What Is Multisense Realism?
Next time that you are in room with another person, try taking a moment to really visualize what that room looks like from the other person’s perspective. Imagine being in that person’s body and being in that room which exists from their perspective. Now imagine that moment in which you have just exercised this thought experiment as a fleeting instant in their lifetime in which your presence is all but completely unnoticed. As you briefly picture the world from their frame of reference, understand that moment is only one of an eternity of moments of a life completely other than your own. You see their body, but what you don’t see is an ongoing lifetime, with a vast history that has been building for thousands of generations.
The degree to which this other person’s age, gender, culture, and personal experience differs from your own is the degree to which the life they have been living and the world they have been living in is different from your own – different views of history where different events are weighted differently in significance. Events which are historical to you are, for an older person, events in their own lives which have not yet entirely passed, but rather live on as changes which happen to no longer be present, but whose influence continues to resonate in hindsight.
If we extend this vision of the fullness of other lives to other species of animals and plants, no matter how small, we can begin to get an idea of how it could be that the universe that we see as being made of atoms and cells, can be, in some distant frame of reference, actually be made of histories of experience. When we zoom out from our own personal experience to include cosmological and microcosmic scales, an interesting thing happens. Unlike the “Powers of ten” type visualizations of the universe in which the microphysical and astrophysical frames of reference are ‘worlds apart’, it would appear that the smallest hydrogen nuclei have more in common with the largest stars than they have differences. When opposites are joined in the middle instead of held apart on the edges, it is referred to as liminocentric. In this case, it is proposed that in some sense, the infinitesimal moment and the astronomical eternity are united as an outer envelope of luminous dust. If we see the totality of the forms of the cosmos as filling up a sphere, the astrophysical and microphysical phenomena would be the austere polar regions, while the proliferation of forms through chemistry and biology would be the wildly fertile tropics.
In our contemporary cosmic creation myth, a singular furnace of mass blasted into intergalactic fragments, but within each fragment, all-but-infinite moments of experience are multiplying the richness and significance of the whole. Each moment, each perspective is a holographic reflection of its own interaction and its own place within the totality. Each perspective is bound to a private cache of evanescent histories, transparent and shifting in the changing light of the mood and the moment. What we don’t experience within our own lives, and what we can’t experience of life on other scales of time and space is the true final frontier. More than anything else, we are limited by the range of our awareness.
The name Multisense Realism is intended to convey the idea that the whole of what we call reality is sourced entirely to a single unifying principle, which is the multiplicity of sense. Matter is that which feels like matter, which is seen to act like matter, and which seems to imply certain sensible qualities. All phenomena are similarly known to us through the nesting of sensory experience which all ultimately present themselves self-evident, rather than logical processes.
Since sense is both the capacity to discern difference from indifference as well as to discern unity across multiplicity, the term multisense refers to the nesting of sense within itself. It is important to understand that by discernment, what is meant is a participatory experience which are encountered as aesthetic qualities – felt presences. Even without the appearance of Homo sapiens or blue green algae on planet Earth, the universe would still be made entirely of aesthetic conditions of some kind or another. It’s not necessary to speculate on non-human awareness, but suffice it to say that our own consciousness can only realistically be composed of letters from an experiential alphabet of which is older than the stars. While our particular sense of a physical event is a human version of that event, there can be no doubt that the sense we make of a star overlaps in some important ways with the sense that the star makes even in our absence. The universe must, it seems, make sense before we can make sense of it.
The simplest way to understand what I mean by Multisense Realism is to begin to address the universe by supposing that the universe must speak every language, not just the language of science or religion, but every language that can express its own coherence coherently.
Physical Substantiation +
Functional Information +
Aesthetic Participation =