Scientists tell us that the universe was born about 13.8 billion years ago. Through the eons that passed, our modern lives evolved from nothing into the complex situations that we find ourselves immersed in and call the present time. Everyone seems to have a theory of why this is so. Some ideas seem much better than others, yet all lead that same demise that our emotional states want desperately to reject, the cessation of being itself.
We try to contemplate the nature of the world—develop ideas about the building blocks of nature that create this world around us—by looking into the atoms that make our physical universe searching for the smallest particles.
Is there such a thing as the smallest particles? How could there be? Something would always be smaller than the smallest until it disappeared into infinity—which is exactly what matter seems to do.
Matter seems to be made of vibrating wave frequencies. Electrons have different states of energy. We see solidity in our immediate world, but the micro world seems to be a sea of informational energy that creates the appearance of solidity, while most of the manifest universe is a vacuum in space. We do not live in the micro-world. We know that if we crash into these solid mountains of elemental rocks, it will injure or destroy us.
Donald Hoffman—professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine—wrote: “On the other side are quantum physicists, marveling at the strange fact that quantum systems don’t seem to be definite objects localized in space until we come along to observe them—whether we are conscious humans or inanimate measuring devices. Experiment after experiment has shown—defying common sense—that if we assume that the particles that make up ordinary objects have an objective, observer-independent existence, we get the wrong answers. The central lesson of quantum physics is clear: There are no public objects sitting out there in some preexisting space. As the physicist John Wheeler put it, “Useful as it is under ordinary circumstances to say that the world exists ‘out there’ independent of us, that view can no longer be upheld.”
Hoffman continues: “Not only are they ignoring the progress in fundamental physics, they are often explicit about it. They’ll say openly that quantum physics is not relevant to the aspects of brain function that are causally involved in consciousness. They are certain that it’s got to be classical properties of neural activity, which exist independent of any observers—spiking rates, connection strengths at synapses, perhaps dynamical properties as well. These are all very classical notions under Newtonian physics, where time is absolute and objects exist absolutely. And then [neuroscientists] are mystified as to why they don’t make progress. They don’t avail themselves of the incredible insights and breakthroughs that physics has made. Those insights are out there for us to use, and yet my field says, “We’ll stick with Newton, thank you. We’ll stay 300 years behind in our physics.”
In other words, Hoffman thinks that the universe itself if a mental conception composed of independent conscious agents with varying degrees of complexity, all of which are but informational viewpoints that communicate with one another. From the smallest to the largest, all are composed of the same non-material—awareness and consciousness. Communicating conscious agents can merge to form other conscious agents.
DOES IT MATTER?
Does it matter much if the universe is a mental conception or a physical reality? Are the results not the same? Both lead to the same questions and dilemmas either way. Saying that nothing really exists does not change anything because it still exists. Notions that awareness can sleep, wake, be unaware, and dream again through infinity is the most interesting mythos.
Can an understanding of the cosmos as a mental conception be an emotional solace to existential anxiety?
Life becomes one riddle after another for the thinking person. Solving one riddle creates many more to take their place. Debunking one myth leads to another, as the world is both mystic and mythic.
We peer into the universe with our telescopes and our probes and find awe-inspiring beauty of all kinds. Who can object to the beauty of Saturn’s rings set in the blackness of the sky or the wonderful things that nature provides for our eyes and ears to hear and see? At the same time, we wonder why these things even exist for us to see. Why should the beauty of the world go unseen and unappreciated for billions of years, waiting to be seen and appreciated for billions of years while intelligent life on Earth evolves enough to care about it? Who or what experienced these wonders before the dawn of time or the emergence of living things? What was the observer that brought our universe into view?
This is where the idea of a mental conception of the world is most convincing. In order for there to have been an evolutionary past through the birthing of elements in stars, there had to be an observer.
Many believe that God is the creator of the universe and experienced the void of the universe alone long before the world came into being, but everyone has their own conception of what this God might be. The Abrahamic religions give God a male gender, a father figure—though giving birth to the universe seems to be a female attribute. Cultures create their own myths to explain their existence.
In the long run, does it matter whether God created the universe (as some religions claim) or physicality came into being and evolved into the present (as some scientists believe). Either point of view is obsolete with quantum mechanics. Yet, both views point to an event from an undefinable zero dimension. Whether we call it Creation or the Big Bang, we refer to the same event that came from beyond time and space.
Some assume our universe came from the remnants of a previous universe. Some think it came from nothing at all, and some say something cannot come from nothing.
I, for one, find it much easier to visualize timelessness than to envision the beginnings and endings of time. I also find it easy to visualize timelessness as having no concept of duration yet is focused on experience instead. The timelessness of the dimensions above our own experience seems to perfectly balance our mortal experiences with the immortal potential of our existence. Duration is a concept stamped upon experience by intellectual branders. Someone dreamed up the idea of measuring time but did not really comprehend the nature of timelessness and pure experience. How long the experience is felt is not nearly as important as the experience itself.
Where did our consciousness reside before we came to be born? Is it possibly the same non-place in which we dwell when we die? We have all experienced the place where our awareness of ourselves was blank and united with everything. Before we began to exist in this time and space, we all experienced a blank infinity of time and memory. On a personal level, eternity is that which your consciousness was before this life experience. Eternity can be pictured as a sleeping form of awareness that—when awakened—develops sensory experience such as touch and perceptions. In time, the subconscious and the self-conscious carry out the business of life and survival. As the universe is born from infinity, we are as well. Infinity is that which was before this life experience. The world about us is similar to a continuous dream that is made real by our consciousness awareness.
Because the zero dimension is static and unchanging, the first and second dimensional structures are also timeless in that they are everywhere at once. That there is structure in the lower dimensions has some experimental evidence.
“So far, there may already be one piece of experimental evidence for the existence of a lower-dimensional structure at a higher energy scale. When observing families of cosmic ray particles in space, scientists found that, at energies higher than 1 TeV, the main energy fluxes appear to align in a two-dimensional plane. This means that, above a certain energy level, particles propagate in two dimensions rather than three dimensions.” (https://phys.org/news/2011-03-physicists-dimensions-universe.html#jCp)
The appearance of first and second dimensions begin the structure of our physical universe. Time is of no concern in these dimensions. The second dimension creates space where energies can move and react, physical fields can form universally in this dimension. The third dimension ads depth and height and the fourth expands space by creating the duration that we know as time.
Everything in the universe is projected in three dimensions from its zero dimensional source. It has been called the Void, God, Infinity, First Cause, The Great Spirit, Universal Mind, or many other such name devised to express the idea of an unknowable non-thing that is beyond existence, being and conception.
Infinity, since it contains all things and all events began from within it, must be the source of the physical laws that we discover in nature. The finite is contained within infinity.
INFINITY AND THE UNIVERSE
There are those who cannot accept that there is such a thing as infinity. They consider infinity a simple conception or a mathematical symbol. For some people, the dogmatic religious world hurt them emotionally when they came realize that that the dogma the world fed them is false.
But it is not that easy to dismiss infinity. If something is finite, then there must be something that is not finite. That would be the infinite.
1 a: the quality of being infinite. b: unlimited extent of time, space, or quantity: boundlessness. 2: an indefinitely great number or amount such as an infinity of stars.
When we think about how the world about us came to be, we have only two choices. It has a beginning or it is endless and has no beginning. Having no beginning leaves us in a quandary, as the universe should have run out of energy and depleted itself long, long ago. There would have to be a continual creation of new energy to replace that which was lost to the entropy of dissipation for a universe to be eternal.
If no universe existed before the Big Bang, then what was there? What was in its place when there was no place? Nothing? But nothing cannot exist because it has no being. The ‘it’ we seek cannot be anything but infinite and boundless nothingness which cannot have existence.
The world, it is said, cannot come from nothing. ‘Nothingness’ may not operate under the same laws of physics by which ‘somethingness’ operates. We cannot assume anything about the physics within nothingness. We cannot really say anything about what nothing is.
However, there are potentially satisfactory answers to the puzzle of eternity, infinity and first causes. These answers are simple to understand by any person that is able to shed his or her preconceptions that have been fostered by the cultural experience.
That answer is that physical reality is built in dimensional layers. The first dimension is infinite and eternal—no beginning nor endings—no particular spot in space nor place in time.
The first dimension is an infinite point that contains all that is possible to exist within it because it is all that exists. It is much like the singularity that the Big Bang theorists posit as the infinity dense point from which all came. The universe always exists within this eternal first-dimension, but not in physical form.
The second dimension is a flat plane which spreads in all directions from the infinite point. Being infinite as well, this dimension has no beginnings and endings.This second-dimension is without the perception of time, but originates all further dimensional experience. It is the foundation for the concept of space.
Ultimately, dimensions are viewpoints. Viewpoints are mental constructions. Each dimension contains all the information from the previous dimension while adding important new perceptions.
The two-dimensional line, for example, is the point replicating itself over and over, appearing to travel in a straight line, a vector from the original infinite point. The universal lines that form the universal field is the repetition of the infinite point throughout space. The point is endless and timelessly recurrent. By the expansion of its being, the point fuses with those primal copies of itself to form space and a second dimension.That fusion releases vast amounts of virtual energy that radiates from the original point to form myriads of universal fields. As this radiation spreads there is an expansion of space in the second-dimension.
It is the second dimension that contains the blueprint for the three-dimensional world we see with height, length and width. The two-dimensional universe is flat, like a blueprint. The beginning of the universe is easily comprehended if we hold the view that the physical laws which determine the mathematics, probabilities and shapes essential to universal existence exists in the second dimension. We do not create these laws and principles. We discover them.
As a picture of the natural world can be recorded on flat surfaces like paper and film from the artists perspective, the second dimension can hold our three-dimensional viewpoint in an encoded series of digital bits.
The third and fourth dimensions limit the space of the second, changing its physicality to a closed, temporal space where duration, height, volume, and depth become apparent. The process can be visualized as similar to the Japanese art of origami where three dimensional space is unfolded from the two dimensional patterns. By the folding of space, volume, height, and width emerge in a three-dimensional universe, but some space is lost in the process, the same way that some paper is lost on origamic folds. The three-dimensional universe is finite.
The step to physical reality comes through events in four-dimensional space.
Four-dimensional space combines time and duration with three dimensional space. It is the basis for the theory of relativity. Time and space are fused and effect one another as the fourth-dimension emerges and posits another aspect to the third dimensional viewpoint.
In this simple explanation of dimensions, there is a missing ingredient of vital importance to the universe—the mental component of the observation.
THE MENTAL UNIVERSE
Awareness precedes physical existence in quantum mechanics. Awareness is invisible. It cannot be touched or measured, yet it is ever present even when we are not conscious of it. Awareness builds consciousness through the fusion of random information into organized information.
The cosmos is projected into being from a non-dimensional and timeless zero dimension. Even if the remains of previous universes should form the present incarnation, those first universes have to start somewhere. That somewhere is beyond time. It has to come from the non-dimensional.
What we experience comes from our personal consciousness—our awareness of being in the moment. What is this awareness? Is it a sense that arises from our human brains and nervous systems? If so, then awareness dies when we die. Are plants are aware? Are microbes aware? If you think they are not, perhaps you have the wrong conception of what awareness is.
Many people think that awareness emerges late in evolutionary history. To some, it is unthinkable that awareness should precede evolutionary development. Consider an unthinking rock or an ignorant chemical reaction. Where is this awareness in primal nature? What causes awareness to rise in the first place? Is it inherent in the natural order? Are reactions awareness, or are we mincing words? Are interactions aware?
In quantum physics an observer and an interaction is the same thing. Only objects interact. Even a particle colliding with another particle is an interaction and therefore an observation as well. Observations and interactions do not need to have to have concepts to produce effects and events. They are the events.
Our awareness uses the tools of perception to identity itself and the outer world. Were dinosaurs unaware? Are single-celled life forms unaware? A better question is to ask if they have any form of perception. Obviously, if they react to stimuli they have some form of perception. If they have perception, they have awareness—not on the grand scale that mammals have developed, but their reaction to observation and touch shows that they have awareness built into their systems.
Quantum mechanics posits that the universe is a connected unit, each part having an effect upon another. Everything in space and time has a cause and an effect. If it has no cause and effect, it is not in space and time. Quantum mechanics also posits that events must have an observer/interaction to be an event. The event itself would not happen unless and until it is observed.The interaction itself is an observation.
This is another clue that the world might be a mental system with a physical component. Observers are generally thought of as being people, but they can also be a system. An observer is person or a system that observes. In other words, before we can have a world, we need events. To have events we need an observer. To have an observation we need awareness of an object or an event.
The essential quality for an observation or an interaction is to have awareness of an object. Awareness, then, is the first cause for the existence of time and space. All things are not only produced by awareness in its myriads of localized forms, but all things are formed from the eternal and non-material awareness which has always been present in the eternal now.
Something has to be a first cause for the parade of time and space to exist. This first cause cannot be material, yet the material world was produced from it. Our dreams are not material nor real, but the fields involved in neural synapses produce what appear as images in our minds. This is similar to the construction of the universe as well.
Awareness is invisible. It is not something that we can touch or measure, yet it is ever present even when we are not consciously aware of anything.
Awareness is the observer that is awakened by reactions to objects from within and outside ourselves. These reactions to our inner and outer worlds create information that eventually organizes itself and becomes experience.
Awareness does not need the concept of time and space. It creates time and space when it awakens to stimulus from another.
Awareness is all that is necessary for the building of a universe.
Awareness is the proper name for the concept of the mind of God.
Nature is the child of awareness.