As published on April 12, 2016.
Note: If you are a Star Wars fan and that is the reason you opened this note, let me warn you, this has nothing to do with that ‘Force’, or maybe, it does. Do not take this note as fact, but read this with your mind’s ability to hold possibilities that are contradictory to your beliefs, so it may spark something of your own.
There are now huge debates going on about the validity of consciousness, and efforts to prove its existence. There have been, since recorded history, man’s debate on the existence of god, the supreme power, the creator, the almighty, and so on. Then there are now spiritual teachers who claim that we are all gods. I do not know who god is, I cannot define what consciousness is, I cannot claim I am god. I am nothing but a confused mortal on this planet and soon you are going to be confused as any other human, if you are not so already, for I am going to give it another name ‘The Force’ (Shakthi as the Indians know it) and try to answer some of the ever daunting existential questions. Note: I did not coin the term.
The Smallest Particle
There is a study that claims everything is energy, that everything is nothing but just vibrating atoms and molecules. What is an atom? In your school you first learn that atom is the smallest particle, one that comprises everything. Then as you go higher up the grades, you learn that atom is itself made of smaller particles, called electrons, protons, and neutrons.
An interesting thing to note about this atomic model is that the said distance between electrons, when compared, is as great as that between planets, say the Earth and Mars! It is an interesting aspect to observe the similarity between the vastness of the universe and the vastness within the smallest element in the universe. This leads us to the next question, what is there in that space between electrons? We can answer the microcosm by looking at the macrocosm. What is there in that space between Earth and Mars? Nothing. Vacuum. It is empty. Which means that over 99% (forgive me for any inaccuracy in the statistics) of an atom is empty space.
“The smallest element in the world is 99% empty.”
Ponder this for a moment. The smallest element in the world is 99% empty. What we are talking about is the atom that comprises everything we see around us. Not only around us, but us as well. A biological cell is made up of atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and so on. Multitude of such cells together form us. Then when you hold your hand up, what are you looking at? Is it the 1% mass that we are looking at? Is it the 99% empty space we are looking at? Or is it that our eyes are unable to see the difference? What are we looking at? Who are we? Or rather, what are we made of?
Going back to school things get even weirder. As you start looking into Quantum Theory you learn that there is nothing like an electron and proton, but just energy vibrating at different levels. So there is no electron or proton, but just energy jumping around. Ah! And there I was thinking I am looking at my hands!
Let us assume that an atom is a manifestation of The Force, one that I shall take without any proof or question and on which this entire debate shall be based. You are free to question and you should. But let me take this assumption and go ahead. The Force is not the electron, it is not the proton or neutron, and nor is it the vacuum between them, but all of it. It is the Force that is the all. An atom is a manifestation of that Force. That said, let us take the case where two of those atoms come near each other and forms a molecule. Now the Force has a larger canvas to express itself. It has double the abilities of the atom, double the strength, the area and everything else.
Now the next level. An, amoeba, the smallest living organism is a single celled organism. What is it, but a combination of many molecules? Of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and other atoms that constitutes life on Earth. An amoeba, the smallest biological cell, is nothing but a higher level of manifestation of the very same Force, a bigger canvas, a combination made possible by the coming together of various atoms, which are themselves the Force.
The next level. Take your skin. What is your skin, but a coming together of various cells? Take your nerve cells. What is it but the coming together of another type of cells? What are your organs, but the coming together of cells to perform a particular function? But think about this, what does a cell in your skin know about you? Does any cell know about anything for that matter. All it knows is it receives some signals from below, it passes to the cell above.
“What are you, but a coming together of various cells?”
What is the Purpose of Life?
What is the purpose of that cell in your skin? All it knows is everyday it receives signals, and it passes on. Everyday you wake up, go to work (where say you are a postman), and comes home. Does that cell of yours know anything about you, or why it even exists? No. Do you know anything about you, or why you even exist? No. Does your cell ever know why it does nothing but pass signals? No. Do you know ever why you do nothing but pass letters? No. Does the cell know if by passing signals it is making a difference? No. Do you know by passing letters you are making a difference?
Am I Right or Wrong?
Again let us take it to the cells. What all can the cell do? Receive a signal, pass it on, and maybe one day it might not see the point in just passing signals and choose not to, in which case it dies. Three possibilities. What ever it choose, it can choose nothing but what is can choose. Who can decide what the cell chooses is right or wrong? After all, it can choose only one from the options that it has. Choosing any of which is still within its purpose or karma.
What are we but a coming together of such cells? Though our options might seem limitless to us, looking from larger perspective, are they not too are like the choices of the cell. Whatever we choose to do, are we still not limited by the choices that we already have? Who can decide what is Right and Wrong? Whatever the cell chooses to do or chooses not to do, are they all not already part of its karma.
Why Am I Here?
Maybe at some level that cell knows it is part of something bigger than itself. Maybe at some level we know we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Maybe that cell will have a jolly time in spite of doing nothing but pass signals. Maybe you will have a jolly time in spite of doing nothing but pass letters. Maybe one day the cell will stop passing signals and choose to move on. Maybe one day you will stop living and pass on. Maybe that cell will then go back to earth, to its atoms and become something new. Maybe you will go on to become something else.
Can the cell ever know all of this? Maybe, maybe not. Can you?
Is a Table Alive?
Let us take this question to the microcosm. Is an atom alive? What does it even mean to be alive? Because you can read this and talk about this to someone are you alive? Is it being able to talk, the criterion for being called alive? Or is it the ability to move from one place to another on its own? We think of animals as being alive for they possess these two qualities, but not a table.
But what are we, animals, and a table, nothing but a various manifestations of the very same Force that flows in an atom? Remember, when atoms came together to form molecules, the Force had a larger canvas to express itself. When it became the first biological cell it had an even larger canvas. Then when these cells came together to form animals and humans, it had an even larger means of expression.
We are the result of millions and billions of years of evolution. We, as of today, are the highest levels of manifestations of that very same Force. We have evolved to such an extend that we can write, talk and communicate our ideas and be understood. We have evolved to such an extend that we can move about, change things, change our DNAs and question the very Force that we are made of, and what not.
“What is anything, but a collection of atoms that the Force permeates?”
What is The Force?
It goes by many names. You can choose to call it whatever you want. But it is what is in the atoms, the molecules, the cells, us, the galaxy, the universe. It is there at the microscopic level, as well as the macroscopic. It is that which has no name, or structure, but one that men since time immemorial have tried to define and possess, just like my attempt in writing this. Only if I knew what I sought is indeed what I am.
“May you Awaken
to the Force that
flows through You.”
Ideas and philosophies on which this is written are too broad and scattered that trying to write it down will require an effort far more than what it took to write this. Further more, those were only the ingredients for the soup you just tasted, which will now be the ingredients for the soup you shall prepare, one which I shall taste, in this lifetime or another.