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Speculating on the nature of reality

Reality by its very nature is inconceivable and indescribable.  The human mind is so limited; the cosmos in all its facets so vast.  Not to mention what lies beyond the cosmos.  And what lies beyond that again!

Trying to figure out the nature of reality is very hard.  All these metaphysical questions keep popping up. Is Reality one or many? Is the universe real or an illusion? Is science or is religion a more authentic source of knowledge? Is God inside or outside one's consciousness? Does God or soul even exist? Are mystical insights and occult knowledge valid or invalid? Is gnosis true? Is consciousness ultimately determined by matter, or is matter ultimately determined by consciousness? Does existence constitute a gradation from Spirit to Matter, or a Unity of consciousness and energy? Or both? Or none? Everyone has their own opinion on at least a few of these and other similiar questions, based on their own experience, particular beliefs and preferred paradigms.  And every experience is valid, if limited.  Itís like the story of the blind men and the elephant.

Nevertheless, it is still tempting to try to construct a "map" of reality, knowing full well of course that any such map will be provisional, and therefore ultimately false.

My original idea was to gather together a whole lot of different theories, philosophies, and teachings on the nature of reality, and combined them into one big hypertext. The idea was to lay the foundations for a new noetic cosmology, and to show how representatives of the different spiritual and occult traditions were either tuning in to and describing the same series of realities, but using different language, metaphors, and symbolism, or they were describing different realities that all have to be pieced together, jigsaw fashion.

But I now realise that do attempt such an aim would be tantamount to preaching, because why should my preferred version or my favourite esoteric philosophers be any better than anyone else's (even if I think they are...)? Many esoteric teachings use quite rigid correspondences, and there is the question as to how valid they may or may not be. I do tend to think that Reality may indeed have a dynamic structure (that is, it is a structure that is unfolding and changing all the time), and that representative explanations such as the evolutionary cosmology of modern Science, the archetypal diagrams like the pa kua (trigrams) and the hexagrams of the I Ching, the Kabbalistic tree of life and especially its Lurianic and its Hermetic applications, the seven chakras of Tantra, the seven planes and seven evolutionary cycles of Theosophy, Anthroposphy, and New Age-ism, the tattwas of Samkhya and of Kasmir Shaivism, the three hypostases of Neoplatonism, the archetype psychology of Jung, the evolutionary cosmologies of Theon, Aurobindo, Teilhard, to list just a few, all describe (different or the same) aspects of this dynamic configoration. But that does not mean all these different representations are equivalent, or that they shoudl be taken literally (which isn't possible anyway because they contradict each other on many points!). To take somehing as dogma enslaves the mind to someone else's mental system (no matter how good that system may be). So, in presenting this cosmology, I remind you that part, or all, of it may, or it may not, be true (and the same goes for anything any guru or church or authority figure or soap-box speaker says).

A Fractal Map of Reality | The Nature of the All | Basic Diagrams of Reality | Realities | The Absolute Reality | Absolute and Relative Realities | Speculating on the nature of reality

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text content by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 27 May 1998, last modified (menus and html) 1 August 2009