The Monroe Institute

Is the Universe Conscious?

July 23, 2012



"Physics may be getting closer to the day...when the way it views the universe classically reaches a dead end."

 
As physicists revel in the recent probable discovery of the Higgs boson, or "God particle," Deepak Chopra and colleagues explain why only mind-consciousness can be the ultimate building block of the universe.

From HuffingtonPost.com, "Did God Discover the God Particle?" --

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP, Rudolph Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, and Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Chapman University

 

The possible discovery of the Higgs boson would not have been splashed across every major media if the tag "God particle" weren't attached to it. Physicists hate the term, but they love the publicity. There are huge government grants at stake as well as the prestige of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland.

...It took many billions of colliding protons in the huge CERN accelerator, backed up by 100,000 computers around the world, to analyze the data before the discovery seemed real. Even then, most physicists are guarded about whether this new particle actually is a Higgs boson.

...But behind all the hoopla and uncertainty, the news flew around the world that a basic building block of the universe has been uncovered, bringing quantum physics closer to its triumphant goal of explaining creation -- hence the inflated and rather silly label of God particle. Yet from another perspective, nothing like an explanation of the universe is emerging at all. Physics may be getting closer to the day, in fact, when the way it views the universe classically reaches a dead end.

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"...there is a growing community of theorists seriously thinking about a conscious universe."

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...The Higgs boson is the last, missing link in the highly successful quantum theory of particles, called the Standard Model. It is also highly unstable, very elusive. To detect it, one has to observe many, many high energy collisions of protons and build up the statistics. In the LHC collider, particles are accelerated through a tunnel, brought together at speeds close to the speed of light, producing showers of particles, with high energies, capable to generate the Higgs particle. It exists for only a tiny fraction of a second before breaking up into many other particles and can be detected only indirectly by identifying the results of its immediate decay and analyzing them to show they were probably produced from a Higgs boson.

...Particle physicists are not the only ones excited by the prospect of finding the missing link in the theory: Cosmologists seem to agree that all the luminous matter in the universe makes up only 4 percent of whatever there is in the universe. All the hundreds of billions of galaxies composed of many billions of stars make up just 4 percent of everything! The rest of it may be in the form of dark matter and even more exotic (but unknown) dark energy. So if the "Higgs-like" particle discovered at CERN turns out to be more exotic form, it could help us understand at least dark energy.

These possible future developments could get us closer to what particle physicists call the Theory of Everything, a rather particle-centered view of the cosmos, because their theory of everything, as envisaged, says nothing and in fact cannot say anything about life, evolution and the phenomena of mind and awareness....But it would be a start.

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"...why do the vast majority of physicists hold on to any kind of physicalist explanations? First, because the mathematics works. Second, because the alternative isn't taught in grad school. The alternative is to include consciousness in the mix."

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With no lucrative grants but a lot of far-reaching thought, a band of cosmologists and other physicists sees that the materialist view of the universe doesn't hold water. It hasn't for quite a long time, because quantum theory demolished the solid, reassuring physical universe almost a century ago. Once it was discovered that matter is made up of invisible clouds of energy, once photons were found to behave like particles in one mode and energy waves in another, once the Uncertainty Principle turned actual existence into virtual existence, the blows to materialism became decisive. The great quantum pioneers noted definitively that all other fundamental particles have no fixed physical attributes at all. Instead, particles are pure potential existing in a quantum force field, and they collapse into being a particle you can see and measure only when observed by the scientist who is measuring them.

None of that is in dispute. In fact, more demolition work to the physicalist view of the universe has been done since then (physicalist seems to be the preferred replacement for materialist). We now know, again without dispute, that two particles can be entangled, which means that when one displays a certain value, its partner will instantaneously display a complementary value, even if the two are separated by billions of light years. This simultaneous linkage defies the speed of light. Another crack in the physicalist model is called reverse causation, in which an event can create effects on particles that appear to be going backward instead of forward in time -- thus the common-sense notion of cause and effect is undermined.

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"This possibility is logical and by no means outlandish. It occurred to some quantum pioneers (although not Einstein) almost a century ago, because in some ways consciousness is inescapable."

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With all this demolition work at hand, why do the vast majority of physicists hold on to any kind of physicalist explanations? First, because the mathematics works. Second, because the alternative isn't taught in grad school. The alternative is to include consciousness in the mix. If the observer makes the difference between a wave and a particle, and if the universe displays itself to us as matter (which is all particles), then perhaps the observer is needed to make the universe appear as we see it. This possibility is logical and by no means outlandish. It occurred to some quantum pioneers (although not Einstein) almost a century ago, because in some ways consciousness is inescapable.

...There are huge complexities and mysteries that we are skipping over, yet the existence of the universe isn't a technical question open only to specialists with advanced scientific degrees. "Why are we here?" is a universal question, and to answer it, you must ask "Why are we conscious? Where did mind come from?" After all, if the observer plays such a key role in turning waves into particles, you can't get very far if you don't know what the observer is actually doing.

In the alternative explanation, the entire universe is imbued with consciousness. Just as there are force fields, invisible but all-pervasive, a consciousness field can exist to uphold the activity we call "mind." The universe evolves, regulates itself, takes creative leaps, and exhibits exquisite mathematical rigor and beauty. The hallmarks of intelligence are there, waiting for the next paradigm shift. At the moment, the word "intelligence" brings up the red herring of intelligent design, which no one except religious fundamentalists wants to be associated with. "Consciousness" gives us a less-tainted word, and there is a growing community of theorists seriously thinking about a conscious universe.

If it exists, then you and I are embedded in the consciousness field. It is the source of our own consciousness. Which means that we are not alone. As one physicist said, "The universe knew that we were coming." An infinite consciousness that spans all of creation sounds like a new definition of God. If so, then we are part of God's mind, and that includes science. The whole argument leads to a wild conclusion by most people's standards: It is God who is discovering the God particle. Infinite consciousness has created individual consciousness to go out into creation and look around. As it does, individual consciousness -- meaning you and I -- has been given free will and choice. We don't have to see our link to the infinite consciousness field. We can take our time discovering who we are and where we come from. But the day seems very near when it will seem quite real and quite natural to say that the conscious universe saw us coming.

See entire article ...

deepakchopra com



Comments

Ray, my preferred phrasing would be: perhaps we should leave scientists with the limitations of their science.

By Chris on 2012 09 29
From the entry 'Is the Universe Conscious?'.


The universe has the capacity for conciousness it is not yet concious or even subconcious (it just has basic perception, that is how it was created along with a set of rules a question and information for an answer. Everything in it has that capacity and gathers together collectively to combine conciousness, cells in our bodies, us on the planet, then planets in the galaxy, galaxies in the universe. All in a long cycle of winners and losers. Evolving. So the God we know and love (well to be honest I think its a bit of a git but as it’s us I suppose it has an excuse) is just our collective earthly concious and subconcious (male and female) together with collective knowledge base (sort of hive mind thing). You can see it evolving over time if you look at cosmic conciousness reports over time (we always thing we know it all). By the way there are no aliens its just in our collective imagination (just look at the feet they never bother with the feet).

Anyway gald the hard work of the scientists paid off they deserve a medal, (the other ideas were getting a bit out of hand) nobody thought to ask as to why it was in the last place to look and the hardest to find, as I say git.

By Nick on 2012 08 02
From the entry 'Is the Universe Conscious?'.


I look forward to the end of this “Age of Opinion” when men will have the courage to listen to ideas from a source other than their own petty minds. And I’m not referring to Deepak.

By Robert Thompson on 2012 07 24
From the entry 'Is the Universe Conscious?'.


This article is a perfect example of the pseudo-scientific claptrap typical of Chopra. Perhaps we should leave science to the scientists, hmm?

By Ray on 2012 07 24
From the entry 'Is the Universe Conscious?'.












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