Universe Consists of Consciousness

Beyond the boundaries of established science an avalanche of exotic ideas compete for our attention. Experts tell us that these ideas should not be permitted to take up the time of working scientists, and for the most part they are surely correct. But what about the gems in the rubble pile? By what ground-rules might we bring extraordinary new possibilities to light?

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Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby Lloyd » Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:31 pm

* That's my hypothesis. All knowledge and experience consist of consciousness. Consciousness consists of perceptions, emotions and thoughts. The subconscious consists of memories, logic and will; memories being imitations or symbolic representations of perceptions, emotions and thoughts.
* Perceptions are the five senses: vision, hearing, feel, taste and smell.
- Vision detects direction, focus, length, height, distance, form, photon frequency [color], albedo [brightness], velocity [motion], time.
- Hearing detects direction, pressure wave frequency [sound], pressure wave amplitude [pitch], velocity [motion], source quality, time.
- Feel detects heat, substance pressure, direction, length, height, distance, form, velocity [motion], time.
- Taste detects molecules and ions: sweet, sour, salt, bitter; time.
- Smell detects molecules and ions: sweet, sour, rot, acrid; time.
- Thoughts are memories organized by logic and emotions.
* The universe consists of universal consciousness.
Perceptions are somewhat fundamental. Without perceptions, nothing is known or can be known. Without perceptions and emotions, memories cannot exist and thoughts cannot be organized. Perceptions are thought to be caused by electrical impulses somehow stimulating formation of engrams in neural tissues. Holodynamics contends that memories [of perceptions etc] are formed in locations within microtubules within all of the cells. But it's questionable whether memories, perceptions, or consciousness can ever be detected physically.
* Length is a fundamental aspect of space and of understanding the universe as containing a universal quantity of space. But, if length is simply an aspect of the visual, auditory and tactile perceptions, it's a quality of consciousness, which may be more fundamental than the "idea" of "physical" length. Length may mean nothing more than that it takes a certain amount of "time" and "proper preparation" to arrive at a place or condition where certain perceptions can be experienced. To arrive at an asteroid at a great distance requires riding on a special craft for an extended amount of time. To arrive at a specific gate on a computer chip requires handling a special instrument, which takes time too. On the other hand I think Harold Sherman et al were able to observe the surface of Mercury via meditation. And another psychic was able possibly to observe quarks or subtrons likewise.
* What about spirits? If spirits exist without physical bodies, do they prove that consciousness exists independent of "physical reality" or space? Here's a website that tells what physical instruments can help to detect spirits: http://www.ghosteyes.com/ghost-hunting-equipment. Are spirits an important part of universal consciousness? What about Sheldrake's hypothesis about universal consciousness and morphogenic fields? Are all of our consciousnesses "contained" within universal consciousness?
* Might it be more productive to define physical things in terms of consciousness, instead of in terms of space, time, matter, heat, charge etc? And what about motion? All perceptions seem to detect motion. And time seems to be detectable only as part of motion. Do perception and consciousness require motion? Do memories require motion? Would defining things in terms of consciousness overcome the fundamental problems of trying to understand particles, waves etc? Can these things be defined in terms of perceptions, i.e. especially visual perception?
* Consciousness proves its own existence. The physical universe does not, but is totally dependent on consciousness in order to be "known" or imagined.
* On Oct 18, 2009 on my thread Space Travel to Planets etc was this brief exchange.
Allyn: I personally think that before the Saturn Event, the Julian Jaynes concept of the Bicameral Mind existed, and that people were part of vast communal minds able to manipulate reality at will. The physical evidence of mega structures, shared world myths, etc…, are in your face evidence of that.

* [Lloyd] On the original forum here in 2007, before it crashed, I had a thread on Ancient Super Computer, or something like that. It discussed Jaynes and a lot of similar stuff. My idea was along similar lines as what you mention, including also that Bibles may have been inspired by one or more collective minds. I figured that the Earth's biosphere may have functioned as a single mind, which, with so much brain power, could achieve feats greater than our present best super computers. It might even be able to predict the future in a general way, or it might be able to make the future what it is, thus fulfilling prophecies.
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby bboyer » Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:44 pm

Non-EU aware (the physics portions are mainstream classical and quantum) but this appears to be a quite decent survey. Can be read online or downloaded.

A Course in Consciousness
Stanley Sobottka
Emeritus Professor of Physics
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

http://faculty.virginia.edu/consciousness/home.html
There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind and one's subtle body rest upon that and not rest on anything else. — Maitri Upanishad
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby moses » Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:57 pm

Whether consciousness generates physical matter is only significant in that, if so, then consciousness can generate action in our physical bodies, quite independently of the workings of our physical brain. Thus, by reducing the amount of action generated by the automatic processes of the brain, one gains action arising out of the same consciousness that generated the physical matter in the universe.

Most significant is action generated by past trauma producing neurosis and psychosis. Find a way that loses this past baggage rather than blocking it out, because blocking it only blocks the action arising from the other, too.
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby StevenJay » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:03 pm

Lloyd wrote:* Perceptions are the five senses: vision, hearing, feel, taste and smell.

Where do the perceptions of, say, love and fear fit into that?
It's all about perception.
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby Grey Cloud » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:07 am

Hi Lloyd,
Nice post.
May I suggest that you have 'thoughts' and 'memories' the wrong way round? E.g. "Thoughts are memories organized by logic and emotions".
Personally I dont subscribe to the idea of a subconscious which originates with the Freudian/Jungian nonsense of humanity as damaged goods. If all is consciousness then I don't see how one can get below it. Rather I see our normal (everyday) consciousness as a sub-set of consciousness. It is possible to access a higher state of conscousness, the obvious method being some form of meditation as you have mentioned.

'Two Kinds of Intelligence'
There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorises facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.

With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the centre of your chest. This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It's fluid,
and it doesn't move from outside to inside
through the conduits of plumbing-learning.

This second knowledge is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.

From 'The Essential Rumi', translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne.
Rumi 30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273


anamnesis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anamnesis

literally "loss of forgetfulness

In Meno, Plato's character (and old teacher) Socrates is challenged by Meno with what has become known as the sophistic paradox, or the paradox of knowledge:

Meno: And how are you going to search for [the nature of virtue] when you don't know at all what it is, Socrates? Which of all the things you don't know will you set up as target for your search? And even if you actually come across it, how will you know that it is that thing which you don't know?

Socrates' response is to develop his theory of anamnesis. He suggests that the soul is immortal, and repeatedly incarnated; knowledge is actually in the soul from eternity (86b), but each time the soul is incarnated its knowledge is forgotten in the shock of birth. What one perceives to be learning, then, is actually the recovery of what one has forgotten. (Once it has been brought back it is true belief, to be turned into genuine knowledge by understanding.) And thus Socrates (and Plato) sees himself, not as a teacher, but as a midwife, aiding with the birth of knowledge that was already there in the student.

In Phaedo, Plato develops his theory of anamnesis, in part by combining it with his theory of Forms. First, he elaborates how anamnesis can be achieved: whereas in Meno nothing more than Socrates' method of questioning is offered, in Phaedo Plato presents a way of living that would enable one to overcome the misleading nature of the body through katharsis (Greek: ?a?a?s??; “cleansing” (from guilt or defilement), “purification”). The body and its senses are the source of error; knowledge can only be regained through the use of our reason, contemplating things with the soul (noesis) (see 66 b–d).

Secondly, he makes clear that genuine knowledge, as opposed to mere true belief (doxa), is distinguished by its content. One can only know eternal truths, for they are the only truths that can have been in the soul from eternity. Though it can be very useful to have a true belief about, say, the best way to get from London to Oxford, such a belief does not qualify as knowledge; how could the human soul have known for all eternity a fact about places that have existed long after the beginning of time?

For the later interpreters of Plato, anamnesis was less an epistemic assertion than an ontological one. Plotinus himself did not posit recollection in the strict sense of the term, because all knowledge of universally important ideas (logos) came from a source outside of time (Dyad or the divine nous), and was accessible, by means of contemplation, to the soul as part of noesis. They were more objects of experience, of inner knowledge or insight, than of recollection. Despite this, in Neoplatonism, the theory of anamnesis became part of the mythology of the descent of the soul.

Porphyry's short work De Antro Nympharum (ostensibly a commentary on the brief passage in Odyssey 13) elucidated this notion, as did Macrobius's much longer Commentary on the Dream of Scipio. The idea of psychic memory was used by Neoplatonists to demonstrate the celestial and immaterial origins of the soul, and to explain how memories of the world-soul could be recalled by everyday human beings. As such, psychic recollection was intrinsically connected to the Platonic conception of the soul itself. Since the contents of individual "material" or physical memories were trivial, only the universal recollection of Forms, or divine objects, drew one closer to the immortal source of being.

Anamnesis is the closest that human minds can come to experiencing the freedom of the soul prior to its being encumbered by matter. The process of incarnation is described in Neoplatonism as a shock that causes the soul to forget its experiences (and often its divine origins as well).
This is do-able.
If I have the least bit of knowledge
I will follow the great Way alone
and fear nothing but being sidetracked.
The great Way is simple
but people delight in complexity.
Tao Te Ching, 53.
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby allynh » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:01 am

Lloyd, you are right. You can't have a universe unless it is conscious.

Here is a fun novella by Scott Adams that fits everything you said.

God's Debris
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God's_Debris

Somebody was actually paying attention when they wrote the entry.

Wiki wrote:God's Debris: A Thought Experiment is a 2001 novella by Dilbert creator Scott Adams.

God's Debris espouses a philosophy based on the idea that the simplest explanation tends to be the best (a corruption of Occam's Razor). It surmises that an omnipotent God annihilated himself in the Big Bang, because an omniscient God would already know everything possible except his own lack of existence, and exists now as the smallest units of matter and the law of probability, or "God's debris", hence the title.

Wiki wrote:Levels of consciousness

The chapter "Fifth Level" (p. 124) describes five levels of human awareness, or consciousness.
    Level 1: Consciousness at birth: pure innocence, self-awareness.
    Level 2: Awareness of others, and acceptance of authority (a belief system).
    Level 3: Awareness that some beliefs may be wrong, but not which ones.
    Level 4: Skepticism and adoption of scientific method.
    Level 5: Avatar level, understanding that the mind is a delusion-generating machine, and that science is another belief system, although a useful one.

Free copy of the book.
http://www.andrewsmcmeel.com/godsdebris/

Then there is the classic, The Holographic Universe, by Michael Talbot
http://quanta-gaia.org/reviews/books/holoUniverse.html

Michael Talbot - The Holographic Universe (Thinking Allowed)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 3350926692

Too bad he died so young. I think he would have great fun reading all the Thunderbolt stuff.

Sheldrake is on target with morphogenic fields, and Julian Jaynes was close but limited by the society he was trying reach.

Grey Cloud wrote:Anamnesis is the closest that human minds can come to experiencing the freedom of the soul prior to its being encumbered by matter. The process of incarnation is described in Neoplatonism as a shock that causes the soul to forget its experiences (and often its divine origins as well).

Awesome link, just what I was looking for, thanks...

This all ties into my favorite quote from Heraclitus, and how everything works.

The Cosmos is Logos - The Universe is Story.

Way to go, Lloyd.
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby Grey Cloud » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:17 am

Hi Allyn,
Thanks, glad the link was useful.
IMO Jaynes wasn't even at the races. Not sure which Heraclitus quote you are referring to but logos doesn't mean story.
If I have the least bit of knowledge
I will follow the great Way alone
and fear nothing but being sidetracked.
The great Way is simple
but people delight in complexity.
Tao Te Ching, 53.
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby allynh » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:15 pm

Grey Cloud wrote:Not sure which Heraclitus quote you are referring to but logos doesn't mean story.

Logos
Wiki wrote:Originally a word meaning "word," "speech," "account," or "reason,"[1] it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus (ca. 535–475 BC), who used the term for the principle of order and knowledge in the Universe.[2]

You have to remember that Heraclitus made his living telling Story, so of course he would say that "the Universe is Story". It's good advertising.
Wiki wrote:Heraclitus
The writing of Heraclitus was the first place where the word logos was given special attention in ancient Greek philosophy.[8] Although Heraclitus seems to use the word with a meaning not significantly different from the way it was used in ordinary Greek of his time,[9] an independent existence of a universal logos is already suggested:[10]
This LOGOS holds always but humans always prove unable to understand it, both before hearing it and when they have first heard it. For though all things come to be in accordance with this LOGOS, humans are like the inexperienced when they experience such words and deeds as I set out, distinguishing each in accordance with its nature and saying how it is. But other people fail to notice what they do when awake, just as they forget what they do while asleep. (Diels-Kranz 22B1)

For this reason it is necessary to follow what is common. But although the LOGOS is common, most people live as if they had their own private understanding. (Diels-Kranz 22B2)

Listening not to me but to the LOGOS it is wise to agree that all things are one. (Diels-Kranz 22B50)[11]


If you substitute "STORY" for "LOGOS" this is what you get.
This STORY holds always but humans always prove unable to understand it, both before hearing it and when they have first heard it. For though all things come to be in accordance with this STORY, humans are like the inexperienced when they experience such words and deeds as I set out, distinguishing each in accordance with its nature and saying how it is. But other people fail to notice what they do when awake, just as they forget what they do while asleep. (Diels-Kranz 22B1)

For this reason it is necessary to follow what is common. But although the STORY is common, most people live as if they had their own private understanding. (Diels-Kranz 22B2)

Listening not to me but to the STORY it is wise to agree that all things are one. (Diels-Kranz 22B50)[11]

I also love the quote, "you can't step in the same river twice", but that's another Story.
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby Grey Cloud » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:57 pm

Hi Allyn,
Even your wiki definition doesn't say it means story but it does give a definition of how Heraclitus used the word.
As Heraclitus said:
This LOGOS holds always but humans always prove unable to understand it, both before hearing it and when they have first heard it.
To me, Heraclitus is using 'Logos' in the same way the Indians conceive of 'AUM'. It is the primary vibration or movement; it is a thought made manifest by an act of will.
The New Testament opens with 'In the beginning was the Logos...' which the French translate as 'verb' which is a better word than 'word'. Verb = 'doing word' which implies action, which implies movement.
All is vibration.

Heraclitus did not make his living from 'telling Story', whatever that means.
If I have the least bit of knowledge
I will follow the great Way alone
and fear nothing but being sidetracked.
The great Way is simple
but people delight in complexity.
Tao Te Ching, 53.
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Location: NW UK

Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby Lloyd » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:22 pm

* Perceptions are the five senses: vision, hearing, feel, taste and smell.

StevenJay said:
Where do the perceptions of, say, love and fear fit into that?

* Love and fear seem to be best understood as emotions. I said consciousness is perceptions, emotions and thoughts. Emotions seem to be quasi-perceptions that are most like the perception of feel, or feeling, or touch, Some of them seem to be loosely associated with parts of the body. Love can be felt in the chest area and sometimes at the top of the head etc. Often emotions don't seem to be located anywhere. Thoughts seem to be associated with emotions too. Fear seems to be both a sinking feeling and an expectation [thought] of disaster or doom.
* I think there may be more to love than we normally sense. I consider basic love to be caring and I think that's the reason everything exists. I.e., all exists because of caring, universal caring.
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby Lloyd » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:13 pm

* I read and enjoyed what everyone said above, but I don't have time to comment thoroughly so far.
* In the first post, I said:
Would defining things in terms of consciousness overcome the fundamental problems of trying to understand particles, waves etc? Can these things be defined in terms of perceptions, i.e. especially visual perception?

* When we try to understand physical existence, we try to find out what it consists of. Some have concluded that physical existence consists of atomic and subatomic particles, space and time. If space is a medium, it likely consists of aether units, or particles. But what do aether units consist of? Rotating magnetic fields? What do these fields consist of? As for subatomic particles, what do they consist of? Subtrons? Positive and negative subtrons? What do subtrons consist of? How do the positive and negative ones differ?
* Will we find at a small enough scale a particle that is absolutely solid, that has a smooth surface that's impenetrable and unbreakable? That seems unlikely, doesn't it? What would this solid consist of?
* Ultimately, it seems inevitable that we must find that basic existence has to be consciousness, and the basis of consciousness has to be infinite caring.
* That's apparently the message of the Christian Bible etc. And a similar conclusion seems to have been made during the Renaissance, i.e. that the basis of existence is love. I understand that, when science was founded in the 1400s and 1500s, the purpose of science and of government was considered to be to improve the welfare or condition of humanity on the basis of love for all. I wasn't intending to get into religion etc, but that does seem to be the truth. I like science and like to understand reality as much as possible, but it seems that we may not find anything much more fundamental than the reality of consciousness and caring.
* The basic frame of reference for humans may be the field of vision, which is like a round movie screen with horizontal and vertical lengths. Distance to images on the screen is the third dimension. Objects consist of various combinations of color and form. When we include our field of touch with the field of vision, objects also have pressure, heat etc. Each object is defined in terms of such perceptions. Space is defined in terms of the fields of vision and of touch etc.
* By keeping in touch with our perceptions in this way, aren't we better in touch with reality and aren't we gaining better understanding?
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby allynh » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:55 pm

Lloyd, here is another neat video about consciousness, and the supporting text.

The Primacy of Consciousness - Peter Russell
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 3626430789

The Primacy of Consciousness
http://www.peterrussell.com/SP/PrimConsc.php
(Chapter contributed to The Re-Enchantment of the Cosmos by Ervin Laszlo)

See also video stream of presentation given at Physics of Consciousness conference.

Summary: An argument as to why the ultimate nature of reality is mental not material.

Ervin Laszlo has proposed that the virtual energy field known as the quantum vacuum, or zero-point field, corresponds to what Indian teachings have called Akasha. the source of everything that exists, and in which the memory of the cosmos is encoded. I would like to take his reasoning a step further and suggest that the nature of this ultimate source is consciousness itself, nothing more and nothing less.

Again we find this idea is not new. In the Upanishads, Brahman, the source of the cosmos (literally, "that from which everything grows"), is held to be to Atman ("that which shines"), the essence of consciousness. And in the opening lines of The Dhammapada, the Buddha declares that "All phenomena are preceded by mind, made by mind, and ruled by mind".

Such a view, though widespread in many metaphysical systems, is completely foreign to the current scientific worldview. The world we see is so obviously material in nature; any suggestion that it might have more in common with mind is quickly rejected as having "no basis in reality". However, when we consider this alternative worldview more closely, it turns out that it is not in conflict with any of the findings of modern science—only with its presuppositions. Furthermore, it leads to a picture of the cosmos that is even more enchanted.

All in the Mind

The key to this alternative view is the fact that all our experiences—all our perceptions, sensations, dreams, thoughts and feelings—are forms appearing in consciousness. It doesn't always seem that way. When I see a tree it seems as if I am seeing the tree directly. But science tells us something completely different is happening. Light entering the eye triggers chemical reactions in the retina, these produce electro-chemical impulses which travel along nerve fibers to the brain. The brain analyses the data it receives, and then creates its own picture of what is out there. I then have the experience of seeing a tree. But what I am actually experiencing is not the tree itself, only the image that appears in the mind. This is true of everything I experience. Everything we know, perceive, and imagine, every color, sound, sensation, every thought and every feeling, is a form appearing in the mind. It is all an in-forming of consciousness.

The idea that we never experience the physical world directly has intrigued many philosophers. Most notable was the eighteenth-century German philosopher Immanual Kant, who drew a clear distinction between the form appearing in the mind—what he called the phenomenon (a Greek word meaning "that which appears to be")—and the world that gives rise to this perception, which he called the noumenon (meaning “that which is apprehended"). All we know, Kant insisted, is the phenomenon. The noumenon, the “thing-in-itself,” remains forever beyond our knowing.

Unlike some of his predecessors, Kant was not suggesting that this reality is the only reality. Irish theologian Bishop Berkeley had likewise argued that we know only our perceptions. He then concluded that nothing exists apart from our perceptions, which forced him into the difficult position of having to explain what happened to the world when no one was perceiving it. Kant held that there is an underlying reality, but we never know it directly. All we can ever know of it is the form that appears in the mind—our mental model of what is "out there".

It is sometimes said that our model of reality is an illusion, but that is misleading. It may all be an appearance in the mind, but it is nonetheless real—the only reality we ever know. The illusion comes when we confuse the reality we experience with the physical reality, the thing-in-itself. The Vedantic philosophers of ancient India spoke of this confusion as maya. Often translated as “illusion” (a false perception of the world), maya is better interpreted as “delusion” (a false belief about the world). We suffer a delusion when we believe the images in our minds are the external world. We deceive ourselves when we think that the tree we see is the tree itself.

The tree itself is a physical object, constructed from physical matter—molecules, atoms, sub-atomic particles. But from what is the image in the mind constructed? Clearly it is not constructed from physical matter. A perceptual image is composed of the same "stuff" as our dreams, thoughts, and feelings, and we would not say that these are created from physical atoms or molecules. (There might or might not be a corresponding physical activity in the brain, but what I am concerned with here is the substance of the image itself.) So what is the mental substance from which all our experiences are formed?

The English language does not have a good word for this mental essence. In Sanskrit, the word chitta, often translated as consciousness, carries the meaning of mental substance, and is sometimes translated as "mindstuff". It is that which takes on the mental forms of images, sounds, sensations, thoughts, and feelings. They are made of "mindstuff" rather than "matterstuff".

Mindstuff, or chitta, has the potential to take on the form of every possible experience—everything that I, or anyone else, could possibly experience in life; every experience of every being, on this planet, or any other sentient being, anywhere in the cosmos. In this respect consciousness has infinite potential. In the words of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, "Consciousness is the field of all possibilities".

This aspect of consciousness can be likened to the light from a film projector. The projector shines light onto a screen, modifying the light so as to produce one of an infinity of possible images. These images are like the perceptions, sensations, dreams, memories, thoughts, and feelings that we experience—the forms arising in consciousness. The light itself, without which no images would be possible, corresponds to this ability of consciousness to take on form.

We know all the images on a movie screen are composed of light, but we are not usually aware of the light itself; our attention is caught up in the images that appear and the stories they tell. In much the same way, we know we are conscious, but we are usually aware only of the many different perceptions, thoughts, and feelings that appear in the mind. We are seldom aware of consciousness itself.

All phenomena are projections in the mind.

—The Third Karmapa


No Matter?

Although we may not know the external world directly, we can draw conclusions from our experience as to what it might be like. This, in essence, has been the focus of our scientific endeavors. Scientists have sought to understand the functioning of the world around us, and draw conclusions about its true nature.

To the surprise of many, the world "out there" has turned out to be quite unlike our experience of it. Consider our experience of the color green. In the physical world there is light of a certain frequency, but the light itself is not green. Nor are the electrical impulses that are transmitted from the eye to the brain. No color exists there. The green we see is a quality appearing in the mind in response to this frequency of light. It exists only as a subjective experience in the mind.

The same is true of sound. I hear the music of a violin, but the sound I hear is a quality appearing in the mind. There is no sound as such in the external world, just vibrating air molecules. The smell of a rose does not exist without an experiencing mind, just molecules of a certain shape.

The same is also true of the solidness we experience in matter. Our experience of the world is certainly one of solidness, so we assume that the "thing in itself" must be equally solid. For two thousand years it was believed that atoms were tiny solid balls—a model clearly drawn from everyday experience. Then, as physicists discovered that atoms were composed of more elementary, subatomic particles (electrons, protons, neutrons, and suchlike) the model shifted to one of a central nucleus surrounded by orbiting electrons—again, a model based on experience.

An atom may be small, a mere billionth of an inch across, but subatomic particles are a hundred thousand times smaller still. Imagine the nucleus of an atom magnified to the size of a golf ball. The whole atom would then be the size of a football stadium, and the electrons would be like peas flying round the stands. As the early twentieth-century British physicist Sir Arthur Eddington put it, “Matter is mostly ghostly empty space.” To be more precise, it is 99.9999999% empty space.

With the development of quantum theory, physicists have found that even subatomic particles are far from solid. In fact, they are nothing like matter as we know it. They cannot be pinned down and measured precisely. Much of the time they seem more like waves than particles. They are like fuzzy clouds of potential existence, with no definite location. Whatever matter is, it has little, if any, substance.

Our notion of matter as a solid substance is, like the color green, a quality appearing in consciousness. It is a model of what is "out there", but as with almost every other model, quite unlike what is actually out there.

Even the notion of mass is questionable. In his General Theory of Relativity, Albert Einstein showed that mass and acceleration are indistinguishable. A person in an elevator feels lighter when the elevator accelerates downwards, and heavier when it decelerates to a halt. This is no illusion, scales would also show your weight to have changed. What we experience as mass is the resistance of the ground beneath our feet to our otherwise free fall towards the center of the Earth. According to Einstein, we are being continually decelerated, and interpret that as mass. An astronaut in orbit experiences no mass—until, that is, he bumps into the wall of the spacecraft and experiences a temporary deceleration.

Whatever matter is, it is not made of matter.

—Prof. Hans-Peter Dürr


Spacetime and Action

Einstein's work also revealed that space and time are not absolutes. They vary according to the motion of the observer. If you are moving rapidly past me, and we both measure the distance and time between two events—a car traveling from one end of a street to another, say—then you will observe the car to have traveled less distance in less time than I observe. Conversely, from your point of view, I am moving rapidly past you, and in your frame of reference I will observe less space and time than you do. Weird? Yes. And almost impossible for us to conceive of. Yet numerous experiments have shown it to be true. It is our common sense notions of space and time that are wrong. Once again they are constructs in the mind, and do not perfectly model what is out there.

Kant foresaw this a hundred years before Einstein. He concluded that space and time are the dimensional framework in which the mind constructs its experience. They are built into the perceiving process, and we cannot but think in terms of space and time. But they are not aspects of the objective reality. That reality, according to Einstein, is something else, what he called "spacetime". When observed, spacetime appears as a certain amount of space and a certain amount of time. But how much is perceived as space and how much is perceived as time is not fixed; they depend upon the motion of the observer.

If space, time, and matter have no absolute objective status, what about energy? Physicists have a hard time saying exactly what energy is. It is defined as the potential to do work, that is, to create change. Energy comes in many different forms: potential energy, kinetic energy, chemical energy, electrical energy, heat energy, radiation energy. But we never measure energy as such, only the changes that we attribute to energy.

Energy if often said to be a fundamental quality of the cosmos. But that too turns out to be a mistake. According the Special Theory of Relativity, energy and mass are interchangeable, related by Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2. Observers traveling at different speeds will differ in their measurements of how much energy an object has.

Quantum theory offers further clues as to the nature of energy. The quantum is commonly called a quantum of energy, the smallest possible unit of energy. But that is not strictly correct. The quantum is actually a quantum of action.

What is action? It is another physical quantity like distance, velocity, momentum, force, and others that we meet in physics, but it is not usually given much attention in our basic math or physics

The amount of action in a quantum is exceedingly small, about 0.00000000000000000000000000662618 erg.secs (or 6.62618 x 10 erg.secs in mathematical shorthand)—but it is always exactly the same amount. It as one of the few absolutes in existence, and more fundamental than space, time, matter, or energy. The Zero-Point Field is not therefore a potential energy field—despite the fact it is often referred to as such. It is a potential quantum field, a field of potential action.

A photon is a single quantum of light, but the energy associated with a photon varies enormously. A gamma-ray photon, for example, packs trillions of times more energy than a radio-wave photon. But each and every photon, each and every quantum, is an identical unit of action.

When the photon is absorbed—by the retina of the eye, say—it manifests as a certain amount of energy, measured by the amount of change it is capable of creating. This change is what is conveyed to the brain and then interpreted as color. The amount of change, or energy, is dependent upon the frequency, which is why we say different colors correspond to different frequencies of light.

What is frequency? Again it is another model taken from experience and then imagined to apply to the photon. It is most unlikely that a photon has frequency as we think of it. Indeed, even the idea of a photon is another example of how we have projected our experience on to the external world. We experience particles so imagine light might be a particle. We also have the experience of waves, so imagine light as a wave. Sometimes light seems to fit one description, other times another. It is much more likely that light is neither wave nor particle. For reasons of space, I will not go into the details of the argument here, but the interested reader can find more in my book From Science to God.

To summarize the argument so far: Our whole experience is a construction in the mind, a form appearing in consciousness. These mental forms are composed not of physical substance but of"mindstuff". We imagine that the world out there is like the forms that appear in consciousness, but it turns out, that in nearly every aspect, the external is not at all like the images created in the mind. What appear to us as fundamental dimensions and attributes of the physical world—space, time, matter and energy—are but the fundamental dimensions and attributes of the forms appearing in consciousness.

Matter is derived from mind, not mind from matter.

—The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation


Two Aspects or One?

In Chapter Four, Ervin introduces panpsychism: the hypothesis that consciousness is not unique to human beings, or higher animals, or even creatures with nervous systems. It is in everything. As he is at pains to point out, this is not to imply that simpler systems have thoughts or feelings, or any of the other mental functions that we associate with consciousness, only that the capacity for consciousness is there in some form, however faint. Even a lowly bacterium has a glimmer of the inner light, maybe a billionth of the inner light we know, but not nothing at all.

The current scientific paradigm assumes the exact opposite—that matter itself is completely insentient, it is completely devoid of the capacity for experience. Consciousness only comes into existence with the evolution of complex nervous systems. The problem with this view—David Chalmers', "hard problem"—is explaining how conscious experience could ever emerge from insentient matter. Why doesn't all that neural processing go on "in the dark?"

Ervin argues that the only tenable answer, anathema as it may be to the current scientific worldview, is that the capacity for inner experience does not suddenly appear, as if by magic, once a particular level of complexity has arisen. The potential for inner experience has been there all along.

Panpsychism is usually taken to imply that there are dual aspects to everything. There is the physical aspect, that which we can observe from the outside, and there is a mental aspect, the experiences known from the inside. For a long time I went along with this dual aspect view. But recently I have begun to question it. I have not questioned whether or not there is a mental aspect, which is the question that most people raise. I have come to question whether there is, after all, a physical aspect. I realize this is radical to many, but let me briefly go over the reasons behind this suggestion and the implications.

Every time we try to pin down the physical aspect we come away empty-handed. Every idea we have had of the physical has proven to be wrong, and the notion of materiality seems to be evaporating before our eyes. But our belief in the material world is so deeply engrained—and so powerfully reinforced by our experience—that we cling to our assumption that there must be some physical essence. Like the medieval astronomers who never questioned their assumption that the Earth was the center of the universe, we never question our assumption that the external world is physical in nature. Indeed it was quite startling to me when I realized that the answer might be staring us straight in the face. Maybe there really is nothing there. No "thing" that is. No physical aspect. Maybe there is only a mental aspect to everything.

We would then have to think of the Akashic Field as a field that is entirely mental in nature. Its essence is the essence of mind. It's hard to imagine, I know. In fact all we can imagine are the forms arising in our minds. We cannot imagine consciousness itself. It is the imaginer, that in which images arise. It is probably best not even to try to imagine what a mental field is like, for we would surely be as wrong as when we try to imagine quanta, or spacetime.

All we can say about it is that it is not a uniform field. It must contain distinctions of some kind, for it is these variations that are the origin of our perception of the world. If there were no variations in the field, there would be nothing to observe, nothing to experience.

These variations in the field are the "objects" of our perception. But they are not objects in the sense of a material object. They only become material objects in the mind of the observer. There then appears to be a material "thing" out there. We then assume that the physicality we experience, which seems so intrinsic to the world we know, must also be an intrinsic aspect of the external world.

Even though there may be no physical basis to the external world, the laws of physics still hold true. The only thing that changes is our assumption of what we are measuring. We are not measuring physical particles or such, but perturbations in the Akashic mind-field. The laws of "physics" become the laws governing the unfolding of a mental field, reflections of how perturbations in this field interact.

What we call an elementary particle would correspond to an elementary variation in the field. We might better call it an elementary entity rather than particle. Elementary entities are organized into atoms, molecules, cells and suchlike, just as in the current paradigm. The difference is that we no longer have to think of consciousness sensing matter (with all the difficulties that involves of how the physical influences the mental), consciousness is now sensing consciousness directly.

Interaction might now be thought of as perception—the perception of one region in the mind-field by another. In the current view every interaction is mediated by a quantum of action (an inter-action). In this alternative view, the smallest item would be a unit of perception, a unit of experience. It would be a quantum of consciousness, a quantum of chitta.

In the physical world of our experience we have discovered action to be a fundamental quality. In this alternative view, that still is true. Consciousness acts as it takes form. A quantum of action is a quantum of experience, a quantum of chitta.

We can now begin to understand why the material world appears to be devoid of consciousness. The qualities that appear in the mind—the color, sound, smell, substance, or whatever—become objects of perception, "the material world". But there is no sign of consciousness itself in the images of matter that appear in the mind. Just as when we watch a movie, the picture on the screen may be composed of light, but there is no evidence in the unfolding story that this is the case. The forms that arise in the mind give no hint in themselves that they are all manifestations of mindstuff. They appear to be other than consciousness. And so we assume that the stuff of the world "out there"—the matterstuff—is insentient.

Physics is the study of the structure of consciousness.
The "stuff" of the world is mindstuff.

—Sir Arthur Eddington


The Hard Question Revisited

The hard question of how insentient matter could ever give rise to conscious experience is now turned inside-out. There is no insentient matter—apart from that appearing in the mind. The question now becomes: How does mind take on all these qualities that we experience, including that of matter?

That question is best answered by direct awareness; by turning the light of consciousness in upon itself, and observing the nature of mind first-hand. Those who have chosen this path are the great mystics, yogis, seers, saints, rishis, and roshis who are found dotted throughout human history.

Despite the differences in time and culture, they have come to remarkably similar conclusions. These conclusions do not, however, make much sense to the contemporary Western mind. In most cases they seem to be so a odds with the current scientific worldview that they are rejected out of hand—and with them any credibility there may be for spirituality in general.

Consider, for instance, the statement by Baba Muktananda that "You are the entire universe. You are in all, and all is in you. Sun, moon, and stars revolve within you." Most people would be puzzled, if not confused. It clearly goes against the contemporary worldview in which I am a small point at the center of my universe, around which everything else revolves. Muktananda appears to be saying the exact opposite. Possibly, we might surmise, a mind deranged by too much meditation.

However, if we see it in terms of an intimate personal acquaintance with the arising of mental phenomena, and hence of our whole world, it makes much more sense. Every experience, every thing we ever know, is taking place within us.

Likewise, when we read such peoples' accounts of creation, we are likely to interpret them in terms of how the physical world was created. In a sense they are. But they are talking of the physical world as it appears in the mind—how that is being continually created.

The Ashtavakra Gita, a highly venerated Indian text, says: "The Universe produced phenomenally in me, is pervaded by me. . . From me the world is born, in me it exists, in me it dissolves." Hardly comprehensible, until we consider it from the point of view of consciousness.

"In the beginning was Logos." Often translated as "The Word", logos also means "thought, or essence." In the beginning was the mental essence, chitta.

"Be still and know that I am God" is not necessarily an injunction to stop moving around and recognize that the person speaking is the creator of the entire cosmos; it is much more likely an encouragement to still the mind—in the words of the great yogi Patanjali, "let the manifesting of chitta die down"—and discover through direct knowing, that "I", that ever-present, never-changing, innermost essence of your own mind, is the essence of everything.

It is in this that I find a personal reenchantment of the cosmos. If our own essence is divine, and the essence of consciousness is to be found in everything, everywhere, then everything is divine. Panpsychism becomes pantheism. It doesn't matter whether we call it Universal Mind, Allah, God, Jehovah, the Great Spirit, or the Quantum Vacuum Field, we are all of that same essence.

This raises my level of awe for the world in which I live, or seem to live. When I consider that—despite all appearances to the contrary—this world is, in the final analysis, of the same essence as my own being, I am filled with wonder. Every thing is enchanted anew.

The DVDs are available from his website as well.
http://www.peterrussell.com/

It was fun to read through the article, and watch the video again.

Thanks, Lloyd.
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby junglelord » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:17 pm

When I first started to study biophysics it soon became apparent that energy was information and that a field of consciouness was part and parcel of atomic units themself....

e=I
energy equals information.
Information is only valid with the consciouness field to integrate it.
Electrons are conscious units as much as they are charge units.
The levels of complexity all have a level consciouness that is related to that complexity...so that fractually the electron being a conscious unit would make the building of consciouness into selfawarness and to react to the information of the energy that surrounds the consciouness field a easy feat to explain and observe, such as a virus, our gem of a ichoshredron. Then on to cocci bacteria and other geometric forms of consiouness. Structure and function cannot be seperated and their is a direct relationship btw the human form and the fabric that weaves it.

I suspect that the plasma is self aware and not just life like...I suspect that just as an EEG is used to measure brain activity, that consiouness is first found in an electron but also found in a plasma and that consciouness and electricity are two folds of the same cloth, so that using an EEG to measure brain activity is telling us more then we care to admit. I learned that electrons are conscious units from SETH.
If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have a key to the universe.
— Nikola Tesla
Casting Out the Nines from PHI into Indigs reveals the Cosmic Harmonic Code.
— Junglelord.
Knowledge is Structured in Consciouness. Structure and Function Cannot Be Seperated.
— Junglelord
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby GaryN » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:27 pm

This fellow has some interesting articles, I thought, though I haven't read everything.

The Synergetic mind. More than the sum of the individuals.

The universe can and should be thought of as an orderly, intelligent, and conscious state of being, an Awareness, of which each individual human awareness is a part. In this sense, the physical universe becomes a Synergetic Mind or Consciousness, engaged in what the Hindu religion calls the Cosmic Dance, an eternal manifestation of deep involvement occurring on every plane everywhere. The Synergetic Mind is the ultimate source of all knowing and all being, including our human knowing and being.


http://www.searchlightforyou.com/Wisdom/SynergeticMind.htm

I liked this piece, the Light Beings:

It was like first viewing, and then being pulled into the Sun. As I approached the core of the Hosts of Light, I perceived a final all-encompassing field of intense golden-white light, the source and focus of the adoration of the Light Beings. A circle of flowing energy which was at the same time consciousness was originating there, and flowing out through the Light Beings, and back again, forever: a living cosmic dance of Perfect Love. This is probably the single most important thing to be said, that everything in this realm appeared as forms of Light, acted like fields of electromagnetic radiation (energy), and WAS consciousness without physical boundaries.


http://www.searchlightforyou.com/E-Books/Samadhi02.htm
In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete. -Buckminster Fuller
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Re: Universe Consists of Consciousness

Unread postby Lloyd » Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:53 pm

Allyn's quote said:
- When I see a tree it seems as if I am seeing the tree directly. But science tells us something completely different is happening. Light entering the eye triggers chemical reactions in the retina, these produce electro-chemical impulses which travel along nerve fibers to the brain. The brain analyses the data it receives, and then creates its own picture of what is out there. I then have the experience of seeing a tree. But what I am actually experiencing is not the tree itself, only the image that appears in the mind. This is true of everything I experience. Everything we know, perceive, and imagine, every color, sound, sensation, every thought and every feeling, is a form appearing in the mind. It is all an in-forming of consciousness.

* The statement "Everything we know ... is a form appearing in the mind" is equivocal. What does it mean by "form"? Color doesn't have form. Sound doesn't have form. A tactile sensation doesn't have a form. What is meant by mind? A place or condition in the brain? I tried to point out earlier that this idea has some problems too, when I mentioned engrams and holodynes. The electrical impulses that reach the brain are said to create our perceptions [and memories of such perceptions], which exist in the brain. So somewhere in the brain tissues [and or in microtubules in all of the cells of the body] our perceptions are thought to exist [or memories of them]. Can we take a microscope and find these perceptions? Do they exist as atoms, molecules, or subatomic particles, or subtrons? Or are they electrical or magnetic fields? Are they aether units? Are they photons?
* Or do aether units, or photons, or fields simply consist of perceptions? We KNOW what our perceptions are, because we perceive them directly. All we know about aether units, photons, fields etc is that they exist within our perceptions. If they exist beyond our perceptions, they may be shared with other consciousness, such as universal consciousness. There's no reason to assume that they exist as independent existence of some kind, even if they exist outside of our consciousness. Universal consciousness could account for their external existence, i.e. external to ourselves. There seems to be no reason to suppose that physical reality exists outside of universal consciousness.
The idea that we never experience the physical world directly has intrigued many philosophers. Most notable was the eighteenth-century German philosopher Immanual Kant, who drew a clear distinction between the form appearing in the mind—what he called the phenomenon (a Greek word meaning "that which appears to be")—and the world that gives rise to this perception, which he called the noumenon (meaning “that which is apprehended"). All we know, Kant insisted, is the phenomenon. The noumenon, the “thing-in-itself,” remains forever beyond our knowing.
- Unlike some of his predecessors, Kant was not suggesting that this reality is the only reality. Irish theologian Bishop Berkeley had likewise argued that we know only our perceptions. He then concluded that nothing exists apart from our perceptions, which forced him into the difficult position of having to explain what happened to the world when no one was perceiving it. Kant held that there is an underlying reality, but we never know it directly. All we can ever know of it is the form that appears in the mind—our mental model of what is "out there".

* Kant's "underlying reality" I contend is universal consciousness, not "physical reality" in the form of non-consciousness. I think it highly probable that non-consciousness cannot exist. So the physical world must be part of universal consciousness. Therefore, it may be untrue that we cannot experience the physical world directly. We may be able to share its consciousness.
If our own essence is divine, and the essence of consciousness is to be found in everything, everywhere, then everything is divine.

* Yeah, that's more like it.
JL said: I learned that electrons are conscious units from SETH.

* Is that Jane Roberts' SETH? I think he or it is/was somewhat self-serving, though also somewhat truthful regarding consciousness.
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