The Two Perspectives:
Empirical and Transcendent
or Mechanistic and Akashic

This essay relies and builds upon the metaphysical world view discussed elsewhere and it is closely related to the essays:
Systemic Health,
The Akashic Field,
The Akashic Field and Systemic Health,
Survey of Ancient Traditions regarding systemic health and the two perspectives,
Meanings of Words subtle analogies in ancient sayings

“What we call 'matter' is the aspect we apprehend when we look at a person, a plant or a molecule from the outside; 'mind' is the readout we get when we look at the same thing from the inside.”(“Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything” by Ervin Laszlo and published by Inner Traditions, pg 147)

The transcendent perspective is not filtered or interpreted in any way, it is the underlying reality, whereas the mechanistic perspective is filtered. Every experience is interpreted through a mechanistic analogy and thus diverges from reality and is contextualised within a mechanistic discourse or story or organising principle or agenda or phenomenal world or experience of materialistic existence. It is only a subtle filtering process, each experience is subtly warped as it is received and over time this colours and distort ones whole experience. In the same way that if one went on a guided tour of a city, a different tour guide can induce very different experiences of the same city; imagine if your guide was a major underworld figure or an enlightened saint, you would see very different sides to the city, even if the route remained the same. With each experience the guide is there to help one contextualise and interpret the experience, thus over time they influence the whole experience and can leave a lasting impression where similar experiences are interpreted in similar ways in future. This leads to habits of interpretation that bind us into particular worlds. For a brief hint as to how the filtering process works on its lowest level of operation, refer to this comment regarding perceptual resolution and finite discrete information spaces. This briefly shows that a fully open mind would perceive the world as one unified whole where there is no fragmentation.

Comments on the Mechanistic Perspective

There are many subtleties of language regarding how to express an idea that has no direct empirical analogue. Attaining the transcendent perspective is a letting go of control but it is also a refinement of control. It is not chaos and apathy and sloppiness, it requires the most intricate control, organisation, awareness and diligence yet the ultimate goal is to go beyond all these concepts of conscious doing, and attain a state of effortless being.

When coming from a position of a confused isolated ego in the world, one must bring ones lower nature into order and find for it a steady system whereby it can persist without causing constant strife such as pain or desire. Then one must focus on making this foundation stable, automatic and instinctive. Then atop this one focuses ones mind, heart and all of ones volitional energies on the penetration of delusion and the attainment of reality. Only when one knows what one is, where one is and what is happening, only then does one know what to do or what to be; prior to this all actions in the world are misguided and holistically destructive.

The method of attaining the transcendent perspective is to cease to control and dominate oneself and ones world. But first the material level must be in order, if one chooses a time when there is mechanistic strife and one experiments with abandoning control then disaster can ensue. If one is bound within a mechanistic process then often one must follow it through and navigate it until a soft landing can be found, then one may move on. These mechanistic processes are the duties in life that sages often speak of. The material aspect of reality is founded upon reality and we must therefore deal with it and it cannot be ignored, however most of our understanding of it is dangerously confused, thus we shouldn't get too entangled in it so we should first seek the truth and then we can untangle the knots. The material level is just the appearance of outer forms like patterns of ripples appearing on the surface of the ocean where the transcendent causes or currents stir from deep within the ocean.

People who are trapped in the world delusion see worldly duties as the most important focus of spiritual endeavour, and think that to live with virtue is to carry them out with perfection. But whilst these duties must be performed, they should also be diminished and overcome wherever possible to allow the seeker to focus on the more important work of seeking God. Some seekers think it is selfish to seek ones own liberation whilst others are obviously trapped and suffering in the mechanistic delusion, they think it is far less selfish to attend to the suffering through mechanistic means and to do what one can to assist them within the mechanistic context. But to do that is to remain trapped in the mechanistic delusion and reinforcing the mechanistic delusion, thus one is ultimately fuelling the evil in the world. From such a state of confusion any help that one offers is at best transitory and holistically futile and at worst catastrophically misguided. It is like one who has no time to attend medical training because they think they cannot leave the suffering behind whilst they do this, so they continue to administer inappropriate treatments out of ignorance and thereby only create harm.

First one must open ones eyes and see reality, then one will know how to act and one will see that everything that one previously thought one knew was founded upon a deep and subtle misunderstanding that had warped ones entire world and had created a halo of darkness and suffering within which one passed ones days. So “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” and once one knows both levels of reality and one dwells firmly established in ones true Self, then nothing is impossible and all earthly issues become transparent and are easily dealt with.

To use an analogy, consider someone who struggles to do some work on a computer but they only know the computer as an appliance with a thin user interface, beyond that they know nothing about the computer or how it works, they operate entirely in a context of outer forms and simplistic expectations regarding how these forms relate to each other. Then someone comes along who is known to others as a computer guru; they comprehend the entire process and can instantly perceive all the intricacies. Their vision encompasses both the outer forms that one can directly perceive and interact with and also the transcendent dynamics or the intricate causal connectivity that underlies the manifestation and behaviour of the outer forms. Thus they can do things in that space that seem like magic to others and they can resolve problems with very little effort. Whereas if the ignorant user had tried to hack out a solution to their problem they would probably make things worse for themselves and they would likely undermine the intricate underlying balance of the whole context and could thereby cause the situation to become unstable.

Below I quote and comment on extracts from an account from memory of a conversation between the Shivapuri Baba (revered old man of the Shivapuri forest) and John G. Bennett in 1961 at which time the Shivapuri Baba was 135 years old. These are taken from the book (“Long Pilgrimage: The life and teaching of the Shivapuri Baba”, by John G. Bennett, The Dawn Horse Press, 1983)

“His insistence upon the supreme importance of attaining the Beatific Vision seemed to me to underrate the aspect of service in our life on earth. I had always felt this to be a defect in the Indian conception of life. I had never felt at home with the Indian systems of philosophy ... in so far as these repudiate the world as unreal and unworthy of our interest.

I put the question to the Shivapuri Baba roughly in the following words:

J.G.B.: Babaji, you teach the need for the threefold discipline, but you place the attainment of the knowledge of God at the summit. This, of course, I am sure is true – but I want to ask you if there does not still remain a task to be performed. Surely the knowledge of God, must mean the knowledge of God's Will, that is Dharma. If so, does not Dharma remain even after the supreme realisation. Would not a man who has attained perfect knowledge and power have the obligation to use them for serving the Divine Purpose?

S.B.: The Dharma is the same as the duties. These duties have to be performed. They are our service to God. There is no other.

J.G.B.: I have various responsibilities. I am a student and a writer, and I have a place ... where people come who are searching for the Truth. They expect me to help them as far as I am able. Are these activities to be regarded as duties which I should perform, or should I be free from them?

S.B.: You should be free. But you have accepted these obligations. They must be fulfilled without commission or omission. But these should be performed in such a way as not to hinder your search for God. Little by little you will be able to diminish them. First professional ... then family duties. Finally there remains only the duty to preserve the existence of your body.

Nevertheless, even now you can meditate upon God and the meaning of life. Everyday you must set aside as much time as you can for this, and you will come to it.

J.G.B.: This I do see; but still I remain doubtful about the treatment of the task of serving God and our fellow men – as something of minor significance – a concession to the weakness of mind that prevents us from devoting ourselves every hour of the day to the inner search, with no other object than to find truth. I cannot believe that man was given such diverse and such extraordinary powers of action on this earth, unless there was a very high purpose to be served.

S.B.: The highest purpose is served by the simple performance of our duties. That is Dharma [inner law that arises as a function of the whole cosmic process]. This is no easy matter. The duties cannot be recognised and performed properly, unless there is a keen intelligence. Then it is necessary to have a strong mind in order to meditate without wavering upon God. In order to acquire a strong mind there must be moral discipline. Therefore, all three are necessary: duty, discipline and devotion.

J.G.B.: May I make the case of Shankaracharya ... His saying ... Brahman is real, the world is a sham, the jiva is none other than Brahman itself. Nevertheless, Shankara ... was the most active and effectual man of his day and one of the most extraordinary reformers of any age. ... ... How could it be said that such a man looked upon the world as a sham that should be disregarded by the wise man in search of Truth?

S.B.: You have not learnt to discriminate between Absolute and Relative. I also spent forty years travelling round the world. I did not do this for nothing, but because it was a duty to be fulfilled. I met thousands of people, most of whom asked me questions about God and the meaning of life. I answered them as I answer you now, because it is my professional duty.

At the same time you must understand that all this does not lead to God. It is the condition for being able to search for God: but that search is a different matter. Shankara said that Brahman alone is real, but he did not say that man has no duties in this world. On the contrary, he devoted his life to making clear what were the duties of people of his time...

But this must not prevent you from devoting the necessary time for meditation. You must not allow the relative to overcome the absolute in you. When you allow that, life becomes a sham and an illusion.”


Bennett conceives of things only through mechanistic concepts, thus he misunderstands the subtle analogies. For example the concepts duty and dharma are not things that the egoic personality needs to do in a mechanistic manner, they are things that must arise in reality, on all levels of reality. Thus to cease doing does not mean to neglect ones duties.

J.G.B. asks, “Would not a man who has attained perfect knowledge and power have the obligation to use them for serving the Divine Purpose?” but he does not understand that it is not an isolated being that attains this knowledge and power, through the attainment the isolation ceases and the egoic being evaporates and there is no longer any doer or doing, there is only the natural cosmic substrate, devoid of the confused fantasies that we weave around it. Then there is reality and things are utterly different to anything that a mechanistically deluded mind can conceive of and all mechanistic concepts are meaningless in the light of Truth.

Whilst one is bound within delusion one must deal with it on its own terms to a degree and these are ones earthly duties, but one must seek to extract oneself from delusion and to seek truth and understanding in order to clear to fog of ignorance. Thus one should gradually reduce ones earthly duties and meditate as much as possible to still ones mind and attain clarity. The attainment of truth is of such great importance that all of ones time should be devoted to it if that is possible.

J.G.B. says “I cannot believe that man was given such diverse and such extraordinary powers of action on this earth, unless there was a very high purpose to be served.” Indeed we have greater power than most yet realise but one should not become dazzled by these, one must first discover what one is, and then one will know how to use them and for what purpose. To try and use them in ignorance only results in misfortune. Indeed our greatest powers are not wielded through the material world by words or deeds, they propagate through the field and subtly influence the essence of things, thus true meditation or samadhi is not a state of inactivity but the state of the deepest possible activity that draws upon powers vastly greater than any earthly power.

To strive to act in the world without attaining realisation is like a child who strives to become an adult but in their ignorance and impatience they find it tedious taking the time to walk and to talk and so on, they want to get straight into the more interesting and complex things. But if they lack the very foundation then they cannot act effectively or appropriately in the wider world. Thus whilst one still has much to learn it is wise to focus upon ones immediate lessons and these will effect deep changes that will prepare you for the later challenges and duties that you may encounter. Thus it is wiser to seek the Truth than to seek to change the world for the better, since by attaining the truth one will become a part of the process whereby the world itself changes for the better, it does not need any egos to control the process for it. By seeking to change the world for the better we have countless confused egos striving to impose their deluded concepts of better on the world, and each hoping that through their random struggle, somehow things will get better. Their intentions are good so they superstitiously hope that the result will be good. Good things do arise and accumulate in this way but it also invariably leads to chaos and destruction; it is a very hit and miss approach. These struggling egos create a culture of struggle, conflict, isolation, confusion and pragmatic lies that eventually obscures the truth and tears the world apart.

S.B. says “The highest purpose is served by the simple performance of our duties... This is no easy matter... it is necessary to have a strong mind in order to meditate without wavering upon God.”. By being our true Self we are a harmonious part of a greater process, this process is the source of Dharma. To remain firmly centred in our true nature and not slip into delusion is to “meditate without wavering upon God”, but as soon as one slips, unity is lost and there arises the world of many things engaged in countless struggles. If we slip further into delusion we enter into that world of things and seek to act through it, thereby reinforcing it. If we remain firmly centered in our true nature we remain in union with the whole and things happen although nothing need be done in a mechanistic sense since there is no doer, there is only the cosmos and its elegant dance of light. This is true being, it is a state from which anything can be achieved.

Thus to attain realisation one must extract oneself from mechanistic doing and meditate to identify ones true Self, then all is revealed and one enters the service of the cosmos, wherein many things may happen and others may perceive that a great deal is done, but this is all just the outer form of a deep creative process of which one is a part. There is no egoic doer seeking to control the process from its limited perspective, it is God who is in control, it is the cosmos itself that perceives, interprets and acts.

A Mechanistic Analogy for the Two Interaction Spaces

Regarding the mechanistic and akashic communication infrastructures; aspects of the relationship between these can be understood by contemplating an entirely mechanistic analogy, such as the relationship between electronic and physical communication. Consider a simple scenario of two people playing long distance chess (or a MUD game) where each has a physical chess board and to make a move one must write the move down on a piece of paper and mail it to the other person, which takes about three to four days. This analogically corresponds to the mechanistic infrastructure; where energy must be physically transported through the world and here it is matter that must be and this can take some time. However at any time one may communicate with others via telephone or internet and thereby discuss and plan the next move; this analogically corresponds to the akashic infrastructure where information can propagate at instantaneous speeds without the physical transportation of energy and here it is information bearing energy that is transported along effectively instantaneous communication lines without the physical transportation of matter. This more subtle and efficient means of communication allows for detailed interaction and synchronisation leading to coherence and integrated causal structures or behaviour.

If one is a commander of a battalion on a battle field, or a CEO of a vast company or the leader of a nation one understands the importance of the information network that is required to control a battalion or a commercial process or a nation, and thereby harness its power. To continue the above analogy between physical and electronic communication, many organisational systems depend heavily on electronic communication. If all electronic communication was disabled, then interactions become purely mechanistic and the entire situation needs to re-organise and re-structure itself along these new lines of communication. This is because a system forms and functions along the lines of communication and as these lines change so too must the system. The more that a system utilises electronic information exchange the more integrated and responsive it can become, the more it can self-organise and integrate into a single collective whole. Just think of the relationship between mass media and nationalism throughout history.

Consider a system that evolves from purely physical communications via word of mouth or mail and progresses towards electronic communications with full integration; imagine a battalion of soldiers with complete electronic interconnectivity with voice communications and head up displays with all kinds of visual information such as radar of the immediate vicinity with locations of all team members and other key objects. This battalion, when considered as a single system, is capable of highly integrated responses and highly ordered behaviour. When such a collective evolves toward the subtler communication infrastructure it becomes more integrated and intricately causally interconnected, thus the system evolves toward higher states of being, achieving higher frequency resonant states. Thus a land mass with many tribes evolves into a single vast nation with immense power. Or, stepping out of the mechanistic context, an organic being such as a human being evolves into a being of Light by re-organising themselves and realigning with their Self and communicating more and more through the akashic infrastructure rather than the mechanistic one.

Societal Effects of The Mechanistic Perspective

The mechanistic perspective automatically produces the authoritarian approach and eventually results in such things as fascist dictatorships, commercial exploitation and also a general sado-masochistic response from the population.


Related Discussions:
Systemic Health,
The Akashic Field,
The Akashic Field and Systemic Health,
Survey of Ancient Traditions regarding systemic health and the two perspectives,
Meanings of Words subtle analogies in ancient sayings

{{note}}In SMN there is existential information and causal information, the structure of the SV determines what data structures exist and the contents of the SV determines the distribution of information throughout those data structures, and the SM determines how these are causally inter-connected so as to manifest coherently changing state or behaviour. They are related to purusha and prakriti (see) or physis and psyche (see).