Mind before matter

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Mind before matter

Subhash Kak


Quote:...It has been argued that the creative moment is not at the end of a deliberate computation.2 Thus, dreams or visions are supposed to have inspired Elias Howe’s 1845 design of the modern sewing machine, and August Kekulé’s discovery of the structure of benzene in 1862. A dramatic piece of evidence in favor of big-C consciousness existing all on its own is the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan, who died in 1920 at the age of 32. His notebook, which was lost and forgotten for about 50 years and published only in 1988, contains several thousand formulas—without proof and in different areas of mathematics—that were well ahead of their time.3 Furthermore, the methods by which he found the formulas remain elusive. He himself claimed that he came by them while he was asleep.4

Even if one were to dismiss accounts of creativity as nothing but coincidence, the ontic understanding of reality becomes problematic when one brings in information into the mix, as is done extensively in modern physics. This is because information (or entropy) implies the existence of mind, which category lies outside of the realm of physics. Information or entropy cannot be reduced to local operations by any reductionist program.

If consciousness is not material, how can the two interact? While consciousness cannot intervene in physical law, it can change the probabilities in the evolution of quantum processes. Thus in the quantum Zeno effect, which has been demonstrated in the laboratory, the act of observation can freeze the evolution of a quantum state. This may be an explanation of how matter and mind interact...
'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


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