The thing is, we tend to think in terms of things – for everything (!)
Reality is something else. Everything is connected. There is no unique thing. Thingness is a model, approximating to reality. We could call it thing theory; some might call it materialism.
Psychologically we have an unfortunate tendency to confuse the map with the territory, so we think that things are more real than reality itself. Yet Quantum theory debunked thing theory many years ago.
Reality is more akin to interconnected processes – for example the human process interconnected with the earth process, interconnected with the solar system process, and the galactic process…
Does it matter? Yes, because we appear to think we can manipulate things without considering their interconnections, with our reductionist, materialistic mentality. The effect is only too obvious in what we are doing to the natural world. For example, the UK HS2 rail project replaces a complete ecosystem with a few trees planted in a load of freshly laid soil, and thinks that’s fine.
Of course, in daily life, thing theory works quite well on a practical basis, as does flat earth theory. I sit on a thing chair on a flat earth and eat a thing meal on a thing plate with a thing knife and a thing fork. We just need to know the limits of our theories and models, and when they cannot and should not be applied.
From the perspective of neuroscience, the left brain is very good at things and theories, but not very good at flow and interconnected processes. That’s when we need the right brain. If lefty has taken over completely (the Emissary usurping the Master) then ultimately we destroy every ‘thing’.
Inspired by Iain McGilchrist’s books The Master and His Emissary and The Matter with Things.
Featured image of billiard break by No-w-ay in collaboration with H. Caps, via Wikimedia Commons
2 thoughts on “The thing thing”
You’d be such a great addition to our philosophy group, Barry. Too bad you don’t live (a lot) closer!
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Such a simple thing but so profound at the same time! Our lives seem to be centered on things which of course promotes consumerism and our flagrant disregard of the Earth.
Thanks for your thoughts.
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