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The World of “Matter” Is But the Appearance of Mind to Itself: The Footprints on the Shores of the Unknown Are Our Own

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In This Age of Quantum Physics, LSD, Holographic Paradigms, and Consciousness Research, Scientific Arrogance Must Cease: Transpersonal Perspective, Part Two

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Rationalism As Egoistic Self-Abuse

Similarly, we have an argument against Idealism—more specifically the version of it called panpsychism, which is, by the way, the position being asserted here—by Wittgenstein in his Philosophical Investigations. His conclusion is that the position of panpsychism is unintelligible. Stating “Could one imagine a stone’s having consciousness?” he concludes that if one could it would only amount to “image-mongery” (Sec. 390, p. 119e). The implication is that since we cannot do something adequately—that we cannot understand something completely—there is something wrong with it!

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This kind of reasoning qualifies for the “All-Time Boners in Philosophy Award.” For the argument—while claiming not to be saying anything about the truth or falsity of a position, nor about its provenness or unprovenness—would want us to evaluate positions, and even possibly dismiss them as viable (i.e., as possibly true), based upon whether we (as a species) are capable of understanding them with our intelligence.

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Whereas, not only does this limit our knowledge endeavor—removing it from any possibility of speaking of truth unless it somehow (miraculously, I suppose, or through some sort of chosen-by-God kind of privilege) happens to coincide with what is intelligible to us; not only does it eliminate the scientific and philosophical enterprises in their attempts at venturing, ever on, after what may actually be true (or at least “truer” than we had previously held); but it presupposes that what is unimaginable at one time, or to one person, will be unimaginable, or unintelligible, to all others in all other times.

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This is one particular instance where Rationalism displays its egoistic self-abuse . . . hence its inherent fallacy. For we know by looking at the record that what is unimaginable at one time, or to one person, ends up being imaginable to another. For example, do we suppose that an early “animistic” hunter-gatherer could imagine a physical universe as we picture it today—with black holes, a heliocentric solar system, a Big Bang, quarks, and quasars?

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Do we say that because this primal person could not imagine these that we must dismiss them as possible truths (i.e., as possible good models of our reality). Or must we say that our conceptualizations of these things amount to “image-mongery” and thereby dismiss them on those grounds.

This last point leads beyond it in compelling us to realize that all forms of what we call “intelligible” venturing after truth are already a matter of “image-mongery.” That is to say that all our attempts equate with imagining models of what is; none of which can be said to actually constitute the thing described inasmuch as the map cannot constitute the territory.

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Hence we are led, again, to a realization of the inevitably anthropocentric nature of such arguments as Wittgenstein’s attack on panpsychism—and the equivalent degree of arrogance that corresponds with them. For the argument reduces itself to “if we can’t imagine something, it doesn’t exist!”

Leaving behind such a fatuous and uninspired rationale, let us return to the position of Idealism anew.

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Scientific Arrogance Must Cease

For—even admitting these claims of the unimaginability or incredibility of an Idealistic or panpsychic position—that was then, and this is now. It may have been unimaginable in Wittgenstein’s time or incredible from Joad’s perspective to consider a non-materialistic view of Reality. However, in an age that has witnessed LSD; a revival of shamanism; the emergence of virtual reality; the concepts of quantum physics, holographic paradigms, morphic resonances, cellular consciousness, and holotropic minds; and consciousness research in almost every branch of the natural and social sciences at this point . . . in such a day it might be ripe to reconsider some of what has been prematurely, and I might say arrogantly, set aside.

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I say “arrogantly” based upon what I’ve said elsewhere about the anthropocentric bias of scientists. For with an understanding of biologically constituted realities of species we gain an appreciation of the fundamentally limited and species-relative nature of our views of Reality.

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Hopefully, we can set aside, to at least a little degree, some of the anthropocentric egotism which obscures any truly reasonable attempt at constructing fruitful reality models. That being so, we need to admit of the possibility … not of the “intelligible-to-Wittgenstein possibility,” but of the real possibility … of the prior fundamental reality of psyche over matter, of the observer over the observed.

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The Footprints on the Shores of the Unknown Are Our Own

From the preceding it should be clear that I believe that consciousness is the only thing of the Universe or that it is at least the only thing knowable of the Universe. It should be just as evident why we would have such difficulty in acknowledging this obvious fact. Still, despite our modern difficulties with this worldview, it is not an uncommon position in philosophy. As Patrick (1952) describes Idealism,

dafagaghhhshjjIdealism, too, asserts that reality is one, that one being mind or spirit. For the Idealist matter is at best a representation or construct of mind. The world of “matter” is but the appearance of mind to itself. The world which the physical scientist talks about is, as Eddington says, in The Nature of the Physical World (p. xv), a “world of shadows.” What really is, in the final analysis, is of the nature of mind. (p. 185)

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Patrick (1952) elaborates further, quoting Eddington:

matter-mind-reflectA. S. Eddington, at the end of his chapter “On the Nature of Things” closing his striking book on Space, Time and Gravitation, comes to the conclusion that something of the nature of consciousness forms the essential content of the world.

The theory of relativity has passed in review the whole subject-matter of physics. It has unified the great laws, which by the precision of their formulation and the exactness of their application have won the proud place in human knowledge which physical science holds today. And yet, in regard to the nature of things, this knowledge is only an empty shell—a form of symbols. It is knowledge of structural form, and not knowledge of content. All through the physical world runs that unknown content, which must surely be the stuff of our consciousness.

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Here is a hint of aspects deep within the world of physics, and yet unattainable by the methods of physics. And, moreover, we have found that where science has progressed the farthest, the mind has but regained from nature that which the mind has put into nature.

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We have found a strange footprint on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one after another, to account for its origin. At last, we have succeeded in reconstructing the creature that made the footprint. And lo! it is our own. (Eddington, Space, Time, and Gravitation, pp. 200-201, from Patrick, 1952, p. 116)

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Continue with I Am You, and You Are Me, and We Are We, and We Are All Together: The Radical Rational View of Us and It and the Basis of the Belief of Non-Separation

Return to The Consciousness of Stones: Transpersonal Perspective, Part One — Affirming Idealism, Debunking Materialism, and Rationalism as Egoistic Self-Abuse

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Experience Is Divinity

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The Challenge to Know More: The New Evidence, Pouring Forth from Our Sciences, Has Made Our Common Sense Materialistic Assumptions About Our Reality as Obsolete as Our Flat Earth Ones

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A New Paradigm Emerging—Bridging the Barriers Between Species, Biological Transcendence: This Is the Place Where Even Hard Core “Realists” Learn How Little They Know 

Biologically Constituted Realities, Part Six

Wonder of wonders, finally in our evolution—in this very time of ours—there may be more people who are focusing on those keys to possible biological transcendence than ever before…. All of this despite the fact that within the “real rules” of the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm those anomalies have absolutely no possibility of existing or being able to happen . . . . Yet they do. Similarly, within the “real world” of “brute facts” related to biological survivability they seemingly find no place . . . . Yet we stumble over them.

Preface and Summary: It is the so called “anomalies” of science that hold the keys to the reality that lies beyond science. Looking at them we see a pattern upon which to stand in bringing together the different viewpoints or paradigms that are not reconcilable otherwise. These different viewpoints are the different scientific ones and the different cultural ones as well as the different biological ones—that is, the perspectives or views of different species… the different planetmate views.

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The anomalies that we have found to have the most potential for aiding us in this venture to a greater paradigm or framework within which to comprehend all these smaller views are those that have come out of consciousness research. This comes from scientific as well as spiritual sources. It is often experientially based, though it is hardly just anecdotal since these reports are replicatable and verifiable and they are often and can easily be collected and collated scientifically.

These scientific approaches to what were once in the realm of just the spiritual or religious are going on more now than ever before in the history of the world. Whether from fields of the new physics, the new biology, or the consciousness branches of psychology and anthropology, they are uncovering more new formerly inexplicable data of events that have heretofore been beyond the views of our sciences and beyond our common sense materialism—our world of “brute facts,” which we have found are not incontestable at all but are only solidly true in relation to the fact that we are of the species of humans.

We have found that these new facts are not as biologically irrelevant as was assumed by us, however. In fact, the survival of our species and indeed of the life on our planet probably depend upon us incorporating this information into a newer and more comprehensive understanding of reality. Fortunately the construction of this new framework is being carried out. And it and its implications are astounding, revelatory, and revolutionary in all respects imaginable. This new revolutionary model is unveiled in more detail in this article.

A New Paradigm Emerging

562802_469139956443536_476154461_nFor unless we do this, unless we keep in mind the limitations of our reality constructions—including our “scientific” ones—we have absolutely no way of understanding certain incorrigible and “biologically useless” facts that intrude upon our “real world” and that are scared into the light of our biological parameters by our scientific rummaging through the bushes. 10-emergence-440_thumbThese “useless” side effects of our scientific enterprise may indeed contain the keys to our venturing forth, to at least some small degree, beyond the biological real-world confines of our predecessors. For just as we have seen that standing on a deeper, more encompassing paradigm than the cultural makes transcultural discourse and understanding possible, so also standing on one deeper than the biological may bring trans-biological understanding closer.

320685_287043257975984_1019571197_nFollowing the reasoning I have been presenting, one can speculate that the prospects for bridging the boundaries between species (of both the known and “unknown” variety) as well as between our physical reality and other possible “non-physical” ones are good if we can find a way to look at that physical/biological (Newtonian-Cartesian) level from a deeper grounding in spiritual (or transpersonal) reality. In fact, the evidence from LSD research, some spiritual literature, and various aspects of “new age” phenomena that are washing up on the shore of a variety of disciplines is exactly to that effect.

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Indeed, wonder of wonders, finally in our evolution—in this very time of ours—there may be more people who are focusing on those keys to possible biological transcendence than ever before. Additionally, these researchers and seekers are scientifically, empirically, and experientially researching, eliciting, and perceiving many such incorrigible and “useless” phenomena and events. Most importantly of all, they are finding that these events can be intersubjectively validated—can be intertemporally and, indeed, empirically confirmed, demonstrated, and/or significantly correlated so that they can be proven to have intersubjective and/or replicatable validity. All of this despite the fact that within the “real rules” of the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm they have absolutely no possibility of existing or being able to happen . . . . Yet they do. Similarly, within the “real world” of “brute facts” related to biological survivability they seemingly find no place . . . . Yet we stumble over them.

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404758_10151168816692300_1663001410_nIf all of this were not enough, we find that these incorrigible facts provide more than a pathway to a glimpse outside our biological blinders, more than a puncture in our epistemological seal, and more than a transcendence of our biological paradigm. 381068_2409354290062_410697896_nWe find that this information from “outside” the table of our biological board game is less biologically useless than was thought from within the borders of that board game. We find, indeed, that our species’s assessment through natural selection of that which exists beyond it was less than perfect. We find that we are on the verge of re-evaluating that assessment and—to the extent it is possible and driven (once again) by biological survivability—of expanding our biological-cultural constructions to admit and give meaning to some of them.

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561122_4590595203775_1542758755_nStanislav Grof (1970, 1975, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1988a, 1988b; Grof and Grof 1980, 1989, 1990; Grof and Halifax 1977) is one such pioneer in this sort of “useless” research. Though he is by no means alone, I mention him in that he has achieved far more than simply demonstrating the validity of particular incorrigible facts that turn our familiar, comfy, Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm on its ear. asdafasdfaAdditionally, Grof (1985) puts forth a model, a framework for a new paradigm. Bringing together the physicist Bohm’s (1980) model of the universe and the neurosurgeon Pribram’s (1971, 1976) model of the brain, he presents a holonomic “perspective” or “theory” based upon the idea of a hologram. The important aspect of this perspective is that it allows the inclusion and understanding of these new existential facts, yet does not contradict the Newtonian-Cartesian view of the world. The model includes the older paradigm, interpenetrating it thoroughly with something approaching a “field model” (my terms) of the universe.

imagesThe combined model explains the phenomena of everyday life, of “normal” science, and of a huge and increasingly accumulating body of unexplainable data and evidence that is continually erupting out of the “new” natural sciences 408309_1764639612598_1737376259_863778_1611513471_n_thumb(in physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, anthropology, and psychology, especially transpersonal psychology); out of the human potential phenomenon and new, experiential psychotherapeutic and growth techniques, such as Primal; out of psychedelic, consciousness, and brain (especially brain waves) research; out of a decades-long now Western fascination with and intense engagement with Eastern world-view, philosophy, and spiritual practice; and out of an equally long and parallel interest in the paranormal and the occult.

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378217_404734319589778_416746225_nThe holonomic (combined) model is explanatory and predictive. Yet it does so without having to exclude known, observable, empirically validated facts and evidence—without undeservedly casting upon them the light of nonexistence or, worse still, ignoring them, simply because their validity gives rise to a very human “uncomfortableness.” 561118_417771534949707_1862742195_nSuch data trigger a certain insecurity in that they undermine a familiar, habitual, and thoroughly ego-invested commitment to a view of reality.5 The purposes of this article do not here allow an elaboration of either the new evidence or the new paradigm that I have discussed.6 Suffice it to say that the recent and rapid emergence of the field of transpersonal psychology itself is pushed by an inability to continually disregard the evidence of our own senses that does not fit with the mechanical paradigms we were taught.

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This new evidence, which is pouring forth on the cutting edges of our modern sciences, has made the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm as obsolete as the flat earth one.  

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Continue with Why We Know Not and A Call to Know Instead: Beyond “Flat Earth” Materialism—Scientific Awakening Is as Crucial for Paradigm Shift as is the Social and Political Awakenings

Return to How We Might Come to Know: In Tossing Away Our Species Blinders, We Relearn That Consciousness Is Infinite, Yes … but Fantastic as Well.

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