Hyponoetics - Philosophy of Mind

This blog discusses ideas and concepts that I am currently thinking about for my book on Hyponoetics as an integral philosophy of mind and matter.

The View From Everywhere

Nov 15, 2022 - Category: Metaphysics  Ontology - Tag: Perception  Perspectivism  Reality

A fictitious dialogue between Socrates and Timoneus, one of his students. It was on a sunny day when Timoneus visited Socrates who was engrossed in contemplation within the tranquility of a beautiful grove.

Timoneus: Our view of the world, of things and living beings, is imperfect and full of illusions. How can we attain a true and perfect view?

Socrates: Imagine that you stand in front of a mountain at its South side and direct your gaze up towards its peak. What do you see? You see a certain shape of the mountain, as it is visible to you from your point of view at the foot of the mountain. Now, move to the opposite side or North side of the mountain and again observe it from that point of view. Similarly, as before, you will see a certain shape of the mountain but one which is different from the shape you saw from the South side.

You may even believe that this is not the same mountain seen from another side, but a completely different mountain. You can pick other points of view, from the East or West side of the mountain, or from up close or from far away, or even go into a cave and see the mountain from the inside or climb to the top of the mountain and perceive it within the panorama of other mountains and valleys. But again, it is just a different shape of the same mountain that you see. One view may show you more of the mountain than another or may show you the mountain in relation to nature surrounding it.

Timoneus: what you are saying is that each view is perfect and true considered from the standpoint of the observer. Each view in itself is true, but only partial or relative to the whole mountain. But it is the same mountain that I see from different sides. Therefore, there is no entirely true or false view of the mountain. Our perception is limited to a specific perspective. It's in our nature as individuals that we are limited to partial truths. But is there a reason why you would have to change your view of the mountain?

Socrates: No, there is no reason to change the view of the mountain, because each view of the mountain does not show the mountain as more real than another view. You may want to change your view of the mountain if you are no longer satisfied with υοθρ view or if you want to increase your knowledge of the mountain by viewing it from a different perspective.

Timoneus: How is this analogy of the mountain relevant to us human beings?

Socrates: In place of the mountain, take different philosophical and scientific theories about the world. For example, materialism and idealism. On the surface, they seem to contradict each other, since they each suppose something different as the primary substance of which the world exists. Is it matter or mind of which the world exists? Or a combination of both, like in dualism? If we consider each philosophy to be just a different view of the same reality, then we come to see that neither is entirely true or false, but that they are just partial truths of the same underlying reality. These different perspectives of reality can be unified on a higher level.

As a physicist I may study the world of existing things and consider them to exist independently of my mind and to have physical properties that are different from the mental properties of the objects of perception in our mind. On the other hand, as a philosopher, I may study the world of existing things from the viewpoint of my mind or consciousness and conclude that all I know about these things is that they appear in my mind as objects of perception, as representations with mental properties and that I cannot know the nature of the real things as they are in themselves.

Finally, on a higher level, these two views can be unified into a theory that allows both matter and mind to be a part or rather aspect of reality, and thus, they no longer contradict each other but are reconciled in this higher unified view. But even this is still a further view of reality and not the total truth of reality itself, which we, as limited human beings, will never be able to know completely. However, a unified view gives us a more comprehensive and holistic understanding of the world and how everything in it is interrelated and connected.

see also video The View from Everywhere.