Dedicated to Dr. John Boghosian Arden.
I will return to this blog in the near future – maybe as soon as next week (this one being nearly finished).
Life sort of got in the way.
What are we? vs. Who are we? That is the question at hand. The difference makes all the difference in the world; the difference makes all the difference TO the world. Are we primarily material bodies, with consciousness an attribute of physical reality (the prevailing frame of reference – matter exists, consciousness is a consequence, or an illusion (the epi-phenomenonological position, that consciousness results from the physical activity, as opposed to the other way around? Or are we primarily conscious beings with bodies to work with in the material world? What is the reason that consciousness can only act on the physical world through our minds and bodies?
I have personally tried to avoid involving personal interjection – how I came upon these ideas, where they came from, and what I believe based on the ideas I’m discussing – of course my own personal beliefs underlie the context of the discussion, but it’s not about belief, it’s about exploring and understanding context. The terms themselves define ore determine the discussions that follow.
Belief is not material to the discussion. I’m not here to tell anybody what to believe, or even to state, unequivocally, what I belief. This discussion, however, emerged from the inadequacy of a materialist perspective. For myself (now that I am speaking personally), materialism generates as many questions as it resolves. Materialism is “true”, in its superficial aspects – the material world is, indeed, “out there”, if we experience it, it exists. It’s part and parcel of the insight from GODEL, ESCHER BACH – that there are questions in any “system” that cannot be answered within that “system”.
What I’m doing is widening the system, going “down” into a deeper framework of understanding, yet not even that – I’m changing the terms through which we understand the framework in which we operate. While acknowledging the existence of the “material world”, the function of philosophy, if you distinguish philosophy from science, is going for the deep-structure understanding, not the superficial (if you will) structure of the material universe, the realm of science. I’m not here to disrepsect, disregard or diminish science, it’s function nor it’s place in the world; it’s just not what I’m DOING.
That’s what is so interesting about the discussion I had with The Scientist; his original (now-repudiated) insight about the nature of “mind” is part and parcel of what led to this discussion in the first place. Without an understanding of computers, his insight would never have occurred, it would not have been even possible. The mind as a “field of energy” whose locus is the brain IS a statement of the ‘virtual existence’ is not physical, and so cannot be understood from a materialist perspective – and that has always been my objection to “materialism”.
While I was an undergraduate student of academic psychology, B. F. Skinner’s Behaviorism was all the rage, and when asked by my professor about it, I responded with all the capacity for outrage the young are capable of. But the essential objection I held to Skinner and the study of rats as ‘psychology’ was and remains it obscures means and ends, cause and effect. I had already been exposed/introduced to the human potential movement, to the work of Maslow and Rogers, the school of Humanistic Psychology always made more sense to me, when studying context of psychology. Behaviorism to me was the study of outcomes as a basis for understanding manifestation of consciousness, and in fact was a denial of the underlying “facts” of experience FROM WITHIN, by denying there WAS anything “within” that couldn’t be observed from “without” – psychology as science, not philosophy. Freud, when he was using analogy to explain his ‘new’ understandings, was acting as philosopher; Skinner’s work was a reaction against the ‘philosophical’ aspect(s) of Freud’s earlier work.
In separating science, philosophy and theology into separate realms, I’m trying to resolve that conflict – but it’s more the Israel/Palestine solution of separate states, rather a comprehensive “Unified Field” theory of human understanding. It’s very premature, but the ‘field’ that unifies the three fields of intellectual endeavor IS the theory that consciousness underlies everything in the material world. We wouldn’t “exist” if we weren’t “aware” of that existence.
I have purposely stayed away from conjecture so far; I realized what I’d been working on so far is defining terms, which determines where the discussion goes from here. THIS is why I have tried to avoid conjecture, because the conclusions are simply too vast to accept without exploring the ramifications of what that belief entails. I’ve stayed away from “personal” reactions or responses, or at least I’ve tried to. It’s not even essentially a matter of belief; I don’t care what you believe, or whether you agree or disagree, what this is, is a philosophical exploration of what consciousness looks like from within, not without.
Philosophy, Theology and Science.
Historically, or at least to the historical record we have inherited, philosophy was both science and philosophy; metaphysics was relegated to theology, but theology hardened into doctrine and the conjectural side of metaphysics was disregarded in favor of the image of the world created by the Church – in what we refer to as the “Dark Ages”, the dark ages of philosophical discourse, in favor of doctrinal control by the Church and its accepted theorists, or theologians.
Today, with the advent of the scientific method, the realms have been separated and walled off from each other, as if one has nothing to do with the other. Science looks outward, exploring the material world. Philosophy seeks inward, trying to understand the human mind’s place IN the world. Theology is the attempt to understand the underlying workings of the universe that includes both material and mental realms, it seeks the deeper context of existence. One seeks to explore the object, the second seeks to explore the subject, and the third explores context. The closest thing to subjective exploration on the part of science would be psychology – and the “new” physics is seeking the point of commonality between the two realms, the subjective and the objective.
Physics and Metaphysics
(and metaphysics is NOT what I seek to do, here; I’m not ‘inventing’ an underlying schema.) I’m not in the business of inventing ANYTHING. I’m looking at what we already know from science and philosophy, and re-arranging the elements. I’m looking at what we already see, but from a different perspective. The distinction I making is the difference between physics and metaphysics is the difference between text and context, the difference between the way things work and the why of the way things work. In the Seth material, Seth draws the distinction between what he calls “Framework I” and Framework II”, which is one way of understanding the difference; Framework I is the material world, and the way we work within it. Framework II, in some respects (because I’m not trying to be definitive here; it’s too early for that, I’m just exploring, for now) is the underlying operational underpinnings for Framework I. No, I’m not sure this is precisely what Seth refers to, but it’s the sense I made out of his usage of the terms, and it is the sense and context that I am trying to explore here.