Schools of Thought About Reality
“The world is seen only due to duality. If there is no duality, there is no world.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Actuality appears as a duality: you have a mind, encased in a body, which perceives an outside world. You suppose there is an external environment because you tangibly interact with it, and with others who agree with you on this perspective. This actuality is so obvious as to be unremarkable.
Alas, there’s an insurmountable dilemma with duality as the basis of reality. This dissonance is encapsulated in the mind-body problem: how is the mind connected to the body?
For millennia, natural philosophers and scientists tried to discover and construe the interface between the mind and the body. No one has ever given a credible explanation of there being a mind-body interface, or how it might work.
Modern biologists gave up: they decreed that the brain generates the mind. Everything we sense is made of matter. There is no hard evidence that the mind even exists – how can there be? Yet you know you have a mind. (You might get out of your mind, but then where would you be?!).
Neurobiologists monitor the energy flowing out the scalp during mentation and imagine that nerve cells collectively fabricate cognition. That the patterns observed do not correlate with the coinciding thoughts, and that the absurd assumption of neurons as responsible for cognition has no factual foundation, do not bother neurobiologists a whit. The religious dogma of neurobiology has been widely publicized and generally accepted despite it being an obvious hoax.
Under matterism, you live as a bony meat sac and die. End of story. It is a wretched fiction.
Though they both loosely fit with how the world appears, matterism and dualism are fundamentally different conceptions of reality. Dualism touts the dualities which are obvious: between mind and body, and between the self and the environment. Facilely true, dualism is fundamentally false.
Matterism is instead a monism: claiming a unity, where the material world is all that there is – that actuality as sensed is reality. Dualism doesn’t make that stark claim, as the philosophers who advocated dualism were God-fearing men. Dualism leaves open the possibility of a Supreme Being behind the curtain; a notion that matterism religiously denies, for God cannot be made of matter. Historically, matterism came to dominate science as a paradigmatic rejection of the dualism which may support faith in God.
The lynchpin mechanism that dualism needs – an interface that connects mind with body – falters for lack of evidence. Matterism has an even worse problem in that regard: it cannot explain how an organism without a brain can intelligently respond to its environment or make decisions, something which plants and even microbes do.
You cannot explain Nature by arguing that all of its activities are accounted for by the shuffling of atoms. Matterism is a pathetic religion posing as science.
Contemplate evolution, which is typically an adaptive response to environmental conditions, as has been observed innumerable times. Adaptation means goal-oriented change. (The formal term for design in Nature is teleology.) Matterists have no explanation for how molecules might have a plan, let alone comprehend the outside world.
“With such wisdom has Nature ordered things.” ~ Scottish geologist James Hutton
That there is the order to Nature is so obvious as to be unremarkable, except that matterism cannot explain how that order originates or maintains itself. This is ironic, for scientists embrace ‘laws’ of Nature without having any explanation for how such ‘laws’ could exist – science as faith.
The matterist perspective is not grounded in experience. It requires an abstract line of reasoning that presupposes the existence of a reality outside consciousness, although nobody has ever experienced this, nor could they ever experience it. The matterist point of view asserts the reality of that which is never experienced – matter [outside consciousness] – and denies that which alone is always experienced – consciousness itself. That is the tragedy and the absurdity of the matterist perspective from which humanity is suffering. ~ English philosopher Rupert Spira
Matterism cannot explain consciousness. How exactly is it that chemical reactions between cells, nervy or not, make mentation? Matterists can’t say. All they know is that neurons get excited when someone is thinking. Matterists confuse coincidence: distinct contemporaneous phenomena, with causality: that one phenomenon causes another.
Even more critically, matterism ignores a basic physics fact: what matter is in the first place.
The most astonishing discovery by 20th-century physicists was that matter is made of energy. This discovery turned physics inside-out from its classical stance, which made matter out to be sovereign.
Looking toward the tremendously tiny, quantum physicists theorized that the constitution of matter is energetic: localized energy fields continuously, coherently shape subatomic quanta, which are the elementary particles that make up matter. Each quantum – infinitesimal matter bit – is actually a dollop of energy. Atomic bombs proved that right. A wee bit of matter packs a terrible wallop.
In the universe of energy, any individual thing is a pattern of activity within the flux. ~ American philosopher William Barrett
To state that actuality is a matter-energy complex is uncontroversial. Where the contention comes is appreciating what energy is, and what it means about the generation of Nature.
If matter is made of energy, you need only comprehend the nature of energy to understand the wellspring of Nature. There’s the rub. Energy is just a concept: a figment of the mind. (But then, everything is nothing but a figment of the mind. We’ll come to that. On with the energy story.)
The classical definition of energy was what it takes to put matter to work. That’s a tautology: defining energy in terms of its force on matter. Modern physics blew that away with the discovery that matter is energy. If matter is composed of energy, and energy is only an idea – well, you see the paradox in thinking that matter really matters.
At this point it becomes clear that matterism is a sham. There is more to existence than the exhibition of Nature, and reality runs even deeper. Despite irrefutable evidence that matter is made from energy, this conclusion is completely contrary to the tripe that modern science trumpets about matterism being the ticket.
By refusing to accept the obvious implications of their discoveries, matterists have shown themselves to be religious fanatics who preach to a faithful, ignorant Collective. The mainstream paradigms in physics, genetics, evolutionary biology, and neurobiology provide prime examples.
“What we know is a drop; what we don’t know is an ocean.” ~ English natural philosopher Isaac Newton
A common misdiagnosis is thinking that known facts are enough to comprehend the system we call “the world.” Mistaking a peephole of atomic evidence for a comprehensive picture is an egregiously erroneous projection. Nature cannot be understood merely from matter and its transformations. The wrong-headedness is terminal when a worldview is assumed before even looking at all that is known.
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In 1900, German physicist Max Planck found that energy waves were not continuous. Instead, energy naturally quantizes, forming an impression of particles (quanta). What Planck had discovered was the basic trick for how Nature shapes energy to make the perception of matter possible: quantization.
The obvious question is where energy comes from. Bizarrely, it is a question that physicists do not even ask, as they have no way of sussing an answer, because energy is just an idea. Even to modern physicists, energy is just a way to express the oomph that comes from matter interacting. The discovery of quantization became a cul-de-sac of controversy about the relation of matter and energy at the quantum level: an endless argument about wave/particle duality.
Just because physicists hit a dead end does not mean that there isn’t an answer. The answer is energyism.
“To understand is to transform what is.” ~ Indian philosopher Jedu Krishnamurti