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From Issue Twenty-One, April 2012 « Previous Article Next Article »

The Soul of Matter: All the Way Down

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Psychologist William James had just finished a lecture on the nature of reality when a little old lady approached him. “Excuse me, Professor,” she said, “but I’m afraid you’ve got it all wrong. The world is really supported on the back of a great big turtle.”

The venerable professor, being a gentleman, decided to humor the woman: “Tell me, then, what is holding the turtle up?”

Quick as a flash, the old lady snapped back: “Another turtle, of course.”

“And what’s supporting that turtle?” James asked, trying gently to get her to see her mistake. The conversation went on like this for another round or two until the little old lady interrupted with a noticeable tremor of exasperation:

“Save your breath, sonny. It’s turtles all the way down.”

At least so the story goes. True or not, the “turtle” incident illustrates a fundamental intuition we all share about the nature of reality: Something can’t come fromnothing. Something must “go all the way down” or all the way back. Even the big bang must have had some kind of “fuse” (religions, of course, say it was God).

James was teaching around the turn of the last century, but the little old lady’s point still carries force. In the modern-day version, turtles are replaced by consciousness. The question now is not what is holding the world up, but where did mind or consciousness come from? In a purely physical universe, the existence of mind is a profound puzzle. And if we are to believe the standard scientific view on this, then mind emerged from wholly mindless matter. But just how this occurred remains a complete mystery. In fact, I believe it couldn’t have happened without a miracle. And miracles have no place in science. I propose that our best option is to revive the old lady’s insight and proclaim that “consciousness goes all the way down.” Mind has always existed in the universe. Cosmos—the world of nature—has a mind of its own.

Perennial Questions

What’s the greatest mystery facing every person on the planet? Ultimately, it’s some version of the age-old “Where do I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going?” And these questions, which lie at the heart of all philosophy and religion, can be summed up as, “How do I fit in?” How do we humans (with our rich interior lives of emotions, feelings, imaginations, and ideas) fit into the world around us—a world that is supposed to be made up of mindless, soulless physical atoms and energy? That’s a scientific question. And, so far, no one has produced a satisfactory explanation.

We lack an explanation because our questions already assume something quite disturbing. We assume we are split from nature. We assume that humans are somehow special, that we have minds or souls while the rest of nature does not. Some of us draw the “soul line” at higher animals, some of us draw it at living organisms, but few draw no line at all. Ask yourself: Are rocks conscious? Do animals or plants have souls? Have you ever wondered whether worms or insects might feel pain or pleasure? Can trees feel anything at all? Your answers will reveal where you are likely to draw the line.

In philosophy, it is called the “consciousness cut.” Where in the great unfolding of evolution did consciousness first appear? In contemporary philosophy and science, the cut-off is usually made at brains—if not human brains then the brains of higher mammals. Only creatures with highly developed brains or nervous systems possess consciousness, so the scientific story goes.

Because of our assumed “specialness,” because of the deep fissure between humans and the rest of nature, because of the mind-body split, we need a new understanding of how we—ensouled, embodied humans—fit into the world of nature. Our current worldview, based on the materialist philosophy of modern science, presents us with a stark and alienating vision of a world that is intrinsically devoid of meaning, of purpose, of value—a world without a mind of its own, a world without soul. And this worldview has had dramatic and catastrophic consequences for our environment, for countless species of animals and plants, and for the eco-systems that sustain us all.

Our environment is being rapidly destroyed. We are currently experiencing a widespread global crisis of unprecedented proportions: climate disruption, global warming, and vanishing rainforests, along with their precious biodiversity. We are in the midst of the sixth major species extinction since life began on our planet. According to some experts, fully 50 percent of species currently alive will have disappeared by the end of this century.

Through science and engineering, our civilization has developed awesome technologies of destruction (some intentional, some not). Potent nuclear and biological weapons threaten the survival of our species, and much of the rest of nature.

To grasp just how divorced we are from the natural world, imagine trying to find your way home from another town or even just across town using only natural landmarks (without following maps or street signs). How sensitive and attuned are you to the natural landscape in which you live? How much has been blocked out, even obliterated, by the constructed environment of tarmac, concrete, and steel?

Such alienation leads to all kinds of personal and social problems—for example, people feeling split from their own bodies and from other people, often unable to integrate their emotions and feelings with their rational minds, often becoming (or at least believing themselves to be) some kind of social misfit. How many people feel at home in their own bodies, feel comfortable at work, with their families, or with strangers? Millions struggle to search for meaning in an apparently meaningless universe.

Where Do We Turn for Answers?

Unfortunately, modern science and philosophy are the major source of the problem: Their basic story or worldview is “materialism”—the world is made up of “dead atoms.” According to science, human consciousness “emerged” from dead, insentient matter. Nature itself is without any intrinsic meaning, value, or purpose because it has no consciousness—no soul. For science, there is no spirit in nature. Humans are thus at odds with the rest of the world: we are intelligent, while nature is dumb. By an accident of nature, we are special.

However, science may be seriously mistaken when it asserts that consciousness is a product of complex brains and that the rest of vital nature is a product of mindless, purposeless, unfeeling evolution. We may not be so special.

And as for religion, conventional doctrines promise a reward in some afterlife. They do not teach us to look for meaning in nature. God is supernatural, transcendent, above and beyond the world. Yet we are all conscious beings, aching for meaning. We want meaning in this life. How many people wondered about God or prayer in the face of the 9/11 catastrophe, or when a tidal wave obliterated a huge stretch of the Indonesian coast, or when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, or when Haiti crumbled, or when the tsunami struck Japan and triggered a nuclear meltdown?

According to many forms of religion, we are special by divine fiat. God gave us souls so that we may survive and transcend the inevitable corruption of the flesh. Human consciousness, spirit, or soul is separate from the physical body, and the path to meaning and salvation is through prayer to a remote, transcendent God. Attention is focused elsewhere, either toward the heavens or toward priests, rabbis, or mullahs.

But the path to the sacred may not be through priests or churches. In my experience, the sacred is all around us in nature—for example, in watching a sunset, playing with animals, walking through a forest or on a beach, swimming in the ocean, climbing a mountain, planting flowers or vegetables, filling our lungs with fresh air, smelling the mulch of rich nourishing soil, dancing through crackling autumn leaves, comforting an injured pet, embracing a loved one, or holding the hand of a dying parent. The most direct way to God, I believe, is through touching and feeling the Earth and its inhabitants—being open to the expression of spirit in the most ordinary, as well as in the awesome, events of daily life. The way to meaning in our lives is by reconnecting directly with nature itself—whether through exuberant participation or the stillness of meditation, just being present andlistening. When we do so, we hear, we feel, and we learn: we are not alone—we are not uniquely special.

For the most part, neither mainstream science nor conventional religion recognizes that humans are essentially no different from the rest of nature. Both regard matter and the world of nature as “dumb.” Both assert that human beings are somehow special and stand apart from nature because, they say, only human beings—or at least creatures with brains and nervous systems—have consciousness or souls. In my experience, and in my philosophy, I see it differently: I say, consciousness goes all the way down.

Mind: The Big Mystery in Evolution

I first became fascinated with consciousness as an eight-year-old kid in Ireland. The trigger event was discovering an entry on “evolution” in my father’s tattered encyclopedia. An old line drawing of a dinosaur caught my attention: Not only was I descended from my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on, but the entire human race evolved from some ape-like ancestors, who came from even more primitive mammals, who came from reptiles, who came from amphibians, who came from fishes, who came from jellyfishes, who came from clumps of cells, all the way down to bacteria-like, single-celled “infusoria,” as they were called in the encyclopedia (which tells you how old it was). I was astounded to learn that my earliest relatives were bacteria!

I spoke the word aloud, enjoying the onomatopoeia I heard in it—”e-v-o-l-u-t-i-o-n.” It sounded like a great unfolding, a rolling out of hidden forms, now mimicked in the way my tongue uncurled from the roof of my mouth.

But something else even more astounding grabbed me. Not only was I mesmerized by images of descending species culminating in this young fella sitting there at that moment reading a big, dusty old book but also that stupendous unfolding managed, somehow, to produce the ability to look back and contemplate the process of evolution itself. Somehow, somewhere along the line, evolution had become aware of itself.

At what stage did consciousness first appear? I had no answers. The encyclopedia gave no clues, and my parents and teachers, it seemed, could hardly understand my questions. They spoke to me of “souls” and “God’s mysterious ways,” and I was left wondering and unsatisfied, because, as far as I could make out, they were telling me only humans had souls. But such religious “explanations” didn’t fit what I had learned from the encyclopedia nor what I experienced for myself. Whatever “consciousness” or “soul” was, it was not unique to humans—but how far back did it go?

I grew up puzzled. Not that such questions burned in my thoughts every day(or were formulated in words I would use today), but from time to time, I would think back on those dinosaurs and infusoria and wonder about evolution, wonder about the feelings and thoughts pulsing through me and other creatures. That childhood mystery, Where in the great unfolding of evolution did consciousness first appear?, stayed with me. Later, it was the guiding template for my college studies and eventually turned into a career. The deep mystery of the relationships between consciousness and energy, mind and matter, humans and nature, became the focus of my work as a teacher and a writer.

Radical Nature

My work is a cry from the heart, a long and passionate call for a radically new understanding of our place in nature. By “radical,” I mean a view of nature and matter very different from the standard view in physics and Western philosophy. I mean intrinsically sentient nature. I mean a world made of matter that feels to its deepest roots. “Radical” comes from the Latin radix, meaning “root,” the foundation or source of something. Etymologically, “radical” is related to “radial,” which means branching out in all directions from a common center or root, and to “radiant,” which means filled with light, shining, sending out rays, emanating from a source, manifesting well-being, wholeness, pleasure, or love. “Radical nature,” therefore, implies nature that is sentient to its roots, composed of matter that feels something of the nature of wholeness and love all the way down, and that radiates or moves itself from the depths of its own being.

French Jesuit paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin suggested something similar with his concept of “radial energy,” which he proposed was the interior source of universal attraction and love between all elements of the cosmos, pulling them toward increased complexity (contrasted with “tangential energy” that energy physicists work with, which pulls in the direction of chaos and entropy).

As I mentioned earlier, the standard scientific view of nature is that it is composed of “dead matter”—so that even living systems are ultimately composed of unfeeling, purposeless, meaningless atoms embedded in equally unfeeling, purposeless, and meaningless fields of force. I challenge this materialist view, which is not only incoherent but also very dangerous—dangerous because it leads to the self-serving notion that humans are special and that the world of nature is there to fulfill our goals and desires. Today we see the catastrophic consequences of that myth.

We humans are not so special, yet often we think we are. Human specialness lies at the core of our civilization’s dominant stories. In the grand narratives we tell ourselves as we try to make some sense of why we are here at all—in our cosmologies, in our scientific and religious worldviews—humans are typically the central characters. But humans, or even other animals, are not the only creatures with minds. The entire world of nature tingles with consciousness. Nature literally has a mind of its own. Nature feels and responds to our presence.

In this view, matter feels, matter is sentient, matter has experience, matter is adventurous—it probes and directs its way through the long, winding path of evolution. Evolution then is the grand adventure of matter exploring its own innate potentials: from its first appearance after the big bang—from the first atom, molecule, and cell—to the magnificence and glory of the human brain. The great unfolding of evolution is literally the story the universe is telling to itself. The cosmos is enacting the greatest epic drama imaginable. Truly, it is the greatest story ever told. And we are just one of the storytellers. In the evolution of the cosmos, matter itself is the prime storyteller.

Conclusion: Nature Is Sacred

The one key message I would like to emphasize is that nature is sacred, inherently divine. As the ancient Greek philosopher Thales said, “Nature is full of gods.” Today we might say it is full of God, full of spirit, full of consciousness. Nature literally carries the wisdom of the world, a symphony of relationships among all its forms. Nature constantly “speaks” to us and feels and responds to our stories. Simply breathing in rhythm with the world around us can be a potent form of prayer. We can open our hearts and pray to the “god of small things,” for God lives in pebbles and stones, in plants and insects, in the cells of our bodies, in molecules and in atoms. And by connecting with the God of small things, we can discover this is the same as “the god of all things,” great or small. Yes, God is in the heavens, but God is also in the finest grain of sand.

I don’t believe we need priests or churches to connect us with some transcendent, supernatural God. In the religion of nature—of a natural God—priests become shamans, the whole Earth becomes our church, and the vast cosmos our cathedral. In nature spirituality, the role of “priests” is not to be an intermediary between heaven and earth. Rather, they are guides who teach us to listen to the sacred language of nature—helping us open our minds and bodies to the messages rippling through the world of plants and animals, rocks and wind, oceans and forests, mountains and deserts, backyards and front porches.

We need to develop a deep respect for nature because it is the source of everything we are. Like us, all of nature has a mind of its own. And this is because matter is not at all what we normally think it to be. Matter is not dead stuff. Matterfeels. The very stuff of our bodies, the very stuff of planet Earth tingles with the spark of spirit. It is time for us as a worldwide community to rediscover the soul of matter, to honor and respect the flesh of the Earth, to pay attention to the meaning, purpose, and value embedded in the world beneath our feet and above our heads. Maybe then we will save ourselves from the otherwise inevitable ecological and civilizational collapse that faces us within our lifetime. I think we can do it. But first we have to learn to listen.

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  • 17 Comments
  • Anonymous Icon

    sherikling Apr 04, 2012

    Dr. de Quincey,
    I read your book Radical Nature years ago, and your reference to the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead inspired me to want to study it further. I finally got the opportunity while I was getting a masters degree at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (graduated in 2011), when I took a class next door at McCormick (Presbyterian) Seminary with Dr. Anna Case-Winters. That led me to be where I am now, which is a doctoral student in process studies at Claremont Lincoln University, affiliated with Claremont School of Theology, in Claremont, CA. I wholeheartedly agree with what you've posted here, and hope to be another voice expressing such needed ideas as I move forward. I've been an IONS member since 1995, and have greatly appreciated its work. Blessings to you in what you do!

  • Jerry Kays Apr 04, 2012

    I agree with ALMOST everything that you have said ... the difference between our thinking is most likely related to different personal experiences.

    As people, human beings, we are "made in the image" ... of GOD (not God nor gods) ... I know this because I have met my own Soul, IE, GOD ... in Spirit as the (=) in the Trinity of (+=-) ... which I now call the Basic Equation of Truth, the BET (+=-).

    Most people see themselves as physical egos, that being their "lower self" compared to their True Being, their Soul or higher Self. In knowing the latter they know UNconditional Love and the specialness ... YES SPECIALness ... of being gods withIN GOD. [related to Panentheism]

    It is that SPECIALNESS that gives us the ability, and responsibility, to ENHANCE and COMPLEMENT nature ... OR ... as in the egoic view, to actually DESTROY it due to fear and greed ... not to mention the religious (more objective view of the exoteric) USE IT BY SUBDUING IT.

    The egoic view being the DISCONNECTED view enforced by what we have all been taught in grade school where DUALITITY (+/-), and it's inherent DICHOTOMIES, come from the idea that (+=-) and (-=-), (BASIC MATH), and the TWO SHALL NEVER MEET ... + GAP~VOID - ...(+/-) DUALISM. ... the common exoteric and orthodox WORLD VIEW. [the same view that gives many religions their good god (+) and evil god (-) ... the latter called the devil or Satan to be FOUGHT AGAINST.

    The Trinitarian View of the BET (+=-) is all about the BRIDGING of differences, the Spirit (=) of GOD (=) CONNECTS the TOTALITY of the WHOLE, the UNIverse !

    Such CONNECTIVITY is the UNconditional LOVE that offer the common cause of opposites to be CREATIVE via SYNERGY ... rather than egoically DESTRUCTIVE because of FEAR,

    The BET (+=-)>(+/-) [ Free PDF: http://www.spiritcalls.us/GPUB03327-00001_formatterfinal_000.swf?POPUP_ENABLED=true ]

  • Jerry Kays Apr 04, 2012

    Correction to the above:

    " ... what we have all been taught in grade school where DUALITITY (+/-), and it's inherent DICHOTOMIES, come from the idea that (+=-) and (-=-), (BASIC MATH) ...

    SHOULD HAVE BEEN :

    "" ... what we have all been taught in grade school where DUALITITY (+/-), and it's inherent DICHOTOMIES, come from the idea that (+=+) and (-=-), (BASIC MATH) ""

    A critical difference ... sorry. (also see more at www.spiritcalls.us or www.jck.gather.com )

  • tracietn Apr 04, 2012

    Yes! A thousand times, yes.

    I've been teaching this for several years in my own quiet, small way. Gently inviting...cracking open minds and hearts...encouraging people to rediscover their sacred partnership with wild nature...to remember themselves as wild nature.

    For me, your article is an elegant, eloquent affirmation of what I know in my bones, what I breathe every day. It's an invitation to explore your work and integrate a scholarly perspective.

    Thank you.

  • Wallice Apr 04, 2012

    Good stuff. I find interesting your question, "but where did mind or consciousness come from?" and your comments about mind emerging from mindless matter, the Big Bang and evolution. Could there be another simpler, yet incomprehensible, explanation? I have noticed that the concept of "eternity" is almost impossible to be comprehended by the human mind. Yet, for me, it answers the questions you mention. A universe that always was, a Big Bang that is not so big when considered to be one of an infinite number (still happening) , no start and no end but just infinite (repeating) cycles. No need for a personified builder of an automatic, autonomous an eternal system. One prime level of high-frequecy core energy that holds together others (denser) of itself (the old lady's "turtles")... all they down.

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    OldBear Apr 04, 2012

    Christian, I am an 84 year old who grew up in London during WW2. I began to ask myself and gradually come to believe in the way you propose that conscious reality is. As i tried to stay alive, get my homework done, and ignore the fact that people were trying to kill me, I contemplated these possibilities. and gradually I came to believe that we, and all animals were connected, and later as you propose, that there is intelligance in all matter. Fast forward to today as i have been agonizing over the current world situation and what it bodes for all, I have been very depressed. Yesterday for the second time I watched Tom Shadyac's movie "I am" and it gave me renewed hope that enough people have awakened to the situation to create the paradigm change that is needed. As I lay in bed last night I determined to become more inolved with IONS, and today I read these words of yours, and suddenly I was not so alone. Thank you so much Christian, I love you for this, and I hope I can get to rejoice with you at some time. I currently live in British Columbia, Canada. So it is a possibility. Peace and Joy be with you. Bernie

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    scubaman Apr 05, 2012

    great article-suggest reading SETH SPEAKS

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    troutrun Apr 05, 2012

    Very well put and certainly resonated with me and many of the ideas I have contemplated in trying to sort through science and materialism, religions and philosophy. It seems there is no simple easy answer to these questions we ask but I can't remember anyone ever explaining what 'feels' like the truth to me as well as you did here. As a conscious participant of the universe I have a burning desire to know the answers to the questions. I must confess at times I have secretly hoped that the reductionist description of the world we inhabit was suddenly and thoroughly destroyed as it should be. We may be in the minority now but that is temporary as Nature awakens more and more it is inevitable.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Tonechosen2 Apr 07, 2012

    That's the realest, deepest stuff I have ever been glued to. I have been literally behind the scenes
    reading reading and reading ever since the experience I've had and that same morning looked
    on the television and they were talking about noetic science. I can't argue disagree or add on to
    whats been said I always wished that something like this would come my way. I like the last two sentences because I have opened my mind to such a topic like this and want others to be aware
    more conscious of the world around them This world could be that much in tune with a natural twist
    that is seemed to be lost in a material world. It is about time my two cents turns into an understanding
    by not just hearing but listening like I tell some people that don't understand my questions or say so.

  • Gretchen Dreisbach Apr 09, 2012

    YES! To love nature, deeply and profoundly! I do believe that LOVE is thee energy and Spirit/Consciousness is thee Intelligence (which doesn't require a brain)....BUT, I have a question:

    What is an example of something that isn't 'nature'?
    What would then be its Source I wonder?

    If we all open our heart fields to that which is Nature do we then retract our heart fields to that which we deemed not to be Nature?

    Wouldn't this feed the illusion of separation born out of Polarity Consciousness?

    I believe that the completion of humanity's rapid ascension into 5D and beyond as the New Earth is being rebirthed, will happen the very moment that the humans CHOOSE to hold their heart fields open to ALL THAT IS! (Physical as well as non physical because the majority of the intelligence in the Multiverse is not even physical) (I believe)...

    Non matter has consciousness as well correct?

    With GREAT LOVE AND GRATITUDE my conclusion is that ALL THAT IS IS SACRED :)

    Also, what if the concept of evolution that you are referencing isn't actually linear but is instead cyclical?....and a Reverse Evolution actually took place where we are now circling back around to the higher vibrating beings that we were in ancient times? (such as the Lemurians and Atlanteans and the Light Beings that came to Earth before them...)..................?

  • Anonymous Icon

    koraline Apr 09, 2012

    If you were to ask any of the many indigenous nations that still exist on the planet most will attest to the sacredness of nature and balance as well as to mans place along side because that is the mindset they grew up with throughout the generations. You might want to ask some of the indigenous people how divorced they are from the natural world and you might be surprised Maori people for example (the indigenous people of New Zealand), will formally introduce themselves starting with the natural landmarks of the area they come from - lakes, rivers, mountains, seas,forests etc these are the things that bind them together. What they do for a living and how many qualifications they have, though impressive are secondary. Their genealogy directly relates them to nature as ancestors (hence the respect Maori and I suspect many indigenous culture have for the natural world).

    What is surprising is that many of the indigenous nations regardless of their position around the world have the same or similar stories.

    So although much of this is not new it is nice to read it under a different heading - other than cultural studies. Thanks Christian.

  • Anonymous Icon

    xiandeq Apr 11, 2012

    First, I want to thank all who have responded to my article, and for your generous comments. Second, I would have liked to have responded to each of you individually—but the software here is not set up to accommodate that.

    So, I'll just respond to a few points:

    A few of you noted the similarity between panpsychism (what I also call "radical naturalism") and worldviews of indigenous peoples around the globe. Yes, that is the case. In chapter 6 of "Radical Nature" ("The Long Lineage of Mind-in-Matter"), I trace the history of panpsychism all the way back through Western philosophy to the Pre-Socratic Greeks, and before them to the ancient Mystery Schools, who were clearly influenced by shamanic practices coming in from Northern Europe. Panpsychism is by no means a "new" worldview. It is, in fact, as much a "perennial philosophy" as idealism (the view that consciousness or spirit is primary and ultimate).

    However, despite its long lineage in Western traditions, it has been severely sidelined for hundreds of years–if not millennia. It is "new" only to modern minds habituated to various forms of materialism and Cartesian dualism. I like to view this idea of "sentient matter" (or "sentient energy") as both "new" and "ancient." What is new, in the 20th century, is the rigorous philosophical foundation for panpsychism (aka "process philosophy") provided by the metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead—which, by the way, is also profoundly consistent with quantum physics.

    So, yes, it is an ancient worldview—updated with support from modern philosophy and science.

    Gretchen asked what would be an example of something that is "not nature." Short answer: Nothing. In panpsychism, everything is, by definition, part of the natural world. Nothing exists outside nature. In other words, there is nothing "supernatural" (there doesn't need to be—because spirit or consciousness is a natural ingredient of matter-energy itself). The "source" of nature, then, is . . . guess what? . . . nature itself. Nature always existed, and always will. (Let's be clear, though, that by "nature" I don't just mean the complex biosphere embedded in a rich mineral world. No, "nature" refers to the entire, eternal cosmos.) In this sense, "Nature = God." Panpsychism is the philosophical equivalent of pantheism (i.e, "God is Nature"). This is different from panentheism (the idea that "all is in God" and that "some aspect of God transcends nature"). To me, this is an unnecessary addition. I'm not a fan of the idea of anything "transcendent" to nature (i.e., anything supernatural). Philosophically, it is simply another form of dualism, with all the problems inherent in trying to account for how "transcendent" spirit interacts with "immanent" nature. I don't buy it.

    I'm happy enough with THIS world. It is vast enough, old enough, complex enough, beautiful enough, spiritual enough, energetic enough, mysterious enough to satisfy my wildest imaginings (and beyond).

  • Anonymous Icon

    xiandeq Apr 11, 2012

    Hey Bernie ("Old Bear")—you are most definitely not alone! You, we, all of us, share a magnificent cosmos, teeming with sentience, with feeling, with awareness, with power and intelligence, with love and compassion, possibility and choice. If I'm ever up your way, I'll let you know. It would be wonderful to stop by for a chat.

    And Sherikling: Wonderful to hear that "Radical Nature" set you on a path that is likely to become your career. Many years ago, when I read David Ray-Griffin's introductory essay to the anthology he edited "The Reenchantment of Science," it had a similar effect on me—reinforcing my earlier introduction to the philosophy of Whitehead I found in Joseph Needham's seven-volume masterpiece "Science and Civilization in China," vol. 2). Say "hi" to my process buddies at Claremont.

    Once again, many thanks to all for engaging in this important discussion. Just remember: "Humans are not special," then we (and the rest of nature) stand a fighting, loving, chance.

    Blessings to all sentient beings.

    Christian

  • Anonymous Icon

    Celeste Apr 17, 2012

    This is a wonderful article and confirms what I intuitively felt as a child (and led to my rejecting of a conventional Christian belief system in third grade) and which was actually reinforced when I studied molecular biology in graduate school. I do think that there is an inherent problem with conventional evolutionary theory that leads to hierarchical thinking, one of the reasons I have been working for many years on a theory to explain the diversity we experience and the fossil record we encounter (in the present) that considers time as simultaneous rather than linear … so that what we experience comes into being at each moment and is a reflection of the world that all participating entities agree can exist at this point in time and space.

  • Anonymous Icon

    DaphneHarrie Apr 18, 2012

    I have only shared this with close friends since it seems so fey.

    I think of all my appliances, cars, and other helpers as having souls and talk to them (sub vocally if others are around:) appreciately and sometimes coaxingly. I think the third of the 10 commandments perhaps should read, "You cannot take the name of God in vain". There is power in our thoughts and words - conciousness.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Celeste Apr 25, 2012

    Daphne, I am totally with you! My husband and I do the exact same thing. And we have had some amazing experiences with our cars, for example, which I honestly think comes from the way we treat them. Our first (quite aged) Prius got us all the way home through a driving, pounding rain storm through a long, scary mountainous canyon; the next morning, we went to run an errand and the hybrid system was completely dead. It could have happened during the drive, but no, it waited considerately until we were safely home. Another time, a hatchback Honda Civic I owned kept the seat belt warning sign flashing when I took off, even though my seat belt was fastened, until I stopped to check the hatchback and found that I had neglected to secure my bike rack with my bike on it to the bumper; it was the BIKE'S seatbelt that wasn't fastened! Once I did that, the seatbelt light went off. Consciousness is in everything, I totally agree. It matters how we treat everything. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this; they made me feel good.

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    Merlyn Apr 25, 2012

    I have just joined your team and membership and have loved the two articles I have already read, reading your book now on noetc universe. Bought yesterday,and have become fascinated with all this nature if I wasn't already, ordering more books on noetc science. I thirst for knowledge, and have a very open mind. I have had some very interesting psychic happenings btw my daughter and me, throughout the years have known when she has needed my help and we have been in separate rooms of the house or hundreds of km's apart and every time she has called me subconsciously, I would love to see some scientific evidence of how and why this happens.

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