The Nature of Reality

In our model, the universe is made of only one kind of stuff, but that stuff has multiple aspects: material, immaterial, temporal, subjective (inside), objective (outside)… it’s going to turn out that reality has quite a few connected aspects, but that’s a fun side-trip for after later. Staying on topic, what do I mean by “aspects”? Think of the faces of a coin (2 aspects) or a standard die (6 aspects). For our purposes, we do not need to know how many aspects reality has; we do need to know that reality has at least three: material, immaterial, and temporal. Warning: in order to keep our discussion manageable, we will ignore quite a bit, touching only on those topics essential to our goal of creating a better understanding of mind.

Everything in reality has all of reality’s aspects. In particular, everything has both material and immaterial aspects. Protons, neutrons, and electrons are manifestations of the material aspect. Their associated gravitational and electromagnetic fields are manifestations of the immaterial aspect. Different aspects are fundamentally distinct, they do not “cause” or “make” one another, yet they do belong to one another, like husband and wife or peanut butter and jelly.. Different aspects of reality are connected; a change in one will likely, though not necessarily, be accompanied by a change in the other(s). Thus, while it is possible to lightly scratch only one side of a coin or die, flipping only one side of a coin or rolling only one side of a die doesn’t work, because the sides are connected. A quick example may help. Imagine holding a permanent magnet in your hand. What you see and feel, from a simplified perspective, is the material aspect of the magnet; it seems as though the magnet is nothing more than a metal bar. Now imagine that you attempt to force the north poles of two such magnets together. You can’t see, hear, or taste it, but you feel something immaterial there, mysteriously pushing back. You are experiencing the very real immaterial aspect of magnets, an aspect that cannot be seen, has no weight, and cannot be put in a wheelbarrow, yet surely exists and has consequences.

Like a magnetic field, mind reflects the immaterial aspect of reality. Body represents the material aspect. Once we accept that mind and body are but different aspects of a single, unified reality, the standard mind-body problem formulation evaporates: the material body does not make or cause the immaterial mind. But because they are different aspects of a single underlying reality, any change in the immaterial mind may be accompanied by a change in its material partner, and vice versa. The rest of this discussion attempts to elucidate how this is so.

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