The Multisense Continuum:
Multisense Realism is a comprehensive approach to mind/body dualism and the Hard problem of consciousness.
I. Faith vs Fact
Is human consciousness and life in general miraculous or is it the result of automatic physical processes? The belief that our lives cannot be explained by physics alone comes in a variety of intensities, ranging from mild distrust in the infallibility of scientific to an enthusiastic embrace of spiritual certainty. Those who believe that physical science adequately explains, or must adequately explain our experience also range in strength from doubting the existence of God to an abiding certainty in the absence of God, soul, spirit, free will, or even subjective truth.
Curiously, both views seem to also foster their own brand of extremism where each side sees the other as catastrophically misguided and therefore is to blame for a variety of ills in the world. Hard science sees faith as soft minded wishful thinking, while spirituality sees physical facts as ultimately malleable to the miraculous and therefore limiting the universe to that alone is missing the point of life itself, maybe even heretical or an affront to God.
II. Symmetry in Common
What is symmetry really? Symmetry usually means that one thing is repeated in such a way as to be the same as itself, but also different in particular way. A geometric pattern is symmetrical if one side of it looks the same as the other side when folded along an axis, but we can also have symmetry in how we think of things. Pairs of opposites dominate our descriptions of everything from protons and electrons to love and hate. It is proposed here that we think of fact and faith not as two completely separate and unrelated ways of seeing the universe, one true and one false, but as two symmetrical reflections of the same half-truth, half-falsehood folded along an axis.
By looking past the dualistic illusion, we can make out a deeper unified truth…the truth of the symmetry itself. Symmetry is the common denominator between faith and fact, as both seek to ground their understanding against the opposite pole of origin. Science seeks to explain the experiences of the self by examining the facts of the universe outside of the self. Spirituality looks to our own feelings, thoughts, and experiences to explain the real conditions of the outside world. Spirituality uses metaphorical stories and ritualistic participation, prayer, etc to generate positive feelings and expectations, while science uses literal measurements and formalized experiments to generate empirical results and new theories.
The ways in which scientific ideas oppose spiritual ideas not just different but diametrically opposite to each other in so many ways, that an underlying theme can be discerned. Where
Science is concerned with phenomena which are:
- public (universally observable)
- discrete (can be defined by physical boundaries and space)
- unconscious (occurs automatically with or without observation)
- deterministic (initial conditions make outcomes inevitable)
- generic (repeatable, universal)
- anchored in matter and space (objects in relation to each other)
Spirituality is concerned with phenomena which are:
- private (personally experienced)
- continuous (ineffable feelings flow from a universal source)
- experiential (occurs in our lives directly)
- uncertain (responds to intention)
- signifying (meaningful, multiple interpretations)
- proprietary (our lives, ourselves, our body, our soul)
- anchored in energy and time (subjects expressing themselves and inspiring each other)
Within this site there are many references to this fundamental polarity, using terms like Occidental/Western vs Oriental-Eastern, or ACME and OMMM (Anything Can Mean Everything vs Only Material Matter Matters). Many arguments are currently raging online which follow the pattern in the cartoon below, with each side only becoming more intractable and intolerant of the other as the debate goes on,
The worldviews are conjugate views, one absolutely interior and one absolutely exterior.
It was from my own experience in changing from one view to the other, and experiencing the limitations of both first hand that I came to see the polarities as a continuum. In attempting to map this continuum that I conceived of, I put together an image collage, with some surprising results. I began with a basic accounting of sensation and perception, but gradually expanded it into the far reaches of artistic interiority and scientific exteriors.
The final view would ideally wrap around, with the far Western exterior view of the Absolute (Quantum Mechanics + Astrophysics) meets the far Eastern interior view of the Absolute (Satori, Nirvana, Enlightenment, Ecstasy, Rapture). This joining, called in MSR the Profound Edge represents the circularity of the continuum – like the Ouroboros snake, while the center line between the top of the skull and the pupil of the eye represents what is called here the Prosaic or Pedestrian Fold. This would be where the mouth of the snake meets the tail as an alien object to be eaten.
There are a lot of strange and interesting surprises which came out of this mural serendipitously, and I have used it as a kind of source document in some ways.