Modern day humans, unlike other animal species, are psychologically complicated ‘creatures’, creatures who, arguably, suffer the most (at least, in terms of the way in which we view life- constantly questioning everything/asking the deepest of questions about our very existence).
As we have, over time, developed intelligence and rational thinking, we have, in turn, broken ties with some of our most basic animal instincts, becoming reliant on ‘man-made’ concepts such as time to understand the world in which we inhabit. In doing this/in viewing the world in such a way whereby the, ultimately made up construct of time is at the core of our existence, we mistakenly believe in the concept of birth and death (the latter causing a phenomenon that German Philosopher Martin Heidegger would later call ‘being-toward-death’; the awareness at every moment of our lives that we are ‘destined to die’).
When we take what we have been told at face value and believe that in life we are born only to, one day, die, we can become quite ‘nihilistic’ in our ways of thinking. My belief is that feeling devoid of purpose, something which believing in the prospect of birth and death undoubtedly leads one to feel, is one of the biggest contributors to Depression in todays society. Its unsurprising then that mental ill health is on the rise today when we consider this fact.
Although our ability to think in terms of the passage of time can be harmful for us, it can also be a blessing, for, it reveals something within us that that is a constant/that is unchanging, even in todays seemingly forever changing world. According to 19th century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (and to Hindus), this unchanging reality within us all is in fact the primal force of the universe itself. Schopenhauer calls this force the ‘will’, and suggests that; everything in existence, including human beings, is a manifestation of this one, universal will. Acknowledging this fact will, according to Schopenhauer, lead to our fear of death ‘evaporating’, as we finally arrive at the understanding that we ourselves are ‘will’, in every sense of the word. And as we, in turn, realise that; Nothing real actually dies anyway – only an illusory identity dies/something that was never really there in the first place)*
*Now, it’s important to note that this isn’t some new truth that’s suddenly occurred. It has in fact been this way for your entire life, for everyone’s entire life, some people are just late realising it (like realising that Santa Claus doesn’t exist/has never existed, except for in your own head)…
Realising that we are the will/that it is a life force inside all of us that serves to connect us to the human race as a whole, should help us to see the world less from an individualistic, human perspective/a world which unfolds according to the (made-up) concepts of time and space, and more so from a perspective of eternity, whereby there are no individuals.
In this world (the true world), there is only one united will in all its various modes and manifestations. Such a world is unchanging, and therefore it is beyond time (which is really just an illusion anyway), and so are we (unchanging and beyond time)… This means then that there is no such thing as birth and death. We- the universe– are indestructible. We are eternal. There is no past, and no future; everything flows in an eternal present. This means that the notions of existence and nonexistence are merely concepts created by our mind.
A question you might be pondering over, and rightfully so, is; ‘where was I before I was born?’ The answer? You were in your father, and your mother, and your grandparents, and your great-grandparents. You were in the clouds, and the rivers, and the rocks, and minerals in the water, and the sunshine, and plants, and the air. You were in everything. Why? Because there is only continuation, not birth.
By ‘continuation’, I quite simply mean that; from ‘nothing’, we cannot magically become ‘something.’ And likewise, from ‘something’ we cannot suddenly become ‘nothing.’ Take a piece of paper, for example. We may have the illusion that to destroy it, all we have to do is light a match and burn it. But if we do burn it, it will not disappear, but continue in some place else (hence why we say that nothing can be born or die. Everything and everyone is simply a continuation of something/someone else). The paper, if burnt will become smoke, and the smoke will rise and continue to be. The heat that is caused by the burning paper will enter into the cosmos and penetrate other things, taking on other forms of being, but NOT transforming into nothingness. This is the case with everything, even you and I. We are not subject to birth and death, none of us are, no “thing” is. We are all immortal, indestructible, and infinite. Because of this, we can never die, only move on, changing form and shape. Like a wave, when it is ‘our time’ we will become one aspect of a larger whole (the ocean), returning back to the eternal source. Just as a wave arises from and then disappears back into the ocean, so too do we arise from and then disappear back into being itself. It is only when we escape our ego though, that we can finally realise this for ourselves and, in turn, realise that we are in fact ‘at one’ with everyone and everything that there has ever been and will ever be. Only then can we recognise ourselves as being merely a single aspect of the will that is humanity itself, and that, any supposed ‘differences’ between us are really just illusory because, the very same eye of humanity looks out from all of us…
The purpose of our existence, then, is simple: we are each a vessel used for the Universe to express itself in.
We are, at once, both everything, and nothing,