Selves & Atoms II
An holistic perspective

My claim is that selves and atoms are made of the same stuff.  The major difference being that atoms do not partake of an individual long-term memory as do human selves.

In a dualistic frame selves and atoms are generally taken to represent the opposite polarities of reality.  In the materialistic frame selves are taken to have no objective existence.

In the immaterialist frame it is the existence of atoms that is problematic.  The immaterialist is responsible to explain atoms in terms of the self.

As a first approximation we may compare atoms with numbers.  The contrast here is that numbers are extensionless, as are selves.  However, real and complex numbers are intimately involved with our most primitive and sophisticated spatial concepts.  Apart from our proprioceptive system, space is an entirely mathematical construct as first conceived by Descartes.

The most advanced concepts in physics significantly undermine the common distinctions that we make between particles and space.  Particles are now comprised of abstract mathematical spaces, of which our experiential space is an arbitrary branch.

Recall then that mathematical spaces are simply logical extensions of number systems, while experiential spaces are psychological reconstructions of neural signals.  Atoms and space cannot then be said to comprise fundamental aspects of reality.

Experiential space is indeed a projection of the psyche.  Physical spaces along with the particles are known most intimately as co-dependent mathematical systems, knowable only in the context of a suitable quantum logic.

The general thrust here is that the physics is being subsumed to logicism which in its turn is being subsumed to psychologism.  The cosmological anthropic principle gives further weight to the notion that the existence of intelligence is a precondition of physics.  However strong this logic may be, it does not fully capture our sense of how both the atom and the self manage to transcend the merely logical.  That they manage this in some parallel fashion is what remains to be demonstrated.

Individual atoms and selves give the impression of being able to exist in a much more independent and self-contained fashion than is any given number.  I would chalk-up this impression to a question of degree as well as to a considerable bias.  This is not to say that we are mere ciphers, but rather that we are still struggling to appreciate existence in a truly holistic and holographic sense.


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rev. 9/22/00