On the Nature of Existence and Our Place in the Universe: A Philosophical Treatise

Santosh Kumar Pokharel


The contemplation of human existence and our manifestation in the universe has occupied the minds of thinkers throughout history. This treatise delves into the idea that human existence is akin to particles flowing in the vast, dynamic stream of creation. This analogy extends to all forms of life, such as animals and plants, which, like us, serve the purpose of upholding the universe and its dignity. Through exploring the limitations of human understanding, the transient nature of life, the concept of an ever-evolving cosmos, and the possibility of rebirth, we seek to uncover the essence of our existence within the grand tapestry of the universe.

2. The Nature of Human Existence

Human existence, in its essence, is part of a larger, interconnected flow of life. Like particles in a stream, we are individual manifestations within the boundless continuum of the universe. This analogy highlights the transient and interdependent nature of all life forms.

2.1 The Particle Analogy

To deepen our understanding of human existence, let us consider the particle analogy in greater detail. Imagine a single blood cell within the human body. This cell, while vital to the overall function of the body, operates with limited awareness of the body’s full structure, function, and purpose. The cell’s existence is confined to its immediate environment, interacting with other cells, contributing to bodily processes, and ensuring the organism’s survival.

2.1.1 Structure and Function of a Blood Cell

A blood cell, whether a red blood cell (erythrocyte) or a white blood cell (leukocyte), has a specialized function. Red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to tissues and return carbon dioxide for exhalation. White blood cells, on the other hand, are crucial for the immune response, identifying and neutralizing pathogens. Each type of cell is a microscopic entity, yet it plays a critical role in the body’s overall health and functionality.

 2.1.2 Limited Awareness of the Whole

Despite its essential function, a blood cell lacks awareness of the body’s full anatomy and physiology. It cannot perceive the body’s size, shape, or the intricate systems that comprise it. The cell’s “knowledge” is inherently restricted to its microcosmic environment. Analogously, human beings, despite our intelligence and curiosity, have limited capacity to comprehend the universe in its entirety. Our perception is bounded by our senses, cognitive abilities, and the scope of our observational tools.

2.1.3 Interdependence and Contribution

A blood cell’s existence is marked by interdependence. It relies on the circulatory system to transport it to different parts of the body, the heart to pump blood, and other cells to maintain homeostasis. Similarly, humans are interdependent with the environment and other life forms. Our survival and well-being are linked to the ecological balance, social systems, and the broader cosmic order. Each individual’s actions contribute to the collective existence and evolution of humanity and, by extension, the universe.

2.1.4 The Concept of Purpose

The blood cell serves a purpose: maintaining the body’s health. While it may not be aware of this purpose, its existence is meaningful within the larger context of the organism. Humans, too, serve a purpose within the universe, even if that purpose is not fully comprehended. We contribute to the evolutionary process, the propagation of consciousness, and the ongoing dance of creation and dissolution in the cosmos.

2.1.5 The Infinite Complexity

Just as a single cell is part of a vastly complex and organized system, humans are part of an incomprehensibly vast and intricate universe. The body comprises trillions of cells, each with specific functions, yet all working in harmony, to sustain life. The universe, too, consists of countless galaxies, stars, planets, and life forms, all interacting within the framework of physical laws and cosmic evolution. This complexity highlights the idea, that every part, no matter how small, has significance within the whole.

2.1.6 The Limits of Comprehension

Ultimately, the blood cell analogy serves the purpose of illustrating the inherent limitations of our comprehension. Just as a cell cannot fathom the entirety of the body, humans struggle to grasp the full extent of the universe. Our scientific advancements, philosophical inquiries, and spiritual insights provide glimpses into the nature of reality, but the complete picture remains elusive. This humbling realisation encourages us to approach the mysteries of existence with curiosity and reverence.

 2.2 Interdependence and Purpose

Our existence, along with that of animals and plants, serves a greater purpose within the universe . We contribute to the life of the planet, just as planets contribute to the universe, and the universe to the metauniverse. This cascading relationship illustrates a fundamental principle of interdependence, where each entity, regardless of its scale, plays a vital role in the grand scheme of existence.

3. The Limitations of Human Understanding

The quest for knowledge and understanding is a defining characteristic of human nature. However, recognizing the limitations of our intellect is crucial in comprehending our place in the universe.

3.1 The Limits of Human Intellect

Human intellect is inherently finite, and our perception of the universe is shaped by our sensory and cognitive limitations. The infinite universe, with its full shape and size, remains beyond the complete grasp of human understanding. This realization calls for humility in our pursuit of knowledge and an acceptance of the mysteries that elude us.

3.2 The Pursuit of Knowledge

Despite our limitations, the pursuit of knowledge is a noble endeavor that drives progress and understanding. By acknowledging the boundaries of our intellect, we can approach the study of the universe with a sense of wonder and curiosity, embracing the unknown as a catalyst for further exploration.

4. The Transient Nature of Life

Life, in all its forms, is characterized by a cycle of birth, growth, existence, and death. This transient nature is a fundamental aspect of the flow of the universe.

4.1 The Cycle of Life

Taking birth, existing, and ceasing are integral parts of the life cycle. This process is not limited to individuals but extends to planets, stars, and galaxies. The entire cosmos is engaged in a perpetual cycle of creation and dissolution, contributing to the dynamic flow of the universe.

4.2 Contribution to the Cosmic Flow

Our existence and eventual cessation are contributions to the ever-changing and progressing flow of the universe. Just as individual lives contribute to the life of the planet, the planet contributes to the universe, and the universe to the metauniverse. This perspective emphasizes the significance of each life form within the larger cosmic context.

5. The Concept of an Ever-Evolving Cosmos

The universe is in a constant state of flux, evolving and progressing towards an unknown infinity. This concept challenges the notion of a static existence and invites us to consider the dynamic nature of reality.

5.1 The Flow of the Universe

The universe can be likened to a river, constantly flowing and evolving. This flow is characterized by continuous change and transformation, where nothing remains static. This dynamic nature is fundamental to the existence and progression of the cosmos.

5.2 The Infinite Progression

The progression of the universe is towards an infinite horizon, driven by a supreme consciousness that necessitates the existence of the universe. This notion aligns with philosophical and spiritual traditions that posit an underlying consciousness or purpose guiding the evolution of the cosmos.

6. The Supreme Consciousness and the Universe

The idea of a supreme consciousness that required the universe to happen introduces a metaphysical dimension to our understanding of existence. This consciousness could be seen as the ultimate source and sustainer of all that exists.

6.1 The Role of Supreme Consciousness

The supreme consciousness is envisioned as the origin and driving force behind the universe. It is this consciousness that imbues the cosmos with purpose and direction, guiding its evolution towards an infinite and unknowable end.

6.2 The Interconnectedness of All Things

The relationship between the universe and the supreme consciousness underscores the interconnectedness of all things. Every particle, life form, and cosmic entity is part of a grand, interconnected web, contributing to the manifestation of this supreme consciousness.

7. Rebirth and the Purpose of Existence

The curiosity about rebirth or reincarnation brings another dimension to the discussion of existence. This idea posits that life forms undergo cycles of birth, death, and rebirth, contributing continuously to the cosmic flow.

7.1 The Concept of Rebirth

Rebirth, or reincarnation, suggests that after death, life forms are born again in new forms. This cycle allows for the continuous evolution and progression of the soul or life essence. Various philosophical and spiritual traditions, including Hinduism and Buddhism, explore this concept, emphasizing the perpetual nature of existence.

7.2 Purpose of Births and Rebirths

The purpose of births and rebirths can be seen as a means for the universe to realize and dignify itself through its creations. Just as a mother is recognized and respected by her offspring, the universe seeks recognition and realization through the life forms it manifests. This recognition is an acknowledgment of the universe’s inherent dignity and purpose.

8. The Role of Ego and Egolessness

Every being has an ego, a sense of self that drives its actions and interactions. The longing for egolessness, or the dissolution of the ego, is a profound aspiration that can halt further creations.

8.1 The Nature of Ego

The ego is a natural part of existence, providing a sense of identity and purpose. It drives the desire for recognition and realization, contributing to the universe’s continuous creation and evolution.

8.2 The Aspiration for Egolessness

Egolessness represents a state of transcendence where individual identity merges with the greater whole. This state is often associated with spiritual enlightenment and the cessation of the cycle of rebirth.

June 21, 2024

(Santosh Kumar Pokharel is a renowned multilingual poet whose work has been translated extensively into several languages. Recently, he debuted his own unique poetic form, the Pokhareli Knots (Pokhareli Stanza), which has been gaining widespread acclaim. In addition to his poetry, he is also deeply interested in prose writing. He can be reached at poetsantosh@gmail.com.)