Part 2 of Conversation with Simon Egopart on Metaphysical Idealism

This is Simon Egopart’s response to my last comment and again my latest response:

First of all, thanks for your constructive and respectful attitude. It clearly is not your intent to score cheap points or to ridicule, and I appreciate that.

Obviously I agree with the statement that there is a stark difference between dream and waking experience. Our waking reality is much more stable then our dream reality and seems bound to “fixed” laws of physics. I also agree with the statement that this difference stems from different inputs and with the statement that energy originates outside of “our” consciousness. However, the fact that the inputs are “different”, by no means justifies the conclusion that they are “different in nature”. It could be that the inputs are identical in nature, but merely coming from a different source. What we perceive as closing our eyes and falling asleep, could be the manifestation of a process that causes our manifestation mechanism to be temporarily isolated from the universal consciousness that we perceive as our waking reality, thus making room for a private dreamworld, that, being fed only by thoughts of an individual mind, is more flexible and mutable.

I’m glad that you freely admit that science has hit a brick wall when it comes to explaining quantum mechanics. You basically accept defeat and conclude that energy is just too weird for our understanding. There are formulas that predict behavior, but what we observe seems impossible. Waves and particles are so very different in nature, have such different properties, that it’s simply unconceivable that the same “thing” can manifest as a wave ór as particle, based on the method of observation. The wave particle paradox is just one example, but scientific investigation based on physicalism has encountered paradoxes everywhere it looked. Time after time, seemingly impossible things were discovered, and each time, in order to maintain their physicalist belief system, scientists had to come up with more absurd concepts to explain their observations. Quarks have “flavors” these days, reality 11 dimensions and don’t get me started on the Higgs-boson. That’s the problem with physicalism: it results in a model of reality that just doesn’t make sense.

I was surprised to read the following lines: “For me that isn’t a problem, but rather the call to exploration. It cannot be scientifically explained, but its nature can be explored in experience.” Well, I could not agree more! So let’s explore! Let’s dig in ourselves. Let’s have lucid dreams and sleep with the most beautiful girl we can imagine. Let’s knock on a hard wall in a lucid dream, and wonder how in earth it is possible that our mind creates such a hyper-realistic tangible experience, out of thoughts. Let’s fly past the stars, talk to our own subconsciousness and wake up in tears of joy. Let’s explore our mind, get impressed by the sheer depth of it, and let’s see if we can connect to the greater consciousness that idealism postulates. Spoiler alert: we can. If indeed we are conscious beings that exist within a greater consciousness, then there must be a connection between ourselves and that greater consciousness. And even though our senses and rational mind were only built to interact with our observed and often harsh reality, it is entirely possible that other information might travel over our “connection with greater consciousness”. And even though we might not be able to process that information with our rational minds, it is still possible that we can “feel” it. These feelings could result in a deeper intuitive understanding of reality, that can only be conveyed through the usage of metaphors.

Well, history is full of such experiences. Countless people everywhere in space time have had spiritual experiences. Physicalists have to reduce spiritual experiences to physical events, there’s no room for anything else in their world view, but this forces them to completely ignore the testimonials of people that had spiritual experiences, who state that the experience feels “more real” than anything else they ever experienced. They speak of gnosis, a homecoming, a loss of illusions, and often drastically change their lives as a result. A single spiritual experience can be so powerful that it results in a total turnover of someone’s lifestyle. This simply cannot be explained by physicalism. It is my personal believe that even hardcore physicalists are just one spiritual experience away from idealism. So there is hope 😉

The problem of physicalism is nót that it can’t explain everything. I completely agree with you that ultimate truth is out of reach of our rational mind, just like a gut bacteria can’t conceive the concept “man”. But the fact that we can’t understand ultimate truth, does not mean that we can’t improve our understanding of how energy works. We do not perceive ultimate truth, but we dó perceive energy. Physicalism has hit a brick wall, but I believe there’s a way forward if science reassesses its assumptions about the nature of energy. We can’t reach ultimate truth, but can get way past where we are now. If energy is thát weird, why is it so impossible to consider the option that it is mental in nature? To me it seems like a small step from where you are already, especially since because of that small step, suddenly our whole reality and all scientific observations make sense.

Seen through the lens of idealism, many things become possible and many tools become available. Positive things ánd also scary things. But I do believe there is a good aand safe way forward: science. Science has to be opened up, so that at least theoretically, it becomes possible to do experiments under circumstances that are compatible with idealism. This was the main point of my previous post and actually you didn’t really cover this part in your reply. So let me ask you directly: “Do you believe that the current frame of evidence is fair for someone like Masaru Emoto? Suppose he was right, would it be possible for him to prove it, under the current circumstances? And if not, isn’t that a major problem?

One thought on “Part 2 of Conversation with Simon Egopart on Metaphysical Idealism

  1. There may still be a misunderstanding of my position behind your statement that I “accept defeat” by the incomprehensibility of elemental reality. I am not a scientist, or reductionist of any sort, nor am I in competition with existence. My formal education is in philosophy, along with a good amount of physics, but due to the deplorable state of what passes itself off as philosophy in this age, I also reject the label of philosopher. Moreover, I celebrate the alluring and ultimately undefinable mystery of existence. My core belief is that we are to explore and, most resolutely, not attempt to define this mystery. That would be the error of reductionism.

    Underlying your response is a common false choice: physicalism or idealism. There are better options. That ultimate reality is beyond our modest modes of cognition does not imply that this underlying reality is not physical, but rather that physical reality will in its most elemental form always seem strange and incomprehensible to us. It is not a question of material vs. immaterial but rather the objectifiable vs. that which we can sense but not objectify.

    I have no reason to think that consciousness itself is immaterial as it is entirely dependent on energy – the most basic physical state we know. I also have no reason to think consciousness is to be found separately from living beings. In addition, I have no reason to think there will every be an adequate scientific reductionist understanding of consciousness any more than of quantum reality.

    The last century taught those willing to learn of two great errors to discard: Reductionism and Metaphysics as means to truth. The universe is inherently arational and non-computable, and all reductive understanding merely obscures this underlying reality. Metaphysics, being unmoored from physical experience, is a fiction that has led to nothing more than error and confusion.

    That leaves us with esthetic understanding – poetic/artistic/musical experience of the universe that equally resists reducing that experience to definition as well as denying the projection of anything not given in in that experience onto our understanding.

    I would disagree that the inputs to waking consciousness and dreams are essentially the same, other than that they are both momentary organizations of energy. The waking inputs are primary, external, and beyond our control. Dreaming inputs are formed from memories of these primary inputs but modified through our wishes and fears – an imaginary sense of control over the uncontrollable. The latter, of course, requires consciousness, but not the former, and projecting consciousness onto the source of the primary inputs is the error of metaphysics – a reductive definition void of any presence in our experience.

    Both Idealism and science attempt the impossible: to reach a clear understanding of the mystery that lures us into speculation of what lies beyond. So yes, let’s indeed fly past the stars, talk to our subconscious and weep tears of joy. That is precisely what we are here for. But let’s not spoil that experience by talking falsely. Adhere closely to what is given in that experience and sing it, but never try to reduce it to a simple concept – not matter, or consciousness, or Ideas, or even quantum fields; but rather the great source of the interconnected essence of all existence, including our own. That is what spiritual experience is: a brief glimpse into the unfathomable essence of the universe and our sharing in it. Let’s not spoil it with simplified reductionism.

    And, yes, Masaru Emoto just might be right. We are quantum beings entangled in a quantum world; not something that stands outside of nature. Consciousness, however, is but one instance of this entanglement, a physical event emergent from this entanglement. There is scientific research underway into the nature of quantum mind and how it entangles with the rest of the universe. To me, though, that isn’t what is most important. I don’t look to science for ultimate answers. We need to rethink our approach to knowledge and understanding in a way that de-privileges the practical and theoretical in favor of what is present – in the now – of experience. The critical question is not how things work, or how we define them, but what is our essence as humans and how does that relate to the essence of the universe from which we emerge? That means switching the emphasis from the technical to human; and knowledge becomes not explanatory but advisory: how we live our best and most authentic lives as the beings whose purpose is to enable Being to experience itself.

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