Universal Mind

We talk about minds. Your mind, my mind, someone else's mind. But this is the IllusionOfIndividuality.

Consider the proposition that there is no such qualitative difference. Then we are merely the elements of one UniversalMind, the accessible surface of UniversalLife. When we think, we do not think within our own heads; we reflect and refract the thoughts of UniversalLife within the limitations of our form. We are ripples on the great river of thought and form, and our individual minds/selves/souls are merely the glittering images of these ripples in each other. -- PeterMerel

David Hume was able to explain something that happens to everyone in their life but never was sure how it happened. He was able to explain how humans are able to think of complex and imagninary beings, such as Pegasus, without ever actually seeing one. He determined that through sense perception, we are able to piece together parts of animals or things (wings on a horse=pegasus) to create a new image which we would never be able to see. It is quite fascinating to think about how something so simple can have an complex background.

Chris Palmero

Related: stigmergy. Not well discussed on WikiWiki, but here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stigmergy

Let's invoke LaynesLaw immediately:

Actually I wasn't having a debate, only defining a WikiWord, see comments about which activity on that page. Now, according to LaynesLaw, by implying a debate (via your invocation of LaynesLaw) you have debatably ended the debate. For which I suppose we should be grateful?

What kind of definition of "mind" do you have in mind (pun intended)? Or how much do you abstract away?

All of it. I'm defining UniversalMind as the surface of UniversalLife. No society intrinsic to that. The other contexts you introduce are still rooted in phenomenological concepts of life as an attribute of distinct things called organisms. That may seem a natural starting point, but it's unnecessary. If there's only one life, there's only one mind. Then to psychology, biology, chemistry and physics we can ascribe the epithet, epiphenomena. This is not to throw them out, but to challenge them for the title of basis.

We talk about minds. Your mind, my mind, someone else's mind. But this is the IllusionOfIndividuality.

Even if two minds are similar it doesn't make them the same mind. I can say there are no qualitative differences between these apples, but that doesn't lead me to conclude they are elements of one universal apple. Time and space keep everything from happening all at once in the same place. Thankfully.

Even if two apples are similar, it doesn't make them the same apple. But they may be part of the same apple tree. They are hardly independent of an apple tree, or of a communicable distinction of apple tree. How could they be?

As to time and space, these are rooted in traditional and popular systems of number that seem unnecessary here. There are many alternative ways to distinguish things - LeibnizianDefinitionOfConsciousness for one - though any particular system of distinctions seems unnecessary here too.

To make what I'm getting at just a little more approachable I'll paste in chapter one of my new LaoTse, soon to be available via taotwo.com:

 Life is not the life you live;
 Mind is not the thoughts you think.
 Life is the source of all thought;
 Mind is the course of all thought.
 Responding to thought, life takes form;
 Anticipating form, life makes thought;
 Thought and form generating each other
 Together form the surface of mind.
 Beneath this surface flows life
 Ever deeper and more subtle than thought.
That may be as clear as mud out of context, but it's the best I can do for now. I'm trying to describe the universe as a great river of life, with you and I no more than vortices upon it. --PeterMerel.

At the top of the page you seem to base your argument on the lack of "qualitative differences" between minds. I was trying to point out the fallacy behind that approach. It's trivially obvious that two minds are part of the same universe, but that is not what you mean by a universal mind, is it?

No, it's not. I'm suggesting that, rather than self-contained bubbles of thought in a Cartesian continuum of forms, we regard the interplay between thought - representation - and form - behaviour - as a universal process, a metaphorical field generated by the intrinsically mysterious life - life as a physical process underpinning what you'd call entropy. Phew! You see why this is hard to say without poetry! To talk of "two minds in the same universe" falls out of this suggestion and back into Cartesian dualism.

And time and space are not rooted in "systems of number". Time and space existed long before numbers were invented. -- EricHodges

How do you know that? And what does it mean to talk about time or space "existing"? Do you mean they exist in some larger continuum? Are they independent, or are you going relativistic on my ass? And what do such big words have to do with the little ones - life and mind?

I don't think how I know time and space existed before people invented number systems belongs on this page. I was assuming there were no solipsists here. -- EH

I don't see any solipsism in this. Time/space/spacetime are concrete concepts within a mechanical frame, but abstract within a philosophical frame. To say "time and space exist" begs so many questions I don't know where to start. The reason I ask how you know time and space predetermine mind is not to suggest solipsism, but deduction. "I think that I think, therefore I think" is deductive. "I think therefore I am" is inductive. Can you furnish a deductive introduction of your "time and space existed long before"?

How can I play a game of chess with this universal mind of yours ?

Didn't you realise? You're already playing.

Then somebody tell me the moves of the game.

You are the moves.

Is it all meaningless SelfTalk?

This bit seems to be. At least it seems to miss the point. And to do so rudely. Whoever wrote this didn't think very hard about what they were writing, or respect the spirit within which the question was asked. If you'll indulge an old man, I'll try to answer in a more respectful way.

A game of chess unfolds. Each player experiences it differently. The game of chess does not unify these experiences. Each player focuses on different aspects of the game, interprets them differently, and feels differently about them. Each learns as they go. One no longer makes the mistakes that afflict the other. In the course of the game the two will learn lessons from each other.

Now take the chess board back to your room and play a game against yourself. Turn the board around from turn to turn if that helps. You may learn lessons from this too. Not the same ones. But if you play yourself again, having learned some lessons about the game, you will play differently and learn more.

What is the difference between lessons learned playing against someone else, and lessons learned playing yourself? If there is none, then why do you play against others? If there is one, then that's one mode of UniversalMind.

The SimpleMinded solution: there are things (in the universe), and my incorporation of them in my mental map. My mental map is like no other, and is incompletely organized. I can communicate about these things to others only as clearly as I understand them. -- DonaldNoyes

There are many folk that pick at the philosophical basis of your mental map - http://www.consciousentities.com/deadends.htm is a nice overview. I'd put the same response here as above to Eric: rather than self-contained bubbles of thought in a Cartesian continuum of forms, here we regard the interplay between thought - representation - and form - behaviour - as a universal process, a metaphorical field generated by the intrinsically mysterious life - life as a physical process underpinning what you'd call entropy. I can't see why you should concern yourself with this alternative if you're content with the "bubbles" view. An unexamined philosophical basis doesn't make your mental map "simpler", however. --Pete.

My mental map includes Philosophy. It is not a bubble, because it includes the mindful interaction of communication with others and the relating and integration of life experiences. The solution is SimpleMinded. I do not imply that the mental map is simple. -- DonaldNoyes

I'm thinking right now that my philosophy students would benefit from interacting with this page and asking questions here. But who is thinking this - and what does it mean to think in this medium? I am interested in what can be experienced by way of asking these questions. -- An instructor from Connecticut


I am thinking that there seems to be a confusion between thinking and expression. Expression is what you make your thoughts become in an exchange with others, and usually the expression does not measure up to the thought that went into its creation. What one thinks and what one expresses may never approach the certainty that definition seems to require. What I have had to say on this page is illustrative of that.

The question "Who's on first? is an attempt to make thoughts of different persons to come into agreement. Each observer and interpreter will make of the question and the substance of the expression meant to be an answer to be a potentially agreeable statement which will evoke the response of "Yes".

-- DonaldNoyes

The second chapter of the as yet unrevealed taotwo.com goes something like:

 Forms attract and repel thoughts;
 Thoughts distinguish and relate forms.
 Adaptation distinguishes growth from decay;
 Understanding, ease from difficulty;
 Measure, part from whole;
 Potential, high from low;
 Language, song from speech;
 Behaviour, past from future.
 The sage desires no form, teaches no thought,
 Save harmony with the ebb and flow of forms.
 He nurtures but does not control forms,
 Accepts, but does not desire them.
 Releases, but does not reject them.
~ Pete The question of mind is always going to run into the limitation of language and it’s inherent parameters. The question of universal mind is driven by the very mind that is limited by the perceived perceptions and actual boundaries of the aforementioned mind. So, the conundrum takes hold. Fortunately, this is an existential question. No amount of thought will provide an answer. In fact, the only amount of thought that could possibly provide even a hint of the truth would be the total exhaustive type. What if the mind could possibly be silenced…. Enter LaoTsu!!! Enter Jesus! Enter Buddha! Enter Bahgwan! Enter Shakespeare! Enter Gurdjieff ! Enter Krishnamurti! Enter Gibran!
 Lao Tsu (based in the above excerpts) is painting a picture of the limited human mind and, also, portraying what the experience is to be beyond the mind. Unfortunately, the mind can only seem limited or unlimited to someone that has not gotten beyond they’re own apparatus. I am not saying that a person cannot comprehend the limitations or lack of limitations of the mind as it pertains to theory. It is only through the direct experience of existence that this conundrum can be solved. 
In terms of universal mind, this is more a matter of awareness of self, or better yet, awareness of lack of self. To discuss any type of universality, whether mind, entity, power, or one-ness seems almost like debating the texture of moon sand without ever having been to the moon. The other kicked is, you probably won’t give a s#$% when you get there. Thanx!!!

I finally read this page a long time after someone first suggested it to me. The absolutely strangest thing is that I arrived at this conclusion BEFORE I ever even read the page or anything like it, including derived conclusions like "identity is really meaningless".

Here is how it happened:

First of all, I don't believe that any configuration of matter, no matter how elaborate, can ever really perceive things outside of itself or, more importantly, think on its own, any more than your computer can think or feel on its own.

With that said, I had no choice but to suppose that there is an 'other' or 'others' that, together with a body and physical mind (all the grey and white stuff) completes the experience of consciousness and thought.

Now, to the question of whether there is a single 'other' or 'others' (plural). Most religious people believe an 'others' model; IOW, they believe in a soul that animates life. There are problems with this, though. "What creatures have souls?", "When do they get souls?", "In clinical death, do souls leave the body?", just to mention a few.

OccamsRazor suggests, therefore, that there is a single 'other' that permeates the Universe. The CNS would be a highly specialized organ system to interact with it. Do individual cells participate in it? Maybe. Was the process of evolution guided by it? Probably.

But the really hard question is: to what end? This I have no answer for. -- TheerasakPhotha

"I don't believe that any configuration of matter, no matter how elaborate, can ever really perceive things outside of itself ..."

Your belief in no way changes the very real possibility that a configuration of matter can perceive things outside of itself, or indeed "perceive" at all. In fact, the discoveries and postulates of neurobiology and cognitive science suggest that every sentient being is a working example of that possibility. I suggest reading the works of Joseph Ledoux, DanielDennett, V. S. Ramachandran, and Antonio Damasio for evidence of this. -- DaveVoorhis

Pete, (please consider the following an exchange of info, not a religious discussion) I find it fascinating that your idea, here, is possibly the exact same thing, or extremely close, to something taught by Jesus. He said "I am the life" and those in Him have a "river of life flowing" through them. The only thought or action that is acceptable in that life are those flowing from Him through us. Those not in that Life are like TheBorg. Those in it are like TheBorg, but driven by the UniversalMind of the good kind. Not that TheBorg was evil - it just "is." Whereas the UniversalMind living in TheLife? is, by definition, good.

On another plane, your idea seems very Eastern, like Hinduism, where everyone and everything is just a manifestation of God. -- BrucePennington

Yes, you have put it very well Bruce. And showing off your vedantic reading too! Jason will be proud. Rendering the first chapter of Lao in this mode is the only way I've been able to make it make very much sense. I am not surprised to echo Jesus in this - nor Sufis nor Buddha nor what have you. I object to the externalization of God as a figure of worship simply because it distracts people from this. "I'm god and you're not" - what a despicable lie. GodIsSomethingYouDo.

As to TheBorg, they're a little stagnant to make a very good river. If there were an outflow as perfect as their inflow ... there's a neato plot for the next StarTrek flick. Ah, any excuse to get JeriRyan? back up on the stilletoes ... ~Pete

Yes, TheBorg really isn't a great analogy, since the individuals added to TheBorg no longer have individuality. Whereas, in the Christian WorldView, people are intentionally given uniqueness and talents, like your creativity. Are individual traits, in your UniversalMind model, just various expressions of the UniversalMind? -- BrucePennington

Well, the first impression I had when I saw the WikiWord UniversalMind was that it was one other expression selected as a substitute for God (infinity, light, truth, etc). There is a known representation of perception as something like a cummulative probability distribution, where for all practical purposes, if the stimulus exceeds a given threshold (or falls below one) there is no change in the output any more. In this sense, when creating (thus being Gods as per your poetic assertion) we are responding to stimuli beyond the threshold of output differences (ie differences are 0) so our mind is blended into the "God's mind" or UniversalMind. To discern differences the stimulus must be "small", not godly, human, pigly, not-constructivist, destructivist, of a drank, etc.

Your references to prophets made that first impression even more founded.

I guess I vulgarized this a bit :) In any case this is what I got from this. --ArbenTapia?


MayZeroSix and again FebruaryZeroSeven

CategoryEasternThought CategoryMind

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