Friedrich Seibold

A New World Outlook

The 'New Thinking' seeks to change human behaviour with regard to its detrimental impact on life's scarce resources. To achieve this it is necessary to take into account that the human attitude towards the environment depends essentially upon the outlook of the world's peoples. Spiritualists (e.g. Buddhists) interact with the world in a different way to materialists, who see dead matter as the fundamental origin of life. Consequently if mankind's attitude towards the environment is to be changed, and it seems this is possible only with a new way of thinking then first mankind must change its outlook on the world, the philosophy of life. This poses the question, which view of life is most likely to induce mankind to give priority to the protection of his environment? The traditional 'Weltanschauung' is clearly not able to manage it!

This customary philosophy rests on the Cartesian separation between a thinking subject ('res cogitans') and a real object ('res extensa') or more simply between human consciousness and an independent of it, so called, real outside world. Arising from this antithetic dichotomy this world outside of human consciousness appears to be another (material) one opposite to one's so-called inner (mental) world. This is the ideology of Realism and the basis of Materialism. In contrast to this, the ideology of Idealism and Spiritualism supposes only the existence of consciousness. After all neither position can explain what is 'matter' or 'consciousness' in its essence.

In an idealistic (spiritualistic) conception man perceives the surrounding world as only marginally and not substantially different from him, and himself only an element of the whole world. In such a perception of the world man sees himself and his surroundings as one unity and therefore experiences the environment immediately as his basis. It is my hypothesis that within the idealistic philosophy man would perceive the exploitation of his planet and its damaging effects on the environment as direct damage to his own substance. For this reason it can be expected that within the idealistic conception man reinforces his efforts to avoid these damaging effects more so than with a materialistic philosophy in whose view a substance other than the human one is exploited and damaged. In the latter conception therefore, man recognizes the threatening effects of that behaviour only indirectly on later consequences.

Thus it is my hypothesis that human behaviour against man's environment can be changed to a more protective one by changing away from the prevailing realistic / materialistic, towards the idealistic view of the world. It is only logical that with the idealistic world outlook man feels himself bound up with his environment because within this view of life he sees the world as an unity. Furthermore this would spread and deepen the idea of humanity because what is true of the environment as a whole is true especially of living beings.

All this would be mere grey theory if it were not possible to prove conclusively that the realistic/materialistic conception is logically untenable. Strictly speaking it is not only apodictically refutable but is based on false reasoning, an error in the possibilities of thought. This error is the expression "independent of consciousness" in the phrase "outside world independent of consciousness", which means a "real world". The meaning of this expression is unthinkable because of its dependence upon the very consciousness which is thinking it! It is as impossible to think independent of consciousness as to think without thought, because the former includes the latter. "Independent of consciousness" means "out of consciousness" and by this "out of thought". "Independent of consciousness" therefore negates thought although it is a thought itself. Hence it is the expression of an absurdity. Consequently the meaning "independent of consciousness" cannot be seized by thought and from there it is thinkable only as a false reasoning. It follows that the so-called "outside world independent of consciousness" must be a false reasoning too. Finally, if something is not thinkable in its meaning then neither is it thinkable as existing.

The false reasoning is further evident if one tries to think that there exists something (a world) which is independent of (and that means it has no relation to) another thing (our consciousness) which is a product of the former something. If something emerges from another thing then a relationship exists between them and neither of them can be independent of the other. If both hang together in some aspect as it is in our case (the consciousness has emerged from the so-called outer world) then a principal connection or dependence cannot be negated for one of them.

We do not know what is the solely remaining consciousness because we can "explain" it only by itself. Therefore it is of no consequence how the unity in the idealistic world outlook is denominated and in what it ultimately consists. It can be named 'world', 'nature', 'consciousness' or even 'matter' but certainly not 'reality' because being independent of consciousness (the meaning of 'reality') it is logically untenable. The only certain conclusion from this is that the dualism dividing a mental and a material substance or world has been decisively disproved! Hence the basis in logic for a change in world outlook has been derived. It is true, however, that the prevailing untenable realistic/materialistic conception is so deeply rooted in human thought that the time necessary to put it right will take until it belongs to the past. There remains only the hope that it is not too late for survival and that before then important changes in human behaviour towards the environment will occur.

© Seibold 2007

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