Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges

Universal Truth: Two Metaphors

For some reason today, I'm thinking a lot about the nature of reality and my beliefs about the universe. My overall philosophy is that the universe exists so that conscious beings can be happy. It may not succeed all the time, but it is trying.

On the way to that, I've been struck by two metaphors for explaining how the universe works.

First, that we are like cells in a body.

I am not aware of every cell in my body. I still try to protect all of them as best I can. I don't always succeed. If I don't pay attention or try something beyond my capabilities, I can harm myself inadvertently. I can stub my toe in the dark or hit my thumb with a hammer or pull a muscle by lifting something incorrectly.

I can (and do) cause harm to myself on purpose. I don't eat enough vegetables. I consume alcohol. I don't exercise. All of these behaviors can be seen as objectively harmful to some part of me. I bet the cells of my liver think, "Why is He doing this to me again?" If I truly cared about every single one of them, I'd quit drinking. For now, the benefit outweighs my concern.

Sometimes cells in a body don't get the right information. The transfer of DNA in cell division goes wrong and a cell becomes cancerous. Or a virus adds some extraneous information and a cell is hijacked to do something destructive to the rest of the cells around it. Sometimes the rest of the cells can fight off these destructive messages, sometimes they can't.

So I think that we are all connected to a greater consciousness but that, in some superficial ways, we are like the cells in the body of that greater consciousness. It isn't always aware of our every little action but we can let it know what we need and once it's made aware it can try to fulfill those needs. Sometimes, some of us get infected with messages that run counter to our default programming and this may cause us to become destructive to ourselves or others.

The other metaphor is that life is like a video game.

This metaphor, I'm stealing whole cloth from this explanation of Hinduism.

I've always been troubled by the idea that, if I'm responsible for my own reality, I'm somehow responsible for the bad things that happen to me (not to mention others). It is somehow comforting to me to think that whatever it was that chose to be manifested in physical reality as me maybe chose the "hardcore" level of difficulty for this game of life.

If we have all made such choices and we are all connected then it follows that our experience in life can be seen as a sort of co-op mode of play. We may face difficult challenges, but we don't have to face them alone. The other players can help us overcome those challenges and there may be some that we are unable to overcome alone.

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