The Doors of Perception

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If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.

William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Is it so strange that a deep interest in science should be combined with an equally deep desire for mysticism and transcendance?

I think not; the two can be seen as two sides of the same coin.  Reality seen both from the intellect and from the senses. A yearning for transcendance.  Some would say a desire to escape from the base reality.   Which is all that is accessible to most of us in a “normal” state of mind.

One of the copies of William Blake's unique hand painted editions, created for the original printing of the poem. This image represents Copy H, Plate 14 of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
One of the copies of William Blake’s unique hand painted editions, created for the original printing of the poem. This image represents Copy H, Plate 14 of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Both science and mysticism offer us infinity. Infinite space and power. Infinite universes and time. Teleportation, downloading the mind into another form of matter, eternal life, time travel. Science is not ashamed to speculate on such matters. To an ancient people, we would appear as gods. In the far future, or in a distant corner of the multiverse, there exists intelligence with powers which even we would consider godlike.

The mind allows us to travel to such places and such times. To witness infinity,  to feel the mind of “god”.

These days, few rational men believe in traditional religious systems.  And yet through the ages the mystics have had glimpses of some alternate truth, some reality which in our ordinary minds is denied to us.

Science struggles to explain consciousness and yet some scientists tell us that consciousness is a law of nature all of its own. That consciousness “is”.

Not that consciousness is an emergent property of physical elements.  But that consciousness is a law of physics itself.  Universal consciousness, consciousness as the very “self” of the universe.

So listen to how the mystics describe their experiences.

Meister Eckhart:

“To the quiet mind all things are possible. What is a quiet mind? A quiet mind is one which nothing weighs on, nothing worries, which, free from ties and from all self-seeking, is wholly merged into the will of God and dead to its own.”

Alan Watts:

“What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.”

Siddhartha:

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

Both science and contemplation seek knowledge.  Self knowledge, truths, the “truth”.

Science uses instruments and machinery and conducts experiments. Science seeks truth through the intellect.

The quiet mind seeks experience directly.  To feel the truth, to experience it.

Neither should be disparaged. Both should be embraced. Neither is complete without the other.

This is the front cover art for the book The Doors of Perception written by Aldous Huxley. By Source, Fair use
This is the front cover art for the book The Doors of Perception written by Aldous Huxley. By Source, Fair use

 

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