Reality (General)

by dhw, Sunday, August 11, 2019, 11:30 (121 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

This is a really stimulating post – as ever – and I shall cherry-pick for the sake of brevity and clarity.

TONY: We can never be 100% certain that our perception agrees with objective reality or any other perceived reality.

I don’t know why “objective reality” cannot include all the realities that we perceive.

TONY: This would mean that objective reality and perceived reality are separate AND unequally valid realities. Objective reality differs in the fact that it can operate absent OUR mind…[dhw: fine with me up to this point]… which means that the mind behind it is on a different, higher in terms of complexity, level of existence. It is different in degree and magnitude but NOT by type.

You say later that “this is not a call for God”, but what else could it be if you say there is a mind behind it? We simply do not know if there is a mind behind it. Objective reality might simply be the materials that make up the universe and operate just as we see them operating. However, if there is a mind, I have no objections at all to it being different in degree and magnitude but NOT by type. It makes perfect sense to me that a God would have attributes in common with the humans he has been instrumental in creating – though this is anathema to David.

TONY: We know that the structure of the brain and the universe are very similar. We know that they both have complex physical structures of deeply complex relationships and nested hierarchies of scale and influence.

Universe > Galaxy > Solar System > Planet > Geological Scale > Human Scale > Cell > Molecule > Atom > Sub-Atomic Particles.
Body > Brain > Hemisphere > Region > Neuron/Synapses > Cell Bodies >

I love this. I also see the body as a microcosm of the universe, in which all individual parts combine to form a functioning whole.

TONY: It is also interesting that the relationship structure is bi-directional. Each structure spreads influence up and down the chain. This, of course, suggest communication up and down the chain. (dhw’s bold. See below.)

In molecular biology, we see this in chemical and electrical signaling between cells. In the physical world, we see this in terms of energy and motion, but, and here is the point, we never look at it in terms of communication. What is being communicated, and is it being communicated in a language we can comprehend? If we could comprehend it, could we communicate with it?

This is where I become partially sceptical. Of course I agree that molecular biology requires communication, but I’m far from convinced that the physical world of energy and motion “communicates”. Communication as you have described it requires a conscious effort on both sides (use of some kind of language, as you say), but influence doesn’t. A rock falling on my head may have a profound influence on me, but in all honesty, I do not believe the rock is making any attempt at communication. You can expand this to universal proportions. An atheist will no doubt claim that the combination of materials of which we are composed has come about through mindless mixing, and the sun is not deliberately and consciously giving us life and threatening us with death, and the wind doesn’t use any form of language when it blows down the tree. The vagueness of your conclusion below suggests to me that you are just as aware of this as I am:

TONY: Despite what you might think, this is not a call for God. But rather, a call to look at the similarities between the systems and see if any avenues for research could be inferred.

I don’t think the type of similarity you are looking for can dispense with God, unless perhaps you are considering some form of panpsychism (i.e. all matter has a degree of…let’s call it quasi-consciousness), but I’ll be very interested to read your response to this, as I’m not convinced that I’ve grasped the whole of your argument.


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