It sounds like a pretty woowoo thing to say, really smacking of the “New Age.” But this seems to be the skeleton in the closet that even physicists don’t want to admit. But some have.
That which we come to know, we know it within ourselves, and nowhere else. It does not exist as such outside ourselves. What meaning, what form, what color, what purpose could any “thing” have outside of a mind? Nothing. It is our mind that dresses reality, that gives form to objects, that brings meaning to things, that brings purpose into reality. Outside of such a mind, there is nothing, no knowing of anything, literally no “thing,” any “thing.”
Our materialist culture likes to generally think that things have an objective existence even if there is no mind present. But what objective existence would that be? Everything we know about an “object” we know it because we have a mind to know it. Without a mind, there is no knowing, and therefore there can be no “object” that is known. All the qualities about that “object” can have no objective existence without a knower of them. Qualities are the result of qualia, which takes place within mind, within consciousness.
Take, for instance, the quality of an object’s color. Color is actually qualia that happens within consciousness. It happens within us, and is not an objective phenomenon outside of us, or in an object itself. We might say that the object is the cause of color in us, but this just seems to kick the can further down the road.
What is an object without a mind to conceive it as such? We know “objects” because we have minds that perceive objects. Without a mind, what is an object? What could ever be said about an object, without a mind? Nothing, since there would be no sayer. How could it ever be anything without a mind? Can objects exist without a subject to perceive them?
It seems to me that objects and subjects arise interdependently or are co-dependent. The mind knows the object, and thus the object comes into being as such in mind, with all that object’s qualities. The object appears to the mind to be an external thing “out there,” and so the mind thinks of itself as a separate perceiving subject. Both the subject (mind/spirit) and the object (body/matter) arise as a duality together, at once, within consciousness, and are dependent on each other for their existence as two sides of the same coin. With no subject, there would be no objects. With no objects, there would be no subject. These find a oneness of existence only within consciousness.
This doesn’t seem to make any sense, but do things need to make sense for them to be real? Do propositions have to pass the logic test of our minds before we will grant them reality? Maybe not everything in this universe is absolutely intelligible by our mind. Perhaps the human mind is limited in ways that will not allow it to comprehend all things, that are beyond its capacities. Of course, I am referring to the subject in consciousness, that self that we think we are, that wants to be able to comprehend all things.
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Is everything made of consciousness? People much smarter than I have such as much. Richard Conn Henry, for example, who is Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, wrote in the journal Nature a 2005 article entitled “The mental Universe,” where he made the still remarkable statement, “The Universe is entirely mental… The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.” It’s a short one page read, which I recommend. Nearly one hundred years after the discovery of quantum mechanics we have yet to accept its startling implications, first and foremost being that the universe is made of mind (or which I think is better termed consciousness, mind perhaps being a better term for the subjective “self” in consciousness).
What else might it mean? Perhaps that the subjects/objects within consciousness cannot know this consciousness directly, the subjects thinking that it is just more kinds of objects or physical “things,” the subjects not realizing that all these objects are the flip-side manifestation of their very own subjective “selves,” and arise together with their subjective consciousness.
If we want to know consciousness, the ground of being or what many might call “God,” it seems the only way of doing this is to move outside of the subject/object split. We must go beyond the subjective “self” that we think we are, thinking we know objects “out there.” Is this possible? I think it is because I’ve experienced it, and I think there is a history of sages, mystics, prophets, and even scientists who have come to know it is possible too. For consciousness can become aware of itself. When the thoughts of the subjective mind fall away, when objects cease to appear within consciousness, and consciousness can rest in itself, then consciousness can know itself as its Self. Awareness is all that’s left in that empty black void which is also an absolute fullness of infinite potential. This is not like a subject knowing an object, and so it is not like anything else in the world that we can know. It is not a knowing from the subjective “self” that we usually think we are. It is the conscious Self knowing its Self as its Self in its Self. And this can never be explained, or intellectually known, or put into language, or logically proved, or described to another person. The only way that it can ever be “known,” is through direct experience of it.
Consciousness must come to know its Self. And this is the be-all and end-all of existence itself, being what existence is. As the Christians say, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Knowing God is consciousness knowing its Self, and it does this through the only consciousness where it can, within us, who are the ones who have “been sent,” even as Jesus. It is what he came to know, and tried to teach. Each religion has its own language, metaphors, mythologies, and symbols that point to this, but they are all pointers. All of them. And much of it will sound absolutely nuts to the subjective logical “self” mind (including this blog post), which cannot see the truth in them, which is blind to their meaning. But know Consciousness for yourself, as your Self, and you will also realize the pointers, that all truth points back to this Truth, which is your deepest conscious Self, and it is this which brings your psychological subjective “self” and every “thing” else in the universe into being.