The Camouflage Universe
“Even if the dualistic appearance of Matter and Force be insisted on, it does not really stand in the way of this Monism. For it will be evident that essential Matter is a thing non-existent to the senses and only… a conceptual form of substance; and in fact the point is increasingly reached where only an arbitrary distinction in thought divides form of substance from form of energy…. Matter expresses itself eventually as a formulation of some unknown Force. Life, too, that yet unfathomed mystery, begins to reveal itself as an obscure energy of sensibility imprisoned in its material formulation; and when the dividing ignorance is cured which gives us the sense of a gulf between Life and Matter, it is difficult to suppose that Mind, Life, and Matter will be found to be anything else than one Energy triply formulated, the triple world of the Vedic seers. Nor will the conception then be able to endure of a brute material Force as the mother of the Mind. The Energy that creates the world can be nothing else than a Will, and Will is only consciousness applying itself to a work and a result.” – Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine
I am currently reading Sri Aurobindo’s classic two volume work, The Life Divine (1973) written from a Hindu perspective. Aurobindo’s work has been compared to Nietzsche (in fact he has been called “the Eastern Nietzsche”) and it is certainly rich, but also somewhat difficult for a Westerner unfamiliar with some of the occasional references to ancient Hindu sacred literature. I frequently find myself having to go over a sentence or paragraph two, three or more times before it clicks. Jean Gebser wrote very positively about Aurobindo in his preface to The Ever-Present Origin.
And it’s true. Aurobindo’s “evolutionary spirituality” (if one wants to call it that) is a very significant accomplishment. William Blake, Friedrich Nietzsche, Carlos Castaneda, Rumi, Seth, Jean Gebser are all prismatically reflected in and through Aurobindo’s words. Probably The Life Divine is to Aurobindo’s overall writings what The Ever-Present Origin is to Jean Gebser’s overall work.
I selected the passage above to cite from Aurobindo because of how it resonates with what Castaneda wrote in his 30th Anniversary Commentary to his first book, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, the full text of which I posted earlier. You are invited to compare what Aurobindo wrote above to what Castaneda wrote in that essay.
Particularly to be noted is what Castaneda describes as “energy as it flows in the universe” as being pretty much what Aurobindo describes here about Life, Mind, Matter to be “Energy triply formulated”, and where Castaneda speaks of “intent”, Aurobindo here speaks of “Will”. Moreover, Aurobindo’s insistence on the essential reality of matter as being “conceptual” substance (a point also insisted upon by Nietzsche) corresponds to what Castaneda insists is the fundamental function of perception — to translate energy as it flows in the universe into the elements of sensory data, through the function of the “assemblage point”, which includes the sensation of the merely apparent solidity of matter, equally what Seth calls “the camouflage universe”. For Aurobindo, also, the apparent universe exists as “symbolic” form, deeply meaningful throughout all its parts and relations, which is sometimes only perceived directly by the poets.
This is not, at this point in history, even much of a controversial issue in physics. The reason why we perceive matter as solid, when it really isn’t, is a mystery that was explored in “the Holographic Universe” and in recent books like Paul Davies’ and John Gribbon’s The Matter Myth.