Further Ruminations on Oneness and Difference

It is likely that every moment in history appears to be the very time when humanity’s choices will determine continued evolution or nonexistence. Up until now, the sense of crisis that underpins that supposition of urgency has been wrong. But maybe, this time, this moment, is different.
Humankind has over the eons with varied levels of intelligence understood the primal and fundamental tension between unity and differentiation. We have kneeled and prayed fervently when encountering the awesomeness of it all, as well as our inability, by virtue of our terrible limitations, to encompass the seemingly incomprehensible complexity and subtlety of experience. We glimpse how we are fused with all and strive to surrender to it, to open all the doors and windows and finally take a crowbar to the walls, smashing the plaster and the sheetrock and the two-by-fours, kicking out the frames to the space beyond, and knocking down all until there is no boundary between what is inside and what is outside. For a moment, then, we are one with all and free.
What is it then that brings that blissful moment of unity to an end? Is it anxiety about the possible loss of perfection? Is it the need to hold on when faced with the end? Is it the desire, when one has it all, when one is it all, to grasp for still more?

To hold on one must not only know, but know that one knows. To control one must understand, and to understand one must first perceive and in the very act of perception break the world down into its parts, to use analysis to separate what was one into many. The parts are first perceived, then named, then manipulated to some end in the mind of the beholder.
This experience of analysis and differentiation and control is the basis of power, of human agency set off against the world for the purpose of making the world do one’s bidding. With various forms of rationalization, it seems like a good thing. What is better than to take what has been unreliable – momentary bliss – and make it certain? Why give you a fish when I can give you control of the world? What better establishes my status as master of the clan than to name all that is, and then hand it out as the tool with which all is acquired? There is no greater glory, after all, than defining, and then giving away, the universe.

But then the purposes for which the universe may be defined become obscure. How do we know, after all, what is essential and what superfluous? Once we begin describing, when do we determine that it is time for silence? Who is willing to surrender activity for stillness, and its forbidding similarity to death?
To be is to see, to sense, and having sensed then to say, and having said how far is one from enslaving that which has been seen and sensed? Once one has surrendered the immediate experience of sameness, how many eons pass before control has evolved to enslavement?

Thus, fidelity to intelligence requires a fundamental acceptance of the unavoidable tension between sameness and differentiation, between the one and the many. To resolve that tension on the one side is to maintain perfect stillness in concentration forever, on the other to progress inevitably toward destruction. To move consciously along the high-wire of awareness, alternating between stillness and movement, never allowing one to conquer the other – can humanity achieve such understanding and maintain such unwavering discipline?