“We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
– Max Planck
I am the mind and eyes of the universe. I arise spontaneously from nothingness and – as pure consciousness – I generate matter, energy, space, and time. I am present here and now.
Every particle of my being participates in a vast interconnected network, which includes every other particle in the universe. Created in the same instant, the matter and energy of the cosmos remain ineluctably entangled throughout eternity. A singular unified field of forces – from the strong nuclear force to electromagnetism and gravity resonate in harmony within the subatomic realm and reach out through the vast and ineffable dark matter and energy of intergalactic space.
I am aware of these realms and realities at the same time as I inhabit and participate in the illusory life of a separate self among others.
We refashion thoughts into language, language into mathematics, mathematics into science, science into technology, and technology into civilization. We recreate our dreams and emotions in poetry and art, and our poetry and art are transmuted via media. Our awareness becomes belief and our belief, religion. In these ways, we create our environment and it channels our experience. Because we are entrained by our experiences, this self-programming ultimately limits perception.
We can demonstrate in the laboratory, there are neither individual things nor separate events. There is only a seamless continuum. We are one super-organism of life. Each of us is a particular instance of the single indivisible, unified field. Our separation is an illusion generated by the very frames of reference defining our particular points of view. These frames of reference form an infinite succession of instances, moments, and events – an indivisible matrix of information and experience.
We are the universe evolving through the infinite and eternal present, navigating a multitude of past and future states. Our reality is the product of our collective imagination. The world is filled with the content of our minds because the world is our mind. We are all and everything, here, now, and all at once. This…is the mind.
Image: “This is the Mind” by Tullio DeSantis, altered ink drawing, 2011
New World Views Part 2: The Mind is the Matter
“The world is not something separate from you and me; the world, society, is the relationship that we establish or seek to establish between each other. So you and I are the problem, and not the world, because the world is the projection of ourselves, and to understand the world we must understand ourselves. That world is not separate from us; we are the world, and our problems are the world’s problems.” – J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life
Basic assumptions underlying the scientific world view are that the universe is composed of matter and energy and that by studying them through a rational process of experiment and theoretical formulation, we come to demonstrate certain ultimate aspects of the real world. In this way, we are impelled to move along methodically constructing mathematical and conceptual simulacra, which because we constructed them, give us some insight into how the world itself works.
But, after centuries of applying canonical interpretations of the scientific method, we find that it is not possible to explain the workings of the world’s most significant entity: the mind – consciousness. In short, we do not understand that part of the universe which lies at the very center of our experience. The so-called “rationality” of the scientific method is not even able to rationalize itself.
Armed with great power to move matter, energy, and information around the planet, we have accomplished some astounding feats and we have also unleashed technological horror on a scale unknown before the advent of the scientific method. It is increasingly clear, the rational approach to life is replete with irrational outcomes.
There are other approaches to the matter/mind conundrum – The various forms of philosophical idealism, for example, give mind or spirit essential positions as constituents of the world – the universe is composed of a form of cosmic consciousness and the various manifestations of the material world are creations of the mind.
Fortunately, we do not have to choose between two alternative ways of looking at the relationship between the world and the mind. We are enriched by them both. It just depends on through which end of the philosophical telescope one is looking.
Viewed from the position of materialism, the mind can be understood as the most emergent information-processing system in the known universe, and from this perspective it is seen as infinitely complex and inherently chaotic, as it is a non-linear system.
Viewed from the perspective of idealism, the material world is seen as a kind of illusory phenomenon – a reflection of mental processes, a projection of the mind, which takes on the probabilistic form of a real world by consensus and experimental hypothesis.
This is the leading edge of both contemporary philosophy and science. The relationship between the world and the mind is the essential question of philosophy and it is now also quickly becoming the essential question of psychology, biology, physics, and cosmology.
Cybernetics and information theory, new neuroscience, and the study of complexity and chaos in emergent systems are bringing us to new thresholds of understanding. The quantum and relativistic relationships between waves, particles, and field theory reveal connections between the deep structures of both living and non-living matter.
It should be no surprise that we are discovering deep connections where there once were seen to be deep discontinuiities and divisions between physical reality and the mind. Our very existence demonstrates that such contradictions say more about the limitations of our models than about the nature of the world. It does not matter through which end of the telescope we gaze. Wherever we look, we see ourselves.
Image: “The Mind is the Matter” by Tullio DeSantis, altered ink drawing, 2011
YouTube Video: Symphony of Science: “We Are All Connected”