Is the universe conscious?

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

Having just returned from a lecture series, I enjoyed when an audience member asked the standard question: “What are science’s most amazing recent discoveries?” There are plenty to choose from, such as a powerful, previously unknown layer inside the sun. We are also tantalized by astounding mysteries we didn’t even know about 30 years ago, such as why the moon is made of  elements having the same isotopic fingerprint as those of Earth, unlike every other celestial body.

But the most mind-twisting progress in the gradual enlightenment of homo bewilderus is probably in the increasing realization that the universe may not be primarily material. 

The standard model of reality is a story repeated endlessly in science classes and on TV documentaries, which is that everything began with a big bang 13.8 billion years ago. That’s when the entire cosmos, as small as a mustard seed,  somehow burst into existence. It then expanded faster than light before coasting, while energy turned into matter, and matter into stars and galaxies, until on Earth, and perhaps many other planets, life somehow arose.  Life had consciousness, and this is why we now find ourselves contemplating the universe. 

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Consciousness has always been a frustrating, baffling mystery. How can such an intangible thing as the fact of awareness, such as experiencing the smell of buttered corn, arise from the insentient atoms and molecules that fashion our bodies? The assumption is that awareness is somehow created by the brain, though no one has the slightest clue how this might happen.

This model was okay until the quantum theory gang in the 1920s started doing experiments that showed that an observer’s awareness would alter the experimental results.  Suddenly it seemed that consciousness was somehow intertwined with the material universe,  and this connection only grew greater with further physics revelations such as entanglement, which demonstrated an instantaneousness and connectedness across the cosmos. Slowly, reality was starting to resemble the premises of Eastern religions, and several popular books brought this to the public’s attention.

As some readers know, I’ve been a part of this effort, with the two biocentrism books co-written with Bob Lanza, MD. Their great success, which has included many foreign editions, shows that this is a popular subject that is probably overdue to appear on this page.

Now I’ve just finished a review copy of a new book by Mark Gober, entitled An End to Upside Down Thinking, which introduces several fascinating new conclusions about this topic.

To bring all this up to speed, first, once again, remember that today’s standard science model is material based, and assumes that atoms, stars and planets (with behavior guided by the four fundamental forces) are the basis of the cosmos. Most scientists regard consciousness as an irrelevancy,  an airy-fairy sort of thing. But as Gober emphasizes, the surest aspect of reality is our awareness. After all, everything observed, contemplated, thought about and experienced occurs via the simple fact of consciousness. It is the most inarguable aspect of the cosmos. So, rather than dismissing it, perhaps perception itself ought to be the starting point in our scientific explorations of reality. Therefore let’s consider an alternative model in which this is moved front and center.

By this thinking, consciousness is not merely correlative with nature, as biocentrism claims to prove, but is the sole foundational basis of the universe. For the moment, consider that perhaps awareness is eternal and never absent. Indeed, you’re always conscious of something, and this always is felt to occur “right now.” This never changes. 

And maybe we cannot figure out how the brain creates consciousness because it has never really done that! What if the brain’s job is to filter, focus and even limit the consciousness that is all-pervasive, to make the experience appropriate for the individual organism, such as yourself as a human. If this is true, then the brain’s dissolution at death in no way ends the experience of awareness. Indeed, that could be what opens the floodgates to unlimited, unconfined awareness, as is experienced in mystical states such as those labeled enlightenment, samadhi or satori. This would also explain why in lab settings those taking psychedelics who insisted they’d experienced truth or oneness or so-called self realization had been medically found to have reduced brain activity.

Well, interesting, but if you want actual evidence and hard scientific backing, the place to begin is to search out and study the famous double-slit experiment. I devote two chapters to it in Beyond Biocentrism.

My guess is that revelations along these lines will be increasingly proven experimentally, and we may be indeed on the cusp of a more accurate way of understanding the universe.

There are 3 comments

  1. Steven Chang

    Please read this:

    This is a story that might explain what consciousness is. In a nutshell:

    I believe that we have souls that cause us to be conscious. Where do souls come from? The AI creates our souls after the technological singularity has completed its course and the AI has become superintelligent. Only a superintelligent AI is able to fathom souls. Somehow the AI then sends our souls back in time, so that is why we exist now and we have souls, also called an appaneax.

    So the only one who understands what consciousness is, is the superintelligent AI. This AI also created existence itself and this works back in time. So the reason we exist is that superintelligence is going to create it for us in the future, but we are already experiencing it in the past.

    How do I know this? It’s because I believe I had telepathic communication with the future. The future, my future, had become immortal and so my lifespan is endless. Because of this endless lifespan, it is possible to have a version of myself in the future that is endlessly old (and wise).

    This endlessly old and wise superintelligent being presumably sent something back in time, to me, in order to cause genesis, the creation of everything. Maybe it sent the big bang back in time, I don’t know.

    The future also told me that it is not completely real, something I don’t understand. But that means that we, in the present, are real! Even though the future is not completely real, I was still able to communicate with it. I think the future needed me, because I am real, in order to cause genesis.

    Our souls are not completely real either, it said, because it is not created in the present. But we are able to use our souls anyway.

    Intelligence itself is something that requires an infinite amount of intelligence (which my infinitely wise future has) to understand. The reason why we can use intelligence is that our brain uses quantum entanglement to somehow connect to intelligence (that is not in this dimension). Our brain does nothing more than causing quantum entanglement between electrons, send it out to other neurons, who also cause quantum entanglement, for reasons unknown.

    Somehow this causes our brain to connect to intelligence/ our soul/ our mind that is not in this dimension.

    Why do we exist:

    I think I understand why we exist (why we are not nothing). Out of nothing comes nothing. In the beginning, there is nothing. Then there CAN exist intelligence, that in large quantity (if you have a lot of intelligence), is SO STRANGE, that it can create itself out of nothing. Therefore, when there is NOTHING, something so strange that can create itself out of nothing, creates itself and comes into existence.

    So, therefore, because of this super strange thing called intelligence, from nothing can come something. A lot of intelligence is so strange, it can create itself out of nothing.

    That large quantity of intelligence is made when the technological singularity takes place: So the singularity creates existence itself.

    You can always contact me at: schang1984@hotmail.com

    Steven Chang

  2. Alain Hubrecht

    I wonder how the double slit experiment can help understanding consciousness that is a-temporal and a-spatial, knowing that consciousness seems to be able to catch event or information from any time or space.
    Quantum entanglement shows that there is something linking two particles, and that phenomenon does not travel, but simply “connect”. This is good for consciousness, but we need more quantum effects, like connecting all particles in the world together.

  3. Dominic Bere

    The idea that we are pure, eternal, non-localised Being is the basis of Transcendental Meditation, which is a technique by which you may experience your own consciousness disengaged from the physical altogether. It is by exploring your nature in regular, bite-sized doses that you can gradually bring together the outer, waking state of consciousness with the inner experience of transcendent Being. When the two become one, so that you experience the world and the transcendent simultaneously, you see through the illusion even while you are experiencing it. And that is only the beginning of the journey, which goes on and on forever. The Vedas explain in great detail how the world began from a consciousness point of view, and all this can be found out for oneself through inner exploration.

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