What I was talking about in Illusion Ultima was what I consider the most important moment of my intellectual life. Staring at the stars and thinking about time and perception, all this struck me like a real satori moment. From there the rest of those ideas flowed as I tried to work it out. But then I stopped; I never really developed further what I considered to be a real satori moment. It was like writers block on a deeper level. But if space and time are not real, then I need to reevaluate what an object is.
I admit, where I ended up to start isn't new territory. I feel I came at my realization from my own angle, but know I've also been influenced. I find the the empiracists fascinating, especially George Berkeley. I've been reading up on him a bit lately. He too shows that material substance doesn't exist; everything is mind. He also said that "to be is to be percieved." He distinguishes between ideas and spirits: that is, the passive "things" minds percieve, and active minds themselves.
But, influence or not, I have to wonder: are the objects around me merely ideas, "things" that disappear when I stop thinking about them? It may be true that the car is not sitting out in the driveway unless I'm looking at it, or thinking about it sitting in the driveway: when it's out of my mind, it isn't there at all as far as my reality is concerned. That car, he would say, is a passive idea with no independent existence. But how is it that others can walk by and see the same car? Something must be there, right?
Berkeley answers this with the notion that what we preceive as passive objects are ideas sent by God, a Spirit that is present "everywhere" and "always" (I am not equipped to speak without the use of space and time, thanks to our language's structure), and that is where consistency in the world originates. But what, really, is this God? Berkeley was a Catholic bishop, so he was thinking of and defending the Christian God. I take a different tack. God is, at least, the sum of everything that is. So my main disagreement with Berkeley is the notion of passive ideas. The objects around me do not need me or some convenient God to precieve them, they are "spirits" in their own right.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to see it, does it make a sound? Does it exist at all? I say yes, for it is percieved by the other trees, the air, the soil, and of course the birds and squirrels and beetles. Maybe there is a dependence between things in this way, like a rainbow needing the sun, rain, and viewer all present at a specific angle to exist. But I go further and say the tree is an active perspective in itself. It has its own perceptions, of moisture, light, and chemical messages from other trees. But, I think even the rocks are active.
I consider consciousness as fundamental, the basic is-ness. This is not to say that I believe only my personal consciousness exists, that you are all my personal dream-- solipsism. I mean, it could be true. It could be that my entire experience is someone's dream, and when they wake, the universe I know will disappear; or that I am the projection of some madman sitting in a strait jacket in his padded cell, drooling on himself and having outrageous hallucinations. I guess you can never disprove solipsism. Still, it doesn't feel true.
I see the universe more as a great field of consciousness, and, here I will speak of it from the outer, objective sense for a moment. That field of consciousness has particulated, or as I call it, perspectivized. Each individual perspective is a node or a center in that field, what the physicist calls a quantum. As quanta get togehter, they self-organize and become more complex through relationship, becoming quarks, which get together in more complex ways to form electrons (actually a charged quark), protons, and neutrons, from there atoms, then molecules... and so on. Each level up of complexity is an ever greater concentration of consciousness, so the perspective gains more depth. And the point isn't just the density, but the number of connections between nodes. Otherwise rocks would be far smarter than we.
(This makes much more sense to me than it does to say that consciousness is a recent development in evolution that came out of nowhere in a non-conscious universe, somehow tacked on to human experience as a sort of epiphenomenon, not actually useful in what is a basically material world of input and output: consciousness lets us be aware of the input and output, but isn't actually involved in any of it. Bunk!)
I've said before, science in its ever-present analysis can figure a lot of things out, but, in the end, if you break open a rock to see what the inside looks like, you don't. You see what the new outsides look like. And though this may seem like splitting hairs, it's true: you may find crystals "inside" that rock, but in truth there is always more inside that is hidden. Keep breaking rocks, keep dissecting brains, keep splitting the atom, but you'll never get inside to what hides within: meaning, being, consciousness, Light, God... that mysterious essence that keeps that supposedly passive vase standing there all on its own, day after day, by the window, set to burst with its own being that is barely contained behind the thinnest of surfaces.