How is consciousness related to the physical world? In this blog, I’d like to share my vision of the cosmos through a speculative theory of the Everything.
When consciousness shapes up
A century ago, Albert Einstein found that energy could be transformed into matter and that matter could be transformed into energy through the equation E=MC². The amount of energy that can be released through a nuclear reaction shows just how much energy is contained in a small amount of matter. The Big Bang theory was developed soon after to suggest that the entire universe initially fitted in a needle’s head and inflated in an instant to produce all the matter it contains. Today, we are told that our universe is part of a multiverse that contains an infinite number of parallel universes. And while there have been many suggested shapes for our universe, the latest observable data suggests it would be flat with only a 0.4% margin of error. The third dimension that we experience would be the result of a holographic projection… Space, time and even reality would therefore be subjective. And although these concepts are mind-boggling, they are mathematically and scientifically sound. Because we are confined within the constraints of our universe, it is difficult to know what was before the Big Bang and what created it. Many people have the deep believe that a higher being, whom they call “God”, “universal consciousness” or the “divine”, must animate the universe. However, ever since the development of scientific methods that rely on critical thinking and observations, these concepts have been thought of as non-scientific because non-observable and non-measurable. The development of quantum mechanics has somewhat humbled the scientific community as it is forcing it to reconsider everything it was once taking for granted. Indeed the laws of physics that govern matter at the quantum level are not only different, but often opposed to the familiar Newtonian’s laws of physics that govern everything else. An important piece of the puzzle is missing to offer a unified theory and some physicists are increasingly believing it has to do with consciousness. As such, they are now trying to integrate consciousness as part of their mathematical models; something they would have been embarrassed to admit just a few decades ago. Max Tegmark, a theoretical physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology goes as far as suggesting that consciousness is just a state of matter, much like solid, liquid, gas:
“I conjecture that consciousness can be understood as yet another state of matter. Just as there are many types of liquids, there are many types of consciousness,”
So, how can we make sense of all this? For now, we can only speculate, but the quantum property of entanglement, which Einstein referred to as spooky action at a distance, and the sanskrit concept of Akasha that Ervin Laszlo refers to as the A-Field (an inclusive whole-world linked beyond space and time, matter and energy) provide inspiring thoughts. As I reflect on this information, the mental picture of a “Big Bang Gun” comes to mind. Shaped like a torus, I view this system continuously moving consciousness from an immaterial state to a material state:
When the flux of consciousness energy enters in contraction phase, it goes through an extreme level of concentration that converges to a single point where energy is infinite and volume inexistent. This condition would match the origin of the Big Bang. Given the flow of energy, at each instant, a new Big Bang would take place that gives birth to a new “parallel” universe. And much like the individual frames of a movie are being projected on a screen, a continuous burst of flat universes would enter into expansion phase, each in its own dimension.
Life in the universe
The protons and neutrons, as well as the vast majority of atoms that are forming all chemical elements, molecules, and organisms found in the universe were created during the Big Bang. But how do inanimate atoms take life, become sentient and self-aware? Although matter appears inorganic, when it is understood as a state of consciousness, it is easy to envision it becoming ever more complex and ordered before it ultimately leaves the visible horizon of our universe and reverts back to its immaterial state. This would explain why, when we look at nature, we see increased order and beauty rather than the chaos that the law of thermodynamic predicts due to the ever increasing entropy that develops in the universe. Life would then be the expression of a transformation that is not only inevitable, but pervasive across all universes. This whole process would explain the underlying mechanism of the Darwinian evolution. Instead of relying on totally random permutations, consciousness would be the relentless driving force behind evolution while Natural Selection would only act as a way to retain the best possible options.
Greater than the sum of its entities
Science has made enormous progress to help us understand how organic proteins and complex systems form and how the mechanics of our brain works, but it still cannot explain why we have a sense of “self-awareness”.
Every human being stands at the very end of an uninterrupted chain that began billions of years ago. Ever since the first spark of organic life occurred, nature has perpetuated itself in a wonderful and magical ways. In fact, our lives are nothing, but the extended lives of these original sparks that have separated and combined themselves, all along taking different, more complex, and more autonomous forms.
Any complex system that evolve must have a mean of being in contact and communicating. Conscious entities are all made up of a bunch of building blocks (atoms, molecules, proteins, cells, etc.) that are completely autonomous and unaware of the role they are playing in the entity. They might be sentient, but they are not conscious. Each one of these cells does the one particular task it was programmed to do. It is only together, as they process information, that they form a “conscious” being. Consciousness therefore only arises when multiple unconscious entities are combined to form extremely complex systems. Could universal consciousness not be expressing itself through the combination of an infinite number of organic shapes and experiences? Could all living organisms (bacteria, plants, animals and humans) not be the expressions of a greater being?
Consciousness needs matter
Much like the cells of our bodies group together to become self-aware, perhaps our destiny is also to group at a cosmic scale… We would then be the “senses” of a greater being, which allows it to feel and experience. Our own experiences would be finite and something we can’t comprehend, but at the cosmic scale, we might be forming one global entity, which integrates the sum of all our experiences into something that could be described as a mega cosmic orgasm. As such, the divine wouldn’t be distinct from us. We would all be, in small ways, pieces of the divine. And although we mostly go through our lives centered on our basic needs, we are nevertheless experiencing everything there is to experience in the material world. And much like the waves rise to die on the beach, we would come to life to experience dualism and then die, largely unaware of our contribution to this ultimate experience. Through our very existences, we would allow this greater being to experience dualism. Dualism is an essential part of experiences because it rests on oppositions: It takes cold to understand hot; negative experiences to understand positive ones; ugly to understand beauty; etc. Without matter there would be no life, without life there would be no experiences and consciousness would have no reason to even exist.
Then comes love
We experience life as individuals, but we are most accurately contributing and extending a journey that begun billions of years ago. When we die, we finish our punctual journey and we lose our personal identity because we dissolve back into the everything. We give up our dualistic experience to become the divine again. Perhaps this is why many people who have experienced near death have had a vision of a tunnel, the tunnel taking us back to the field of consciousness.
But if our lives amount to little more than experiencing dualism, then why should we even care? Perhaps because, by helping us become more aware of the role we play in the universe, spirituality can bring us to appreciate and develop a new sense of awareness, a sense of belonging and of oneness. Our ego allows us to experience a path to consciousness. More than just neighbors, friends, family members and even lovers; we are truly the independent particles of one and the same being. Much like a single pixel on a computer screen, we are unable to apprehend the big picture. By developing our own consciousness we can not only better experience dualism, but we can also tap into the amazing power of non-dualism. In fact, I like to think that Nirvana occurs when we fully embrace non-dualism. This happens when our mind and body become fully aware of the purpose and of the place they occupy in the big picture of the universe. When this occurs, we feel extraordinarily unified, powerful and wonderful. We can see and touch the divine, because the divine is not only all around us, but also within.
Whether we call it “God”, “universal consciousness” or the “divine”, we experience it best through the sentiment of “love”. Indeed, when we love ourselves, when we love our loved ones, and ultimately when we love everything and everyone as we love ourselves, we experience Nirvana through oneness. Solving the world’s problems through the exercise of power is an approach that belongs to lower stages of consciousness (see Part 5). By taming our ego and by increasing our consciousness, we develop unconditional love, the ultimate life experience and the only power that can help us overcome the challenges that our world is facing so we can move as one, each with our distinctive and vibrant personalities.
Please share your thoughts!