Martin LeFevre: Does Man Matter? Part Two
Does Man Matter? Part Two
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Despite a much greater presence of people on a Sunday afternoon than when I’ve been here during the week, it’s still a supremely quiet place at the mountain reservoir. Over a quarter mile away, some kids at a picnic site across the lake can’t handle the silence, and make incessant and often weird noises.
Just as they leave, a gaggle of garrulous adult cyclists stream in. One hears conversations in a normal voice from hundreds of meters away almost as if in the same room. And their voices are loud. After they disappear into the woods behind me, a hawk leisurely soars in over the water.
I watch as it hovers almost motionlessly for a few seconds. Then, one wing pointing skyward, it careens down to the water, breaking the surface. Lofting itself into the air, it holds a large fish in its talons! As if to show me its prize, it curves across the inlet towards me. There, perpendicular to its body is a big trout, almost as long as the hawk itself.
After the mind effortlessly quiets down in harmony with the palpable silence of the place, I hear a zipping sound behind me. A few seconds later, a duck flies over at considerable height. It literally sounds like it is unzipping the air.
A couple rides by on their bikes behind me. The young man’s voice echoes through the silence: “…he said you take a picture of your wife or whatever, and they can make you Legos (interlocking plastic pieces, formerly a child’s toy) for that. But he said it costs a lot of money.”
A small noiseless fishing boat, under power from a tiny electric motor, trolls the calm waters, a taut fishing line trailing behind it. For a few seconds the beauty of the scene overwhelms one, as the sun illumines the water, the boat, and the pines and scattered deciduous trees (in full autumnal color) along the shoreline.
The silence of this spot is so intense that it instantly engulfs every sound, natural or man-made. The reactions of thought, which stem from memory, are so trivial that the entire mechanism shuts down. Then one simply listens, and in that silence the listening takes the brain to ineffable depths. It contacts something beyond all knowing, the quintessence people have sought since time immemorial.
Is there an intrinsic intent in the universe to evolve brains capable of contacting Mind? That is, of course, a religious and philosophical question, not one that can be answered by science.
But is there a way to test my theory that the evolution of ‘higher thought’ both makes awareness of God possible, and is the greatest impediment to it? Yes, if direct or indirect contact is made with intelligent life on other planets. Then we’ll know whether symbolic thought, wherever it evolves, goes through a crisis generated by its fragmenting tendencies. Now, can humankind awaken genuine intelligence and breakthrough, thereby consciously rejoining the universe?
The mind/brain can see without symbols, which of course includes theories! A theory is literally ‘a way of seeing.’ But to see things as they actually are, thought must be quiet. This is why the art of meditation is so important; through it one awakens the capacity in the human mind for direct perception and insight.
Direct perception and insight are the foundation within the individual for connecting with the cosmic mind and the sacredness that imbues the universe. Many supposedly educated people believe that there is no such thing, and deride what they call ‘immaculate perception.’ But there is an intelligence beyond thought, and it’s merely another form of the supreme arrogance and self-centeredness of thought to maintain that we cannot see except through the words, images, and theories generated by the human mind.
Returning to the religious/philosophical question: is there a deep intrinsic intent in evolution to evolve brains like ours? In other words, does evolution lead, in its perilous and mostly random way, to brains capable of awareness of Mind?
I feel so, though that does not make us the center of the universe, or mean the human-like brain is the ‘goal’ of evolution. Something vast is going on in the universe. Take care of your brain.
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: email@example.com. The author welcomes comments.