What Does It Mean To Say “Mind Is Primary”?
|August 27, 2018||Posted by William J Murray under Intelligent Design|
There has been some discussion in other threads about the nature of experience and how it relates to what we call the material or physical world. It is my position that the belief that an actual physical world exists independent of mind is just that – a belief, and that it cannot be (or at least has not been) demonstrated in any way to actually exist. I agree that there is a lot of empirical evidence that supports the theory that a physical world exists “outside” of the parameters of what we consider our “self”, and that others we experience as separate beings appear to agree with that assessment and provide additional testimonial evidence supporting that theory. However, there is a difference between a well-supported provisional theory and a demonstration that what the theory points to is true.
This thread is not about arguing whether or not an independent physical reality exists, but is rather about setting aside that perspective and agreeing, at least arguendo, to assess what it means if there is no independent physical world exterior of mind – that mind is actually primary, and the experience of a seemingly exterior, consensual physical world is a product of mind.
IMO most discussions that examine a “mind-primary” existence attempt to shoe-horn it into what is actually a materialism-primary worldview. The common perspective of the mind from that framework is via the assumption that mind is entirely individual and local. This is, IMO, an incredibly superficial and materialism-oriented perspective of “mind” that flies in the face of a lot of research into the mind. The current philosophical arguments against a mind-centric theory of experience is that such a view leads to solipsism and the watering down of all experience to non-credible “delusion.” Again, it is my opinion that these arguments are set forth (at least subconsciously) from a materialism-centric set of premises that are not valid when considering the mind-centric perspective from its own premise. Also, that reasoning flies in the face of mental values and thoughts that are held as universal even among those that make those arguments.
More properly characterizing the experience of consensual physicality in a mind-centric experience, IMO, involves a larger and deeper conceptualization of what mind is (or may be). Instead of physical bodies physically separated via physical space and environment, if mind is our primary essence of existence and experience, it would be better to see ourselves (arguendo) as an individual loci of consciousness in a multi-axis field of mind with many different categorical kinds of mental experience. One of those kinds of mental experience would be a largely consensual, non-material physicality. Quantum research should have long ago relieved us of the notion that there is an actual material world (at least that we can find), as we have found no matter at all at its foundation; only patterns of potential and behaviors which we call “energy”. Depending upon how one consciously examines these patterns, they change. All quantum evidence from research is entirely in consilience with a mind-centric theory of what the physical experience represents.
So, the premises:
1. Mind is the universal substrate of existence and experience, not matter.
2. There are universal and local principles by which mind operates and by which experience is generated.
3. There are many different kinds of experience one can have in mind, such as: consensual physicality (what we call the conscious, waking world); non-consensual physicality (such as dreams); non-physical & non-consensual thought & imagery (such as imagination, visualization); and consensual thought (such as self-evident truths, morality, logic and math). There are other kind of experience that are less accepted, but which have been researched successfully, such as consensual visualization, semi-consensual experience, and others.
It is my view that this is a much more elegant theory of experience than those which include an actual material-world component, because an actual material world is (1) philosophically unnecessary, (2) unsupported by the evidence, and (3) impossible to verify or validate outside of mental experience anyway.
The main question, IMO, is whether or not the mind-centric perspective is rationally and philosophically sustainable. In another thread, KF argues that by putting the physical experience in the same overall category of mental experience, it necessarily means that physical experience is like delusion or dream experience. However, we already know that just because an experience is mental, that does not philosophically or rationally imply that it is like a delusion or a dream, as demonstrated by the mental experiences of self-evident truths, logic, morality and math. Consensual experience, whether physical or mental, is verifiable and subject to consensual investigation whether it is of the thought or physical variety. We know error exists, and is just as real, in the world of thought as any error in physical experience. In fact, the only place truth, error, validation and credibility exist as meaningful values is in the mind anyway.
IMO, the mind-centric theory provides more of a seamless and universal model for the pervasiveness of ongoing intelligent design throughout our experiential life; it entirely eliminates an unnecessary, problematic and unsupported major “substance” issue; it entirely provides seamless grounds for the behavioral patterns we call natural laws, energies and forces; offers room for completely real but non-normative experiences (like miracles, semi-consensual experiential modes like Fatima, remote viewing, out-of-body and near death experiences, etc.).
Another question would be: is the model superior in any practical way? The answer to that, IMO, would be that a paradigm of mind-centricism would include an investigation into the various principles of the mind that underlie the various forms of experience, and explore the question of how much consciousness can be used to affect the various kinds of mental experience – including that of the physical-consensual. I think the paradigm could offer many avenues of investigation and research.