Did you Know! – What are Things – Something, Nothing
Have you ever considered what is a thing or what is nothing? where do they come from and where do they vanish? And if you are grammar oriented, why an article is used with things but not with nothing? Let’s explore this phenomenon that occurs around us all the time.
Things – Nothing, Everything, Something
Consider a scenario – you are waiting for your friend who drives a Honda. You start looking for the Honda in the traffic that turns-in at the corner. Different vehicles in the traffic first appear as a tiny dot that gradually takes the shape of different vehicles like a car or a bus etc. Different vehicles pass by including some Honda cars till you notice the specific car with your friend on the wheel.
In this example, you are the ‘observer’ or ‘subject’ while Honda car is the ‘object’ of observation. Your memory of vehicles and their shapes in general, Honda car in particular, and looks of your friend resulted in that small dot at far off horizon growing in size and taking known shapes and morphing into vehicles, few of these in Honda and finally only one of them in a Honda driven by your friend.
Several dots emerge from the horizon of nothingness. Grows into a known shape and then vanishes back into nothingness. The question arises, where did the vehicle emerge from? Where do they go after vanishing from your sight?
The vehicles emerge from and vanish into nothingness for an observer. For the observer, something (vehicles in this example) emerges from nothing (“no thing”), grows into ‘a thing’ (Honda car) and then ‘the thing’ (Honda Car with your friend on the wheels).
It is you (the observer) whose senses bring in the inputs about the object (the traffic and cars) to your mind and then pre-stored information in your memory database is deployed to compare, contrast and determine more about the object helping you to identify the object of interest in the traffic or we say in the cloud of things.
As more information is gathered by human senses and processed by the mind, the image gets clearer and clearer. This is a generic process in nature where nothingness turns into ‘a thing’ (something) and then into ‘the thing’ or ‘this thing or that thing’. Note, that relevant words are suffixed with ‘thing’.
Everything is a combination of physical and nonphysical aspects forming layers like an onion, one layer hiding the others. A layer is exposed only when the previous layer is peeled off. Or, akin to an iceberg wherein a tiny fraction floats above the surface level and the much larger portion below the surface level remains invisible. The visible aspects are characteristics of the object and thus are referred to as “objective” aspects. Whereas the level and extent of details known about the object are “subjective” aspects that depend on the observer.
Refer to this short video on youtube zooming in on the earth. The things get bigger and become visible, transforming from a cluster of dots to known things. https://gfycat.com/deafeningfarawayadder
The modern scientific world is familiar with physical aka objective aspects. It is Vedas and Vedic science which is an encyclopedia of invisible subjective aspects. The invisible layers include:
- What can be seen but is not seen due to either the relative positioning between object and subject or gross layers covering the inner subtle layers and
- What can’t be seen by human senses, for example, a mobile handset picks up the signal which humans can’t, or a TV, radio, laptop picks up images, sound, or data bytes but we can’t.
The first invisible subjective aspect is ‘knowledge’. Knowledge about different objects in general and in particular about the object of interest. And the second invisible layer ‘that can’t be seen’ is ‘Individual Consciousness’, the container that holds the knowledge of the particular observer.
In summary, the totality of everything that Veda refer as pure consciousness is composed of its three expressions viz,
- Objective, physical, manifest or gross aspects of the object that may be seen by an observer. In the case of feelings or experiences, this layer also remains non-physical.
- Subjective, or unmanifest aspects of the observer on account of his knowledge about the object and
- Subjective or unmanifest aspects on account of the consciousness of the observer, the invisible structure or a pot that shapes the knowledge of the observer.
Different things have different proportions of the three expressions. Objective aspects form a tiny fraction of totality. While subjective aspects consisting of knowledge of the observer and individual consciousness forms the 99.99% or even more of totality, the wholeness. In the case of emotions, feelings, and experiences, all three layers are invisible.
Wholeness is coming together of subject and object. A process of unification by bridging the gap that normally exists between the two. It is the knowledge about the object that helps in bridging this gap.
Depending upon context, wholeness is referred by different positive adjectives such as absoluteness, completeness, entireness, entirety, fullness, perfectness, etc. or absence of negative aspects with adjectives such as faultlessness, flawlessness, indefectibility, perfection. all-inclusiveness, comprehensiveness, exhaustiveness, extensiveness, inclusiveness, soundness, thoroughness, etc.
Universal Consciousness simultaneously expresses itself in three different forms — consciousness of the observer, an object of interest, and the observer’s knowledge about the object. These three forms are named differently, appropriate to the context. Some of these sets of three are listed here.
- Observer, object and process of observation
- Subject, Object and the gap (or path) between the two
- Knower, Knowledge, and Known
- Rishi, Devata and Chhandas
- Individual, collective and universal Consciousness
- Physical, Mental, and Spiritual
- The goal, source, and path
At higher states of individual consciousness, these sets of three merges in two (duality) and at the highest state of Consciousness into one (singularity). This is the true meaning of ‘Yoga’, as explained by Veda meaning join or unite by bridging the gap that exists between the subject and object by obliterating the non-existent boundaries but perceived as real by the human mind. Liberation or Nirvana is the elimination of all the boundaries and merging with nothingness.
Nothingness is Wholeness
Nothingness and wholeness are other expressions for infinite and zero. Nothingness is the same as infinite while wholeness is the same as zero. They are two sides of the same coin. Note that the zero is written as a small circle with nothing inside. The difference between the nothingness and wholeness lies in the presence or absence of a boundary in the shape of a small circle. In short, the infinite is unbounded zero while zero is bounded infinite.
The human quest to gain an understanding of infinity passes through the understanding of zero, the wholeness as any number divided by zero becomes infinite.
Space or vacuum around us is mistaken for emptiness. As per the Vedic paradigm, it is an invisible field of consciousness akin to the modern-day internet. Vacuum around us contains all the knowledge, memory, and intelligence that ever existed or will ever exist in the universe.
Hole in the Wholeness
Human desires, ambitions, and aspirations are void, a gap or a hole in the wholeness separating the subject from object. This void pulls the human attention towards various objects but lack of knowledge and clarity about the objective of life results in mind remaining confused and unable to decide as to what it wants. It is this confusion that results in the human mind becoming fickle and sways in its attention from one thing to another in pursuit of greater happiness or we say, in pursuit of an object that will fill the perceived hole of the wholeness.
Happiness, an expression of wholeness remains elusive on account of unfulfilled desire(s) – a hole in the wholeness. Filling back the hole leads to the unification of the subject with the object completing the wholeness. Even a mere perception of likely fulfilment is good enough to draw attention with excitement.
Unfulfilled Desire(s) is a Hole in Wholeness
The efforts to fill back the hole results in an outflow of energy from subject to object. This energy outflow flow results in a hole that produces a zone of stress while at the same time object receiving the energy grows in size and is the reason behind the famous saying “whatever one puts attention to grows in their life.”. On fulfilment, the energy flows from object results in an experience of happiness, excitement, and ecstasy. The level of excitement is proportional to energy flow lasts until the two are in harmony and balance.
It is the unfulfilled desires that sap a person out of energy. While the fulfilment restores the balance. The stress zone is like a gap, or void, or a hole as it keeps a subject and his object apart. It is this hole that drains the mental strength shutting out the righteous thinking.
Dharma, a Vedic concept, means a balance between one’s needs, desires, and competencies. Unfulfilled desires disturb this balance and result in mind losing its sense of righteousness.
Wholeness is much more than the sum of its parts. It is the delta over the sum, a life that thrives and leaving a deep impression on the heart. It is full of energy, intuition, and much more. Each part has its own wholeness as well. Similarly, each wholeness is a part of another bigger wholeness. As above, as below.
Fulfilment without Stress
Fulfilment is a journey consisting of action and outcome. The energy outflow may be reduced or even reversed if one can consciously change the attention from the outcome, which is normally the case, to action instead.
The attention on the action itself keeps the wholeness intact and thus, the journey towards the outcome turns into fun and enjoyment and obviously without any stresses. This is the reason when one is engaged in a task that they enjoy, the time flies and one is never tired.
In short, the trick to stressfree fulfilment lies in focussing one’s attention on action instead of on the hole itself.
Veda is the knowledge of life in fulfilment
Modern scientists are still grappling with the first two-stage ie nothing and everything involved in the creation of everything in the universe as well as the last two stages of destruction of everything once they vanish from our consciousness. It is the Veda and Vedic literature that deal with these concepts in totality. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi founded Vedic science to revive the Vedic knowledge among masses for further research and education of these two stages of human consciousness. With the above explanation, we can say that Veda is knowledge. In Sanskrit, Veda literally means Knowledge.
- Veda is the knowledge that connects a subject with the desired object
- Veda is knowledge of fulfilment
- Veda is knowledge of fulfilment of needs, desires, and aspirations
- Veda is knowledge of gaining wholeness and happiness
- Veda is the science of life in fulfilment
- Lack of awareness and practice of Vedic concepts has resulted in a modern-day society being full of stresses
Abstract process of transformation
While the explanation above is good enough for a common man. For the Vedic enthusiast – here is an abstract process of transformation from nothing to everything to something. Other may find it bit dry and thus better skip this section
Refer to the example of you looking for a Honda car as cited above.
|1||Nothing||Literally means “No Thing”. An unbounded infinity that has everything in it but nothing is seen by human senses. Nothingness is a singularity and a unity of diversity.|
|2||Everything||Human senses can’t fathom infinity or nothingness and hence out of their limitations, draw a boundary around nothingness. Nothing becomes everything, a dot, before morphing into something.
he dot is termed as everything or wholeness.
Dot is a bounded infinity that has everything in it before forming into something. There is nothing observer specific at this stage.
|3||Something||The dot grows into something that the observer is familiar with and has knowledge about.
This is the stage of duality where observe drawing on his knowledge has added information to the object under observation.
This is a duality because the observer and object are two distinct things.
|4||A thing||Observer supplied information transforms the dot (something) into a thing with attributes known to the observer. A stage where the object is identified by its class it belongs to and not yet specific. This is the same as the use of articles with nouns in English grammar.
A thing is something superimposed with information that is one of the subjectivities of the observer.
|5||The thing||More and more information is added and a thing becomes the thing that the observer was interested in and looking for.
The thing is a thing with features that the observer was looking for.
|6||This and that thing||This and that differentiate two similar things in terms of near and far|
Nothingness => unbounded infinity or unbounded wholeness
Wholeness => Bounded infinity; A stage of unity wherein subject and object are united together as one with no gap between the two.