Today, I will present the second half of the meaning of AION- what I believe to be a theory of everything, one that rectifies consciousness and matter. We will begin with the letters Alpha, Iota, and Omega.
Let us call Alpha the moment of highest usable energy, the beginning of time.
Let us call Omega the moment of lowest usable energy, the end of time.
Let us call time the progress from the point Alpha to the point Omega.
Let’s bring in entropy. Entropy is essentially the nature of the irreversibility of time. If I burn a match, there will be heat, smoke, and other particles produced in the chemical reaction, and it would be impossible to use the energy generated by that reaction to reverse the process. This is why perpetual motion machines do not work, as well as why a solar panel that powers a lamp could not power itself with said lamp.
The second law of thermodynamics says that in an isolated system (which, for the sake of things, we can say our universe is [although this is up for debate and if proven false, it may provide other solutions]), the total entropy can not decrease over time.
Imagine a small room in an imaginary universe where only this room exists. Inside the room, there is a table with a fresh ribeye steak, as well as a glass of ice water beside it. The second law of thermodynamics says that, over time, the steak will cool off, the ice will melt, and eventually, everything in the room will be exactly the same temperature.
If this were our universe, we would call this state of absolute equilibrium heat-death. In this state, all the stars would be burned out, and everything would be still. Depending on the nature of things, this is a very plausible (and likely inevitable) outcome.
This is where things get interesting.
Let’s imagine another hypothetical universe, one that consists simply of three six-sided dice. Time, in this universe, begins when the dice are rolled. Each one will land separately, and the universe ends when the three dice have each landed, generating a three digit number.
At the point Alpha, there are two hundred and sixteen potential outcomes.
The first die lands on five. (I’m rolling these as I write this.)
From here, we know the final outcome will be 5XX, and we have decreased from 216 to 32 potential outcomes. The next die also lands on five. The final outcome will be 55X, and we have decreased from 32 to six potential outcomes. The last die lands on four, bringing us to the final outcome of 554.
(I will note that the nature of the claim that I will be making here is inherently not scientific, because it deals with the subjectivity inherent in consciousness. However, because our perception of the world is inherently subjective, we have to find a means to take that into account, and this, in my understanding, seems to do so.)
I propose that time, as we experience it, is process of usable energy being converted into information. Information, here, is the subjective knowledge gained from the observation of a system- in our metaphor, the digits produced by the dice are our information.
Let us call Iota the proportion between usable energy and information.
This would make the point Alpha the point of highest usable energy, or the maximum number of potential outcomes in a system. For the sake of our dice metaphor, Alpha is 216.
This would make the point Omega the point of lowest usable energy, or the lowest number of potential outcomes in a system. However, this point has the highest amount of subjective information. For the sake of our dice metaphor, Omega is 554.
(It should be obvious, but to clarify, this isn’t an actual mathematic equation, or if it is, it’s far beyond my capabilities to work it out.)
You may have noticed the flaw with our two earlier metaphors- in both the steak room and the dice universe, there still must be an observer. Otherwise, how would we know that there was a delicious steak going to waste, or a person playing Yahtzee completely wrong?
This is fundamentally the problem that science is incapable of addressing, because consciousness is subjective. This is not a criticism of science, because science is a system for the analysis of the objective world (that we experience subjectively). People who try to use science to apply the objective scientific worldview to consciousness end up making stuff like the psychological school of Behaviorism, which more or less eschews the internal cognitive experience and reduces the human to their observable behaviors. Perfect objectivity is not only an impossibility, it also ends in a denial of free will and the attempt to explain away consciousness as an afterthought.
We run into issues, however, when we accept that there is a subjective element to the human experience. For those (like myself) who lean towards the pursuit of objectivity, rules, and reason, adding in a subjective element to the calculation is somewhere between distasteful and (understandably) terrifying. However, it’s something that has to be done.
Before we get into that, we have to explore the opposite- a purely subjective worldview. This takes a variety of forms, like the belief that reality is a simulation, Gnosticism, Buddhism, and most of the mystic versions of religion. These can all be classified as variations on what is called solipsism, or the belief that only one’s mind is real. Descartes’ famous statement of “Cogito, ergo sum,” (“I think, therefore I am,”) is solipsistic, as it presumes that thought presupposes existence.
Now, for the great challenge of rectification. As I’ve said before, I’m not familiar with Hegel, and if he’s one of the primary influences on Marx, I can’t say that I care to get familiar, but there is an idea of his that I’ve heard and like: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis (I outlined this further in The Humbling River).
My premise here is that because we have two seemingly irreconcilable opposites (Thesis: the purely objective reality of matter, and Antithesis: the purely subjective truth of being), we are, in fact, meeting a paradox- a Mu answer. Because we’re presented with two contradictory answers, I will argue that we are looking at the problem wrong, and, from a change in perspective, we may create our Synthesis.
As I quoted in the first half of this article, “the Truth is that which, in the act of knowing it, changes you.” I must specify that I am using here the capital-T Truth (Aletheia) that designates both the objective reality (Veritas) and the subjective truth, taken from the Sanskrit word “Sat,” and explained more in the article of the same name.
The universe demonstrates an obvious “tendency towards complexity,” which presents in humans as the “Will to Order,” explained in the article of the same name. I propose the tendency towards complexity is the objective, observable equivalent of the same force as the Will to Order (the subjective, internal drive).
My synthesis is thus:
As the universe begins at the Alpha point, the total number of potential outcomes begins to decrease. At the same time, information begins to increase, in the form of biological life in the simplest form (some sort of organic molecule produced from the chaos). This exceptionally basic life is simply information, which continues to grow in complexity as defined by the parameters of the universe’s chaotic, energetic interactions.
Eventually, it reaches a point of sufficient complexity to become aware of itself.
Life, then, is a fundamental property (and process) of the universe, with our experience of being human being an emergent evolution of this process advancing. I would argue that the organic molecules of this process, whether DNA, RNA, or something simpler,are likely to have some sort of baseline awareness. This is what I refer to in the Pieces of Mind series as the True Self- pure awareness, what I call “is-ness,” or what Genesis calls “I am that I am.”
The nature of the human experience begins in a state ignorant of this reality, with what I call the “undifferentiated self.” This is a state that occurs before a person has the awareness of metaconsciousness (also called metacognition- high level self-reflection, consciousness applied to itself). Through the process of self-mastery, the individual discovers that they are not their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, ideas, or opinions (disidentification with the petty ego). In the same process, they discover that they do possess some qualities inherent to their nature- personality, lived experiences, innate preferences, tastes, and traits (understanding of the Ego Proper.)
However, the crux of this process is the realization of the nature of the True Self- pure consciousness that has no qualities. This is the observer, the watcher, the Hindu Atman, the Christian Holy Spirit, the pure quality of being that is shared by each individual.
The True Self is the same baseline awareness that I would argue the organic molecules of life possess. Our human experience is a necessary epiphenomena that arises from the grand process of life.
Garrett Dailey, the person writing this article, as you perceive him, is my undifferentiated self. The contents of this article are (variously) my thoughts, beliefs, ideas, opinions, and feelings- the product of my petty ego. The core personality traits that I possess, the things that have led me to pursue this line of thinking, to create this website, and to write this article, are components of my Ego Proper. The consciousness that is observing Garrett Dailey as he writes this article is the True Self.
I would argue that this True Self within me is one and the same as the True Self within you.
Each person who reads this, each person in this world who possesses the capacity to recognize this True Self within them, is a different focal point where Being observes itself. In this, we are one. In this, we may find a common identity, beyond the false masks we call identity: race, nationality, creed, sex, gender, social class, intelligence, political party, and the countless other limited concepts we use to define ourselves.
Each of us is the product of the great equation A=I=Ω, where I is the arrow of time, progressing inevitably forward. Our role, as the pinnacle of life in this universe, is to use the understanding that we acquire, the information that we are the products of, to determine by what means this inevitable entropic heat-death may be overcome.
I see a few possible outcomes.
The first is that we fail- this could happen at any point, and because of the focal-point nature of consciousness, suicide (willfully, or by failing to reproduce) is one such means of failure. I would argue that the historically universal religious prohibitions against suicide (as well as “Be fruitful and multiply) arise from this fact.
The second is that of the eternal recurrence. Time is relative to our subjective experience, and if we imagine our universe “outside” of time, it would seem a single moment in which all things are occuring, have occured, and will occur again. This would be analogous to asexual reproduction, God (the Father) giving birth to God (the Son) within the medium of God (the Holy Spirit), a universe that ends at its beginning.
The third would be that of infinite variation. This would be similar to the first, but analogous to sexual reproduction, a universe that somehow produces another universe, and continues to do so ad infinitum.
The fourth is that the second and third are the same things, but differ only in scale. If time is relative, then all possible things that could happen (accounting for attractors) will happen, eventually. All of this combined, every infinite universe with every infinite variation, all of it is simultaneous in the inconceivably vast and incomprehensibly small moment that is the totality of Being.
I will add this final thought-
The universe, in all the ways that we may ever be capable of understanding it, will only ever be able to be understood by us within the flow of time, as our consciousness is a product of this flow. All the laws of physics, energy, thermodynamics, information- all of these can only be understood to be true within the confines of time, between the points Alpha and Omega.
Theoretically, the rules do not apply outside of those points. If there is a truly mystical or metaphysical element to reality, this is where it would be. This would be the realm of the dead, however, as life, as far as we seem to understand it, would not exist beyond these boundaries. Nietzsche’s statement that “God is Dead” may end up meaning that God, at least one conception of God, lives in the land across that final veil. That, however, is a question we will only ever be able to face alone.
As I end the article, I leave you with this:
Pros Aion Aletheia aionos, heos tes synteleias tou aionos.
Towards the Age of Truth unending, ‘till the end of time
May we all be led from ignorance to the Truth.