We’ve been discussing the Inside-Outside Distinction, and its implications. The Inside-Outside Distinction is actually very simple. It holds that almost all the reality we experience inside and about us is based on the concept of boundary. If the boundary fails, or isn’t real, then there is no me, no you, or anything else that exists apart from the whole. It doesn’t mean there isn’t anything real. It just means that the distinctions we impose upon reality are artificial. If there is no boundary, then the differences we perceive in reality are made up. And, as it turns out, there are really convincing arguments in physics for stating that, at least on the quantum (the really really really small) level, the boundaries we think are there aren’t there.
For purposes of this post, we will assume that the cosmos is endless, or that there are an infinite number of the universes. Today, this is a matter of debate among cosmologists, so you get to pick a side. I’ve chosen mine.
If there are no boundaries, then what we are part of is the infinite. If the universe is infinite, or if there are an infinite number of universes, then we are really infinite as well, without being separate parts, since the boundary is something our minds make up.
One of the most ironic of all truths is the fact that, though the infinite is all-encompassing and present everywhere, we can still feel ourselves cut off from it. We can experience ourselves apart from the infinite and we can even deny that the infinite exists, while every moment of our lives we swim within its ocean, breath in its air, and are enfolded within its substrate.
Think of an ocean. A drop of water, when immersed within the sea, is an indivisible ‘part’ of that ocean. Yet since the drop has no boundary while it’s held within the larger body of water, it’s really just ocean. The drop isn’t the whole ocean, but it is ocean. It belongs to the ocean. Yet since it has no boundary apart from the rest of the sea, the ocean belongs to it, too.
Still, we see our own individual selves quite differently, don’t we? We perceive ourselves as separate little individual drops in the vast bucket of ocean called the cosmos. Only the endless universe can give rise to something called a human being, which can deny its participation in the infinite. And why is this? Because each of us has organized our thoughts around a center of consciousness called ‘I.’ Or rather, we’ve organized our identities around these thoughts, which seem to have taken on a life of their own.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with identifying as an individual. It’s a not a right/wrong, good/bad dichotomy. But it is a dichotomy, an I/Thou binary, a dyad which assumes that because there is a me, then there must be a you; that because there is a here, then there must be a there.
If you took the opposite tack, and assumed that although you were not the whole cosmos, you were, quite literally, a boundless participant in it, then you would, in a sense, be infinite yourself. The universe would belong to you. Not in a proprietary sense like your backyard does, but it would be yours in the sense that it belongs to no one and nothing else. It would be like swimming in the ocean. The ocean would be yours, simply because no one and nothing else laid claim to it.You would be the universe itself. You would be and you would have everything. You would be coextensive with the cosmos. Not because you were that large, but because no one and nothing else is, either. Because you had no boundary, and nothing else had one either.
Anyway, these are some of the implications of getting rid of the boundary. You may want to consider doing it. If everyone else did, too, the world wouldn’t even be the world we have today. All our present problems would be solved. But then, you’d have to give up You. And that’s quite a lot to ask, isn’t it?
© 2020 by Michael C. Just
Mike’s novel, The Dirt: The Journey of a Mystic Cowboy, is available in softcover or eBook formats through Amazon.
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Mike’s other titles, including The Crippy, The Mind Altar, and Canyon Calls, are available through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002LFMXAW