Friday, December 18, 2009

My Crackpot Theory of Everything, Part II

Or is it Part CCXX??? At any rate, I have been providing comic relief to Sophia (and to myself, I have to admit) by musing 'pon the question of whether the universe is conscious or not. The proposition of a conscious universe used to be a given for me, but I've steeped myself in so much materialist thought of late, purposely, that it now seems rather silly.

Mind you, the idea that the universe is conscious is central to my cherish'd spiritual path. I just don't know if I believe it.

Oh, the weight! On one shoulder Richard Dawkins jostles for position with PZ Myers, who is cheek-to-cheek with Rebecca Watson, who is looking over Jerry Coyne's shoulder as he texts Sam Harris. On my other shoulder stands my Angel, who argues quite persuasively for the resolution before the chamber and who sends me, just as I slip into cognitive overload, stuff like:

Henry Stapp: "Attention, Intention, and Will in Quantum Physics"

Dennis Bray: Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell

and this oldie but goodie from Tim Leary, who explicates Blake's tyger:

"...What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?"

The answer is DNA. And what enduring intelligence burning bright in the forests of the night-time sky designed DNA?

The genetic code is surely not an accidental adhesion of molecules. It is an instrumental message, an energy directive created by a meta-biological intelligence.

This intelligence is astrophysical and galactic in scope, pervasive, ubiquitous, but miniaturized in quanta structure. Just as the multi-billion year blueprint of biological evolution is packaged within the nucleus of every cell, so may the quantum-mechanical blueprint of astronomical evolution be found in the nucleus of the atom.

I'm not saying he's right, you understand... and
yes, he veers perilously close to creationism, but he's really saying the same thing the others are: a) consciousness is an emergent property of matter, and b) the same thing my Angel is saying--you have to expand your definition of "consciousness" beyond the folds of the brain and perhaps beyond living beings as we understand them. The harder I try to demolish this conscious universe idea, the harder it pushes back. It's pretty sad when you lose an argument to the voices in your head.

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