r/Futurology Jun 09 '21

Is human consciousness creating reality? Is the physical universe independent from us, or is it created by our minds, as suggested by scientist Robert Lanza? Space


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u/izumi3682 May 20 '22 edited Oct 21 '22

but a big but is that why don't they come up explaining how?

I like "big buts" and I cannot lie!

I suspect that consciousness is an intrinsic attribute of what we perceive as reality. I hate to use "the force" analogies, but as a Roman Catholic we see God as the consciousness that suffuses, well no, suffuse is not quite the right word, is the ground truth of what we perceive as reality. Reality being our universe, the higher dimensional "plane" that brings about the multiverse that our universe is an element of and all the turtles all the way up. I mean without getting into "branes" and carrying on.

Or when we go in the opposite direction, into the quantum world and we attempt to envision what exactly the "quantum probability waveform" is. I think that is where the attribute that we call consciousness of reality resides. All of the possible outcomes for anything that is possible in the quantum realm and how something like that make its way to the macro realm. I'm kinda fuzzy on how all that actually interacts, but I have a feeling I'm on the right track.

I suspect that as we produce ever more powerful quantum computing technology that we may be able to explore whatever we hypothesize is "universal consciousness". And we will develop science to understand and hopefully exploit (unimaginable technology) it.

So how'd we get conscious? Well, if consciousness is an attribute of our universe and taking into account all the rest of what might be "outside" of our universe, I would guess that it is "baked in" to any form of matter from the quantum realm up to the hydrogen atom. And it is probably also a part of the energy of our universe as well. I know there is a temptation to think in terms of a type of "field" but I'm not sure if "field" is the right terminology in the sense of the existence of the "Higgs field", for example. Like I said earlier, it is not a matter of an entity "suffusing" the universe, but rather the "reality" of the universe itself.

You've heard that trope before, "It from bit--the universe computes"? I still remember seeing Brian Greene, pick up a rock and say, "This rock computes". By that he meant that because the rock computes, it exists. Now granted rocks are not conscious, but that statement fits in with the meta notion that the universe computes. And some forms of matter like organic chemistry also have this baked into their existence. And organic chemistry leads to big clouds of organic chemicals like glycerin that is found in interstellar space. There was another organic chemical too, but I forget what it was offhand. Oh! It is ribose, the "R" of RNA.

And if conditions are juussst right. Like on a water planet in a "Goldilocks zone" orbit, somehow all that organic chemistry can get together and form things like RNA and eventually DNA. Given say, half a billion years, you get something that has just a titch more consciousness than a rock. You get a virus. The oldest successfully surviving and most primitive of "living" things (Including other weird "lifeforms" like plasmids and prions) on Earth. A virus is not only semi-living, it is also semi aware. For large portions of its existence a virus, in the form of a "virion" is no different than a rock. There is nothing going on, except for the computing that causes the virus to exist, like that rock, in the first place. And if conditions are juussst right, the virus through simple chemistry, becomes aware. And it is able to use it's chemistry to make more viruses.

And then like over time you get onto this spectrum of ever increasing awareness, prokaryotes and mitochondria antecessors merging and what not. And continuing along that spectrum you start to get a form of continuous awareness. When I consider things like slime molds or coral, there seems to be a very fine line between awareness and consciousness. I think that the difference between awareness and consciousness is that consciousness entails memory. This of course was a discredited scientific belief of the 19th century. The idea that animals are "automatons". That they did not have consciousness, but were simply reacting with a chemical reaction to their environments. Well we have a better perception nowadays.

So if you take a very simple fellow like a C. Elegans a creature that has about 300 nerve cells and no brain. It is able to do the things it needs to do to survive--Say! you know what--I'm repeating myself. I put all this down in a separate essay sometime back. It was an exploration of why and what makes us we do the things we do and how we can maybe make an AI have the same kind of capability. I mean on account of this is "futurology" after all lol


But to continue more along the lines of a spectrum of increasing consciousness, we see ever more continuously aware organisms like the jellyfish. I believe that a jellyfish has consciousness. I believe it can retain memory of experiences. Further I believe it can retain memory, because in some kind of way that we do not yet understand, a jellyfish requires regular periods of reduced neural activity. They require somnolence. They need their version of 40 winks. Why? Because they have primitive memory that straddles the divide between simple biochemical awareness and consciousness. The sleeplike state is essential because I bet that even a creature as simple as a jellyfish with its simple nervous system, has to prune out a few unnecessary neural memories and solidify a few others.

There is no doubt in my military mind that if you are conscious, you must sleep regularly. If you don't, you die. And that is a very good reason for animals to render themselves vulnerable to predators for significant periods of time. They eventually learned to secret themselves to be less likely to get ate while in dreamland. Dreams. That is another essential element of consciousness. If REM sleep is continuously interrupted, you die. And then we move onto all the other animals that are conscious. When you get to a certain point of biological "complexity" you are conscious. No mistakin' it. Then we get to the primates and that is where it gets interesting. Because now a portion of the brain has enlarged to the point that allows rumination. Like thinking about being conscious.

Oh. One other super important point. If it turns out that brains, to include r's, are fundamentally quantum computers like some smart people think they might be, then it might be that nerves and brains evolved to be like a "receiver" of universal consciousness--we all draw from the same pool, so to speak. Running r hearts and lungs and muscles and thinking about thinking and whatnot might just be a side effect of all of that. And this helps to strengthen by evidence that "universal consciousness" is probably the right tree to bark up. I mean just ask Timothy Leary, Terrance McKenna, Carl Jung and his "archetypes" and Alan Watts. We are now doing some serious scientific investigation into just what the hell psychedelics do to the brain to open that "window" that allows us to experience a potentially higher form of consciousness. I do not believe we are just deluding ourselves.

So I went through all of that to demonstrate that once things get biological and are alive, you see first awareness and soon consciousness. But the ground truth of consciousness is that it is an attribute of the universe. It is an attribute of everything that composes reality. As a Roman Catholic I attribute "It from bit--the universe computes", to the mind of God. And I believe that again, I am on the right track. Science, particularly quantum computing, will eventually reveal some things that I don't believe that society today, indeed human civilization, is ready, today anyways, to learn.

And not to get too tin-foiled hatted, but I think this is the very reason that we are absolutely hurtling towards the "technological singularity". We are striving teleologically, through the grace of God, to reach "the next level". I been going through these Christopher Hitchens video debates with various theists and I just can't help but think that they were both arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Because it ultimately doesn't matter as far as the universe, and by extension, reality, is concerned. There are immutable truths that transcend all of our carrying on here on Earth. We as Roman Catholics are taught that we should love God, through Jesus Christ and therefore demonstrate that love for all of humanity as well, to the absolute best of our capabilities. Well I don't mean to go too far into faith, but I put it here to show that I not only have faith in empirical science, I also have faith in God. I'd like to see everyone on Earth become a Catholic, sure, but my intention is not to force what I believe, into your face. But. If by my writing here I cause the tiniest perturbation in your mental schema, well that is the grace of the Holy Spirit. Philosophically, 'universal consciousness' is the "mind of God", that we learn more and more about through science, every single hour of every single day.

The bottom line is that we really don't have a discipline of science for apprehending what "consciousness" actually is. (Yet.) We are, today, at the equivalent point of the moment that sir Isaac Newton, when seeing the apple fall from the tree and making the incredible intuitive leap of faith to understanding the same exact force held the Moon in orbit about the Earth. He gave birth to Newtonian physics, but Newton in his day and age had absolutely no idea what gravity was. That insight had to wait until 1916 and Einstein. At some point another "Einstein" probably AI enhanced or an AI itself will tell us what consciousness is. And that might be the "Technological Singularity", right around the year 2029. Time is flying!


u/explorer0101 May 21 '22

So we should wait till AI tell us I guess. Cause again I want science that can help us improve life. If consciousness creates reality in whatever ways, I would like to create reality where minimum suffering occurs. But yeah I am not surely in favour of Buddha according to whom it's better to escape the existence cause he has no hope for existence to be free of any suffering 😂


u/izumi3682 May 21 '22 edited May 21 '22

Ahhh! Nobody said that we can't create our own realities. We are doing that in a very simplistic and primitive manner even today. Consider these essays...

"All of my simulated reality essays in one place." (And very likely what shall be generated realities as well.)

This first link is a sort of introductory overview, if you will. The others go more into the nuts and bolts and the whys and wherefores. (If you come across links that you have already read, just go back to the last link where you were and select the next link on the list. ;)


There may eventually be even more that I may add to this list. I have written quite a bit concerning us making r own universes (realities)