‘Who am I?’ ‘What was I created for?’ ‘What happens after I die?’ These are a few existential questions that have haunted man since ancient times. Profound, these questions urged our ancestors to go on an introspective journey and philosophise the nature of the ‘I’. Interestingly, all their search for meaning across geographies, cultures, beliefs and time only pointed towards one thing—the oneness of all life and our fundamental interconnectedness. Our ancestors were invariably convinced of the soul’s significance and in most cases, its immortality. They believed that it is part of a bigger network.
Take the philosophies from the west, for instance. Greek philosopher Plato propounded Anima Mundi or the ‘world soul’. He suggested that the world is a living organism endowed with a soul and intelligence. In his own words, the world is “a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related.” Not surprisingly, the philosophers in the east too believed in something similar. The Hindus believed that Atman (soul) is present in every being. And this Atman is part of a bigger intelligent network called the Paramatman or Brahman.
However, for scientific minds, philosophical and metaphysical theories may seem abstract and irrational. Therefore for him, ‘Who am I?’ still is an unsolved riddle which inspires them to deep-dive into various fields of science—from biology and chemistry to astrophysics and cosmology—to find the truth. However, all the experiments and discoveries once again point towards one unmistakable revelation—every being is interconnected and is part of a single network that is the cosmos.
Interesting how science and philosophy seem to reconcile. A simple question ‘Who am I?’ has propelled man to not only philosophise but make tremendous strides in the field of science and metaphysics.