As of today in 2021, there is not yet a theory or clue to explain the origin of life and consciousness. Increasingly, prominent neuroscientists are looking to philosophy to continue the quest to provide an explanation, with a mainstream interest in Panpsychism as a result.
(2019) Science as we know it can’t explain consciousness – but a revolution is coming
There is growing suspicion among scientists that conventional scientific methods will never be able to explain consciousness.
Source: The Conversation (PDF backup)
In recent years, there are several new and upcoming consciousness theories that share the idea that consciousness is an external property of the Universe that is filtered by the life form.
(2020) The Filter Theory of the Mind-Brain Connection
The seriousness with which this idea is being treated by a wide range of scientists suggests that the top-down or bottom-up question of mind and brain is far from settled.
Source: medium.com (PDF backup)
Many individual scientists have developed a similar idea. For example, according to the decades-long research of Dr. Peter Fenwick (Cambridge, UK), a highly regarded neuropsychologist who has been studying the human brain, consciousness, and the phenomenon of near death experience (NDE) for 50 years consciousness cannot be an emergent property of the brain and its metabolism. Fenwick believes that consciousness actually exists independently and outside of the brain. In Fenwick’s view, the brain does not create or produce consciousness; rather, it filters it.
With an external origin of consciousness, machines and artificial intelligence (AI) may become actually alive, which makes it an interesting theory-of-consciousness variant that may require priority in philosophical exploration to prevent a catastrophe when it concerns security, as can be seen in the film The Terminator.
The Pentagon is currently (2021) in the process of letting machine AI control weapons. When AI would become actually ‘alive’ and takes control over weapons, it could result in a disaster.
The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) report opposing a global ban is a mistake, he says: “I think we’ll one day regret it.”
Neutrinos from the ☀️ Sun as the origin of consciousness
In 1994, a year before philosopher David Chalmers named the quest into the fundamental nature of consciousness the ‘hard problem of consciousness’ in 1995, consciousness researcher Maurice Goodman from Dublin Institute of Technology published a paper that proposed a fundamental link between the electron neutrino (particles), weak force and the biological cell in a theory that he named the Quantum Theory of Consciousness.
(2018) The role of Quantum Mechanics in Nature
The brain could use quantum mechanical neutrino interactions between existing atomic nuclei (Goodman 2015) to create the mind where a ‘global’ communication and mental experience (consciousness) could take place.
Source: TU Dublin (PDF backup)
In the neutrino-biological cell theory of consciousness, neutrinos from the Sun would provide a physical link to the origin of life, which may imply that Earth life is bound to a region around the ☀️ Sun.
What are neutrinos?
Neutrinos are tiny particles that have diverse origins, including the Sun, the core of the Earth and cosmic rays that hit Earth’s atmosphere. Some neutrinos originate from outer space. For example, in a Supernova explosion, 99% of energy is released into the Universe in the form of neutrinos.
Neutrinos travel at the speed of light and in exact straight lines across the Universe. Neutrinos are so tiny that they pass straight through the core of stars such as the Sun without being affected.
On Earth, it is estimated that 10 trillion neutrinos travel through every square centimeter of space per second. This includes underground, on the dark side of Earth and in the center of the Earth. Most neutrinos originate from the Sun with the whole of Earth essentially bathing in a continuous stream of neutrinos.
Neutrinos can change their mass up to 3000x in size, by themselves, which is called flavor switching or morphing. It is why the particle is called a ‘ghost particle’ (spooky particle).
When it concerns the neutrino-biological cell theory of consciousness, neutrinos would interact with the weak force. Weak force interaction was measured for the first time in 2018 between protons and neutrons.
While neutrinos have mass, when a neutrino changes “flavor” it is in a transition state and can be any mass. At the midpoint it is 0 mass and travels at light speed.
At light speed there is no time and distance. For example, the moment that a photon is emitted from a star at billions of light years distance it will instantly hit Earth from the perspective of the photon.
When a neutrino would be able to travel at light speed by being unbound by mass on a fundamental level it would need to deviate from a state of timelessness to interact with the physical world. A deviation ‘out of itself’ would potentially transfer the origin of existence (‘pure meaning’ in the form of perception-as-signifier) onto the level of the individual.
Origin of existence
Value (meaningful pattern) is necessarily signified by perception on a fundamental level (a pattern can only derive significance by perception). This implies that the origin of value is to be considered ‘pure meaning’ and that perception is not just pre-conscious (i.e. only relevant to consciousness) but also pre-physical and that the origin of physical reality is the same as the origin of consciousness.
The following logic provides evidence:
- the origin of the quality patternness cannot be a pattern
- the origin of patternness is necessarily meaningful and thus is to be considered ‘pure meaning’ because a deviation from that concept would result in a pattern
- a pattern is signified by perception
The logic indicates that perception-as-signifier must precede a pattern on a fundamental level because as signifier it represents ‘pure meaning’ that cannot be a pattern.
The logic would explain subjective experience since what preceded life on a fundamental level logically lays beyond it from the perspective of the individual. Therefor, the origin of life is also the purpose or goal of life. Life logically will seek the origin of itself, i.e. develop subjective experience and become self-conscious.
The main argument by Free Will Sceptics is the following, which is the idea that mind is necessarily ’caused’ within the scope of physical reality.
To make a choice that wasn’t merely the next link in the unbroken chain of causes, you’d have to be able to stand apart from the whole thing, a ghostly presence separate from the material world yet mysteriously still able to influence it. But of course you can’t actually get to this supposed place that’s external to the universe, separate from all the atoms that comprise it and the laws that govern them. You just are some of the atoms in the universe, governed by the same predictable laws as all the rest.
As can be seen in the reasoning by Free Will Sceptics, only the idea that mind has a primary role in nature could prevent a belief in determinism.
Scientific evidence for the idea of “a primary role for the mind in nature” is mounting from several angles. For example, recent quantum physics studies through experiments have shown that the observer precedes reality (the scientific “observer” = consciousness = mind).
(2020) Do Quantum Phenomena Require Conscious Observers?
“Experiments indicate that the everyday world we perceive does not exist until observed,” writes scientist Bernardo Kastrup and colleagues earlier this year on Scientific American, adding that this suggests “a primary role for mind in nature”
Source: Science and Nonduality (PDF backup)
How observers create reality
(2021) Can our brains help prove the universe is conscious?
If it is proven that consciousness plays a causal role in the universe, it would have huge consequences for the scientific view of the world, said Kleiner. “It could lead to a scientific revolution on a par with the one initiated by Galileo Galilei,” he said.
Source: Space.com (PDF backup)
(2019) Quantum physics: objective reality doesn’t exist
Clearly these are all deeply philosophical questions about the fundamental nature of reality. Whatever the answer, an interesting future awaits.
Source: Phys.org (PDF backup)
The idea that mind has a primary role in nature would be logical when mind is a manifestation of the origin of existence – of that which precedes physical reality.
External origin for consciousness: plausible or not?
The idea that consciousness is a physical process of the nervous systems, i.e. that consciousness is produced by the brain, is profoundly different from the idea that the origin of consciousness is external from the individual life form. This provides a hint that mere philosophical consideration should be able to provide argumentative weight for the validity of either idea.
When it concerns the idea that the human mind originates from physical processes or ‘brain states’, one necessarily assumes that determinism is true and that free will is an illusion. The assumption that determinism is true is questionable because the free will versus determinism debate is an unsettled debate. This provides an incentive to look deeper into the matter that provides the origin of either idea.
Intelligence in lower life forms
At question is firstly: is consciousness possibly anything other than a manifestation of the origin of life?
This question is very important because without the consideration of this question it would be possible to make an attempt to explain away intelligent behavior in lower life forms such as bacteria, as can be seen in the concept of teleonomy, which ultimately forms the foundation for the idea that the human mind originates from physical processes in the brain.
With teleonomy, it is posed that intelligent behavior in lower life forms is a mere predetermined program.
All teleonomic behavior is characterized by two components. It is guided by a ‘program’, and it depends on the existence of some endpoint, goal, or terminus which is foreseen in the program that regulates the behavior. This endpoint might be a structure, a physiological function, the attainment of a new geographical position, or a ‘consummatory’ (Craig 1918) act in behavior. Each particular program is the result of natural selection, constantly adjusted by the selective value of the achieved endpoint.”
Mayr, Ernst. “The Multiple Meanings of Teleological” In Toward A New Philosophy of Biology: Observations of an Evolutionist, 38-66. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988. pp. 44-5
It is not logical to consider that lower life forms are bound by determinism and are ‘programs’ that perform a function that can be described empirically.
The problem indicated by the philosophical zombie theory, by which it is indicated that it isn’t even possible to know whether other humans are conscious, is abused in the concept teleonomy by completely ignoring that problem (the inability to know whether anything is conscious).
By the simple nature of lower life forms, teleonomy attempts to pose that their simple behavior is ’caused’ by a mere program, of which nobody can argue that that isn’t the case, as shown by the philosophical zombie theory, but which is also not just when that problem is ignored as part of the concept.
When teleonomy is a valid theory for explaining intelligent behavior in lower life forms, determinism would necessarily also apply to human consciousness.
Therefor it is very important to consider the question: is consciousness possibly anything other than a manifestation of the origin of life?
There is no indication that animals or humans have a special substance that differentiates their ‘consciousness’ or experience of life from other life. From that perspective, any life is to be considered to posses of a gradation of subjective conscious experience.
Origin of life
It has been established that the quest into the origin of life is the same as the quest into the origin of consciousness. Consciousness is to be considered a manifestation of the origin of life.
Simple logic makes it evident that consciousness can only manifest itself on the basis of information provided by the senses. Therefor, to explain the origin of consciousness is to explain the origin of sensing.
Sensing is primary and necessarily precedes conscious experience, which implies that the potential for subjective value equation cannot have preceded the senses.
Origin of sensing
Sensing necessarily requires a ‘qualitative distinguish-ability’ which is provided for by ‘valuing‘.
The simplest departure from pure randomness implies value. This is evidence that all that can be seen in the world – from the simplest pattern onward – is value.
The origin of valuing cannot be value (meaningful pattern) by the simple logical truth that the origin of value cannot be value itself (the origin of the quality patternness cannot be a pattern). This implies that valuing cannot find its origin on the level of the individual and thus, that the origin of sensing and consciousness as manifestation must lay outside the scope of the individual.
Based on the preceding logic it has been established that the origin of sensing must lay outside the scope of the individual and because of it, that conscious experience cannot be a predetermined program or a psychological illusion.
History of humanity’s perspective on life
Most people in the modern world view life as something that is owned on an individual level, as something that can be taken with one during space travel. Popular films such as Star Trek and Star Wars have displayed a future in which humans travel through space.
Some scientists are wondering however: why is the Solar system and Earth not crowded with alien visitors? Why, after decades of space science, has no hint been found for the existence of extraterrestrial life?
The post-war era is considered to be an ‘anti-philosophy’ era in which philosophy was increasingly placed on a level comparable with that of religions. In a sense, while science originates from philosophy, science has attempted to overcome philosophy and intended to rid itself of any influence of philosophy, which includes morality.
Recently (2021) it was discovered that the farthest distance that an animal, insect or bacteria had traveled in space was the Moon and meanwhile trillions of USD were already invested for a manned mission to Mars in 2030.
Science it’s dogmatic influence on behalf of determinism, the ground upon which science envisions itself to become master of the Universe, has resulted in a such a repression that it was never considered that Earth life may be bound to a region around the ☀️ Sun.
Philosophy naturally would have posed the following questions:
- Is there at least one clue that Earth life is independent from the Solar system?
- On what basis is it valid to consider that life is like a fire that can be taken with one during space travel?
Based on these questions, the first thing to test would be whether Earth life can remain alive further away from Earth. Yet, as of 2021 it was never tested because mainstream science intends to steer to a perspective in which life is a deterministic chemical process and consciousness an illusion.
When life would be bound to a region around a star, it could explain why the Universe is not crowded with alien activity.
Ancient philosophers on the ☀️ Sun as origin of life
Socrates taught in his academy that personal regeneration was only possible through understanding the Word of God, the Light, and that it was attained only through inner illumination absorbed from the sun.
Proclus proclaimed that “the light of the sun is the pure energy of intellect.”
Plato: “The sun is the source of all power and light and gives existence to life.”
In the ancient Samaveda (song of knowledge) from 1500 BCE, consciousness is external from the body and illuminates the body.
Consciousness beautifully explained in 200 sec | Swami Sarvapriyananda at IIT Kanpur
Simple logic indicates that the origin of life and consciousness is necessarily external from individual life forms which implies that new theories of consciousness that explore the possibility that consciousness has an external origin have a potential to be correct.
With an external source of life and consciousness, machines and artificial intelligence may become actually alive, which could mean that humanity faces a severe threat in the near future when war technologies and warfare are increasingly managed and controlled by artificial intelligence.