My Articles

The Mystery of 'Feeling'
(A Philosophical Essay)
by Carl R. Littmann 1-3-2004


In this article, we attempt to 'de-mystify' the mystery of 'feeling', so far as possible, or at least to shed more light on it. By 'feeling', I mean such human sensations as 'touch', 'pressure', and other 'feelings' which so-called 'mass' seems able to possess along with its "competitive endurance". We investigate the mystery of 'feeling and spirit', and we find that we actually need a degree of 'physics-like' descriptions to even make 'sense' out of that 'realm'. We establish that both the 'spiritual' and 'physical' realms have many characteristics that are surprisingly alike--although we do not 'prove' that they are entirely identical. 'We' theorize that 'feeling' is the super-high 'stress' of mass as it exerts its competitive endurance. We provide some details, and make interesting analogies. 'We' describe what is 'knowable' to many Human Beings and on what basis. We speculate that 'basic' intuition arises from 'basic' mass, under special circumstances. Perhaps this article will contribute to the re-unification of the so-called 'spiritual' and 'material' realms into a single realm, "unified Existence", where we think it belongs.

History (may be skipped):

Some ancient Greek philosophers referred to atoms as "Existence". But modern man has tended to substitute the term, "mass"-in place of Existence. When modern man abandoned the phrase: "glob of existence", in favor of "glob of mass "; that likely helped his efficiency and specialized focus, somewhat. But, unfortunately, it also tended to distract his attention away from making some interesting inquiries about his "feelings"; including 'touch', 'pressure', and other apparent realities. (Those latter realities are sometimes considered to belong more "to a 'spiritual' realm".)

Similarities regarding the 'Physical' Realm and 'Spiritual' Realm:

((I recognize, with regret, that the below discussion may seem 'heavy' at times. It also often differs from the views of many philosophers and scientists, such as Hume, Einstein, and others, familiar to many readers. Some of the below recaps some of my views presented in previous articles.))

'We' can not understand 'why' mass has always existed in the universe; say, instead of a universe always devoid of mass, or having magnitudes less. Nor why it has always existed with certain detailed characteristics (i.e., parameters) rather than always exited, say, with somewhat different parameters. The way those realities have always been, seem to us "rational-neutral". On the other hand; if all the mass in the universe would disappear and become "nothingness"; that would seem to me " anti -rational", not just 'rational-neutral'. And if, out of a universe containing only nothingness--there would arise significant mass, or 'somethingness'; that would seem to me also "anti-rational", not just rational-neutral. (A detailed discussion of 'mass' will come later.)

Even in the age of Shakespeare, we note respect for that viewpoint; for example, 'King Lear' strongly asserts in that drama-that. "Nothing can come of nothing!" So, as I have asserted before--my experience and habitual repetition do not decide for me what seems 'anti-rational'. (I feel that many of my conclusions, rationale, and opinions are 'intuitive', despite some philosophers disagreeing with that.) I believe that although experience may bring to my attention various possibilities; yet, what I conclude to be the probable reality 'out there'-is often contrary to what my habitual experience seems to detect or point to. (Perhaps some of our 'basic' intuition comes from the 'basic' nature of material, itself.)

'We' can not understand well -- 'why' "feeling" exists, nor why it is significantly associated with masses' competitive endurance, in my opinion. (One indication of that is evidenced if we also ask, "Well then, how much 'feeling' should a mass under stress have? So I think there will always remain a degree of mystery regarding those issues.) I think those realities are rational-neutral, but not 'anti-rational'. But if 'feeling' should arise in the universe, out of a universe totally devoid of mass and feeling (i.e., pure nothingness)-that would be (and seem to me) anti-rational; not just rational-neutral. Thus we see the need for a sort of physics-like "principle" of conservation of 'feeling' or capacity to feel.

Even in Shakespeare's age; we note some respect for that view. That is why his drama character, "Hamlet", fears that even if he were dead-that the phenomena of 'dreaming' or feeling might still arise-the point being, at least, that the capacity or potential to "feel" would not entirely perish. So it seems to me "pro-rational" to expect that if the "potential" for feeling did not arise from pure nothingness-that the "potential" would not "be able to find its way back to pure 'nothingness'."

When 'we' contemplate the major properties of mass, such as 'extension'; we realize that when two rather separated major masses compete for the same space-that a "stress" should develop. (I do not necessarily here mean the type of "stress and strain" described in a beginner's applied physics book, but a rather a 'deeper' meaning.) But, sparing the reader a lot of long, boring reading; my conclusion is this: The "paradigm" or parallels of a "mass becoming under stress" and the "arising of feeling" (or characteristics of "feeling")-have a lot of very compelling similarities, especially when one further studies the subject. So "mass under stress " seems an excellent candidate to be the same as the "arising of feeling "; and seemingly the only candidate for that. And I think they are the same! (Pardon some of my unoriginal wording above. I realize that it may seem to many readers--that I have made some 'leaps of faith', regarding some details above.)

That Ends the Main Part of my Article.

The remainder is Optional--although I think interesting.

Feeling, too, require some "Physics":

You have your feelings basically in your vicinity, and I have my feelings basically in my vicinity; and there is a distance between our vicinities. ((I realize those assertions take a lot for granted, but I will skip a lot of argument, here. I'll just say that that is why I put this on the Internet, and expect others to be able to read it, (i.e., separate feelings over a distance).)) Now let us ask, "What sort of interactions, feelings or 'socialization' could occur--if peoples' feelings passed over one-another in space like shadows without extension, and without the slightest mutual effects. My conclusion is that the characteristics of feelings seem to require or need some sort of "physics" to be formulated--to describe their characteristics. ((I believe and acknowledge that my conclusion involves a lot of science details not presented here. Also, that communication and interactions can also occur by "light" (i.e., photons or etc.). And that because of a photon's subtlety--some scientists may even question my underlined conclusion above. But that is my conclusion anyway.))

"Mass" is Not the "Simple Thing"-that some may suppose it to be:

Is pure "Mass" a simple thing and simple subject, as many might suppose? Let us ask a few basic questions to find out.

Is 'pure mass' compressible? If it is; we then ask, "If we compress some down to, say, half its uncompressed volume (and, say, provide a "heat sink" to draw off any heat or kinetic energy produced) - does it still continue to resist that volume restriction with considerable counter force? If so, does it have a long memory, so-to-speak, for its continued volume confinement-so that it continues its counter force indefinitely, (i.e., without gradually "forgetting" and losing its resilience)? And if it is further squeezed, and its volume further restricted, (and with a heat sink still drawing off kinetic energy) - does its counter force further increase; and thus, so-to-speak, it therefore exhibit infinite energy? Or does it ever get to zero volume (zero extension), sort of like some peoples' model of a "black hole"? I do not think that 'conventional' empirical and math-based physic can ever definitely solve those sorts of questions. The so-called "wave-particle paradox" (or worse) is typical of the many paradoxes that arises when 'conventional physics' attempts to find definite answers to deep questions!

I do Not believe that 'pure mass' is compressible! But if you accept the above "compressible" paradigm or the like, anyway; then I must admit that you do have a somewhat appealing "paradigm" for mass and spirit. And without having bothered to read any of my article. And, if you accept, say, Einstein's or Hume's "paradigm", (which I think are rather like each other); -- again, I think you may have a paradigm somewhat like the "compressible" or "zero-volume black hole" paradigms.

But I believe, instead, that pure mass is incompressible, and it does not fill the universe; and therefore that it leaves voids, (say--at least as much 'voids', as 'fills'). But then I might be challenged as follows: If separated pure incompressible masses did collide "directly and hard"-that would seem to force me to concede the occurrence of a momentary infinite pressure and force, which may not seem "reasonable". To get around that, I accept and advocate-(what was termed in 19 th Century Physics) a "Vortex Sponge Model" of the universe, and that includes an "aether" concept. (I believe that allows "webs" of pure mass to be in contact and without 'hard' collisions occurring.) Incidentally, I believe that a system that is 'almost' incompressible-is very much like one that approaches closer and closer to "total" incompressibility.

I think that all of the above was debated by the ancient Greeks, even without the help of the "recently" formulated "Newton's Laws". It led to various important "School of Thought" in ancient Greece. One "School of Thought" was that the Universe was completely filled with a uniform something, and that real "change" was impossible. Also, that what we sense and infer to be 'out there' is highly inaccurate or totally inaccurate; or that there may not even be an 'out there'. Another school of thought was Democritus'. That was that basic atoms existed and were incompressible and indestructible; that voids existed between different atoms; and that great changes in the universe were possible. Another school of thought, I suppose, was somewhat like Zeno's (and Laotse's in China). That was that the universe involves some intractable paradoxes, and that the use of human reason to really understand anything is highly limited, at best. And there were too many other Greek "Schools" to list. Thus, much of our modern day 'stuff' is "daze vu".

But, the reason for discussing the above is not to argue which is correct. (I try to do that elsewhere). Here I just argue, that "Mass" is Not the simple thing or subject, that many might have supposed. And thus, I do not believe it is really accurate to say that "what is 'material' is simple, and what is 'spiritual'-difficult".

Exactly, Where is "Feeling"? Exactly What is going on, and What does it consist of ?
(The below is Extremely Speculative and Very Optional!)

First, a few words about the meaning of a " live animal ". I consider a live animal to be a being that has active, non-trivial " feeling " or that has its capacity to feel on "standby" (i.e., maybe temporarily asleep). Now, admittedly, that is not the definition that I learned in high school biology class back in the 1950s. Nor would my definition likely be considered useful today, nor even used today. But, strangely, I have found that what is strictly true is not often useful, especially in everyday tasks!

I do not regard "Ockham's razor" as always 100% appropriate. I never was quite satisfied with such descriptive definitions as: ."an animal can reproduce"; .and "an animal has mobility"; and so on. For example, old ladies may not be able to "reproduce", and disabled old war veterans may lack "mobility". But, I consider them to be very much "live" animals! In fact, most of what I have traditionally been taught makes no sense to me; and almost everything that goes on today (in politics, government, law, and medicine) also make no sense to me, or worse! (End of that sidetrack, for now.)

As I inferred before; I think "feeling" is an 'ultra extreme stress' in 'pure mass' that arises when the motions, of say, two concentrated masses (mainly in 'this' and 'that' regions) cause them to compete for a new region "in common". Now, the following questions arise: As I have alleged in other articles; there are very high pressures near the centers of massive stars, in nuclear reactions, near the surfaces of spinning protons; and even when fast moving neutrons or cosmic rays "hit" my brain cells! Yet, I believe that significant feeling does not arise in those cases, because the pressures and stresses are still not significantly high enough. Perhaps, a lack of a special type of continuity may also compromise the magnitude of feeling. (Humorous remark: At least most readers likely agree that this part of my article is "very speculative" indeed, as I mentioned earlier.)

I believe that Humans, with their special brain cells and their special brain maintenance systems and environment, are very special, indeed. (Similarly with the brains of other animals, if not too low on the evolution scale). As the reader knows; the brains of most non-primitive animals were long in evolving, and involve much complexity and needs: Nerves, oxygen and nutritional supplies, closely regulated temperature for the brain molecules, magnetic fields, and likely much else is involved. In fact, the vast professional knowledge and research on the general subject--is beyond my expertise. However, there have finally been some admirable 'Educational TV' programs made on the subject.

Anyway, my "theory" about feeling is as follows, and is likely a surprise: I believe that the working human brain does channel rather continuous thin lines or plains of "aether" (mass) flow near enough to other great masses so as to set up something "close" to "hard" collisions. This would lead to "nearly" infinite pressures (to use the slang phrase just to make the point). Thus, non-trivial "feeling" could arise! ((A reminder here-that I am talking about ultra high-pressures, not only high forces--in fact, the forces might be small. But if such force is applied to an ultra small surface, ultra high pressures can still result. (I.e., Pressure = Force/Area ).))

I believe, therefore, that an important 'trick' in the evolution of 'advanced' animal brains was this: Natural selection, etc., etc., had to evolve a brain that could greatly magnify ('rev up') the pressure signals after the brain received them so that non-trivial "feelings" could arise in the brain. This may result in many ultra-small spinning aether vortices. These subtle high pressure ("feeling") regions make possible more useful, complex, and subtle responses; suiting the needs of the "advanced" animal-more than, as is the case, with a very primitive animal running on a low-pressure control system. (An analogy being: the very limited usefulness of low voltage cells and electricity in the 1700s, compared to much greater usefulness with higher voltage and associated military computers by 1945.)

Concluding Thoughts:

A few concluding thoughts are as follows: Since my above theory of aether flow involves incompressible aether; it seems possible to me--that the entire "line of aether" may be capable of developing a significant unified feeling "all at once".

Also, we might note this: For the last 400 years, humans have generally been learning how materially un-special they are-(the universe does not rotate around them, they are on a small planet orbiting around a modest star, located in only one of many gigantic galaxies, etc.) Yet, if the "pressure/feeling" theory I presented is correct; our brains can produce small, rather continuous regions of pressure, which greatly exceed that producible in stars, (or on the barren "lifeless" bodies that orbit most of them). So, maybe, we are more "special" than we imagined, after all. We have "feeling"!

(And maybe "our" political behavior can someday also rise to a level worthy of that.)

Back to Home
Back to Beginning of Article
Carl R. Littmann

(Readers’ comments always welcome)
For my Email and address, see my Homepage