On The Primacy Of Consciousness
The primacy of consciousness can be a tricky concept to fully grasp - it certainly has been to me. On one hand, its more radical and explicit forms are quite obvious. Religious people who believe that existence is conditional to God's mind; radical collectivists who believe that existence is what some sort of collective consciousness holds to be true; and post-modern super-progressive hippie types who think that everyone creates their own reality. On the other hand, those blatant forms can make it easy to overlook just how pervasive the more implicit versions of this belief can be in the way we think.
Primacy of consciousness is simply the inversion of the metaphysical relationship between existence and consciousness, from "I am, therefore I can think" to "I can think it, therefore it is/might be" and it is at the core of most philosophical mistakes people make.
Think of the Sci-Fi idea of parallel dimensions for example, based on a misunderstanding of infinity and probability. It is usually stated as "the universe is infinite, so according to the way probability works, there must inevitably be infinite slightly-different versions of everything there is, somewhere".
Sounds cool right? Except "probability" and "infinity" are concepts of consciousness, not metaphysical qualities.
"Probability" simply means "I do not know exactly what X is, but based on the things I know about X, I can guess that it would act in either A, B or C way, and give different importance to those guesses". "Infinite" on the other hand, means "X has a definite quantity, but it is far to large to count". Existence is what it is, and we merely discover it with our minds - it is not some sort of open-ended, dice rolling computer program. To believe in that view is to mentally state "I can imagine reality being like that, so it might be like that", disregarding what we know: that things are exactly what they are, and only that.
Tricky right? Told ya.
- January 7th, 2020