Sun 15 Jan 2006
Fred Alen Wolf is one of my favorite thinkers. In his book, The Dreaming Universe, 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.