Wednesday, June 10, 2009


"Existence is illusory and it is eternal."
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
-Albert Einstein

To the universal Self, the world appears as a play or an illusion. But for human beings this is not the case.

The subtitle of this blog sounds like a joke, but it's actually quite serious: philosophers do not agree on what is meant by the word 'existence'. It begs the question: If they can't agree on something as fundamental as that, what could they ever agree on?
The Vedic Hindu idea of Brahman, pure existence, or a universal Self, is usually classified as 'pantheism'; however, a more accurate label would be 'panentheism', since even deity emerges from Brahman. Pantheism has been generally despised by Western thinkers, partly because of an historical contempt for the beliefs of traditional peoples such as the American Indians.
Many ancient cultures such as Vedic, Native American civilizations share similar views on omnipresent nature; the ancient Greeks and Rome did not worship an omnipresent being. A form of omnipresent deity arises from a worldview that does not share ideas with mono-local deity cultures. Some omnipresent religions see the whole of Existence as a manifestation of the deity. There are two predominant viewpoints here: pantheism, deity is the summation of Existence; and panentheism, deity is an emergent property of Existence. The first is closest to the Native Americans' worldview; the latter resembles the Vedic outlook.

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