Panpsychism is the view that everything has a mind or has mind-like qualities. It derives from the two Greek words pan (all) and psyche (mind or soul). It can be argued what these things actually mean. What does it mean by “everything”? What does it mean by “mind”?

Some philosophers say that every single object in the universe has mind-like qualities. Other philosophers say that certain classes of things possess a mind. In these cases, one of these circumstances is not true panpsychism.

Panpsychists see the human mind as unique.

It is argued that animals, plants, or rocks are as sophisticated or as complex a human being’s mind, but this brings new questions: What are mental qualities that are shared by these things? Why are their qualities even “mental”?

Panpsychism is a theory without proof about how widespread the mind is in the universe. It doesn’t define “mind”, and it does tell how the mind relates to those objects that possess it.

This theory seems unlikely and improbable but also fantastic. Some of the greatest philosophers have argued for a form of panpsychism or expressed strong feelings about the topic.

Philip Goff, a philosopher, states that objects like electrons and rocks have an inner life, feelings, sensations, and experiences. He also says that “Panpsychism is crazy, but it’s also most probably true.”

Here are some of his arguments for panpsychism:

– Humans know nothing about the nature of inanimate matter, so it is possible that it could have a mind.

– If the matter in the cerebrum can make mind and consciousness, then the continuity of matter within electrons, rocks, and brains suggests that it is safe to assume that electrons and rocks have minds than to say they don’t. This is the assumption that no properties can distinguish a rock from a mammal.

Animals have feelings, sensations, and experiences, and things such as rocks and molecules do not. The smallest of matter such as electrons and quarks have basic kinds of experience or inner life. So if animals can be conscious and have emotions, then their molecules and atoms do as well.

There is no evidence whatsoever that provides proof that non-evolved objects have minds that relate to conscious experiences and sensations. At the same time, just because we are not aware of the existence of a rock’s or an electron’s experiences, it doesn’t mean that it does not exist.

I would like to believe that panpsychism exists in some ways.

In my opinion, there just isn’t enough proof to give this theory justice. I do not believe that everything has a mind or conscience simply because some things aren’t able to make a conscious decision.

Dirt has no way of thinking or having emotions, but I do believe animals do. I find it hard to believe that an animal doesn’t have the ability to make a decision based on its own instinctive compass. Arguments could be made for both, and I suppose that you could prove or disprove the idea of panpsychism.



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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Don

    There are or were Native Americans of the Algonquins who believed all things, rocks, rivers, trees, have a soul called a Manitou. But I suppose regardless of what science of the future determines as ‘the nature of all things’, it will still come down to the definition of mind and soul. I do agree with your conclusion. A very interesting topic.

  2. Foster

    This concept has resonated with me for many years now. The problem as I see it is this:

    Regardless of whether God is spiritual, or a super intelligent technology based life form, there is no reasonable scientific theory about how life actually originated. In other words, prior to the Big Bang and the beginning of the known Universe, what was there? And why? Was our Big Bang the result of a collapsed black hole in some other dimension or alternate Universe? And if so, the question remains. Ultimately – where does life and “God” really begin?

    To blindly accept that the Universe was born from a random unexplained explosion of matter and that nothing existed beforehand feels much like blindly accepting any of the thousands of religions practiced by people of Earth.

  3. Chris Lovelidge

    I can understand the concepts behind this article but I believe there is confusion between “mind” and “consciousness”, the two are in no way interchangeable. During a Near Death Experience in 1974 I was given some insights into the nature of the Universe. There is a term that, if you understand it, reveals the true nature of the universe and others and is the most profound statement you are ever likely to read.. “In the ultimate there is only one of us”. There is a universal consciousness and we are all part of it. An infinite numbers of parts detached from the Source to become living the consciousness of , sentient and conscious beings, not limited to Earth. We are all here here to experience physical life and principal of relative emotions. For example if you have known nothing but joy all your life it would have very little meaning because you have nothing to compare it with. Once you experience sadness you then know you would rather experience joy. This is true for all emotions. The Divine may know all but has not experienced all. Food for thought.

  4. Hung Morin

    New concept, right? But, I believe that it is true. For me, even plants, pencils, computers, flower, etc. have their own consciousness. They can be hurtful if you badly treat them and see them as lifeless things. Think again. And do them nicely. You can be them in the incarnation!

  5. Richard Sharpe

    The Force is strong in this one.

    “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”

    Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi
    Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977,1996)

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