Ah OK, so you're positing that there must be some eternal 'universal/collective consciousness' to resolve the paradox you have constructed? Think I've finally got it!
Yes, but it is in us, it is transcendental, not transcendent.
My point is still that the paradox isn't sound. Because once you accept that the external material world exists and you can (roughly) know stuff about about it, you're obliged to start from that knowledge/evidence to build your beliefs.
I have started from that, haven't I?
So you have to start by accepting that it looks like conscious critters evolved/emerged from a non-conscious universe. Consciousness doesn't seem to be eternal/fundamental to the universe.
In the temporal, historical sense you are right, but concerning the whole of the universe, the physical space-time, it cannot be without subjects, I think.
When an individual subject dies, it seems like their consciousness ceases, and that's what's likely going to happen to all of us. And the world goes on.
The nature of consciousness seem to be that it emerges in discrete systems with boundaries, with a specific singular pov located within that system (body). Which means that when that body dies, its experiencing of the world ceases, for that individual, but not others.
I agree. Did you think I don't?
These are the empirical observations and inferences you should start from. You shouldn't start by constructing a paradox and saying it doesn't fit with what's known. Because from all that we currently think we know, the existence of the universe isn't dependent on Subject-Object interaction, just the experiencing of it.
I start from the paradox because it is the whole point here. The paradox between known facts and the meaning of my nonexistence.
But you can't start from assumptions like 'The world can't exist unless I exist', and then say the evidence doesn't fit, so there's a paradox, which must mean consciousness is fundamental to existence.
It is just this from which I must start, there is no other starting point. If there were no paradox, there would be no need to start anything. The paradox is the premise of my considerations.
If you start from the evidence, your paradox simply doesn't arise.
I start from evidence and
the paradox. The paradox is a paradox precisely because it goes against facts. And still it is true. And it is this truth of it I want you to challenge, but you cannot challenge it by appealing to empirical facts, because the facts are already written in the paradox. You must somehow see
the paradox differently than I do, to try to imagine your nonexistence. It needs reflection and a certain kind of insight. Something like Descartes' sum
, 'I am'.
-- Updated July 22nd, 2017, 5:19 pm to add the following --
Now it might well be that what we currently know just scratches the surface, particularly regarding consciousness and its relationship to the physical, and what you suggest could be true. As a speculation about the fundamental nature of reality, it's fine.
I do not think there is a scientific solution to the mind-body problem, because I do not share the materialist view of consciousness as a property of matter. In fact I see no problem in consciousness, because it is one member of the subject-object relation and as such fundamental. Why do scientists think consciousness is a problem, not matter?
"The world is my world", Wittgenstein says in Tractatus
. The world is a world of meanings and instruments. Modern physics holds the view that everything can be reduced to elementary particles and their interactions. It may be so, but those basic elements must be such that they can build structures that make it possible for the awakening subjectivity to experience the world. The world must be rational, and the subject-object relation that is the precondition of all being makes it rational. A world without subjectivity would reduce to nothingness, which is absurd and self-contradictory.
And that is why, if you try to imagine your nonexistence, you do not succeed. You can only imagine something, not nothing. And if you cannot imagine nothing, what sense is there to imagine that there is a world independent and outside of your nothingness? But this is not easy to prove with words if you have never thought it through and had a clear insight of it. It comes if it comes.
-- Updated July 24th, 2017, 3:20 am to add the following --
To clarify the distinction between the individual I and the transcendental I:
I can say to someone: “Look, I am here”, and the 'I' means 'I who have this body and these memories and so on'. But I can also ask myself: “Why do I have this body and these memories?” or simply: “Who am I”? Now I look at myself from outside. I transcend myself, and who is speaking now is the transcendental subject. I believe that the transcendental subject is transpersonal: it is the pure I that connects all of us so that there is only one I that migrates through all individual subjects. But the transmigration part of this is a hypothesis, and there are some problems in it that need further thinking, for example the relation of subjective time to physical time.
-- Updated July 24th, 2017, 4:56 am to add the following --
This is how I see the mind-body problem:
I exist as an individual subject and I have a relation to other individual subjects. Other subjects exist in exactly the same way as I, but because they are there outside of me, as others, they must be material organisms to be able to have a relation to me. So their bodies are their instruments of being related to me and other individuals. And in the same way I must have a body in order to be related to others. So the material world with all its organisms can be interpreted as an instrument for me and other subjects to be related to each others. What follows from all this is that there is a correlation between consciousness and the material world. When I see someone, something happens in our organisms and the rest of the world between us, some photons hitting my retina and so on. And when I think of something, something happens in my brain, in the rest of my body and in the rest of the material world. So I see with my eyes and think with my brain. My eyes do not see and my brain does not think, as opposed to the standpoint of materialism.
-- Updated July 24th, 2017, 4:21 pm to add the following --
The origin of the basic mistake of materialism seems to be the fact that everywhere we look, we see only matter, and even the instances of consciousness we meet seem to be strongly connected to material organisms. So we make the conclusion that everything, including consciousness, can in the end be explained and interpreted as properties of matter. But in this way we forget the totality of existence: that we are in the world and part of it, but, on the other hand, conscious of that same world, seeing ourselves as part of it. Instead of starting from the metaphysical presupposition that only matter is fundamental we should start from the totality: our being in the world. In this way the situation becomes a bit more complex, one one hand, but simpler on the other hand, because this way of looking at things makes it easier to explain many difficult problems, including the pseudo problem of consciousness. The basic mistake of materialism is trying to interpret, with no success, what 'we' and 'I' denote as properties of something more fundamental, and not seeing that they are basic constituents of reality, members of the irreducible subject-object relation. But there is nothing substantial in them, they are transcendental.