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Questions

Opinion Piece

I am going to ask you two questions.

No.1: What came first, consciousness or the brain?

Logic would say the brain, but how can something which is totally unconscious, not even aware of its own existence, create a brain when it doesn’t know what a brain is and is totally unaware that it needs one?

Material science has not yet answered this question to my satisfaction.

No.2: How many times could you fit the Earth into the Sun?

The answer is 1.3 million. Wow!

I remember the first time I read this. That night I sat outside under a starry sky and realised that the Earth could fit into every star I could see at least a million times, and that was only the stars I could see! It is estimated that there are between 100 billion and 400 billion stars in our own little Milky Way galaxy, and science tells us that it is estimated there are billions of galaxies in the universe. We humans don’t even register on the scale of the universe. I sat there for a very long time.

But we puny little human beings have the ability to think, and what is even more significant is that we have the ability to reason. Our thinking is not confined to instinctively finding shelter, food and procreation for the sake of our survival. No way! We think about things like art, music, and poetry. We ask ourselves questions like “Why am I here?” “Why do I exist at all?” “What created me?”

Why do we do that? Why do we even care about thinking about things that are greater than ourselves?

I believe we were created to ask the questions and more importantly to know the answers. I believe we were created to “be the knowing” — not just a human being understanding and knowing something, but the very “knowing” expressing itself. Now, doesn’t that last statement resonate with something deep inside of you?

When I was in my twenties I was interested in philosophy and in particular Socrates, a Greek philosopher (c.470-399BC). Socrates never wrote anything down but his offsider Plato did. There were four books by Plato in the library, all were the size of the old leather-bound family Bibles. I took one home. I found it a very boring, laborious read. In fact, I never finished it. At one stage I had read about three pages before it dawned on me that Socrates was defining the concept of “democracy” and for the first time in my life I realised that there was a time when democracy was an unknown concept.

Socrates was thinking about the unthinkable! It was just a small glimmer of an idea but what huge implications that idea held for humanity! Ask any young person “What is democracy?” and they will be able to tell you.

Definition: Government in which political control is shared by all the people, either directly or by representatives whom they elect. Political, legal or social equality.

All summed up in one word! “Democracy” — don’t you agree that that is amazing?

It is “mind” which enables humans to escape the darkness of ignorance and emerge into the light of knowledge. The ability to “think the unthinkable” is the only means of progress there is. Thank goodness history has given us so many people who are capable of this.

When mankind discovers a “truth” they don’t create it, they simply uncover what is already in place.

Take our ability to fly. Man discovered the ability to fly in 1903 and only 66 years later we landed a rocket on the Moon! Now, how is that for an example of thinking the unthinkable? But for me the big realisation was that we didn’t need to create the laws of “aeronautics” to allow us to do this, they were already in place. We had been observing them in operation ever since man saw birds and insects flying. The only thing we had to do was raise our awareness to the level where we could utilise that which was already in place.

If truth and the laws of physics were already in place prior to the big bang, then maybe they have always existed. And if that is true then there must exist a consciousness that has always been aware of them. They can’t exist in a vacuum. Therefore consciousness must be fundamental. Without consciousness nothing would exist. We would not exist, let alone be able to think. Because we are able to think we must be part of this fundamental consciousness, otherwise we would not have the ability to comprehend what is already in place and use it.

So here is another big question: If consciousness is fundamental, and consciousness is mind in operation, does matter have any substance? Quantum physics is telling us that matter has no life, intelligence or substance.

Therefore: It is our thinking that determines what we experience.

Heather van Wyk

  1. Peter Jones says:

    The ability to “think the unthinkable” only gets you censored in The Gisborne Herald.