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Oneness

October 12, 2010

The other day I was talking to my dad about “Oneness”, this mystical feeling that I’ve been having, and he asked me if what I meant by “oneness” was “unity”, to which I responded that it was not. I didn’t understand quite why at the time, but I was certain that there was a big difference between oneness and unity. That difference, as I know realize, lies in necessity; specifically, whereas unity implies a bond between entities (with “loyalty” being one of the side-effects of that bond), oneness transcends everything, making the very concept of bonding irrelevant, as such a thing is unnecessary with oneness.

Oneness transcends all bonds in both intimacy and strength, not because it is better, but because of the deep humility (and by “humility” I refer to the discarding of pride) that oneness encompasses. With the all the psychological walls out of the way (which would block or stifle Oneness), the world will be free to become One with itself, body and soul. Oneness means that I am the World, and the World is Me; when the pride has been discarded and all of the walls rendered irrelevant, there is no difference between myself and the world, there are only two different ways of looking at the same thing.

I’m not talking about Collectivism, the failed attempt to turn the Ego into the SuperEgo. In Collectivism there is not selflessness as there is is Oneness; in Collectivism one is merely transposing the World’s ideas onto one’s own. You are still selfish even with Collectivism; the only difference is that in making Societal ideals more important than your own, you have traded your ideas for that of the Collective. With Collectivism, not only are you lying to yourself (by saying that Society’s interests are in alignment with your own), but you are still selfish. The only difference is that now your selfishness is a common interest.

This is also a problem with friendship; people think they are selfless in their friendships, but in reality they are simply finding common interests onto which they can project their selfish desires. Friendship as we know it is simply a mutually selfish arrangement, shrouded in the illusion of actually “caring” about someone else, when really you only care about yourself. When we explode this phenomenon to the level of Society, we see what “caring” (as found in friendships) really causes: corruption and deceit. Just as with the Collective, friends only think they care because they have projected their desires onto common interests, thus creating and supporting the illusion of selflessness, while at the same time sustaining one’s pride, albeit the pride has become social instead of merely personal.

On the other hand, we have individualism, where personal pride is paramount, and other’s interests irrelevant. Individualism is in some respects more virtuous than Collectivism, because Individualists do not lie to themselves and others by projecting the illusion of common interest, but pursue goals unabashedly regardless of the consequences of others. It is somewhat more selfish than Collectivism, but only because the selfishness is personal instead of social, with the clash between personal selfishness and societal interests making the selfishness of Individualism all the more obvious. But unlike Collectivists, Individualists are true to themselves, and thus more likely to be able to achieve Oneness.

There is something that both Individualists and Collectivists have in common, and it is that they are both selfish; specifically, they both have Pride, and it is this pride that prevents them both from achieving Oneness. With Individualists, their pride is personal pride, and is manifested as the Ego. With Collectivists on the other hand, their pride is social pride, and is manifested as the SuperEgo. In both cases, it is pride that gets in the way.

It’s important to note that Pride is the root of all evil (although prejudice is the greatest of all evils, prejudice is subservient to Pride, which is ultimately the root of all evil). Everything that has caused suffering, loss, death, or corruption has been caused by Pride; be it personal pride (individualism) or social pride (collectivism). Because of this, the only way to rid the world of evil is selflessness, and the only means (so far as I know) of accomplishing selflessness is Oneness.

To achieve Oneness requires the discarding of one’s pride in the pursuit of virtue. Oneness is the continual realization (perpetual epiphany) that You and the World are One. Oneness is not the destruction of the wall between the Self and the World, nor can one create Oneness; rather, it is the realization of the true nature of the self, of the world, of reality. Oneness is the epiphany that in truth there is no distinction between the Self and the World; if a distinction must be made by which to appreciate Oneness, let it be that the Self and the World are merely “two different ways of looking at the same thing”.

This feeling, this epiphany of mine must have been what Gautama Buddha felt when he became enlightened. For in understanding the true nature of things, that in truth I am One with the World, it remains only for me to appreciate it, to live it, the be it. To be as One, just as I already am. To live my life according to the nature that I already have. My purpose is One with the fate of the world, and so it is that I must love the World, and in doing so I will have loved myself also, for we are One and the Same.

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