Dark Enlightenment

William B. Turner
2 min readApr 17, 2022
Chenrezig, The Buddha of Compassion

Here, I use “enlightenment” instead of “awakening” because the phrase “dark enlightenment” is droll and eye catching.

Have you heard of dark matter? It turns out that actual observations of objects and events in space make no sense to astronomers unless they posit the existence of a huge quantity of dark matter. It is dark in the most literal sense. It is matter in that it has mass, and thus gravitational effects, which is why we think it exists. It has its effects on the behavior of objects in the universe that we have no other explanation for.

But it is dark because it does not have any interaction with the electromagnetic spectrum, so it does not reflect or omit light. We cannot see it as a result.

This alone is interesting theoretical, scientific confirmation of the worldview that the Buddha articulated. Part of the problem we good materialists have with the idea that thought is what really matters in human life is that we cannot see our thoughts. We can see a hammer forcing a nail into a piece of wood. Brute, physical force is obvious and easy to perceive.

The effects of thoughts are actually quite obvious, but we tend not to think about them that way. A nation state is just a thought at some level, and the thought “the United States” clearly motivates a lot of people very strongly, but we choose, for no good reason, not to see that as an example of thought determining conduct.

It is not necessary to suggest that our thoughts consist of dark matter, which seems highly implausible. Because dark matter only interacts with gravity, it passes through our bodies without our noticing it. Dark matter is not a good candidate for a substance that affects human behavior.

For the analogy to the Buddhist worldview to work, it is only necessary to recognize that a substance we cannot see has a huge impact on our universe. Visibility is not necessary to the power to determine events or the behavior of solid objects.

Again, I like my beliefs to comport well with the world we observe when we look collectively through the practice we are pleased to call “science.” An important reason why I cannot be Christian.

I’d like to enlighten everyone. You can help with that project by donating what of your wealth you can afford to part with here. I offer my endless gratitude to everyone who has already donated.