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Spirit is physical

The spiritual journey is a physical journey. There do not exist distinct physical and spiritual realms. The evolutions of physical structure is the spiritual journey. Matter is the transformation of consciousness through time. The essence and substance of the physical exists only in the irreducible reality of immediate experience. Spiritual intuition points to the infinite and eternal, but spirit transcends the finite and the physical only be being realized in the finite and physical. No finite realization fulfills the spiritual potential, but there is no spirituality without the actualization of the spirit in finite conscious experience and thus finite physical structures.

We cannot transcend physical reality or evolve to a higher nonphysical level of consciousness. But this does not mean that mythical ideas and religious intuitions that suggest we can are nonsense. The spiritual transcends the physical through physical evolution over time. Our spiritual intuition connects us with this process. Every realization of the potential of existence is necessarily finite and limited, but the process of evolutionary development need have no finite limit.

Equating the physical and the spiritual does not impose limits on the spiritual. It may seem that we are making the laws of physics paramount, but that is a misconception. The laws of physics are the simplest assumptions that explain what we know of the structure of the world. Physical reality is not defined by the existing laws of physics. Its the other way around. The laws of physics come from our imperfect attempts to explain the structure of human experience.

Science deals with anything that is repeatable and measurable. Science does not claim that the existing laws of physics will be the final word on our understanding of fundamental physical structure. Science does not even deny the existence of entities that are not repeatable and measurable. It only pleads helplessness in dealing with them for good reasons. Knowledge is useless as a guide to the future unless it leads to measurable repeatable effects. For example one might have the insight that touching a person in a certain way will cure an intractable disease. If this is a one time event, it has not practical value for guiding future actions.

Seeing the spiritual as physical enriches rather than restricts spirituality. As discussed at the end of Section 12.2, Jung saw number as the archetypal mediator between the physical world and the spiritual world. Seeing spirit as always embodied in the physical allows us to apply mathematical understanding to spiritual questions. The unbounded hierarchy of mathematical structures discussed in Section 9.4 suggests that whatever ecstatic conscious experience anyone ever has it is the merest hint of a shadow of what can be and that will always be the case. The most powerful argument for this possibility is the history of evolution and the extraordinary beings it has created.


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