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One For all and All for one

June 27, 2010

One of the things that I’ve realized in this little existentialist journey of mine, is that there are two different types of truth in this world: Truth of the One, and Truth of the All.

As I was trying to say (but likely ended confusing all who read it, myself included!) in my post “Social Vitality”, there are two types of Intuition (or Spiritual Truth): Emotional truth, and Rational truth.

In relation to this post, it should be noted that Emotional truth is derived from the All, whereas Rational truth is derived from the One. Social Vitality explains my reasoning for this, if you are able to keep pace with it (I barely can, and I wrote it!).

For this post, might I present a brief retrospect:

As I was struggling to find truth in being a Christian, or in any religion for that matter, it occurred to me that I was more of a Christian at church than I was at home, regardless of my philosophical stance at the time. Essentially, it was easier to be a Christian “In the Presence of God”. Now then, what do I mean why this “presence”?

When a person is in a large gathering, there is an immense amount of collective energy in the air– and that energy becomes even more apparent when people are sharing it with others– with their words, actions, and– most important, through their unity.

There is no spiritual force more meaningful, more powerful, or more real than unity. To be part of the All– to become one with the All– that is a drive that infects all of us.

Even the most fervent of anime otakus, whom are known for their anti-social nature, morbid isolationism, and for their self-perpetuated outcast status– when gathered together in an anime convention, will be the most enthusiastic of the crowd when it comes to social functions. In many cases, they will be the life of the party, showing off their expansive catalogs, synchronized choreography, and the most elaborate cosplay outfits.

It is human nature to be part of something bigger than ourselves: a cosmic purpose, an eternal journey, “God’s plan”– we all need somewhere to belong in this world. But at the same time, we all want to be valued as individuals, and that is perhaps the biggest dilemma we face, at least from the existentialist point of view.

While I was living a more isolated lifestyle, I did come up with a lot of good writing. However, I’ve found that I also came up with perhaps even better writing when in a social setting– at least initially.

To clarify: Whenever I transitioned to a more social setting, I became more inspired, and so most of my biggest breakthroughs came directly from social contact. This would imply that social truth is, at least for me, more productive. But that’s not quite the case, as the inspiration did not come directly from the social contact; rather, it came from the transition to social contact.

One of the most important things that I’ve learned about the nature of reality, is that the world is best appreciated when one is able to look at both sides of things at the same time. For example, one can only appreciate light when there is darkness– thus, the best way to appreciate both at the same time is either through a shadow in the light, on a light shining in the darkness.

That considered, I can safely say that the best way to appreciate social truth is through self-truth, and vice versa. The best way to appreciate the One is through appreciating the All, and the best way to appreciate the All is by appreciating the One.

To paraphrase Hegel, “The soul is on a never-ending journey to lose itself that it might find itself.” To me, the meaning of this statement is clear: Humans communicate with others that they might know themselves, and they communicate with themselves that they might know others. We are social creatures precisely for the same reason that we are Egoist: to be the One (an individual) we must be the All, and so it is through our unity with the collective that we are able to retain our individuality.

It is for this reason that collective unity is in our best interests: By isolating oneself from the rest of humanity, even (and perhaps, especially) if for the sake of maintaining one’s individuality, you will actually be destroying that which you seek to protect most. When you are alone– at that you rely on to validate your uniqueness and identity as a person becomes irrelevant, as you have already rid yourself of the Collective– the only standard that you would have to confirm your identity.

By becoming one with the All, as ironic as it might seem, you are actually more of an individual than when isolated, because it is through the All that we achieve unity, and it is through unity that Oneness manifests.

Oneness, a goal which I hope that humanity is striving for and will achieve in the near future, is according to Hegelian idealism the metaphysical equivalent of become one with the mind of God.

In a more poetic sense, it is a unity so strong, so intimate, and so transcendent– that there is no difference between the One and the All. Or more accurately, the differences become irrelevant. We would all become one individual, but at the same time a collective of minds; the differences between me the everyone else would essentially become meaningless.

In order for such a drastic paradigm shift to occur, it would require a complete overhaul of values– Something that will probably will not even be possible for several decades, or (God forbid!) centuries to come. Society is built upon prejudice and is compromised by its very nature. If we were to attempt to achieve oneness on the present foundation, we could never achieve it– after all, perfection cannot be built upon corruption– “bad trees can only bear bad fruit”

We must start over from scratch– and nothing short of an apocalypse can provide a wake-up call cosmically horrible enough to facilitate the change required to build this “perfect world”.

One thing that worth noting: “Different ways of looking at the same thing”. Rather than trying to distinguish the One from the All (which inevitably leads to compromise, ultimately producing what we know as “Society”), try to understand what I mean when I say this: The One is the All, and the All is the One. It’s just different ways of looking at the same thing.

So rather than fighting to maintain our individuality, or struggling to fit into this self-compromised Society, let’s solve this Hedgehog’s dilemma by recognizing that at least in the grand scheme of things, we’re all part of the same thing.

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