Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Padmum and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get nine different flavours of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar.
I would like to call ‘thing’ as anything that is or may become an object of thought. Therefore, nothing would imply no thing. In other words, a void or emptiness with no thing in it. Say like the skulls of many people that I am sure all of us know, and like mine is considered to be by some very full skulls.
I started my spiritual journey in early 1978 and by 1985 was deeply into Vedanta, an Indian system of philosophy and Buddhism. I found no contradiction between the two and concluded that they were two sides of the same coin.
By this time, Fritjof Capra had already published his Tao Of Physics which was a best seller for that time and I believe continues to be in print even now, thirty years after its publication. Some little scepticism left in me was completely removed when I read that book which I repeatedly read even now.
What has that got to do with today’s LBC topic? Let me try and explain.
Science is reductionist in its approach to finding the ultimate building block. The smallest thing in nature, matter. Let us call that matter a thing. Eastern philosophy calls it Anu, the nearest equivalent in science being atom. Now, even atom has been reduced to protons, neutrons, quarks and leptrons. It still has not found the smallest. There is a problem however in that the sub atomic particles that make up the smallest particle, which is atom, appears to be some form of energy.
Mathematicians have calculated that 99.99percent of an atom is empty space, or NO THING. Since atoms make up every THING, 99.99 percent of everything including us human beings, is also empty space, or NO THING.
The appearing and disappearing nature of sub atomic particles is called ANITHYAM meaning, impermanence in the Eastern philosophical systems. In other words, since the smallest particle of matter is impermanent and the atom itself consists of such impermanent particles, even the atom is impermanent. In other words, every thing that is seen as matter appears for verification by our senses only when there is a perceiver. If there is no perceiver, there is no matter.
In Capra’s book I first understood this principle and the difference between Subject and Object. Since object is impermanent, the philosophical systems call all matter as MAYA or illusion, or NO THING.
Since our body/mind/intellect complex is also objectifiable, it cannot be the Subject. The mistake we make is in identifying the subject with the object and considering that the I is the body/mind/intellect complex, which we have seen as NO THING.
Then, what is the Subject? It is obviously the I, the perceiver. Eastern philosophical systems insist on dis-covering the real I. The method is meditation. In meditation, one can find that stillness, or the witness, which is again, NO THING.
The NO THING is called Emptiness (Shunyatha) in Buddhism and Limitlessness (Brahman) in Vedanta. This is what I meant when I said that they are two sides of the same coin. One uses a positive and the other the negative. The Yin and the Yang or the Male and Female principle.
Have I caused enough confusion? It is NOTHING but intellectual kite flying.
In other words, I am NOTHING. So are you.