My favorite word in the Dutch language, the first one that I learned, and, at the time of this writing, one of the few that I understand is the word “iets,” which, when translated into English, literally means “something.” The belief in something would be called, in Dutch, Ietsisme (Ietsism in English). One who defines themselves as a believer in the concept of the iets (an “Ietser”) is one who admits that they do not, and possibly cannot, fully understand exactly what the iets is. The iets is not a religion and it has no rules or places of worship, but rather, much like the Tao or the immanent divinity inherent in all things which is spoken of within the mystical schools of the Abrahamic religions, it is a concept and a feeling that we are a part of something greater than our own individual selves and that there is a purpose to our existence. It may also be likened to the idea of Animism, which falls under the wide umbrella of Paganism, defined as the belief that there is no separation between the spiritual world and the physical world, which was, historically speaking, the first known spiritual concept ever grasped by the human brain. One does not have to believe in any particular deity figure to believe in the iets, in fact one could technically be an Atheist, defined as an individual who holds no belief in any supernatural deity, and an Ietser simultaneously, and one does not have to call it by any specific name, though I prefer to use the term “iets” myself when describing this concept as it is one which has been found at the most basic level of every religious or spiritual tradition that mankind has created since its original debut onto the evolutionary stage and so I find the term “something” to be very appropriate. In this very brief letter, I will attempt to give a simplified scientific explanation of the concept of Ietsisme as I personally understand it and what it means.
In the field of physics, “String Theory” and “M Theory” are, for the most part, the currently accepted scientific explanations for the structure, function, and origins of our universe and the infinite other universes, collectively referred to as the “multiverse,” which exist within the various dimensions of reality. According to M Theory, which is a theory composed primarily for the purpose of proving the accuracy of String Theory and bringing physicists closer to unlocking the most sought after and infamous “Theory of Everything (which would explain all the mysteries of the universe),” all matter can be broken down to the atomic level and then further to the subatomic level until reaching the electrons which seem to float within the “empty space” of all atoms. A single electron, unlike the much larger protons and neutrons also existing within every atom, is always present in several different locations at once as a result of existing in several different universes/dimensions simultaneously and can never be pinpointed or given an exact location due to its inter-dimensional nature and the fact that, by this very nature, it has no single location at all.
String theory delves deeper, going into the electron and illuminating the energy particles which make up that electron and also all other matter in our universe. These particles of energy, sometimes referred to as the “God particle” due to the fact that they constitute the most basic foundation of all material existence, are referred to by physicists as “strings.” These strings are each manifestations of the infinite “ocean” of energy from which all physical matter and life spring forth and share their origins. The type of matter which is materialized in the universe is dependent upon the different vibrations of the strings which constitute its basic makeup. All the strings in the universe are fundamentally made up of the same energy but vibrate at different frequencies, materializing different types of matter. Because of this, our entire universe can be described as a symphony, infinite the length and beauty of its song.
With each string that is plucked, new matter and new life are materialized from the energy that has always made up all things in existence, physical or otherwise. Even individual consciousness and sentient thought, both of which we most commonly associate with our concept of a personal soul which survives us after our physical bodies have ceased to function on a level capable of supporting it and are converted by nature into other forms of matter, have been linked scientifically to this universal energy and, by all logic are fully present within it. By examining and studying scientifically documented and medically contained incidents of NDEs (Near Death Experiences), particularly in the case of those observed by Dutch Cardiologist Pim van Lommel, we see that our mind/consciousness apparently operates separately from our physical brain and is not created by it but rather, as evidence would seem to suggest, received by it as both our mind and consciousness continue to exist and function completely, and by several reports, function on a much higher level than previously experienced, even after our physical bodies and brains have completely shut down and, for all intents and purposes, died (this means no bodily function whatsoever, including any type of brain activity or sensory perception). Perhaps French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin explained this best when he stated that “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
By the basic scientific principle of “Conservation of Energy,” neither energy nor matter can ever be created or destroyed, including the energy which makes up our own individual human consciousness and the electrical signals within our physical brains which make up our human thoughts and knowledge (both of which are essentially one and the same). This, to put it very simply, means that all matter in existence, all energy which makes up that matter, and all energy which makes up a person or other sentient being’s individual consciousness has always existed in some form or another since before time began and will continue to do so for eternity although, given that Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and the Wheeler-DeWitt Equation both call, rather uncompromisingly, for a universe that is without any form of what we would define as time, it would seem that “eternity” itself is a term which is only useful for attempting to describe a state of existence which we are now experiencing and have always experienced on some level but which is currently beyond the scope of what the human brain is able to fully understand.
All things that have ever existed or will ever exist, be they physical matter, sentient thought, or individual consciousness are, ultimately, one and the same as they are all materialized from the same energy source. Since all matter, all individual consciousness, all thoughts, and even all feelings (since these are technically electrical signals within the brain and nerve endings) that have ever existed in any form or will ever exist are manifestations of this energy, then it would make perfect since to say that the energy itself is conscious, all-knowing, and all-encompassing and that we, as conscious sentient beings, with or without physical bodies, are all equally part of it without any exception (given the conservation of energy principle) along with all of existence and always have been even if we are not currently mentally aware of it or if our physical human brains do not possess the capacity to fully comprehend it. This energy manifests itself in an infinite number of different forms and, given that events (whether perceived by individual humans or other sentient beings as being morally good or bad by their own standard) occurring in this physical universe are automatically opposite to events which occur in another universe or dimension within the infinite multiverse (by virtue of M Theory), it would appear that the energy itself, at its most fundamental level, is without what we humans would perceive as being an objective moral code and seems to manifest itself in physical form for no other humanly conceivable reason other than to experience itself and its reality through those manifestations.
This, at first, may seem like a very depressing and nihilistic view of the universe and of ourselves but, if we have the courage to look deeper and to challenge our prejudices, fears, and preconceived beliefs, we can see that it is in fact the most beautiful and comforting explanation of reality that we as mortal human beings, with our current level of cognitive intelligence, are capable of grasping at this stage in our physical and spiritual evolution. It is unknown to me or to any other living mortal human being on this Earth what the exact processes and events which take place during the afterlife are, though I personally dislike the term “afterlife” as it suggests the existence of linear time, as it would be defined by humans, and implies that this life/reality and the individual consciousness (if you like, you can substitute “consciousness” for “individual soul” as they are ultimately the same concept) which experienced it have permanently ended which is, scientifically, given the conservation of energy principle, no more possible than the total and permanent destruction of all the matter and/or energy which makes up our mortal human bodies or any other physical construct in the universe.
Furthermore, it can be concluded that there is no such place as Hell in this or any other universe as Hell, by its very definition, is “a state of eternal separation from God (for all intents and purposes, “God” is the infinite universal energy which was described previously).” Since all matter, consciousness, or existence of any kind is, fundamentally, an infinitely complex manifestation of the universal energy that, for the sake of simplicity I will refer to now as the “Life Force (because “God” is a religiously charged and exclusionary term which does not capture the complete idea),” it is totally and utterly impossible for anything in any form of existence, physical or otherwise, to be separate from the Life Force in any way for to be separate from it would mean to be totally non-existent, which since we, physically and consciously, exist already in a reality where the conservation of energy principle applies, is impossible. Going even further, when we consider the infinite nature of the multiverse as described in M Theory, it is only logical that anything which can exist in any form (even as thoughts and ideas within our own imaginations), with the exception of “Hell” by virtue of its definition, does in fact exist in some form in at least one of the universes/dimensions within the multiverse. This concept is one that I personally like to compare with the “Heaven” depicted in the 1998 film, “What Dreams May Come,” which is a film that I thoroughly enjoyed even though I did not personally agree with its objective stance on suicide.
When we completely remove the concept of Hell from our mental vocabulary, we come to envision a very different reality of our own existence and the existence of everything and everyone around us. We come to perceive a reality in which we are not judged or condemned based upon a moral code that we, as mortal humans in our physical dimension, invented, codified, and continue to modify as our evolutionary and societal needs change because, as equal manifestations of the same energy/consciousness, to judge and condemn us, this consciousness would be judging and condemning itself and to destroy us would be to destroy itself, which is obviously impossible under all the laws of nature. We come to know a reality in which we have no true enemies, only comrades whom we have no reason to wish anything but happiness upon as they are a part of us as much as we are a part of them in this human experience that we all share, and in which death, as we perceive it, does not exist and in which life does not end, but only evolves, and time does not exist.
In this reality, we are all notes, each as moving and inspiring as the one before, being played in a timeless symphony by the grand orchestra of the universe for no purpose other than to be heard and to express the boundless wonder and beauty of the existence that we all share just as a musical masterpiece is composed to express the beauty and depth of the human heart or as great writers, through the written word, have sought to build it up to be a temple for everything that matters in this world. We are, each of us, doing exactly what we were meant to do by being true to what makes us who we are and finding fulfillment in our own right. To be ourselves is to be as God for we are all, regardless of our beliefs, equally part of that infinite consciousness, which we call God only because we, as humans, find ourselves utterly unable to invent any words even remotely capable of describing such a powerful and inspiring idea which compels us forward into new realms of expression and being. There are no rules or laws in this reality other than those which we choose to impose upon ourselves. We are the beauty and the wonder of creation and to experience our lives for everything that they are, to realize how extraordinary we are, and to be all that we can be in this life is infinitely more noble and valuable than any prayer, ritual, or tithe.
—- From the mind of Victor Pence.