Why is there space and matter, and why do we feel things (and have free will)?
We know about the Big Bang. It happened. No arguing there. What that means is that we can pretty reliably use mathematical models to extrapolate current states and trends backwards in time to a point to the sudden expansion of the Universe.
That point, however, is for all practical purposes still infinitely far removed from what actually set off the Big Bang, inflationary expansion and the creation of all matter and space as we know it. Sure there are some pea-brain ideas about p-branes, circular time and whatnot, but there is still no generally accepted explanatory theory for the actual start of everything from nothing.
We also know there is consciousness. You know it and I know it. That more or less is what consciousness is: sensing, knowing, being aware. That what it is to be conscious is what consciousness is, and we all have it. If you don’t, you’re a zombie, a placeholder, a non-player character. In short, if you’re not conscious, you’re not; and then you don’t know what consciousness is. Otherwise you do.
Some like to claim that “not even science knows what consciousness is“.
Exactly, scientists don’t know what it is, because they are mostly reductionists and emergentists. They are reductionists in that they believe all things 1) are things, and 2) all things can be broken down into their fundamental components (little ‘billiard balls’ like quarks and electrons, or strings, or “fields”). Scientists are looking for that ultimate one field, string or particle, as well as the one ruling set of equations that govern the ultimate underlying field. That ‘field’ and that ‘equation’ are what I am talking about when I talk of consciousness, that which started it all. The One concept at the ultimate beginning. How it started is an unanswerable question. That there ‘suddenly’ was something rather than nothing is impossible for a physical something in physical reality to grasp.
Scientists are emergentists in that, in the reigning paradigm, they for the most part believe non-conscious fields, and their temporarily measured manifestations as particles through their interrelations, create self-awareness – i.e., consciousness, through a magical process called emergence.
Again, they start with a dead building block, claim these building blocks perform a kind of ‘dance’ with other such building blocks, since the particles can somehow sense each other through a field. They then go on to say that ‘consciousness’ arises from the dance, somewhere in the in-between of particles and fields.
That “emergence” is nothing more than saying “Hey, and then there is magic!“.
The moment before the Big Bang is exactly the same thing; the only interesting part of the story gets a hand-wawing gesture accompanied by “Oh, our models don’t work there. Our models only work after the creation of time, space, electromagnetism, gravity, matter and quantum mechanic interaction principles“
Yes, that’s right. The current regime has a lot of practical ideas of how to predict and manipulate the behaviour of matter, but nothing to say of its origins or meaning. Actually, it has even less to say about the start than nothing, since scientists openly admit that their models explicitly break down at the start, as they do inside black holes, and when it comes to consciousness, i.e., more or less everywhere things start to get interesting.
You and I know there is consciousness, but scientists look away and say “Let’s disregard that and focus on something we can measure: particles“. What scientists miss is that particles are just what a consciousness interacts with, what is “sees”, what it chooses to see.
Particles are a social convention between consciousnesses, they are part of a playing field, a rule book: like a computer game or a book. What happens on the screen is not what happens in the CPU or hard drive. The rules for the interactions on the screen, the seeming characters, objects, walls, gravity explosions, bouncing etc., exist as rules in a machine very far removed in character from the graphic representation as icons on the screen.
You can think of how the rules in the CPU and computer memory relate to the actions on the screen as a bit closer to how consciousnesses relate to 3D-space, time, and the fundamental natural laws governing our physical experiences and interaction. In that context the brain is just a complicated “rock”, interacting with the underlying stream of consciousness. The resulting whirls, eddies, waves, turbulence, vortices around the ‘brain rock’ form our everyday experiences of consciousness in the physical realm.
Yes, science has come a long way in explaining cosmology, from the big bang, inflation and entropy to quantum mechanics, gravity and the potential heat death end of the universe.
But it has so far given up on creation, consciousness, truth, goodness and beauty. Not to mention (free) will. Sure, they keep inventing reductionist ideas of how beauty and love relates to “fitness” points in evolutionary processes – but that’s not an explanation or an ontological foundation, it’s just a reductionist play with words. Where does that self-awareness of “beauty” or “love” as attractors come from?
Anyway, those details can be quarrelled about for eternity. What I am proposing isn’t for scientist to stop looking. They are finding good stuff, stuff underlying my current mode of thinking. Physicists for example know that there is nothing at the bottom, no ‘billiard balls’, just emptiness, 1-dimensional points, rules of interaction. What we choose to measure is what we see and interact with, the rest remains hidden.
Physicists thus actually know that there is no matter (as we used to think about it). There are no canon balls dancing, governed by gravity or electromagnetism. Physicists now choose to see reality as consisting of a field or several fields manifesting as particles if we choose to observe the fields in a manner requiring a particle-like result.
To conclude, starting with an explicitly un-explained creation of all from nothing, continuing with fields or matter with an added sprinkle of magical emergence to get to consciousness, is not an explanation at all. It’s just bureaucrats playing with words and symbols. They aren’t even attempting to examine consciousness, which is the only thing we really know there is. And they and us alike know there is no matter if we look closely enough, just rules for our experience of what we’re looking at.
Then why not simply start with the idea that there is a fundamental ground of being, a something that is what it is to sense, to be aware. Perhaps the idea of a circle, the concept of no beginning, no end, but a kind of primordial self-referential, i.e., a closing in on itself. That ontological prime has no explanation as we could ever understand in the meaning of trying to reduce it further.
My ideas are no more incredible or un-explained than the ideas of the Big Bang and emergence of consciousness. It’s just another way of thinking about the building blocks. It’s actually a further reductionist view of the ontological underpinnings on what we actually observe. Since we observe both consciousness and rules for interaction (i.e., fields/particles), but there is no good way to get from particles to consciousness without magically adding consciousness, then why not start with consciousness and thus avoid the whole having-to-add-something-more theatre?
The ideas I have tried to explain in the last three posts are not saying any of the practical science and knowledge about particles, biology, cosmology, the Big Bang and so on are wrong. Not in any way.
I’m just pointing out that science has little intelligible to say about 1) what set off the Big Bang and the creation of space, time and the natural laws as we know them, 2) consciousness [as well as will] (since it is the ultimate ground of being, irreducible into anything else)