Random Thoughts on Panpsychism

woman reading a book sitting on mattress near the blue string light inside the room

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If you are given to pondering the nature of consciousness you will already be familiar with the concept of Panpsychism. I have recently posted articles on non-local consciousness theories fundamental to the basic structure of the universe so I’ll try not to go too far in that direction. In short I believe there is an inexplicable source of vibration intrinsic to the dynamics of quantum mechanics, and that—such vibration, allows for the probability of structures, to appear to be, what humans conceive of as being tangible, as well as providing a template for assigning subjective meaning to what we can observe of reality. This vibration, or cosmic consciousness, or proto-consciousness, theoretically acts like the code of a software program to allow for the probability factors within wave functions, as well as providing the base code for the random occurrence of structured anomalies, (such as human beings,) which can mitigate the potential to collapse wave functions through varying methods of observation, independent of proximity and intent.

Veering a little off topic—whether or not consciousness creates reality remains a topic of debate. It involves imagining reality as a simulation or illusion which I find to be a misleading interpretation made popular by science fiction. I believe that reality and proto-consciousness arise mutually within the confines of space and time. How this process began doesn’t really interest me because I do not believe it will ever be possible to acquire the necessary data to know for sure.

As to the coinciding debate on free-will and determinism, although the possible manifestations of reality are finite due to the underlying finite code length of proto-consciousness, there remains an adequate source of possible outcomes among fields of wave functions to allow for a self-generated field of free-will actions. Proof that this is so can be theorized upon by confirming the existence of entropy in the known history of the universe. Any universe that is known to have allowed for chaos must still hold the potential for such circumstances to reoccur. Otherwise it wouldn’t be the same universe regardless of how it evolves.

One may argue that a man who boards a train is not the same man when he gets off. However this transformation is merely an aspect of his aging process. Too much can be read into this argument, yet from another perspective of life this argument bears closer examination. Particularly in relation to the Buddhist belief that when humans die they are reborn. This core belief of Buddhist philosophy may be one that was grossly misinterpreted over the centuries. Perhaps the Buddha was trying to explain the concept of a man getting on and off the train in a similar way to his disciples so that they could better understand the immediate consequences of karma. Considering Buddhism’s history of employing perplexing koans to force students to arrive upon truth by their own devices, it seems very possible that Buddha’s disciples might have confused the true teaching with some metaphor about dying and being reborn.

Getting back to Panpsychism, I wanted to address one of the main contentions, that being that it’s difficult for some people to swallow Panpsychism because they do not believe that consciousness exists outside the confines of the brain. There is scientific data which may help convince you that a form of consciousness at some degree is intrinsic to the underlying fabric of the universe, such as can be found in the theory of Orchestrated Objective Reduction. But if you require more tangible proof, in what way could you acquire it? I don’t have anything definite to offer. But I can theorize on thought experiments that lie within the realm of possibility.

What came to my mind occurred while I was recently reading my daughter a bedside story. I was reading aloud from The Last Unicorn, the part where the unicorn was trapped by Mommy Fortuna. As I was reading, my thoughts began to drift without realizing it. It would be easy to dismiss this phenomenon as a simple process of doing two things at the same time, like walking and chewing bubblegum. Yet I’m not so sure. I read two full pages aloud while lost in thought and yet I read without making a mistake as well as reading with perfect inflection. Not only that, but I spoke the dialogue of each character in the story in a way that was appropriate to each individual character. For Mommy Fortuna I changed my voice to sound like an old witch, for Ruhk I made the voice of a carnival master, for Schmendrick I made the voice of an unsure magician, and of course for the unicorn I just softened my normal voice. I did all of this while lost in thought.

So how was it possible for me to do this? Well I think it has something to do with our ability to operate on more than one type of consciousness. I was expressing a byproduct of conscious awareness by reading written words aloud, yet simultaneously my thoughts were elsewhere. Perhaps I was daydreaming by tuning out external stimuli so that my subconscious could interact with higher consciousness. In this way I was able to visualize a scenario of other things I needed to do besides reading a book to my daughter. I think the process is too complex to write off as simply being able to do two things at the same time. After all it was an unconscious process, not one that I brought about by interacting with observable reality.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to wonder about this phenomenon. There may even be studies on it that I’m not aware of. I haven’t researched it at all. I do find it interesting food for thought however and so I am sharing my ideas on it, to pass on the flame so to speak. That’s about all I have for now.

Conan De Moe 1/31/2020

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