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The Metaphysical Message of Bohr, James, and Goethe (Continued)


[William James]
{from p. 331}

Our own formula has escaped the metempiric assumption of psychic atoms by *taking the entire thought (even of a complex object) as the minimum with which it deals on the mental side*, and the entire brain as the minimum on the physical side. But the 'entire brain' is not a physical fact at all! It is nothing but our name for the way in which billions of molecules arranged in certain positions may affect our sense. On the principle of the corpuscular or mechanical philosophy, the only realities are the separate molecules, or at most the cells. Their aggregate into a 'brain' is a fiction of popular speech. Such a figment cannot serve as the objectively real counterpart to any psychic state whatever. Only a genuinely physical fact can so serve, and the molecular fact is the only genuinely physical fact. Whereupon we seem, if we are to have an elementary psycho-physic law at all, thrust right back upon something like the mental-atom-theory, for the molecular fact, being an element of the 'brain,' would seem naturally to correspond, not to total thoughts, but to elements of thoughts. Thus the real in psychics seems to 'correspond' to the unreal in physics, and *vice versa*; and our perplexity is extreme.

{from pp. 331-3}

The perplexity is not diminished when we reflect upon our assumption that states of consciousness can *know*. From the common-sense point of view (which is that of all the natural sciences) knowledge is an ultimate relation between two mutually external entities, the knower and the known. The world first exists, the then the states of mind; and these gain a cognizance of the world which gets gradually more and more complete. But it is hard to carry through this simple dualism, for idealistic reflection will intrude. Take the state of mind called pure sensations (so far as they may exist), that for example of *blue*, which we may get from looking at the zenith on a clear day. Is the blue a determination of the feeling itself, or of its 'object'? Shall we describe the experience as a quality of our feeling or as our feeling of a quality? Ordinary speech vacillates incessantly on this point The ambiguous word 'content' has been recently invented instead of 'object', to escape a decision; for 'content' suggests something not exactly out of the feeling, nor yet identical with the feeling, since the latter remains suggested as the container or vessel. Yet of our feelings as vessels apart from their content we really have no clear notion whatever. The fact is that such an experience as *blue*, as it is immediately given, can only be called by some neutral name such as *phenomenon*. It does not *come* to us *immediately* as a relation between two realities, one mental and one physical. It is only when, still thinking of it as the *same* blue (cf. p. 106), we trace relations between it and other things, that it doubles itself, so to speak, and develops in two directions; and, taken in connection with some associates, figures as a physical quantity, whilst with others it figures as a feeling in the mind.

Our non-sensational, or conceptual, states of mind, on the other hand, seem to obey a different law. They present themselves immediately as referring beyond themselves. Although they also possess an immediately given 'content', they have a 'fringe' beyond it (p. 35), and claim to 'represent' something else than it. The 'blue' we have just spoken of, for instance, was, substantively considered, a 'word'; but it was a word with a *meaning*. The quality blue was the *object* of the thought, the word was its *content*. The mental state, in short, was not self-sufficient as sensations are, but expressly pointed at something more in which it meant to terminate.

But the moment when, as in sensations, object and conscious state seem to be different ways of considering one and the same fact, it becomes hard to justify our denial that mental states consist of parts. The blue sky, considered physically, is a sum of mutually external parts; why is it not such a sum, when considered as a content of sensation?

The only result that is plain from all this is that the relations of the known and the knower are infinitely complicated, and that a genial, whole-hearted, popular-science way of formulating them will not suffice. The only possible path to understanding them lies through metaphysical subtlety; and Idealism and *Erkenntnisstheorie* [Epistemology] must say their say before the natural-science assumption that thoughts 'know' things grows clear.


[Peter Mutnick]

The insight of James that the whole brain, in the noumenal sense, is not a physical fact at all is supreme! In the metaphysical hierarchy of bottom-up causation, only the synaptic junctions are physical, while the neurons and networks are emotional and the whole brain is mental. Also, the realization here of James that the *phenomenon* transcends the mental and physical dichotomy lays the foundation for my seven-world metaphysical system in which the phenomenal, mental, and physical worlds are the fifth, third, and first worlds, respectively. The *phenomenon* is the phenomenal object to the classical observer in the seventh or meta-physical world. Also, James here foreshadows expressedly the metaphysical epistemology of the Copenhagen Interpretation.

James himself later developed the notion of the "bit of experience, neutral between content and consciousness". This became the cornerstone of his radical empiricism, which he insisted was also radical pluralism. This does not contradict, however, the earlier notion of the stream of consciousness, but rather establishes a noumenal foundation for it. The subjective atomism established by James was further developed and deepened by Alfred North Whitehead.

As for the relations of the known and the knower, James first of all makes clear that they must transcend each other, or be external to each other, which sets up the noumenal-phenomenal polarity of the metaphysical framework. Ultimately, however, the knower must be the knower of the phenomenal description as well as the holder of knowledge about the known as it is projected back into noumenal reality. This transcendental magic can be accomplished by the clever use of the Schnitt or the Split or the Cut between classical and quantal realities. It is what von Neumann promised to do in his book but did not do. The involuntary form of Attention is the Split between observed and observer (at the boundary of III + II and I) reconstructed, along with the observed, within the experience of the observer. The voluntary form of Attention is the Schnitt, at the boundary of III and II + I, while the noumenal reconstruction of the phenomenal reconstruction, i.e. the negation of the negation, constitutes the Cut at the boundary between all the extra-physical worlds and the physical world. This is the way that the unknowable noumenon in nature becomes pliant to our experience and our will.

Of course, to prove all this mathematically is possible but very difficult, beyond even the capabilities of von Neumann, who was the smartest man who ever lived. Fortunately, I am the smartest man who never lived, and my IQ, as boosted by the enlightenment I have received, is considerably greater than that of von Neumann. So, I will undertake in due time a complete mathematical exposition of the metaphysical approach to quantum theory, which I have outlined here.


[Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]
{from "Goethe's Collected Works, Vol. 12, Scientific Studies", Princeton University Press, 1988, pp. 63-4}

The Germans have a word for the complex of existence presented by a physical organism: *Gestalt* [structured form]. With this expression they exclude what is changeable and assume that an interrelated whole is identified, defined, and fixed in character.

But if we look at all these *Gestalten*, especially the organic ones, we will discover that nothing in them is permanent, nothing at rest or defined - everything is in a flux of continual motion. This is why German frequently and fittingly makes use of the word *Bildung* [formation] to describe the end product and what is in process of production as well.

Thus in setting forth a morphology we should not speak of *Gestalt*, or if we use the term we should at least do so only in reference to the idea, the concept, or to an empirical element held fast for a mere moment of time.

When something has acquired a form it metamorphoses immediately to a new one. If we wish to arrive at some living perception of nature we ourselves must remain as quick and flexible as nature and follow the example she gives.


[Peter Mutnick]

This lays the foundation for the ultimate metaphysical task of defining the reality of G-D as Gestalt-Dasein and GOD as Geometry Of Divinity. The principles are exactly the same as in the treatment of the human brain by James, except that this approach is more general and final and applies to the whole organic conception of nature. Alfred North Whitehead was fully aware of this definition of G-D and GOD, although he may not have spelled it out in every detail, even as Niels Bohr did not spell out many of the principles that he employed so decisively.

The metamorphoses mentioned by Goethe are accompanied by reincarnation, even at the most elementary level. Whenever a material form is dissolved, such as by a destruction operator, a living energy of that form continues and carries over to a new material form just coming into being, such as by the action of a creation operator. This is an incidental conclusion of subjective atomism, which will indeed alter the mathematical form of quantum field theory, although the essential conclusion of subjective atomism is that the subjective reality is primary and the material forms are just structures of the subjective experience. This requires an entirely new type of quantum field theory.



Peter Joseph Mutnick 1949 - 2000


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