Monday, April 28, 2008

You are the River

Interview with Ken Wilber on interiority and non-dual consciousness in Salon:

This raises a fundamental question about the whole mind-brain problem. Virtually all neuroscientists say the mind is nothing more than a 3-pound mass of firing neurons and electrochemical surges in the brain. Why do you think this view is wrong?
It reduces everything. And you can make no distinctions of value. There's no such thing as love is better than hate, or a moral impulse is better than an immoral impulse. All those value distinctions are erased.

But is that scientific view wrong?

At this point, you enter the philosophy of science, and the argument is endless. Is there nothing but physical stuff in the universe? Or is there some sort of interiority? We're not talking about ghosts and goblins and souls and all that kind of stuff. Just: Is there interiority? Is there an inside to the universe? And if there is interiority, then that is where consciousness resides.

You can't see it, but it's real. This is the claim that phenomenology makes. For example, you and I are attempting to reach mutual understanding right now. And we say, aha, I understand what you're saying. But you can't point to that understanding. Where does it exist? But if you take a phenomenology of our interior states, then you look at them as being real in themselves. And that's where values lie and meaning lies. If you try to reduce those to matter, you not only lose all those distinctions, but you can't even make the claim that some are right and some are wrong.

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