To me, every thing is a concept, a notion within a system of connected notions forming a complex whole – my universe. Significance is a value I place on concepts to indicate their importance to me in the scheme of my universe. This includes every action of every thing, every feeling I feel, and every cause and effect. All within a universe of thought – my thought.
“The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.” (Sir James Hopwood Jeans)
The Nature of My Significance
In my bubble of limited awareness, how might I find personal significance in the universe? My experience of life is real to me and not conceptual. There’s a huge gulf between non-corporeal thought and physical sensory experience.
Most of my memories are based on sensual perception of physical experience on which I placed a judgement. Those judgements included what should or shouldn’t have happened and emotions that identified the impact those experiences had on me. I know the difference between a thought about and the physical record of pain my body stores for experience.
Why do my thoughts and emotions feel as real as an associated physical experience? How can a simple concept, a notion, feel as significant as a physical sensation?
Am I experiencing life as sensual perceptions that validate concepts that only appear real? In a sea of concepts within a universe of cause-effect physical relationships, my intentions may seem insignificant when I consider them as thoughts. Among significant concepts I consider are the intentions that concern survival.
Even within my own mind, thoughts compete to survive.
How can one thought have any influence at all in such a vast sea of competing thoughts? After all, the size of my body is insignificant when compared to that of the earth. The earth is insignificant when compared to the number of celestial bodies that make up a galaxy, which is insignificant when compared to the whole universe. You might say my body represents many orders of magnitude of insignificance.
Insignificant – until I realize the irrelevance of the comparison. So, I’ve applied a physical measurement comparison to the non-physical.
The Nature of Perception
I have my own notions of such abstract ideas as justice, freedom, friendship, and love. These interact with concepts of some more concrete perceptions like my body, plants in the garden, and carpentry. Each a concept in an environment of concepts.
One concept that makes all others possible is that of separation from wholeness. This concept of differentiation turns one idea into an appearance of many. It also endows the universe with perspective, the capacity to differentiate me from not me. Because of this differentiating principle of perspective, I have experience. Without a notion of differentiation, there is no perception, and thus, no experience. Perception arises from a concept.
My Significance in a Universe of Concepts
To me, “I” appear to be my body, thoughts, and feelings. And yet, I am actually beliefs about those things. Beliefs are concepts that are thoughts. The perception of “I” represents the central thought in a universe of my own thoughts. Thus, in my universe of limited perceptual awareness, I am the literal and figurative center and creator of everything.
What if significance is a value that I, the dreamer, place on a concept to indicate its importance to the dreamer in the dream? Rather than infinitesimally insignificant, as the dreamer of the dream, might I instead be ultimately significant?
Change a thought and you can change the entire universe. Imagine that!