Does Matter Exist? – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings


Does matter exist? The only thing I can be sure of is that I am ‘having’ the experience of being aware. The objects that the mind perceives as ‘being over there’ are illusory in nature.  Have we ever found this  substance we call matter?


I guess the first thing we should do is check in on what you mean when you say something exists. If you assume that it means a permanent unchanging essence that can be measured, you will never find such a thing. Everything that exists in this world is impermanent, constantly subject to change, and empty of any essence.

If we accept this change centric definition of existence, then we find evidence for all our experience, including matter, thoughts, and so on. When we see that a seed evolves into a flower, we find evidence of soil, sunlight, water, and air. Each of these materials flow into the existence of the plant and flow on as the flower dies and decays.

If it changes, it exists. otherwise it does not.

For you what does it mean for something to exist? Why do we insist on a platonic essence when such a thing cannot be observed?

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I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Modern Koans is an ongoing series that recognizes that good questions are often more important than their answers.

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man. ― G.K. Chesterton

Dialectic Two Step, Modern Koans, Verse Us, Say What?, and Minute Meditations all copyright Andrew Furst

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Andrew Furst

Author of two books, Poet, Meditation Teacher, Buddhist blogger, backup guitarist for his teenage boys, lucky husband and technologist
Andrew Furst
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