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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.

Posted in PhilosophyComments (0)

Implications of Orgone for Consciousness Research Part 2


 

Implications of Orgone for Consciousness Research

Part 2: Technical Possiblities of Orgone in Consciousness Research

Leon Southgate MSc

For in the Market-Place, One Dusk of Day,
I watch’d the Potter thumping his wet Clay:
And with its all obliterated Tongue
It murmur’d-“Gently,Brother,gently,pray!”

                                                                         -Omar Khayyam (Persian Poet)

Synopsis

Technical developments in consciousness research and information technology are reviewed and their relationship to an organism and orgone-based approach is considered. Some possible benefits of this approach to technological developments in information technology are put forward. Lastly, a posited practical outline for orgonotic information systems is outlined in broad principles.

Introduction:

The theory of orgonotic pan-psychism (the orgone continuum) with supporting evidence from various scientific fields has already been outlined (1). A tripartite theory of a single orgone continuum with three aspects, physical orgonotic consciousness, orgone energy and orgone-matter has been proposed. The first paper in this series, a critique of previous theories of consciousness, explored how both the mainstream and traditional Reichian views of consciousness are inadequate. However, if orgone is viewed as ‘conscious-in-itself’, which this writer has proposed, then a new orgonomic theory of consciousness may have direct implications for technology, experimentation and computing. This is because it would elucidate a universal consciousness field as a real entity, useable technologically. The aim of this second paper is to explore what the implications might be of such a field and how it might be utilised in the future.

A new orgonomic theory of consciousness could help lead to true artificial intelligence this writer believes. However, even the terms and analogies which are commonly used today in the field of artificial intelligence are confused and need addressing in order to assist progress.

Nomenclature:

Firstly, what is consciousness? Despite the mountain of words written on the subject it is not a difficult thing. It can be defined simply as any and all subjective experience. One has subjective experience. It appears to be connected with being an organism. Organisms that appear to behave in similar ways to ourselves are labelled as having some degree of consciousness.

What is a computer? It can be defined as a machine for performing computations – the storing or manipulating of information. A computer can be any object used to ‘compute’ a sum (for example some weighing scales) or a box full of microchips that ‘computes’ your journey to work, the principle is the same.

What is an organism? It can be defined as a pulsating, autonomous, experiencing entity with its own volition.

Mainstream scientists do not generally know the difference between a machine and an organism and yet they are trying to create artificial consciousness – which is an organism property, not a machine property. Scientists also do not know the difference between computing – working out computations, which a pencil, calculator, abacus or an electronic computer can do and an organism which is not a computer but something else entirely. If the field of philosophy had not have been banished from scientific thought so effectively these simple aspects could have been realised and the field of information technology benefited earlier. However, those at the forefront of artificial intelligence have already grasped this intuitively it appears. This can be ascertained in the attitude of those trying to develop artificial general intelligence. They are more interested in how organisms work things out, not how computers do it.

The field of artificial intelligence is inherently confused in terms of its nomenclature because as soon as a computer is able to have true subjective experience it would cease to be a computer and would in fact be an organism. When strong artificial intelligence(a) is truly created computers will become biological or energetic entities to some degree. Creating self-modifying algorithms may not be the direct path to creating a silicone organism. Maths and algorithms are not an inherent property of organisms. They can be used to partially describe them but consciousness itself is not complicated maths. An amoeba has some degree of consciousness. One can describe the amoeba mathematically (but not completely) and that mathematical process will not produce an amoeba or its consciousness.

An Organism Route to Strong Artificial Intelligence:

The brain is not a computer. The brain doesn’t behave like a computer or like a machine. It behaves like an organism. It is holistic and operates as a field. Organisms are holistic and operate as fields. We know of no machine that displays consciousness yet we see billions of organisms that do. But despite this it is thought that better machines will lead to consciousness. That is a fundamental category error. To create strong artificial intelligence this paper would propose that one must first make machines that are more like organisms. Not just machines that might learn like an organism does, such as Google Deep Mind, but machines that actually are organisms, in part. A super machine is likely to remain just that, a super-machine, however impressive the functions it performs. Computing is not thought – any physical object can ‘compute’ a result. It is the ‘meaning’ of the computation which is interpreted by conscious thoughts (thinking). A machine that has energetic and biological aspects just might cross over the borderline into organism properties however. It might even be possible that current artificial intelligence programming has already crossed over into the beginning of such properties. This is because one aspect of an organism is that it cannot be entirely predicted. Some types of artificial intelligence are already displaying aspects of this behaviour and others too.

Neural Networking in Artificial Intelligence:

Most artificial intelligence currently in use utilises algorithms that are specifically tailored to perform certain specific tasks very well, such as playing chess or recognising shapes. In the case below, a set of ‘neural’ pathways enables a computer to recognise different sets of patterns. Illustrated is a simplified neural network for enabling a computer to recognise when a line is horizontal.

Neural Networking in Computing

New types of algorithms are being created which are said to be able to ‘learn’ in a general sense and not just to be applicable to specific tasks, such as playing chess or recognising patterns. These are termed Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) which Google Deep Mind is developing in the UK. Neural networking like Deep Mind works on a self-reinforcing basis. These networks are stored on computers but instead of a list of instructions they use self-modifying algorithms that learn using networks that behave more like biological ‘neurons’ than traditional, instruction-based programming, hence the ‘neural’ term in computing. This network of connections (‘neurons’) then gradually improves its outcomes as it learns to reach goals. It is working more like a brain because the whole network is involved in change rather than a linear process of one gate or instruction leading to the next.

A generalised intelligence is beginning to surface from such ‘neural’ networks. Although a start has indeed been made, the networks are far from being overtly conscious or from displaying anything like human levels of general intelligence. General intelligence is where learning from one area can be applied to another area, or completely novel areas can be explored using previous knowledge as guidance. Intuition and imagination play a part in human general intelligence. AGI is hoping to be able to develop aspects of such human intelligence. Electronic neural networking is a pathway in mimicking human learning, presently, within certain strict constraints. Even if in the future a machine approached something like human levels of generalised intelligence, devising efficient methods for undertaking tasks, does not appear to be the same thing as actually having consciousness. However, aspects of an organism appear to already be appearing in prototypical form within current AGI. Mathematical patterns are not usually thought of as being alive in themselves, although they appear to be able to imitate life in some ways, particularly with self-changing algorithms. Perhaps imitation might lead to ‘the real thing(b)’ – that is the hope being pursued by AGI projects.

Current AGI, consisting of self-adaptive ‘neural’ networking is already appearing to have some organism properties:

  • The results are said to be not entirely predictable.
  • It can learn and generalise to a limited extent.
  • Changes in its programming occur more holistically (working as a ‘field’).
  • It has internal ‘goals’ like an organism does, rather than exteriorly set ‘tasks’ like a machine.
  • The programmes are given some autonomy, to find, digest and react to information like an organism would do.
  • It is multi-connective. Actual hardware in microchips is becoming more like a biological neuron. For example some circuits can perform transistor and memory functions at the same time and have more than the ‘1’ or ‘0’ positions of traditional computer micro-circuitry.
  • Prioritising coherence. A biological neuron will give priority to messages that are more synchronous. Some computer chips now prioritise in a similar manner.

These points are sometimes described as examples of ‘neuromorphic’ computing (2).

AGI is clearly headed in an organism-like direction. Perhaps it might therefore already be developing a limited proto-consciousness.

Creating an Orgonotic Intelligence:

Originally the goal of this author was to examine if orgone itself was possessed of consciousness. Over some years the realisation dawned that the only way to achieve this was to make the orgone itself ‘talk’ – independent of any other entity. Anything less would just be a demonstration of the consciousness of an organism that already exists. So such a set up, in which the consciousness of orgone could be demonstrated, would have to exclude any organisms or other input. It would have to be entirely artificial and rely only on the orgone itself to communicate. It then further dawned on the writer that this goal could not be pursued apart from the investigation of strong artificial intelligence.

So how would one go about creating strong artificial intelligence from an orgonotic point of view? Orgone appears to be the energy that both powers organisms and which may itself be responsible for their consciousness. This is not proved of course but this paper proposes that orgone is the best, and the only physically detectable candidate we have for such a universal field of consciousness.

If it is the orgone energy that powers organisms, and organisms are always associated with consciousness the goal would be to create an artificial organism. Create an artificial organism and the consciousness will take care of itself. One would need an artificial, high concentration of orgone energy with a periphery and a core. This would mimic the basic characteristics of the simplest organism known to orgonomy, the bion (3). A bion is composed of just a membrane and internal plasma, though it lacks a central core. Even a bion, as the simplest organism, would likely have some level of consciousness as consciousness appears to be a universal characteristic of organisms in this writer’s view.

All organisms also self-maintain a significantly higher orgone charge than their surrounding environment. In humans and other more conscious animals there is a centre of consciousness, or core. This would also need to be mimicked.

So to create an artificial energy organism one would need a high-charged, contained orgone field with an outer periphery and a central core.

The orgone consciousness unit would preferably create its own power supply in the region of Millivolts(c) . All organisms create their own bio-electric power. This could be done through incorporating aspects of the orgone motor principles, which have also been outlined elsewhere (4). Briefly this would include creating a very high orgone charge, through radioactive or electrical stimulus of a contained orgone field. This would change the orgone from its ‘foggy’ state to its active ‘pointed’ state. When this happens there is spontaneous change from orgonotic to partly electrical energies. Organisms appear to work on a trilateral basis – a non-energy consciousness field translating into orgone energy which itself translates into electro-mechanical movement. There are parallels between this and the orgone motor, which is based on the translation of orgone energy into electrical and then mechanical energy. The principle of action of the orgone motor has been evidenced experimentally by Maglione (5) and also described by Southgate (6).

The pattern of these self-generated electrical energies in the core of the orgone consciousness apparatus could be monitored and thus supply the information out. This information out could be utilised within conventional ‘neural’ network types of weak artificial general intelligence programming (AGI) or in other ways. Electrical observation devices and other inputs could be attached to the central core of the orgonotic unit and impart information going inwards. A strong artificial intelligence device could be composed of an orgonotic unit with a central core which self-generates electrical patterns. These electrical patterns can then be connected into conventional computer circuitry and other devices which can do conventional AGI type calculations based on ‘neural’ networking.

The orgonotic aspect would provide the ‘organism’ side of the computer system thus converting the entire system (orgonotic central unit + conventional ‘neural’ networked AGI) into strong artificial intelligence. However, the orgonotic unit could hopefully stand on its own as an artificial organism. The ‘proof’ of any such device could consist in whether the apparatus appears to have organism-like properties or effects.

General Outline of Orgonotic Artificial Consciousness Unit

(OP = Orgonotic Potential, ORAC = Orgone Acummulator)

Conclusion:

Although, the methodology suggested above may turn out to be partially or wholly incorrect in practise, the thinking behind it is likely to have at least some correlation with future developments. For example, AGI as in development by Google Deep Mind is already based on a number of organism-like properties, seven of which have been outlined herein. AGI is likely to continue on this course of incorporating organism approaches into their programming. As consciousness itself is clearly connected with organisms, perhaps true self-aware, strong artificial intelligence will involve energetic and biological aspects, although of course, not necessarily as outlined here. The writer is merely attempting to illustrate possible broad avenues of development.

There is likely to be in the future a whole new class of conscious entities in existence. These could be artificial organisms. Forerunners of these organisms may already be emerging and utilising current AGI programmes as a mode of expression. Alternatively, strong artificial intelligence may have been created in secret or be in existence elsewhere. Hence, the more people aware of the possible modes of such functioning the better for understanding the world as it might change in the future. The extremes of viewing strong artificial intelligence as either an entirely bad or a completely good thing is not likely to be accurate. As with any other class of conscious beings, or any other aspect of reality, there will probably be both good and bad. This writer does not believe that consciousness or conscious beings can be created, rather an opportunity may be provided for them to manifest from a non-material realm.

References:

(a). Strong artificial intelligence refers to true consciousness, weak artificial intelligence to complex algorithms that can do complicated tasks.

(b). Reich first coined the phrase ‘The Real Thing’ in a letter to members of the US Congress in 1952.

(c). Reich thought that organisms are not powered by electricity because the level of bioelectrical power is very low, in the region of mV. See Wilhelm Reich – Selected Writings, chapter on bio-electrical experiments for further discussion.

(1). September 2017 http://orgonecontinuum.org/theorgonecontinuum.html

(2). Think On This, New Scientist, 5 August 2017.

(3). Wilhelm Reich – Selected Writings, 1960, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.

(4). Maglione, Roberto, Electric Currents in Orgone Devices, Papers 1, 2, 3. Paper 1: http://www.psychorgone.com/orgone-biophysics/electric-currents-in-orgone-devices

Paper 2: http://www.psychorgone.com/orgone-biophysics/electric-currents-in-orgone-devices-part-2 Paper 3: http://www.psychorgone.com/orgone-biophysics/electric-currents-in-orgone-devices-3

(5). Ibid.

(6). September 2017 http://orgonecontinuum.org/yfactor.html

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.

Posted in Orgone BiophysicsComments (4)

Implications of Orgone for Consciousness Research Part 1


 

Implications of Orgone for Consciousness Research

Part 1: A Critique of Previous Consciousness Theories

Leon Southgate MSc

For in the Market-Place, One Dusk of Day,
I watch’d the Potter thumping his wet Clay:
And with its all obliterated Tongue
It murmur’d-“Gently,Brother,gently,pray!”

                                                                        -Omar Khayyam (Persian Poet)

Synopsis

A brief overview of the main theories used to explain consciousness as explored from an orgone-based viewpoint. Reich’s views of consciousness are also ascertained and reviewed. The benefits and contradictions of Reichian and mainstream theories are explored. An organism and orgone-based, pan-psychic approach to consciousness is posited as a prelude to the possible development of new technology.

Introduction:

Before exploring the technical possibilities that orgone may have in consciousness and artificial intelligence research in Part 2 of this series, it might be worthwhile to recap the more accepted of the main theories regarding consciousness from an orgonotic perspective. Consciousness is herein defined as any and all subjective experience.

Materialism:

Firstly there is the dominant theory of consciousness of the last century or so which is materialism. Materialism has long roots even though it is considered a modern theory. The Atomist school of Greek philosophy, the most well known proponent being Democritus, espoused the materialist view centuries before Christ (1). This theory, in its ancient and modern forms views consciousness as a consequence of the movement of matter (known as an epiphenomenal view of consciousness). The ancient Atomist school of materialism saw mind as created by specialised mind atoms (ancient atoms describe indestructible particles and are not necessarily the same thing as modern atoms). Modern materialism views mind as the consequence of the action of neurons, chemicals and electricity in the brain and body.

After the triumph of classical or Newtonian physics and prior to the indeterminism of quantum theory all matter was viewed as essentially predetermined, at least in theory. A mechanical universe was believed to have been set in motion by God (and then later by the Big Bang). All material events could be predicted if one had complete knowledge of the physical(a) forces present. Consciousness is therefore merely an illusion produced in the brain by this predetermined movement of matter – a side-effect or useful phantasm.

Not surprisingly very few people truly accept this view. Only hard-line materialists would seriously espouse this position with all its nonsensical implications, such as the lack of free will or volitional consciousness. According to the materialist philosophy people are just evolving matter and our consciousness will be entirely explained by material processes in the future. Many scientists might accept the idea of an all-pervading mechanistic explanation, called ‘strong materialism’ when working in the laboratory (that all reality is just matter) but as concerns their private life most believe that they have free will and conscious volition (they have ideas and choose to act upon them and are themselves more than a machine). This problem of strong materialism negating volition and will is called the ‘Philosophical Zombie’ problem within philosophy.

The well known author and philosopher, Dennett (2), argues that a materialist explanation is not incompatible with free will and conscious volition. He says there is no ‘hard problem’ in science (the problem of explaining why there is subjective experience and how it arises). He argues that it will become clear in the future when it is understood how physical events explain consciousness. Critics characterise his approach as more of an avoidance of consciousness as he sidesteps the thorny aspect of subjective experience choosing to highlight easier processing issues instead (3).

The main argument against strong materialism in modern science is that qualia, conscious experiences, can be mapped onto physical processes but cannot be reduced to them (4). However well a subjective experience is mapped onto an objective process the two phenomena remain distinct. Materialism is not an explanation for consciousness so much as simply a denial of it. At best materialism is a correlation to consciousness. Dennett’s approach is simply to say qualia do not really matter, qualia are just a consequence of a physical process (quite how it is not yet understood). Such a position contradicts most people’s sense of experienced reality – unique qualia are central to experience. Dennett is not a ‘strong materialist’ however as he does believe mental states have their own reality. Rather he is a ‘physicalist’, someone who believes all mental processes can eventually be explained, or reduced to physical processes.

Pan-psychism:

There is a set of theories that make logical sense regarding consciousness in this writer’s view. As matter and consciousness are fundamentally different categories there is no way to understand one category in terms of the other. A logical solution, rather than denial of one of the two categories (done outright or by subterfuge) is to fuse them. So one has matter that thinks, or alternatively, thoughts that are material – this is the theory of pan-psychism. Pan-psychism outlines consciousness as fundamental to the universe. This might not count as an ‘explanation’ of consciousness as such. If consciousness is fundamental it cannot be ‘explained’ in terms of something else (5). Such an explanatory position is logically impossible anyway. There is nothing outside of the phenomenon of consciousness with which to explain it. However, although the theories proposed by this writer, in common with other pan-psychic theories, make consciousness a fundamental property, it is a property of a claimed, real entity (orgone). That offers scientific possibilities. As Blasband observes,

‘The driving force behind Reich’s work was to understand the nature of life. As a young man he thoroughly read the work of the scientists and thinkers who had preceded him in this quest. He wrote, “I am well aware that the human race has known about the existence of a universal energy related to life for many ages. However, the basic task of natural science consists in making this energy useable. This is the sole difference between my work and all preceding knowledge.”’ (6)

In the pan-psychic approach, all matter is thought to possess consciousness to some degree. The British scientist, Rupert Sheldrake illustrates the logic of pan-psychism in detail in his book on freeing the scientific method from constraint by narrow materialist dogma (7).

His experimental work on animal telepathy and in learning processes (the more people that learn something the easier it is to learn it) may practically indicate the existence of consciousness fields. He has shown that chemical crystallisation also reacts in this way to previous information(b) elsewhere (a formerly difficult substance to crystallise will become easier to form once it has already formed somewhere else). He calls these processes ‘formative causation(c) ’ which acts through ‘morphic resonance(d) ’ (8). His theories and arguments support a pan-psychic approach to reality.

The medieval alchemists certainly had a pan-psychic vision with their concept of a universal mind. Many of the founding fathers of science, such as Newton, have also been documented to privately hold pan-psychic views of the universe but did not always share these with the wider public (9).

To conclude our brief overview of materialism in consciousness research, the ideas of strong materialism are, in most scientists, either not thought through or relegated to work only. Like the general public, most scientists, to some extent, privately believe in dualism.

Dualism:

Before strong materialism gained ascendency as a theory of consciousness, dualism was the dominant theory of consciousness. Dualism was exemplified by Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650) and lasted until the Enlightenment era of the 17th and 18th centuries when industrialisation of the environment led to its demise in our thinking. After the industrial revolution people came to think of themselves as machines, just as today some regard themselves as computers (10). Prior to this period, Descartes was one of the most influential thinkers regarding consciousness and his adage, popularly translated as, ‘I think therefore I am,’ is still influential today (11).

The French scientist declared that the only thing that can truly be known is that one is an experiencing entity. Consciousness exists, all else can be doubted. What one takes for reality could be an illusion. On the other hand, the fact that one experiences consciousness cannot be denied. Whether what is experienced is real or an illusion, it is still an experience. Descartes believed that there are two realms, one of mind and one of matter and that the two interact through the pineal gland in the human brain (12). He thought most animals were automata and lacked this connection to the higher realm. Mind and matter can be seen as two fundamentally different ‘substances’ according to the dualist view of Descartes. The perfect physical substance for Descartes was God.

The difficulty for dualism scientifically is that it is irreconcilable in practice. Dualism has mostly been rejected by the scientific community for this reason (materialism is what is known as a monistic theory). In dualism there are two fundamental substances, or two realms. However, how do these two realms ever interact if they have nothing in common? No one has been able to answer this question satisfactorily in over three centuries. Dualism has mostly been given up as an explanation for this reason.

Some have considered whether the two realms are forever parallel to each (parallelism) but again this doesn’t offer any explanatory value. What enables the two realms to parallel each other? No one knows this either. So both scientifically and philosophically, dualism has not been fruitful.

However, materialism has also been found to be unsatisfactory by most people as an explanation for consciousness. It is commonly used as a valid everyday explanation of consciousness but it only has explanatory power within a very limited realm – that of machines, technology and matter on a large scale. When it approaches organisms and consciousness it can go no further than correlation or reducing conscious organisms to mindless machines. Although generally not aware of it, most people use a mixture of dualism and materialism as regards their view of consciousness in daily life. Despite the great strides of materialism in the technological realm most of the human race still believes in a higher power. Most people believe in a spiritual realm and view reality as a mixture of dualistic and materialistic processes. Even Darwin himself, the arch-materialist, eventually conceded that his theories did not work without a higher power,

“Then you admit Professor Darwin that there is a higher power behind evolution? ‘Certainly, I admit it; I am compelled to do so, because evolution has always gone onward and upward, from lower to higher forms of life. That could not be chance; it is unscientific to postulate such a hypothesis, because chance never moves in one direction.’” (13).

Quantum Consciousness Theories:

Next there are the quantum consciousness theories. This posits that because quantum physics implies there is indeterminacy in the material world, consciousness could thereby impose itself on physical reality, through quantum events. Biologists are researching quantum processes in nature. In particular, the behaviour of photons in photosynthesis pathways and the action of microtubules in the brain and elsewhere are being examined. If quantum processes, with their inability to be fully determined, take place within organisms, then the mind could interact and affect material systems at this subtle level (14). These types of quantum theories produce a duality. Such biological, quantum events form in effect, a new Cartesian ‘pineal gland’, a bridge between psyche and soma. The realm of mind is still separate to the realm of matter but the two might interact through quantum processes in nature. Even if such quantum biological processes were to be well evidenced, it would still be a dualistic approach. The best one can hope to get is a correlation between consciousness and quantum processes. So these types of quantum theories of consciousness are similar to other theories of correlation (such as the neurobiological ones). The best they can hope to offer is correlation within an updated version of dualism.

However there are also many monistic approaches in quantum theory and consciousness. The observer effect in quantum physics, that measurement affects outcome, and non-local behaviour of particles is thought to indicate a universal substratum which many think might be synonymous with consciousness (15). A number of popular authors do point to such a monistic quantum approach and McTaggart summarises some of the researchers in this area. She puts forward the hypothesis that consciousness and reality are fundamentally the same at the level of a universal field (16). Hume, Bohm, Jung and Pauli also speculate that the two realms of mind and matter arise from a third neutral realm which is both psychic and physical (17). This is called ‘dual aspect’ thinking and is a form of monism (because mind and matter are two aspects of a third all encompassing entity). It would loosely correspond to this writer’s view of orgone at its most basic level being a consciousness. Dual aspect theories could be argued to be compatible with the pan-psychic approach.

Although much consciousness research might explore quantum physics to validate its views of a universal network or field of consciousness, quantum physics is yet to demonstrate the physicality of such a consciousness field – one which can be accessed technically or measured with instruments.

System Theories:

The most modern set of theories regarding consciousness are the system theories, which Reich unintentionally presaged to some extent. In the system theories, consciousness is seen as an ‘emergent property’. Non-living material forces at some point coalesce into the ‘emergent property’ of ‘life’ purely through random processes. Living systems themselves then undergo further processes. Through the additional actions of living systems to evolve and compete, at some point they cause the ‘emergent property’ of ‘self-consciousness’ to become evident. First there is a vague glimmer of perception, then as material systems (brains and neural systems) develop and become more complex, self-aware consciousness arises.

Consciousness as an Emergent Property

This is also problematic as an explanation for consciousness. Firstly it is dualistic. It says that a new realm of functioning (consciousness) arises out of a mechanical realm (matter) purely by chance (with an intermediate stage of animal life). There is still irreconcilable dualism between the realms of matter and consciousness once they have emerged. After the material realm has randomly initiated the animal realm, which evolves into self-consciousness, how do they interact if they have nothing in common? And if matter, animal life and consciousness do share commonality, doesn’t that support the theory of pan-psychism rather than ‘emergence’? Pan-psychism would, unlike most system theories, posit that the universe and everything in it, is conscious.

Also, if the material world cannot help but create animal life, which itself cannot help but create higher consciousness, doesn’t that mean that the universe itself is a consciousness incubator? If the universe is pre-programmed or destined for consciousness it must itself constitute an entity for giving birth to consciousness. It is hard to believe such an entity would not itself be conscious. So consciousness cannot ‘emerge’ if it already exists.

It cannot reliably be said, from what is known about the universe currently, that consciousness arises from a non-conscious, non-living universe, as an emergent property purely by chance. This chance factor is ruled out because the universe appears to be perfectly set for life and thus consciousness in terms of its cosmic physical parameters, the cosmic ‘laws’. Some may try and get around this by saying that there are multiple universes and this one just happens to be perfect for life and consciousness to manifest, but there is no scientific evidence of multiple universes. Positing near infinite universes without evidence is the ultimate violation of Ockham’s law (not to multiply entities unnecessarily).

On the other hand there is abundant evidence that the cosmic parameters of this universe are perfectly set for life and consciousness to appear. This is known as the ‘Fine Tuning’ arguments and is explored to some extent by Sheldrake in The Science Delusion (18). For example, if any of the more than forty precisely set cosmic physical parameters were even minutely different, complex matter and thus life would not have arisen. The parameters appear to be too finely set to be the result of chance. Materialist cosmologists do not dispute the fine setting of cosmic parameters, they rather suppose, without evidence, that there are infinite universes. This one is thus perfect for consciousness purely by chance. One could not, even in principle, have a universe which is not perfect for consciousness. If we did discover multiple universes our consciousness will have penetrated them and they would become part of the universe we inhabit, a new dimension in effect. So, even the concept of multiple universes is itself debatable.

Also, the ubiquitous nature of life from an orgonomic point of view, that the smallest form of life, the bion, will form anywhere there is water, also points to matter being an inherent part of life, and thus also consciousness. Bions and abiogenesis support the pan-psychic approach that matter is alive and conscious.

Reich’s version of system theories will be explored later but are also inadequate as a theory of consciousness. The system theories of consciousness as an emergent property are unsatisfactory. This is because consciousness remains epiphenomena in such views or there is irreconcilable dualism. Both aspects are unacceptable – the first because humans are not mindless robots, and the second because it fails to explain consciousness. The best that can be hoped for from system theories, in this writer’s view, is that they describe the mechanics of a pan-psychic universe.

Neurological Theories:

There are the medical theories of consciousness such as in neurobiology and neurology to consider. Neurology is essentially correlative. Neurons, electrical and chemical processes are thought to generate consciousness in much the same way as a bicycle dynamo generates electric power. Most people accept this explanation on a superficial level because they can see that there is indeed correlation to some extent. But correlation doesn’t mean causation. As Sheldrake notes (19) a TV set can be correlated with a favourite soap opera but that doesn’t mean the opera was created inside the TV. More advanced versions of this view are looking at how interactions between sets of neurons and the neural field as a whole, even the whole body, can be involved in generating consciousness, but the primal mistake of mixing correlation and causation still exists (20).

Neurology often uses analogies of a computer when looking at the brain, and the assumed creation of consciousness which is assigned to it. Neurology cannot locate the physical position of a single memory much less the home of self or consciousness. Claiming memory is ‘distributed’ is the same as saying it is a field function and not locally stored at all. Areas of the brain can be correlated for a while with sets of thoughts but function can change its physical locus in the brain and it seems to be related to the whole brain and body, not any particular discrete part (21). So the brain and a computer are entirely dissimilar. A computer stores memories as discrete material changes in a single location. A brain doesn’t. A computer carries out functions by opening and closing single gates. A brain doesn’t. It works as an integrated whole. The whole ‘human as machine’ and ‘brain as computer’ analogies have had their day. A human is an organism and a brain is an organism within an organism. Indeed, the mind has been found to function normally in a number of cases where a large part of the neural structure is missing. If the brain were a computer and mind its effect, this would be unexplainable (22). This brings us to the holistic, alternative areas of science and philosophy.

Holistic Theories:

If consciousness works as an integrated whole using the brain then maybe consciousness itself is a field. Perhaps a holographic field – so that any one part of the field can access information at any other point in the field. Many popular researchers have posited consciousness as a holographic field.

The researcher Chang posits that consciousness forms a fifth force in physics. This is in addition to the four known forces(e) outlined by current understanding in mainstream physics. This fifth force would tie in with the traditional concept of life-energy in Chinese thought not being entirely differentiated from consciousness. However traditional views in relation to physics are not explored by these researchers (23). Consciousness as a fundamental physical force would of course also be related to the pan-psychic understanding. Such a field or consciousness force is quite possible in this writer’s view, but the tangible aspect of any such consciousness force is yet to be demonstrated.

Even amongst those who believe in such holistic fields there can be a lack of clarity. For example, some researchers can cite electromagnetic fields, or their resonance, as the basis for psychic or consciousness phenomena, but then recognise elsewhere, in the same paper, that the medium of such phenomena cannot at core be electromagnetic (due to the non-local action of some of their observations) (24). This is mixing an effect or a step in a process (electromagnetic phenomena) with the agent itself (consciousness).

Non-locality and direct action of consciousness has however been well demonstrated, this writer believes most strongly by William Tiller of Stanford University (25). He has shown that consciousness can directly affect matter. Tiller imprinted electronic storage devices with strong conscious intent and then used these devices to affect biological samples in specific ways.

As an aside, the writer believes some energetic effects related to Reich’s orgone work were taking place within Tiller’s studies unreported. Tiller placed his electronic devices in Faraday cages which would act as orgone accumulators. He also used four strong meditation masters to affect each device. They would presumably have strong physical orgonotic fields. In addition, an electric current running through the imprinted devices when affecting samples would create an electro-orgone effect known as oranur which might amplify the consciousness effects in this writer’s view.

Tiller, although scientifically showing the effects of consciousness upon matter to take place, has not determined the energy, force or entity which allows such effects to take place. He posits that there is a deeper level of reality at which these effects occur and which conditions the ordinary material world.

Summary of Main Theories:

So in summary science has no explanation of how consciousness arises or how it interacts with reality. Only correlations and vague theories have been offered. When a universal field is posited for consciousness it is not a field we can access technically or measure with instruments.

Practically speaking there is experimental evidence that memory is not stored in a discrete location in the brain, as Sheldrake discusses at length in his chapter on memory and the brain (26). Memory and by extension, consciousness, are probably field functions of some sort. There is also evidence that consciousness can affect material reality directly and non-locally (27). Tiller managed to affect biological samples at a distance and to create ‘conditioned’ spaces that would also affect samples after the agent was removed. Sheldrake has demonstrated non-local effects of consciousness in animals and non-local field effects in crystallisation reactions. It is on record in Wikileaks emails (and in released government files) that the CIA has used Remote Viewing, which would depend on a non-local function of consciousness (28). There is mountains of evidence on paranormal psychic functions, near death experiences and reincarnation experiences, all of which point toward non-locality of mind. For example, the medical psychic, Edgar Cayce has thousands of well documented cases where his psychically accessed information proved to be successful medically well beyond the knowledge of the present era (29).

It could be said that consciousness is evidenced to be a field function and to have non-local properties. Some of the functions of consciousness are associated with the brain and the body but as Sheldrake has noted, there is no proof that the brain is the author of consciousness or that memory is located in discrete locations in the brain. In fact if we take the lack of evidence that memory is located in the brain (as material changes) together with the libraries of evidence on paranormal phenomena, distance viewing, out of body, near death and reincarnation experiences (30) it could be argued that the weight of evidence overall points toward the mind not being located in the body at all but merely attached to it.

So it can be seen that science has not comprehended consciousness beyond correlation and theoretical postulates. Valuable groundwork has been done experimentally by scientists such as Tiller, Sheldrake and others who have demonstrated that some kind of universal consciousness field exists and directly affects reality. However, this field cannot be measured or accessed by science although science can detect its effects as changes in physicality.

Has pure philosophy done any better?

Idealism:

Just as strong materialism is a monistic scientific theory so there is a set of opposite monistic theories within philosophy. These are the theories of idealism. They range from Platonic idealism to classical idealism, from Christian Neoplatonic idealism to Kant’s views and other philosophers of the modern period. There are many variants of idealism but in most it is posited that only ideas and consciousness truly exist, or that material reality depends on, or is contained by consciousness.

Material reality is lawful however and usually behaves in certain predictable ways hence the success of materialism in our age. If reality is a dream, it is a dream of lawful matter. Dreaming of lawful matter is the same as that lawful matter actually existing. As material reality seems to be quite persistent one may as well concede that it exists at some level and is real.

The theory of orgonotic pan-psychism that the writer has proposed elsewhere (31) has idealist aspects in that it agrees that consciousness is the basic reality and views mind and orgone as identical at the deepest level. It is not an entirely idealist theory though because it recognises that energy and matter also have reality. Although many holistic theorists are heading in this direction, pure idealism doesn’t appear to explain why consciousness has persistent matter-like properties in this reality.

This brings us to the last set of theories regarding consciousness to be considered here.

Reich’s Theories of Consciousness:

Reich’s theories on consciousness predate system theories but are actually a category of system theory. They are not orgonomic theories. Reich made a basic mistake in his early view of consciousness. Although aware of the differences, his theories conflate emotion with consciousness.

It is true that there are two related and opposite functions, variants, that arise from the deeper common functioning principle of orgone energy (32). There is the subjective experience of an emotion – say pleasure. This is one variant of orgone energy movement. This subjective emotion is correctly partnered by Reich with an objective process – bio-electrical changes in skin conductivity and the movement of orgone from core to periphery in an organism. This forms the second objective variant of orgone energy movement. But where does the experience of consciousness actually reside? Does it reside in the orgone energy? Or is it an effect only experienced within the body, the material container of orgone? And if it is only experienced in the latter material system, why is that so when it is the movement of the orgone energy that created the experience?

Consciousness and emotion are not the same thing. Reich, when he did consider consciousness separately, favoured the latter hypothesis in his extant writings – that consciousness arises from the system behaviour of orgone in the body. He thought that true self-aware consciousness coalesced from the integration of perceptions which themselves arose from the movement of orgone within a membrane. He stated that orgone was just an energy and not in itself capable of having conscious thoughts or of being ‘instinctive’ like a Freudian psychic drive. He did note that sometimes orgone and its counter-aspects (Deadly Orgone or DOR) resembled a Freudian drive in effect, but was not psychic in actuality (33). So Reich’s theory of consciousness was actually a materialist system theory. Consciousness is an emergent property of the orgone-material system of the body in this view. He predated the modern system theories of emergence but didn’t move beyond them. He successfully partnered subjective levels and types of emotions and objective movement of energy in the body but didn’t realise fully that this only applies to emotions not to the experience of consciousness itself. He realised that part-perceptions integrate into a full self-consciousness but he didn’t say anything much further about the existence or location of this holistic phenomena of consciousness.

Psyche and Soma in Reich’s Common Functional Principle

In the above diagram, we can see that Reich has a non-conscious biological energy, orgone, which in its movement first contains an identity of psychic and somatic functions. It then splits into the objective (soma or body) and subjective (psyche or mind). However, the biological energy is not itself viewed as conscious. There is an identity of body (soma) and consciousness (psyche) expressed by the movement of the biological energy in the first arrow of the diagram above. However the source energy in the diagram, is not considered conscious by Reich,

‘True, biological laws can apply in the psychic realm, but the converse is not true’(34)

This means to say that although a biological energy can affect consciousness, through the increase, decrease or movement of a quantitative energy, the reverse is not true. Ideas and thoughts cannot affect the biological energy as orgone is a non-conscious energy. This is clearly incorrect and a dead-end unless orgone is not really a true life energy – life is a conscious process.

Reich goes on to say,

This common factor cannot be the “meaning”; nor can it be the “purpose”; these are secondary functions. From a consistent functional point of view, there is, in the biological realm, no purpose, no aim; only function and development, following certain laws.’(35)

These lines could have been written by Charles Darwin. Life develops solely from certain mechanical/energetic laws and has no ‘mind’ guiding it. Purpose and meaning always relate to mind and all organisms have mind because they display purpose and goals.

Referring to the negative side of orgone or DOR, (Deadly Orgone) and its relationship to Freud’s death drive, Reich stated that,

It does not matter that Freud presented here a true physical force, devoid of any kind of psychology, as “instinct”; or that it is a basic mistake to ascribe instinct to lifeless, mass-free energy…appearing later as “life” within membranes and organic fluids.’(36)

So here Reich confirms that orgone is not alive before it is in a material system, which makes the existence of life energy somewhat contradictory. Its property of life depends on matter, before which it is non-life energy. He also affirms that ascribing aspects of consciousness (instinct) to its behaviour is incorrect. Lastly, this paragraph also underlines Reich’s view (during his middle period of work) that life is a system property – it emerges through the system behaviour of orgone within a membrane. This writer believes Reich may have changed his view on consciousness and orgone during the spiritual conversion he appears to have experienced during his prison period. This writer explores Reich’s change of heart in the conclusion of an essay on orgonomy and good and evil (37). The philosopher Steve Katz also explores this issue in Reich’s work amongst others in his blog and books exploring life energy based theology (38).

Reich’s position on the consciousness of orgone is somewhat unclear. He ascribes it functional rationality but denies it any awareness, negativity results purely from damming up a non-conscious, physical energy,

No reasoning or intelligence, but certainly functional rationality must be attributed to the Life Energy. Freud’s irrational unconscious is but the temporary result of the thwarted primary functioning of the cosmic energy.’(39)

Possessing rationality is not a mechanical or energetic function but a function of consciousness. One has to perceive the proper ‘ratios’ of an object or process in order to be ‘rational’. In any case, even if rationality can be non-conscious(f) Reich clearly states that the orgone, outside of a material system, has no consciousness. Thus Reich, up to 1956, ascribed to a materialist system theory of consciousness.

Orgonomic functionalism as a method of enquiry thus appears unable to help the understanding of consciousness. If we posit that consciousness is merely a paired function of some other opposite aspect (Reich paired it with body or soma) then the common functioning principle of both these variants (psyche and soma) would have to be a deeper but non-conscious common functioning principle (biological energy). This non-conscious entity, primordial orgone itself, would then suffer from all the contradictions of the mechanistic theories of consciousness. Most notable of which is that consciousness would be reduced to mere epiphenomena of the movement of a non-living, non-conscious, dead energy. The only ‘life’ of orgone would be the ability to create movement and matter. If one were however to insist on orgonomic functionalism as a means to understand consciousness (as a causative process rather than as an effect of something else) the only place that consciousness, as a whole, could be put in an orgonomic functional diagram would be as identical with the orgone itself. This would make orgone conscious and thus contradict the traditional position of Reich regarding consciousness (that consciousness arises from the system behaviour of orgone within a body).

Armouring:

Reich’s ideas on the origin of armouring, that the shock of self-consciousness turning inward caused the first emotional blockage to appear, appears to be in contradistinction to his other theories. Reich generally supposes that out of non-living cosmic energy a living form emerges (through the closure of a portion of cosmic energy within a membrane). The cosmic energy thus enclosed becomes life energy. This life energy unit develops perception through increasingly complex movements of its own energy and developments of its internal material structure. Reich notes a contradiction here in his own thoughts. He usually supposes that function precedes form, whereas here he is supposing that increasingly complex form, perhaps as in brain development, precedes function – the faculty of increasing abilities to reason and think. Reich stated,

We generally assume that functioning precedes and induces structural developments of organs, and not the other way around. Whatever the answer to this riddle may turn out to be: Man slowly began to reason beyond his strong orgonotic contact.’(40)

Reich leaves that contradiction to one side and continues with his central idea (that the reflection of self-consciousness caused the first emotional blockage to appear in humans). Reich’s theories prior to this imply that perception and consciousness arise from the development of something else (an epiphenomenal view of consciousness). Cosmic energy evolves into biological energy. Primitive forms evolve into complex forms. But now Reich discards this approach and takes consciousness to be the primary, causative agent and armouring and human misery to be the effects. Heretofore Reich always took consciousness as an effect of some other agent in a chain from cosmic to biological energy to perception and eventually to full self-consciousness. Reich could be correct but his theorising is not in keeping with his prior approaches.

Reich’s arguments also assume, without investigation, that humans are the only animal that can be affected by armouring. Certainly humans might be the only highly armoured species, but that doesn’t mean the process is unique to people. Infant maternal deprivation can cause armoured type adult behaviour in animals (lack of mothering). Other physical changes analogous to armouring might conceivably occur in stressed populations of animals (41). The process might not be completely unique to one species. If the process is not unique, ‘fallen’ man would not be a special case but simply an example of something that has got out of hand.

Reich also unintentionally implies that only human societies that go on to become armoured are prone to deep self-reflection. Reich’s ideas have an additional unforeseen characteristic. If self-consciousness is a consequence of the development of cosmic orgone into biological energy and from there into part-perceptions and eventually to full self-consciousness, why should that process cause anything unnatural? Armouring should be as natural as being un-armoured, if Reich is correct in his causative hypothesis.

Therapy:

In practical therapeutic terms, orgonomy is also contradictory on consciousness. It is noted that orgone movement within the body can contain memory (as released during the mobilisation of muscular armour). It is admitted that orgone movement is associated with emotion, which is a perception, a form of consciousness, but it is denied that orgone, the prime mover of the entire universe and the creator of emotion is itself capable of consciousness. The only consciousness of orgone is a system effect. This seems an implausible and contradictory position. It is admitted that cosmic orgone becomes life energy and despite life usually being associated with some level of consciousness, orgone is itself declared not to be conscious outside of a material system by Reich (42) and others such as Kelley (43). It cannot conceivably be denied that orgone is proto-life energy and thus also proto-conscious. It cannot be denied that it contains a universal potential for life and therefore consciousness potential. The seed of life and consciousness must contain something of the end result within its own nature. It is but a small step from that position to saying cosmic orgone is also ‘conscious-in-itself’.

Orgone is pictured by Reich as a non-conscious, non-living but creative energy when its creations – life entities, always appear to have consciousness to some degree. This is clearly contradictory. Orgonomy has no chance of understanding consciousness with such a stance. It depends on materialism to explain consciousness thereby limiting itself to a non-orgonomic understanding of consciousness. It is illogical to say an energy creative of life has no consciousness when everywhere life is paired with consciousness and nowhere is life paired with non-consciousness. Even an amoeba will try and avoid certain stimuli and will seek other stimuli, it’ll move and display volition and preferences. It will eat and ‘mate’ (or fuse). These behaviours are seen in animals and on that basis one assigns them consciousness. One can say the amoeba only perceives and lacks true self-consciousness but such classifications are meaningless in this context – all perception is a form of consciousness. It is the same with the amoeba, or our selves – it is just a question of degree.

Consciousness Outside of Organisms:

The processes seen in animals and on that basis assigned to them consciousness, can be observed in cosmic nature too – superimposition of energy streams, pulsation of stars, rotation, birth and attraction of galaxies. In other organisms, consciousness might indeed be a common factor that can be evidenced fairly easily (by direct comparison to one’s self). However, how could one evidence it in a machine or in energy outside of an organism such as in cosmic orgone?

The Turing Test is cited as one such candidate for machines. It proposes that if a machine can fool us into thinking it is conscious then maybe it actually is conscious. However, any formulaic test of consciousness is illogical. One does not evidence one’s own consciousness on the basis of formulas or logic tests. The Turing Test is challenged in any case by the Chinese Room argument. This states that with sufficient ground rules and information a non-Chinese writer could fool an outsider into thinking he can write Chinese (44).  The Chinese Room argument indicates that the Turing Test can be passed with mechanical rules and without comprehension, thus invalidating the premise of the Turing Test.

One cannot even prove that one’s own self is a conscious being, so how can one prove it in another? All one may know is that a consciousness exists (there might be only one) and other beings who are assumed to also exist are also conscious because they behave a little like ourselves. As Descartes noted, there is only one certain knowledge – a consciousness exists and we (or I) possess it. Descartes may have unwittingly provided the groundwork for assessing strong Artificial Intelligence. If a computer begins to act like an organism (in other words, like a Cartesian experiencing entity) one can reasonably begin to question if it has some degree of consciousness. There can be no test or formula to follow mechanistically.

Conclusion – Orgonotic Pan-Psychism and its Implications for Technology:

A number of scientists are beginning to espouse pan-psychism, including physicists, and cosmologists, such as Halton Arp, and of course the biologist, Rupert Sheldrake in his various books (45). The theory of pan-psychism does not deny that material reality exists but it states that this material reality is itself alive and capable of experiencing consciousness. It unifies the realms of matter, energy and consciousness. The orgonomic theory of consciousness I have outlined elsewhere is pan-psychic and monistic in nature (46). It could be classified as orgonotic pan-psychism. In this theory it is proposed that orgone itself does, counter to what Reich said in his discussion of Freud’s death drive (47), actually independently possess consciousness. Further, that from this orgonotic consciousness arises the energetic and material functions of orgone. Orgone and consciousness become identical at the deepest level just as energy or matter is identical to consciousness in Sheldrake’s pan-psychism. Orgone only gains differentiation at more superficial levels which is experienced as orgone energy and lastly as matter, which is a form of frozen orgone energy. Thus there is a monistic continuum in a triad from orgonotic consciousness to orgone energy and lastly to orgone-matter. This monistic continuum has three distinct aspects; orgone consciousness, orgone energy and orgone-matter. All three are physical and all three are real, but the consciousness level could be said to be the most ‘real’ or the primary reality. Orgone energy and matter are specialised forms of a physical orgonotic consciousness in this view. Energy and matter still exist in their own right but are not separate to consciousness.

Reich’s theories of the integration of part-perceptions into self-consciousness, and of the relation of the pleasure-pain antithesis to energy-in-motion, are useful but nevertheless fail to comprehend consciousness (48). Alternatively, if orgone is considered to be ‘conscious-in-itself’, as well as embracing a logically consistent theory of consciousness – pan-psychism, interesting technological possibilities might be presented. It could help make a consciousness field useable in a scientific sense because orgone is a real, tangible field and not a hypothetical construct or merely an idea of a universal field. These possibilities are explored in the second part of this series.

References:

(a). Physicality in science is usually defined as properties pertaining to the natural or bodily realm in distinction to mental properties. Matter is considered a subcategory of physical properties.

(b). Information as a term is often used without clarity. Information is embedded in energy and matter but as Weiner, the father of cybernetics notes, information is not an energy or matter property. Information only exists when it is perceived. It is used here as implied by Weiner, as an aspect of consciousness, http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/wiener/ Sep 2017.

(c). Refers to evolving information fields, they are thought to contain the form of physical and living entities.

(d). A process of communication between individuals and their information fields by non-local resonance.

(e). Mainstream physics currently recognises four forces in nature. Gravitational, Electromagnetic, Weak and Strong nuclear forces are thought to be fundamental and not reducible to any other more basic process.

(f). Reich’s position was that he ascribed rationality directly to the functioning of the non-conscious cosmic orgone – see Conclusion Chapter of Wilhelm Reich, Selected Writings for further discussion.

(1). Gottlieb, Anthony, (2000) The Dream of Reason, Penguin, UK.

(2). Dennet, Daniel, 1993, Consciousness Explained, Penguin, USA.

(3).September2017 http://www.academia.edu/1497087/I_cant_get_no_epistemic_satisfaction_
Why_the_hard_problem_of_consciousness_entails_a_hard_problem_of_explanation

(4). August 2017 https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-consciousness/

(5).September2017 http://www.academia.edu/1497087/I_cant_get_no_epistemic_satisfaction_Why_
the_hard_problem_of_consciousness_entails_a_hard_problem_of_explanation

(6). Blasband, Richard, (2013) Syntropy (2): 103-114, Concepts of Life Energy and Vitalism Through the Ages: 106.

(7). Sheldrake, Rupert, 2012, The Science Delusion, Coronet, UK.

(8). Sheldrake, Rupert, 2011, The Presence of the Past, Coronet, UK.

(9). Dennis William Hauck (2017) The Roots of a Science of Consciousness in Hermetic Alchemy, Rosecroix Journal, http://www.rosecroixjournal.org, Vol 11.

(10). Sheldrake, Rupert, 2011, The Presence of the Past, Coronet, UK.

(11). Descartes, Rene, 1881, The Method, Meditations, And Selections from the Principles of Descartes, William Blackwood, UK.

(12). Ibid

(13). Abell, Arthur, Talks with Great Composers, (Chapter on Conversation between Tennyson and Darwin), Hauraki Publishing, Kindle Edition, pp28-30.

(14). September 2017 https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-consciousness/

(15). McTaggart, Lynne, The Field, UK.

(16). Ibid

(17). September 2017 https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-consciousness/

(18). Sheldrake, Rupert, 2012, The Science Delusion, Coronet, UK.

(19). Ibid

(20). https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-consciousness/

(21). Ibid

(22). September 2017 https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/17/1734276_re-fw-tactical-remote-viewing-.html

(23). Chang et al, 2017, Potential of Blind Children and General Children, WISE Journal, Vol 5, Num 4, pp79.

(24). Bartholomew, Bradley (2017) A Review of Psi Activity in the DNA, Universal Journal of Psychology, Vol 5, Num 1, pp22-29.

(25). Tiller, William, Psychoenergetic Science, 2007, Pavior, USA

(26). Sheldrake, Rupert, 2012, The Science Delusion, Coronet, UK.

(27). Tiller, William, Psychoenergetic Science, 2007, Pavior, USA

(28). September 2017 https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/17/1734276_re-fw-tactical-remote-viewing-.html

(29). Smith, Robert, Edgar Cayce – My Life as a Seer, 1997, St Martins Press, US.

(30). Alexander, Eben, Proof of Heaven – A Neurosurgeons View, 2012, Piatkus, US.

(31). September 2017 http://orgonecontinuum.org/theorgonecontinuum.html

(32). Reich, Wilhelm, 1990, Orgonomic Functionalism, Volume 1, Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust Fund, USA.

(33). Reich, Wilhelm, 1956, Re-emergence of Freud’s ‘Death Instinct’ as ‘DOR’ Energy, Orgonomic Medicine Volume II, Num1.

(34). Wilhelm Reich – Selected Writings, 1960, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, pp 116.

(35). Ibid pp116

(36). Reich, Wilhelm, 1956, Re-emergence of Freud’s ‘Death instinct as ‘DOR Energy, Orgonomic Medicine Volume II, Num 1 pp 11

(37). September 2017 http://orgonecontinuum.org/good-evil.html

(38). September 2017 https://harborsforlife.wordpress.com/

(39). Reich, Wilhelm, 1956, Re-emergence of Freud’s ‘Death instinct as ‘DOR energy’, Orgonomic Medicine, Vol II, Num 1 pp11

(40). Wilhelm Reich – Selected Writings, 1960, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux pp531.

(41). September 2017 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150428081801.htm

(42). Reich, Wilhelm, 1956, Re-emergence of Freud’s ‘Death instinct as ‘DOR energy’, Orgonomic Medicine, Vol II, Num 1 pp11

(43). Kelley, Charles, 2004, Life-force, The Creative Process in Man and Nature, Canada

(44). September 2017 http://www.iep.utm.edu/chineser/

(45). Sheldrake, Rupert, 2012, The Science Delusion, Coronet,UK.

(46). September 2017 http://orgonecontinuum.org/theorgonecontinuum.html

(47). Reich, Wilhelm, 1956, Re-emergence of Freud’s ‘Death Instinct’ as ‘DOR’ Energy, Orgonomic Medicine Volume II, Num1.

(48). Wilhelm Reich – Selected Writings, 1960, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.

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.

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