Qualia Is Gonna Get You, Baby.

“Now, when it comes to “physicalism”, it is indeed true that one falls in love with a physical object, i.e. another individual. But to claim that the physical existence of that object (person) in question is the central issue is not the case. Essentially, what one does when appreciating beauty, whether in another person, or in something experienced via the senses, such as a great work of art, is to generate qualia in the mind. It is this immaterial aspect of reality (one which we all experience in falling in love, finding something beautiful, appreciating art) that gives the lie to the view that our interaction with the ground of being consists solely of sense-data as if we were simply biological machines. Poetry, for example, is not simply a question of the ink and the paper upon which it is written. Qualia is actually so commonplace in our lives that we overlook its foundational aspect when determining that reality is not wholly a question of physicalism (aka materialism).

When it comes to category errors, it might be worthwhile to bear in mind the idea that no monotheistic religion of which I am aware has ever claimed there is a gigantic physical brain in existence at the centre of, or outside of, the universe. One can only obtain intimations of God, not a final comprehension—at least in this life.

However, let me concede one point. It probably is impossible for a materialist to gain access to a higher reality beyond that which they have set their own experiential limits. What it would require for them to transcend such a limitation would be an act of faith, such as getting down on their knees and praying to God for the proof they so ardently claim is not possible. It won’t necessarily come in terms of a miracle that suspends the “laws of nature”, but it may do in terms of a sudden realignment in one’s philosophical orientation.

Evidence of the existence of God acceptable to atheistic sceptics would involve precisely the negation of that freedom granted by a higher power. The freedom to doubt, the freedom to err, and the freedom to self-destruction are part of our spiritual heritage.

It is precisely why the oft-cited criticism of God as a form of celestial dictator is false—and little more than a futile attempt to reduce something eternal to the pigsty of political ideology, since the very idea that they are not their own dictators and not responsible to anyone other than themselves for their actions actually terrifies them.”

Mark S.

 

 

 

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