203 – Undividedness …

The Universe is us, as we are the Universe.

Of all the animals on Earth, we seem to be the only ones devoid of a sense of undividedness from the medium we call Nature and in which we are embedded; a medium that provides us with sources of sustenance yet also makes us sources of sustenance (food chain). But because we have evolved into the most dominant species on Earth, we have no significant predators other than viruses, and ourselves.

The innate capacity to perceive an undivided connection with Nature is obliterated as soon as we open our eyes and are shown the world and its contents as separate from us, opposite to us, conflicting with us, to be used and consumed by us.

The loss of a sense of oneness with Nature turns us into the deadly creatures who, now in such great numbers, are ravaging our environment, precipitating mass extinctions, taunting Nature, sowing our own demise.

Rilke put the significance of this loss within the lines of his insightful poetry: Who shows a child as he really is? Who place him among the stars and puts the measuring stick of separation into his hands? … Murderers are easy to understand. But this, though: death, all of death, even before life has begun, to hold it all so gently and without rancor, this is beyond description. *

Our sense of separation from Nature was reaffirmed by Rene Descartes in the seventeenth century. And his erroneous claim that the mind is a separate entity from the body has since dominated our perception of the world.

This error should have been corrected in the first half of the Twentieth Century with the introduction of Niels Bohr’s Complementarity. The premise of the theory is that properties like mind and body, particle and wave, light and dark may be perceived as mutually exclusive but are nonetheless complements of the same manifestation. But due to the reticence of the physical sciences to apply the findings of their theories to our bodies, the concept of complementarity in Nature has not been generally assimilated by the human mind. And thus, Descartes’ misconception continues to dominate our perception of the world, perpetuating the mistaken sense of separation that inhibits our undividedness from Nature.

But our sense of undividedness, although inhibited in most of us, is not dead; it is dormant and can be re-awakened. And for those of us who can perceive it, it haunts us with the beauty of its possibilities and the damaging impact of its inhibition. It is so that we rebel against a culture dominated by a mistake a man made centuries ago; a culture that even though is beginning the feel the pangs of its treatment of Nature, persists on dividing the indivisible.

Ah! To know, to see, to sense that the Universe is us as we are the Universe, is the pinnacle of perception.

*Rainier Maria Rilke – excerpts from his Fourth Elegy


Revised April 2021   

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One Response to “203 – Undividedness …”

  1. KIRK says:

    I read the note again. As you described it, this is a heavy burden to reflect on honestly.
    However I do know a few people that see the undivided nature of this universe. They sense a beauty in it all. They choose to see that beauty rather than dwell on the separation.
    I myself am not there yet but I understand their view and note its benefit to them.

    Please continue your efforts too.

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