Monday, 23 November 2009

Consciousness and Matter - a post scriptum

Last night's post produced an unexpected flurry of emails (not
all of them - but many - appreciative of the theory presented, especially because the author's thesis implies a specific method of "transcendental meditation" and the somewhat controversial figure of Maharishi), so I thought it might be a good idea to put this subject to rest - temporarily - by adding the following passage from a website (Truth About TM) that those of you who found last night's post interesting might find even more interesting:

Erwin Schrodinger, who received the Nobel prize for his development of the Schrodinger equation, the most widely used mathematical tool in quantum theory, put it this way, “Mind has erected the objective outside world of the natural philosopher out of its own stuff” (Schrodinger, 1958/1967, p.131)....The reason why our sentient, percipient and thinking ego is met nowhere within our scientific world picture can easily be indicated in seven words: because it is itself that world picture” (ibid, p.138). Supporting this view, modern neuroscience recognizes that size, shape, color, texture, visibility, and all other qualities of an object of experience are not uniquely determined by the external world but are features of subjective experience (Farwell, 1996; Farwell & Farwell, 1995).

Schodinger also argued for the primacy of consciousness from an analysis of volitional action: “So let us see whether we cannot draw the correct, non-contradictory conclusion from the following two premises:
“(i) My body functions as a pure mechanism according to the Laws of Nature.
“(ii) Yet, I know, by incontrovertible direct experience, that I am directing its motions, of which I foresee the effects, that may be fateful and all-important, in which case I feel and take responsibility for them.
“The only possible inference from these two facts is, I think, that I—I in the widest meaning of the word, that is to say, every conscious mind that has ever said or felt ‘I,’,—am the person, if any, who controls the ‘motion of the atoms’ according to the Laws of Nature.” (Schrodinger, 1944, pp. 92-93, quoted in Farwell, 1996).

The conclusion from quantum mechanics is that our perceptual reality of the material world as well as our voluntary action upon that world is not structured “out there” but is structured “in here” in the mind. The apparent stability of the observed world and the high degree of agreement that is achieved between observers is because the most fundamental level of consciousness where perception is constructed, transcendental consciousness, is universal and eternally non-changing, infinitely stable.

(You'll find the articles and books referenced in this passage on the website.)


Simon Howard said...

Sorry, but that stuff is generally referred to as "quantum quackery". It sounds convincing and persuasive but it's actually based on specious and fundamental misunderstanding of the actual principles of quantum mechanics.

Myosotis said...

I understand your feelings, believe me; and the mention of the Maharishi - even though I am not a biased person - doesn't make me feel any better.

But I must say do find the book an interesting read, because it does provide substantial evidence for the claim involved. (Incidentally, I was just writing yet another PS. to this post...)

And surely you yourself know that many thing have been called by unseemly names, until the time was ripe to reevaluate them. ;)

Hope to "see" you here again soon. :)