Is the world a dream of god?

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By god I mean some sort of total, substantiating, primal consciousness. This is more or less what idealism  holds. Matter is a manifestation of mind. We find this intuitively appealing because we know that we dream, we know that in our dreams what is physical is a manifestation in mind, so we infer that the world might be this way. This seems plausible to me, but I want to put it under the microscope and see if it really makes sense. While in our dreams physicality is a manifestation of mind, we might be deriving such physicality exclusively from our experiences with the material world. If there is nothing out of the mind of god, where does the dreamed up world of matter come from?

Isn’t this akin to saying: matter may be made up of tiny pink elephants? For all practical purposes, the substrate of matter could be whatever we say it is but we still have to contend with its properties, which makes it so some kind of functional dualism is required, whether you think mind is all there is, given how our bodies seem to interact with consciousness. Does any of this make sense. Does idealism make sense? Or are we still forced to suppose some kind of dualism, if not of substance, of functionally different kinds of mind?
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We've debated this a few times...all to say I'm not sure.

Idealism seems like it would always be a possibility, because any aspect of reality one examines is mediated through consciousness...which raises the question of whether anything needs to be "behind" the conscious apprehension save perhaps some deeper/higher consciousness.

OTOH, there are counterarguments to the idea of a singular Ur-Mind being the Single True Subject, which admittedly is possibly different the the Ur-Mind containing all Subjects. This question of the Many within the One is, at least to me, one of the big stand out issues for Idealism. Of course there could be Subjective Idealism, where all reality is generated by the Many rather than a singular One...but I think this can run into some possible issues as well when trying to actually explain how we get from Mind to the reality that at least seems to be independent of consciousness (or at least mine).

The other issue, I think, is that parapsychological evidence doesn't necessarily suggest Idealism. It feels like a variety of Psi effects would be easier to demonstrate if Idealism were true. Also one might question why there seems to be such a distinct divide between this life and the afterlife, so much so that it at least suggests a functional Dualism. (See here for this debate)
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


I'm not a fan of idealism or similar because the people who pitch it just sort of state that everything is fundamentally consciousness or that there's some sort of primordial awareness but never provide any sort of real definition of what that means or evidence thereof beyond "well PSI exists therefore everything must be mind" or worse, the intelligent design cop out of "well the only time we ever see complex things is when something intelligent designs them therefore the universe must have been intelligently designed and/or intelligent itself."

There's nothing about idealist versions of primordial consciousness that defines it as being different from, say, some sort of neutral fundamental unconscious substance. And so I suspect something more like that is going on, because a far better definition of consciousness is something like a process model, where things need to be compared to find differences, and then reactions happen to those differences, and all of that data can be reacted on recursively.
"The cure for bad information is more information."
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(2022-12-17, 04:27 PM)Mediochre Wrote: I'm not a fan of idealism or similar because the people who pitch it just sort of state that everything is fundamentally consciousness or that there's some sort of primordial awareness but never provide any sort of real definition of what that means or evidence thereof beyond "well PSI exists therefore everything must be mind" or worse, the intelligent design cop out of "well the only time we ever see complex things is when something intelligent designs them therefore the universe must have been intelligently designed and/or intelligent itself."

There's nothing about idealist versions of primordial consciousness that defines it as being different from, say, some sort of neutral fundamental unconscious substance. And so I suspect something more like that is going on, because a far better definition of consciousness is something like a process model, where things need to be compared to find differences, and then reactions happen to those differences, and all of that data can be reacted on recursively.

I think this is really a case of asking the wrong questions from science. Science only really works if it takes medium size jumps and then chooses between alternatives pragmatically.
(2022-12-16, 09:37 PM)xxii Wrote: By god I mean some sort of total, substantiating, primal consciousness. This is more or less what idealism  holds. Matter is a manifestation of mind. We find this intuitively appealing because we know that we dream, we know that in our dreams what is physical is a manifestation in mind, so we infer that the world might be this way. This seems plausible to me, but I want to put it under the microscope and see if it really makes sense. While in our dreams physicality is a manifestation of mind, we might be deriving such physicality exclusively from our experiences with the material world. If there is nothing out of the mind of god, where does the dreamed up world of matter come from?

Isn’t this akin to saying: matter may be made up of tiny pink elephants? For all practical purposes, the substrate of matter could be whatever we say it is but we still have to contend with its properties, which makes it so some kind of functional dualism is required, whether you think mind is all there is, given how our bodies seem to interact with consciousness. Does any of this make sense. Does idealism make sense? Or are we still forced to suppose some kind of dualism, if not of substance, of functionally different kinds of mind?

Yes, in the immediate future, I think some sort of dualism would make the most progress. Science has to really explore non-physical reality (eschewing the tendency to explain it all away) for a century or two, and then try to make sense of whatever it discovered!
The notion that our physical reality and we humans are really dreams in the mind of God seems incoherent to me. This is because the only example of dreams we have, to base such notions on, is our own dreams. In our dreams, their nature is always the first person singular awareness experience of the human dreamer. The dreamer may experience himself (or a distorted replica of himself) in unusual or weird or impossible circumstances. But the being being dreamed is always the dreamer himself, not another or many other additional separate and distinct consciousnesses. 

For a dreamer to dream separate discrete consciousnesses would seem to run into something like the good old "hard problem", in that what is being dreamed in dreams that we know of is thoughts and/or experiences, not whatever the indefinable something is that is subjective consciousness itself, that which actually has the thoughts and experiences. So the "dream in the mind of God" concept appears to not be useful or valid.
(This post was last modified: 2022-12-18, 04:33 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 2 times in total.)
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