I am sitting on a steel bench on the pleasant river walk of Austin watching the surroundings and activities
On the opposite bank are the skyscrapers of the Down Town. Some are twenty stories high; some are forty or fifty. As anybody would do, my attention gets focused on the largest one – maybe fifty stories tall. All its windows are closed – without any life and inactive. I can’t see, what is happening behind those windows. Maybe one of them belongs to a business tycoon, doing international business, worth billions of dollars. That tycoon may be sitting in his ultra luxurious office chair and mocking over the insignificant Tom, Dick and Harry; wasting their energies on the river walk.
Colorado river is flowing between the river walk and the down town. Its waters have been flowing like this for thousands of years. Various types of boats are gliding over its waters, up and down the stream.
On my side of the river is the passage way for pedestrians – the river walk. Many people; men, women, kids are jogging, running there. Some are speeding up on their bikes. Some have with them various pedigrees of dogs too.
The steel bench, on which I am sitting, is a dead piece of furniture. It is totally lifeless. Nothing is mobile about it. It is going to lie dead and still, like this for years. No perceptible change is possible in its being. Lo! I can think about electrons and protons zooming at ultra high speed around the nuclei of its atoms; on the strength of my imagination and little bit of scientific knowledge about physical structure of materials.
But, is the bench aware of its structure and being?
My attention now shifts to the tree, just behind the bench. Its branches are cooling me off from the piercing afternoon sunrays. Its leaves are being swayed by the gentle breeze, breathing in bright sunshine and producing the life nectar for the tree. On its seemingly dry branches, offshoots are about to sprout at a few places. In a few days, new buds will sprout out; giving fresh birth to a new branch or a flower.
But the tree is neither capable of seeing nor hearing anything. It can neither feel a touch nor smell. It is not capable of any thoughts. It can’t move even by fraction of an inch. Its consciousness has just gone a bit beyond that of the steel bench and then has been halted forever at that level.
At that point of time, a dog with a lash round his neck, dangling from the hand of his owner approaches the bench; running and panting, with his tongue dripping out from his mouth. Albeit off his nature and instinct, he goes on nosing all around him and roams here and there. He noses my feet too; but on a nudge from his owner, he ignores and leaves me.
That dog’s consciousness is far more complex than that of the tree. He can see, hear, smell, taste. He can bark and bite; and run and jump.
But his capacity to think is very limited.
Watching all these, I think that I am capable of doing many more things than that dog. I have the greatest asset that all humans are endowed with – a highly complex mind.
If I determine, I can tear this bench to pieces and heat and reshape its parts. In a roaring furnace, I can melt it outright and cast its liquid matter into a beautiful sculpture.
I can axe the branches of the tree and ignite a tall fire out of it. Or, I can take its seeds and plant them, miles away in a different park and grow many more trees like it.
I can keep dogs or many other animals like that dog and satisfy my instinct as an owner.
Feeling of subtle but certain pride that ; ‘My consciousness is far, far superior than that dog.’ – has started taking shape in my mind.
Is it not probable that a being far, far superior than mine is also hanging around all about the space – a being that has such a supreme consciousness that, it does not need any form, shape, color or even an existence? Is it not feasible that such an element does not have the limitations like those of human mind or being? – an element that envelops everything or is imbibed within all and is making all living and non living to exist, walk, run around, breathe? – an element that makes everything to exist or perish with or without any reason?
Just like that unseen tycoon at the back of that closed window, high up there?