QR6.3.16 Where is the Observer?

The question where does observation occur? seems simple but it isn’t. Dualism locates it outside physical reality but can’t explain how that is possible. Dual aspect monism locates a pain 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 nerves observe, because 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 physical events can’t observe other physical events. That a physical thing can’t observe as we do is even a mathematical theorem (Reason, 2018), so:

“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

If observation is a server-client effect, a server can’t exist on its client network lest an event there gives an infinite loop. A server entity observing client events must exist outside its client space, which is our space. By the nature of observation, observer and observed are A and non-A, so a subject can never be an object.

It follows that the subject observing is outside physical space, just as we observe a snow scene in a glass globe from the outside it. One can tap a point to see a scene but can no more enter the globe than we can enter a screen. The observed location isn’t the observer location, just as players see a dungeon while sitting in a chair. We see a world of physical events following each other in a lawful way, never doubting that we exist in it, but the logic of quantum realism is that it couldn’t possibly be so.

We create virtual worlds for observers that exist, but our universe evolved both observer and observed from the quantum scale. The game Civilization lets a village grow to rule the world but the player leaves as still a citizen. In contrast, in our universe, both observer and observed increase by evolution. Quantum reality made not only a manifest world, but also the beings that observe it.

Virtual games exist for their players not themselves so the goal of Civilization isn’t to rule a virtual earth nor is the aim of Warcraft to conquer orcs. The aim is the player experience not the game result, just as we don’t care if a virtual plane crashes in a simulator as long as the pilot learns. A virtual universe that exists for itself alone is utterly pointless unless the observer benefits. If our universe is a virtual reality that increases the ability to observe, which is consciousness, then it has an observer benefit.

If our universe exists to benefit beings not things, 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. Long before the first human, cells were evolving, and long before the first cell, matter was evolving, so we probably aren’t the only experiment in progress.

    The next chapter considers whether some among us long ago realized by intuition what is 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.