CONSCIOUSNESS, “REINCARNATION”, AND THE MULTIVERSE
This one was sent to me by a regular reader of this website, Mr. K.L., and I have to talk about this one, because it echoes various ideas I've held and advanced for a long time, among them, that our brains are not identical to our minds, but rather, function as transducers of our mind, and (if one will permit a metaphysical mistake...and you'll have to think about that one a bit) transducers of our personhood:
Scientist claims consciousness moves to another universe at death
The core of this argument appears to be the following:
"Lanza is an expert in regenerative medicine and scientific director of Advanced Cell Technology Company. Before he has been known for his extensive research which dealt with stem cells, he was also famous for several successful experiments on cloning endangered animal species.
"But not so long ago, the scientist became involved with physics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics. This explosive mixture has given birth to the new theory of biocentrism, which the professor has been preaching ever since. Biocentrism teaches that life and consciousness are fundamental to the universe. It is consciousness that creates the material universe, not the other way around.
"Lanza points to the structure of the universe itself, and that the laws, forces, and constants of the universe appear to be fine-tuned for life, implying intelligence existed prior to matter. He also claims that space and time are not objects or things, but rather tools of our animal understanding. Lanza says that we carry space and time around with us “like turtles with shells.” meaning that when the shell comes off (space and time), we still exist.
"The theory implies that death of consciousness simply does not exist. It only exists as a thought because people identify themselves with their body. They believe that the body is going to perish, sooner or later, thinking their consciousness will disappear too. If the body generates consciousness, then consciousness dies when the body dies. But if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable box receives satellite signals, then of course consciousness does not end at the death of the physical vehicle. In fact, consciousness exists outside of constraints of time and space. It is able to be anywhere: in the human body and outside of it. In other words, it is non-local in the same sense that quantum objects are non-local."
This whole philosophical development within physics began, in a certain sense, with Immanuel Kant and his disciple, Arthur Schopenhauer (the title of whose World as Will and Representation says it all). For Kant, space and time, while real, were not real apart from the Mind, and as such, the physical world, organized as it is into spatial and temporal properties, and thus as "physical observable objects", was intimately connected to Mind and to consciousness. Space and time are constructs - real constructs - the Mind uses to order and organize experience. (For readers of my Giza Death Star Trilogy, there is also the even more abstruse and arcane argument presented by some topologists that individual consciousness represents a field or distinct topological region in an N-space!)
Out of this German philosophical context, quantum mechanics evolves. The Uncertainty Principle held that one could not simultaneously observe position and velocity of a particle, and hence, the outcome of an experiment - reality itself - was determined by the conscious decision of the observer performing an experiment prior to the experimental performance itself, in the selection of what was to be observed.
And from this basic idea, springs the multi-verse version of quantum mechanics:
"The first one was a science fiction writer H.G. Wells who proclaimed in 1895 in his story “The Door in the Wall”. And after 62 years, this idea was developed by Dr. Hugh Everett in his graduate thesis at the Princeton University. It basically posits that at any given moment the universe divides into countless similar instances. And the next moment, these “newborn” universes split in a similar fashion. In some of these worlds you may be present: reading this article in one universe, or watching TV in another.
"The triggering factor for these multiplyingworlds is our actions, explained Everett. If we make some choices, instantly one universe splits into two with different versions of outcomes.
"In the 1980s, Andrei Linde, scientist from the Lebedev’s Institute of physics, developed the theory of multiple universes. He is now a professor at Stanford University. Linde explained: Space consists of many inflating spheres, which give rise to similar spheres, and those, in turn, produce spheres in even greater numbers, and so on to infinity. In the universe, they are spaced apart. They are not aware of each other’s existence. But they represent parts of the same physical universe.
"The fact that our universe is not alone is supported by data received from the Planck space telescope. Using the data, scientists have created the most accurate map of the microwave background, the so-called cosmic relic background radiation, which has remained since the inception of our universe. They also found that the universe has a lot of dark recesses represented by some holes and extensive gaps."
Additionally, some physicists, as the article points out, have noted that the slightest adjustment to the coefficients of physical constants would prohibit the rise of life, and hence, extending the Observer principle even further, have argued for various versions of the Anthropic Principle, the essence of which is that the physical laws of the universe appear to be so constructed as to lead to the origin of intelligent observers.
This idea of the real non-locality of the individual mind, temporarily transduced into and by a body/brain, is of course where many scientists object. German physicist Unzicker, for example, objects not only to the "multiplication of entities" in the ever-expanding particle zoo of quantum mechanics, where there appears to be a trend to posit a particle for every new observed force or energy phenomenon, but to the "multiplication of entities" such as dark matter, dark energy, and, of course, the multiverse theory and attendant "anthropic principle" physics. This, other scientists believe, is uncomfortably close to "argument from and for design" (and of course, that's what it really is). Thus, even though I'm definitely a "design" person, readers here should be cautious before embracing these latest hypotheses, for some, like Unzicker, have taken to calling all of these ideas "Fairy tale physics."
It remains to be seen whether or not it is. I suspect it is not. I suspect that what we are really looking at is the beginning of the breakdown of the old, neatly Cartesian divisions of "spirit/mind" and "matter" that has so plagued western philosophy and metaphysics, and consequently, at the breakdown of the old mechanistic/materialistic world views.