“Consciousness Is the Source of the Cosmos” … Physical Reality Is Metaphor: The Era of “Rational” Man Is Over, A Primal Return Has Begun
“The Stuff of the World Is Mind-Stuff”
We are living in stimulating and revolutionary times. For, even as we watch, the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm is collapsing in the ocean of the new physics, “matter” is being swept away by “wavicles,” and scientists are beginning to acknowledge what the poet-seers have always known: that physical reality is metaphor, that the external world and all of its components are subtle yet elaborate webs thrown upon the formless, meaningful forms created from no-thing-ness . . . that matter is metaphor for Consciousness — which is the only real stuff knowable about existence, in fact is the only stuff of the Universe.
Physicist and astronomer, Arthur Stanley Eddington (1928) phrased it: “The stuff of the world is mind-stuff.” More recently, University of Minnesota physicist Roger S. Jones (1982) unveiled a position which he calls an “idealistic reevaluation of the physical world” (p. ix). He writes
I reject the myth of reality as external to the human mind, and I acknowledge consciousness as the source of the cosmos. It is mind that we see reflected in matter. Physical science is a metaphor with which the scientist, like the poet, creates and extends meaning and values in the quest for understanding and purpose. (1982, p. ix)
Even more recently, anthropologist Armand Labbe (1991) summed it up at a Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness conference saying, “Ultimately our physics . . . is going to demonstrate that essentially there is no such thing as matter. All there is, is mind and motion.”
Granted, this is an extreme position, a strict Idealist stance. But it is the only truly supportable one, in light of what we know from the new physics. That would be enough in itself to cause us to reflect on it. But this perspective is also supported, even demonstrated, by the discoveries of the “new psychology” as well. More about that later.
It is ironic that it would be the most “materialistic” and “hardest” of the sciences that would be leading the charge against the primacy-of-the-physical-world postulate (and, unfortunately, leaving the rest of the sciences — both social as well as natural sciences — behind). The discoveries from quantum physics, though some of them almost a hundred years old now, are, only with difficulty, being assimilated into the other sciences. For the most part, they are largely ignored; science going along ‘as if’ . . . that is, as if the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm were still viable, as if the physical world was really “objective” reality, as if the mind could validly be considered an epiphenomenon of brain activity. So the old paradigm holds sway despite its inadequacy.
This is understandable, however. For truly acknowledging these newer perspectives requires a reformulation of theoretical positions, a rethinking of the Universe in much the same way that astronomical theories needed to be reformulated after the Copernican revolution. What we do not need are theories that disfigure themselves in trying to incorporate some (not all) of the new information and new perspectives in the way of the convoluted theories of the pre-Copernican astronomers who refused to accept the newer paradigm postulations.
In doing so we will need to employ perspectives that traditionally have made their philosophical home, in Western philosophy, at the address of Idealism, and more specifically, the subcategories therein of Panpsychism and Pantheism. These viewpoints are the dominant ones in Eastern philosophy, however. And most recently they reemerge — in “modern science,” of all places — under rubrics such as holographic.
Nevertheless, it is interesting that in the Western traditions these viewpoints have often been denigrated by referring to them as “primitive philosophy.” It seems that when Western civilization broke from the trajectories of the other civilizations of the planet, it needed to establish its distinction and difference as radically as possible.
This is a common pattern in change. We notice this behavioral style in the upwardly mobile corporate executive or artist who feels the need to adopt a lavish lifestyle in order to hide her humble beginnings.
We notice also its relation to the behavior of scapegoating. We observe this aspect of it watching our executive become a Republican and begin to “bad mouth” the same social programs and social class that nurtured her earlier on. We might call it the “Clarence Thomas syndrome.”
Nevertheless, the importance of this tendency cannot be overstated in Western philosophy. We see it reaching its peak in the medieval Renaissance in Europe, especially in the rise of Rationalist philosophy. Glorifying himself with the regalia of “Reason,” Western man (the masculine is necessary here for it was characteristically a male phenomenon) ascended the throne in the castle of Nature and deigned to cast his eyes below him on all the rest of living things, nay, on the rest of all of Creation.
From such imperial heights Western man deduced the workings of the Universe — utilizing his purportedly powerful tool of Reason — and conceived how he should apportion and determine all that he surveyed. For surely his perception and apprehension of a thing was akin to possession . . . he reasoned conveniently.
Thus adorned and fortified, Rational Man went about subduing all that came before his view. Letting nothing as trivial as philosophies, traditions, cultures, and the peoples who embodied them stand in his way; nor even, in this century, allowing the complete elimination, for all of eternity, of millions of species of living things, evolving out of the mists of billions of years, obstruct him in the least from the attainment of desires, regardless how trivial. Thus he “succeeded” to such an extent that he threatens now even his own existence.
Continue with “Why Did He Do It? White Man.” It Is Only Now That His Own Demise Is at Hand That Rational Man Stops to Reflect — The Primal Return
Return to Occupy Science … A Call for a Scientific Awakening: In Tossing Away Our Species Blinders, We Approach a Truth Far Beyond Science
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