Relative Mind - Relative Matter
Home Article 1 of Section 3. The Nature of  Matter Glossary
< previous next >

Charge and Feeling

The physical world is a state of perpetual change. But what causes change to occur?  The answer is not obvious, and to discover it  I used an analogy. I compared matter with consciousness. Are there any similarities between the way that matter changes and the way that consciousness changes?  My answer is Yes.

There are two aspects to change: the how  and the why  of it. In the world of the physicist, change is seen to happen. Attention is focused on how  to make it happen. Little, if any, attention is paid to why  it happens.

In the physicists’ world of sub-atomic particles the relationship between matter and energy is given by Einstein's equation : E = mc².  This equation means that matter and energy can be made interchangeable. However, there is, in my view, a qualification that needs to be added. The ability of energy and matter to interchange is constrained by electrostatic charge.

The function of charge is not clearly understood in conventional physics textbooks. In part, this is because the process of change is also not clearly understood. What causes change to happen?   What is the role of charge  in the process of change?  It is always helpful, when considering a difficult problem, if one can use an appropriate analogy in some other department of knowledge. Since I want to compare matter and mind, where can I find, within the field of consciousness, an analogy to charge?

I need to digress for a moment.
First  I need to decide what model of  consciousness to use?  My preferred one is that consciousness is structured into three factors or modes, those of will (or willpower), mind and feeling. [¹]

Feelings are not the same as emotions. This fact is not clearly recognised, especially as definitions of them tend to be ambiguous and vague. Confusion often abounds in ideas and articles about them.

One area of confusion is that feelings are often loosely equated with emotions. This is all right for colloquial use. I can ask a friend how he is feeling today ; it would be awkward to ask him how emotional he is being today. Some people might take offence if they were thought to be emotional, whereas it is acceptable for them to show feelings. However, there are fundamental differences between feelings and emotions. 

There are a multitude of emotions, but only three feelings.

There are just three feelings : the pleasant one, the unpleasant one, and the neutral one. This is the Buddhist understanding and I verified this fact directly during the time when I used to practise meditation. In the past, some moral theorists believed that the neutral feeling is only an equal mixture of both pleasant and unpleasant feelings, so that the net effect is zero. But meditational awareness disproves this assumption.

The importance of feelings is that they help give rise to emotions, that is, the bases of all emotions are the three feelings. I define an emotion to be a mental concept that is energised by feeling. [²].

Now I can return to my ideas on charge.
The analogy that I am looking for is that of  ‘feeling’. Feeling is either positive, negative, or neutral. Charge bears some close resemblances to feeling. Compare these statements :

There are three kinds of charge : positive, negative, neutral.
There are three kinds of feeling : positive, negative, neutral.

Within the domain of matter, charge acts on an individual particle. When we consider consciousness, then feeling acts on an individual mind. Within evolution, matter is created before individual units of consciousness are created. Charge can be viewed as the evolutionary basis of feeling, that is, charge is the model on which feeling is based. The way that charge functions is the same as the way that feeling functions.

Charge acts in two ways, as does feeling. Charge helps to maintain a stable, long-term, energy pattern in an individual particle or atom, whilst nevertheless producing random current movement. So too a person’s temperament (such as introversion or extroversion), based on a preference for a particular emotion (which is itself based on a particular feeling, either positive or negative), maintains a stable energy pattern ; nevertheless, the person experiences short-term oscillations of feeling superimposed on his temperament. In both examples, changeable (unstable) flows of charge or feeling are superimposed on stable background patterns of charge or feeling.

Top of Page

In evolution, charge (within matter) evolves into feeling (within consciousness). To understand the function of charge we look in reverse : by understanding the function of feeling, we thereby know the function of charge. Feeling is the agency of change within consciousness. Therefore charge is the agency of change within matter. The more charge that a unit of matter possesses, the more it can change.

The significance of change is profound.

The ability to change is the pre-requisite for causality to operate.

If a unit of anything cannot change then it cannot be involved in causation. If anything cannot change then it can neither be acted on by something else nor can it act as a cause on anything else. If charge could not produce movement of particles, then any applied power (such as a battery or a transformer) would produce no effect – electrical circuitry would not work.

Feelings govern the way that a human wants to interact with other humans. So correspondingly, charges govern the way that energy and matter interact. The changeable flow of charge produces random patterns of current movement, or ‘spontaneity’. Likewise, the changeable flow of feeling also produces the spontaneity of short-term relationships. But spontaneity is inadequate to sustain long-term relationships or patterns of stability. Long-term relationships are maintained by will (or willpower). Within units of matter the long-term patterns of stability are maintained by will too, only here ‘ will ’ means force.

[ Within my theory of philosophical Idealism, force means the power of god’s will to maintain stability in the material world. See the article Synthesis of Mind and Matter.]

Top of Page


The number in brackets at the end of each reference takes you back to the paragraph that featured it.
The addresses of my other websites are on the Links page.

[¹]. I describe my model of consciousness in the article Notes on Emotion and Abreaction. [1]

[²]. To understand the differences between feeling and emotion, read the article Notes on Emotion and Abreaction. [2]

Home Emotion and Abreaction References and Links Note on Karma

The articles in this section are :

Charge and Feeling

Waves and Particles

Causality and Change

Top of Page

This site was put on the web in Autumn 2002.

Copyright © 2002 Ian Heath
All Rights Reserved

The copyright is mine, and the articles are free to use.
They can be reproduced anywhere, so long as the source is acknowledged.

Ian Heath
London, UK

e-mail address:

If you want to contact me, use the address above but replace the <at> by @

Also, since there are numerous articles on this site, please include the title of the article if you want me to clarify or discuss particular issues.

It may be a few days before I am able to respond to correspondence.