"Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself" -The Bible
There is this particular hill on Route 4 in Turner, Maine that I am attracted to. Just because of the exposed rock face, I named this hill "Baldy." The official name for this mountain is Bear Mountain. Regardless of name, from my up-close on the ground perspective, I saw the hill as being an individual existing independent of the rest of the scenery.
However, when I saw that same hill from Rt. 106, which is further away to the east and somewhat elevated, I saw the hill as being part of a pattern that contained other hills. It was as if the hill was part of a series of wrinkles in a bed sheet. I began to generalize the lesson seeing this hill as part of a pattern enabled me to learn about other parts of my life. When I am able to get beyond myself, I view myself as part of a weaving that includes everything within this universe. Instead of an isolated person, I am, you are, part of an interwoven pattern of life that included all things. Conversely, the entire pattern exists within me and you.
There is a molecule, called DNA, contained in each cell of our body. This DNA molecule instructs each cell how to function and form. For example, the DNA of a brain cell instructs that cell how to form and function as a brain cell. Each molecule of DNA contains much more information than the instructions for the particular cell it commands. Indeed, each molecule contains knowledge for every one of the distinctive cells in the body. For example, the DNA of a brain cell contains information regarding the functioning of a heart, a liver and a hand. Each cell in our body ultimately contains knowledge for making a complete person. The instructions for making a particular cell are "turned on" through complex interactions between all the cells of the body. Cells essentially talk to each other in determining how they will manifest within the developing embryo. A particular cell manifests because of its relationship to the whole.
I am not the first to have observed that this phenomenon pervades nature. Scientist, David Bohm, describes the universe as a multidimensional web constructed in such a way that each dimension of the web reflects and contains every other dimension holographically (Bohm, 2002). Every person reading this book reflects and contains every blade of grass, every cloud, every planet in our solar system and every star in the universe in his or her own unique way. For example, our circulatory system, composed of heart, arteries and veins, reflects and is another manifestation of the circulatory system of the Earth, composed of oceans, atmosphere, rivers and streams. Similarly, our brains contain billions of neurons firing and making connections, just as the dark, spacious depths of the Milky Way contain billions of stars firing and connecting.
What we see outside is what we see inside. We are a mind nestled within Mind. We--along with everything else--are holographic reflections of the entire universe. The universe both unfolds and enfolds itself as unique forms in such a way that everything mirrors, reflects and contains everything else. Every blade of grass, every woman, every man, every cloud in the sky is the All expressed as a part and each of these parts contains and mirrors the All.
St. Hildegard of Bingen reflects this same idea from a spiritual and cosmological point of view when she states, "God creates everything with everything else in mind" (Fox, 1998, p. 19). The macroscopic is fully contained in the microscopic. Goethe even breaks down the distinction between fact and theory: "A ll fact is really theory. The blue of the sky reveals to us the basic law of color. Search nothing beyond the phenomena, they themselves are the theory." ( Goethe, Theory of Colours, paragraph #50.)
Even more miraculous, according to Carl Sagan (1980), each DNA molecule contains knowledge regarding the entire evolutionary development of our species and ultimately the entire planet. If you ever see photos of a developing fetus, you will notice it will, at various points in its development, look like a fish, a snail, a koala bear and even a snake. This reveals the fact that all creatures are within us. Every one of our cells recapitulates the entire evolutionary history of our planet. The DNA molecule is a hidden totality. In any particular cell, one aspect of that totality has unfolded.
This containment of all evolutionary history in a single person eventually transcends the biological development of life on Earth. It literally reaches into the depths of the universe. The more we dive into ourselves, the more universal we become. As physicists such as David Bohm (Talbot, 1981) and medical practitioners such as Deepak Chopra (1993) have reflected, our bodies are more than 99.999% empty space. We are not solid at all! The atoms and molecules dancing throughout our bodies are energy trails proportionately as void as intergalactic space. Inner space and outer space are not two! If you want to see what you really look like, gaze into the nighttime sky. You are an expression of the entire cosmos. Conversely, the entirety of the universe that you contemplate exists in your eyes. Like the DNA molecule, you are both a hidden totality and also a singularity in creative relationship with all the other participants in our Universe, past, present and future.
This conception gets even more exciting as we explore Quantum Physics. The behavior of electrons has long baffled scientists in this field, because electrons appear as waves when not being observed and as particles when being observed. It seems that the very act of observing an electron makes information about that electron manifest in the field of time and space. When not being observed, the electron spreads out and behaves like a wave. It even appears to be at two places at once! According to physicist David Bohm, this odd behavior of an electron means it is not one thing, but a hidden totality or ensemble , enfolded throughout the whole of space (see Talbot, 1981, p. 47). When a scientific instrument detects (observes) the presence of an electron, it is because one aspect of the electron's ensemble has unfolded in response to the observation. The movie, What the Bleep Do We Know!?, explores this creative transaction between observer and observed. (Arntz, Chasse , and Vicente ) This holistic process immanent in the electron mirrors the process immanent in DNA. DNA is an ensemble of codes containing the entire evolutionary development of humanity and the knowledge of every cell in a person's body. An electron, as a wave, is a hidden totality enfolded throughout the universe!
To put it more poetically, consider the words of the great poet and mystic, William Blake (Briggs and Peat, p. 112):
To see the World in a grain of sand,
and Heaven in a wildflower.
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
and Eternity in an hour.
Another great poet, E. E. Cummings, expresses the miraculous paradox this way:
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
1 | 2