Abstract Details

A Four Layered Cosmopsychist Model of Reality based on Vedanta for Deriving Materiality from Consciousness - Solving the Reverse Hard Problem  Goutam Ghosh (Patna, BIHAR India)   C25

For finding the solution to the "hard problem" of consciousness, researchers in consciousness studies are now looking beyond the matter and exploring newer and deeper layers of reality using some form of panpsychism. However, we find that the ideas of deeper layers of reality have been extensively treated in Vedanta philosophy and a four layered system of reality, in a cosmopsychist form, had been outlined in Mandukya Upanisad- one of the most important texts of Vedanta philosophy. Based on this system and correlating ideas from other Vedantic texts (as well as from philosophies like Sankhya, Kashmir Saivism etc.,) I have, in this paper, tried to develop a structured four layered model of reality and applied it in addressing the "hard problem" from the other end, i.e., deriving materiality from consciousness. In this model, the concept of a universal consciousness is posited as the fundamental layer (1st layer) that encompasses and permeates all other subsequent layers in a cosmopsychist pattern. The universal consciousness is a plenum- complete in itself and additionally, it is also a perfectly undifferentiated and symmetric system. The evolutionary process happens as this system gets more and more differentiated, with the initial process occurring when the universal consciousness in its immanent aspect changes into a universal agency and its associated field. Both the agency and its field together form the 2nd layer. Further, the field part of the 2nd layer is composed of three components- intelligence-stuff, energy and inertia (sattva, rajas and tamas in Vedanta). The concept of intelligence-stuff, described as a medium for reflection of intelligence has been used in Vedanta in addition to energy and inertia as a basic ground for the evolution of mind and matter together. Initially the three components are in a perfect equilibrium; but further differentiation in evolutionary process takes place when these three components get in a disequilibrium state and start interacting and from their interactions and different combinations we get the 3rd layer consisting of the mental structures and the 4th layer containing the perceived material world. After describing the model's structure, its applicability has been discussed in three areas. Firstly, it has been shown that the model addresses the "hard problem" from the other end, i.e., it provides a framework for evolution of materiality from consciousness. It also handles the issue of "self" unambiguously. Secondly, the model appears to provide ontological support in a certain way to the deeper layers and structures of reality as proposed in some of the leading theories of consciousness like the three worlds (Penrose), Platonic values, proto-consciousness and proto-pleasure (Hameroff-Penrose), conscious agent (Hoffman), agentive cosmopsychism (Goff) etc. Finally, it has also been shown that this model's inherent processes are in consonance with presently discovered laws of nature and that the model leads to an integrated view of consciousness, mind and matter.