I hate to break it to you but it’s true. Though, thou may protest much, and though the idea of it may defy every notion of freedom you believe in, there is, in fact, a supreme dictator and that dictator has complete control of your life.
What’s more is that even though we dislike the idea of our individual freedoms being taken, we protest very little of the actual rules that this dictator imposes on us and, in truth, often welcome them.
And I’ll prove it.
This morning when you woke you most likely used the restroom. This was not because you had a great desire to do so (though, doing so can often be relieving) but because you had to. You knew the consequences would be rather problematic if you failed to follow through on what was required of you. And, in fact, if you did not follow through, it ultimately would be forced upon you anyway, but just a lot messier.
Of course, in order to follow through you had to obey a few simple other rules involving the laws of motion and the laws of gravity in order to get to the restroom. Unless you are Peter Pan, you couldn’t just float there and, unless you are a member of the Starship Enterprise, you couldn’t just suddenly make yourself appear there.
But these weren’t the first rules you obeyed this morning. When you first woke up, you also made a decision to breathe…or rather to continue breathing. For your body subconsciously had been obeying that rule long before you woke up. The consequences of disobeying this rule are even more severe, for it’s a matter of life and death.
Most likely you also had something to eat and drink; or if you haven’t you probably will at some point today. The consequences of not following through with this simple rule imposed by our ever present, always watching dictator, is equally detrimental – first starting with suffering, and after 40 days without food and as little as 7 days without drink, also death.
And yet in spite of the constant imposition this dictator places on your life, you still quite willingly follow it with little overall complaint – for you know without it, you are nothing.
You also know that it has your best interest in mind…for it actually created your “interest” in the first place, and ultimately created you, as well as everything that surrounds you, and the rules that make the whole universe work.
And though you certainly could choose to try to rebel against it, it most certainly will win out every time.
Now there are many different names that have been given for this dictator. Some refer to it as the “grand unifying theory.” Others, the “singularity” and furthermore, the famous “Theory of Everything” – because within this theory is an attempt to find that one single, unifying law that literally explains everything.[i]
It is the one law that started it all and, therefore, controls everything…because out of it comes all the laws of nature that continue to operate our universe today.
Others apply more religious terms to it. And though there are many differences in what they think it looks like and what they call it and how they respond to it, they are still all looking for that one thing that ultimately explains it all.
Regardless of what your spiritual or religious beliefs are, there is no denying this law is “god-like” because it is what started and controls our daily lives. Stephen Hawking once famously stated that if ever we should discover it “then we would truly know the mind of God.”
For purposes here, we shall simply refer to it as the “law of existence” or simply “existence” (or “being”) for there is nothing more all-encompassing than that. And there are a few things about existence that we all must agree are true:
There is nothing bigger or outside of existence. For anything outside of existence simply does not exist.
Nothing came before existence. Because anything before existence also did not exist. Existence has always existed, currently exists, and will always exist.
Existence is unexplainable and self-creating. There is no explanation possible outside of existence; for as stated, nothing outside of existence exists.
You can’t argue with existence. It has the final say in everything because it is the singular rule that started and operates all the individual rules we live by.
Existence is real. For who can say that existence does not exist?
But are the physical laws of the universe (the ones that created the stars and planets and make you go to the restroom and eat and drink and breathe) the only things this god-like law dictates?
Are there also laws that determine how we should behave?
For whether you ascribe to a certain religious belief or not there is simply no denying that how you behave affects how things work.
If you behave badly then often things will simply come badly back. For if you act selfish, or mistreat or hate, you often experience the consequences of returned hate or loneliness or punishment or pain.
But if you love and have compassion, you often experience the rewards of returned love and of joy and a better life.
Now is that always true? Is it always so black and white? There are, of course, those who love who are treated unjust, and those who hate, who seem to get a reward. But in general it is recognized that what is important are the rewards that happen deep within and also benefit the greater good.
These are the things we do which we say make things “flourish” – they are the basis of our “moral” or “conduct” codes. And out of it comes phrases like “remember to share,” “family takes care of family,” and “you reap what you sow.” And because of it we share stories where we root for our heroes to “do the right thing,” “tell the truth” and “rescue or defend those who are treated unfairly.”
We praise self-sacrifice, humility, intimacy and justice, while frowning on greed, arrogance, coldness and corruption.
While we may disagree on all the details of how it works, we still concur there are certain rules for living – many of which we are still trying to figure out. It’s why we debate, vote, make laws and write books with advice – all with the belief that if we just get it right life will flourish.
It’s as though this moral code is built into the very fabric of the universe itself – as though such rules are as real as the ones that make us drink and breathe.
And the question is…why?
Could it be that this code says something about the source of the universe itself…about our supreme, all powerful, never-ending, always right, and very real dictator…existence?
Could it be that rebellion against such rules is as devastating as breaking the physical rules themselves and the reason that our world is in the shape it is?
Could it be that our Grand Unifying Theory, singularity, Theory of Everything, god-like law is compassionate, loving, self-sacrificing, just, and intimate itself?
Could it be that the reason all these laws came to form this thing called “life” is because the ultimate source we seek to discover has life itself?
And does this source have another name?
Years ago a shepherd led his sheep along a mountainside only to be distracted by a sight that defied the normal rules. And out from that sight a voice called out and asked the seemingly impossible task.
Then the shepherd dared to ask if this voice had a name and it responded with a mind-blowing… “I AM.”
I AM. A name that at once has the whole of being and existence at its root and is simultaneously personal.
And so Moses was able to lead millions of Jews away from their lives as slaves because they knew that existence was on their side.
Yes, existence showed itself to be all-powerful, and existence showed itself to be unexplainable and existence showed itself to be always faithful and right. But it did something else extraordinarily more when it heard the people’s cries and then spoke…and showed that it lovingly cared.
And from the moment of the burning bush on through their journey to a new promised land this god became bigger, closer, and more real than Moses and the people had ever known.
But was that the end of this supreme dictator’s revelation of itself or was there yet more still to come?
For this source law that had formed the universe and made the rules that dictate how it all works and how we live…had yet another audacious move to reveal itself further still.
The source law that invented gravity, created energy, and formed the atom, surprised us all when it revealed its full character through a man. And that man showed us rules for living like “do not worry,” “love your enemies,” and “turn your cheek.”
Then he amazed us with his compassion, helping the downtrodden, offering forgiveness, and humbling himself to the point of self-sacrifice.
Why? He said because that’s exactly what the source is like.
And when someone asked who he thought he was, that man named Jesus profoundly responded,
“Before Abraham was born, I AM.”
[i] I realize that for many who live in the world of physics, technically there are some differences between grand unifying theory (GUT), the singularity, and the Theory of Everything (ToE). But the main point here is simply that these terms or theories have been developed in an attempt to look of that single, all explaining law.
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