QR6.3.14 Is Consciousness Conserved?

Virtual realities exist to benefit their observers not themselves. The aim of a Civilization game isn’t to conquer a virtual world nor is that of a Warcraft game to conquer the orcs. These games exist to benefit the players and the game results just help that. If our virtual universe also exists to benefit the observer, then the evolution of consciousness fits the bill, but why then isn’t it full of conscious beings like us?

To think this way is to underestimate the scale of it all. We couldn’t evolve until life did and life couldn’t evolve until matter did, so developing sentient life is a long process. In the billions of years before life appeared, consciousness had to increase from the quantum ground up just as water molecules coalesce into drops that eventually become a lake. When stars fuse atoms into higher elements, consciousness increases no less than when life evolves. Our galaxy is estimated to contain at least 100 billion planets and there are at least two trillion galaxies in the universe, so what happened on earth is probably happening elsewhere but we are more likely to find single-celled life than aliens. From there, it’s just a matter of time but our search for sentient life assumes it has technology, which we have only had for a few thousand years, which is just a blink in galaxy time. Chances are that each galaxy may be lucky to have one sentient life-form at a time, let alone one with star-gazing technology.

We are at best an experiment of consciousness and at worst, about to die out. Maybe we are too smart for our own good. Regardless, the universe will carry on increasing consciousness. It took maybe six million years for a chimp-like ancestor to become human, so if we fail, something else will arise in what is, for the universe, not even a heartbeat.

A universe that began must one day end, so will the consciousness gains of billions of years of evolution be lost then? Given the cost of creating and sustaining a universe as big as ours for so long, it is likely that some consciousness gains are conserved. If the physical world is “empty” of any substantial existence, being merely a view, the ceaseless activity we see going on all around us must have a consciousness gain that persists after it ends, just as the benefits of a computer virtual reality remain with the player after the experience ends.

For millennia mankind has wondered whether any part of us survives the death of the body? When a body dies, it dissolves back into nature at the atomic scale, so when the brain dies, does our consciousness also dissolve? If quantum reality never stops, it may do but coherence gains may also continue in the quantum bulk. Quantum reality continues regardless of physical events so who can say that coherence can’t do the same? Why would a universe maintained at great cost evolve consciousness gains that it can’t accommodate? It is more likely that the quantum coherence achieved carries on in some form.

Studying reality by the front-door of observation can take this line of thought no further but it seems that the end of science leads to the beginning of religion, as there have always been those who studied reality by the back-door of self-observation. That religion can be used for political control is well documented but equally every religion has had mystics, seers and sages who aimed to understand reality not control others. To understand a thing better it pays to refer to those with first-hand experience of it. The next chapter reviews the reports of those who studied themselves not things, to see what they say about the nature of consciousness.