One Hundred Forty Years Ago
About one hundred forty years ago the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche made his infamous announcement “God is Dead”. In the century that followed, Nietzsche’s brash declaration was often misinterpreted by both scholars and the public alike. What he meant was that a long standing system of values, a long standing paradigm, was coming to a close.
This collapse Nietzsche spoke of not only encompassed the domain of religion, it extended into the realms of philosophy, the sciences and indeed to the culture at large. Nietzsche was clear though that although the plug had been pulled on the old paradigm that it would probably take quite a while for the new “dawn” to arrive. “God is dead; but given the way people are, there may still for millennia be caves in which they show his shadow.(1)
In hindsight Nietzsche was certainly onto something with his bold proclamation. The previously reigning era of divine right and overarching theocratic systems of thought and organization gave way in the 20th century to secularism, liberalism, Darwinism and an unprecedented explosion of technological advancement that altered the face of our entire global culture.
The Currently Reigning Paradigm
Since you’ve already read the title of this article I’ll cut to the core of the chase right here. Yes, I am going to speak about a no less significant impending collapse of the currently reigning paradigm which I am referring to as the paradigm of Dualism.
What Is Dualism?
Dualism is essentially the belief that experience and the objects of experience (mind and matter) are fundamentally separate. Dualism assumes that each individual is separated from the world and from other individual consciousnesses. Dualism is almost always connected to the belief that life and consciousness are a product of dead inert matter and that our being, what we essentially are, shares the limits and the destiny of the physical body. This belief system, often referred to as physicalism or materialism, is the model of reality that the vast majority of us, including most mainstream academics, hold to be self-evident.
What If We’re Making A Rookie Mistake?
What if our belief in this “given” of dualism is actually, as Dr. Donald Hoffman puts it, a “rookie mistake” that we need to outgrow as a species?(2) Could it be that a faulty fundamental conception of reality is the underlying root cause of a large portion of our individual and collective woes? Maybe the reason we seem to be losing our way more and more is because we’ve outgrown a model of reality that served us for a long time but that no longer holds up at this point in our evolutionary journey? After all, the vast majority of people, including the academic authorities of the time, used to feel certain that the sun revolved around the earth until only a few hundred years ago. Could we be on the brink of another, possibly even bigger discovery in the 21st century?
A Quick Digression: Everyone Here Is Going To Die
Our physical bodies are eventually going to die. We know this and therefore we assume, because we have been conditioned to assume it, that when our body dies what we essentially are will die with it. We’ve seen dead bodies at funerals and the life that formerly seemed to occupy those bodies was certainly no longer present in those bodies. It would seem logical to conclude then that the awareness, that the consciousness that appeared to be in those bodies is dead and gone too, right? Maybe … or maybe not.
The Big Taboo
The avoidance of the subject of death has arguably become the central obsession of our modern culture. Our seemingly ever growing preoccupation with appearing youthful along with our continually burgeoning fascination with wealth and the acquisition of newer and supposedly better material possessions seems to have overtaken all our other interests as a species. Even in many poor nations, the drive to escape poverty is often propelled by a desire to be like those who have “bling” and who are able to afford things like plastic surgery, the modern form of the mythical fountain of youth.
As all of this goes on though, we hear stories of increasing desperation, of loneliness and of a growing feeling of meaninglessness that spans geographical boundaries and income brackets. Despite all our technological advances as a species we seem to be collectively moving more and more toward potential disaster and psychological suffering rather than away from them.
On top of this, the provisional meanings we derive from the acquisition of objects, substances, states of mind, relationships etc., always give way to the inevitability of bodily death which, sooner or later, trumps all our other concerns. We know this is the case yet we continue to distract ourselves and push away any discussion of this universal inevitability, as if ignoring our predicament will somehow make it magically go away.
There is another option on offer that, as you may have already guessed, is called Nonduality. Nonduality posits that beneath the apparent separation of objects and others there is an underlying connectivity, a “not-twoness”, that is the true foundation of all experience. Nonduality directly challenges the primary dictum of our times which posits that we are ultimately separate, finite beings whose lives are utterly meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Nonduality also trounces nearly two hundred years of pseudo-scientific metaphysical prejudice. In fact, the nondual model of reality turns out to be a far more empirically grounded and scientifically sound model than dualism and its cohort materialism are. “Materialism represents an astonishing failure of the human intellect to see what’s right under its nose.”(3)
Coming Up Next:
Next week’s article (Part 2) will go more deeply into the subject of nonduality and how it relates to our exiting the matrix. Stay tuned!
(1) Friedrich Nietzsche, “The Gay Science”, Jan 12, 1974, Vintage Publishing, pp 108
(2) Dr. Donald Hoffman, “The Case Against Reality, ZdoggMD, Nov. 9, 2019, youtube.com/watch?v=dd6CQCbk2ro
(3) Dr. Bernardo Kastrup, “Brief Peeks Beyond: Critical Essays On Physics, Neuroscience, Free WIll, Skepticism And Culture”, John Hunt Publishing, pp. 122