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Tag Archives: Quantum Physics

On the Eternity of the Mind and the Multiverse: 20 watts

There has been lingering dissatisfaction with Spinoza claim that some part of the mind is eternal and does not die, a diagnosis of his:

EV29 – The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the body, but there remains of it something which is eternal.

Robert Lanza has a mediation on death and the illusions of time which perhaps helps position Spinoza’s claim, Does Death Exist? New Theory Says ‘No’. I’m not one for the New Age end of this nor loose appropriations of quantum physics, but the general scope of this kind of theorized eternity, combined with my own interpretation of Spinoza’s take of “mind” as information and organization fit well together (here on information and Spinoza: Information, Spinoza’s “Idea” and The Structure of the Universe). Einstein is invoked by Lanza, and of course Einstein was to some degree influenced by Spinoza:

Death does not exist in a timeless, spaceless world. In the end, even Einstein admitted, “Now Besso” (an old friend) “has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us…know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” Immortality doesn’t mean a perpetual existence in time without end, but rather resides outside of time altogether.

I’ve discussed Spinoza’s thinking on the immortality of the Mind before: Spinoza, On The Immortality of the Soul, I think you can see the homology between Spinoza’s thinking and Lanza’s quantum depiction. At the very least we can see what Spinoza means, even if it is not granted.

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Panpsychism in the West: From There to Here

Panpsychism: The position that all things, to some degree, think, or cogitate, or experience, or feel

I neglected to note the spur of my interest for the post Spinoza’s Degrees of Being: A History. For some time I had been tracking the sources of Spinoz’a conception of degreess of privation and power, and when I came to read David Skrbina’s Panpsychism in the West I was pleasantly surprised to find such an informing history. In it professor Skrbina attempts to locate all historical Western Panpsychic positions, and to show their relation to each other, up to contemporary times.

What was missing in his story I thought was the vital link between Plotinus and Augustine (he would I believe agree), which helped bridge Scholasticism to Neo-Platonism, until Plotinus was retranslated by Ficino in the early Renaissance. This period of history simply remained under-addressed. In my thinking it really is this Plotinus-Augustinian connection which puts Campanella and Spinoza into conceptual relation, and more so, it is the epistemological answer, in particular how the skeptical question is resolved in degrees of being, as degrees of power, that provides the fulcrum of most panpsychic approaches.

The book is highly recommended for those interested in the position of panpsychism, as there really is no contemporary example of such a study. Of note he characterizes the existing contemporary positions to be:

1) Process Philosophy (stemming from Bergson and Whitehead: Hartschorne, Griffin, DeQuincy and Clarke).

2) Quantum Physics approach (Bohm, Hameroff).

3) Information Theory (Bateson, Wheeler and Chalmers).

4) Part-whole hierarchy (Cardano, Koestler, Wilber).

5) Non-linear Dynamics (inspired by Peirce: Skrbina).

6) Real Physicalism (Strawson).

To these I would add a seventh:

7). Neo-Spinozist, Onto-politicism (Deleuze and Guattari, Negri, Hardt, Balibar, Montag, Gatens).