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In The Light Of Knowledge

Preface - Forty Years On - 2014

This is a draft manuscript of a book 'In the Light of Knowledge' that I wrote forty years ago, in 1974, under the instruction of Satpal (Bal Bhagwanji), the eldest brother of Maharaji, Prem Rawat.

If you do not know who Maharaji/Rawat is, there are some informational sites here, here, and here. I was a dedicated follower of his for thirty years, from 1970 to 2000, which I write about on my website and in my book Without The Guru.

In the early 1970's, any intellectual underpinning for Prem's message was weak, and in fact was actively discouraged. Satpal did not agree with this, and commissioned me to put his younger brother's message on a scholarly and rational footing. This manuscript is the result.

However, by the time it was completed, the 'holy family' had split, with Satpal setting up as guru himself in India, and Prem remaining in the West disowning him. As a consequence, since my book was written under Satpal's direction, it was considered the work of the devil and most copies of my manuscript were burned.

I did not see my manuscript again until 2008, when my friend Anth Ginn (who was one of the original burners) found a copy in Germany and graciously mailed it to me.

In reading it again, and preparing it for the web with Tom Gubler's help, I want to make these points with the benefit of forty years' hindsight:

First and foremost, I do not agree now with what I wrote then. The purpose of the book was to 'prove' that we need Prem's message. I now hold strongly that we do not 'need' that message. In fact, I am deeply embarrassed by much of what I wrote, and in editing it for this site I have cringed many times.

Apart from my thoughts on Prem's message being opposite to what I thought then, the work now seems to me immature in parts (well, it was forty years ago). Some of the philosophical sections are weak, and of course all my cutting-edge scientific arguments of the day are now very dated.

I wrote recently to Tom that as a rule of thumb you can take anything I say in the book and assume that I now think the opposite. That is over-generalised, but even so it is not quite correct. I think now that the endeavour to find meaning and value in everyday life is a good thing, if done right. I am currently writing a book to explain what I mean by 'right' in this context, but certainly following Prem Rawat is not doing it 'right'.


Being written in 1974, I use 'man', 'mankind', and he/his/him for both genders, which I would never do now.

The book was thoroughly researched, with all quotes sourced and referenced. Unfortunately, my notes are now lost. They were very detailed, and included a lot of material not in the main body of the book. I have decided to keep the note numbers in the text, in square brackets [like this], even though you cannot follow them anywhere. They at least give an idea of how meticulous I was.

I wrote the book in England, and it is written with British English spelling and grammar.

I thank the following:

Glen Whittaker, then the General Secretary of Divine Light Mission UK, who provided all the support services for the book. In particular, he placed me in the Luton Ashram to write it, and found secretarial staff. In a recent (2014) email, he tells me he does not remember doing so.

Malcolm, the secretary of the Luton Ashram, who made me welcome, giving me the best rooms in which to work, and discussing the book with me. I thank also the Luton ashram residents of the time for providing me space in an already overcrowded house (typical of ashrams at the time), and the housemother Myra for holding it all together.

Penny, my main typist, who worked very hard on the manuscript.

Dr Jerry Ravetz and his wife, the first premies and academics to review the book.

Anth Ginn for finding the one and only remaining copy of the manuscript and returning it to me.

Tom Gubler, who scanned in the manuscript, and turned it into text (244 pages in the original). He also proof-read, and provided helpful comments. This digital copy would not have been created were it not for him, and the typewritten pages would have remained moulding in my bottom drawer. Tom has written his own introduction to the book.

Finally, if anyone wants the PDF scan of the original typed manuscript, contact me or Tom.

Preface - Original 1974

Two points need to be made if this book is to escape more condemnation than it no doubt merits.

Firstly, it is not a book about Guru Maharaj Ji and his message; rather it is a book about how we need Guru Maharaj Ji and his message. Thus it is not primarily a biography of Guru Maharaj Ji, nor a description of his activities and those of his followers, nor is it an investigation of what in fact his message really is. Although all these are dealt with, they are done so only to the extent that they support and are relevant to the central thesis of this book - that we need that which Guru Maharaj Ji is giving.

Secondly, this theme is pursued in a hopefully easy-to-read style, but it is nevertheless based on a reasoned and fairly rigorous argument. Thus the book is an ambitious attempt to cater for two types of reader at the same time the 'general' (but intelligent) reader, and the 'intellectual' reader.

The existence of this connecting single thread of argument running through the book also means that one cannot select parts from it and read them in isolation from the rest of the book. This is particularly important to note with respect to Part Four, in which Guru Maharaj Ji and his message are briefly discussed, but only in connection with what has gone before.

London 1974


    Part One - The Problem: A World Of Difference

    1 - The Starting Point - "Unpeace"

    Most people die before they are born. Our physical birth, in the conventional sense of the term, is but the start of a continuous process of being born, which is seldom completed before we die.

    The change from the womb to the outside world at the age of 9 months is certainly important, and often dramatic; but nevertheless it leaves the infant unchanged in many respects. The baby is as completely dependent as it was in the womb for outside assistance, requiring to be fed, protected and looked after completely. But the process of birth has not stopped; as the months and years go by, the baby becomes aware of his surroundings, learns to react to them and to co-ordinate his movements. In doing this the baby dies, and the child is born. He learns to talk, and begins to understand relationships between human beings, and the relationships between himself and his environment; and in so doing his childhood gives birth to youth. Then is learnt love and the power of reasoning; and youth gives birth to adulthood. But the process of birth does not stop there; for every situation we find ourselves in forces us at some point to change and evolve.

    We are unable to live static and immobile lives, but are impelled to continually grow and develop, always being born to new forms of consciousness, fresh understandings and different states of being.

    We live constantly in a condition of unrest, which is sometimes very violent and yet at other times remarkably gentle. Every action we make, from the flicker of an eyelid to writing a lengthy philosophical thesis, is born out of the conflicts of a changing situation, either biological, psychological, or social. Nothing ever remains totally satisfactory for us for very long; whenever we think we are completely content, it is the very nature of our human condition that discontent creeps in, and we find ourselves forced to take action, to do something, to become a little bit more born.

    This is particularly true in our own time. Boredom, monotony and loneliness all take their toll; philosophers are beginning to call this age, the age of meaninglessness.[1] Our culture seems to have been running at a heavy loss for at least a hundred years, and we see ourselves depersonalised, living in the inhuman world of concrete jungles. There is in our society a great urge to escape - we try to lose ourselves in drink, drugs, television, hooliganism and any one of thousands of diversions and pastimes manufactured for us and enticingly dangled in front of our noses.

    For man can be said to have two natures, animal and human, which are like two opposite ends of a continuous spectrum of his behaviour.[2] In respect to his body, man belongs to the animal kingdom; and like the animals, he is compelled to act by powers beyond his control - hunger, thirst, self-preservation, sex etc. Animal existence is in itself one of complete harmony with the environment; for although the animal is often threatened and forced to fight for its survival, it lives in full accord with its animal nature. Thus in not interfering with its animal intelligence by conscious craving or aversion, it allows free play to the deep-rooted laws of its own being which equip it perfectly for the conditions it meets.

    But man has a whole new dimension of existence from the animals, in the sense that he is aware of himself. This self-awareness, coupled with the powers of reasoning and imagination, goes to constitute his human nature, which makes man act in that conscious, determined and controlled fashion which is totally un-animal-like. This is not to say that the higher animals cannot sometimes be free from their instinctive nature; for instance, in the face of pain or death, an animal seems to choose of its own free-will whether to put up a frenzied resistance, or accept serenely its fate. But even if some of the higher animals do on occasions appear to take a few hesitating steps from the extreme pole of animal nature towards the pole of human nature, the demarcation between the animal and the human is clear.

    The possession of a human nature has turned man into a freak of the universe; for while his animal nature fixes him in this physical world and keeps him subject to its laws, his human nature forces him to realise the limitations of his existence and drives him out of that harmony with life which blesses the animal's behaviour. We cannot live static and immobile lives because of this inner contradiction between the animal and the human nature, which is forever causing us to seek a new equilibrium - a new harmony to replace the lost animal harmony.

    Emerson once said that every man is as lazy as he dares to be;[3] but it is not that we do not dare, it is that we do not care to be lazy. We could all be a lot lazier than we actually are. The ultimate limits on laziness are set by our animal nature; we must find food, escape injury, obtain clothing and shelter etc. The chair I am sitting in, while comfortable an hour ago, is now beginning to become uncomfortable, and soon physical discontent will force me to move. All of us are continually being goaded, like the animals, into motion and activity by the relentless working of our biological laws.

    But even when our animal needs are satisfied, we remain (unlike the animals) dissatisfied and restless due to our human nature, which still prevents us from being lazy. Having been ejected from the animal paradise, we have to live this self-conscious human life step by step and not live a "blissful sub-rational eternity on the hither side of good and evil," as Aldous Huxley put it.[4] Indeed, life has been defined as a continual exercise in problem-solving, but unfortunately the solutions we find always turn out to become problems in themselves.

    How man sets about solving these problems, how he contends with the discord of his two natures, and how he faces up to the necessity of continual evolving and birth from conflict to conflict is really one question. All passions and strivings, philosophies and religions, insanity and strife, culture and life-styles are attempts to find an answer. The basic choice we have is whether to go backwards or forwards; to reject the human nature and try to live in our animal nature, or vice versa.

    But unfortunately (or fortunately) we can never regain that animal harmony, that equilibrium and unity with the environment which can only be attained by non-reasoning and non-self-conscious creatures. As soon as Adam and Eve obtained their human nature by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then animal paradise became an impossibility, and the flaming sword has kept all at bay since. Trying to return to the animal harmony is an answer that does not work, though many have tried it. One example is Ernest Hemingway, whose answer was "live like a caveman; think as little as possible; make the best of food, sex and the primitive sports. Above all, avoid thinking."[5] His chronic alcoholism, leading to suicide, shows at least that his answer was sincere; but few people would say he was a happy and contented man, who had solved life's problems adequately. For although a philosophy of complete despair (eg pessimism or nihilism) leading ultimately to drug or drunken unconsciousness or suicide, is a logical way of solving the problem of the animal/human dichotomy, few people would regard it as being acceptable.

    The early psychologists, from Darwin to Freud, looked to the animal end of the spectrum of man's nature as well, in an attempt to find the mechanism which prods us to action. Everything was explained in terms of 'instinct', which was a conveniently vague notion that we act as we do because we cannot help it, ie we act from our animal nature (as we have defined the term). McDougall's list of seven basic instincts was one of the most influential, but the craze for discovering (or inventing) instincts was such that by 1924 at least 849 separate instincts had been proposed. Freud resolutely cut this number down to two - the destructive instinct and sex ('Eros'). Then the instincts were explained on purely physiological principles (a process called 'homeostasis'), but it has now been shown that the theory of instincts is only a partially successful interpretation. In other words, we must not forget the human nature.[6]

    In the position of fluctuating insecurity we are in, the other alternative is to consciously look to the human nature as opposed to the animal nature. This has resulted in religion, philosophy, art, science, literature and culture in general. Culture can be defined as that which is handed down from generation to generation by means other than hereditary, and thus includes speech, writing and building amongst other things. So 'culture' is a convenient concept to associate with the uniqueness of man's position and his non-animal human nature.[7]

    However, the position is not really as simple as this. In practice, the animal and human natures are mixed up to an inextricable degree, and it is very difficult to ignore one totally. The gourmet attempts to achieve a subtle synthesis between the bodily hunger of his animal nature and the self-conscious 'style' of his human nature; the soldier on the battlefield is faced with the animal nature screaming for self-preservation and the insistence of the human nature on self-sacrificing courage and patriotism. Even the person who turns his face wholly to his human nature finds his animal nature tugging at his heels, and likewise the most dedicated advocate of the animal nature must use some gifts of the human nature (such as reasoning) to achieve his end.

    The struggle of man to extricate himself from an inextricable position leads to much suffering. In the world today pain and misery, confusion and fear, and lack of peace and harmony in man's mind and in his environment are widespread and obvious. The news media churn out an avalanche of horrific statistics on violence, drug abuse, pollution, poverty and mental illness; harrowing photographs of starving children with bloated stomachs, or of a nameless individual being shot or bayonetted in any one of the innumerable little wars in the world, are commonplace.

    Thus we see that man is really the victim of quite a predicament; his animal nature acts through discomfort and physical pain to prompt him to action, his human nature acts through mental pain and his intellect to force him to action, and the two natures combine to produce a situation of endless conflict and tension, which compel him to search unceasingly for harmony and peace.

    This can be regarded as the most general formulation of the central question which mankind has to answer, collectively and individually; that is - how to find Peace? We spell it with a capital 'P' to show that we mean peace at all levels, at all times and in all situations; a Peace which includes tranquillity for the individual, and harmony in society and between societies.

    For peace (small 'p') is only one aspect of Peace (big 'P'), and establishing peace is only a small task compared to finding Peace. In fact we have not done too well in even obtaining peace; it has been shown that from 1500 BC till 1360 AD there were 8,000 peace treaties signed, each one designed to secure permanent peace, and each one lasting on average two years.[8]

    The great English philosopher Thomas Hobbes wrote that, "The first and fundamental law of Nature is to seek peace and follow it,"[9] which, provided 'peace' becomes 'Peace', is the starting, point of our investigation.

    The question can be alternatively rephrased as "how to escape Un-peace?" We use the word 'Unpeace' to include all discord, strife, tension, conflict and suffering at all levels and at all times; it describes in the most general way man's position as outlined in this chapter. Building a nuclear submarine or licking one's lips, falling deeply in love or eating toast and marmalade, governing a country or putting on a coat, strangling someone or helping an old lady across the road - they are all actions born from the interaction of the animal and human nature, and are thus attempts to find 'Peace', and escape 'Unpeace'.


    Man, as a society and as an individual, is in constant conflict, tension and suffering, giving rise to a continuous process of adjustment, evolution and 'being born'. This can be thought of as due to man having an animal nature and a human nature, which together place him in a state of unfulfilment and strife. Consciously or unconsciously, we are at all times trying to lessen this 'Unpeace', and trying to find perfect harmony, or Peace.

    2 - Separateness

    Man's state of Unpeace is not so much caused by his two natures alone; but rather by their interaction with the world in which he lives. In the last chapter we looked in a very general way at man himself, and before we go on to look at his relationship with the world in Part Two, we will spend the rest of Part One examining the world itself of which we are part.

    Now the world as we see it can best be summarised as a world of difference; for all around us at all levels we see difference. Of course in one sense this is very obvious. If we saw no difference between, say, a door and a wall, we could never enter a house or leave a room except by luck. We see objects in this physical world as different from one another; on my desk, the telephone, the typewriter, the pen, the calendar and the lamp are all different, and it is only by recognising this difference that I can telephone someone or write this book. If I saw no difference, then there would be nothing to stop me trying to ring someone up with the pen or trying to write this book with the calendar.

    But the difference in this world can be pursued on a much deeper level than that, and in this chapter we begin by considering spatial difference, or differentiation in space - ie separateness. Again, the physical separateness of everyday objects is obvious; if they were not separate, or able to be separate, then nothing could be done. I could not open the drawer of my desk, turn on the light, cut the piece of bread or even get out of my chair if the objects mentioned were not separable from one another. In fact, all movement depends on separateness, since motion implies that one object is moving relative to the other, and thus that the two objects are separate.

    One of the triumphs of modern science, especially physics, is that it has highlighted the separateness inherent in this universe. Take, for instance, this piece of paper I am writing on. It appears to my naked eyes to be one object - a unity. But if I look at the paper under a magnifying glass, then it no longer appears uniform; I see fibres in the paper, running this way and that, all separate from each other. If I discard my magnifying glass for a powerful microscope I see more separateness and multiplicity in the form of cells etc. Eventually, through much theory and indirect observation, the scientist tells me that really this page is composed of atoms and these atoms are separate identities one from the other. Of course, they are connected to each other to form molecules, and the molecules are connected to one another to form cells and so on, but the atoms are separate identities in the sense that they are separable. The cells can be broken down into their constituent molecules, and the molecules can in turn be broken down into their constituent atoms.

    The atomic structure of matter is one of the greatest discoveries of science. Matter, that is any material object in this universe, is thought by science to be composed of atoms. These atoms are incredibly small (there are about one thousand trillion trillion atoms in a pinhead, ie more than the number of grains of sand in the world) [1] and they can be thought of as minute particles which group together to form an object. Thus according to physics, all matter in this universe is composed of these minute and separate (or separable) particles.

    In fact, even atoms are not units or particles themselves but are composed of even smaller particles, electrons and nuclei. And even the nucleus of an atom is not a unity, but consists of a whole collection of separate particles (protons, neutrons, mesons and all kinds of sub-nuclear particles discovered in high energy particle accelerators).

    This technique of science of breaking down the world into smaller and smaller bits can be summarised by the term 'analysis'. Analysis is study through separateness; it is the dividing of the 'whole' into separate parts, and examining those parts and the relationships between them. Analysis thus requires the assumption that the parts have an individual existence one from the other, and can be investigated in isolation - ie that they belong to the world of difference and separateness.

    The word 'analysis' comes from the Greek 'luo' meaning loose, suggesting the loosening of the whole into its constituent parts, and thus sums up very neatly the activities of the scientist. If science has a motto, it should be "divide and conquer," for it is through the separation of the physical world into smaller and smaller bits that science attains its success.

    But not only do we find separateness on the microscopic level, but also when we turn to the very big. Our planet is separate from the other eight planets which whirl round the Sun. The Sun is separate from all the other hundred billion stars which comprise our galaxy,[2] and our galaxy is separate from the other galaxies and nebulae our telescopes see speeding through space.

    So as we look at Nature in her minuteness we see separateness, if we view Nature in her vastness we see separateness; and, of course, if we go to the middle and look at the human level, we see separateness. Human bodies are separate from each other just as all other objects are, from atoms to galaxies. And surely it is not too fanciful to suggest that it is with this spatial separateness that other forms of separateness are connected.

    For man's animal nature makes him identify himself with his body, so that he 'himself', his 'mind' or seat of consciousness is, he thinks, somehow inside his body. We have seen that we act and think so as to escape Unpeace and find harmony with ourselves and the world; and in practice we do so via actions or thoughts, which are obviously both dependent upon our having a body.

    So our body is that physical body with which we are most acquainted and with which we are most attached. The loss of the body, physical death, is the final and ultimate catastrophe for most of us. A man will surrender all his possessions, all his wealth, even the clothes he stands up in, if by so doing he can avoid death. For he enjoys his possessions, his wealth, through his body, and if his body is going to be stripped from him then he will count his possessions as of no value.

    So if I see this most precious and intimate physical object, 'my' body, as being separate from other bodies, surely this will influence greatly my behaviour, towards other bodies and their 'inhabitants'. For from viewing other people and the environment as separate from oneself in physical and spatial terms, it is an easy step to view them as separate from oneself in non-physical terms.

    Separateness From The Environment

    Let us consider first man's separateness from his environment.

    Amongst rural and peasant communities, man feels very close to the soil and to the wild life which surrounds him; but the vast majority of us nowadays have become totally alienated from a natural environment. We live in 'concrete jungles' with our food coming in plastic wrappings. We are not only separate from a natural environment in spatial terms, but also in our way of thinking; we are no longer in sympathy with the 'flow' of Nature.

    And of course once a feeling of separateness is allowed to form, we no longer feel a regard or love for the environment. This is most obvious in the problems of pollution which have plagued man ever since he left the land for the industrial cities, and became separated from his natural surroundings.

    What else other than a deep feeling of separateness from our planet can make it man's "apparent intention to damage beyond repair the ecosystems which sustain him,"[3] as one eminent professor said. Another ecologist has said, "continual pollution of the earth, will eventually destroy the fitness of this planet as a place for human life." [4]

    Such is the disregard we hold for the environment as a whole, that global suicide seems a real possibility, and we have realised (hopefully not too late) that in fact it is a dangerous business to think ourselves separate from the earth. If we manage to escape enveloping ourselves in a nuclear holocaust, prophets of doom inform us that we may freeze to death [5], or possibly even be heated to death. We may suffocate through lack of oxygen, or be poisoned by an excess of DDT; we can suffer a disaster through a nuclear power station accident, or crowd ourselves off this planet in a population explosion.[7]

    Separateness From Others

    From seeing what separateness from the environment leads to, let us now look at our separateness from other human beings. This undoubtedly causes the most suffering and Unpeace in this world, for if we feel separate from others in a non-physical sense, then we have no alternative but to act selfishly. However much I realise that it is my duty to feel brotherly love and compassion for my neighbour, if I always look at him in terms of separateness then my love will be very shallow.

    Separateness of man from man is surely the basis of aggression, competitiveness, war, and much violence and delinquency in this world, leading to all the suffering of man caused by man. An obvious example is that of racial conflict, where one man distrusts and even hates another due to the most superficial differences, such as the pigmentation of the skin. It surely is no coincidence that in many languages the word for 'stranger' and the word for 'enemy' are identical.

    Indeed, it is a common observation that while man's human nature can take him far, far above the animals in terms of justice, compassion, gentleness etc, it can also (and often does) drag man far, far below the animals in terms of hatred, ferocity and cruelty. For human nature includes in itself free-will, that power of choice which we use to decide how to answer the question of Unpeace. If we want to paint a black picture of what man's separateness from his fellow creatures can achieve, it is not difficult.

    It has been calculated on a computer that in the last five and a half thousand years, 14,531 wars have been fought, and they have killed 3,640 million people, and that in that time the world has only known 362 peaceful years.[8]

    Atrocities are plentiful, especially in our own century, with Hitler killing six million Jews and Stalin's purge of the late 1930's, where over five million were kept in barbaric prison camps.[9] Less well known, but no less barbaric, are such atrocities as over three hundred thousand men, women and children murdered over the last few years in Burundi;[10] over two hundred and fifty thousand in Bangladesh; [10] and of course the horrors of Vietnam where, amongst other things, political prisoners have nails driven into their leg joints so they can never walk again.[11]

    Mankind shows up no better in his relationship with animals. One hundred and fifty species are known to have vanished in the past three centuries, and two hundred and forty are very near extinction, all due (directly or indirectly) to man.[12] For instance, in one year (1971), 245,000 snow white seal pups were clubbed to death in one country (Canada).[13]

    Our resources are geared to destruction. The United States spends 55 percent of its income on military research and development, and in 1973 was producing three hydrogen warheads a day.[14] Between them, Russia and the United States will have in 1975 nuclear stock-piles equivalent to seventy tons of TNT for every man, woman and child on this planet,[14] let alone the potential for destruction from 'conventional' explosives, and from chemical and biological weapons.

    Famine and poverty are rife. There are 500 million people in the world suffering from acute hunger and malnutrition, and food is scarce generally in the Far East. World stocks of grain are so low that there is no security against crop failure.[15] Yet the world's wealth is grossly unevenly spread; a western business man earns more in one month than a Cambodian peasant does in his life time.[16] It is as if human nature can either choose to lessen separateness, or else to increase it. The urge to increase separateness, the craving for an independent an individualised existence, can exist on many levels of life, and leads to all manifestations of non-love, from gossip and petty selfishness to barbaric atrocities.

    Of course, the urge to decrease separateness is also present, and little has been said in this chapter about the connection and affinity that invariably exist between the various objects (atoms, stars, human beings) that we have considered as being separate. For instance, it is the affinity of various atoms for one another that enables them to combine and form molecules, and so causes the wonderful array of substances in the world; and while man's feeling of separateness is the root cause of much suffering, his affinity with other human beings leads to much that is loving and noble, and to his exhibiting qualities which tend to reduce suffering, such as mercy, compassion, gentleness and tolerance. But nevertheless, differentiation and separateness are more basic, since any unity we perceive is in terms of difference or separateness.

    For instance, although the physicist can regard the lump of metal he is looking at as a unit, he does so in terms of separation and difference; for he must see it as a collection of atoms, the essentially distinct building blocks with which he is concerned. Likewise, although the social scientist can regard the society he is viewing as a unit, he does so in terms of its being a collection of individuals, the distinct building blocks with which he is concerned. And a collection is an assembly or group of essentially separate or distinct entities, in the sense that although the entities might not be regarded as separate, they are certainly separable, or able to be separated.

    This argument can also be applied to those who maintain that the activity of science is not only analysis (as was maintained earlier in this chapter) but also synthesis. After all, while no-one would deny that science divides, breaks down, classifies and separates (ie analyses) it also builds up and unites (synthesises). But any synthesis can only be achieved in terms of the essentially distinct 'parts' which prior analysis have separated so that in fact analysis is more basic, and the concept of separateness must precede and underlie any concept of unity held in science. (This is dealt with in more detail in Chapter 8).

    The Roman statesman and philosopher Seneca says, "The whole concord of the world consists in discord," [17] which is echoed by the social psychologist Erich Fromm, who holds that separateness amongst mankind is so basic that it can even account for social cohesion. "Human relations," he says, "Are essentially those of alienated automatons, each basing his security on staying close to the herd, and not being different in thought, feeling or action. While everybody tries to be as close as possible to the rest, everybody remains utterly alone, pervaded by the deep sense of insecurity, anxiety and guilt which always results when human separateness cannot be overcome.[18]

    Today, many people hope that mankind's problems can be overcome by some political system. But surely no political system can eradicate suffering and oppression as long as we still view each other in terms of separateness. As an old Polish joke goes: "Comrade pupil, what is the difference between Capitalism and Socialism?" "Comrade teacher, Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man. Under Socialism this relationship is completely reversed!"

    Separateness From Ourselves

    The scientist dealing with the nature of matter considers the atom to be the fundamental building-block of the universe. This is in some ways analogous to the position of the social scientist, who regards society as also id being constructed of building-blocks, called individuals. Both 'a-tomic' and 'in-dividual' mean 'unsplittable', the one from Greek and the other from Latin; and both types of scientist have to reckon with the fact that their 'unsplittable' building-blocks are in fact very splittable. The atom has long since dissolved into a complex arrangement of esoteric sub-nuclear particles; and of course the individual (ie you and me) can be divided up into categories in a number of ways.

    One is the way in which we instinctively separate conceptually the various faculties of man, just as we separate the sciences and the professions. A man is a singer or an engineer; physics is a science in its own right; this peace of verse is a lyric. We tend to classify all phenomena we meet, so creating the separateness born of different categories. Often 'knowledge' is merely our capacity to read the labels efficiently. For instance, if I say of some one, "He is a Communist," I have put that person in a separate category which implies a naive simplicity about him, and which can cause much misunderstanding, as we see all too often. It implies that there is a neat, sharp definition of 'Communist' which can be equally implied to all; it implies that he will act the way we think communists act, in all situations and at all times.

    Apart from classifying the various faculties in an individual, and seeing him composed as a collection of several separate bits, we can also see that physical illness is involved with separateness. For any functional or organic disorder in the body can be regarded as a result of a part of the body, from cell to organ, intensifying its separateness from the body as a whole. For when part of the organism acts as if it wishes to accentuate its partial life as distinct and separate from the life of the organism as a whole, then it does so at the expense of the animal harmony the organism is in. (It is in this sense that political philosophers have often likened society or the state to a human body, eg Hobbes' Leviathan).

    A third context in which we can talk of someone being separate from himself is that of mental illness. By far the most common complaint is schizophrenia, which literally means 'separate mind'; but there is much talk now amongst psychologists (especially existential psychologists[19]) of the need to understand the 'whole man' and to 'integrate' the intellectual, emotional, physical and psychic energies, which it is felt are separated from one another.[20] Thus all forms of mental suffering, in as much as they are due to a disintegration of the personality or, in our terms, an intensified conflict in the animal or human natures or both, can be regarded as separateness from oneself.

    The statistics on mental illness are staggering. One in six females and one in nine males are at some points in their lives in-patients in a psychiatric ward. In Britain in 1972, one third of N.H.S. hospital beds (that is over 100,000) were occupied by the mentally ill, and one quarter were occupied by related cases (ie alcoholics, drug addicts and those in emotional distress). There are also over one million attendances at psychiatric day hospitals in Britain each year[21].

    The final admission that mental suffering is as real and harsh as physical suffering can be found in the statistics and parting notes of suicides the world over. What hell must people be suffering to find death a better alternative to life? Over a thousand people take their own lives every day.[22] In England alone, 10,000 people are reckoned to have committed suicide in 1972 [23] and 50,000 made a serious attempt.[21] This, incidentally, is further justification of our putting mankind's central question in the form, "How can we find Peace and/or escape Unpeace?" For while it is often held that man's primary instinct is that of survival or self-preservation, the fact of suicide shows that if Unpeace gets beyond a certain point, a person will kill himself. In other words, Peace is more precious than life.

    Apart from straight suicide, millions of people live in a state of so-called 'chronic suicide', where a person takes two sleeping pills twice a day for years rather than two hundred at once. People will take any available steps to deaden their consciousness to the pressures of our 'civilised' life,[22] to escape from the overwhelming sense of separateness which seems to manifest at all levels.


    The predominant quality we see in this world is that of difference. This chapter has dealt with difference in space and feeling, ie separateness. Not only do we see physical objects as commonly separate or separable from each other (which often results from analyses and scientific activity), but also man sees himself as separate from his environment, other people and himself. This leads to much selfishness, misery and suffering of all kinds, ie Unpeace. Any affinity or unity we see lessens the effect of separateness, but is nevertheless less fundamental than the essential separateness, since we can only perceive unity as a collection of basically separate entities.

    3 - Change

    "There is nothing that stands fast, nothing fixed, nothing free from change among the things which come into being" [1] These words were written many thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, and though they say that everything is changing, there is one thing that has not changed in all that time - the fact of change itself. This leads us on to consider another basic aspect of difference - difference in time, ie change.

    Change is, like separateness, inseparable from the world; nothing stays the same for ever. This book, for instance, appeared in the form you now see it at a particular time in the past. It is now slowly undergoing change, getting dirtier and more used, and there will come a time when it will no longer exist as a book. Either it will be burnt, torn up or maybe it will just decompose; you cannot say how it will be destroyed, but it is nevertheless certain that it will be destroyed at some point in the future.

    This is true of everything. The Alps are transient. They came into existence at a certain point in time, and they will vanish at a certain point in time. There is one physical object the transience and changing of which we are only too well aware - our body. Our body is born, grows, matures, decays and finally dies. Whose body is not subject to this cycle? The best we can hope for is that this chain proceeds smoothly and evenly, but such is the impermanence and transience of the body that very often it does not. Most people experience at least one major illness or injury to their body in their life, and the vast majority of us have intermittent minor ailments and bodily upsets. In fact, it is only through recognition that the body is perishable do we survive at all. If we did not recognise our transience, and thought the body to be indestructible, then we would have no survival instincts and we would walk cheerfully over cliffs and under buses.

    Not only is the body as an entity changeable, but of course also the constituents of the body. As Walter De La Mere says: "It's a very odd thing - As odd as can be - That whatever Miss T eats Turns into Miss T." [2]

    Whether or not we accept the doctrine of reincarnation, the fact is that we have been literally 'reincarnated' many times in our present lifetime. The body converts our intake of raw materials (food, air and water) into complex molecules which continually renew our bodies. "Whatever Miss T eats" turns not only into Miss T, but into a rebuilt and changed Miss T. Every day, 500 billion cells in the body die and are replaced.[3] Skin, blood, muscle, flesh and even bone are continually renewed.[4] After about six months we will have had a complete turnover of material.[5]

    When this continuous change in the body goes wrong, then we get physical illness and also ageing. (The most favourite scientific theory of ageing - the 'Error Catastrophe Theory' - holds that cellular ageing occurs because the protein production in the body goes wrong. These errors are self-magnifying, and in the end there are so any defective molecules that the cellular metabolism breaks down.[6])

    But there is no need to look to modern science to see that growing old is a process of change. After the child-bearing age, the human body degenerates in a very obvious fashion: the hair turns grey and thins out; the skin begins to dry, crease and blotch; the muscles become flabby; teeth and bones become brittle; the heart pumps less blood; the arteries harden; the senses become less keen. Brain cells die at a rate of 100,000 per day after the age of thirty five and are never replaced.[7] In other words the body changes, causing Unpeace in terms of illness, disease, old-age and death.

    Modern science shows that this constant flow of change is operating at every level of the universe.[14] Nothing is stationary; everything is in motion and changing from one form to another. This is true of atoms and stars, amoeba and man, electrons and galaxies.

    Consider the glass of water that is on my desk. The water looks very still and placid, with no evidence of motion or change. But if I look at it through a microscope, then I will see the small particles of dust and any bacteria present moving in a haphazard and quite violent fashion. In other words, there is motion, and wherever there is motion there must be change; after all, motion just means a change in position. This particular motion is called Brownian motion, and it is in fact due to the motion of the molecules of water. We have seen earlier how all matter is composed of molecules, which are just little groups of atoms. No matter what the temperature, these molecules are in motion. They vibrate and rush around, and the hotter the substance is, the faster its molecules move.

    And sometimes they move very fast; for instance, at normal everyday temperatures a molecule of oxygen in the air moves at about one quarter of a mile per second.[8] The molecules in my glass of water are not moving quite that fast (though they would if the water were boiling), but they are still going very rapidly; and of course they bump into each other very often (many millions of times a second).[8] And it is this violent motion of the molecules which causes the little specks of dust etc in the water to jiggle around in the Brownian motion.

    But we can go further than this. The atoms comprising any molecule are vibrating and spinning around, so that a molecule itself is continually changing its form and shape as well rushing about at high speed. And going to even smaller dimensions, as we have seen, an atom is composed of particles which are also moving. The electrons which orbit the nucleus do so at a speed of about 500 miles per second, and remembering that their orbit is only about 4 billionths of an inch in radius, then the electron orbits the nucleus about a million billion times a second.

    If we go even deeper into an atom and look at the nucleus, we find that the particles there, such as protons and neutrons, are moving at the fantastic speeds of about 60,000 miles per second, that is one third of the speed of light. Such speeds are incredible, and when we think that such particles are confined to the nucleus, which is on average about one tenth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter, the resulting motion is beyond our imagination.

    So our still and limpid glass of water disappears on closer instruction, and we find that it is undergoing internal motion and change with immense violence and vehemence. And, according to quantum mechanics, this is true of all matter, however quiet and still it appears to be. "The stillness in stillness is not the real stillness," as an old Chinese scripture says, very accurately.[9] (Note that the foundation of Chinese thought is a work entitled 'I Ching,' meaning Book of Changes.) Of course, if the water was old and stagnant, or from a pond, it would be teeming with life and there would be continual change and movement of amoeba and bacteria etc in it.

    And not only do we see internal change in the water, but of course the water itself is changeable - it is transient just like this book or the Alps mentioned above. Some time in the past it was undoubtedly in the form of vapour in the clouds; if I put it out of doors tonight then it will become ice. And not only does the water have a transient existence in this world, but also the glass it is in, the desk it is now on, and in fact everything we can conceive of.

    We have seen that when we look to the very minute we see violent change and rapid motion; in the same way, when we look to the very vast we see the same. The stars are in a process of change, undergoing birth, growth, decay and death. It is thought that they originate when clouds of interstellar 'dust' condense due to gravity, and thereafter they go through many changes. 'Our' star, the Sun, is very normal and average, and is about in the middle of its career. A star sometimes dies very dramatically, exploding and becoming many millions of times more luminous than the Sun, whence it is known as a supernova. Usually a star dies when its nuclear field has all been burnt up, and it then collapses under its own gravity, to form a 'white dwarf', a neutron star or even to vanish altogether to leave a black hole in space. (This is discussed further in Chapter 6.)

    Stars group together to form galaxies (an average galaxy like our own containing a hundred billion stars) and these galaxies are also moving and changing. In fact, in the centre of our own comparatively peaceful galaxy, it has been recently shown [10] that such violence and change is going on as is equivalent in energy to the mass of a thousand suns being annihilated each year. Furthermore, galaxies tend to group together to form galactic clusters, which are usually about a hundred million trillion miles in diameter. These clusters are also continually changing form, and are also in motion relative to each other, so that even on the largest scale imaginable we still see that our universe is in a continual process of change.

    So there is change everywhere, from the smallest to the largest. Of course the time scale varies greatly, from the millionth of a billionth of a second it takes an electron to circle a nucleus to the twenty billion years this universe has existed with the life of a human body in between lasting on average a few decades. But the message is still the same: nothing is permanent, everything from the smallest to the biggest is changing.

    In considering the change in human society, it is interesting to note that in the present time this appears to be accelerating vastly. "Until this century", C. P. Snow writes, social change was "so slow that it would pass unnoticed in one person's lifetime. That is no longer so. The rate of change has increased so much that our imagination can't keep up." [11] This was taken as a thesis for Alvin Toffler's book 'Future Shock',[12] where he shows that social change is so dramatic that we can suffer disorientation and culture shock due to the rapid change of society and the environment. He defines 'future shock' as the 'disease of change', and shows that its victims can suffer not only psychologically, but also physically.

    Just one example of the increase of social change is that of the growth of cities. In 1850, there were only 4 cities in the world with a population in excess of one million. By 1900 there were 19, and in 1960 there were 141.13. Today world urban population is increasing at a rate of 6.5 per cent per year,[14] which means a doubling of the earth's urban population every eleven years. One very striking way of expressing the recent rapid change in society is to note that "if the last 50,000 years of man's existence were divided into lifetimes of about 62 years, then there have been 800 such lifetimes. Of these 800, fully 650 were spent in caves.

    "Only during the last 70 lifetimes has it been possible to communicate effectively from one lifetime to another - as writing made it possible to do so. Only during the last 6 lifetimes did masses of men ever see a printed word. Only during the last 4 has it been possible to measure time with any precision. Only in the last 2 has anyone anywhere used an electric motor. And the overwhelming majority of all the material goods we use in daily life today have been developed within the present, the 800th lifetime." [15] Thus it is that a middle-aged man can write, "The world of today...is as different from the world in which I was born as that world was from Julius Caesar's. I was born in the middle of human history...Almost as much has happened since I was born as happened before."[16] Such a changing situation can obviously lead to severe forms of Unpeace.

    Aldous Huxley has pointed out that by living entirely in thoughts of change, whereby we are always hankering after something in the future or reminiscing about something in the past, we are forced to treat time with excessive seriousness. The danger of this is that if we think the answer to the fundamental question of Peace and Unpeace lies in the temporal world (ie in some Utopia in the future), then we tend to feel justified in making use of any temporal means to achieve it. "From the records of history it seems to be abundantly clear that most of the religions and philosophies which take time too seriously are correlated with political theories that inculcate and justify the use of large-scale violence." Such examples are the Inquisition, the Crusades and the 'religious' wars of all times, the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks and of course Hitler.[17]

    Not only are all material things and human relations continually changing, but also our states of consciousness. In 24 hours we pass through the waking, dreaming and deep sleep (unconscious) states, and of course in the waking and dreaming states our moods, thoughts and feelings are always changing. This, coupled with the transience of all situations and objects, was the setting which in Chapter 1 we saw lead to the necessity for continual adjustment and change in mind (thinking) and body (action), and which we can envisage as continuous becoming or birth. In this chapter, however, we have been dealing with change as a quality of the world, rather than as a feature of our own being.

    The first western philosopher to announce categorically that everything is always changing was Heraclitus, who lived at Ephesus in Greece in about 500 BC. He held that the only permanent thing is the law of change itself; two of his best known sayings being, "The Sun is new every day," and "You cannot step twice into the same river; for fresh waters a are ever flowing in upon you." [18] A later disciple of this philosophy, Cratylus, took it to its limit. He held that nothing then can have any meaning, and that in fact one cannot even step into the same river once, because by the time one has stepped into it, it has changed. It is said that when Cratylus was spoken to, he merely wiggled his finger to indicate he had heard; he held it was futile to reply since the words, the meanings, the listener and the whole situation would all change before his response was finished.[19] Whether Cratylus took this extreme position seriously, I do not know.

    The point is that although everything is changing, much of the change is at a slow enough rate for us to disregard it in practice. Although the Sun is new (ie has changed) every day, nevertheless it is constant enough for our needs, and will be for the next few billion years. Although my car is transient, for instance, and I know it to be slowly rusting and deteriorating, I can still use it even though it is changing and will one day end up in the scrap-yard. However, the knowledge that one day my precious car will end its existence as a car, can lead to considerable Unpeace. For change and transience generate insecurity; although my car may last five years, it might break down or be in a crash tomorrow, and so I will always worry about it to the same extent that I look to it for happiness.

    Insecurity and worry are, of course, common forms of Unpeace. The observation that all is changing is painful, and the search for something permanent and constant is one of the deepest instincts of mankind, and is one form of the general search for Peace we are all engaged in. Science indeed holds that some entities are permanent, (called 'fundamental constants'), such as the speed of light in a vacuum, but even they are changing in the view of many eminent physicists.[20] Change seems to be inescapable.


    This chapter has dealt with that aspect of the world called change - difference in time. All material objects, including atoms, bodies, stars and the entire universe are always changing; as are also our states of consciousness and society, the latter changing in this generation faster than ever before. Apart from the Unpeace arising out of change which was mentioned in Chapter 1, there are two other broad causes of Unpeace found in this chapter:
    1) By looking forward to a state of Peace arising from change, temporal means are used to attempt to achieve it, and violence often ensues.
    2) By looking to changing objects and situations for Peace, we feel insecure on account of their transience.

    4 - Duality

    The final aspect of this world of difference we will consider is difference of quality - what we can term 'duality'.

    A little reflection will probably convince most people that however much satisfaction or pleasure they obtain from any particular experience, that satisfaction was not total. There was room for more still. For instance, however peaceful you were at some past time, you will probably admit that there was, in theory at least, the possibility of more peace. When we are experiencing great peace or satisfaction, we often speak as if it were total or complete ("I couldn't wish for anything better."), but this is surely just 'hyperbole', a natural tendency to exaggerate or overstate. The same is true of dissatisfaction: although we often say of something unpleasant or dissatisfying, "it couldn't be worse," if we examine the situation dispassionately then we will always find that it could, in some manner, be worse.

    Every experience we have in this world gives us a mixture of content and discontent. This is an example of what philosophers call the duality of the world, or the difference of quality; the fact that everything we experience has an opposite. Sometimes we feel hot, sometimes we feel cold. Every quality seems to come in pairs. Black and white, big and small, love and hate, up and down, night and day, male and female, light and darkness, in and out, life and death; these are just a few examples of the duality we find in this world.

    "All things go in pairs, one the opposite of the other," as it says in Ecclesiasticus.[1] For nothing can be experienced except in relation to its opposite; we could have no conception of light if it were not for darkness, no notion of 'up' if it were not for 'down', etc. Nothing is completely one thing; to belong to the world of difference, anything we are aware of must be mixed and inextricably entwined with its counterpart, otherwise it would be impossible for us to experience it. (This view has its origins with Plato.) Given this duality of the world as we see it, then we will obviously find it impossible to obtain Peace from it. Maybe we will, get some peace (small 'p'), but because of duality that peace will be mixed with unrest and anxiety, so the result will be, by our definition, Unpeace. For a mixture of satisfaction and dissatisfaction is itself dissatisfying. To find total satisfaction, or Peace, we have to go somewhere where there is no duality and no difference. Considering the basic duality of the animal and human natures in man, this is somewhat of a problem. In fact, this problem of how to go beyond the duality and difference in the world and so find Peace is the main concern of this book.

    It is interesting to note that our language seems to recognise the inherent unsatisfactoriness of duality, as Aldous Huxley has pointed out. Very often it is the case that a word employing the root meaning 'two' (such as 'dual'-ity') connotes badness. For instance, the Latin prefix 'dis-' (as in 'disaster', 'disagreeable', 'discord', 'discontent', 'disability', 'distaste', etc) comes from 'duo', the Latin for two. The French cognate 'bis' gives pejorative sense to such French words as 'bevue' (meaning 'blunder', literally 'two-sight' as in 'di-vision'). Traces of the unsatisfactoriness of duality (literally 'two-ness') can be found in 'dubious' and 'doubt', for to doubt is to be double minded. Indeed, the key word of this first part of the book, 'dif-ference', means literally 'making two' .[2]

    Just for the record, it is worthwhile just to mention briefly a few of the more noteworthy dualities. One is that of cause- and -effect. This is the common-sense notion that anything that happens in our world of difference has both a cause and an effect. Usually there are many causes for something, and that something itself causing many effects. The intricate web of cause-and-effect relationships between all the separate 'things' of this universe is so unimaginably complex that it is obviously utterly impossible to reason it all out, but nevertheless we cannot conceive of something happening which has no cause (nor produces any effect).

    There are some basic dualities in physics, such as space-and-time and matter-and-radiation, which will be dealt with in Chapter 8. In logic there the fundamental duality of 'is' or 'is not'; ie either something is, or it is not - there is no alternative. For instance, either it is true that I am six foot tall, or it is not. There is no compromise. I cannot be six foot tall and five foot at the same time.

    This fundamental axiom of our logic seems obvious from a common-sense standpoint, for in most cases where it appears to break down, it can be shown that it is in fact language which is at fault. For instance, if I make the statement, "Either it is raining, or it is not", someone may reply that in fact it neither is raining, nor is it not raining; it is drizzling. This merely shows that it is unclear whether to define drizzle as 'rain' or 'not rain', but once a precise definition has been made, then my original statement still holds, that it is either raining or it is not. Nothing else.

    In logician's language, this seemingly obvious duality is called 'the law of the excluded middle', and was first formulated by the great, Greek logician and philosopher of the 4th century BC Aristotle. He wrote, "It is impossible for the same thing at the same time to belong and not to belong to the same thing and in the same respect...This, then, is the most certain of all principles."[3] Although most of Aristotle's work has since been shown to be invalid, the law of the excluded middle has always been accepted; it is still "the most certain of all principles," as we should expect it to be if the world is fundamentally one of difference.

    Mind Or Matter?

    To end this chapter and Part One, we will consider in some detail a very fundamental duality - the so-called 'mind/matter' or 'mind/body' problem. Whereas the duality of our animal/human nature is rather a hypothetical model, the mind/matter duality is very real and has led to many bitter battles in philosophical and psychological fields.

    Basically the situation is this: in normal waking consciousness we are aware of two worlds - one is a 'public' or outer world which we share with our fellow beings, and the other is a 'private' or inner world which is different for each person and can only be experienced by the person concerned.

    The public world consists of material objects, physical events and anything which is objective and can be experienced by more than one person; it is the 'matter' part of the duality. The private world consists of mental objects and events, eg thinking, feeling or imagining, and anything which is subjective and can only be experienced at most by one person; it is commonly called 'mind'.

    The mind/matter duality was given its modern formulation, and raised to the status of a 'problem', by the 17th century French mathematician and philosopher, Rene Descartes; but the essential duality of the public and private worlds must have been obvious from the time of the first thinking human being onwards. Descartes held that both mind and matter (or body) exist, but was at a loss to explain how they interact; for how can an utterly non-physical and non-material mind affect a material and gross body? In the end he was obliged to say that, "the union of mind and body is best understood by not thinking about it," as he once wrote in a letter to a princess.[4]

    However, many people since Descartes have thought about it, and the difficulties involved in explaining such an interaction have usually led to deny either the public world of matter and the body, or the private world of the mind. As some wit once remarked, "What is matter? Never mind: What is mind? No matter!" Here we will briefly consider these two possibilities, and also a compromise between them.

    i) Materialism

    First we will look at the view that everything can be explained in terms of matter or the public world only - generally called 'materialism'. (Note that we are using 'materialism' in its philosophical sense, and not in its everyday meaning of someone greedy after material objects, though obviously the two meanings are connected.) Now common sense obviously supports the materialist view that matter exists; if you think a block of concrete Is an illusion then bang your head on it and see if you still think so! But the materialist usually goes further and holds that mind does not exist as distinct from matter, or rather that the private world (mind) can be explained totally in terms of matter, a view known as 'epiphenomenalism'.

    The first thorough-going materialist philosophy in the West was put forward in about 430 BC by two Greeks, Leucippus and Democritus, in a theory called 'Atomism'. They held a totally mechanistic and materialist view of the world, thinking everything was composed of passive and intrinsically lifeless 'atoms' (though their atoms were very different from the atoms of modern science). The next important era of materialism (note that we are still using the term in its philosophical sense) was not until 2,000 years later, in the 17th century; for in that century was the rise of science, when events in the physical world could be explained by materialist laws, largely due to the work of Newton. This initiated a steadily increasing flow of materialist philosophy, through Hobbes, Marx and into modern times; for the stunning successes of the materialist sciences seemed to place matter on top once and for all.

    The tone of modern science was set in 1865, when the great French physiologist Claude Bernard wrote: "I propose to prove that the science of vital (ie living) phenomena must have the same foundation as the science of the phenomena of inorganic bodies, and that there is no difference in this respect between the principles of biological science and those of physicochemical science." [6] The Berlin club of German physiologists at the end of the 19th century stated its manifesto boldly as: "No other forces than the common physical-chemical ones are active within the organism."[7] It would be hard to find a more dogmatic assertion of the materialist viewpoint. Since then, the mark of science has found nothing to contradict this. On the contrary, it has found much to support it. Not only are thinking, emotions and memory explainable (at least in theory) in terms of electrochemical impulses in nerves end synapses, but even life itself is so explainable.

    After all, if a suitable mixture of the gases comprising the earth's early atmosphere is electrified by lightning, then some large molecules will be formed. Some of the molecules could easily be amino-acids (the raw material of proteins) and given more suitable conditions it is believed that living cells could have been formed.[8]

    A powerful experiment to show how life can be explained chemically was performed twenty years ago in 1955, when the two chemicals comprising a virus (protein and deoxyribonucleic acid, called DNA) were separated, thus 'killing' the virus. On remixing the chemicals, living virus was reformed.[9] In fact recently (1970) a living cell was synthesised completely from scratch by combining RNA (ribo-nucleic acid), DNA, proteins and nucleotides.[10]

    Of course, DNA is famous as the chemical responsible for passing on hereditary information. A DNA molecule is large as molecules go - it can sometimes contain up to ten million atoms, whereas a water molecule for instance contains only three atoms. With the discovery in 1953 of the structure of the DNA molecule,[11] it became possible later to account (in theory) for all inherent characteristics in an individual by the genetic code of the DNA molecules in the chromosomes of his parents.[12] Not only that, but since all the cells in a body have the same genetic code as is in the chromosomes, it will be possible to use this fact to produce an identical replica of any human body, thus bypassing sex. This has already been done in carrots and in frogs, and reputable scientists suggest that it could be done for humans in twenty five years time.[13] So where do mind, life and non-physical phenomena in general fit in? Answer - they don't.

    One way of getting rid of the 'mind' part of the minds-matter duality is not to say that 'mind' as an entity does not exist in its own right, but that the whole concept of mind has arisen through faulty thinking. This is the belief of Ryle and other present-day philosophers, who hold that the mind is like a "ghost in the machine" (the machine being our body). If we look for the mind we are like a foreigner watching a game of cricket, who complains that although he can see the ball, bats, wickets and players, he cannot see the team spirit about which he has heard so much.[14] The contemporary philosopher Chomsky does away with 'mind' by saying that whatever we do not understand we simply label 'mind' and whatever we do understand we call 'physical'. This attitude is similar to the Behaviourist schools of psychology, where only public facts (such as objective behaviour or the readings of scientific instruments) are taken into account. 'Mind' is either rejected altogether or ignored as being unsatisfactory to construct a science of psychology with.

    ii) Idealism

    The opposite to the materialist philosophies is idealism, which basically holds, in some form, that the basic element in the nature of reality is mind or consciousness. Common sense obviously supports this to some extent also; after all, in spite of what the materialist tells me, I am aware of many private 'objects' such as thoughts or feelings, and I give them considerably more importance than if they were merely a series of physical occurrences in the brain. If there is really no such thing as mind, then why does a materialist want an anaesthetic before an operation?

    It is also a fact of experience that we have free will. This of course goes against materialism, since if everything is a product of physical causes, then there is no room for free-will. For the brain as a physical system may be described, in principle at least, by the laws of classical mechanics, and these laws admit rigorous prediction (unlike quantum mechanics, which is however irrelevant to a system such as the brain).[15] So according to materialism, the state of my brain now predetermines all my future actions. But nevertheless, I am convinced I have free-will. I can freely choose, for instance, between finishing this sentence and not finishing it.

    Many philosophers have propounded theories of idealism, often leading to the conclusion that in fact matter does not exist at all; everything we are aware of has its root in mind. For it is commonly argued that experience itself is private; ie although I see a pen, which is a public object, the seeing itself is private. Your seeing the pen is private (for you), and there is no way of being certain that you and I are having the same experience. So how can we call the pen a public object? This type of reasoning has led to the idealism of Bishop Berkeley, 'solipsism', the 'subjective idealism' of Fichet and the 'absolute idealism' of Hegel and in more recent times the 'philosophical idealism' of Meinong. Even Plato and Kant are idealists if our definition is stretched far enough.

    Nowadays quite a few scientists, if not idealists, are at least holding that the mind is an identity in its own right and cannot be explained away by materialism. For instance, one internationally renowned brain researcher has stated, "If we are good scientists, we cannot claim that science has already explained the mind"[16] and the world famous biologist C.H. Waddington has said, "...however much we may understand certain aspects of the world, the very fact of existence as we know it in our experience is essentially a mystery." [17]

    iii) Compromising

    The fact that it is intrinsically obvious that we are aware of a public world (matter) and of a private world (mind), leads to an attempt to reconcile materialism and idealism. After all, why can we not have a mind and a body? As the 'father of neurophysiology' Sir Charles Sherrington says, "That our being should consist of two fundamental elements offers, I suppose, no greater inherent improbability than that it should rest on one only."[18] As mentioned previously, the problem arises when we consider how they interact; for interact they do - it is everybody's experience that mind acts on body and body acts on mind. But how? If I shoot someone, then the cause of death will be the bullet, which will in turn be caused by the firing of the gun, which will be caused by my trigger-finger moving, which will in turned be caused by neural activity making my muscles contract. Each link in the chain of cause-and effect is materially explainable; but how does my non-material act of will set in motion the original material cause, such as neural impulses?

    The inability of Descartes to solve this problem satisfactorily led him in practice to disregard the mind and develop an essentially materialist philosophy (he even thought animals to be near machines.)

    Some philosophers (eg Malebranche and Leibniz) held that there is in fact no interaction at all between mind and body - there only appears to be. One of the most successful resolutions of the mind-body duality was put forward by the 17th century philosopher Spinoza, who held that in fact both mind and body are but different aspects of one and same identity; a theory often called the 'dual-aspect' theory, but nowadays called the theory of 'psychoneural identity'. [19] One of its triumphs is that it shows that free-will is not incompatible with the mechanistically physical brain and nervous system that we possess. Briefly, the argument is as follows: the determinists hold that if I know my brain state now, then I can (in principle) calculate my brain states for all future time, so my actions are all predetermined. However, my knowledge of a future brain state will affect my present mental state, and thus also my present brain state, since by the psychoneural identity theory they are the same thing from different viewpoints. Thus; my present brain state is altered to some other brain state which it would not have achieved had the knowledge of the future brain state not been available. Hence the predicted future brain state will not occur, and we have a victory for free will.[20]

    Another theory held by some neurophysiologists [21] is the 'reflector' theory, where it is thought that consciousness exists independently of matter and the nervous system, and is 'reflected' off it; the 'reflected image' of the pure consciousness is our mental state, which is constantly changing and 'impure' due to the changing states of the mirror (ie the nervous system). A similar analogy is to think of the nervous system as a radio which picks up the 'waves' of pure consciousness, amplifying and changing them, and then broadcasts them as our mental states. Of course, any tinkering with the physical brain (ie the mirror or radio) is bound to affect the mental state (ie the reflector or sound) according to this theory. In this respect, all the known phenomena of neurology, whilst seeming to build up evidence for materialism or epiphenomenalism, can be perfectly well explained by the reflector theory.

    The reflector theory also claims to solve the determinist/free-will dichotomy, since the pure consciousness which is responsible for my having free-will also controls the material cause-and-effect chain which is supposed to lead to predetermination. This can be done because in being reflected off the nervous system the pure consciousness presumably affects it somewhat. Erwin Schrodinger, the brilliant modern physicist and discoverer of wave mechanics, holds this view, though he expresses it in a different way. He writes, "...I - I in the widest meaning of the word, that is to say, every conscious mind that has ever said or felt 'I' - am the person, if any, who controls the 'motion of the atoms' according to the Laws of Nature."[22]


    Having dealt with difference in space, of feeling and in time in the last two chapters, this chapter looks at difference of quality - ie duality. Duality ensures that every quality is to some degree mixed up with its opposite, and is one way of expressing the principle that we are continually in a state of Unpeace. Two important examples of duality are i) the duality of 'is' or 'is not' and ii) the duality of mind and matter. We outlined how we can look at this last duality from three viewpoints of the materialists, the idealists and a compromise of the two.

    Part Two - The Wrong Approach: Looking To The Di-Verse

    5 - Where To Look?

    We have made the starting point of our enquiry the question, "How can we escape Unpeace and find Peace?" where we defined 'Peace' and 'Unpeace' in the most general way possible. 'Unpeace' can range from the most terrible suffering to mere irritational discomfort; it is that which prompts us, eagerly or reluctantly, to perform actions. It is a state of disharmony or unequilibrium, which we are dissatisfied with and which, consciously or unconsciously, we struggle to transcend.

    Of course, it is often held that much that is beautiful and creative stems from such tension, suffering and disharmony, a case such as Van Gogh being cited for support. While the opposite viewpoint can however be equally well held (for instance Wordsworth, Mozart and Bach all created from tranquillity rather than harsh conflict), the point is that even if an artist produces a great work for mankind's posterity out of his suffering and Unpeace, surely he himself is still trying to escape his suffering? Anyway, we can always avoid the problem by defining Unpeace as that which we want to avoid.

    In this sense, the question "how best to escape Unpeace?" is very basic and fundamental; more so even than the usual philosophical starting point such as "Who am I?" or "What is the nature of this world?" After all, we will only be led to ask these kinds of questions by the realisation that our present situation and understanding are insufficient for obtaining Peace. An example of this is the case of Descartes, the French philosopher mentioned in the last chapter. He lived in a world of obvious Unpeace; in particular there was almost continuous religious conflict between the Catholics and the Huguenots. He was caught up in the Thirty Years War (1619-1649), fighting first in Bavaria and later in the siege of La Rochelle. There was also conflict in the philosophical field between the advocates of Aristotle's world-view and those who supported the new theories of Galileo and others. It was this lack of security and certainty all round which led Descartes to his fervent search for unshakable knowledge, and which resulted in his famous 'cogito': "I think, therefore I am." Out of this certainty of his own existence, Descartes attempted to build a system of philosophy which was impregnable.

    The point we are making is that the need to build up a philosophy or to understand the world is generated by Unpeace. Indeed, not just philosophy, but all the 'noble' activities of man, such as science, medicine, art, helping and loving others, in that they are activities are as much attempts to answer the question of Unpeace as are war, hatred, cruelty etc.

    Like Descartes, we are basing our enquiry on the universal fact that must be true. Rather than choose the fact of our existence to build on, we are choosing the fact of our experiencing Unpeace. We might even twist Descartes's 'cogito', and in place "I think, therefore I am" proffer, "I suffer, therefore I act."

    Most of Part One was concerned with showing that the key word in connection with Unpeace is difference. We live in a world of difference, where everything is separate, changing and indeed different. The transience and changeability of all objects and situations means that nothing is or even can be certain, except the fact of change itself; and this causes continual tension and conflict on all levels (biological, psychological, social and intellectual). This in turn means that we have to be always changing and adapting to new situations, always evolving, never being but always becoming, or, as we expressed it in the first chapter, always being born.

    For animals, and indeed for all sentient creatures other than man, this process is only on the physical level; but for man, this process is also in operation at levels distinct from the physical. In Chapter One we attributed this to a duality of natures in man - animal and human. But although this is a very useful way of looking at man, it is only an analogy, and we would be in a false position if we were to argue from it.

    Instead, we will turn to the basic duality dealt with in the last chapter - that of mind and matter, or the private and public worlds. But rather than examine them philosophically, as we did in the last chapter, we will do so now practically. For this book is essentially practical - we are dealing with the practical problem of suffering and misery, fear and hate, bewilderment and confusion. Philosophy and intellectual word-pushing are only useful for our purpose in as much as they enable us to see clearly where the practical solution lies and how it might be obtained.

    The philosophies mentioned as having some bearing on the mind-matter duality are all very well, but do they in themselves offer a practical solution? Of course, this question presupposes that it is possible to understand the philosophies in the first place. Some philosophy, particularly that of the idealists, can be so abstruse that when someone wrote a book entitled, "The Secret of Hegel's Philosophy," a reviewer observed that the author had kept the secret very well![1]

    In this enquiry we are not so much interested in the mind-or-matter controversy as such, but more in the fact that in everyday life we in practice experience these two worlds, the public and the private (or matter and mind), whatever the philosophers may say.

    Now our behaviour, our answering of the question how to avoid Unpeace, will basically depend upon which class of object (public or private) we look to most. For everything we experience must fit into one of these two categories - either it is private and cannot be experienced by anyone other than the person concerned, or it is public and can be experienced by anyone (in principle). And granted that it is our experience that we are in Unpeace, and that this is due to our experiencing a world of difference, then the question becomes whether we look primarily to the public or the private world to find Peace.

    The Three Monks

    To illustrate this point, we can look at a short story from the Chinese work 'The Gateless Gate' written in 1228.

    Once, two Zen Buddhist monks were arguing about a flag blowing in the wind. The first monk said, "The flag is moving." The second monk said, "The wind is moving." Just then a third monk happened to be passing by. He told them, "Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving."[2]

    In other words, the first monk states his experience - that he sees a flag moving. The second monk looks for the explanation in the public world, while the third monk looks for the explanation in the private world. What exactly the third monk might mean by "mind is moving" we will not enquire; the important thing is that he explains a public event (the moving flag) in terms of his private world, while the second monk pursues the more obvious course of explaining the public event of the moving flag in terms of another public event or object (the wind).

    Of course, if the first monk were to have observed a private event (such as pain), then the third monk's attitude is more comprehensible. We can retell the above story with the monks now discussing a subjective event, like this:

    First monk (looking at his cut hand): "This wound is causing me pain."

    Second monk: "The knife that cut your hand is the cause of the pain."

    Third monk: "Not the wound, not the knife; your experiencing (ie your consciousness) is the cause of the pain."

    Although we agree with the second monk, that the knife is in some way responsible for the pain, nevertheless the third monk is also correct. If it were not for the first monk experiencing the pain, there would be no pain - this is what we mean by a 'private object'. If this first monk were unconscious, then certainly blood would still flow from the wound, neural impulses would go up the nervous system, electrochemical events would take place in the brain, but there would be no pain.

    Whether to basically follow the second or third monk is tantamount to the question: what is more important - the way we look at things (the third monk's viewpoint) or the things themselves (the second monk's viewpoint)? Since the first monk has the role of mutual observer, we can say that it was he who was responsible for Part One of this book. He observes mankind (himself included) to be in Unpeace, notices that our behaviour is motivated (consciously or unconsciously) by the compulsion to end this Unpeace, and he observes that the root cause of this Unpeace is the essential difference we see everywhere. So far, so good. But now the second and third monks come onto the scene.

    We will take it for granted that they both accept the first monk's formulation of the problem; their solutions, however, will be very different and will lead to divergent styles of behaviour. Consider an example:

    Suppose the first monk is fat, and as he walks down the street someone yells, "You fat slob!" A few minutes later someone else shouts, "You gross pig!" and not unnaturally, he gets angry. Now the question is, what is the cause of his anger? The second monk would tell him that he got angry because people were being rude to him. But the third monk would tell him that his anger was due to his state of mind, the way he was looking at things; if he were being carried down the road unconscious, then he would not hear any of the remarks and would not be angry; alternatively if he were in a happy mood, he might laugh off the insult, but if he were in a bad mood, then the insults would make him very angry.

    Now we are all in a position similar to the first monk of being in Unpeace; we sometimes find ourselves frightened, sometimes angry; sometimes we suffer physical pain, sometimes mental pain. But do we follow the second or the third monk? In practice, the vast majority of us follow the second monk; we act as if it were public object and events which are the cause of our content or discontent. If we are bored, we watch television; if we are depressed, we have a drink; if we are unhappy, we watch a funny film; if we cannot sleep, we take pills. Advertisements tell us that this furniture polish takes the drudgery out of housework, that washing powder takes the dreariness out of washing. Do we want the 'real thing'? Then drink Coca Cola. Do we want pleasure? Then smoke such-and-such cigarettes. If someone calls us a fat slob, then we shake our fist at him.

    But if we follow the third monk, we shake our fist at our own mind. And if we are able to be somehow in that state of mind where the world seems a good place, where we are looking at it through 'rose-coloured spectacles', then public objects (such as personal insult) will have little or no effect on us.

    One advantage of taking notice of the third monk comes about because we have only a limited control over our environment. Suppose I am bored; then if I follow the second monk, I turn on the television. But what if the television station is not broadcasting at that time of day? Now, if I follow the third monk, I will not turn to the TV (ie a public object) to eradicate my boredom, but I will look to myself (the private world) and try to be in a state of mind where boredom does not exist. If I can do this successfully, then I am in a far superior position to the followers of the second monk, because I always carry myself around with me, whereas there are obviously times when I am not with the TV.

    Similarly, we can take the cause of the insulted fat first monk. If he took offence at the first insult ("You fat slob!"), then he would do one of two things: if he follows the second monk, he would verbally (or even physically) attack the insulter, whom we shall assume he overwhelmed, so that the insulter promises that the monk is not fat, certainly not a slob, and is in fact quite slim and well-looking. If, on the other hand, the first monk follows the third monk, he would ignore the insult and would examine his own mind. Either by reasoning or by some psycho-spiritual technique, he would attain that state of mind whereby he was genuinely unconcerned at what anyone called him. The insult would wash off him like water off a duck's back.

    Up to this point, both approaches seem equivalent in having led to the same result. But now consider the second insult ("You gross pig!") shouted a few minutes later. To become peaceful, the follower of the second monk will have to go through an identical process with the second insulter as he did with the first insulter. But the follower of the third monk will already be peaceful. Why? Because he is carrying around with him his peaceful state of mind which he generated after the first insult.

    If he were a learned monk he might quote Milton:

    (though not, of course, if he were a 13th century Chinese monk). It is also unlikely that he would know about the United Nations charter which says, amongst other things, "War begins in the mind of men, and it is in the mind of man that the defences of peace must be constructed." (Though there is no doubt that he would agree with it were he to have known of it.)

    So we can see that the difference between the viewpoints of the second and third monks in fact leads to a totally different type of behaviour in the same situation. And it appears that the third monk's behaviour is eminently more reasonable and successful in avoiding Unpeace. Why, then, do the vast majority of us in most situations follow the second monk?

    The reason is very simple; we do not know how to follow the third monk. How can we generate from within ourselves a state of mind which enables us to look at everything peacefully and in terms of harmony and love? How can we automatically be in a state of consciousness such that all, difference is transcended, so that a bayonet in our stomach is a trivial matter, and even death is superficial?

    The failure to find an answer to these questions forces us to dismiss the third monk's attitude as far as practical every-day living is concerned, and to act like the second monk. The hallmark of the second monk's attitude is, as we have seen, that he thinks it important to control and manipulate his environment of public objects. He takes this viewpoint either because he thinks his surroundings are ultimately the cause of his Unpeace, or because the third monk's attitude seems impractical, or both.

    To tie a philosophical label around the second monk is difficult, for he does not really fit into any existing category. He may well be a materialist, but he could equally well be an idealist, since we have not tapped his belief on the actual 'reality' or otherwise of the public world; he merely acts as if the public world were more fundamental and the cause of his Unpeace. The story is told of how Bishop Berkeley (who held an extreme form of idealism) went to visit Dean Swift. Swift, however, kept Berkeley standing on the doorstep, on the grounds that if his philosophical views were correct and the closed door only existed in his mind, then he would have no trouble in entering.[4] In other words, in spite of his philosophy, Berkeley was forced to act as the second monk.

    In this book, we will call the second monk an 'externalist' and his way of behaviour externalism. We define an external object or event to be an object or event which belonged to the world of difference, and vice versa; that is, an object or event pertaining to the world of difference is defined as being external.


    We began the chapter by summarising Part One - that we act because of the Unpeace we find ourselves in, and which is essentially due to the world being one of difference. Given this situation, our behaviour can be broadly divided into two categories, as that which results from laying emphasis on either the public world, or the private world. The former behaviour we call 'externalism'. While we may see the advantage of the latter category of behaviour, the difficulties involved in carrying it out means that most of us are externalists in practice.

    6 - Externalism

    The externalist thinks that the most important thing for him to do is to have control over his environment, since he believes it is his external surroundings which largely control his happiness and well-being.

    Now of course there are many ways to try and control the environment. Basically they can be divided into two: what we can call 'indirect externalism' and 'direct externalism'. Indirect externalism is, as its name implies, an attempt to control the external world indirectly. All primitive peoples, and not-so-primitive people as well, rely largely on indirect externalism. It is evident in magic, miracles and all appeals to some supernatural agency for help in rearranging the external world somehow. It sometimes has the awe-inspiring name 'thaumaturgy', and there has been much study into its practice.[1] Not only do we see indirect externalism in the animistic beliefs, prayers and sacrifices of the so-called primitive peoples, but also in the exorcism of ghosts, the blessing of ships and the claims to miraculous healing at Lourdes and Fatima in the present day. We can also include possibly the phenomenon of PK (psycho-kinesis), the ability to manipulate external objects by thought power. (PK will be discussed briefly in Chapter 7). Indirect externalism was rife in the Middle Ages, particularly in regard to witchcraft and the miracles performed on account of religious relics.

    Nowadays many devout Roman Catholics still pray to the various saints for help and protection in everyday life, such as to Saint Anthony of Padua for finding lost things.

    Direct externalism is, on the contrary, an attempt to control the environment directly. Of course the dividing line between direct and indirect externalism is very vague, but nevertheless it is a useful classification.

    We can further divide direct-externalism itself into two broad categories - those expressions of it which rely mostly on physical force and conquest of peoples, and those which tend to rely more on the intellectual and reasoning powers. All great empires tend to be products of the former category, and include the Macedonian empire of the 4th century BC, the Roman empire (certainly in its later stages), the Arab empire of the 7th and 8th centuries, the Mongol conquests of the 13th century and the Spanish and English colonisations of the 16th century. The common factor in these conquests is not only a desire to control the external world, but a desire to do so directly through physical force.

    In this chapter, however, we will be concerned with the latter category of direct-externalism, ie that of controlling the external world by acquiring knowledge of it through the intellect and discursive thought.


    The most obvious example of this for us is the rise of science in Europe over the past four hundred years, and the resulting technological and world-wide materialistic developments it has engendered.

    That the growth of science is essentially externalistic is strikingly illustrated by a remark by one of the founders of modern science, Galileo: "The conclusions of natural science are true and necessary, and the judgement of man has nothing to do with them."[2] The second monk could not have put it better himself. Since the direct externalist believes that what happens 'out there' in the external world is important, and is not influenced by 'the judgement of man', then it becomes necessary to understand and to obtain knowledge of the external world and thus hopefully to control or master it. Modern science has achieved this mastery to an astonishing degree, its success being celebrated in such phrases as "the conquest of Space" with regard to the space projects; in fact, the aim of science as a whole is frequently expressed as the "conquest of Nature". This of course explains why science is the ultimate authority for dedicated direct-externalists, because they believe it is in the 'conquest' of their surroundings that they will find true happiness, total satisfaction and that Peace which we are all looking for.

    Science is now the new religion; Genesis is not in it with a school text-book on chemistry, and we even rely on scientific text-books for such personal crafts as rearing children or achieving a happily married life.

    In this section we will take a brief look at science in the West over the past four hundred years, but before we proceed, it must be noted that we are not making any cut-and-dried propositions, such as "western culture is external or materialist" or "eastern philosophy is spiritual and mystic ", Although western culture undoubtedly is externalistically orientated it has strong elements of non-externalism, notably the philosophy of the Christian Church. And while it is also true that eastern philosophy is largely non-materialistic, the East has produced materialistic schools of thought, notably the 'Nastikas' of Krishna's time and later the 'Charvakas', who anticipated and outdid the direct-externalists and materialists of the modern world in their thinking and behaviour, Also Buddhist mysticism, commonly supposed to be absolutely idealistic is linked with the theory of knowledge that would satisfy the most die-hard western externalists; and what is usually perplexing to the western observer is that the discipline of Hatha Yoga, for instance, while repudiating the external human body, is largely concerned with the preservation of physical health.[3] As regards modern times, the person who thinks the East is totally spiritual should visit downtown Tokyo or almost any large, industrial Asian city; and the person who thinks that the West is totally materialistic should visit any of the innumerable spiritual, or even 'hippy' communities which have sprung up recently in the industrial West.

    With this preamble, let us look at that expression of externalism in the West we call 'science' and see what it has contributed to the establishment of Peace.

    We will start with 17th century, which is probably the most important, most eventful, and changeful single century we know of (excepting our own 20th century). Consider that was achieved in those hundred years. There was a great advance in the instruments for measuring and analysing the world: the compound microscope was invented in 1590, the telescope in 1608 and a little later the thermometer, barometer and airpump; and clocks, while not new, were enormously improved in that time. In the field of medicine, Harvey published his discovery of the circulation of blood in 1628 and Leeuwenhoek discovered protozoa (one-celled organisms), spermatozoa and even bacteria. In mathematics, the outstanding achievements were Napier's inventions of logarithms in 1614, Descartes's invention of co-ordinate geometry and the invention of calculus made simultaneously by Newton and Leibniz.

    And of course the most staggering achievements were in the fields of astronomy and dynamics: Copernicus put forward the revolutionary theory that the earth orbits the sun (although he belonged to the 16th century, his theory was only well-known in the 17th); Kepler simplified this theory with his famous laws of planetary motion put forward in 1609 and 1619, which confounded the 'obvious' belief that the planets were perfect bodies moving in perfect figures (ie circles - Kepler showed they moved in ellipses); Galileo founded dynamics, discovering and inventing acceleration, the law of inertia and the 'parallelogram law', and in astronomy he discovered Jupiter's moons, the phases of Venus (thus proving the Copernican theory) and that the milky way was composed of stars. In the year that Galileo died (1642) Newton was born. The achievements of Newton were very great; from his three laws of motion, every mechanical phenomenon could be explained until the end of the 19th century.

    The universe became lifeless and inert, moving mechanically and inexorably by its own laws. Maybe God was needed to give the whole thing an initial kick to get it going, but after that he was an unneeded hypothesis. In fact, since it was not clear whether the world had a beginning in time, God's existence was altogether doubtful.

    This incredible leap in the understanding and knowledge of our universe completely changed men's outlook. In 1600 the mental outlook was totally medieval, except for a very few outstanding individuals. By 1700, the mental outlook of educated men was completely modern. In Shakespeare's time (1600) comets were omens from the gods; after Newton's 'Principia' in 1687, comets became docile pieces of matter, as obedient to the law of gravitation as the planets were. In 1600, there were witchcraft trials; by 1700 they were impossible, for law and reason reigned so supreme that magic and sorcery were unthinkable.[4]

    Thus we see that we have, by 1700, a thorough direct-externalist view of things, which began in the success of understanding and controlling the environment and which manifested itself in the whole spectrum of man's activities. Take architecture; in 1600 the style was Elizabethan and flamboyant, but by 1700 it was 'elegant' and dominated by classical proportions. In the field of literature, we have in 1600 such writers as Donne and Shakespeare, who were rich, irregular and exciting; by 1700 we have the dry and controlled intellectual wit of Pope and Dryden. In 1600 there were countless religious wars between varying sects, but by 1700 they had ceased, and we even had the Toleration Act allowing Roman Catholics into Great Britain. It was as if there were a great need for control, classification and security in all activities; the flamboyance and irregularity of 1600 were not to be entertained in 1700. We see this even in politics: in 1600 the politics were very unstable, but it was exciting, with Roundheads, Cavaliers and the Civil War. But by 1700 the government was very stable and dull; the Whigs and Tories were hardly differentiable, and the monarchy in the persons of William III or George I was eminently austere and reeked of security.

    But how did the success of science affect the common people? What practical effect did it have on them? Well, life was hardly rosy in the early 18th century. In 1715 it was noted that of the 1,200 babies born every year in the parish of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, 900 died in infancy; infant mortality in the work-houses was 38 per cent. Money was frequently stolen, accounts falsified and paupers starved and murdered. It was an age when hygiene was atrocious, violence was taken for granted; hanging, drawing and quartering was a popular and frequent public spectacle, and men "lived cheek by jowl with death and disease in their most gamesome forms" as a famous historian puts it.[5] He then goes on to say that this state of affairs was good! Most historians agree that life in the early 18th century was comparatively easy in comparison with before and after. For afterwards, later in the 18th century, we have the beginning of the Industrial Revolution; this was when the great scientific advances in knowledge percolated down to become a technology which affected everybody. There is no need to catalogue the inhumanity and oppression, the slums and the misery it caused. It was a direct result of that type of behaviour we have classified as direct-externalism. For man's greed is always with us, but it was only in the die-hard direct-externalism of the 'new' science that man's inhumanity to men found such a powerful weapon for magnifying his selfishness.

    That is all very well, the reader may say, but that was in the past; what about the present day? Well, we pay homage to science today for two reasons: one is the collection of devices it has produced which make life easier (or the destruction of life more efficient), and secondly we hold it in awe for the magical effect it produces. Let us take the last point first, dealt with by Dr Ravetz:

    But although the 'magic' of science is always increasing, the moral status of science has recently gone into decline. For several generations, up to the very recent past, 'science' was conceived of as a quest by dedicated individuals working in purity and innocence to increase knowledge and to discover the true laws of nature. It was as moral innocence that a group of physicists urged the U.S. government to produce an atomic bomb, but with the nuclear holocausts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki science lost its innocence forever. At the present day science is at best looked upon as a vulgar and commercial tool of industry, and at worst as an inhuman discipline of military interests, producing wicked devices of unparallelled savageness (eg nuclear, chemical and biological weapons). And since the study of ecology became prominent, we are learning of ever new and more subtle ways in which scientific knowledge and technology are poisoning the environment and ourselves. The terrible thing is that hardly any field of scientific research can claim itself to be blameless, since advanced scientific discoveries are so complex that they often call upon a very broad spectrum of research results, and the most innocent scientific 'fact' can tomorrow be used to help construct a device of powerful destruction.

    There is also of course the horrific possibilities of mass control by a government which scientific knowledge and technology has made feasible. These range from genetic engineering to complex bugging systems and communication control, which have been gruesomely predicted and described in George Orwell's "1984" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World".

    Thus a feeling is growing that science has prostituted itself; indeed, one scientist thinks that science's crime is not mere prostitution, but simony, which used to be defined as the perversion of magic to other ends than the Greater Glory of God. He writes: "There is a sin which consists of using the magic of modern automatisation to further personal profit or let lose the apocalyptic terrors of nuclear warfare. If this sin is to have a name, let it be or Sorcery."[7]

    But really the tarnishing of science goes much deeper than that. As Dr Ravetz says: "Western science has had a long period of happy adolescence; developing adult powers while enjoying children's irresponsibility. Combined with ideals of 'national enlightenment' in the 18th century and industrial development in the 19th century, it seemed for some generations to deliver the good things that magic and religion only promised."[8]

    But that has finished now. Not only do we see scientific knowledge being responsible for ingenious horrors of destruction and pain, but we also see it making an artificial environment producing misery and pain in a much less obvious fashion, and for which it must accept its 'adult' responsibility.

    In part one, we had a rundown of some of the main sufferings which affect human beings. Some have been increased as a result of scientific knowledge (eg the ability for wholesale slaughter, or the strain of urban society); some have been lessened (eg disease and physical discomfort). No one would deny that the miracles of science have in many fields brought unprecedented comfort and ease, but the modern scientific and technological age with its vast range of material panaceas has not eradicated suffering and established Peace. On the contrary, many people nowadays think that the stress and strain of modern living more than offset the increase in physical comfort, and lead to a net increase in the big Unpeace of the world.

    So although we do not doubt the obvious power of scientific knowledge, what we claim here and hope to have shown on a purely historical and practical basis, is that science and scientific technology have not brought about Peace - indeed, it can be said that in the overall picture that they have not, on average, even lessened Unpeace.


    In this chapter we distinguished between indirect-externalism and direct-externalism, and dealt primarily with the latter in its modern-day guise of 'science'. We dealt with the rise of science in the 17th century and its effect in the 18th century, and with the basic effects of modern science today, showing on a practical basis that this aspect of direct-externalism has done little, if anything, to lessen Unpeace as a whole.

    7 - Discursive Thought

    In the last chapter we showed that the outward going effort and involvement in the world which is the hallmark of the direct-externalist is one ingredient of modern science. But direct-externalism by itself does not lead to science (we quoted the example of expansionist empires); another ingredient is needed, and we mentioned that as being intellect or discursive thought.

    Now the word 'discursive' means literally 'running into two,' and so discursive thought can be defined as that thinking which is 'running into duality'.

    In fact, it can be held that all thinking is really discursive, since to think clearly we have to clothe our thoughts in words, whether we speak them or not. To think without verbalising is impossible; anyone can verify this with five seconds of introspection. And since words are like labels we use to classify, distinguish and communicate various aspects of experience, they very definitely belong to the world of difference and duality. Thus all thought, being verbalised mental activity, also belongs to difference and duality and is thus by definition 'discursive'. (Although this word 'discursive' is normally only applied to thinking or reasoning, we will use it to describe any activity involved with duality or difference, which is its literal meaning.) The mental faculty with which we think we will term the 'intellect, which is the common usage it has nowadays, though it used to mean rather the opposite at one time.

    In this chapter we will look at discursive thought, first in its main form as reasoning, and then as it is applied to understand the world in both science and metaphysics. However, before we proceed, we can note that since discursive thought is thinking through and about duality and difference, then all it can ever hope to do is to rearrange difference. But in Part One we saw that our Unpeace was due to our living in the world of difference; and thus it follows that Peace can never be achieved through merely rearranging our external environment of difference - for we will still be faced with difference.

    Thus discursive thought and the intellect are unfitted for the task of obtaining Peace. This is really the heart of this chapter; what follows is an attempt to support this in various ways.


    Reasoning is that type of thinking which produces reasons for coming to a certain conclusion. Take an example: suppose I want to move my desk out of the room, and I don't know whether it will fit through the doorway. Now there are several ways I can think about the problem. I can learn from someone that it will not, in fact, go through the doorway. I can remember from a previous occasion that it did not fit, or maybe on intuition or in day-dreaming I just accept the fact that it will not fit. Fourthly, I can suppose as a matter of hypothesis that it will not fit. Now all these ways of thinking (learning, remembering, intuition, day-dreaming, supposing etc) have in common the fact that I do not produce reasons as evidence for my conclusion. But if my thinking about the problem takes the form of reasoning, then my thoughts will be something like this: "the desk will not fit through the doorway. The reasons are i) the desk is four foot wide, ii) the doorway is three and a half foot wide." In other words, my conclusion rests upon reasons.

    We can observe to start with that reasoning, being discursive thought, is concerned totally with difference. In the process of reasoned thinking the mind works from point to point; it jumps through a series of different stages. Furthermore, the situations and problems to which reasoning is most often applied are those of difference, where something has to be related in some way to something else. So in a world where the most basic quality is difference, reasoning is obviously very useful. And because we all see difference everywhere, everybody uses reasoning to some extent.

    But the direct-externalists, for whom the world of difference is fundamental, will (if he is intellectual) be preeminently concerned with reasoning. It will become, not just one tool amongst many, but the most useful and important tool for understanding a cosmos riddled with difference. And since of course an understanding of Nature is a prerequisite to 'conquering' her, then for the intellectual direct-externalist, reason reigns supreme, not merely a queen but a god, and an entire age is named after it. It follows that if reasoning is held in such estimation, then it is very important that it should be as refined and polished as possible - and this is the purpose of logic.

    i) Logic

    The study of logic has become incredibly complex and mind-twisting, such that any simple statement about it is invariably misleading. Nevertheless, we will continue undaunted and pick our way through one of the densest jungles man's intellect has grown.

    A working definition of 'logic' for the layman is 'the science of good reasons', or that discipline which attempts to distinguish bad reasoning from good reasoning. It attempts to formulate rules which can tell us whether the reasons we have given are 'good' reasons for inferring the conclusion we wish to establish. It is important for the intellectual, as we have pointed out, to make his reasoning correct and effective, and so logic is a very necessary study for him.

    The abstruseness of logic is to some extent due to the fact that it crosses back on itself, being reasoning about reasoning (note that then the study of logic is reasoning about reasoning about reasoning).

    Obviously logic, or the polishing of reason, has different connotations according to which angle we view the process of reasoning from. For instance the psychologist views logic as a study of the reasoning process as manifested by individuals, whereas from a sociological viewpoint it might mean the rules for reasoning as laid down by custom (as John Dewey thought[1]). Alternatively, logic can be viewed as a sort of craft, or almost as an art, which an astute thinker can use to his benefit; and a fourth interpretation is to exclude all actual human thinking from logic, and to think of logic as merely dealing with the relationships between propositions. In the latter, the propositions themselves are immaterial; it is the relationships between them which are studied. This form of logic (called Symbolic Logic) has been very important in mathematics and philosophy and will be briefly discussed later in this chapter.

    But first we will look at a feature common to all types of traditional logic (including Symbolic Logic), and that is their basic duality of 'is' or 'is not'. The reader will remember that in chapter 4 we discussed briefly this basic duality, showing that since we see ourselves in a world of difference we are governed by the duality that either something is, or it is not. Either I am six foot or I am not; either it is raining, or it is not;.

    Now logic, since it deals with the world as we see it (or rather deals with the reasoning about the world) is forced to accept this duality. Even forms of modern symbolic logic, which claim not to deal exclusively with the world, still have to accept this very fundamental duality in the sense that even statements about relationships between meaningless propositions have to be either true or false. They cannot be both true and false, nor can they be neither true nor false.

    But due to the findings of modern science, it seems that this basic 'law' is not always correct. For instance, Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity (discussed in Chapter 13) says that I can be both six foot tall and five foot tall from different viewpoints. This is quite complicated to go into here without the necessary preliminary grounding, but the discrepancy does exist, and has created havoc in philosophical circles. For a more detailed explanation the reader must wait until Chapter 13.

    A clearer instance of the possible breakdown of the 'law of the excluded middle' lies in quantum mechanics, the physics of the very small (eg atoms). Since the 17th century, science has performed many experiments which show clearly that light is composed of waves. However, at the beginning of the 20th century some experiments were performed which showed that light consists of particles (called 'photons'). The amazing thing is that this latest discovery did not invalidate the earlier findings. In other words, light can be considered as a wave and as particles. Yet a wave and a particle are completely different. For instance, a wave will bend round an obstacle (compare a water-wave bending round a post) while a particle will bounce off (like a ball hitting a post). This perplexing state of affairs was soon extended to matter. In 1925 Schrodinger demonstrated that particles of matter could be considered as waves, while at the same time Heisenberg shoved that particles of matter could be considered as particles. Within a short time, Dirac showed that the two descriptions were two views of the same thing. One view was based on the concept of differences in time (change) while the other was based on the concept of differences in space (separation).

    Thus we get the situation that, for instance, the electron both is and is not a particle. This is valid from our human point of view, but logically it is meaningless. In other words, it seems that as science pushes up against the limits of the universe, the most fundamental tenet of our commonsense logic fails us. To the scientist, however, there is no real confusion. He just says that his equations and formulae describe the electron and that is that; if the non-scientist wishes to interpret what the equations mean, then that is up to him. But nevertheless, the admission that the equations of quantum mechanics cannot be interpreted in terms of classical mechanics or 'common-sense' logic shows that when it comes to the crunch, one very fundamental duality seems to vanish. In fact, this is not only true in quantum mechanics; can the rigidity of the law of the excluded middle, and of logic in general, be applied to art, to beauty, or to love?

    Anyway, we will return now from the crazy logic of the atom to the ordinary everyday logic we are familiar with. We will now look briefly at the two traditional divisions of logic - deduction and induction.

    ii) Deduction

    Deductive logic is concerned with the rules for arguing from the general to the particular. For instance, if I make two assumptions (technically called 'premises') such as "All Englishmen are human beings" and "All human beings are mortal." then by the rules of deductive logic, I can infer that, "All Englishmen are mortal." In other words, from general statement (concerning all human beings) I have inferred some information in a particular statement (concerning just some human beings, ie Englishmen). It is very important to note that since logic is only concerned with the rules of reasoning, it can say nothing about the truth or otherwise of the premises, and thus nothing about the truth or otherwise of the conclusion. It can only say that if the premises are true and if the deduction is sound, then the conclusion must be true.

    For instance, consider the following deductive argument: "All Englishmen are human beings. All human beings are cucumbers. Thus it follows that all Englishmen are cucumbers." Now the deduction is completely sound, but one of the premises ("All Englishmen are cucumbers.") is obviously false. In other words, deduction alone is powerless to provide any new information; it must be coupled with premises. And of course the problem becomes how to be certain of your premises; for if they turn out to be not true, deducing conclusions from them is a waste of time, Thus it is that deductive logic is not a great deal of use in dealing with things of this world; since very rarely are we 100 percent certain of our premises. Even if we think our premises have a 99 percent chance of being true, deduction is still useless, since it is not the case that our deduced conclusion must also have a 99 percent chance of being true.[2]

    Of course, if you define your premises to be true, then deduction is very useful. This is the case with some mathematical problems, with law and with theology to mention three cases, each of which derives its first principles from an unquestionable source. If your premises are true, then sound deduction is held to always produce true conclusions.

    It is this neat, cut-and-dried and mechanically efficient aspect of deductive reasoning that leads to the philosophy of rationalism. Rationalists (the two most famous being Plato and Descartes) hold that we can be totally and completely certain of some essential truths of this world by the use of deductive reason alone. On the surface this seems an attractive possibility, but the problems appear when we look for our premises. The enormous number of 'absolute and certain truths' propounded by rationalists from Plato to Descartes are often contradictory, mostly fanciful, and seldom of any practical use at all. This has tended to belittle the idea of rationalism, and deduction along with it. (It is interesting however to note that a form of rationalism is in vogue again due to the contemporary philosopher Chomsky. He sees his premises in the universality of some properties of language, which he thinks are determined by structures of mind which are common to all humans, and with which they are born.[3])

    However, even if deductive reasoning seemed unable after all to establish 'absolute and certain truths' about the world as we see it, its cold elegance and formal efficiency were still attractive to the philosopher searching for an unquestionable certainty to cling on to. This led to a fifty year spate (1879-1931) of renewed faith in deduction. For if the stumbling block of a rationalist's philosophy is the need to find premises, then (said the philosophers) let's do away with premises. And if you remove the premises you only have the deductive reasoning left; so, undaunted, logicians studied the bare bones of deduction.

    Now this could only be done after the middle of the 19th century, when George Boole invented Symbolic Logic. This, as its name implies, means that instead of dealing with propositions (such as "All human beings are mortal"), one dealt with symbols only (such as 'A' or 'B'). Thus the truth or falsity of the premises becomes meaningless, and enables the relationships between them and rules of the logical process itself to be examined.

    This new study was first turned to mathematics, and in 1879 it was suggested (by Frege) that in fact pure mathematics is a form of deductive reason alone; this led to an attempt to drain mathematics of any meaning so that mathematical expressions became a collection of empty signs (technically called 'meta mathematics'); and this in turn led to a famous work called 'Principia Mathematica' in 1910,[4] which claimed to prove mathematics is nothing but deductive logic (ie it needed no premises except logic itself) and furthermore that everyday language has a similar basic structure. This was very exciting, since it was thus believed that this 'new' form of deductive logic would provide philosophy with a tool of razor-like sharpness for clarifying language and thus solving some of the age-old philosophical disputes. And the resulting philosophy of Logical Analysis (as it was called) was in some degree successful, though it led A.J. Ayer to remark that philosophy is now just "talk about talk".[5]

    But in 1931 there was a bombshell. For then a young Austrian mathematician, Kurt Godel, published in an obscure scientific journal a cast-iron proof that no deductive logical system of any complexity was consistent.[6] It is impossible to even think of simple arithmetic (much less pure mathematics) as reducible to deductive logic; you can bring in as many premises as you like, of whatever sort you like, but it is still impossible to have a complete and consistent deductive system.

    While Godel's proof does not render deduction or even Principia Mathematica useless, what it does do is show that deductive logic cannot produce by itself an all-inclusive system of consistent 'truths'. Some 'truths' will get left out, and if you introduce more premises to account for them, then you are bound to produce contradictions in the other 'truths'.

    Godel's work is brilliant, and it has stirred up a hornet's nest amongst mathematical logicians, nobody being certain any more of the basis of mathematics. But is has undoubtedly left deduction a very weak candidate for solving the problems with which this book is concerned.

    iii) Induction

    While deductive logic is concerned with arguing from the general to the particular, inductive logic is concerned with reasoning from the particular to the general. For example, I can state that if I hold my pen in the air and let it go, it will fall towards the ground. Now the truth of that statement does not come from deduction, but from induction. For I have no 'proof' that it will fall to the ground; I only think it will fall to the ground because in all the innumerable times I have let go of something in the air during my life, that something has invariably fallen towards the ground; and because it has happened so many times before, I feel it is bound to happen again. So strictly speaking, I cannot say, "I know, my pen will fall if I let it go," but only, "My past experience leads me to suppose that if I let my pen go there is a very great probability that it will fall down." Of course this latter statement is very ponderous, and if in everyday life we insisted on being absolutely correct and talking like this, we would be so pompous as to be unbearable; but nevertheless the latter statement is the correct one.

    We can take another example. Suppose, as previously, we want to establish the truth of "All Englishmen are mortal." But now we do not want to use deduction, since although the deductive reasoning is valid, we are not sure of the premises; in particular, we do not accept the premise "All human beings are mortal." (After all one could only know this with certainty after every human being had died - which is certainly a problem if one includes oneself among the class of human beings.) So to establish "All Englishmen are mortal", we turn to induction, and argue from facts that we do know to be true, and argue from the particular to the general. For instance, we can say, "Every Englishman born before 1860 has died," and "Englishmen are still dying." These two statements are undoubtedly true, and they make it highly probable that my conclusion "All Englishmen are mortal" is true. This is induction. But notice that although my original two statements are 100 percent true, and the reasoning is sound, the conclusion is not 100 percent certain - it is only highly probable. (There may be an Englishman alive today who will never die.)

    This is the hallmark of induction: that it cannot establish definitely true conclusions, but only conclusions which are probable. But unlike deduction, where the conclusions can be thought of as 'locked up' in the premises and have only to be 'led out', induction can give us fresh information about the world. In other words it can provide conclusions which tell us something new and original, but of course we have to pay the price that the 'truth' of the conclusions is only probable.

    And just as deductive logic inspired a philosophy (rationalism), so inductive logic inspired a philosophy - empiricism. This scorned to produce 'absolute and certain truths' about the world via deduction, but tried to construct an account of knowledge in terms of sense experience via induction. In other words, from particular instances of what we experience through our senses, broad conclusions were established, which though only probable were nevertheless useful.[7]

    Of course, scientific knowledge is largely gained by the use of induction; in fact science as we know it is often called 'empirical science'. It does not attempt to discover indubitable truths about the universe, but only to develop probable hypotheses. The empiricist claims that such hypotheses (though only high probable) are much more useful to mankind than all the alleged certainties of the rationalists.

    The great 18th century philosopher David Hume claimed to show that in fact empiricism is not a sufficient basis for science, the whole thing resting on the shifting sands of uncertainty. Philosophers since have found it difficult to refute Hume's arguments. Scientists don't bother to try; they say that scepticism can be carried too far, and if you like you can find sufficient grounds for being uncertain about anything. The point is, they say, that empirical science and induction work; the results are useful in practice. In other words, they tell Hume and the sceptics to get lost.

    But nevertheless, the fact remains, that for good or for ill, induction can never ever lead to 100 percent certainty.

    The Scientific Method

    We now turn from logic to the 'scientific method'.

    It is difficult to define precisely what this is. Its object is to acquire knowledge of the world by simplifying the complexity we see around us; it requires in its practitioner a mixture of reasoning, the ability for controlled observation and patient experiment, a good pinch of imagination, and in some cases a fair bit of courage. It consists basically in patiently collecting a set of apparently unrelated facts of the universe and putting forward a unifying factor or common cause to explain them. This common cause is called the 'hypothesis', and it can be anything from an imaginative guess to a tediously reasoned conclusion. The hypothesis is then usually tested by reasoning what could be expected to happen if the hypothesis were correct, and then observing or experimenting to see if whatever it is actually does happen. If the hypothesis is confirmed in this way, and succeeds in explaining what were previously inexplicable observations, then it becomes dignified by the title 'theory'. Eventually it may even come to be known as a 'law'.

    The beginnings of the scientific method can be traced back to the Greeks, but in modern times we can count Sir Francis Bacon as its founder. He attempted to systematise inductive reason and the scientific method in general. In true scientific spirit, he died in 1626 of a chill caught while experimenting on refrigeration by stuffing a chicken full of snow. The other important influence on the future course of science came from Descartes. He claimed to have thought of his philosophy while meditating in a kitchen stove (by contrast Socrates liked to meditate in the snow) and the resulting metaphysics gave science the go-ahead to dwell exclusively on the public world, as we saw in Chapter 4.

    Anyway, in this section we will make just a few observations on the principle of scientific methods.

    Firstly, from what has been said so far, we can see that the scientific method is a blend of discursive thought and a direct-externalist approach. The latter is essential, for the drudgery, endless patience and often acute boredom involved in scientific research and experimentation requires an unflagging direct-externalist attitude; since only when all hope of Peace is placed entirely in understanding the external world is it that the will-power will be generated to carry through the tediousness of much scientific work.

    Secondly, being empirical, it rests largely on induction; in other words, it can be taken as a scientific 'law' that objects always fall to the ground when dropped because it has always been observed to happen. As we have pointed out, induction never leads to absolute certainty of a correct hypothesis, but a wrong hypothesis can be shown to be wrong with certainty. For instance, suppose I have an hypothesis, "The Sun rises in the West." Now just one instance of the sun rising in the East is enough to make it absolutely certain that my hypothesis is wrong. But if I put forward the presumably correct hypothesis, "The Sun rises in the East," then I can never be 100 percent certain of its correctness. However many times I observe the sun to rise in the East, strictly I can only state that it is highly probable that my hypothesis is correct. (I cannot be 100 percent certain that the sun will not rise in the West tomorrow.) Thus any empirical science can in fact only state with certainty what is not true, and cannot state with certainty what is true. As was mentioned in the last section, in practical terms this is unimportant, but it is nevertheless the case.

    It is interesting to note that the Austrian born philosopher Karl Popper took this fact, that only negations of hypotheses could be claimed with certainty, for the starting point of his new approach to the scientific method.[8] He hoped to build up a scientific method not based on induction; some think this is very successful, others do not. In practice, however, this is not very important, for although he encourages scientists to be critical of their own hypotheses and to try to negate them rather than prove them, nevertheless the result is the same - scientific 'facts' are only probabilities and not certainties. In fact, the intellectual history of mankind shows that most facts 'known to be true' at one time or another have turned out in the end to be false.

    Popper holds that by negating our hypotheses we can, using imagination, progress beyond them and find hypotheses nearer and nearer the 'truth' (though we can never find an hypothesis or theory which is 'true', ie certain).

    Indeed, the whole business of confirming hypotheses (which Popper rejects) is riddled with muddled thinking and bad reasoning. For a start, deduction is used considerably in the scientific method, mainly in the mathematical or verbal argument which leads either to the formulation of the hypothesis or the results which should lead from it. We have shown already that deduction can only be valid if the premises are 100 percent certain, and we have also shown that whereas scientific 'facts' are concerned, nothing ever is 100 percent certain. And since most deduced conclusions in science are based upon scientific 'facts', this speaks for itself. There is also the point that most sciences use mathematics, and as we have seen the foundation of mathematics is not at all well understood at the present time. This is particularly important in theoretical physics, for instance, where the mathematics used is very abstruse and complex.

    Another very elementary mistake in the logic of the verification of hypotheses, which is commonly committed, is that of "affirming the consequent". That is, I deduce from my hypothesis a conclusion, and because the conclusion turns out to be valid (by experiment) then I hold my hypothesis to be true. Suppose my hypothesis is "All Englishmen have wings"; now if I couple this with the statement, "All winged creatures eat food," then from these two premises it is valid reasoning to deduce "All Englishmen eat food." According to the scientific method, I examine my conclusion, and find that indeed all Englishmen do eat food, and so I can proclaim that my hypothesis ("All Englishmen have wings") is correct, because it leads to true conclusions. Thus the very foundation of the traditional scientific method is based on a fundamental logical error.

    There are very many other examples, some very subtle, of the way incorrect logic is often used in scientific procedures. When we recognise the fact that in most scientific work many auxiliary hypotheses and results of other scientists are involved in the argument, it seems miraculous that the scientific method ever achieves any consistent results.[9]

    Another point about the scientific method is that to be useful, a discovery must be related to already existing theories. Whenever this does not happen, a discovery is 'ahead of its time' and is ignored; not because it is thought to be untrue, but because nothing can be done with it. One example of this is the discovery of gene in 1865 by Mendel; it was not until 1900 that related topics in biology had 'caught up' and so enabled his discovery to be used and thus accepted. Exactly the same thing occurred in 1944 when it was proved that DNA was the substance responsible for passing on hereditary information.[10] Today, the outstanding example of this phenomena concerns ESP (extra-sensory-perception) and PK (psycho-kinesis).

    For there is no doubt that ESP exists. Recently there has been such a spate of hard documentary evidence that no reasonable person can deny it.[11] For instance, Russian scientists are conducting extensive experiments into telepathy and premonition, believed to be for military purposes. One cruel but conclusive experiment which a scientist called Popov conducted was to take some newly-born rabbits born in a submarine, keeping their mother on shore with electrodes in her brain. At intervals the underwater rabbits were killed one by one, and at the exact time that each of them died, there were sharp electrical responses in the brain waves of their mother.[12] An investigator in America has even shown that plants have some perceptive faculties.[13] It has also been conclusively shown that premonition and prophecy actually occur.[14] There are even people who can photograph scenes from their sub-conscious mind,[12] and also people who can photograph past events.[15]

    In the field of PK we have Uri Geller bending forks and Edgar Mitchell of the Apollo [14] lunar expedition (who himself did unofficial ESP experiment during the flight) supporting him.[16] While the evidence of some of these later findings is not accepted by some, surely no-one who looked at even a small part of the evidence accumulated over eighty years by the Society for Psychical Research could doubt that ESP and PR actually exist. (This is probably why so few do look at it.)

    So if we assume that such phenomena do exist, and have been more than adequately verified, the question arises that why are they so persistently ignored by the scientific community in general? The answer is surely that just as with the discovery of the gene in 1865, or of the hereditary quality of DNA in 1944, they cannot be dealt with by the scientific method. The discoveries are 'ahead of their time' and cannot be welded onto the existing body of scientific knowledge as it is at this time. Maybe it is because of this limitation the scientific method imposes that scientists feel impotent to deal with the discoveries, and the result is an unreasoning denial of the facts. As the famous biologist Alexis Carrel says: "They (scientists) willingly believe that facts that cannot be explained by current theories do not exist."[17]

    There is just one more point to make before the end of this section, and that is that many scientists admit that their discoveries or hypotheses came to them not via the scientific method, nor even through their imagination, but through a definite 'insight', a sudden revelation when all became clear. Descartes reports that he discovered the essentials of analytical geometry in a dream, and similarly Kekule in 1865 had a vision in a dream of a snake biting its tail from which he discovered the ring-like structure of the benzene molecule. The archaeologist Hilprecht solved a Babylonian inscription in a dream, and the French mathematician Poincare states that he solved an abstruse mathematical problem when he was not thinking about it at all. He was boarding a bus, and in the instant that he put his foot on the step of the bus, the whole solution came to him with perfect clarity.[18]

    Whether one chooses to explain these phenomena as intuitions from a higher state of consciousness, or as the unconscious quietly working on the data and presenting the answer on a plate to the conscious mind, is unimportant. It is a phenomenon which is unexpected, cannot be readily controlled, is just the opposite from discursive thought and is completely outside the scientific method

    All the above points combine to make it appear that the scientific method is unsuitable for dealing with the subject of the investigation this book is concerned with.


    In this, the last section of this chapter, we look at metaphysics - not so much at the theories themselves, but more at the inherent limitations they possess on account of their being based on reason. Bertrand Russell defined metaphysics as an "attempt to conceive the world as a whole by means of thought",l9 and we will use his definition to work with. First however we will look back in history to the Greeks, with whom the 'attempt to conceive the world as a whole by thought' began (in the West).

    The first western thinker to speculate about the nature of the world in a reasoned fashion is always held to be Thales of Miletus, from Ionia, who lived in the 6th century BC. For several hundred years afterwards metaphysics was a very popular pastime amongst the Greeks, reason and intellect assuming a greater and greater importance as time went by. In the 5th century BC we get Socrates, who was executed because his "search for Truth through reason unsettled young men's minds". Plato in the 4th century BC valued the intellect and reason even more, for while God is "the greatest, best, fairest, most perfect - the one only - begotten of heaven," He is nevertheless for Plato "the image of the intellectual".

    After Plato we find Aristotle rationally dissecting the external world, classifying and dividing whatever he touched. Discursive thought reigned supreme - in fact God, the First Cause, is pure thought, "for thought is what is best."

    The complete dominance of reason and the intellect were held to be amply justified by their fruits. We get Euclid's codifying of geometry which is one of the greatest achievements of Greek reasoning power, and in the 3rd century BC we get the complete Copernican theory of the earth orbiting the sun (put forward by Aristarchus of Samos) and we also get Archimedes, in the best scientific tradition, using reason to construct ingenious but fearful war-machines. After this, the great age of the emergence of the intellect was ended.[20] Although the Greeks were intellectually great, they seemed to lack that patience and aptitude for sustained observation and experiment necessary for great scientific achievements

    For instance, they almost invented the steam engine; a thinker called Heron had a hollow ball revolving rapidly due to pressurised steam, and while everyone agreed how powerful steam was and what fine things it could do, they did not follow it up with the practicalities necessary for developing steam power, as Watt did in an almost identical situation 2,000 years later.

    But the question we are concerned with is how does 'conceiving the world as a whole by means of thought' lessen Unpeace? That the intellectual feats of the Greeks were great achievements is undisputed, but so what? Every schoolboy who studies the classics is brought up on the notion that Ancient Greece was a Golden Age, an age where Beauty and Truth were valued above all else. But if we look at history we see much ugliness and war; the Greeks were often fighting, either among themselves (eg Athens versus Sparta) or with others (eg the Persians). In particular, the so-called Hellenistic Age (c 350-100 BC) was an age of great turmoil and misery. After Alexander the Great died, there was almost continuous fighting over how to split up his vast empire. There was terrible cruelty and wide-spread discontent. Prices rose and wages fell, due largely to the influx of cheap eastern slave labour; and as Russell says of this period, "...fear took the place of hope; the purpose of life was rather to escape misfortune than to achieve any positive good."[20] This only came to an end with the complete subjection of everybody by the Romans.

    We dealt in Chapter 6 with the lot of the common people in times of intellectual achievements in later centuries, including our own era, and so now we will go on to briefly mention some criticisms of the attempts to build up an intellectual understanding, of the world and of our place in it - ie a metaphysical system.

    To begin with, it is worth noting that such systems have been constructed for over 2,000 years and after all this time there is no general agreement as to which of them (if any) are true. Moreover, each school of metaphysicians seems to be able to show the difficulties of all other metaphysical theories, but cannot justify its own theory satisfactorily. Thus the problem appears to be not the truth or plausibility of the theories, but the validity of the whole metaphysical enterprise itself.

    One of the most damning investigations of the practice of metaphysics was carried out by the 18th century philosopher David Hume, the 'gentle sceptic'. We have mentioned him already in this chapter in connection with the shortcomings of induction and empiricism. Hume held that not only are the concepts employed by metaphysicians (eg 'reality', 'mind', 'substance', 'God', matter', etc) meaningless, but also the very questions that metaphysics tries to answer. For if our knowledge of the world only comes from what we experience, and the principle of induction has no rational basis and can never lead to 100 percent certainty (which Hume showed to be the case, based on a lengthy analysis of the cause-and-effect duality), then we have no intellectual certainty of anything - either in the public or the private world.

    The key word in this last sentence is 'intellectual' - for Hume was the first to admit that we act, reason and believe as if many things were certain. What he is saying is that such certainty cannot be based on reason, but merely upon faith and experience. He writes, "The sceptic still continues to reason or believe, even though he asserts that he cannot defend his reason by reason."[21] It was because of this point that this book started with facts of experience, such as conflict and Unpeace, rather than 'facts' of reason, which can never be justified (by reason).

    Thus for Hume the study of metaphysics became the study of metaphysicians; he wanted to know why supposedly sane and intelligent people discuss at great lengths questions which are only meaningless quibbles, and could not in any case be answered even if they were not. He would certainly have agreed with Adam's remark that philosophy (or to be precise - metaphysics) is "unintelligible answers to insoluble problems."[22]

    Hume's conclusions are echoed in some modern philosophical schools, such as the Logical Positivists and that of Popper. Many thinkers, including Russell, hold that no one has refuted these conclusions successfully; however, soon after Hume's death the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant claimed to have refuted him or - to be precise - his methods, since Kant agreed with Hume's final conclusion about metaphysics

    Kant agreed that all our knowledge begins with experience, but denied that it arises entirely from experience. He maintains that the sum total of our experience (which he called the 'phenomenal' world) is the product of two things - something we are presented with from 'outside' (the 'noumenal' world), and some inherent condition of the mind (called 'forms of intuition' and 'categories'). That which is presented from outside, the noumenal world, is the world as-it-is, but which we can never perceive. This idea can be expressed as an analogy of us looking through some coloured glasses which we cannot remove. What we see is then determined by the objects we are looking at and by the coloured glasses. The form in which we experience the object is determined by the glasses, but the actual content is determined by the object itself.

    So according to Kant, the world as it 'really' is (the noumenal world) cannot be perceived (or even conceived) as it is by the senses or the intellect. When we look at it, we do so through the inherent 'forms of intuition and categories' in our minds, and so perceive something else - the phenomenal world. In our terminology, the phenomenal world (being what we actually experience) is both the public and the private worlds; Kant saw no need to distinguish them, since they are both objects of experience, and he lumped them together as the 'phenomenal world'.

    On this type of argument, Kant claimed to show that Hume was wrong, and that we can have intellectual certainty about some things in the world, on account of having 'within' us the inherent 'forms of intuition and categories' which always determined the structure of our experience. To go into Kant's philosophy in detail is very complicated, and we will not do so here. It is, in fact, immaterial whether Kant disproved Hume or not for our purpose, since he went on in any case to support Hume's main conclusion - that metaphysics is a waste of time.

    For while Kant thought (unlike Hume) that we could gain certain knowledge concerning the phenomenal world we experience, we can never experience or know anything intellectually at all either about the noumenal world (the world 'as it is') or about the basis of the forms of intuition and categories which we view things 'through'.

    Since it is the business of metaphysics to go beyond the world we merely perceive (the phenomena) and to explain the 'real nature' of things (the noumenal), then metaphysics is doomed to failure. The most we can do is to philosophise about the conditions that regulate our knowledge of the phenomenal world, a line taken up by many present-day philosophers, notably Wittgenstein in both his earlier thinking (Logical Atomism) and his later thinking which developed into the Ordinary Language school. Russell, for instance, (a logical atomist or 'analyst') says that logical analysis "confesses frankly that the human intellect is unable to find conclusive answers to many questions of profound importance to mankind."[23]

    Of course, there are still philosophers who have not abandoned the quest for metaphysical 'truths', in particular the existentialists and the associated school of 'phenomenology', but there is as yet no agreement on the validity of their results


    In this chapter we maintained at the beginning that the activity of the intellect, discursive thought, is inherently and in theory unable to extricate us from Unpeace. This was backed up by the following conclusions concerning three main intellectual disciplines:

    1) In the realm of reason or logic we showed that i) the basic principle of reason did not apply to some external objects (eg sub-atomic particles, and also art, love etc), ii) deduction is not very useful in practical matters, iii) that no complex system is completely deductive anyway (Godel's proof) and iv) that induction can never give absolutely certain conclusions

    2) As for the scientific method, we showed that i) nothing is ever certain (both traditionally or according to Popper), ii) that no completely new result can be assimilated, and iii) that insight, which is completely outside the scientific method, is often used.

    3) In the realm of metaphysics we saw how it is impossible to understand the world as it is through the intellect, either from Hume's or Kant's arguments.

    8 - Intellectual Unity

    In the last chapter we showed that thought by its very nature of being discursive is incapable of breaking through the difference we find all around us; it is only fitted to deal in duality and not beyond. This was also suggested back in Chapter 2 on separateness, where we said that any unity we perceive must be in terms of difference.

    In spite of all this, of course, we think about unity quite a lot. After all, if Unpeace is the result of being bound to the world of difference, and the fundamental urge in us is to avoid Unpeace, then obviously we will be attracted to any thought or theory which gives prominence to non-difference or unity.

    In this chapter we will look at some of the attempts that have been made to intellectually construct and conceive of unity from the sea of difference we find all around us. We will deal mainly with concepts in modern science, especially that of 'superspace' and the 'bootstrap', and finally consider briefly some theological arguments for unity.

    Scientific Unity

    Although we have been at pains to show that science deals in difference, as it were, and in fact tends to enhance difference through classifications and analysing, there are nevertheless some strong impulses in science to find unity.

    For instance, a successful scientific theory is one which explains a wide range of previously unconnected events; it establishes a principle from which many diverse phenomena follow. In this sense, science is striving for unity; there seems to be a deep-rooted urge to unify all the many differences. An excellent example of this is in Newton's laws of motion, mentioned in Chapter 6. From these three laws, every problem in mechanics and dynamics could (in theory at least) be solved; they were staggering in their simplicity, and in the fact that they could account for so many completely different phenomena. But at the end of the 19th century some phenomena were observed which Newton's laws could not explain - the unity had broken down. So a new theory was needed; one that could unify and explain not only all the phenomena explicable in terms of Newton's laws, but also the awkward new phenomena. Such a theory was proposed by Einstein in 1905 (the Special Theory of Relativity), and it succeeded in restoring the lost unity of mechanics and dynamics.

    Man's inherent distaste for difference is admirably shown in his calling the cosmos he lives in a 'universe', a word which literally means 'turned into one'. For not only do we instinctively realise that Unpeace will never vanish unless difference is 'turned into one', we are also forced to accept that in some senses the universe is remarkably uniform. For instance, we cannot help but being amazed at the homogeneity of the universe, ie at its sameness. The same laws of Nature seem to operate in the room I am in and in the room next door; not only that, but they also operate on the other side of the world, and as far we, we know on the other side of our galactic cluster as well. The atoms of each element appear to be the same here as they do countless millions of miles away in space.

    We can also not fail to be amazed at the incredible interconnection that exists between all the different atoms and parts of the universe. The cosmos is incredible coherent and well-ordered, from galactic dimensions down to atomic dimensions. This point will be taken up later in this chapter, but just for now we can quote Sir Charles Sherrington on the organisation of that miraculous 'bit' of the universe - the human body.

    In a baby, the 25 trillion cells, he writes, "have arranged themselves into a complex which is a human child. Each cell...has taken up its right position. Each has assumed its required form and size in the right place...Each cell has taken on the shape which will suit its particular business in the cell community of which it is a member, whether its skill is to lie in mechanical pulling, chemical manufacture, gas transport, radiation absorption, or what not.

    "More still, it has done so as though it 'knew' the minute local conditions of the particular spot in which its lot is cast...It is as if an imminent principle inspired each cell with knowledge for the carrying out of a design. And this picture which the microscope supplies to us, conveying this impression of prescience and intention, supplies us after all, because it is but a picture with only the static form. That is, but the outward and visible signs of a dynamic activity which is a harmony in time as well as space."[1]

    This interconnection between all the separate parts of the universe is strikingly illustrated in that branch of quantum mechanics known as wave mechanics, developed by Schrodinger in 1925 and mentioned briefly in the last chapter. Basically, if we look at a very small particle (such as an electron) from a common-sense viewpoint, we have to sometimes think of it as a wave. Now although the wave practically dies down to nothing at very short distances from where the 'particle' is supposed to be, it does not vanish. In fact, it never quite vanishes. So each atom in my body is, to a very small extent, in everyone else's body; not only that, but is also to a very small extent on the other side of the furthest stars. Equally, a tiny piece of everyone else's body is in me. Of course, this does not in practice concern the scientist, since the quantities involved are so small, but nevertheless they are there.[2]

    Probably the most famous scientific concept of unity is that of energy; but what exactly energy is, is not so clear. Newton defined energy as a property of moving things, or to put it more broadly, the power to do something. We say a person is energetic if he is doing lots of things; if he does nothing, then we say he has no energy. The fact that things are constantly happening on this earth and in the universe in general means that there is energy all around us. Now there is a scientific law that most people know (technically called 'the first law of thermodynamics') which states that "Energy is neither created nor destroyed." In other words, in order to explain a class of phenomena in the world of difference end change, science has to postulate an entity (energy) which does not change (in quantity). What do change are the forms of energy. One example of this is a hydro-electric generator where falling water (gravitational energy) makes a wheel spin round (mechanical energy) which in turn creates electrical energy; this then 'flows' into your bedside lamp where it is converted into light, which enters your eye and is transformed into neural energy - and so on.

    Due to Einstein's famous formula E = mc2, scientists now consider matter to be just another form of energy - a sort of frozen energy. So when matter is annihilated, as in a nuclear explosion, what has happened is just that energy has changed from one form (matter) to another form (heat or radiation) - but the amount of energy itself remains unchanged.

    In view of all this, it is not surprising that science is silent as to what energy actually is. For energy itself does not belong to the world of difference, since it cannot by definition change, and it is everywhere; and as we have shown, science by its very nature of being an intellectual and discursive activity can only deal with the world of difference, that is only with the forms of energy. What is interesting is that science feels it necessary to postulate an entity which does not belong to the world of difference in order to deal with the world of difference.


    The concept of superspace is a very important concept in modern physics, thus in science as a whole. For modern physics is that branch of science which deals with the most fundamental 'things' in this universe, and which other sciences (eg chemistry and biology) are based upon.

    By 'modern physics' is meant basically two fields: quantum mechanics, which deals with the very, very small; and relativity, which deals with the very, very big and the very, very fast. Superspace is crucial to both fields, and thus indirectly to all science and hence to all modern thinking.

    Superspace is really the tying up of space and time into a neat intellectual bundle; so before we start on superspace, it would be as well to say a few words on space and time.

    The concept of space is familiar to us all but what exactly is it? Indeed, philosophers are undecided as to whether it is anything or not. For instance, is space an emptiness in its own right, a sort of receptacle which may or may not have any part filled with matter? Or is it 'nothing', ie no thing, just the absence of matter? The book in front of me 'occupies' space, but what has happened to the space which was there before the book was? Is it till there, permeating the book, rather like the ether of 19th century science, or has it been displaced somewhere as water is displaced when an object is put into it?

    We are faced with the same kind of problems in our thinking about time. As St Augustine said, "What, then, is time? If no-one asks of me I know: if I wish to explain to him who asks: I know not."[3]

    Both space and time are in a sense intervals between things, ie they largely provide the setting for difference to exist in. For objects are separate from each other because they exist in space, and things change because they exist in time. So if the world as we see it is one of difference primarily because of space and time, than it appears that we are dealing with the very foundations of difference.

    i) Dimensions

    In order to talk about superspace intelligibly, we first have to consider what we mean by 'dimension'. We say, for instance that the surface of this page has two dimensions. It is a "2-dimensional space". We say this because it needs two measurements to locate a point on it. For to locate point B, starting from A, I have to give two measurements: - I can say, for example, "B is one inch to the right of A, and 1.7 inches down."

    Alternatively, I can say, "B is two inches from A, in a direction of 30 degrees off the downward vertical. There are many such ways to locate B from A, but we find that like these two examples, in any way we have to give a minimum of two measurements. Thus a surface is defined as a "2-dimensional space."

    Using such a definition, a line is a "space of one dimension." Why? Because now I only need one measurement to locate any point B from a fixed point A. I just have to say, "B is one inch to the right of A," and that fixes the position of B.

    So now we can see why the 'normal' space we live in is known as '3-dimensional space'. It is because from a given point we need at least three measurements to locate any other points. In everyday speech, we say that an object in such a space has three dimensions: length, breadth, and depth.

    Nothing we can perceive through our senses, and nothing we can imagine in our mind, has more than three dimensions in this mathematical sense. We see this universe, the earth and everything on and in the earth, including our bodies, as being 3-dimensions or less. We can form no visual concept of anything which has 4-dimensions or more.

    Now in the last century, some mathematicians, notably a German called Riemann,[4] started talking about spaces of four or more dimensions; but because of our total inability to visualise or imagine such spaces, the whole subject was thought to be theoretical. But at the beginning of this century, a Polish mathematician, called Minkowski, showed that we could mathematically regard time as a fourth dimension, no different from the other three, and regard ourselves as living not in a 3-dimensional space but a 4-dimensional 'space', called 'space-time' or superspace. It is only on account of our minds being limited to 3-dimensions that when perceiving objects 'in' superspace we can only see 3 of the 4-dimensions - we interpret the remaining dimension in utterly different way, and we call it 'time'.

    ii) Curved Space

    Einstein used this idea of 4-dimensional superspace to formulate his famous General Theory of Relativity in 1915.[5] This theory was completely revolutionary in that it said that the 3-dimensional 'normal' space we think we are familiar with is curved within the framework of superspace. To explain such an incredible idea, we will use an analogy.

    Meet Fred:

    Now Fred is similar to us in many ways, except he is a 2-dimensional being, and the 'space' he lives in is thus also 2-d such as the surface of this page. (From now on we will write 'dimensional' or 'dimensions' as just 'd'). But whereas we can see Fred, he can in no way see us or conceive of our existence. For to do so he would have to look up and out of the page, the surface of which is his 'world', and this he cannot do. He cannot conceive even, let alone perceive, the third dimension just as we have no possible conception of a fourth dimension in our 3-d space. 'Up' and 'down' have no possible meaning whatsoever to him. So Fred's viewpoint is entirely limited to the particular surface which is his 'space' ie this page.

    If the page is now curved in any way, so it is not a flat surface, it would not make a scrap of difference to Fred. For to curve this page, part of it would have to be bent up (or down), that is, use made of the third dimension, of which Fred is utterly and completely unaware.

    So whether the '2-d space' (this page) is to us flat or curved, it is always the same to Fred. It would be nonsense to him to think of it as being curved or flat, in the same way as it appears nonsense to us to think of our 3-d space as being 'curved' or 'flat'.

    But let us is now imagine Fred to be living on the surface of a sphere. Of course, to Fred there would be absolutely no change, since, as we have seen, for a surface to be curved all three dimensions must be used, and Fred is limited to only two dimensions.

    So far so good. Now suppose Fred goes for a walk in a straight line, noting the point where he started. After certain time he would get back to this point, though from behind. From our superior 3-d viewpoint, this is to be expected, since we see Fred as not actually walking in a straight line, but going in a circle around the sphere. But to Fred the whole thing is deeply paradoxical. From his point of view, he has been walking forward all the time along a straight line, since the curvature of the surface is non-existent to him.

    If we now think of our 3-d space as being the curved 'surface' of a 4-d 'super-sphere', embedded in 4-d superspace; just as Fred's 2-d 'space' is the curved surface of a 3-d sphere embedded in 3-d space; then we can understand Einstein's famous joke that if you look at the sky with a powerful enough telescope you would see the back of your own head. For though our line of sight goes along what is, to our 3-d awareness, a straight line, it is in fact a circle in superspace, just as what Fred thought was a straight line in 2-d was in fact a circle in 3-d.

    So just as Fred's 'straight line' ended up at its starting point, so our 'straight line' would also end up at its starting point and we would see the back of our own head. Of course, this would never happen really since although light travels very fast, the distance 'round' the universe is so immense that it would take billions of years for the light to make the journey; it is also very likely that the light would get stopped by a star; and anyway, it is completely beyond modern technology to construct a powerful enough telescope, now or in the foreseeable future.

    But nevertheless, the joke gives us an idea of the structure of our 3-d space as being 'embedded' in 4-d superspace.

    In fact, Einstein's General Theory of Relativity does not positively assert that our space is actually curved into a 'super-sphere' but it is a possibility, and in fact a very attractive possibility.

    One fact that it explains is the 'expanding universe'. It has been observed that the clusters of galaxies in the universe are all travelling away from us, and the further the cluster is from us, the faster it is receding. From the normal 3-d point of view, this is deeply disturbing, since it implies that the earth Is at some special 'favoured' position in the universe, which astronomers are reluctant to accept. Yet there seems no alternative.

    But if we accept superspace, there is a neat way out. We can explain it by again thinking of Fred on his spherical surface, but this time we imagine the sphere to be expandable, like a balloon. Now when the sphere is quite small, we can cover the surface with dots, all equally spaced. If this sphere is now blown up so it expands, all the dots move away from each other; and the important thing is that from the point of view of any one dot, all the other dots recede from it, and what is more, the farther a dot is from the one dot we have chosen, the faster it recedes from that dot. So this is powerfully suggestive of the fact that we do live in (or on) the 3-d 'surface' of a 4-d super-sphere, which is in fact expanding, just like a balloon being blown up. It does not put the earth in any special position in the universe, since on this theory the clusters would appear to be receding from any point you chose.

    In fact, it has been shown recently, that if our 3-d space is rotating as well as expanding, then there must be shear in it, which in turn could lead to singularities in time (eg the 'beginning' - the act of creation) disappearing, so that the universe alternatively expands and contracts forever, with no beginning and no end.[6]

    iii) Black Holes

    Another reason for accepting the existence of superspace is concerned with black holes, which can be thought of as vanished stars.

    Anaxagoras, a Greek philosopher in the 5th century BC, thought that the stars shone because they were burning still. Modern science calls this 'burning' thermonuclear reaction, which provides the intense heat and light emanating from most stars, including our Sun. It also prevents stars from collapsing in on themselves due to their own gravity. However, after a length of time (which is commonly many billions of years) the star will eventually use up all its nuclear fuel, and will 'burn itself out'. When this happens, there is nothing to stop the star being pulled into its centre by its own gravity. This process can end in a number of ways, but it has been shown theoretically that if the mass of the star is greater than a certain value (which is in fact 1.2 times the mass of the sun) it can only end in two ways.

    One way is for there to be a massive nuclear explosion called a supernova which ends the existence of the star as a star. The other way is for the star to squash itself out of existence, leaving a 'black hole' in space. The explanation of this is too complicated to go into here, but basically the smaller the star becomes, the more condensed it becomes, and the greater the inward pull of its own gravity. In the end the gravity is to strong that no outward pressure can balance it, and it relentlessly crushes the star right out of existence. Astronomers have recently claimed to have obtained evidence of black holes, so it appears that they do actually exist.[7]

    The problem is, where has the star gone if it has left this universe? As we have pointed out earlier, matter (frozen energy) cannot just vanish; if it disappears it must mean that it has changed to some other form of energy. Now we know from nuclear explosions that if a mere fraction of an ounce of matter is destroyed, the amount of radiated energy it turns into is enormous. But in the case of black holes we are talking of many trillions of trillions of tons of matter disappearing, and that certainly is not all converted into radiated energy. Science will not accept that any energy can be destroyed, let alone trillions of trillions of tons of it (in its frozen aspect - matter); but yet the star has undoubtedly vanished from our universe.

    The answer is clearly that it has not really vanished but has just left our 3-d space; it has gone into another dimension - that is superspace. Of course, it will appear to us to have utterly vanished, since we are viewing it (we have no alternative) from the viewpoint of our 3-d viewing mechanism.

    In fact, if under certain conditions matter can be made to leave our 3-d universe as we perceive it, then why cannot matter enter it again? This has been put forward as a theory for quasars. Quasars are objects in the universe which are rather peculiar. They are commonly thought to be very far away from us, in fact the furthest objects we can observe. But the effect which makes scientist think they are so far away can equally well be ascribed to the fact that they have very strong gravitational fields. In other words, they are sort of black holes in reverse. They are matter being forced back into the 3-d universe from superspace. This theory has not been proved, but it is receiving serious attention

    iv) Geometrodynamics

    This long word means the study of dynamic geometry, or the power of space. That 'space' can have power or be dynamic is a strange concept. At the beginning of this chapter we rather thought of space as a 'nothingness' or an 'emptiness'; but we have seen how the work of Einstein and others has led us to view 'space' in a completely new way.

    During the last twenty years there has been a new theory evolved, largely by a scientist called Wheeler, which goes under this name 'Geometrodynamics.'[8] This theory does not contradict the General Theory of Relativity, but attempts rather to go beyond it. For while Relativity neatly ties up space, time and gravity, into unimaginable 'superspace', it leaves out many things such as the existence of energy and matter. But geometrodynamics attempts to include even these into the structure of space itself. That is to say, that there is nothing other than superspace. Everything is a manifestation of this.

    We have seen how Relativity leads us to believe that our 3-d space is curved within superspace. So far so good; but Wheeler asks what happens if there are 'local eddies' in space - places where space gets very sharply curved? We can get some idea of what the means by looking at an analogy with the sea. We can imagine our 3-d space to be like the sea, which is 'curved' since it lies on the curved surface of our spherical earth. But in addition to this general curvature, the sea is also curved in separate parts - waves. And when sea waves approach the shore they become more sharply curved, until there comes a point when they can no longer exist as water - they break up into foam. So in the same way, Wheeler says, it is possible that parts of our space have become so sharply curved that they can too longer exist as space - they break up into 'foam'. And this 'foam' is none other than the elementary particles of matter, the constituents of atoms.

    So matter, which we perceive with our 3-d mental acuities as being hard and gross, is of this view nothing but a form of space. And energy? Energy, such as light waves, consists of 'ripples' of space, just like on the sea there are sometimes lots of ripples running across the surface.

    Geometrodynamics has by no means been proved yet scientifically. This is largely because the mathematic needed to formulate the theory is so complex that results are, at the moment, impossible to achieve, but it is being treated seriously by many scientists.

    v) Bootstrap

    To finish this section on superspace, we consider briefly the 'bootstrap model'. This peculiar name is given to a way of thinking derived from a particular mixture of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, known as S-Matrix theory. The basic bootstrap philosophy was expounded in a sense in the philosophies of Spinoza (17th century) and Hegel (1770-1831), and can be said to have originated in the Greek philosopher Parmenides of the 5th century BC. It holds that the coherence and internal consistency of the universe, remarked upon earlier, is the fundamental quality of nature. In other words, there is a real unity in nature which is more important than anything else, and all the aspects of difference we see around us must follow from self-consistency. Bootstrap philosophy thus holds that nature is what it is because it is the only possible nature consistent with itself. This means, that distinct and separate particles (such as protons, electrons etc) are not the fundamental entities of the universe, since this would mean that the universe was not a uni-verse, but a 'di-verse' ('turned into two') ie was founded on difference and diversity.

    As we have been at pains to show earlier, science is only concerned with this world of difference; it thus follows that the bootstrap philosophy is, strictly speaking, unscientific.[9]

    In spite of this, many physicists are using a bootstrap model in the S-matrix terminology, but needless to say they have to water it down somewhat. For a full bootstrap treatment would require everything to follow from the fact of self-consistency alone, including not only matter but space, time and even consciousness.[10] A watered down bootstrap model has to be used because science finds it impossible to deal with non-difference, as we have observed.

    The watered-down version most commonly used is the so-called 'hadron bootstrap' because it attempts to explain the interconnection and relationships between only hadrons, which are a certain class of sub-atomic particles. It turns out that if the bootstrap philosophy is accepted, every hadron contains all the other hadrons, and at the same time is a part of each of them. In other words, every single hadron is made up of all the other hadrons, and this is true of them all. This of course is absolutely impossible in common-sense logic, the basic dualities of is-or-is-not, of cause-and-effect, and of space-and-time all breaking down. This can only happen in superspace, where all our commonsense notions no longer hold, and where the hadrons cease to be 3-d particles but become one unimaginable 4-d entity. As has been pointed out, this is all very reminiscent of Eastern philosophy[11] - for instance there is a passage in a Buddhist scripture which goes:

    vi) Conclusion

    To conclude this section on superspace, it should he pointed out that all of the theories mentioned here (General Relativity, Geometrodynamics, Bootstrap etc) could be disproved in the future. However, it seems certain that any alternative theories will have to use the concept of superspace; so it is immaterial whether the details we have gone into here are proved to be valid or not - what is important is that science is forced to describe so many phenomena in this world of difference in terms of non-differentiated superspace.

    Indeed, some physicists have not seen any need to limit superspace to only four dimensions. Why four? Why not five dimensions? Six, seven...infinite. Why not have a superspace consisting of an infinite number of dimensions? The point is that with our 3-d viewing mechanism superspace is completely and utterly unintelligible to us whether we say that it has four dimensions or an infinite number of dimensions. So for our purpose there is no need to specify the number of dimensions it has.

    Of course, many scientists object to speaking about superspace as a thing, an entity; they insist it is only a mathematical description. That science has not 'proved' the physical existence of superspace is true; and from what we have said earlier, it is impossible for science ever to do so, for we have shown that discursive thought can only rearrange difference or the 'diverse' and never go beyond it. What is so revealing is that science, in using tools of difference to understand difference has to explain some observed phenomena by talking as if there is something completely transcending difference. Apart from giving this 'something' a name (superspace), we can never understand it or even conceive of it with the tools of difference and diversity, such as the intellect.

    Arguments For The Existence Of God

    Of course it is not only scientists who feel the need sometimes to postulate that there is, after all, a unity more basic than difference. Many philosophers and thinkers have postulated this as well. However, in this chapter we are only concerned with intellectual unity, ie with breaking through the world of difference or the 'diverse' using discursive thought. Though this is inherently impossible, we have seen that we can explain many events in the world of difference ('phenomena') through assuming that there is unity beyond difference, though we cannot talk or think about it.

    Now not only scientists, but many metaphysicians have also used this approach of assuming that there is a world of non-difference, and then showing how many phenomena in our world of difference can be then explained. We gave three examples Parmenides, Spinoza and Hegel though there are many more.

    The point is that however successful the explanations are, they do not prove that the originally assumed world of non-difference must exist. To hold (as it often is) that they do prove such a unity is an excellent example of the error of 'affirming the consequent' dealt with in the last chapter.

    To prove intellectually (ie with discursive thought) that a world of non-difference must exist is held by many (such as Hume and Kant) to be impossible. We showed this in the last section of the last chapter, where we came to the conclusion that metaphysics ("the attempt to conceive of the world as a whole by thought") was unable to achieve its aim.

    Notwithstanding this, there have been many attempts to establish by means of discursive thought (usually deductive reason) that a world of non-difference does exist. In this section we will look briefly at the five main arguments which have been put forward for theirs existing a basis, a unity on which the world of difference rests. Such a basis is usually called God.

    i) The Ontological argument

    This claims in essence that from the definition of God, He (She, or It) must exist. It is thus a purely deductive argument, and bears no relation to our experience or knowledge of the world, which made it so attractive to its main proponents such as Saint Anselm, Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz. St. Thomas of Aquinas criticised the argument by saying that it was circular, in that you can only define God if you know that He exists, and not the other way around. Bertrand Russell refutes the argument, but probably the simplest refutation comes from Gaunilon, a contemporary of Anselm, and from Kant, who said simply that by thinking about something, that something does not necessarily exist. For instance, I can define quite precisely what a unicorn is, but that does not mean that unicorns actually exist.

    ii) The Cosmological Argument

    This argument rests on the cause-and-effect duality. If everything finite (ie in the world of difference) has a cause, then the causes must themselves have had causes, and so on. To start this off, there must have been a First or Causeless Cause, ie God. This was argued by Aristotle, Anselm, St. Thomas and put into its most tight form by Liebniz. Hume held that this was no reason for a First Cause, since the chain of cause-and-effect could go back indefinitely; this has been made plausible by the recent advances in theoretical physics, showing that maybe the universe never had a beginning.[13]

    Kant refuted the cosmological argument twice over; first he showed that it involved in one of its steps the ontological argument, which as we have seen is invalid. Secondly, he held that God belonged to the noumenal world, about which we cannot know anything, even whether He, She or it exists or not. In our terminology, this is saying that in a world of non-difference, there is no duality and thus no cause-and-effects; so we cannot reason to God or non-difference by cause-end-effect arguments.

    iii) The Argument from Eternal Truths

    This was first put forward by Plato, and later by Leibniz.

    It basically says that truths exist in our minds, so eternal truths must be parts of the contents of an eternal mind, ie God. By an 'eternal truth', Liebniz meant something which is always true. (Plato called it an 'Idea'). Russell has shown that this argument is just another form of the cosmological argument, and so is invalid.[14]

    iv) The Argument From Design

    Whereas the other three arguments rest on deduction, the argument from design rests on induction and is empirical. It is sometimes called the "argument from pre-established harmony" (Leibniz) or the "physico-theological proof" (Kant).

    Basically, the idea is that if we look around us at this world, although we see a world of difference, there is nevertheless such obvious design and interconnection that blind natural forces cannot be the cause, but there must be some conscious purpose (ie God) for it all. As science advances and discovers greater and greater evidence of interrelation and purpose in the cosmos, then obviously the argument from design becomes stronger; this has been forcefully argued from the recent findings in biochemistry and biology.[15] (See Sherrington's quote previously.

    The greatest critic of the argument from design was Hume, who spent 25 years (on and off) writing a critique of it. The basis of his criticism is that it is an unsound analogy, in the sense that the argument says because human consciousness is seen to produce order and design, then a far greater design must come from a consciousness greater than human. This is not logically watertight. However, Hume does admit that while the argument is not valid, it is to some extent convincing.

    Kant, while not invalidating the argument, holds that it does not argue for God, but only for a conscious agency that is wiser and more powerful than we are, but which could still belong completely to the world of difference (and thus not be God, by definition).

    Darwin's theory of Evolution has refuted this argument, showing clearly that blind natural forces certainly can, and probably do, cause what we humans see as 'design'. In other words, Hume was right. Except that the Argument from Design is no longer even convincing, as Hume thought.

    v) - The Argument from Morality

    It might be supposed from what we have said of Kant that he did not believe in God. This, however, is not true; he merely held that all intellectual proofs of God's existence were invalid. Kant's, and many other peoples', reason for believing in God was a moral one. Namely, that if happiness is proportional to virtue, then God and a future life must exist, since happiness is certainly not proportional to virtue in this life.

    This is a deductive argument, and thus depends on the premises - notably the premise that happiness is proportional to virtue, which is an opinion or belief, and so cannot be validated nor refuted; thus the argument itself is not valid.


    Whereas the last chapter showed that the intellect is only capable of dealing with difference, this chapter has shown that nevertheless it is often the case that we find it very useful to postulate that there is a world of non-difference, or unity (named variously 'energy', 'superspace', 'God', 'noumenal world', etc). However, this does not prove that non-difference exists. In this chapter we gave some examples both of attempts to prove intellectually that non-difference exists, and of attempts to intellectually deal with a postulated world of non-difference. Neither attempt was successful.

    9 - The Third Monk

    Summary Of Argument So Far

    This is a convenient point to briefly summarise the main argument of the book so far.

    We began by saying that we are in a state of 'Unpeace', which we find unsatisfactory and are hence continually acting in an attempt to lessen. Now this Unpeace can be thought of as being due to 'difference'; we live, in fact, in a world of difference, a 'di-verse', where all around us at all levels there exists separateness, change and duality, creating conflict and tension in our bodies, in our minds, in our community, in the world and in the whole cosmos. We observed that this principle of difference is more basic than any unity or connection (such as the binding of atoms or falling deeply in love) that we can see.

    Part One ended by our considering the mind-matter duality, or the fact that we are aware of two different worlds - one public and the other private. Although we glanced at the philosophies and reasons for taking one (or both) to be 'real', we came to no conclusion.

    At the start of Part Two we stated that given the position described in Part One, then how we act will, broadly speaking, be determined by whether we consider the public world to be more important (like the second monk) or the private world (like the third monk). We pointed out that although the third monk's attitude seemed to be superior, in theory, most of us follow the second monk in practice. We then called the second monk an 'externalist', defining an external object or event to be one belonging to the world of difference and vice versa.

    We then divided the externalist attitude into two broad categories - that which attempts to manipulate the public world indirectly, eg by magic ('indirect externalism'), and that which does so directly ('direct externalism'). The latter could be further divided into two types - that which relies basically on brute force to rearrange the external world, eg conquest or human labour (which we can call 'physical direct-externalism'), and that which relies on the intellect. We saw that this 'intellectual direct-externalism' has, in the guise of science probably caused almost as much Unpeace as it has alleviated.

    In the last two chapters it was additionally shown that the intellect cannot even in theory cope with anything outside difference, and thus can never liberate us from Unpeace, which is caused by difference. However, the intellect is often led to think as if there were a world of non-difference, though it cannot think about it nor prove its existence.

    So we can fairly conclude that what we have labelled 'intellectual direct-externalism' is, both in practice and in theory, unable to solve our fundamental problems of finding Peace.

    In fact, we can now enlarge on this and say that this is true for all forms of externalism; for externalism is concerned in essence with just rearranging difference, with manipulating external objects and events, and not with finding a way out of difference. Obviously some arrangements of our environment cause less Unpeace than others, and it is to our advantage to cause those arrangements to come about, if possible. For instance, to lessen pain and alleviate suffering is a noble task; and much happiness, joy, laughter, love and peace (small 'p') can be obtained in this world of difference, although they are always mixed with their opposites to some extent so that the result is nevertheless still Unpeace. What we hope to have shown is not that activities in this world are useless, but that they are useless for obtaining Peace (big 'P'), since they do not and cannot liberate from difference.

    The reader should note that by 'difference' we mean distinction, diversity, separateness, change and duality at all levels and in all things; ie difference in the deepest possible and most fundamental sense, and not just superficial difference which can of course often be transcended. In fact without this superficial difference we would be intolerably bored ("Variety is the spice of life"), and this might lead to some readers thinking that our urge to find a world of non-difference is grossly misplaced. However, as we have shown, it is not impossible to think or imagine about a world of non-difference (using the term 'difference' in its deepest sense), so we cannot say that we would be bored or anything else in it.

    We have dealt primarily with intellectual direct-externalism because that is mainly what the West in concerned with, though of course often the understanding of a situation with the intellect merely opens the way for a more effective physical control of the environment - which we have called 'physical direct-externalism' (this is admirably illustrated by modern military technology mentioned at the end of Chapter 6). However, we can take it that this latter form of externalism does not remove Unpeace either. Of course often it is held that physical conquest and the establishment of an empire provides stability and security for the populace, but few subjects of foreign domination would say they were happy with the situation - certainly that it does not remove all difference in our sense of the word.

    So we conclude by holding that externalism (direct and indirect) and the intellect, by their very nature of dealing only in difference, are unfitted for liberation from Unpeace; and thus they cannot on their own fulfil man's purpose and answer the central question of his life.


    Since this is the case, we have no alternative but to leave the externalist second monk involved in the public world, and to investigate the position of the third monk, who places more importance on the private world. These two monks act in dissimilar ways, as was described in Chapter 5, even though they experience the same things - the desire to be free from Unpeace and a world based on difference. Their contrasting behaviour is due to one (the second monk) looking basically to the public world for the answer, and the other (the third monk) to the private world.

    We can describe the 'private world' loosely as 'mind' or the mental world; it consists of all 'objects' or events which are not public, ie which cannot be experienced by anyone else other than the person concerned. Furthermore, we can divide the mind, or private world, into two parts - the conscious and the non-conscious.

    This division was first made obvious by the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud; and now the majority of psychologists, while perhaps not agreeing with Freud's analysis, hold that most mental activity is non-conscious. (Freud used the term 'unconscious', but nowadays there is also the 'preconscious' and the 'subconscious'; here we lump them all together under the term 'non-conscious').

    It is generally held that the non-conscious is a sort of repository for all the mental processes that it is assumed must exist to account for our behaviour. Some hold that it is a seething mass of passions, desires, instincts, habits and even thoughts, which occasionally break through the surface and enter our conscious private world. Evidence that non-conscious activity occurs is overwhelming; much dreaming is obviously the result of a non-conscious kind of thinking, as is hypnosis. A hypnotised subject can be instructed to do something when he awakens, such as fall down at the sight of the first red pen he sees. When awakened, the subject has no memory of this instruction, and will behave quite naturally in every way, but when shown a red pen; he will trip and fall down, unaware that such action is not accidental. Such behaviour is obviously motivated by the non-conscious;[1] in fact, it need not be caused by hypnotism at all. Freud filled a book[2] with examples of little accidents which are not wholly accidental, eg the forgotten name or the misplaced wedding ring etc, all motivated (at least in part) by non-conscious wishes.

    Given that what goes on in our non-conscious affects our behaviour and what we think, then it is obvious that our mental state as a whole will have a profound effect on our interpretation of what we see in the public world. As was pointed out in Chapter 5, the third monk bases what he actually does upon this fact. His tendency is to lay greater stress on the private world of the mind than on the public world as a means of dealing with Unpeace.

    We can think of there existing 'backgrounds' in our mental world which we view the public world against. These backgrounds are usually in the non-conscious, and will turn out to be very important. The rest of this section will be concerned with developing this concept of 'background'.

    i) Visual Background

    To begin with, we will consider the formation of ordinary visual backgrounds with which we are familiar.

    It is a curious fact that we perceive no field of view at one dead level. Whatever we look at, we automatically split up into two parts - one part is singled out as the main feature of interest, the 'object', while the other part becomes the background. The object stands out and is easily seen but the background tends to fall back and not be seen with any clarity. This is a mental process, and it depends largely upon the viewer as to what is object and what is background. One person's subject is often another person's background.

    For instance, in this picture, do you see two faces or do you see a vase? Whichever we see is due entirely to what part of the picture we accept as background, and what part as object. Sometimes we will tend to see a vase, at other times the two faces. We cannot view the picture at one level throughout, but automatically split it up into the object, upon which our attention is focused, and the background, which we barely notice. So strong is this tendency, that some people who see in the picture only one object (either the vase or the two faces) take quite some time to see in it the other possible object, even when told it exists. This is because the background is so ignored that it takes quite a mental jump to focus attention onto it and away from the object, but as soon as this is done, then what was background becomes object and vice versa; and this switch in background gives the picture a whole new meaning.

    A similar example is the "wife and mother-in-law ambiguity". Do you see in the picture above "the wife" (below left) or the "mother-in-law" (below right)?

    Which you see depends upon what parts of the figure stand out and which parts are ignored. This division into object and background thus appears basic for our perception, and yet we see how once a background is chosen, we are conscious of it to a very small extent. In the above example we see how a field of view has a possibility of two object/background interpretations, yet once one has been identified, then we tend to stick with that interpretation.

    But however little attention we give background, it nevertheless modifies profoundly the meaning of the object. For instance, against the background of the plain white paper, the two black lines in the picture below left appear straight and parallel, which indeed they are. But if we view the same straight lines against a radially patterned background as in below right, they appear curved and non-parallel. In other words, the background is not passive, but has an important effect on the interpretation and meaning of the subject.

    A similar kind of effect is seen with the circles below. The centre circles are exactly the same size, but we see them as being different entirely on account of the different background each is embedded in.

    ii) Non-visual Background


    Let us now consider a field of view where the background is not entirely visual, but has a conceptual component as well. Below we have a chessboard with a bishop on it. In this case, the object is the bishop, and the background against which we are viewing it is the chessboard and the rules of chess. Now against such a background the bishop can only move diagonally. But if the background is changed and we now use the bishop as a paperweight on our desk, say, then it would be absurd to insist that it only be moved diagonally across the desk. Its pattern of behaviour depends upon its background.

    In fact, 'backgrounds' formed entirely by our concepts and mental processes (usually non-conscious) condition what we perceive as much as the visual backgrounds we have just been considering. This idea was first developed and shown systematically by the Gestalt school of psychology, and their general conclusion that what we actually perceive is not due to public objects alone, but to their being projected onto a 'gestalt' or background set up in our minds, is still held valid today.[3]

    We classify and recognise things we see, for instance, even when they appear different. For example, a round plate appears to be oval when viewed from an angle, yet we have no difficulty in recognising it to be round. Similarly, a table might be square when looked at from directly above, but diamond shaped when viewed from the side, yet we see it as a 'square' table. As we learn more about our environment, we develop more conscious systems of classification, or points of view. We impose a background of thought patterns and preconceived categories onto what we see, and thus condition the raw sense data into something meaningful.

    This was pointed out quite forcibly in 1690 by the philosopher John Locke. He had three basins of water - one hot, one tepid and one cold. Now if one hand is put in the hot water, and one in the cold water, and they are left immersed for a few minutes, and then both hands are plunged simultaneously into the remaining basin of tepid water, then the water appears to have two temperatures at the same time - warm to one hand and cool to the other. His demonstration shows that the apparent qualities (eg the temperature) of public objects are very dependable upon the mental backgrounds of the person perceiving them.

    The meaningfulness of something is not just an attribute of it, but depends upon the particular background (visual or mental) against which we are viewing it at that particular time. A doctor and an architect, visiting the same hospital, will each give different importance to different features. Each will be interested in the hospital from a different point of view, and they will each be judging the building against a different background of values and thinking.

    An excellent example of a non-conscious mental background is that of the rules of perspective. These belong to the western culture, and they lead us to interpret a picture in three dimensions if possible. People in other cultures (Zulus and some other African tribes) however tend to see perspective drawings as if they were flat. Thus when western people are shown drawings such as those below, they are often visibly confused. But they are only confusing when viewed against our mental background which tries to turn two dimensional figures into three-dimensional objects. To the Zulu there is no confusion, since he makes no attempt to view them in other than two dimensions.

    A reason put forward for this is that we westerners have a 'rectangular background': our rooms and many everyday objects are rectangular. We also see many roads and railways, which present long parallel lines, converging to a point, and so implying depth.

    But Zulus have a 'circular' background. Their huts and doors are round, few of their possessions have corners or straight lines, and they even plough the land in round furrows. As a result, they have no conditioning to view drawings made largely of straight lines in perspective; in fact, not only do these images leave them unmoved, but they are also unaffected by the radial background of the parallel lines above.[4] Not only our perceptions, but also our behaviour is governed largely by the backgrounds of learning and thinking against which we view any particular situation. If we are in a different environment and view new situations against old backgrounds, then our behaviour can vary from meaningless to ridiculous, which accounts for the many jokes about the Englishman's behaviour on holiday abroad. To move the bishop in a certain way is only meaningful when it is on a chessboard. Remove the chessboard, but retain the background of chess rules so the piece moves in the same way, and the result is ridiculous behaviour.

    This idea was first put on a scientific basis at the turn of the century by the Russian physiologist Pavlov. He performed many experiments investigating the conditioning of the behaviour of dogs. Modern day experiments of the Pavlov-type show dramatically the strong effect that backgrounds in our mind can have on behaviour. In one experiment rats were exposed to a bright light and at the same time injected with an overdose of insulin, which gave them a severe shock and often made them unconscious. A few repetitions of this were sufficient to build up such a background in the rats that when the light alone was turned on, the rats still collapsed unconscious.[5]

    Conditioning experiments performed on human beings all showed there is this same strong tendency to set up backgrounds and be governed to a large extent by them. In fact the whole process of learning is really one of building up a series of mental backgrounds against which we can view, and thus clarify and interpret, any suitable object, be it an event, relationship, process, or material thing.

    We see in all these examples how we can become attached to backgrounds, and how this inability to change a certain background can be disadvantageous to us. One obvious example is the case of the 'impossible objects' above where we felt confused on account of our consistently trying to view the 'object' (the drawing) against an inappropriate background, namely that of trying to interpret two-dimensional drawings in terms of three dimensions. In this particular example, the effect was trivial, but such attachment to obsolete backgrounds can, in fact, be disastrous. This is illustrated in the 1914-18 war which presented totally new features of military strategy and tactics. The bulk of the generals, however, were conditioned by the old tradition of war, and being so attached to such backgrounds, they could do nothing other than view the new situation against them. As a result, there was appalling loss of life to no purpose. Military historians inform us, that if the generals had had the initiative to setup new backgrounds of military thinking more in line with the actual situation, then many lives would have been spared.

    So obviously backgrounds are important. The externalist second monk would not deny this. As we have seen, science has done much to show their importance, and after all it is everybody's experience that when we have a good mood as a predominant background then we can laugh off annoying situations that would send us into paroxysms of anger or depression if we were in a bad mood. But the third monk sees the backgrounds generated in the private world as being fundamental, since, as we have seen, backgrounds alter profoundly how we actually see public objects and what importance we give them. Thus, claims the third monk, by cultivating the appropriate background or way of viewing things, we can strikingly diminish Unpeace.

    To illustrate his point we can relate the following story:

    In other words, the warrior was approaching heaven or hell according to the way he was viewing the situation, ie according to the backgrounds in his private world or mind.

    Externalism Again

    So given that in a situation which causes some form of Unpeace the third monk will try to modify his state of consciousness or backgrounds, rather than modify the situation itself (as the second monk would), the problem obviously becomes: How? The reader will remember that it was this problem which caused us to shelve the third monk's attitude originally. To find an appropriate background so that a bayonet in our stomach is a trivial matter (as I facetiously put it earlier) would appear to present some difficulties.

    Now if we examine how the third monk's attitude could be put into effect, we will find that we come to a possibly startling conclusion: it seems impossible to adopt an approach other than externalism.

    For instance, take the person who is in a situation which he cannot face up to very well; it may be a family situation or a crisis in his job or something like that. Whatever it is, he turns to drink. Now this is the way of the third monk, since the man is trying to alter his state of consciousness, or his way of perceiving the situation, and is not trying to alter the situation itself. (Of course, if the problem is a family one, his getting drunk is itself likely to alter the situation, but that is not the point being made here.) But the fact is that the sufferer is turning nevertheless to external agencies for relief. And this is true of all drugs of course; it is undoubtedly the case that they alter our state of consciousness, but it is also true that they are external agencies.

    So it seems that the dividing line between the second monk's behaviour and that of the third monk fades away. Take the example of someone bored and turning on the TV to get rid of the boredom (mentioned in Chapter 5). It can certainly be said the action is that of the second monk, ie an externalist approach, but surely it can also be viewed as following the third monk, since he is trying to alter his viewpoint, his state of consciousness. If he scorns the TV and is determined to change the background of his bored state of mind by a method less obviously externalistic, what can he do? Drink and drugs are external, as is playing patience or talking to a friend.

    After all, ever since the first man got drunk on fermented grape juice or lost his wits as a result of a blow from a club, it was obvious that physical and chemical external agents could profoundly affect our states of consciousness, or background. Daring techniques in brain surgery or the latest psychoactive drugs merely make this point stronger.[7] What can a person not be made to feel or think as a result of such external techniques? We have all heard of brain-washing, truth drugs, neural surgery, electrodes in the brain and the like. The most well-known operation to profoundly affect behaviour is frontal lobotomy, where by cutting some tracts of fibres connecting the frontal lobes to the rest of the brain leaves the mind as agile as before and lifts depression, but makes the victim behave thereafter in a slovenly and unreliable fashion. (This operation was discovered in 1848, when a railroad construction foreman, Phineas Gage, accidentally shot a four foot iron bar completely through his head. Instead of dying, he became quite happy and joked about the hole in his head all the way to the hospital. The first frontal lobotomy had been performed!) [8]

    Nowadays it seems probable that even our memory can be chemically altered. The substance in the brain known as RNA seems to be connected with memory, for when some rats had to learn a difficult task, it was shown that their RNA content was considerably changed compared to that of some rats who did not have to memorise the situation.[9] On the basis of this, some flatworms were conditioned by first shining a bright light and then giving them an electric shock, whereupon they curled up. Soon they curled up merely on having the light shone on them. When that was the case, their RNA was extracted and injected into other flatworms (who had never had the light nor the shock). It was found that these naive flatworms then curled up the moment the light shone on them; in other words, memory had been chemically transferred. It has also been shown that RNA given to humans increases their power of memory.[11]

    So what (if any) non-externalist method is left to the third monk to alter his way of perception or backgrounds? Of course most people will instinctively deny that there is nothing in their life beyond the surgeon's knife, the chemist's drugs or the biologist's microscope. What, for instance, about the state of rapture when looking at a gorgeous sunset? Is that just a case of light patterns on the retina, neural impulses to the brain, a complex reshuffling of chemicals and electro-chemical signals to my jaw muscles causing my mouth to open and say, "What a lovely sunset!" Or what about falling in love? Is that also the result of neural activity in the brain, and labelled by the biologists 'the instinct to continue the species'?

    The trouble is, that although we can legitimately hold that falling in love is beyond the reach of the scientist's laboratory, it is still an externalist process. For even though it may alter our state of consciousness, it is done so via external agencies, such as sunsets or other people.

    So it seems that everything can be reduced to externalist terms, whether we choose the materialist language of science or not. For since we have defined an external agency to be something in the realm of difference or the diverse, then it becomes clear that the things the third monk can consider to change his way of looking at any situation are external. Certainly the drugs and electrodes of the scientist are, for in Part One we showed that all matter partakes of difference, and this includes the physical body along with its cells and nerves.

    If we try to modify our viewpoint or background by creating an artificial environment, such as, to take an extreme examp1e, solitary confinement and sense deprivation, then this is also a resort to external agencies, since no situation is static but is always changing, and is thus subject to difference. This is certainly true of a sunset, and of falling in love, for the person we love is different from us and separate. Also that person and ourselves are constantly changing. Even in that love when we feel that the partner and ourself have become one, merged into each other, there is still difference. There is still some separation (at least on a spatial level) and of course there is always separateness from the rest of the world. And any experience, however transcendent and beautiful at the time is transient; it changes, and becomes a memory, and thus belongs to the diverse, or world of difference. This, of course, is true of all experience, not just being in love. However much insight and understanding or failing of being at one with the whole world results from a change in our level of consciousness, if the cause of that change in consciousness (eg another person, a sunset, LSD, art, etc) belongs to the realm of difference or the diverse, then the experience will as well. It cannot be a constant experience, but is bound by the diverse to change and vanish at some time.

    Many religious or 'mystic' experiences fall into this category. Higher states of consciousness are induced by rituals, prayers (formal or private) or mantras ie sounds the practitioner concentrates upon). Since these causes are all in the diverse, then the resulting experience must also be in the diverse, and thus cannot lead to Peace.

    The reader must note that we are not decrying as useless such acts as falling deeply in love or, having a moving religious experience. We are merely pointing out that if they rest solely on external agencies, (as they do) and thus belong to the world of difference and the diverse, they must then partake of duality and diversity and thus be unable to provide absolute satisfaction or Peace, since some suffering or dissatisfaction must be mixed in, since this is the nature of the diverse as we have seen. In other words, we cannot look to them for answering the central problem of human life, even though such experiences can obviously be intensely beautiful. The same argument can be applied to 'supernatural' experiences - ESP, PK, ghosts, contacting the dead etc, for by being external agencies belonging to the diverse, they only set up (or alter) our mental background, which are subject to change. In fact, even the more permanent backgrounds that we possess are set up by causes which are also external and thus in the diverse eg hereditary, upbringing and culture.

    Now not only is it the case that backgrounds cannot be modified except by external objects or events, but it is also the case that any mental background is itself composed of external 'objects'. For all the private 'objects' we can think of such as emotions, feelings, thoughts, desires, instincts etc are external objects according to our definition, since they are always changing and so belong to the realm of difference or the diverse. So in manipulating even this kind of 'external' object we are still only rearranging difference or diversity, and are not creating that unity or non-difference which is necessary for Peace.

    Thus the solution of the mind-matter duality is simple as far as this book is concerned - we simply regard all objects of experience as being external. Whether an object or event is public or private, by virtue of its belonging to the realm of difference or the diverse it is an 'external' object. That we divide the 'external world into public and private does not concern us; nor does a problem mentioned in Chapter 4 of how mind can affect matter and the body or vice versa. We can lump all external objects and 'things' together and say that because of that common factor of belonging to the diverse, they are all powerless to help us solve the essential question how to find that Peace which must lie beyond diversity and difference.

    This explains why in Chapter 5 we did not call the third monk an 'internalist', which would seem an obvious term; there is no such thing as an 'internal' object - for us there is only external.

    Thus it appears that all we have said of the external public world in this Part Two is also valid of the private world, since that too is external. And since our task is to free ourself from attachment to the external and the realm of difference and diversity, then to look to the private world, as the third monk would have us do, is as fruitless as looking to the public world.

    The argument, however, is not completely watertight, since it will be obvious that by external means we can, in fact alter our private world and its backgrounds so that we are not aware of any difference. An obvious example is a clout on the head, as mentioned earlier, or drugs, deep sleep or even death. This brings us back to the point in Chapter 1, that although unconsciousness is a logical way out of the awareness of difference or diversity and its attendant Unpeace, it is hardly an acceptable solution. That the reader is reading these words and has not clubbed himself into unconsciousness is sufficient proof of the unacceptability of such a solution. However, that we do, in fact, need a regular deliverance from diversity and Unpeace lies in the fact that we spend about one quarter of our life in deep non-conscious sleep in which all difference vanishes from our consciousness.[12] Again, we assume that the reader agrees that a continuous deep sleep, even if possible, is not the answer.

    To conclude this chapter and Part Two of this book, we will look briefly at another way of arriving at the conclusion that everything we are aware of in the private world is external and thus belongs to the diverse.

    In everyday speech, if we say an object is 'external', we mean that it is outside us in some way (usually spatially). We are saying "This is me here, and that is the object there." I can say my pen is an external object since I can hold it at arm's length, and see that it is situated there, at one and of my arm, and 'I' am situated here, at the other end of my arm.

    Now we can carry out the same sort of procedure with private objects. If I am quite happy, and then something happens that annoys me, I can see my anger grow and then a little later vanish. I can figuratively speaking hold my anger at arm's length and say "That is my anger there." In other words, I can form a concept of it, and look at it with my 'mind's eye', ie externalise it. I do not identify the anger as being 'me', but I call it "my anger", inferring that although the anger belongs to me, it is not 'me' (whatever 'me' is), it is in a sense outside 'me' and can thus be classified as an external 'object'.

    The same kind of thing can be said for any emotion, feeling or thought. They are things which are not me, but outside me, and I call them "my feelings" or "my thoughts", thus instinctively thinking of them as things 'external' to 'me'.

    This is the case with anything we can think about. I can think of my body, and thus it is not me but something external which belongs to me, and so I call it 'my body'. And not only bodies or thoughts and feelings, but anything which we can think about. I can think about and talk in terms of "my mind", "my personality", "my state of consciousness" or even "my ego", and in so doing I automatically think of these things as being external. And not only do I feel them to be external by virtue of being able to hold them at arm's length, as it were, but the mere fact that I can think about them discursively means that they belong to the world of difference or the diverse, as we have discussed in earlier chapters.

    So this approach leads to the same result as before, and again confirms the conclusion that the private or mental world is 'external' and belongs to the diverse. Thus we can conclude Part Two by saying that neither the public and material or physical world, nor the private and mental world, nor the workings of the intellect and discursive thought, hold of themselves any hope for providing the solution of the fundamental problem of how to obtain peace, on account of their belonging to difference and the diverse.


    We began this chapter by summarising the argument of the book so far, concluding that all forms of externalism and discursive thought could not take us out of Unpeace. Then we considered the third monk's attitude of looking to the private world, and developed the concept of 'background'. Having shown that mental backgrounds were very important in our interpretation of the public world, we then showed that they and all private 'objects' were in fact in the diverse. Three basic arguments were used to demonstrate this: i) any method employed to alter background belongs itself to the diverse, ii) all private objects are in the diverse, and are thus external by definition and iii) all private objects are external, and are thus in the diverse by definition.

    We concluded that the private world is thus as unfitted for finding Peace, as is the public world and the intellect.

    Part Three - The Right Approach: Looking To The Universe

    10 - An Act Of Faith

    We ended the last chapter by showing that whatever we can think about or 'see' is external (as we have defined the term) and is thus in the diverse or the world of difference. Any such external 'object' is not 'me' but is distinct and different from me, and thus I can call it "mine" - my pen (assuming the pen is mine and not yours), my body, my mind, my-personality, my idea, my levels of consciousness etc To look at any experience which has as its cause an external 'object' (ie physical or mental concept or event) or involves merely the rearranging of diversity and difference, is futile for extricating us from Unpeace.

    Now this process of externalising everything, being able to say in each case "this thing is not me, it is in some sense (spatially or mentally) external to me," has been recognised in many systems of philosophy throughout the world. But the conclusion reached is usually that there is then nothing which does not belong to the diverse, since everything can (it is held) be thought about and so externalised. For instance, there is the Buddhist doctrine of 'anatta' or 'no-soul' which is arrived at through this approach, and is remarkably similar to Hume's conclusion that a person is "nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions"[1] which he came to after a bout of introspective searching.

    But we come to the starting point of Part Three of this book when we realise that there is, in fact, something which cannot be thought about and externalised; and that is the 'me' which is doing the thinking and externalising. Whatever I think about, be it physical object or mental concept, 'I' must be doing the thinking, so that 'I' can never be the object of my thought - in other words, 'I' am not external.

    Here we must be a little careful with our terms, and must distinguish between the objective self (what we have termed the private world or mind) and the 'I', the active sense of personal identity which we cannot think about. We tend to confuse the two and lump them together, calling them both 'me' or 'I' sometimes. In this book the private world, which we often speak about as if it were in some sense 'me', but which we have shown to be external and the object of experience and thinking, we will call the 'self' or 'ego', and which we talk about as 'my-self'. The 'I', that essential essence which cannot be thought about or externalised, we will call 'me' or 'I'. This terminology is slightly different from some writers, particularly William James and George Herbert Mead who, although they used 'I' as we do, called the 'self' or 'ego' the 'me', whereas here 'I' and 'me' are synonymous. Also, of course, our use of the term 'ego' is here very different from Freud's use of it.

    Now the reader will recall that we defined in Chapter 5 something to be 'external' if it belongs to the diverse or world of difference, and also the other way around, that anything belonging to the diverse was external. So it follows that if the 'I' is not external, then it must be in a world of non-difference or non-diversity; that is, unity. For where there is no difference, no multiplicity, there must be oneness or unity. So beyond the diverse (the 'turned into two'), we are led to postulate that there must exist a 'Uni-verse' that really lives up to its name's meaning of 'turned into One'.

    Of course, the argument we have put forward is not a 'proof' that there must exist a realm of non-difference, ie a Uni-verse, or the 'One' as we shall call it. We showed in Chapter 8 that to establish the existence of non-difference or to enquire into its nature by means of discursive thought is impossible.

    But why do we have to use thought or intellect (as we have defined the word)? After all, we know we have experience of external objects from both the public and private worlds, but why do we have to interpret and form knowledge of them by means of the intellect? Earlier on we just assumed that we all do things discursively, the scientist and professional thinker merely making their thinking sharper and more precise, but we offered no reason for why this should be so.

    The fact is that we are free to choose the methods by which we interpret and apprehend our experiences; and the choice to use thought and reason is essentially arbitrary and an act of faith.[2] The scientist and externalist in general may hold that only through the intellect can we understand our experiences and obtain knowledge of the world. Whether this is correct or not is immaterial, the point is that the belief is based on faith. For it is not possible to prove the validity of discursive thought by discursive thought, for this would be arguing in a circle. So all the intricate and imposing edifices built by the intellect, structured so as to exclude all methods of knowing other than discursive thought and reasoning (such as belief and faith), in fact have as their foundation belief and faith. (We mean by 'faith' acceptance not based on reason.)

    Bertrand Russell is a fine example of someone who put his faith in the intellect and then refused to admit the validity of faith or any form of knowing other than reasoning in his philosophy and thinking. We quoted him at the end of Chapter 2 as agreeing that the intellect was limited, but he goes on to say that he refused "to believe that there is some 'higher way of knowing, by which we can discover truths hidden from science and the intellect." [3]

    There have been, however, many people in this world, at all times and in all countries, who have held that there another way of knowing other than thought or by intellect. If this way of knowing is not discursive, ie not 'running into duality', then it must be a way of knowing 'running' into non-difference or the One, and we will for the moment just call it Knowing (spelt with a capital 'K').

    What exactly 'Knowing' is, and who the "many people" are, we will come to a little later. At the moment we are concerned with establishing that if there is a method of interpreting what we experience other than by discursive thought, then it is no more illogical or unreasoning to examine it as it is to examine the intellectual method, since both are based on faith.

    Those who have made use of both knowing and Knowing (ie the discursive and the non-discursive) have stressed that before either can be used we need to make this act of faith; it is a necessary prerequisite for employing any method of understanding our experiences. St. Augustine of Hippo, famous as an intellectual philosopher and as a mystic, says "...do not seek to understand in order that you may believe, but make the act of faith in order that you may understand; for unless you make an act of faith you will not understand."[4] We also have the 15th century Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, philosopher, mathematician, politician and mystic writing "He who wishes to rise to knowledge must first believe those things without which knowledge is impossible...Faith therefore embraces every intelligible thing. Understanding is the unfolding of that was wrapped up in faith." [5]

    Now we have examined the consequences of putting faith in the intellect, and have found that Unpeace remains. So we will in the rest of this book be examining the consequences of putting faith in Knowing. For of the "many people" who have made that primary step of faith to examine the method of Knowing, some report that the non-differentiated, Uni-versal One does indeed exist. Its existence can be proved, and it can be in a sense investigated, via Knowing. The names given to this realm of non-difference or the One are many. A short list would include the following: The Absolute, Ultimate Reality, Motionless Mover, Supreme Being, Universal Mind, Self (capital 'S'), Causeless Cause (philosophical); God, Spirit, Godhead, The Father, Demiurge, Logos (Christian); Brahman, Atman, Satchitananda (Hindu); The Void, Dharmakaya, Bhututathata (Buddhist); Tao (Chinese); Allah, al-Haqq, Wahdat al-Wajud (Islamic); Toiora (Maoris), Ton (Oglala Indians), etc etc.

    The heart of the scientific method is the collecting and weighing up of evidence for an hypothesis. Here we find presented the hypothesis that the One exists and is discoverable by a method other than discursive thought. It would surely be most unscientific were we not to look at and consider the evidence for this, bearing in mind that our faith in the intellect and externalism appears to have been misplaced as far as the finding of Peace is concerned.


    Although this is a short chapter, it is crucial for bridging the gap between Part Two and Part Three. We first showed that we can assume an 'I' which externalises the public world and the private world of self, but which cannot itself be thought about or externalised. Because the 'I' is non-external it must belong to non-difference or the One. This cannot be intellectually proved (Chapter 8), but many claim to have 'proved' it by a method other than discursive thought, called Knowing. Both methods of interpreting our experience require an act of faith before they can be used. Owing to the apparent inability of the intellect to liberate us from Unpeace, we will examine in some detail the process of Knowing.

    11 - The Knowers

    We have to begin at looking at the evidence of the One by considering who our witnesses are. We stated in the last chapter that "many people" have claimed to Know the One; and indeed, there are as many names for such people as there are names given to the One. They are called variously: mystics, saints, sages, contemplatives, visionaries, knowers of God, prophets, realised souls, seers, yogis, rishis etc etc. They have existed in all countries at all times; sometimes obviously, sometimes almost unknown. Their one common factor is that it is obvious from their writings and sayings that they Knew the One; they proclaim that it exists and that the finding of it liberates from all forms of Unpeace. We will deal largely with European witnesses of the One,[1] since we are of their culture and they speak in such terms we can readily understand; but such witnesses are to be found everywhere.[2]

    However, if we go through a list of such witnesses, we find that while they all speak of the One in their various ways, it is obvious that very many are nevertheless still steeped in the world of difference and the diverse. Either they have visions or experiences of things which are transient and diverse, and are thus what we have defined as private or mental 'objects'; or else the visions and experiences are themselves transient and short-lived, and can thus be considered as being in the realm of difference and diversity. Indeed, the well-known writer on mysticism, F.C.Happold, says that "Mystical states...rarely last for any length of time,"[3] and the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines 'mysticism' as, amongst other things, "a term of reproach applied loosely to any religious belief associated with self-delusion and dreamy confusion of thought."

    In view of this, we will be very critical of the witnesses we will choose, picking those who not only appear to have definitely Known the One, but who also laid no importance on anything of the diverse, either in their writings or in their lives, other than in relation to the One they claimed to have Known. For lack of a better name, we will call such people 'Knowers' (with capital 'K'), since they use non-discursive 'Knowing' rather than discursive 'knowing', as we pointed out in the last chapter. The nature of this 'Knowing' will be dealt with in the next chapter; in this chapter we will select our 'Knowers' and see what they claim to have known.

    We will begin with one of the post dominant figures in Western Christianity, St. Augustine of Hippo (345-430). Augustine lived in turbulent times; he saw the collapsing of the Western Roman Empire, Rome itself being sacked by the Visigoths in 410 and the province of his birth (North Africa, being overrun by the Vandals in 429. He wrote a detailed autobiography (The Confessions[4]), which enables us to know more of his life than of most others. In spite of there being profound and obvious unrest and diversity all around him, he himself was very balanced, at home with discursive thought and with suprarational Knowing; with action and with contemplation.

    Like all Knowers, Augustine held that there definitely existed a world of non-difference:

    Knowers of the One always maintain that the world of non-difference, the Uni-verse, exists in a way that the diverse does not exist. For since any external object is in the world of difference, they must at one time have been created, and will at some time in the future be destroyed; thus its existence is limited. But in the One, because it is in non-difference, there can be no change, so the One exists forever:

    For all things that are changed cease to be what they were, and begin to be what they were not. True being, pure being, real being has no one save Him who does not change. (Augustine) [6]

    Of course, for Augustine, "Him" is God, the term he uses for the One. God's existence is permanent, as opposed to the transient existence of external things:

    This brings us on to our second Knower, the great and somewhat controversial Master Eckhart (1260-1328).[10] Eckhart was a Dominican friar, whose life was spent in studying and teaching. He got his degree of Master of Sacred Theology from the University of Paris in 1302, and five years later he was appointed Vicar-General of Bohemia, which was an important post and demanded much travelling. He was a very popular preacher throughout Germany though his later years were darkened by his trial for heresy and his harassment by the church authorities. This was partly due to his original and forceful way of expressing himself, which although making him easily understandable to the modern reader, must have sounded terrible to many pious and orthodox Christians. For instance, he expresses the non-duality of God very effectively with:

    God is neither good nor true.[11]

    For God, being in non-difference, must be beyond the dualities belonging to the world of difference, such as good and bad, or true and false.

    Eckhart commonly calls the One the "Godhead", and usually keeps the term "God" for another meaning, which we will deal with in Chapter 13. Unfortunately, he sometimes uses the word "God" for both meanings, and in the above quotation it is obvious that by "God" he means "Godhead" or the non-differentiated One.

    Everything in the Godhead is One [12] (from which it must follow that in) the Godhead all definition is lost. (Eckhart) [13]

    These two, Augustine and Eckhart, will be our primary European witnesses, along with John Ruysbroeck and William Law.

    Ruysbroek (1293-1381) was for twenty six years a secular priest living in Apostle-like poverty, moving in 1343 to a hermitage near Brussels. For the last thirty years of his life he attracted many disciples, and from all accounts he was a very beautiful person. He was much influenced by Eckhart, and like him held unquestionably that the non-differentiated One existed.

    In using William Law (1686-1761) we have the great advantage that he was English, so we can read his testimony as he wrote it, and do not have to read him through a translator. He studied at Cambridge and led the life of a high churchman, after which in 1727 he became a spiritual director to a family at Putney. For the last twenty years of his life he lived as a recluse near his birthplace at Stamford, where he wrote his so-called mystical writings. He did much charity work, and was loved by all. Like the others we have mentioned, he Knew that non-difference exists:

    The One eternal immutable God that from eternity to eternity changed not. (Law) [15]

    So much for the European Knowers. However, apart from them we will look at the evidence of three non-European Knowers, each from a very different culture. While it would be perfectly possible to list the testimonies of hundreds, if not thousands, of such people, in the limited space available this is obviously impracticable. These particular three are chosen because of their fame and the fact that they are representative of their class.

    To represent the Knowers of China and Japan, both Buddhist and Taoist, we will choose the Dhyana or Zen master Huang Po (known as Obaku in Japan). He lived in the 9th century, and was a very influential master, a sect being named after him. He gives many names to the One, often 'Tao' or "The Void", but he is a witness that it definitely exists:

    The very nature of the Tao is voidness of opposition.[16]

    Hence we say that the Void has no inside and outside.[17]

    ie it is everywhere.

    As a witness for the existence of non-difference from India, we have Shankara, usually held to have lived about 800 AD.[18] He was a great teacher, and founded ten Hindu monastic orders; he also wrote a great deal. He only lived 32 years, but he is one of India's most famous Holy Men, and was most definitely a Knower of the One; he talked of it as being...birthless and deathless. It neither grows nor decays. It is unchangeable, eternal.

    To finish our list of witnesses, we have a Knower of God from Islamic culture, Shabistari (Sa'd al-Din Mahnud) who died in 1320. He is one of the most famous Sufi poets, and lived mainly in Persia. He was constantly proclaiming the existence of the non-differentiated One, where there is no multiplicity and which encloses everything by nature of its non-separateness;


    What is striking in any investigation of the testimonies of Knowers of the One, is that while the cultures and times might be varied, the testimonies themselves are remarkably similar. Just in our small selection we have 5th century Christian and 14th century Muslim, 9th century Chinaman and 18th century Englishman all speaking of the same thing in the same terms - the One, the absolutely and completely non-differentiate which does not admit of any of the difference or diversities mentioned in Part One.

    Now one of the aspects of the world of difference which has occupied us most is that of change - the fact that there is change, conflict and motion all around us at all times, in our body, in our mind and in the environment. This looking to the changing external is fruitless for true Peace, since the external is always transient and impermanent. But the One, by virtue of its being non-different, is changeless, complete rest and immovable as we have seen.

    So it follows that if we are living in the world of non-difference, in the One or the Godhead, we will be in complete Peace, and be subject to no suffering, pain or misery in any form, for all change will have ended. We will have no desires to drag us into the world of the diverse, for the One, in that it contains everything, will satisfy all our desires. This may sound somewhat cold and repugnant, and may appear to offer a vegetable-like existence and to be utterly selfish. Knowing the One is none of these, which we hope to make clear later; in this section we merely want to show that Knowing the One is a very blissful thing to do, giving complete and utter Peace at all levels. The Knowers of God are in a Peace and bliss which totally transcends all duality and difference, and of which only the faintest echo can be detected by those still conditioned by the diverse.

    In the contemplation of God is...everlasting rest, and joy that will never be taken from us. (Augustine) [25]

    (Those in the Godhead) have steadfast peace and inward joy...of which the world cannot partake. (Ruysbroeck) [26]

    For nothing is more joyful to the lover of God, than to feel that he belongs wholly to His Beloved. (Ruysbroeck) [27]

    (The Knower of the One is) free from any cravings. Such a man is said to be free even in this life. For him the sorrows of this world are over. Though he possesses a finite body, he remains united with the Infinite. His heart knows no anxiety. (Shankara) [28]

    He is happy who knows God, even though he know nothing else. (Augustine) [29]

    Spiritual inebriation is this: that a man receives more sensible joy and sweetness than his heart can either contain or desire. (Ruysbroeck) [30]

    He who has all he will, his every wish, that man has peace. None has it but the man whose will and God's are wholly one (Eckhart) [31]

    All I desire I have found in Him. (Shabistari) [32]


    Apart from change, the other main aspect of difference which has concerned us is separateness, which we see about us at all levels - physical, psychological and social. In Chapter 2 we pointed out many examples of suffering and Unpeace, all stemming from this basic separateness. And since separateness is so basic, then any unity or affinity we may see or feel will be incomplete; for being in the diverse we cannot help but view all which comes from oneness or togetherness in terms of the fundamental fact of separateness.

    We also pointed out in Chapter 8 that we nevertheless have a liking for unity - a sort of intellectual instinct to tie everything together under one label. This yearning after non-difference is very strong (even though we have seen that there is no hope of realising it discursively) and it reflects our primary urge to escape that Unpeace caused by separateness.

    Now the One by virtue of being non-differentiated, must not only admit of no change, but also of no separateness - ie it must be complete Oneness. The word we most often use to denote unity or lack of separation is 'Love' (as opposed to an affinity dependent upon essential separateness, ie still in the diverse, which is 'love' (small '1')). This Love (big 'L') is unquestionably found in the One by those who claim to Know.

    And because the One contains no separateness, then it must be everywhere, as we have seen the Knowers claim previously. Since if the One were not at any place, ie were finite, then it would have an 'inside' and an 'outside' which would make it limited and in the world of difference and duality. Then since the One is everywhere, it must follow that its aspect of non-separateness or Love must also be seen to be everywhere by the Knowers of the One.

    It follows from this that the true Knower of the One must have infinite compassion and Love for everybody. Rather than be immersed like a vegetable in his own private bliss and finding peace, he sees that all creatures are in the One and thus he cannot but help Loving them in the true sense of the word. For just as we have to act in accordance with separateness when in the diverse, so we have to act in accordance with unity and Love when in the One.

    Of course, the Knower has to act in his body as if there were separateness, at least on a physical level, otherwise he could not move or act at all, since as we have seen all motion depends on separateness (Chapter 2). But he knows that the unity is more basic and fundamental than the separateness whereas the person conditioned by the diverse sees it the other way round.

    Thus the Knower of the One lives a life concerned with helping others and eradicating the sense of separateness in them as much as he can. In other words, he manifests actively that Love which he has fund in the One, living an active life rather than one of selfish self-satisfaction and self-effacement.

    I do not preach a doctrine of extinction! (Huang Po) [39]

    Nothing can come from God but...works of Love over all nature and creature. (Law ) [40]

    The Spirit of God expires us without for the practice of Love and good works. (Ruysbroeck) [41]

    One may not be so given up to contemplation as to neglect the good of his neighbours. (Augustine) [42]

    No man reaches the point at which he can be excused practical service. (Eckhart) [43]

    Do not permit the events of your daily lives to bind you, but never withdraw yourselves from them. (Huang Po) [44]

    Toward The One

    We have, in broad outline, justified that Peace and Love come from the One according to our witnesses. We have also previously shown that apart from the One, ie in the world of difference and diversity, then Unpeace and lack of Love are the foundations for our actions and behaviour. For the sake of completeness, it is worthwhile to point out that this essential Unpeace in the external and the diverse, the conclusion of Part Two, is also maintained to be the case by the Knowers, as is also the endless search for satisfaction in the diverse.

    We can regard our inherent and fundamental desire for the One as being generated either from the wish to end the Unpeace born of difference, or from the lure and attraction of being in Peace as described earlier in this chapter. Whether we choose to think of ourselves as being prodded on towards the goal, or as being enticed on, is immaterial. The result is the same - that we are continually in a process of evolving, of being born into union with the One, the source of all Peace. We are caught up in the whole striving of the diverse to transcend this diversity and attain the One.

    If this whole process of 'being born' to fulfil our destiny of finding the One is the most basic and fundamental process underlying our Life, then we have solved in principle the problem of ethics or morality. For a 'good' action then becomes an action which is done to further or assist the process of Knowing the One, and a 'bad' action is one which attempts to hinder or fight against the current of God-realisation which is carrying all creation towards the One. This will be dealt with in Chapter 13; now we will finish this chapter by simply pointing out that the Knowers of the One hold that not only do we in practice seek the One and its attendant Peace, but that this is what we should do; this is what is good and right - evil and sin, on the contrary consist in living in the world of difference and obstructing all attempts to find and follow the way to the One.

    All sins are contained in this one category, one turns away from things divine and truly enduring, and turns towards those which are mutable and uncertain (Augustine) [56]

    Sin in all shapes is nothing else but the will of man...broken off from its dependency upon and union with, the divine will. ALL the evil and misery in the creation arises only and solely from this one cause. (Law) [57]

    Man must build on God alone. (Eckhart) [58]


    In this chapter we introduced our witnesses who claimed to Know the One, and we looked at some of their testimonies, European Knowers were Augustine, Eckhart, Ruysbroeck and Law, the others were Huang Po, Shankara and Shabistari. We came to the following conclusions:

    i) the One exists and can be Known,

    ii) Knowing the One causes Peace, on account of non-change, and

    iii) Is Love on account of non-separateness.

    iv) Because the One is everywhere, Knowers see it everywhere and are so led to Love their fellow creatures and men actively.

    v) We all strive to find the One, and it is 'good action' to do so consciously.

    12 - The Knowing

    In this chapter we will enquire into the 'Knowing' of which we have spoken in the last two chapters. We have observed that intellectual or discursive knowing (small 'k') while efficient in rearranging difference and dealing with the external, cannot transcend the diverse and find the One. However, it is the testimony of many, of which our seven witnesses are but a sample, that the diverse can be transcended, and the One found; furthermore, that this is the purpose and aim of our lives the primary reason we are here on this planets.

    We observed in Chapter 10 that the rejection of 'knowledge ('small 'k') as a means to find the One was not in fact a sweeping away of systematic reasoning and discursive thought to be replaced by blind faith or unreasoning belief, since all reasoned and discursive knowledge is based on an act of faith in the first place. In other words we cannot prove the validity of reason with reason, because that would mean we were accepting the validity of reason, which is what is to be proved. Thus our use of knowledge is based upon an assumption which is usually unquestioned, and what we did in much of Part Two was, in fact, to question this assumption; and we found that from a variety of viewpoints (ie experience, the practical, theoretically and plain commonsense) we could justifiably conclude that knowledge, based upon intellect and reasoning, was insufficient for transcending diversity and attaining the One or Godhead. Needless to say, the Knowers of the One fully substantiate this:

    We cannot say or think anything about the One, because in the One there is no difference and no duality, and words and thoughts are discursive and can thus only hope to describe the diverse or world of duality. Nevertheless, it is possible to understand intellectually what the One is not. This is reminiscent of Chapter 7, where we found that although no hypothesis could be proved with 100% certainty, we could hold that a wrong hypothesis could be negated with a 100% certainty.

    The reader will notice that we have only talked about the One, in effect, in terms of what it is not. We first described the world of difference in terms of separateness, change, duality etc, with which we are all familiar, and then we described the One as negations of these terms - non-difference, non-separateness, unchange etc. The fact that we gave these negative terms positive sounding names (eg One, Love, Peace etc) does not invalidate the fact that to think or say anything about the world of non-difference we have to do so in negative terms.

    Aught that a man could or would think of God, God is not at all. (Eckhart) [8]

    Something we do know, namely what God is not. (Eckhart) [9]

    God is neither this nor that. (Eckhart) [10]

    Brahman (ie the One) is to be known as 'not this, not that'. (Shankara) [11]

    The reader will remember that we approached the concept of the non-external One by considering that while we could think about and hence externalise all public and private 'objects', we could not think about the 'I' that was doing the thinking.

    (The 'I' is) the knower of the activities of the mind and of the individual man. It is the witness of all the actions of the body and the sense-organs. (Shankara) [12]

    What could begin to deny itself, if there were not something in man different from self? (Law) [13]

    Thus we could say that the 'I' is non-external; and hence that it is by definition in the realm of non-difference, or what we termed the "One". Now of course there cannot be two 'things' in non-difference, since that would imply duality and separateness - so the 'I' and the One must be not merely the same, but must be identical. Eckhart often uses the word 'soul' for what we mean by 'I'.

    Now the One, by virtue of its possessing no separateness, must be everywhere and have no limits, as we saw our Knowers testify in the last Chapter. In fact, we can go further and say that if non-difference is everywhere and in all places, then the difference and diversity which we experience cannot exist. If the diverse did exist, then some part of the One (which is everywhere) would contain diversity and difference, which cannot be the case since we defined the One as being entirely non-differentiated. However the diverse obviously does exist - we have been examining its effects in Parts One the and Two, and took the Unpeace which it generates as a starting point of the whole book. We will deal with the paradox in the next chapter, but for now we notice that although the One is by definition everywhere, it is only as the 'I' that its nature of non-difference is evident. Thus while the One manifests in some way as the diverse, for practical purposes, ie for us to Know the One, we must look to the 'I', for that is identical with the completely non-differentiated One, the Godhead, as we have seen.

    So we can see from all this that in order to Know rather than just to know, we have to look to the 'I' - that which is non-differentiated and non-diverse. The 'I', by virtue of being non-external is inside us - in fact is us, our heart and essence, and it is to this point 'within' us that we have to look.

    Man's heart is the central point. (Shabistari) [20]

    Turn to thy heart, and thy heart will find its God within itself. (Law) [21]

    Let me know me, Lord, and I shall know Thee. (Augustine) [22]

    When you attain to full realisation, you will only be realising the Buddha-Nature (ie the One) which has been with you all the time (Huang Po) [23]

    Begin to search and dig in thine own field for this pearl of eternity that lies hidden in it. (Law) [24]

    Here, within this body, in the pure mind, in the secret chamber of intelligence, in the infinite universe within the heart, the 'I' shines in its captivating splendour, like a noonday sun. By its light, the universe is revealed. (Shankara) [25]

    Do thou all within. (Augustine) [26]

    Pray within thyself. (Augustine ) [27]

    The finding of the One or the Godhead 'within' is what we have termed 'Knowing'. But note that this Knowing is not discursive, nor depends on any difference, for the 'I' which looks inside for the One, is the One itself. So there is no duality. And for this reason, Knowing is not experiencing - it is union. For experience can only operate in the world of difference and duality, since any experience has at least two parts - the experiencer and the thing experienced. But when the experiencer (the 'I') and that which is experienced are the same thing, the One, then we are in a realm beyond experience - there is complete merging or union.

    Thus it is that we cannot term the 'I' a private 'object', ie part of our private world or mind. For we experience that part of the mind we call the conscious, and thus it belongs to the world of difference and is external, as we have seen. As for that part of the private world we do not experience, which we call the non-conscious, there is much evidence for us holding it to be active with a kind of non-conscious thinking, as we saw in Chapter 9. Thus it also belongs to the diverse.

    But the 'I' is non-external, and being non-differentiated is in total unchanging rest, and so is neither a public nor a private 'object'. It cannot be objectified, externalised, thought about or known in any discursive way at all; indeed, it cannot, even be said to be experienced. To Know the One, 'I' have to find 'I', which means that Knowing is completely non-discursive - it is union. The only way we can express it is to say that to Know the One is the same as to become or be the One. Knowing is synonymous with complete being.

    This merging into and becoming the One is very far from being an extinction - a complete annihilation of personality and identity. Rather, it is the opposite, an enlarging of consciousness whence the sense of personal identity expands to include the whole world, thereby transcending the limitations of identity with the mere self and recognising the true identity with the infinite One. Although the drop loses itself in the ocean, it does not become nothing, but takes upon itself the attributes and vastness of the ocean. (When Eckhart uses the drop-into-the-ocean analogy, he says "As the drop becomes the ocean," [34]).

    As we pointed out in the last chapter, the Knower of the One sees the One, 'I', as being everywhere - having first found the One within, and realising that the 'I' really is, then he sees the 'I' or the One without as well.

    Rival Interpretations

    As a post-script to this chapter, we must briefly consider what William James called 'medical materialism'. He says:

    Medical materialism finishes up St. Paul by calling his vision on the road to Damascus a discharging lesion of the occipital cortex, he being an epileptic. It snuffs out St. Theresa as a hysteric, St. Francis of Assisi as a hereditary degenerate. George Fox's discontent with the shams of his age, and his pining for spiritual veracity, it treats as a symptom of a disordered colon. Carlyle's organtones of misery it accounts for by gastro-duodenal catarrh...[41]

    In other words 'medical materialism' seeks to explain all 'higher' or superconscious experiences and understandings in physiological or psychological terms. As was mentioned in Chapter 9, our mental states can all be affected by external causes (public or private), and this has led to mystical experiences being variously explained as the outcome of manic-depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy, migraine, intoxication, fever and hysteria.[42] However, the experiences that these disorders attempt to explain are all experiences, ie. they belong to the diverse. The experiences are usually hallucinations or visions, and all involve separateness, change and duality - ie difference. So while the disorders can possibly explain many 'mystical' states, they cannot explain what we have termed Knowing, which is really a 'non-experience' of being or union, and cannot be caused by any other activity in the diverse.

    Others tend to explain 'higher' experiences as being caused by and having a psychological function, such as 'self-integration' or creativity.[43] While again this may be true of many mystical states, since the mind or self is external and belongs to the diverse, its activities cannot cause Knowing.

    We can make two points here. First, although the Knower of the One has transcended diversity, while in a body he obviously has to act physically by accepting at least physical difference, since otherwise action would be impossible as we have seen (Chapters 2 and 11). But by virtue of his Knowing Oneness to be more 'real' than diversity, his body will be in a pure and harmonious state, since there will be no more diversity in it than is necessary for physical and bodily existence. Thus to show that the bodily state of a Knower of the One is different from others is not a victory for the materialists who try to explain the Knowing of the Godhead as caused by physiological states.

    The second point is that it cannot be denied that many external methods and experiences (such as mutual hypnosis [44], drugs, neurophysical procedures, religious rituals and some meditational techniques) do produce much that is beneficial in alleviating mental illness [45], lessening stress and providing calmness and tranquillity, even to the extent of being physiologically demonstrated.[46] But the fact remains that any peace based upon external causes is peace and not Peace - that is, it still belongs to the diverse and is thus but part of the general difference and conflict which we have termed Unpeace.


    In this chapter we looked briefly at what we mean by 'Knowing', that process by which we find the One. The Knowers fully substantiate our earlier conclusions that Knowing is not intellectual and discursive knowing, which can only tell us what the One is not. From Chapter 10 we see that the 'I' and the non-differentiated One are the same, from which it follows that to know the One as One, we must look within. In Knowing the One, we recognise 'I' to be 'I' and so Knowing is really a merging or 'being' the One or God-head. This union does not mean we are then conscious of nothing, but rather become conscious of everything, leading to see 'I' as all, and so Loving all. We concluded by pointing out that, by definition of 'Knowing', all attempts to explain its cause physiologically, psychologically or from any external technique or discipline were fruitless.

    13 - One Into Two

    In this chapter we will deal with the paradox mentioned earlier - namely that of the One and the diverse (the 'Two'). The paradox is this: if the One by virtue of possessing no separateness is everywhere, then there can be no room anywhere for difference or diversity, since difference cannot exist in the One. Thus we are forced to conclude that the diverse does not exist!

    Yet we see diversity, difference and change all around us, and all our actions are based, as we have seen, on the fact that we observe the diverse to exist.


    The key to resolving the paradox lies in recognising that while we have assumed the One to exist, we have not, anywhere in this book, assumed that the diverse exists. Parts One and Two were based on the fact that we experience diversity and difference - that is, that we see difference to exist - but it has never been claimed that the diverse actually does exist.

    The fact that the diverse appears real and yet that common sense logic tells us it cannot exist if we accept the existence of the One, has led to what has been called the 'doctrine of illusion'. This holds that basically the diverse does not exist, and hence its seeming to exist is like a dream, mirage or illusion. In Hindu terminology it is called 'maya' ie magic.

    But while we can explain away the diverse by saying blandly that it does not exist, this is not very helpful. After all, its simply seeming to exist is enough to cause all the various forms of Unpeace. As we have seen. In other words, for us the diverse is real, it does exist, and no amount of philosophising will make it go away.

    Hence we are led into a dichotomy, and we have to admit that the diverse both exists and not exists. This of course goes against the duality of 'is and 'is not' mentioned in Chapter 4 - in other words it seems nonsense to say that the diverse does exist and at the same time that it does not exist. Yet in Chapter 7 we pointed out that modern physics had shown that we have to take this position sometimes; we gave the example of having to say an electron both is and is not a particle. So if we are forced to hold that some external objects, ie parts of the diverse both exist and not exist (eg the electron as a particle), then surely it is not too fanciful to say that the diverse as a whole can both exist and not exist.

    Of course we cannot comprehend this with the intellect, since the intellect can only deal with difference, and is silent when it comes to difference being transcended, as is the case here - namely the duality of is-or-is-not breaking down.

    Another way of dealing with the dichotomy is to say that the diverse exists but not in the same way as the One, as we mentioned in Chapter 11. The existence of the One is more 'real' since it exists forever whereas the hallmark of an external object belonging to the diverse is that its existence is limited and finite. Thus we can say that the One has permanence and absolute existence, and external objects have transient and relative existence (which is technically called 'subsistence' in philosopher's jargon).

    This does not of course solve the problem; it merely restates it in a slightly different way. The problem itself still remains, in that we have to conceive of the world of difference as being ' less real ' than the One, ie illusory.

    The illusory nature of the diverse is admirably illustrated in both common experience and in modern science. Plato gave the example of a stick in water. If I have a straight stick, and I place it at an angle half in water, then it appears bent. But why should I say that it is a straight stick which appears bent in water? Why not say it is a bent stick which appears straight in air? In other words, we cannot claim that whatever we experience through our senses is 'real'. If we view the objects against another background, then it appears something else. Which viewpoint is 'real'? In Chapter 9 we gave some examples of objects changing according to how we view them. And since one definition of 'illusion' is something that appears different from different viewpoints, we can then legitimately hold that this world of difference is illusion.

    In Chapters, 2 and 3 we showed that modern physics tells us that what we see is not 'really' what it is. Examples were given of a piece of paper or a glass of water - common objects which science says are composed of atoms. These atoms are very far apart from each other, with just empty space between them, so that in fact 'solid' objects are very far from being solid. Even the atoms themselves are not solid, but consist of the tiny nucleus around which the even smaller electrons orbit; thus most of the volume of the atom itself is empty space. On investigating further, physics finds that it is impossible even in theory (let alone in practice) to pin down these subatomic particles themselves to any position. In fact, it makes most sense to regard them not as particles at all but as waves. Alternatively, we can consider them as just tightly curved space. (Geometrodynamics, Chapter 8). So where has the 'solid' matter of our senses gone?

    Another example of the 'illusion' and relative existence of the diverse is contained in Einstein's Special Theory of which in Chapter 7 we promised a future discussion of. This theory was put forward by Einstein in 1905, and although as its name implies it is just a special case of the General Theory of Relativity (mentioned in Chapter 8), it is unlike the General Theory in that it has been of immense value to physicists, and has had an enormous amount of experimental evidence to support it.

    The theory says, basically, that everything is relative.[4] It also says that the speed of light in a vacuum always appears the same [5], and it is a measure of Einstein's genius that from these two simple principles he deduced a theory which revolutionised our ideas of time and space.

    To look at some results of this theory, suppose we are standing on a station platform, watching a train go by. Now the Special Theory of Relativity says that, amongst other things, we will observe the moving train to be heavier than it is, and we will also observe the train to be shorter than it really is. In actual fact, these effects are only noticeable if the speed of the train is comparable to the speed of light. The speed of light is approximately 136,000 miles per second which is very fast. For instance, at this speed a light beam will go more than seven times round the earth's equator in one second. So at the speed trains move, these effects are completely unnoticeable, but that does not mean they do not exist. If the train were able to go as fast as we wish, then we would find (according to Special Relativity) that the faster it went the heavier and shorter it would be, until at the speed of light, its length would be zero (so it would not exist) yet it would be infinitely heavy.

    This would explain how someone can be six foot tall and five foot tall, which was an example (quoted in Chapter 3) of the breaking down of the is-or-is-not duality. When the train is stationary at the station, we can see a six foot man get in, but when the train is moving we will, under certain circumstances, see him as being five foot. (The "certain circumstances" are that the man would have to be lying down in the carriage parallel to the train's motion, and the train would have to be going at half the speed of light, or 335 million mph.)

    Apart from changes in the train's weight and length, we (on the station platform) would also observe time to go slower on the train. This leads to a famous paradox called the "twin paradox". Suppose two twins are on the station, and one then boards the train. This train then moves off and goes on a round trip, returning again to the station. Now while it was moving, the twin on the platform observes the time on the train to go slower than the time on the station, and so when the train stops his brother (who was on the train) will actually be younger than him. The fact that two people can be the same age at one time and yet different ages at another time goes completely against common-sense. Yet we are forced to accept it as true. Of course, in practice trains move much too slowly for this time difference to be any more than the minutest fraction of a second; but if ever we develop rockets that can go at the appropriate fantastic speeds, and astronauts go on round trips to the stars, they will return to earth to find everybody much older. Time will have gone much slower for the astronauts; if their Journey takes 40 years by earth's time, perhaps to the astronauts it will have only taken one year. They will return as young men, only to find their wives old women and their children (and perhaps grand-children) older than them. Crazy? Maybe, but true.

    This effect, along with the distortion in length and increase in weight mentioned previously, have all been found to actually happen. Experiments have been done with atomic particles, which can be made to move at speeds comparable to the speed of light,[6] and also with fantastically accurate atomic clocks in commercial planes.[7] These experiments have shown quite conclusively that the above effects actually happen. Special Relativity is correct; the world as we see it with common-sense background is as illusory and relative as a dream.


    Although the paradox as stated at the beginning of this chapter is partially resolved by accepting the diverse to be 'illusion' (as we have defined it), there is still a profound problem. For given that the diverse is illusion, it is nevertheless an illusion which is real.

    People...neglect the reality of the illusory world. (Huang Po) [11]

    In other words, our awareness of it causes us Unpeace, as we have mentioned before, and so we have to explain its apparent existence. The question is how can the diverse exist (or appear to exist) and how could it have begun? (We will consider why it exists later). How can the One, which is in all places and infinite, contain within itself the world of difference and change, when it (the One) is completely non-differentiated and changeless? To say the diverse is illusory only begs the question: how can the changeless One admit separate and changeable beings (us) to perceive the illusion?

    As we can expect from the discussions on metaphysics in Chapters 7 and 8, the answer is essentially unknowable by the intellect or with discursive thought. For to understand how the diverse can be caused, we have to transcend it and as soon as we do that then it vanishes, for in the non-diverse (the One) diversity does not exist. So how can we find the cause of a non-existent effect? If we do not accept this, and assert that the diverse does exist (however illusory and relative its existence may be), then we are in equal trouble, for we then have to hold that the One contains within itself the possibility of its own denial. That is, the One, being a sort of infinite All-Possibility, must have among all possibilities the possibility of the impossible; this 'impossible' must of course be unreal and non-existent with respect to the One, even though it is real and exists on its own level.

    This last paragraph is probably the nearest the intellect can ever get to explaining how there can be a relationship between the One and the diverse. In the rest of this chapter we will assume that such a relationship does exist - that is, we will assume that the One exists, that the diverse appears to exist, and that the latter is related to or reflected in the former somehow.

    i) Delusion

    Given that the question "how can the diverse exist?" is unanswerable by the intellect, we can nevertheless attempt to answer the slightly amended question "how does the diverse exist?" (In case the reader thinks that all this is mere theory, we must reaffirm that this book is practical, and to deal with the raw facts of suffering, pain and Unpeace. Having shown that Unpeace is caused by our perceiving difference everywhere, we are now investigating how it is that we do perceive difference, with a view to thus finding the solution - Peace.)

    How the diverse actually does exist (for us) is easier to grasp with the intellect than the question how can the diverse exist, though we will find that in the end we are still faced with the latter question. Nevertheless, we will continue undaunted.

    Undoubtedly the most coherent and consistent answer to the former question was given by the Indian philosopher Shankara; but before we consider his philosophy we will first look at the two most famous of the European philosophers - Plato and Kant.

    Plato has been mentioned briefly before in this book. Basically, he considered that the 'real' and permanent world is the world of 'Ideas' or 'Forms' (not to be confused with our own 'ideas' which are but part of the private world and hence changeable and impermanent). These Forms or Ideas are the archetypes, as it were, for this world of difference that we experience; that is, qualities in the diverse (eg triangularity, circularity, brownness etc) are but reflections of the perfect Triangle, Circle and Brown colour which exist in the world of Ideas. The diverse, however, can only support or sustain these Ideas for finite periods of time, so the visible world of difference is in a continual state of flux and change. Thus Plato held that anything we learn from the external world is uncertain and imperfect, and to obtain certain knowledge we have to find the world of Ideas, which in fact somehow exists inside us. The method of finding this is first of all the study of mathematics, followed by the 'dialectic'. What exactly the dialectic is, is a question of considerable disagreement amongst philosophers. It is sometimes held to be just intellectual argument, or a sort of reasoning without premises, though whether 'reasoning' meant to Plato what it means to us is unclear - for instance he talks about "the light of reason", "pure intelligence" and "the eye of the soul".[15]

    Although Plato's philosophy contains the germ of Shankara's explanation, it is obviously unsatisfactory as it stands. For instance, the world of Ideas, while perhaps unchangeable certainly contains separateness and multiplicity - there are obviously as many Ideas or Forms as there are 'things' in this external world - so it is not the One.

    Plato's explanation was considerably improved upon by Kant, with whom we dealt briefly in Chapter 7. The reader will remember that Kant held the 'real' world, which he called the 'noumenal world', cannot be known by us either with senses or with reasoning. What in fact we actually see and experience is the 'phenomenal world', which is the noumenal world sort of distorted and shaped by certain inherent conditions in our minds, called 'forms of intuition' and 'categories'.

    Shankara's explanation is remarkably like Kant's in broad outline, though the intricate reasoning of both men differs somewhat, but that will not concern us. Shankara's philosophy is technically known as 'Advaita Vedanta'.[16] 'Vedanta' means the 'end' or 'essence' of the Vedas, the earliest Indian scriptures - 'Ved' itself meaning 'knowing'. 'A-dvaita' means non-dualism', so that Advaita Vedanta means the essence of knowing non-dualism, or Knowing the One.

    Shankara can be said, in fact, to have done the same thing for the Vedanta as St. Thomas Aquinas did for Christianity. For after a thousand years, the Christian philosophy was falling apart under powerful criticism, so the Pope summoned St. Thomas from a life of solitude to defend orthodoxy. This he did remarkably successfully, sustaining Christian dogma by forceful yet subtle rational argument. In the same way, over a period of over a thousand years the same thing was happening to Vedanta, and although Shankara preferred a hermit life, he was obliged to come out of solitude and put Advaita Vedanta in a firm and coherent form.

    There is however, one important difference. St. Thomas, though having profound intellectual understanding of Christian dogma, was perhaps not a Knower of God or the One (as we have been using the term) while doing his writing. A few months before his death he was praying when he heard the words "Thomas, you have written well about me, what reward do you want?" St. Thomas replied, "none other than yourself, Lord." He afterwards refused to write any more, saying all the millions of words he had written seemed "like straw" compared to what he had seen.[17]

    Shankara, on the other hand, was clearly a Knower of the One, and in writing his rational critiques of Knowing was thus forced to continually proclaim that the One could never be Known through writing or any discursive method. All Knowers of the One are in this position - they realise the inaptitude of discursive means (including writing and speech) for realising and communicating the One, yet they are bound by their infinite Love to help others still bound to the diverse, and are thus compelled to communicate discursively in speaking and writing.

    With this preliminary preamble, we will now consider the answer to the question 'How does the diverse appear to exist?' as expressed by Shankara. Basically, Shankara maintained that the diverse is a super imposition upon the One, rather as a film show exists by virtue of light patterns being superimposed on a screen. Thus the One remains eternally infinite and non-differentiated, and is not transformed into the diverse, in the same way that the white changeless cinema screen remains white and changeless even though it supports colour and movement when a film is projected onto it.

    Shankara's favourite analogy for the theory of superimposition (technically "vivatavada") is the famous snake-and-rope analogy, where a man sees a coil of rope in the twilight, and thinks it to be a snake. The rope is a rope, there is no doubt of that; but the man superimposes upon it the idea of a snake, and thus while it is in fact a rope, it appears to be a snake. As far as the man is concerned, the snake exists. From his point, of view it is real, and so is the fear it causes. But when he turns the light on, he then sees the rope as it 'really' is, and of course his fear vanishes with this 'true' knowledge. But before the light is turned on, the snake both exists and not exists in exactly the same way as the diverse both exists and not exits to our point of view.

    Thus in order to realise that this world of difference is nothing other than a misreading of the One, we have to 'turn the light on', and so 'see' the One as it is, and realise that it was just our ignorance which superimposed the idea of difference onto it.

    Although this is an attractive explanation, there are some obvious objections which will have to be met. Firstly, in the above example, the rope was an external object which was perceived (albeit mistakenly), but the One cannot even be conceived, let alone perceived. How can we superimpose the idea of an external object (eg the snake) upon something we do not perceive? The answer is that the rope need never be perceived as a rope. We can see it as a snake by superimposing the snake-idea onto it, and can then leave without ever turning the light on and realising that in fact we were looking at a rope. In the same way, although we do not perceive the One (or Kant's 'noumenal world') as the One, we can still project, as it were, the diverse 'onto' it. Shankara uses the illustration that we superimpose blueness onto the sky, even though the sky, as such, is not an object of sense perception. In the same way we still see the cinema screen as containing colour and movement even though we do not perceive the essential whiteness and stillness which is the screen's true nature.

    A second, and more formidable, objection to the above analogy is that in order to project a snake-idea onto the rope, we must have seen a 'real' snake somewhere before, in order to be able to imagine one. So if we are to explain the diverse by saying we superimpose a sort of diverse-idea onto the One, then that implies we must have a memory of the diverse got from somewhere else. Shankara recognises this objection and in order to meet it has to divide the world of difference into the public world (Sanskrit 'vyavahorika') and the private world ('pratibhasika'). Now as far as the private 'objects' we experience are concerned there is no problem. For our thoughts and ideas can all be conditioned by public objects, and the private backgrounds we set up can be explained (in theory at least) in terms of public objects and events such as our parent's genes, our upbringing, culture etc. or the more temporary backgrounds in terms of sense data (eg light waves) and the neural impulses they produce. This was dealt with in Chapter 9. In this way the mistaking of the rope for a snake is quite realistic and plausible, since it is a private illusion.

    But the public part of the diverse cannot be the illusion or dream of each particular individual, otherwise we would each 'dream' a different world, which is not the case. Back in Chapter 4 we defined the public world to be that which we can in principle experience; and while our experiencing of the public world is private, we can only communicate and live together as human beings by assuming that much of what I see and experience is very similar to what you see and experience, as Wittgenstein showed clearly. When you see a tree, the image in your mind is, I must assume, more or less what is in my mind when I see the tree - in other words we must assume that there is a public world, common to all sentient creatures.

    So in order to explain the public illusion or 'universal dream', Shankara had to maintain that there is a kind of Universal Man (Sanskrit 'Viraj') who dreams the public dream, and we dream our private dreams with him and in him. This 'Universal Man' is very like Bishop Berkeley's 'God', who in Berkeley's theory of 'immaterialism' is always perceiving the world to keep it appearing 'real' and public. However, we define the concept of 'God' in the next subsection in a different way to this, and rather than confuse the issue we will adopt a slightly different approach.

    To have a 'Universal Man' dreaming or perceiving the public world to make it public, is equivalent to maintaining that we have within us some 'super-backgrounds', which are backgrounds common to us all and which are more basic than the ordinary private background set up by external objects that we have considered previously. This brings up back to Kant, who held that in our non-conscious mind each and every one of us in fact possesses these utterly fundamental super-backgrounds, which must make us all experience the noumenal world or the One in basically the same kind of way. Because these same backgrounds are in all of us, then we must all see the same sort of public world, though we then establish our own backgrounds of the type we considered in Chapter 9 and which give rise to our different interpretations of the public world.

    We can explain how we all possess these same super-backgrounds by borrowing Jung's idea of the 'collective unconscious' - that is the idea that we all have a common reservoir of non-conscious mind. However, it must be pointed out that Jung thought of the 'collective unconscious' as almost synonymous with what we have termed the 'I', whereas here it is considered to be part of the self, utterly different from the 'I'. (Note that from our original definition in chapter 4 the collective unconscious must be private, since it cannot be experienced, and so it is part of the self.) The germ of this idea is present in the school of Psychology of Being, where the super-background would be situated in that part of the self called 'instinctoid'.[18]

    As we mentioned, it is not very important whether we consider the public world to be caused directly by a super-conscious 'Universal Man' or by our own consciousness via a 'collective unconscious' (which is as Jung held common not only to men but to all lower forms of consciousness). The similarity between the two explanations will become more obvious in this and the next chapter.

    Kant recognised two kinds of these fundamental super backgrounds ('forms of intuition' and 'categories'), though in our mode there will have to be more, since Kant's noumenal world is not synonymous with the One. In other words, the essential qualities Kant attributed to the noumenal world we have to attribute to super-backgrounds (in addition to what Kant attributed to his super-backgrounds anyway), since the One (unlike the noumenal world) cannot be said to have any positive qualities. Nevertheless, in our model the super-backgrounds contained in the self would obviously include Kant's 'Forms of intuition' and 'categories'. The 'categories' are twelve concepts which we all instinctively possess, and which are applicable to whatever we experience. They are listed in the notes and will not detain us now.[19]

    The 'forms of intuition' (German: 'Anschauung', literally 'looking at') contain the two super-backgrounds of space and time, and they ensure that whatever we experience or think about must always be in spatial and temporal terms. This brings us back to the notion of superspace mentioned in Chapter 8, in that although we are always 'in' superspace we always view it as separated out into time and 3-d space, which is just what Kant was saying two hundred years ago (although he called superspace the 'noumenal world').

    Now because superspace is just an unimaginable unity in its own right, it can be likened to the One itself; and the fact that when viewed against the super-backgrounds of 'forms of intuition' it appears as space and time is just another way of saying that the diverse is characterised by separateness and change. For separateness must imply 3-d space, and vice versa; similarly change must imply time, and vice versa. But of course in superspace as superspace there is no time and 3-d space as such, so that in superspace there can be no separateness and no change, as in the One.

    We can now see also that the diverse as a principle is beginningless and endless (although of course it can be 'ended' at any time for the individual by Knowing the One). For when the diverse 'originated', then time also originated, so that there was no time 'before' the diverse (ie in superspace) in other words it cannot have had a beginning. Similarly, it cannot have an end in time, for when it ends time also ends.

    Thus the only way to escape the diverse is for us to go beyond space and time altogether, which means go back to superspace. And to return back to superspace physically via a black hole would be rather disastrous, so the Knowers of the One recommend that we a return in a traditional way via Knowing or uniting with the 'I'. For then we will have gone beyond all backgrounds, since all, backgrounds originate in the self or ego. The reader will remember that in Chapter 9 we saw that those backgrounds caused by external objects were in the mind or self, and the super-backgrounds common to us all we have just been considering are also in the self (the 'collective unconscious' part), so that only in bypassing self altogether can we be free of all backgrounds, and the only 'place' free completely of self is the 'I'.

    Thus we can see that the ultimate cause of our bondage to the diverse, the world of difference, time, space and illusion, is the fact that we identify with the self (hence our additionally calling it 'ego') rather than with the 'I'. For the instant we think "I am the ego or self," then we have to see the One with the backgrounds of diversity (contained in the ego or self) superimposed upon it.

    It is for this reason that this subsection is entitled "delusion". For while 'illusion' and 'delusion' mean almost the same thing, ie something appearing not as it 'really' is, illusion implies that the fault lies in the thing itself, while 'delusion' implies that the fault lies in the viewing mechanism of the observer - the self. So in view of the foregoing discussion, we can describe the diverse as delusion rather than illusion.

    To argue any further back to a more 'ultimate' cause of the delusion, ie to attempt to find the cause of identifying with the self or the cause of the super-background, is equivalent to asking how the relationship between the One and the diverse can exist, which we saw in the section before is impossible to answer discursively. We can only say that the diverse, the self (which is the relationship) and the One are in 'reality' not different, but are all One.

    ii) God

    Before we finish with the 'how' questions, there are two loose ends to tie up. The first is concerned with the concept of God.

    In chapter 11 we pointed out that Eckhart and Ruysbroek use the term 'Godhead' as being synonymous with the One, and the word 'God' they use slightly differently. It is unfortunate that often they (particularly Eckhart) used the word 'God' both to mean the Godhead and this slightly different meeting. The reader can take it that the word 'God' used anywhere before this subsection means Godhead or the non-differentiated One; in this subsection and at all times afterwards we will use it exclusively for the meaning we will now describe.

    The fact is that whatever we say or however cleverly we philosophise, there is always as we have shown this insurmountable problem: how can the One or the Godhead, being completely beyond separateness and change and thus action, cause any form of non-difference (such as self) to exist? Thus in deference to the human intellect, the Knowers of the One often use another word to describe the creative principle that is, 'God'. (Plato used the term 'demiurge').

    God can be thought of as the power of the Godhead to create the diverse and the self (with its super-backgrounds); or the power of actualising the 'possibility' of the impossible' mentioned earlier. (So that in fact God can always do the work of Shankara's 'Universal Man' or Berkeley's 'God' if the 'collective unconscious' hypothesis fails.) Alternatively, God can be thought of as the Godhead becoming while the Godhead is itself being. God is the Godhead personified, with attributes; the creator, preserver and destroyer of this world. The One as Godhead cannot be personified, has no attribute, and performs no action. It is static, yet has the power to become dynamic while remaining utterly still - that power we term God. So from our point of view while immersed in the diverse, God and Godhead are different and distinct.

    But of course in essence, God and Godhead are not, can not, be separated, any more than fire and its power to burn can be separated. The Godhead only appears as God when viewed from the point of view of the diverse, in other words God (as God) has the same degree of reality as the diverse has, and is in fact caused by our limited and diversified intellect. Thus we can get the astonishing declaration:

    I am the cause that God is God. (Eckhart) [28]

    As long as we are bound by the world of difference and the diverse we can do no better than look to the 'ruler' of the diverse, which is God. God is the highest the human mind can grasp and the human heart can love, and so while we still identify with the ego or self, then:

    It is God who has the treasure and the bride in him, the Godhead is as void as though it were not. (Eckhart) [29]

    But devotion to God is not the ultimate. To Know the One is to go beyond God and 'realise' the infinite Godhead, wherein all distinction vanishes. Thus in merging with the 'I' or One, Eckhart can contradict the last quote completely, and say:

    iii) Good and Bad

    The second 'loose end' concerns the good/bad duality. That we are conditioned to and bound by the diverse and think ourselves distinct from the One can be described as illusion (Vedanta), ignorance (Buddhism), a state of fall (Judeo-Christianity), disequilibrium (Taoism) or rebellion (Islam). All these descriptions carry the sense that distinction from the One is bad; indeed, we came to this conclusion in Chapter 11, where we pointed out than an action or thought which accentuated this distinction was 'bad' and one which went towards loving it was 'good'. This is because having 'fallen' into or become deluded by the diverse, we are continually struggling to find again the One. The whole pattern and arrangement of the cosmos is geared to us being continually born until we merge back into the Godhead, where both dying and being born no longer exist, and there is Peace. So from this point of view 'sin' or 'evil' is the attempting to hinder this process, which from our earlier discussion on the cause of the diverse is paramount to strengthening our identification with the self or ego.

    Self is the root, the tree, and the branches of the evils of our fallen state. (Law) [31]

    The city of God is made by the love of God pushed to the contempt of self; the earthly city, by the love of self pushed to the contempt of God. (Augustine) [32]

    This ego is your enemy. It is like a thorn stuck in the throat of the eater. (Shankara) [33]

    See here the whole truth in short. All sin, death, damnation and hell is nothing else but the kingdom of self. (Law) [34]

    So in most higher systems of ethics, 'good' actions tend to be those which minimise the separateness engendered by self-identification; such as love for our fellow men, truthful and honest dealing, working for equal rights, equal justice and the abolition of the barriers of race, class and creed, etc. 'Bad' actions or thoughts, on the contrary, are those which spring from selfish motives and tend to increase separateness, such as hate, anger, dishonesty etc.

    However, in order to avoid inconsistencies, we have to distinguish from what level we are viewing the situation. Up to now in this subsection we have been discussing good and bad from the viewpoint of the diverse. In the diverse, good and bad are real and exist, and we should act in a 'good' way and not 'bad'. This is because by acting 'badly', we increase the bondage to self, and thus become more involved in the diverse or world of difference, and so increase our Unpeace. The converse is that by 'good' actions and thoughts we tend to lessen bondage to self, decrease difference and so lessen Unpeace. Thus there is a kind of feedback mechanism whereby 'bad' actions tend to increase Unpeace and so make us less and less inclined to commit them; whereas 'good' actions lessen Unpeace and thus reinforce our tendency to perform them. This feedback mechanism is called 'karma' in Sanskrit, and can be crudely described as a rewards and punishment system.

    The fact that over the period of one lifetime this feedback mechanism is often not very effective (ie people sometimes continually do bad and 'never seem to learn') has led to the idea of reincarnation. This is that when the body dies, the non-physical self or ego (with of course the 'I') takes another body, and while not consciously remembering its previous life, nevertheless carried with it the distilled essence of the previous life's experiences, and so the karma or feedback mechanism carried on uninterrupted by the change in body. It is not important to the main line of argument whether the reader accepts reincarnation or not, since this book is concerned with the ending of Unpeace and the finding of Peace now, ie in this lifetime. But we will just point out that it seems by far the most consistent and logical explanation of what happens after physical death. After all, everywhere in nature things are continually 'reincarnating' (eg vegetation dying in winter to be reborn in spring) and the 'law' of reincarnation is merely holding that a law applying to almost everything in nature applies likewise to the self. Anyway, we pointed out in Chapter 3 that we are continually being reincarnated in this life even. Our bodies are continually changing, losing tissue and rebuilding tissue out of fresh material - the body I have now is completely different in content from the one I had a few years ago.

    Although 'good' and 'bad' are real enough from the point of view of the diverse, from the point of view of God, there is no 'bad', but only 'Good' (capital 'G'). For we can see that the whole feedback mechanism is Good in that it always tends to lessen diversity and Unpeace. The most 'bad' things which happen on the level of the diverse, while not' good', are nevertheless 'Good' in that they are links in the feedback mechanism or karma of the person (or people) concerned. They are generated by the person's past actions and are geared to steering him to the realisation that only in the non-differentiated Godhead will Peace be found. To be born a beggar, a king, an athlete or a helpless cripple is simply the consequence of our past lives, and whichever it is, it is Good, since it is an episode in the karmic school run by God, who has our best interests at heart.

    So from the standpoint of the diverse, this world of difference is a bleak place, and God seems rather pitiless, intent, on driving us with blows like a herd of cows towards the One. But as soon as we realise that Peace lies in the Knowing of the One, and we begin consciously to want to know the 'I', then we can learn to see this world of difference in terms of Good, and not good-and-bad. That is to say, the diverse ceases to be a grim court of justice but becomes more a gymnasium, where the good and the bad, though still existing, become opportunities for exercising our spiritual muscles and can so help to lever us out of the diverse. The world is no longer an endlessly revolving wheel of Unpeace, but becomes a ladder which can be climbed to the One.

    Having said that, we must now consider the question from the third level - that of the One. In the One or the Godhead, of course, there is no duality, so good-and-bad cannot exist; and equally, there are no qualities (they belong to God), so the One cannot be Good (or Bad), in addition to not being good-and-bad. Thus neither good nor bad, nor Good nor Bad can reach the One, which is another way of saying that we can never find the Godhead by good works or actions alone, however good (or Good). This is just saying that no amount of rearranging of difference (which is all actions, however good, can do) can take us beyond difference, which is the conclusion we came to back in Chapter 7. This appears to contradict what has been said previously in this sub-section, but the point is that actions alone cannot take us to the One. When we understand the process of non-discursive and non-diversified Knowing, then, and only then, can we take full advantage of discursive and diverse activities, such as good (or Good) actions or thoughts. But without knowing how to Know, then neither good nor Good can take us to the One. Note, however, that if we say blandly that good and bad do not really exist, or that if they do they can never take us to Peace, and we act on the strength of this, then we are committing a great error, since in the diverse they do exist and can help to take us towards Peace, and the feedback of karma will relentlessly penalise us if we ignore this fact.


    From having considered the 'how?' of the One and the diverse, it is now natural to consider the 'Why'? But it should be obvious that if it is impossible to answer the question "How can the diverse exist?" then what hope have we of intellectually finding why it was originated at all? As to why the diverse exists, we have seen that the ultimate purpose of it is to lead us (or push us) away from self-identification towards union with our 'True' nature, the 'I' or Godhead. Every happening in the diverse has this end in view. This is picturesquely described by the Knowers of the One as God (or even Godhead) 'wanting' to Know himself, which he can only do by means of the 'I'.

    Of course to understand why God or Godhead 'wants' this is impossible. For to understand why the One created the diverse we have to go beyond the diverse, and of course when we do that all difference vanishes, including the duality of cause-and-effect. In other words, there is no cause for the diverse, since the non-diverse or 'uni-verse' is causeless.

    To try and imagine the non-differentiated One as being deficient in some respects so that it has a 'wish' or a 'desire' to 'do' something (like Know itself) goes against all our definitions. All the Knowers of the One can finally say is, like Shakespeare, that it is all a play or a game (Sanskrit 'lila'), in that the One 'play' with itself.

    All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players. (Shakespeare) [40]

    So this world has no substantial reality,
    But exists as a shadowy pageant of play. (Shabistari) [41]

    What is willing in the Godhead? It is the Father watching the play of his own nature. What is this play? It is his eternal Son. There has always been this play going on in the Father-nature. Play and audience are the same...As it is written in the Book of Wisdom, 'prior to creatures, in the eternal now, I have played before the Father in his eternal stillness.' The Son has eternally been playing before the Father as the Father has before his Son. The playing of the twain is the Holy Ghost in whom they both disport themselves and he disports himself in both. Sport and players are the same. Their nature proceeding in itself. "God is a fountain flowing unto itself," as St. Dionysius says. (Eckhart) [42]


    This chapter is concerned with how and why the One can and does manifest diversity. By virtue of how we define the One and the diverse, we were led to consider the diverse as illusion, both common experience and modern physics (especially Special Relativity) illustrating the illusory nature of the world.

    Then having shown that we could never understand discursively how the diverse could exist or appear to exist, we put forward an explanation of how it does appear to exist. This rested largely on Shankara and Kant and posited that we superimpose the diverse onto the One, or rather we observe the One against super-backgrounds in our non-conscious, which are common to us all and so ensure we all see the public world. These super-backgrounds are analogous to the ordinary private backgrounds we set up to condition our private worlds. Thus the diverse is better described as 'delusion' rather than 'illusion', it being caused by our identifying with the self, in which the backgrounds and super-backgrounds are contained.

    Then we distinguished the terms 'God' and 'Godhead' and finished the 'How?' section by considering good and bad, showing that to Know the One, actions (good or bad) are by themselves insufficient.

    We finally considered briefly the diverse was caused, and found that this was intellectually unanswerable, and we can only talk in terms of the One 'wanting' to Know itself, or playing a cosmic game.

    14 - Two Into One

    Having considered how and why the One becomes or appears to become the diverse ('turning into two'), we will now consider how difference ('making two') can return to the Uni-verse ('turning into One'). As far as practical matters go, we must accept that for us the diverse exists, and that our seeing it everywhere and our being conditioned by it results in Unpeace.

    Now as we indicated in Part Two, to look solely to any external methods or events for transcending difference is futile, since all external methods, objects and events belong to the diverse by definition, so they can only rearrange diversity and cannot go beyond it. To transcend difference we must know the One and as we have seen this must be a completely non-discursive procedure, and cannot depend upon any discursive method such as thinking, reasoning, talking, reading, good works, rituals or any physical or mental activity. When we know how to Know, as it were, then all these activities can be used to accelerate the Knowing of the One, as we mentioned in the last chapter; but looking to any discursive procedure alone or process of knowing (small 'k') for transcending the diverse is fruitless.

    So how can we, then, Know the One? This is the form that our central question of human life has now taken. In Chapter 1 the question was put as "How to find Peace?" or "How to escape Unpeace?" and the argument so far has shown that Peace cannot be found anywhere in the diverse, and that the we must try and find a non-diversified One, which many witnesses claim exists but which cannot be known discursively - it must be known unitively.

    While the Knower of the One lives in this world, and acts in it out of Love for others still bound by difference, his 'I' - identification rather than self-identification means he is unaffected by the difference - ie he is detached. But he is not detached in a callous way, as we pointed out in Chapter 11 - on the contrary, he works very hard for the happiness and Peace of others still attached to the suffering and Unpeace. What he is detached from is Unpeace itself; and obviously if one is detached from Unpeace, then one is 'in' Peace.

    Be who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment. (Eckhart) [7]

    There is nowhere perfect rest save in a heart detached. (Eckhart) [8]

    But of course while it is an excellent thing to try and cultivate detachment from Unpeace (which is what everyone is doing, consciously or unconsciously), nevertheless to use it as the means of Knowing the One is putting the cart before the horse. For we have found that by dealing in the diverse one can not transcend it. In other words, we have to first Know the One, then it will, follow automatically that we will be detached from Unpeace.

    Now we have seen that, from the point of view of the Knowers of the One, the diverse does not 'really' exist - it is a dream. So to Know the One we have to do nothing more than just wake up!

    And how do we 'wake up'? Well, the source of our dream and delusion lies in the self. By being attached to and identifying with self, that is, in thinking "I am my-self" then the 'I' must be projected, as it were, through self. And thus the super-backgrounds and ordinary backgrounds which exist in the self must be superimposed onto the changeless and formless One, thereby making it appear to possess change and form - i.e, become diversified.

    The 'projection' of the 'I' is possibly best described as 'Pure Consciousness', that by which we are able to be aware. Note though, that since we cannot think of or externalise Pure Consciousness (as we can our states of consciousness) it is non-external, and thus belongs to the non-differentiated One and so is identical with the 'I'. In fact, it is a term which we use as a crutch to think about the unthinkable; that which is aware (the 'I') and that by which the 'I' is aware (Pure Consciousness) are both identical, being but different intellectual concepts of the One or Godhead. The Knower of the One recognises that not only are the 'I' and Pure Consciousness both the non-differentiated One, but also that which he is aware of - ie the object of his awareness. Of course to those bound by the diverse, the object of awareness (whether public or private) is external and so in difference, since the Pure Consciousness shining, as it were, through the self is filtered through the backgrounds contained in the self and so illuminates the One as diverse. (The undesirability of this is aptly illustrated by the quotes in chapter 13.) Thus in order to wake up from the delusion and to stop seeing the apparent world of difference as diverse, then we must be free from the tyranny of self.

    This getting rid of self can be very painful, since we so usually identify/completely with it, thinking "I am myself" rather than "I am 'I'". Thus losing self is often compared to death - the 'dying to self' of the last quote, or the 'ego-death'. For in order to be born into a new life, into union with the One or Pure Consciousness, we have to 'die' to our old life of self-identification.

    The kingdom of God is for none but the thoroughly dead. (Eckhart) [14]

    Die you must to all and everything that you have worked or done under any other spirit but that of meekness, humility and true resignation to God. (Law) [15]

    One must be dead to see God. (Eckhart) [16]

    The death spoken about is clearly not the death of the body, for that leaves the self free to take another body; it is the death of self which is meant.

    The dead who have died in the Godhead are beyond our ken, like the dead are who die here to the body. That (ie the former) death is the soul's eternal quest. (Eckhart) [17]

    But of course we have still not really answered the problem 'How to Know the One?" practically, because while the solution may be that we must die to our-selves, the question is obviously how to die to ourselves. Now the answer to this question has taken many forms, from self-torture such as fasting, whipping or wearing hair-shirts etc to assume grovelling humility. While many attempts to be free from the tyranny of the self or ego are obviously praiseworthy, it nevertheless remains that the diverse can never be transcended by rearrangement of diversity, ie by external activities, whether public or private. While the more superficial backgrounds in the self can be altered by external activities (as was shown in Chapter 9) the more fundamental backgrounds, such as those due to hereditary, are hard, if not impossible, to change; and of course the super-backgrounds are completely impossible to alter by external means, since it is by their 'distortion' of the One that the external world of difference is caused to appear in the first place.

    So if the self (or at least the heart of it where the super-backgrounds exist) cannot be changed, then to 'die to self' implies that the Pure Consciousness must bypass the self and its built-in backgrounds completely. But if the Pure Consciousness bypasses the self, then it must be always in the 'I' or the One, since by not shining through the self, the diverse is never 'created'. Thus in order to die to self, the Pure Consciousness must 'shine' in the 'I' which is another way of saying, according to our definitions, that we must Know the 'I' which is the conclusion we came to in Chapter 12 by another argument.

    Thus if we Know the 'I', then self will automatically vanish, and this is the way the problem must be approached. To go the other way round and try to die to self in order to Know the 'I' is theoretically possible but practically impossible, To Know the 'I' is, as we saw in Chapter 12, equivalent to merging or being the One, when 'I', Pure Consciousness, the diverse and even the self lose all distinction and become the non-differentiated One or Godhead. To want to Know the 'I' or the One is to have a conscious desire for complete union and non-separateness.

    Now of course when bound to the diverse, we cannot think of or comprehend the nature of 'I' or Pure Consciousness; the most we can do is to conceptualise the One in the form of God. Thus to have an intense desire to Know the 'I' can be expressed as 'loving God'. In Chapter 11 we used the word. 'Love' (big 'L') to describe the non-separation engendered by actually Knowing the One, while defining 'love' (small 'l') as an affinity dependent upon essential separateness. Thus the phrase 'love for God' lies somewhere in between love and Love, in that although based on separateness it is a desire to realise non-separateness - ie to Know the One.

    While we can think of love for God as an intense desire to realise our essential unity with the One, the power which transforms that desire into fact can be termed the Grace of God. To put it crudely, Grace is the One in its non-differentiated aspect sort of percolating into the diverse. It is the actual means by which Pure Consciousness is diverted from filtering through self and so directed to the 'I'. To understand Grace is not possible with the intellect, since it is the One as One or Godhead, so of course it cannot be thought about. We can just naively describe it as a bit of Godhead seeping through into the world of difference.

    Grace is a gift to be grateful for. (Both 'grace' and 'grateful' come from Latin, the same as 'gratuitous' = gift.) It is a gift since it has no human cause; it comes unsolicited from God. We are neither deserving nor undeserving of it - it just is and we can make use of it or not as we please. It is rather like a moving staircase which is continuously revolving and will continue to do so whether we use it to take us higher up the building or not.

    We can understand the necessity for Grace even if we cannot understand Grace itself. For without Grace we would have to rely on our own actions and thoughts to Know the One, and since they are always external, diverse and discursive they can never on their own transcend the world of difference, as we have pointed out before.

    This can also be explained in terms of Pure Consciousness. If we think of Pure Consciousness as filtering through the self, then we are only aware of it after it has passed through the super and ordinary private backgrounds in the self, thence it is no longer 'Pure' but manifests as our states or levels of consciousness. Thus we can only 'see' and control our 'stream' of consciousness after it has emerged from the backgrounds, and so we are powerless to divert the stream of pre-background Pure Consciousness from flowing through the self. Thus we (that is, 'I' identified with self) are hideously trapped 'downstream' from the background; and they prevent us from moving 'upstream' to the source of Pure Consciousness, the One or Godhead.

    To try and 'empty the mind', ie remove the backgrounds, will be unsuccessful as we have seen, since the super-backgrounds and some of the more deep-rooted ordinary backgrounds are immovable. Earlier (Chapter 9) we asked the reader to accept that becoming unconscious was not an acceptable solution to the problem of Unpeace, and now we can see why this is so in our analogy. For by becoming unconscious (ie in deep sleep, drugs, hypnosis, etc) we are not stopping the stream of Pure Consciousness flowing through some of our backgrounds, for as psychology has shown, in all unconscious states there is much non-conscious activity going on in the mind.

    Since we are powerless to prevent Pure Consciousness going through the self by any discursive or external means, the power which does prevent it is beyond our making - it is non-diversified Grace.

    But while Grace is the power which "conveys into Godhead", the question still remains how we can harness that power. While the elevator is moving all the time, it will only take us up if we step on it.

    The analogy of the moving staircase is not very accurate however, since the staircase takes us somewhere, but as far as Knowing the One is concerned, we are there already. For in reality, when the delusion is swept away, everything is Godhead - 'I', Pure Consciousness, the diverse, the self and its backgrounds and even the Knowing itself are all the indivisible One, as the quotes in chapter 12 illustrate. So not only are we all of the One in essence but we also 'really' Know the One, only we do not realise it. Thinking we do not Know the Godhead is called delusion, and to remove that delusion we need not 'Knowing' but what we can term 'Knowledge'. For it is only though 'Knowledge' that we can actualise the Knowing of the One. In fact, Knowledge can be said to be knowing how to Know; it is the method by which we can make use of Grace.

    Thus we can see that Knowledge is very special, and has a sort of amphibious nature. It must be free to move unhindered between the 'water' of the diverse and the 'air' of the One. On one side it must belong to the world of difference, so that our minds can catch onto it; yet on the other side it must be non-differentiated, so that it can catch hold of Grace. It is the link that can bind the diverse mind to Grace, so enabling our union with the One to be realised.


    This chapter was concerned with how we can transcend the diverse and Know the One. We discounted knowing or any discursive procedure, as we had in Chapters 10 and 12. Detachment from the diverse, while theoretically possible, is in practice impossible - it is going the wrong way round, as is also dying to self. We must first consider how to Know the 'I'. To want to know the 'I' earnestly we called 'loving God', and the power which actualises that want we call the Grace of God. To harness the power of Grace we need 'Knowledge', which we define as knowing how to Know.

    15 - Perfect Masters

    Now while it may well be true that our only hope of fulfilling the purpose of our life and finding Peace is to Know the One, if we look at world history it is painfully clear that Knowing the One has not in general been a popular activity. In Part One we indicated in broad outline the almost continuous state of war man has been (and is) in, both in society and in himself over the last few thousand years. True Peace seems to have been obtained but rarely and Knowers of the One, such as our seven witnesses of the last few chapters, stand out as oases of Peace in a desert of tension, conflict and unrest. Of course, we cannot tell how many people quietly merged back into the One without condescending to leave any record of their having done so. But it seems that compared to the number of people who lived (and live) their lives in the Unpeace of diversity, the number who have transcended the diverse and found Peace is obviously minute.

    The reason, of course, is not hard to find. For while we are all being shoved and jostled towards wanting Peace by the karmic feedback system built into the cosmos, it is not all that often that we human beings consciously develop a distaste for the world of difference, and, recognising its only gift to be continual Unpeace, strive willingly to Know the One. But even with such recognition, the path to the One is nevertheless not easy. It is:

    In fact not only is walking the path hard work and difficult, it is in effect impossible without having that Knowledge of how to harness Grace, as we have seen. So the question now becomes "How to obtain Knowledge?"

    Now as we look back over history, we see a curious phenomenon emerging. And this is that by and large Knowers of the One have appeared to come in clusters; and that furthermore the clusters have always centred round one of their number whom they obviously thought to be rather special. These 'special' Knowers have been given various names, such as: Saviour, Messiah, Avatar, Son of God, Satguru, Prophet, Spiritual Master, etc and they are held to be special in that they can impart to people that Knowledge of how to pick up on Grace and become Knowers of the One. Because the One is Perfect in that it is complete, whole and faultless, we shall call these special Knowers 'Perfect Masters', in the sense that they were held to be Masters of Perfection and could somehow impart to people the Knowledge of how to Know that Perfection (ie the One).

    Many Perfect Masters came from India, such as Krishna, Rama, Gotama Buddha and Guru Nanak (the founder of the Sikhs), but by no means all of them. Examples of others include: Moses and Jesus Christ (Eastern Mediterranean), Mohammed (Arabia, 570-632), Lao Tzu (China, c 604-531 BC), Zoroaster (Persia, c 1,000 BC or c 550 BC), Shamsi Tabriz (Persia, 13th century AD), Quetzlcoatl (Mexico, 9th century), Maui (Maoris), Deganawida (Iroquois Indians) and the 'Ancient One' (Zulus). While it is clear that their outer appearance, speech and behaviour were all different, it nevertheless seems that they were all centre points for a group of Knowers. In fact, we hardly ever find a collection of Knowers of the One without there being a Perfect Master as the nucleus.

    Wherever the Perfect Masters are dissimilar, it is in respect of outer activities and external events; in respect to the claims put forward by their followers that they could impart the Knowledge, they are all identical. And since the One is unchangeable then the Knowledge of how to Know the One must also be unchangeable, at least on that 'side' of it which is non-diverse and is thus able to 'hook' onto Grace. How the Perfect Masters adapted the other 'side' of Knowledge, that which is part of the diverse and which we can hang on to, is another question, which we will come to later.

    Thus the thesis of this and the next chapter is that in essence the Perfect Masters of all times were the same - not merely in the fact that they all Knew the One, but in that they could (it was claimed) reveal the Knowledge of Perfection.

    Now when we come to examine what the Perfect Masters actually taught, we find quite a problem; and that is the lack of reliable evidence. In the case of the seven Knowers of the One we have been quoting in the last few chapters, we can be fairly sure that their writings as they have come down to us are pretty much as they wrote them; but in the case of those Knowers we are calling 'Perfect Masters', the situation is very different as we shall see in the next section. And anyway, even if we could be sure that what they did actually say was the same as that it is claimed they said (ie in scriptures), this would not help us to know the One, since we have already concluded that discursive means (including reading) are fruitless on their own for Knowing the One. Note, however, that we are not saying that to read scriptures or perform rites and rituals is useless. On the contrary, they can be very useful, containing much good advice, giving inspiration and pointing out how Knowledge can be obtained. What we hold in this chapter is, among other things, that Knowledge itself cannot be obtained from the writings of (or about) Perfect Masters.

    Because of the fierce loyalties many people have for a particular Perfect Master and for their interpretation of the scriptures concerning him, we would be treading dangerous ground were an attempt to be made to argue from such scriptures. For most scriptures contain, at least on a literal level, many inconsistencies and downright contradictions. Thus to support a viewpoint by quotes from scriptures is to ask for a storm of quotes from the same scriptures in support of another, often directly opposite, viewpoint. So rather than argue that such-and-such a viewpoint is supported by Perfect Masters, we will assume the much more modest task of arguing merely that what follows is an interpretation of the work of Perfect Masters for which there is evidence in the scriptures pertaining to them. In other words, we shall use scriptural quotes more as illustrations of the viewpoint offered, rather than as foundations for it.

    For anyway the fact remains that we can never be 100% certain that the Knowers we will consider were indeed Perfect Masters. All we can say is that other people at the time claim to have Known the One, and they claimed that they obtained the Knowledge of how to do so from a particular Knower - the Perfect Master. In other words, since a Perfect Master is recognised by the Knowledge he imparts, then we can only say with certainty that somebody was or is a Perfect Master if we become ourselves Knowers of the One through the Knowledge as revealed by him. With these preliminaries remarks, we will now move on to consider a few of the more famous Perfect Masters and the writings end scriptures associated with them.

    The Scriptures

    First we will look at those scriptures which we will seldom use, and we will begin with the Buddhist scriptures. These are vast. The scriptures of but one sect, the Pali Canon, fill 45 huge volumes, while the Tibetan Buddhist scriptures consist of 325 volumes of 1,000 closely printed pages each. Furthermore, most of the scriptures were not written down until some 600 years or more after the death of Gotama the Buddha.[12] So while some sayings of the historical person Gotama are doubtless contained in the scriptures, we cannot isolate them from interpolations and extraneous material. Indeed, the orthodox scriptures are so vast that it is said that no-one has read them all; and anyway, if one hunted in them long enough one could doubtless find quotes to support practically any argument.

    However there is no reason to doubt that about 500 BC there lived a historical person Gotama, prince of the Shakyas, who was a 'Buddha', a term meaning enlightened (ie one who Knows the One) "and will thereafter enlighten others." [13]

    With the Taoist scripture the "Tao Te Ching" the position is just the opposite from the Buddhist scriptures. Here we have a very short and concise scripture of 81 verses, coherent and consistent, but no established Perfect Master. The author is traditionally held to be Lao Tzu, but no one knows for certain who he was, when exactly he lived or even if he lived at all. A biographer who tried in 100 BC to write his story, could find only two facts about him and he then threw his hands up in despair. Traditionally, however, Lao Tzu is considered a Perfect Master, one who could reveal the 'Tao' or 'Way'. He is supposed to have written the Tao Te Ching at the age of a 160 when leaving the Middle Kingdom of China for the mountains.

    Not only is modern scholarship divided over Lao Tzu's existence, but also about the date of composition of the Tao Te Ching, various dates between the 6th century BC and the 3rd century BC being held by various scholars. Furthermore, the work is so concise and compressed that many different translations are possible of the cryptic and archaic Chinese. As the Tao Te Ching itself says, "Straight words seem crooked."[15] Although it is clear that the work can be interpreted as being written by a Perfect Master, it would be too technical and lengthy to establish this here.[16]

    This last remark also applies to the Koran, the scripture of Islam founded by Mohammed. For although the Koran was supposedly revealed to Mohammed by Allah (God) via the Angel Gabriel, it is on occasions particularly blood-thirsty and un-Loving, which is often supposed to have been the cause of much fighting and the spread of Islam by the sword (this is dealt with in Chapter 16). But it is held by many[17] that there is a deeper and more profound sense to the words than the literal one. Mohammed himself is supposed to have said, "The Koran has been revealed in seven integrities." [18] of which the literal meaning is the most superficial and unimportant. After all, Allah Himself says in the Koran of the Koran, "Upon Us resteth the explanation of it." [19]

    There is also the fact that originally the Koran was written in Kufic script which has no indication of vowels or diacritical points, so that some verses have variant literal meanings anyway. Again, to follow the arguments of those Muslims who see in the Koran an expression of the Knowledge of the Perfect Master would be too laborious and technical to do here.[20] What has been said of the Koran is also true of the Jewish scriptures to a large extent, although there are some very beautiful and 'mystical' parts in them, such as the Psalms of David and the Song of Songs. Indeed, it is held that both Moses and David were Perfect Masters. The reason for our not using the Old Testament and other Jewish scriptures is simply to keep the subject matter within bounds; in a larger book than this, some of the Jewish scriptures could be used most effectively.

    Anyway, having stated which scriptures we will seldom use, we will now go on to look at those which we will often use in illustrating the forthcoming argument. We will begin by considering briefly the "Adi Guru-Granth" which is the scripture of the Sikhs. The founder of the Sikhs was Guru Nanak (1469-1539), and since he is so recent (historically) we have an abundance of evidence of his life and behaviour. He was clearly a Knower of the One, and almost certainly a Perfect Master, as we shall see from his writings. After he died, there was a succession of nine other Sikh Perfect Masters, ending with the death of the tenth in 1708.

    The Adi Guru-Granth is a collection of hymns and prayers made by the fifth Sikh Guru or Perfect Master. It contains the writings of many saints and poets, about one fifth of it being composed directly by Guru Nanak, It is only this one-fifth that we shall consider.[22] Apart from the Sikh scriptures we will also use some other Indian scriptures purporting to be the sayings of Krishna. Krishna is like Lao Tzu, in that there are an enormous amount of legends and stories about him, but very little historical fact. He seems to have lived about 1500 BC,[23] and after a birth very similar to that of Jesus, he lived in a rural setting, during which he played with the milk-maids and others of his home town (Vrindavan), the episodes of which are very popular in India. Later he left Vrindavan and was involved much in politics - he was a king and even fought in a great battle.

    During this battle there ensued a dialogue between Krishna and a disciple of his called Arjuna. This dialogue was overheard and became known as the "Bhagavad Gita" and is probably one of the best-known scriptures in the world. Apart from that, Krishna also had a dialogue with another disciple later, called Uddhada, and this dialogue (the "Uddhada Gita") is also famous.[25]

    Whether these two Gitas represent the actual words of a historical person called Krishna is impossible to confirm. The point is that the Gitas exist and were obviously written by somebody (probably in the 6th century BC [26]). The 'somebody' (whom we shall call Krishna) sums up the essence of what a Perfect Master says and does, and as such the Gitas are rightly world-famous. They are written in simple and clear language, and there is no difficulty in translating them and comprehending their literal meaning (unlike the Tao Te Ching).

    The last Perfect Master we will consider is Jesus Christ, whom we will assume needs no introduction to the reader. There is remarkably little evidence outside the New Testament that the historical Jesus ever lived, but that need not concern us. We will accept the fact that Jesus lived and that his words and deeds are more or less as recorded in the four gospels. Nevertheless, there are some inconsistencies and instances of vagueness both in the gospels and the New Testament as a whole. This is not surprising when it is considered how it came to be formed.

    For the first record of Jesus' life we have is St. Mark's gospel written in 70 AD - that is about forty years after Jesus' ministry.[27] Luke's and Matthew's gospels appeared soon after, and John's towards the end of the century. None but the most naive would hold that after forty years of endless discussion and storytelling, the words of Jesus would be recorded as he spoke them, even though the general sense would probably still remain. There were undoubtedly many writings other than the gospels of Jesus' ministry, for Luke begins his gospel, "Many writers have undertaken to draw up an account of the events that have happened among us," though he has to admit that they and him were just "following the traditions handed down to us".[28]

    The next two hundred years was a period of great confusion, with scriptures being destroyed, badly copied or deliberately falsified to fit in with the rapidly hardening orthodoxy.[29] The bad copying and misreading can be attributed to many factors, one of which must be that the early manuscripts werewrittenlikethiswithnospacesbetweenthewordsandwithnopunctuation. The gospels and epistles which now comprise the New Testament are those recommended as authentic by Athanasius in 367 AD, and all the other mass of writings were rigidly destroyed or falsified.[30]

    Nevertheless, in spite of all the miscopying, the interpolations and the falsifying we will consider the New Testament in general to be a valid testimony of the sayings and actions of a Perfect Master. This means additionally that we have to assume that the writers of the New Testament (in particular St. John and St. Paul) understood Jesus' teachings fully, so that in their narratives or letters it is immaterial whether they put their statements into Jesus' mouth or put them as their own.[31]

    Before we pass on to the next section, we should note that there seem to be two interpretations possible of that important Christian concept, the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). One set of meanings used often by Jesus is that the 'Father' represents what we have defined as the Godhead or the One; the Son, or the Word (Logos), represents what we have defined as God in Chapter 13 ("The Word was God "[32]) often called the 'Christ' (as a principle rather than the person Jesus); and the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost represents what we have defined as Grace. Another rather different interpretation of the Trinity appears to have been sometimes meant by Jesus, and it is this interpretation which was used by Eckhart and others. This is that none of the Trinity represent the Godhead or One as such (which is the reason the new word 'Godhead' had to be coined), but all are manifestations of 'God', as we have defined the term. In this interpretation it seems that God the Father is God as God, God the Son represents the incarnation of God in a human body (Jesus of Nazareth), and God the Holy Spirit, or Ghost, again represents the gift of God we have called Grace.

    Bearing these two different interpretations in mind, we will now move on to consider the tradition of Knowledge which it seems those special Knowers of the One we call Perfect Master formulated.

    The Tradition Of Knowledge

    To begin with, since Perfect Masters are Knowers of the One, we should expect that their scriptures fully corroborate the arguments put forward in the last four chapters. We find this to be so, but rather than tediously duplicate the entire past four chapters and illustrate how quotes from the Perfect Masters' scriptures reinforce them, we will here just briefly sum up the three main tenets which all Knowers of the One (Perfect Masters end others) have without exception held.

    Firstly: the infinite, the eternal and non-differentiated One does exist, though not apparent to our discursive faculties (eg senses and intellect), and it is the basis of the diverse.

    Secondly; Unpeace consists in being attached to and being conditioned by the diverse, and in not Knowing the One.

    As long as there is consciousness of diversity and not of unity in the 'I', a man ignorantly thinks of himself as a separate being...He remains subject to birth and death, knows happiness and misery, is bound by his own deeds, good and bad. (Krishna) [43]

    But if one merely sees the diversity of things, with their divisions and limitations, then one has impure knowledge (Krishna) [44]

    Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where it grows rusty and moth-eaten, and thieves break in to steal it (New Testament, Matthew) [45]

    The world is a perishable home. (Guru Nanak) [46]

    You must work, not for this perishable food, but for the food that lasts, the food of eternal life. (New Testament, John) [47]

    Those that come not to the True One, the Supreme Being, shall be ruined. (Guru Nanak) [48] Attachment to the body causes all bondage and misery. Know ye the truth of the 'I' and be free. (Krishna) [49]

    The life of this world is but comfort of illusion. (Koran) [50]

    The phenomena of life may be likened unto a dream, a phantasm, a bubble, a shadow, the glistening dew, or lightning flash, and thus they ought to be contemplated. (Buddha) [51]

    Thirdly: the aim of our life is to find Peace and it can only be found by Knowing the One.

    Now we will move on from considering the Perfect Masters as Knowers of the One, and will investigate what exactly distinguishes the One from the other. Of course, in essence nothing distinguishes any Knower of the One, since they are, by definition, in union with the One in which there is no difference or distinguishing. But difference and diversity are always seen when our viewpoint is rooted in the diverse, and so we do in fact see a definite difference between those Knowers of the One we call Perfect Masters and the others.

    The difference is basically that Perfect Masters can reveal to us the Knowledge of how to Know the One, whereas ordinary Knowers cannot, as we have seen. That is not to say that the latter cannot help others; indeed, as we saw in Chapter 11, Knowers of the One are commonly filled with such an overpowering Love for humanity by virtue of their seeing the essential unity underlying all mankind, that they are bound to do all they can for humanity. With their actions and words they will strive to help as many as possible, continually pointing out that the purpose of human life is to Know the One, and with their wisdom and their Love they will be a constant source of inspiration to those they are in contact with. But however much understanding and wisdom and however many beautiful experiences they can impart to others, if they are not Perfect Masters they will not be able to reveal that Perfect Knowledge which enables the One to be fully Known.

    The reason why this is so is not clear, but we can attempt some sort of explanation in the following way. The reader will remember that we defined God to be the One or the Godhead as looked at from the diverse, in the sense that He represents the existence of the impossible fact of the actionless One in action; and as such it was He who 'created' the diverse (or the backgrounds which caused the One to appear as the diverse) which causes us to think sometimes of Him as almost personified (and hence the personal pronoun 'He'). Thus we can think of God as the 'ruler' as it were of the diverse; and so even a Knower of the One, as long as he is acting out his part living in the diverse, is a servant of God and is dependent on His Grace, even though at the same time he is in complete union with the non-differentiated Godhead which is the real 'essence' of God and all beings. Thus it is that the Knowers of the One claim that although they have recognised that they are of the substance, as it were of the Godhead, they are not the Godhead itself, and are thus not God. In 'reality' they are one with the Godhead, like the waves are one with the sea; but from the diverse viewpoint they are other than God and subject to Him, like the waves are other than the sea itself, even though they are one with the sea in the sense of their being sea-water. And since these ordinary Knowers are not God, they have no control over God's Grace, except in as much as harnessing it to their own ends to become Knowers in the first place.

    But the distinguishing feature of the Knower who is a Perfect Master seems to be this: that he takes on the ability to perform some of the functions of God in particular that of giving Grace. This is why Perfect Masters are often called 'Avatars' or 'Incarnations of God', in that while they are in union with the One, in common with all Knowers, they are distinguished from other Knowers by having to some degree that power of God to bestow Grace. This, of course is only from the viewpoint of the diverse, since God only exists in relation to the diverse - in the One, God is not God but is the actionless and non-differentiated Godhead.

    Since the Perfect Master has a physical human body, us followers can see him and talk and live with him, and so it is natural that they call the Grace which is enabling them to Know as the Grace of the Perfect Master or the Guru. Of course, Grace is no-one's 'property', it just is, and it comes from God, but by virtue of the Perfect Master being able to increase Grace and to step it up, it becomes known as his Grace.

    But although Grace is essential for Knowing the One as we have seen earlier, the difficulty is to know how to make use of it and even though a Perfect Master may pep up the available Grace, this difficulty still remains. Thus in addition to his Grace, or as part of it, the Perfect Master also reveals the Knowledge of how to harness that power of Grace so that the One can be Known.

    Now we defined Grace crudely in the last chapter as a bit of the non-differentiated Godhead which exists in the diverse but which is not of it, otherwise it would be (or appear to be) diverse. And since Grace is non-diverse, it cannot be known discursively, which means that we cannot judge a Perfect Master by his Grace. What we can judge him by is the Knowledge he gives, for that is what enables us to get hold of Grace. In other words, the test of any Perfect Master is to see whether his Knowledge does, in fact, enable us to Know the One and so find that Perfect Peace. Needless to say, the scriptures proclaim that the Knowledge given by the Perfect Master they are concerned with was true and led to the One being Known.

    At the end of the last chapter we spoke of Knowledge as being a sort of link, whereby non-differentiated Grace can be utilised by our discursive faculties to bring about Knowing. Thus Knowledge must have two sides to it - one being in the world of difference so that the discursive faculties such as our senses and intellect can grab onto it, and the other being completely non-differentiated in order to pick up the Grace.

    Because of this, the Knowledge, as given by a Perfect Master, can show us "plainly of the Father", as Jesus said in the last quote, though of course when we become Knowers we are no longer bound by the diverse, and are thus no longer typically 'human' in the sense of belonging to the world of difference. That is why St. John could write, "No man hath seen God at any time;" [74] because firstly we cannot 'see' God, since seeing a discursive procedure - we can only Know God, as mentioned in Chapter 12; secondly, having Known God we are no longer the diverse animal 'man', as just mentioned; and thirdly, if we Know God (ie Godhead) we are no longer in time or space (Chapter 13), so we cannot Know God "at any time." As Augustine said, "His divinity can in no wise be seen by human sight, but is seen by that sight with which those who see are no longer men, but beyond men." [75]

    But nevertheless, although the Knowledge leads to that union and merging in the non-differentiated One which we have called Knowing, it must have a discursive 'side' to it, as we have seen. Thus it is that the Perfect Masters, while stressing that discursive methods alone cannot lead to that non-discursive Knowing, nevertheless maintain that they are a necessary part of the Knowledge. In other words, the Knowledge involves, in part at least, an actual teaching which can be spoken about and explained verbally.

    The verbal explanations of the discursive side of the Knowledge seem to involve an actual and specific teaching which was by and large kept secret, and given with discretion. In this respect it is interesting to note that in 1958 a letter from a famous leader of the early Christian church (Clement of Alexandria) was found in a Greek monastery near Jerusalem. In this letter are quoted two biblical passages from a "secret and expanded version' of St. Mark's gospel, written by Mark when in Alexandria. In these passages (which should appear after verses 34 and 46 in Chapter X of the gospels as we have it) it talks of Jesus initiating people into the Kingdom of Heaven by a secret baptismal rite; in particular, a young man was raised from the dead and Jesus initiated him into "the mystery of the Kingdom of God", and it also suggests that Jesus was passing on the Knowledge in the Garden of Gesthemane when he was arrested.[79]

    But even the 'orthodox' scriptures give ample evidence that explanations of the Knowledge were not given to everybody, and were secret.

    It also seemed that the methods or techniques revealed in the Knowledge 'session' were such as could be practised secretly, the aspirant being told to delve somehow within himself.

    The kingdom of God is within you. (New Testament, Luke) [84]

    In my heart I hold Him who is imminent in every place. (Guru Nanak) [85]

    Pray to thy Father Which is in secret. (New Testament, Matthew) [86]

    The fact that the discursive part of Knowledge involves actual techniques or methods will become clear in Chapter 18; here we want to emphasise the dual aspect of Knowledge - the fact that it must have two 'sides', one facing the world of difference for the benefit of our discursive mental faculties, and the other facing the world of non-difference or the One so that Grace can be caught. If this second side to Knowledge is missing, then we only have the techniques and methods, which by themselves cannot enable the One to be Known.

    There is no doubt that there are many devices or methods of self-improvement which do produce a peaceful state of mind and are beneficial. But as we have pointed out earlier, no discursive device, whether reading, talking, chanting, imagining, thinking, singing, concentrating or feeling, can on its own cause us to Know the One and so have Peace. We must have the non-differentiated side of Knowledge as well; without it, Knowledge just becomes knowledge. The belief that there is a mysterious and secret technique, which if we know and practise will enable us to Know the One, ('Gnosticism') is widespread. But such a technique or 'gnosis' can never take us to the One unless it is revealed by a Perfect Master, whence knowledge becomes Knowledge.

    Because of the Knowing of the One which the Perfect Master makes possible through the Knowledge, it is not surprising that his disciples build up an intense love for him. Indeed, this can be said to be part of the Knowledge, for in the last chapter we pointed out how love for God is a desire to be united with the One, which is a prerequisite for Grace coming to make that desire be realised. In other words, if we do not want to Know the One, then we won't. To make use of the Knowledge, we must want it and its fruits in the first place. Since the Perfect Master can perform some of the functions of God, then the love for God that is necessary for Knowing the One can legitimately be transferred to the Perfect Master. Thus a snowball effect builds up, with the would-be Knower wanting to Know the One, which is equivalent to loving the Perfect Master (and thus God), which in turn enables him to use the Knowledge efficiently which of course in turn causes more love for the Perfect Master, which in turn develops his hold on the Knowledge, which in turn...etc.

    Thus it is that all scriptures maintain that love for and devotion to the Perfect Master is of the utmost importance.


    It seems that the vast majority of Knowers of the One in history became so an account of their receiving Knowledge from one of their number who was special in that he could give Knowledge. These special Knowers we call Perfect Masters.

    The accepted writings of (or about) the Perfect Masters are called scriptures, and they support not only that the Perfect Masters were Knowers, but that they could also give Grace and the Knowledge, the Knowledge being the two-sided link between our discursive faculties and Grace.

    Love for the Perfect Master is also important, and enables the discursive side of Knowledge to be grasped much more readily.

    16 - Alive Or Dead?

    The word 'religion' comes from Latin 're-legere', which means to rebind or reunite. So it can be said that all Perfect Masters build up 'religion', in the sense that by the Knowledge they give, they reunite their disciples back with the One. But all the Perfect Masters that were mentioned in the last chapter not only built up 'religion' in this literal meaning, but they were all the founders of a 'religion' in the more common meaning of the word as orthodox and dogmatic system of worship.

    Christianity stemmed from Jesus Christ, Buddhism from Gotama Buddha, Hinduism (or more strictly that part of it known as Vaishnava) from Krishna, Sikhism from Guru Nanak etc. And it is a common feature that a religion only considered as important that Perfect Master which founded it. This view is most extreme in Christianity, and most tolerant in Hinduism, but it exists to a certain extent in all religions.

    Now in view of what has been said in the last few chapters (Particularly the last), the way to the One is one. In other words, all Perfect Masters, by virtue of being Perfect Masters, were doing exactly the same job - namely giving people that Knowledge which enabled them to Know the One. This can be said to be the real 'religion' in the literal meaning of the word, and is the 'religion' to which Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Guru Nanak, Mohammed etc all belonged. If however we talk of Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism etc as being religions in the common meaning of the word, then it is an important question to decide whether Jesus was a Christian, whether Buddha was a Buddhist, whether Guru Nanak was a Sikh, etc.

    For while the job of Perfect Masters is to give people Knowledge, in that sense they all being the same, there is no doubt that in external matters they were different. And it seems that the religions of the world have inherited the differences rather than that essential unity which without exception their 'founders' were revealing to people.

    So the stand we adopt in this chapter is this that the Perfect Master is most valuable when he is alive in a physical body, since only then can we obtain that Perfect Knowledge which can lead us to the One. While his external teachings, perhaps even the actual techniques of the Knowledge itself, are preserved in the scriptures and dogmas of the religion, without the living Perfect Master all that remains is knowledge (small 'k'), which cannot acquire for us that Grace we need to become Knowers.

    To support this viewpoint, we will first look at the scriptures, and then examine some practical applications it implies.

    The Scriptures Again

    It seems that the key to understanding much of the scriptures is to understand how the Perfect Master talks of himself. Sometimes he talks of himself in his diverse and human aspect, and at other times in his unitive and non-differentiated aspect, and the failure to distinguish the two modes of speech can lead to much confusion.

    For instance, in the last chapter we spoke of Krishna as living possibly about 1500 BC in the town of Vrindavan, and then talking to Arjuna on a battlefield etc. Now if we keep in mind only this human aspect of Krishna, we will make little sense of these statements of his:

    I am all-powerful Time [1]

    Know that with one single fraction of my Being I pervade and support the Universe [2]

    I am the One source of all [3]

    Here it is obvious that Krishna is identifying himself with God, ie with the One in its aspect of being responsible for this world of difference. This can be done because, as we have seen while ordinary Knowers of the One legitimately say that they have become united with the One, a Perfect Master, in order to give Knowledge, has to assume some of God's functions. And because of this, he will often speak as if he were God or the One, as distinct from speaking as if he were merely united to God or the One. Also, it should be noted that because the One as Godhead exists in a Perfect Master (as indeed it is in all of us, only we do not realise it) as well as some aspects of the One as God, then the distinction between God and Godhead will tend to become a bit blurred on occasions.

    Unless we recognise this identification with the One which the Perfect Master sometimes makes, then we will dismiss the above three quotes as being the ravings of an egocentric lunatic. But Krishna is quite explicit talking about himself:

    The following two quotes bring out clearly the two-fold manner of speaking which a Perfect Master employs, and how we should always distinguish the two if we want to make sense of the scriptures:

    The unwise think that I am that form of my lower nature which is seen by mortal eyes. (Krishna) [5]

    Although I am unborn, everlasting, and I am the Lord of all, I come to my realm of nature and through my wondrous power I am born (as a human being). (Krishna) [6]

    In the New Testament St. John brings out very clearly this dual way of speaking of Jesus Christ. He starts his gospel talking of the Word, and saying it is that we have defined as 'God' ("the Word was God") and since God is the actionless One in action, then it follows that:

    All things were made by him (ie the 'Word' or 'God'); and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men...That was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world...And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.[8]

    So here we have the One as God or the Word creating everything and being the principle of life in everyone; yet it is this Word which is made flesh to become Jesus. And note that not part of the Word was made flesh, but the Word. And since Jesus was the Word or God made flesh, we should not be surprised if sometimes Jesus talks of himself not as the fleshly physical body named 'Jesus', but as his true nature, the Word or God, as in "I and my Father are one." [9]

    Since of course God is One by definition, we can see how in these next quotes it is that aspect of the One we have called God which is speaking, and not the physical forms in which the One was embodied at that time.

    Of course, for most of us it is quite difficult to accept this, because we were brought up to think of 'our' Perfect Master, Jesus or Krishna or whatever, as being essentially the body and the personality. Now it must be stressed that the physical and personal aspect of the Perfect Master is important, and of course in this respect all Perfect Masters were different. But to the extent that they all did the same essential job, and that they were Knowers who assumed God's function of being able to give Grace, then it must be clear that we can speak of the Perfect Master - that is, the Word or the Christ-principle which incarnates in a body from time to time as a Perfect Master to give Knowledge to whoever wants it. Thus while the body of a Perfect Master - the 'Jesus' part - is born and dies like all other bodies, the things that makes the body a Perfect Master - the Word or the 'Christ' part - is never born and never dies, since it is the One as One, and there is nothing to stop it taking a fleshly body as often as it wants.

    Now although Jesus was very explicit about his 'Christ' aspect, or the Word, which was "in the beginning" and which was the "true Light which lighteth every man", he was nevertheless equally explicit that only when the Word was in the flesh could this "true Light" be realised. In other word to Know the One a living Perfect Master is needed.

    As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world. (Jesus) [22]

    Yet a little while is the Light with you. Walk while ye have the Light, lest darkness come upon you. (Jesus) [23]

    In these quotes it is obvious that it is the physical Jesus which is talking, and not the everlasting Christ or Word, which happened to inhabit the body called 'Jesus' for thirty three years nearly twenty centuries ago. Jesus makes it quite clear that when he (Jesus) goes, then there would be darkness, even though he (as Christ or the Word) would still exist as "the true Light which lighteth every man", And of course Jesus did go - at least, if he did not die normally, he was nevertheless "parted from them, and carried up into heaven," [24] and was thus no longer of the earth physically.

    Now it is true that after the departing of Jesus from this planet, the disciples had the 'Comforter, the Holy Spirit, what we have termed 'Grace'. But we always have Grace anyway, as we saw in Chapter 14 - what is needed is the living Perfect Master to give the Knowledge of how to use that Grace; and Jesus, like all Perfect Masters, recognised this and so promised that he (as the Word or Christ) would incarnate again in a physical body.

    If this is the case, and the Perfect Master or the Christ is with us in a physical body, then the obvious problem is how do we recognise him? Will he call himself 'Jesus' or 'Gotama' or the personal name he used for a particular body in the past? Jesus said it would be hard to recognise the Perfect Master:

    I shall come upon you like a thief, and you will not know the moment of my coming. (New Testament, John) [30]

    The Day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. (New Testament, Paul) [31]

    Although Jesus also said that he will come openly, "All the peoples...will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven" etc[32], he said just afterwards "the present generation will live to see it all" [33] so it is quite obvious that he was not referring to this generation, which was almost two thousand years in the future at the time he spoke.

    But although it will not be clear to everybody that the Perfect Master is again in the world, Jesus said that the Knowledge will be spread everywhere:

    This gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed , throughout the earth (Jesus) [34]

    And Jesus made it quite clear that by 'gospel' he did not mean the scriptures, for they, being diverse, do not lead to the One or 'eternal life':

    You study the scriptures diligently, supposing that in them you have eternal life; yet although their testimony points to me, you refuse to come to me for that life. (Jesus) [35]

    In other words, we need to go to a living (ie living in a physical body) Perfect Master for that 'life', and although scriptures repeatedly testify to this, we refuse to come to "me", that is the Word or Christ, for that "life". Of course at the time of Jesus, the Word or Christ was 'in' the body of Jesus, and so Jesus Christ was the Perfect Master of his time. But at any time after (or before) Jesus, any would-be Knower of the One had to search for another human body in which the Christ or Word was then incarnated.

    The obvious question now is as mentioned above, how do we find the Perfect Master of our time? It seems that this will be difficult, especially in view of what Jesus says:

    Of course, Jesus did not say all prophets after him would be false or imposters, but merely that many will be so and that we should be on our guard. He also said that if people tell us "Here is the Perfect Master" we should not believe it; so if we must not believe, then we have to have certainty. After all, belief is very wishy-washy and emotional; if someone tells us the Perfect Master is here, then this is much too important a piece of information to merely believe or disbelieve. We must check it out thoroughly and be certain one way or the other.

    The way of checking out Perfect-Master-claims which Jesus suggested was to look at what they actually did, and not just at what they said:

    Accept the evidence of the deeds themselves. (Jesus) [38]

    You will recognise them by the fruits they bear ...A good tree always yields good fruit, and a poor tree bad fruit. (Jesus) [39]

    But as we have seen, and will see more clearly in the following section, the external activities of individual Perfect Masters were different according to the age and country their body was in. So if we are going to judge a Perfect Master, we must clearly do so by his deeds or fruits which we know he must exhibit - ie by his ability to impart to us Knowledge of how to Know the One. There is no other test of a Perfect Master other than the Knowledge he gives, for the one and only reason a Perfect Master exists on this earth is to lessen the hold of the delusion of the diverse by enabling people to know the non-differentiated and Perfect One or Godhead, and he must be accepted or not on this criterion alone.

    The Life Giveth Spirit

    So the picture that has evolved so far is that in order to Know the One and find Peace we have to get Knowledge from a living Perfect Master; for otherwise we will only get a discursive knowledge which will by definition be unable to harness that Grace we need for Knowing. We hold that the Perfect Master Jesus Christ unquestionably taught this, in so far as the New Testament records his sayings. Of course, if we go to other writings about Jesus which are excluded from the New Testament, then this position is made even clearer (which is probably why they were excluded).[40]

    Not only Jesus, but to the extent that we have records of their pertinent sayings, all Perfect Masters include this in their teaching. Whenever a Perfect Master announces that he will be around after he leaves his physical body, then we can be sure that he is talking of the Word or God-part, and not of the human personality which he assumed for that particular sojourn on the Earth.

    Having shown that scriptures (we use the New Testament a lot merely on account of the western reader being more familiar with it) tend to suggest strongly that Knowledge can only be given by a living Perfect Master, we now go on to give some further reasons (and summarise those already given) for why we must look to a living Perfect Master. Each of the seven subsections below cover topics that could be (and have been) the subjects for whole books, so the few pages we have allotted to each necessitates a gross condensation.

    i) Grace

    The first reason for needing a Perfect Master in the flesh is the fact that he can personally 'step up' the flow of Grace to his followers and to the world at large. We spoke of Grace as such in Chapter 14; and in the last chapter of how the Perfect Master, by his being able to perform some of God's functions, can increase this gift of Grace. It was not stressed at that point that we must have the Perfect Master in a living body, but the arguments then presented support the fact that we must. There must be an actual physical and diverse human being connected with God (as distinct from Godhead) to cause this extra influx of Grace to occur, since Grace is God's gift. This is why many Knowers of the one, including Augustine and Eckhart, have made the identical statement, "God became man, that man might become God." [41]

    The main function of this increase in Grace is of course to help the followers of the Perfect Master to become Knowers; since as we have seen, to become one with the 'I', that is to separate the Pure Consciousness from the self, we need a power which is totally non-discursive. That power we defined as 'Grace'.

    The Perfect Master's Grace works in a variety of ways, as we shall see; it filters into the very fibre of a disciple's life, and its effects can be recognised in a hundred different ways. (Grace itself, of course, cannot be recognised since its essence is unrecognisable Godhead - only the effects of Grace can be observed.) The follower of the Perfect Master often feels that he is just being swept towards the One by the current of his Master's Grace, and this explains why all disciples of a living Perfect Master continually maintain that whatever they achieved was not really through their own efforts, but was the result of Grace.

    ii) Knowledge

    Not only does the living Perfect Master step up Grace, but, as we have seen, he also gives the Knowledge of how Grace can be utilised. Indeed, this is the definition of a Perfect Master, and it is only by taking his Knowledge and practising it that we will ever know whether he is a Perfect Master or not.

    As we have stated, Knowledge is that which harnesses the power of Grace; that is to say, although it is only through Grace that we become Knowers, it is only through Knowledge that we can link up with Grace. An analogy of this is that we can liken Grace to the wind blowing across a lake, and the Knowledge as the sails of a boat on that lake. Now the power which moves the boat is the wind, but the sails are essential for harnessing that power. Without the sail, the power of the wind would be useless.

    Now as we have seen, Knowledge is really incomprehensible, since it must have the nature of the non-differentiated One combined with the nature of the diverse. It must have the nature of the One or Godhead in order to pick up the wind of Grace, as it were; and yet it must also possess the nature of the diverse so that we, with our discursive and diverse faculties, can handle it and set it up (like sails) so that its non-diverse nature can catch the Grace.

    The diverse side of Knowledge involves some actual techniques which we can practice, and which can be spoken out and grasped intellectually, though they are usually only divulged to a deserving few. We will come to this side of Knowledge later. The other side of Knowledge, the uni-verse ('turned into one') side is by its non-diverse nature impossible to understand or even detect with the discursive faculties, but it is nevertheless essential. Without it, there is no Knowledge but only knowledge.

    What makes knowledge become Knowledge, is the fact that the explanation of the discursive techniques is given with the personal permission of the Perfect Master. Often it is the Master himself who gives the Knowledge or initiation, but some Perfect Masters (such as Jesus) gave their permission to a few close disciples, who received an extra dollop of Grace and could then give Knowledge on behalf of the Perfect Master. They were not themselves Perfect Masters; they were merely channels for the Master's Grace and Knowledge.

    These special disciples are called 'apostles', from the Greek 'apostello' meaning 'send away'. Since the Perfect Master is in a human body, he is limited to being (physically) at only one place at any one time; so that if many want to become Knowers (as was the case in Jesus' time) then the Master has to give his permission for these special disciples to give Knowledge, and then he has to send them away to somewhere else to do his work.

    In the language of the New Testament, 'to give Knowledge' is to 'baptise with the Holy Spirit' since 'Holy Spirit' is equivalent to Grace as we have defined it. This is not for the same as baptism with water, John the Baptist says, "I have baptised you with water; he (Jesus) will baptise you with the Holy Spirit." [42] Now it was this 'baptism with the Holy Spirit' that Jesus empowered his apostles to give, for when some Jews came to the apostle Peter wanting to Know the One, Peter told them "Be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." [43] This reply is very explicit, for it states: firstly that Peter could do the baptising (Jesus had left the planet by then); secondly it was 'in the name of Jesus' (ie the Knowledge was the Perfect Masters', and not Peter's); thirdly that its purpose was to forgive 'sins' which as we have seen (Chapter 13) are a result of acting through self in the diverse; and fourthly that through the baptism or Knowledge the gift of Holy Spirit (ie Grace) could be made use of.

    A very clear illustration of the necessity for an apostle to give the initiation, thus turning knowledge into Knowledge, is given in the New Testament as follows:

    In other words, although the Samaritans believed in Jesus ("had accepted the word of God") and had been baptised with water in his name, it still needed apostles to come to them personally for them to receive Grace (Holy Spirit).

    In another piece the apostle Paul said of those who even had faith, that "only in company with us (ie apostles) should they reach Perfection," [45] and in general "many remarkable and wonderful things took place among the people at the hands of the apostles."[46] An important point to notice is that although apostles can give Knowledge with the Perfect Master's permission, they cannot themselves create other apostles, since that is the function of the Perfect Master only. Thus after Jesus left the earth in about 30 AD, no more apostles could be appointed. So if we assume that the last living apostle (John) died about a 100 AD and he gave Knowledge to a young person at that date, then we have about 180 AD as the latest date that anyone could be found with the Knowledge of the Perfect Master Jesus. This of course assumes that none of Jesus' disciples became the Perfect Master after Jesus died. It is very possible, indeed even likely, that they did, but there is no mention of it in any writings of that time.

    iii) Instruction

    Apart from the necessity of there being a living Perfect Master to dispense Grace and Knowledge, there is also the fact that a living Master is necessary for personal instruction and for explaining the proper conduct for his disciples to follow, apart from and in addition to the instructions imparted at the time of giving Knowledge. After all, as a person the Perfect Master is commonly very inspiring and it is a great grace to be in his physical company, or that of his close disciples who have truly Known the One.

    Before taking the Knowledge, would-be Knowers are often required to hear about the Master and his teachings, and it is often the function of the Master to spend much of his time just teaching and preaching, and setting an example to others by his life. Shankara, whilst stressing that Peace can only be attained through non-discursive Knowing, is careful to point out that nevertheless physical instruction is valuable: "A man, who has heard the truth of the One from the lips of his Perfect Master, becomes calm, self-controlled, satisfied, patient and deeply absorbed in contemplation." [47]

    Thus a large part of the work of the Perfect Master is just to be with his followers personally, and to guide them physically as much as can be done along the path to the ineffable, non-differentiated Godhead. Guru Nanak described what happens when the Perfect Master just enters (physically) the home of one of his disciples:

    Jesus described the protection he could give to his disciples by just being with them physically when, in 'talking' to the Father (for the benefit of the disciples who overheard), he said:

    When I was with them, I protected by the power of thy name those whom thou hast given me, and kept them safe.[49]

    For while the Perfect Master is alive, he is the organising power behind his followers, and he can personally sort out all the problems and confusions which are bound to arise. But when he and his close disciples have died, then that inspiring instruction and discourse which can only come from One who Knows is finished; and the solutions to the problems which are bound to arise are then looked for in trying to think what the Perfect Master would have said, or in looking through his recorded discourses to try and find a parallel case. Thus orthodoxy and dogma arise, and one is left merely with the shell and no kernel.

    It is worth noting at this point that obviously the vast majority of Perfect Masters did their work very quietly, and seem to have acquired only a few disciples. They were not proselytising, and chose to stay in seclusion, drawing to themselves only the most ardent and enthusiastic seekers of the One. It is only now and again that Perfect Masters appear who attempt to give Knowledge to many people, and naturally it is in their names that religions are formed, and it is their names which we see remembered in history.

    But whether a Perfect Master has one disciple or millions, his job is in essence the same, and can only be done in a human body.

    iv) Devotion

    That intense love that wells up in a disciple for his Perfect Master s called devotion. It is born out of two things, as we saw at the end of the last chapter - one is it represents the strong desire to merge with the One, of which the Perfect Master is the embodiment, and the second is that as the disciple begins to use the Knowledge then the feeling of Grace starting to take him towards his destination brings about a deep and profound gratitude. These two causes are interdependent, so that there is feedback effect whereby each cause of the devotee's love reinforces the other, so that in a very short time he feels a love for his Perfect Master which is greater than all other loves.

    The necessity of this bond of love or devotion between devotee and Perfect Master is amply illustrated in the quotes later in this chapter, and we will not enlarge on them here. We will just note that again we made no mention at that point of the necessity for the Perfect Master to be living, but in view of what has been said since, it will be obvious that the positive feedback mechanism between the cause and effect of a devotee's love can only operate with a living Perfect Master.

    Shankara says "The seeker must approach the Perfect Master with reverent devotion," [50] and it is clear that he means the living Perfect Master, for he also says many times in his writings "I prostrate myself before Govinda, the Perfect Master",[51] his Perfect Master being called Govinda (8th century AD, and not to be confused with Krishna, one of whose names is also Govinda).

    That devotion to the Perfect Master purifies the devotee is well brought out in that beautiful story told in all four gospels, of a prostitute's devotion for Jesus:

    When the Pharisee remonstrated against Jesus letting a prostitute touch him, Jesus said:

    I tell you, her great love proves that her many sins have been forgiven; where little has been forgiven, little love is shown.[53]

    Thus it is commonly the most wicked and depraved, who, upon receiving Knowledge from the living Perfect Master, become the greatest devotees.

    v) Play

    At the end of Chapter 13, we decided that the final expression we could give the inexpressible reason why the Godhead should cause the diverse to appear, is to consider it as a 'play'. Of course, to us, bound by the diverse and involved in our sufferings and joys, pains and pleasures, the 'play' often appears to be very unplayful. But however deadly serious the 'play' becomes, it is nevertheless still a play, and here we have the many different meanings of the word 'play' coming into play.

    We can consider the appearance of this diverse as a play in the sense of a game or sport; or we can think of it as a play in the sense of a pageant or drama and thus as being illusory - ie we are just 'playing' at being diverse and different. Alternatively, we can think of the One as playing on itself like a light-beam 'playing on' whatever it illuminates; or else we can think of the One as just having free-play to do anything it 'likes' - to bring any of its power into play. Or we can just think of the One as just being playful.

    This playing with the word 'play' reveals its many shades of meaning, of which we can pick whichever we please to apply to Krishna's use of the word in the following quote:

    And that great saint of the last century, Shri Ramakrishna said: "God has created the world in play" [55] which echoes an earlier Eckhart quote.

    Now in the same way that the One can be said to manifest this world in play, so we can also say that the living Perfect Master 'plays' with his devotees - not so much as in playing games with them (though he may well do this) but in the much wider range of meanings indicated above. For in assuming some of God's functions, the Perfect Master also assumes the ability to play cosmically with his devotees, such as for instance, Krishna's playing with the milk-maids at Vrindavan, or Jesus playing at the marriage feast in Canaan and turning the water into wine.

    But the playing is not just for 'fun' in the sense we use the word. It always has the ulterior motive of instructing the devotees or others in some (usually subtle) way. For the purpose of the living Perfect Master is to lead his devotees to that union with non-difference that we have termed 'Knowing the One'; and for this purpose he reveals to them the Knowledge of how to do so. But as we have observed, the devotee will only make full use of the Knowledge and approach that state of Knowing if he has a strong desire to do so. Thus the Perfect Master performs the additional function of keeping the devotee in a state of wanting to Know the One, and as we have seen, the Perfect Master sometimes causes (by his Grace) a set of circumstances to arise which will jolt the devotee out of apathy or laxness for instance, and make him realise the importance of practising the Knowledge. Of course, these 'games' (or 'lilas' as they are called in Sanskrit) are sometimes quite painful for the devotee, and appear at the time quite other than playful, but they are always engineered by the Master's Grace and are always for the devotee's own ultimate good.

    The incidents can be called games, playings or lilas, since of course to the Knower of the One, such as a Perfect Master, the diverse is at all times delusion or play.

    But rather than just dismiss it as 'delusion', the Master uses it to help in the liberation of his devotees; in other words, he plays with the external world for the sake of his devotee. For although we have noted previously that external things belonging to the world of difference cannot lead to Knowing on their own, they can nevertheless be used by the living Perfect Master to assist the efforts of the devotee to Know the One, though always in a role subsidiary to that of Knowledge. Thus we get the paradoxical situation that the world of difference, which we have seen is the cause of all Unpeace, can be used as a tool by the living Perfect Master to help liberate people from its own message and concomitant Unpeace. This surely deserves the title 'play'.

    vi) Obedience

    Complete obedience to the Perfect Master is essential for the devotee's success, and is another facet of the road to Knowing the One which can only be utilised in the case of following a Perfect Master who is alive in the body.

    We can note by way of beginning that a master is, by definition, one who is to be obeyed; so a Perfect Master is one who is to be obeyed perfectly or completely. For complete obedience is really a total surrendering of self or ego, and is thus equivalent with total Knowing of the 'I' or One. It is an utter acceptance of everything that happens, since the true devotee knows that everything is the play, and happens by the Grace, of the Perfect Master anyway.

    Whether by 'prelate' Eckhart means his Perfect Master is not clear. In fact Eckhart never makes mention of his own living Perfect Master, and since if we look at Europe at the end of the 13th century there is no obvious candidate for that post, then maybe Eckhart did not have a living Perfect Master. After all, Shankara reckons the odds of Knowing the One without a living Perfect Master as being a billion to one so maybe Eckhart was the one in a billion.[57] Alternatively, he may have got Knowledge from a living Perfect Master who was from Islamic culture, as the Jesuits suggest.[58] We do not know.

    To refer to the subject of obedience, it is of course commonly held that complete obedience or having no will of one's own is paramount to being a slave, having 'no guts' and just being a vegetable. And of course this is true if we obey utterly anyone other than the living Perfect Master. But total submission of will to that of the Master is nothing else than a recognition of what he is, and is an opening up of oneself to Grace. Indeed, the keynote of Mohammed's teaching was this complete surrendering of self-will and his following was called 'Islam' which means 'submission':

    Verily, religion with Allah is submission (islam). (Koran) [59]

    Obedience is like devotion in that its effect reinforces its cause, so setting up a positive feed-back mechanism. For in obeying the Perfect Master, one opens oneself to his Grace and the benefit of his play or lilas, so that more progress is made towards Knowing the One; and because of this, self and ego are diminished, so that obedience becomes greater, and so the process is repeated, causing a little obedience to automatically become total submission and riddance of self or ego.

    Not only is obedience like devotion in this respect, but the two are closely connected in that obedience is really a part of devotion. The Oxford Dictionary defines the verb 'devote' as, among other things, to "dedicate, give up exclusively," which is just what obedience is. Because of devotion for his Perfect Master, the devotee will want to please him and obey his slightest whim, knowing full well that the Master never wants anything but that his followers come to Know the One, and that to obey his wishes is a very great opportunity.

    And after all, as mentioned above, why call our Perfect Master 'Perfect Master' if he is not to be obeyed perfectly?

    Why do you keep calling me 'Lord, Lord' - and never do what I tell you? (Jesus) [62]

    vii) Service

    It is commonly held that a life dedicated to finding God must be quiet and contemplative. But the fact is that no Perfect Master has ever sanctioned this viewpoint, and they all stress the need for action.

    Never cease to do thy work. (Krishna) [63]

    The gifts we possess differ as they are allotted to us by God's Grace, and must be exercised. (New Testament, Paul) [64]

    Action is greater than inaction; perform therefore thy task in life. (Krishna) [65]

    After all, as Krishna said, when it comes down to it, we cannot avoid action, as was pointed out in the first chapter of this book.

    But the secret is not to work for self, but to work for realisation of the One; and for the follower of the living Perfect Master, that means to work and do service for the Master. For working for self or ego increases the sense of reality of the diverse, and binds us tighter to it and its Unpeace; but in working for the Perfect Master, then the devotee is working for the benefit of all humanity, including himself. Of course, the Master does not need work to be done for him, but he lets the devotee serve him for his (the devotee's) sake.

    For through action, the devotee is manifesting on a physical level his devotion for the Master, and it is another example of how external objects and activities are used by the Perfect Master to supplement the Knowledge in levering the devotee out of attachment to the external and diverse and into Knowing the One. Of course, as we have seen, no external or discursive activity can ever lead to Knowing; what discursive activity in the service of the Perfect aster does is to lessen the bondage of the self, so that it is easier for the devotee to practise the Knowledge. But without the living Perfect Master, service is merely external and can never lead out of Unpeace into Peace. Thus it is considered a very valuable opportunity to serve a living Perfect Master:

    With unflagging energy, in ardour of spirit, serve the Lord. (New Testament, Paul) [67]

    He should look upon his Guru as God. Verily is the Guru the embodiment of divinity. Accordingly, the student must serve him. (Krishna) [68]

    Indeed, when a devotee is near to Knowing the One in completeness, then every action he does will be for his Master, so great is his devotion, and so he will continually be doing service.

    Service is really inseparable from obedience, for often a devotee will not understand why he has to perform a task that the Master sets Him. But if he understands just a little bit what a living Perfect Master is, then he will obey him implicitly and willingly do his allotted task whatever it may be.

    An excellent example of this concerns fighting. We normally think that a devotee or Knower of the One should not do violence, which of course he should not do, unless he is told to by his Perfect Master. The Master Knows what is best to do, and to judge his actions or what he asks his followers to do, is the height of folly and pride. Many people do not think highly of Islam because of the fighting that Mohammed did, but it was a great service that he gave his followers, since they did not want to go to war, and it called for great obedience on their part.

    Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may be that ye hate a thing which is good for you...Allah knoweth, ye know not. (Koran) [73]

    And the point is that by doing their tasks for the living Perfect Master, and not for themselves, it must be good, however bad it may appear in the world's eyes. For in obeying the Perfect Master, it is he who takes full responsibility - it is all his play.

    And there are many sayings of Jesus which strike strangely on the ear if we have only the gentle Jesus-meek-and-mild attitude.

    The Kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force. (Jesus) [77]

    And he that hath no sword let him sell his garment and buy one. (Jesus) [78]

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Jesus) [79]

    And the disciples had swords, for when Jesus was arrested, Peter drew his sword and cut off someone's ear; and although Jesus told Peter to sheath his sword, he did not tell him off for being violent, but merely rebuked him for trying to stop the soldiers doing what had to be done.[80]

    The reader must understand that we are not condoning war or violence; on the contrary, we hold it to be the most barbaric and inhuman activity that man has devised. The point being made here, is that however bad we think something is, if (and only if) the living Perfect Master tells us to do it, it becomes good, for the Perfect Master can only teach perfection. The utter pomposity and conceit of us judging a Perfect Master by his behaviour, or by any means other than the knowledge he gives, is aptly summed up by Swami Vivekananda speaking of Mohammed:

    Mohammedanism deluged the world in the name of the Lord...You people have very hard ideas and are so superstitious and prejudiced. These messengers must have come from God, else how could they have been so great?...Mohammed married quite a number of wives afterwards...The characters of the great souls are mysterious, their methods past our finding out. We must not judge them...Who are you and I? Little babies. What do we understand of these great souls? [81]

    We can end this chapter, and Part Three, by relating an incident which sums up strikingly the spirit of service to the living Perfect Master. Mohammed's son-in-law, Ali, was a great devotee, serving his Master with true love and devotion. Once he was on the point of killing someone in battle, when the man spat in his face; Ali turned away and refused to kill the man, because his action would then have been tainted with anger and would thus not have been pure service to his Master.[82]


    The central theme of this chapter has been that to Know the One we must come in contact with a living Perfect Master (or one of is apostles), for otherwise we cannot get Knowledge (we can only get knowledge).

    First we looked at the scriptures again, and showed that when we distinguish between the Perfect Masters speaking of themselves as i) the human being and ii) as the everlasting One, then it is clear that they state that we need a Perfect Master who is alive and in a human body (or who died very recently). Secondly, we summarised seven distinct functions which can only be successfully performed by a living Perfect Master, and which are in practise necessary for a devotee's liberation from Unpeace and into Peace.

    Part Four - The Solution: Guru Maharaj Ji

    17 - The Present Perfect Master

    In this present time, that is in this, the final third of the 20th century, the living Perfect Master is Guru Maharaj Ji.

    Those who have heard of Guru Maharaj Ji only through the news media or by hearsay are well acquainted with his personal lila or play with respect to the world at large.

    He is a chubby sixteen year old Indian boy who wears immaculate western clothes, has shaving cream fights with his devotees, chews gum, watches television and has several expensive cars and aeroplanes. As such he destroys the pious image of a Perfect Master being old, ascetic, solemn and retiring. To judge any Perfect Master by his outward behaviour is unsatisfactory, for as we have pointed out, the only test of a Perfect Master is the Knowledge he gives. Each Perfect Master assumes that life-style which is needed at the time and place he is in, and since such life-styles can be very different, we must judge only by that thing which we know any Perfect Master must possess - the Knowledge.

    Thus when someone asked Guru Maharaj Ji why he was teaching so young, Guru Maharaj Ji replied:

    For instance, the Perfect Master Krishna lived at first in the country, and then became a prince in the city; when a thousand years later people were expecting him to return, the Perfect Master Gotama Buddha appeared, who was first a prince and then lived in the country, and so upset all expectations. A Jewish Perfect Master, David, was a great king, and so later the Jews were expecting another war-like king for a Perfect Master; Jesus came as just the opposite. By the time people had got used to the idea that the Perfect Master must be meek and non-violent, Mohammed appeared. So the process continues; the Perfect Master comes for the sole purpose of showing people how to Know the One, thus eradicating prejudice, superstition, blind belief and set concepts. And his outer appearance and behaviour to the world is just the opening shot in his campaign to do this, and it often brings people up with a jolt. We tend to think that Jesus' behaviour was that which made people accept him as Perfect Master, but all it did was to make people want to lynch him. He was accepted as the Perfect Master, not by those who merely observed his life-style, but by those who had been given Knowledge and who thus had some glimpses of the Christ or Word which was the 'real' Jesus.

    Guru Maharaj Ji was born on 10th December, 1957, the fourth son of Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, who was also Perfect Master. Shri Hans Ji spent his life spreading the Knowledge throughout India, starting in the 1920s, and he died in 1966, when Guru Maharaj Ji was eight years old.

    On 1st August 1966, Guru Maharaj Ji stood up in front of the thousands of devotees present at his father's funeral and said:

    Of course, he was 'recognised' not in any physical sense, but simply by the objective fact that he could reveal to people how to Know the One. He continued to spread the Knowledge in India, and in 1969 sent an apostle to London, to give Knowledge to whoever wanted it. In 1971 Guru Maharaj Ji left India for the first time, and went to London himself and then to the U.S.A. Since then he has visited many western countries and has sent his apostles (or 'mahatmas', as we shall call them) all over the world.

    'Gu' is a Sanskrit word meaning darkness, and 'ru' means light, so a 'guru' is one who leads from darkness to light, ie a teacher or master. 'Maha' means great, and 'raj' is a ruler or king, while 'ji' is just a suffix denoting respect. Thus 'Guru Maharaj Ji' means supreme teacher or Perfect Master. Guru Maharaj Ji explains the term thus:

    And Guru Maharaj Ji makes no bones that he is the living Perfect Master:

    And as a matter of fact I am the Perfect Master because I can reveal this Peace. I am not saying I am bodily perfect. I am not saying I am perfect because of this reason or that reason, but simply for one reason; and that is because I can reveal this Knowledge which is Perfect. (Guru Maharaj Ji) [5]

    At the time of writing (March 1974) Guru Maharaj Ji has coming on for ten million devotees, most of them in India. In the West at the moment there are about 150 thousand. Obviously Guru Maharaj Ji cannot physically give all these people Knowledge, so it is the 'mahatmas' or apostles who actually conduct the Knowledge sessions or initiations, where the techniques of Knowledge are imparted. But as we stressed in the last chapter, mahatmas are not Perfect Masters; although they explain the discursive aspect of Knowledge, it is Guru Maharaj Ji's Grace flowing through them which imparts the non-discursive aspect we have already discussed, thus turning knowledge into Knowledge.

    A mahatma of Guru Maharaj Ji is usually someone (male or female) whom Guru Maharaj Ji has given permission to give Knowledge. So because they can act as direct channels for Guru Maharaj Ji's Grace, they are very inspiring to be with and it is considered a very fortunate occurrence to be in their company. Mahatmas are either actual Knowers of the One or near to being so; they lead a renunciant's life, devoting everything they have to Guru Maharaj Ji, and they spend their time talking about Guru Maharaj Ji and the Peace he enables people to have, and in giving Knowledge; they often take a new name as well. At the moment there are about 2,500 mahatmas in the world.

    Not only the mahatmas but also Guru Maharaj Ji's family are very active in propagating this Knowledge throughout the world. The Holy Family, as it is called, consists of Guru Maharaj Ji's mother, who of course was the wife of Shri Hans Ji Maharaj (Guru Maharaj's father), and who is normally called Mata Ji or Holy Mother; and also Guru Maharaj Ji's three elder brothers, Bal Bhagwan Ji, Bhole Ji and Raja Ji. While these four are revered as second only to Guru Maharaj Ji, they themselves hold that they are merely Guru Maharaj Ji's devotees just like anyone else.

    Now while one could write whole volumes about the Holy Family, and in particular about Guru Maharaj Ji himself and the lilas he plays with the world and his devotees, we will refrain from doing so here. The theme of this book has been the question of how to find Peace in the deepest and broadest sense of the word, and so to carry on consistently from the previous three parts, we will in the remainder of the book look at how Peace is actually being achieved in the lives of Guru Maharaj Ji's followers, rather than look at Guru Maharaj Ji himself.


    The essence of this short chapter is the statement that Guru Maharaj Ji is the present Perfect Master.

    18 - The Knowledge

    Since the Peace of the world depends upon the Peace of individuals living in the world, then in this chapter we will investigate how and why an individual comes to Guru Maharaj Ji for that Peace, and what the Knowledge is that opens the door for him to it.

    For it is very important to understand at the outset that the Knowledge is not Peace - it is the way to Peace. This means that on receiving Knowledge the devotee does not immediately see the diverse as the delusion it is, and plunge into the Peace of Knowing the Godhead (though this does occasionally happen). On the contrary, for most devotees the Knowledge session where the techniques are imparted is the beginning of a process at which the devotee has to work. Knowledge is like a set of tools which the initiate is given at the initiation or Knowledge session, and he, the devotee, has to use those tools to achieve the goal.

    The process of using Knowledge to Know the Godhead, involves the performance of three activities - 'meditation', 'satsang' and service. We will deal with these three activities in the next chapter; at the moment we just wish to emphasise that receiving Knowledge is not equivalent to realising Peace, it is equivalent to being shown the path to realise Peace, and that engaging in the three activities in analogous to journeying down that path to the goal - Peace.

    It is very important for the would-be devotee to understand that he has to do some work with the Knowledge after receiving it. And obviously he'll only put in that work if he consciously wants to rid himself of the Unpeace he is in. This, then, brings us to the first condition that any would-be devotee must fulfil before he takes Knowledge - that he admit he is in Unpeace and that he wants Peace. This condition is not laid down for any philosophical or theoretical reasons, but is entirely practical. For if the would-be devotee has not desire to escape Unpeace, or else thinks he has already escaped, then were he to be given Knowledge he would have no impulse to practise it. The conscious need for Peace is obviously that which makes one put in the effort to practise the Knowledge.

    To take Knowledge without fulfilling this condition has been likened to ordering a slap-up meal (the Knowledge) and then not eating it because one is not hungry. This condition then, is equivalent to accepting that the conclusion of Part One of this book applies to oneself - of course, not necessarily in the terminology that has been used here, but in essence. In other words, that Unpeace is unsatisfactory, and that one wants to find Peace.

    The second condition for taking Knowledge is that the would-be devotee admit (if only to himself) that the methods he has used previously to achieve Peace have failed, and that he has full confidence that the Knowledge given by Guru Maharaj Ji will succeed. This is very important for a similar reason as that for the need of the first condition.

    If a would-be devotee thinks that other methods, techniques or means will put him in Peace, then he will not have the initiative or compulsion to practise the Knowledge wholeheartedly. As Jesus said, "No servant can serve two masters."[1]

    This condition is equivalent to accepting the arguments of Parts Two, Three and Four of this book - again, not necessarily in the same terminology nor even in the details, but in broad outline. That is, that of all the activities we have been engaged in during our life, none have taken us out of Unpeace, and we cannot on our own find Peace. This is equivalent to humility - the recognition that we of ourselves cannot find Peace. It is essential to have such humility, because it allows the Perfect Master's Grace to flow into us. For by being proud and thinking that we can find Peace by ourselves, then we are expanding self or ego, and blocking ourselves off to Grace and understanding. Note, however, that Guru Maharaj Ji does not say that Peace can only be found through him.

    This point can cause some difficulty for the person waiting for Knowledge. On the one hand he is told that the only test of a Perfect Master is the Knowledge he gives, and that one should believe only after having direct experience.

    First you have to see, then believe. People do the opposite of that: first they believe and then they see. In comics you have seen comics? There are many advertisements for many many things. But when those things come the people are disappointed. First they believed, and then they wanted to see it. First see it, and then believe it. (Guru Maharaj Ji) [3]

    On the other hand, when he tries to get Knowledge he finds that it is not always easy, and that the mahatma keeps telling him to wait; the reason for this is (he is told) that he must become 'humble' and/or must have a great desire for Knowledge and believe in Guru Maharaj Ji.

    This seeming paradox is simply resolved when one realises that although direct experience comes after receiving Knowledge, some effort is needed to practise this Knowledge for the direct experience to be attained. Thus it is the job of the mahatma to see that the would-be devotee is prepared to put in that effort before he gives him Knowledge.

    It really boils down to the point made in Chapter 10 - "An Act of Faith". Before any understanding is achieved, we must make an act of faith about the methods we consider valid for such understanding to come about. We cannot prove the validity of these methods by the methods themselves, for that would be arguing in a circle and would prove nothing. Before anyone takes Knowledge he is being asked to accept and admit (at least to himself) that the faith he had put in various methods in the past for obtaining contentment was misplaced. Needless to say, such a humbling admission calls for some soul-searching and is often hard to make.

    But not only is it necessary to accept that one's faith in the methods for attaining peace in the past was misplaced, one must also positively and consciously make an act of faith about the validity of the method of Knowledge and of being a devotee of the living Perfect Master, and all that this entails. Such an act of faith must always be made before accepting any method as being valid, as we have seen, but it is practically always made tacitly and unconsciously. But before taking Knowledge, it must be made explicitly and with full awareness.

    It is often said that the effect of the Knowledge depends upon faith, but from that has been said above we can see that this is not strictly true. What depends upon the devotee making this act of faith is practising the Knowledge. An example of this can be given as follows: suppose I say that on page 201 there is a picture of Guru Maharaj Ji. Now until you turn to that page you will not know for certain whether that is true or not; but if you have faith, then you will make the effort and turn to the appropriate page. And if you do see a picture of Guru Maharaj Ji there, then you know beyond all doubt that what I said was true; but the truth of my original statement did not depend on your faith - only your verification of the statement depended on faith, since without faith you would not have turned to page 201 in the first place. Of course, very little faith is needed to cause one to idly flip the pages and verify such a trivial statement; but the statements made about Knowledge to would-be devotees are not trivial, and a considerably stronger and more positive act of faith is needed for the Knowledge to be practised wholeheartedly than is needed to turn a few pages. But the principle is the same.

    Much could be (and has been) written about the phenomenological aspects of hearing about and waiting for the Knowledge: the panicky rejection of one's first encounter with the gushing superlatives of devotees ("Guru Maharaj Ji is Lord of the Universe" etc); the inexplicable pull to hear more; the amazing coincidences which seem to always put Guru Maharaj Ji in front of one; the asking of a mahatma for Knowledge; the travelling, the missing of jobs, meals and sleep and the desperate calls to baby-sitters; the frustration and the boredom while waiting for Knowledge; etc etc.

    But the scheme of this book is not to dwell on these, important as they are. The main reason for Knowledge not being given simply on demand has been put forward above. Once these are accepted and understood, then the reasons for any individual incident in the process of trying to obtain Knowledge will become clear.

    The Knowledge Session

    Anyway, having decided that one wants to receive Knowledge and having taken the appropriate steps, at some point a would-be devotee finds himself in a Knowledge session.

    The Knowledge session is really a birth; it is one of the decisive steps that a human being takes in the continuous process of being born which we began Chapter 1 by describing. Thus Jesus can say, "unless a man has been born over again, he cannot see the kingdom of God...Flesh can only give birth to flesh; it is spirit that gives birth to spirit."[4] It is at the Knowledge session that the "birth to spirit" is given.

    In the remainder of this chapter we will look briefly at what the discursive side of Knowledge actually is, beginning with the 'session' at which Knowledge is given. We will deal later with how the Knowledge is actually practised.

    Basically, to receive Knowledge is to go through a simple initiation which consists of the following:

    1) A dedication of oneself and one's life to Guru Maharaj Ji;

    2) A symbolic offering - eg fruit, flowers or some material possessions, depending entirely on the feelings of the would-be devotee. (No money or fee is ever charged for receiving Knowledge - the nature of the offering is solely the initiate's concern);

    3) The explanation of four simple instructions, namely i) that the mahatma is not the Perfect Master, ii) that the devotee should henceforth obey Guru Maharaj Ji, iii) that the devotee should not reveal the techniques of the Knowledge unless with Guru Maharaj Ji's personal permission, and iv) that he should involve himself in the three activities described in the next section;

    4) The revealing and explanation of the four discursive techniques of Knowledge, experimenting with the techniques by the initiates, and discussing and quoting relevant bits of various scriptures.

    These are the observable and external events at the Knowledge session, but it is impossible to observe or measure the transmission of that which makes knowledge Knowledge. The initiate experiences certain phenomena (described in the following section), and from then on he finds that his life has changed and keeps on changing, utterly and irrevocably. In facts it becomes obvious either at the time or later that what was really given at the Knowledge session does not belong to the external world of difference, and that concepts and mental pictures are unable to understand it.

    The sessions themselves are remarkably simple and casual, the non-external events taking place being so powerful that external pomp, ritual and props are unnecessary and only distract from the real purpose. The only 'prop' is a picture or small altar to represent Guru Maharaj Ji. Knowledge can be given anywhere that is reasonably quiet and free from interruption. The initiates are free to question the mahatma any time during his explanations.

    The Private Phenomena

    The techniques revealed at the Knowledge session are those whereby one is taught to concentrate on four particular private 'objects', or phenomena in the private world; namely Light, Music, Nectar, and an inner vibration or rhythm - the Word or Holy Name. These phenomena are not public, and in fact are always present inside us, but being very subtle they are seldom perceived. Even if they sometimes are experienced before receiving Knowledge, it is not recognised what they in fact are.

    Because of the vow of secrecy one makes not to divulge the techniques, we will here discuss the private phenomena only rather than how they are experienced. Devotees do occasionally divulge the actual techniques (against Guru Maharaj Ji's instructions) and from time to time they appear - usually incorrectly - in print. This does not really matter very much (except for the devotee who divulges them), the only important thing being that non-devotees who read about the techniques and try to practise them should understand that they have only got discursive knowledge - they have not got, and cannot practise, the Knowledge (big 'K').

    i) The Light

    There is a glorious sun, not the sun you see in the sky, but a sun which is within ourselves which is much brighter, much much brighter than the sun you see in the sky. (Guru Maharaj Ji) [5]

    God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (New Testament, John) [6]

    Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth (Koran) [7]

    God and light are inseparable as God and unity are inseparable. (Law ) [8]

    The phenomenon enabling the non-differentiated Godhead to be perceived discursively as Light is widely documented by all Knowers and in all scriptures. It is often held that 'light' is just a symbol for truth or the One, and is just a way of speaking, as in the phrase "I have seen the light" meaning "I have understood". But those who have Knowledge will testify that on the contrary one sees, as one of the discursive facets of Knowledge, actual light - a light which is so pure and bright that it can hardly be described.

    This light is actually perceived but not with the physical eye; blind people can see it when shown how to look. In other words, we need to have opened a 'third eye', which the mahatma does in the Knowledge session. Thereafter, this light can be seen any time one cares to practise the technique.

    If you wish to see that Face, seek another eye. (Shabistari) [14]

    For it is with the interior eye that truth is seen. (Augustine) [15]

    The eye of Knowledge contemplates the One. (Shankara) [16]

    But never canst thou see me with this thy natural eye, a celestial eye I'll give thee. (Krishna) [17]

    ...(if) thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. (See notes for the translation of 'haplous' as 'single'). (Jesus) [18]

    At the Knowledge session, some initiates see just faint patterns, while others see a brilliant sun or experience their whole head being flooded with light, whilst still others have a vision of Guru Maharaj Ji or a past Perfect Master they particularly loved (eg Jesus or Krishna). The Light is always with us, for it "lighteth every man that cometh into the world"[19] as St. John says; in fact, according to John, the Light is our life[20] - the Knowledge merely reveals it.

    Seeing this Light makes one calm and relaxed, and thoughts slow down or stop altogether. With continued practice, one experiences the Light to get intenser and brighter, and the effects from seeing it are increased in proportion. It often appears in the preliminary stages as flickering and shimmering patterns, but as it gets intenser then the flickering (which is but a reflection of the flickering concentration) dies down:

    To experience the Light when it is bright and steady is to be purified of self or mind, and this is obviously the origin of the alchemical idea of purifying by fire:

    The 'I' being illumined by meditation, and then burning with the fire of Knowledge...shines in its own splendour, like gold which is purified in the fire. (Shankara) [22]

    ii) The Music

    There is a music going on inside of yourselves, and God plays that music. It is so symmetrical, so beautiful, that on the first strike, man's mind is concentrated. (Guru Maharaj Ji) [23]

    For him (the devotee) music is played by hands unseen, for him feet unseen beat time to dance. (Guru Nanak) [24]

    In every strain which (the devotees) hear from the minstrel comes to them rapture from the unseen world. (Shabistari) [25]

    I heard the divine music and was entranced. (Guru Nanak) [26]

    The Music is analogous to the Light in that it is an interior sound which is not perceived through the ears; deaf people can hear this music on being shown the technique. When shown the technique in a Knowledge session, many people often hear a murmuring sound which can be likened to the sea, a waterfall, a roll of drums, crickets or even thunder; as St. John said:

    I heard a sound from heaven like the noise of rushing water and the deep roar of thunder; it was sound of harpists playing their harps. (New Testament, John) [27]

    He then goes on to say that only those who were 'ransomed', ie had Knowledge, could learn the song. For with continued practice, what had appeared to be a murmuring or a confused water-fall sound resolves itself into sounds like that from bells, gongs, harps and flutes; and subsequently one hears what can only he described as beautiful and melodious music. The effect of this is to completely entrance the listener, and give him great peace and calmness.

    The Music is frequently heard even when devotees are not practising the technique, especially in calm and quiet surroundings. Some devotees hear the music clearly when they are near mahatmas or Guru Maharaj Ji.

    iii) The Nectar

    People drink wine and they say 'cheers". But when you share this divine wine, it is really "cheers"! (Guru Maharaj Ji) [28]

    Everyone who drinks this water (from the well) will thirst again, but whoever drinks the water that I shall give him will never suffer thirst any more. The water that I shall give him will be an inner spring always welling up for eternal life. (Jesus) [29]

    From the Guru a pure nectar is obtained, and on drinking that nectar he is always satisfied with Grace and (his) thirst is quenched. (Guru Nanak) [30]

    He who serves the true Guru tastes divine nectar. (Guru Nanak) [31]

    In the same way that the Light and Music cater for our senses of sight and hearing, the sense of taste (and smell) is catered for by the 'Nectar' or 'water of life'. This is probably the most difficult of the techniques, and so the nectar or divine taste is experienced rarely by new devotees.

    The Nectar is a subtle liquid which can actually be detected and drunk with the appropriate technique, and in tasting it one feels particularly healthy and satisfied. The devotee who regularly drinks the Nectar will rarely get ill. In addition to fending off illness, drinking the Nectar sustains the body, and it is said that Knowers of the One can exist for many years if need be on Nectar alone (ie not eating food).

    The technique for drinking Nectar is not obvious to an outside observer, so that it can be practised in any situation. It is particularly valuable when one is under strain or in a trying situation where anger is near the surface, since the soothing effect of the Nectar makes one feel contented and well disposed towards others.

    iv) The Word or Name

    When all things began, the Word already was. The Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was. (New Testament, John) [32]

    The heavenly Father speaks one Word and that he speaks eternally and in this Word expends he all his might; his entire God-nature he utters in this Word. (Eckhart) [33]

    If God stops saying his Word, but for an instant even, heaven and earth would disappear. (Eckhart) [34]

    Every creature has its being from the One Name. (Shabistari) [35]

    The Name or Word is God; it is the primordial energy of creation. The reader will remember in Chapter 8 we saw that only the forms of energy belong to the diverse; the actual energy itself is uncreated and undestroyed - it is the power which sustains everything, and we can call it the Name or Word of God.

    The world thinks, people think, God is a man. People think God has ears, nose, teeth, and he rises early in the morning, brushes his teeth, washes out his mouth and he is an old man so he brushes out his beard also. But no - God is energy. God is perfect and pure energy, and that is why scientists say that energy cannot be destroyed and cannot be created...This is the Word. This is God. (Guru Maharaj Ji) [36]
    Now this energy is keeping us alive; it is our very life and being, and while it can be seen as Light, heard as Music, tasted as Nectar, it can also be directly felt in its most pure manifestation within the human body. The most direct manifestation of this "perfect and pure energy" is that of a vibration or rhythm.

    And in this, the fourth technique, the initiate is shown how he can feel this fundamental rhythm of life. It is of course not a mantra of any sort, or a syllable or a sound which is speakable or imaginable.

    The name which can be named is not the constant Name. (Tao Te Ching) [38]

    It is revealed in the Knowledge session as a comparatively gross vibration existing in the human body, but even concentrating on this brings about incredible peace and stillness. After a short time of practice the devotee perceives the vibration as becoming much subtler and finer, and as he progresses it becomes so fine as not really to be thought of as a vibration any more.

    Since the Word or Holy Name is within us constantly, it can be remembered constantly. The mind can and should be focused on the Word during any and every activity.

    There is interior prayer without ceasing. (Augustine) [39]

    If we are to be, we must do; and our doing is hearing the Eternal Word. (Eckhart) [40]

    So remember the Name of thy Lord and devote thyself with a complete devotion. (Koran) [41]

    If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. (Jesus) [42]


    We started off this chapter by pointing out that to use the Knowledge to full advantage, the would-be devotee must fulfil those conditions which ensure he will put some effort into practising it. We then briefly described what happens at a Knowledge session, and then dealt with the four phenomena perceived in the private world as a result of practising the four discursive techniques of Knowledge.

    19 - The Three Activities

    Now although there is really only one reason for being a devotee of the living Perfect Master, namely to Know the One or Godhead, there are nevertheless several reasons why we need a living Perfect Master for this purpose. We gave seven such reasons in the last section of Chapter 16. From that section, we can extract three actual activities which a devotee should perform for maximum progress along the read out of the diverse and into Peace. These three activities are to practise the discursive techniques of Knowledge (called 'meditation'), to listen to the personal instruction of the Perfect Master and his close devotees (this is part of what is known as 'satsang'), and thirdly to do service to the Perfect Master.

    Because these three activities are activities, that is they are things that the devotee actually does, as distinct from what the devotee feels as a result of doing them, then they must be the central point around which any examination of a devotee's finding of Peace must revolve. So it is that in looking at the Peace and Love which manifests in Guru Maharaj Ji's followers and so in the world as a whole, we will do so from the viewpoint of these three activities.


    Meditation is the practising of the four techniques as revealed in the Knowledge session, and concentrating upon any one of the four private phenomena produced by practising these techniques and discussed in the last chapter.

    Although meditation is sometimes called an 'internal' activity or described as 'going inside', by virtue of it consisting in experiencing phenomena (albeit private phenomena) it is diverse and discursive and hence external, according to our definition. As we have shown we cannot avoid performing external or diverse activities since we have bodies and minds which are part of the world of difference. The essence of Knowledge is that by the Grace of the living Perfect Master certain external activities are instrumental in harnessing that non-external and non-diverse power we have called Grace so that the One can be Known.

    Of these activities, meditation is the most basic, since without it the others cannot be experienced fully; and also in being a private activity it can be performed anywhere, any time and in any situation, whereas the other two activities, being public, are dependent to a certain extent upon the environment.

    In fact, so fundamental is the activity of meditation that if conscientiously performed it will automatically lead one to do the 'right thing'. New devotees often rush around after Knowledge, start energetic projects and constantly ask mahatmas and Guru Maharaj Ji "What shall I do?" The answer it invariably "Meditate", which can be infuriating to those brought up to solve problems through action in the public world. But the fact is that it is through the activity of meditation that the Godhead is finally Known by Guru Maharaj Ji's Grace, and on the way to this Knowing it Is meditation which is the unfailing guide and constant source of inspiration at all times.

    The word 'meditation' comes from the Latin 'medius' meaning middle or centre, and so meditation can really be defined as 'going towards the centre'. When one actually reaches the centre, the heart of our being, the Godhead 'within' us, then one can be said to be no longer meditating, but is actually there, ie in a state of Knowing. Thus although to the beginner meditation is definitely a discursive activity, with the devotee here experiencing some phenomena there, as it were, nevertheless as one progresses its discursive aspect fades away the more one merges into the phenomena, and eventually Knowing results. (Thus 'meditation' as the term is used here, bears little relationship to its older meaning of 'thinking' or 'cogitating').

    This process can be explained in the terminology of Pure Consciousness developed in Chapter 14. The reader will remember that the projection of the 'I' through the self or mind we defined as Pure Consciousness, the raw 'stuff' of awareness. However, in passing through the super-backgrounds and ordinary backgrounds in the self we are only aware of it as being impure and as being the vehicle by which we see the one distorted and as the diverse. Now we can think of the four phenomena described previously as being the most pure 'reflections' possible of this Pure Consciousness within the self. Because we are conditioned to perceiving the world through our senses, then these 'reflections' of Pure Consciousness assume pleasing forms in terms of our senses, and we see Pure Consciousness as bright Light, hear it as beautiful Music, taste and smell it as sweet Nectar and feel it as the Word or Name. The more we meditate and experience these phenomena, then, by virtue of the fact that we have two 'sided' Knowledge and not one-sided knowledge, we are manipulating the non-discursive aspect of the Knowledge to pick up the Perfect Master's Grace, which then performs its task of diverting the 'stream' of Pure Consciousness away from the self and Its backgrounds (which cannot be done other than by Grace, Chapter 14). As this happens, then obviously the 'reflections' become purer, since self or mind is involved less, and the phenomena perceived in meditation become more powerful and beautiful. This will encourage meditation to be done, so that yet more Grace is harnessed, which means that more of the Pure Consciousness bypasses self, and meditation becomes yet better, etc. Thus we have yet another example of a positive feedback mechanism, which continues until our stream of Pure Consciousness is completely diverted from the self or the mind, and we are aware of Pure Consciousness as Pure Consciousness or 'I', which of course is what we have defined as Knowing.

    Although the devotee is advised to spend a few hours every day in sitting and just meditating (say, one or two hours both in the morning and at night), meditation should be continuous, and can be done at all times no matter what other activity is being performed. In the beginning, however, the only technique to which this applies strictly is remembering the Word or Holy Name, but as one progresses in the meditation all four of the private phenomena can be experienced at any time.

    In as much as meditation leads to Knowing of the non-differentiated and non-discursive Godhead, we can say nothing about it, except that it happens. Enough has been written previously about the impossibility of writing (which is a discursive activity) about Knowing (which is non-discursive and unitive). However, the fact is that in travelling speedily and efficiently towards the Peace of realising completely the One or Godhead, the devotee experiences amongst other things great peace in his mind and great love in his heart for his fellow creatures, each of which increases the deeper the meditation becomes. This peace and love, although belonging to and being caused by the external and diverse activity of meditation (hence their being spelt with small 'p' and 'l'), are nevertheless very powerful. The reason is, that although they are technically part of 'Unpeace' as we defined the term originally, nevertheless they are a peace and love which are continually increasing and expanding, since they are born of a process which is leading straight out of the diverse and into that total Peace and Love which comes from unitive Knowing.

    Thus we must differentiate between the ultimate goal of meditation upon the Perfect Master's Knowledge, and the benefits and by-products which accrue from such meditation.

    The former cannot be spoken about nor imagined, but the latter can be, since they belong to the world of difference.

    And although these by-products such as peace, love, serenity, happiness and joyous bliss arise out of a discursive activity (meditation), that activity is unique in that it is given by the Perfect Master as the means to Know the Godhead; and so the by-products are continually being enlarged and strengthened, until indeed they become the goal itself and the fruits of seeing complete and total unity everywhere and at all times.

    i) The Mind

    The first by-product of meditation we will consider concerns the ego, self or mind, all of which are synonymous terms as far as this book is concerned.

    The reader will remember that at various times we have defined the self or mind as being our private world, that of which none other than ourselves can be aware. Our projecting the 'I' through (or our Pure Consciousness shining through) mind and all its backgrounds gives rise to the delusion of this world of difference and diversity, and causes our attachment to it and its concomitant Unpeace. It is equivalent to us identifying ourselves with the self or ego, which of course increases separateness and is 'bad' as we have seen (Chapter 13).

    Since on our model we can think of all activity in the diverse as resulting from the filtering of Pure Consciousness through the ego or mind, then thinking (which is a very definite discursive activity, albeit a private one) also has the same cause. In fact, thinking is one of the primary manifestations of the will to diversify and separate, and functions to preserve and protect the sense of distinct identity due to ego or mind.

    Now the identifying with the ego or mind is a process which has been built up since birth; (and even over many life-times if one accepts reincarnation), and so in most people it is very strong and deep-rooted. Thus it is that amongst devotees the arch-enemies of liberation and Peace are always held to be mind and thinking.

    But since mind and its function of thinking are the causes of practically all the achievements of human endeavour, then when a non-devotee hears devotees saying things such as "You must smash the ego!", "You're in your mind!", "Don't think!", then he must wonder what it is all about. The fact is that the ego or mind and thinking are not bad in any sense of the word; what is bad is the identification with mind and thoughts. For by identifying with the mind, ie holding that "I am the ego" or "I am the mind", then discursive thought must arise and the sense of difference and diversity is strengthened. Since this leads to a deeper entanglement in Unpeace for all concerned, then it is 'bad' according to our use of the term.

    In the initial stages of meditation, one of the most obvious effects is the painful recognition of just how deeply we are bound by our own self or mind and are a slave to its workings. In trying to meditate, the new devotee becomes aware that his mind is constantly absorbed in a sort of private conversation or running commentary, and that it reacts to public and private stimuli by jumping all over the place and through every conceivable move. In trying to meditate the devotee can find himself swamped in thinking about being comfortable, sitting correctly, the wonderful benefits of meditation, how long it will take to calm down, how wonderful Guru Maharaj Ji is, etc - in short, anything but meditating. Each time the devotee catches himself wandering and puts his attention back on whichever of the four private phenomena he was meditating upon, he learns a little more about the subtlety of his mind.

    After becoming tolerably familiar with the tricks, subtleties and juggling of backgrounds which go on in the mind, the devotee begins to appreciate the enormity of the commandment to meditate constantly. As Arjuna, one of Krishna's devotees, says:

    But Krishna answers that the mind or ego can be mastered, only we have to practice our meditation. This of course, is the answer of all Perfect Masters.

    Mind is the only thing that is making man unhappy today, the only cause of dissatisfaction. And how can you conquer your mind? Through this meditation, because meditation is the only hammer which can beat your mind down, it is the only rope which can tie your mind up. (Guru Maharaj Ji) [2]

    Of course, once the mind is "beaten down" or "tied up", that does not mean we become mindless morons sitting around in vegetable-like bliss, as has been pointed out before. By conquering the mind or ego one becomes no longer a slave to it, and is not bound by the essential diversity and difference which it projects. A devotee who is truly in meditation, even if he is not a Knower of the One, by virtue of his being on the way to Knowing is largely unattached to forms of separateness and change, and while he recognises at least physical diversity, his heart is fall of peace and love. He uses his mind to think and speak etc, and performs many discursive activities in the world of difference, but his meditation enables him to be at all times in touch with that greater 'reality' and unity which lies beyond his mind or self, and so he is not trapped in the Unpeace of the diverse.

    Thus we can distinguish two processes due to meditation which weaken the grip that the divisive ego holds over us.

    The first is that in meditation the workings of the mind become very clear, so that in many cases just a recognition of an impulse to increase diversity as being a product of the mind or ego is enough for that impulse to be extinguished. However, as important as this is, by itself this process is insufficient for conquering the mind and overthrowing its tyranny.

    The second process is really the fundamental one of meditation, and it consists in the approaching of the 'I' or Godhead. After all, Part Three was based on the assumption in essence that the diverse cannot be transcended by diverse procedures, or that the mind cannot be 'conquered' by the mind; and that we have to find that which is non-diverse, which we call the Godhead or the One. In Chapter 14 we recognised that the mind must be conquered, ie that we must 'die to self' but we came to the conclusion that to do this we cannot concentrate on 'dying to self' as such, but must pursue the positive goal of Knowing the 'I', when self or mind would automatically be under control.

    Thus in the remainder of this section we shall look briefly at this second and more important process which occurs as a result of meditation.

    ii) The Word

    Although the devotee who has progressed considerably in the Knowledge can perceive the four phenomena of meditation at any time, for the beginner the only technique which can be continually practised is that of 'remembering the Word'.

    So we will tend to talk in terms of the Word of God, even though what is said also applies to the other techniques of the discursive side of Knowledge. Of course, the nearer a devotee is to the stage of actually Knowing, then the more the Pure Consciousness of 'I' is perceived as the Pure Consciousness instead of in terms of its reflection in the self or mind; thus the more the four 'reflections' or private phenomena become unified, and can be thought of as simply manifestations of one thing (the One).

    At the end of the last chapter we said we could think of the Word as that Pure Energy which can never be created or destroyed. While the forms of energy, such as Light, heat, gravity etc are continually changing and so of course belong to the diverse, nevertheless science is forced to postulate that energy itself does not change and is everywhere since everything can be thought of as a manifestation of Pure Energy, as we saw in Chapter 8. Since this energy itself, this Pure Energy, does not belong to the diverse, we can say nothing about it except to give it a name, Science calls it "energy" - Perfect Masters seem to call it the "Word".

    (Thus although of the four private phenomena, one is specifically called the "Word", we can also think of each of the four as being a manifestation of that Pure Energy or Word.)

    Concentration upon the word is alive and vital, since the Word is itself the essence of life. By its own nature, the Word aids the mind in concentration, and slows down all the mind's ceaseless chatter and whirr of mental activity which is extraneous to the task in hand. The Word is very powerful; in fact it is the power-house of the Cosmos and of our own life. By just touching it in one's meditation, even if only for a few moments, one feels completely refreshed and invigorated, as if being washed over by a great wave of peace and joy.

    Thus it is an incredible experience to be in true meditation, and although we have in the last paragraph used the word 'concentration', it is not to be thought of as a laborious effort, but rather as an effortless focusing of the attention on that which gives most satisfaction and contentment. After all, the mind can be characterised by its natural tendency to search for Peace, as we found in Part One, Unpeace merely resulting from the mind's inherent inability to find Peace in the diverse, and hence its constant restlessness. So the mind will concentrate easily on that which leads to the true Peace of Knowing the Godhead, although in the beginning stages before the true nature of meditation is realised, it can be - and is - hard work. The mind feels that it is being asked to sign its own death warrant, as it were, by letting its 'owner' meditate.

    However, just realising to a very small extent even the power and bliss of the Word, then this feeling dies away and meditation becomes very beautiful and easy to do. The devotee is then clearly aware of the contrast between the level of thought and mind, and the resulting tension; and the level of the eternal Word, and the resulting Peace. Were one even to forget the Word subsequently, one can never be fooled and trapped again in the mind and its thinking, once the reality of the Godhead beyond has been felt by the power of the Word.

    But if the experience of the Word of God is powerful, so is the mind; and the new devotee who has been trained all his life to turn his attention to the public world and to look to it for happiness and contentment often forgets to practise the technique of 'remembering the Word'. Of course, by an ironic paradox many devotees find that their mind, with true Machiavellian cunning, hinders them from meditating with thoughts and preconceptions about meditation, the Knowledge, Guru Maharaj Ji etc. Because meditation is leading to, and is founded upon that world of non-difference we have called the Godhead, then in fact all explanations and imaginations about it are incomplete. Since mental concepts and expectations of meditation on the Knowledge always fall flat, then the mind has an excellent excuse to rise up in its own defence and argue forcibly against that non-mental thing which threatens to topple it from its tyrannical position.

    Often in such a situation devotees try to seek solace in all the stories and dogmas, the 'shoulds' and 'shouldn'ts' of meditation and Knowledge, and while such beliefs can comfort the mind, they are no substitute for the experience of true meditation itself. Only the meditation on Guru Maharaj Ji's Knowledge can pick up the Grace needed to Know the Godhead, and so meditation is the only activity which, of itself, can enable us to find that calmness and rest which comes from heading straight for the Godhead. Progress in meditation and the Knowledge comes from the honesty to cling only to conviction based upon direct experience and to recognise that all beliefs and ideas by virtue of their being external and diverse, are insufficient on their own for obtaining Peace.

    (As a postscript to this section we must clarify our use of the word 'experience'. We have been using the term freely in the last two chapters even though it has been shown (Chapter 12) that experience is essentially discursive. This is because until the One is fully Known we must be in and of the diverse, and so be in the realm of experience rather than unitive being. However, by virtue of the fact that in practising the living Perfect Master's Knowledge the devotee is directly approaching a unitive Knowing of the Godhead, then his experiencing the Knowledge, though only experience, is nevertheless valuable, convincing and unique. This section has been based on this fact.)

    Service And 'Satsang'

    Although the devotee should in theory be constantly meditating and 'remembering the Word', meditation is however a private activity, and the question obviously arises as to how the devotee should deal with the public world of which he is a part. How should he live, speak and relate to other people? The way to speak and relate to others is termed 'satsang', and the way to act is called service.

    To begin with, it is clear that activity in the public world cannot of itself bring about Peace. Most of Part Two was involved in showing this, and the rest of the book was based on it. But a Living Perfect Master, by his Grace, can and does manipulate the public world in various ways, as we saw in Chapter 16; and in particular he offers the devotee the opportunity for performing activities in the public world which help him on his way to Knowing the One or Godhead.

    Service we dealt with at the end of Chapter 16, showing that it helps develop in the devotee that obedience which lessens bondage to self or mind, and which thus makes meditation easier and helps harness the Grace we need for Knowing. It also causes, and is the result of, an increase in devotion, and since devotion can be thought of as the yearning for unitive Knowing of the Godhead through the Perfect Master - which is a prerequisite for being able to use Grace - then obviously service is in practical terms very important.

    'Satsang' is a Sanskrit word meaning 'company of Truth', and is usually applied to being in the company of a devotee who is sincerely practising the Knowledge, and is thus manifesting to some degree that Truth which he has found in his meditation. Although the words spoken in satsang are usually (though not always) about Guru Maharaj Ji and the Knowledge, what makes satsang satsang is the fact that the speaker has at least partially experienced the Truth within him on his journey towards Knowing the One, and thus manifests a 'vibration' or 'atmosphere' of serenity and well-being. This 'vibration' can be felt by the listener, whether he be a devotee or not, and uplifts both listener and speaker alike. Since satsang depends upon this vibration of Truth, and not on the words spoken, then in fact the words can be dispensed with altogether; just being in the company of a Knower or One near to Knowing, ie a mahatma, is 'satsang' since the Truth and purity radiating from him can be felt. Obviously the satsang most sought after by devotees is Guru Maharaj Ji's.

    The subsection entitled 'Instruction' is Chapter 16 dealt with one aspect of satsang - that of good advice being given by the Perfect Master (or his devotees).

    However, what makes the good advice 'satsang' and not just 'good advice' is the fact that it is backed up by the power and force which can only emanate from a devotee who is sincerely practising the Knowledge, or of course to a greater degree from the Perfect Master himself.

    The importance of satsang is that it provides inspiration and encouragement to practise the Knowledge, and that like service it purifies the mind and so helps in meditation. Satsang is also that which makes a non-devotee want to become a devotee; since in not having the Knowledge and thus in not feeling that Truth within which comes from meditation, the non-devotee can only feel practically that joy, happiness and Truth which Knowledge gives in as much as it is manifested by devotees - ie by satsang.

    Now since service and satsang are activities in the public world, then obviously their performance depends to a large extent upon the environment and conditions surrounding the devotee. Thus it is that Guru Maharaj Ji has caused to be set up two organisations which provide the optimum conditions for devotees to perform these two public activities. At the same time, by co-ordinating devotees' individual services, they are the vehicles by which the love and peace generated in devotees by their meditation are carried on a large scale into society and the world in general.

    While these organisations exist to disseminate both the Knowledge and its effects, it is important to realise that they are in fact no more than organisations of individuals, and as such can never of themselves bring Peace, for being organisations they are external and belong to the diverse. Peace is being established in this world by individuals Knowing, or on the way to Knowing, the non-differentiated Godhead, which they are able to do only by virtue of their meditation and the Grace of the living Perfect Master, Guru Maharaj Ji. In short, these organisations channel, co-ordinate, focus and organise the 'raw materials' of Peace, but they can never be their cause.

    Thus to criticise Guru Maharaj Ji's organisations on the grounds that Peace can never be established by means of them is invalid, since they are not the causes of Peace, but merely exist to amplify that Peace which is generated in devotee's lives on account of their practising the Knowledge. This 'amplification' works in two directions one is in uniting devotee's efforts to help the world at large, and the other is in providing opportunities for devotees to perform the two public activities of service and satsang which enable them to progress quicker towards Knowing the One. Some devotees who are serious in wanting to practise Knowledge and to Know the One nevertheless try to carry out these activities apart from and independently of Guru Maharaj Ji's organisations, and while in theory it is possible to be successful in this, in practice such devotees find it very hard going and sooner or later decide to carry out the activities within the context of the organisations.

    Although all Perfect Masters organise their followers to some extent, in as much as they tell them what to do, it is very rare for a Perfect Master to initiate such formal organisations as Guru Maharaj Ji has done. In most cases the organisation has come after the Perfect Master leaves his body, and is an effort on the part of his followers to preserve and propagate his teachings, which is often very efficiently done, the Roman Catholic church being an excellent example. However, as we have shown, when a Perfect Master dies all that can be preserved is the discursive aspect of his teaching, ie his or his devotees' knowledge (small 'k'), and while this can be of great use and leads subsequently to much inspired and noble living, it is not Knowledge (big 'K') and so cannot lead to Knowing.

    The Perfect Master only forms an organisation himself when he intends his Knowledge to spread to very many people in his own lifetime, when of course people will not look to the organisation itself for Knowledge but to the living Perfect Master. Apart from this being so in our time with Guru Maharaj Ji, it happened nearly 2500 years ago when Gotama the Buddha formed his renunciant devotees into the organisation known as the 'Sangha'.

    The success of such organisations is of course due to their being inspired by the living Perfect Master, and to their functioning with the help of his Grace. This is certainly true of Guru Maharaj Ji's organisations. For a devotee's maximum rate of progress towards knowing the One, it is obviously best if he works within the structure which his Perfect Master has caused to be set up and which is saturated with his trace.

    i) Divine Light Mission

    The organisations are two in number, and we will first deal briefly with the Divine Light Mission - henceforth called DLM.

    This is the organisation of the followers of Guru Maharaj Ji, and was originally founded by Guru Maharaj Ji's father, Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, in India in 1961. Taking Guru Maharaj Ji's Knowledge means that one is automatically a member of DLM, though by no means all devotees play an active role in it. Guru Maharaj Ji's mother, Mata Ji, is the patron of DLM, but being an organisation of Guru Maharaj Ji's followers, Guru Maharaj Ji has no official role in it. Needless to say though, each of the officials in DLM, by virtue of their being devotees intent on Knowing the One, obey Guru Maharaj Ji implicitly and so in practise DLM is run by Guru Maharaj Ji, both by means of his external instructions and of course by his non-external Grace.

    Divine Light Mission is one organisation functioning internationally, and at the time of writing is well-established in at least forty different countries. This represents an incredible expansion, bearing in mind that before 1969 it was only established in one country - India. It functions slightly differently in each country, depending upon that nation's laws and social customs.

    In most countries, DLM is a registered charity. Its aims, as set out by the Charity Commissioners of Great Britain, are:

    In Britain, DLM is officially run by a board of trustees who are all devotees of Guru Maharaj Ji, although the day to day running is supervised by officials such as the General Manager, General Secretary or Treasurer.

    ii) Divine United Organisation

    The second of Guru Maharaj Ji's organisations is the Divine United Organisation (DUO). The ultimate aim of DUO is explained by Guru Maharaj Ji:

    In this organisation we are going to help the whole world socially. Now I think I should illuminate what I mean by socially. The whole world, aside from needing Knowledge, needs food. .. Now, many people come up to me when I talk about Knowledge, and they say, "Guru Maharaj Ji, we think that those people who are suffering, they need food, shelter, and clothing first, rather than your Knowledge." And, probably it is true to some extent, because they do need those things. If someone is hungry and we tell him to sit and do meditation, and try to concentrate on God, he will say, "Oh God, don't give me peace, but give me food first". So if we just give them Knowledge it's no good because again people are not being helped.[4]

    So the purpose of DUO is to solve man's physical problems, but of course as we have seen Peace cannot be achieved by such external methods alone. So Guru Maharaj Ji stresses that along with material benefits humanity must be given Knowledge:

    DUO has only been recently formed, and it again is an international organisation. In Britain it is a limited company, the shares being owned by the trustees of DLM, and it is composed of several subsidiary companies, which include such activities such as printing, clothes manufacturing, a travel agency, a garage, health service, taxi service, electronics and many more. The idea is that devotees will work for DUO just as for an ordinary company, and they will get a wage, which they will be free to keep or donate (in part or in toto) to DLM, as they wish. The point is that since DUO is working for world Peace under the guidance of Guru Maharaj Ji, then the devotees' work will benefit humanity as well as being service to the Perfect Master.

    So these two functions of DUO complement each other, and in fact merge into each other. For while devotees of all sorts are given the opportunity to do service, then they are being assisted towards realising Peace on account of service to the Perfect Master being an activity which helps in the practice of Knowledge. But also the actual work they do will help others in a physical aspect as we have seen, and so lessen the tremendous material poverty and suffering that exists in the world. The reason that DUO hopes to succeed in this when most other organisations, including governments, are failing is because the employees of DUO are working not for money or selfish power, but out of love. And the more they work, then the more of Guru Maharaj Ji's Grace they pick up, and so the more their love is increased.

    Thus it is that the DUO proclamation reads:

    The relationship between DUO and DLM is that while DLM will tend to look after all direct propagation of Guru Maharaj Ji's message and the Knowledge, DUO will be more concerned with improving the world physically, and with financing both organisations.


    We dealt in this chapter with the three activities in the diverse which Guru Maharaj Ji recommends all devotees to engage in for Knowing the Godhead to be reached in the shortest time.

    Meditation is the private activity which consists in concentrating upon the four private phenomena discussed in the last chapter. It is that activity by which, by Guru Maharaj Ji's Grace, we can be freed from attachment to the diverse and can find total Peace in the unitive Knowing of the Godhead. Since, however, Knowing cannot be written about or explained discursively, in this chapter we looked at two effects of meditation which occur as a by-product of the fact that meditation leads us out of the diverse.

    These effects are i) that the devotee becomes more aware of the divisive activity of his mind, so ensuring more effective control, and ii) by increasing awareness of the manifestation of the Word inside him, the devotee experiences great peace, love and joy, and clearly recognises the source or substratum of his thoughts, his life and his whole being.

    We then dealt briefly with the two public activities of service and satsang, which give the two-fold benefit of i) helping the devotee's meditation, and ii) manifesting the love and peace realised in meditation into the world. We finish with a short description of the two organisations, Divine Light Mission and Divine United Organisation, which Guru Maharaj Ji has caused to be set up to further the opportunity of engaging in these activities.

    20 - The End Point - Peace

    The starting point of this book was the concept of 'Unpeace' which was introduced in Chapter 1, so it is only fitting that this, the final chapter, should be concerned with what this book has had in view all the time - Peace (big 'P').

    We defined Peace originally as that which we are all looking for, consciously or unconsciously, and we hope to have established that it cannot be found in the diverse or world of difference we live in, nor can it be found by any discursive means (using 'discursive' in its literal meaning outlined in Chapter 7). It can only be found by realising that which is totally non-diverse and completely non-differentiated, which we called the One or Godhead, and which is the substratum and source of the entire diversified and differentiated cosmos of which we are part. Though, of course, having found the Godhead and come to a state of unitive Knowing of it, then that absolute and unshakable Peace is ours forever, and we can then live in the diverse, though not be of it; that is, though recognising separateness, change and duality seem to exist, we are not affected or bound by them and their Unpeace.

    Thus it is that how to Know the Godhead is a very important question for man, both individually and collectively, to answer. The answer is given in practise by individuals we have called Perfect Masters, who can reveal to people that Knowledge whereby the Godhead or Perfection can be Known.

    So the question then takes the form, "Who is the Perfect Master now?" and the answer we have given is that it is Guru Maharaj Ji.

    Now while the arguments in this book has been presented in a reasoned step-by-step way, the fact that Guru Maharaj Ji is a Perfect Master cannot be established by any reasoned proof, since as we have pointed out the only foolproof test of a Perfect Master is the Knowledge he gives - does it lead to Peace? So while it is that scientists and philosophers are often criticised for forming their conclusions first and then building up reasoned arguments to support their already-established conclusions, it must be confessed that this is what has been done in this book. The conclusion - that Guru Maharaj Ji can reveal the Knowledge of how to find Peace - has been established by personal experience; this book is merely an attempt to show how such an experience is the logical outcome of living a life as a human being in this world.

    Now since the real starting point of this book is personal experience, and not some intellectual concept, then it is necessary that we should conclude on a personal note. That is, I (the author) must explain briefly how it is that I personally came to want, and then had the experience, of Guru Maharaj Ji's Knowledge.

    Being scientifically and intellectually biased, I approached the whole problem in the manner of the scientific method. Firstly, there were the phenomena and observations, the facts of sense-experience. In my late teens I realised that while these facts of experience were sometimes pleasant, sometimes unpleasant, their net result was always one of dissatisfaction and Unpeace. So given this, the problem became to find an experience which was satisfying and which ended the fact of Unpeace.

    I searched for such an experience in a variety of ways, including travelling, working as a produce-broker's clerk, being a schoolmaster, heavy drinking and most of all taking drugs of all kinds for a period of about two years (this included being addicted to heroin).

    The search was fruitless - dissatisfaction was still the order of the day, and even a drugged or drunken unconsciousness was not the answer. Then in the summer of 1967 I was faced with Unpeace in a particularly acute form. A combination of LSD and cocaine, combined with a weak liver due to heroin, led to an experience of such unimaginable terror and horror that I would have undoubtedly committed suicide to end it had I been able to move. The upshot of this was that the search for Peace assumed a much more urgent aspect, and out of desperation more than anything else I plunged into books on the occult, yoga, theosophy, spiritualism etc - anything which offered some comfort and hope that a life free from Unpeace was possible. The first two authors I read extensively at this time were Paul Brunton and Yogi Ramacharaka.

    Now as was mentioned in Chapter 7, the scientific method is to choose a set of observed facts and then form an hypothesis, which (it is hoped) both explains and unifies the observed facts or phenomena, and which also motivates and guides further research into the phenomena. The facts and phenomena I had experienced were my data; there now had to be found an hypothesis which both explained the facts of Unpeace, and which would guide the research into the finding of Peace. My preliminary bout of spiritual reading ended with the finding of such an hypothesis, best summarised by Aldous Huxley:

    It was a working hypothesis diametrically opposed to that of academic philosophers, of which we can take Bertrand Russell's as typical:

    Huxley's hypothesis is, in effect, that no philosophy which accepts these things can hope to stand, and it was this which I took, as I said, as my working hypothesis.

    There then followed some abortive attempts to find the Godhead - many painful hours spent performing some meditational technique outlined in some appendix of some 'spiritual' book. The result was nil. It was then that I saw the need to emend slightly my working hypothesis, by including the condition that the "Law or Dharma which must be obeyed, the Tao or Way which must be followed" could not be obeyed or followed from books - I needed a teacher, someone who could practically show me where I was going wrong, and what I had to do.

    This led to a two-year period of my trying to find such a teacher. It included a short stay in a Christian monastery, and a year's being attached to a Buddhist monastery. One thing that impressed me greatly during this period was that all the teachers I met, Christian and Buddhist, Yogi and Zen, Spiritualist or Occultist, were all saying essentially the same thing, though in different terminologies. And what they were saying was in essence the hypothesis outlined by Huxley above. But although everybody agreed about the hypothesis or theory, the practical was a different matter.

    Although it was generally agreed that the laboratory in which the hypothesis had to be tested was 'inside' us, I found no-one able to tell me exactly what experiment to perform, and how to perform it, which led to a satisfactory testing of the hypothesis.

    Then early in 1970 I met a devotee of Guru Maharaj Ji.

    He told me that Guru Maharaj Ji could show me how such an experiment was to be performed. I went to see Guru Maharaj Ji's mahatma. in London, and heard him speak. There was no doubt that although he was saying yet again the same things I had heard many times before, in this case there was something different; and that was that he had clearly realised in himself the truth of that he was saying. I felt very excited. Was it possible that I had found someone who could, with no beating about the bush, actually reveal to me the Law, Dharma or Tao which I had read and heard so much about, yet was still totally ignorant of? Nevertheless, I still kept my scientific caution.

    I was told in satsang not to believe and then see, but see and then believe. Very well, I thought, I will do that. So I performed the experiment of taking Knowledge; before I took it, I neither believed nor disbelieved what devotees told me about Guru Maharaj Ji. I would judge him totally on the results of the experiment; if he could enable me to verify the hypothesis, then I would surrender my life to him; if he could not, then I would be the first to propagate against him and denounce him before the whole world.

    I was very disappointed at the actual Knowledge session, but was determined to give the Knowledge a chance. I practised meditation, and later in the year went to India to see Guru Maharaj Ji in person.

    I have no doubt now that Guru Maharaj Ji is the Perfect Master, and that he can give to anyone who wants it that Peace "which the world cannot give".[3] Many people criticise Guru Maharaj Ji, but only because they judge him on insufficient criteria - ie externally; to come to any understanding of him we must view him from the viewpoint of that personal experience which we can have as a result of practising his Knowledge.

    What Guru Maharaj Ji claims he can do is fantastic but as a hardened intellectual and scientific sceptic, I have not a scrap of doubt that his claims are valid, since I have found their proof in my own life, and have experienced their truth. This book is a testimony to that experience, which when had means one is finally fully born.

    Copyright 2001 - 2016 Michael R Finch
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