As we go about our everyday lives absorbed by work, family and our own bodily needs we are not aware of the Universe surrounding us and of which we are a part.
We live in a very atypical part of the Universe, less than 0.03% of which is composed of the heavy elements which make up our bodies and which we know so well. It would seem very unlikely that we could readily develop a true understanding of the Universe in its entirety by studying our immediate surroundings.
Yet in the past by intuition and enormous mental effort some gifted individuals have come to an understanding which approaches that which we are beginning to discover. The Buddha and Spinoza are two examples and unsurprisingly they were not well-understood by their contemporaries, or indeed even nowadays.
One current theoretical approach to this is the following:
There is only quantum foam at very small dimensions approaching the Planck limit. Particles appearing and disappearing apparently randomly creating our experience and our world and all that we are.
Spinoza would have been fascinated by advances in astronomy, he made his living as a lens grinder after all.
Life and work of Spinoza in French.
The life and work of Spinoza in English.
At the centre of Spinoza’s ideas:
God is the only ultimate cause and infinitely many things flow from god in an infinite variety of ways. The entire Universe inexorably emanates from the immutable core of infinite substance….
The infinite substance and each of its infinitely many distinct attributes (of which only thought and extension are available to us) are eternal expressions of the immutable essence of god…..
In the natural world (god’s body), the attribute of extension, modified by varying degrees of motion and rest, produces the face of the universe, which includes all the physical events which are the modes of extension. (This is almost exactly the same as Descartes account of the natural world).