Abstract Phenomena

Posted on April 24, 2014 by Robert Ringer


Autism-spectrum disorders are a result of damage to certain cells in the right hemisphere of the brain.  Among other things, such damage can cause difficulties in the processing of abstract thoughts and ideas.  Which in turn can make life very frustrating for the afflicted individual.

Abstractions play such a major role in day-to-day life that it got me thinking about just how important they are for all of us when it comes to functioning in our modern world.  An abstract is theoretical in nature — i.e., it is not a tangible reality.  It has no form or substance.

Examples of abstractions include such concepts as time, infinity, negative numbers, zero, gravity, motivation, ideas, resourcefulness, love, justice, fairness, dreams, intuition, common sense, conceptualization, and axioms.

Axioms are among the more interesting kinds of abstractions, because even though we rely heavily on them, an axiom cannot be proven.  That’s right — an axiom is an unprovable, though self-evident, truth.

Negative numbers are also fascinating.  A negative number is nothing more than a theoretical supposition — a presumption that it exists, but not in concrete form.  (How can you have minus six oranges?)

One of the most difficult abstract notions to grasp is infinity.  The way we throw the word around, you’d think we have a clear understanding of what it is.  But can we really comprehend what infinity means?  We know that space, time, and numbering are infinite, but they are incomprehensible.

Entire phrases can also be abstract, which presidential hopefuls demonstrate when they use such nonsensical terms as “social consciousness,” “social justice,” and “shared prosperity.”  What in the world do these things mean?  The fact is that they are concepts that can only be defined subjectively.

What I’m driving at here is that we live in an abstract world, a world filled with abstract thought, existence, and causality.  A world where time, being, and substance are not provable.  Yet, through firsthand experience, we can be pretty certain that all of the phenomena mentioned in this article do, in fact, exist.

Which brings me to the phenomenon of the power that flows from thought.  If, through our thoughts, we possess the power to influence the course of our lives, there are two questions that should be of utmost importance to us:  (1) How much potential power do we have to alter events through our thoughts? and (2) How can we best tap into this reservoir of power?

If we do not have the power to manifest our destiny, we are the victims of a bad cosmic joke.  It would mean that our awareness is a Catch-22.  We would be conscious, yes, but conscious of the fact that we are on autopilot and have no say-so in the way our lives play out.  It would be the ultimate nightmare — being conscious of our impotence.

But to me — and, I hope, you — it is obvious that we do have the power to manifest our destiny.  Which brings us to the concept of the “metaphysical world.”  Technically speaking, all the examples I pointed to earlier in this article — time, negative numbers, love, fairness, axioms, and so on — are part of the metaphysical world in that they do not have form or substance.

When people use the term metaphysical world, they generally are referring to more weighty phenomena, such as the soul, afterlife, and — the ultimate abstraction — God.  The problem many have with abstractions such as these is that their existence cannot be proven.

Which is why, from the viewpoint of secular reasoning, none of these things make any sense.  But after you’ve lived on this earth for a while, experience teaches you that there are “reasons beyond reason” for things that have no secular explanation.

As the ultimate abstraction, God certainly falls into this category, which is why it is not surprising that He is the abstraction most often denied.  After all, you cannot see God.  You cannot hear God.  And you certainly have no tangible way of knowing whether God considers an action to be righteous or sinful.

The Dalai Lama sums it up well in The Universe in a Single Atom when he says, “There is a fundamental difference between that which is ‘not found’ and that which is ‘found not to exist.’  If I look for something and fail to find it, that does not mean that the thing I am seeking does not exist.  Not seeing a thing is not the same as seeing its non-existence.”

In other words, there’s a lot more to reality than the material world we are able to see.  Clearly, we ignore intangible realities at our peril.  We cannot see gravity, but firsthand experience teaches us that it would be foolhardy to attempt to defy it.

Results of the Hubble Telescope project have scientifically underscored the Dalai Lama’s position.  Hubble scientists long ago discovered that not only is all matter in the universe moving away from all other matter at unfathomable speeds, but those speeds are actually accelerating.

This indisputable scientific evidence has forced them to conclude that there is an invisible power in the universe — which scientists commonly refer to as “Dark Energy” — that is greater than the gravitational pull of all matter in the universe combined.

It therefore stands to reason that if you are able to tap into this infinite power source — whether you refer to it as God or Dark Energy or anything else — your own power is theoretically unlimited.  And if your power is unlimited, it logically follows that you should be able to have a great deal of control over your destiny.

So, how do you tap into this infinite power source?  I believe you have to make a conscious effort to concentrate on connecting.  This is not a learn-it-once-and-you’ve-got-it-for-life proposition.  It’s a lifetime process, but one that becomes easier with age.

Simply put, you become the product of your most dominant thoughts.  Which is why I believe that the more you think about your connection to the Infinite Power of the Universe, the more power you will have to control your destiny.  Remember, don’t be deceived into believing that something does not exist just because you can’t see it.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.