Tonight is the Jewish New Year, and I may or may not go to services. Many years ago during college, I decided to attend Yom Kippur services to please my father, and we were denied entry because we had not ordered tickets, and sent to a basement as “second class Jews.” My father was incensed, and when he retired in La Jolla he told me that his synagogue was the beach, the ocean, and the sun.
He had a very difficult life, and he attributed his survival to a faith in something higher. I have spent a great deal of my life seeking the same level of peace by searching for meaning—or something Higher—intellectually. Recently I investigated the mystical aspects of Judaism by attending some lectures on Kabbalah, and noticed a tremendous resonance between its teachings and the concepts of eastern religions and some modern belief systems that talk about a conscious awareness at the root of life that needs to be felt with the heart. This seems to be a common theme in ancient cultures. (The image above is the Kabbalah “Tree of Life” symbol)
Here is Wikipedia’s description of the three levels of the human soul according to Jewish mysticism:
“The Kabbalah posits that the human soul has three elements, the nefesh, ru’ach, and neshamah. The nefesh is found in all humans, and enters the physical body at birth. It is the source of one’s physical and psychological nature. The next two parts of the soul are not implanted at birth, but can be developed over time; their development depends on the actions and beliefs of the individual. They are said to only fully exist in people awakened spiritually. A common way of explaining the three parts of the soul is as follows:
- Nefesh (נפש): the lower part, or “animal part”, of the soul. It is linked to instincts and bodily cravings.
- Ruach (רוח): the middle soul, the “spirit”. It contains the moral
virtues and the ability to distinguish between good and evil.
- Neshamah (נשמה): the higher soul, or “super-soul”. This separates man from all other life-forms. It is related to the intellect and allows man to enjoy and benefit from the afterlife. This part of the soul is provided at birth and allows one to have some awareness of the existence and presence of God.”
The question arises, how does one connect to such a higher level of soul—once one suspects or acknowledges its existence? I was intrigued that some of the methods mentioned in Kabbalah lectures were similar to meditation.
And this teaching is reminiscent of many ancient teachings, including Gnostic Christianity and the concepts of Gurdjieff, and even the Egyptians. I have long been fascinated by ancient civilizations and tales of extraterrestrials, but as I’ve written before, with the advancement in genetics in particular, we don’t have to go to other galaxies or find UFOs to connect with higher intelligence – it’s right there inside us – in our DNA/code.
I have suggested that the ability to literally “copy and paste” the symbolic meaning of Life – DNA code – from one species to another and have it express the “nature” (properties) of the donor in the host organism means that something conceptual (not just material) is moving from one into the other – the mind or consciousness of Life is being transferred. I compare this to the creation of computer software by us, in which the conceptual intentions of thousands of programmers can become manifest energetically through a set of coded instructions, which can interact with the environment (us as end users).
Because the Jewish holidays this year begin tonight, I thought I would approach the notion of religion or God from a similar perspective. In many cultures or traditions God is a concept that fills a deep need or void; in fact some neuroscientists have speculated that there is a “God circuit” or religious area of our brain.
But what if we begin to think in programming terms of God as a “variable” – essentially a placeholder for the concept of I Don’t Know. For most people, it needs to remain a mystery.
Ironically, or coincidentally, the name for God in Hebrew is “Adonai” – it almost sounds like “I don’t know.”
How does a variable work in software? The programmer can “declare” a word as a variable – for example – First_Name might be the name of a “string” variable (holding text) so that when a visitor to a web site fills out a form, the word “First_Name” literally holds the value he or she types in, so that First_Name = John or Mary.
Another type of value that can be declared as a variable is a number. So then when the user fills in his or her age or date of birth, the number is calculated and entered into the program as it “runs” (lives energetically as a manifestation of programming intention) and now Age may equal 44, or 32, or 90. It is a matter of its interaction with the end user, or in the case of DNA, with the “world”.
Incredibly we now know that DNA operates just like computer software, conveying meaning through a set of symbols that work in organic molecules instead of silicon chips.
But to me, this process of manifesting an idea energetically through an intelligent set of instructions—as it works literally in the same way within our cells—again suggests that something profoundly significant is happening in all organic life which we have taken for granted: we are literally the manifestation of an idea or very complex set of concepts.
Epigenetics has expanded our understanding of DNA so that we now know that if we remove it from a cell, it still “lives” – the energy that expresses itself through the instructions in our genes continues to flow (and as we have seen a new set of instructions can be “copied and pasted” and the organism will still “work” – as a new species with different properties.
This has made it apparent that we are not determined by our DNA, but rather that how our genes “express” is a function of the interaction between them and the environment (forces or energies) flowing through us—including our thoughts and patterns of conditioning.
So that what is in effect “natural” becomes not just the result of materialistic determinism, but rather part of a much more complex and in fact “conceptual” set of processes which we barely understand.
The instruction set (DNA), in its very manifestation of meaning points to a higher level of intelligence—not just complexity—at work energetically beyond our ordinary awareness.
Such a concept – call it mind, consciousness or God, have proven inconvenient for conventional science, but they are now finding their way into biology, physics on the quantum level, astronomy and even philosophy.
But what are we to make of the undeniable FACT that programming, similar to what we have created in its image, is at work within our very cells? Where and what is the energy behind such a process? Is an understanding even possible solely (or “soully”) through the intellect? Or does it require a measure of contemplation, reverence and awe for something Higher—as some of my brethren may experience during services this evening?
While many may follow ancient rituals by rote, others may be moved to a sense of something deeper and far more profound—which is currently only on the periphery of scientific inquiry.