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General Epistemology        Chapter III-8       

 

Chapter III-8 Generalising:
Physical universes
Psychical universes
Conscious principle

 

 

(Permalink)(Was chapter 27 in version 1)

 

(This chapter anticipates the fifth part on consciousness.)

We saw in the previous chapters that a checking of our theories on life in other universes requires experiments involving an immaterial conscious principle. Oh fan de chichourle. Not being a scientistist, and being prepared by our General Epistemology to meet such immaterial and «irrational» elements, we shall certainly not balk at facing such an immaterial conscious principle. But it however arises a big of a problem: We have nicely explained matter, space, time, and even their beginning, and here comes along an immaterial conscious principle which cannot (by definition) be reduced to none of these physical elements. The scientistists and the scientists will pertinently point out that it is really an additional element about which we have now to find a separate new explanation. Hum Hum, let us see if we can do this without adding ad hoc new stuff to our theory.

Physical universes

(Permalink) We saw in the previous chapters that a material universe seems to be able to appear (as being «real») to the eyes of its eventual inhabitants, while it is (including the bodies of its inhabitants) just a play of logical relations, starting from an original «absurd» logical node. Such a logical self-generation process© is then able to develop all the complexity which can be contained in an universe like ours, including a biological evolution, leading to beings with a brain, able to experience consciousness, feel emotions and happiness. Those beings can even become scientists, whatever they are physicists studying their matter, or yogis studying their consciousness. And all this without supposing anything which would already exist somewhere: No absolute time, no absolute space, no over-powerful absolute «matter» which would mysteriously determine alone what exists or not.

 

We gave a first example starting from the non-existent nibs, to show that the process is possible, and how it works. Then we shall see (in the fourth part on physics) that the laws of physics of our own universe work like a logical self-generation process, which nib is nothing else than the basic quantum interaction, which defines the physical reality on its most elementary level. These «physical laws» of our universe would be nothing more than mathematical relations (understand «logical»), which are plenty enough to make our universe to self-generate starting from a logical Big Bang, to give a «space» and a «time» which appear to our sensory organs, which self build by a succession of logical causes and logical effects, without any need to suppose a pre-existing «space» or «matter» which, by who knows which mystery, would «behave according to the laws of physics», and which nature and origin would be inevitably unexplainable.

And on this set of logical relations, our consciousness projects our familiar feelings of space and time, and especially this intoxicating feeling of «concrete reality», of «existence», the enchantment of the visible world, which overwhelms us as soon as our consciousness is connected to our sensory organs, the morning at awakening, and leaves its normal state, the dream.

On the other hand, we receive no information, and thus no feelings, of the other sets (other universes). So they look to us «abstract», «dreams», «inexistent». This is because our brain is formed of elements contained into this universe, so it exchanges information (feelings) with it, of this one and not of the others. If our bodies were formed of second degree polynomials in place of atoms, it is this set which would appear to us «real», «concrete», «physical», «observable». Let us call this illusion universocentrism©.

 

Which other universes could exist?

First obvious candidates are all the universes described by the quantum theory of the Big Bang, which invokes an unstable quantum vacuum where such universes would be generated permanently in an incommensurable number.

It appears logical that all the universes with all possible physics exist, unless some hypothetical additional element operates a selection (God creator? Anthropic principle? See chapter IV-6). It is however unlikely that all these universes can host forms of consciousness. Ours already looks lucky, with things like the triple alpha reaction which allows for forming carbon, thanks for a little probable conjunction of quantum energy levels.

Possibly we could generate other types of universes with a simple mathematical definition, or they could result of favourable conditions existing in some places of mathematical theories, such as the Sets Theory, or any other logical causes. The Sets Theory already generates sets of numbers, polynomials, vectors, which have structures said of space (vector space for instance) which make them completely equivalent to our daily notion of space, and that we could call «universes». But I doubt that the set of quadratic polynomials can lodge conscious structures able to perceive it as real and poetical! But it would be nevertheless a beautiful mathematical game to seek for such structures in vector spaces or in number spaces.

The important point to get here is that all these universes have the same existential statute, whatever their nature or content.

Non-physical universes

(Permalink) The universes we considered until now were suggestive analogs of our matter, our physics, etc. where the laws of cause and effect handle the equivalent of «particles», «fields», etc. Such contents are devoid of any common point with the elements of the consciousness experience such as feelings, ideas, images, intents, etc. The eventual consciousness living in this type of universe experience it as populated with objects existing «objectively», independently of their personal perception, and which properties and behaviour do not depend on their will or desire (Contrary to what happens in a daydream). These consciousnesses can live here only if they use a body made of the same particles than this universe, and obeying to its physics: what we call a «physical body». They can even not modify this body, just they can use muscles to move it. (A really cruel situation for a consciousness…). Our universe is in this case.

 

However there is no obligation whatsoever that the elements of the logical self-generation process imitate matter: they can be of any nature, such as numbers, «abstract» objects, situations in the plot of a book, anything.

 

So nothing forbids to envision universes where the successions of cause and effects and the basic logical relations would relate to elements of the consciousness experience themselves: feelings, knowledge, desires, images, symbols, etc... instead of «electrons», «fields», «photons»... These elements of consciousness exist as much as other «abstract» objects well recognized by classical science, such as numbers and mathematical structures. Thus nothing forbids such an universe to self-generate like the previous, but starting from elements of the consciousness experience, to become organised in a coherent whole, give rise to complexity, to an history... And anyway these elements do not need to exist «physically», for a consciousness living in such a universe to see them as the «concrete reality». Let us call them psychical universes©, to differentiate them from the physical universes like ours. But this distinction is for our sole convenience, such psychical universes are as much self generating logical systems. And their existential statute is the same than any other

 

It is to be noted that this expression of «psychical universe» clearly refers to something immaterial, like the dreams or the angel realms, and not to brain phenomena. To clearly distinguish them, I used «psychical» for the immaterial stuff, and «psychological» for the matter based stuff created in the brain. It is to be noted that there is no consensus on the use of these words: numerous persons use «psychical» for the ordinary brain-related consciousness experiences, what I call psychological. In this book I always use «psychical» for the immaterial realm, and always «psychological» for the brain-related experiences.

Of course, with these psychical universes arises the same problem as with the physical universes: a positivist would state their non-existence immediately, since «one cannot observe them» («In more, consciousness, pff, what is that thing?» He will protest). But an observer into such an universe would experience the same feeling of «concrete reality» that we naively call existence. From his own point of view, he exists, and it is us who appear «abstract» to him! (I even was told that Karl Popper, arrived in paradise, just avoided to be thrown in hell as a liar, as he was completely unable to check or refute the incredible recollections he reported from Earth! It is angel buddies of me, who played him this trick, and who told me. They were all screaming with laughter!) The fact that a psychical universe does not contain matter (atoms, particles...) does not change anything, since in any event the matter which we «objectively» perceive in our world is only an appearance, peculiar to our universe, which is of no concern for other universes. If in a psychical universe we have «objects» which exist, they are only images without material components, not formed of atoms or particles, but as «real» for its inhabitants as is our matter for us. People who visited such universes even say that they look «more real» than the physical world! As, of course, we can design such universes which imitate the senses we inherited from our life in our usual material universe: sight, sound, contact, taste, smell… in much better! In more, an universe formed, in a way, only of thought, would be modifiable from our mere desire or will: magic would be common!

I could mention here a theory that I do not agree with, but which is a good mind training: Our universe would be similarly only a psychical universe, composed only of images, colours and the like. And it is only our belief in science and its hypothesis, which would lead us to find atoms, inexistent in reality, and to thus create a more and more complex «physics» when our investigation methods become more and more intricate! Worse, our belief in «rationality» would make magic and happiness more and more difficult to obtain... while reinforcing the enchantment of the power and of money! This is precisely the kind of theory which is likely to be false, but we should seriously act as if it was true.

 

We may think that purely psychical universe cannot exist, because the elements of the experience of consciousness would need a support for «existing»: an image needs a screen, a sound needs air etc. Or at least they would need an information support, such as a neural network, a computer memory, etc. However, I am not speaking here of the physical phenomena that we are perceiving with our senses, not even of the activity of the neurons, but really of the fact that a consciousness experiences a feeling (image, sound, etc.) regardless of the origin of this sensation. Sensation and consciousness are in fact inseparable: no consciousness can happen without, necessarily, something of which it is aware (sound, image, feeling, idea, etc.), So that we can say that the sensation defines consciousness. The reverse is also true: a sensation cannot exist alone: ​​if there is a feeling, it is necessarily into a consciousness. So when I say «element of the experience of consciousness», it can be an image, sound, etc. But it is also, and above all, an elementary instant of the consciousness itself, or what this consciousness is seeing or feeling at this instant. The nib of the experience of consciousness, then! That these elements become linked in a process of logical self-generation is then sufficient to make them exist in the mathematical sense, as seen in chapter III-3. So we shall get series of the elements of the experience of consciousness, and therefore, automatically, a consciousness, since the two are inseparable. And this consciousness will perceive these elements as «real» and «concrete», even if the whole series is a mere logical abstraction.

It is going here exactly the same as with a physical universe: the physical particles do not need «something» which makes them «real», to be able to act on the observation instruments, or on the sensory organs, which have the same nature than these particles. (I would say that this is the deeper meaning of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics). The mere existence of this logical relation is enough for this physical universe to look «real» and «concrete» to the eyes of its inhabitants, even though it has fundamentally nothing distinguishing it from an «abstract» set of numbers. This reasoning also applies perfectly to a universe which would be directly formed of elements of the experience of consciousness: Such an universe does not need «something» which makes it «real» and make it exist, and certainly not «something material» which would magically make it «real». We could call this the Copenhagen Interpretation of consciousness: the elements of the consciousness experience do not need «something more fundamental» which would carry them and would make them magically «exist», such as a soul, a speck of God, etc. All the better, that makes one thing less to explain.

(Buddhism similarly considers consciousness as a «stream» of elements, which do not need «something» to hold together)

(This relation between the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics and survival beyond death was not much noticed by most mainstream scientists. However it was clearly noticed by the sophists who are trying to deny consciousness, and it is striking that militant atheism or anti-consciousness is often linked, not only to the usual financial interests, but also to the rage of denying Quantum Mechanics and Relativity, such as stating that there in «anyway» «something» which passes through only one of the two holes in the Young experiment).

 

 

The relation between such an universe and the consciousness which lives in it, will inevitably be different. Indeed, in a physical universe, the «material» elements exist apart from the consciousness, and are accessible to it only indirectly, by the sensory organs, or by muscles. But into a psychical universe, the elements of this universe (emotions, images, desires, «objects», situations...) exist into the consciousness. All the opposite! If such psychical universes are possible, they are, on the contrary of physical universes, subjective and malleable, in relation with the individual consciousness which experiences it. (As in a daydream or in a night dream, where objects more or less obey our desire, whereas a physical universe appears to us «objective» and rigid: what we think of it does not modify it).

The consciousness in a psychical universe does not need sensory organs or muscles to directly perceive and act in there (However it is likely that it will perceive and act according to patterns it is accustomed to, for instance images in a landscape where one walks, for a consciousness of human origin, echoes in a liquid medium where one swims, for a consciousness of dolphin origin). But what it will perceive will look quite as real, concrete and detailed, as the experience of a physical universe.

If this consciousness knows and controls the situation, then the scene it will perceive will directly obey its will: the «objects» will levitate, appear, disappear, change in shape, as in fairy tales, without the need for limbs or muscles. This consciousness will also be able to perceive directly this universe, without the need for sensory organs, according to its will. For instance, it will be able to change of place instantly, simply by focusing its attention to another place, and thus realise a teleportation.

If this consciousness does not control the situation (i.e. if it is not able to control the chaining of its thoughts or the emergence of its emotions, or if it believes that all what it sees is absolutely real) it will not have any control on the situations which it will perceive, which may become absurd, terrifying, painful. We often experience this in dreams, where a fearful object chases us, and a desired object flees us. If the contact with this psychical universe is not constant, the experience will seem as dream like, elusive.

Finally a psychical universe self-generates just like a physical universe does, but with a different law of self-generation (Its «physical laws», which will be more often non-Aristotelian). There is thus no fundamental difference between the two.

A psychical universe is also subjected to the law of cause and effect, as a self-generation process. Thus we shall experience a subjective feeling of a flow of time. But a psychical universe does not seem able to contain any system comparable to a physical clock (chapter IV-3), so it does not seem possible to precisely measure a duration in it. The time will thus be fuzzy (In the logical meaning of this word, see chapter I-3). The space could be similarly fuzzy (no precise map of the places, instant travels without intermediate journey).

The conscious principle

(Permalink) We noticed that a psychical universe can exist only in a consciousness. But a consciousness necessarily has a content: by definition, all what it is conscious of. But we could thus make the equation: psychical universe equals individual consciousness! The most common individual consciousness, ours, that of our boss or our caretaker, are psychical universes at a whole! Simply the content of our individual consciousnesses is almost exclusively devoted to the information brought back by our sensory organs, which makes that we perceive only the external «reality», without any mean to escape from it, other than daydream or night dream (or during peculiar experiences such as sensory isolation, OBE, NDE, etc...). And of course, the different individual consciousnesses do not communicate between each other, as they are different «universes», and they do not have «sensory organs» in other's consciousness (Except some peculiar experiences, commonly referred as telepathy).

Of course, we usually understand by «universe» something very vast, a space with galaxies, planets, landscapes... but in the case of a «psychical universe-individual consciousness» we must consider something much smaller, since it contains only the elements of which we are conscious, more possibly some other underlying unconscious elements. And these elements do not form landscapes in a four dimensional space-time! Therefore, no astounding speculations, we used the word «universe» only to point at a common way of working between the consciousness and the physical world, which are however two very different things. To avoid giving grip to any ambiguity or uncontrolled extrapolations, let us rather say that consciousness is a psychical logical self-generation process, just like the physical universe, but working with the elements of the consciousness experience, instead of elements of physics. But still with all the properties of the logical self-generation processes.

 

So, and this without anticipating too much on the fifth part on consciousness, here we go with a possible explanation of the nature of the immaterial conscious principle promised in the previous chapter III-7, which can fit into our metaphysical system, without invoking any additional assumption, nor any mysterious ingredient! (It is nevertheless necessary to admit the reality of the consciousness and its contents, but they are daily observation facts which cannot be honestly disputed). The conscious principle is also a logical system which self-generates in the very same way than our physical universe, but with elements of the consciousness experience, instead of elements of physics. Its contents is such that, at least in our case, it is mostly focused on a perception of our physical universe, through sensory organs located in a body, about what happens in the spot of our physical universe where this body is located. We shall see how in chapter V-2. We shall also see in the fifth part on consciousness, the exact relationship between the brain and the conscious principle, which is not quite simple.

We could get astonished to compare to an «universe» something so small than an individual consciousness. But our own physical universe also experienced a microscopic and very simple state, and today physics envisions universes similar to ours, but much smaller, containing only some stars, see only some atoms. They are however true physical universes, in the meaning recognized by classical science.

 

Such a conscious principle would have all the properties usually described for the soul of the religions, especially to never stop: this meaning to continue to exist (to have consciousness experiences, in clear to live) even after the destruction (the death) of the physical body hosting it. It could also reincarnate, and, in the extend it can act on the brain bearing it, it is able to transmit memories of past lives, in the same universe, or in other universes. So we can scientifically envision the existence of such phenomena, and, if we observe them, we shall be compelled to accept them as real.

 

We can even use it to test the existence of other universes, as this seems to be the only mean.

 

(added April 2012) An objection here is that the conscious principle of an individual would need «something» for existing, and hold its elements together. This «something» would match the «life force» of the 17th century, or the soul or «spiritual principle» of the religions. But if we do the same reasoning than we did in chapitre III-5 with matter, we realize that it needs nothing, no mysterious underlying element for existing and working. The conscious principle is, and is only, the series of consciousness experiences which chain up in a self-generation process, after logical laws proper to consciousness. This is also the point of view of Buddhism. And we could call this the «Copenhagen interpretation» of consciousness!

True psychical Universes

(Permalink) We can go still further: consciousness having obtained a total control of the process would become able to project such universes with so much efficiency that other consciousness could share its vision, and enjoy in it the same situations. In this case, we could speak of psychical universes in plain meaning, which would even offer a form of objectivity (different witnesses describe the same events) of rigidity (it less obeys the individual will) see of persistence (the departure of some consciousness does not halt the experience of the others). It is exactly what is described about the paradises where the Powa can send us, which, according to the texts, are created and maintained by highly evolved beings enjoying a great spiritual mastery. This can also be the case for all the religious paradises, Christian and Moslem for example, which are said to be maintained by God.

There is astonishingly no contradiction here so that for example the Christians go to the paradise or the hell of this religion, that the Moslems go in the paradise described in the Koran (I heard that it has a nice look) while the Buddhists go in their own Pure lands or hells. However it is unlikely that possible after death places may obey to such a naïve vision of religious clans; it is much more plausible than the various beings gathers by affinities in matching universes, according to criteria where the religious opinions would be only of very incidental relevance.

Interactions between physical and psychical: psychophysics

(Permalink) Still stronger: we considered the physical universes on a side, and the psychical universes on the other side, while noticing that, in spite of their sometimes opposed properties, they basically obey the same laws. But is this distinction necessary? Could it exist universes which would mix physical elements (space, matter, particles, fields, or any equivalent) AND psychical elements (desires, images, forms, feelings...) psychophysical universes©, which inhabitants would experience a physical world similar to ours, but where all kinds of magic would be possible, as in the most unrestrained fantasies tales?

Magic?

Wouldn't we observe in our own physical universe some special occasions where mind seems to command to matter, and even to space and time (religious miracles, parapsychological phenomena, UFOs)? Maybe the simple fact that we get conscious of our own physical universe is enough to transform it into a psychical universe, with all its properties? Which fantastic future awaits our world, when we shall understand and master the functioning of our consciousness? Our technology prowess, of which we are so proud today, will then look very vain…

 

Not to overheat your neurones, I suggest to stop here in this part; starting fifth part on consciousness and the relationship between matter and consciousness, we shall try to track all the elements allowing us to know how consciousness and matter are linked, in which category our universe is, and what it is really possible to do with it. Things are going to get hot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Epistemology        Chapter III-8       

 

 

 

 

 

 

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