For no light matter is at stake. The question concerns the very way that human life is to be lived.
—Plato (The Republic, Book I)
In the 2nd century CE two great scholar-masters—Nagarjuna in the East and Plotinus in the West—began the noetic nondual knowledge revolution for our species that is just now re-emerging as the new Noetic Revolution of the 21st century. (“Nondual” is subject/object unity, advaya/not two/not one; nondual wisdom is noēsis/noetic knowledge with no essential subject/object, matter/spirit separation.)
As the developmental dialectic of humanity’s psycho-emotional, spiritual and ethical evolution proceeds, and the ontological estrangement of the present modern worldview of a mechanistic Scientific Materialism, and the nihilism of its postmodern reaction recedes, this inchoate global noetic reformation in religion, science and culture has gently reintroduced to humankind an integral, interior and transpersonal knowledge paradigm that subsumes and integrates our two ostensibly competing paradigms, namely, objective Science and subjective Spirit/spirituality.
The knowledge inherent in this emerging noetic paradigm is discoverable in part through the contemplative injunctions of the subjective, qualitative, esoteric and nondual contemplative knowledge paths of our pre-modern wisdom traditions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Neoplatonism, Islam, Orphism.
And this knowledge is discoverable in part through an objective understanding of the profoundly pragmatic truths of our exoteric, quantitative, modern scientific paradigm; particularly that greatest intellectual accomplishment of our species—the Standard Model of particles and forces with its ΛCDM cosmology. The result, one may hope, is unification of the Standard Model’s quantum field theory with the general relativity theory of its cosmology. These two great pillars of physics are presently mathematically incompatible.
Thus it is, our two ostensibly incommensurable knowledge paradigms—objective science and subjective spirit—are intrinsic modes of the human knowledge equation, to wit, knowledge, morals, governance and our primordial wisdom. This all toward the recognition, then realization of the inherent prior and present unity of these, our two human voices.
What is the meaning of life in this constant presence of our death? What are the causes of human happiness? The causes of human suffering? What shall we do with this precious life we’ve been given? Who is it that I Am? The big questions ask of our origin, our identity and our destiny. Such ultimate questions orient us toward the rediscovery, then recovery of the ineffable mystery of both relative and ultimate meaning and happiness for one who considers them. We shall herein consider some of them.
David Paul Boaz Dechen Wangdu