Friday, July 15, 2016

Being Human: The Person

What is a human being? What is a person? How does he or she exist? We'll look at various aspects of the person. First, from a scientific perspective -- not the science we're used to, but a scientific perspective that accords with reality as it is. 

Outdated materialistic view of fertilization of the egg (ovum) by a sperm cell

What Is the Person? Science 
The person or a human being is made up of two main parts, a body and a mind. The body is matter, and consciousness, the mind, is non-matter.
Every person has two lineages, a physical lineage of the physical body -- our parents and all the forefathers and ancestors up until the lake in Africa where the first human being was born, and everything that preceded that lake, up to the amoeba, symbiosis with mitochondria, the formation of the first RNA segment in the primordial soup. 
The second lineage is the lineag of consciousness, of awareness. Our present consciousness, our present mind, our present awareness, is a continuation of the previous mind moment. The first mnd moment in this life (the mind moment that followed its previous mind moment met a fertilized egg (zygote), which is the beginning of the gross physical body. So not only do we have countless fathers in the physical lineage, but we also have countless mothers who raised and cared for us in our various bodies and our many and changing mind moments in our countless previous lives. That's how it is. 

Super-subtle mind (body-mind), 'spirit,' meets fertilized ovum (Image: Dirk Laureyssen)
A model that accords more closely with reality as it is: Meeting of the mind ('spirit' in the model, the most subtle or very subtle or super-subtle mind or body-mind) with the fertilized ovum (sperm + egg).
Dirk Laureyssen's website: 
Dirk Laureyssen details the fertilization process in the video on karma. Recommended.

The Religious View of the Person Is Closer to Reality As It Is Than the Pseudo-Scientific Materialistic View

Now we can understand that the religious model of “mother, father and holy spirit” – with all the variations in the different religions and the many terms – is closer to reality as it is than the pseudo-scientific materialistic model of biology as it is taught today.

In the Old Testament we find:

Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the soul of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2: 7) According to the Old Testament, all human beings were created in the image of God; every person has a godly soul, a living spirit, is a living sentient being. The biblical view is more in agreement with reality as it is than the materialistic model. In other words, with regard to the understanding of what a person is, the religious view is more realistic, more scientific, than the materialistic view.

Contradiction Between the Religious (Jewish) View of the Nature of Existence and the Scientific View of Reality As It Is

From a scientific perspective, every being originates in a way that is similar to the above model:

being = body + mind. Animals are also sentient beings. They also have a mind and the basic nature of the animal's mind is no different from the mind of a human being. Animals have the exact same potential to realize the nature of their mind in some future lifetime.

As far as the mental ability to realize the nature of the mind in this lifetime, in this present body, there is an enormous difference between human beings and animals. There is a huge difference between the intellectual capacity or cognitive ability of animals and humans. The essential, true or basic nature of the mind, and the innate potential of each and every mind, are the same for humans and all other beings. While in the limited condition of the animal body, an animal does not have the possibility to improve or transform its mind

The enormous possibility we have in this lifetime to realize the full potential of the true or basic nature of our mind distinguishes humans from animals.

It is a mistake to deduce that because of the marked difference in our cognitive/intellectual capacity and the cognitive or intellectual capacity of animals, that there is also a difference in the basic nature of the mind. There is no realistic basis for such an assertion. An animal's mind can take rebirth as a human being and the mind of a human being can take rebirth as an animal. What kind of rebirth we have depends on what we think and do in this lifetime.

The Place of the Human Being in Judaism

At the literal level of interpretation, the Bible (Old Testament) relates the lineage, ancestry or history of the Twelve Tribes, the Children of Israel. After the Story of Creation, the Bible does not start with Abraham, but with Adam (Man). We are, first and foremost, human beings, children of Adam.

From there, the Bible moves on to Noah – we are a nation or a people as all people, we are all members of one human family, we are all brothers and sisters. Then we come to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Twelve Sons (and two daughters)....

A Bible Lesson Based on the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama usually introduces himself in the biblical sequence.

When he talks about himself, he opens with, “I am one of 7 billion human beings.” Therefore, the first priority he dedicates his life to is cultivating and promoting secular science based basic human values, values that every person needs in order to be happy in life.

Secondly, he says, “I am a Buddhist monk.” So the second most important thing in His Holiness' life is to develop interfatih understanding, between all the religions of the world and between the different Buddhist traditions.

At the third level of identity he says, “I am Tibetan.” So his third life priority is to devote his time and energy to a solution for the suffering of the Tibetan people. When the Tibetan problem is resolved, he will not need to dedicate himself to that issue any longer.

What About Us?

Kindness (courtesy, treating others with respect, self discipline) precedes the Torah.” At least six of the Ten Commandments deal with universal basic human values. “Love your neighbor as thyself, where neighbor is any and all people, is a great priniciple of the Torah”. “What is hateful unto you, do not do to your neighbor is the (essence) of the whole Torah” – the whole Torah in a nutshell (“on one foot”).

Do we view ourselves in the right order? In the order in which the Bible presents the issue of identity? Are we first and foremost human beings? Without being human first and foremost, we cannot be good Jews, good secular people, good Marxists, good capitalists, good right or left wingers or good whatever-we-happen-to-be. In other words, to be a good Jew means to be a good person. We can change the identity designation: To be a good x means to be a good person. (Fill in the blank.)

The broadest view, the view that encompasses “all beings,” “all our rebirths,” “all the three times” and helps us to “find the similarities” between all of us, is an excellent habit of mind. Every way of looking at things that decreases a strong view of “self and other”, of “me vs. you” is an excellent way of seeing that increases peace within ourselves and peace in the world.

May all beings be happy. Happiness for all.

More Aspects of the Person and the Mind (that I took out of the main text for easier reading)

The human being or the person can also be divided into three main parts. For the division into three, some say: person = body + mind + name (label) and some prefer: body + mind + speech.

We can expand the discussion to the 1. gross, 2. subtle and 3. most subtle or very subtle or super-subtle levels of body and mind. At the super-subtle level, body and mind are indivisible. Levels of Mind

For a more detailed understanding of the mind from a scientific perspective, you are invited to visit Prof. Paul Ekman's Atlas of Emotions. Negative, destructive, i.e., egotistical self-centered, emotions belong to the domain of “mind” and not to the physical body (matter). The mind governs, controls or leads the body. For example, destructive emotions, stress, can cause many diseases.

The original Hebrew post is titled "Jewish Identity Chapter 11: Adam" and has a P.S.: If the title “Jewish Identity” bothers you, you can change it yourself to “Human Identity” or “Secular Identity” or to any other identity that suits you. There's no point in getting upset over nothing.  

Jewish Identity Series - English translation follows Hebrew
Chapter 1: Altruism in Judaism
Chapter 2: Einstein and Universal Responsibility 
Chapter 3: I and Thou -- and We 
Chapter 4: Jewish Renewal
Chapter 5: Universal Ethics
Chapter 6: Reincarnation
Chapter 7: Compassion -- Hebrew only -- a translation of this page on  
Chapter 8: Rabbi "I'll Be Walking" and Mindfulness of Speech
Chapter 9: Meditation
Chapter 10: The Heart
Chapter 11: Adam -- Hebrew only -- this post