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Episode · 1 year ago

Lecture 7 THE NATURE OF NATURE

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This lecture on some points overlaps with my lecture entitled ULTIMATE FOUNDATIONS. I nevertheless offer it to my listeners because it includes additional insights that they may find intellectually stimulating. 

Meditation Time Lecture Seven the nature of nature. Typically, the inner life of an individual is labeled subjective and the outer world objective. The former can only be access directly by this individual through self awareness, but can be communicated to others who speak the same language inasmuch as they can identify with the intimate experience confided in them. The latter can be accessed directly by many individuals who share a comparable sensory apparatus and can exchange their observations effectively. Truth is, we all share a basic humanness that allows both a collective and introspective examination of our common natural attributes. So the principle of objectivity is not only applicable to the...

...outer world but also to our inner life as human beings. In the end, everything within and without takes place on a single stage consciousness, where our inner life and the outer world can equally be taken as objects of study. Perhaps a more appropriate concept to describe any shared body of knowledge is in her subjectivity, because it takes into account this consciousness as a cardinal fact underlying all other facts. Since the seventeen century, natural science has methodically focused on the study of the outer world, treated exclusively as a multifarious object. From this perspective, we are led to view this outer world as a mechanical entity whose behavior can be monitored, theorized, predicted and often manipulated. Its intimate nature as a multifarious subject capable of having a subjective experience in an elementary or more...

...advanced way is kept out of the equation, as though it didn't exist. Admittedly, this universal capacity for subjective experience is a conjectural proposition, lacking the full support of empirical evidence, yet it is the logical conclusion to this ontological argument. No increase in complexity can explain the emergence of human consciousness as the most evolved form of subjective experience if some embryonic capacity for such experience is not present from the outset in the building blocks of evolution. This embryonic capacity is the seed that makes further developments in consciousness possible. To put it differently, the mental inner life of humans cannot be founded on precursory elements that are purely physical or blind to their existence and every other. Similarly, the rules of...

...culture, values that guide behavior must be compatible with the laws of nature, principles that govern phenomena even though they are not reducible to them. Otherwise the world becomes utterly incoherent. Some may disagree and uphold the idea of radical emergence, according to which the universe was, after the Big Bang and for billions of years, in a pure state of blind physicality, until a goldilocks juncture in the course of evolution, when a critical threshold of complexity was reached and consciousness was created Exnilo. Others, however, will deem this ideal landish or even Asinine, like the claim that zero multiplied by a number does not equal zero if this number is large enough by some magical order of magnitude. Incidentally, the creation myth of Abrahamic religions tells a comparable story of divine intervention that...

...miraculously infuses spirit into matter for the creation of man and woman. While it cannot simply be dismissed as impossible, it is arguably quite improbable. In any case, it is absurd to relegate consciousness to the status of Epiphenomena, as an inconsequential oddity, while the material dimension of the Universe is considered the foundation of all existence. Why is it absurd? Because consciousness is in fact the only reality known to us, which includes all the perceptions and conceptualizations of natural science about its staple object of study, the outer world. Furthermore, it is the concept of matter that is the most abstract and elusive and surely doesn't warrant the hype that pegs it is the foundation of all existence. The only thing we can safely say about matter is that it is the way the outer...

...world appears to us, as it opposes a resistance to our free will. In conclusion, we must acknowledge the true bedrock of our human experience and of the science we derive from it. Most obviously, but also most mysteriously, this true bedrock is consciousness. This blend of obviousness and mysteriousness is prevalent in every aspect of our existence. What we observe is obviously the way it is, but the reason why it is so, instead of being different or void, is infinitely mysterious. In short, we are reduced to ascertaining everything and explaining nothing. Of course, we can relate this to that and develop an understanding of how things work, but again, the reason why they work the way they do, as opposed to differently or not at all, is beyond...

...our Ken. Now, what can we venture to say about the universe to restore the inner side of its nature, while abiding by the standard of credibility based on facts? Let us answer this question with a brief and tentative theory of consciousness. At the beginning of evolution, there is an infinity of Subatomic particles in a chaotic cloud. At that Subatomic level, consciousness is the simplest, most basic form of subjective experience. With time, atoms form, then molecules, then sells and finally multicellular organisms. At these new, increasingly more complex and integrated levels, a new entity emerges that behaves as one with a unified consciousness. In a remotely similar way, an incoherent and diffuse source of light can become coherent and focused in the form of a laser via optical amplification.

For All evolved animals, however, this unified consciousness occurs in a specialized organ namely the brain itself, hardwired to an assortment of specialized senses like sight and touch, and the rest of the body does it have a lower, fragmented consciousness? This stumper is the blind spot of our self awareness. It betrays a salient and humbling aspect of our human condition. We are more capable of inquisitively posing questions than of answering them conclusively. What about highly integrated societies like those of ants, bees and termites? Are Such societies? May Go organisms that have a unified consciousness? Perhaps societies in general, and especially the less highly integrated societies of evolved animals like carnivores and primates, lack the cohesive...

...unity of living organisms. If so, they never achieve the same existential status as the latter and hence the same level of consciousness. This restriction likely applies to the universe as a whole because of its varied and divided organization. To be honest, these conjectures are a shot in the dark and will probably always be points of contention. The fact remains that the presence of consciousness across the entire spectrum of physical entities in the universe means they all feel determined to attain their end, be it non living or living. In turn, the attainment of this end suggests a feeling of fulfillment. The more complex and integrated of physical entity proves to be, the less rudimental that feeling becomes and conversely,...

...at the top of the evolutionary pyramid. Humans can experience a rich array of positive emotions, for example pleasure, joy and pride, whenever their efforts meet with success thanks to their abilities, together with relatively favorable circumstances in human societies. These circumstances include the mutual benefits of Solidarity. As we bring to light, albeit imperfectly, the inner side of the universe, we are setting the stage for an important revelation. The supreme creative force at the heart of creation is likewise a supreme nurturing force that not only introduces things and beings into this temporal world, but also provides them with the means to achieve their purpose. It does so within the limits of its immensely resourceful nature that, none the less, leaves room for negative outcomes and the negative feelings they induce, such...

...as pain and suffering. In the case of humans and other animals, this supreme nurturing force is reminiscent of a mother's unconditional love for her child, as she deserve everything in her power to prepare this child for a successful and joyful life. This love may be unconditional, yet this power is not unlimited. The mother can tragically let her beloved child die before her very eyes for one of being able to save it. This revelation is important because it leads to a moral imperative. Live in accordance with a supreme nurturing force within you and honor it with a profound self love that promotes your wellbeing. Elevate this self love to the love of others through solidarity, as your concept of self expands to include the human community, where you found a civilized opportunity to enjoy a...

...worthwhile existence. Also understand your vital dependence on the environment and learn to lovingly protect this second mother of sorts. Do not, however, vacillate when you need to avoid or fight predators, animal or human, that are intractable and threatening in the extreme. Your first moral duty is to safeguard your own life force, without which you cannot be a force for good. Still, when at all possible, let universal love be your way of life. There may not be a higher truth more deserving of our reflective attention and active respect.

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