Reply To: Metaphysics and the Matter With Things: Thinking With Iain McGilchrist

  • Gary

    May 10, 2024 at 10:31 pm

    I participated remotely and was tremendously impressed with several of the presentations, and, of course, with Iain’s initial address and his responses. I thought the presentations by Ruth Kastner and Tim Eastman which connected to quantum physics were really excellent, the presentation by Zak Stein regarding our current situation was deeply disturbing but accurate, and the presentation by John Vervaeke was fantastic. There are audio recordings and transcripts now available for all of the sessions and I have had a chance to review them in some detail. The videos are not available as yet, as far as I am aware. The plan is to make the recordings and transcripts available for a nominal cost, but I do not know what the timeframe is for that.

    What came across very clearly to me is that there is something deeply wrong in the general context of modernity and what Jean Gebser called the ‘perspectival Mental/Rational structure of consciousness’ which dominates modernity and is now well into a degenerate phase. What modernity assumes is that matter is prior to relation, that relation is a mind-dependent imposition on a world composed of material ‘things’ distributed in ‘space’ and ‘time’. This is nominalistic materialism–that material is prior to mind and that mind is derivative from a material nervous system. That the physical body and its structure is prior to its relational functionality. And that physicality forms the foundation, the ground of ontology, the ground of being. In order words, the relata come first and the relations that convey organization through their provenation and termination on particular relata are ‘secondary’. But there is a major problem with this, which is the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness–which the challenge of figuring out how a material brain generates qualia–elements of experience like the smell of chocolate or the taste of salt. That problem remains unsolved and likely will never be solved because it is addressing things the wrong way around. It is ‘backward’ or ‘upside-down’ thinking, as author Mark Gober calls it. One of the persons leading the charge on this is Federico Faggin, the person who first demonstrated how a microprocessor could be built on a chip of silicon. His story is very convincing, IMHO. You can check it out here in one of many videos in which he has talked about his ideas regarding ‘quantum information’ exchange as a fundamental relational basis for life and the universe. He discusses these ideas as a guest on the ‘Beyond Belief’ podcast at this link…

    …and a nice article about him and his ideas in Beshara Magazine here…