The radical concept that every part has a mind

The radical concept that every part has a mind
15 March 2024 J.W.H

Have you ever wondered if the sun, moon and stars have feelings? Or possibly rocks, trees or clouds have thoughts? Or possibly atoms, electrons or quarks have experiences? If so, you usually are not alone.

Many philosophers throughout history have shared the view that every part within the universe has some type of consciousness, or a mind-like quality. This idea is known as panpsychism, from the Greek words pan (all) and psyche (soul or mind).

Panpsychism is one among the oldest philosophical theories, dating back to ancient Greece, where thinkers equivalent to Thales, Plato, and Spinoza suggested that every part has a soul or mind.

Panpsychism was also popular within the nineteenth century, when philosophers equivalent to William James, Alfred North Whitehead, and Bertrand Russell argued that consciousness was a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of reality.

However, panpsychism collapsed within the twentieth century, when logical positivism and physicalism dominated the philosophy of mind. Logical positivists argued that only propositions that might be verified by empirical remark had meaning, while physicalists argued that only physical entities and properties existed.

However, in recent times, interest in panpsychism has resurfaced because of the difficult problem of consciousness and developments in neuroscience, psychology and quantum physics. The difficult problem of consciousness is the query of how physical processes within the brain give rise to subjective experiences equivalent to seeing colours, feeling emotions, or having thoughts.

This problem doesn’t appear to lend itself to a satisfactory explanation using physicalism, because there appears to be an explanatory gap between the target facts in regards to the brain and the subjective facts about consciousness.

Some philosophers have suggested that panpsychism may offer an answer to this problem, assuming that consciousness just isn’t a product of complex physical systems, but fairly a fundamental property of all physical entities.

One of the principal arguments for panpsychism relies on the principle of simplicity or parsimony. This principle states that we should always prefer simpler explanations to more complex ones, all other aspects being equal.

Panpsychists claim that their view is less complicated than physicalism since it doesn’t require any additional ontological categories or explanatory mechanisms to clarify consciousness.

Instead, it assumes that consciousness is already present in all physical things, albeit to various degrees and in several forms. Panpsychists also claim that their view is less complicated than dualism since it doesn’t require any non-physical substances or properties to clarify consciousness. Instead, it assumes that consciousness is an inherent aspect of all physical things.

Another argument for panpsychism relies on the principle of continuity or naturalism. This principle states that we should always avoid postulating any radical discontinuities or breaks in nature unless there may be compelling evidence for them.

Panpsychists claim that their view respects this principle higher than physicalism or dualism since it doesn’t assume that consciousness emerges suddenly or mysteriously from unconscious matter at some stage of evolution or complexity.

Instead, it posits that consciousness is a gradual and natural feature of all matter, various in degree and quality depending on its organization and structure.

Is there evidence for panpsychism?

According to Roy Smith, Computer Engineer, our understanding of matter and consciousness is simply too entangled in Cartesian dualism for us to even begin to know the structure of reality. We must completely reject our belief in an external objective reality of matter “out there” if we’re to know the true meaning of panpsychism.

Neuroscientists equivalent to Christof Koch embrace panpsychism because they’ve realized that it’s virtually unimaginable for consciousness or subjective experience to magically emerge from unconscious complex matter. They accepted panpsychism because the only logical alternative.

Unfortunately, they’re still immersed in a materialistic belief in matter as a separate, external reality. Their panpsychism is definitely Materialism 2.0. The only solution to truly understand panpsychism is thru its most advanced development in A. N. Whitehead.

According to Whitehead, the true units of reality usually are not the materialistic notion of random bits of brute matter floating in space, but what Whitehead calls “occasions of experience.”

In other words, these opportunities for experience are the one “real” things that exist. Matter is merely a construct of our own mental apparatus. Whitehead states that: “I believe that these unities of existence, these opportunities of experience, are really real things that, in their collective unity, constitute an evolving universe, constantly immersed in creative progress.”

The entire universe and every part in it, including brains, is a connection between consciousness and unconsciousness. They represent two mutually attractive poles that form the idea of every part, particles, atoms, stars, galaxies, people, etc.

Consciousness at one pole represents all future potentials and probabilities. This is known as the mental pole. At the opposite extreme is the vacuum, the unconscious matrix from which matter is created. The matter matrix has features of what we call the usual model in physics.

It is a rule established in consciousness that governs the creation of “things” within the universe. This “thing” exists in a past relationship with the mental pole, or consciousness.

The material pole is characterised by time and space. The mental pole doesn’t exist within the spatial dimension, it simply “Is”. The relationship between the fabric pole and the mental pole exists only within the dimension of time. In other words, matter follows mind. Whatever the mind creates, matter follows. Whitehead calls these material forms “concretions.”

Whitehead derived his panpsychism from an intensive knowledge of quantum mechanics and intuition about existence. He was a superb mathematician who, together with his student Bertrand Russell, wrote perhaps crucial mathematical text, Principia Mathematica, still used today. He understood that quantum theory and experiments show us that consciousness is prime on the quantum scale.

When we make a quantum measurement, we collapse the “wave” of probability right into a particle, and in this fashion consciousness concretizes forms. Consciousness creates waves within the matrix of vacuum space, and the waves in turn collapse into concretions of form.

The waves “undulate” after a finite period of time, in order that concretions appear in past association with the actual movement of consciousness. It is these concretions that give us the physical universe and its myriad forms.

So, to reply this query, we will say that the perfect “evidence we have for panpsychism comes from quantum mechanics. Of course, I have only briefly touched on the principles of Whitehead's panpsychism, but we can conclude from it that we must completely overhaul our clumsy materialistic concept of brute matter existing objectively in external space as false.

To truly understand how consciousness interacts with matter, we must completely change our perspective on consciousness and its “opportunities for experience” as the only reality that exists.

Panpsychism is not without challenges and caveats

One is the problem of combination: how do microphenomenal experiences of simple physical entities combine to form macrophenomenal experiences of complex physical entities? For example, how do the experiences of billions of neurons in the brain come together to create the unified experience of a human being? Or how do the experiences of trillions of atoms in a neuron combine to create the neuron's experience?

Panpsychists have proposed various solutions to this problem, such as Emergentism (the idea that new levels of experience arise from lower levels), holism (the idea that higher levels of experience are not composed of lower levels), or neutral monism (the idea that there is common substance underlying both physical and mental aspects).

Another objection to panpsychism is the incredulous look: how can we seriously believe that everything has consciousness? Isn't this just a fanciful or absurd idea? Panpsychists respond by pointing out that their view is not as unlikely as it might seem at first glance.

They argue that we should not anthropomorphize or project our human characteristics onto other things, but rather recognize that there are different types and degrees of consciousness. They also argue that we should not reject an idea just because it goes against our common sense or intuition, but rather examine it on its own merits and evidence.

How consciousness affects

To understand how consciousness interacts with the human brain, we must check with the quantum theory of consciousness developed by Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff, which relies on Whitehead's model.

Consciousness connects to the brain via quantum vibrations within the microtubules of brain neurons. It is these quantum vibrations, or waves of consciousness, within the brain microtubules that establish the computational states of the quantum dipole protein systems that make up the microtubule structure, establishing the suitable code for firing axons and other operations that control the body and brain. The name of this theory that has experimental evidence is Orch OR.

Panpsychism is an ancient concept that has regained popularity in modern times. It is a daring and radical theory that challenges our conventional views of reality and consciousness. It offers a straightforward and naturalistic description of how consciousness permeates every part that exists, and raises questions on the character and origins of mind, matter, and life.

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  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”