an animistic conception of mind

lots of very tiny things from inside atoms

startled atomic anatomica

it is not possible to distinguish mind from matter. a being is a mentality; an atom is a being: therefore an atom is a mentality. the scientific assumption that mind is a product of particular biological processes that are distinct from processes occuring in inanimate matter is failing to convince. the idea that inanimate matter sometimes arranges itself into complex structures that at some point of complexity engage first ‘life’ and then later ‘mind’ no longer satisfies. biologists attempting to home in on the precise point of structural complexity at which the heretofore ‘inanimate’ matter springs to ‘life’ and becomes ‘animate’ and, much further along, the precise point at which the heretofore ‘insentient’ biota become ‘sentient’, and at what point ‘sentience’ is sufficiently structured to be called ‘mind’ are more and more bewildered, not less and less, the more they learn. it seems that, while thresholds do exist, all the qualities of all beings are determined as if genetically by the inner nature of their component parts in negotiation with their environment, and not suddenly incurred as a reward for achieving specific patterns of complexity.  life, sentience and mind are in-dwelling in the atom and all material beings are mentalities.

mystical interpretations of phenomena based on the idea that we have souls that ‘inhabit’ our material bodies which ‘die’ when they depart also fail to satisfy. the idea of the soul that incarnates by infusing itself into an independently derived body which is itself ‘just’ a complex of inanimate insentient molecules arises from observations of out-of-the-body experiences and communication with the dead. but human beings are capable of projecting, singly or simultaneously, a vast variety of discarnate portions of themselves, or perhaps i should say, versions of themselves; and are not normally ‘dead’ or mindless while doing so.

a great deal of legitimate science has been done on the subject by non-western scientists, and some western studies have confirmed some tiny aspects of their work. our bodies undoubtedly do actively seek, mindfully and spiritedly, to engage an evolving ‘soul’ while still in the womb, and are susceptible to possession by a large number of different souls throughout their lives. these apparently discarnate beings can be understood in terms of a larger context that doesn’t deny the mentality, psychicality and spirituality of the material body that hosts them, or the materiality, carnality and even mortality of beings such as souls and spirits. while some of them are symbiotic with our bodies for a while, we are only just beginning to become aware of the complexity of the human being and have not even begun to imagine what the implications of our new discoveries are for our understanding of other animals, plants, planets and stars when we begin to extrapolate.

mind is not a thing, but a system of processes and the atoms of all matter participate in processes that can truly be called mental.   understanding the inner qualities of atoms is a major scientific study, and astounding progress has been made. but within the context of current conceptions of matter which assume that there is a real distinction between the animate and the inanimate, atoms are regarded as inanimate, willless, not ‘smart’, and so silly mistakes are being made which hamper investigations in vital directions and encourage misinterpretations that push research up monumental blind alleys the addressed of which get mistaken for scientific truth.  that the subatomic particles that atoms are composed of are themselves complex microcosmoses clustering within an atom is quite clear. but as an intelligent lay reader, i get the idea that some scientists are beguiled by the tininess of atoms and the supertininess of their inner components to the point of imagining that they are working close to the limits of detail, the tinier particles being too small and too ephemeral to have much structure, and can therefore have only the very simplest of minds. it’s as if they are still looking for the simplest building blocks of matter, which is very naive of them, and i will show you why.

atoms are not ‘small’ and humans are not ‘big’ except within a naive humanocentric system of reference.  even within this, if you take a line running from the infinitessimally small to the infinitely large and place humans (quite arbitrarily) at the ‘mid-point’ (of course there isn’t one) the big bang and all its consequences and implications (which i am calling a cosmos,and which many scientists are still calling the universe) some distance to the right and the hydrogen atom some distance to the left all in the right proportions,you still have an infinitely long line upon which to place hypothetical entities much larger in proportion to our cosmos than our cosmos is in proportion to our atom; and on the other side, there are an infinite number of orders of smallness in proportion to which our hydrogen atom is all but infinitely vast.

tiny__s________ a ____________h_______________  b  ________ l ___ big

s and l are points selected for the sake of argument, a represents the size of an atom of hydrogen, h the size of a human being, and b the size of what our scientists are calling the universe. (i’ve made no attempt to get the proportions right)

the hydrogen atom at a is several times bigger in proportion than an entity small enough to be situated at s than our cosmos is to us.  there’d be plenty of room for whole clusters of these s entities to scamper about in a cosy little corner of a single boson, or to teem like ants over the surface of a meson, to colonise even the streams and strata of the glitzier sort of gluon and to do so within a vast ecology of fellow entities great and small and of course they’d all be logically interacting.  there’d be no limit to the minuteness of detail, complexity of structure and  mathematical crebrosity, presenting at least as great a variety and number of tractable mathematical problems and violently intractable ones, and everything in between, as our cosmos offers us. as soon as the experiential data of one of these begins to impact upon another, or with any of the other multidudinous and multifarious entities with which they share that vaaaast ecology, there’d be a transference of this meaning-laden, intricately intelligible text, and that would be ‘mind’, nicht wahr?

and you could make s or l the central point and work from there, and there’d alsways be points an infinite distance to the left and right and so on all the way – turtles all the way down, if you like, and up.

(from the big end, maybe the hypothetical entity at l would be wondering what the blue blazes could possibly be going on inside them dinky li’l big bang things (one of those things our scientists call the universe), of which all the gigmagae within all blooglattls within all snijdanks within the flazwoodles of all the megagigamacroatomoids that make up the universe-as-we-know-it are composed, along with a whole menagerie of other subgigamagic particles they’ve so far discovered in their impressive and hugely expensive laboratories somewere on the surface of the super-planet kwah in the super-universe of zyth.  ‘let’s smash it open and find out,’ they might be saying, ‘or knock chunks off it and think up all sorts of fancy names for chunks of different sizes and quality of radiance.  yeah, that’d be good science.’  but that’s a thorny ethical thicket i’d like to avoid right now, and thankfully, it’s not the topic of this article.)

of course, the time scale i’ve taken for granted emerges for us as a result of species-specific selections taken from an infinitude of possible selections of reality-mapping critera.  it’s humano-specific, the result of our minds negotiating with others within our environment, via our relationships with a wide range of animals, plants, spirit-beings, stars and beings as yet unimagined or known to us only in fantasy or shamanic visions, whose exchanges with us practically constitute those realms of thought that is specifically human, however much it might overlap with those of other species. these selections shape our experience of our environment, and condition and direct the effects we have on our environment, and they determine our sense of time as much as our sense of place, form and dynamic.

but we don’t ‘create’ time or space or any of the logistics we discern, we only select. so the sense we have that one thing is smaller than another derives from an interpretation of their interrelationships that is based upon criteria the logistics of the selection of which are utterly mysterious.  are they indeed arbitrary or not, or even negotiable?  it is unreasonable to suppose that only one could possibly be valid; and within others, our size scale would be so much unintelligible maths.

we are like babies in cribs not yet sure whether the big, wavy, not yet intelligible forms that come and go are something out there or something we do in our heads, perhaps with our fingers, which we have not yet proved for certain actually are those plump little things that sometimes dance about in front of our eyes at the end of what we think might be wrists.

let’s consider a hydrogen atom. science writers mediating the hard bits for us plebs are fond of tracing the life of an atom from its genesis through billennia of text-rich event to the present day where it finds itself part of the duodenum of a bat in a cave on earth. they ignore the indigenous knowledge that this bat is, as all bats are, deep-dreaming the planet off the exquisite teachings of the nature of moth wisdom from samples extracted from the bat’s prey, with a terrifying purposefulness that most biologists prefer not to think about, even if they could.  memory as a phenomenon is found in everything from the water of homeopathic preparations through nicad rechargable batteries to angels, gods and the universes they partly comprise, and psychics aver that an akashic record of all events in any object’s evolution is at least theoretically accessible by holding or focussing the right sort of attention on that object.  humans have a vast amount of memory that our primary ego in the apparent world (which you might call the p-brain but it’s probably best to resist it) never accesses, which includes swathes of data of megacosmic proportions of which we we’re not even conscious at the time.  there’s no doubt that the memory is there, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that an atom is aware of any of it.

now memory is an interesting word. ‘-ory’ is much the same as ‘-ary’ which means, well, something very like ‘array’.  library, commentary, ossuary – memory. memes have only recently been discerned, isolated, named and studied as varmints in their own right. so it’s astounding that we have had such a gloriously well-suited word like memory and its ancestors in our languages since ancient times patiently waiting for us all to twig to the notion that what it refers to is for all intents and purposes a meme-array.  seen as such it becomes much easier to talk about it.  we might logically concatenate whole networks of memes selected from an array of our own variously charged memes in constructing an outline memory of an event from our childhood, say coming second in the under-sevens sack race; and that isn’t to say that an atom necessarily concatenates anything according to any logical systems accessible by us.  there’s an infinitude of logistical systems and not many of them are accessible to us yet. given their internal complexity and the high level of logical similarity from one hydrogen atom to another at least from this distance, as participants in our apparent worldly chemistry, it is monumentally unlikely that they’re not doing it according to logical systems other than those we use.

what memes are is a focus of much very sensitive enquiry and i won’t claim special knowledge.  i’m happy to think of them as impressions and clusters of constellated impressions. that which receives impressions is sensory.  an impression is any detail of any event which impacts upon any medium.  a single hydrogen atom is continually receiving uncountable impressions from every direction, and responding to its own internal events as well. we can’t doubt that an atom is sensory inside and out; that is to say, sentient. sentience isn’t mentality, but mentality depends on sentience, so some of the conditions of mentality are already to be found in atoms.

but memories such as coming second in the under-sevens sack-race consist of swarms and swathes of closely logicalised memes which are interpreted as sounds semlls and images, sequences and scenes and ideas, emotions, psychological implications and god knows what if you wanted to go scrambling after its simplest building blocks. would our hydrogen atom be selecting from its staggeringly huge array of memes as specifically as we do from ours, and supplying that much logic however ‘strange’ to it and interpreting the result in self-sensable effects as we do? and if they did a whole array of equally complex but utterly other things with aspects of being of which we have no knowledge and  we would never dream of, are some sequences not mindful and others mindful?  theirs aren’t, our are?

see our atom as an organism, i.e., an organised being composed of logically interconnected parts that are enabled to function as a unified system by means of exchange, feedback and mutual support and control just as you find in a cell or, on a higher level, in a tree or an animal such as a human being or, on a higher level still, in a planet and so on to galaxies, cosmoses, clusters of cosmoses and outward and ever outward in all directions for an infinite number of tortoises, and that’s without leaving our own time-space continuum to investigate dimensions our brains allow us little cognisance of, though our planet’s mathematicians predict them and some shamans describe them or at least their access points in terms of comfortable familiarity.  there is no reason to imagine that the internal organs of the internal organs of the internal organs of atoms are appreciably less text-rich than those of whole cosmoses, to wit: planets like earth.
any scene on earth is a lot of pixils.  i’m not convinced that the cosmic is strapped for pixils to explicate vast amounts of intricate detail within atoms.  complexity doesn’t taper off to a featureless blur as human sensoria fail to discern it.  letters don’t blur on the page when you can’t find your glasses.

on the other hand, from a sufficient distance the earth with its sands and soils, forests and farms, deserts and jungles, its stones, rocks and mountains, grasses, trees, shrubs bushes and herbs, animals, birds, people, car-filled streets lined withhouses and all the richness and particularity of our planet fade to a nacrous greeny-blue, and from further away almost all its output has become a dim sparkle, and from a much greater distance it ceases to be distinguishable at all, if we depend on human sensoria.  we can no more assume that atoms are made of relatively featureless energy than that the trees far away are simpler and smaller than those close to us in a landscape.

since one hydrogen atom behaves, chemically speaking, pretty much like another, given a similar chemical environment; and since behaviour results from the forces within a system at play with those without, and those without are similar as specified above, then those within must be similar or there’d be no consistant behavious from one atom to another.  this indicates that the logistics in one hydrogen atom are pretty similar to those in another. it is inconceivable that there are no internal logistics, and they’re not random.  so there we are: atoms are  meme rich and logisticated all the way to the last gherkon (which is an entirely hypothetical, yet to be discovered particle of exquisitely brief out-of- the-atom duration although of relatively large size.  it is probably even green and warty with an acid tang and a texture like the inside of a tense grape, swarming with their size-scale equivalent of our microbes and all made of micro-atoms with whole populations of possibly but not necessarily horribly high strangeness beings hard at work building we can’t imagine what. perhaps it’s made of ‘cells’ made of ‘atoms’ made of subatomic particles – well of course it would be- but itt probably thinks it’s a whole universe, with its rather leisurely big bang located at its stem-end and the consequences and implications ending precisely at the surface of its skin, except for its radiances, such as light both self-generated and reflected, music, temperature, gravity and who knows what politics?

going back to the memory of coming second in the under-sevens sack race, you might recall that i described the memes in the array from which the elements of a specific memory was selected as loaded. emotional loading is one kind of loading.  significant indicators of the criteria for our selections from the data on the basis of which we construct our shared sense of the ‘apparent world’, vital to the intelligibility of experience, have a different sort of loading.  those that constitute access to other paradigms, or potential for growth or change have others.  some are loaded for a variety of reasons not our own.  all these loadings are energetic.  memes are variously energised and structured so as to deploy or store their energies in various ways.  even freud knew that, though he wasn’t using the term  ‘memes’. logistics are the pattern of energetic exchange, of flow, within any system.  energetic exchange determines relationships such as bonds both chemical and logical (and within the neurology of the brain these are sometimes one and the same), and emotional (and within atoms as among humans perhaps at least some bonds are emotional) and they also instigate activity and emotivity as well, leading to change and growth or diminishment and the features of life and death.

ideo-energetic exchange among event impressions according to complex logistics even begins to look like the fabric of the atoms our cosmos is partly made of.  it is life. it is mind. it is emotion. it is psyche. it is spirit.

awen                    awen                       awen


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