Six Blind Men and an Elephant
There exists somewhat of an ideological divide when it comes to our understanding of the universe, known as the Cartesian Split.
The Western reductionist mindset believes that the universe is fundamentally composed of matter, and that like a machine, it can be understood by examining its individual pieces. Science suggests that consciousness is a purely physical phenomenon that occurs within the brain.
The Eastern mindset believes that the universe is fundamentally alive, and that consciousness cannot be explained through physical phenomena alone. This mindset suggests that all life is connected by a form of energy.
Divisions exist not only between, but also within these two groups — and neither can offer a complete explanation.
Different Interpretations of the Same Truth
There is an ancient Indian proverb that describes six blind men gathered around an elephant. Based on their limited senses, they each form a completely different understanding of the animal. The blind man at the elephant’s leg describes a stone pillar; the man at its tail describes a rope; the man at its tusk describes a pipe; the man at its trunk describes a snake; and so on. Clearly the men are not gathered around something that is a pillar, a rope, a pipe, and a snake at the same time, so they argue and dispute each other’s claims, without ever actually discovering the true nature of the elephant.
Given their limited perspectives, their descriptions were all correct. Their extrapolations and assumptions, however, were not. By failing to consider the limitations of their individual perspectives, they dismissed the possibility of collectively defined truth. The moral is that individual observations, even if they appear contradictory, can speak to a common truth.
Today, it seems like every scientific theory, religion, or ideology offers an entirely different explanation of the universe. Rarely are these independent views seen as being complimentary to one another. They are.
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” — Carl Sagan
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” — Albert Einstein
About this Series
Once more in the words of Albert Einstein, “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree,” and the time for their ideological convergence is now. In this discussion, I wish to share my thoughts on a few topics I have been following earnestly, and perhaps inspire others to build upon them.
I use footnotes to expand on ideas and cite references, which you can mouse over to expand: 
- Please keep an open mind and feel free to post comments!
- I always welcome constructive criticism and alternate viewpoints.
- I cover some delicate topics here. My goal is to remain as objective and factual as possible.
- Please do your best to keep my words in their original context should you decide to share them.
This series is best read in order. Let’s begin with The Physics of Consciousness »
- Six Blind Men and an Elephant – “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.”
- The Physics of Consciousness – Consciousness explained in terms of electromagnetism and information.
- The Holographic Universe – The behavior of photons may indicate that we live in a holographic universe.
- Simulation Theory – How to emulate consciousness on a computer by allowing it to evolve from scratch.
- Artificial Intelligence – How to create self-aware, free-willing artificial intelligence.
- Awareness and Free Will – How free will can arise from binary decision-making (i.e. pure logic).
- Universal Duality – The interaction between structure and randomness is fundamental to the universe.
- It’s a citation!↵
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