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Integrating Physiology and Psychology

Donald Hoffman, an American Cognitive Psychologist proposed two theorems - Multimodel User Interface (MUI) and Conscious Realism, and from those he says that, “the physical world is not objective but is an epiphenomenon (secondary phenomenon) caused by consciousness.”


From these, he also says that, “the senses evolves and just perceives the ‘fitness payoffs’ - and makes forget the actuality of ‘Consciousness’, and so - if one sees the truth - the objective reality becomes meaningless and explodes”

And, when a living being dies - the senses also dies with him and vice versa (i.e. when there is birth, the senses are getting attached with it).

Integrating this with Psychology, in my view, “If thoughts of whole humanity/living being dies - then the sensual urge (i.e. fitness payoffs) becomes meaningless. And so if the ‘perceiver’ (which is the sensual urge) dies - the objective reality also dies”

And so, coming to the point, “when the sensual urges totally dead and the living beings physically die, will this universe which is continuously expanding, stops it’s movement and shrinks - and then will disappear? - and if again thought emerges - then the universe will expand - and provides according to the perception of the thought?”

Is this the same thing which is said in “religious scriptures” - as the birth and death of Maya and Brahma?

Thanks for the two YouTube links which I found very interesting.

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Hello @Viswa great topic.

Hi @Dominic: Nice to meet with you again. (I wanted to email you the other day via private but I couldn’t.) :frowning: Anyways, here we are again.

It seems logical that if we are serious about anything, this is at the root of all inquiries. Donald Hoffman has a fascinating and interesting approach to the mind-body problem and the hard problem of consciousness.

Firstly, I have some questions for you guys and see if you can help me better understand this. What are the implications of having assumptions in our mathematical theories?

As I understand it, the consensus is that matter exists in an objective reality, the brain is matter and consciousness is. What is the current consensus on matter and consciousness?

As of today, what are the facts surrounding the brain/mind/consciousness? What exactly do we know? Is it a fact that we do not know what creates consciousness? We do not know what role the brain plays in consciousness. And we do not know what creates matter? What do we know about an objective reality?

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Hi @Conditioned

First of all, what is ‘consciousness’? what is an ‘objective reality’?

We just know the names and laws said by the scientists. But we don’t know what is ‘Mind’? Mind is thoughts. If there is no thoughts, there is no meaning to calling it with any name.

We don’t know - why we are born. We don’t know why there is Day and night. Why not only day or only night (or) one more and one less. Why we dream. When did the first thought (or) first ‘self/I’ is formed. We don’t know how a first living being formed. Because a sperm/egg is needed to create a body and so the creation of this first living being is way beyond our imaginations. How does the Hydrogen & helium came and changes into many other elements with many permutations and combinations, forms strong and light elements like air,water,sand,rocks,metals. How nerves,stomach,heart,brain,etc… are formed. How one’s lines in hand not ever the same compared with any other person.

We don’t know anything. But it happens. We call it Nature and move away from questioning it but not remaining with that question.

What do you think?

Hello @Viswanath,
Yes, I agree with you. It seems we as individuals know very little about the inner workings of the X [senses, brain, mind, and consciousness]. The science community seems to know very little. Another kinfonet member and I attempted to explore the workings of the X but it seemed all we could do was speculative. https://forum.kinfonet.org/t/can-the-mere-act-of-observation-alter-reality/380?u=conditioned It’s tricky to explore X because we are using the X to look at the X.

Thank you for the interest. It is challenging and exciting because we are really dealing with the unknown here. We can agree we don’t know and since we know nothing we can simply try to explore and not try to arrive to any conclusions. Nonetheless, since X are the tools we have to understand reality, it seems important to begin with questioning the tools. What do you think would be a good question or good place to begin?

In this world of discovering the unknowing we are in need of something called intelligence and yesterdays quote put a light on that: https://kinfonet.org/daily_quotes/illusions-are-reality-the-illusions-that-one-has-imagination-all-that-is-reality

Hello @WimOpdam,
Thank you for the link, it’s a great article on intelligence.

The unknown can be complex to explore. It seems that if we use K’s, Buddha or etc., as our knowledge base then we cannot discover anything new for ourselves. K and others seem to have arrived at many conclusions and seem to have prescriptions for them as well.

K: “Everything that thought has put together is reality. This tent has been put together by thought, it is a reality. The tree has not been put together by thought, but it is a reality. Illusions are reality - the illusions that one has, imagination, all that is reality…”

These statements may be facts and accurate but those are his findings and not mine. I question whether anything can be transferred to someone else. It seems to me that the brain must discover it for oneself to treat that as a fact. This is where we are at, we arrive at the point of questioning and exploring the X [senses, brain] itself.

K: “And how will you discover what is right in this reality? - discover for yourself, not be told. So we have to find out what is the accurate, correct, right action, or right livelihood in the world of reality, and reality includes illusion. Don’t escape, don’t move away, belief is an illusion, and the activities of belief are neurotic, nationalism and all the rest of it is another form of reality, but an illusion. So taking all that as reality, what is the right action there?”

Here he explicitly says to discover it for yourself but then goes on to give a prescription on how to do it. If you want we can explore the unknown and all while we are experimenting what he has suggested to do. But we must also question it.

If you’re interested, we can see what we can explore for ourselves. The brain seems to be a very sophisticated and complex process. I noticed the first time I had read this article (it was about 2 years ago) that I took his words as reasonable and I immediately experimented. I did not notice the authority I had given him (I have done this many times in the past). I did exactly the opposite of what he has said but the brain seems to be looking for answers and prescriptions. Like I said, it may be very tricky and uncomfortable to explore the unknown but that shouldn’t stop us. I just want to say that I may be wrong about everything (and I am sorry for this) but I am not claiming to know anything or have a desire to arrive anywhere. We can just see what happens or not. I honestly don’t know where to begin. If you are interested, what do you think?

Hi Conditioned,

You say the following,

What do you mean by saying that one can explore the unknown? With what instrument can one do this?

Why being sorry for what you are?
Isn’t the beginning in the acceptance of what you are?
Isn’t the naming of things already on the road of knowledge?

So in exploring with dialoque we must accept the fact of being wrong! David Bohm made an expliciet note of the shortcoming of language as tool to communicate exactly accurate. Lot of this is to be found on the site in honour of his, which name i can’t reproduce now.

W’ve given a lot of meanings to words, which looking at the word as such isn’t always right. And also the word is not the thing described, but that’s also right in pictures. ‘This is not a pipe’ from margritte is such an eyeopener.

I’m not sure that the passage you have quoted from is an esoteric knowledge that needs to be somehow “transferred”. Granted K is using the word “reality” in an unconventional way, but if you are aware of the context for it, it isn’t an alien perception we have to accept from “on high”, on authority.

To be brief - this peculiar usage of the word “reality” arose from a series of conversations K had with David Bohm in 1975. They were trying to find a way of distinguishing between the world created by thought (convincing as it may be), and the possibility of truth - and Bohm related to K that the word “reality” has an etymology (from latin) meaning “thing”. So they agreed to use the word “reality” to mean any “thing” put together by thought. That is, culture, memory and knowledge are all “realities”. And as technology is put together by thought, it is also a “reality” in that sense. Whereas nature is not put together by thought, meaning that it isn’t part of the same “reality” of thought - nature is an “actuality” independent of thought. While truth, they said, is beyond even the actual - it is something unknown and unknowable in a strict sense.

I don’t think these are esoteric findings. A thought or image of a tree (which is an abstraction based on memory) is obviously not the self-generating phenomenon of the plant we call “tree” - and similarly all the thoughts we have are abstractions of things which are not reducible to those abstractions. In this sense, the world of thought is not the truth of things (of nature). And yet our thoughts have a tremendous vividness and persuasiveness about them which makes them very real to us - they compel us to act in such a way as to create separate nations, separate religions, all of which has deeply imprinted itself on the actual world of nature (through land borders, separate material cultures, places of worship, etc). But this reality is not truth.

I don’t see what is prescriptive about this?

Hello @charleycannuck,
These are great questions or a good place to begin.

The unknown about the inner workings of our senses and brain. We label things that are unknown to us as ideas of thought, consciousness, mind, movement, awareness, intelligence, reality etc.

Yes, we are questioning the tools we have available to us. The same tools K, the Buddha and all of us have to explore. We have our body that has senses and a brain. It’s odd but we are questioning the senses/brain with our senses/brain.

"Conscious Realism is described as a non-physicalist monism which holds that consciousness is the primary reality and the physical world emerges from that. The objective world consists of conscious agents and their experiences that cannot be derived from physical particles and fields. “What exists in the objective world, independent of my perceptions, is a world of conscious agents, not a world of unconscious particles and fields.” Hoffman

Yes, these are good questions.

The feelings of “being sorry” or joy arise and we ask why do we react? Why do we want something different? These are valid questions. Where are the questions coming from? Is it just natural chemical process of the brain? We are questioning not those questions in particular but the brain/senses themselves.

Yes, but what are we? What is their to accept and from whom? What is giving the question and who is providing the answer? It’s difficult to know where to begin. We are questioning this about the senses/brain.

Yes, but our brain/senses is all we have.

Yes, I agree, honesty about not knowing anything about the sense/brain is a great way to explore.

Thanks for explaining, very kind of you. I will say that this sounds like an interesting exploration. I hadn’t realized that you meant by “unknown” those things that are just “unknown” to “us” - within oneself. I’m not sure that it is “odd” to question. This seems like something you wish to explore in dialogue, perhaps an excellent field to do so, and considering the format of this site, perhaps perfect. I wish you well. Good luck.

Hello @James,
No sorry, I apologize with my wordage, I agree with you. I don’t know or I don’t think K had a hidden motive to transfer “esoteric teachings”. I say that any findings from anyone, no matter how convincing or obvious, I question if they are transferable without one having discovered it for oneself.

Yes, thank you for clearing that up. Yes, they were talking about thought-reality as any “thing” put together by thought. And yes, I agree, it is very convincing. But, I am trying to explore the role, the process, the movement of the senses, and the brain as well.

Yes, but I am also questioning that, the common objective reality. There are scientist seriously questioning whether there is an objective reality. They questions if an objective reality is outside of thought/brain or within thought/brain. Can we explore this not to know but just to explore?

Hello @Inquiry,
“Consciousness is the primary reality and the physical world emerges from that” What arises in your brain when you read this? It seems that my brain immediately thinks its been tricked or wants to arrive to the conclusion that it cannot possibly know anything about anything. What comes up for you?

Hello @charleycannuck,
Thanks, please feel free to come in whenever. :upside_down_face:

If “consciousness is the primary reality and the physical world emerges from that:”, the brain is too caught up and weighted down with the content of consciousness to find out.

When I am aware of my dreaming, I can only be aware, and can not get out of the engagement with thoughts. The thoughts can be quite complex, and compelling, and this inescapable condition is quite frightening. We have a field of thought which is working in the brain, seemingly very sophisticated, and devious, and this is what is going on in my brain, probably all day long, unnoticed.

I understand your question - but you must be aware that this is a millennium-old metaphysical question that has been explored for generations by philosophers from both Europe and India. Although people like Hoffman have their own theories about it, it remains a largely speculative domain - and K’s approach isn’t based on metaphysical (or scientific) speculations in that sense.

If we are to be speculative, then we might take certain remarks that K made about the mind being “outside” the brain - which denotes a non-personal (universal) mind or consciousness not reducible to the brain. In this sense, K’s “mind-outside-the-brain” would be synonymous with objective truth, because it is also synonymous with the universe (understood at its root ground), of which we are the incidental manifestations. This “non-brain mind” might therefore be understood as what gives nature its concrete actuality (together with the common way in which our senses perceive the world). In this view, it is only the appearance of individuality created by thought and memory which creates the experience of separation.

One can find similar notions in certain forms of Yogacara Buddhism and Schopenhauer’s philosophy (which has been developed more recently - and explicitly applied in relation to the mind-body problem - by Bernardo Kastrup); but these are strictly speaking metaphysical pursuits, and not the kind of self-inquiry that K proposed.

One doesn’t need to have an opinion or belief about a universal “mind” to inquire into the nature of thought and suffering, and any fixation on such an idea (whether positively or negatively) is liable to interfere with such inquiry. After all, to have a theory that objective reality doesn’t exist when there is a war going on or one is suffering, isn’t very meaningful. In Buddhism they talk of a state of meditation in which there is a sense of complete emptiness (or no-thing-ness), which may be indirectly evidenced by the existence in modern cosmology of the quantum vacuum (or quantum foam): but this isn’t supposed to be a speculative state - it is meant to be discoverable only when suffering and any movement of self-interest ends (which includes the movement of thought). Therefore to discover such a state it is more important to pay attention to the nature of psychological thought than to even our best theories about the universe.