Categorized | Philosophy

The Orgone Continuum

Article by LSouthgate

The Orgone Continuum

A New Ontology of Ideo-Physicalism

Leon Southgate MSc, 2018.

Synopsis

The orgone continuum, a life-force theory of consciousness, is reassessed from an ontological perspective (as a theory of ‘being’) and the question asked, is it really a pan-psychic theory?

The question is explored and then a new classification of the orgone continuum is proposed. This is within a new (though in fact, old) ontological definition given the new term here of ideo-physicalism. It could be seen as a development of pan-psychism. It allows a stratified understanding of an ideo-physical continuum to be described wherein the mental and the physical are unified in a continuum which transcends both.

Pan-psychism is explored in greater detail than previously in part one of the series and critiqued. Philosophical implications of Reich’s bions are noted. Neutral monism, modern dualism, idealist and pan-psychic quantum views, supervenience and general identity theory are also explored. The theory of orgonotic ideo-physicalism is proposed in detail.

Lastly, a Biblical view of consciousness is examined and found to be similar and given the term of theological ideo-physicalism. It is argued that the ideo-physicalist viewpoint has already been reflected by a possible artificial intelligence device as described in the Bible and Judaic texts, the Ark of the Covenant.

Background

In the Orgone Continuum: A Life Force Theory of Consciousness (1) it is proposed that orgone is a continuum which fills all space and that forms all reality. This singular continuum is proposed to have three aspects to its functioning: orgone consciousness, orgone energy and orgone matter. The primal level of orgone was argued to be identical to a physical consciousness. This primordial level would condense into the orgone ‘energy’ functions Reich outlined and then finally orgone energy would itself condense into matter, again as Reich described. All three aspects function in different ways but ultimately reflect a single physical continuum. The orgone continuum was classified as a pan-psychic theory, perhaps with emanationist (emerging from mind) and idealist aspects (mind as primal reality). These two latter aspects are somewhat modified by this new classification of the orgone continuum as an ideo-physicalist theory (neither mind nor matter aspects are more primal in this view).

A broad philosophical definition of consciousness is used in this paper – consciousness is seen as any and all perception. The terms consciousness and mind are generally used interchangeably as are the terms matter and physicality.

Introduction: Pan-Psychism

Since writing the Orgone Continuum Part 1 (2), the author has become aware that pan-psychic theories cover a very broad spectrum. At the materialist end there is ontological pan-psychism. This is where both matter and consciousness are given equal prominence. Wherever there is matter there is also consciousness. However this consciousness might be just a dim perception or mute experience. For example, the philosopher David Ray Griffin, a well known pan-psychic, redefined the word ‘pan-psychism’ to ‘pan-experientialism’ to reflect that not all matter is equally conscious in his view. He agrees that all matter possesses some kind of awareness but distinguishes between true self-consciousness and the dim experientialism of evolving matter (3). True self-consciousness can partially emerge from experiential matter in his view. David Ray Griffin’s approach within pan-psychism is the closest to Reich’s materialist views of consciousness in his middle period. All that would have to be admitted is that cosmic orgone is not non-conscious but actually has some additional dim level of perception. Their views on consciousness would then be broadly similar. The author however had to classify Reich’s theories on consciousness as materialist, ‘system theories’ based on their detailing a pure emergence of consciousness from a non-conscious system process.

Chart 1

Reich’s System Theory of Consciousness

Reich’s theories however could also be viewed as proto-pan-psychic. This is because they were just one step away from the materialist end of pan-psychism.

Reich took the somewhat contradictory position that cosmic orgone behaves as though it is conscious but yet it is non-conscious in its cosmic form (4). Reich never explored the contradictions of this statement to any great extent (5). He also never gave a rationale for this position on consciousness. It was just assumed that consciousness had to have a materialist and evolutionary explanation (perhaps because of the influence of Darwin). In Reich’s view this non-conscious energy (cosmic orgone) gradually evolved simple life structures that now possessed dim perception. These structures evolved further and eventually combined to form an integrated self-consciousness. In Reich’s understanding, all the organs of the body have a ‘part perception’ which integrates to form a full self-consciousness (6). In this view of evolving perception, structure (plasma in membranes and then evolving life forms) gives rise to function (perception and then consciousness). Reich saw this as a contradiction to his other function-based theories (where function gives rise to structure) but didn’t explore this further (7). If he had of explored it he would have encountered the mind-matter duality conundrum – at which point exactly in Reich’s structural process can we say that matter turns into consciousness? On this note we can also elucidate that according to Reich’s own theories the intermediate vesicle between non-living and the living, the bion (8), should definitely also be conscious. Living plasma and a membrane is all that is required for some level of consciousness according to Reich’s theories. From the ideo-physical perspective of the orgone continuum however, even the most basic quanta of pre-biological, cosmic orgone would also be considered conscious.

This emergence of dim awareness from a non-conscious energy which then progresses into ‘part-perception’ and from there into a true self-consciousness forms Reich’s system theory, evolutionary view of consciousness (9). This is not far from Griffin’s partial emergence and integration of entities from a dim experientialism into a new, truly self-conscious whole. Griffin’s distinction between the experientialism of un-evolved matter and developed self-consciousness however seems somewhat artificial. Perception is an aspect of consciousness. Without consciousness there is no perception, mute, developed or otherwise. Separating perception from consciousness is just, ‘cutting the cake’ – an artificial division.

So on a scale, Reich’s views on consciousness in his middle period can be pegged just over the border from materialist pan-psychism into the system theory zone of materialism. However the theory of the orgone continuum is over the materialist border and toward the other, more idealist end of pan-psychism (if it is to be classed as pan-psychic at all).

Pan-psychic theories, although starting out from an almost materialist position, actually span nearly all the way into pure idealism. There is a type of pan-psychism called subsequent pan-psychism, which is very close to an idealist theory called emanationist idealism. Both theories say that matter emerges from mind. The only difference between them is that in emanationist idealism it is only mind that is ultimately real. In subsequent pan-psychism, although matter is a consequence of mind, it is as real as mind in its own way once it has emerged. The problem with both theories, as De Quincey states, is that to move from pure mind into matter may still require a miracle, just as it does the other way around, from pure matter into mind (10). This is being recognized in materialist circles too. Some apparently materialist theories of consciousness, such as Integrated Information Theory are actually quietly stated pan-psychic theories. Instead of positing that matter in the brain creates consciousness, consciousness is assumed to be inherent to physical reality. Matter, when in a complex and integrated state develops this inherent consciousness. The amount of integration of information is expressed mathematically as ‘Phi’. So any system with enough Phi could become overtly conscious.

Modern Pan-Psychism

On the one hand, materialist pan-psychism, such as that of David Ray Griffin, preferences matter, saying matter is only dimly conscious and at the beginning of a linear chain of material evolution, eventually resulting, via a limited emergence, in fully self-conscious entities (pure emergence of one class of entities into another is avoided as it may not make sense to get mind from matter or vice versa as we have noted previously). By ‘limited emergence’ it is meant that any problems of duality are avoided by acknowledging that the ‘ground’ from which full self-consciousness ’emerges’ already has a limited consciousness. The idealist end of pan-psychism alternatively preferences the mind, saying matter emerges from the mind but is then equally real.

Christian De Quincey’s pan-psychic position is between these two end positions. He takes the view that mind and matter always co-exist as inseparable elements of the same reality. This is similar to dual aspect thinking in quantum theory where mind and matter are thought to be equal aspects of a third entity, although De Quincey’s pan-psychism doesn’t posit a third entity.

Criticisms of Pan-Psychism

As interesting as pan-psychism appears there are criticisms of it that may have some validity. It has been argued that it is a crypto-dualism. Dualism many currently believe to fail ontologically as there appears to be no obvious way that one entirely separate realm can communicate with another realm if they have nothing in common. Pan-psychism attempts to solve this dualism by saying that mind and matter always reflect each other. But is this position just a hidden dualism? And what enables them to reflect each other? We are still accepting that there are two realms, mind and matter, but that these two realms always mirror each other. It is like saying that reality is a coin and mind is heads and matter is tails, one can’t have one without the other. But if reality is the coin then ultimately it is neither heads nor tails, but a third entity – a coin. Pan-psychism doesn’t say that reality is a third entity. One of the quantum theories, dual aspect thinking does and neutral monism has its third category of neutral entities but we have no empirical evidence of a third realm or entity. In any case, do we really need to posit a third realm? If we claim that there are just two realms, mind and matter, but they behave as one, have we actually left dualism? We still do not know why they behave as one. It would appear that the claim of crypto-dualism holds at least some water.

Others have argued against pan-psychism saying does it really add anything that a conventional physicalist position cannot do? This author would argue in the positive, that yes pan-psychism definitely does add to our understanding because it does not seek to reduce the phenomenon of consciousness to merely the by-product of physical phenomena as most physicalism does. It recognises the irreducibility of consciousness. It perceives that there is nothing outside of consciousness with which to explain it. If we seek to explain it with outside phenomena (assuming that such outside phenomena can actually be said to exist) we end up as mindless robots – the philosophical zombie problem. Our consciousness is then caused by a physical event which is caused by another physical event and so on indefinitely, our own volition plays no part and causation is entirely missing.

Some physicalist positions attempt to circumvent this issue by claiming that consciousness is real and possibly even causative but supervenient to matter. So a set of mental properties might in some way be reflected by (supervenient to) the physical properties. There may be some truth to this position but supervenience seems messy and is ultimately still unseated by a hidden dualism. It could be said that such supervenience is a form of dual aspect thinking, which is itself, the author believes, a form of pan-psychism. The physical and the mental are both real but somehow reflect each other in dual aspect thinking. If supervenience is alternatively taken to mean physicality is the causative element in a volitional consciousness then this is also pan-psychism – matter must then itself be conscious. Most supervenient arguments however point to mind being a passive reflection of random matter, so it is back to pure emergence and a crypto-duality, both of which most commentators believe are unsustainable philosophically.

Some take the position that the apparent dualism we perceive is unsolvable by human minds. Others argue that the whole enquiry is pointless. We should give up on finding causation and content ourselves with empirical reductionism alongside an unknowable mind. The cause, even of a simple mechanistic process is ultimately unknown they argue. This position seems almost like a religion of matter – a materialist mystification. Modern dualists on the other hand embrace the dualist viewpoint. They point to a soft dualism whereby mind and matter have overlapping zones wherein the one subtly influences the other through a kind of virtual disposition or potential (to be discussed further in a later section).

Contentions within Pan-Psychism

Between philosophers of mind there are arguments as to how exactly pan-psychism can be made to fit current views of physics. For example, there is the view that the physical world is causally closed. This means that for every physical effect there has to be a purely physical cause (in the strong version of the argument). Some take this as a criticism of pan-psychism (and dualism) saying that the theories allows for over-determination, whereby an effect has both mental and physical causes, or that the mind can input new energy into a physical situation. Morch (11) argues that pan-psychism avoids violating causal closure and over-determination because it unifies the physical and mental so the physical cause already contains a mental aspect. However this author finds some agreement with the modern dualists who state that over-determination and non-closure is at least possible in principle. In terms of the orgone continuum it is far from apparent that mind cannot add energy or cause events in the physical world. An ideo-physical theory would not need to be tied to current physics which is itself in a process of deep change. Also, for a possibly limitless ideo-substance it is not obvious whether causal closure would apply or be relevant. The theory of ideo-physicalism is based more upon an emerging physics which currently does not have any set views about the amount of apparent energy in the universe or on the mechanics of physical causation.

Morch also discusses current philosophical arguments within pan-psychism regarding how complex organisms are constituted (the combination problem). She considers whether they are evolved from aspects which are themselves partly conscious (like particles) but then constitute a new self conscious whole (like organisms) or whether new complex consciousness emerges complete from less conscious parts. These views are called constitutive pan-psychism and emergent pan-psychism respectively. Both these theories have criticisms and supporters but this author sees them as somewhat non-essential questions. This is because there could be many ways for complex consciousness to manifest if the universe as a whole is considered conscious, see section below.

Morch offers a solution to constitutive and emergent pan-psychism which she calls fusion pan-psychism – where the partly conscious parts are subsumed and then replaced by a new more complex whole. Morch is attempting to accommodate an evolutionary view of the creation of complex consciousness. However it is also possible that the complex consciousness field exists first and then creates the physical apparel of its existence using the less conscious aspects, such as particles. In a conscious universe there could be multiple ways that conscious entities are manifest.

Cosmopsychism

As Sheldrake argues (12) many different complex holisms could exist within each other. This could be true without violating free will or causation. The smaller organisms within the larger ones still have a range of choices but are constrained by their larger environment (the bigger organism/consciousness). A baby and a mother share the same body for gestation but they have separate consciousnesses (to a degree). Also we as bodies contain the consciousness of millions of bacteria – their consciousness does not usually overrule our own, though it can on occasions.

Sheldrake has a view which can be called cosmopsychism – the view that not only are the individual aspects of the universe conscious, like particles, but the whole universe and even planets and stars are conscious entities. Cosmopsychism is a form of pan-psychism. The orgonotic ideo-physicalist view would imply cosmopsychism as it contends there is a singular conscious continuum. Sheldrake sees his particular pan-psychism as encompassing an evolutionary view where conscious energy fields and the laws of the universe are continually evolving, manifesting as developing organisms and the changing universe. Ideo-physicalism could be compatible with both Sheldrake’s universal evolutionary view and the more Platonic views of the existence of organisms and complex minds (as pre-existing forms). A third position is possible, that both Platonic and evolutionary views are correct – one could have pre-existing forms which go through cyclical processes of evolution and devolution, the Vedic and Buddhist position.

Neutral Monism

There is a philosophical position that some argue goes beyond pan-psychism – neutral monism. It says that mind and matter are really just one ‘thing’. This is a philosophical position that might be close to the theory of the orgone continuum theory the author feels. However this author believes neutral monism is misnamed. The word neutral is assuming a position between two or more alternative positions. A neutral position on an automatic gearbox is between drive and reverse. Neutral assumes the positions of at least two non-neutral positions. In some forms of neutral monism the existence of neutral entities are hypothesised and these entities are thought to either possess both mental and material aspects, or to be both mental and material at the same time or to be neither (13). But the existence of neutral entities is problematic. Firstly, is a new class of entities really needed? Secondly, it is still assuming that there are non-neutral realms (mind, matter) but that these realms come from entities that in some way transcend matter and mind. This is complex and perhaps a form of dual aspect thinking. So it could be said that neutral monism is still related to pan-psychism (through dual aspect thinking) and is perhaps also a crypto-dualism.

Bertrand Russell’s neutral monism (14) would at first sight seem successful in resolving duality but the author would argue it is possibly also a crypto-dualism to some extent. This is because Russell implies that mental and physical phenomena still exist in some way. Although the two sets of phenomena derive from the same types of object, they obey different sets of laws according to their different ‘orders’. One series of phenomena behaves as mental objects when viewed from the laws of the mental side and behave as physical objects when viewed from the laws of the physical side. Russell’s neutral monism still implies that there are different orders where different laws apply, even if ultimately it is the same kind of objects that are being discussed. This seems to be a subtle form of dual aspect thinking.

Orgonotic ideo-physicalism also differs from neutral monism in outlining a physical reason for the universe being monistic (the orgone continuum) and in its lack of different orders of being; physical, mental or neutral. It is a practical theory because it states that apparent physicality can think, feel and experience (and in this sense it is an outgrowth of pan-psychism and neutral monism) but more than that, physicality is itself deemed to be unified with consciousness (and in a challenge to the strong idealist, vice versa, consciousness is also deemed to be unified with the physical).

An additional issue with neutral monism is that it may not lead to the possibility of technological advances because it doesn’t provide a practical reason why the universe is monistic. It just says there are objects, sometimes these seem to be physical and sometimes they seem to be mental, but they are all the same kind of object.

Ideo-physicalism again diverges from neutral monism in that it doesn’t view physical and mental as possible different orders of reality but as provisional and partial understandings to be transcended. There is only a singular reality which we have compartmentalized. The compartments are not ultimately real as one can never have a pure version of consciousness or a purely objective physicality – these appear to be just descriptions of different ends of a single continuum. If we cannot obtain a pure element of something we cannot really say that element exists. One could argue that ideo-physicalism is a form of neutral monism but although the theories are close, as a name this author feels it is a misnomer, a neutral position between two things, neither of which actually exists.

Idealism

One could argue that there is no real difference between subsequent pan-psychism (that mind gives rise to matter but then both co-exist) and emanationist idealism (that mind emanates the appearance of matter) so that the orgone continuum is arguably an idealist theory in principle. However, idealism does not usually recognise that energy and matter are equally real, primal and irreducible elements of reality. Most idealism only recognizes the mind as real. However, if an idealist position was to recognize that consciousness has an inherent tangibility that would be compatible with ideo-physicalism.

Most idealism does not easily explain why some realities are more real than others. A virtual reality can be switched off easily. One can wake up from a dream. The material realm on the other hand seems quite persistent for a mere illusion. Every day it is there. The table you sat at last week seems pretty much the same table today. The same tree stands outside your house, unless there was a terrible storm or some such event.

Idealism is unfalsifiable but it perhaps has a limited explanatory value. It does not seem to match the day to day experience of living in a material world. Although idealism can explain matter as a by-product of mind, it has no ready explanation for why consciousness can be so matter-like but then also so dream-like. It does not explain why some realities, such as daily life, are more real than other realities, say a hallucination. All are within mind so perhaps all should be equally real. Some idealisms do attempt an explanation – that there are different depths of a universal consciousness, but this is a stratified understanding, which is perhaps, ideo-physical. That levels of consciousness are not equal indicates that mind is stratified, even within a purely idealistic conception. A stratified idealism is like mind with substantiality. A pure idealism does not quite hold this author believes – consciousness itself is substantial in character. Yet the idealist is correct, there is only consciousness – but that consciousness has substantive properties. Physicality does exist just it is not an independent realm. In the same way there is only consciousness but it too is not an independent realm, it always has substance to some degree – the experience of bodies.

The conventional idealist argument boils down to the statement that nothing can be known outside of consciousness – therefore consciousness is all that exists. But what if this, ‘all that exists,’ is itself a physical entity? One cannot be conscious without being conscious of something. That something is always a body of sorts. Bodies imply physicality. In fact, the ‘common perception of a body’ is the only irrefutable definition of physicality this author can identify, though granted, it is a somewhat unusual definition. The usual definitions of physicality all reduce to this author’s definition of a shared conscious perception, such as measurements or extension in space. This is in effect an ideological definition of physicality. This is in keeping because ideo-physicalism also has its opposite – a physical definition of ideas, thoughts are in some way, things.

Epiphenomena

The orgone continuum or orgonotic ideo-physicalism is not a conventional physicalist theory. It does not seek to reduce consciousness to physical phenomena. Like idealism, modern dualism, neutral monism and pan-psychism it recognizes consciousness as an irreducible element of the universe. This consciousness is not dependent on anything else for its existence. Consciousness as epiphenomena (dependence on something else) is an example of pure emergence – the realm of matter giving emergence to a new and wholly different realm of mind. As such it is a difficult position to defend philosophically. Conventional physicalism (that the physical is all there is) does not make sense as an ontological theory unless it either denies mind altogether (unacceptable to most people) or states that matter is mind (also difficult for most people, though this author would take this position but with qualifications).

Ideo-Physicalism

This author would suggest a new term for a new (though actually quite old) ontological position, similar to neutral monism and pan-psychism but perhaps a development of it – ideo-physicalism. This would be the position that what we call ‘mind’ and what we call ‘matter’ are absolutely one entity. That mind and matter are provisional positions and that what really exists is a completely singular experentio-substantialism. It could be called a non-neutral monism (because the mind-matter continuum is monistic but stratified) or a mutual pan-psychism (because mind also has matter as well as matter having mind). A term of physical idealism would also be accurate.

Consciousness never actually manifests in any reality we experience without a corresponding degree of experienced body or what this author defines as physicality (shared, lawful perception). One cannot ultimately describe physicality as measurements, objective descriptions, existence in time and extension in space and so on, as all common descriptions of physicality depend on a lawful, or a continuing characteristic of perception. The more shared this lawful perception the more physical it is thought to be. For example, the tree outside your house looks broadly similar to yourself and your neighbours. It is agreed to physically exist. The colours are agreed to be somewhat similar to all, it must physically manifest those characteristics even if they are not exactly the same to everyone. The only non-refutable definition of ‘physical’ this author can think of is just such a lawful perception, preferably a shared lawful perception. Every other definition of physical is refutable from a Cartesian viewpoint.

Even when we think of something completely abstract we feel or experience something physically. Even a number is a quality that is experienced and which forms a reality. There is a ‘two-ness’ that exists just as there is a ‘three-ness’ and so on. The highest feeling, say of love, has a physical manifestation in some way from which it cannot be separated. One cannot think of love for another without one’s existence reacting to this thought in a tangible way. Even abstract numbers could be a plasmatic or cymatic shape which exists physically in the core structure of the universe, perhaps bringing to mind, Plato’s forms. There is perhaps, no ultimate meaning to a non-physical consciousness. Everything one perceives may be a body of sorts – even one’s self. If one were to be in heaven, that experience would be physical. One would be experiencing a body, an environment. In what way is such an experience different from the day to day reality where we also experience a body and an environment (a wider body)? It could be said however where is the self? Surely that is not a physical thing at a particular location? Perhaps the self is all physicality, the entire universe being our own body. There is no way of knowing where exactly one’s own self ends and non-self begins, yet we still have physicality. We could all be the entire physical universe sharing the same space. This space could be without limit. But can an infinite body still be physical? The author does not know but it is possible perhaps.

Alternatively, physicality cannot exist apart from the mind. No objective reality has even been known outside our consciousness nor can it ever be known, as idealists rightly point out. Pure objectivity is a fantasy – it doesn’t exist factually or experimentally. We cannot say physicality is defined as things that exist in space and time because space and time only exist in our consciousness. As discussed, the only irrefutable definition of physicality this author is aware of is lawful perception. So in ontological terms there is no such thing as purely mental or purely physical, these descriptions do not correspond to any actual reality. So why do we divide reality up in this way? Is it convenience? Or is it just a habit of mind? Reality appears not to be physical or mental, it behaves as one entity, not as two, nor do either arise from anything else of which we have evidence. The two sides are just a useful fiction it would appear.

Perhaps this singular entity can take forms which appear to be more conscious, say a human being, or forms which appear to be less conscious, say a rock. And forms which are in-between, say an amoeba. But ultimately, all may be expressions of a singular conscious-matter continuum. In ideo-physicalism it could be said that there are not two aspects, nor a third aspect. There is only a singular substantial-experience which neither was formerly material then mental, nor formally mental then material, nor both simultaneously – as there are not two aspects to occur at the same time. Perhaps a new terminology might help. Instead of talking of mental phenomena one would talk of experiential-substantial phenomena. Instead of talking about physical phenomena one could talk about substantive-experiential phenomena. The same thing – just looked at in two different directions. Or in short-hand, matter-like and mind-like.

Ideo-physicalism would state that there are no pure physical states, no purely mental states and no third neutral state. However it is not solely defined negatively. An orgonotic ideo-physicalism also states what exists positively. There is a singular entity, a continuum which is an experentio-substantive unit. It is a continuum, so there are aspects of reality which seem to be almost completely matter-like and hardly mind-like at all (in our limited comprehension). At the other end of the continuum there are aspects of reality which seem to be almost completely mind-like and hardly have any matter-like aspects at all, like apparently abstract concepts such as the number two. But really we are just contemplating different ends of a single continuum. Just because we label parts of that continuum as mind or matter does not make it compartmentalized in reality. Reality has a mind of its own, excusing the pun.

What gives rise to the apparently segregated nature of reality however if it is in actual fact singular? There are very mind-like aspects and very matter-like aspects to reality and this cannot be argued against reasonably. So how can they really be of the same nature? The author believes it is because of energy thresholds. At certain intensities the continuum of reality quantizes itself into new aspects – which we call ‘energy’, ‘matter’ and ‘mind’. Within each aspect or packet it behaves as a continuum but also in different new ways according to the local reality: which we give labels of ‘consciousness’, ‘energy’ or ‘matter’. All could be just convenient fictions describing the one entity. As the continuum appears to be quantized there can be what appears to be pure emergence occurring – one realm giving birth to another realm, but in reality the continuum just has different characteristics at different energy intensities. These quantized aspects of reality can seem to be quite sharp and bordered but that may not be the case ultimately. Water turns into different states at specific temperatures but it is still water. If this continuum aspect were not so, communication between different ‘realms’ would be difficult to fathom.

In the biological realm, the above can be illustrated with the tiny entities Reich discovered which he named, bions. They are minute living vesicles, about the size of a clump of viruses that can be seen at the very edge of ultra-high light microscopy. They are created when matter is heated to incandescence and then plunged into water (15). It could be said that here is a case of pure emergence, one realm, the non-living, under high energy circumstances, gives birth to the realm of the living. But as argued elsewhere in the JPOT orgone and consciousness papers (16) bions may indicate pan-psychism as accurate rather than the pure emergence of the system theories. This is because life emerges when matter is subjected to a high orgone charge and a physically energetic environment (boiling). If matter created the living and the living was then entirely different to matter then we would have a dualistic conundrum. The bions would have no obvious way of interacting with the dead matter from which they emerged. Yet they do interact. Therefore there is perhaps something of the living inherent in matter. Also, just as water can change from liquid to steam and back again, matter can do the same – it can become living plasma and then go back to being non-motile matter.

Anywhere there is matter, water and heat, living forms, from an orgonomic viewpoint, can emerge. Life (and thus consciousness) is ubiquitous to matter in this view. This also undermines a hard dualism. So matter and life may go hand in hand everywhere. It therefore appears consistent to say there is only a partial emergence of life (bions) from a matter which is already alive in some way. This partial emergence of the living from apparently non-living matter perhaps reflects this quantized aspect of the continuum. When matter exists at the top end of its energy spectrum (high orgone charge, boiling) a more complex aspect of the continuum emerges – life-forms. It is ironic that the ultimate proof of materialism, that life can be created from purely material processes, at the same time constitutes a rebuttal of materialism – matter is alive, and thus also inherently at the very least, proto-conscious. The only other option this author can see (for the philosophical interpretation of bions) is a mind-body dualism, which has its own problems.

Orgonotic Ideo-Physicalism

The author suggests that a singular, physical medium which fills all space without gap but can also quantize exists – the orgone continuum. It has both mind-like and matter-like aspects of a singular substantive-experiential entity. Pure materialism and pure mind are not recognized as existing in this view only the experiential-substantive entity is proposed to exist in fact. This may resolve the mind-matter distinction but it is also technically applicable because it states why any duality is resolved. The duality may be resolved because there is in existence a scientifically accessible continuum we can explore, namely orgone, which has mind-like and matter-like aspects at different thresholds. However, this view is perhaps also compatible with a soft dualism because it recognizes that a singular substrate could quantize out into apparently different realms.

The Consciousness Only Model of Quantum Mechanics (QM)

Perhaps the consciousness only model of QM could challenge the physicality aspect of ideo-physicalism. Browne gives an overview of the main issues in QM which causes him to preference a consciousness only model of the universe (17). He believes that the double split and delayed choice experiments in quantum physics indicate that space and time are not fundamental. If any point in space can be accessed from any other point and experiments can show causation backwards through time then neither time nor space can be said to truly exist. This he says is more consistent with the view that consciousness is all there really is and that physicality is a mere simulation. Physical reality is not fundamental.

Where does the source of this simulation, we call physicality come from however? If it comes from outside the simulation then is that ‘outside’ also a simulation? If we are in an infinitely extending box of simulations, one inside the other, does it make any sense to talk of there being simulations? Are there not rather realities stacked inside each other? Or if the source of the simulation is inside the simulation itself does that not mean that the universe is an internally creative entity, continually remaking itself? Either way it doesn’t really make sense to call reality a simulation just because physical reality has universality in its behavior (non-locality). Of course in a consciousness only model, consciousness would have to be the source of the simulation. But physical reality doesn’t need to be non-conscious to be physical (to be like a body). Just as there is no pure objectivity, there is no pure subjectivity – no pure consciousness. In other words, whenever there is consciousness there is a perception of a body. So a conscious physicality could be both non-local and local, in time and without time simultaneously because a conscious physicality would possess both consciousness and substance in degrees within a continuum. Physical reality could itself be conscious, universal and transcend time and space in some aspects whilst still being bodily or substantive in its other aspects.

Yes the consciousness only model appears consistent with the claims of QM. However that doesn’t explain why this reality also behaves as a substantive existence. It doesn’t explain why the more consciousness we have of something (the more ‘minds’ are aware of a perception) the more substantiality occurs – like a tree outside your house is more substantial compared to an unmeasured quantum of energy.

If consciousness has no inherent substantiality it cannot become quantized or stratified, all realities should then be equally real, yet they are not. One could line them up in degrees of substantiality; thoughts, dreams, movies, virtual realities and physical reality, perhaps there are hyper-realities too. So if consciousness is all there is at the quantum level how is it that this consciousness can then solidify into different degrees of substantiality at the macro level? If we say it is because of the potentiality of quantum fields which collapse into physicality upon observation, it is actually an ideo-physical field we are describing, rather than an idealist one. This is because it is a field that has both mind (sensitive to conscious measurement) and degrees of substance (collapses into a lawful, shared perception – physicality). So QM could be argued to be ideo-physicalist rather than purely idealist.

Chart 2

Degrees of Substance

One could say there is no reason to assume that just because non-locality and non-time phenomena have been claimed experimentally that only mind and not physicality can exist. This is assuming that physicality itself cannot also be conscious and vice versa, consciousness cannot also be physical.

It would appear therefore that the ideo-physical model can not only describe the mind-like behavior at the quantum level (universality/non-locality, timelessness/backwards causation) but also the matter-like behavior at the macroscopic level (continuity in time and finite expression in space). Mind-like and matter-like are not restricted to strict realms of course but are aspects that manifest throughout the continuum at various degrees of intensity. A universal, perceptive medium that is one singular, physical continuum (the definition of physical being having the perceptual property of a body) would have both the quantum properties and the more everyday macroscopic properties. This is what we actually experience in daily life and our experiments combined. We do experience time and space, yet we also occasionally experience timelessness (for example, precognition). We experience mundane physicality but we can also, with training, experience non-locality (for example, remote viewing). A conscious physicality could have all these qualities without being either wholly mind or wholly matter, nor both, but rather a singular ideo-substance which in fact is neither quality but also is not neutral. It is something more than pure consciousness and more than objective physicality. An ideo-substance would be able to function beyond space and time, but it would also be able to be the everyday world conforming to its day to day lawful behaviour – and would constitute ourselves.

Quantum Field Theory (QFT) could also be said to take an ideo-physicalist viewpoint. It could be expandable to include orgone and consciousness as a universal field or fields. The orgone could be incorporated as a quantum field as it may have quantization properties related to charged particles and matter (18). It could be seen as a base field that gives rise to other fields (such as the electromagnetic field) or as one primal field amongst many primal fields. Its compatibility with QM and relativity theory is beyond my ability to comment in detail. However Einstein, contrary to popular conception, didn’t completely reject the orgone-related concept of aether in his later years (19). He did see the ‘vacuum’ of space as having inherent energy which he saw as equivalent to an aether. This is perhaps not the dynamic aether of Dayton Miller maybe more the static aether of Newton. In addition, Einstein had carried out orgone experiments at his house and conversed with Reich for many hours about orgone. See (20) for more on Miller, aether and Einstein.

It should be noted that quantum physics is also used to argue for materialist crypto-dualisms (whereby quantum processes create a newly emergent realm of mind). It is also popularly used to argue for pan-psychic positions such as those of Hameroff (21). He calls his theory quantum proto-pan-psychism but it is in this authors view simply quantum pan-psychism. Hameroff views physical quantum events as being the first, to use his words, ‘bing’ – a quanta of consciousness. These dimly conscious events eventually coordinate to form more developed consciousness. Hameroff is toward the physicalist end of pan-psychism but it is not really a proto-pan-psychism as he recognizes that the quantum OR event (Objective Reduction of a wave function) actually is the first instance of consciousness. The coordination of these events is in itself, an example of more developed consciousness. A separate consciousness realm and any pure emergence is avoided by Hameroff, for the reasons outlined in this paper (the epistemic gap in materialism and causal exclusion in dualism to give their formal terms). Therefore the ‘proto’ label is not entirely correct. It does not really matter where or when we posit that physicality first possesses, or becomes consciousness. It is still a form of pan-psychism if the physical is deemed conscious or capable of consciousness.

General Identity Theory and Ideo-Physicalism

In ideo-physicalism the mental is not simply a subset of the physical, as the consciousness aspect of the continuum is causative and not reducible to something else. In some regards it could be argued that ideo-physicalism is a form of general identity theory, the view that everything mental is identical with something physical. Meixner argues this type of theory is logically equivalent to, ‘everything mental is physical’ (22), my emphasis. Perhaps ideo-physicalism is a form of eliminative general identity theory as it states the categories, ‘mental’ and ‘physical’ are identical but in fact they are preliminary compartments as they do not really exist as separate entities, hence eliminative. However orgonotic ideo-physicalism is not a simple identity theory between mind and body – it is a continuum theory which states that aspects of the continuum have more or less mind-like and matter-like properties depending perhaps on the energy level of the local continuum. It does not recognize distinction between mind and body as pure entities but it does have a quantization of properties at different levels. So it may in fact go beyond a general identity theory. Meixner also argues that stating the mental is physical is the only honest physicalism (i.e. not a covert dualism).

So the difference between orgonotic ideo-physicalism and general identity theory is that in the former there is a gradation or stratification of reality. Instead of saying the physical is the mental, it goes beyond this by saying that both are eliminated within a singular continuum which is then quantized into either, more or less, apparently physical and apparently mental aspects. As argued, this transcends merely saying one is the other. General identity theory does not explain why we experience degrees of apparent physicality and mind. Also it does not encompass the reason for there being an identity between mind and matter. Orgonotic ideo-physicalism does both these things. It proposes a reason for identity in that mind and matter are superseded by an ideo-substance. This then exists as a variable continuum allowing for degrees of substantiality.

Modern Dualism

Thompson (23) like Meixner, is a modern dualist, or non-Cartesian dualist. They forward the argument that there are discrete states, namely mind and body, but rather than being entirely separate (which brings up the problem of communication) they are contiguous (bordering on each other). Further, that mind could act in the form of non-physical ‘propensities’ or ‘dispositions’ upon physical states, perhaps quantum states, thus influencing matter. However, this form of soft dualism or a multiple ‘substance’ model (24) is actually in some way an ideo-physicalist model this author believes. The reason being is that for there to be a contiguous area where different substances can influence each other, there still needs to be a region of some similarity – a borderland. In modern dualism this borderland or ‘universal structure’ as Thompson calls it, is seen to be virtual or non-physical but still real and capable of influencing physicality. It is argued that there are in nature, virtual relationships, propensities of physically real entities, such as quantum entities, that could be argued to be similar to this non-physical relationship between a realm of mind and a realm of physicality.

One could equally envisage an underlying monistic model, which quantizes into apparently different substances, at different energy levels, or in different states. So mind and body, or perhaps multiple substances (modern dualisms do not necessarily envisage just two substances) could be differentiated and contiguous to a degree but still part of an underlying singular entity. This would allow for some differentiation of substances in the dualist sense and communication between realms in the monist sense – both within an ideo-physicalist framework.

Ideo-physicalism, like modern dualism, would also possibly transcend the concept of the causal closure of the physical world (25). It is not clear whether causal closure would apply to a possibly limitless ideo-substance. Physical causal closure states that in a closed system the energy is always the same, though it might be transformed. Or to put it in causative terms, a physical effect always has a physical cause. This assumes the universe is a closed system, which it might not be (and it is hard to imagine a way of testing such a hypothesis). Like modern dualism, ideo-physicalism would also assume that what we label as ‘consciousness’ can at least affect if not even create new apparent ‘energy’. This may not be in keeping with the Laws of Thermodynamics as we currently know them. The temperature rise in orgone devices also appears to challenge one of the laws of thermodynamics – that heat always runs in an entropic direction from hot to cool unless outside energy is added. However, most physical laws can be reappraised or updated to accommodate new data.

Orgonotic ideo-physicalism, although arguably related to an eliminative general identity theory, is not just theorizing. This is because it is based on the claimed existence of a real life force field, orgone, and on the historical claims of a type of Artificial Intelligence or AI device (the Ark of the Covenant, more on this later). Also it is based upon the practical notion that if a truly conscious AI were possible in a technological sense, this would naturally lead to an ideo-physicalist viewpoint (as an ideological entity would then have been brought into existence, physically). To have a true AI is to demonstrate the unity of the ideological and the physical this author believes. However, the modern dualist might rather argue that the technological relationship between distinct but bordering substances had been stumbled upon. If orgone demonstrates consciousness and is something that has physical qualities too perhaps this would indicate a more monistic but stratified model though this is still not entirely distinct from a soft dualism.

A hard dualism however is not supported by the theory of orgonotic ideo-physicalism as the singular continuum would be the means by which the apparently distinguished aspects, ‘mind’ and ‘body’ would communicate. Dualism is not currently a popular view (due to the age-old problem of communication between entirely separate substances). However, it is argued to be at least as rational a view as mainstream physicalism by its modern supporters such as Meixner and Thompson. That said, dualism, even in its modern forms has to find ways for a non-physical realm to plausibly communicate with the physical. Interactionist dualism could have ways of mind and matter relating according to Dainton (26) who argues that ‘action at a distance’ and the fact that we don’t even know why physical interaction occurs the way it does supports the hypothesis that dualistic interaction is at least possible.

The virtual processes of Meixner and Thompson (27) (such as propensities) can be argued to be just accounting mechanisms or merely a description of the possible future state of a physical entity. For example a white wall has a propensity to be cooler in the sun than a black wall but the relationship of a present state to a future state is perhaps not the same type of relationship as matter has to consciousness. Our consciousness seems to be tangibly enmeshed within matter in the present moment to the point where it is hard to imagine a separation during the time we are alive. Even if mind also exists outside the body (which is the view of this author and many dualists) the mind can still be physical and enmeshed within other ‘bodies’ – just it may leave one body – the material, and enter another more ethereal, though still physical one.

Living forms themselves can be argued to be a contradiction to a hard dualism, the most obvious example of enmeshed consciousness being life itself. Life forms are in effect, ‘conscious matter’ and from an orgonomic viewpoint all matter has a strong propensity to become alive because of bion processes (28). Matter could become living and thus conscious without any overt consciousness from another realm being involved. For example an apparently dead and non-conscious meteorite could hurtle through space and get caught in the earth’s pull. Travelling through the earth’s atmosphere it could heat some water trapped within its core and also superheat the material of the meteorite itself. This could easily give rise to the tiny living vesicles Reich called bions. Bions would have at least some level of consciousness according to Reich’s theories. Consciousness could easily manifest therefore without any overt intervention required from another realm. This author would class this not as pure emergence of one realm into another but as evidence that the material realm has inherent tendencies to demonstrate life and consciousness, further that the physical realm is inherently pulled toward life and consciousness.

Living forms do not seem to be non-living matter with a consciousness puppeteer in another realm, or even with a contingent parallel consciousness living intimately alongside the physical (as in modern dualism). Living forms rather seem to be a matter which is completely unified with consciousness – conscious matter. It is simpler too to suppose a living matter though this isn’t a logical argument in itself – reality can be complex.

The existence of a life-force such as orgone is also at odds with a hard dualism as life-force has both characteristics which we associate with consciousness – discernment, choice, preferences, attraction, tendency to create, and physical characteristics such as a rise in temperature in orgone devices (29). However, life-force is compatible with softer dualisms as the orgone could quantize into different realms of functioning whilst retaining a core structure.

There are idealist arguments against dualism. Consciousness is not subject to time and space and is therefore unlimited. All reality is within or reducible to consciousness as nothing can be experienced without it. Therefore all reality is a singular, infinite consciousness substance. It is illogical therefore to have another more fundamental substance from which mind and matter arises, when there is already an infinite, primal substance in existence (for example as in neutral monism or dual aspect theories). It would also be illogical to have a second substance of matter (dualism and pan-psychism) when everything already exists within the first substance (mind) (30). However, even if these arguments are correct, ideo-physicalism is still compatible with reality being a singular conscious realm – a singular mind-substance may itself have inherent physicality.

Supervenience

Ideo-physicalism is not compatible with the conventional view of supervenience – that the mental is merely a dependent subset of the physical. Ideo-physicalism goes much further than this view as it takes into account a causative consciousness. Other physicalisms either deny consciousness altogether (such as in strong materialism) or are actually crypto-dualisms, such as the view of supervenience in conventional physicalism (31). It is a crypto-dualism because it states the physical gives rise to, or causes by reflection, a wholly different order, termed mind. One cannot alternatively have a supervenient view with a causative consciousness. That would no longer be materialism but a form of pan-psychism – as matter would then be the cause of an active consciousness.

To return to ideo-physicalism we can now examine a related view which the author has termed theological ideo-physicalism. Whilst the author was wondering if the orgone continuum really was a pan-psychic theory, he also wondered what theory of consciousness might be found in the Bible.

It was found, much to this author’s surprise that a view of ideo-physicalism may also exist in the Bible, though of course it also ascribes personality to this existence – God. Such a Biblical view could be called theological or personalised ideo-physicalism. Both Old and New Testaments appear to have some support for this view.

Theological Ideo-Physicalism

Old Testament

Genesis 1:2 ‘The spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters’

Spirit in its highest forms is seen as a physical thing. How else would it interact with material water?

Genesis 1:24 ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to its kind.’

Isaacs, a Judaic scholar, discusses the above passage in context of the Hebrew word, ‘awfawr’ which he states may refer to a living material, the ‘dust’ of the universe from which God calls forth living souls in Genesis. This, Isaacs states, creates a material bond between God and his creatures. Isaacs also notes a process of living entities emerging from such living ‘dust’ which is similar to Reich’s bion process. Isaacs does not reference orgonomic bion processes but describes a similar process scientists claimed to have found in meteorites (32).

Genesis 4:1 ‘And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived,’

Physical intercourse is mental intercourse. Genesis recognises no distinction between mind and matter, in this respect – nor incidentally does Jesus Christ in the New Testament when discussing physical affairs and mental lust.

Genesis 4:10 ‘The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth from the ground.’

The psychic is portrayed as the brother’s blood. The psychic is not contained within the blood. The psychic actuallyis the blood. Again Genesis recognises no distinction between the body and the mind.

Genesis 4:11 ‘The earth which hath opened her mouth.’

The earth responding to God, brings forth creatures from her ‘dust’ but also appears to have her own personhood. The earth could therefore be both person and living substance combined.

Genesis 5:22 ‘And Enoch walked with God’

One verse later,

‘And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.’

Enoch, a material being, walked with God. Enoch went with God whilst still in his material human body. This suggests that God can be seen as also material in some way according to the Old Testament.

Genesis 9:4 ‘But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat’

Blood does not contain life. It is life according to Genesis. That is why it is not to be consumed by the Judaic tribes.

Exodus 32:14And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people’.

The Lord is represented not as an unfathomable existential essence but as a real personality which has various attributes, including being persuaded against a course of action by Moses. The Lord was angry because the Judaic tribe had taken to worshipping a golden calf whilst Moses was in Mount Sinai taking directly to the Lord.

Exodus 33:11 The pillar of cloud descended, ‘And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face.’

The Lord repeatedly meets with Moses – in person. Not as an ethereal vision or hallucination but as a bodily presence. He not only descends in the radioactive cloud to talk to Moses directly, in body, but uses the Ark of the Covenant, a technological device to directly talk to Moses. Isaacs confirms the Bible is referring to a radioactive cloud around the Ark and that it is a technological device. It even has a remote control which enables the Ark to communicate at a distance – the Ephod, a crystal, metal and woven materials breastplate (33). The Ark of the Covenant’s original function (communication) would make it similar to what might be called in modern times, an AI device. It is a technological device which enables specially trained people (Moses and the Levite priests) to interact with a non-materially based intelligence, in other words, true AI. This does not mean that the Lord of the Old Testament is an AI entity but that according to the Bible, the Lord used AI to communicate with the Ancient Hebrews. The use of the Ark as a device of war only came later, Isaacs notes.

Exodus 40:20 Moses is preparing the Ark, ‘And he took and put the testimony into the ark’

The testimony is radioactive, see the Judaic scholar Isaacs (34) and the orgone researcher, Maglione (35). Moses’s face shone after talking to the Lord on the mount, frightening the tribe so ‘none would go near him’ so he wore a veil. He also hid in a cleft whilst the Lord passed by, as, ‘no man shall see my face and live’. This is because The Lord, to enter this reality physically, is radioactive, according to Judaic and Biblical references interpreted by Isaacs (36).

Exodus 25:8 ‘ And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.’

The Lord has a face and a hand as well as being radioactive (resulting in physical symptoms in the tribe, shining faces, specific incenses used as protection, protective food offerings) (37).

Exodus 3:14 ‘And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.’

God can perhaps identify himself with the existent universe by the name which he tells Moses he should be known by to the Israelites, ‘I am that I am’.

Amos 4:7 ‘…I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city.’

Local weather modification is conducted by the Lord.

New Testament

Matthew 17. ‘He saw the spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.’

This describes Jesus Christ after his baptism. The spirit of God can physically interact with material bodies, showing that spirit can be understood as a physical presence.

Matthew 11:12 ‘The Kingdom of heaven suffereth violence.’

Heaven could be understood to be a physical place otherwise it could not perhaps suffer violence.

Matthew also says if one’s eye or one’s foot offends then it is better to cast it off and enter into heaven with one foot or one eye.

This shows that the physical and the spiritual body are possibly derived from the same source in the view of Matthew.

Luke 24:39 ‘Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.’

Jesus Christ appears in the flesh after the resurrection. After death Jesus Christ still has a material body.

Corinthian 15:39 ‘ All flesh is not the same flesh.’

Everything is physical but there are different types of physicality and different types of bodies.

Corinthian 15:40 ‘There are also celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial’

Different realms have different types of bodies but they are all physical, otherwise they could not be called ‘bodies’.

Corinthian 15:44 ‘There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body’.

The spiritual is also bodily and therefore the spiritual is also physical. The spiritual and the physical may be unified in the Biblical view. Many Christians view that personal consciousness is always embodied whether in a material or spiritual form.

Corinthian 15:38 ‘God giveth to every seed his own body.’

This is reminiscent of the energy bodies or the morphogenetic fields Sheldrake refers to, the Platonic or perhaps evolving organism forms which may provide energy templates for living creatures (38). The ancient Hebrews would know there isn’t a miniature, material, homunculus body inside a seed so perhaps they were referring here to energy bodies.

Thessalonians 1:23 ‘I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless’

Paul describes how a whole can be seen as the tripartite spirit, soul and body but that in fact they are one.

Acts 17:28 ‘In him we live and move and have our being.’

Here it is described how the activity of the physical and psychic realms are contained within a greater being. The physical is unified with the spiritual in this view.

John 4:10  ‘Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." ‘

Jesus is describing the gift of Spirit and comparing it to the giving of water to a Samaritan woman he met by a well side. He describes Spirit to her as ‘living water’. A conscious orgone is not entirely dissimilar to ‘living water’.

Discussion

As Baker notes, (39) the Bible is not committed to any one particular philosophical or scientific outlook. Some researchers make arguments from the apparent independence of a spiritual God to the material world as evidence of the philosophical position of mind-body duality (possibly the form that posits that God enables mind and matter to parallel each other – theistic dualistic parallelism). Some Christian writers, such as Baker, even posit a mechanistic materialism versus supernatural dualism and deny a mind-body dualism altogether.

The most popular form of dualism in philosophy (rather than in religion) is interactionist dualism which states that mind and matter affect each other through real but unknown, or through virtual processes.

In general however, it can be seen that a case for a unified ideo-substance with physical, living and consciousness properties can also be made from Biblical premises. Any dualism in the Bible may arguably be the soft kind which is compatible with ideo-physicalism (that there is a singular reality which quantizes out into apparently different realms).

Previous Unification Theories

There have been a number of prior philosophical attempts to unify the objective and subjective viewpoints. Amongst the best known is Baruch Spinoza, who outlined a universal living substance. He emphasized the substantive aspects but did not pay sufficient tribute to its mind-like aspects according to the great German philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel (41). It was from Hegel of course that Reich developed his Common Functioning Principle. The dialectical method, of systematically finding the essence of an entity – without introducing one’s one artifacts, was Hegel’s stated objective. This was also Reich’s own attitude to study.

In fairness to Spinoza, he did recognize subjectivity in the universal substance, though like Reich, he emphasized the substantive aspects of this universal essence. On the other hand, Hegel also postulated a unification of object and subject within the ‘absolute idea’. He called his theory, absolute idealism and saw objectivity not as illusory but as revelatory and existing within the absolute mind or idea. So Hegel’s absolute idealism and Spinoza’s universal substance are in effect compatible as Hegel acknowledged. Hegel thought that Spinoza’s substance was an essential starting point to philosophy (42). As an aside, Hegel’s organicism (viewing reality as an organism, or a series of organisms rather than as a machine) is a somewhat unacknowledged central influence on orgonomy, which of course shares Hegel’s organicism as well as the dialectical method.

The ideo-physical continuum, Spinoza’s universal substance and Hegel’s ‘absolute idea’ are in effect the same thing. However ideo-physicalism challenges that there is any reality beyond Hegel’s absolute – in effect extending it to all existence. Also perhaps unlike Spinoza’s substance, the ideo-physical equally emphasizes mind and substance, in fact it denies their existence as distinct entities or even as modes of reality. The subjective and objective are not real or particular aspects of reality in ideo-physicalism. Subjective and objective could be said to be more of an illusion for when reality is analysed from this continuum viewpoint there appears to be only an ideo-substance in existence.

Conclusion

Three things led this author to an ideo-physicalist viewpoint:

  1. The possibility of a conscious life force.
  2. Biblical and Judaic reports of consciousness technological devices (the Ark of the Covenant and the Ephod).
  3. The logical implications of any future true AI upon consciousness theory.

Orgone may be an ideo-physical entity which exists as a non-uniform continuum in various degrees of perceived density. It has both mind-like and matter-like properties whilst being neither in essence but rather an experio-substance. It is proposed that there is no such thing as pure mentality, nor such thing as pure matter. The orgone continuum could thus be considered as an ideo-physicalist theory of consciousness. It is not a simple pan-psychic theory as it does not recognize that mind or matter exists as distinct states. Neither is it a straight forward neutral monism as it identifies a non-neutral continuum that doesn’t have any sub-categories. Perhaps it could be called a mutual pan-psychism – apparent matter possesses mind but apparent mind also inherently possesses matter – in degrees. It could be called idealism with inherent physicality. It is also compatible with a soft dualism as quantization is possible within an underlying existence.

Orgone is thought to be accessible to technology which in turn makes what we have termed consciousness itself accessible to technology. Perhaps ideo-physicality could be a description of both consciousness and physicality. It reveals the rationality behind rituals and religion – as to manipulate what we term physicality is to change consciousness and vice versa. It also views science as a rational project as the entire universe is inherently physical (though also conscious). Ideo-physicalism could also be called ideo-realism. It says there is only consciousness but that this consciousness is physically real. It also explains why the body-based psychotherapies, which Reich initiated, might work, such as orgone psychiatric therapy. This author would maintain that such therapies address the continuum rather than body or mind.

The Bible may have a similar theory of consciousness to ideo-physicalism which could be called theological ideo-physicalism. It describes what has here been called the ideo-physical orgone continuum as having a personality – God. The Bible also describes the utilization of technology in consciousness (the Ark of the Covenant and the Ephod). An ideo-physical view of reality could lead naturally to consciousness technology – and vice versa, a people who had got hold of a true consciousness technology, such as the ancient Hebrews (40), would be led toward an ideo-physical viewpoint in this author’s view. Ideo-physicalism places consciousness squarely within the realm of both science and religion – and history reveals their secret marriage. Science and religion have never really been at odds in the minds of the great innovators of the past.

The theory of orgonotic ideo-physicalism could itself be described as a peri-Biblical type of theory as this author believes it is consistent with both Biblical Testaments and may go back even further to prior Egyptian times.

Orgonotic ideo-physicalism is certainly related to both pan-psychism and neutral monism. Unlike pure idealism it illuminates the quantized aspect of reality, the way some things are more real than others. Although a physicalist theory it takes into account a causative consciousness and explicitly removes the hidden duality of mental versus physical which may arguably remain in some of the other theories. At the same time it is also has some compatibility with the views of modern dualism which sees the differing realms as contiguous rather than entirely separate. The relationship of the various theories discussed can be visually described as follows:

Chart 3

Relationship of the Ontological Theories

Finally the author would like to return to the Cartesian argument which still stands unchallenged after nearly four centuries. The central premise is that all that can be known without doubt is that thought (or more widely, consciousness) exists. One cannot doubt that consciousness entails experience and therefore an experiencing entity. One can know for sure that lawful experiences occur to this entity in its consciousness (of itself). All these experiences are arguably of a body of some sort as a body, or physicality is just another word for lawful experience. An orgonotic ideo-physicalism would detail that this body is a universal, singular, living and conscious continuum which can quantize (be particular) or be non-local (universal) and can be experienced from multiple viewpoints which we call ourselves.

Appendix 1

Views of Consciousness

A synopsis of the main views of consciousness.

Materialism – the view that all that exists is the material.

Advantages – As a monistic theory it appears to be internally coherent. It may have helped lead to industrialization.

Disadvantages – as consciousness can only ever be epiphenomena in materialism it robs consciousness of any independence or causative power thus making us ‘philosophical zombies’. It cannot ever go beyond correlation as a separate realm of matter is not and never can be the realm of a separate, pure mind. Strong materialism actually denies mind even exists. A weak materialism accepts that mind exists but denies it any causative power (mind is a dumb effect of random matter). Such a relative materialism thus also has a covert dualism. In addition, it cannot ever move beyond simple correlation. Syntax (meaning) can never be the same as process (physical movement). Or in other terms, qualia (sensations) can never be reduced to their physical correlates (a taste of an orange is not the same thing as a tastebud and a neuron however detailed the correlation). Computation (process) is not thought (conscious awareness). This simple truism seems to escape most AI researchers who just assume a miracle will occur (matter will become mind) when sufficient computation (physical process) power is reached. A laptop isn’t conscious, but a quantum computer might be, is the implication. Materialism can be argued to support an overt (rare) or covert (more common) denial of consciousness and spiritual phenomena in its adherents.

Materialism came from the work of mainly Christian scientists who can be argued to have changed the Bible’s earlier more vitalist leanings and inserted a creator of a ‘clockwork machine’ instead. This was in the 17th Century and onwards arguably due to their influencing by the industrial revolution. It is this newer, perhaps less Biblical definition of God that materialists like to argue against.

Physicalism – the view that all that exists is the physical (matter and energy) and further that if consciousness is real it can be entirely explained by physical processes, if not now then in the future (a promissory theory). This is the current default view of the scientific establishment.

Advantages – as a monistic theory it appears to be internally coherent. It may have helped lead to technology.

Disadvantages – suffers from reducing consciousness to epiphenomena (a dependent or wholly emergent phenomena) so it strips consciousness of causation as materialism does. Physicalism suffers from all the above problems of materialism. Materialism is a form of physicalism.

Idealism – the view that all that really exists is the mind. All matter is contained within mind, or given reality by mind

Advantages – as a monistic theory it appears to be internally consistent. It accepts the primacy of consciousness, our only way of knowing the universe.

Disadvantages – it has limited explanatory value. It does not explain why some realities are more real than others. For example, why the reality in Plato’s cave is less real than the reality outside Plato’s cave, to give a famous analogy, or why the virtual reality people play on a device is less real than the everyday reality people live and work in. It doesn’t explain why daily reality is so matter-like it just observes that this is so. If the ideal is stratified into more and less substantial elements it is no longer an idealism but arguably a form of ideo-physicalism.

Idealism can, in this author’s view, create a false psychic split between the observer (self) and the observed (non-self). Perceived reality is just illusion which is an isolating way of interacting with perceptual reality, whether that reality is transient or longer term. In fairness though, not all idealist philosophies make this split.

The idealist current preferences the mind over matter and to some therefore it can be seen as unworldly.

Dualism – the view that there are two or more substances making up reality; notably mind and matter.

Advantages – Conforms to the common sense perception that reality has two separate aspects to it, mind and matter. Modern dualisms offer a softer dualism claiming there are ways for mind to act upon matter in the form of propensities or tendencies. Rather than complete separation there is contiguity between different substances which relate through virtual but real processes. Modern dualism is no less rational than most physicalist theories it would appear and perhaps more honest in that it recognizes both physicality and that a causative consciousness exists. Dualism would encourage engagement with a real world of physical experience and also encourage recognition of spiritual realities.

Disadvantages – If the realms of mind and matter, or the two fundamental substances are wholly different then they have no obvious way of communicating with each other. Mind and matter do communicate therefore they must have some level of commonality to enable this communication to occur. If they have commonality, a hard dualism with completely separate substances looks unlikely to be true. Within dualism, modern proponents suggest that there are virtual relationships, like propensities or tendencies, between the realms of mind and matter which allow communication.

Outside of dualism some have tried to overcome the communication difficulty by proposing that both mind and matter are aspects of a third more fundamental entity which is neither, this is called dual aspect thinking proposed by a number of quantum physicists. There is another theory which attempts to resolve duality called neutral monism which again proposes that mind and matter are just aspects of a neutral set of entities, the true reality which transcends both mind and matter. The problem with both these post-dual theories is that a hard dualism may still be implied but could be said to have become hidden. They are perhaps, crypto-dualisms. This factor is also leveled against pan-psychism. Most people, in practice, appear to have a dualist view of reality.

Pan-psychism – the view that all matter has consciousness.

Advantages – appears to reconcile mind and physicality. It is acceptable both to a growing number of scientists and to some theologians. In this author’s view it is a plausible theory which allows for goals and purpose as well as evolution of forms and a real physicality. It recognises both physicality and consciousness to be primal.

Disadvantages – may be a crypto-dualism, does not explain why mind and matter are always reflected by each other. Ontological pan-psychism states mind and matter are always aspects of each other but does not give a reason for this monism. Emanationist pan-psychism states that mind is primal and gives birth to matter. However if emanationism requires that mind and matter are different states (for one primary state to give birth to the other) it then suffers from possible crypto-dualism. If an emanationism alternatively states that mind and matter are the same thing it possibly requires the universe to be ultimately entirely ideal (of the mind) as the mind is the primary substance.

Ideo-Physicalism – the view that a singular experio-substance exists.

Advantages – states that all that exists is an experiencing substance and that mind and matter are provisional positions within our belief systems that are transcended by fact. It is argued to have no hidden dualism as it explicitly states mind and matter do not exist as absolute opposites but are only our limited categorizations of a singular experientio-substance. This experiencing substance is a continuum, different aspects of which lead to our terms of pure ‘consciousness’ and a separate ‘physicality’. The theory is perhaps internally consistent (allowing for communication) as it has an underlying monism. It is also at the same time compatible with the softer versions of dualism, or modern dualism, as apparently separate realms can still quantize out from a singular underlying reality. Orgonotic ideo-physicalism (the orgone continuum) gives the reason for this underlying monism (the existence of a proposed, scientifically real consciousness field – orgone). This makes the theory technologically applicable in principle – change the orgone and one changes consciousness would be the principle.

As reality is real and not an illusion or a simulation, and part of oneself, ideo-physicalism encourages connection to self and others and respect for oneself, others and the environment. It does not deny the primacy of either what we provisionally term ‘consciousness’ or ‘physicality’. Ideo-physicalism is compatible both with scientific physicalism and theological spiritual views.

Disadvantages – the application of any possible consciousness technology could lead to changes in society which are hard to predict and may be both positive and negative. It denies the existence of any purely abstract entities and as such might be critiqued. Although this essay did attempt an answer, it could be asked, what is the physicality of a relationship or an apparently abstract number, or of the feeling of love? Is the conscious self, which is not apparently in time or in space, really a tangible thing? Can an infinite body still be physical?

 

 

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References

  1. Southgate, L. (2016) http://orgonecontinuum.org/theorgonecontinuum.html
  2. Ibid
  3. De Quincey, C. (2010) Radical Nature: The Soul of Matter, Kindle Edition
  4. Reich, W. 1956, Re-emergence of Freud’s ‘Death Instinct’ as ‘DOR’ Energy, Orgonomic Medicine Volume II, Num1.
  5. Southgate, L. (2017) Implications of Orgone for Consciousness Research, Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy. http://www.psychorgone.com/orgone-biophysics/implications-of-orgone-for-consciousness-research-part-1
  6. Higgins, M. (1960) Wilhelm Reich – Selected Writings, 1960, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.
  7. Southgate, L. (2017) Implications of Orgone for Consciousness Research, Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy. http://www.psychorgone.com/orgone-biophysics/implications-of-orgone-for-consciousness-research-part-1 see Armouring section.
  8. For more on Bions see Wilhelm Reich’s Selected Writings, Editor, Higgins, 1960.
  9. Higgins, M. (1960) Wilhelm Reich – Selected Writings, 1960, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.
  10. De Quincey, C. (2010) Radical Nature: The Soul of Matter, Kindle Edition.
  11. Morch, H. (2014) Panpsychism and Causation: A New Argument and a Solution to the Combination Problem, PhD Thesis, Oslo University. http://www.newdualism.org/papers/H.Morch/Morch-dissertation-Oslo2014.pdf
  12. Sheldrake, R. 2011, The Presence of the Past, Coronet, UK
  13. Stubenberg, L. (2016) https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/neutral-monism/
  14. Irvine, A. (2017) https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/russell/#RNM
  15. Southgate, L. (2016) http://orgonecontinuum.org/reich-biblio.html
  16. Southgate, L. (2017) Implications of Orgone for Consciousness Research, Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy. http://www.psychorgone.com/orgone-biophysics/implications-of-orgone-for-consciousness-research-part-1 See also Part 2.
  17. Browne, J. (2018) How Consciousness Only Model Explains QM, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_52kDPy_a_I&feature=youtu.be
  18. See Maglione and Southgate’s papers on orgone and electricity for further information on charged particles at www.psychorgone.com . See Reich’s Experiment XX in Wilhelm Reich’s Selected Writings (edited by Higgins) or in Southgate’s Annotated Bibliography for more on the creation of matter from orgone, http://orgonecontinuum.org/reich-biblio.html (search Experiment XX).
  19. Kostro, L. (2008) Albert Einstein’s New Ether and his General Relativity, Proceedings of the Balkan Society of Geometers, http://www.mathem.pub.ro/proc/bsgp-10/K10-KOSTRO.PDF
  20. Demeo, J. (2002) Dayton Miller’s Ether-Drift
    Experiments: A Fresh Look, Pulse of the Planet No5, http://www.orgonelab.org/miller.htm
  21. Hameroff, S. (2018) Science of Consciousness Conference, Plenary 11, Idealism and Panpsychism, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P6xgydJrO0
  22. Meixner, U. (2005) Physicalism, Dualism and Intellectual Honesty http://www.newdualism.org/review/vol1/dr-vol1.pdf pp5.
  23. Thompson, I. (2008) Discrete Degrees Between Nature and Mind, http://www.generativescience.org/ps-papers/Thompson-ddnamin2f.htm
  24. In dualism mind is classed as a ‘substance’ even though it is not thought of as physical. Substance can be thought of as, ‘type of entity,’ in this context.
  25. Dainton, B. (1997) University of Liverpool Teaching Notes, https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/~bdainton
  26. Meixner, U. (2005) Physicalism, Dualism and Intellectual Honesty, http://www.newdualism.org/review/vol1/dr-vol1.pdf
  27. Ibid
  28. There is disagreement about what constitutes life. Some biologists would argue that viruses are not alive even though they have DNA, are biological and can reproduce, because they lack their own energy systems. It could be argued that crystals are alive because they can reproduce themselves and grow, though most scientists would disagree. Biological cells are considered alive because they can reproduce, have their own energy systems and possess DNA. Bions may mostly lack DNA but they can reproduce under certain circumstances, are self-motile and have their own energy. This author uses a simple orgonotic definition of life as any plasma within a biological membrane that has its own volition. DNA is a later characteristic of life this author believes.
  29. See Southgate’s annotated bibliography section on TO-T for further information on orgone temperature anomalies. http://www.orgonecontinuum.org/reich-biblio.html
  30. Thanks to Stefan Cockroft for these arguments in the Origins of Consciousness social media group.
  31. There is a problem for physicalist theories within the current paradigm in that if they suppose that mind is real and can affect energy this brings up the possibility that mind could increase the total amount of energy in the universe. So some physicalist theorists claim that to stick to the laws of physics as we currently know them requires a consciousness that cannot change the amount of energy in circulation.
  32. Isaacs, R. (2010) Talking With God, Sacred Closet Books, US pp293 quoting Institute of Physics, ‘Scientists Discover Inorganic Dust with Lifelike Qualities’, www.sciencedaily.com
  33. Isaacs, R. (2010) Talking With God, Sacred Closet Books, US: pp60.
  34. Ibid
  35. Maglione, R. (2017) The Legendary Shamir, Robert_jumper@yahoo.it
  36. Isaacs, R. (2010) Talking With God, Sacred Closet Books, US.
  37. Ibid.
  38. Sheldrake, R. (2011) The Presence of the Past, Coronet, UK
  39. Baker, L. (2000) Christians Should Reject Mind-Body Dualism, Chapter from Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Religion, Peterson (Ed) (2004) https://people.umass.edu/lrb/files/bak04shoM.pdf
  40. Isaacs, R. (2010) Talking With God, Sacred Closet Books, US.
  41. Beiser, F. (2005) Hegel, Routledge, UK.
  42. Ibid.

Author:

Leon Southgate MSc

From a family of psychotherapists and teachers I was introduced to orgonomy at a young age. As an adult my interest was rekindled, doing an MSc research degree in Chinese medicine and orgonomy. In 2002, a double blind, placebo controlled study was completed (N = 72). It confirmed an effect from orgone devices upon acupuncture (P = 0.03). An article about the study was published in the European Journal of Oriental Medicine in 2003. The theoretical side of the study outlined dozens of new parallels. It was later published as a book by German publishers LAP.

Southgate started an orgonomic PhD but the access to laboratory work became difficult so the project ended but a comprehensive (though not complete) Annotated Literature Review of the Post-Reich Journals was written and made available for free online.

Southgate is focused on examining orgone and its relationship to consciousness.

This post was written by:

- who has written 4 posts on The Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy.

From a family of psychotherapists and teachers I was introduced to orgonomy at a young age. As an adult my interest was rekindled, doing an MSc research degree in Chinese medicine and orgonomy. In 2002, a double blind, placebo controlled study was completed (N = 72). It confirmed an effect from orgone devices upon acupuncture (P = 0.03). An article about the study was published in the European Journal of Oriental Medicine in 2003. The theoretical side of the study outlined dozens of new parallels. It was later published as a book by German publishers LAP. Southgate started an orgonomic PhD but the access to laboratory work became difficult so the project ended but a comprehensive (though not complete) Annotated Literature Review of the Post-Reich Journals was written and made available for free online. Southgate is focused on examining orgone and its relationship to consciousness.

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