Identity and Dualism

As an atheist, in the sense that I do not hold to any idea of god or follow any theistic religion, I’d like to propose that identity is a social fiction that exists for the purposes of convenience, and that we confuse the fiction for the reality.

The most simple argument against dualism (and in turn identity) is how one explains relationship if things are truly separate. How can mind (non-physical) interact with matter (physical) when all well-behaved ghosts walk straight through walls without so much as leaving a mark?

Physicalism is the notion that everything is just matter and that’s it baby, that’s all she wrote. But to say the world is physical is the same thing as saying it is spiritual, or mental. These are words, and of course they feel incomplete as descriptions of reality for the simple fact that reality isn’t words. It is no more mental than it is physical.

Physical is just a mouth noise we use to describe what feels solid. How do we determine if something is physical? Well, we get a net, we put it around the wiggly world and we say, ah yes, do you see that solid block of pattern there? That’s physical.

But when we magnify the situation, we find out that what looked solid and physical is really just a hell of a lot of space with a few tiny little bits that look solid frantically vibrating back and forth, at such a rate and in such a small space that we can’t put our hand through. The same process occurs when you try to stick your hand through a pedestal fan at a high RPM, it’s like touching a solid. Then when we look inside of those little bits of “solid” matter, we find yet even more space with a similar situation taking place!

So if the physical is the “stuff”, then what of the space in between? Is reality really “physical” when most of it is seemingly empty space? We could say that physical is “on” and space “off”, but even then, reality would be neither physical or non-physical but an oscillation, a dance of one coming into being and cancelling out the other and then vice versa and on and on into the eternal now, which is roughly what the Taoists mean by yin and yang, with the crucial point that within yin is yang, and yang, yin.

And of course, the only way that the physical can be physical is if there is a polarity to it, to define it and imply it, in the same way that we cannot have the peaks of waves without troughs, the peaks of mountains without valleys, black without white, on without off, and so on.

Therein you see that there must be a fundamental unity underlying all apparently distinct and separate phenomena, otherwise there’d be nothing going on whatsoever. Try to imagine a fact in isolation.

The thing to understand here is that all explicit polarities are implicit unities. They mutually arise and imply one another, for example, bees and flowers. You never find bees in an environment devoid of flowers, and vice versa. So, the idea that bees and flowers are in total isolation is, in fact, a hallucination. It would be more correct to say that they are aspects of a single process, that they join on the backside of the weaving so to speak, in the same way the north and south poles of a magnet are joined by the whole magnet.

Then, we must recognise that all designations of identity would be more useful if restated as designations of position and behaviour. Instead of saying, “this is what it is” or “this is who I am, basically”, we could instead say, “ah, look at what’s happening here”, or even better, “look at what the cosmos is doing as centred here and now”.

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12 thoughts on “Identity and Dualism

  1. I find my identity is in part due to my faith because it connects me with my creator and all of creation. We come from a common place and are here for a purpose. My religious upbringing also informed me of the good there is in the world but also the not so good. Of course my faith isn’t my only source of identity because I do have other things in my life as well. Good post.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I did not post this with the claim it was Pro-God or Pro-No God I don’t really know where to begin with deciding what is evidence of “God” I have no desire to try to convince someone of evidence against what they believe. I’m not in that business. Like I said in my post; I am not religious. This should give you a hint that it is in fact NOT Pro-God. However, I will not say that what I posted is in any way shape or form evidence against God. I also stated that it is merely a theory I made up (At least to my credit I did not look it up, nor did I take it from someone or somewhere else. It was an original thought I had, not to say that someone else could have just as easily thought of it before me, which is definitely a possibility. I also said that I was with the post comes the instruction to look through “a different set of eyes” as some people seem to be skipping over. This post was largely speculation, obviously, it was and continues to be a means of expressing free thought and inviting people to mull over a weird and wonderful, and even possible, idea.

      Purely because of my belief in science over religion. Not even that I would say I am atheist, more of still curious. The right answer is still out there, no way for us to know we found the right one already so I might as well be open to what we do have. We have science and globalized education, so I usually go with that kind of stuff haha.

      Either way though, if God (However someone defines God) IS real, or ISNT it doesn’t really matter. What matters is MAKING your life has meaning. God CAN exist, but what matters is what our lives are. We DO exist. So in my opinion, it shouldn’t really matter…the purpose we have, for me, is to live. By not having a “God” for the moment, we become free of responsibility to believe in anything other than ourselves. Let’s take that one step further and instead of believing in ourselves (our; ego, and super ego) lets believe in our potential. That is my reason for human existence, to see just how great we can become!

      If you do not see that I am merely extending good faith to you in hopes you understand me as a person and respect my beliefs as I will undoubtedly respect yours, If I do not please let me know. I do not mean that there is no evidence God is real from everything I understand about the Catholic faith, Islamic faith that’s okay. Faith, regardless of proof is conviction. That is admirable and I will always respect it. However, there is a difference between conviction, and blindly believing in something because it is suitable to you. If I said there is no real/physical evidence for God, that is scientifically accountable. However, like I said believing is the basis for your belief, you do not require proof for your beliefs. So please accept it as a thought-exercise. I have no intention or desire to put down some one else’s beliefs! 🙂

      I hope I cleared everything up, please don’t convincing me that God exists! I’ll just ignore it! Not because I reject the thought of God existing, but that I have no desire to believe that myself. I’ve spent the last few years of my life building my own beliefs so I prefer mine 🙂 BUT I truly appreciate you taking the time to skim my post and comment. If you’d like to discuss something other than putting down other people’s beliefs please comment back! Peace out! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. A totally wonderful post.
    I have no thoughts on a totally omnipotent being. The Universe is us. We are the Universe.
    It is a wonder, a miracle and totally open to personal interpretation.
    Physical or not.
    Personally I feel sorry for people who are so blinkered by a faith or religion that they cannot see or allow themselves to see the beauty in all things around themselves. In the total diversification of the human species. We must experience so we can determine between the physical and non physical.
    I try to accept all things into my mind and process them as best as I can, therefore religion cannot be a part of me because it stops ME from deciding ME and MINE.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much 🙂
      if it were not for the products of science, we would not be as connected as we are today and we would not be realizing the truths in the world. The complication of how our processes work has also provided a vehicle for more of us to know simple things really are. Science seems to be more beneficial to removing the illusion of separation than a lack of it.
      There are truths that are discover-able likely only through science, like for example how to get a quantum computer up and running or even for that matter what the quantum world behaves like or even if there is something much smaller than the visible world, and so on. Things like evolutionary theory, chemistry and so on, these are not aspects of knowledge that can be collected via simple introspection or thought.

      That said, there are basic truths that can be discovered this way, and one only has to look through the Zhuangzi or the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita or the Upanishads, the poetry of Rumi or the works of Huineng to find them. Science itself is the reason that we are able to discover these other truths.

      The poetry of Rumi would have been lost with Rumi if we didn’t have a way to preserve his words. Still, without the internet, I personally may have never even run into any of the works outside of my local culture. Without printed maps, I may not have even known they existed. I would have been raised Hindu, worked on a farm and cooking, and that’s about all my life would amount to. I think everything is connecting together.

      Just pointing out that science is a method of netting or biting the world and then counting the bits, which is not the only way of knowing or the only legitimate way to understanding the world, and therefore not of primary and ultimate necessity in human understanding.
      I don’t know what we’d do without science, we’d probably be still stuck in religious dogmatism.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great read! It gives an odd feeling that 98% of an atom is empty space. De broglie also observed that at certain places in the orbitals, electrons disappear and reappear simultaneously at another position. Strange, but surely quantum physics holds crucial answers to Reality. Thank you for this post, Aishwarya!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hey Aishwarya..I can so much relate to the post…We are all fighting in the name of God..I guess all spiritual texts were recorded to take us beyond the idol worship and to live a life devoid of disappointments..
    The Space that you were mentioning to can be taken as ‘GOD’, without space nothing can exist and it is omnipresent
    very thought provoking article 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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