lonely human world

Man is a microcosm, or a little world,

because he is an extract from all the stars and planets of the whole firmament,

from the earth and the elements;

and so he is their quintessence.

 – Paracelsus

It’s a lonely human world when we are, together, just one. Without ‘plus one’ life becomes drab and lonely. The common ‘spiritual’ notion that ‘we are one’ is a perspective based on a direct perception of collective consciousness, which is expansive, and inclusive. The intellectual construct of a collective consciousness is different than a direct perception of it. It is not a reality for anybody enmeshed in the conflict and struggles inherent in a personal life restricted within the framework of individualized consciousness. Individualized consciousness is characterized by polarities, opposites, extreme difference at the far reaches on the continuum. For example, safety and danger are polarities. In any given context, there are degrees of safety and danger. Even safety itself can become dangerous as it promotes stagnation. Our experience of an individual ‘self’ is defined by that which is perceived as ‘not-self.’ That ‘not-self’ is ‘the other’ whether that other be a person, or a group, large or small. So, although we may perceive ourselves as one, that one is defined by another, one, or a group of ones, the collective. There is me, and you; us, and them. The polarization of these dualities generates the experience of individual singularity, and can easily bring about feelings of ‘lonely.’ It has been said that one is the lowliest and loneliest of numbers; but two can be as lonely as one.

One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do

Two can be as bad as one

It’s the loneliest number since the number one

-Three Dog Night

And, another which again emphasizes the loneliness of being one, with another

You don’t have to be alone to feel alone

You can have someone

And still feel alone

Richard Marx

To be one with another is to be lonely together.

The counter to this polarized individualized consciousness so susceptible to loneliness is collective consciousness, which incorporates expanded connections into a coherent functional whole. Individuals are an integral part of this functional collective whole. Life, in it’s larger sense, is not singular, no more than time is linear. Life is an explosion of plurality happening all at the same time. That plurality is objectively obvious in the many life forms observed in the collective world, the individual being just a small expression of that larger life. A notion of ‘oneness’ which attempts to unify plurality into a singularity is going to be a lonely place. This tendency to impose upon plurality singularity, in much the same way a social system imposes itself upon the individual, in an attempt to achieve ‘oneness’ does not just contribute to a sense of loneliness, but to one of tyranny as well.

If we are all a unified one, and there is no plus one, no two, or three, or infinity of diversity, a plethora of multiplicity, included, it’s a barren place. The notion of oneness contains dangers of uniformity, and the oppression of singularity to achieve that aim. Perhaps a more apt term to use than ‘oneness’ is ‘wholistic.’ We are Wholistic. I am wholistic. You are wholistic.

Wholistic is defined as the ‘tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution.’ One of the best and immediate examples of wholistic is one’s own biological organism, one’s own body. The physical body is a collection of parts or components that together becomes greater than the sum of those parts or components. The world as a planetary organism is a collection of components, functioning in a coherent, wholistic, and ecological way. The counter point to wholistic is atomistic. If atomistic is singularity, wholistic is plurality. Atomistic are the details, wholistic the generalities. Atomistic the close up view, wholistic the view from a distance. Atomistic is the microscope, wholistic the telescope. Atomistic is the microcosm, wholistic the macrocosm. Atomistic is local, wholistic is global. The collective wholistic macrocosm is replicated in the singular atomistic microcosm. Plurality is contained within singularity. The collective is contained within the individual. The global is contained within the local. A close up photograph of nerve cells in a small brain resembles to a remarkable degree an astro-photo of a large galaxy. The basic premise of this macro-micro cosmology is ‘the universe’s mechanism has a pattern that repeats itself in all levels of nature.’

From a distance out in space, one can see our planetary orb as a whole. Continents and oceans, plants and animals, the land, sea and sky, all functioning as an integrated whole. Living in our town or city, we hardly see the town or city as a whole, composed of many components, and each of those singular components, such as one lonely person, is a whole made up of many components, or parts, ie, particles. We might think we are alone, entrapped in our singular microcosmic one body; and, yet, at the same time, we are the macrocosmic collective mind, for the fundamental structures, patterns and ‘laws’ of both is contained within both. The macrocosm is contained within the microcosm. The aphorism used to express this cosmology in the simplest of ways has been, ‘as above, so below.’

It’s a lonely human world when the singular individual defines itself against the plural collective, and the global mind is submerged in a local body. Because the large macrocosm is contained within the small microcosm, and because human beings are a special species, any single person can come to realize within their own atomistic identity wholistic consciousness.

lonely world

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”

– William Blake

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