The CALL

Omnius is a call for conscious people of all beliefs to come together in common identity.

What is Omnius, and why should people come together as Omnians, any more than as Christians, existentialists, New Yorkers, French, women, blacks, Dodger fans or any other identity? The answer is simple. Omnius is a name for our real identity, the common identity of all humanity.

The realization of this identity has been the authentic basis for all the enlightenment based, spiritual traditions of the world, both East and West, throughout history, including the Judeo-Christian tradition. Omnius is a resurrection of this realization, divested of extraneous implications, indeed divested of the trappings of any particular religion, formulated in terms which are intelligible to any intelligent, open-minded person, whether a devout believer, or an agnostic scientist. On the other hand, because it is religion's universal root, Omnius has the potential, if properly understood and openly embraced, to revitalize any true religion.

Although divested of extraneous implications, Omnius has implications of its own, implications which inescapably flow from the very nature of real identity, and need no external authority, either religious or secular, to enforce it. Indeed, if our identity as an Omnius is fully realized, it will become us. Implications for thought, for action, for very being, will flow from our realization. We will not even need internal authority, whether in the form of willpower, discipline or dogma, to keep us true. We will know who we are, we will be one with that knowing, and we will be free!

Omnius is not a personal identity. It is not who we think we are, or the group we identify with. It is not an identity as... but an identity with. Omnius teaches that we have an identity with the Omnia, the All, and that we are all individual centers of it. Thus, it is both our inner identity and our outer one, our ultimate identity and our absolute one.

As our real identity, Omnius it is the only identity we have in common, the only identity it is possible to have in common. As a matter of fact, we already have it in common. But then why do we have to do anything? Because although all humanity has a common identity in Omnius, not many people realize it. And it is this realization that I am calling for, confident that with the realization will come the togetherness, for coming together is intrinsic to Omnia! So to be accurate, Omnians are not people who have this common identity as an Omnius, because whether we know it or not we all have it. Omnians are people who know it, affirm it, celebrate it, and act from it!

What is the essence of this common identity that I am calling Omnius? It is deceptively simple to express, though quite a bit harder to realize and remember. Our identity is simply that we are One with the All. Many traditions have said this, but what does it mean? On one level, it means that as truly as we are individuals, we are also cells in greater and greater bodies, the body of humanity, the body of life, the body of the earth, the body of the All. These statements derive from the first principle of Omnius, "the individual is the singular of the All". Omnia is Latin for all or the All. Omnius is the singular form of Omnia. What better way to remind us that our identity as individuals is the singular of the All, than to call this realization Omnius.

But there is more.  There is another level, a deeper level on which we are One with the All.  It is true that we are cells in the body of humanity, but we are that only provisionally, temporarily, as long as we reside in the cells.  The we that we are, the Self in the cell, is a visitor, a temporary inhabitant. The cell will die and the Self will move on, perhaps to be reborn, in another cell, in another place, in another time! 

Why do we need to realize this identity that is not and cannot be exclusive, this common identity? The short answer is because all the ills that humanity is heir to arise from the concentric rings of separateness, the separate identities, in which we encase ourselves. These are identities like me, my body, my mind, my family, my friends, my money, my possessions, my team, my community, my country, my religion, my race, etc. My .. my .. my: all statements of identity are possessives. We possess our identities, our very selves, in the same way that we possess a thing. And things, you realize, are dead!

All separate identities create boundaries, boundaries between mind and body, self and other, mine and yours, us and them, inside and outside. The ideas of these boundaries create successive divisions in the world and predispose us to treat the people and things on one side of the boundary differently from the other side. Boundaries create a world of us and them and give us permission to be absolute hypocrites; to love and fight for ourselves, our families, our God and our country, while fighting with and even destroying others, their families, their God, and their country!

All these different identities that we take on are extensions of ourselves. In an operational way they become ourselves. This is a simple principle but it has vast consequences. The first of these is that whatever identity we assume, no matter how expanded or tangential, like our country or our prowess at baseball, takes on the full significance of our being. We become it, it becomes us. This is the real significance of separate identity.

Underpinning all of our identities is the fact that we see ourselves as separate; separate, different, isolated, and in potential competition with all others, at times even our loved ones. What is more we see ourselves as separate and isolated in a world of scarcity. Given this perception, it is natural that our first and sometimes exclusive loyalty is to ourselves, whatever the definition of our identity might be at the moment.

It's clear that our identity is sometimes defined by our skin boundary and other times is collective. What is less evident is that we even subdivide our identity within our skin boundary. We favor one part of ourselves and neglect or even abuse other parts. For instance, a person may identify with their stomach when hungry, and their sexuality when aroused. The scholar or ascetic who pushes his body unmercifully, the athlete who neglects his mind, the gourmet who overeats, or the person who follows his emotions and not his intellect or vice versa, are all seeing one part of themselves as self and other parts as not self.

Furthermore, if we see ourselves as separate, we also see other people as separate. If we see our identity, our self as a possession, as we possess our body, our intelligence, our sexuality or whatever else we identify with, then, as I have already pointed out, we also see ourselves as a thing. Because anything you can possess and lose is a thing. This predisposes us to see other people as things as well, things we can also possess, use, exploit, ignore or discard. Then, we judge this thing that we have made of our self and compare ourselves to the things we have made of others, finding them superior or inferior and relating to them accordingly. By assuming separate identity we deny ourselves recognition as a soul, as Self, alive and sacred. Similarly, we deny others recognition for their common identity as souls, in this way denying both ourselves and others the enfolding compassion that mutual recognition entails.

To complicate matters, we do not have a single identity, but rather hold multiple identities, some simultaneously and some in alternation. These fit into one another like Chinese boxes. Thus, we belong to and identify with our countries, communities, religions and families and ball teams. We also identify with the roles we play, parent, spouse, child, lover, breadwinner, caretaker, computer programmer and the like. And we easily entertain multiple identities, sexy body, loving parent, hangglider, spiritual being, American, etc., all the while running from the central panic of feeling separated and thus unreal.

Not only do we take on identities as individuals, but social groups ranging in size from couples to nations also take on identities. War, and other forms of hostile competition between nations, ethnic groups, races and religions are an obvious consequence of separate national, ethnic, racial and religious identities. Corporate identities predispose businesses to treat lower level employees as serfs, customers as suckers to be squeezed, and the affairs of the rest of the world as irrelevant except when they impinge on corporate interests. Professional and academic identities encourage territoriality, engender competition and hinder communication between different fields of knowledge. Religious identities frequently lead to and even encourage intolerance of other religions, and so on.

When people take on group identities they don't give up their individual identities, although these are frequently altered by belonging to a group. Individuals within groups compete for power while groups as a whole compete with one another. It is the same with all groups, whether they be nations, communities, governments, corporations, ball clubs, friends or families. Separation and competition alternate in overlapping concentric rings as one's identity focuses and refocuses. Even philanthropic, charitable and environmental groups compete when they should be working together. While the common good is clearly served by working together cooperatively, the need to establish one's separate identity as just as good or better than, along with the drive for the privileges of power, blocks people from working together on every level.

However, we need to keep in mind that all forms of group identity depend on the individuals within the group being willing to assume that identity. Without that willingness, group identities could never arise much less be sustained. The implication of this principle is that being an Omnian, moving toward common identity, will act as a counter to both destructive infighting within groups and the development of pernicious group identities.

These boundaries between self and other, us and them, mine and yours, ours and theirs become projected to inside and outside, and there create another set of problems which are just as destructive as intolerance and war. These are the problems of the mindless exploitation of the environment and of other species of life: air and water pollution, habitat destruction, the creation of toxic waste, industrial mono-agriculture, inhumane ways of treating animals raised for consumption, strip mining, deforestation and on and on. These are all consequences of the illusion that what is important is the self is inside, while other or not-self is outside and therefore of no concern.

The golden rule .. do onto others as you would have them do onto you... is an expression of the spirit of Omnius. Of course, it is just common decency, but has decency ever been common. If you view yourself as a separate being, competing for resources in a world of scarcity, cooperating only with people who could help you, the golden rule wouldn't make any sense. What would make sense would be to be part of a pack, the strongest one you could form, and prey on everybody and everything else. (Ever now, isn't this the dominant conscious of the world) But if you viewed yourself as the singular of the All, a center of consciousness in a conscious entity of infinite magnitude, yet one that depends on you as you depend on it, then the golden rule would follow logically. You wouldn't have to be saintly, you wouldn't even have to be decent, you would just have to know your common identity.

When Omnius invokes the golden rule, it goes beyond do onto other people, it is do unto the children of All as you would do unto yourself, because in truth you are the All.