Introduction: One – The Universe is but a Dream


The second classic that you and I visit on our detour, is “The Universe is as but a Dream” or “Maya “[1] in Sanskrit.

[2]

Several Eastern religions are based on the premise that all phenomena are included in or come from a universal being/entity (e.g. Âtman[3] or Brahman[4]). Beyond this universal entity, there is no independent being /entity: only this universal entity exists. All other observations beyond this entity are illusions. People rarely perceive this universal entity: mostly the myriads of illusions are regarded as separate illusionary realities.

[5]

Within the framework of this classic ordinary people experience the transient as permanent, and the permanent and transient.

The difference between “Solipsism” and “The Universe is but a Dream” is the fact that a Solipsist regards his own consciousness as the complete and universal entity. Within “The Universe is but a Dream”, the own consciousness and the perception is seen as illusions and dreams, that may or may not reflect a universal being/entity.

Solipsism is a classic supported by few, because:

  • Solipsism is inwardly consistent and logical, but it is not falsifiable, not refutable or provable[6];
  • Solipsism is exclusively confined to the consciousness of the observer, beyond which nothing exists. This hypothesis is very restrictive for scientists.

“The Universe is but a Dream” is a way of thinking with many manifestations. The “Ideas” of Plato have characteristics of this classic. The “Look” and “Bad Faith” from Sartre[7] – whereby you and I lose our freedom and are reduced to a thing[8] – are also characteristics of this classic. In the later chapters, the frame of mind of this second classic will appear in many forms.

Will you and I have internalized and surpassed the classic “The Universe is but a Dream” at the end of the Odyssey when we return home? We don’t know yet.

The next post will include the third classic “Pantheism”.


[1] “Creating an illusion” in Sanskrit. Source: electronic version od the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta.

[2] Source immage: http://kunstbende.nl/nl/272-medewerkers – Anne Denneman

[3] In Sanskrit “Âtman” means amongst others “breath, universal soul, individual soul, nature, essence, highest existing entity).  “Âtman” consists of “Ât” meaning “thus, further” and “man” meaning “thinking, consciousness, knowledge, conceive”.  Source: electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta.

[4] “Brahman” means amongst others “religious of spiritual knowledge/wisdom”. Source: electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta. The origin of this word is possible the root “brh” meaning “worship, enlarge, grow, enhance” and “man” meaning “thinking, consciousness, knowledge, conceive”.

[5] Source image: http://www.edc.ncl.ac.uk/highlight/rhnovember2006g02.php

[6] See also: Solipsism in Wikepedia

[7] See also: Sartre, Jean-Paul, Being and Nothingness. New York: Washington Square Press: 1977

[8] In chapter 5, you and I will meet this way of seeing.

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