We live in a world of relativity, an actuality limited by the boundaries of sensory apprehension, emotional response and rational thought. It is precisely religion that introduces the absolute into this relativity, not as idea but as transcendent reality. Religion instructs us that there is a reality beyond the actuality circumscribed by these boundaries. This reality is transcendent and absolute while existence is intellectual and relative. Existence is an objective invention of the human intellect that has fallen from a subjective contemplation of a reality that is spiritual and absolute. The rational intellect fails to distinguish between being and existence and denies the reality of the absolute, of spirit and of being. The absolute does not exist, that is to say that it is not confined within human intellectual existence. Absolute being is, an eternal, spiritual nothingness, infinite and absolute from which we emerged and to which we shall return. To realize that being, our own absolute being, we need religion which provides a dogma of faith in a transcendent reality. Whether we like it or not, whether we admit it or not, we are held captive in a world of both good and evil, of both positive and negative, and a world moreover where we are immersed in the negative which increases in power over us and where the good is apparently diminishing. To be redeemed from this world we need a moral discipline founded on the absolute principles which science cannot provide, but only religion.
Since the fallen soul can no longer live in the reality of absolute being it enters a relative actuality, an intellectual existence in which it is constantly becoming and never being the being who it truly is in reality. The soul projects a negative image of its being, the idea of an individual self, into the actuality of civilization, the false reality of the city, where it is held captive, conditioned and deformed within an artificial environment from which there can be no escape without a faith which reintroduces the absolute, spiritual categories of being into the world of intellectual existence.
Morality is the discipline of the relationship with absolute being, the discipline of the relationship between one’s own soul and one’s own absolute being. Sin may be exactly defined as the fruit of a dis-relationship between one’s soul and one’s being. Sin is therefore immorality. The expression of the self, the projection of an image of one’s soul, one’s absolute being, into the relativity of existence, involves immorality. The soul turns away from its own being towards existence, away from the absolute towards the relative, away from a morality based on absolute principles towards an ethics based on relative values. This can quite easily be defined as a fall, emulating that of Adam who fell from an immediate comprehension of absolute good into a reflective apprehension of good and evil, or positive and negative. Here the Cartesian ‘cogito ergo sum’ becomes ‘cogito ergo non sum’ since reflective thought carries us from contemplation on the unity of being into reflection on the duality of existence, or non-being.
Is an authentic human life possible without peace? Since such a life must express the reality of our absolute being within the relative actualities of existence peace would seem to be an absolute necessity, as would be all other absolute attributes, freedom, justice, joy, love. Of course, these can also be relative attributes within the actualities of our existence but in the reality of our being they must be absolute. In the actuality of existence they are possible but in the reality of our being they are necessary. The actualities in which we exist are now discovered to be unacceptable to our true being. Each human being must therefore make an existential movement of consciousness out of the actuality of his or her existence into the necessarily transcendent reality of absolute being, a step of faith.
When someone speaks of entering the real world it usually denotes a movement of consciousness from a personally constructed imaginarium into the actuality common to a society of human beings. There is a common actuality that stretches around the globe (‘though not all human beings participate) and there are other actualities that are confined to specific localities on the globe, but all of these actualities partake of reality only coincidentally and accidentally. Reality is absolute and transcendent to all these relative actualities and it requires faith to enter.
The problem of being in existence lies in the fact that our being is absolute while existence is relative. The difficulty of living an authentic life of being in existence, fulfilling the expression of the absolute within the relative by a conscious transcendence of the physical, emotional and intellectual limitations of existence, demands an existential faith in the absolute disciplines of love and moral being.
Pondering the conflict between positive and negative that characterizes the universe of relativity we need to ask “what is positive?” and “what is negative?” Current physical theory informs us that before the universe existed there was nothing, absolute, infinite and eternal zero. The nothing within existence is precisely nothing, it does not exist. The nothingness in which the universe of relativity came into existence is the nothingness of being, it simply is, absolute, infinite and eternal. Is the nothing within existence the same nothing that transcends existence? The universe, the one, the totality of things, appears to negate the zero of nothingness within relativity but cannot negate absolute nothingness in which the universe of relativity exists. Within relativity there exists the one and a zero but which is positive and which is negative?
The self is merely an individual reflective image of the soul of absolute being projected back into the artificial layers of actuality which comprise human civilization. The individual human consciousness grasps an intellectual image of the soul of absolute being reflected against the actuality of its physical environment, identifies with this image and projects it back into its social world as a truly false image, devoid of reality. The self projected in the image is not one’s true being.
The naming of a baby fits the developing child into a social context which becomes its world, where it is fed on immediacy and suffers a conditioning into the values of its society. When that conditioning is complete the child becomes reflective and is forcefully indoctrinated into the material disciplines which serve the interests of its society’s rulers. These disciplines are scientific disciplines which confine the human intellect within the rationally apprehended physical universe. To transcend these world views and step outside the rationally ordered universe of the human intellect requires an act, an act of faith.
We search for the widest possible understanding of the universe around us so that we can give purpose to our lives. Discovering that the universe is relative and that it emerged from and is expanding into the absolute we should conclude that the purpose of the universe must be an absolute purpose. The relative purposes to which we commit our lives we must confess to be meaningless unless they serve that absolute purpose. What that purpose is we cannot know but the way to fulfill that purpose we can know. It is a life of service to our fellow beings, grounded upon absolute principles.