INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
Making the Unconscious Conscious
Dear Mr Smith
"He says the monads are originally unconscious. I take this to mean they have no qualia, and that therefore the hard problem is not an issue."
To understand one-another, it is important that we agree on our terms. I did say monads are unconscious, that does not mean they posses no qualia. By consciousness I mean reflective self-awareness and self-knowledge of the contents of the mind. An animal has no consciousness, nor would a human who grew up on an island, with food, water, but no other humans with which to interact and develop language and self-awareness. You have no consciousness of a lot of your dreams, nor of your earliest experiences (age 2 for example). Nonetheless, there were, undoubtedly, qualia associated with them and your mind. Consciousness comes in degrees. We say that the more conscious a mind is, the closer it is to divinity (the more conscious a mind is, the more it has actualized of its innate potential, in Aristotelian terminology). Leibniz used the 'muddled/confused' to refer to unconscious aspects of mind, and 'clear/distinct' to refer to conscious aspects of mind. Really, when it comes to unconsciousness, we can refer to it in a psychoanalytical sense. It's 'power' directs your actions, but you may not be aware of it.
"denial, projection, repression, displacement, transference, dissociation, narcissism, regression, suppression" all of these, mechanisms that the ego uses to 'protect' itself from the unconscious.
“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.” -C.Gustav Jung
But what's it like, to be, to a great degree, unconscious? It's basically when the mind switches to 'auto-pilot' .Like when you have a couple to many drinks, and you find yourself home, with no memory of you got there . You acted on reflex. A complex series of 'programed' actions. The point is, the more unconscious you are, the more machine-like your behavior (acting merely on impulse), whilst the more conscious you are, the more you can exercise meaningful choice (the kind which would baffle materialists).
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” -C.Gustav Jung
Which is why a large part of the Illuminati program is helping people make the unconscious conscious. This is a process alluded to metaphorically in many secret societies, for example, in alchemy, extracting the philosopher's stone from the darkness http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigredo .
Scientific materialism is an excuse, a story that prevents man from facing his own self. Man looks outwards to explain atoms and particles, yet he who explains remains most unexplained. Man should look inwards.
If you do not actively look for meaning, you're guaranteed not to find it. Materialism offers just such an excuse, not to bother to look for any meaning, beyond the interactions of particles obeying some deterministic or probabilistic law.
More on this aspect of the Illuminati's program can, of course, be found on their website.
To summarize, all minds have qualia, whilst consciousness is a property of the more developed/ripe minds. To further their progression (as all minds have a drive to increase their power/actualize their potential), more powerful minds will be able to play 'the human game' (there is only a limited number of human bodies available at any given time, and an unlimited number of minds), and, hopefully increase their consciousness.
Those minds who are not yet conscious/powerful/lucky enough to enter the game as humans, or some other extra-planetary sentient species, will enter the game as lower species/animals/plants/rocks.
Now, a mind/monad always generates qualia, and these qualia always belong to the specific mind. No two different minds can share the same qualia, although, for each of them,some of their own individual qualia can reflect the same content/be correlated (as when we are both looking at an apple,for example) .Each mind has its own private, individual 'mind-space' ,whilst all minds also share a collective mind-space/dreamscape .By releasing energy/thoughts into this collective dreamscape, minds generate what we call the material world. A fairly lifeless/deterministic place, as most minds remain unconscious, but also the arena for the most interesting story ever told: mind's dialectical progression and discovery of itself as mind.
"The divine Idea is just this: to disclose itself, to posit the Other outside itself and to take it back again into itself in order to be subjectivity and mind/spirit." -Hegel
The mind-body problem in this system is just like the mind-body problem in an MMORPG .It simply does not exist. It arose when philosophers postulated a primary substance that's different from mind, namely matter, thus creating the problem of how the two might interact. Ultimately mind-mind interactions are all that exists, the problem is a false one. The immersive experience created by being 'in a body', so to speak, is a lie, but the quickest route to progress. The most solid truth is reached by progressing trough a sequence of more and more refined lies/partial truths, that hint at reality whilst distorting it. Each step of the 'ladder' can be refuted by the next step, except the final step that proves itself beyond refutation, and therefore, is truth. This is dialectical/dynamic logic, the logic via which life operates, and also, to a degree, the scientific method: generate a conflict with a thesis and antitheses, resolve it into a higher synthesis, that becomes the new thesis . Or, generate a theory (this now takes the role of the thesis) , contrast it to the experiment(now in the role of antithesis), and use the results to construct a new theory (synthesis) .
You are not 'made of monads', though your body is made of the energy that was contained in countless monads, and constrained by the laws of the collective dreamscape, common to all monads (the laws of physics). You are a monad, merely 'the controller' of this quasi stable temporary pattern of energy.
Existence seems more like a game of chess than a clockwork. The rules make the game what it is, but they do not determine it. The rules + the players do. To know existence, you ought to have knowledge both of the rules (mechanistic knowledge studied by science), and the goals and minds of the players (teleological knowledge) .
Mind cannot interact with a substance of a different nature from it. Conversely, by self-knowledge, mind can come to know its own possibilities and structure, and, by extension, all the possibilities and structure of the universe. "By our inner fire we know fire". "As above, so below."
I recall asking of a proof that monads exist.Self-evidently, minds exist. But this is an empirical argument. They are also subject to a 'conservation' law that makes it impossible to create a mind where nothing existed before, or to ultimately annihilate a mind, leaving nothing, or to divide a mind, making two out of one.Dividing it would contradict its nature as a 'fundamental' unity.Multiplicity cannot exist without unity.As motion follows motion, so qualia follows qualia (conscious or not), all within the monad. This not empirically evident.It is why Leibniz called monads "the true atoms of nature, and, in a word, the elements of things." .He also called them 'metaphysical points' . They are both 'real' and 'exact' , in contrast with mathematical points, which are 'exact' but denote only abstract realities, and 'physical points' which are 'real' but not 'exact' (anticipating the uncertainty principle) .
Now, as for the proof of their existence: assume there is a raincloud in the sky. You can use an iodine rocket to remove/dispense with the raincloud. Now, the raincloud itself is gone, but you haven't removed the POSSIBILITY of a raincloud. Another raincloud can form at any time. Your rocket can remove rainclouds, but not the possibility of them. Of course you can build a dome, use climate control, to eliminate even the possibility, but this is beyond the scope of our metaphor, therefore, irrelevant.
Imagine you could remove everything from existence, leaving, well nothing. Like with the raincloud, you would not be able to remove the POSSIBILITY of something, even if you removed everything. This possibility is not constrained by what exists. The final step in the proof is that, certain things do exist, merely because they are possible. Their existence does not contradict anything else that can exist. For these things, if they CAN exist, they WILL exist.Eternally. Among these things we count the infinite totality of monadic minds, and the laws of mathematics(eg. the natural numbers) .This, incidentally, is the solution to Kant's criticism that existence is not a predicate (that we cannot prove existence merely from reasoning).
When the Illuminati say they are concerned with the study and structure of 'nothing' , this is what they mean: we are concerned with the study and structure of the POSSIBILITIES of existence, not merely with what actually exists right now, in the present moment. If you see that a billiard ball hits another, that particular event, in itself, tells you nothing about the general laws of motion of billiard balls. On the other hand, the laws are not 'contained' in actual events, but in the 'possibilities' .The laws of motion tell you which kinds of events are possible, an which are not. The laws are the structure of possibilities, the structure of nothing. Something is just a particular manifestation of nothing. The empiricist method works 'upward' from the particular events aiming to discover the general method (via induction), while the rationalistic method works 'downward' from the general structure, to particular events (via deduction) . For practical purposes, the Illuminati recommend a dialectical combination and mutual refinement of both methods, with rationalism as primary.
You mentioned emotion.Mind is also will, and purpose. To quote Schopenhauer, "The body is a phenomenon of my will, my will is the noumenon of my body" .Mind, will and purpose, is obsessed with possibility and actualizing it. Unlike machines, we do not 'move forward in time' pushed by the configurations/states of our past, but 'pulled' by the possibilities of our future, our desire to make what we see as the best of them real, and to prevent the worst of them from becoming real.
Science, by itself is an incomplete system. Insofar as it studies only static being, it cannot be complete.Even if we knew how everything physical is at the present moment, and what constraints are placed on it by the laws of existence, we would not know how it should be, or what to make it into. That's a function of teleology, mind and will, outside the scope of science.
You cannot get an 'ought' from an is, a normative from a descriptive. Although the most materialistic of scientists, Sam Harris in particular, will certainly believe that you can, despite all rational objections. Brain configurations can partially 'represent' true or false beliefs (brain is correlated with mind, after all), but a brain holding a true or false belief is not in itself true of false.It just is. Mere being is indifferent to truth. A computer will not care if a program is gibberish or a work of sublime complexity and genius. It will execute both anyway. And materialism aims to reduce us to mere programs running on a deterministic computer.
Even you could not explain how brains form some beliefs and not others without appealing to some form of teleology (survival, evolution) , that is not at all evident from the physics of the lower levels.
To put it succinctly, one cannot deduce 'life' and evolution from quantum field theory. You could maybe deduce life 'is a possibility' from quantum field theory, but not that life and organized complexity will appear, let alone make itself better and better as time goes on. Physical laws (the domain of science) tell us what we can and cannot do, but they do not force us one way or the other. Without the intrinsic purpose within monads becoming manifest (or indeed, monads making the universe possible), the universe would forever remain a lifeless, disorganized, random mess. Things would obey physical law, but no higher patterns would ever emerge. Life is a game of chess. The rules, by themselves, tell you not how the game will be played. What is certain is that the players/monads are there, and getting better.
Science can be made complete, as part of a system of philosophy or metaphysics. The issue now is whether we choose idealism and consciousness, or unconsciously expand materialism to include all of human existence and purpose, or at least a simulacrum of it.
The Illuminati use the number 0 their symbol because of a combination of peculiar properties: it is logically necessary that 0 exists (like all numbers exist), yet 0 is empirically unobservable (you can see and measure 2 apples, but you cannot see and measure 0 apples) . Logically necessary, empirically unobservable. Not unlike the mind.
I'd like to end with two quotes:
"Take first the more obvious case of materialism. As an explanation of the world, materialism has a sort of insane simplicity. It has just the quality of the madman's argument; we have at once the sense of it covering everything and the sense of it leaving everything out. Contemplate some able and sincere materialist ... and you will have exactly this unique sensation. He understands everything, and everything does not seem worth understanding. His cosmos may be complete in every rivet and cog-wheel, but still his cosmos is smaller than our world. Somehow his scheme, like the lucid scheme of the madman, seems unconscious of the alien energies and the large indifference of the earth; it is not thinking of the real things of the earth, of fighting peoples or proud mothers, or first love or fear upon the sea. The earth is so very large, and the cosmos is so very small. The cosmos is about the smallest hole that a man can hide his head in." -G. K. Chesterton
"It is perhaps just dawning on five or six minds that physics, too, is only an interpretation and exegesis of the world (to suit us, if I may say so!) and not a world-explanation; but insofar as it is based on belief in the senses, it is regarded as more, and for a long time to come must be regarded as more - namely, as an explanation. Eyes and fingers speak in its favor, visual evidence and palpableness do, too: this strikes an age with fundamentally plebian tastes as fascinating, persuasive, and convincing - after all, it follows instinctively the canon of truth of eternally popular sensualism. What is clear, what is "explained"? Only what can be seen and felt - every problem has to be pursued to that point. Conversely, the charm of the Platonic way of thinking, which was a noble way of thinking, consisted precisely in resistance to obvious sense-evidence - perhaps among men who enjoyed even stronger and more demanding senses than our contemporaries, but who knew how to find a higher triumph in remaining masters of their senses - and this by means of pale, cold, gray concept nets which they threw over the motley whirl of the senses - the mob of the senses, as Plato said. In this overcoming of the world and interpreting of the world in the manner of Plato, there was an enjoyment different from that which the physicists of today offer us - and also the Darwinists and anti-teleologists among the workers in physiology, with their principle of the "smallest possible force" and the greatest possible stupidity. "Where man cannot find anything to see or to grasp, he has no further business" - that is certainly an imperative different from the Platonic one, but it may be the right imperative for a tough, industrious race of machinists and bridge-builders of the future, who have nothing but rough work to do." -Friedrich Nietzsche
0 - In hoc signo vinces.