Saturday, May 22, 2010

Undivided wholeness

In the very early phases of the development of civilization, man's views were essentially of wholeness rather than of fragmentation. In the East (especially India) such views still survive, in the sense that philosophy and religion emphasize wholeness and imply the futility of analysis of the world into parts. Why, then, do we not drop our fragmentary Western approach and adopt these Eastern notions which include not only a self-world view that denies division and fragmentation but also techniques of meditation that lead the whole process of mental operation non-verbally to the sort of quiet state of orderly and smooth flow needed to end fragmentation both in the actual process of thought and in its content?

David Bohm*

To know the whole, we begin with fragments and end with a leap of faith to the oneness of all things. Our true work is to realize wholeness within the fragments of our own life. The whole is not a thing – just as the Self is not a thing. Realizing this, we realize all that is. In fact, we become whole; in becoming whole we realize the great human virtue of integrity.

Image: Three Spheres II, by M. C. Esher (lithography, 1946). First suggested to me from page 258 of Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach. New York, Basic Books, 1979. Oddly enough, Hofstadter was using this image for the idea of Indra’s Net – a metaphor I had not imaged him using in all these years since reading the book.

* Wholeness and the Implicate Order by David Bohm.

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