Today’s show came about because it just didn’t make sense to me that consciousness/awareness came about from two inert chemicals that suddenly became conscious. How does that happen, when it hadn’t happened any other times those two chemicals found each other? Evolution? Nope, didn’t make sense – something else had to be involved, or it would have happened the first time and every time those two chemicals met up.
I have very few issues with evolution, but even as a child felt that evolution was just God’s way of creating – nobody said seven days of God’s time – to make the world – had to be the same as our idea of seven days. Sure, I figured, God lived bigger than our little world. What made a universal, or galactic, or cosmic day? I was pretty sure it would be longer than our little sun circling our little earth – not if God was in charge of everything in the cosmos. So maybe creation (as evolution) took place in seven of God’s days, not human days. But this whole concept of consciousness just happening, aka “a happy accident” of evolution just didn’t make sense. I then explored materialism and dualism, trying to find something that would answer the question – where does consciousness come from?
I stumbled across a web article in Quartz magazine that talked about moving from materialism, to dualism, to panpsychism to idealism and a few things came together for me.
I’d already dismissed materialism and its reductionistic ideas. No, you can’t figure out the big picture of consciousness by looking in smaller and smaller places.
Dualism hasn’t made any more sense for me once I realized that trees and plants are not the dumb organisms we were taught that they were. (Now it appears that plants have more raw brain cells than we humans do!) It began to seem very egotistical to decide that humans were on top of the brain and consciousness scales. In dualism, who decides where to draw the line? Was that line drawn long ago, with organic/inorganic lines? But if rocks have energy, as long believed in many cultures, and I personally could sense that energy… were rocks really just dead chemicals?
Ah, panpsychism made some sense. I had already figured out that anything that had energy just might have a tiny bit of consciousness attached. How does an electron know to move away from another electron? Is it just dumb force? Where does that forc come from? How does an electron know to pull away from an atom, leaving an ion behind? Does it “know”? Does an electron have consciousness?
Then there was the new age theory of everything is in God’s mind (however you define God, or whatever word you use – “God” has become a generic term for a higher power for many new agers.) It made sense to me, but also didn’t quite hold true. I started to study A Course In Miracles, which holds that we are all part of God’s Mind – children of God. In Buddhist texts, I read about reincarnation – which requires the carrying of conscious experience from on lifetime into the next. There were suggestions in other spiritual texts that we are all simply ideas in God’s Mind.
I discovered that this was pretty well included under the concept of “idealism.”
Hear the show replay by clicking here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/undotheego/CEE2_Feb_6_2018_Panpsychism_Idealism.mp3
“The Mysterious Mind”, by Eric Tille
“The Conscious Mind”, by David Chalmer
Bernard Kastrup, excerpts from “Brief Peeks Beyond
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