Now what we would like to put forward here is the point of view that in fact, life is a distinct element from matter. That life is itself an energy that's completely different from matter. It is not an offspring of matter. Life is life. Matter is matter. And these two distinct energies in the material world as we see it, sometimes interact and sometimes they do not. From this point of view, a life particle, a particle of life, sometimes called a spirit soul or the atma or a soul, this spark of life, this life particle we are proposing is, in fact, a distinct energy. And that there are innumerable such life particles. There are countless numbers of such life particles. And that the characteristic of this life particle is life, existence, eternality, and awareness. These are the natural characteristics of the life particle or spirit soul. Just like you can't speak of water without also referring to wetness. You can't have water without wetness. Similarly, when we speak of the life particle or the spirit soul we cannot separate it from awareness. We cannot separate it from existence and consciousness.
So in this world what we are seeing before us, in our daily lives, what we see with our eyes is matter. Because our material eyes are made of matter we see matter. But we see two types of matter. Not different kinds of matter but we see matter under two different circumstances. In the first circumstance we're looking at matter which is in the presence of a life particle. In other words, there's a living entity within that material energy. And sometimes we see matter when there is no living entity contained or within that material energy, within that matter. For example, you're looking at me, okay. You see my material body but you also are seeing life. In fact there is life and matter combined. Now, the floor or the pot plant or part of the seat or the back of the chair - that's matter by itself. Now this back of this chair here used to be matter in the presence of life. It's called wood. It used to be called a tree. But do you notice that although there are flowers here, they're not growing, you see. We don't want our Television audience to think these are flowers growing out of here. There's nothing growing here. It used to grow.
There are certain characteristics, in other words, of matter in the presence of life and matter by itself. When matter's by itself, it doesn't grow. There is no reproduction. The chemical compounds break down to a thermodynamically more stable state. These are certain characteristics. That's why you don't find this tree growing anymore because there is no life present.
Now if I, the living being, the spark of life, the conscious self within this body leave this body then all that would be here is the matter and immediately the body will start to decompose. I won't be talking to you anymore and you'll all go, "My God! What happened?" Okay? What would you do right now if I left my body right here? Wow, big deal, right? It'll be in the paper in the morning. It's so important. Right? Or if one of you guys left your body right now. It couldn't walk out on its own, you see. We'd have to carry it out, okay. "Hey, somebody left their body here. What are we going to do with it? Okay, what are we going to do?" It's a big deal. Call that white thing that has a red thing on the top - the ambulance. Every time one of these bodies falls over and the guy leaves it or something, they call those things and they cart it off, okay. There's a great difference between a body with the particle of life present and a body without that particle of life present.
Now our point at the Science of Identity Institute, our point is not a new one. It's an ancient point and it is this: that the self, the person, (going back to our question of who are we) we're not in fact this material body but we are, in fact, the life particle. We are each an individual, independent life particle. And we are temporarily in a material vehicle. We are temporarily using matter and as long as we are present in matter, then there are certain symptoms manifested through that matter. But you know that this matter that right now is part of my hand or my face, it wasn't here, you know, a year ago. It was making up something else. You know I ate food. It's called metabolism. This is one of the other important characteristics of matter in the presence of a living being, matter in the presence of a life particle - metabolism. There's this constant interchange of matter. But it's just matter unless the life particle is there. The body is just matter. The life particle is present and therefore it's manifesting the symptoms of the presence of life. So this is the most important point to understand, especially for those students, those of you students who are involved in environmental studies. One thing you should notice is the difference between the living and the non-living. You have to understand this if you're going to understand how to care for the environment.
Now the materialist believes and teaches that we are just matter. That I am matter. I am the body. And some materialists, as we've discussed before, they say we don't really exist. They say that life and consciousness, the self, and the belief that "I exist" and the awareness that "I exist" is really just an illusion.
Francis Crick, I'm sure you all know Francis Crick since you all study genetics and so on at this university. You must know of Nobel prize winner, Mr. Crick. He teaches that in fact, that experience that we have, that each of us has, that, "I exist," is an illusion. It's really just an illusion. He says that there is perception but there is no perceiver. He says there is no self within the body perceiving.
We say he's nuts. If he gets angry all we can do is reply, "It's all an illusion. Who are you mad at? I don't even exist. Don't be mad at me. According to your philosophy neither of us exist." So we can say that the man is nuts, that he's insane. Because, in fact, anyone who denies his own existence and denies the existence of others, claiming that it's simply an illusion created by the complex brain structure, that the spontaneous firing of brain cells somehow creates this illusion that, "I exist," that person must be considered to be the greatest fool. If such a person as Mr. Crick is asked a question, "Who is in the illusion that he exists?" As Crick says, he says, "It's too bad we it's very hard not to fall into this illusion but there must be some good reason why we have it." But he doesn't ask the question, "Who has the illusion that he exists? Who is deluded?" In other words, whenever you talk about somebody having an illusion, then you're talking about some entity who exists who must be getting deluded or who must be deluded. If there is no one existing, then who could be having the illusion? Those who try to deny their own existence or deny the existence of other selves, they are really in an impossible position. But how did they get there? They got there because they believe, they declare, they teach that there's only one energy - matter. And they cannot explain self-awareness. They cannot explain the existence of the self from their position of teaching, believing that there is only one energy, matter. In other words, they have no material explanation for the self.
Siddhaswarupananda - founder of Science of Identity Foundation
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