Into the Land of Dreamers
July 17, 2009
About 2,500 years ago in Ancient Greece, the presocratic philosopher known as Anaxagoras said...
Mind is something infinite and self-controlling, and it has been mixed with no thing but is alone itself by is the finest of all things and the purest, and it possesses all knowledge about everything, and it has the greatest strength.
Anaxagoras goes on to say...
And mind controls all those things, both great and small...and mind controlled the whole revolution, so that it revolved in the first place...first it began to revolve in a small area, and it is revolving more widely, and it will revolve yet more widely.
And mind recognizes all the things which are commingling and separating off and dissociating. And mind arranged everything - what was to be and what was and what is now and what will be.
Thus, in the cosmology of Anaxagoras, first there is mind, then there is everything else. And its amazing, and likely no accident, that the rest of Anaxagoras' cosmology sounds not unlike our modern Big Bang theory, with its beginnings as an infinitely small point which expands outward, continually commingling and separating to form all that ever was, is and will be. Anaxagoras saw the universe as a constantly changing and evolving phenomenon.

Of course this sounds like common sense today. But it must be remembered that up to the 19th century, a static, everything created "as is", worldview tended to dominate Western thinking. But 150 years plus of scientific investigation---notably Darwin's theory of life's evolution, evidence of an expanding (and in some places contracting) universe, as well as drift of the Earth's crust driven by plate tectonics---has shown that the world and universe is anything but static.

Concerning the beginning of it all, Anaxagoras says...

Together were all things, infinite in quantity and in smallness - for the small too was infinite.
The Primacy of Mind
Obviously, Anaxagoras was a thinker way ahead of his time. Is he also right in placing mind before and above all else, as the controlling force and intelligence of the Cosmos?

Though usually in the minority, other thinkers through the ages and from other cultures (notably India) would side with Anaxagoras. Over 250 years ago, philosopher George Berkley argued for the primacy of mind. Teilhard de Chardin, a great thinker and investigator of worlds material and spiritual, further articulated the primacy of mind in his conceptualization of the noosphere. More recently, many investigators and interpreters of quantum theory have concluded that mind (or consciousness) must be the ultimate arbiter of nature (most simply, if conscious perception did not exist to collapse the wave function, no thing could exist as we now know it).

Still, popular thinking and convention has it that consciousness is a product of the brain, that mind is the result of matter's existance and evolution, not its cause. But popular thinking and convention has been wrong before and even---as with both geocentrism and the idea of a static, unchanging world---completely backwards.

So, outrageous as it may sound, it is a worthy and especially significant idea to consider that mind is primary to existance...mind is the first cause...and mind is the driving and organizing force behind the existance of all else.