Monday, December 11, 2006

reality is awareness

I suddenly had this thought as I was on the bus, and it seems to explain a LOT. My old question was, how does phenomenology connect to ontology? For example, why do human brains (a particular configuration of molecules) have "consciousness" and other configurations of molecules don't?

There are the classic explanations for how mind and matter relate. A) Dualism says mind and matter are two fundamentally separate things that can influence one another. My spirit could make a decision and push around some molecules in my brain; and sensory events impinging on my brain could influence my spirit. B) Materialism or Idealism says that matter or mind (respectively) is the only real thing and the other is an illusion. C) Epiphenomenalism, like dualism, says that mind and matter both exist, but mind has no causal power. Sensory events in the brain can influence my spirit, but my spirit is a passive reflection of reality and can't influence anything.

Here's the new answer: matter is mind. This is so simple. Of course a rock is aware as a rock -- that's what it is! A rock doesn't have self-awareness in the sense of a reflexive arc like humans do; a process that feebly tries to represent some aspects of the entity of which is it a part. It's just a rock.

This is why humans are aware (or, in another sense, have the illusion of being aware) of a lot of reality. When the brain instantiates a pattern that mimics a pattern in reality (i.e. when the brain has any representation), that pattern IS aware as itself, so we have the awareness of what seems to be the thing we are representing. Of course, our representation is not the thing itself, so we're not really aware OF the thing itself. Brains happen to be highly concentrated areas of representation.

So humans are not aware OF reality. The representation in the brain is aware as itself, and it shares characteristics with the thing in reality. Maybe you could even go so far as to say that nothing is aware OF anything.

So I wonder what non-dual awareness is. Or is it just that insomuch as things are not dual, they are aware as everything?

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