is one of my favorite thinkers. In his book, , he describes how matter dreams. He summed it up in an interview one time and also managed to give a succinct argument for the idealist philosophy, where consciousness maintains primacy over materialsim.

The basic reasoning is simply this: we know dreams exist. We know dreams occur and that things dream. We know that every mammal, with the exception of two, dreams. The mammalian species that don’t dream are the spiny anteater, or echidna, and the whales and dolphins they don’t dream, which is that they don’t show Rapid Eye Movement, which is indicative of the existence of a dream stage in consciousness. So, when I say, “Matter dreams,” it is following a logical chain based on materialistic philosophy. The argument goes like this:

The universe is made of matter, and matter interacting with matter creates all the different physical phenomena that can be observed. Life and consciousness are ultimately physical phenomena that can be observed. So anything that is associated with life has got to be associated with material objects banging together, interacting. Therefore, it must be that the dream state and all conscious awareness must be something arising from interacting matter. So therefore one draws the conclusion that matter dreams. That’s the logical conclusion of the materialistic pointof-view.

It isn’t necessarily the conclusion I’ve come to, because I think that materialism itself is subject to some flaws as a base for understanding science. It seems that it’s overly reductionistic. And I don’t mind the reductionism so much as I mind the base on which the reductionism stands: the base is matter. I no longer believe that matter can be the base for the world. Matter itself must be a secondary quality. There must be a more primal quality before matter. In the same sense that there must be an implicate order, as physicist David Bohm would say, out of which consciousness and awareness arises, one would also say that there has to be some order, which is not directly perceivable, out of which matter and space and time arise. Reddit Slashdot Digg Facebook Technorati Google StumbleUpon Furl Yahoo Ask Mister Wong China Newsvine Simpy Spurl Wink Rawsugar Squidoo Fark

I took the kids to the park today. While they were playing, I sat near a small square pool full of goldfish. There were a few floaters but most of them seemed to be in reasonable health and several of them showed great spunk, rather zipping around the pond. This despite the fact that their sole purpose is to be caught by small children and taken home as pets. There weren’t any takers today, but I had observed upon occasion delighted children pluck fish from the water and hasten to place them in water filled bags, maneuvered by dutiful parents. What caught my eye today was a small worm floating above the surface.

It was hard at first to determine what exactly the worm was up to. It was furiously engaged in activity; to my eyes, engaged in an immense struggle. It seemed to me that it must sense it’s impending doom if it failed to reach solid ground. While admittedly somewhat curious to see what would happen if it fell into the pond, what sort of fight would ensue among the fish over this tasty morsel that just appeared out of nowhere, I found myself rooting for its survival.

I imagined myself hanging from a silk thread, feverishly pulling in slack as the wind blew, curling myself up to minimize the exposure. Then I imagined the rope coming out of one of my orifices and I elected to return to my role as observer. There was safety to be had on the other side of the pool. The wind would occasionally cause the worm to drift over the edge. If the worm would let out enough silk at the opportune moment, it would swing into the outer side of the pool and avoid a watery death.

The worm was very hard at work, twisting, grabbing and winding, putting all of its weight into these maneuvers. How long could it hold out? A big bee blundered into its path, nearly clipping the fragile lifeline. What if some carefree little boy comes running up with a fishing pole? What then little worm?

I realized then that the worm was going about this all wrong. There went another missed opportunity. Why didn’t it let out more thread? That was certainly the time to do it. It didn’t seem to care at all about its own safety. Unless, of course, I had completely misread the worms motives. The worm seemingly acknowledged this by commencing a slow climb back up its line.

When we observe others, what do really know about their motives? True, as fellow humans, we likely share a more common experience, but that doesn’t guarantee any greater insight into what they’re up to.

Thanks, worm! Reddit Slashdot Digg Facebook Technorati Google StumbleUpon Furl Yahoo Ask Mister Wong China Newsvine Simpy Spurl Wink Rawsugar Squidoo Fark