Teleological Intelligence of Physical Matter & its pragmatic consequences

Concerning the metaphysical quaestion as to the relationship of universals to particulars, it may be noted that the phainomenon of genetic drift would so praevail in any physical chain of reproduction as to obviate the possibility of the actually observed stability (universality) in physical properties of subatomic particles : to produce the observed uniformity in the physical properties of the genera of subatomic particles, therefore, some non-physical process must be in operation. In order to achieve the observed uniformity in physical properties (so very uniform that a single wave-aequation can be used to describe the behavior of a genus of subatomic particle) some non-physical process, conformable with the metaphysical character of a mathematical aequation (which is itself symbolic, i.e., linguistic-mental rather than physical in nature) must be operant.

This metaphysical critique is likewise upheld in the remarkable randomness exhibited in quantum-properties : randomness is a defining feature of free will, as a propensity of any entity to act upon its own initiative without being utterly controlled by the actions of other (impinging) entities.

Thus, subatomic particles can be aptly described as shewing, in and of themselves, the features of mentality and of consciousness. And not only can the behavior of the discrete subatomic particles be so described, but likewise can the behavioral tendencies of the "Dirac sea" or "zero-point vacuum". And furthermore, it may be noted that the over-all behavior of these grounds-of-being are such as to imply universal mutual co-operation (rather than any gross conflicts which would be observable as violent contraventions of laws of physics – laws of physics being analogous with international law in the human sphaire) in this grand modality of manifest consciousness.

As such, a universal teleology (purposiveness) may be inferred as inhaerent in the activity of physical matter : it may well be praevalent to the extent of being intellectually contactable (much in a similar sense as UFOs can be regarded as contactable), for the goals of such social mechanisms as plans to bring about world peace and social aequity. For, just as UFOs and their occupants may be contactable (initially, for the greater part, in the dreaming-state of our awareness, and having become adequately adept in that, thereafter also in trances and other aisthetically-mediated states of our consciousness) for the motive of our seeking guidance for establishing of world peace and of international co-operation amongst human nationalities; so likewise can the consciousness of subatomic particles and of the "Dirac sea" be contactable.

Now, it is said that amongst be possible attainments through the contemplations of yoga etc., there is the siddhi (attainment) of an.ima, defined as the awareness-and-mental-contact with the an.u (‘atom’) : and inasmuch as this term /an.u/ is derived (etymologically) from /arn.ava/ (‘sea’ : a word which appeareth not only in Samskr.ta but also in H^ittite), that it is telepathic contact with the "Dirac sea" that is fundamental to this endeavour.

Would the shamanic method of immersion in the elemental "water" (with its Undines as intellectual manifestations) be appropriately sought for this international endeavour? And would the praeternatural denizens of the other elemental "substances" (as, e.g., Sylphs in the electron-"cloud") be likewise appropriately sought? If so, is it not high time to introduce that aptitudes of shamans to join with other forms of artistry in conjunction with international co-operative ventures in establishing (and, thereafter, in maintaining) world peace and worldwide good will? Would it not be of much practical utility to teach the doctrinal principles of shamanhood, along with better-known principles of the aisthetic artistries, to any aspiring prospective builders of genuine world peace and internationality-based (inter-racial) worldwide co-operations?


Testimonia of eminent authorities as to consciousness on the atomic level


Thomas Edison

p. 20 every atom is possessed by a certain amount of primitive intelligence.

p. 21 the atoms constitute animals of the lower order.

p. 22 1. Life, like matter is indestructible.

2. Our bodies are composed of myriads of infinitesimal entities, each in itself a unit of life; just as the atom is composed of myriads of electrons.

3. The human being acts as an assemblage rather than as a unit; the body and mind express the vote or voice of the life entities.

4. The life entities build according to a plan. If a part of the life organism be mutilated, they rebuild exactly as before …

Alice A. Bailey : The Consciousness of the Atom. Lucifer Pub Co, 1922.


"Ramananda comments : "... This indicates the presence of consciousness in atoms." (p. 49)"

Barbara Sarter : Evolutionary Healing. Jones & Bartlett Publ, 2002. p. 6


"Mind, or consciousness, and physical reality, are somehow inter-related at the most fundamental level, as some interpretations of the Quantum Theory suggest. "

(Burnard Morey, The Evolution of Scientific Thought)


some definitions of terms & names of proponents of this sort of metaphysics

Malebranche's occasionalism, in which God had to intervene between volition and action, between stimulus and sensation. A yet more extreme position, idealism, which became widespread in the nineteenth century and retained much support well into the twentieth, held that mind stood as the sole ontological foundation of reality, supporting a physical world conceived of as entirely constructed—somehow—out of mental phenomena. ...

The panpsychist ... must opt instead for the attribution of mentalistic properties to the physically fundamental entities.

... someone who believes that amoebas have experiences, but that quarks and electrons, which ultimately constitute amoebas, do not is no panpsychist. ...

Royce (among many other panpsychists of the nineteenth century, if indeed not most thinkers of the period) was an idealist. Fechner's panpsychism was also distinctive in its endorsement of a "world-soul" or "world-mind" of which everything is a part (there are obvious echoes of Spinoza in such a view). ... In any case, the arguments of such "synechological" panpsychists (as Hartshorne (1950) labels them in contrast with "atomistic" or "monadological" panpsychists) are arguments for panpsychism in general and can be examined as such. ...

Thales notes that magnets and, under certain circumstances, amber, can move themselves and concludes that they therefore possess minds. It is claimed that Thales went much beyond such particular attributions and endorsed a true panpsychism and pantheism. For example, as reported by Barnes (1982, pp. 96-7), Diogenes claimed that Thales believed that "the universe is alive and full of spirits" but this remark is derived from an earlier claim of Aristotle: "some say a soul is mingled in the whole universe—which is perhaps why Thales thought that everything is full of gods".

Anaxagoras (c. 500-425 B.C.E.) flatly denied that emergence was possible and instead advanced the view that "everything is in everything". Anaxagoras explained the obvious contrary appearance by a "principle of dominance and latency" (see Mourelatos 1986) which asserted that some qualities were dominant in their contribution to the behavior and appearance of things. However, Anaxagoras's views on mind are complex since he apparently regarded mind as uniquely not containing any measure of other things and thus not fully complying with his mixing principles. ...

A number of important thinkers of the Italian renaissance embraced panpsychism, including G. Cardano (1501-76), G. Bruno (1548-1600) and T. Campanella (1568-1639). ...

Baruch Spinoza (1632-77) and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) provide examples of two distinct and formatively important versions of panpsychism. Spinoza regarded both mind and matter as simply aspects (or attributes) of the eternal, infinite and unique substance he identified with God Himself. ... We might say that, for Spinoza, physical science is a way of studying the psychology of God. There is nothing in nature that does not have a mental aspect ... .

Leibniz's view is ... each monad carries within it complete information about the entire universe. What we call space and time are in reality sets of relations amongst these monads (or, better, the information which they contain) which are in themselves radically non-spatial and perhaps even non-temporal (Leibniz's vision of space and time emerging from some more elementary systems of relations has always been tempting, if hard to fathom, and now fuels some of the most advanced physics on the planet). ... Leibniz allows that there are unconscious mental states. In fact, almost all mental states are unconscious and low-level monads never aspire to consciousness (or what Leibniz calls apperception). You are aware, of course, only of your conscious mental states and these represent a literally infinitesimal fraction of the life of your mind, the most of which is composed of consciously imperceptible petite perceptions ... .

The philosophy of George Berkeley (1685-1753) is also ... an early and pure form of idealist panpsychism. Idealists are panpsychists by default, as it were, believing as they do that nothing exists except minds or mental attributes. Berkeley denied that anything exists or could conceivably exist except insofar as it was consciously experienced. This, coupled with the "doctrine of ideas"—that what we immediately perceive is restricted to our own states of consciousness, leads him to the conclusion that all material objects are systems of possible conscious perceptions and thus that the ordinary notion of matter as mind-independent is incoherent. Thus all of existence is reduced to minds and their experiences. One Supreme Mind, or God, is charged with the daunting task of organizing the conscious experiences of all the finite minds so as to sustain the "illusion" of an independent material world with which all these minds are in mutual interaction.

The nineteenth century was the heyday of panpsychism. Even a partial list of panpsychists of that period reveals how many of the best minds of the time gravitated towards this doctrine. Prominent exponents of distinctive forms of panpsychism include Gustav Fechner, one of the founders of scientific psychology, Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), another famous early psychologist who established the first psychological research laboratory, Rudolf Hermann Lotze (1817-1881), a polymath who also figured in the creation of psychology as an empirical science, William James (1842-1910), the brilliant American philosopher and psychologist who co-founded the philosophy of pragmatism, Josiah Royce (1855-1916), famed teacher and defender of a monistic idealism (in this respect, Royce had a philosophical role in America similar to that of F. H. Bradley in Britain), and William Clifford (1845-1879), a tragically short lived mathematical and philosophical genius whose work on of the nature of space and time prefigured Einstein's general relativity. ...

Other notable panpsychist thinkers of this period include Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), who held the curious dual doctrine that everything is conscious, but that not everything is alive, Friedrich Paulsen (1846-1908), a student of Fechner's who extended his teacher's version of panpsychism, Morton Prince (1854-1929), psychologist and physician who advocated a panpsychism which emphasized that it is matter that must be "psychologized" or imbued with mentalistic attributes (Prince regarded this as a form of materialism and there are affinities here with some recent views of Galen Strawson as we shall see below). Also to be mentioned are Eduard von Hartmann (1842-1906) who extended his famous doctrine of the unconscious down to the level of atoms, Ferdinand C. S. Schiller (1864-1937) who provided a pragmatist defense of panpsychism as a doctrine which by various analogical arguments yields otherwise unattainable insights into nature and Ernst Häckel (1834-1919), an early and avid proponent of Darwinism in Germany who Clifford credits with the evolutionary continuity argument for panpsychism (for which see below) and Häckel was certainly willing to ascribe mental properties to living cells.

Royce and Lotze represent what may be called "idealist panpsychism". That is, the primary motivation for the ascription of mental attributes to matter is that matter is, in essence, a "form" of mind and thus panpsychism is a kind of theorem which follows from this more fundamental philosophical view. Royce believed that reality was a "world self", a conscious being that comprised absolutely everything and of which we, as well as everything else of course, were but parts. But Royce's panpsychism was of the synechological variety. Although every thing participates in the conscious life of the world self, not every "object" which one might nominate within the world of experience need itself be conscious, for these things are but thoughts of the world self and do not necessarily correspond to a being (or a sub-being) with its own mental life or consciousness. Yet some aspects of the world self do have a conscious life of their own. We are obvious examples, but Royce also believed that the range of such conscious beings went far beyond what we normally allow. Planets, stars and galaxies and even species are themselves conscious beings.[7] To the complaint that such things exhibit no sign of conscious life or thought, Royce had an interesting reply that raises intriguing philosophical issues. The reply was that the time scale of a conscious mind could vary tremendously—the scale of the processes of consciousness in a galaxy are billions of time slower than the scale of human conscious processes (and mayhap the consciousness of subatomic particles, if they be conscious at all, runs billions of times faster).

Fechner, Wundt and perhaps James are "parallelist panpsychists". Their metaphysics endorses a thorough going, Spinozistic, parallelism between mind and matter, so that every physical entity has mental attributes, and vice versa. In fact, it was this metaphysical parallelism that suggested to Fechner the idea that there should be a lawful relation between the mental and the physical, which led to the birth of psycho-physics and the discovery of his famous law relating the strength of a sensation, S, to the strength of the physical stimulus, P: S = k log(P) (still one of the very few psycho-physical laws with any claim to validity). ...

William James's panpsychism grew out of his "neutral monism"—the view that reality is neither mental nor physical but has a distinct, and seemingly intrinsically mysterious, basic character which can be regarded as either mental or physical from certain viewpoints. To the extent that a neutral monism can be regarded as a dual-aspect view (as in Spinoza's philosophy), it might be regarded as a kind of panpsychism in its own right, but James's view developed beyond this, to incorporate mind like elements into the basic structure of reality. In a notebook of 1909 he wrote: "the constitution of reality which I am making for is of the psychic type" (see Cooper 1990).

Whitehead proposed a radical reform of our conception of the fundamental nature of the world, placing events (or items that are more event-like than thing-like) and the ongoing processes of their creation and extinction as the core feature of the world, rather than the traditional triad of matter, space and time. His panpsychism arises from the idea that the elementary events that make up the world (which he called occasions) partake of mentality in some—often extremely attenuated—sense, metaphorically expressed in terms of the mentalistic notions of creativity, spontaneity and perception.

There are few explicit defenders of panpsychism at the present time. The most prominent are David Griffin, Gregg Rosenberg, David Skrbina and Timothy Sprigge. Sprigge, in A Vindication of Absolute Idealism (1983), defends an idealist based panpsychism somewhat akin to that of Royce, while Griffin, in Unsnarling the World Knot (1998), espouses an atomistic panpsychism in the form of an explicit interpretation, extension and defense of Whitehead's version of the doctrine. Rosenberg (2005) provides the currently most developed and well defended panpsychist view of the Jamesian sort. While Skrbina (2005) is largely a compendious review of the history and significance of panpsychism in Western philosophy, the work also incorporates a defense of the doctrine.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, s.v. "Panpsychism" =