The question “Where does observation occur?” seems simple but it isn’t. Dualism locates it outside physical reality but can’t explain how. Dual aspect monism locates the pain experience at the point where it occurs (Velmans, 2021), but phantom limb pains have no such point. Physical realism locates it in the brain but can’t say what nerve systems observe, as if physical events are an unbroken causal chain, making any event an observation breaks the chain. Nerves busy with physical acts can’t also observe them, so a physical world can’t observe its own interactions:
“The materialistic theory is a logical blunder, because it is based on a confusion between the object and subject. It asserts that matter is objective, but at the same time tries to show that it is also the cause of the subject, which it can never be. ‘A’ can never become ‘non-A’.” (Abhedananda, 1905) p22
In quantum realism, server entities must observe physical events from outside client space because a server can’t exist on its client network, as a client event there would crash it. Observing only works if the observer and observed are always A and non-A. The observed physical event is local but is seen as we see a snow scene in a glass globe – from the outside. One can tap a point to choose a scene but can no more enter the globe than a player can enter a game screen. It follows that what observes scenes in physical space must exist outside it.
A universe that will end one day can’t ultimately benefit itself, but the entities that observe it can keep their gains when it ends. If the observers of physical events are outside physical space, like the players of a virtual game, they can evolve by their choices. It follows that instead of an accidental by-product of an indifferent universe, we are inherent to its evolution.
Yet if our universe is growing consciousness, by its scale, we are at best an experiment of consciousness and at worst, too smart for our own good and about to become extinct. It only took six million years for a chimp-like creature to become human so if we fail, something else will come along in what, for the universe, isn’t even a heartbeat. We are just one of its experiments.
The next chapter considers whether some among us long ago realized by intuition what was here deduced by science – that physical reality isn’t what it seems, that it depends on something outside itself, and that what is manifest exists for the benefit what is not.