Bodhidaoism and Reality

The hardest problem to answer for any religion is what exists and how do we know. Traditionally these are known as metaphysics and epistemology. Here is my answer to the metaphysical question:

We accept the scientific consensus on the origin of the universe and the evolution of humans through natural selection. We believe that there is one reality, but to human beings, this reality appears in two forms – subjective and objective.

I would call my position open naturalism. I believe that the natural world exists and that science is the best means of knowing it. But I believe that the mind is an important part of reality. How that fits with the natural world is an open question.

One option is panpsychism, which I prefer. As Philip Goff explains, “Panpsychist’s believe that consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of the physical world.” There are many theories on how this is so.

Another option is that the mind is an emergent phenomenon. C. D. Broad explains that “the characteristic properties of the whole…. cannot, even in theory, be deduced from the most complete knowledge of the properties of” the parts. In other words, in the words of Douglas Hofstadter, “the soul is more than the sum of its parts.”

Published by

Jay N. Forrest

Zen Humanist Teacher.