I said to them, “Why revolt? Let them proceed. It will be as it is intended to be. There is a certain way of things which we should not try to control.”
Then I heard my own words and stopped.
Then it hit me and I continued.
The lives of most living species on this planet are governed by primitive survival instincts. In grade four, we were taught the three basic ‘requirements’ which separated the living from non-living things: Locomotion, Nutrition and Reproduction. All the biochemical and neurological stuff that runs behind these natural processes is simple enough to understand (at a certain level) when broken down into singular processes. Once that is done, characteristic behaviours of different life forms can easily be explained as a result of a combination of two or more biological instincts (for example: flocking, migration, existence of different mating seasons specific to species, hibernation, etc.) Consequently, a complete behavioural study of almost all life on Earth can be reduced, up to a great extent, to fulfilling whatsoever it takes to be alive. Life, therefore, is brains driving the body, without a destination.
However, I would think twice before saying the same thing about our species. We do -naturally so- live our lives driven mostly by our biology. Mostly, at the most. But I can also stamp my foot for the heck of it. A cow will not. I can roll in the garden because I can, but a dog will not. We can act in spite of not being strictly driven by biological instincts whereas most other animals cannot. They need to have a ‘biological reason’ to act. What more are humans than their evolutionarily advanced brains, then?
Choice and Control
If I ask you, “What runs your body?” Very few of you would actually say “the Brain”. An innocent child would say, “I- I run my body”, and he wouldn’t be more correct. Assuming that all you readers are convinced of a higher level of control (higher than the brain) that we humans exhibit, I will move ahead. Will, Self, or whatever you’d like to call this controller, gives you the experience of your singular bodily existence. Without this Self, one would be sleeping to their innate nature (aren’t most of us already?) But we live, we love, we communicate, we make art, we do a lot of which cannot be reduced to simple biochemical reactions.
“Minds have minds of their own!”
The realm in which this theoretical Self must exist is far from supernatural or metaphysical. It is actually highly tangible. Counter to intuition, the idea of Self inside such a realm is quite paradoxical as it invents the possibility of breaking the principle of causality. An entity such as this Self would possess the prowess to break out from the chain of universal cause and effect simply to exercise its will. The Self, therefore, must not be a part of some whole, but the Whole itself. This all-encompassing domain of control is what the Buddha must experience. Well, not exactly; experience in our daily definition implies the actuality of an experiencing Self. This domain of control is what the Buddha must explode out to. His being must be the being of the Universe itself!
This interpretation is not entirely intellectual. It is a solid second hand experience. It is what happened when I tried to expand a philosophical concept into a physical device. It is what happened when a simple electronics project subtly opened doors to the most unexpected reality of cause and consequence. It is what happens when you finally see the line that’s always connected the dots.