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What Is the Dao of an Ant

  • Like many before me i find that the philosophical schools of China and India are useful metaphors to discuss Physics.
  • The atman of Buddhism well represents the spacetime events of Relativity but fails to capture the nature of the observer of Quantum Physics (who causes the existence of objects by the act of observing them). Buddism is about the object, not the subject. By definition, there is no subject in Buddhism.
  • To me Daoism is thus complimentary because it focuses on the conscious "observer" and its relationship with the world of objects.
  • I don't think the world "is": the world is always and only perceived. The sound of a tree that falls in the forest does not exist if no conscious being is listening. In fact, neither the tree nor the forest exist if no conscious being is perceiving them. Matter without a conscious perceiver is only a shapeless, colorless, soundless amalgam of particles, waves, fields and who knows what. It is the perceiver who creates the world of trees, forests and sounds.
  • If i had to improve Quantum Physics, i would generalize the "observer" as a "perceiver". There is more to our perception of the world than just vision.
  • A popular paradigm in Biology is that the interaction of organisms with their environment is about picking up information from the environment. Perceiving is actually "recognizing", which in turn is the essence of reasoning, which in turn entails action. They (perceiving, reasoning, acting) are all facets of the same process, which is, ultimately, living.
  • The dao is the way of the world, the inherent harmony of nature. However, that is the world of the perceiver.
  • Therefore there must appear a different world to each different "perceiver".
  • In the case of human perceivers, we can assume that the differences are minimal: that one may see red a little brighter and hear a sound a little louder, but that ultimately we all can see that color and hear that sound if the appropriate organs are working.
  • I wonder about other animals, though. They too have organs to perceive the environment, except that those organs (notably the brain) are significantly different from ours. They presumably perceive a different world. Some animals perceive a world with no sound. Some animals perceive a world with no light. Some animals perceive a world in two dimensions.
  • Hence: what is the dao of an ant?
  • And is there a dao of all daos?