The Irresistible Idea of Being One

We are all made of star stuff. It’s just a scientific fact. There is nothing in the universe that is foreign to the universe (as far as we know). Everything in the universe is made up of the same building blocks. But does it then follow that all things are One?

Earth Unity Flag


If anything is truly remarkable about the Universe, it is that such diversity exists within it. Just on our own planet, the countless species of plant and animal life is a little overwhelming. The uniqueness of life in all it’s forms is miraculous. Think about how different a jellyfish is from a labrador from a redwood tree. They are very distinct and unique forms of life with their own gifts and limitations.

When we are all so physically distinct and unique, why is it we tend to assume a spiritual oneness? Is not logical to assume that our spirits, our souls and our conciousness are just as distinct as our physical forms? And if we are truly one in spirit by nature, why do we work so hard to connect to each other and be mindful of that oneness?

The very atoms of our body work so hard to maintain their individuality, to perpetuate the very distinctness of our being. They do not seek to connect to the atoms in other distinct manifestations of life. Your hand does not melt into the earth and merge with it in an expression of unity.

So why is the idea of One so irresistible? Is it more natural to think of Many instead? And are the connections we make not because we are trying to regain some connection lost in a sundering in the distant past, but because we are curious evolving creatures interested in exploring that which is different from us? Is it more meaningful to connect to others because we believe we are already connected, or because we choose to build bridges of understanding?

That’s what I ponder over my bowl of cheerios. What do you think?

Pagan Americana: Murphey’s Midnight Rounders
Christians Acting Like Christians: Dissecting Tim Dalrymple’s Comments on Paganism
So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish!
Learning New Steps To Dance
About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • MrsBs Confessions

    I like the idea that we are Many, connected to One.

  • T Thorn Coyle

    This is why I call myself a Non-Dualist and Polytheist (and I prefer to think of the Great Zero instead of the One). 

  • Vivianna

    At the risk of sounding “ultra-New Agey” and nebulous, I wonder if perhaps the concepts of MANY and the concept of ONE look different to us when we’re physically manifested than they do from the nonphysical perspective.   While we can all be different physical manifestations, since we all come from the same star stuff, that’s where the unity is?  Is this simply a matter of semantics?  Of fancy wordsmithing that is tripping us up?

    One of the assumptions that I am picking up on in your pondering is that
    what is physical is all there is- or rather only what can be readily
    observed is all there is.  Subatomic & theoretical physics is showing people everyday that that what we once thought to be impossible is not only possible but occurring (for instance, one item in 2 places, simultaneously).  Is it only a matter of time before that same, or a related branch of science finds that we are indeed, through energetic strings all connected as one?  (That’s probably already happened and I just don’t know about it!)  I don’t mean to say that if we cannot prove it with science, it ain’t true; science is like a second layer of icing on the cake…. gratuitous, (some would say) unnecessary, but damn yummy!  The first layer of icing being what your gut, larger nonphysical self, etc. tells you.

    I like to think that The Many comprise The One.  And “The One” is nonphysical, unseen but felt, known or sensed.  I also like the idea of us all being blended beings- beings who are parts of nonphysical energy of God/Goddess focused into a physical manifestation called a body.  Our bodies may be individuals, but energetically, we are one.  Maybe that is why we have this yearning to be united with it?  It’s home.

    Gonna go find some cake now…  :0)

  • Soliwo

    I like how you pose questions instead of making a case for the one or the other, though it is clear where you heart lies.

  • Jack Heron

    I rather like what G.K. Chesterton had to say about being One with the universe (in the context of Christianity, but it could just as well be applied to plenty of other worldviews as well). He said he thought it was a far more beautiful and interesting thing to *not* be one with everything – being outside it, one can gaze back in wonder and excitement. 

    “”I want to adore the world, not as one likes a looking-glass, because it is oneself, but as one loves a woman, because she is entirely different… A man may be loosely said to love himself, but he can hardly fall in love with himself”

  • Ian Phanes

    I believe that the tendency to perceive the Many as also One comes from individuals having mystical experiences of Unity.

    Personally I believe that the One is Many, and that both perspectives are equally sacred–though focusing on specificity within the Many is more appropriate in most situations.

  • Sunweaver

    If you turn the Earth Unity flag on its side and simplify it, it sort of looks like the IDIC symbol. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations – a Vulcan symbol of peace.
    Coincidence? I think not.

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Just like Capt. Jean-Luc Picard learned with the Borg, resistance is NOT futile–I don’t think it is irresistible to have mystical notions of oneness, I just think that it’s easy, and “one” is literally the lowest common denominator that most people would like to reduce everything to. It’s an interesting tendency in human psychology, but it is not unavoidable, nor is it necessary in anything other than theory.  But, I suspect you knew what my thoughts on this would be before I commented!  ;)

  • Rose Welsh

    Thorn, what is the Great Zero.  Never heard of this?

  • Sunweaver

    This is me as well.

  • Boh

    We are S-selves-E-L-F: the greatest dialectic: both one and at the same time distinct. One writer called this “the inter penetrating conundrum of being.”

  • Boh

    Be part – vitally, integrally small “p” part & vitally absulutely detached and removed: both/and, at the same time. This alone constitutes freedom.

  • Anna Korn

    The unity of the genetic code across the realms of life is evidence of  Oneness.

  • Sbpraxis

    “If anything is truly remarkable about the Universe, it is that such diversity exists within it.” 

    Even though I subscribe to a monistic concept of deity, I concur with this statement. The fact that the One Thing can project as the myriad physical (and non-physical) forms that we both inhabit and perceive in everyday life is nothing short of miraculous. Endless diversity spreads out before us, giving rise to lifeforms as distinct from one another as insects and primates. Water is so experientially distinct from flame that we have harnessed these two awesome powers to accomplish a multitude of different things. Yet, all of this diversity is an extension of the same divine fabric. Miraculous.

    I should also mention that the concept of the One does not necessarily have to negate the concept of the Many. We can still interact with our brothers, sisters, loved ones, and enemies as distinct individuals while recognizing our essential unity. 

  • Natalie Reed

    I tend to look to what is true in Nature for answers to questions like this – but the following example will be more personal and societal. I am a child of the Divine, I am an animal, I am a human being, I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, etc, etc. I am all these things – in one. Thus I see all that is as an extension of The One, that to which we will all return, that with which we long to be reunited. Perhaps not a view so pagan-y, but there it is.