• trufflebasket
    4
    Is there a philosophical theory where all conscious beings are actually believed to be the same being?

    For example, you, me, and everyone (animals or possible aliens—all conscious beings) are actually the same conscious entity. Or you could say by analogy it’s like saying we’re the same person in the same way you’re also the same person as your 10-year-old self.

    I’m trying to see if any philosophers have entertained this idea or developed it. Maybe some eastern thinkers?
  • trufflebasket
    4
    I first thought of this when I was like 8-years-old, but I immediately stopped thinking about it because I scared myself with how lonely the idea sounded.
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    Collective consceeennce or collective soul. Its actually very popular among new agers and also others. I can't entirely deny it either myself. I've come up with my own potential variation that doesn't collide with the pail of orthodoxy. I'm not going to waste your time with my version. Yeah but either collective consceeeence or collective soul.
  • trufflebasket
    4
    I’ll read your idea if you post it. So go ahead and post it because I’ll spent my evening thinking about it.

    I’ll look into “collective consciousness” stuff, but that sounds like pseudoscientific woo. I was thinking maybe something like solipsistic panpsychism to describe it.
  • trufflebasket
    4
    any particular book or paper of his that your recommend?
  • 3017amen
    2.6k


    Per Frank, Schopenhauer:

    The World as Will and Representation - Wikipedia
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_as_Will_and_Representation

    The World as Will & Representation, random book Review:

    He picks up where he feels Kant left off, with the world as representation, which is to say mental picture. It is a biological fact that our brains receive a "feed" of sensory data through the nerves, and build a picture from it, which is the world we know. The problem then becomes, what, if anything, is the real world, the "thing in itself," apart from being represented in the mind? Space, time, and cause/effect thus become merely the "program" that our minds use to build this representation, and we have no reason to believe that they are valid outside of it. Even science cannot penetrate this veil.

    Schopenhauer's answer to the nature of the thing in itself is actually quite simple: our will. The desires and emotions we experience play out in time but not in space, and are the inner mechanism of causality. They are the direct line to ultimate reality, which he characterizes as an infinite striving. Applying this then to the rest of nature, he sees it in animals, plants, magnetism, gravity, and energy itself. Like white light through a prism the blind and indivisible will manifests itself through space and time as every single phenomenon in the universe, yourself included. Multiplicity is thus seen as an illusion, and death becomes a moot point.
  • Pop
    425
    I’m trying to see if any philosophers have entertained this idea or developed it. Maybe some eastern thinkers?trufflebasket

    Yogic logic / Buddhism are theories of consciousness - there are many flavours however, so you have to do your own legwork. Panpsychism is the modern western scientific version : https://www.iep.utm.edu/panpsych/
  • frank
    5.7k
    It's in the third book of World as Will and Representation, as 3017amen mentioned.

    If you don't have much background in philosophy, this is a great place to start because it's right in the middle with German Idealism. I actually started with Kierkegaard, but I had to back up to German Idealism to get some of the background. Philosophy is like a giant, longterm conversation between philosophers. Schopenhauer worked off of Kant, who responded to a conflict between British Empiricism and German Rationalism.

    In other words, you can start with Schopenhauer alone, but a guide would be helpful. The guide will point you toward the philosophical environment of the whole thing, backward to Kant, and then forward. Schopenhauer influenced a lot of people like Nietzsche, Freud, and Tolstoy.

    The idea that we're all like dandelions growing out of the same spot is much older than Schopenhauer, though. It's Neoplatonism, so it goes back to Plato. When Plato talked about the Soul, instead of taking it to be referencing something personal in each person, it makes more sense (to some people) to see the Soul he was talking about as a common ground.

    Have fun!
  • fishfry
    1.6k
    Is there a philosophical theory where all conscious beings are actually believed to be the same being?trufflebasket

    Jung's collective unconscious?
  • 180 Proof
    2.1k
    The idea that we're all like dandelions growing out of the same spot is much older than Schopenhauer, though. It's Neoplatonism, so it goes back to Plato. When Plato talked about the Soul, instead of taking it to be referencing something personal in each person, it makes more sense (to some people) to see the Soul he was talking about as a common ground.frank
    Also, in this sense, Spinoza's substance (i.e. natura naturans) ... or atomist's void ... Advaita Vedanta's Tat tvam asi ("Thou art that": atman is brahman) ...
  • frank
    5.7k
    I don't know much about Spinoza. Sounds cool.

    But yea, the perennial philosophy.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    I think the Gaia hypothesis also fits in here.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.6k
    He picks up where he feels Kant left off, with the world as representation, which is to say mental picture. It is a biological fact that our brains receive a "feed" of sensory data through the nerves, and build a picture from it, which is the world we know. The problem then becomes, what, if anything, is the real world, the "thing in itself," apart from being represented in the mind? Space, time, and cause/effect thus become merely the "program" that our minds use to build this representation, and we have no reason to believe that they are valid outside of it. Even science cannot penetrate this veil.

    Schopenhauer's answer to the nature of the thing in itself is actually quite simple: our will. The desires and emotions we experience play out in time but not in space, and are the inner mechanism of causality. They are the direct line to ultimate reality, which he characterizes as an infinite striving. Applying this then to the rest of nature, he sees it in animals, plants, magnetism, gravity, and energy itself. Like white light through a prism the blind and indivisible will manifests itself through space and time as every single phenomenon in the universe, yourself included. Multiplicity is thus seen as an illusion, and death becomes a moot point.
    3017amen

    So Schopenhauer questions our mind's picture, claiming to have no reason to believe that the picture is valid outside of it.

    Then Schopenhauer goes about using his own observations (observations which is his own mental picture that he is so skeptical of representing facts of the world) of plants, magnetism, gravity, and energy itself to support his claim.
    :roll:
    Yep, typical philosophical bullshit.

    If he is so skeptical about our understanding of animals, plants, magnetism, gravity, and energy itself, then how is it that he is using his understanding of animals, plants, magnetism, gravity, and energy itself to support his thesis?

    The fact is that our mind is part of the world that it is representing. It is beholden to the same laws that the rest of the universe is. If something is a representation of something else, then by definition, the representation is about what is represented, or else it can't be a representation. A political representative that didn't represent it's constituents isn't a representative. They would be an unrepresentative.
  • unenlightened
    5.3k
    To every thread, turn turn turn, there is a Dylan song turn turn turn, and a youtube video to every topic under heaven.

  • 3017amen
    2.6k
    If he is so skeptical about our understanding of animals, plants, magnetism, gravity, and energy itself, then how is it that he is using his understanding of animals, plants, magnetism, gravity, and energy itself to support his thesis?

    The fact is that our mind is part of the world that it is representing. It is beholden to the same laws that the rest of the universe is. If something is a representation of something else, then by definition, the representation is about what is represented, or else it can't be a representation. A political representative that didn't represent it's constituents isn't a representative. They would be an unrepresentative.
    Harry Hindu

    Hey Harry!

    Nice analogy! You might could think of it this way. That political representative represents you. He represents you in many aspects of your will to want whatever it is that you want or need. Yet, at the same time, you don't know the nature of his existence, nor understand how or why he exists. You can only observe his behavior and make logical inferences about same.

    And those inferences would include facts that he is a human, but also inferences relative to his own will and purpose in representing you. In other words, you can't get inside his mind.

    Isn't that what Schop is doing about analogizing the universe to one's Will?
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