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Which Way is Up? – 3 – “Matter,” “Energy” and Solipsism

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self.jpgFurther to Part 2, one could argue, of course, that matter is real or, at least, relatively real because we interpret it as such.

The point I’m trying to make, however, is that divorced from the senses, there seems to be some kind of ‘field’ out there, for lack of a better term. But even this view has been questioned by those adhering to the notion of solipsism

Alternately, one could say that the universe is activated the moment we perceive it. Otherwise it doesn’t exist or exists in a potential state, much like an encoded DVD just waiting to be ‘activated’ by a DVD player and monitor.

Uncertainty seems to be the key here. In other words, we can imagine all sorts of scenarios but perhaps can’t really know for sure if they’re right.

However, I believe that the universe and other people do exist independent of myself. I arrived at this position about 15 years ago, mostly for ethical reasons. Suppose one treated other people badly because one felt they didn’t really exist; wouldn’t it be terrible if one were wrong and other people did exist. Given this grave uncertainty, it seemed prudent to reject solipsism.

At the time this seemed to be mostly an intellectual argument based on the ethics of uncertainty. The older I get, however, the more I believe that the intellect isn’t the master faculty. It seems there are deeper, more authoritative sources of knowledge.

In my view the abstract intellect divorced from faith and lived experience can only take one so far. Something other than intellect, alone, must become more prominent if one wants to continue to learn about God, the universe and oneself. And perhaps when, in my youth, I supposed that I’d resolved this issue on the basis of intellect alone, this higher power (i.e. God) was at work without my consciously knowing it.

A discussion of this will, of course, necessitate a look at some theological ideas… and leads back to the initial question: Which way is up?

THIS BLOG IS PART OF A SERIES:

Which Way is Up? – Introduction – Rethinking Cosmology

Which Way is Up? – 1 – Emotion and Human Reasoning

Which Way is Up? – 2 – Concepts of “Matter” and “Energy”

Which Way is Up? – 3 – “Matter,” “Energy” and Solipsism

Which Way is Up? – 4 – The “Field”

Which Way is Up? – Conclusion: Into the Mystic

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Author: Michael Clark

I'm the administrator of Earthpages.org | Earthpages.ca with a Joint Honours B.A. in Psychology/Sociology at York and Trent U, an M.A. in Philosophy and Religion at Visva-Bharati, India, and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies at UOttawa.

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