NEW GNOSIS PUBLICATIONS
|THE QUALIA REVOLUTION|
|From Quantum Physics to Cosmic Qualia Science|
|INTRODUCTION | SYNOPSIS | REVIEWS | CONTENTS | PREFACE | SUBMIT REVIEW|
|INTRODUCTION | synopsis | reviews | contents | preface |
The concept of qualia is clearly at the heart of the next stage of human intellectual endeavours. There is no other intellectual challenge more important or pressing than qualia. The revolution can only be brought about by a combination of rigorous scientific thinking and trembling sensitivity.
|SYNOPSIS | introduction | reviews | contents | preface ||
The most fundamental scientific 'fact' is not the existence of the physical universe, but our awareness of that universe. Not even the most advanced physics, physiology or psychology, however, can explain even the most elementary qualities of our sensory awareness of that universe - qualities such as 'redness' for example.
Qualia used to be defined as sensory qualities such as colour and tone. But what if awareness is not an empty receptable for sensory impressions, but has its own intrinsic sensual qualities - of the sort we experience as the inwardly sensed shape and substantiality of our bodies, the sensed 'lightness' or 'darkness' 'colour' or 'tone' of our moods, or a sensed feeling of 'warmth' or 'coolness', 'closeness' or 'distance' to another human being? What if such sensual qualities of awareness are intrinsically meaningful - being the felt essence of meaning or sense?
The Qualia Revolution puts forward the radical hypothesis that it is not energetic 'quanta' but Qualia in this sense - sensed and sensual qualities of awareness - that are the basic stuff of which the universe is composed. It argues that qualia are not simply qualities of our own human awareness but fundamental units of awareness. Atoms, molecules and cells are recognised as the physical form taken by field-patterns of atomic, molecular and cellular awareness composed of such units. The 'soul' is understood as an ever-changing gestalt of such units, each of which possess characteristics of both unit and field, particle and wave - allowing the soul-qualities of our own awareness to mix and merge with those of all other beings.
Drawing on the dynamic field-phenomenology of Michael Kosok, the SETH books of Jane Roberts, and Eugene Gendlin's philosophy of directly felt meaning or 'sense', The Qualia Revolution rearticulates Rudolf Steiner's vision of a truly "spiritual science" of nature and man, and Karl Marx vision of a "natural science of man" that is at the same time a "human science of nature". It lays the theoretical foundations for what Peter Wilberg calls Cosmic Qualia Science - a science with immediate practical implications in such key areas of human life as and economics and education, psychology and medicine.
Cosmic Qualia Science represents a most radical shift in our understanding of what constitutes 'science' and 'scientific knowledge' - not merely a 'quantum leap' but a Qualia Revolution. Starting from the understanding that it is not energetic fields but fields and field-qualities of awareness that constitute the fundamental nature of reality, it challenges the foundations of both conventional energy-science and New Age pseudo-science, with its talk of 'subtle energies' and 'energy medicine'. In their place it presents a qualitative physics of consciousness and the cosmos in which GOD not only might but must have a place - as that primordial field of awareness that is the source of all qualia and all quantised energy.
|REVIEWS | introduction | synopsis | contents | preface |
Nowadays, books appear all the time which promise or offer us a new Theory of Everything. Usually these deal with ‘quantum physics’ - abstruse theories of energetic fields, ‘strings’ and ‘quanta’. The Qualia Revolution is also a ‘Theory of Everything’. But unlike these other books, its basis is not the mathematical physics of ‘quantised’ energy but our everyday qualitative experience of things. What makes it truly revolutionary is that it raises a fundamental question that ALL theories of EVERYTHING have previously ignored – what actually is a THING – ANY THING? To answer this question Peter Wilberg first reminds us that the most fundamental scientific ‘fact’ of all time is not the existence of a universe of things but our own subjective awareness of those things.
The truly original and profound insight on which THE QUALIA REVOLUTION is founded is that ‘consciousness’ or ‘awareness’ is not like a mirror or blank sheet on which we register our perceptions of things and their sensory qualities. Instead awareness has its own sensed but immaterial substantiality – it is the very “stuff” of which we and all things are made. Awareness also has its own innate sensual qualities or QUALIA. Examples of qualia are the felt ‘light’ and ‘darkness’, ‘colour’ or ‘tone’, ‘levity’ or ‘gravity’, ‘expansivenes’ or ‘density’ of our moods - and of our inwardly sensed body.
The Qualia Revolution explains why EVERYTHING we experience around us, the entire outer universe of bodies in space-time is NOT ultimately an expression of quantitative energy fields and energy units – so-called QUANTA - but of qualitative fields and units of awareness - QUALIA.
For anyone with an interest in a new and totally original philosophy of science, in the physics and physiology of consciousness, in phenomenology and phenomenological science, or in theosophy and spiritual science, this book is a must - as it is to those familiar with the alternative scientific philosophies of Bohm, Seth / Jane Roberts, Rudolf Steiner, Eugene Gendlin, Karl Marx, Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger.
What Peter Wilberg calls Cosmic Qualia Science looks set to be the science of the new millennium, a unified field theory uniting sciences as diverse as physics and psychology, cosmology and semiotics, genetics and linguistics. For it shows how even the most abstract scientific MODELS of the outer physical universe are essentially no more than METAPHORS of an inner psychical universe - a sensual universe of soul and of soul qualities. This inner psychical universe is one whose countless dimensions each of us can inwardly explore and research in great detail and with great precision, even without the use of physical instruments. Yet through our own direct experience of QUALIA we can shed new light on EVERYTHING, experiencing the aware inwardness or ‘soul’ of each and every ‘THING’ in the outer physical universe itself.
|FULL CONTENTS | introduction | synopsis | reviews | preface ||
|PREFACE | introduction | synopsis | reviews | contents |
Psychologists, philosophers and physicists have long struggled to explain the nature of consciousness and its relation to the world of energy and matter, time and space. Theologians and theosophists have long sought to explain the relation of soul and body, spirit and matter, subjective and objective dimensions of reality. But the questions they have asked and the answers they have found have all failed to acknowledge a single fundamental reality. This is the reality that what we call the 'soul' or 'psyche' exists as an independent body in its own right; that subjectivity or awareness has its own intrinsic 'bodily' qualities of shape and substantiality, as well as 'elemental' qualities of solidity and fluidity (earth and water), airiness and warmth (air and fire). It also has intrinsic qualities of spatiality and temporality, tone and colour, light and darkness, gravity and density, motion and acceleration, tension and polarity - qualities that we normally only associate with extrinsic properties of matter or energy.
What do we mean when we speak of feeling 'uplifted' with joy, or 'weighed down' by sadness, of being 'radiant' with enthusiasm or in a 'dark' mood? What do we mean when we speak of someone emanating 'warmth' or being 'cold' towards us? Are we simply using 'metaphors' to describe disembodied mental or emotional states? Or are we in fact describing fundamental qualities of awareness itself - its own intrinsic qualities of lightness and heaviness, light and darkness, warmth and coolness. More importantly, what body is it with which we feel 'closer' or more 'distant' to someone - independently of the physical distance? What body are we referring to when we speak of being touched by someone without any physical contact, of moving 'closer' to them or 'distancing' ourselves from them? What body are we referring to when we speak of someone being 'warm-hearted' or 'cold', 'thick-skinned' or 'thin-skinned', 'balanced' or 'imbalanced', 'solid' or 'mercurial', 'stable' or 'volatile'? Are these phrases merely emotional metaphors derived from motions in physical space, from our physical anatomy and from elemental states of matter? Or do they in fact describe basic motions and elemental states of awareness, motions belonging to an inner body of awareness - a 'soul body' with its own inner anatomy?|
No more important question can be asked if we wish to understand the true nature of the soul or psyche, and with it, the true nature of bodyhood as such. No more important question can be asked if we wish the 'science' of psychology to live up to its name. Today the very term 'psychology' has become a contradiction in terms. For this supposedly 'scientific' psychology is a 'psychology' which, paradoxically, has absolutely no place for the soul or psyche - which it either identifies with a disembodied 'mind' or reduces to a by-product of the brain and body functions. It will require a revolution in human thinking to shed the myth, still endlessly recycled in new forms, that awareness is simply a by-product of our brains, an instrument by which we perceive other bodies, or the medium through which we become conscious of our own bodies. The Qualia Revolution is that long overdue revolution in human thinking, a revolution which allows us to understand the soul as an independent body of awareness composed not of matter or energetic quanta but of 'qualia' - sensual qualities of awareness that are distinct in principle from any sensory qualities we are aware of. For awareness itself is not a void or vacuum that demands to be filled with sensations and perceptions, feelings and thoughts. Instead it has intrinsic sensual qualities of its own, an intrinsic substantiality of its own, and an intrinsic bodily shape of its own.
The most fundamental scientific 'fact' is not the existence of the physical universe, but our awareness of that universe. Not even the most advanced physics, physiology or psychology, however, can explain even the most elementary qualities of our sensory awareness of that universe - qualities such as 'redness' for example. 'Qualia' used to be defined as sensory qualities such as colour and tone. But what if awareness has its own intrinsic sensual qualities - of the sort we experience as the sensed 'colour' or 'tone' of our mood, the sensed 'heaviness' or 'lightness' of our bodies, or the sensed feelings of 'warmth' or 'coolness', 'closeness' or 'distance' we feel towards other beings? What if such sensual qualities of awareness are intrinsically meaningful - being the felt essence of meaning or sense? What if it is not energetic 'quanta' but qualia in this sense - sensed and sensual qualities of awareness - that are the basic stuff of which the universe is composed. What if our own inwardly sensed bodies are composed of such qualia - being the fleshly shape and substantiality, tone and texture of our self-awareness? What if all the outwardly perceived sensory physical qualities of phenomena, macrocosmic and microcosmic, are a manifestation of psychical qualia? Our understanding of the cosmos would then be radically different - uniting physics and philosophy, psychology and physiology, in a cosmic qualia science.
Cosmic qualia science is founded on a fundamental distinction between inner qualities of awareness on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the outward qualities of any phenomena that we may be aware of. In the 'spiritual science' of Rudolf Steiner this distinction is hinted at through a contrast between inner "soul warmth" for example, and measurable, outwardly perceptible warmth. Until now the universality of this distinction and its scientific implications have never been fully explicated or explored. In doing so, cosmic qualia science offers a new scientific framework for understanding many esoteric disciplines and practices previously dismissed as 'unscientific' - including those of the alchemist and astrologer, shaman and sorcerer. Whereas Jung and other psychoanalysts understood the symbolism of these practices purely as expressions of human subjectivity, cosmic qualia science acknowledges a larger reality behind their symbols. Notions of cosmic 'elements', 'nature spirits' and 'gods' for example, acknowledge the supernatural and suprasensible reality of qualia as trans-physical and trans-human field-qualities of subjectivity. Cosmic qualia science has its roots in the field-phenomenology of Michael Kosok. Field-phenomenology is distinguished by its recognition that subjectivity or awareness is not the property of a localised subject or 'ego', but has a non-local or field character. Cosmic qualia science defines qualia as basic field-qualities of awareness that are at the same time fundamental qualitative units of awareness - the qualitative counterpart of energetic quanta. At the core of each such unit is a unique field-intensity of awareness with its own qualitative tonality. Just as musical tones have sensed qualities of warmth and coolness, light and darkness, colour and texture, so do these qualitative tonalities of awareness. The individual 'soul' or 'psyche' is a grouping or 'gestalt' of qualia with its own dynamic field-patterns of inner tonality - its own inner music. All physical bodies, from atoms and molecules to cells and living organisms are understood as the outwardly perceived form taken by such psychic qualia gestalts - patterned tonalities and qualities of atomic, molecular and cellular awareness. We ourselves are such qualia gestalts. But since our own soul qualities are the expression of basic 'soul tones' or tonalities of awareness, they are also what allow us to resonate with other beings. The fundamental relation of qualia and the phenomenal qualities of things and people is one of resonation. In resonating with the soundless undertones of song, speech or music for example, we gain a silent, felt sense of the soul tones they communicate. Similarly, by resonating with the unique tonality of particular perceptual qualities - this object's look of 'redness' or that person's look of 'sadness' - we experience it as the phenomenal expression of a quale, a tonal field-quality of awareness. Resonation is the principle medium of field-phenomenological research in cosmic qualia science.
The inauguration of a field-phenomenological science of qualia is the most radical revolution in scientific thinking and research methodology ever to take place - not a 'quantum leap' but a Qualia Revolution. It will revolutionise our understanding, not only of the natural sciences but of every sphere of human life from economics and education to medicine and psychiatry, politics and psychotherapy. It challenges the foundations not only of modern science as we know it, but of New Age pseudo-science with its talk of 'subtle energies', 'energy fields' and 'energy medicine'. Not only modern 'scientific' medicine but traditional Eastern medicine, New Age 'energy medicine', complementary 'bodywork' therapies, and even 'body-oriented' forms of psychotherapy all understand the human body itself as something made up either of biological 'matter' or of 'energy' in some form. The ideologies of geneticism and energeticism have replaced both old-fashioned materialism and vitalism. They have also replaced old-fashioned spiritualism with its esoteric notions of a 'mental', 'astral' or 'etheric' body - though we must remember that these bodies were generally understood in a quite mechanical and materialistic way - seen as separate bodies composed of 'subtler' or 'finer' grades of matter.
As the Japanese philosopher Sato Tsuji pointed out "It is the great error of Western philosophers that they always regard the human body intellectually, from the outside, as though it were not indissolubly a part of the active self." Regarded from the outside, a book is a material body in three-dimensional space. It can be understood also as a vibrating energetic structure. But its three-dimensional form also conceals a multi-dimensional inner world of meaning. We cannot enter this world by researching the fabric of space and time, matter and energy. We can only enter it by reading the book - letting our awareness flow into the space of meaning that opens up within it, and allows us to inhabit as readers the unique sphere of awareness belonging to another human being. What is true of the book as a material body is true of the human body too - understood not as a construction of genes or of 'subtle energies' but as the living speech of the inner human being. Just as the written word and speech are the perceived outwardness of language, so is sensible matter the perceived outwardness of energy in all its forms. Conversely, just as meaning or sense is the inwardness of language so is it the very inwardness of energy in all its forms. What is called 'subtle energy' is in reality our sense of a 'subtle language' concealing subtle senses. These subtle senses or meanings consist of sensual qualities of awareness which are intrinsically meaningful - the very 'meaning of meaning'. Meaning or sense is never something that can be exhausted through its signification in words but is what communicates silently through the word (dia-logos).
The sense of a word is not its reference to some 'thing' we are aware of. The meaning of both words and things themselves lies in their resonance with qualia - the way they give resonant expression to sensual tones and textures, shadings and shapings of awareness as such. The inner anatomy of the human body, like that of any body, is like that of a book. Its essence does not lie in measurable flows of energy along meridians or between different energy centres or 'chakras', but rather in meaningful flows of awareness between different centres of awareness. These are located not in an 'energy body' or in the organs of our physical body but in what Deleuze has called "the body without organs" - the inner soul space that constitutes our soul body or body of awareness. As the Daoist sages recognised, what we perceive as the emptiness of outer space or the sensed inner space of our bodies, is already permeated by meaningful flows and figurations of awareness, arising from an unbounded primordial field of awareness that I term the qualia continuum.
The Qualia Revolution is a revolution not only in human and natural science but in human awareness and in human relations. This revolution is necessary, as the German philosopher Martin Heidegger was aware, to subvert the foundations of a purely calculative mode of thinking and a purely quantitative science of nature and mankind - one that is becoming little more than an ideological and technological tool of global capitalism. It is also necessary to demolish the scientific pretensions of both orthodox medicine and the nostrums offered by alternative New Age 'healing' technologies.
The age-old distortions of inner knowing or gnosis, which have permeated spiritual and scientific traditions of both West and East for centuries, now find expression in the muddled medley of modern science and 'ancient' spiritual traditions that presents itself as New Age philosophy. Drawing on the dialectical field-phenomenology of physicist Michael Kosok, the SETH books of Jane Roberts and Eugene Gendlin's philosophy of directly felt meaning or 'sense', The Qualia Revolution rearticulates Rudolf Steiner's vision of a "spiritual-science" of nature and man. At the same time, it reaffirms Karl Marx's vision of a "natural science of man" that is also a "human science of nature". Through cosmic qualia science it offers a comprehensive new 'exoteric' framework for the scientific explication and application of 'esoteric' knowledge.
Cosmic qualia science is the only framework of scientific thought in which God not only might but must have a place. Qualia theosophy allows us to recognise that God does not indeed exist as any actual being or entity that we can be aware of, but is no less real for that - being that primordial field of potentiality that is the power behind all actualities. Potentialities, by their very nature, have reality only in awareness. What we call God is 'gnosis' - a knowing awareness of potentiality that is the source of knowable actualities. What we call 'energy' is nothing but the 'formative activity' (energein) by which this knowing awareness of potentiality is constantly actualised in the form of sensual qualities and perceptual patterns of awareness. Neither action nor awareness is the function of a pre-given agent, ego or 'subject' of consciousness. Instead action is the autonomous self-actualisation of potentialities belonging to a divine and primordial source field of awareness. In itself, this dao field appears empty - lacking all form and qualitative determination. It is no-thing. And yet, like the dao, it is the source of every-thing, for it is a plenum of infinite formative potentials and qualities of awareness.
"Warm cools. Moistness parches." (Heraclitus). As 'units' of awareness, qualia are not pre-given entities, comparable to units or quanta of matter-energy. On the contrary, as sensual qualities of awareness they are, like sensory qualities such as warmth and coolness, the very essence of action as qualitative transformation. Cosmic qualia science adds a qualitative dimension to the understanding of Being as formative and transformative activity.
| back to the top |