Posts tagged mind
Strictly speaking, panpsychism is contrary to scientism rather than to science (if we take science to be a method rather than a dogma). Regardless, panpsychism, as well as transgressing the general scientific paradigm, transgresses the Christian one. Living under the shadow of both science and Christianity should make us wise to the legacy and interaction between the two, which is not always as antagonistic as is often believed. Descartes’ explicit aim in his Meditations on First Philosophy – wherein he divided nature into human souls and the mechanistic environment in which they found themselves – was to carry out the call of Pope Leo X to logically prove that the soul (which Descartes equated to mind) be distinct to the material body, so that life after death (in heaven or hell) be a logical view. Panpsychism per se does not need to make this afterlife claim: the death of the body implies the dissolution of the unifying sentience (the dominant monad, the holon) into its still unified smaller components – but the self as such dies. In panpsychism, mankind has no special status distinct to the other organisms, and as such is generally opposed to Christianity  and other Abrahamic religions. Moreover, panpsychism is more akin to the animistic, pagan religions that worshipped nature. Thus in Christendom, panpsychism has been contrary to both the religious and mechanistic ethos, resulting in its being shunned, disdained, and perhaps even purposefully suppressed: the Roman Inquisition burned the panpsychist Bruno on the stake in 1600.
One evening L. Ron Hubbard and Bob Dobbs were discussing the Secret of Power over a joint and a bottle of cognac. (Or perhaps it was Alan Watts and Bob Wilson…Let’s just say it was Hubbard and Dobbs for now). As Hubbard took a long deep draw from the spliff of fine Lebanese boo Dobbs asked him, “But what even is the mind, Ron? Clearly it’s not inside the brain, you and I have personally opened up enough of those to know that much. Clearly the mind is something immaterial. But what exactly is it?”
“Since 1977 I have been conducting research on cyranoids,” Milgram said. He quickly explained: “Cyranoids are people who do not speak thoughts originating in their own central nervous system: Rather, the words that they speak originate in the mind of another person who transmits these words to the cyranoid by means of a radio transmitter.” The term was inspired by the French play Cyrano de Bergerac, in which a brilliant but ugly man woos his beloved through love letters signed with the name of a handsome nobleman.
“But don’t you need a subject to experience this object? Isn’t this an infinite regress?” If you have this worry you are simply confused by the traditional presentation of objects as “for” some subject. Buddhism argues that this is not simply a philosophical issue but is endemic to existing as such (samsara). Simple yes?
Resting-state activity is important, if the amount of energy devoted to it is any indication. Blood flow to the brain during rest is typically just 5–10% lower than during task-based experiments1. And studying the brain at rest should help to show how the active brain works. Research on resting-state networks is helping to map the brain’s intrinsic connections by showing, for example, which areas of the brain prefer to talk to which other areas, and how those patterns might differ in disease.