Death Denial in a Panpsychist Cosmos: A Dialogue with Corey Anton

Partially edited Transcript (if you feel inspired please do feel free to finish the editing of this transcript and post it as a comment below!):


Matt Segall: Well, good to see you.

Corey Anton: Great to see you

Matt Segall: So how’s it going

Corey Anton: It’s going really great and thank you so much for making this time I’m really happy to talk with you, you really, You know you’re you’ve always been one of my favorite YouTubers going all the way back in some way. You were the inspiration for me, opening the channel. I mean, I really enjoyed your channel. Way back you know over 10 years ago now. Uh, you know what I wanted to do today. And, well, it started with the politics of death video that you had posted a while back. Maybe about a week or so ago. Yeah. And I was going to post a response. And then Spirit Science had posted up a video on near death experiences. You’ve done a couple of video responses to David Long on this issue of emergentism versus panpsychism. I would like to go back to this original issue that you raised in the politics of death and see if we can talk a little bit about some of what’s going on there and then see sort of where it takes us.

Matt Segall: That’s great. Yeah, I’d love to try to tie all those things together, they are intimately connected, and to be able to that draw out

Corey Anton: Yeah, that

Matt Segall: Would be a lot of fun. So

Corey Anton: I am offering this up as I think, you know, in the spirit of, you know, of open inquiry and honesty about what I seem to think what seems to be the case. And what you know. I guess we really don’t know. I mean, there’s all kinds of different ways that we could come at some of these, you know, these different questions and concerns. But it would be, I mean, one way that I would want to come into it is in response to your politics of death, I would say, yes, there is a great concern over the meaning of death as it gets caught within an overly circumscribed individualism as once people have they’ve misunderstood organismal integrity with something like radical independence of the organism like as if the organism is independent of an environment, just because it maintains something like an organismal integrity. And I think for me the question would be, you know, to maximize one’s, we’ll call it spiritual potency or one’s recognition of the sacredness of existence. It has to do with this discovery of who one really is and that one is as a place and moment of everything that’s ever existed. And so as I think as soon as one sheds the false ego, the false sense of self that comes from a visual bias of trusting that the eyes are the true register of what boundaries are. As soon as you start to realize that the word, the spoken word, opens one up to historical dimensions, to dimensions of depth that are unseen. Words are not really material in the same way that we think about something that is visual that can be put on a scale that can be subject to compositional analysis and it’s materiality is basically subject to, again, this kind of reductivism. And let me say one last thing about this and I’ll sort of see what you want to say to any of that. But it’s that I think you know one of the simple ways to come at it, even from like a rudimentary biological orientation is to say to someone, okay, what will you do with the fact of genitalia? Because now you can look at your body and ask how does your genitalia relate to the rest of the body. And how are the hormones related and all of the organs relate to one another, which you’re never going to understand genitalia by just looking at the isolated individual separated at the skin. I mean, that kind of empiricism is going to wholly miss the kind of deep, profound sociality that’s etched in our body, not only with the fact that we have navels but the fact that we’ve come into the world by coming out of another person, like literally come into the world by coming out of another person. And we call these “private parts,” but they are really the ultimately social parts of our being. And it’s sort of, you know, it’s a statement that we call them our private parts, because we were older sociality. Because we try to define ourselves as these kind of atomistic individuals located, you know, again, inside the boundaries of the skin or something like that.

Matt Segall: Yeah, that’s a wonderful sort of preamble to enter into this conversation and I really appreciate everything that you’re saying, and would want to echo it, you know, there’s deep agreement here. And so I think what you’re describing how I would maybe rephrase it would be to say that in the modern period where individualism became basically the religion for modern societies, liberal society I guess, since communism was an alternative which had more of a sense of collective identity. But even there, there was a sense of the individual life as ceasing at death and that whatever we are is somehow limited to the individual body. I think in the whole history of human culture, the changing relationship to death and understanding of what happens when you die is one of, it seems to be at the core, you know, as Ernest Becker and other anthropologists have said our relationship to death seems to be at the base of our cultural, of our culture’s and our of our own sense of what is meaningful. Ultimately, and so how we respond to the fact of death is what gives us our sense of meaning and purpose and death is the end of human life in many senses of “end,” as in, it is only through death and engaging with the mystery of death that we can find purpose, and in the modern individualist context, it becomes difficult to find meaning in the face of death that isn’t just based in greed. And so what what you’re pointing to is the deeper social ground that, for example, if we even just look at our bodies, our sex organs. So they’re not our private parts. I love that they’re actually the most transpersonal of our organs. And actually there’s an interesting symmetry here that I think, you know, it may make modern Protestant but also all patriarchal culture blush and feel shame, but there’s a profound symmetry in the body developmentally between the the genitalia and the face, and like the sensory organs of the face and the sexual organs. The way that the bottom half of the body is structured, these are sprung from the same growth forms that shape the human body.

Corey Anton: You’re right. Okay, now that I think that’s exactly right. So let’s chase that down. Okay, that’s a good way to come out and this is where when people try to reduce it all down to the brain, it gets all confusing. And not only is the brain multi-modular, but the body has an array of different sensory-motor capacities and it includes the different senses traditionally defined like sight and hearing and touch but it includes the kind of space and time dynamics of the possibilities of reproduction. Or the fact that we need to sleep, or that we always have to have food chains at a certain distance from ourselves and we metabolize things at a certain rate. I mean, like the boundaries of the skin are illusory, but the eye is so easily fooled. This is how you get people thinking they’re going to galavant around the stars. You know they’re they’re missing all the ways in which you need the atmospheric pressure. The gravitational constants that are here. Relative to this massive, this planet like when you jump up and down, you’re actually affecting the gravity of the earth. We do the equation. I mean, it’s actually in there, you know, We’re more cosmic, then I think we we recognize and there isn’t integrity to the body, but what we need to go to is this kind of world-openness that comes from the different sense modalities. So this would be a different way to sort of echo what you were saying. But I would try to further it out this way so you know, Archimedes’ great discovery of how you can measure the volume of a complex object, like the crown right he sets it in the water and then it displaces a certain amount of water. He says, look, this is the volume that this thing occupies. But if I asked about a living body. See, this is where the panpsychism starts: When I talk about the the crown, I can understand that object that is subject to a kind of reductive compositional analysis and I can say I comprehend the whole of the crown by submerging it and then showing the amount of water displaced and saying, that’s how it’s occupying space. But me, my body, all of us, not only did we grow out of another person through nutritive commerce and metabolism and really very complicated processes, unlike that crown. I say that I occupy space. I don’t occupy space in a way that a thing does like I could take this pen and I can put it in a drawer, but it doesn’t feel the confinement of the space whereas a living organism, through its sensory capacities, its motor capacities… And it’s not just representational. This is absolutely crucial. I think is one of the biggest failures is for people to imagine that everything is just representational, you know, once you move to the difference between seeing, hearing, and touch you realize that okay like my eyes right now are registering and they’re representing the distances I am from the wall, but my legs do a lot more than represent that distance. They’re the source of those distances that I can take myself closer to or further away from that and to that extent, motility, the fact that my body has a directionality that my hands have things within certain reach and there’s a sort of spatial temporal dynamics of that and then hearing has a dynamic that intersects with that and then vision has an intersect and then once you get language that comes back in and then communication technologies start looping back and double backing over…You get this massive intersecting dynamic of modes of space and time, and we ask this question about consciousness and where does it start. How did it begin, that part of us, which is asking that question is a highly mediated social historical accomplishment it already depends upon calendars, all sorts of media technologies…

Matt Segall: So let me, I want to get to the panpsychism issue. Because I certainly don’t think that a crown or any artifact is conscious or has a soul or anything like that. But what you’re saying about space-time and the way that living organisms sort of bring forth their own space-time envelopes and that the organism and the environment are actually part of, they’re one system. Life is the system of relationship between organism and environment. And organisms and one another. But so the sex organs, right!? There’s something about the sex organs that connect us to a transpersonal past and future. And there’s something about the sense organs that connect us more to a personal sense of here and now. And then language allows us then to reconnect consciously to the way that our sex organs connect us to a deeper past and a future. Language, then, I think in a way is, again, if these, if you think of the top and the bottom half of the body as just grown from the same root and in a way fractally repeating one another, language takes on a profound fucundity as the Logos. Logos has this erotic and sexual dimension to it that is connecting us through time in a way that I think is closer to the way that our genitalia are connecting us through time than it is to the way that our sense organs are connecting us to the here and now. Language takes us out of the here and now of the sensory present and puts us in touch with, I think, that deeper dimension of reality that are our sex organs connect us to, that our genes connect us to, but unconsciously.

Corey Anton: Speech and sperm. They come from common roots. Oh for sure there’s, you screw with people’s heads when you talk with them, literally, there’s a fecundity that comes from the sowing of seeds, meaning dissemination, you know, these are all skills that are, you know this, there’s some way to talk about communication in these terms.

Matt Segall: Doesn’t it feel like culture in general, but like, especially modern individualist cultures have reacted against this in sort of like shame or the sense of like an unwillingness to to recognize the way in which we are not just ourselves? Yeah, and that we are constantly involved in these acts of generation with one another?

Corey Anton: Yeah, let’s get at it. So, I mean, I think I’m going to go back to the touch stuff and the sight versus hearing, and then language. I do have a new book that’s coming out hopefully in December and I’m trying to bring the cost down right now haggling with the publisher, at any rate, I’m really excited about it, but it’s about how non-being. Let me give some examples: These things that I’m talking about are from the book, you know, like this genitalia stuff, but I mean, one of the ways to get at it is to show that there are differences between actualities and possibilities and the different senses have different domains and ranges of possibilities, and language opens up even, you know, a wider range of kinds of temporal possibilities, rather than just like organisms’ possibilities in space. The way that like, in the ear, as the predator and prey sense allow for hunting down of prey and or eluding a predator. But you know when you try to think about something like touch, you know it sounds crazy to say it, but think about it. Touch has no possibilities. Touch is absolutely actual at all points. It’s that part of you which is wholly fully actual and you’re always standing somewhere, you’re always sitting somewhere, you’re always in contact. Now, you could see like right now I can see this pen in my hand. But see possibilities of where I can move it with my hand, but my hand moves wherever it moves! Somone might to to force this and will say that sight is just nothing more than a field of actualities as much as the field of action is. And I say blah! Those ideas are not good phenomenology, these are people overly obsessed with neuromania. They’ve way reduced the complexity of human experience down to the way it comes out in the brain scan and not really registered the phenomenological differences between those spatial-temporal horizons of sight, those of hearing, and those are touch. So, as I say, you know, I think sight offers this vast expanse of possibilities. It’s why it makes athletic competition so fun to watch. You can see all the possibilities that people are managing, you know, when you throw a dart, you are the dart! In the world of touch, this leaves your hand and it lands wherever does, but you can see all the places where you wanted it to land or where it didn’t land… You know, so I think once once you deal with the issue of possibilities, now you have a non-materialist, non-reductive move. And I think this is one of the real accomplishments of Deacon’s Incomplete Nature is that he does deal with possibilities, being part of what makes things up and that is, you know, a possible state a goal or an intended state, even if it’s never actualized can be part of what made the thing do it, as we say. One last thing on this. I think one of the ways to bring it to a head is the difference, I go out in the sun and I close my eyes. Now the sun overcomes the actual photons are overcoming great lengths to tan my skin and that is they’re touching my skin. The skin tan is one of actuality it’s because I’m they’re exposing my zone, the zone, but soon as I opened my eyes. Now there’s a field of possibilities. I mean, even though they’re both amount to chemicals and different photons, you know, in one sense, interacting with my eyes and once they’ve interacted with my skin, and both can be reduced to chemical analysis. But the phenomenological difference between seeing this, if I open my eyes, my eyes are going to be one of the few senses, they’re going to give me a quick place of where I can locate shade and not die from the sun. So, I mean, my eyes clearly afford a realm of possibilities. And if there’s possibilities that means it’s not a concatenate chain of just everything unfolding. There has to be something like, at the very least, organismal complexity looping in upon itself, the more organisms have, more and more. So this is sort of a Strange Loop stuff of Douglas Hofstadter. As soon as you start to get to touch and then smell and then taste and then hearing and then sight and then forms of language and then communication technologies. It’s this multifolded very, very complex horizonal field of different possibilities. So, I mean, I think that’s where you’d have to get out a lot of the non-reductionism.

24 Comments

  1. Did our Health Consciousness not evolve by climbing trees towards the cosmos and holding on to the trunk, spine erect, as it swayed in the wind, and among the stars?

  2. I have not had a chance to read through all of this, but if you have not already checked out the new film about the life and ideas of David Bohm called ‘Infinite Potential’, I would urge you to do so. It is a beautifully executed documentary film directed by Paul Howard… http://www.infinitepotential.com/ David Bohm’s ideas about quantum mechanics and consciousness and the idea of an ‘Implicate Order’ and ‘Thought as a System’ are directly relevant to this conversation about the relational aspects of the transition out of the physical world of the living. I would also again make a plea to consider using the science of semiotics and particularly the scientific metaphysics of Charles Sanders Peirce to approach this issue, particularly his concept of ‘Synechism’ which also links beautifully, I think, to Bohm’s idea about the underlying Implicate Order which surfaces in the form of an actualized Explicate Order but, in a sense, betrays the underlying reality of the Implicate Order which is a hidden order that sort of forms the massive component of the iceberg that lies beneath the ocean’s surface (using a metaphor proposed by quantum physicist and theorist, Ruth E Kastner, to relate the ‘possibility’ formed in ‘Quantumland’, to the ‘actuality’ that we perceive in the context of the explicate). Peirce also has a really fascinating essay that relates ‘Synechism’ to the idea of ‘Immortality’ which I think is directly relevant to this discussion…
    http://www.commens.org/bibliography/manuscript/peirce-charles-s-1893-immortality-light-synechism-ms-r-886
    Also see article by Brian Kemple on Peircean ‘Synechism’…https://epochemagazine.org/the-continuity-of-being-c-s-peirces-philosophy-of-synechism-9fa5c341247e
    And Bernardo Kastrup’s book, ‘Why Materialism is Baloney’…https://www.amazon.com/Why-Materialism-Baloney-Skeptics-Everything/dp/1782793623/ref=msx_wsirn_v1_3/132-5718969-5757768?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1782793623&pd_rd_r=6645fe93-980d-43c6-8d1c-371371f0a781&pd_rd_w=UVwaY&pd_rd_wg=2mnfC&pf_rd_p=3187ad9b-122f-43f5-9fd5-75b35f775d85&pf_rd_r=M475S6D3XGHJ08KCNC8A&psc=1&refRID=M475S6D3XGHJ08KCNC8A

    This has become a very real issue for me in the past few days following the death of my spouse, my life partner for the past 42+ years, on August 2nd, whose presence for me remains very real. So the implications of this discussion are not purely ‘theoretical’… they have real-world implications for those of us who may be grieving a recent loss of a loved one. And, I daresay, in the world as it now stands in the midst of the COVID pandemic, this discussion is more real and more important due to the pervasiveness of death and loss that is happening across the globe… but it is even more important than that if we begin to consider the reality of ‘existential risk’ that we face as a species in the Anthropocene as discussed, for example, by Toby Ord in his book, ‘The Precipice’ and by the folks in the philosophy department at Oxford in the ‘Future of Humanity Institute’… https://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk This is no longer a discussion of the existential issue surrounding any particular individual–whether it is the egocentric hand-wringing regarding our own person non-existence or the other-centric grieving of those left behind by a loved one–we are now engaged in the real possibility of the near-future non-existence of our entire species.

  3. A few other brief additional couple of comments and suggestions:

    Must we propose a dichotomy between panpsychism and emergentism? Just asking because I see this as yet another dipolar antagonism (what JAS Kelso calls a ‘contrarity’) that is difficult to really resolve definitively. Might there be another way to seek resolution, albeit a dynamical approach of complementarity held ‘in the balance’? John Shook has a paper that sees ‘panentheism’ as the general understanding of the fundamental nature of human existence that is compatible with Peircean philosophy and his scientific process metaphysics ( see: https://www.academia.edu/27796967/2016_Shook_Panentheism_and_Peirces_God ).

    It also is quite compatible with Bohm’s Wholeness in relationship to an Implicate Order and, of course, to Peirce’s concept of ‘Synechism’… by the way, there is a very nice detailed discussion of Peirce’s idea of Synechism (ie. as a metaphysical ‘theory’ or ‘approach’) written by Joseph Esposito that can be found at this link:
    http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/p-synesp.htm

    So, if, indeed, “Materialism (cf ‘Cartesianism’) is ‘baloney'” as Kastrup maintains, might the alternative be a pervasive relationalism linked to a ‘temporal naturalism’ (cf. Lee Smolin) based on the science of ‘triadic’ (ie. Peircean) semiotics–a science of the meaning drawn from the relational, from experience as fundamentally relational?

    Last thing (for now): Something else that I would strongly urge you (and anyone else with an interest in these huge ideas!) to read is this essay by the late American philosopher, John Deely, on the ‘Postmodern recovery of person’… https://www.revistaespiritu.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Dialnet-TowardAPostmodernRecoveryOfPerson-4102375.pdf …because it really is the fundamental reality of communication and the pervasiveness of consciousness throughout the universe (which is denied by the Cartesian split and Cartesianism which restricts consciousness to the human species and sees all of the rest of nature as an elaborate, complex, but essentially dead, mechanical apparatus–now, honestly, who could possibly believe that in our current moment???) and of ‘the recovery of person’ that a relation / processual primordium recovers.

    1. For no greater insight into the meaning of death I recommend the considerable literature on the Near Death Experience. The IANDs website offers a broad survey. Dr. Pim Van Lommel’s work might appeal to a doctor, he has published in The Lancet. Many, including myself, have gotten a glimpse through the passing of loved ones. 98% of near death experiencers are 100% sure of an afterlife.

      David Bohm is my go to for theoretcal physics and consciousness. I enjoyed Infinite Potential, am already quite familiar with his theories, i.e., Bohmian mechanics, etc. Ahead of his time. Flicker filter theory of consciousness, Penrose’s Orch OR, and the Holonomic Brain are how I understand interaction between consciousness an brain.

      Bernardo’s Materialism is Baloney is a great read. Not sure he understands Whitehead, tho. Consciousness is the prime datum; everthing takes place in consciousness. Physical brain and sense apparatus reduce and filter consciousness down tremendously. Charles Sanders Peirce and William James. Pragmatism is coherent. I proritize coherent over contingent.

      Dichotomy between panpsychism and emergentism? Good point. Complementarity required for phenomenal manifestation. Question is chicken and egg. Consciousness (or implicate order) always leads, and phenomenal manifestation always trails, modified by prehension. That’s how pilot wave works (see Bohm). Relationship between consciousness and phenomena is temporal, not spacial. Consciousness is thing that exists spacially. It’s the only thing that actually exists NOW. Phenomena is in a past or trailing relationship to it (except as prehension).

      Semiotics? Yes, language is traditionally static, not relational. We should be verbing instead of nouning if we are to capture the fluid state of things. Zeno or continuum? Depends on point of view. Continuous from implicate order POV. Strobed from explicate order POV. Phenomenal world is strobed at time interval of ​1⁄299792458 second (see Peter Russel). That’s why mass can’t accelerate beyond C without expanding into all things.

      Einstein was right about time. It’s a mental construct. Past is memory, future is potentiality in consciousness. The latter leads, the former trails.

      1. Read Evan Thompson’s Waking Dreaming Being for a critique of life after death based on neuroscience.

        This is a small part of a very inspiring, science based, Buddhist text.

      2. Thank you, Roy. This is great information. I have not had the opportunity to look carefully into NDEs and will check out that work. I have a friend, Kevin Nelson, who is a neurologist who has been doing work on the neurology and neuroscience of NDEs for many years. Here is one of his papers: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25958650/ I will look into Dr. Pim Van Lommel’s work. There is a huge debate about what this all means. Whether NDEs are just another epiphenomenon of brain pathophysiology, or whether they are a ‘gateway’ to the non-materialistic relational universe. But having just experienced the passing of my wife within the last two weeks, I am convinced of the latter explanation. I am not sure where Kevin stands on this but I will check with him.
        Roy, if you are interested, I am a moderator of the FB discussion group ‘Infinite Potential–Discussion’ in case it is something that might be of interest to you.
        I am becoming more and more convinced regarding the general concept of the ‘Holonomic Brain’ but I think we need more evidence from cognitive neuroscience to help us with that in terms of convincing others. I see the left hemisphere as operating primarily in the temporal domain and being involved in our spatiotemporal ‘interface’ (as Donald D Hoffman would call it– our ‘non veridical’ evolved interface with reality that allows us to survive in the context of ‘inhabiting’ a physical body). I need to look closer at the flicker filter theory and Penrose’s approach.
        But here is the major hint: the left hemisphere processes lyrics, and the right hemisphere processes melody. That is very clear from some recent work published in the journal Science earlier this year… see:
        https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/02/27/810049050/how-the-brain-teases-apart-a-songs-words-and-music

        So, it is the left hemisphere that creates the spatiotemporal interface and operates in the temporal domain using a digital stop-action, or cinematic approach, while it is the right hemisphere that, even though nonverbal, is the ‘Master’ hemisphere ( as Iain McGilchrist notes it to be ) because it operates primarily in the frequency domain. which allows it to connect to the underlying temporal continuum. The right hemisphere, that would be associated with Freud’s ‘ID’ and is associated with global attention and the ‘whole’, is our connection to deep reality, the Implicate Order, and ‘primary’ consciousness. The left hemisphere, that specializes in focal attention and dealing the ‘parts’ that it can ‘name’ (thus the differentiation between nouns as ‘thing-words’ and verbs as ‘action-words’ to which you briefly refer) in its ‘nominalistic take’ on the world, constructs self (ie. ‘EGO’) as an entity, a ‘homunculus’, operative within but separate from the world (and thus capable of observing it ‘from afar’ in the context of the classical Newtonian paradigm and the so-called ‘G-d’s-eye view’), and creates our NON-VERIDICAL interface that is our constructed connection to ‘surface actuality’, the Explicate Order, and ‘secondary consciousness’ with which conscious thought ‘as a system’ is engaged.

      3. Thanks Dr. Goldberg. I’m already a member of “David Bohm” on FB. Now joined to your ‘Infinite Potential–Discussion’ on FB. All current theories of NDEs as epiphenomena of brain are discussed and dismissed here:

        https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2012.00209/full

        See also Van Lommel. Also, 100 cases of veridical NDE by Titus Rivas here
        :

        I am familiar with Iain McGilchrist vis a vis a few dialogs with Jordan Peterson among others. Not just humans, I think all mammals have two hemispheres. That organization suggests a cosmic universal. I have this theory:

        https://www.quora.com/Do-we-know-for-sure-that-celestial-bodies-like-stars-or-planets-dont-have-a-form-of-consciousness/answer/Roy-Smith-36

        I agree with McGilchrist about the primacy of the right hemisphere. As you may know, the split brain phenomenon shows one identity, not two.

        https://www.quora.com/John-Searle-says-that-consciousness-is-irreducible-and-also-that-it-is-created-by-the-brain-How-can-consciousness-be-irreducible-if-it-must-be-created-by-something-which-can-be-reduced-to-simpler-parts/answer/Roy-Smith-36

        I wanted to clarify my position about continuous vs strobed frame rates, etc. The former is from the point of view of consciousness, or Light metaphorically. The latter is from the point of view of spacial temporality or phenominal manifestation. Bohm refers to phenomenal manifestation (s) as “frozen” light.

        https://www.quora.com/Does-the-universe-appear-in-time-dissociative-frame-rates-of-consciousness-much-like-a-film-or-video-game/answer/Roy-Smith-36

        See you on FB

  4. I like what you doing about David Long’s 2.0, Matt; ( I watched your “trigger” vid) let’s hope he takes you up on a dialog because I agree in essence with some of your arguments about David’s dismissal of idealism. I mean, is he really dismissing it because of a deep analysis on its own merit, or is he dismissing a caricature he has of it in his own mind. It might be a dialog like one between a Plato and an Aristotle, with you representing Plato.
    I don’t think David Long is upgrading Intergral so much as he is adding a module that was perhaps missing from integral. Let’s call his module adding the Left Hand path, which includes Magick, Theurgy, Paganism, naturalism, Dionysian ecstasis, even scientific reductionism, philosophical materialism. These may be categorized as the antithesis of Right hand path or Apollonian type approaches. .
    But to say David’s project is an Integral upgrade seems a bit pretentious to me, because he assumes emergentism is sufficiently supported by evidence.. However much it may be hyped by today’s philosophical materialists, however, it remains a hypothesis at best. For me, his alleged upgrade should be called Sam Harris 2.0, as his rationale for radical agnosticism seems to align more with Harris than with Aurobindo. In any case, I think he makes too many ontological assumptions, particularly about consciousness, and I think that’s a point well worth exploring with him. Best regards.

  5. And in case JA Scott Kelso, with whom I have corresponded for many years, is not familiar, here is a link to a YouTube of a lecture that he gave on his take on organisms as nonlinear dynamical systems operating far from equilibrium in a metastable realm…

    …and a link to the book he wrote with David Engstrom about the nature of dynamical complementarity called ‘The Complementary Nature’…

    https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/complementary-nature

    And, by the way, I think that all of these ideas can be readily connected to cognitive neuroscience and to the ‘divided brain theory’ of British neuropsychiatrist, Iain McGilchrist… See: http://www.iainmcgilchrist.com/

  6. And also this is all fascinatingly connected in a fundamental way to Paul Dirac’s view of the underlying nature of the quantum mechanics, and, most importantly, to Finnish biophysicist, Arto Annila’s very exciting new theory of basic physics (and, more generally, the scientific worldview) that shows quite clearly that EVERYTHING IS ULTIMATELY COMPOSED OF PHOTONS which amounts to the idea that ultimately everything that exists can be conceptualized as a particular configuration of packets of electromagnetic energy…

    See: https://www.mv.helsinki.fi/home/aannila/arto/

    … with these ideas presented in Arto’s ground-breaking book called ‘Back to Reality. A revision of the scientific worldview.’

    Which you can check out on the webpage regarding this book on Arto’s website:

    https://www.mv.helsinki.fi/home/aannila/arto/Books%20Arto%20Annila.html

  7. SO the issue, as I see it, is the question of time as a continuum or as an interpolated discontinuity of stop-frames. Whether time is a continuum or atomistic. Whitehead is criticized by Sandra B Rosenthal for being an ‘atomist’ in dividing time up into sequences of actual occasions. But Whitehead also talks about what he calls the ‘extensive continuum’ which is the continuum out of which the actual occasions emerge. Well, it is Whitehead’s extensive continuum that corresponds to Peirce’s ‘primordial continuum’ that forms the foundation for his Synechism which postulates a foundation of continuity that is of particular structure–‘supermultudinous’ and constructed from ‘welded’ infinitesimals. This is covered in detail in Fernando Zalamea’s book, ‘Peirce’s Logic of Continuity’… that is, a continuum with the remarkable properties of Generativity, Reflexivity, and Modality…. such that the fundamental laws of classical logic do NOT apply…
    https://books.google.com/books/about/Peirce_s_Logic_of_Continuity.html?id=gzu2kQEACAAJ

      1. I understand gama synchrony.to be the rate at which phenomenal perception is scanned into the brain rather than consciousness itself. Consciousness would obviously be continuous if not limited by the brain scan rates, assuming that consciousness is not an epiphenomenon. That scan rate has been found to be a high as 80 Hz in tests done on Tibetan monks during meditation. That would mean that there phenomonal perception would exceed normal by a factor or 2 to 1, and things would appear to be moving more slowly to them by comparison with normal perception.

      2. The 40 Hz frequency has been shown in an MIT study to reverse some symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

        I’ve wondered how they came up with exactly 40hz.

      3. Yes. In auditory evoked potentials there is a very interesting phenomenon called the 40-Hz response as well. So 40-Hz seems to be a critical ‘flicker frequency’ in brain physiology and psychophysiological phenomena associated with perceptual registration. In the visual domain, the question has to do with thresholds for the perception of ‘apparent motion’ which is the foundation for cinema and the cinematic perception of motion based on the flashing of sequences of ‘stills’/stop-action frames. Which, of course, is the foundation of film and video and the ‘simulation of motion’ induced through the stroboscopic presentation of individual frames in which the variation in the image induces the perception of motion. Deleuze did a good deal of fascinating work on the philosophy of cinema that connects to ideas from Henri Bergson regarding time/duration, and from CS Peirce regarding semiotics and interpretation of experience (ie in order to extract or logically infer meaningful information).
        My guess is that these ideas may also well relate to the ‘flicker filter theory’ that Roy made reference to above. I need to check into that idea. There is a threshold in perceptual psychophysiology called the flicker fusion threshold at which, at least in the visual domain, individual flashes fuse into one continuous flow of light. This is the foundation, of course, for choosing the frequency at which AC voltage varies–ie. 60Hz in North America and 50Hz in Europe. These frequencies need to be above the frequency of fusion so that AC current run through an incandescent bulb or through a flourescent bulb produces continuous light rather than individual flashes.
        Also, consider if 40Hz is a critical transition point, then what does this imply regarding the associated significance of the temporal interval associated with one cycle–ie. 25 milliseconds.

  8. Here is a link to Sandra B Rosenthal’s paper on ‘Extension and Epoch’ that discusses the question of ‘continuity versus discontinuity’ in Whitehead’s process metaphysics and philosophy of organism…
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/40320825?seq=1 This is an important critique of Whitehead in my opinion but I don’t know how many people are even aware of it.

    Professor Rosenthal extended the ideas presented in this paper into a full-length book…
    https://www.google.com/books/edition/Time_Continuity_and_Indeterminacy/OCILPSKFteQC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=rosenthal+continuity&printsec=frontcover

    My personal feeling is that this question of Time, Continuity, Discontinuity, and the connection to indeterminacy (ie. novelty or the ‘creative’) is absolutely critical…

  9. Hi Matt, Thanks for the podcast.  I wanted to respond to your point about the importance of coming to terms with death.   I am a psychotherapist and have worked with many people with fears and anxiety.   I came to realization, not only for myself, but for my clients that the fear of death is ultimately the source of their anxiety.   This has been wrestled with by humans, I think, since humans have become conscious hundreds of thousands of years ago.   I worked on becoming comfortable with dying at any moment and this gave me more freedom to live fully each day.    I did have to come to terms with asking, and answering for myself, the questions about what will happen when we die.   It is quite a story but the gist is that I am not certain what will become of my consciousness after my physical body dies: I am just certain it will continue to exist.     However, I believe that what I experience after I die will be related to Saturn.   In other words I believe that I will reap the consequences of my actions while I was alive. Regarding pan-psychism, I am a fan of it.   However, I do take it further than I heard you describe during the podcast.   I believe you said that you do not believe that a crown or pen is conscious.   I take a different view.   I believe that all objects including rocks have consciousness.   I believe that we can talk to and listen to these objects, in a sense.   I think it is more related to fields;  such as morphic fields or quantum fields being fields of imminent consciousness.   I take this further by postulating that entire universe is conscious.  Further, that all of the universe is actually connected to our personal consciousness and that we participate with all objects and fields in the universe. I am studying Grant Maxwell’s book “Dynamics of Transformation”.   I am grappling with the concepts of fractals and archetypes being part of these fields.   Maxwell describes how these and other emerging postmodern themes such as the exponential rise of novelty will figure into the “emerging” or “integral” or “novel” paradigm that is manifesting with some of us.     I like his theme that the “integral” paradigm will not leave behind the magical, mythic or rational paradigms but weave them together so that we do not lose the necessary themes from those eras but can continue to use them.   I think this includes pan-psychism, shamanism, entheogen, astrology, the ancient gods along with the tremendous tools of the scientific paradigm. I am struggling with an article to present to Archai about the Uranus Pluto full moon of 2046.   Fun stuff. Just a few thoughts—-All the Best, Bryan Stuppy

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