The mind independent real is not the same as the feeling of realness, which is the affective residue that accompanies the outgoing stream of perception. This feeling in everyday objects derives from beliefs that help us to cope with the incapacity to tolerate unreality, once we have become aware that some events seem to be more real than others.
Since time is generated within a state, the “interval” between contiguous states is timeless for that person, though other minds might exist in the interstices of those states. The microgenetic theory of subjective time is consistent with the possibility of parallel worlds, a topic of lively debate in current physics.
States are not concatenated in chains, as in cognitivist theory or the casual sequence of arisings and perishings in Buddhist metaphysics. Rather, like the “pulse of consciousness” described by William James, states arise in overlapping volleys in the decay of their antecedents. We are neither aware of the process over which mind/brain states develop nor of the “gaps” between them. What we are aware of is the virtual duration elaborated by a comparison of phases within a single transition. It is a paradoxical feature of microgenetic theory, as in process metaphysics, that temporal epochs are created out of non-temporal phases that are “collated” after their traversal.
The intuition that the foundations of all knowledge rests on momentary intrinsic relations, bounded by physical unobservables, exposes the surreal quality of conscious experience. Those who are sensitive to this experience will have the impression that what is taken for real is like the thin, fragile elastic of a balloon, balancing constraints on its inner and outer surface.
… reality is not what is real, it is what is true – veridical – and the only way we have of turning the real into the true is to put the real into the form of a statement and then test whether or not the statement is truthful. How we test such truths is a complex matter, but they often involve negation, which achieves a relative truth by the elimination (sculpting) of a falsehood.
Thought and perception are modelled to nature by sensation and consensus, in either case, by adaptation. But the nature that is realised in thought and perception is not the nature that underlies that realisation. Whatever is conceived by the individual, or confirmed by others, distils to the activity of a single brain. … Just describing a process severs its relations and turns it into thing. But there are deeper problems in access to the physical brain than the inability to capture its dynamic nature.
… independent of their truth, scientific facts are riddled with, indeed are actualisations of, the values and beliefs of the observer. It is an important question whether facts are values, but the more general question is whether we should apply to physical nature those qualities of thought by which nature herself is known, or whether thought is external to nature and does not infect the observation and interpretation of physical data.
The rock bottom fact about fact is that nay fact is an objectified perception in a single brain. The relation of mind and brain is prior to an understanding of the relation of perceptual objects to physical entities, and the ultimate “fact” about the mind/brain state is that our knowledge of this state rests on experiential data. … The brain is merely a portion of nature that mediates our knowledge of the remainder. Facts are values through which we infer a reality common to all perceptions, or a reality on the other side of perception that is conveyed through the senses and verified by thought.
There is no compelling reason to believe that reality – even if it is ultimately non-experiential and unknowable – differs fundamentally from the thought life in which it makes its appearance.
In our time, this difficulty – the gap from mind to brain, from the ideal to the Real – has been avoided by reducing mind to brain or ignoring mind completely. The consequence of an extraction of mind from nature is that the psychic qualities of nature are not realised in the mind, that mind is not determined to be, as it is, a mirror of a psychic nature.
Sensations, however, like the entities they point to, are extrinsic and non-experiential. In spite of the best efforts of science, they cannot be given a description that excludes the conceptual. … We have no idea what sensation is like. It is a speculation on the origins of a perception, a kind of fable on the connections of a mind with its body and the world.
Sensation is the proximate inference about nature. We feel (see, hear) perceptions, not sensations, so a sensation is an explanation of where perception comes from. … what we perceive is a though-up nature – one that is assembled or constructed, or one that actualises out of potential – but in both the outcome adapts to an inferential world of sense. The choice between a world of endogenous objects or one that is constituted by their sensory ingredients. In the former, the brain generates images that adapt to a noumenal world, in the latter, sense data build up entities in physical passage.
Acts and objects are initiated prior to the consciousness of an intention, or a perception. It takes time to create the world and to effect a deliberate action in that world.
Affect and reminiscence are not psychic additions to archaic or advanced perceptions. They are ingredient in the perception, or rather, the perception is ingredient in cognition.
We assume that perceptions do not appear spontaneously but result from the physical impressions of sense-data. Similarly, the products or contents of conscious mind have a history that must be included as part of conscious experience. Not all inferences should be included in experience, , but direct experience is only a portion of what is experienced. The inferred is its major part. It has to be said that in this area the search for precision can be fatal to certainty. At least one can agree that if inference depends on experience, the fully non-experiential, for example, the nature of the noumenal reality, is beyond inference.
One might add that experience is for things that appear to be stable (objects) or changing (events), not for the change out of which things materialise. Transition gives rise to feeling, but it is the feeling, not the transition that is experienced. Lacking an awareness of genuine change, we have no experience of that which is essential and uniform in mind and nature. Moreover, if experience and the experiencing self are deposited by change, we do not have experience, we do not have a self. Experience is not a possession; selves and experience are creations of process. The experience of the self for that moment is, for the moment, what the self is. While experience and the thoughts or inferences that flow from it are all that we can know, experience, even so broadly defined, in respect to the non-experiential nature of change, does not include what is essential for its own manifestation.
The feeling of community within which individuality develops can be regained by regression to an earlier phase in thought. The mark of this feeling – compassion – is concealed beneath the pretence of autonomy. Alienation is of course the price of too forceful an individualism.
The characteristics of the organic are unity of feeling, dependence of the parts on the whole and self-replication, but with respect to these properties there is no sharp transition from inorganic to organic life.
The organic is characterised by needs to which elements are subordinate. Needs involve the direction of energy. The physical-chemical bonds that establish the energy of the base constituents of inorganic matter have no prevailing direction. The energetic cycles of organism have a direction. … the direction does not aim at an object, it merely deposits the object toward which it seems to be pointing.
It happens that the global often evades description while the local is self-evident.
… one can say the universe is a whole to parts that only seem to be particulars because the whole is incomprehensible and the whole part relation is imperceptible.
It seems that what gives an object an organic unity is less in the synchronic relations that appear to keep it together, than the diachronic relations through which organic systems grow.
… the notion of entities as epochal packets of energy aligns the inorganic with the glimmerings of organism. The importation of change into matter enlivens the inorganic with creative energy and is the transition to living matter.
Physical nature is continuous with organism as the non-cognitive world is continuous with mind. Indeed mind is its final realisation. Reality is mind in the process of becoming aware of itself, the product of world organism that enfolds all forms, all changes, of greater or lesser degree of development.
What is ultimately real is what exists. Change, time and realtionality are the measure of existence.
The entity does not actualise out of nothing or non-existence. The universe is a continuous process of becoming. Were becoming to cease, the universe would not exist. But between the arising and perishing of a becoming, “between” potentiality and actuality, the process is not yet temporal, thus not yet an existent. The ordinary concept of reality as a collection of instantaneous events – the “solid” particles of the older physics – is inconsistent with the interpretation of existents as epochs. The epoch encloses phases that, being non-temporal, do not exist until they are traversed. For an entity to exist is for it to have a minimal duration, i.e. for becoming to actualise into being. A physical instant is an imaginary section through this becoming.
What it comes to is that the world is either a self-realisation and we live in a kind of cognitive bubble chamber, or the mind is a fiction and the world, including the brain, is vast, unobservable spectacle in the void.
To maintain that one can assume an objective perspective is coherent only if nature is mind, so the perspective does not sacrifice psychology to achieve objectivity.
Problems with materialism beyond the derivative and uncertain sources of perceptions and the construction of entities in an “empty” hypothetical space, includes the “time” taken by – and the how of – the transmission and combination of the senses to a unified object. To invoke a mechanism for the unification of experience – the reintegration of that which science had fragmented – illustrates the improvisation of present-day thinking in psychology. Such postulates ignore other aspects of perception, e.g. object recognition, familiarity, constancies, conceptuality and category membership. In sense-data theory, the overwhelming contribution of mind to perceptual objects is secondary and post-perceptual. In microgenesis, this contribution is preliminary or pre-perceptual.
The notion of the real is meaningless without mind. The relation of appearance to reality is that of mind to physical nature. Appearance is unreal only in relation to objects perceived as more real, or entities inferred as ultimately real. However, real and unreal apply to perceptual images or objects, not physical entities. This may not be the case with fact or truth, for we do not speak of objects or entities as being timelessly real, as we do of truth. Yet in spite of all the arguments concerning “timeless truths” , at least since the famous sea battle of Aristotle, it is difficult to understand how such terms take on meaning in the absence of mind.
… the real is not a limit on existence.
We can agree that the unknown is a swamp of superstition and false belief that is that is slowly drained by science. But can we also agree that the unknowable may well be a reservoir of mystery at the limits of scientific explanation?
The microgenetic theory of mind applied to actualisation in the physical world entails a manifold of nature unified at the onset of an epoch that gives rise to novel particulars. Diversity does not combine to unity but, like speciation in evolution, is the outcome of of an individuation of the whole.
Followed deeply enough, a psychic nature, or a subjective universe, is a metaphysics of evolutionary psychology.
Historically, the view of an individual as a vehicle through which the forms of nature actualise preceded the idea that experience is what the self experiences. If we strip away the superstition that overlays animism, and its ornamentations in magical thinking and everyday life, and accept the bare primitive intuition of mind in nature as a kind of unmediated truth, we are left with a sophisticated theory of reality that asks what features of psychic life are present in the world and how those features are elaborated in the human mind.