Today, we’re going to be exploring an extension of my Theory of Everything in the context of the nature of the universe, time, creation, and destruction. One of the things that has always bothered me about the prevailing notion of cosmogeny (re: the big bang theory, and no, not the show, which also bothers me) is the idea that something can be created from nothing. The universe that we live in, complex as it may be, doesn’t appear to be self-contradictory (I tend to see paradoxes as simply indicators that we’re not looking at things from the right angle yet,) so it always rubbed me the wrong way that we look at existence as something that spontaneously arises and inevitably permanently ceases to exist at some far arbitrary point in the future.
My central theory is going to be required reading for this article, but I’ll attempt to summarize it briefly here for the sake of argument.
At its core, my Theory of Everything is based around the largest possible picture of reality that we can conceive of: the span of time from the beginning of the universe to the end. There are many laws of physics that concern the various things that go on around us, but my primary point of concern is the laws of thermodynamics.
The first law of thermodynamics states that in a closed system, the total energy of remains constant. Energy (and thus matter) can be neither created nor destroyed, it can only change forms. If you light a match, the match becomes heat, light, smoke, and while the match as we know it conceptually is destroyed, it simply changes forms into its constituent parts- the chemical energy is released as bonds break down and radiate out the light and heat, and particles shoot off, creating the smoke.
The second law of thermodynamics states that heat always moves from hotter to colder objects unless energy is applied to do otherwise. The heat from the match we just lit moves from the flame to the colder air around it, and not backwards. This notion is called entropy, and I consider entropy to be the most important concept to understand in all of physics. Entropy is why things fall apart, why rocks erode, why fires go out, why ice melts and why hot rooms get cold over time. It’s one-directional, and the direction it goes in is the direction everything goes in- forward in time, toward the inevitable heat-death of the universe, or so they say.
That’s the third law- a system's entropy approaches a constant value as its temperature approaches absolute zero.
Now, I’m not debating the validity of the laws of thermodynamics, they’re testable and track. However, it’s at the edges that we start to see issues. Clearly, the universe came into existence (unless you want to debate the notion that existence exists, in which case do so elsewhere,) but that fact seems to be nonsensical in the context of thermodynamics. If matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, if it takes more energy to put things together than it does for them to fall apart, then how do we find everything in the universe condensed into a single point in the first place?
Causality is a bitch. There has to be a first cause- existence cannot spring into existence without first existing- it would violate thermodynamics. And that first cause has to have a cause before it- for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What is required is a causeless cause, which is a paradox and thus unlikely to be the case.
Which is more likely- a causeless cause that violates thermodynamics or existence simply existing, always and forever? If it just is, it doesn’t need to be justified. If it ever wasn’t and then suddenly was, it does.
If existence exists, has always existed, and always will, things get a bit more interesting. Enter my theory of everything. Unlike many modern academics, I don’t think consciousness is an illusion. Quite the opposite, I think consciousness is real, necessary, and a fundamental property of being. The universe is equal parts subjective and objective, observer and observed.
Imagine a universe with no observer. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, what is a tree? We think of the particles that make up a tree relative to our own perception of it. Color is something we see, texture is something we feel, the scent of the pine (you know what I mean) and even the name pine are all things relative to our perception of waves appearing as particles that happen to be in the form of what we call a tree.
A universe with no observer would be an infinite sea of particles- energy, light, whatever you think that is, your conception of it is still relative to you, the observer, thinking about it. It would be beyond perception, beyond imagination, beyond existence as we experience it.
Similarly, you can perhaps more easily imagine an observer with no universe. Pure consciousness with nothing to observe, no thoughts because you have no sensory perception, no words because you have no mouth and nothing to talk about anyway, no vision because you have no eyes and nothing to look at. Pure is-ness, that which has the quality of being without anything to do.
The subjective state of being and the objective state of existent things are distinct, but inseparable except in thought experiments like this. Consciousness is a fundamental property of reality, the end. You cannot separate the two without contradictions and paradox. How would you prove something exists without you being there, how would you prove you exist with no one to prove yourself to?
If consciousness exists, then what does that mean for thermodynamics. My theory says that there is an equal and opposite counter-entropic force called syntropy, and that as the matches of the world’s energy burn out, we gain subjective information as a consequence. Life is a counter-entropic force that becomes more complex and can deal with more complex information as it develops, and that leads us towards a place of infinite information at the end of time, an infinitely complex consciousness (or something even beyond our conception of consciousness- imagine the difference between ours and an ant’s consciousness and multiply it exponentially.)
I have to imagine that as a consequence of this there is some sort of baseline micro-consciousness in all parts of the universe. At the very least, I think DNA and other organic molecules have to have something like consciousness in them, because consciousness, like matter and energy (which it is a part of, ) can neither be created nor destroyed without causing some interesting problems.
Immediately, however, you’d probably push back at the notion that consciousness can’t be destroyed- people die all the time! This is true. However, when I say consciousness I don’t mean the self-aware state of your current mode of existence. Your particular consciousness came into existence whenever you gradually developed self-awareness as a child, although you can’t put a finger on when specifically that was. We make the mistake of assuming that only our consciousness is consciousness and that every other form is somehow less-than, although by that logic someone like Goethe or DaVinci could say the same about us.
We’re solipsistic in that sense- we act like only our own form of consciousness is valid because we have a very hard time imagining something other than ourselves. As I said many years ago, we can only understand others in the manner and to the extent that we understand ourselves, and this holds true here. However, whether or not science has caught up to these notions, people have considered the notion that all matter has some degree of consciousness in it for thousands of years with animism. Science likes to characterize religion in the most immature, moronic sense, but you can look at something like Vedic philosophy and see many concepts that mirror quantum physics-so who’s immature here?
I should say that I personally do not believe that the only acceptable form of truth is empirical, rational truth (the Roman veritas, as in verifiable.) You cannot prove that consciousness exists because it’s subjective, but that hasn’t stopped many ostensibly smarter and certainly better-paid scientists and intellectuals than myself from trying incredibly hard to do so. When they fail to do so, they like to try and prove that it doesn’t exist, which is similarly impossible, because it’s subjective.
I understand why people do this, but it’s moronic and should be laughed at in the way that we laugh at flat-earthers. You’re welcome to tell me that you yourself are lacking consciousness, but please don’t use your sad mode of being and opinions about it to tell me about my consciousness. Thanks!
Subjective truths (the Greek gnosis, as in diagnosis) exist, too. Your consciousness is one of them, the experience of color, love, pain, fear, taste, anger, and thought are more. They’re real, just not empirically real- but despite what the prevailing midwittery suggests, that does not make them unreal. Much like subjectivity and objectivity being distinct yet inseparable, gnosis and veritas are distinct yet inseparable. I use the word aletheia (unconcealedness, similar to the Sanskrit word Sat, which means both real and true) to mean the sort of truth that encompasses both the subjective and objective.
Notice that when you acknowledge both of these seemingly contradictory things, everything starts making a whole lot more sense. When we think only one exists, you get the split between idealism and materialism (Plato and Aristotle,) the mind-body dichotomy, the split between religion and science, the rift between theory and practice, the tension between feminine and masculine, and ultimately a universe that could somehow spring into existence without cause.
Paradoxes, all the way down!
Yes, everything makes much more sense when you stop trying to separate these two basic facts of existence. There is an observer and that which is observed, and you can’t have one without the other, although they are distinct. They’re also the same, but that’s more heady than I’m going to get in this article, as we’re already far too heady as-is.
Let’s get to the matter at hand and talk about what this theory means for time and space.
My theory here is that the universe as we know it is the span of space-time that comes out from a white hole and goes into a black hole. The universe has pairs of singularities (black and white holes) that act as sort of a matter recycling machine, and time as we know it, which is relative, is the span from the exit of the white hole to the entrance of a black hole.
Immediately, we see that on a purely intuitive level, this resolves the problem of the big bang and something-from-nothing-ness that we identified before. Entropy within the universe (meaning the span of space-time between white hole expansion and black hole contraction) is not violated, but beyond the singularity of the big black hole at the end of time, a new universe is created and the cycle begins again.
Here’s some baseless speculation:
Scientists theorize that there is a supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy, and that makes sense. My thought is that because life and consciousness are fundamentally part of the equation, there must be some correlation between the development of a black hole and the formation of a galaxy around it which will inevitably contain planets that will inevitably contain life, and that life will inevitably collapse into the singularity at the center, which creates another universe where it happens again and again, ad infinitum. Many are the beads in Indra’s net.
In an intuitive sense, the process mirrors biology: conception is a singularity of consciousness, you grow in a womb and are expelled from it, you go out and learn about the world, fall in love, and your DNA enters another womb where a new consciousness forms and is similarly expelled, ad infinitum. The universe is a womb of a higher order.
Perhaps death itself is a singularity. Your consciousness is scattered by your death and the fragments of it return to the universe, where they are inevitably gathered into a black hole and spit out of a white hole into a new universe where they form together again. I tend to think that all consciousness is the same substance, just plugged into different vehicles. The electricity in your blender and toaster is the same sort of energy, but the output is quite different. Consciousness, the substance, is the same for everyone, but consciousness, the experience, is the base substance combined with the physiological wiring and circuitry of your body. Ram Dass once said “everyone you meet is God in drag,” and that tracks here.
In this sense, ego is the identification with your instance of consciousness rather than with the substance of consciousness. I, Garrett the person, versus, I, consciousness which at this moment happens to take the form of Garrett the person. If everyone understood this and could orient accordingly, would the world be a better place?
Imagine if we looked at the world this way. Life, the concept, as an eternal and sacred thing. The nature of consciousness and being united, the physical and spiritual as inseparable, the nature of birth and death a reflection of the creation and destruction that the universe is undergoing as well, and that even above this instance of the universe, there is an infinite chain of universes that exist and will be destroyed, that have existed and will exist again. An infinite sea of light and energy taking and losing form, a limitless ocean of possibilities that carry on without end, a boundless chain of birth, life, death, and new birth.
It makes being sacred, something you cannot find in the scientific worldview of spontaneous appearance and inevitable heat-death. That worldview is nihilistic and has no place for the beautiful, the good, and the timeless experience of the profound nature of what it is to be.
It makes all of life a tremendous miracle, it makes your very being holy, and it lights a path to a better world where we can rectify the numerous paradoxes that we face in seeing things the way we currently do in the modern world. Imagine living in harmony with this universe, seeing the divine in our very genes and even in the particles that make up those genes. Imagine a world where we saw every moment as sacred and divine, purposeful and drenched in a deep, abiding meaning.
It’s easy if you try.