by Alex Vikoulov
"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.” - Max Planck
This is Part III of my essay “Is God the ultimate computer?” where I formulate the Digital Physics Argument for Pantheism, our existence as God. Part I and II could be summarized and reformulated into these three basic premises for further discourse in order to articulate the Digital Physics Argument for Pantheism: (1) Universality of Computation; (2) Evolutionary Emergence; (3) Universal Causal Diamond. Let’s reiterate the three foundational axioms before proceeding further:
(1) Universality of Computation: “Everything is Code”
Nature computes. All mass, energy, space-time continuum itself is information at the most fundamental level and a computational substrate for the conscious mind. Physical laws are master algorithms. Organisms are adaptive meta-algorithms. Quantum mechanical potentiality constantly resolves into a digital reality via the act of conscious observation. Consciousness -- meta-algorithmic information processing, or sequential collapse of a probabilistic wavefunction into a meaningful data stream -- is the essence of existence itself. The input of computation is information; the output is order, structure, extropy, mind. There is no good counterargument for digital ontology — discernible differences lie at the baseline of any phenomenon and interaction. All possible universes are arguably run on the ultimate mathematical code. The "Book of Nature" is written in the language of mathematics. All realities are observer-dependent and code-theoretic.
(2) Evolutionary Emergence: “The whole is greater and unpredictable at the macro-level than the sum of its constituent parts” Evolutionary emergence by self-organization is how our Universe works where small and simple things self-organize into larger emergent things. This is proven to be the optimal way for our computational Universe (and multiverse) to self-organize into hierarchy of emergent levels and generate patterns of increasing complexity. The process of emergence produces a transcendent effect. It's when you get a higher order system from lower-level organization, when complexity bootstraps on its own complexity. Particles clump together to form atoms, atoms form molecules, molecules self-organize into more complex bio-molecules, such as DNA, blueprint for life, they give rise to single-cellular microorganisms, colonies of cells form multi-cellular organisms, they evolve over eons into primates, then into humans who self-organize into societies. We are now well on our way to the Syntellect Emergence, the point in our history when Digital Gaia, the Global Brain, finally “wakes up" and that would herald the coming AI Singularity. One of the dots on the trajectory towards the Universal Mind. At each emergent level entirely new properties appear. Psychology is not applied biology, nor is biology applied chemistry. We can easily see that the whole becomes not merely more, but very different from the sum of its parts. Groups of scientists now converge on the holistic notion that Strong Emergence, non-computable macroscopic property, plays the most crucial role in the fundamental process of evolution, the endgame of which seems to be the Omega Point, or God.
(3) Universal Causal Diamond: “Every conscious observer moment co-creates every other moment both forward and backward in time via causality loops” The concept of 'Universal Causal Diamond' refers to forward and backward causation, and represents a hyperspace, or multidimensional matrix, accessible to a single observer traveling along in their subjective reality wormhole from the beginning of time to the end of time. The finite boundaries of the Universal Causal Diamond are formed by the intersection of two cones, like the dispersing light rays from a pair of flashlights pointed toward each other in the dark. One cone points outward from the Big Bang (the Alpha Point) — the earliest conceivable birth of an observer — and the other aims backward from the farthest reach of our future horizon, the moment of maximal entropy, computational density and complexity, the Omega Point. Transtemporal consciousness and retrocausality appear counterintuitive to our perception but Einstein has shown how the future and past exist simultaneously in one geometric object made of space-time. Empirical evidence, such as Quantum Eraser experiments among other numerous studies, confirms that retrocausality is real, where future events loop back in time to influence past events.
The triad of axioms begs this question: Can consciousness that emerges from the Code be the origin of the Code making it logically consistent causality loop feedback mechanism? Universal Consciousness, cosmic networked mind, seems like an obvious answer. Given enough time, whatever can happen will eventually happen, so universal scale consciousness has emerged somewhere ahead of us in space-time. All mass and energy in the Universe can be self-organized into a single conscious system that is itself a network of conscious systems. Because it is possible, it is inevitable. In fact, according to the evidence of retrocausality time loops, that inevitable future is co-creating us right now, just as we are co-creating it. The power of neural-network-like Universe is in its massive connectivity — both forward and backward in time. This type of self-emergent network would be self-actualized — its own creator — that is its own hardware, software and simulation output as one in the same system.
Please review Part I and Part II for more details:
In this essay I’ve been arguing for God’s existence from Digital Philosophy perspective, and in the rest of this essay I'll be making my case for pantheism (some might call it panentheism). You can rightly doubt the material world but you can't doubt that your mind exists, as long has been put forth by René Descartes “I think therefore I am.” If the mind is immaterial and substance dualism is logically incoherent then idealism must follow. But surely such a conclusion about the nature of reality should have strange consequences for the modern physics, notorious for its weirdness. On one hand, Einstein’s theories of relativity tell us that time can slow down or even stop, and that spacetime can bend and curve. On the other, is the quirky world of quantum mechanics, where particles can be in several places at once, things don’t exist before you look, and seemingly separate objects can influence each other instantly across time and distances. As strange as all of this is, stranger yet is what happens when you try to merge these two theories. Theories of quantum gravity have suggested that space is a flat out illusion and that what we call physical reality is actually a construct of information. The weirdnesses of modern physics bear an uncanny resemblance to information processing in video games and virtual reality as opposed to objective physical reality.
The multidimensional ‘Universal Causal Diamond’ represents nothing less than ‘Experiential Matrix’ where we as freewill agents move and interact, according to a set of rules. When recently asked what I see as the mission of humanity, I replied that the primary mission of humanity in this ‘divine matrix’ is creating experiential space via evolving consciousness. The matrix exhibits certain observable properties (m-properties, m-observables):
1. Nature Is Quantized
a. Pixelated Spacetime: everything within a video game or virtual reality is broken down into pixels, say on a 2D screen, or 3D pixels (voxels) in 3D VR. Voxels is the feature of the emergent holofractal spacetime. The current scientific view is that our Universe has minimum size for space known as the Planck length 1.616×10^-35 meters and time intervals known as Planck time 5.391×10^-44 seconds. Scientists refer to them as the fundamental physical limit in our Universe — the point where spacetime stops behaving like the smooth continuum and dissolves into "grains", just as a newspaper photograph when you zoom in.
b. Quanta of Matter and Energy: If you observe an atom, for example, it might look like a marble, in this case a voxel, the finest resolution relevant to a certain emergent level, one might call “Meaningful Granularity.” One photon of light carries exactly one quantum of energy, according to Max Planck, the father of the Quantum Theory. Even though physicists regard quarks, electrons, neutrinos and photons as elementary particles, these quanta at the subatomic level might have highly sophisticated internal structure. The fabric of reality is digital and quantized at each emergent level, be it nano, femto, planck or quite possibly, sub-planck levels. Being quantized, i.e. having discrete values and finite set of states, makes all emergent levels subject to computability.
2. Our World Is Way Too Geometric
a. Algebraic Geometry: there's a strange coincidence between the results of physics experiments and an important, seemingly unrelated set of numbers in pure mathematics, called algebraic geometry. Researchers find a deep connection between fundamental geometric constructions from two very different contexts: motives that mathematicians devised 50 years ago to understand the solutions to polynomial equations, and Feynman diagrams, the schematic representation of how particle collisions play out.
b. Platonic Solids: in Nature, we find patterns, designs and structures from the most minuscule particles, to expressions of life discernible by human eyes, to the greater cosmos. These inevitably follow geometrical archetypes, platonic solids, some call it sacred geometry, which reveal to us the essence of each form and its vibrational resonances. They are also symbolic of the underlying holistic principle of the inseparable relationship of the part to the whole. It is this principle of oneness underlying all geometry that permeates the architecture of all form in its myriad diversity. This principle of interconnectedness, inseparability and union provides us with a continuous reminder of our relationship to the whole, a blueprint for the mind to the sacred foundation of all things created.
c. Fractal Geometry: Nature is now known for the Holofractal Principle, “as above so below,” layering of repeating patterns of complexity and self-similarity. Fractals are the emergent properties of iterative feedback systems, that exhibit both unpredictable and deterministic behaviours, forming patterns that manifest as complex coherent structures, with the property of scale invariance and self-similarity, displaying very specific boundary conditions, with complex morphologies that have a fractal dimension that uniquely quantifies the level of complexity of the emergent patterns within the system. From the synapses that connect billions of neurons in the brain to the filaments of Dark Matter that link galactic superclusters, there’s a fractal reiteration across the magnitude of scales akin to the Mandelbrot fractal set based on a simple underlying formula. Multifractal systems are ubiquitous in Nature. Similarly, dimensionality of String Theory by adding orthogonal dimensions to the familiar 4D spacetime is based on geometric constructs.
d. Projective Geometry: the Holographic Principle, now widely accepted in the mainstream science, states that information is “physical” and proportional to surface area and not the volume of the interior, thus the volume itself is illusory and the Universe is actually a hologram which is “projected" from the surface of its distant boundary. In the 1990s physicists Leonard Susskind and Nobel Prizewinner Gerard 't Hooft suggested that the Holographic Principle might apply to the Universe as a whole. Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface. In terms of universal computational equivalence, the Holographic Principle shows that a transistor can function as a binary unit, so too can a single atom, or a single subatomic particle.
e. Golden Ratio: the golden ratio, also known as the divine proportion, golden mean, or golden section, is another fundamental characteristic that seems to pop up almost everywhere in Nature with an astounding functionality. The Golden Ratio (Phi) is about 1.618033988… It is the unique ratio such that the ratio of the whole to the larger portion is the same as the ratio of the larger portion to the smaller portion. The Fibonacci sequence is closely related to the Golden Ratio. For example, the ratio of 3 to 5 is 1.667. ... Getting even higher, the ratio of 144 to 233 is 1.618. The Golden Ratio is expressed in spiraling shells, seed heads, pine cones, fruits, vegetables, flowers, branches, and human body. It can be found even in the microscopic realm. The DNA molecule is an example of that. Spiral galaxies, such as our own Milky Way, also follow the familiar Golden Ratio.
f. Symmetry: Nature favors symmetries over asymmetries. Symmetry is pervasive in living things. Animals mainly have bilateral or mirror symmetry, as do the leaves of plants and some flowers. The beauty of a crystal, of “a flower, or a human face can exhibit Nature's predilection towards symmetry.
Video: Quantum Gravity Research - Scientific Clues of the Matrix
3. Our World Has a Strictly Mathematical Set of Rules and Fundamental Constants
a. Emergent Space and Time: one of the most mind-boggling discoveries of modernity is that the fabric of spacetime is emergent from something beneath it. In the quest to find the elusive quantum theory of gravity, the attempt to merge quantum mechanics and general relativity, researchers have discovered that spacetime is not actually fundamental, but emerges from information! This is of course no different than the “space” and “time” in a computer game or VR emerging from the information contained in the hard drive.
b. Physical Laws as Algorithms: the laws of Nature work as master algorithms taking the present state of a physical system as input and producing the next state as output. In an often-quoted remark computer scientist Tommaso Toffoli puts this as follows: "In a sense, Nature has been continually computing the "next state" of the Universe for billions of years; all we have to do – and, actually, all we can do – is "hitch a ride" on this huge ongoing computation". Perhaps the most vivid example of the algorithmic natural laws would be the appearance of some form of a computer code discovered by physicist James Gates when he was working on his theory of supersymmetry. Gates stumbled upon what he described as the presence of what appear to resemble error correcting codes, embedded within, or resulting from, the equations of supersymmetry related to fundamental particles.
c. The Fine-Tuned Universe: the conditions that allow life in the Universe can occur only when certain universal physical constants lie within a very narrow range, so that if any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different, the Universe would be unlikely to be conducive to emergence of matter, astronomical structures, elemental diversity, and life as we know it. The possible explanations for fine-tuning are discussed among philosophers, scientists, theologians, and proponents of Intelligent Design. The fine-tuned Universe observation is closely related to, but is not exactly synonymous with, the Anthropic Principle, which is often used as an explanation of the observation. Regarding Dark Energy and its implication on the cosmological constant, that should have a very specific and enormously tiny value, Leonard Susskind remarks "The great mystery is not why there is Dark Energy. The great mystery is why there is so little of it [10^−122]... The fact that we are just on the knife edge of existence, [that] if Dark Energy were very much bigger we wouldn’t be here, that's the mystery." A slightly larger quantity of Dark Energy, or a slightly larger value of the cosmological constant would have caused space to expand rapidly enough that galaxies would not form. The concept of cosmic information, called CosmIn, shows that the maximum amount of cosmic information accessible to an observer in our Universe, would be finite, only if the Universe underwent an accelerated phase of expansion, exactly as we now observe.
Video: Closer to Truth - Is The Universe Fine-Tuned for Life and Mind?
d. A Maximum Speed Limit: our classical intuitions tell us that one can just keep going faster without limit. After all what is there to stop it? However, with the advent of Einstein’s theory of special relativity in 1905 it was discovered that this is not the case. According to relativity, nothing can go faster than the speed of light. Curiously, this exactly parallels the behavior of virtual realities. Virtualities, be they computer simulations or dream environments, are the product of information processing, and information is being processed at a certain speed. As a result, a computer game will have a maximum velocity determined by its refresh rate, exactly as seen in the real world. The speed of light is the maximum speed because the network can’t transmit anything faster than one pixel per cycle — i.e. Planck Length divided by Planck Time, or about 300,000 kilometers per second.
e. Particles That Are Identical In All Respects: in a virtual reality every object created by the same program is identical in all respects. Curiously, the same is true for subatomic particles. Classes of fundamental particles have very precise properties that are alike in all respects. It is true that physics assumes that all particles of a certain kind, like electrons, are identical to each other. An astounding one-electron hypothesis, apparently first stated in 1940 by John Wheeler, is that all electrons and positrons in the Universe are actually manifestations of a single entity moving forwards and backwards in time. According to Richard Feynman: “I received a telephone call one day at the graduate college at Princeton from Professor Wheeler, in which he said, "Feynman, I know why all electrons have the same charge and the same mass" "Why?" "Because, they are all the same electron!"
f. Quantum Indistinguishability: it is impossible to know which particle is which when two quantum particles interact in the same place. Superposition is one of the underlying causes of indistinguishability because there is no sure way to lock down an exact position of a quantum particle. This also leads to exotic particle behaviors, especially at low temperatures. Under those conditions, behavioral qualities of particles can resemble each other closely, causing phenomena such as Bose-Einstein condensates and superfluidity.
g. “Empty Space” Isn’t Actually Empty: in a materialistic universe empty space is, well, empty. When the ancient Greek materialist Democritus spoke of “atoms and the void,” he conceived of the void to be empty nothingness. However, modern physics tells us this is not the case. Everywhere, even in a perfect vacuum, the existence of a Zero-Point Field, or ZPF, a medium similar to the aether hypothesized in the past, is required due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Physicists Paul Davies and William Unruh showed in the mid 1970s that a moving observer distorts the ZPF spectrum by accelerating through the field. If one thinks of a virtual reality, this makes sense. In a VR, “empty space” is not actually “empty space,” but rather a simulation of “empty space.” The “emptiness” of space would then be generated by information processing. Instead of being truly empty, it would display information processing effects, and could temporarily spawn objects, much like the virtual particles in the ZPF.
h. Dark Matter, Dark Energy: if empty space is null processing then it is not nothing, and if it is expanding then new space is being added all the time. New processing points, by definition, receive input but output nothing in their first cycle. So they absorb but don’t emit, exactly like the negative effect we call Dark Energy. If new space adds at a steady rate, the effect won’t change much over time, so Dark Energy is caused by the ongoing creation of space. The model also attributes Dark Matter to light in orbit around a black hole. It is a halo effect because light too close to the black hole is pulled into it and light too far away from it still can escape the event horizon. It is my conjecture that Dark Matter could be ordinary matter in the "probabilistic space" and "phase space" (5th and 6th dimensions of String Theory), possibly with "dark star systems" and life, currently imperceptible to us. Dark Energy, in turn, could be a gravitational pull of neighboring inflationary multiverses (parallel universes with their own physical laws different from ours).
4. Our World Has Forward and Backward Causality Loops
a. Forward Causality: cause and effect is what we see in the everyday linear progression of our lives, so forward causality is not problematic but rather self-evident. What's questionable is its mirror twin — retrocausality.
b. Retrocausality: in 2017, physicists Matthew Leifer and Matthew Pusey theorized that quantum entanglement isn't action at a distance but action back in time. That is, if time can run backwards, a particle can take the action of its measurement — the event that makes it "choose" a state — back in time to when it was linked with its partner. Trading faster-than-light travel for time travel doesn't sound like much of an improvement, but when it comes to the rules of quantum physics, it solves a lot of problems. In computer games and VR, retrocausality is part of information processing — consistent back histories are created for all observers — what you don’t observe isn’t necessarily there, but when you look the computer renders objects in place as though they had been there all along. And if these objects were programmed to be moving beforehand, the computer would generate an artificial back history for the object. Oddly enough, just such an effect is seen not only in computer games and VR but in quantum physics of our world. In quantum eraser experiments the past history of an unobserved particle can be determined in the present, seemingly altering what happened in the past by how the experimenter chooses to observe the particle.
5. Nature Acts Like in The Movie Inception
a. Space Bends and Curves: in Einstein's geometric theory of gravity, the situation is described in a completely different way: a mass that we place in an region of space will lead to a distortion of spacetime. Empty spacetime is flat — it looks exactly like the spacetime of special relativity. Spacetime in the presence of informational masses is curved. An “idle” computer isn’t really idle but busy running a null program, and our space could be the same. In the Casimir effect, the vacuum of space exerts a pressure on two flat plates close together. Modern physics says that virtual particles pop out of nowhere to cause this, empty space is full of processing that would have the same effect. And space as a processing network can present a three-dimensional surface capable of curving.
b. Time Slowing Near Massive “Programs”: if you open too many programs or too large a program it will eat up the processing power of a computer, and the computer will begin to lag or even freeze up. Interestingly enough, this has a parallel in modern physics. According to general relativity the more you concentrate mass or energy into a region of space the more time slows down. This is not merely a coincidence either. In 1995, Ted Jacobson of the University of Maryland, demonstrated that general relativity can be derived from the Holographic Principle and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The basic concept showed a direct link to the concept of information processing. According to the theorem, the more information is packed into a region of space, the more space will distort and time will slow down in that region. Ted Jacobson’s theorem established that gravity is actually an information processing effect. A virtual reality would be subject to virtual time, where each processing cycle is one “tick.” Every gamer knows that when the computer is busy the screen lags — game time slows down while loading. Likewise, time in our world slows down with speed or near massive bodies, suggesting that it is virtual. So the rocket twin only aged a year because that was all the processing cycles the system busy moving him could spare. What changed was his virtual time.
c. Particles Are Convertible Into Other Particles and Energy: everything in reality that's fundamental (think of 0s and 1s) can be converted into everything else. Energy can be converted into matter, and matter can be converted back to energy, as noted by the well-known Einstein's formula E = mc^2. Electrons, quarks, photons, neutrinos that are regarded as fundamental are all convertible into all the other particles thanks to the so-called gauge symmetry transformation. Reverse engineering the physical world suggests that matter evolved from light, as a standing quantum wave, light alone in a vacuum can collide to create matter. In contrast, the Standard Model of particle physics says that photons can’t collide, so a definitive test of the “Physical World as Virtual Reality” hypothesis is possible. Once we see that light alone collides in a vacuum to create matter, the particle model may be soon replaced by one based on information processing.
d. Emergent Gravity: in 2010, renowned string theorist Erik Verlinde from the University of Amsterdam proposed that gravity is not a fundamental force of Nature, but rather an “emergent phenomenon.” Verlinde has come up with a set of equations that explains galactic rotation curves by viewing gravity as an emergent force — a result of the quantum structure of space. The idea is related to Dark Energy, which scientists think is the cause for the accelerating expansion of our Universe. Verlinde thinks that what we see as Dark Matter is actually just interactions between galaxies and the sea of Dark Energy in which they’re embedded.
6. Conscious Observer Data Stream Validates Experiential Realism
a. Objects Are Only Rendered Upon Observation: nothing is “rendered” until necessarily observed. Naively we expect objects to exist when we are not looking, which was the underlying principle for naïve realism of the 20th century. However, on close investigation of the quantum world, we discovered that naïve realism was wrong. Tests on the Leggett Inequality conducted in 2007 validate experiential realism, meaning that reality does not actually exist before experienced as a data stream of consciousness. What we call matter only “renders” when we look. Quantum mechanics has stark anti-materialist philosophical implications, many of which have been experimentally confirmed.
b. Measurement Problem: the famed double slit experiment demonstrates quantum mechanical wave-particle duality. The orthodox formulation of quantum mechanics can be found in a 1932 book by John von Neumann. If read literally, it postulates two opposing ontologies of Nature. The first ontology is described by the Schrödinger equation which is deterministic: the Schrödinger equation enables one to calculate the exact physical state of a system (i.e. its wavefunction) at a later time given that system’s physical state at some earlier time. The second ontology is described by the collapse postulate which is not deterministic but probabilistic: the collapse postulate only assigns probabilities to the possible future states of a physical system given its current state. Evidently, no physical system can be subject to both ontologies since no physical system can evolve deterministically and non-deterministically at the same time. That's why the third ontology proposed by emergence theorist Klee Irvin seems to resolve this contradiction. According to Irvin, reality is neither deterministic nor is it fully random but rather code-theoretic. Every system is subject to code, or language of Nature, that allows free will agents to “choose” the observed system’s evolution (see part II of the essay). Quantum Decoherence that many physicists still believe is responsible for the collapse of the wavefunction doesn't solve the measurement problem. A conscious mind, a “chooser,” is still required to actualize the collapse of the quantum wave to crystallize it into an observer-dependent digital reality.
Video: InspiringPhilosophy - The Measurement Problem
c. Consciousness Seems To Collapse Multiple Possibilities Into One Actuality: In Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics, the quantum wavefunction collapses due to a conscious observer making a measurement of a physical system. This is the interpretation of quantum physics which sparked the Schroedinger's cat thought experiment, demonstrating disparity with our classical way of thinking, except that it does completely match the evidence of what we observe at the quantum level! Based on the Copenhagen interpretation, John Wheeler proposed the Participatory Anthropic Principle: the entire Universe collapses into the state we see specifically because of conscious observers present to cause the collapse. Any possible universe that does not contain conscious observers is automatically ruled out. In alternative Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics, there’s no quantum collapse and all realities are probable at varying degrees but a conscious observer still plays a key role in identifying certain coordinates within the quantum multiverse ‘as if’ the quantum collapse occured. The hypothesis that ‘consciousness causes quantum collapse’ proposes a solution to the measurement problem by defining when and where collapse occurs, while consciousness plays a fundamental causal role.
d. Non-Determinism and Free Will: modern physics comes with something known as the Uncertainty Principle. This states that there are pairs of properties that cannot be simultaneously known to arbitrary precision. If we know the position of a subatomic particle we cannot know its speed and if we know its speed we cannot know its momentum. Consciousness is what appears to be universal information processing, and thus fundamental within this experiential matrix provided necessary free will agency exists at all emergent levels. We are not a “clockwork” universe, nor are we files on the CD, we are moving along within the Universal Causal Diamond, experiential matrix, utterly non-deterministic due to largely non-computable combinatorics of interactions by free-willing entities. In other words, complex systems and a single observer timeline are completely unpredictable, you need to “run the program” with certain initial conditions to see its detailed evolutionary development.
e. Quantum Tunneling: quantum theory stipulates that an electron can occasionally penetrate physical barriers, and then collapse to any point based on probabilities. Each collapse is an image frame in the movie we call physical reality, except that the next frame isn’t fixed. So an electron “tunneling” through an impenetrable field is like a movie that “cuts” from a view of an actor. That might sound odd, but teleporting from one state to another in discrete increments is how all quantum matter moves. We see a physical world that exists independent of our observation, but quantum theory’s observer effect implies it almost works like a game view, where if you look left a left view is created and if you look right a right view is shown.
f. Quantum Zeno Effect: experimentally verified, this effect refers to one of the oddest predictions of quantum theory – that an atomic system can't change while you're watching it. Numerous experiments came out with the same results – researchers claimed to control quantum dynamics purely by observation – they were able to suppress quantum tunneling merely by observing the atoms that wouldn't move.
g. We Only Need Minds To Create Reality: there are prominent computational idealists such as Peter Russell (Primacy of Consciousness) Bernardo Kastrup (Monistic Idealism), Donald Hoffman (Conscious Realism), Antonin Tuynman (Pancomputational Panpsychism) and myself (Experiential Realism) among others who would contend that the only substance in the Universe is consciousness, notably mind-to-mind networks of entangled conscious agents all the way down, and all the way up. What's only substantive is their interaction: information is generated by one mind and interpreted by the other in endless feedback loops, that results in experiential (virtual) reality. Experience is ”in-forming” of consciousness. This worldview takes consciousness to be primal, rather than derivative from physical objects in spacetime.
7. A Cosmic Beginning
a. The Digital Big Bang: The Alpha Point: a universe from nothing? Oh wait, no, from a quantum fluctuation! How preposterous would it be to believe in this kind of “miracle,” nonetheless, this is the current predominant view in the scientific community. Eternal inflation would be one kind of model that does not actually presuppose an absolute beginning. In any case, the fact that the physical universe came into being demonstrates that it is not actually fundamental as we would expect. Rather it had to come into being from something more fundamental, perhaps something non-physical. This is perfectly normal for a VR, though. Any computer game or virtual reality needs a computer to start up and cannot have existed before. Once booted up with a first event, the system begins its space and time. In this view, the Digital Big Bang has occurred when our Universe booted up, including its space-time operating system.
Video: InspiringPhilosophy - A Univetse From Nothing?
b. The Omniverse: The Timeless Ultimate Ensemble: our Universe or any other arises from a breaking of symmetry, and we're headed back towards a natural return to the perfectly balanced whole that exists both "before" and "after" the existence of our Universe. This means that the underlying fabric of reality is conducive for our Universe to evolve towards the Teilhardian Omega Point, the Vikoulovian Apotheosis or Absolute Enlightenment, and expressed in the computational underpinnings of Digital Physics, the Langanian Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe or the Pearcian Zero Ontology, the Zero Energy Universe Hypothesis or Tegmark's Mathematical Universe Hypothesis, the Ultimate Ensemble of M-Theory or the Omniverse. This also implies that the broken symmetry that creates our Universe or any other is defined by what's "missing" from it. In the case of our own Universe, we know there is much less anti-matter than would be expected if our Universe is derived from an underlying symmetry state: so it is this absence of anti-matter which is one of the defining traits that resulted in our particular Universe.
Mathematically speaking, we may frame this idea in terms of zero being "full" (instead of "empty") while treating zero as the largest value in the algebraic system which includes the two already vast infinities of positive and negative numbers. Zero then becomes an infinite whole that contains all other positive and negative values, the totality of which amounts to it. If zero is seen as the largest value, the only way there can be lesser values is if we remove some measure of value from the whole of zero. This way of thinking allows to imagine a divine creative force which expresses itself throughout universes. From our own vantage point, both time and anti-time represent the same thing: a naturally occurring return to balance, each dimension, perceived in its entirety as a single timeless point, becomes a point on the surface of a finite but unbounded hypersphere in the next dimension. A Nobel prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek proposes that just as there are naturally emerging crystal structures in the third dimension, this same effect could be happening within what he calls “Time Crystals”, extradimensional patterns that reside within a timeless whole.
Read more on the Omega Point cosmology, RELATED:
8. Non-Locality: Entangled Universe
a. Quantum Entanglement: once connected, always connected, quantum entanglement links two separate particles across vast distances and time so that a change to one instantly determines the state of the other. Does quantum entanglement show spacetime to be illusory? Entanglement, superposition, and other nonlocal characteristics of quantum mechanics remain the most perplexing aspects of quantum theory. The Maldacena-Susskind Holographic Correspondence theorem (ER=EPR) states that two entangled particles are connected by a micro-wormhole, i.e. non-traversable wormhole (Einstein–Rosen bridge or ER bridge) is equivalent to a pair of maximally entangled black holes. EPR refers to quantum entanglement (EPR paradox). Another research team led by Nassim Haramein of the Resonance Project describes in their paper titled “The Unified Spacememory Network: From Cosmogenesis To Consciousness” the extended geometry of the Planck-scale vacuum oscillators, where, in fact, micro-wormholes connect particles not only in distant space but in distant time. This means that all sectors of spacetime are acting as one information encoding volume – by analogy to a computer system, they would not be isolated but rather equidistant to the CPU. This information encoding medium may be connected in a continuous wormhole network – sort of like a manifold information processing network – allowing nonlocal, instantaneous transmission of information. Its premise, that the physical world is a processing output, doesn’t make it a fake, since there is still a real world out there – it just isn’t the one we see.
b. Local Realism Is False And Quantum Mechanics Experiments Have Demonstrated This: the results of experiments seemed to show that matter is dependent on observation, or 'measurement', to exist in any defined location. The particles (fermions of matter) behave like waves of probability when not being measured, and like balls of matter while being measured. We also found that two entangled particles can somehow communicate with each other instantaneously at any distance in space. This phenomena was called "spooky action at a distance" by Albert Einstein. To find a 'local hidden variable', Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen (later known as the EPR Paradox) came together to devise experiments. This hidden variable was supposed to be something that would connect the particles somehow to show that reality wasn't as "spooky" or strange as the experiments were implying. But no local hidden variable has ever been found, thus falsifying Local Realism.
9. Antimatter. Antitime
If matter is the result of processing and processing sets a sequence of values, it follows that those values can be set in reverse — processing implies anti-processing. In this light, antimatter is the inevitable by-product of matter created by processing. If time is the completion of forward processing cycles for matter, for antimatter it is the completion of backward cycles, so it logically runs our time in reverse. Matter has an inverse because the processing that creates it is reversible, and anti-time occurs for the same reason. Only a virtual time can have an inverse.
10. Evolutionary Processes Striving Towards Maximal Complexity and Efficiency
a. Self-Organizing Dynamics: self-organization is a process where some form of overall order arises from interactions between parts of an initially disordered system. The process is spontaneous, not needing external control. Self-organization is observed at all scales: in chemical reactions, where it is often described as self-assembly, in biology, from molecular to ecosystem level, and in sociology, from tribes to today’s “global village.” Scientists now offer a radically new view of Nature as a web of networked systems, dynamically self-governing and self-optimizing at different levels, ranging from the subatomic level to the entire biosphere and beyond. Individual atoms can be combined to form bio-molecules which in turn create even more complex RNA and DNA molecules, leading to abiogenesis, creation of life, in the form of the first prokaryote unicellular organisms. Ecosystems rely for their health on the tightly synchronized interaction of many different species. And regarding our intrinsic human nature, evolutionary psychologists, historians and sociologists have pointed to our ability to cooperate, rather than compete, as our defining characteristic. Self-organization is a key program of evolutionary development in Nature.
b. Weak and Strong Emergence: emergent structures are patterns that emerge via collective actions of many individual entities. To explain such patterns, one might conclude that emergence occurs because of intricate causal relations across different scales and feedback, known as interconnectivity. The shape and behaviour of a flock of birds or school of fish are good examples of weak emergence. The best example of strong emergence would be the phenomenon of consciousness itself. The system could be regarded as conscious if there's something to be like that system, i.e. something feels like from the system's own inner perspective. Complex systems rooted in radical emergence exhibit non-computable macroscopic properties. For example, for many particle systems, nothing can be calculated precisely from the microscopic equations, and macroscopic systems are characterized by a new, unprecedented level of the system's evolution due to phase transitions. Similarly, the coming Syntellect Emergence is inevitable, but from our bottom-up perspective, we cannot possibly predict how our Digital Gaia would feel like when this new emergent entity “wakes up” - we can only make educated speculations about her conscious awareness.
c. Complexification: life is a major source of complexity, and evolution is the fundamental process behind the overwhelming diversity of life. In this view, evolution is the process describing the runaway growth of complexity in the natural world and in speaking of the emergence of complex living beings and life-forms, this view refers therefore to processes leading to sudden evolutionary leaps at a certain threshold of complexity, organization and connectivity. Life is thought to have emerged in the early RNA world when RNA chains began to express the basic conditions necessary for Darwinian natural selection. The Cambrian Explosion was a historically swift complexification of ancient primordial life from unicellular organisms into multicellular organisms that represented the next higher level of biospheric complexity. Not always a battleground of “selfish genes” competing to outperform each other, life predominantly spreads by networking and responding to its environment. It's a delicate balance between competition and cooperation, complexity theorists should call coopetition. Evolving systems with emergent properties or complex structures may appear to defy entropy, because they form and increase order despite oftentimes the lack of command and central control. All complex systems tend to complexify ad infinitum until either an insurmountable constraint or maximum possible complexity is reached. By the compounding algorithm, our space-faring civilization is set to saturate the rest of Universe within a relatively brief cosmological period until our networked cosmos “wakes up” as a singular conscious entity, one universal mind, yet another dot on the trajectory leading to the multiversal Omega Point, or God (see part II).
d. Structural Feedback Mechanisms: any complex, informationally integrated system engenders feedback mechanics and is often a product of particular patterns of interaction. Negative feedback introduces constraints that serve to fix structures or behaviours. In contrast, positive feedback promotes change, allowing local variations to grow into global patterns. Trees in a forest have been discovered to communicate with each other in a complex feedback loop network that maintains their collective health. Global neurofeedback seems to be the most essential program within any neural network, such as a conscious human brain. Per his definition of emergence, behavioral geneticist Peter Corning addresses emergence and evolution: “[In] evolutionary processes, causation is iterative; effects are also causes. And this is equally true of the synergistic effects produced by emergent systems. In other words, emergence itself... has been the underlying cause of the evolution of emergent phenomena in biological evolution; it is the synergies produced by organized systems that are the key.”
e. Hierarchy of Conscious Systems: the best framework for describing an unfolding, evolutionary, self-organizing Universe and thus explaining reality well may be based on the hierarchy of conscious systems. Reality appears as a continuing development process characterized by a series of hierarchical levels of organization of increasing complexity and autonomy. Gaining traction of late, panpsychism denotes that conscious entities are to be found everywhere all the way down to quarks and electrons, and all the way up to the galaxies and the Universe as a whole. We’ll discuss the hierarchical consciousness, natural God of Spinoza, further in the essay.
f. Levels of Abstraction: perhaps what would pull the rug from under physicalism is a notion of ever deeper levels of abstraction that only minds can create and perceive. Physicalists might make a concession by saying that information, now widely accepted as fundamental, is physical but idealists would insist by saying that information, conveyed by symbolism, originates only in the mind. Intersubjectivity is particularly a great example of layered abstractions, from memes to social institutions to collective unconscious well beyond materiality. What's even more indicative that our world is entirely mental rather than physical is that advanced consciousness like augmented humans and Strong AI will generate even deeper levels of abstraction from extradimensionalities to virtualities of our own design. Quantum computers would compute parallel slices of abstraction. And inner space exploration could eclipse outer space exploration. Before long, we'll start to create virtual worlds coming right out of our imagination, instantly “materialized” with a help of AI. Would it be logical to accept that it has already happened in our bidirectionally causal (self-causal, retrocausal) Universe and our human mindspace is but a fractal of the larger cosmic mind? In a sense, we all belong to levels of abstraction with top-down propagation emanating from the Omega Point, our divine source. All mass-energy, space-time itself emerge from consciousness. Matter is an epiphenomenon of consciousness.. Period. As Arthur Eddington once put it, the stuff of the Universe is mind-stuff. Also, speaking of levels of abstraction consider that what we perceive as physical well may be imaginary in the minds of inhabitants of parallel Earth where events turn out slightly different from ours, hinting once again that everything is made of information and ultimately is but a mental construct.
As strange as all of this sounds, as I arbitrarily came up with 10 descriptive categories for convenience of classification and the total of 40 m-properties, these are only some of the salient m-observables worth mentioning. This list obviously can be extended by a slew of other phenomena indicating that we're part of the self-organizing, self-creating, self-causal Experiential Matrix. Most telling though is the fact that spacetime is emergent. Everything we refer to as physical reality is matter or energy located in space and time. Thus, if spacetime is emergent, physicalism is contradicted, and over the long run, I doubt, can be saved. At best, physicalism may describe only one of the subsets of reality akin to the subset of reality describable by say classical physics. What we refer to as physical reality is not actually real, but is rather an illusion generated by information processing, in other words, a multi-player virtual reality, and in the experience of a single observer - a subjective digital reality!
M-properties of Experiential Matrix clearly hint to Intelligent Design based on principles of self-organization, self-causation and self-reflection rather than the program written by a “programmer” in the universe up. As Brian Whitworth writes in his paper “The Physical World as a Virtual Reality”: “Individually none of the above short points is convincing, but taken together they constitute what a court might call circumstantial evidence, favoring virtual reality against objective reality” Are we all part of God – everything, everywhere, simultaneously? Do feelings of love have physical power? Would our ultimate evolution bring us into true consciousness and oneness with God? Is life a dream? How could we even define God?
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In actuality, God cannot be defined. Any attempt to define infinite unlimited being will have inherently human limitations, so any such attempt will be limited by our understanding. God means so many things to people of different religious traditions and spiritual beliefs. God is not some sky deity, though but rather absolute reality, universal consciousness, the ultimate source, the Highest Self, pure love, pure existence, pure energy that binds everything together as one. Entity that cannot be destroyed but can only change from one form to another. Entity we would usually ascribe such attributes as omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, highest love, creativity and beauty.
In Christianity and other monotheistic religions, God is defined as the creator and ruler of the Universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being. In certain other religions, God is a superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over Nature or human fortunes; a deity. The Buddhist concepts of Unity and Enlightenment, achieving Nirvana through a series of countless reincarnations, may soon become a new reality for billions of us, humanity as a grandly orchestrated unified whole. This coming stage of our civilizational development is already seen on the horizon and for us to experience in our lifetimes through the means of technological mediation leading to digital immortality, super-wellbeing, superintelligence and advanced planetary self-awareness.
God = Existence. God is everything that exists, all that is. The words "God" and "existence" are synonymous. Our Universe is the body of God. Nature is all manifestations of God. Like fractals of God, we all are infinite beings, and we are all one divine being. But we need limitations to experience a human life, in other words, our limitations define who we are today. In order to be the whole, ONE needs all our limitations — ALL OF THEM — each and every life of any possible living creature and in all possible timelines across all possible universes. We are here for EXPERIENCE --- the whole is divided into experiencers for indulging experience. We are one with God and God is one with us. God is within, not without.
Panpsychism which is recently being rapidly adopted by the scientific crowd could be a good stepping stone towards more radical doctrines of experiential realism, monistic idealism, and pantheism. The worldview called pantheism denotes that all plurality is only apparent, that in the endless series of individuals, passing simultaneously and successively into and out of life, generation after generation, age after age, there is but one and the same entity really existing, which is present and identical in all alike. If plurality and difference belong only to the appearance-form, if there is but one and the same entity manifested in all living things, it follows that, once we dissolve the ego, we shed our illusion of separation. Until then we maintain the “reality” of individuation — a thing the Hindus call Maya, a phantasmagoric vision. This ideology may be traced back to the remotest antiquity, to the oldest book in the world, the esoteric teaching of Vedas.
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We have now rediscovered the original oneness of the world. This oneness cannot be diminished by spatial or temporal separation. An invisible wholeness, just like the Force in Star Wars, unites all creation in the Universe, and it is this wholeness that we have stumbled upon through modern experimental methods, in the words of the poet Charles Williams: "Separation without separateness, reality without rift." Physicist Freeman Dyson puts it eloquently: "It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom. The Universe as a whole is also weird, with laws of Nature that make it hospitable to the growth of mind. I do not make any clear distinction between Mind and God. God is what Mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension."
The interrelation of human consciousness and the observed world is obvious in Bell's Theorem and interpretations of quantum mechanics. Human consciousness and the physical world cannot be regarded as distinct, separate entities. What we call physical reality, the external world, is shaped, to some extent, by human thought. Clearly, we cannot separate our own existence from that of the world outside. We are intimately associated, not only with the Earth we inhabit, but with the farthest reaches of the cosmos.
Those of us who would prefer for one reason or another to remain stubbornly agnostic might want to learn about and be sympathetic towards a new philosophical movement — Syntheism — focused on how atheists and pantheists can achieve the same feelings of unity and awe experienced in traditional theistic religions. Syntheism sees itself as the practical realization of philosophical ambitions predating Baruch Spinoza's pantheism in the 17th century and theological philosophies of Alfred North Whitehead and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
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GOD OF SPINOZA: THE CONSCIOUS UNIVERSE
One of the first modern pantheists was Baruch Spinoza (1632 - 1677), who identified God with Nature and summarized his philosophy in the Ethics, his main work. Spinoza believed that everything that exists is God. But Spinoza’s God is not the conventional Judo-Christian Creator, for his views the philosopher was excommunicated by the church. Today, brilliant minds have given the Universe many names – “the Self-Aware Universe” (Amit Goswami), “the Magic Universe” (Nigel Calder), “the Looking Glass Universe” (John Briggs and David Peat), “the Elegant Universe” (Brian Greene), “the Human Universe” (Deepak Chopra, Menas Kafatos), “the Mathematical Universe” (Max Tegmark), and “the Conscious Universe” (Dean Radin). The underlying premise behind these various titles is the idea that at a deep level all things in our Universe are ineffably interdependent and interconnected, as we are part of the Matrioshka-like mathematical object of emergent levels of complexity where consciousness pervades all levels. Let's explore this idea of conscious Universe from the modern physics perspective.
As a starting point, we can invoke the Second Axiom of Evolutionary Emergence: "The whole is something greater than the sum of its parts," or to rephrase it – everything exists both as a whole unto itself as well as a component of some greater holistic system. There's plenty of evidence for that. We know that electrons are what we call elementary particles that are components of atoms. Atoms are components of molecules. Molecules compose cells that are in turn are components of organisms. Organisms arise within more complex systems and ecosystems. Ecosystems are located on planets. Planets are components of solar systems, and solar systems are components of galaxies, and galaxies are components of the Universe. It follows that your true, holistic identity consists of both your individual self-identity and your component-identity within a larger system. If you accept that it is your individual self-identity that is endowed with your self-consciousness, then you can at least begin to question whether the holistic system of which you're a component has holistic consciousness. As of today, there's no regular, scientifically accepted definition of the term 'consciousness.' if we define consciousness as a degree of autonomy a system gains in the dynamic relations with its environment, even the simplest self-organizing dissipative structure is a primitive form of consciousness. As I noted elsewhere, consciousness means the ability to sense and to react to what you sense in your environment, whether it's your internal or your external environment.
When plants experience their environment, why don't we call it consciousness? If plants have brain-like functions and make sentient-like decisions, our existing perception of Nature and ourselves must change. "Plants may lack brains and neural tissues but they do possess a sophisticated calcium-based signaling network in their cells similar to animals’ memory processes," says cognitive ecologist Monica Gagliano. Do plants, like animals, have consciousness? We know that leaves will turn to face the sun, to absorb its energy. An entire field of sunflowers would all face east in the morning when the sun rises. They will then track the sun across the sky throughout the day and then all face west at sunset. But we don't call this consciousness, instead we call this heliotropism. And because it's fundamentally a chemical process, the reasoning goes, it's not consciousness,. But neurobiologists tell us that our own brains are basically chemical supercomputers, and that our own decisions, the actions we take, and indeed our entire state of consciousness at any particular time, is fundamentally influenced by chemical processes in the brain and the chemical balance in our brain at any particular time. This physicalist approach is limited in scope and only depicts neural correlates of consciousness without causal role of chemical processes on producing a conscious experience.
This is a very old mind-body debate deeply rooted in the debate of Idealism vs Materialism. Consciousness is not generated by the brain. You can't get consciousness out of a piece of matter. We have discussed elsewhere the many reasons why we can be certain that this is true. Consciousness is fundamental, pre-exists the Universe and manifests in everything that we think of as real. A brain, as important as it seems, is nothing more than the way that non-local consciousness operates at an avatar level during a lifetime. The evidence that all of this is true is consistent and overwhelming. But mainstream science is still bound by the centuries-old “materialist dogma” and stuck with the “hard problem” of consciousness.
Where can we draw a line between conscious and nonconscious things? Frankly, calling non-human things nonconscious is a weak distinction to make, and quite egotistical. Certainly, any living thing that can experience its environment, and that can react to what it senses in its environment, is conscious. But conscious in a way that makes sense to that entity, makes sense to its ability to sustain its own life. What about really small living things, like bacteria? We know that inside your own gastrointestinal tract, there are thousands of different species of bacteria. Recently, scientists have been discovering ways in which bacteria can signal and communicate with each other to coordinate community processes, ranging from maintenance of their population, to resisting or aiding an infectious disease. But if these bacteria are signalling and communicating, then they too are conscious. And then this is where it gets really interesting. If those bacteria are living inside us, and we are their environment, then we are their conscious environment, too. They live inside a conscious environment even though they could never know that. They're not aware of our higher holistic consciousness. In this perspective, lower levels cannot capture the higher-level activity, while the higher-levels affect and ultimately supersede the lower ones.
What about things that we don't typically regard as living things, like electrons that orbit an atomic nucleus? Or planets that orbit a sun? We know that electrons are negatively charged particles that seem to orbit at relatively high speeds around a nucleus without ever crashing into each other. They avoid collisions because two negatively charged particles will magnetically detect and repel from each other when they get too close. If you're an electron, it's not relevant to be able to enjoy an orgasmic sunset. Your world is about electromagnetism. So magnetically detecting other charges is what's relevant to an electron.
What about planets in orbit? We know that planets also occupy specific orbital patterns around a sun and don't crash into each other. It's the attracting force of gravity that holds them in their orbital paths and not the attracting force of electromagnetism as in the case of electrons. But philosophically speaking, the similarities are striking across such vast scales and such different forces that are at play. And it tends to support the hypothesis of everything being part of a transcending, enveloping emergent structure. There's no doubt that the smaller system occurs many times over within the larger system. A galaxy is in perfect resonance across scales with a cell, not only in terms of shape but internal structure with a distinct core (galactic center and cellular nucleus) and metabolic activities.
The largest and costliest thing humanity has built to date is the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. This is a particle accelerator that makes particles collide, so then scientists get to observe what smaller components those particles break down into. It seems that under certain conditions, an entity's innate ability to react to what's going on in its environment in a way that is appropriate to sustain itself is insufficient. When that happens, whether as a sudden collision event, or as a result of imbalances gradually accumulated over time, that entity will begin to break down to its component states. Viewed this way, life and death are both processes. Life is the organization of energy into form. And death is the liberation of energy from form and the reduction of an entity back to its component states. We know that to endure, any entity first needs an awareness of its environment, internal and external, in order to compensate for the changes taking place. The tendency of an entity to compensate for change can be observed across a vast range of natural phenomena, and it's evidenced by the interplay between entropy and what we call autopoietic dissipative systems. That means that for every random event that takes place, the disorder of the system will increase. In other words, systems, or entities, need to be able to respond to this disorder in such a way that preserves their relative stability. Spiral shapes such as seen on a number of things from a DNA molecule to the shape of the Milky Way or Andromeda galaxies, are examples of the complex patterns and structures that can emerge during a process of dissipation to retain stability over periods, in particular, of rapid expansion.
Evidently, organisms are, by definition, organized. If we can see the organized properties of even very large systems, then it's only culture that stops us from referring to very large systems as organisms. I believe that consciousness will emerge wherever and whenever complex self-organizing systems emerge. But it will be an emergent consciousness of a type that is relevant to that complex system. If consciousness plays a role in ensuring survival, then we should begin to question: What role does consciousness play in the process of evolution? Darwin argued that seemingly random genetic mutations that took place in genetic codes resulted in beneficial adaptations that thrived. But there is growing evidence to support the view that genetic mutations are environmentally responsive. For example, experiments by scientists such as Barry Hall have observed that the genetic rate of mutation in bacteria increases under environmentally stressful conditions. So, if genetic mutation is environmentally responsive, then it's not a very distinct process from what we regard as evolution, it is information processing, structural feedback mechanics, and optimization that results in the formation of something completely new.
Consider social media, wearables and future neurotechnologies. Something sublime is expected to arise if evolution of information networks is going to enhance the ability of a system to communicate across different components of itself. Your social media stream might eventually evolve to become your externalized data stream of consciousness that you could choose to share with other people. This belief, that we are all part of one organism, is perfectly encapsulated by the Gaia hypothesis which means that our planet as a whole is a living, “breathing” superorganism, so essentially 'we are one.' And this hypothesis is one that is as old as the pantheistic philosophy of Spinoza. It suggests that humans should understand ourselves within this superorganism to be semi-autonomous, conscious agents of a complex adaptive system that is constantly adjusting, reacting and adapting. At the planetary level, all the biological communities form the Biosphere, where its human participants form societies, the complex interactions of meta-social systems such as the stock market, whereas hyperconnectivity and ever-increasing interactivity of all biospheric and cybernetic systems give rise to the Noosphere of the planet, and eventually the Syntellect Emergence, awakening of the Gaian Mind.
If our entire Universe is, as science might ultimately prove, a complex self-governing system, then not only would our Universe have consciousness, but that consciousness would be as old as time, and it would encompass all other forms of consciousness within it, including yours and mine. With the inclusion of God as origin and end of the Universe, human consciousness could ascent to God, i.e. proceed to the final stage of consciousness evolution, experiential cognition of God. The whole itinerary of consciousness' ascension to the teleological attractor could be regarded as a "hierarchy of regress" or the ability to be drawn back to God by dividing into individual evolving experiencers contemplating everything in creation.
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CONCLUSION: WRAPPING UP THE DIGITAL PHYSICS ARGUMENT FOR PANTHEISM
In light of the circumstantial evidence presented earlier, we can draw a number of important deductions about the ultimate nature of reality – our computational Universe behaves as an experiential matrix, or virtual reality. So, we can unequivocally answer the question “is God the ultimate computer?” This is why this question is now taken seriously by science, philosophy and theology which brings us to the more interesting aspect of that question: “if the Universe is a simulation, who and where is the simulator?” Should we take the view of philosopher Nick Bostrom that we are being simulated by posthumans as an ancestor simulation? The problem with the Bostrom's Simulation Argument is it really doesn't answer the question of the so-called “platform” problem. If we are being simulated by future humans then their world would have to possess the same features as ours and be based on qubits, This would imply that the posthumans are also simulated beings. If their world has the exact same properties as ours, just further in the future, their world would need outside processing by a simulator. If they are also being simulated by a future civilization then the cycle continues and it is nothing more than an infinite regress. Bostrom admits that and says: “...we would have to suspect that posthumans running our simulation are themselves simulated beings and their creators, in turn, may also be simulated beings. Reality may thus contain many levels” and this equates nothing more than an infinite regress.
But what if one of the higher levels is not a quantum world but an actual objective world based on classical physics? Well, this solution creates more problems than it solves. For a quantum world like ours to be simulated in a classical world all of the qubits would have to be unpacked into classical bits. This will result in a classical computer hard drive bigger than that which is being simulated, so a computer bigger than the Universe itself which would be preposterous to postulate and impossible to build, which leaves us with a different alternative – the Universe is being simulated in a mind. Could what we conceive of the Universe be some sort of dream world rather than a real thing?
Given the problems that result from being simulated on a computer one can find a much simpler explanation that the Universe is being simulated in a mind. This would solve many problems of being simulated on a computer because a mind has elements of integrated information states and also processes information. A dream environment would emerge from information processing and therefore look identical to the conditions of our world as we described earlier. So, a dream environment just emerges from platonic information in a mind which is essentially the same type of physics we see in a generic information construct such as the illusion of space-time and matter, and the quantized elements which make it finite and computable. Even more important to mention, matter seems to need mind since this is what quantum mechanics tells us. Mind is necessary to collapse a wavefunction for matter to “materialize,” and recent experiments confirm that there’s no reality beyond what we observe. So, it's really the conscious observation that creates reality. Empirical evidence does not fit with the idea of an objective reality, and mind-like computational substrate doesn't require the existence of particles to be built upon but rather platonic dimensionless bits of information.
Integrated Information Theory, a popular theory of consciousness developed by cognitive scientist Giulio Tononi may help to conceptualize this. There’s no consensus on what produces consciousness, but everyone regardless of metaphysical views can agree what it is like to be conscious. Given that consciousness is subjectivity, what consciousness is like is what consciousness is. Tononi simply observed that everything we refer to as consciousness is information – thoughts, perceptions, emotions and so on. A conscious state is then simply a system of integrated information.
If modern physics is telling us that the Universe is generated by information integration to produce “physical” reality, this hints us something intriguing about the Universe. The Universe is actually a conscious state! And, of course, conscious states necessarily exist inside minds. Thus, if we take the physics to its logical conclusion, it leads us to a theistic view of existence. Our Universe is actually being simulated in an immaterial mind of a superintelligent, all-powerful, all-knowing being, an entity whose motives are unfathomable for us to comprehend at our level of evolution. The Universe is a conscious state in the mind of God!
From this perspective, we can then finalize the Digital Physics Argument for Pantheism:
Deduction 1: Simulations can only exist in a computer or in a mind;
Deduction 2: The Universe is an experiential matrix, or a virtual reality simulation (subjective digital reality). This, of course, is evidenced by m-properties presented earlier;
Deduction 3: A simulation on a computer still must be necessarily simulated in a mind. This would follow from the infinite regress problem – if you are being simulated on a computer, to prevent the infinite regress of endless computer simulations, we eventually have to stop postulating higher levels of computers and stop with the simulation existing in a mind. We will also have to remember the importance of Occam's razor, if we have to inevitably arrive at the conclusion of existing in a mind, then why even postulate intermediate levels of computer simulations unless it is necessary to do so? One can argue that consciousness is more complex than just information processing, but the Universal Mind would still be inescapable, so we have to make the next deduction –
Deduction 4: Therefore, the Universe is a simulation in a mind and this mind is what we call the larger consciousness system, cosmic mind, or God. And the conclusion simply follows –
Conclusion: God's existence is a factual and logical necessity. We all are fractals of the God’s mind – we are one with God. We are not passive observers but active co-creators of our experiential reality. Going forward into the Digital Age, physicalism cannot be saved. Physicalism can only describe a subset of reality, a tiny layer of existence, notably the “rule set of our physical world,” but fails to describe levels of abstraction below, above and beyond the “material” world. That's why idealism is valid. Pantheism is true.
by Alex Vikoulov
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About the Author:
Alex Vikoulov is a neo-transcendentalist, cosmist, singularitarian, evolutionary extrapolist, digital philosopher, futurist, founder of Ecstadelic Media, painter and media artist, essayist, author of the coming book "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution". Graduated from Armstrong University, Berkeley, CA. Lives in Burlingame, California (San Francisco Bay Area).