Another week, another news story from a major publication with a mainstream scientist talking like he was your high school weed dealer. I don’t know what to tell you on this one, is the universe alive? Duh. I love how Carl Sagan loved to say “we’re all made of star stuff” (referenced in the first paragraph of the article) while failing to explain why a non-sentient fire ball supposedly devoid of narrative would for some reason create an entire microverse planet filled with conscious apes completely obsessed with art and narrative structure. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Solar worship goes so far back throughout the highly repressed Occult and shamanic traditions it’s nuts, but this guy is calling the interconnected nature of mind/matter a “proto-consciousness field” so like, far out scientist brah. No, I’m just fucking with you, I’m honestly more than excited that mainstream astrophysicists would even entertain this hippie shit. From NBC. Last week Newsweek, this week NBC.
“For centuries, modern science has been shrinking the gap between humans and the rest of the universe, from Isaac Newton showing that one set of laws applies equally to falling apples and orbiting moons to Carl Sagan intoning that “we are made of star stuff” — that the atoms of our bodies were literally forged in the nuclear furnaces of other stars.
Even in that context, Gregory Matloff’s ideas are shocking. The veteran physicist at New York City College of Technology recently published a paper arguing that humans may be like the rest of the universe in substance and in spirit. A “proto-consciousness field” could extend through all of space, he argues. Stars may be thinking entities that deliberately control their paths. Put more bluntly, the entire cosmos may be self-aware.
The notion of a conscious universe sounds more like the stuff of late night TV than academic journals. Called by its formal academic name, though, “panpsychism” turns out to have prominent supporters in a variety of fields. New York University philosopher and cognitive scientist David Chalmers is a proponent. So too, in different ways, are neuroscientist Christof Koch of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose, renowned for his work on gravity and black holes. The bottom line, Matloff argues, is that panpsychism is too important to ignore.
“It’s all very speculative, but it’s something we can check and either validate or falsify,” he says.
Three decades ago, Penrose introduced a key element of panpsychism with his theory that consciousness is rooted in the statistical rules of quantum physics as they apply in the microscopic spaces between neurons in the brain.
In 2006, German physicist Bernard Haisch, known both for his studies of active stars and his openness to unorthodox science, took Penrose’s idea a big step further. Haisch proposed that the quantum fields that permeate all of empty space (the so-called “quantum vacuum”) produce and transmit consciousness, which then emerges in any sufficiently complex system with energy flowing through it. And not just a brain, but potentially any physical structure. Intrigued, Matloff wondered if there was a way to take these squishy arguments and put them to an observational test.”
So since mystics and shamans are apparently like a gajillion years ahead of y’all in certain ways, let me offer up another clue. That universe you’re obsessing about so intensely? Outer space? The whole thing’s a metaphor for the astral plane. No really, it’s all a goddamn metaphor. You’ll catch up eventually.
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