In pondering the concept of “singularity”, it is hard for me to imagine “All is One and One is All.” My primary experiences are of the Self and the Other. To be a “Monad” means there is only the Self, the point of Non Dimensions. However, reading Edwin Abbott’s “Flatland” helped me to conceive of a singularity.
Abbott writes in the following passage about the Universe of the “Point in Pointland, the Abyss of No Dimensions”. “It fills all Space,” continued the little soliloquizing Creature, “and what It fills, It is. What It thinks, that It utters; and what It utters, that It hears; and It itself is Thinker, Utterer, Hearer, Thought, Word, Audition; it is the One, and yet the All in All. Ah, the happiness, the happiness of Being!” He continues, “Ah, the joy, ah, the joy of Thought! What can It not achieve by thinking! Its own Thought coming to Itself, suggestive of Its disparagement, thereby to enhance Its happiness!”(1)
With Mr. Abbott’s prose, I could enter Pointland and ponder “singularity”. Because there is no Other, you have everything you want and need. You have no desires that you cannot fulfill. Because there is nothing to disturb you, you are happy and content. What you create comes true. With your will, you can create anything for your well-being and happiness. Singularity is satisfying.
I can apply this concept to my current life. Because of my brain injury, I prefer my own company. Like the Point, I think happy and creative thoughts. Since I constantly find things to delight me, my level of contentment is great. I find joy in being.
Reading “Flatland” further, I discover that Mr. Abbott also details the disadvantages of being a Monad. He writes from the viewpoint of a Sphere lecturing to a Square about the Point. “He is himself his own World, his own Universe: of any other than himself can form no conception; he knows not Length, nor Breadth, nor Height, for he has had no experience of them; … for he is himself his One and All, being really Nothing. Yet mark his perfect self-contentment, and hence learn this lesson, that to be self-contented is to be vile and ignorant.” (2) To know the disadvantages of being a singularity, the Other must be introduced. Being a singularity means you cannot conceive of anything outside of yourself.
Because a singularity has no other knowledge outside of itself, you cannot expand but instead start to shrink. You become stale and ignorant. You do not know what you need to know to survive or to thrive. You do not know what you do not know. Being self-contained can become boring. You eventually cease to create and then entropy sets in. In “Flatland”, the Point is stale and ignorant.
As a recluse, I do become discontented in my life. I need outside stimulation to grow and change. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, which is about entropy, applies to all things. To continue to exist, new material needs to be continually introduced. New energy is constantly needed to achieve the status quo or decay happens.
The singularity of oneness is a two-edged sword. On one hand, you are complete and need nothing else. On the other hand, without newness, entropy sets in. Then the singularity ceases to exist. In my life, the Other creates tension for me to change and develop. I do not think that I could live as a monad, and simply be self-contained.
- P.94 – 95, Abbott, Edwin, “Flatland”
Abbott, Edwin, “Flatland”, Dover, New York, 1884, (1953, ed.).