, which contains countless other information systems, and which in turn contain innumerable others. No one can ever catalog all the systems or all the data, which the universe holds in its objects, and which goes into its structure and functions.

The universe is packed with information, or what we know in computer science as data. This data, the extent of which is enormous and unimaginable, is embedded in every aspect, formation and mechanism of the universe. It manifests objectively as forms, structures, patterns, words, sounds, energies, forces, laws, configurations, consciousness, intelligence, mathematical formulas, numbers, processes, systems, reactions, movements, atoms, quantum particles, events, phenomena, and so on. Whatever that you can perceive or conceive is filled with enormous amounts of information, some of which is useful, some not so useful, and some whose relevance we may yet to know.

Whatever that is here is knowledge in its numerous manifestations. Intelligence is the means by which it is known. It is never lost, nor it can ever be destroyed. As physicists are coming to realize that even when a whole galaxy or a star system turns into a black hole, all the matter becomes crushed into a soup of particles, but the information that formed the basis of it before its collapse survives and exists in the event horizon as a copy.

The thing may disappear into another form or state, but the information associated with that thing survives even the worst of destruction. We do not know whether that information becomes the basis for the new objects and systems that eventually emerge out of it in some other time and space, dimension or reality. The indestructibility of knowledge makes possible the idea of time travel or the idea that we can recreate past and future events by travelling back and forth in time.

How that knowledge arises or comes into existence we do not know. Perhaps it is eternal in the sense that it has always been and will always be there, even when the universe ceases to exist in a state of latency. Perhaps it is what it means when the Upanishads say, “Prajnanam Brahma”, which means Brahman (the universal Self) is pure intelligence. Existence is an aggregate of numerous knowledge systems. They can be known only through intelligence. The higher our intelligence, the greater the knowledge and awareness we possess.

For example, the idea of one plus one equals to two (1+1=2) can never be lost either functionally or conceptually. It will remain forever even if this universe comes to an end and whether the earth exists or not. It has always been a universal truth, whether we know it or not. The sum of the two numbers is always two in our universe. In some other universe it may be something else, depending upon how it is structured or what knowledge exist in it or what number systems will be used in computation. There, it may be 2 or 2.2 or 3 or 10, but in our world, it is always the same. Each universe is a sum of possibilities according to the information which is built into it.

As far as our universe is concerned it appears that whatever exists, shall always exist as an idea even if it is lost. Whatever is possible or probable, and whatever that is known, unknown and yet to be known is already inherent in the universe either actively or latently, and in some form or the other, as a reality, possibility or idea. All knowing is but an unraveling of the mysteries of the universe. We can know nothing, unless it is already present, nor can we create anything which does not exist in the universe as an object, idea, reality or possibility. Even imagination or creativity is a mechanism of the universe only, created and embedded in our minds on the basis of the information which is already available in the universe.

Thus, all knowing is but a kind of discovery. It is a journey from a state of not knowing to a state of knowing some aspect, function, mystery, law or truth of the universe. It is finding, stumbling into or becoming aware of the knowledge that is preexisting in the universe. When it is hidden, we are ignorant. When it is revealed, we become aware and knowledgeable. It is true with regard to self-realization or entering the state of Nirvana. It is true with every journey. We may or may not know the destination yet, but the destination already exists in some form as a reality or a possibility. This, no one can dispute.

The past is never lost. The future is never nonexistent. It is “an idea, whose time has yet to come.” The past is stored somewhere in some form of energy, impression or data. So is future. At this every moment, a part of the universe has been becoming known or becoming conscious or coming to life in our world and in our minds. It does not mean it never existed before. It has always been there, and it will always be there. We just happen to stumble into it and become aware of it through sensing, knowing, mirroring and experiencing.

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis