So I wrote this to a friend (a year ago) as a response to a conversation about empiricism vs. spirituality, which is the basic disagreement we held between us. Or conversation. I’m not an expert: these are impressions and postulations
So first I’m not sure what I’m going to write about here. Something to better articulate myself in the face of “science” as it were. Or perhaps more accurately my belief that there exist things beyond what we can see and touch. I suppose then I’m writing against empiricism while embracing it as a central feature of “beyond reality” as well.
One of the questions I suppose to answer is the issue of the big bang and what was there before. I think it’s fair to ask why there wasn’t “something” there to begin with. Equally, I think you could argue maybe there was nothing. I think one of the offshoots of string theory and black holes as the “generators” of the universe suggests that new universes may be created through the movement of matter through a black hole into a new space/time dimensionality where a new “big bang” occurs. I wholly think this is possible. And indeed energy is the driving force behind such a theory. But I think my argument does not have to do with physics or the origin of matter – anything of that. It is concerned with the unconscious psychic reality that humans create through both intellect, storytelling, and a last inexplicable trait. This trait could be likened to an aura, energy that can’t be measured in any conventional manner. The whole idea of chakras, the technique behind Tai-Chi (and I’m sure other martial arts), these areas of the body that produce inexplicable phenomenon in the highly trained mind. But these are only the actualized individuals. There also resonates these energys in the every individual whether or not they are aware of it. I think they are collected, a sort of fog that consciousness and unconsciousness of past and present forms in some diaphanous form. It is feeling, knowing, what fuels emotion. There is inevitability a great deal of physiology explained those things, but the immediacy and the first-hand inexplicable sensation of fear or love. Again, these can be related to crude physical functions which have evolved to seem rather similar when we compare our subjective experience to others. However there always in uniqueness that cannot be articulated by language. Perhaps this is a failing of language. Equally, quantum physics might say these “unique” experiences are only the manifestations of minutely different patterns of incredibly similar phenomenon. Again, this is likely a part of the process – the physical step intertwined with the psychic.
I suppose my inclinations would guide me toward the philosophies of the transcendentals, most notably Emerson and Melville to some extent – little that I know of his work. Thoreau and the darker romantics certainly make the case for another slice, another perspective on the human psyche, but Emerson I feel draws the most intuitive pictures of existence and the whys behind it. Whitman picks up Emerson’s beliefs in verse and articulates his former’s ideas well, but they are merely a continuation. The heart lies at Emerson and specifically at the notion of the “Oversoul”. This idea, it seems to me, can be readily compared to Jung’s ideas of the collective unconscious if one perceives the collective unconscious not only to be the mythologies of all those of who have preceded us but also the wholeness and unity that such a consciousness might form. That is not to say that this consciousness is all knowing, seeing, or anything like that. Jung outlines the specific nature of the collective unconscious’s base of knowledge as the sum of all human experience, which in my opinion, is quite limited given our infinite mutations, permutations, and developments. It represents the sum of human consciousness to date. The oversoul would then describe the theological or spiritual implications of what existence could become past this corporeal episode. It seems to me that the fleeting nature of physical existence must intuitively be mirrored by contrast “infinite” (although applying the physics of time to a supernatural phenomenon would be entirely misguided). This, of course, is not a necessity. I can wholly accept and understand the view that no such state exists as it cannot be proven empirically. The age of science has given the world so many great advancements and understanding of our physical reality but has done little to nurture the spirit within us, which I must say with some conviction, exists. I cannot prove it; there are yet things in this world that are unprovable. The standards of a “theory” are not sufficient to describe such happenings. A new paradigm invariably needs to be used to properly analyze and determine such a thing. Yet how does one develop such a framework? Impossible, perhaps, because of the inherent implications of subjective experience and extrapolating such information as to make it somehow uniform and cogent. Therein lies the problem. Subjectivity, experience, knowledge all lie within each person’s developed being. And each being develops uniquely. There could be no possible way to align these views; the only possibility would be to bring as much together as to form consensus. Clearly, this is soft “science”. But it is the realm of human experience which as much is controlled by synapses and autonomic biological functions, involving an aspect of feeling and “being” that goes beyond description yet is ubiquitous. The key, I think, to these subjective experiences is that while they are all unique to the individual they are also universal to humans. That is to say that each feeling or intuition is a strain of experience that has been collecting from humanity’s birth and continues with every minute variation possible.
It is maybe like playing a C major with some new variation, some new frequency. But with an endless row of keys. I suppose these psychic phenomena could be likened to some kind of measurement of frequency with infinite possible combinations and new creations that often overlap and can create a cohesive whole – a spectrum. And perhaps that string of frequencies grows with every day, with every new consciousness that experiences some event in a new and meaningful way. Such is the nature of the collective unconsciousness with each individual adding to the great story by virtue of what their particular circumstance has emerged from (all the way to single cell organisms) to the now. And so this “oversoul” grows but also remains a cohesive whole with a place for all experience and all subjective reality. The oversoul suggests a completion that could derive from all potential consciousness. This is a debatable topic.
So I guess that is all to say that an afterlife that would subjectively incomprehensible to a science based approach. It may not yet(if ever) have an accurate subjective description, or complete understanding of despite a wealth of discussion and research. For me to describe “psychic” energy as an independent force that would be inaccurate. It would seem that perceptual energy rides along the same “normal” axis of energy It is simply unmeasurable, to some extent. We have some insights into extrasensory activities that certain individualized minds have acquired. This says nothing to measureability. All the same, objectively speaking this “psychic” energy with a discernible force or magnitude may not fit the current paradigm and a new approach is needed.