This is Part Two of a two-part series. Find Part One here.
Existent or Nonexistent?
Does self/selfing exist, or is it a kind of illusion?
By ”exist,” the question asks whether self/selfing has a reality distinct from the observation of it. Personally, I think that the granite deep inside Mt. Everest exists whether anyone is aware of it or not, that the planets circling faraway stars existed long before astronomers discovered them, and that neurons fire inside your brain whether you know it or not. This is the materialist presumption. No one can prove it. But most people, and just about all scientists, consider the alternative – that
matter/energy depends for its existence on the awareness of conscious beings – to be highly implausible.
So, for our purposes here, let’s assume that existence . . . exists.
By the way: In terms of quantum physics and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, just because uncertainty about a particle’s position decreases as certainty about its momentum increases, it does not mean that the existence of the particle depends on observation.
Think of all the particles in the universe that no scientist is observing in a cloud chamber: do they not exist? Further, even though it is possible to do increasingly clever manipulations of “entangled” quantum particles to create cool stuff like “spooky action at a distance” – in which the observation of one particle determines the nature of the other particle faster than light can travel – in the ordinary world of atoms and molecules all around us, including the ones functioning just fine in your brain right now to enable you to read these words, all these quantum entanglements “collapse” just fine without observation to form the material world.