‘Don’t worry, it’s all going according to plan.’
I have often heard religious people say this about the course of the world. I harbour a similar feeling, but with some differences, that I would like to simply describe, without explanation or persuasion.
I was in the kitchen this morning, looking out of the window at the tree across the street. As I felt the psilocybin micro-dose arriving into my consciousness, that buoyant buzz began to pervade my experience, and the tree began to grow slightly more alive, pulsating, breathing. As I gazed at its vibrant aliveness with new eyes, I began to also notice all of the construction going up around the gradually disappearing vegetation in the neighbourhood, and began to feel worried about the fate of nature and the world. That’s when I heard those words in my head.
And what those words meant in this context is this: just as the trees are part of the plan, the buildings are too. They are all forms of the same. All of this happening: trees, buildings, humans, economy, warfare, the planet, galaxies, the entire unfolding universe, is but one plan with no second.
We perceive human agency as being separate from nature, even antagonistic, and driving it to destruction. But that is only an appearance. There is no separate free will amongst humans against the free will of any other. In the course of the world it appears that there are multiple plans by multiple wills that are vying and foiling each other, but in an incredible sleight-of-hand, those are only the diverse apparent manifestations of the one, all-inclusive plan: it is dramatic theater.
This brings us very close to positing a master planner or playwright: god, which is the conclusion of most religions. And I get it: on being confronted with the bewildering variety and conflicting flows of the world, our mind finds it easier to fathom it by collapsing it to this single, focal symbol of control and intent. Then we need only consider this source point and its will, which makes it all less overwhelming, and brings some security and peace.
But this is where I differ, and tend towards a different picture of the world that cannot be grasped or conceptualized through an encapsulated symbol of intent and meaning. A planner is one who designs or picks one plan among different potential possibilities. But I don’t believe that there exists anything but the unique course of the one happening, so there are in truth no alternatives to ever have picked from (except only in our imagination, which is just a part of this one happening without alternative). So, to me, this one integrated happening unfolding is itself the ultimate reality, without a creator or a deeper source reality beyond it, and thus it is totally inexplicably mysterious in itself. I would thus not even call it a plan. It is a single, fully alive, mysterious happening. The tree outside, the construction next to it, the feeling of sun and air on skin, all of this being and happening, is itself the primordial magic, mystery and sacred miracle that many religions encapsulate in the figure of god at the head of creation. And within this diverse oneness, there is no source of a separate plan, i.e. no free will, inside any of its parts: that is only one of the myriad appearances that this one happening takes.
Is it a good plan? Religions often believe so. But considered carefully, I feel that such a statement presupposes much: that god is a separate being, outside and unbounded by the cosmic plan itself, who can through its separate free will, pick or design one plan among other alternative plans, and chooses to pick the one that is more ‘good’ compared to others, and that ‘good’ means something. (What is ‘good’ by the way? If ‘good’ is a notion made up by god, then it is arbitrary, and so it is ultimately meaningless for the cosmic plan to be ‘good’ , and if ‘good’ is some absolute quality that god cannot make up, then god is not absolute, but subservient to some greater truths that it does not have the power to alter, ad infinitum.) But if this is the one unfolding, without alternative, what is good or bad, except relative judgments across its myriad forms?
To sum up, I believe that there is no alternative to this happening. It takes up the full space, since it is the full space already.