Neutral Substance Monism - Any Modeling Potential?

In summary: That might seem like a pretty strong requirement, but it's actually quite reasonable. If esse were not absolutely homogeneous, then it would be possible for one part of esse to change while the other parts remained the same, and that would create a conflict or inconsistency within the substance. Esse must be the only substance. This one is a little more controversial. One could argue that there must be other substances, perhaps even a vast array of them. But for the purposes of this contemplation, assume that there is only one substance. In summary, monism is the belief that the basis of all existence is either one essence, or one type of entity which might exist
  • #1
Les Sleeth
Gold Member
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Neutral Substance Monism -- Any Modeling Potential?

The purpose of this thread is to ask what potential, if any, monism has for helping to model the nature of the universe, and for filling in certain gaps which we have no satisfactory answers for.

Monism is the belief that the basis of all existence is either one essence, or one type of entity which might exist in aspects or multiples. The two most influential types of monism have been substance monism and neutral monism.

Traditionally advocates of substance monism have taken one of two sides declaring all existence is material/physical or that all existence is mental (as in all in our minds and/or all in the mind of God). Here's a quick general run down of types of monism.

Neutral monism was the last incarnation of monism to gain popularity. Championed by William James and Bertrand Russell, it seems to have taken the form it did to accommodate their empirical commitment, and to avoid the material-mind controversy typical of substance monism. The excellent (though long) article found here is recent and gives insight into the various strategies neutral monists employed to include and avoid specific philosophical traps. (Chalmers fans may find it interesting the author, Leopold Stubenberg, acknowledges Chalmers’ assistance with his article.)

The neutral monists were opposed to declaring any sort of substance as the basis of the monism, instead cleverly stating their position this way: A basic entity is neutral just in case it is intrinsically neither mental nor physical.. With this strategy, no claims need be made regarding what the basis of the monism is. While that might have been a good starting place for discussion, eventually and naturally it leads one to ponder just what the neutral stuff might be. Quoting from the Stubenberg article:

“The materialist Quine, for example, has proposed to construe physical objects as ‘classes of quadruples of numbers.’ . . . One version of neutral monism finds the neutral basis in the domain of abstract objects: mind and matter are viewed as information structures. Recently Chalmers has explored this idea in his (Chalmers 1996). But the abstractness of his scheme is limited by the concession that the information states that make up the world might have to be grounded in protophenomenal properties. . . . Sayre, on the other hand, makes no such concession. He holds a pure information view according to which both mind and matter are, ultimately, mathematical structures.”

The strength of the neutral approach for an empiricist was it allowed one to evaluate sense data in both its physical and mental aspects. As Russell explains, “Accordingly the sensation that we have when we see a patch of colour simply is that patch of colour, an actual constituent of the physical world, and part of what physics is concerned with…But it does not follow that the patch of colour is not also psychical.” On the other hand, acknowledging that doesn’t say anything about what the basis of his monism is. In the end that lack of a suitable model for the neutral stuff undermined interest in neutral monism.

If neutral and substance monism are logically at odds, then why attempt any fusion between them? One possible reason is to refocus on substance monism, insist that the neutral “stuff” is neither material nor mental, and then see if we can imagine what the neutral substance is and if it can help explain aspects of existence.


Assumptions

I’ll be a little nostalgic and use the well-worn term esse to name the most basic substance of existence (“esse” here stands for the foundational or ground state substance that is the essence of all existence).

For this contemplation, assume that there really is one substance that composes everything, and that the reason esse (in the ground state) cannot be observed is because it is too subtle, and too finely dispersed. With that in mind we might start with a few logic points about characteristics esse must have if it is monistic:

Esse cannot have been created. If it were created, there must have been a time when it didn’t exist, and that gives us a duality of exist and not exist (duality and monism are mutually exclusive).
Esse cannot NOT exist. For similar reasons as above. Esse can only exist, have always existed, and will always exist.
Esse must reside in an infinite continuum. If there were any boundary, even a zillion zillion light years away, then we again have duality.
Esse must be absolutely homogeneous. For the same reason. Even if there were only an infinitesimally minute bubble of nothingness, then it creates the duality of esse and not-esse.
Everything that we know to exist must be a form of esse. If there is only one absolute substance, then the different things we see, from physicalness to consciousness, must be esse in some form.

A few more ideas follow from the above:

Since there can be no spatial breach, the forms esse take (like a planet or ourselves) are understood to not only be composed of and within the primordial continuum of esse, but also wholly connected to (or one with) it.

To avoid any sort of duality, esse must be seen as true absoluteness in the sense there is nothing more basic or greater than it; there is nothing before or beyond it; there can be no discontinuance of it; there is nothing that is not a manifestation of it; and there is no appearance or behavior which is not 100% (i.e., absolutely) determined by its potentials and limitations.


Theoretical Value

Substance monism seems to give us the means for eliminating some long standing philosophical problems, such as the first cause, infinite regress, and the silly “something from nothing” dilemma.

For example, if we assume that some potential of esse has brought about creation, then to answer first cause we’d reason that there must be conditions present in the infinite eternal esse continuum which can result in our finite temporal universe. Are there clues in creation which might tell us anything about such conditions in the esse continuum? Logic suggests any traits which are universally present throughout creation are the best candidates for exhibiting the nature of the ground state, as well as the conditions which prevail in the esse continuum.

One of the most ubiquitous trait in the universe is vibration, along with what could be considered oscillatory “effects” like symmetry and polarity (polarity’s relationship to oscillation can be explained as phases of oscillation which become relatively constant). An individual atom may oscillate a trillion times per second, and EM oscillates as it fills space with various vibrating frequencies of radiation. The body of a human being may contain a million trillion frenetically vibrating atoms, while the senses and brain are stimulated by, respond to, and function using oscillatory information.

Also universally ubiquitous are two powerful forces that have shaped creation: concentration and dispersion. The universe began with the momentous dispersion of the Big Bang, and just before that our universe was somehow concentrated into a miniscule speck smaller than an atom. The universe remains in the grip of that two-phased dynamic, and overall it appears to be one of the most predominating and necessary dynamics of physical existence. Still concentrated from this proposed dynamic is the mass of our universe whose absence would obviously leave a flimsy creation. Yet if matter weren’t diverging, the universe would be static (and a bit cramped to say the least); and if energy were not able to diverge from matter, the universe would be dark, cold, and incapable of supporting life.

What clues might vibration and concentration/dispersion give us about esse and the continuum in which it resides? Logically, for a universe to form within it, the esse continuum must contain areas that are compressing and decompressing.

Concentration gives us a major clue about the nature of esse itself when considered together with the vibration observed in the universe. Because the oscillation rate decreases as EM stretches out, clearly concentration accentuates oscillation. We might therefore suppose that in the ground state, esse is vibrant (i.e., sort of super-finely effervescent). Since vibrancy is as quick and fine as esse can possibly get, compression causes it to “wave” at phase points.

Instead of how we normally think of EM as oscillating faster the more energy it has, this model has EM oscillating faster the more compact it is. What if it is the degree of concentration that’s causing the oscillation rate? And if so, concentration is also what creates potential energy. In other words, potential energy is the “desire” of esse to return to it’s preconcentration relaxed state.

Continuing a little more with the model, the overall idea is that esse’s vibrancy plus concentration offers a substance basis for the relationship between energy and mass observed in our universe. So since the Big Bang, the universe’s mass has been dispersing because that’s the natural reaction of esse after it’s concentrated; EM are “waves” of relaxation taking place at the point in the esse continuum where our universe is located; atoms are concentrated esse vibrating so fast they “differentiate” into counterbalanced phases (electron-proton), and that counterbalanced aspect is what stabilizes atoms . . .

I could surmise more, but I’m sure individuals more expert than me could do a better job. My point has been to suggest that substance monism may have potential as a modeling concept. Instead of referring to existence only by measurements of behaviors and variables, we have “something” at the root of it all that allows or causes measurement and variation.

What’s your opinion?
 
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  • #2
Math Is Hard said:
But playing devil's advocat, Les, if we did finally agree that matter is a concept- is it possible that a concept/thought could be forever-existing and need not require a thinker? Which would be a better explanation for the stuff that makes up the universe - that it is a thought/concept that simply existed forever, or that an entity thought it into existence? If we choose the latter (a thinker), it seems it is a more complicated explanation that than the former, because now we must explain the entity that caused the existence of matter, rather than just the matter itself. Aren't we only adding a layer of complexity?

I wanted to wait until I posted this thread to answer your question (from my last thread) so that hopefully what I mean by existential “stuff” is more clear.

Last night I had dinner with long time friends. We occasionally get together for an evening to talk philosophy. It is a diverse group with two agnostics, a devoted Christian but with an open mind, a pantheist, and me who thinks it is easier to account for all aspects of our universe if some type of consciousness is part of the equation.

My Christian friend is generally supportive of my efforts to include consciousness in creation. However, as we talked about that last night, he became distressed to hear that I don’t think a forever-existing consciousness makes sense. As you know, that is a well-established theological concept in Christianity.

I explained that if there is something totally “neutral” at the base of existence, then consciousness had to have developed out of that. If the existential stuff is neutral, and if consciousness developed there, then it means mechanical-type accidents (in the esse continuum) have played the primary role in bringing about consciousness. To my friend it seems a horrible thought that what he calls “God” was generated by mechanics and circumstance.

But to get to your question, I don’t care about anything but what makes sense. I’m not trying to make the development of the universe and consciousness mechanistic and I am not trying make their development spiritual. To me, if we know that consciousness can evolve and a physical universe can develop (proven by the fact that we and it exists), and if all of it has emerged out of existential stuff . . . then the question becomes for me: “what is the most logical explanation for accounting for everything we find in creation.”

If creation were nothing but matter, then I could most definitely see it emerging straight out of the esse continuum. But that’s not all there is.

One strange thing we find here is a quality of organization (in biology) that surpasses any known ability of mechanics; a second strange thing is consciousness emanating out of biology. Okay, kick in pure logic. When (leaving biology out of it) you find anything ultra-organized on planet Earth, what’s done it?

Take a house. No, take just the structure of a house and leave out electricity and any other advanced developments. Find on this planet or another place in the known universe, anything non-living that exhibits the quality of organization of a house frame, a log cabin, a straw cottage, a mud hut . . . that’s not associated with consciousness?

Based strictly on what we know, when you see organizational quality beyond what can be explained now by chemistry and physics alone, you also see consciousness involved.

So, it isn’t being parsimonious to exclude the participation of consciousness in the development of creation. If we only rely on the evidence we have, it is most logical to ponder the possibility that consciousness developed first in the esse continuum, that it evolved for countless eons, and then it at least played a part in the highly advanced organizational aspects found here on Earth.
 
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  • #3
Hi Les. Thought-provoking post. I think it's very hard to model diversity while preserving a true single-category ontology, but it is instructive to try.

In this case the question is: So how does your "abolutely homogeneous" esse generate diversity? You proposed two qualities in esse which might foster this: vibration and concentration/dispersion. Are out of phase vibrating parts of esse still homogeneous? If I concede that, then next is: how did the esse continuum get concentrated in the first place? If it can happen spontaneously, like a large-scale vibration, isn't there a duality between the small-scale and large scale fluctuations which interact to create diversity?

- Steve
 
  • #4
Steve Esser said:
Hi Les. Thought-provoking post. I think it's very hard to model diversity while preserving a true single-category ontology, but it is instructive to try.

Hi, Steve, thanks for the comments/questions. You are right to say it is difficult to model diversity with substance monism. I know because I’ve been working on a model for almost 15 years now. I have managed to model all the BIG principles such as four forces (yep, gravity too), the structure of an atom, light speed, time, relativity (I got lots of help from PF members and mentors). To explain most of the concepts fully requires an area of the esse continuum to be in a special type of oscillatory field (which seems to have some resemblance to the proposed Higgs field), and for the universe to be situated in that field. The field is what provides the stability required for physicalness to develop within the normally chaotic esse continuum.

I didn’t go too much into the ideas that I’ve worked out because I wanted to see what people thought of the monistic concept in general. I’ve let you know that I’ve thought extensively about how a single substance can be everything so that if anyone wants to explore modeling with it, you/they would know I might have something to offer.

In the meantime, I’d like to tell you a couple of mental strategies I had to adopt to get anywhere with the modeling. First, I think one has to assume that a single substance really is the basis of all existence, what I’m calling esse. By assuming it is true, it helps one to think there is an answer to all the apparent inconsistencies between oneness and diversity.

Then the next step is to get one’s brain to be obsessively inductive, because there is no other way to model esse except to look at what’s going on in creation. We know creation exists, and we’ve assumed esse is the basis of it. So the strategy becomes, what would esse have to be like to produce X and still not lose the absolute qualities of oneness?

I’ll use that strategy to answer your questions below.


Steve Esser said:
In this case the question is: So how does your "absolutely homogeneous" esse generate diversity?

Remember, we are going to assign to esse and its continuum whatever qualities it requires to explain what we see in creation, and also to maintain the oneness of esse.

Because esse is one substance, and because it exists in one infinite ocean, doesn’t mean it can’t have a variety characteristics. I use water analogies a lot because water at least appears homogeneous, is fluid, and resides in oceans. With water we can see it is wet, it is clear, it flows; we can see in its ocean it has dynamics of waves, whirlpools . . .

Similarly, we can reason that esse has traits like vibrancy and illumination, and that the esse continuum has chaotic dynamics like compression.


Steve Esser said:
You proposed two qualities in esse which might foster this: vibration and concentration/dispersion.

Building off what I said above, you’ve referred to two different types of traits. One is a trait of esse itself (i.e., substance traits), and the other two are dynamical traits of the esse continuum.

Actually, to get technical, I distinguished between the natural state of vibrancy of esse, which I portray is a super-fine trill almost, and then vibration, which is what happens when esse gets compressed. As you can see, a bit of diversity shows itself already since “vibration” is a combination of substance and dynamical traits. Neither separation nor change in esse’s nature needs to occur.


Steve Esser said:
Are out of phase vibrating parts of esse still homogeneous?

You’ll notice I’m sticking to the modeling strategy when I say, the vibrating parts must be homogeneous. The issue then becomes, how do we account for it?


Steve Esser said:
If I concede that, then next is: how did the esse continuum get concentrated in the first place?

The way to explain this is, the esse continuum is not compressed in general, but instead possesses compression-decompression dynamics. It seems to me the dynamics that prevail in the esse continuum overall must be chaotic, but that leaves the door open for accidental series of events which might produce an orderly dynamic on occasion. After all, there is infinite room and no time limit. So if a thousand monkeys can be imagined to type a novel by accident, it doesn’t seem so far fetched to imagine an extended run of order accidentally develops out of otherwise chaotic esse continuum dynamics.


Steve Esser said:
If it can happen spontaneously, like a large-scale vibration, isn't there a duality between the small-scale and large scale fluctuations which interact to create diversity?

No duality is necessary. To explain let me give you a crude esse model of a hydrogen atom. Based on what I said earlier, this model won’t quite work because a type of polarized esse field is necessary for it to make sense, but I think you’ll see what I’m trying say about homogeneity.

Have you observed how a stretched rubber band, when plucked, temporarily appears constantly present at the two extremes of its oscillating range? We don’t think either phase of the rubber band has actually separated from the whole during that oscillation. It’s a potential of counterbalanced oscillation to establish relative constancy at the extremes once it moves fast enough.

Instead of back and forth oscillation, let’s imagine convergent-divergent oscillation of some quantity of esse. Let’s designate a sphere of esse in the esse continuum that’s one mile in diameter. The normally chaotic compression dynamics of the esse continuum have accidentally lined up around our sphere equally on all sides to exert a convergent force. The sphere starts to compress, first to a half mile diameter, then to a quarter mile diameter. The esse continuum surrounding the sphere, being infinite and flexible, simply stretches and fills into accommodate the action.

The convergent force continues, and the sphere starts violently oscillating as it first yields to compression, and then naturally tries to expand back to normal. As the sphere compresses more, it oscillates faster and faster until like that rubber band, one can see two phases simultaneously: a compressed phase, and a divergent phase surrounding that.

Now, once the formerly mile-in-diameter sphere is compressed to the size of a neutron, a strange thing happens. The two phases enter into a self-sustaining counterbalanced arrangement, with a powerfully converged core surrounded by a much, much larger filmy divergent cloud.

No real separation has happened between the differentiated phases, and no real separation has happened between the compressed sphere and the esse continuum. Also, no change in the nature of esse has occurred. Everything has stayed connected, everything is still esse.

What’s happened is that certain traits of esse and continuum dynamics have rearranged themselves. It’s sort of like how a long, skinny balloon can be fashioned into the shape of a horse. The new arrangement of the balloon’s traits (e.g., flexibility, air pressure, three dimensionality, etc.) doesn’t alter the substance of the balloon, or fully separate one part from the other . . . it’s all done by differentiation and accentuation of particular traits.
 
  • #5
Les, great, thought provoking post. Its up to your best standards if not your best yet. You've done a wonderful job of making the subject and your thought understandable.

Enough a** kissing. Some thoughts just of the top of my head (I'll have to think about this for a while)

At its ground state esse would have no time, direction nor limit (size). It would be eternal, without beginning or end, temporally and spatially.

My first thought when I began reading this was that esse could be energy itself and you were describing a string theory.

My second thought was this goes hand in hand with my one reality position. All is one reality, all is esse.

If esse is eternal and consciousness developed within esse (where else could it develop) then consciousness must too be eternal. Are we talking about the Judeo-Christian concept of God the Creator here, who created the universe out of himself, esse? Off hand I see no logical or conceptual conflict.

All that would be needed would be a conscious act of will to create energy by causing a local contraction or compaction of esse of itself. As I have said before; "God said let there be light. Big Bang."
 
  • #6
Royce said:
Les, great, thought provoking post. Its up to your best standards if not your best yet. You've done a wonderful job of making the subject and your thought understandable.

Thanks Royce, I had a feeling you might find the subject interesting.


Royce said:
At its ground state esse would have no time, direction nor limit (size). It would be eternal, without beginning or end, temporally and spatially.

My first thought when I began reading this was that esse could be energy itself and you were describing a string theory.

When I first arrived at PF, I made the mistake of posting a few monistic concepts in the physics area. I used the term “energy” loosely to describe the perpetually vibrant nature I’ve proposed for esse. You can probably guess Integral gave me a hard time. But I have to say I’m glad he did because it made me realize I needed to more fully and carefully embrace what physics really does explain quite well.

So I only use energy as defined by physics. However, since the idea here is to model monistically, there is a monistic explanation for energy. I’ve posted it a few times at PF, so I’ll just run through it quickly here.

If we accept the physics definition of energy, it cannot be esse because energy is not a “substance,” while esse is defined as the absolute base substance of all existence. Energy is the concept used to keep track of work done in physical settings. You burn some wood, the kettle and water get hotter, and steam makes the whistle blow. Those are physical events, and energy is one way they are measured and kept track of.

But monistic theory takes things deeper by trying to figure out what physicalness is to begin with. Regarding energy, according to monistic theory the fact that certain physical actions cause things to change/move must be due to some potential of esse or esse continuum dynamics. If you read toward the end of my opening post, I explained energy as due to esse being concentrated.

Analogously, imagine compressing a piece of foam rubber, tying a piece of thread around it, pulling it tight, and then setting a piece of paper on top of the foam. When you cut the thread, and the foam re-expands, won’t it move the paper?

Let’s say you are an observer who has a rare disease that makes you unable to detect the presence of foam. All you know is that the tighter you pull the thread, the more it causes paper to move when the thread is cut. Since you can’t see the foam, you develop equations to describe the relationship between thread tightness and paper movement, and scales to measure how much movement takes place in relation to tightness. Energy is your concept for how much movement some degree of tightness can cause.

In that analogy, no substance component is needed because you can measure thread tightness, and measure how much the paper moves in relation to that, which is all you are trying to do. Energy isn’t describing anything substantial, its describing degree of or potential to cause change.

But according to substance monism, while a substance concept isn’t needed to measure physical change, it is needed to explain what is causing the movement (and in the case of mass, what is amassing). For our monist exercise, we could propose that energy results when compressed/concentrated esse undergoes decompression/dispersion; that is, movement is caused by decompression, which really isn’t a substance; nevertheless, what’s decompressing IS a substance.

The lack of a base substance in physics is why I was teasing in my previous thread, and why I said in the first post of this thread, “the overall idea is that esse’s . . . concentration offers a substance basis for the relationship between energy and mass . . . the universe’s mass [is] dispersing because that’s the natural reaction of esse after it’s concentrated; EM are “waves” of relaxation . . .”


Royce said:
My second thought was this goes hand in hand with my one reality position. All is one reality, all is esse.

Yes, that is the primary principle of this type of substance monism. However . . .


Royce said:
If esse is eternal and consciousness developed within esse (where else could it develop) then consciousness must too be eternal.

. . . that statement is not “neutral” monism. Esse is not conscious overall, but quite dumb. It just has the potential to become conscious under the right conditions. So we’d say, from what we know, that in one particular place (at least) in the esse continuum, consciousness has developed (since we humans are conscious). But I say there is a more important question (more below).

Royce said:
Are we talking about the Judeo-Christian concept of God the Creator here, who created the universe out of himself, esse? Off hand I see no logical or conceptual conflict.

No, I don’t think so even though I am sympathetic to trying to be inclusive to all the ideas of consciousness.

If esse is neutral, then it means consciousness developed accidentally in the esse continuum, and that means the nature of esse and continuum dynamics must possesses the potential to produce consciousness.

Now here’s where it gets interesting because neutral substance monism does not eliminate the possibility that physicalness is necessary for consciousness. Were the physical universe and biology necessary for consciousness to develop? Or did consciousness develop first in the esse continuum and help with the development of the universe? Does either theory better explain creation?

If you read my answer to Math is Hard, I suggested that the quality of organization found in life is much more akin to how consciousness behaves than it is to the dumb repetitive action of mechanics. So I think it makes more sense to say consciousness developed first in the esse continuum, and then it helped with the development of the universe. (BTW, with that model, there could be conscious entities, and maybe associated universes, scattered all over the infinite esse continuum.)


Royce said:
All that would be needed would be a . . . a local contraction or compaction of esse of itself.

That’s not unreasonable since concentration is a trait of our own consciousness. What if we’d evolved for zillion to the zillionth power eons? Might we learn how to concentrate esse so much it actually amasses into physicalness?
 
  • #7
Les Sleeth said:
Thanks Royce, I had a feeling you might find the subject interesting.

Your welcome and yes this is interesting the implications are endless and speculation can lead virtually anywhere.

But monistic theory takes things deeper by trying to figure out what physicalness is to begin with. Regarding energy, according to monistic theory the fact that certain physical actions cause things to change/move must be due to some potential of esse or esse continuum dynamics. If you read toward the end of my opening post, I explained energy as due to esse being concentrated.

Yes, I read it. We don't know what energy is or how it came about. it remains undefined and we only know it by its effects on physical matter.
Is this what you meant in your other thread that photons are made of something, not pure energy as I stated? We also don't know how energy as EM waves can travel through a vacuum. Again esse? This is beginning to sound like the old ether (aether?). Not that that is bad or makes it wrong. It could explain a lot of thing that are left unanswered when ether we disproved.

The lack of a base substance in physics is why I was teasing in my previous thread, and why I said in the first post of this thread, “the overall idea is that esse’s . . . concentration offers a substance basis for the relationship between energy and mass . . . the universe’s mass [is] dispersing because that’s the natural reaction of esse after it’s concentrated; EM are “waves” of relaxation . . .”

Some time ago I posted the idea in the theory development and then cosmology forum that The Universal Constant (Einsteins worse mistake) that was being reconsidered to explain why the expansion of the universe seems to be accelerating rather than slowing down might be cause by space time tending to be flat and as it was curved by the mass of the universe it created a force causing the universe to expand at a faster rate and become flatter. (I too got beat up and slink ed away with my tail between my legs. I haven't posted anything there since.) This could be yous esse returning to its ground state.

If esse is neutral, then it means consciousness developed accidentally in the esse continuum, and that means the nature of esse and continuum dynamics must possesses the potential to produce consciousness.

But here you are introducing dualism again. There was a moment of esse and no consciousness and then (later) a moment with esse and consciousness. IMHO if consciousness is in esse prior to physicalness then consciousness too must be eternal. With no time there could not be two different states one arising from the other. Without time there is only one eternal moment and all the is, was, and will be, has to be eternal also. Unless you say that the was esse and time but there goes your neutral state. (I'm thinking about this as I write so its a bit disjointed I know. Please bear with me.)
Even with the potential there but no consciousness what could cause the accident that made consciousness develop out of or in esse. Your back to first cause, accidental creation and dualism or at least two different states of esse which contradicts the neutrality of the esse continuum.

I'm not pushing my cause here but trying to help your theory to be more consistent. I like the idea of a universal eternal consciousness in a monistic substance continuum.

Now here’s where it gets interesting because neutral substance monism does not eliminate the possibility that physicalness is necessary for consciousness. Were the physical universe and biology necessary for consciousness to develop? Or did consciousness develop first in the esse continuum and help with the development of the universe? Does either theory better explain creation?

I think I see the tie in here. Consciousness began to develop in esse but required physicalness to continue development and existence Walla - Big Bang and the birth of physicalness.
This scenario does not require consciousness to not be eternal and be an accidental development. In the eternal moment the potential for consciousness is the same as consciousness i.e. there would not be a time of potential and then a time of that potential realized They would both be of the same eternal moment. The potential for consciousness is consciousness.
The potential realized is the creation of physicalness the Big Bang

If you read my answer to Math is Hard, I suggested that the quality of organization found in life is much more akin to how consciousness behaves than it is to the dumb repetitive action of mechanics. So I think it makes more sense to say consciousness developed first in the esse continuum, and then it helped with the development of the universe. (BTW, with that model, there could be conscious entities, and maybe associated universes, scattered all over the infinite esse continuum.)

I agree with all of this; but, I would say consciousness required rather than helped with the development of the universe.
Esse = Potential = Consciousness = Development of the Physical Universe.
And of course your (BTW...) would follow, even be implied.




That’s not unreasonable since concentration is a trait of our own consciousness. What if we’d evolved for zillion to the zillionth power eons? Might we learn how to concentrate esse so much it actually amasses into physicalness?

Whoa, easy there Les, You saw what happen to Caligula and Tiberius when they started thinking god like thoughts.
 
  • #8
Royce said:
Your welcome and yes this is interesting the implications are endless and speculation can lead virtually anywhere.

Before answering your questions, I'd like to make it clear that I've intended this contemplation to be something that's strictly logic and evidence. It's not that I don't believe what some of us intuit and deeply feel isn't personally relevant, because actually I think that's how one discovers the deeper things.

But the process of modeling creation in a public forum is a different animal altogether because we have such a huge variety of opinions and beliefs insisting creation must be a certain way.

If you understand what I mean, then I think my somewhat passionless comments will make more sense to you.


Royce said:
Is this what you meant in your other thread that photons are made of something, not pure energy as I stated?

I was pointing out it seems logical that if something is "pure" energy (i.e., nothing but energy), then as its energy is lost, all its traits should become less dynamic (since energy is what animates). But in the case of EM, it makes no difference to c what a photon's energy is. As far as we know, c always remains c despite the quanta's energy. How can a photon be "pure" energy and yet have some trait be utterly oblivious to the depletion of what's proposed is 100% of it's make up?

So it seems there is something about a photon that has nothing to do with its energy.


Royce said:
But here you are introducing dualism again.

I can't see the dualism. I am saying esse is neutral and is so mutable, under one set of conditions it can manifest as consciousness, and under another set of conditions it can manifest as physicalness. That's the definition of neutral . . . esse is not inherently conscious or physical. It is a formless substance.


Royce said:
There was a moment of esse and no consciousness and then (later) a moment with esse and consciousness. IMHO if consciousness is in esse prior to physicalness then consciousness too must be eternal.

Why? "Prior" just means before something in order . . . it doesn't imply eternity. This Earth existed long before me, but you wouldn't say I should conclude the Earth is eternal.

The problem with consciousness being eternal is that it seems impossible to explain how learning takes place. ETERNAL . . . that's never-ending existence. For a neutral, dumb substance, eternity isn't a problem because it can just stay dumb forever doing nothing but existing and submitting to its continuum's dynamics.

But the very definition of consciousness includes learning, and learning implies continual evolution, growth, etc. If consciousness has existed forever, then everything possible to know and be should already be known and be, yet here we dumbsh*t humans are struggling to survive and understand! :redface:


Royce said:
With no time there could not be two different states one arising from the other. Without time there is only one eternal moment and all the is, was, and will be, has to be eternal also. Unless you say that the was esse and time but there goes your neutral state.

Time is tricky because we intuitively understand that physicalness is what gives us time, and so then we think that time in some infinite, eternal plane is meaningless.

But there are two aspects to physical time: change and entropy. There could be another sort of time which involves change, but no entropy. In other words, something could exist which from this moment forward will always exist, and will always change by evolving. In terms of a creator consciousness that itself was accidentally created out of "neutral" esse, time is meaningless as far as running out of time (unlike physical time), but it is meaningful in terms of describing change.


Royce said:
Even with the potential there but no consciousness what could cause the accident that made consciousness develop out of or in esse. Your back to first cause, accidental creation and dualism or at least two different states of esse which contradicts the neutrality of the esse continuum.

Not so. There is no dualism as long as everything which exists is of the exact same substance. And that is exactly what neutral substance monism proposes; that is, consciousness and physicalness share the same substance.

But sharing the same base substance doesn't have to mean that aside from that, consciousness and physicalness have all that much in common. I'd say physicalness is esse developed dumb, and consciousness is esse developed smart.

You are right to say we still need to figure out a first cause for consciousness and physicalness, but it isn't nearly the problem as we have with an esse-less model. Now at least we have something that has existed forever, and we can imagine it has ongoing natural traits that will produce both physicalness and consciousness.

There is nothing contradictory about different states of the same thing. Is it contradictory to say steam and ice are both H2O? No, it is one substance manifesting different characteristics under different conditions. That's the challenge of modeling monistically . . . we have to stick to the constant of esse, and then try to figure out what sort of conditions might become consciousness here, and the other set of conditions that might become physicalness there.


Royce said:
I think I see the tie in here. Consciousness began to develop in esse but required physicalness to continue development and existence.

Well, I am not saying esse-born consciousness, if it exists, needs physicalness. Just considering what we know, the only thing we can say is that humans might require physicalness to help them develop. :wink:
 
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  • #9
Les Sleeth said:
If we accept the physics definition of energy, it cannot be esse because energy is not a “substance,” while esse is defined as the absolute base substance of all existence. Energy is the concept used to keep track of work done in physical settings.

But we know energy equates to mass, and what is mass but the prime index
of substantiallity in physics ? As I was saying in the other thread this
whole "energy is just a concept" thing is deeply flawed.

But monistic theory takes things deeper by trying to figure out what physicalness is to begin with. Regarding energy, according to monistic theory the fact that certain physical actions cause things to change/move must be due to some potential of esse or esse continuum dynamics.

But as soon as you talk about moving and changing, you are back
in the realm of strucure and function.

. . . that statement is not “neutral” monism. Esse is not conscious overall, but quite dumb. It just has the potential to become conscious under the right conditions. So we’d say, from what we know, that in one particular place (at least) in the esse continuum, consciousness has developed (since we humans are conscious). But I say there is a more important question (more below).

If the "right conditions" are structural and functional this differs in no way from materialism. If they are not (eg non-S+F qualia are involved), you have a dualism at least of properties .

Now here’s where it gets interesting because neutral substance monism does not eliminate the possibility that physicalness is necessary for consciousness. Were the physical universe and biology necessary for consciousness to develop? Or did consciousness develop first in the esse continuum and help with the development of the universe? Does either theory better explain creation?

So within your monism, there is a dualism between consciousness and
physicalness ?
 
  • #10
Les Sleeth said:
I was pointing out it seems logical that if something is "pure" energy (i.e., nothing but energy), then as its energy is lost, all its traits should become less dynamic (since energy is what animates). But in the case of EM, it makes no difference to c what a photon's energy is. As far as we know, c always remains c despite the quanta's energy. How can a photon be "pure" energy and yet have some trait be utterly oblivious to the depletion of what's proposed is 100% of it's make up?

c has nothing at all to do with the energy of a photon, whic is only realted to its frequency. It has to do with the geometery of space time.






I can't see the dualism. I am saying esse is neutral and is so mutable, under one set of conditions it can manifest as consciousness, and under another set of conditions it can manifest as physicalness. That's the definition of neutral . . . esse is not inherently conscious or physical. It is a formless substance.

Then why can't it mutate out of existence altogether ? Substance monism
requires that there is not more than one substance. It doesn't require
that one substance has to exist eternally. You argued that point on
the basis of non-duality in general.

Not so. There is no dualism as long as everything which exists is of the exact same substance.

There is no substance dualism. There could be other dualities.
 
  • #11
Tournesol said:
c has nothing at all to do with the energy of a photon, whic is only realted to its frequency. It has to do with the geometery of space time.

You are right, I keep forgetting I can't argue that idea about c from the esse model side. But if I were to, my point was that space time is really an esse field that maintains a certain tension, and a photon is a wave of relaxation emanating from more condensed esse (mass) within that field. Once the photon enters the field its part of space time geometry and therefore something more than pure energy.

However, I can argue that a photon is not "pure" energy another way. Though you can slow a photon's frequency, there is no known way to stop it from oscillating. What is oscillation? Energy might affect it, but energy itself isn't oscillation, and therefore there is a quality of a photon which isn't "pure" energy. We might say, a photon carries energy, but a photon isn't only energy.


Tournesol said:
Then why can't it mutate out of existence altogether?

I didn't say it mutates, I said it was highly mutable. That is, it can exist in a huge variety of conditions without losing its basic nature. As pure existence, it is esse's nature to exist . . . not to not-exist.


Tournesol said:
Substance monism requires that there is not more than one substance. It doesn't require that one substance has to exist eternally. You argued that point on the basis of non-duality in general.

You are incorrect. If it ceases to exist somewhere, the absence of esse in that spot creates an immediate duality of esse and not-esse. Also, we reintroduce the problem of infinite regress since if something ends, logically we ask what began it, and what began that, etc.


Tournesol said:
There is no substance dualism. There could be other dualities.

Nope. One substance in one continuum which through substance qualities and continuum dynamics account for all forms of existence. If something cannot be explained in those terms, then it's just a polarity, biphase, symetry yin yang, or some other type of differentiation of esse's traits/dynamics which merely appears dualistic. Remove the particular type of differentiation from the setting and it will all snap back to pure esse.

However, if you believe you can come with a true duality in substance monism, I challenge you to produce one.

As I said in the opening post: "To avoid any sort of duality, esse must be seen as true absoluteness in the sense there is nothing more basic or greater than it; there is nothing before or beyond it; there can be no discontinuance of it; there is nothing that is not a manifestation of it; and there is no appearance or behavior which is not 100% (i.e., absolutely) determined by its potentials and limitations."
 
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  • #12
Les Sleeth said:
]However, I can argue that a photon is not "pure" energy another way. Though you can slow a photon's frequency, there is no known way to stop it from oscillating. What is oscillation? Energy might affect it, but energy itself isn't oscillation, and therefore there is a quality of a photon which isn't "pure" energy. We might say, a photon carries energy, but a photon isn't only energy.

True, but that still does not mean there is no concept of pure energy,
or bare substance in physics. The question is: is it a neutral concept ?
What characterises the physical and the mental.


I didn't say it mutates, I said it was highly mutable. That is, it can exist in a huge variety of conditions without losing its basic nature. As pure existence, it is esse's nature to exist . . . not to not-exist.

Surely a "pure" neutral substrate has no basic nature.

You are incorrect. If it ceases to exist somewhere, the absence of esse in that spot creates an immediate duality of esse and not-esse.

I was making the distinction between duality in general and substance
dualism in particular. The non-existence of Esse would not be the
existence of some other substance so SUBSTANCWEdualism is not violated.
Moreover, your arguemnt seems to need *some* form(s) of dualism.


Also, we reintroduce the problem of infinite regress since if something ends, logically we ask what began it, and what began that, etc.

Making assumptions about time, causality, etc.



Nope. One substance in one continuum which through substance qualities and continuum dynamics account for all forms of existence. If something cannot be explained in those terms, then it's just a polarity, biphase, symetry yin yang, or some other type of differentiation of esse's traits/dynamics which merely appears dualistic. Remove the particular type of differentiation from the setting and it will all snap back to pure esse.

So there are acceptable and unacceptables dualisms. What is the difference?
 
  • #13
Tournesol said:
Surely a "pure" neutral substrate has no basic nature.

Pure means the same stuff, it doesn't mean the stuff can't have several traits. Water is wet, it flows, it's clear, etc. One stuff, several traits. Plus, we get to add those traits created by existing in an "ocean," what I've called continuum dynamics.


Tournesol said:
I was making the distinction between duality in general and substance dualism in particular. The non-existence of Esse would not be the existence of some other substance so SUBSTANCE dualism is not violated.

I disagree, I'll explain when I answer your last comment below.


Tournesol said:
Moreover, your arguemnt seems to need *some* form(s) of dualism.

What would that be?


Tournesol said:
So there are acceptable and unacceptables dualisms. What is the difference?

I put the bottom line at 1) exist and not exist, and 2) any substance/thing or condition which is not a "form" of esse or a manifestation of its qualities.

I can't imagine anything more contrary to esse than nonexistence, so I say that is the most powerful duality possible.

The idea of esse is that it is the most basic condition of all forms of existence, it's the ground state. So something built up from layers of complexities and differentiation of esse's base qualities, oscillating so fast they appear as distinct and polar traits (say, the electron-proton relationship) then it appears they are dual, when according to this model they are exactly the same once they return to their ground state (which they eventually will).
 
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  • #14
Hi Les,
Thank you for responding to my question.
Les Sleeth said:
I explained that if there is something totally “neutral” at the base of existence, then consciousness had to have developed out of that. If the existential stuff is neutral, and if consciousness developed there, then it means mechanical-type accidents (in the esse continuum) have played the primary role in bringing about consciousness. To my friend it seems a horrible thought that what he calls “God” was generated by mechanics and circumstance.
By this (above) I thought you were suggesting that consciousness is purely epiphenomenal, but I am not sure.
Les Sleeth said:
But to get to your question, I don’t care about anything but what makes sense. I’m not trying to make the development of the universe and consciousness mechanistic and I am not trying make their development spiritual. To me, if we know that consciousness can evolve and a physical universe can develop (proven by the fact that we and it exists), and if all of it has emerged out of existential stuff . . . then the question becomes for me: “what is the most logical explanation for accounting for everything we find in creation.”

If creation were nothing but matter, then I could most definitely see it emerging straight out of the esse continuum. But that’s not all there is.

One strange thing we find here is a quality of organization (in biology) that surpasses any known ability of mechanics; a second strange thing is consciousness emanating out of biology. Okay, kick in pure logic. When (leaving biology out of it) you find anything ultra-organized on planet Earth, what’s done it?

Take a house. No, take just the structure of a house and leave out electricity and any other advanced developments. Find on this planet or another place in the known universe, anything non-living that exhibits the quality of organization of a house frame, a log cabin, a straw cottage, a mud hut . . . that’s not associated with consciousness?

Based strictly on what we know, when you see organizational quality beyond what can be explained now by chemistry and physics alone, you also see consciousness involved.

So, it isn’t being parsimonious to exclude the participation of consciousness in the development of creation. If we only rely on the evidence we have, it is most logical to ponder the possibility that consciousness developed first in the esse continuum, that it evolved for countless eons, and then it at least played a part in the highly advanced organizational aspects found here on Earth.
It seems that we are talking about some rudimentary pre-cursor to consciousness, the property of self-organization of matter, that has existed for as long as matter has existed. Is this correct? I have to take baby steps here. Also, I am not clear about the esse continuum. Where does it begin? The moment after the Big Bang?
 
  • #15
Math Is Hard said:
I am not clear about the esse continuum. Where does it begin? The moment after the Big Bang?

The esse continuum never “began.” The substance monism concept states that esse has always existed. It is uncreated, and cannot cease to exist. Esse is an infinite ocean of pure essence. It is the “essence” of all we know, including the physical universe and consciousness. The universe is a finite form of esse within the infinite esse continuum. We are in it now, but can’t see it because esse is too subtle.


Math Is Hard said:
It seems that we are talking about some rudimentary pre-cursor to consciousness, the property of self-organization of matter, that has existed for as long as matter has existed. Is this correct?

It is before self-organization, and before matter since matter had a beginning and will likely have an end. Esse is uncreated and eternal. But let me explain a little more how to get from the raw condition of esse to the advanced “forms” of esse like the universe and consciousness.


Math Is Hard said:
By this . . .
Les Sleeth said:
If the existential stuff is neutral, and if consciousness developed there, then it means mechanical-type accidents (in the esse continuum) have played the primary role in bringing about consciousness. To my friend it seems a horrible thought that what he calls “God” was generated by mechanics and circumstance.
. . . I thought you were suggesting that consciousness is purely epiphenomenal, but I am not sure.

I think I know what you mean, but since epiphenomenalism already has a specific meaning I don't think it really applies here.

Did you understand the idea of an esse continuum as an infinite ocean of pure "stuff" that has eternally existed, and which everything is within and created out of? Let's say that as a “substance” esse is a kind of superfine, vibrant light or illumination. Modeling creation and its contents using esse involves several logic steps.

The first thing logic tells us is that the esse continuum can’t be static because then nothing could develop. The esse would just sit there being, but not becoming. Since the esse continuum is envisioned as being like an ocean, we might surmise that esse chaotically moves around in the continuum sort of like water does in the ocean, with constant waves and compressions and whirlpools, etc.

The second logic step begins with understanding that described in the above paragraph is the “ground state” of esse. It exists, but not in any stable “form.” We can say that the conditions of the ground state have to have the potential to become all the forms of things we know. What have we postulated the ground state conditions to be? The vibrant, eternally existent, and illuminative qualities of esse, and the chaotic dynamics of the esse continuum . . . so that’s the “raw” materials/conditions we have to work with.

The third logic step starts with jumping ahead (developmentally) from the ground state to now/here with us and our universe, and recognizing that we and the universe endure (time). If the universe and ourselves are all forms of esse, have developed from the ground state of esse, and if chaotic dynamics normally prevail in the ground state, then we can logically infer that some arrangement of the dynamics accidentally occurred which resulted in stable conditions within the chaotic continuum.

The next step is figuring out how stability could be established. I do have a model for that, but it wasn’t my intention to actually lay out the model here, but rather just to examine the modeling potential of substance monism.

Getting back to your original question, I was suggesting my Christian friend consider which was more likely to have developed first in the ground state, a physical universe or consciousness? Consciousness is subtle and unobservable just like esse is proposed to be, so it seems that it would be easier for consciousness to develop first in the ground state.

Now, since esse is eternally existing stuff, a consciousness that develops in the continuum has forever to evolve. Since the esse continuum is infinite, it has infinite space in which to grow.

Then, looking at the developmental path from the Big Bang to planet Earth, on to life, and finally to consciousness, the development along that corridor is extraordinarily organized. Yet when we look at raw physicalness, it seems merely repetitive at best.

Since consciousness is the only ultra-organizing force we’ve observed in the universe, and since it seems it would be simpler for consciousness to evolve first in the esse continuum, then isn’t it logical to hypothesize that the order of development of creation was: consciousness developed first in the esse continuum, evolved and grew for eons, it participated in the advent and development of the physical universe (e.g., concentrating a bunch of esse for the Big Bang?), its involvement was particularly focused along the path that led from the Big Bang to human consciousness, and that’s what explains the remarkable organizational quality found along BB-to-humanity corridor?

(If you are interested in the monistic concept, you might want reread my opening post. There’s a lot of information packed into that post :bugeye:, almost every bit of it necessary to understand the modeling potential of substance monism, so I know how easy it can be to miss important concepts.)
 
  • #16
Les Sleeth said:
Pure means the same stuff, it doesn't mean the stuff can't have several traits. Water is wet, it flows, it's clear, etc. One stuff, several traits. Plus, we get to add those traits created by existing in an "ocean," what I've called continuum dynamics.

Well, it weakens the argument, if you are arguing, to say that the primordial
thingywhatsitness has this nature as opposed to that nature -- there is
a question about why that is, which cannot be answered by an appeal
to the primordial
thingywhatsitness itself.


Moreover, your arguemnt seems to need *some* form(s) of dualism.

What would that be?


e.g mind and matter. The existence of a perceivable bofy in space, or not.

I put the bottom line at 1) exist and not exist, and 2) any substance/thing or condition which is not a "form" of esse or a manifestation of its qualities.

OK, but note that you are stipulating or assuming the non-existence of Esse
is impossible, not deriving it rationalistically from some self-evident axiom.

I can't imagine anything more contrary to esse than nonexistence, so I say that is the most powerful duality possible.

The idea of esse is that it is the most basic condition of all forms of existence, it's the ground state. So something built up from layers of complexities and differentiation of esse's base qualities, oscillating so fast they appear as distinct and polar traits (say, the electron-proton relationship) then it appears they are dual, when according to this model they are exactly the same once they return to their ground state (which they eventually will).

How does that differ from a physicist saying that all forms of energy/mass are
interconvertible ?
 
  • #17
Les Sleeth said:
The first thing logic tells us is that the esse continuum can’t be static because then nothing could develop.

Or rather, nothing could have developed, although evidently it did.
This is empirical and a posteriori.

The esse would just sit there being, but not becoming. Since the esse continuum is envisioned as being like an ocean, we might surmise that esse chaotically moves around in the continuum sort of like water does in the ocean, with constant waves and compressions and whirlpools, etc.

I notice that space, time, motion and causality have crept into the picture, although esse is supposed to be the only thing that exists.



Since consciousness is the only ultra-organizing force we’ve observed in the universe, and since it seems it would be simpler for consciousness to evolve first in the esse continuum,


It isn't at all clear or generally accepted that consc. is "organising" , let
alone , ultra. It is only clear that is associated with complex organisms.
 
  • #18
I'm a little late coming to this thread, and I must say I haven't read it all. Forgive me if I ask a question that has already been answered.

Les Sleeth - For this contemplation, assume that there really is one substance that composes everything, and that the reason esse (in the ground state) cannot be observed is because it is too subtle, and too finely dispersed.

Could you elaborate on this? One substance that composes everything? To finely dispersed?

The substance has parts? If so - as opposed to what? Is it like the ole lady said ... Turtles stacked upon turtles all the way down? Is there space between these parts? If not how is it possible to move? If so - what's this new ingredient called space made of?
 
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  • #19
Castlegate said:
Could you elaborate on this? One substance that composes everything? To finely dispersed?

The substance has parts? If so - as opposed to what? Is it like the ole lady said ... Turtles stacked upon turtles all the way down? Is there space between these parts? If not how is it possible to move? If so - what's this new ingredient called space made of?

When I first read Plotinus, Spinoza, Russell, et al views on monism, it was like a duck finding his first pond. It was so easy for me to dive in because I intuitively felt like I already knew it.

I've tried to communicate monisitic ideas several times here, and I have always been surprised monism isn't easy for most people. I think it's because most of the thinkers here are reductionist thinkers, while monism requires one to contemplate the absolute most general level of existence. So don't feel alone if monism seems weird to you.

Before explaining more at this time, let me refer you to how a discussion on "omnipotence" went at one point where I offered an analogy to help explain substance monism. It starts the third post down on the page found here, and continues for several posts.

Then if you reread my opening post for this thread carefully, it might all make more sense. If you have more questions, and are still interested, I'll be happy to answer them.
 
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  • #20
I've tried to communicate monisitic ideas several times here, and I have always been surprised monism isn't easy for most people.
Oh it's easy. It just gets a little tough when I realize that I can't move in this model. It is here where the model dies on the vine. There is no place to go that isn't already taken. The model tries to skirt this issue by giving this Wawa properties of greased up rubber pigs if you will. I consider this to be a cop out...no question about it. An all wawa universe is an exercise in gridlock (ain't nothing goin nowhere forever and ever).

Apparently this Wawa is infinitely composed. I.E. There is no finite fundamental entity to compose the Wawa. We may as well call the Wawa nothing, for the infinitely small is just that.
 
  • #21
Castlegate said:
Oh it's easy. It just gets a little tough when I realize that I can't move in this model. It is here where the model dies on the vine. There is no place to go that isn't already taken. The model tries to skirt this issue by giving this Wawa properties of greased up rubber pigs if you will. I consider this to be a cop out...no question about it. An all wawa universe is an exercise in gridlock (ain't nothing goin nowhere forever and ever).

Apparently this Wawa is infinitely composed. I.E. There is no finite fundamental entity to compose the Wawa. We may as well call the Wawa nothing, for the infinitely small is just that.

My sincere regrets. Sorry you didn't grasp the concept. :cool:
 
  • #22
Les Sleeth said:
My sincere regrets. Sorry you didn't grasp the concept. :cool:
Now hang on here. I can't let you get off that easy. :smile:

You know - Your model is extremely similar to Tom Vanflanderns. I asked the same question of him to which he also dodged the inquiry. You asked me to read your definitions of this esse, from a link provided by you, and from this thread. I did so...more than once. Since I don't expect everything regarding esse to be in the mentioned locations, it behooves me to ask the source.

Homogeneity means there are no spaces (not anywhere) because to avoid duality the ground state substance has to exist uninterrupted in every possible direction, from the infinite smallest to the infinite largest measurement in its oceanic abode (the GS Ocean).

How is it possible to move in the absence of space?

Since the esse is infinitely composed and complete I might add. I.E. There is such a (thing) as the infinitely small. What properties does it have?
 
  • #23
Castlegate said:
Now hang on here. I can't let you get off that easy. :smile:

I am happy to see you are a good sport.


Castlegate said:
You know - Your model is extremely similar to Tom Vanflanderns. I asked the same question of him to which he also dodged the inquiry. You asked me to read your definitions of this esse, from a link provided by you, and from this thread. I did so...more than once. Since I don't expect everything regarding esse to be in the mentioned locations, it behooves me to ask the source.

I am afraid I don't quite understand your question about the "source." Do you mean the origin of the concept of esse?


Castlegate said:
How is it possible to move in the absence of space? . . .
Since the esse is infinitely composed and complete I might add.

I just realized what your objection is. Sorry for taking so long to get it, but your objection isn't one where I see a problem. If you'll tolerate a water analogy once more, let me explain why.

In the ocean, something might freeze. The space you require is the very ocean the ice-form arose out of, and since the ocean is much larger, forms of water have all the room they need. A form is "condensed" water, and water is far more flexible. Just like there is not problem of space for an iceberg to float around in an ocean of water, there is no problem with a ground state substance with more concentrated forms floating around in it. Your concern would be justified if I had icebergs floating around in a glacier.


Castlegate said:
There is such a (thing) as the infinitely small. What properties does it have?

I am just trying to describe the condition of absolute homogeneity. No matter how small you go, you will not find a space.
 
  • #24
No matter how small you go, you will not find a space.
Lets just take this statement and run with it. I take this statement to mean for every piece of Esse that is observed there will be smaller entities of Esse to be observed, and this is true toward smaller scales of Esse infinitely. Also that the Esse is complete - Meaning there is such an entity as an infinitely small entity of Esse. This infinitely small entity of Esse (must) exist, or Esse is incomplete.

So what properties does this infinitely small entity of Esse have?

I'll give my answer - An infinitely small entity of Esse has smalled it's way out of existence. It will have zero properties.

Perhaps you can rationalize some properties for me? Please avoid what you have termed unacceptable ...... duality.
 
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  • #25
Castlegate said:
So what properties does this infinitely small entity of Esse have?

I'll give my answer - An infinitely small entity of Esse has smalled it's way out of existence. It will have zero properties.

Perhaps you can rationalize some properties for me? Please avoid what you have termed unacceptable ...... duality.

The most basic esse qualities start with: it exists, and cannot NOT exit, it has always existed and always will.

After that, we can assign characteristics to it, but only by inductively reasoning backward from the most general traits found in creaton (since everything in creation must be a "form" of the more basic esse). For example, everything without exception vibrates. So does that mean esse in the ground state is subtlely vibrant? If so, then what might accentuate that base vibrancy to manifest as vibration?

Well, looking at the elemental chart, we can see that from hydrogen upwards, elements become more dense. Density is concentration, and that would explain what would accentuate vibrancy. In other words, if esse is naturally vibrant, then if it becomes concentrated it starts to oscillate.

I hope you understand that my preference for a ground state substance which is "neutral" (not physical and not mental) is only because I can't make sense of reality with anything else. I don't give a tinker's damn if there is a ground state substance, or if there is a God, or if there is nothing . . . I am only interested in reality making sense.

You might challenge my obsession with making sense, but on my side is the fact that creation "makes sense" because it seems ordered from top to bottom. To me that means the ulitimate thing must make sense too.
 
  • #26
it exists, and cannot NOT exit
Seems like a duality to me.
it has always existed and always will.
and now a contradiction.
I don't give a tinker's damn if there is a ground state substance, or if there is a God, or if there is nothing . . . I am only interested in reality making sense.
How can one make sense of reality if one does not give a rats patoowee about what makes it real? Esse, God, and nothing? Whats left to discuss?
You might challenge my obsession with making sense, but on my side is the fact that creation "makes sense" because it seems ordered from top to bottom. To me that means the ulitimate thing must make sense too.
How can there be creation if the Esse has always existed? You speak of a homogeneous Esse at the infinitely small scale (perfect symmetry), but what is it that puts this Esse into a state of chaos the likes of what we see today? In other words - What takes the bugger out of symmetry? ... duality?
 
  • #27
Castlegate said:
Les Sleeth said:
it exists, and cannot NOT exit
Seems like a duality to me.

How so? All I am saying is that esse is pure existence. That's about as monistic as it gets.


Castlegate said:
Les Sleeth said:
it has always existed and always will.
and now a contradiction.

Again, how so? If it is pure existence, and can not exist, then it cannot have been created. It just is. Where's the contradiction?


Castlegate said:
How can one make sense of reality if one does not give a rats patoowee about what makes it real? Esse, God, and nothing? Whats left to discuss?
[/QUOTE]

C'mon, you know what I meant don't you? I was saying I am not attached to having the truth of things turn out a specific way. I am very interested in the nature of reality, but if reality is esse, or God, or physicalness or something altogether different, that is fine. What is real is real, I don't care what "real" turns out to be, I just want to know it. If I am attached to anything it's having the explanation make sense, and I gave my justification for expecting that.


Castlegate said:
How can there be creation if the Esse has always existed? You speak of a homogeneous Esse at the infinitely small scale (perfect symmetry), but what is it that puts this Esse into a state of chaos the likes of what we see today? In other words - What takes the bugger out of symmetry? ... duality?

According to substance monism, creation is made out esse. As I suspected, you haven't grasped substance monism yet. Let me briefly lay it out point by point.

1. Esse wasn't created, it is an eternally existing substance (a kind of vibrant light/illumination?).

2. It resides in an infinite ocean.

3. If there is such an ocean of esse, its natural condition is likely dominated by chaotic dynamics.

4. Chaotic dynamics, however, can on occasion accidently turn orderly for a bit.

5. Possibly a series of orderly fluctuations in the esse continuum resulted in a the concentration/compression of esse, and thus our universe (which I am suggesting is the the concentrated state of esse).

6. OR . . . possibly a series of orderly fluctuations in the esse continuum resulted in consciousness. Maybe that consciousness continued to evolve for untold eons until it was able learn to concentrate esse to the point of a Big Bang. With consciousness developing first in the esse ocean, that would help explain the remarkable organizational quality found in this solar system, especially with the development of life and consciousness (i.e., the "creationary" consciousness provided that organizational aspect).

As you can see, I am just trying to find a way for things to make sense. It doesn't make sense to me that a creator which has existed forever (assuming there is one for the moment) would still have anything to learn; so it should create a perfect creation. Yet that is not the case. If there is a creator, it looks like one that experiments, and so is a learning creator.

I reason, if the creator is becoming more learned, then before that the creator was less learned, and tracing that process back far enough there was a time when the creator was UNlearned, and therefore had a beginning.

But it also doesn't make sense to me that a creator can come from nothing. It has to come from something, be made of something, have an essence. The only possible way out of that, at least that I can see, is to have an uncreated, eternally existing substance with the potential to accidentally become conscious and keep evolving.

There is no duality because everything which now exists is a form of esse and the naturally occurring conditions that are present in the esse ocean (like compression-decompression dynamics). So if there is creationary consciousness, it is a form of esse. Matter is a different configuration of the same esse. You and I in essence are esse. No duality, just esse in different conditions.
 
  • #28
Interesting ideas, I need to take this in easy stages……

Les Sleeth said:
Esse cannot have been created. If it were created, there must have been a time when it didn’t exist, and that gives us a duality of exist and not exist (duality and monism are mutually exclusive).
Disagree. There is a difference between a temporal duality of existence (Esse did not exist prior to some time, and did exist after some time) and an instantaneous duality of existence (that there are two forms of stuff, Esse and non-Esse, which make up our present world).

Les Sleeth said:
Esse cannot NOT exist. For similar reasons as above. Esse can only exist, have always existed, and will always exist.
Disagree. Absence of Esse does not imply dualism.

Les Sleeth said:
Esse must reside in an infinite continuum. If there were any boundary, even a zillion zillion light years away, then we again have duality.
Disagree. Absence of Esse beyond the boundary does not imply dualism. Absence of Esse is not the same as the presence of non-Esse.

Les Sleeth said:
Esse must be absolutely homogeneous. For the same reason. Even if there were only an infinitesimally minute bubble of nothingness, then it creates the duality of esse and not-esse.
Disagree, for the same reasons as above.

Les Sleeth said:
Everything that we know to exist must be a form of esse. If there is only one absolute substance, then the different things we see, from physicalness to consciousness, must be esse in some form.
Agreed!

Les Sleeth said:
Since there can be no spatial breach, the forms esse take (like a planet or ourselves) are understood to not only be composed of and within the primordial continuum of esse, but also wholly connected to (or one with) it.
Disagree, for the reasons stated above.

Les Sleeth said:
To avoid any sort of duality, esse must be seen as true absoluteness in the sense there is nothing more basic or greater than it; there is nothing before or beyond it; there can be no discontinuance of it; there is nothing that is not a manifestation of it; and there is no appearance or behavior which is not 100% (i.e., absolutely) determined by its potentials and limitations.
Mostly agree, except for the part “; there can be no discontinuance of it” – again, absence of Esse is not the same as presence of non-Esse.

MF
 
  • #29
Les Sleeth said:
I just realized what your objection is. Sorry for taking so long to get it, but your objection isn't one where I see a problem. If you'll tolerate a water analogy once more, let me explain why.

In the ocean, something might freeze. The space you require is the very ocean the ice-form arose out of, and since the ocean is much larger, forms of water have all the room they need. A form is "condensed" water, and water is far more flexible. Just like there is not problem of space for an iceberg to float around in an ocean of water, there is no problem with a ground state substance with more concentrated forms floating around in it. Your concern would be justified if I had icebergs floating around in a glacier.

The only reason a block of ice can move through water is because of the space between water molecules (and because the bonds between molecules are not rigid). You cannot solve the problem of movement without space by analogy to any known situation, simply because we do not know of any situation in which no space exists.

Edit: By the way, since you are wondering about the modeling potential of monism, you might want to check out the physics of Leibniz, which I believe was based on the idea that the universe was a plenum. I'm not sure that his model was monistic, but I'm pretty sure it did not include space. The verdict from modern science, of course, is that Newton's model, which included space, was a better model, but you can still take a look to at least see how others have done the nuts and bolts part of the modelling, which is going to be important if you truly want to overcome the types of objections that will be raised such as that raised by Castlegate.
 
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  • #30
loseyourname said:
The only reason a block of ice can move through water is because of the space between water molecules
the "space" between water molecules in a block of ice is actually slightly greater than the average "space" between water molecules in liquid water (hence ice is less dense than water).

loseyourname said:
(and because the bonds between molecules are not rigid).
this is closer to the truth. It has nothing to do with "rigidity" however, more to do with the strength of the bond (energy required to break the bond)

MF
 
  • #31
loseyourname said:
The only reason a block of ice can move through water is because of the space between water molecules (and because the bonds between molecules are not rigid). You cannot solve the problem of movement without space by analogy to any known situation, simply because we do not know of any situation in which no space exists.

It wasn't a perfect analogy because there is nothing in physicalness that is perfectly homogeneous. But in the concept of monism there is no true space. There is only relatively less or more concentrated areas of the ground state substance. Areas that are more concentrated can move about in areas that are less contrated. According to this model, we ourselves are in a highly concentrated state (i.e., the CSN), so the areas between objects only appears devoid of substance, when really it's our concentrated state which prevents us from experiencing the far more subtle esse that composes what we call "space" (that is, except for skilled meditators :wink: ).

loseyourname said:
Edit: By the way, since you are wondering about the modeling potential of monism, you might want to check out the physics of Leibniz, which I believe was based on the idea that the universe was a plenum. I'm not sure that his model was monistic, but I'm pretty sure it did not include space. The verdict from modern science, of course, is that Newton's model, which included space, was a better model, but you can still take a look to at least see how others have done the nuts and bolts part of the modelling, which is going to be important if you truly want to overcome the types of objections that will be raised such as that raised by Castlegate.

You might have missed my comments to someone that Leibniz (along with Plotinus, Russell, Spinoza, Eckhart, Bohm, Fuller, the Buddha, et al) was part of my first exposure to monism. However, Castlegate's objections so far haven't been based on understanding the implications of a single uncreated, homogeneous ground state substance. In fact, I've yet to see anyone here model comfortably with it.
 
  • #32
moving finger said:
Disagree. Absence of Esse does not imply dualism.

Whether you "disagree" or "agree" really doesn't explain anything. It doesn't help me understand what you see as wrong with the concept to simply say "absence of esse does not imply dualism." Why is that so?

I chose that statement to quote because it seems to be your general objection. Here's why I say esse and esse-absence is duality. (Keep in mind, the theme of this thread is substance monism, so dualism is in relation to that concept.)

Let's say you have a zillion to the zillionth power miles of esse, and then nothing. Does nothing have consequences?

Where there is esse, all we have is one substance. It is like charged particles versus a neutral particle. A charged particle can only be said to exist in relation to another condition particles can be in. So you can't just have a concept for "positive" particles. No matter what the negative side is, the fact of positiveness creates "twoness." A neutral particle, however, requires no counterpart.

Similarly, if you have existence (esse), and then total non-existence (which true nothingness would be), then there is a duality. Only if all is esse, or if all is nothing, can we avoid duality.

[Unrelated question. I can't edit my posts. Is anyone else having this problem?]
 
  • #33
Hi Les

I take your point, and have reconsidered my objections as follows :

Les Sleeth said:
Esse cannot have been created. If it were created, there must have been a time when it didn’t exist, and that gives us a duality of exist and not exist (duality and monism are mutually exclusive).
Disagree. The argument is basically that there cannot have been any time when esse did not exist (hence esse could not have been created at any point in time). However this does not necessarily imply that esse was not created; it is possible that time and esse were created together, thus there was no “time” before the point of creation of esse.

Les Sleeth said:
Esse cannot NOT exist. For similar reasons as above. Esse can only exist, have always existed, and will always exist.
Disagree, see above. This boils down to “there cannot be any time, past or future, when esse does not exist”. But if time was created along with the creation of esse, and if time is destroyed along with the destruction of esse, then there is no time when esse does not exist. Hence it is possible that there is a finite yet unbounded temporal coordinate for esse.

Les Sleeth said:
Esse must reside in an infinite continuum. If there were any boundary, even a zillion zillion light years away, then we again have duality.
Disagree. This argument changes the time coordinate to a spatial coordinate. It boils down to : “there can be no space which does not contain esse”. However it is still possible for esse (and space) to be finite and yet unbounded.

Les Sleeth said:
Esse must be absolutely homogeneous. For the same reason. Even if there were only an infinitesimally minute bubble of nothingness, then it creates the duality of esse and not-esse.
Agree.

Les Sleeth said:
Everything that we know to exist must be a form of esse. If there is only one absolute substance, then the different things we see, from physicalness to consciousness, must be esse in some form.
Agree

Les Sleeth said:
Since there can be no spatial breach, the forms esse take (like a planet or ourselves) are understood to not only be composed of and within the primordial continuum of esse, but also wholly connected to (or one with) it.
Agree

Les Sleeth said:
To avoid any sort of duality, esse must be seen as true absoluteness in the sense there is nothing more basic or greater than it; there is nothing before or beyond it; there can be no discontinuance of it; there is nothing that is not a manifestation of it; and there is no appearance or behavior which is not 100% (i.e., absolutely) determined by its potentials and limitations.
Mostly agree, except for the limitations to temporal and spatial extent mentioned above. It is possible that esse is finite in both temporal and spatial axes.

MF
 
  • #34
Les Sleeth said:
It wasn't a perfect analogy because there is nothing in physicalness that is perfectly homogeneous. But in the concept of monism there is no true space. There is only relatively less or more concentrated areas of the ground state substance. Areas that are more concentrated can move about in areas that are less contrated. According to this model, we ourselves are in a highly concentrated state (i.e., the CSN), so the areas between objects only appears devoid of substance, when really it's our concentrated state which prevents us from experiencing the far more subtle esse that composes what we call "space" (that is, except for skilled meditators :wink: ).

To be honest, I still find it terribly difficult to grasp what it is you mean, and I think a lot of us do. No analogy really seems to capture what it is that you want to say. For instance, even the idea of "concentration" requires space (or at least multiple substances). A higher concentration of substance in location A than location B simply means there is more of the substance in relation to either another substance or space in location A than in location B. I think this is why you see the very earliest monists (going all the way back to the pre-Socratics) positing motion as illusory. Actually, my impression of Spinoza was that he did the same, although his whole concept of "modes" is rather confusingly somewhere between illusion and reality. Even Leibniz with his "well-grounded phenomena" and others levels of realness, can become very difficult to follow. I can appreciate that these writings speak to you, but to me they're like reading Greek - I can read Greek, but only by translating it into English in my mind as I read. I haven't yet learned to think like a Greek.

You might have missed my comments to someone that Leibniz (along with Plotinus, Russell, Spinoza, Eckhart, Bohm, Fuller, the Buddha, et al) was part of my first exposure to monism.

I know that you're familiar with his works that I'm familiar with, like the monadology, but I'm referring here to his actual physics. I'm pretty sure that he laid out a system of equations that modeled motion, just as Newton did, only based on the idea that the universe was a plenum. I had the impression that you were seeking in this thread to see what a scientific model based on monism might look like, and I think that Leibniz's physics is probably the closest thing we now have. I'm not personally familiar with his system, however, so don't take my word for it.

On another note, have you ever considered writing a book? Academic philosophy, at least in the US, almost completely neglects the neo-Platonics and really mysticism in general. Medieval philosophy is treated as scholasticism, the Port Royal school, and that's it. I was delighted to recently read a book by Kolakowski that included discussion of Eckhart and Plotinus, men that are all but ignored in most histories of philosophy.
 
  • #35
moving finger said:
The argument is basically that there cannot have been any time when esse did not exist (hence esse could not have been created at any point in time). However this does not necessarily imply that esse was not created; it is possible that time and esse were created together, thus there was no “time” before the point of creation of esse.

I am not trying to be difficult but it doesn't seem like we are talking about the same thing. There is no issue about esse being created, it is a basic assumption of this theory. If we are going to talk about monism, which is total oneness in every respect, then the object of the exercise is to avoid all duality.

If you read my debate with Tournesol on time ("The Past is Real?" in general philosophy), I argue that time is merely our observation of change, specifically the rate of entropic change. Applied to the monistic idea, time is the rate of change of "forms" of esse. So say we have two concentrations-forms of esse that are deconcentrating, and one is deconcentrating faster than the other, then we'd say slower deconcentrating form has more "time" before it returns to its ground state condition of formless esse. In this model, it is obviously impossible for time to have been created along with esse.

It is also impossible for esse to be created and avoid dualism. I don't think you quite get how strictly monism holds to oneness (as well as how utterly resistant I personally am that something can come from nothing). If you say esse was created, what created it? Even if we allowed that nothing can create something, right there you have the duality of creator and created, or nothing and something. That is not monism.

All of your arguments might be true, but they fail to create a monistic model. If you want to model within the confines of monism, you cannot allow duality of any sort. So an end of esse (a boundary) is two things--esse and no-esse-- and it's the same thing with any sort of temporal or spatial limitations.

Oneness is just one thing, what we've been calling esse. There is nothing else in essence, but there are a huge variety of "forms" of esse.
 

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