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We Are the Universe Experiencing Itself

Authored By: 
The Beekman School

In my Astronomy class at The Beekman School, I often refer to a scene in Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos series, where he states that humans are the universe looking back at itself. I explain that this is traditionally referred to as an anthropic statement. It’s also not far from the old kabbalistic adage that the universe exists because God wished to behold God, not the declaration that all is the lila of Shiva - the play of consciousness. The only difference between the assertion in Cosmos and the traditionally metaphysical ones is a point of reference. One emphasizes humans as front and center to Totality, while the other, more traditionally metaphysical ones put Totality first, humans second.  But these nonetheless regard at their core a consciousness that is behind creation.

Although many a scientist will abhor a model of the Universe that involves a necessary consciousness component, the idea just does not seem to want to go away. I noticed that there were a few mentions recently to Panpsychism. Panpsychism, from Wikipedia, is the view that consciousness, mind or soul (psyche) is a universal and primordial feature of all things. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panpsychism). Another article for Medium is about Chris Langan’s Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe. (https://medium.com/@variantofone/explaining-the-ctmu-cognitive-theoretic-model-of-the-universe-163a89fc5841).

In this article the author attempts to explain a theory that states that reality is a “self aware, self conscious construct, aka it is intelligent.” Through a discussion starting with the birth of reality from quantum foam deciding its own set of laws all the way to the neurons in our brains and their constituent atoms, the author states that atoms are information processors since the brain is an information processor. And as such, atoms have a real (although extremely low level) form of intelligence. And since all atoms are within the bounds of reality and receive radiation from each other, “this makes reality everywhere, at all times, perceiving itself in an act of contemplation or self modeling (which is what minds do).” He goes on to state, “Reality is everywhere self similar and self processing, a symmetry.”

Another piece on Panpsychism is Consciousness in the universe: A review of the ‘Orch OR’ theory https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064513001188?via%3Dihub#se0020

That even has a commentary from Deepka Chopra. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064513001590

Yet a third piece, delves into these ideas: http://bigthink.com/philip-perry/the-universe-may-be-conscious-prominent-scientists-state

Again, no self-respecting scientist will quickly embrace the notion of a consciousness-linked universe, if ever at all. However, I do think it’s worth being aware of the idea. But perhaps instead of referring to it in my Astronomy class, I’ll leave it to my Philosophy class. I teach that too.

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