Essay—The Courage to Be (60)

Summary—This essay challenges us with the courage to Be—which means finding a way to exist eternally rather than just existing in spacetime—by following Buddha’s advice and working out our salvation with diligence.

During a session of a group I meet for weekly discussion we broached the topic of reincarnation.  I was surprised to learn that most people in the group do not wish to reincarnate.  Their reason was their lives are comfortable but they did not wish to risk being reborn in another place or as another form of being with a lower standard of living.  I told them my theory of one provides a scientific foundation for reincarnation and that it is nothing to fear.  The universe is bounded so that at this boundary of spacetime lies God, souls and forms existing eternally.  If we worship our eternal souls during our temporal lifetimes then we will have the option to reincarnate upon our death.

Stairway to Heaven.  Ontology is the examination of the most fundamental levels of being in the universe.  They are—matter, life, consciousness and self-awareness.  It is the most basic categorization of the universe we can make.  Ontology serves to characterize the building blocks of our existence.  According to EF Schumacher (1911-77), “From a base of matter, man has the power of life like plants, the power of consciousness like animals and the power of self-awareness, which is consciousness recoiling upon itself.  This power of self-awareness opens up unlimited possibilities for the purposeful learning, formulating and accumulating knowledge.  People for whom the power of self-awareness is poorly developed cannot grasp it as a separate power and tend to think of it as nothing more than a slight extension of consciousness.”  God exists in a state of pure self-awareness.  One of the problems with our behavioral-based society is that we tend to ignore things we cannot see.  Matter is the only visible ontological level of being.  Although we cannot see life, we know that it exists, as a plant is either alive or dead.  Similarly, a person is either conscious or unconscious.  I am arguing we can tell whether a person is self-aware by looking into their eyes, as eyes are the windows to the soul.

Mapping Ontology to Energy.  Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian physician, neurologist and founder of Freudian psychoanalysis.  He adamantly insisted the energy that operates our minds is no different than the energy that operates the universe.  The dream of Einstein’s unified field theory was to integrate the four levels of energy in the universe.  They are—gravitational, electromagnetic, nuclear-weak and nuclear-strong.  In turn, I am identifying the four levels of energy as coincident with the four ontological levels of being by using the complementary principle, which says that there are two fundamentally different ways of looking at the same phenomenon.  Matter and gravity are obvious choices for partnering as matter creates the warping of spacetime that produces gravity.  Life and electromagnetism align nicely in that both are a type of physical interaction that occurs between electrically charged particles.  Consciousness coincides with nuclear-weak energy as consciousness is a swirling metaphysical vortex that is coincident with the mind.  Self-awareness agrees with nuclear-strong as they are the last two options.  The physical brain houses the metaphysical elements of consciousness and self-awareness.  In those moments when we become self-aware, nuclear-weak energy transforms into nuclear-strong energy like a lightbulb flickering on and off.  In order to permanently realize self-awareness we must keep the lightbulb on always.  Nuclear-strong energy is the stuff of nuclear bombs.

Freudian Psychoanalysis versus Existential Psychoanalysis.  According to Freud’s theory, people are strongly influenced by unconscious forces.  Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was a French philosopher, dramatist, novelist and political journalist.  He was a leading advocate of existentialism and the originator of existential psychoanalysis.  Against Freud, Sartre argued that the notion of the unconscious is conceived of in bad faith.  Bad faith is a form of self-deception in which one unsuccessfully attempts to flee from freedom and responsibility.  Freudian psychoanalysis is a method that seeks to find the original complex or knot in the psyche.  Existential psychoanalysis seeks to find the original project as a fundamental choice of being in the world that manifests itself in every choice we make.

The Original Complex.  My father worked for Imperial Oil from age 18 to 55, whereupon he retired with a good pension.  My parents always took good care of the four children in our family.  When I was eight my father bought me a set of children’s encyclopedias because I was asking so many questions.  When I was twelve he got me a dog because he thought I was lonely.  He always encouraged me to get involved in sports.  But from the time when I was young I knew I did not want to follow in my father’s footsteps.  I was always in contempt of authority and my father was my most convenient source of authority.  Einstein said that God had punished him for his contempt of authority by making him an authority himself.  My father often asked me to explain myself to him.  This need-to-explain complex was the driving force that compelled me to write essays.  So in some ways I owe a debt of gratitude to my father for giving me this complex that helped me become the writer I am today.

Utility versus Deontology.  A less fortunate friend of mine and I meet now and again for coffee.  On one visit to the coffee shop he decided he did not have to pay for his coffee as there was no cashier at the till.  He was demonstrating utilitarian ethics, which holds that the goal of our choices is to maximize utility for the group involved.  His argument might be that money has more utility in his pocket than with the coffee shop.  His only concern is that stealing coffee might have negative consequences like being caught stealing.  Alternatively, deontological ethics simply tells us to do the right thing.  Utilitarian ethics fall down because they only consider the interests of a group.  If the group were to expand to the whole universe then utilitarian would become deontological.  Deontological ethics excel by realizing the simpler choice is to do the right thing regardless of utility.  Sartre called this the original choice, which is to Be or not to Be.  If we choose to Be we transcend spacetime and exist eternally.  If we choose merely to be we are stuck in a quagmire of utilitarian ethics and only exist temporally.  Even the smallest choice like stealing coffee echoes throughout our being.  Souls exist eternally and are nurtured by deontological ethics.  Some people need a reason to choose deontological ethics, which is that it is in the best interests of their soul.

Option Theory.  The first level of risk management is to ensure that entities are not overexposed to future uncertainty.  The second level is to ensure that we receive fair return for given levels of risk.  This risk-reward efficiency makes sure that with high/low risk comes high/low reward.  The third level is to ensure we value the ownership of optional opportunities.  Some people believe they will not have the option to reincarnate at their moment of death.  But rather than deciding now whether to reincarnate we should live our lives with the knowledge of this choice when we die.  Most people ignore this option and sell their souls for the creature comforts of temporal existence.  If we reflect on the soul when making even the most insignificant decisions, we may be able to remember our past lives.  With this memory we can be empowered to choose to Be or to be.  Then, when death arrives on the scene we will have the option to reincarnate or not.

The Method of Argument.   The method of authority is a cornerstone of Western civilization.  Essentially it means that authority gets the last word and that government agents (eg. educators, doctors and politicians) are not responsible for answering arguments.  René Descartes (1596-1650) formulated his famous Cartesian model for constructing arguments.  Sir James Jeans (1877-1946) said that God is a mathematician.  Mathematics and actuarial science are disciplines involved in the constructing of arguments.  My theory of one (2001) demonstrates that the government does not answer arguments.  I am proposing we use Philosophymagazine-style essays in making arguments.  I would ask government agents to write essays that respond to arguments.  Without arguments there is no Being.  Arguments promote Being by bootstrapping the soul.  Arguments simplify the world around us and allow us to transcend utilitarian ethics and embrace deontological ethics so that we may Be and may focus on realizing eternal truths.

Conclusion.  If we sit on a chair and it collapses it is absent of Being.  The courage to Be is to create Being for ourselves and then have the strength to Be for others.  Freudian psychoanalysis teaches us to identify and untie complexes.  Existential psychoanalysis teaches us to identify the original choice—which is the courage to Be.  If we worship our eternal souls during our temporal lifetimes we will have the option to reincarnate upon our death.  The Everyman has sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for a comfortable life.  But as Kevin Spacey tells us in the beautiful 1999 movie, American Beauty, “It’s never too late to get it back.”