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The Spiritual and the Material: What Finally, Is the Takeaway?

Updated on March 11, 2022
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People are always interested in the origins of the esoteric, and all that is part of human nature is one.

What is the Result of our Interactions in Material Plane?

As far as the material plane is concerned, proliferation of new things, fresh ideas, or both can be considered as the immediate effect. Since we know that humans are happy only when they are able to keep themselves completely occupied, we can safely say, this would continue in perpetuation. Many approaches like the one shown here have been evolving over time to meet the needs, both for infusing fresh ideas, and for acting on those.

This is leading to a greater number of societal transactions, and new vistas to our aims and ambitions, in addition to the expected betterment of our lifestyle. But as our society adjusts itself to the new things or ideas, random signals or other disturbances that can agitate both the spiritual and the material worlds may emanate. This can be termed as the dormant effect of a new idea or change. When and at what trigger this will manifest to its completion is entirely unpredictable.


What Results from our Interactions of the Spiritual Plane

As far as the spiritual plane goes, immediate result can be expected only when the new thing or idea directly impinges on the entity of god. Like the progress we made in astronomy, which dethroned all heavenly bodies from their position of eminence. When this happened years back, we adapted smartly to those changes by redefining the very nature of god. We started to look for spirits elsewhere, away from such objects and more towards the abstract. Such a fundamental change could be happening again, if an atmosphere of a serious shift envelopes our society. For example, an important discovery may lead us to a radical move, if our notion of ‘the abstract’ stands to be affected as a consequence of that breakthrough.

Our Reactions to Stimuli

Think of our approach to internal or external stimuli.

Whenever we are brought to confront something pleasant, the endearing experience is not enough to satisfy us. We will be on a search, making a threadbare analysis to study all facets of such an experience. Those who give a deeper insight into these stands to get honored also more, providing natural encouragement to such a search. We also value this behavior highly, as scientific temperament. Remember, resilience is an asset here; the more comfortable we are, with a failure, the more, the success we stand to attain.

Our Reactions to Unpleasant Stimuli

But our approach is not the same, when we experience something unpleasant. Instead of examining the unpleasant events in a similar manner, the primary aim is to exterminate the event, and effectively nullify further analysis. Had we behaved rationally, our efforts would have been to study those bitter feelings in detail, and to prepare ourselves for such events in the future. A good example of this paradox can be seen in our approach to the study of happiness. Though we know in detail about happiness and its dependency on certain chemicals, our information about unhappiness leaves a lot to be desired. As rational beings, unhappiness should have been subjected to a deeper study than happiness, since that would have given us a greater share of joy. (Reduction in unhappiness, as one can easily gather, is less resource intensive than addition of happiness)

Also, in many cases of unhappiness, one seems to be waiting for a reason to get upset. Getting a response that is a deviation from the norm, or the exposure to an uncomfortable question, is sufficient to agitate the human society high enough to cause permanent harm. Resilience here is an anathema. The more easily we are upset, the stronger, our faith, people applaud. (Whether it is about gods, politics, or other matters that are not very clear to us)

Why they Differ?

What does this indicate? This, I think indicates lack of stability. To put it more appropriately, human society is always in a condition of unstable equilibrium. Because of which, a small or insignificant disturbance is enough to set into motion, a chain of reactions, many of those unpleasant, and with long lasting effects.

We know that the specified behavior of any system, equipment, or a machine, is valid only within certain operating limit of parameters of interest. This operating limit is what is generally known as the linear range. We also know that every system is prone to wayward behavior, due to thermal effects, humidity, vibration etc., and suitable precautions are to be taken to account for this. How do we make sure that a system operates in the linear range? By having an array of special devices, called safeties, incorporated into such systems or devices to prevent it from operating beyond the recommended range, for whatever reason. If we look at human society in this light, many of the remnants of tumultuous earlier ages, rather than constituting a 'pagan ceremony', could pointing to social institutions for maintaining a harmonious society.

What do this Difference Portend?

I think we need to try the approach we take while introducing stability to physical systems, in the conduct of our life as well.

Such as, the steps we take to balance our daily life. When confronted with a failure, we are able to allay our sense of loss, or in cases of success, we are able to cap our elation from becoming obtrusive to others, thanks to frequent interventions from another dimension of our life. Peer pressure, legal framework, or certain social norms, are only a few of these. What is to be noted is, those interventions make sure that the material part of our life operates within the linear range of the parameters of interest.

Why doesn’t it happen in our spiritual world? Why is that whenever a disturbance happen to the spiritual fabric, instead of correcting itself, the disorder threaten to blow up the society? Even in cases of tiny pricks, rather than self-correcting, why do all of those add up to produce a huge ripple?

This is where tolerance comes in. Our reaction to a steady change or a sudden jolt varies depending on what, the change belongs to. Whether it is belonging to the material world or of the spiritual domain.

- In the material world, we are seen to be ‘intolerant’ as far as our satisfaction, happiness or welfare go. And we continuously maintain our approach so as to make, the material world itself, external ‘disturbances’, or both, to align with our good. Here tolerance is our forte.

- In the spiritual world, we are ready to impose whatever restrictions are necessary to our comfort and wellbeing, and if necessary to external inputs, to ensure that the spiritual world always comes out unscathed. The path to follow being specified by certain abstractions as the few shown here, it is understandable that we need to be intolerant, even at our peril, as it is impossible to foresee, what could cause any of these to go amiss.

What Can we Conclude?

This indicates that the spiritual and the material are serving two different and rather opposing needs of human life. Material domain can be understood fairly easily as something that can provide for our comfort and safety. But when it comes to spiritual, assuming that here also our welfare is the one which stands to be benefited, its contribution seems to be as something that will suppress all that can adversely affect our well being.

What can we conclude?

The giant strides, mankind has been making in civilizing itself for the last couple of thousand years, have successfully made a dent on the multi-layered safety cover of our spiritual world. We are not able to be noticing this as each of the impacts was not powerful enough to make a mark. Now we are at a threshold; the combined effect of all those small impacts is reaching a high value, and is poised to render the present spiritual system powerless. That will usher in a change. Till the transformation is complete and we are in receipt of a modified spiritual system incorporating the new ideas of the material world, we can expect a rather tumultuous environment. A marked disharmony between the spiritual world and the material aspirations, I think will be the defining ambience of the coming years.

What can we do?

As noted earlier, our approach to the material world is one with an open mind, where we explore and identify solutions. And we are more or less successful in solving the problems encountered. But our approach to the spiritual world is exactly the opposite, where we wait for solutions to appear. An answer to our troubles with the spiritual world will certainly happen in due course of time. But we can save the mankind from the horrendous days of the intervening period, if only we let natural changes to our spiritual domain to take its course, just as we encourage changes in the material domain.

For example, just as we are ready to question the prevailing idea that the cosmos is an orderly material existence governed by exact laws, thanks to the discoveries of the quantum domain, the reverberations of the same should be making our spiritual domain also, more amenable to change.

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