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Is consciousness the single fundamental thing in the universe ?

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posted on Jan, 18 2020 @ 09:40 PM
Lately, I have been interested in the theory of Donald Hoffman which says that consciousness in the single fundamental entity in the universe and that everything we perceive is an interface between us and.. something.

The usual approach taken by scientists is to say that what we perceive is real, that we may not perceive every characteristic of an object, but that the object is real nonetheless, so they ask the question "but then what does the object really look like?". They say the object is made of tiny objects, atoms, electrons, photons in the case of light, etc.. They think consciousness is merely the product of evolution, and if our senses are limited as they are, it's because evolution didn't need more than that to save us from extinction. Or said in another way, we just needed to survive and reproduce, we didn't need to understand gravity or that our planet gravitates around the sun. After all, we have used fire hundreds of thousands of years before we even started to comprehend what fire was made of, or how it comes to existence. So for these scientists, which are the large majority, perception is merely an hallucination, and so is consciousness.

Hoffman proposes what looks like the complete opposite, and he gives the metaphor of a computer user interface to make his point. So you have a windows desktop, with icons sitting there. Suppose there is a squared blue icon in the bottom right corner of the screen. After some time using this interface, you might come to believe that this is reality, that your file is really squared, really blue, and that it really sits in the bottom right corner of your computer. But we know that the reality of the file inside the computer doesn't look like this at all. The reality of your file inside the computer is made of electronic circuits, chunks of memory, and so on. So he says that what we perceive as humans is exactly like that, just an interface.

So for example, if you take an apple and you ask "what is this apple really made of?", you will zoom in with your microscope and find that there are atoms, and you might scream eureka!, thinking that you have found the reality of the object. But Hoffman says that this is still part of the interface. Just like if you took a magnifying glass and looked at the icon on your desktop, you will find there are pixels, and here too you might scream eureka!... not realizing that this is still just the interface. And from there, you might even want to start building scientific theories about how pixels behave, about the true nature of pixels, and at some point, just like in quantum physics, you might just hit a wall of incomprehension. You might find that pixels are made of tinier parts that seem to come out of nowhere and you will ask yourself "how is it possible that these tiny parts seem so elusive but when I look at the icon as a whole, it seems solid and real".

Hoffman is saying that if we are unable to conciliate general relativity and quantum physics, it's because we have the wrong concepts and even the wrong language, and we need to produce new concepts and language. If we are unable to conciliate these theories, it's because there is something more fundamental behind, that we haven't found yet, and we may even be blind to it. So he proposes that consciousness is the fundamental thing in the universe.

Why is it that science in unable to tell us what the nature of our conscious experiences is ? Why is science unable to describe to us what the smell of coffee is, or the taste of chocolate, of the feel of a cold object in your hand, or the experience of the red color ? Is it because science just needs a little bit more technology and a little bit more knowledge about elusive particles ? Or is there a deeper problem ? The language of science so far has been the language of mathematics, and it is a useful and powerful tool, but is it the right tool to describe the nature of our conscious experiences ? Mathematics can only deal with things that are quantitative in nature, it can add, subtract, divide, etc., it can say that this or that object is made of 600 billion atoms, it can add units of distance, multiply units of time, etc., but can it deal with conscious experiences like the taste of vanilla which are not quantitative in nature, but qualitative in nature ? Why is science even unable to tell us how electrochemical activity in the brain around neurons and synapses turn into conscious experiences ?

So this interface which Hoffman talks about - what we perceive-, has in truth nothing in common with what the reality really looks like. It's not that it is some part of reality, and that because of the way our senses are limited, we are only able to catch a tiny part of what's really happening, but what Hoffman says is that the nature of the interface is totally alien to the nature of the reality behind it. Just like pixels on your screen have nothing in common with the chunks of memory inside a disk on your computer, atoms and electrons and photons have nothing in common with the reality behind them. Atoms, electrons, photons, etc., are just a data structure that our consciousness has chosen to represent the universe. Hoffman is not saying that there is nothing and that everything is just a figment of your imagination, he is saying that there is a reality, that there is something, that an apple is something, but that it is not an apple, and that an apple is just a representation of something that we need. Just like in a video game : you have to kill this, you have to accomplish that, you have to eat this, all that in order to gain experience. Everyone knows the things we see in a video game aren't what they look like, that they are just data, structured in some way in order to create a particular effect in the game world. According to Hoffman, even our own brains and neurons and synapses etc., are part of the interface, and even space and time are part of the interface.

Hoffman admits there are holes in his theory(like for example, what's the point of evolution and scarcity then?), he also admits he could be completely wrong, but he says that it's the point, to start a new field of inquiry, to present something precise, with mathematical models and equations, so others can show him with precision where he is wrong. Isn't that how the whole adventure of science started ? I haven't here talked about all of his ideas and everything that his theory implies, which by the way he calls "Conscious Realism". There are similarities with other theories like panpsychism for example. And to be honest, I don't think I completely understand everything he talks about, but I think I understand the most important parts.

posted on Jan, 18 2020 @ 10:02 PM
Consciousness is an emergent property.

You can't think about yourself thinking about yourself.

Your consciousness has an absolute, and that is it's inception during the growth of the human brain.

It's all microtubials and special neuron networks communicating at a quantum level.

See Roger penroses' the emperors new mind. Wonderful book.

The limits is what science can't describe as you say, the smell of coffee is simy a matter of scale. We're at a scale where classical mechanics our brains can comprehend, isn't connected enough to the quantum scale to be able to describe scientifically the feeling of cold (aka heat exchange).

Our limits simy mean that, we have our limits and the universe doesn't care about our limits, it goes on with or without us.

edit on 18-1-2020 by odzeandennz because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 18 2020 @ 10:05 PM
consciousness is the Action factor.....(the hands of the artist)

whereas the Quantum Fields are the mysterious Waters of the Deep which were manipulated by the Creator Being to become the Foundations-of-the-Heavens-&-Earth (the created universes)

my 2 cents..... those two, consciousness and Waters-of-the-deep, are co-equals, neither is the 'single' most important....
edit on th31157940751818182020 by St Udio because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 18 2020 @ 10:27 PM
a reply to: gosseyn

It's a good question, but I don't think it is fundamental in the sense that we/us humans, don't yet have a real grasp yet of what the universe is, or what it means, while consciousness in our perspective is a pretty hard set of 'rules'

posted on Jan, 18 2020 @ 10:34 PM
Well on the 'fundamental' argument, the universe is 13.7 billion years old... Homosapiens are a little over 100000 years old... We agree not only the universe existed before any intelligence observed it, we don't need to observe it in order for it to exist.

Consciousness is a byproduct of a variable in a system, that is divided by itself equaling to itself.
Animals deemed conscious by scientists can all use their reflections as a tool.

Consciousness is not fundamental in my opinion.

posted on Jan, 18 2020 @ 10:50 PM
Consciousness: Weightless, massless, yet responsible for everything achieved by humans. Yeah, I think it's its own greatest argument for non-materialism.

posted on Jan, 18 2020 @ 11:03 PM
I think.... therefore you exist, without me there is nothing.

posted on Jan, 18 2020 @ 11:35 PM
a reply to: gosseyn

What is the IT that decides something is being observed in double slit type experiments in quantum mechanics. The Universe is strangely spiritual at smallest possible scale of measurement. Although nature follows repeatable patterns according to the laws of physics the Universe has a very strange way of bringing unimaginable possibilities into existence. If we truly lived in a clockwork Universe with hard determinism I would expect our experiences to be much more boring and uneventful.

"Those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum theory cannot possibly have understood it." Niels Bohr, Essays 1932-1957 on Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge

"A physicist is just an atom's way of looking at itself." Niels Bohr

The Universe is not digital. The Universe is analog where everything is connected to everything else through waves of energy. There are no boundaries. Everything is part of everything else. The fabric of the Universe is like a blob of jello. Every motion affects the whole blob. Rogue waves converge and bubble up and cause strange events to occur at different scales of measurement. Everything is happening so fast there is just too much information to capture enough of it to create a meaningful abstraction with any value.

Our brains are not like computers. Our brains are more like analog radio receivers. There are fields of energy our brains hook into where most of consciousness resides. Here is a great example of two brains hooking into the same fields of energy:

The problem with the philosophical materialists is they refuse to accept the human mind is anything more than brain, blood, and neurons. No matter how good the scientific methods are or evidence to suggest our consciousness is more than just our material brains the evidence is ignored because dogma is more important.

Here's a great talk on how dogmatic the philosophical materialists can be:

Here's a talk on the way our consciousness is part of the deepest fabric of reality and if we could tap into the interface more intimately we might be able to have conscious will over how reality is manifested:

There are some main stream scientists who are well-funded who deny consciousness even exists. Gee, what I am experiencing in my life seems so real. I really feel like my experiences are part of reality in very deep way. Whatever is happening in my brain it doesn't feel like a computer program!

edit on 18-1-2020 by dfnj2015 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 12:08 AM
I once had an argument with someone who had dogmatic beliefs about Artificial Intelligence and coming Singularity which is always just around the corner in becoming real. Many years ago when I was studying artificial intelligence I was trying to prove human beings were no different than computers. I was trying to come up with a thought that was similar to the following computer program:

10 NOP
20 GOTO 10

This is an "infinite loop". And anyone who has study the limitations of computers, that is Computability Theory, knows about the Halting Problem.

Since I was not able to create an infinite loop with my thoughts I came to the conclusion the human mind and our consciousness is not bounded by the Halting Problem, and therefore, artificial intelligence is impossible because our minds are NOT computer-like but something else.

The closest thought I could come up with to lock my mind into an infinite loop was this question: "Have you ever thought about what your brain is doing between thoughts?" Most people just laugh their way out of the infinite loop. Computers do not have a sense of humor. This is why I doubt very much the Universe is a computer simulation. There's just too much humor in the World for this to be a computer simulation.

Since I could not find a thought that would put my mind into and infinite loop I lost interest in AI. I no longer thought it was possible. And ever since I've been devoting my life to the study of how consciousness works and how we are connected to reality.

Main stream scientists who are mostly philosophical materials pretend they are separate from reality. They are delusional in thinking they are being objective. Many scientists affects their experiments and almost always produce the results based on their own prejudice and expectations. People see exactly what they want to see. People give meaning to their experiences exactly according to their dogma and prejudice.

Most main stream scientists are not going to accept our consciousness is anything more than sets of mathematical equations. The thing is all language is a representation of reality. Words are not the reality they represent. Reality is not reality. There is always more going on in the fabric of the Universe than anything we can accurately and completely measure. This is the fundamental problem with language: accuracy and completeness. People just assume their words represent more meaning than could possibly be true.

I think consciousness is not only fundamental part of reality but reality is a type of consciousness that is always just one step beyond full comprehension.

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 12:29 AM
As a Jesus follower I was amazed at the math and transliterations in the Hebrew Scripture prove we are in a simulation. And the Bible is not from within our domain. GOD is a God of math... Now can I tell ya about His letter to Cyrus calling him by name in Scripture to help Israel, so Cyrus did it.....had to.......under devine duress

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 01:00 AM
having had maybe 1000 out of body experiences and having unexplainable things happen to me i've come to realize that physical reality is a product of consciousness.
The universe is like a massive dream. Consciousness creates reality. Not the other other way around.
This is why things like the placebo effect work. Or why people like Dr. Joe Dispenza have success teaching people how to heal themselves through meditation. Or why the universe is actually 99.99% empty space. Or why there are so many children who remember their past lives. Or why psychic stuff happens.
Or its all just a coincidence, but I don't really believe in coincidences.

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 02:16 AM
a reply to: gosseyn

Hi Gos. Thanks for the thoughtful thread.

Is consciousness the single fundamental thing in the universe ?

Great question ?
Get any great answers yet ?

Any questions like: "what the heck is this supposed consciousness anyways ? "

Is consciousness as we imagine it ?
If reality is brought into question: shall we not also question consciousness ?

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 02:56 AM
a reply to: gosseyn

A lot of posts here are close or at least circling around it in my opinion.

Our brains are an amazing biological organ. But what it gives rise to, via neurons and inherent quantum energy is miraculous. And if you actually think that is some accident of evolution, you will live your life that way, and get everything you expect.

And not one thing more.

But if you can see deeper, reach further and just *think*, it quickly becomes apparent we are but a blade of grass in an amazing garden, that has no limits.

And for the time being and until proven differently, we all get one walk through the garden.


Make it count. Love something. Be kind. Be able to look at yourself in the mirror and smile.

*Do something*....

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 03:03 AM
a reply to: Nothin

Well, the only thing we can be sure of, is that we have conscious experiences. Whether these experiences are an illusion or hallucinations, we still experience those. Even people who are experienced in meditation wouldn't question the existence of awareness.

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 03:32 AM
This is a light show. Consciousness is projected into a holographic sea of sentient particles. The particles are programmed to interact with our physical senses so that we can experience a material realm. Think of pixels on a computer monitor that are programmed to change color with each new scene. Our consciousness 'moves ' through this realm the same way. We create this reality through our intentions, expectations and beliefs. We are way more powerful than what most people realize

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 03:37 AM
Best thread of 2020 so far!
As other members stated, the physical world exists because consciousness is here to perceive it.

Consciousness gives birth to the physical, atoms and the 'reality' that exists around us is 99% empty space.

We're looking through a window into an artificial realm of being, and one day we'll all take a step back from that window.
What's important to remember is that what we do in this world matters, it can alter our conscious state of being.

We are all god, and god is us. Or we're just flesh and bones, everything is subjective and nothing matters.
My consciousness still struggles to decide.
Just my $0,02.

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 04:19 AM
What happens when your consciousness stops?

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 04:45 AM

originally posted by: Archivalist
What happens when your consciousness stops?

The universe contracts, and is reborn?
Kinda like the big bang.
Black holes devour all matter into an infinitely dense dense state and the big bang re-occurs? Just a theory of mine.

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 05:09 AM
a reply to: gosseyn
What if there is not a perceiver separate from the perceived?

What if there are no nouns?

What if, what is occuring is all there is?

The visible image is the manifestation of the invisible God.

What is appearing is disappearing .......but there is belief in solid things.

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 05:11 AM

originally posted by: Archivalist
What happens when your consciousness stops?

Consciousness does not belong to someone ...all apparent people appear within consciousness.

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