This book is about two different sensations of oneness that occasionally engulf us. One is often correlated with Oriental culture, the other with the Western worldview. "Oriental oneness" is a mystical perception of wholeness, which entices us to merge with an infinite void while annulling the self. In contrast, "Western oneness" is an intellectual sense of awe in the face of the grand scheme of things, which sooner or later requires us to make ethical choices. At times we spontaneously gravitate toward one and at times toward the other.
This book advocates that both sensations of oneness are not only legitimate but are essential to our well-being. We are not obliged to choose between them. Nature has blessed us with the capacity to constantly oscillate between the two and make the best of both.
This is a timely message, well suited to the increased interest we take in both "halves" of our inner composition. It also points at what our evolutionary path may hold for us in the Third Millennium.
About the Author
GIDEON TOLKOWSKY brings to this book a diverse background: a combat pilot, an aeronautical engineer, a successful venture capitalist, and a disciple of the history and philosophy of technology and science. It is this multidisciplinary skill base that enables him to take a fresh and highly original stand on the multifaceted and avant-garde subject of this book.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: The Truth and the I
The Philosophical and the Psychological
The Chasm's Historical Roots
A Thirst for Mattering
Chapter Two: The Lion's Den
Expulsion from the Garden of Eden
The Little Questions
Time and Sequential Thinking
The Polytheism to Monotheism Transformation
Chapter Three: The Form-Substance Divorce
The Divorce in Philosophy, Art, History, Computer Science
A Monstrous Climax
Chapter Four: Words
Prose and Poetry
Language and Creation
The Spiritual Big Bang
Chapter Five: Patterns
The Art of Reduction
Unity of Contrasts
Cyclicity and Change
Mythology and Patterns
The Mythology of Science
Chapter Six: The Two Onenesses
Chapter Seven: Ethical and Ethicless
Choosing Between the Two Regimes
Chapter Eight: Making Sense
Ethics and Sensibility
A Sense of History
Reversal of Time Arrow
Chapter Nine: Synthesis
Bird of Prayer
A Balancing Act
Epilogue: The Stretcher Bearer
This book's theme is encapsulated in the two figures - the cross-legged meditating sage and the prophet-with-a-temper descending from Mount Sinai, carrying the commandments in stone. Both figures radiate a deep sense of presence of an abstraction that well transcends the here and now. Yet, as gripping as this sensation is, it is incredibly different between the two images. One conveys serenity and pacification of the self, the other conveys firm governance of will. One suggests a breakaway, the other a tightening relationship. While both represent an awe-inspiring, bigger-than-life sense of wholeness, they are nevertheless different as different can be. One makes us ponder and muse. The other pokes us to think and comprehend.
At times we think and at times we ponder. While thinking, we crisply apply our mind to our daily toils, toss and debate with ourselves life's cabbages and kings. While pondering, we tenderly gaze at the little dots that drift and float in mid-air on a sunny day, and we willingly surrender. Then, at the end of both thinking and pondering lanes, there always awaits us a mental state in which we gravitate toward an abstract sensation of wholeness, an all-encompassing perception of reality. We undergo a process of reduction, whereby all the bits and pieces of concrete thought and of hazy ponder are set aside, and a mental vortex swirls us into a singular place. There, we find ourselves staring straight into the eyes of pure, intact not-knowing. Both think and ponder, consider and muse, boil down to not-knowing. One big cloud of not-knowing dawns on us and engulfs us with a sensation of wholeness, which has no horizon. While knowing has its boundaries, not-knowing does not. It is whole, uniform and boundless.
Yet, there is not just one, single sense of wholeness at the end of the lane. There are actually two of them. At the end of the pondering lane we are ambushed by a mystical sensation of wholeness, whose color is whitish, whose touch is foggy, whose sound is silence, and whose command is "empty thyself." In contrast, at the end of the thinking lane there awaits us a "thinking" wholeness, whose color is stern, whose touch is parental, whose sound is language, and whose command is "behave yourself." At times we gravitate toward "voidish" wholeness and at times toward the " let us call it " "intellectual" wholeness.
Why these two sensations of wholeness? What are their respective origins? Or, is their origin one and the same? What functions do they serve in us? Do we need them both? Do we have to choose between them? Do we have to commit to one, or, alternatively, can we nurture both within ourselves? Is there a synergy between the two? Can we, by cultivating both, achieve a sum that is greater than its two parts? These questions make our book's theme.