MIND IS A GIANT WEB, LIKE THE UNIVERSE
Please note how the Quran draws an analogy between human MIND and the UNIVERSE, while defining both of them as complicated webs:
By the Heaven knit with ways and waves,
Surely you are of diverse opinions. 51:7-8
Apparently, in this sketchy depiction of the cosmos as an interwoven network of ‘ways and waves’ one may sense some vague projection of the concepts of relativity, including space-time curvature and gravitational waves, as well as the concepts of string theory.
More importantly, however, the passage portrays the complex diversity and endless depth of humankind’s intellectual Universe (‘Surely you are of diverse opinions’) as comparable to those of the physical cosmos (‘By the Heaven knit with ways and waves’).
DIVERSE MINDS MAKE A HEAVENLY RAINBOW
The above verses are explained by a similar passage 23:17-32, which, after referring to the infinite celestial pathways (23:17, 51:7-8, 70:3-5), describes the internal Universe of human minds in terms of multicoloured, diverse fruit gardens vivified by Heavenly rain. Please note this constant Quranic emphasis on pluralism and multidimensionality of the Truth in human comprehension:
And We have created above you SEVEN PATHS and We are never unmindful of creation.
And We sent down WATER from the Heaven according to a measure, then We gave it lodging in the Earth, and most surely We are able to carry it away.
Then We cause to grow thereby GARDENs of palm trees and grapes for you; you have in them many fruits and from them do you eat:
Including a tree that emerges from Mount Sinai, yielding oil and a COLOURANT for the eaters. …
So We sent a MESSENGER to them from amongst them: “Serve God, you have no other god besides Him.” 23:17-20, 32
Here ‘And We have created above you seven (infinite) paths’, especially when read in context, reminds us of the ‘seven (infinite) colours’ of the humankind’s spiritual rainbow (35:19-28, 30:9-24, 16:2-69, 39:18-69, 2:22-87, 2:136–164, 23:17-32) and thus, once again, draws an analogy between the complicated webs of MIND and the UNIVERSE.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN MIND AND THE UNIVERSE
Interestingly, there are striking similarities at all levels across the human mind and the Universe.
A neurone, or a brain cell, which is microscopic in size, resembles a whole galaxy, which is a Universe in itself, millions of light-years across.
Then our brain consists of some 10000000000 (10 billion) neurones, interconnected – through innumerable extensions of axons and dendrites – into a colossal network.
These associations correspond to dark matter and black holes – which are portals to other Universes – where information can be exchanged and shared across the ‘event horizon’ because of quantum entanglement.
This interlacing of nerve fibres and their junctions then allows a nerve impulse to follow any of a virtually unlimited number of pathways. The effect is to give humans a seemingly infinite variety of responses to sensory input, which may depend upon experience, mood, or any of numerous other factors. During both sleep and consciousness, these ceaseless electrochemical activities in the brain generate technically detectable brain waves.
This defines our mind as an extremely complex giant web, made up of potentially an infinite number of Universes, like a cluster of galaxies.
If mind is a vast Universe, then, reversely, is the Universe a huge mind?
Then the interaction of all the minds of all times and places can be further collated with the interaction of billions of clusters of galaxies, making the intellectual Universe of humanity infinite in both variation and extent.
DIALECTICS IS THE SOURCE OF ALL DIVERSITIES OF MINDS
This dialectics – i.e. interaction between opposites – is the source of all the complex diversities and unfathomable depths of human minds:
By the Night as it veils,
And by the Day as it reveals,
And by that which created the male and the female,
Certainly your striving is to diverse ends …
Certainly upon Us is to direct the way,
And certainly unto Us is the Last and the First. 92:1-4, 12-13
Here the phrase ‘that which created the male and the female’ obviously refers to the law of universal dialectics, which is responsible for the differentiation into two opposites – thesis and antithesis – represented here by ‘male’ and ‘female’.
This – together with the symbolism of night and day, darkness and light, male and female, and last and first – states that it is the same polarity evident in the whole Universe – from galaxies to living organisms to societies to human thoughts – which continues as the dichotomy that produces the endless multiplicity of mankind’s intellectual Universe3 (‘Certainly your striving is to diverse ends’).
Please note that the Quran, in the same way, repeatedly associates this dialectics of thought (42:4-12, 53:42-48, 91:1-10, 92:1-13) – that leads to the infinite diversity of human minds – with the law of universal dialectics (30:22, 36:36, 42:4-12, 43:12, 51:49).
This diversity of minds – which has been expressing itself as various religions, cultures, concepts, views and visions throughout the ages and the places – is, according to the Quran, not only something natural as divinely intended (2:38, 2:62, 2:111-112, 2:135-136, 2:256, 3:64, 3:113, 3:199, 4:124-125, 5:48, 5:69, 6:149, 7:35, 10:47, 10:74, 11:118, 13:31, 13:38, 16:9, 16:13, 16:36, 16:63, 16:84, 16:93, 22:40, 22:65-67, 23:17-32, 24:35, 24:41, 29:46, 29:69, 30:22, 35:19-28, 42:4-12, 49:13, 92:1-4) but also profoundly beautiful (13:4, 23:17-32).
But where are the limits, if there is any, of all this dialectics – causing the ‘endless’ diversities and depths – of both mind and the Universe?
The passage above answers to this. That ‘the both ends’ or ‘the utmost limits’ of all the dialectical chains, including those of human minds, are to the Divinity alone (‘unto Us is the Last and the First. 92:13’; cf. 28:70, 53:42-48, 57:3, 79:44).
At this point, we need to have a look into the utmost limits of human minds …
Related reading: Meaning of ‘colours’ in the Quran