Please remove any bumper sticker you own that says All is one. This phrase doesn’t make any sense. One runs across this platitude quite often in pseudo-intellectual conversations; it seems to be invoked most often as what I call a “mystifier” – the purpose is to evoke some mistaken idea of some deep, ancient, probably Asian, mystical knowledge. It is used in conversation pretentiously, enabling the user to pretend to some sort of enlightenment.
That the concept is mistakenly used can be seen, at least in regard to Taoism, by the following passage:
The Tao begot one.Tao Te Ching, Chapter 42 (Feng & English, trans.)
One begot two.
Two begot three.
And three begot the ten thousand things.
At some point there was only one; but one begot two, and two begot three – now there are “ten thousand” things (the classic Asian phrase for “lots and lots”). These things spring from the same original source (TTC, Chapter 1), but have individual existence. This passage could be seen to presage the concept of the big bang – not, of course, from the standpoint of mathematics and physics, but conceptually. However, we must be careful not to read too much into things, since this passage could also seem to presage the concept of the Trinity (which, as I’ve written here, is meaningless).
That “all is one” is senseless can be readily demonstrated. As discussed here, we only know things based on how they are differentiated from other things. If there ARE NO OTHER THINGS, then we could not know anything and therefore we obviously can not know that “all is one.”
Although everything is not one, everything is interconnected. More on this in a later post.