Primacy of Existence versus Primacy of Consciousness


Well-known member
Here is a good article that compares and contrasts the primacy of existence to the primacy of consciousness.

On Consciousness

The conclusion is that neither existence nor consciousness can be reduced into one or the other, but that each is dependent upon the other. In simple terms, existence cannot be experienced without consciousness and consciousness would have nothing to experience without existence. The author identifies this position as “neutral monism” and describes it as the following,

“I am positing a form of neutral monism that sits somewhere between physicalism and idealism. Monism, in its simplest form, suggests that there is only one kind of underlying reality. A neutral stance on this does not side with either matter or mind, instead a potential 3rd substance. Russel explained this form of reality as having “a single underlying nature that is neither mental nor physical but capable of being expressed in these two different ways.”. Much like the interiors and exterior of any object, Russel’s account of the mental and physical imply and necessitate each other as reflection of a single nature.”​
There are some interesting points made about both sides of the argument that one can read for themselves, to include one that resonated with me, ie., many of the things we think are real, eg., “protons”, because we were taught that in science class, are actually models for HOW existence interacts, in this case, quarks interacting with one another. To summarize, protons are not real things but rather models created by humans to describe interactions between subatomic particles, namely, quarks. Which raises the question, what is the intrinsic property of existence? We really do not know, we only experience existence through consciousness.

On a bit of a tangent (please indulge my theistic interests) I cannot help but notice a parallel between the author’s “neutral monism” defined as the “one underlying reality” containing within it both existence and consciousness, —and its parallel to the Essene doctrine of the Divine Triad defined as the God Most High containing his two powers both matter and spirit, aka, existence and moral intellect (see Dead Sea scrolls). It seems that Solomen’s proposition of there be nothing new under the sun rings true. In this case the fundamental explanations about life and existence remain the same throughout human history. All that has changed is the technical jargon used to describe them.

Table 1. Parallels Between Neutral Monism (Underlying Reality) and the Most High God (Source of all things)
1) Neutral Monism1) Most High God
2) Consciousness2) spirit of Truth (Moral consciousness)
3) Existence3) Flesh or Matter (Lusts, impulses, and desires of the flesh)

Dead Sea Scrolls​
A text belonging to the Instructor [the Head of each chapter of the Essenes], who is to enlighten and teach all the Sons of Light about the character and fate of humankind...

All that is now and ever shall be originates with the [1] God of KNOWLEDGE...He created humankind to rule over the world, appointing for them TWO spirits in which to walk until the time ordained for His visitation. These are the spirits of truth and falsehood.... The authority of the Prince of Light extends to the governance of all righteous people; therefore they walk in the paths of light. Correspondingly, the authority of the Angel fo Darkness embraces the governance of all the wicked people, so they walk in the paths of darkness.

Upon earth their operations are these: one [2] enlightens a man's mind, making straight before him the paths of TRUE righteousness... This spirit engenders humility, patience, abundant compassion, perpetual goodness, insight, understanding, and powerful WISDOM resonating to each of God's deeds, sustained by his constant faithfulness. It engenders a spirit of KNOWLEDGE in every plan of action...

The operations of the spirit of falsehood result in greed, neglect of righteous deeds, wickedness, lying, pride and haughtiness, cruel deceit and fraud, massive HYPOCRISY, a want of self-control and abundant foolishness, a zeal for arrogance, abominable deeds fashioned by [3] whorish desire, the end of walking in all the ways of darkness and evil cunning.

...By His TRUTH God shall then purify all human deeds, and refine some of humanity so as to extinguish every PERVERSE SPIRIT from THE INWARD PARTS OF THE FLESH, cleansing from every wicked deed by a Holy Spirit. Like purifying waters, He shall sprinkle each with a spirit of TRUTH, effectual against all the abominations of lying and selling by an unclean spirit. Thereby he shall give the upright insight into the KNOWLEDGE OF THE MOST HIGH and the WISDOM of the angels, making wise those following the perfect way. Indeed, God has chosen them for an eternal covenant...

Until now the spirits of truth and perversity have contended WITHIN THE HUMAN HEART. ALL people walk in both WISDOM and foolishness.
Last edited: