Chapter 8. The Consciousness Model
At last we apply the AR model to consciousness, and propose a solution to the mind/body problem.86
In Part One we have described various multi-level maps of cosmic consciousness. In this chapter we will mainly focus on two levels. Dualist-interconnectionist models for consciousness, from Ancient Greece to Descartes, have disjoint parts connected by a mysterious communication process. Usually no explanation is proposed for this communication process, although the resonance metaphor is sometimes mentioned. Here we consider this problem in the context of the mind/body model of Descartes. The intractability of this mind/body problem has been discussed by everyone from Plato on. We are going to apply to it an atomistic mechanism deriving from our models for the quantum vacuum. We thus bring together the mind/body problem of Descartes and the digital philosophy of Fredkin87 and others88 into a joint picture ﬁrst described by Democritus.89
Our AR model is a process by which the illusion of continuous space self-organizes from a discrete substructure – a submicroscopic, corpuscular, dynamical cellular network – a sort of ﬁnite point set on steroids. In this chapter we further extend the AR process from space to spacetime in the domain of terrestrial physics, and then jump up to the mental and spiritual realms, where the constraints of physics no longer apply.
We apply the process twice, once to the mind, and again to the body, to obtain our resolution of the mind/body problem. In our ﬁnal, composite picture, there is one enormous point set, its size estimated by Wheeler as 10 to the power 88,90 operating beneath the perceived realities of macroscopic mind, body, and also quantum reality.
We begin with a review of the Mind/Body problem.
8.1. The Mind/Body Problem
The mind/body problem is a perennial thread in philosophy, East and West, so there are many illustrious names on its chronology. We will concentrate on just a few of these, to establish the main milestones of our story, and brieﬂy describe their contributions. The earliest history, beginning with Homer, has been described by Jaspers.
Plato, 370 BC
Plato’s theory of the soul is fully described in Chapter One. In sum, we have from Plato a monistic four-level, hierarchical cosmology, comprising (from the top):
1. The Good, an integral principle with no spatial extent, 2. The Intellect, including the Ideas or Forms, 3. The World Soul (including individual human souls), and 4. 4. The Terrestial Sphere of matter and energy.
This is very similar to the four hypostases of Plotinus. Forms exist in the Intellect, and are outside of space and time. Terrestrial objects are instances, or particulars, of Forms. Individual souls are pieces of the World Soul which have instantiated, or incarnated, a Form. When people die, their individual souls reunite with their Forms.
To this Theory of Forms, Plato himself raised an objection, in his dialogue, Parmenides. This problem, later called the third man argument, or TMA, has been the subject of much discussion over the past ﬁfty years. It is somewhat like the Russell paradox of mathematical set theory. That is, if a Form (a class of objects) contains itself as a member, then an unwelcome inﬁnite regress is set up, toward larger and larger collections.
Some have interpreted this objection another way, which we shall call TMA2. This applies when we have two categories which are disjoint – such as two parallel universes – and yet which exchange information. A matrix between the two categories – such as the air between two resonant guitar strings – must be interpolated, to carry the resonance or intercommunication. For example, in Plato’s cosmology, the World Soul intervenes between the Intellect and the Terrestrial Sphere. Or on the individual level, Ficino’s Spirit intervenes between the individual soul and the body.
All this may be regarded as the prehistory of the mind/body problem.
Kashmiri Shaivism, 1000 CE
The Indian tradition provides a number of diﬀerent schemes for levels of consciousness, including ﬁve koshas, seven chakras, thirty-six tattvas, and so on. The ﬁve koshas are, from the top down: the bliss body (anandamaya kosha), astral body (vijnanamaya kosha), mental body (manomaya kosha) pranic body (pranamaya kosha), and the food body (annamaya kosha). The bliss body is described as an experience of total transcendence, where only the fundamental vibration of the unconscious system remains.92 The thirty-six tattvas have been described in Chapter 2.
The TMA2 problem may be the ultimate cause of the profusion of levels in the Sanskrit literature on consciousness. No matter how many levels, the mystery of the communication between adjacent levels in the hierarchy remains. The vibration metaphor addresses this mystery, but still begs an encompassing matrix or medium to carry information from level to level. The vibration metaphor entered the Indian literature in the Spanda (vibration), Urmi (wave), and Prana (life-force) concepts of the Trika philosophy described in Chapter 2.93
We may regard the mind/body problem as just the bottom level of a stack of similar problems. We intend that our attack on the mind/body problem should eventually be applied throughout the koshas, chakras, or tattvas of a full model of collective consciousness and unconsciousness. LIke Plato, Kashmiri Shaivism is non-dual, but nevertheless, is plagued by a mind/body problem.
Descartes was a dualist, to whom the world consisted of two original substances — body and mind – between which there was an enormous gulf. Man consists of body and mind, which interact through the pineal gland. His dualist theory, and his mechanical view of nature, dominated philosophy for centuries. His method of thought and his theories have been subjected to devastating criticism.94 For many historians, the mind/body problem in Western philosophy began with Descartes.
8.2 The AR model
In this section we brieﬂy review the AR process from the preceding chapter. In the next section, we extend it from space to spacetime, and ﬁnally, we apply the process to the mind/body problem.
Recall that the AR model is a two-level system. The microscopic level, QX, is a dynamical cellular network of nodes and bonds. Inspired by the cellular automata of Ulam and von Neumann, a dynamical cellular network is a directed graph with connections (directed links, bonds) which appear, disappear, and change direction, according to dynamical rules.
The macroscopic level, ST that self-organizes from QX is an another dynamical cellular network, in which the nodes (supernodes) are the cliques of the QX level, bound into a network by superbonds. Finally, a neural network process imbeds the ST level into Euclidean spacetime, EST.
Thus, in our model, the ambient space of nature according to consensual reality, is actually an epiphenomenon of the atomistic and ﬁnite QX network, according to the scheme:
QX → ST → 3ST This is the full AR process, which we call condensation. Actually, condensation is a twostep process: digital condensation followed by digital-to-analog (A/D) spatial embedding. Further, the digital condensation process involves collecting nodes of QX into groups (cliques, actually) which behave as supernodes of ST. So in a sense, ST contains QX, and we may imagine that the two dynamical cellular networks are entangled in a coevolutionary process: changes in ST feed back into the dynamical process of QX. We may indicate this scheme as, QX ⇔ ST → 3ST
8.3 The two time dimensions
The discrete, microscopic time parameter, t, used above does not represent macroscopic time. Rather, we propose to obtain macroscopic spacetime through our process of condensation. Macroscopic time, T, exists locally as a function on spacetime, but we may pretend that there is a cosmic time function, to simplify the exposition. This would be a function on spacetime that assigns to each event a globally deﬁned macroscopic time parameter, T. We propose now to obtain macroscopic spacetime from the condensation process applied repeatedly to the entire QX object, which contains all times, although it is rapidly changing.
The condensation process is regarded as being accomplished in a single instant, and it determines instantaneous states for the macrocosmic system in which space appears to be a continuum. Even so, the network, QX, is changing rapidly by a time-discrete process, with microtime t. We are going to regard the stepwise increasing network microtime as an internal process variable that is distinct from the continuous physical time aspect of the spacetime of general relativity, cosmic time, T. Thus, we envision two dimensions of time.
We adopt the mathematical perspective of general relativity, called the Cauchy process, in which the Einstein equation is regarded as an evolutionary system of partial diﬀerential equations. The Cauchy process for this system regards the past and present as known, and the future to be determined by integration of the system of equations along so-called characteristic curves. The topology of spacetime, along with the geometry (the metric tensor) and the physical parameters (energy, mass, electromagnetic ﬁelds, etc.) must evolve according to the Einstein equation. Wormholes and black holes may evolve as focal points of the characteristic curves.
Alternatively, for a mathematically less-challenging exposition, we may suppose, like Einstein, that spacetime is created as a ﬁnished system, a complete pseudo-Riemannian geometrical object.
So this is our proposal for the emergence of cosmic time. Constrained by the Einstein equation, cosmic time advances in discrete intervals, that might be multiple steps of microcosmic time, giant steps. With each giant step, yet another condensation occurs, as follows.
We consider a memory device, controlled by the cosmic-time function, T. Between cosmic time T1 (corresponding to network time t1) and cosmic time T2 (with its network time t2) the memory device records all of the ﬁnite states of QX between network-time t1 and networktime t2, and condenses this ﬁnite set of QX states into a spacelike continuum corresponding to the discrete cosmic time T2. One method for the condensation of a ﬁnite set of QX states is the sum algorithm. That is, we form a QX sum-state by adding the node-states of all nodes, and the bond-states of all the bonds, of the set of QX states. In other words, ﬁx a node of QX. Sum up the node-states of that one node for all the QX states with network time in the interval, (t1,t2]. Do likewise for each bond of QX, but round down if this sum is greater than one, and round up if less than minus one.
Thus, spacetime is squeezed from the dynamical cellular network, QX, as toothpaste from a tube. As giant steps are still very small compared with the resolving power of macroscopic science, cosmic time appears to be continuous. The macroscopic system, QX, sparkles with activity on the scale of Planck space and time, while macroscopic spacetime unrolls essentially continuously. The past and present become known, while the future remains yet a mystery.
In summary, our scheme,
QX ⇔ ST → 3ST
is extended to the scheme
QX ⇔ ST → 4ST all in the context of the body, that is, the physical world. We now wish to apply this new scheme to the mind/body problem.
8.4 The mind/body problem resolved
We now consider two QX networks: QX1 (the body level), QX2 (the mind level). Each of them might be the basis for an AR process, one condensing to the body, or the physical world, as we have considered up to this point, the other to a separate world of the mind.
However, we may prefer alternatively to join QX1 and QX2 into a single entwined network, QX∗, on which two condensation processes operate. We might compare this approach to John Whitney’s concept of digital harmony, in which a single mathematical algorithm is employed to compose a piece of music, and an abstract animated image, which then seem when played together to harmonize, due to deriving from a common archetypal process.95 But we will proceed now with QX1 and QX2.
After all this preparation, our approach to the perennial conundrum is now simple: we apply the idea of condensation from a QX network twice: once to the body level, as in the AR model, and again by analogy to the mind level, as in Fredkin (2000). This results in the four-part scheme: QX2 ⇔ Mind m QX1 ⇔ Body The mystery connection between the disjoint mind and body systems now becomes an epiphenomenon of the connection between QX1 and QX2 which is not mysterious at all. For the nature of the QX model of AR is that of a dynamical cellular network, and we may regard QX1 and QX2 as a single, entangled network, as directed links between the two systems will be allowed by our dynamical rules.
In sum, then, the mind/body connections are completed in a circuit outside ordinary consensual reality in a submicroscopic atomic realm beyond our senses, but revealed by the progress of modern physics. This realm or matrix, an extension of the quantum vacuum into the realm of consciousness, is a ﬁnite, discrete, digital, cosmos, which condenses – in the human perceptual and cognitive process – into epiphenomena, the continuum illusion of mind/body, hypostases, koshas, cakras, tattwas, and so on, of the perennial traditions of consciousness studies.
Note that the QX level is a static point set with a dynamic network structure, changing in microscopic time, t. Meanwhile, the macroscopic body and mind have been constructed as complete spacetime worlds, with locally deﬁned macroscopic times, T. This provides a background for psi phenomena such as telepathy and clairvoyance, but also leaves a window of opportunity for free will. Like a zipper closing, the past is zipped (or ﬁrmed) up, while the microscopic future is subject to interaction with the macroscopic body and mind, until the zipper closure arrives, and condensation (or collapse) occurs.
The end of our construction is an echo of the Two Ways of Parmenides, the atomic QX∗, and the 4ST continua of body and mind, playing out in digital harmony.
At the beginning, in 2006, we aimed only to simplify, model, and clarify RR, the Requardt and Roy model for the Quantum Vacuum (Chapter 6 and Appendix 1) . This resulted in our derived model, the AR process, and our ﬁrst joint paper (Chapter 7 and Appendix 3) in 2007. When we soon discovered our shared interest in meditation and consciousness studies, it occurred to us to apply the AR model to consciousness in the spirit of classical Sanskrit philosophy.96 This resulted in our second joint paper, on the mind/body problem (Chapter 8 and Appendix 3) also in 2007. Finally, we decided, also in 2007, to put all this together in a book. It was during this book process , while researching the precursor literature over a two-year period, that we discovered extraordinary correlations between our model and the history of philosophy, East and West. The book evolved in new directions, and ﬁnally we wanted to connect our work to these ideas:
• the primacy of a creative source outside of space and time, • the recovery of discrete space and time, and • the interconnection of the extended universe.
Let’s look back now at these three goals.
The Good of the Platonic tradition, (Chapter 1), or the ´Siva tattva of the Trika cosmos (Chapter 2), is to be understood as the source and creator of the universe, outside of space and time. In the monist traditions of both East and West, the source precedes the creation of space and time. In our model this role is played by a monster dynamical cellular network, QX∗.
In Kashmiri Shaivism, they say that the creation of the universe in 36 tattvas was accomplished in a blink, as ´Siva opened his eyes. Even so, we think of the 36 tattvas as unrolling in an ordered sequence, and the ”density” as it were increasing step-by-step until, at the end, the levels of matter, energy, spacetime, and physical forces condense. Space and time are tattvas coming at the tail end of the process.
Although explicitly nondualist, these traditions seem to lack any interconnection scheme. Our model provides a dynamical cellular network that contains and connects all levels of consciousness.
96See Appendix 2 for some background of this.
Abraham and Roy 75
C.2 Discrete space and time
Chapters 3 and 4 of Part One, and Chapters 6 and 7 of Part Two, provide a basis for discrete space and time all the way from ancient Greece to the latest developments of quantum physics. There seems little doubt now that discrete space and time are fundamental to our conception of the universe.
It is the argument of Steven M. Rosen, in The Dimensions of Apeiron, that ancient concepts of space and time were originally discrete.97 After Plato, the continuum emerged into cultures worldwide, and this process concluded with the denial of atomism in the works of Descartes, the triumph of Maya. It is not unlikely that some of the problems of our time derive from this illusion of continuity, and thus, there is a need to revive atomistic concepts of space and time. In modern science, especially in the process physics of Whitehead, this revival is under way.98 The demise of the continuum models began in 1839, according to Rosen.99
Our discrete network models, from which space and time emerge from a process of condensation and smoothing, support this revival. Further, they suggest a similar model for cosmic consciousness, and a possible resolution of the mind/body problem.
C.3 The interconnection of the extended universe
Supposing a model of the extended universe in several levels — for example, ﬁve koshas or the thirty-six tattvas — we propose a QX network and an AR process of condensation for each level. The interconnection or entanglement of adjacent levels is accomplished via mathematical connections (bonds between nodes). Thus there is no need to search for physical forces to connect, for example, collective consciousness and the physical universe, or the individual mind and body.
In fact, it makes no sense to propose physical forces, even quantum forces, as a mechanism connecting adjacent tattvas. This could work only under the materialist paradigm, in which a thought is a biochemical state of the physical brain, as in the models of Eccls, Sperry, Stapp, Penrose, Hameroﬀ, et al.
Instead, we propose only mathematical connections between tattvas, that all tattvas are realizations of dynamical cellular networks, and the carriers of inﬂuence between them are mathematical. That is, dynamical links pop up between nodes on diﬀerent levels of creation according to rules connect the whole shebang. Although we propose mathematical connections between each tattva and its sequel, we might focus now on the bottom of the chain. Let us image just three levels, as in Plato’s cosmology below The Good. Thus,
97(Rosen, 2004) 98See Figure 1 in Chapter 4. 99(Rosen, 2004; p. xxx)
76 The Digital Akasha
• MX = the mental sphere, consciousness (a network) • QX = the terrestrial sphere, the universe (a network) • ST = the universe of matter and energy (the classical continuum)
We have proposed: MX → QX by links, and QX → ST by condensation. Of course, we could easily interpose another network, the quantum vacuum, QV , so: MX → QX → QV → ST or similarly, identify QX = QV as in RR, hence MX → QV → ST as in the models of Eccles, Sperry, Stapp, Penrose, and Hameroﬀ discussed previiously.
In any case, we point out that QV → ST. the quantum mechanical model for mental states, does not solve the mind/body problem. Our proposal goes to the heart of the mind/brain problem in a monistic way, consistent with the cosmologies of Plato and the Trika philosophy
In any case, what are space and time, really? We are proposing that the real spacetime is a construction (condensation) from a dynamical mathematical object ”outside”, hidden by Maya, and appearing to us as a submicroscopic granulation, smoothed over by the limitations of our perceptual organs.
This model easily accommodates the the measurement problem of quantum mechanics (Chapter 4 of part One), the big ﬁve paranormal phenomena (Chapter 5 of Part One), and the most important target of all, the mind/body problem (Chapter 8 of Part Two).
As the nondualists like Plato and Abhinava have been tellimg us, this mathematical consciousness contains our illusion of ordinary reality, mind contains both, and the superreal is primary — demystifying the ŻakŻa´sa.