new age spirituality

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The Nature of Man

There are two main, contrasting views on the nature of man.

Materialism asserts that we are no more than the product of a physical universe; mere automata created by that great cosmic accident, the big bang. We have no soul, spirit or will; all that we do is deterministic reaction to the inputs received through the five senses and processed by that supercomputer called the brain. The illusion of consciousness is no more than the product of millions of years of evolution. There is no God, neither life nor death and nothing we see, feel or do is of any significance whatsoever.

Dualism suggests that man has a dual nature - a physical body combined with some spirit or will, capable of transcending physical laws of cause and effect. We are more than just a set of fundamental particles and cannot be described by Newtonian or quantum mechanics or any other scientific flavour of the month. All we do, every act of will, is significant; changing forever what would otherwise have been.

Most people adopt the dualistic position without even considering any alternative. We go through life seeking that elusive state called happiness in a variety of ways but invariably in the belief that we are at least partially in control of our destiny.

If we accept that we are something more than matter and energy, and that something is spirit, then which is the more consistent? - that the spirit miraculously appears from nowhere some time before birth and mysteriously vanishes at death; or that the spirit's existence is as infinite as quarks and leptons and only its association with our body is temporal?

For all the great advances of science in adding to man's collective knowledge of the universe we have made little progress in understanding that within us which is able to understand.

I believe that all existence occurs within a multi-dimensional universe, of which the four dimensions of space and time are but a fragment.

Life is a transient bond between a unique spirit and some physical vehicle or body, i.e. between entities within the spiritual dimension(s) and the physical dimensions (of space-time). This bond is formed at that point after conception when it is determined that a new life will arise. The strength and nature of the bond varies with the form of organism; being strongest in man and weakest in plant life (where the action of the spirit world may take millions of years to develop ingenious mutations).

The strength of this bond also varies over time, and is indicated by state of mind. Most times the mind is on auto-pilot, running familiar programs and ticking over with minimum effort. The mind works harder in times of exaltation, crisis or when learning a new skill (program). During sleep the mind retreats into its own realm, keeping physical monitoring to a bare minimum.

The spirit exerts its influence over the physical body (i.e. what we perceive as free-will) by means of quantum effects occurring within the brain. Most quantum events are truly random, the sum total of vast numbers of such events giving rise to the mainly deterministic world we experience. Occasionally the spirit intervenes and tips the balance slightly in its desired direction. This is action of the will.

All observable life originates from living parentage, which raises the question of where the first life came from. Materialism asserts that it sprang from a fortuitous set of circumstances, the right atoms just happened to meet at the right temperature and pressure etc. Maybe that's just statistically possible given the vastness and age of the universe, but in living organisms the fundamental particles don't simply function individually - their behaviour is determined by the needs of the whole body e.g. they begin to seek survival, reproduction, heredity etc. A living organism is more than the sum of its parts. Life is of a different order of complexity to the non-living. Similar distinct jumps exist between plant, (non-human) animal and man.

Human character is largely predetermined at birth, and reflects the nature of that unique spirit or soul allied to the physical body. Attempts have been made to categorize personality but individuals may not be pigeon-holed, each having many traits in infinitely variable degree. Similarly the "luck" enjoyed by an individual, as well as any special talent or "gift" (i.e. its karma), is more related to the spirit than the body.

The existence of life on planet earth is of finite duration. It has not always been there and will eventually be there no longer as the planet becomes inhabitable through the misuse of its resources or of man's technological capabilities or when the sun finally burns itself out. It's likely that human life will die with the planet unless the privileged few develop the ability to migrate elsewhere. This phenomenon called life must be considered as finite, just one phase in the evolutionary journey of the universe, and the growth of the spirit.

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