July 28, 2006

The experience of subjects

The Heavenly View From Inside the Cosmos
posted by Gagdad Bob Thursday, July 27, 2006 at 7:20 AM 6 comments
There is a thing called “the world,” there are nervous systems, and there is the space in between. That’s it. That transitional space is where everything happens and where everything evolves. Other animals do not live in this space, or barely so. Rather, they more or less live in their nervous systems, which are “designed” only to notice certain aspects of the environment--those necessary for immediate survival. The more primitive the animal, the more there tends to be an invariant, one-to-one relationship between information and environment. Lower animals obviously possess will, but not free will.
But with Homo sapiens, a sub-universe or microcosmos somehow opened up between world and neurology, which became the host or virtual environment for humanness to take root. To a certain extent, the emergence of psychological space mirrors the sudden appearance of biological life some 3.85 billion years ago. Prior to that--for the first 10 billion years or so--the cosmos simply was what it was-- a single level reality apparently consisting only of material processes. There was nothing there to witness the meaningless pageant. There was quite literally no there there, since there was no particular point of view through which to look. There was only all places at once, even though there weren't actually any places.
Prior to the emergence of life, there weren’t any qualities, since every quality is a function of a nervous system. As I noted in the mysterious book from which the cosmos derives its name, the cosmos didn’t “look” like anything, since vision is a property of eyes. Physicists say it was very hot, but not really. Only in relationship to present day physicists. Nor was it large or small. It was just.... a truly inconceivable nothing, for As Whitehead wrote, “apart from the experience of subjects, there is nothing, bare nothingness.” However we think about or visualize this nothing, it’s just us, projecting our ideas and images about it within the above-referenced transitional space. It is only within this transitional space that the cosmos can contemplate its own birth and even its own death.
The point is that, with the sudden emergence of life, the cosmos now had the makings of an inside, an entirely novel ontological category that cannot be accounted for by physics. Science can account for a lot of things, but one thing it cannot account for is the shocking presence of an inside, of a cosmic withinness, of an interior presence in the midst of what had only been an “exterior” up to the emergence of life. Prior to that, the universe had no freedom, no destiny, no meaning beyond itself. But the appearance of life represents the dawn of all those things, the unimaginable opening of a window on the world and a stairway to zeppelin. Clinical psychologist Robert Godwin is an extreme seeker and off-road spiritual aspirant

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