The flip, and the flipped: leaving materialism behind

3 Replies, 394 Views

The flip, and the flipped: leaving materialism behind

Quote:Hans Busstra is a journalist and documentary filmmaker. In collaboration with Essentia Foundation he is doing research on a new documentary that will explore idealism as a potential new worldview replacing materialism. In this series of articles, and a podcast series that will be published later this year, he shares the highlights of his research conversations with scientists, scholars and experts.
Quote:How do you define materialism, and what are your objections to it?

The fundamental premise of materialism is that there’s this thing called matter, and that only it is real, and that any kind of subjective form of awareness or consciousness, therefore, must be a product of that material base. But what’s so extraordinary is this. If you talk to neuroscientists today, they’re the first people to say something like: ‘We don’t have a clue how you get from warm brain matter to this 3D movie that you and I are in right now. We don’t even have a beginning. We can’t even imagine that in principle.” It’s not like, “We have a model, and we just need to tinker with it for a few more decades.” It’s more like, “No, we don’t even have a beginning to that.”

Quote:And you describe this materialistic assumption as a new form of belief…

Materialism simply replaced monotheism. But scientific beliefs can do things that religious beliefs couldn’t. You see, they’re much more effective on a technological level. But the problem with them is that, in order to work, they have to basically erase us: science can explain almost anything, except you or me. And so we’re left out of the picture, and then we’re told: ‘Well, you know, consciousness doesn’t really exist.’ Not exactly very convincing. I think what we did is that we confused technological success with philosophical truth. As I like to joke, we just assume the following logic: “We can build refrigerators, therefore materialism is true.” I know that doesn’t follow. That’s my point.


Quote:One ‘heavyweight’ category of scientists that you label ‘flipped’ were the early quantum physicists from Schrödinger to Bohm and Pauli. You describe how they all became interested in mystical literature, because it seemed to offer an explanatory non-dual metaphysics for the quantum world they observed. How serious should we take this link 100 years later, I mean nowadays ‘quantum mysticism’ is another word for ‘pseudoscience’…

OK, so not only did the early quantum physicists combine comparative mystical literature and quantum physics. They insisted the mystical literature was the best place to go to see what the effects of quantum reality are “up here,” in our world and experience. They saw this comparison almost instantly. Too many physicists today, I think, would say something historically ignorant, like: ‘Well, this comparison between mystical literature and quantum physics is just a countercultural fluke. You know, it was New Age hippies who did that.’ And I want to say, “Sorry, this is simply not true. You know, your own founders, people you still read and revere, they were all saying this back in the 20s, 30s, and 40s. Just go read them. Stop the nonsense. And, oh, by the way, stop making fun of the New Age and hippies. They aren’t punching bags.”
 
But was this a private fascination for them, or did they publicly link quantum physics to the metaphysics of mystical literature?

They were public about this. Schrödinger wrote some wonderful things on how there’s only one mind, or One Mind. And he was reading Sufi and Hindu mystical literatures, through the available humanistic and historical scholarship, of course. He has this memorable line where, after a dear friend dies, and he’s really struggling over this, someone asks him whether animals have souls. And he replies in so many words: ‘Of course, animals don’t have souls. And neither do we. We’re all one mind. The light returns to the one light at death, and that’s it. The light does not and cannot die. It just returns to the light.’ So he had this whole metaphysical system in place. Or consider someone like Niels Bohr. He actually put the Chinese Daoist yin-yang symbol on his coat of arms. That’s how deep down the rabbit hole he had gone. He saw the cultural expression of the uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics in Chinese Daoism. It’s hard not to look at his coat of arms and think he’s a New Ager. [Laughs:] Oh, it’s Niels Bohr. It’s the guy who created the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics.
'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


[-] The following 3 users Like Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • North, Silence, stephenw
(2021-05-03, 02:55 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: And you describe this materialistic assumption as a new form of belief…

Materialism simply replaced monotheism. But scientific beliefs can do things that religious beliefs couldn’t. You see, they’re much more effective on a technological level. But the problem with them is that, in order to work, they have to basically erase us: science can explain almost anything, except you or me. And so we’re left out of the picture, and then we’re told: ‘Well, you know, consciousness doesn’t really exist.’ Not exactly very convincing. I think what we did is that we confused technological success with philosophical truth. As I like to joke, we just assume the following logic: “We can build refrigerators, therefore materialism is true.” I know that doesn’t follow. That’s my point.


I love this.
[-] The following 3 users Like Silence's post:
  • Larry, Sciborg_S_Patel, stephenw
(2021-05-03, 02:55 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: The flip, and the flipped: leaving materialism behind
Good interview!

Still
Quote: Dual aspect monism basically says that when you and I are talking, there’s an inside relating to an outside. I experience myself as essentially this twoness. There is something “inside” this body-brain relating to all these objects “out here” in three dimensional space. You’re on my internal screen, as it were. But, fundamentally, deep down, there is absolutely no distinction between my own subjectivity and this material world.

The two environments are distinct due the presence of a self-focused frame of reference of an organism's mind.

Understanding, as a process, combines self interest with the probabilities for it to change the external environment.  This is what mind does -change real-world probabilities.
[-] The following 1 user Likes stephenw's post:
  • Sciborg_S_Patel
"Materialism simply replaced monotheism."

This I think is an example of familiar aspect of human history. Too often upheavals or revolutions have rearranged the pieces and fallen back into the same structure as before. Or been a step backwards.

Because of this major problem - the uncertainty of the outcome of dramatic changes, which often seem like no change at all, I tend to favour more gradual shifts, growth rather than upheaval.
[-] The following 2 users Like Typoz's post:
  • Larry, Sciborg_S_Patel

  • View a Printable Version
Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)