Science, Consciousness and the Nature of Reality
This Science page is a very brief introduction to where Neuroscience, Mainstream Physics, Digital Physics, areas of Philosophy and Mathematics, Cutting Edge Science, Eastern Traditions and the President of TLC stand on the subject of consciousness and mind/matter interaction and the nature of reality.
At the bottom of the page you will find an array of resources to further explore the issues raised within this article.
The big question for the mainstream is… Are life and consciousness connected to the fundamental level of reality?
Those who research into this subject say, “Consciousness defines our existence and reality, but the mechanism by which the brain generates thoughts and feelings remains unknown.”
Scientists use the following two processes to define things.
- Defining something through a higher set. With this method you would say for instance that a table is a piece of furniture, love is an emotion, but consciousness is a ‘what’, it has no higher set definition.
- Giving something an operational definition like, flight is when you defy gravity, love is when I give my time to help others, but Consciousness is when you do ‘what’. When you are just sat doing absolutely nothing you are still conscious.
So, these two strategies used by science to define something cannot be applied to consciousness.
The following are the three basic assumptions that Neuroscience applies to the study of consciousness.
- Consciousness cannot formally be defined.
- The so-called ‘hard problem’, which is what is the difference between consciousness and unconsciousness – what is happening between those two states, what turns the water into wine?
- Consciousness is generated by, for and of the brain.
For neurosciences to consider the consciousness problem they think of the provenance of consciousness as being related to the brain.
So, Neuroscience cannot define consciousness, they believe that there are two states of it – conscious and unconscious – and they think that the brain produces it.
Science and Subjectivity
Any scientific explanation of consciousness must include its quintessential feature : subjectivity.
Subjectivity is an anathema to science and the study of consciousness in the UK is still an area that is shunned to the point where it has been described as a CLM (a Career Limiting Move).
Scientists fear qualitative things; they want to turn the study of consciousness into something that is scientifically tractable which means they want to know how to control it.
At Princeton University there is a department that specifically performs scientific research into consciousness related physical phenomenon or the mind/matter problem. This is the PEAR program – Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research.
For nearly thirty years they have been studying the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, systems, and processes to better understand the role of consciousness in establishing physical reality. Many hundreds of experiments have proved that the mind can control physical matter but they do not know how.
Contemporary Physics is now searching for the Higgs Boson thought to be the signature particle crucial to the understanding of the origin of mass but, the theoretical physicists have already stated that even if the Higgs is discovered and vindicates the so called standard model of physics, which envisages the universe being made from 12 basic building blocks called fundamental particles which are governed by four fundamental forces, it will not explain EVERYTHING.
Mainstream science believes that this reality, the one you are experiencing right now, is the only one, the fundamental one and that somehow it created itself with a big bang. It caused itself.
This idea is called the objective causal model and it is the lynch pin of modern science. Using this model everything can/must be measured, the whole universe is objective and this concept extrapolates to human beings living dying and that being the absolute end.
Mainstream science is searching for its TOE – Theory Of Everything, a theory that explains the whole kit and caboodle.
A Big TOE theory is correct if it:
- Explains ALL the existing objective data (e.g., quantum mechanics, relativity, the measurement problem, why geometric fractals represent physical reality so well, intuition, placebo effect, Metaphysics, theology, paranormal, “backwards causality” experiments)
- AND explains all the subjective data.
- Predicts new objective data (e.g., conscious computers, near-term genetic learning, and manipulating uncertainty).
- Stands up to tests and the data is found to be true. Specific subjective data can sometimes be verified by statistical inference.
Edward Fredkin is one of the pioneers of digital physics. In the ’90s he delivered a peer reviewed paper stating that reality is a computer itself, implemented on a computer that it is in essence digital and informational. However, when asked where the digital simulation was being streamed from he said “from Other” implying ‘not from here’, not from physical reality.
Fredkins idea is that there might be just one model, one formal model of computation in which every single step of the computational corresponds one to one to potentially visible or measurable bits of physics phenomenon. This one to one concept might solve the problem of having so many universal and incomplete models of computation
Over the next few decades other scientists and mathematicians also posited that we live in a computer simulation and that our physical world is a virtual reality.
Nick Bostrom, Professor, Faculty of Philosophy & Oxford Martin School, Director, Future of Humanity Institute, Director, Programe on the Impacts of Future Technology, University of Oxford wrote “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation”.
Abstract This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.
Brian Whitworth Faculty Member Institute of Information and Mathematical Science wrote “The Physical World as a Virtual Reality”. Here is the conclusion of a recent paper from Brian Whitworth - The Light of Existence.
The current denial of the reality of quantum states is doctrinal not logical, sustained by a scientific “faith” that physicality is all there is, against the evidence that quantum states are a non-physical reality and that quantum collapse is a non-physical choice.
In conclusion, the world of physics cannot be an objective reality, but could be a virtual one, spawned by quantum processes. When matter was first attributed to unseen atoms, scientists like Ernst Mach didn’t believe what was eventually accepted. When atoms were found to arise from even smaller electrons, protons and neutrons, again unseen, it was again accepted. Now nucleons are supposed to arise from quarks that are forever unseeable, as they cannot exist alone. All this, science accepts as strange but true, but when quantum theory finds the most fundamental constituent of all to be a numerical probability, it says “Enough!” This, it seems, is a step too far. How can the quantum answer to life, the universe and everything be just a number 35? So at the end of this scientific journey, will humanity stop and call the final result just fiction?
It is to this place, that others shun, the virtual reality conjecture takes us, not to shock or amuse but to progress. It asserts what quantum theory implies – that a photon really is an unseen existence cloud, that this cloud does non-locally collapse, that it indeed only physically arrives when observed, that it really only chooses a physical path when it arrives and that non-physical counterfactuals really do change physical outcomes. Only in a physical world created by quantum processing are such things possible.
The bottom line is that the information that we have about this reality actually fits the virtual model far better then the Objective Causal model but no one has breached the consciousness problem. Or so it has been assumed.
Tom Campbell has excelled as a working scientist, a professional physicist dedicated to pushing back the frontiers of cutting edge technology, large-system simulation, technology development and integration, and complex system vulnerability and risk analysis.
For the past thirty years, Tom Campbell has been focused on scientifically exploring the properties, boundaries, and abilities of consciousness.
My Big TOE is a model of existence and reality that is based directly on Campbell’s scientific research and first hand experience. It represents the results and conclusions of thirty years of careful scientific exploration of the boundaries and contents of reality from both the physical and metaphysical viewpoints. The author has made every effort to approach his explorations without bias or preconceived notions. There is no belief system, dogma, creed, or unusual assumptions at the root of My Big TOE.
By demanding high quality repeatable, empirical, evidential data to separate what’s real (exists independently and externally) from what’s imaginary or illusory; Campbell has scientifically derived this general model of reality.
MBT theory is original.
It starts with a couple of assumptions: Assumption 1: A potential energy form (call it “primordial consciousness”) exists – a medium capable of self- modification the potential for consciousness exists; Assumption 2: In systems with many complex potential outcomes, evolution directs and encourages change toward more profitable states of being – evolution exists; and then logically derives the results.
Secondly it takes these results and produces physics with them.
It solves the two biggest problems in physics, namely why the speed of light is invariant under the motion of its own velocity and why particles are probability distributions.
It solves all the mind matter problems, backwards causality problems and the accelerated expansion of the universe problem and also solves the problem of what came before the big bang.
And it then takes the same process that is used in quantum mechanics and applies it to the macro scale, to every day life and sees how all of it just fits into one scientific understanding.
MBT has an application not only to science but also to the individual in every day life.
Here are some of the most life altering and mind expanding results that MBT theory has uncovered
- The only thing that is fundamental is consciousness – all else is virtual.
- Consciousness is a self modifying evolving digital information system.
- The consciousness system is finite and imperfect.
- Physical reality is a virtual reality.
- There are many virtual reality frames and we exist in several of them.
- Physical and non physical are not fundamental – it is only a matter of perspective (Next level of relativity theory: there is no fundamental reality frame).
- Evolution criteria, Love, and spiritual growth are all defined in terms of entropy a measurable quantity.
- Three databases define all that is likely to happen, all that did happened and all that might have happened but didn’t (these are called the Akashic records in Hindu theology).
- There is no such thing as an objective reality – all reality is interpreted. Light, energy, energy bodies, guides, chakras, oversoul, higher self, Reiki symbols, acupuncture technique, Ouija boards, pendulum oracles, I Ching, etc. are all metaphors/tools – consciousness is the only active ingredient.
- The paranormal is perfectly normal.
- Quantum Mechanics is derivable from first principles.
- Physics and metaphysics become one understanding.
- Metaphysics, philosophy and theology all become transparent and one can easily see and derive the threads of Big Truth that run through them.
These are just the tip of the iceberg.
Buddhism, Vedanta and Taoism express the philosophy of non-dualism, which is the concept of ONENESS. Generally speaking these traditions say that when you have realized the nature of your mind and the Universe are non dual (everything is connected), you become enlightened.
They also say that the physical world is an illusion, an artificial construct, which Yogis and Zen masters after many years of practice, learn to shift in and out of at will.
Philip Goldberg makes the case that Eastern religions are more amenable to science. Western religion, he implies, relies more on unprovable theological constructs to bolster its claims.
“Religion comes into conflict with science when it is defined by unprovable claims that can be dismissed as superstitions, and when it treats as historical facts stories that read like legends and myths to non-believers…”
He goes on to outline a brief 20th century history of eastern sages collaborating with western scientists to forge a science of consciousness.
Most of the Hindu gurus, Yoga masters, Buddhist monks and other Asian teachers who came to the West framed their traditions in a science-friendly way. Emphasizing the experiential dimension of spirituality, with its demonstrable influence on individual lives, they presented their teachings as a science of consciousness with a theoretical component and a set of practical applications for applying and testing those theories. Most of the teachers were educated in both their own traditions and the Western canon; they respected science, had actively studied it, and dialogued with Western scientists, many of whom were inspired to study Eastern concepts for both personal and professional reasons.
The interaction of Eastern spirituality and Western science has expanded methods of stress reduction, treatment of chronic disease, psychotherapy and other areas. But that is only part of the story. Hindu and Buddhist descriptions of higher stages of consciousness have expanded psychology’s understanding of human development and inspired the formation of provocative new theories of consciousness itself. Their ancient philosophies have also influenced physicists, among them Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg and J. Robert Oppenheimer, who read from the Bhagavad Gita at a memorial service for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his landmark TV series Cosmos, Carl Sagan called Hinduism the only religion whose time-scale for the universe matches the billions of years documented by modern science.”
President of TLC, Daghda MacCuolahan
After spending many years studying physics, metaphysics, philosophy and theology, working with some splendid teachers, experiencing a great many spontaneous and self initiated non-physical experiences along with some interesting paranormal experiences followed by lecturing on consciousness related subjects, I came across MBT theory, read it, re read it, tasted the pudding by applying the theory to every day life and to my non physical explorations, spoke and corresponded with others who had done likewise and discovered for myself that consciousness is in fact fundamental and everything else is virtual. What we call reality is a virtual simulation and a subset of the LCS – Larger Consciousness System. With discipline and tenacity the LCS can be breached, explored and quantified.
The Larger Consciousness system is an open ended dynamic equilibrium of opposing forces, not a system to generate perfection. It is important to remain open minded and skeptical, to learn to live with uncertainty and to let go of the need to assume answers so that you can pretend to be in charge. Tasting the pudding personally is the best foot forward and learning to love yourself more by facing fears head on and demolishing your ego leads you to be able to be less self serving and more giving.
Learning how to focus your awareness is a prerequisite, not only for consciousness exploration but also for the discovery of your own potential as a multi dimensional being.
- Neuroscience cannot define consciousness and believes that the brain produces it.
- Mainstream science thinks that all reality is objective and causal – that it caused itself. PEAR labs who delve into the mind matter interaction know that the mind can move physical objects, remote view etc, but have no idea how.
- Digital Physics say that all changes in physical nature are a consequence of digital informational processes, nature is finite and reality is a virtual simulation however the question of where the simulation is ‘streamed’ from has not been answered.
- Philos0phy – one area of philosophy is arguing that it is likely that we are living in a computer simulation.
- Mathematics – Brian Whitworth concludes that the world of physics cannot be an objective reality, but could be a virtual one, spawned by quantum processes.
- MBT Theory says that Consciousness is fundamental everything else is virtual, what we call reality is a sub set of the Larger Consciousness system, that reality is subjective and probabilistic and that we are individuated units of consciousness, individual but all netted together – we are all ONE.
- Eastern Philosophies have always stated that we are all ONE, reality its an illusion and that Yogis and Zen Masters can with many years of practice leave their bodies to explore outside of this reality.
- President of TLC – Consciousness is fundamental everything else is virtual, we are all ONE, individual but connected to the whole and that the nature and mechanics of reality have at long last been put into a comprehensive and cohesive theory that is not too difficult for non scientists to read.
- How does the brain generate consciousness? Baroness Susan Greenfield. YouTube (~65 minutes).
- The Finite Nature by Edware Fredkin cited by Tommaso Bolognesi at JOUAL round-table. YouTube (~3 minutes).
- Commentry The Finite Nature Hypothesis of Edward Fredkin. Ross Rhodes.
- Are You Living in a Computer Simulation? Nick Bostrom.
- Why Reality is a Computed Simulation. YouTube (~4 minutes).
- Brian Whitworth. Chapter 1: The emergence of the physical world from information processing; Chapter 2: Simulating Space and Time; Chapter 3: The Light of Existence.
- Tom Campbell NYC MBT Master Workshop. Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. YouTube.
- Consciousness Studies: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Introductory essay or full book.
- Exploring Consciousness: Six Years with Yogis and Tibetan Buddhists. Dr Serena Roney-Dougal. Word Document (90 KB).
- The Scream by Edvard Munch, a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (3.0) image
- Neurons, In Vitro Color!, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial (2.0) image from thelunch_box’s photostream
- Scientist counting chromosomes, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from nihlibrary’s photostream
- 558 – Matrix Readout – Seamless Texture, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from zooboing’s photostream
- My Big TOE – The Complete Trilogy by Thomas Campbell
- Sri Yantra by Daghda MacCuolahan