Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness II October 7, 2011Posted by rwf1954 in consciousness, metaphysics, nature of reality, spirituality, Uncategorized.
Tags: consciousness, metaphysics, nature of reality, spirituality
(This follows “Meditations of Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness,” originally posted on August 30, 2011.)
We exist as a series of energies arrayed in entangled fields. Our senses sift through these energy fields, creating our own unique human perceptions of reality.
Human science has attempted to poke and probe physical reality into revealing its nature. At the micro level, we have gone from molecules to atoms to electron/neutron/protons to quarks. At the level of the tiniest particles we have found there is a lot of space between particles, and the particles seem to be in constant motion. At the extreme micro level, this leads to one of the truly mind-boggling aspects of quantum physics—that the act of measuring a particle’s position and direction changes that particle’s position and direction, and that the best we can do to designate position and direction is to use probability formulas. We perceive solids, but these solids are really full of space, with tiny particles in motion, teeming with energy. Various forces rule these particles, forces that harness the energies of all these particle motions into fields. The interactions of these energy fields hold atoms, molecules and larger perceived solids together.
At the macro level, we have looked out as close as we can to the edge of what we perceive as an expanding universe. A consistent finding is that there is a lot of space between the various celestial bodies we are looking at. And our best measurements show “space” expanding at break-neck speeds, with everything in motion. We perceive reality as having a general lack of motion unless something is done to start the motion. (This is one of Newton’s basic laws of physics.) As I write these words, I’m stationary with pencil and paper (and eventually will be stationary with my word processor). But I am actually on a spinning planet, hurtling through space in orbit around a star, which itself is part of a moving galaxy, occupying an expanding space, with constituent parts accelerating away from each other and all the other galaxies. Here I am, this shimmering bundle of countless energy fields bound together, flying through space, but somehow able to contemplate the nature of it all, and perceiving myself as solid, interacting with stationary objects.
We human beings consist of a complex set of energy fields, forming a unit of consciousness, one of many such units on the planet, and likely one of even more consciousness units in the universe. As I suggested in “Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness” (August 30, 2011), consciousness is the key understanding the nature of reality and to bridging physics and metaphysics. The truth is, we barely know what consciousness is. Some argue it is entirely a product of brain, that mind completely derives from the chemical/physical reactions taking place within our skulls. When brain dies, consciousness ends. That view assumes there is only physical reality. But any contemplation of “mind,” of what we as humans are capable of with “mind,” seems to counter this idea. We suspect there has to be more than the physical—we encounter the evidence in our minds every moment. But can we cite any evidence for consciousness existing beyond brain?
Here we run into the quantum physics observation problem again. How can we reliably observe the intricacies of our own faculties without influencing the results of our own observations? Can we step out of our own orientation toward reality to make sense of how we come to understand and experience reality? This is a mind-bending task, a task that requires a willingness to throw over every assumption about reality that our education and even our senses provide to us. We will likely be looking at indirect evidence of something like the all-consciousness that I described in “Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness,”—God, or a god-force.
One huge piece of indirect evidence of something beyond only physics, beyond only a massive cauldron of interacting energy fields somehow accidentally leading to the extraordinary gift of consciousness, is provided by discoveries in physics. The universe as we know it would not be possible without a number of fundamental constants of the physical universe existing exactly as they exist. This includes constants like an atom’s mass number, Avogadro’s number in chemistry, Newton’s gravitational constant, Planck’s constant—this mentions only a few of many such constants identified by physics. If one of these basic constants was just a hair different, reality would be totally different, and life, therefore brain, could never have come into existence. Could our universe really be a lucky accident, or is there something beyond brain, beyond mere overlapping energy fields, that explains this extraordinary convergence of universal constants to create our reality? Does this imply an all-consciousness force/creator beyond physical, beyond brain, that we touch with mind? And no, we can’t say there is an obvious answer to these questions. There could be, over the vast time-scale of existence, an infinite number of “big-bangs,” forming all sorts of universes where these constants did not come together in the right combinations to form what we know as our own personal, tailor-made universe. We’re only conscious of the one that works. The rest? Just a lot of energies flying around in nothingness with no conscious life-form available to turn them from nothing into something.
But we don’t perceive the world as a cauldron of energy fields. We sense separateness—solids, colors, sounds. We share this basic perception of reality with all our fellow human beings. We may actually share the universe with other consciousnesses we are not aware of because we do not share their way of experiencing this cauldron of energy fields, their “consciousness lenses” as I called them in “Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness.”
So how do we absorb reality? First, we experience a time arrow. This is fundamental to our interface with the cauldron of energies. I believe (here is a word—needed when the unprovable comes in) that everything exists always. I have read “Big Bang scientists” say that at the beginning, everything was in contact with everything else as a small point of extremely hot, dense matter/energy/forces scrunched together under enormous pressure. Why isn’t that still true? Just time and space as separation? The results of quantum physics experiments show particles continue to interact with each other over vast distances, seeming to disregard the speed of light for whatever force is at work during the interactions. The best explanation is that these particles are still connected—they are always connected! They seem oblivious to any time arrow, existing as if there is no time arrow. This is because time’s arrow is built into us as an observational tool, as a way of sorting and understanding reality. But overall, reality makes more sense if everything exists always, and we occupy a small part of the total existence. The findings of the physical sciences, the apparent infinities as part of what we perceive as a finite universe—these may be explained with the idea that everything exists always.
Also offered in “Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness,” is the idea that our piece of the all-consciousness is like a gleam along the vast gem of the all-consciousness. Time’s arrow, the perception of space—really it’s a space-time arrow—and our senses, are gifts to allow us to experience our gleam in the all-consciousness gem.
Our physical senses are identified as sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Sight allows us to perceive light and form it into colors, shapes and distances. Our eyes and brain work together to process this information, inverting images, even filling in blind spots. (This has been confirmed experimentally).
Our ears take vibrations and turn them into sound. Again, our brain aids in the processing of this information. The perception of sound gives us the great pleasure of music, a gift that brings extraordinary joy to me personally. Music brings something beyond vibration—it is to mind as sound vibration is to brain. Humans have relished some form of music for most of their existence. I believe (yes, here is intuition over the provable again) that music touches the all-consciousness, the God force, God, in a deep and meaningful way. But that idea will need to await expansion and development at another time.
Touch allows us to perceive boundaries between our self-contained network of energy fields and other networks of energy fields. Taste is part of this—molecules interact with the nerves in our tongues to allow us to form ideas about what we should and shouldn’t consume for sustenance. Smell works similarly—particles come in contact with nerves in our noses to communicate information about nearby energy networks giving off those particles. Our brain processes this information as well. Touch is also fundamental for sharing emotional bonds between us and those we love. We embrace our loved ones—our children, our parents, our spouses. We touch to make love to reproduce. Touch is an extraordinary gift with the potential for physical pleasure. Touch also uses pain to let us know when we are encountering something that is dangerous to our physical well-being.
So we experience our gleam in the all-consciousness, from what we perceive as birth to death. For the all-consciousness, we are a tiny, tiny speck in the huge, teaming-with-energy-fields whole. For us? Consciousness creates our existence. Where do we go after our gleam is over? Back into the cauldron to be reformed into another gleam? If this was true, I believe we would have more direct evidence of it. Do we simply reexperience our gleam over and over? There is no way to answer that question. If we take only the evidence of right now, then because we are conscious, we can conclude that we are always conscious. A comforting thought when life is going well. A terrible thought when life is not going well. Heaven might be the description for great life lived always. Hell might be the description for a terrible life lived always.
So, we are bundles of energy fields, experiencing our lives through a time arrow using the senses of sight, sound and touch/taste/smell. This is our window to the all-consciousness, to perceiving a reality where everything exists always, where time and space are distinctions for us, but not true distinctions in ultimate reality. These senses, these perceptions, come together to form our consciousness, our interface with the all-consciousness. Consciousness brings us existence—what it is, how it works—still mysteries, possibly unknowable mysteries. But maybe, when physics and metaphysics come together, we will unravel these mysteries.