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Implications of a single consciousness

  1. Mar 28, 2005 #1
    I have brought this discussion over from the thread discussing Chapter 7 of "A Place for Consciousness".

    I think it would. First of all, we aren't really sure how we act naturally in the world. I happen to think that we act the way we do because we are vehicles being driven by a consciousness that is not seated in the brain. This is similar to the way in which cars act. When they are driven, they behave in ways completely unpredictable by the laws of physics. Intentions of the driver (which is literally seated in the car but is not part of the car) are expressed by relatively small and infrequent forces on the various controls. These "cause" the car to stay on the road and move from point A to point B. The overwhelming majority of causes involved, of course, are the forces produced by converting chemical energy in the gasoline to mechanical forces applied to the wheels. These cause the car to go from A to B but only in a crude, unintentional way. Without the driver's relatively small interventions, the car would not behave as it does.

    I think this "driver" model is a sensible interpretation of what you call incarnation. Otherwise, how can we make sense of the mind influencing the body at all?

    It may be contrary to popular opinion, but I don't agree that it is contrary to the evidence. I think the "evidence" for multiple consciousness is analogous to the "evidence" for multiple TV programs on a single channel at one time. It looks as if each TV set has its own unique program, when in fact there is only a single program being transmitted to all the TV sets. I have recently been given some additional confidence in my conclusion that there is only one consciousness by Canute. He told me that Erwin Schroedinger, among others, held the same opinion. Evidently the evidence for multiple consciousnesses was not compelling for him either.

    I don't think you can produce such evidence. First, I claim that consciousness does have physical vehicles in the form of biological organisms. But in addition, I think that consciousness can act directly in some circumstances outside of those vehicles. In particular in the establishment of the laws of physics and in the establishment of the initial conditions for the physical universe. Whether we should append the adverb 'miraculously' to these actions I think would simply be an inconsequential semantic choice.

    It's not a question of whether the single consciousness needs the vehicles but a question of whether it uses the vehicles. If vehicles weren't used, then it wouldn't seem that there were multiple consciousnesses at all. If vehicles are used, however, then it would seem, from the points of view of the vehicles themselves, that there were multiples. Keep in mind that if there is only one consciousness, then that is the only thing to which "seeming" can even happen. If there is only one consciousness, then it is obvious that from the point of view of any particular vehicle (i.e. human brain), knowledge that is accessible to the consciousness is limited to local information related to that particular body. Thus it would seem to the consciousness, while driving a particular body, that consciousness is seated in that body's brain and that no other body is conscious. That's exactly the way it appears to each of us. We are directly aware of consciousness in our body but we have no access whatsoever to the consciousness, if it exists, in others. They only seem conscious to us because they behave sort of like us.

    But I don't think it is nearly as hard. Instead of the self-referential problem of brain states causing consciousness and in turn consciousness causing brain states, we would have an agent outside the brain causing (or more accurately, triggering) brain states. That's much easier. I think analogous problems would be the problem of designing a robot which could pass the Turing test and which in addition really did achieve consciousness, versus the problem of designing a vehicle such as a car which could be driven by a conscious driver. The first problem is much harder.

    It's harder than the single consciousness case as I described above, but in addition you have the problem of explaining the emergence of consciousness from non-conscious physical systems. I think that makes it twice as hard.

    I think it adds a great amount of simplicity, as I described above.

    What other problems do you have in mind? In my view, you don't have to attribute to the universal consciousness anything we don't experience in everyday consciousness, except longevity. I think rather that the single consciousness was extremely primitive and limited at the very beginning. I think it has been evolving and growing ever since, just like everything else.

    I don't think we need ask that awkward question because I think it would be a mistake to associate the single consciousness with the notion of God. The notion of God, as held by virtually everyone who uses that term, connotes perfection, omnipotence, omniscience, immutability, and infinity. I think none of these pertains to the one consciousness.

    As for the question "Who created the universal Consciousness?" it is no more difficult for me than the corresponding question is for any philosopher, scientist, theologian, or magician who claims that X is ontologically fundamental:"Who created X?" At least in my case the starting point is as simple as it can get, whereas other points of view must start with something "infinite" or otherwise very complex.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 28, 2005 #2
    In the car analogy I think we as a unique entity do the driving and consciousness is a passenger we relate to as a navigator. The navigator from having foreknowledge of someone having driven that road before and inputted the data back provides help in the way of instinct and intution but we a drivers can override our conscious instincts using logic and reason.

    Hence why we can't make sense of consciousness is becauase we are using the wrong faculties. It is only when we use instinct and intuition that we can understand it otherwise there is no reason why we should be able to. Logic and reason are learned abilities and is what constitutes us as unique individuals in that we all use it differently and were taught how to use it differently the best use of which is according to our developed and evolved intellect which in turn is governed by genetics and cultural evolutionary processes

    this also accounts for the evolution of the extant single consciousness by having direct input from us as individual and unique entities.

    did that make sense to anybody ???..it did to me on an instinctual level on a logical level it doesn't quite do it justice probably because the language of consciousness is not in this case english.
  4. Mar 29, 2005 #3

    As you know I pretty much agree with your hypothesis in outline. But I think you are a bit too pessimistic about this single fundamental state of consciousness when you say "In my view, you don't have to attribute to the universal consciousness anything we don't experience in everyday consciousness, except longevity. I think rather that the single consciousness was extremely primitive and limited at the very beginning."

    Buddhists and Taoists say that understanding reality is like coming home. This is because, so they say, reaching an understanding of the roots of human consciousness is equivalent to reaching an understanding of reality, of how this universe and individual sentient beings arise, and thus of where we all started and where, sooner or later, we all finish. The necessity of becoming one with this fundamental state in order to understand it is what Mohammed meant by "Die before your death". He means, it seems to me at least, that one must achieve the death of ones self (or concept of self) as a distinct individual 'me' before that 'me' dies as a mortal or 'relative' self in order to know who one really is and thus know that who one really is transcends life and death.

    In this view your attribution of longevity to this thing would be incorrect since, strictly speaking, time is an illusion (i.e. epiphenomenal in the same way that 'selfs' are).

    Buddhist masters sometimes say that sentient beings do not exist. What they mean is that these beings (you and me as relative and discrete selves) are epiphenomenal on something underlying them which might be called consciousness but is not consciousness as sentient beings commonly conceptualise (or experience) it. In Zen there is something like your 'single consciousness', but it is not something unknowable and apart from ourselves, quite the reverse in fact. It is what we are, what we always have been, and what we always will be. Thus 'Enlightenment' is simply knowing who or what one is.

    Dr. Daisetz Suzuki writes "Zen, therefore, aims to come into contact with that divine nature which is in us all, and this revelation of the divine nature in ourselves is what constitues the Enlightenment experience of Buddha. This divine nature is what we may call the Absolute Self."

    By using the term 'divine' he does not imply God in a Western sense but something more like your fundamental consciousness. He therefore says here that by exploring our own consciousness we can confirm the existence and nature of that underlying single consciousness. (I'm sure that it's not quite correct to call it single, but it is single in a sense). This consciousness is non-dual, and therefore, just as in your hypothesis (but for different reasons), it cannot be said to be one or many, nor "perfection, omnipotence, omniscience, immutability, and infinity". Rather, it is said to have all attributes and no attributes (depending on which way one conceptualises it, or uses the words). The 'Tao' is this 'Absolute Self', as is the 'Godhead', 'Nirvanah', 'Allah' (in Sufism), 'Unicity', the 'Kingdom of Heaven' and many other misleading names. It is in fact unnameable since it is inconceivable, only experiential. To name it is to objectify it, and to conceive of it is to not be it, since namer and named, or conceiver and conceived, are inevitably two things.

    I agree with you that by taking this idea seriously we open the door to solving a number of currently intractible scientific and philosophical problems. It baffles me why so many Western philosophers don't see this.

    If you found Scroedinger's view interesting you might like to get 'Quantum Questions' by Ken Wilbur (pub. Shambala I think) in which he collects together the metaphysical writings of a number of famous physicists, (Einstein, Heisenberg, Eddington, Schroedinger, Jeans etc) most of whom agree with you.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2005
  5. Mar 29, 2005 #4

    I've been following your posts since the "A Place for Consciousness" discussion, and even though you have some very interesting ideas, your basic proposition - that there is only one consciousness - seems to involve a violation of semantics which would make it meaningless at best, and just plain wrong at worst. Let me try and explain why I think so.

    When I read your posts, your usage of "consciousness" makes it appear as if you think of it as a concept similar to "energy". That is, while materialists think everything that happens can be explained in terms of energy acting on matter, you seem to think consciousness has the ability of directing that energy to specific goals. (that, by the way, is how most people intuitively feel things to be, so kudos for formally expressing such a strongly intuitive notion)

    The problem, however, is that "energy" is an abstract concept and therefore cannot be counted, at least not in the way we count objects or persons on this planet. In the same way, when I read your statement that "there is only one consciousness", I understand it to mean "there is only one energy", which could only make sense in a context where different forms of energy are compared (eg. kinetic vs. potential). I don't see how that comparison would apply in terms of consciousness; what I really gather from your basic proposition is that is akin to "there is only one beauty" or "there is only one fairness". It's not wrong as much as it is nearly impossible to understand.

    On the other hand, it does sound to me as if you're really saying "there is only one person", but you do refrain from putting it that way because of the obvious problematic consequences.
  6. Mar 29, 2005 #5
    I see a conflict between Paul’s view (which seems clearly to be idealism – please correct me if this is wrong), and some of Canute’s quotes, which refer to a more neutral basis for monism, from which consciousness as well as the rest of the world arise. My sympathies are with the latter, although any “substance” based approach has challenges and I think event or interaction based ontologies will work better.

    In addressing the body/mind problem I see no reason to inflate consciousness into a mega-mind which is then the basis for everything else. This is a mirror image to materialism, which elevates one side of the body/mind dichotomy and relegates the other side to second-class citizenship at best.

    Rather than propose new entities which transcend nature, first person experience should be fully naturalized and explained side by side with the physical world. Idealism has had a centuries-long review and hasn’t succeeded. Efforts to work out a naturalistic panexperientialism, now well exemplified by Gregg Rosenberg’s book, have gotten little attention (apart from a few Whitehead followers) and hold the most promise, IMO.
  7. Mar 29, 2005 #6
    It's not a mirror-image because materialism cannot properly explain how something came out of nothing, or how it existed forever. If idealism is the only alternative to materialism, then it must necessarily be the better one, even if we have not yet found the right way to formalize it.

    My personal opinion, though, is that there is a third alternative which is far superior to both materialism and idealism. But that would be the subject for another topic.
  8. Mar 29, 2005 #7

    I think the difficulty, if any, that you and I have in understanding one another is simply due to semantics. I think we agree if you consider that the distinction you make between "instinct and intuition" and "logic and reason" is equivalent to my distinction between "the one consciousness" and "individual human beings".

    I think that the aspects of mentality involving consciousness, such as the ability to know, free will, imagination, and "instinct and intuition" do not inhere in brains and thus are not attributes of human beings. Those things inhere only in the one consciousness.

    On the other hand, some aspects of mentality, such as awareness, cognition, language, and "logic and reason" are inherent functions of the brain. So by interpreting what you wrote making these distinctions, I think what you said makes sense.
  9. Mar 29, 2005 #8
    "Strictly speaking" I would agree with you. I glibly used the term 'longevity' simply to make the point that an individual brain has but a short existence in the common sense of time whereas the one consciousness wouldn't have this limitation.

    I think I agree with this, however it isn't clear what you mean by "ones self". In my view, there is only one self. So "ones self" is not the same as a distinct individual. So, to try to clear up my understanding of what you wrote, let me use the unambiguous term 'human being' to designate a live body/brain and the term PC to designate the Primordial Consciousness which I claim is the only thing that can know or feel or will or experience etc. Thus to paraphrase your quote above, I would say

    ...it seems to me at least, that PC, while driving a particular human being, must achieve, prior (in the temporal dimension humans mark with clocks and calendars) to the death of the human being, the understanding that there is no meaningful concept of 'self' associated with the human being as a distinct individual, if PC is going to be able to report that understanding by driving that human being to utter sentences attempting to explain that understanding. Otherwise, PC can obviously know who "one" is but this knowledge could not be reported by a human being.

    I think the important notion working here is that "while" PC is "driving" a particular human being, the information available to PC is severely limited. This may be due to something akin to preoccupation, such as the "Flow" experience described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in which time seems to stop and awareness of the universe is shrunk down to the local experience only. Or it may be due to limitations of the communication link between PC and brain so that the only information available is that which is stored locally in the brain. Or it could be a combination, or it could be due to something quite different. But the fact is that we human beings do not have access to much knowledge beyond that which we accumulate from our life's history.

    I agree with the Buddhist masters here. In my view, there is only one sentient being in all of reality, using the common connotation of 'sentient'. But if my view were to be accepted and prevalent, that would make the term 'sentient' rather useless. I would propose changing the notion of 'sentience' to mean any vehicle or device which could be "driven" i.e. though which PC could vicariously experience or control part of the environment of the device. That would make not only human beings sentient, but also cars, Mars rovers, and other devices whose behavior can be controled by conscious actions and whose experiences can be perceived. On second thought, since that will never happen, I suppose I should coin a new term for that kind of entity. I suspect there's plenty of time to worry about that, though.
    Thank you. I have added it to my list of books to buy.
  10. Mar 29, 2005 #9
    It may appear that way, and that probably explains why what I wrote seems meaningless to you. But that is not the way I think of the concept of consciousness.

    I don't think that is far off. More than simply "there is only one beauty" or "there is only one consciousness" I say that there is only one "thing" at all. And I say that one thing is very close to if not identical with the "thing" that experiences the consciousness that seems to inhere in the body/brain/mind of Paul Martin, the human being typing this sentence "now". I suspect it is the same identical "thing" that is experiencing the reading of this sentence "now".

    Now I suppose that "thing" I have just described has some similarities to the concept of energy, but if so, it would be purely coincidental.

    As for being impossible to understand, I don't think it is any moreso than any other concept. My suggestion is to try to understand the concept in terms of the analogies of radio and remotely controled vehicles. Those things are understandable, given a knowledge of our technology, and I think the concepts and mechanisms involved may have understandable counterparts in the bigger picture of reality with respect to consciousness, mentality, and physicality.

    Yes, that is what I really am saying. The only reason I have refrained from putting it that way is because the term 'person' hasn't come up in these conversations. I claim there is only one person; there is only one identity; there is only one knower; etc.

    The "obvious problematic consequences" escape me. What are they?
  11. Mar 29, 2005 #10
    I don't have any idea what "monism" is so I can't comment, nor can I see the conflict you talk about.

    I do see a reason to do so. The reason is that from that hypothesis, you can derive a much simpler explanation for everything else.

    I don't propose a new entity. I propose the only thing I know for sure exists. My experience of consciousness is incorrigible and undeniable. It seems to me to be the best starting point. Whether it transcends nature is simply a matter of semantics. If 'nature' is defined to be the domain of physics, then I agree that consciousness transcends nature. But if 'nature' is taken to mean what is natural, then I think consciousness is natural.

    What do you mean? And how would you propose going about it?

    I agree. I think that can be easily done from my starting point.

    The same can be said of Alchemy. But once they changed some of their underlying hypotheses (and changed the name to 'Chemistry') a great deal of progress was made.

    Efforts to work out any sort of understanding of consciousness whatsoever got virtually no attention from scientists until the past decade or two. I am delighted that some of our best people have finally begun to work on it. Present readers are all included. I extend my heartfelt thanks and encouragement to all of you.
  12. Mar 29, 2005 #11
    Please don't leave us hanging. Tell us about that alternative and we can decide later whether it belongs in another topic.

    I'll be gone for a few days so I don't expect a quick response from you, nor should anyone expect one from me until I get back.
  13. Mar 29, 2005 #12
    I have no problem with those analogies, as I happen to think along very similar lines. What I'm trying to understand is how you arrived at similar conclusions starting from completely different premises. If I were to put the one-consciousness hypothesis in my perspective, it would fall apart completely.

    Well, I guess they are not so obvious after all. As far as I can tell, there's plenty of evidence that more than one person exists, and no evidence whatsoever to the contrary. Where did you get that idea from? Besides, if that one-and-only individual person can exist, what exactly prevents other persons from existing? To borrow from religious concepts, where does the idea that only one God can possibly exist came from? Why not two, or four, or six billion?
  14. Mar 29, 2005 #13
    All the evidence is *that* we do. Consc. does not move things about without
    the intermediary of nerves and muscles.

    But the driver is in the car. And if consc. can add subtle 'tweeks' to the
    behaviour of such a sensitive and complex organ as the brain -- fair enough.,
    That does not mean it can cause big bangs.

    Redutionism, functionalism and identity theory can all answer that question
    perfectly well. What they can't address is the gap between subjective experience and objecive description. It remains to be seen that your theory fares better.

    Both theories are compatible with the evidence. You don't seem to have any
    positive reason for preferring your theory.

    I find if highly suspicious that, after creating the universe, consc. does nothing
    for billions of years until sutitable vehicles arose (and why did that take so long?)

    Obviously the establishment of physical laws cannot be explained *within*
    physical laws, so it is miraculous by definition.

    That is not at all obvious.
    Hang on, there is only one thing to which "seeming" can happen, the universal Consciousness. So nothing can seem to anyting else, including a brain.
    But there is only one Consciouness and knowledge from all bodies is accessable to it.
    Would it ? Why can't it drive all bodies simultaneoulsy ? If it "multiplexes"
    why does it forget from body to body ? That all seems quite arbitrary.

    It seems that you need a lot of additional, arbitrary hypotheses to make
    your theory work.
    And doesn't this external consciousness get any feedback from the brain/body ?
    If not -- what is it supposed to be consciousness OF ?

    Harder for whom ? Nature had 15billion years.

    Historical emergence is not much of a problem for physicalists or panexperientialists to name but two.

    I think it adds a great amount of simplicity, as I described above.

    Didn't it create the universe ? While it was still 'primitve', to boot!

    But the ability to act supernaturally does.

    Since every theory has that problem, including your own, you cannot justify the extra complexity of your theory on the basis that it answers the fundamental question.

    An all-embracing universal consciousness is simple ? Most people don't even think human consciousness is simple.
  15. Mar 29, 2005 #14
    I think the problem with every single philosophy I know of is that they try to avoid paradoxes, yet they all fail. It seems to me that paradoxes cannot be avoided, only hidden from view for some time until someone exposes them.

    I decide to take that historical fact as a premise: paradoxes cannot be avoided, period. And since any possible explanation of reality will harbor a paradox, it follows that the paradox must have a counterpart in reality itself. Incidentally, that paradox is known as "time". The universe, at any given point, is in a state that can't possibly be "true" (real). A state of ambiguity always exists, and it must be resolved, but it can only be resolved by creating another state of ambiguity. That process gives rise to all the dynamics we observe in the universe.

    How does that relate to materialism vs. idealism? Well, both views are necessary to account for the paradox which exists in reality. Materialism provides solutions to the paradoxes in idealism, but only by creating new paradoxes, which then idealism solves, and the cycle goes on and on. The bottom line is that both materialism and idealism are real, though not necessarily true if we require that any true idea must be free of paradoxes. The perceived incompatibility between them is the result of their mutual interdependency. Our knowledge of reality will always be ambiguous because that is how reality itself is. Our knowledge of reality is always changing and always going in cycles because that is how reality is. In a sense, we already understand how reality works, only we don't think we can possibly be right.

    That is, in a nutshell, what I think. Maybe some future, perfectly self-consistent theory will prove me wrong, but I don't expect to see the day when such a theory will become public, so I'll go with my ideas for the time being.
  16. Mar 29, 2005 #15
    I understand your reasoning but to revert to the driver analogy is to say that in your physical vehicle/body the driver is somewhere else and alone and possibly not even you.

    There is no concept of an individual if we are driven by a single consciousness, no mechanism for feedback given that the PC already knows what you are doing and going to do. In my reasoning I am the driver and I have a passenger who keeps me in check who I feedback to and that helps evolve any future drivers. The passenger has already written a road code to cover the basics of interaction with other drivers and it is constantly being updated.

    What happens in your scenario if you remove the driver is not the same as what happens if i kick my passenger out. If you remove your driver there is only an empty vehicle a dead body if I remove my passenger then i am driving solo without the full benefit of an awareness of the pitfalls in life.

    Yeah I can still get by but it makes things harder.

    Take the Terri Schiavo case is there a driver or a passenger missing ???

    I prefer duality of I and O, the self and the whole, the one and the zero. You would have us as just the one. We are each our own driver in that we choose where and how fast we want to go but we all share the same passenger and as i susppect so does any other sentient life form.

    Another point of difference i see is that i would have the PC omniscient from the outset not limited and primitive. We in our early stages of development were the primitive limited ones not having developed the intellect of logic and reason to access the PC effectively so the passenger was doing most of the driving.

    In the vehicle analogy we were driving clunky steam engines as to maclaren F1's now though some of us are still in the steam age and not all of us can handle an F1

    please correct me where you see fit, thanks Paul
  17. Mar 30, 2005 #16
    Perhaps an over-simplification, but most olde philosophers and prophets have said that we are 'one'. While we may have our unique qualities, we are still part of a universal consciousness. Our freewill allows us to explore areas of experience that expand the universal consciousness.

    Is the tree 'aware' of the experience of each leaf?

    olde drunk

    'heaven was invented so that your clergy could charge for admission'
  18. Mar 30, 2005 #17
    My problem here is that I partly agree and partly disagree with just about everything that's been posted.

    We all seem to agree that both idealism and materialism give rise to paradoxes/contradictions. (After all, if they didn't we would have settled on one of them by now). Similarly dualism and monism give rise to paradoxes (Again, if they didn't one of them would have been found logically acceptable by now).

    If materialism, idealism, monism and dualism are paradoxical then they are paradoxical regardless of the details, so any theory or hypothesis structured around one of these formats will be paradoxical. This is one of my problems with 'PC' as put forward by Paul, since it seems to entail both idealism and monism. Similarly, all strictly scientific or philosophical theories of consciousness contain contradictions arising from the same source (dualism, monism, pluralism etc) and therefore cannot be completed. This may seem like just an opinion, since I cannot know of every theory. However the evidence from the literature clearly shows that no scientific or logically consistent theory of consciousness yet devised is free of faults, for as yet there is no such theory to which there are not reasonable and unanswerable objections. And here we are in the 21st century!

    There is only one metaphysic that avoids materialism, idealism, monism and dualism, and which survives all reasonable objections, and this is the non-dual metaphysical system of Taoism/Buddhism etc. The subtleties of this view make it difficult to discuss, although I do my amateurish best to fight its corner. This view is very close to the 'PC' hypothesis but is significantly different in that it does not give rise to metaphysical contradictions. In fact it doesn't even give rise to metaphysics. (It is physics and (strictly) analytical philosophising that gives rise to paradoxes and thus to metaphysics).

    This view does not run foul of any of the logical or evidential objections raised here to the PC hypothesis, yet it has many of the important features of that hypothesis. I'm getting a bit exhausted fighting for the plausibility of this view all the time, but would suggest that for anyone seriously concerned with getting to the bottom of all these paradoxes and contradictions it is worth at least getting to know this view of reality and consciousness, or one of the equivalent views. It isn't all that easy to do this, but then it isn't easy to get to know the conceptual scheme of quantum mechanics.

    In this view mind and matter arise from something else. This allows the reduction of mind and matter to something else in any reductionist explanation or ontological analysis of what exists. As it is has proved impossible so far to devise a reasonable reductionist explanation of mind or matter (or indeed anything at all) in which either mind or matter is fundamental I feel that this other approach has a lot going for it. If it were true then of course we would not be able to show that mind or matter is fundamental.

    Yet if reductionism has any value in metaphysics as a means of analysis it can only be because ultimately it seems logical all things can be explained in terms of one thing. It seems then that mind and matter must reduce to something and this something must, at least in a sense, be one thing. In QM waves and particles reduce to one thing that cannot be conceived because it is not a wave or a particle, and is in this sense non-dual. So there is nothing novel in suggesting that mind and matter reduce to something that cannot be conceived because it is not mind or matter, and is in this sense non-dual.
  19. Mar 30, 2005 #18
    I don't know if you read my reply to Paul, but I have my own view which is based on the reality of a paradox. I'm not as familiar with your view as you are, but I can see a lot in common, which is interesting since we're coming from seemingly unrelated starting points.

    In my view mind and matter arise from the fact that they can only exist in mutual dependency. Destroying matter would make all minds disappear, but destroying all minds would also make all matter disappear (those claiming this to be false are challenged to prove me wrong - empirically!)

    So your essential, unspeakable entity is what I call "the fact that they can only exist in mutual dependency". I like my view better because it has less mystery to it (or so it seems to me). By the way, my view explains why the universe came from nothing. Again, it's because nothing and something can only exist in mutual dependency. Without something, the nothing which preceded it could not have existed.

    I would not say that mind and matter reduce to one thing, because their mutual dependency is not a thing, in the sense that "things" must exist. The mutual dependency is what gives rise to matter out of mind and mind out of matter, as well as what gives rise to something out of nothing and nothing out of something, but the mutual dependency doesn't exist by itself.

    In more westernized terms, my view shines light on the question of what created God. It becomes clear that the question, as commonly understood, is misleading, that the really meaningful question is "what was God doing before the world was created". And the answer is, "God was doing nothing". Deceptively simple. God spent an eternity doing nothing, and is now spending another eternity doing something.

    (edited to avoid confusion)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2005
  20. Mar 30, 2005 #19
    Thanks for taking the time to respond, Paul.

    You know that your first person experience exists. You do not know a PC exists. I am saying it is very reasonable to infer that experience exists elsewhere in nature, but it is a greater leap to say there is a PC, and all of nature is relegated to the thoughts or whims of this big guy. While your approach has the virtue of addressing the hard problem in its way, it comes at the great cost of devaluing the ontological status of natural laws and processes as uncovered by science.
  21. Mar 30, 2005 #20
    The experiment has already been performed; there was matter, but no minds
    for millions of years in the early universe.
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