Reply To: Psychotherapy with LH patients

  • Don Salmon

    June 19, 2023 at 3:14 pm

    Hi again – just to show you I can really enjoy intellectual discussions, I’ve been meaning to get back to you about your comment that physics provides an “exhaustive” account of our experience (“experience” is my translation of “the physical world” – which does not exist for us apart from experience – Whitehead didn’t think it existed apart from any experience but we’ll leave that for now)

    Ok, so here’s a story. A little over 40 years ago, i was in grad school studying music composition. I took a class on computer music, and learned a computer language based on Fortran (the most complex computer program of the time).

    We entered the data in the computer lab on the West Side of Manhattan, then went 1 1/2 hours by subway to the computer room at Brooklyn College, where we would hear the music.

    The data in the computer lab in Manhattan was entirely mathematical. It included precise mathematical descriptions of the wave forms (indicating amplitude, which is similar to but not the same as volume, pitch, timbre – tone color, which makes the difference between the sound of a clarinet, trumpet, violin, etc).

    It was in the computer room at Brooklyn College where we had machines that received the data from the Manhattan lab so we could actually hear the results of the mathematical descriptions.

    If physics truly provided an exhaustive account of our experience, I wouldn’t have needed to go to Brooklyn. I could just look at the equations I entered in Manhattan (it’s true, in undergraduate music school we did learn how to look at orchestral scores and “hear” the music – but that was only because we had prior experience – experience that is something more than mathematical equations – of the music.

    Now, I think you’d agree that listening to Bach is not the same as reading mathematical descriptions of sound waves.

    But it sounds to me like somewhere in what you write is the day that there is some purely “physical” world utterly independent of experience of any kind,

    I can’t imagine what that would be except abstract equations, which is all that physics provides us – and most important, I think, is that ALL physics (as with all science), the equations are BASED on initial experience, from which all the math is extracted (or abstracted).

    This is why Stephen Hawking’s question, “What puts fire into our equations, what makes them alive” is so typically delusional of most scientists, even the greatest ones, who haven’t thought through what they’re doing.

    The fire was there all along. The fire of experience, of awareness, of Consciousness, the Divine Fire the Vedic rishis referred to as “Agni.” Scientists, somewhere in the late 19th century, forgot this, and like the 3 card monte players on the street corner, have hidden the “Consciousness” card and then try to say, “See, there was never any consciousness to begin with.”

    It’s all just sleight of hand. And our patients are getting sicker and sicker the longer this game is being played.