Some top scientific thinkers are now recognizing the all infusing consciousness that permeates even inanimate matter. In my book, Sun of gOd, I look at its presence in grains of sand and galaxies, electrons and weather systems, revealing a Universe incorporating both intelligence and design without need of any Intelligent Designer.
Adding to the subject, journalist Olivia Goldhill writes of increasing academic credibility given to panpsychism, quoting Philip Goff as saying “Consciousness is a fundamental feature of physical matter; every single particle in existence has an “unimaginably simple” form of consciousness.” Centuries of scientific taboo begin to crumble.
In the chapter of my book dedicated to inanimate intelligence I cover many of the bases that scientists are now reaching. There follow a few selected paragraphs, penned ten years ago, followed by the article in Quartz.
“Inanimate intelligence – is stuff smarter than we think?” (snippets)
…The more that science discovers about the inner workings and strategies of the vegetable world the more and more probable it seems that intelligence does pervade the entire living world, from mankind to microbe, from tree to fungi. But what about the inanimate world of rocks and mountains, grains of sand and crystals, winds and hurricanes, blazing stars?
…From the traditional viewpoint of the animist, a universal consciousness permeates every particle of matter in the Universe, from the electrons in your socks to the thundercloud about to soak them. If these particles of matter do possess some awareness of being, some miniscule micro-bit of consciousness, it becomes less surprising that they are able to self-organize into something with form and order, something with behaviour that seems intelligent. This “something” might be a whole weather system or a single thundercloud, an ocean or a rolling river, a mountain range or an ordered beach, a star or a volcano.
…Mountaineers and seafarers have long attributed character and personality to the realms they explore, as did the early astronomers, before the thought of it was banned. Without allowing for anything other than brain-based intelligence, we must view all this stuff as chemical and physical reactions, accidentally bringing about complex functioning phenomena, some of which are even able to support intelligent life.
…A giant ocean full of intelligence might be dependent upon that which exists within its every drop. If we can accept James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis of a global planetary system operating as though there is intelligence at play, then we can logically accept that the sub-components of this system form an integral part of that intelligence. We recognize a similar concept in the group intelligence of a termite mound or a slime mould, seeing it as a composite of its individual components. Perhaps intelligence will always be a by-product of consciousness – perhaps even it is the purpose of consciousness.
…Although it might appear simplistic, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the reason things “hang together” so well is because every thing contains some measure of intelligence, together with an awareness of being, belonging and form. Until they are willing to include intelligence in their considerations, scientists may never be able to explain how natural phenomena from slime moulds to weather systems to stars manage to achieve and maintain their incredible feats of self-organization.
Article from QUARTZ, by Olivia Goldhill The idea that everything from spoons to stones are conscious is gaining academic credibility
Consciousness permeates reality. Rather than being just a unique feature of human subjective experience, it’s the foundation of the universe, present in every particle and all physical matter.
This sounds like easily-dismissible bunkum, but as traditional attempts to explain consciousness continue to fail, the “panpsychist” view is increasingly being taken seriously by credible philosophers, neuroscientists, and physicists, including figures such as neuroscientist Christof Koch and physicist Roger Penrose.
“Why should we think common sense is a good guide to what the universe is like?” says Philip Goff, a philosophy professor at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. “Einstein tells us weird things about the nature of time that counters common sense; quantum mechanics runs counter to common sense. Our intuitive reaction isn’t necessarily a good guide to the nature of reality.”
David Chalmers, a philosophy of mind professor at New York University, laid out the “hard problem of consciousness” in 1995, demonstrating that there was still no answer to the question of what causes consciousness. Traditionally, two dominant perspectives, materialism and dualism, have provided a framework for solving this problem. Both lead to seemingly intractable complications.
I got a total eclipse flashback high watching live TV on Monday, recalling my cosmic eclipse trips to Hungary 1999 and Zambia 2001, both of which played key parts in the genesis of my book, Sun of gOd. TV coverage also showed the degree of wondrous awe that this event brings to viewers, whether newbies or seasoned “eclipse addicts.”
Nobody seemed to question the why of this response. The answer would involve realising that all those ancient cultures were right about something the Abrahamic religions got wrong. The Sun that makes life possible for life on Earth knows life itself. It’s not a random ball of gas that just happens to facilitate life, but the star of the creation process that enables life on Earth – and everything else in this family of planets. Respect.
So what do we witness in a total eclipse? We see the corona – a normally invisible energy field that occupies more space than Sun itself. Solar scientists believe it creates and controls sunspots, solar flares, coronal mass ejections and prominences – while calling it Sun’s greatest mystery. Our own minds are an invisible energy field that is seen as the greatest mystery of human existence. Minds control some of what our bodies do, but not a lot.
Whether they knew it or not, those scientists, regular people and media reporters were all getting a spiritual buzz from witnessing the mind of our local star, a character our distant ancestors saw as divine and deserving of gratitude. Across America this gratitude unconsciously came out in the whooping and shouting and ecstatic awe of those who had congregated for the shared experience. Perhaps some enlightenment was gained in the process.
Intrigued by this idea and want to see where it leads? Check out my book, Sun of gOd, with a Foreword by Graham Hancock. It’s the only one out there.
Want to dive deeper? Check out my book and see its glowing reviews on Amazon.
This review from Paul Bazeley is not untypical:
“This is a wonderful book. Not new agey or flakey at all. It presents its arguments with real scientific and philosophical rigour. I have to say that I was so sceptical when I read the blurb that I felt it would be a tall order to convince me of its central premise. But by the end, I felt that a lot of things were possible in the Universe that I hadn’t considered before. I liked it’s subversive and lateral thinking and also it’s humorous cheekiness. It really makes you look at the world slightly differently, and I think that, whether you agree with his conclusions or not, that is always a good thing.”
Scientists are starting to think the unthinkable – is our Universe itself conscious, and stars volitional beings? “Veteran physicist” Gregory Matloff and I share more than our first names. You can read his original scientific paper here or get the essence of it and related thoughts in the NBC News story below – but first a paragraph from me.
My exploration of stellar consciousness let inevitably to that same conclusion. Here are my thoughts in the chapter on that subject in my book, published 2008.
“It seems apparent that Universe itself is but another level of higher mind – albeit the highest as far as we are concerned. Perhaps each of its countless billions of giant galaxies is the equivalent of a single neuron firing in our own brain. Its invisible mind might be filling the entirety of what we consider to be the empty space between galaxies – a space that is infused with the electromagnetic vibrations of everything else in the Universe. We are assured by modern astrophysicists that the Universe contains “dark energy,” a force which they are at a loss to define or explain, but whose existence is essential to their calculations, Could this indefinable “energy” be something to do with universal consciousness – a force unto itself with the ability to hold the cosmos together?”
that NBC news story ———————–
Is the Universe Conscious?Some of the world’s most renowned scientists are questioning whether the cosmos has an inner life similar to our own.
For centuries, modern science has been shrinking the gap between humans and the rest of the universe, from Isaac Newton showing that one set of laws applies equally to falling apples and orbiting moons to Carl Sagan intoning that “we are made of star stuff” — that the atoms of our bodies were literally forged in the nuclear furnaces of other stars.
Even in that context, Gregory Matloff’s ideas are shocking. The veteran physicist at New York City College of Technology recently published a paper arguing that humans may be like the rest of the universe in substance and in spirit. A “proto-consciousness field” could extend through all of space, he argues. Stars may be thinking entities that deliberately control their paths. Put more bluntly, the entire cosmos may be self-aware.
I was recently alerted by Graham Hancock to this excellent article from a Norwegian philosopher maintaining that matter itself is conscious, a conclusion she came to through logical thought process.
If you have read my book, Sun of gOd, you will know that I reached this same conclusion, as one of the inevitable consequences of recognizing consciousness in our Sun and other stars. The chapter was titled: Inanimate intelligence – perhaps stuff is smarter than we think.
As I put it “For all we know, the tree might be tickled by the ripple of a breeze; the volcano excited by its own eruption; the thundercloud proud of its lightning; the mountain sublime in its majesty.”
Seneca put it like this 2000 years ago…
“Life is the fire that burns and the sun that gives light. Life is the wind and the rain and the thunder in the sky. Life is matter and is earth, what is and what is not, and what beyond is in Eternity.”
This is Hedda Hassel Mørch’s approach to the classic hard problem of consciousness.
The nature of consciousness seems to be unique among scientific puzzles. Not only do neuroscientists have no fundamental explanation for how it arises from physical states of the brain, we are not even sure whether we ever will. Astronomers wonder what dark matter is, geologists seek the origins of life, and biologists try to understand cancer—all difficult problems, of course, yet at least we have some idea of how to go about investigating them and rough conceptions of what their solutions could look like. Our first-person experience, on the other hand, lies beyond the traditional methods of science. Following the philosopher David Chalmers, we call it the hard problem of consciousness.
But perhaps consciousness is not uniquely troublesome. Going back to Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant, philosophers of science have struggled with a lesser known, but equally hard, problem of matter. What is physical matter in and of itself, behind the mathematical structure described by physics? This problem, too, seems to lie beyond the traditional methods of science, because all we can observe is what matter does, not what it is in itself—the “software” of the universe but not its ultimate “hardware.” On the surface, these problems seem entirely separate. But a closer look reveals that they might be deeply connected. Continue reading
A message arrived today from one Bee Thabee, on the Vernal Equinox and Zoroastrian Navroze (new year) celebration, asking for permission to publish the video he’d been working on through the night.
And, of course, it’s about this day’s mother subject, the light of stars.
I’m feeling well honoured to appear alongside Carl Sagan, Bill Hicks and Alan Watts. It was all seemingly triggered by the tune Gaudi produced a few years back, that was itself triggered by an interview with me getting a bit cosmic at the first Wilderness Festival. The Light works in mysterious ways.
I gave this excellent little talk on light at the Odditorium in Brighton a couple of years ago and only discovered it to be online recently when a listener contacted me to ask about the tattoo mentioned in the talk. I sent him a picture of it and he sent me the link, which I now send to you. The curious events in their introduction occurred before my arrival so I cannot enlighten on that front.
This episode starts with a crash, after an eclipse and power cut in the studio leave our presenters stumbling around in the dark while Mr Mounfield later reveals himself to be a Zoroastrian. It all proves however, to be a perfect link for their guest, Gregory Sams, who puts forward a compelling argument for the sun, stars and universe being far more intelligent than conventional science would have us believe.
I share just one of 91 extraordinary microscopic pictures of the living world. Each new one in the slide show had me in awe and then at No.13 I gasped, stopped looking and began this blog.
Within the human brain, we know that each tiny neuron is connected through its dendrites, axons and synapses to thousands of other neurons, and that these connections shift as different tasks are demanded of our organism. It’s a staggering scenario, and one I have never really been able to picture. Here we see this for real, in an extraordinary photo of “fresh” brain cells, newly formed from embryonic stem cells. Looking at this cell, I get visual support for a point I make in my book, Sun of gOd, about the bottom-up structure of our own organism. Each single cell in our body contains 5-10 million residents going about their business of eating, excreting, repairing, assessing, co-operating, communicating with other cells, reproducing and so forth. There is no sign of a gang-leader determining what these individual characters do or when.
Here we see a brain cell looking like a miniature organism in its own right, ready to connect up with up to 10,000 other brain cells and exchange information, make decisions, learn new skills and much much more. Our brain has the structure of something organised from the bottom-up. Off on a wild tangent, looking at these fine filaments makes me wonder if they might also act as antenna connected to the activity of an energetic mind.
Cosmologists are scratching their heads trying to figure out why stars are creating megastructures in space that cannot be explained as accidental?
Today’s story in the Independent:
A large cluster of objects in space look like something you would “expect an alien civilization to build”, astronomers have said.
Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University, is set to publish a report on the “bizarre” star system suggesting the objects could be a “swarm of megastructures”, according to a new report.
“I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” Wright told The Atlantic. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilisation to build.”
It isn’t often that we find cosmologists playing the “alien” card to explain things beyond their comprehension. How Sun’s corona works, or why it exists, is still a mystery to science, as are many aspects of stellar behaviour. In this instance the inexplicability arises from sudden dips in the star’s brightness. Perhaps this one is aliens and then again, perhaps it is simply a peculiar quirk of this star.
Herewith a small extract from my book Sun of gOd.
We could easily assume that the hundreds of billions of stars living within a galaxy might be evenly, or randomly distributed. But that would be about as sensible as assuming that the one billion people living in India were all evenly, or randomly, distributed around the country. In fact, like us, stars live in stellar communities called clusters, with empty space between them. There might be a dozen or so, a few hundred, a few thousand or a few million stars in these groupings, rather like we get together in farms, villages, towns and cities. It seems unlikely that stars would have planning departments determining just where they can be, but they do like to be in close proximity to other stars.
Astronomers are able to detect and measure the vibrating wave energies transmitted by stars and galaxies throughout the Universe. This is done with all manner of high-tech equipment and lots of high-powered thinking. But what are they doing with all this information, with these electro-magnetic broadcasts made by Sun and other stars?
It is as if some alien entities, that knew only telepathic communication, were to pick up and analyse a radio talk show broadcast from Earth. Assuming they could listen to the radio they would probably convert the sound wave patterns to graphic displays of the type we are familiar with. They might discover there were a number of different sources (voices) of the sound waves and possibly even detect certain audio-patterns (words) being repeated at different rates. They might measure the lengths of pauses and breathing rate and all manner of associated and related data. But they would, essentially, have no idea of what was being said – perhaps not even realize that what they were analysing represented an exchange of intelligence and information. Do you get my point?
I suppose my Sixties began in 1964 when I heard Bob Dylan singing The Times They Are A-Changin’. At the age of fifteen I had no idea how, but it felt like something was simmering. Within a year I had smoked my first pot, hitched to Morocco and let my hair grow. A vegetarian from ten, I embraced macrobiotics in 1965 after my brother Craig brought news of it back during his last summer break from university. My diet became what I DID eat, instead of what I did NOT.
The hotbed radical campus in America was University of California Berkeley, which is where I went in Oct 1966, as the Summer of Love gestated across the San Francisco Bay. Turned onto acid, tuned into the Universe, and at the end of the year dropped out of a tree (not high, either way), injuring my spine. Don’t think that’s what Tim had in mind.
Return to England on a stretcher in early 1967 and my ‘Summer of Love’ begins at the end of April with London’s legendary 14-Hour Technicolour Dream at Alexandra Palace. The hospital (Stoke Mandeville) sent me home on trial that weekend to see how I managed life in my new wheelchair. Had a cosmic time, immersing myself in the UK’s new-born psychedelic culture with Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Pretty Things, Arthur Brown and many more.
Later that summer I was dispensing brown rice and vegetables to hippies on the Portobello Rd once a week, inspired by the Diggers in California who had been inspired by the Diggers in England a few centuries earlier. But I still planned to get back to University after a year adjusting to the wheelchair thing.
My brother Craig, finished with University, was in the process of setting up a macrobiotic restaurant in a basement near Paddington, after his short-lived illegal venue in Notting Hill Gate had been closed down. But late in 1967 he has to abruptly leave the UK for several years and it falls to me to pick up the reins, completing and opening the restaurant in early 1968.
1968 and I’m sitting in the yard behind a bustling Seed Restaurant kitchen listening to Mary Hopkins singing Those Were the Days(my friend, we thought they’d never end. We’d sing and dance forever and a day). Tears welled in my 19-year old eyes as I experienced in advance the nostalgic sadness of the day when I had gone ‘straight’ and was looking back from another world. How could you beat having the hippest restaurant in hippie London, serving organic wholefood dinners to the likes of John and Yoko and supplying free meals to those with no money. We played the latest music of the era, put together on reel-to-reel tapes by the one and only DJ Jeff Dexter. I produced a magazine called Harmony that John supported with a great cartoon. It was cool.
I was a fervent crusader for macrobiotics, intent upon changing the eating habits of the world, and thereby the world itself. At the time I felt certain that the whole world would be eating brown rice and vegetables in a decade. After all, ten years ago I had been nine, and the world seemed to have changed a lot since then! Everything seems so possible, but you don’t know what is until you try.
Halfway into the 60’s, few people had ever heard of brown rice, and the only sesame seed they were likely to encounter was on top of a hamburger bun. Sunflower seeds were strictly for the birds and the only beans in British came in a tin with tomato sauce. If you were lucky enough to find pure fruit juice on sale, it would have come from Germany in a glass bottle and probably cost as much as a bottle of decent wine. Western bread was white, except in a few places like Germany, Poland and Scandinavia. Disease was seen as a random event – the fickle finger of fate, disconnected from personal lifestyle or environmental pollution. Your doctor was wholly responsible for your health.
We named our company Yin-Yang Limited, since macrobiotics was all about balancing the yin and the yang, and taking responsibility for your own health. Our company logo was the yin-yang symbol and in 1968 our restaurant sign was probably the only place in London you would see that, now common, symbol. I remember getting excited when I first saw the yin-yang sign somewhere else – on the Korean ambassador’s car (it’s their flag).
Though against the war in Vietnam, short hair and pin-stripe suits, the main enemy I perceived in those days was the sugar industry, poisoning our youth with their evil and addictive drug. As I passed those big sugar tankers on the roads, I had visions of placing plastic explosives on them, in a subversive terrorist action for the good of society. I knew our dishwasher at Seed restaurant shot up heroin in the toilet, but when I caught her drinking Coca Cola in the kitchen she was sacked immediately.
1969 onwards… Seed restaurant took care of the Sixties for me. Customers wanted to cook at home, so Ceres natural food store was added. Next a wholesale company, Harmony Foods, so other shops could stock the food. Hippies from different cities in the UK and Europe came for supplies with which to spread the dietary revolution. Many of our early customers grew to became regional or national wholesalers.
Magazines (Harmony and Seed), cafes (Sprout and Green Genes), wholemeal bakeries (Ceres retail and wholesale), a bookstore and pop festival catering, including Glastonbury ’71, were all part of our agenda in those early years. It was full on and full of fun. 1973 arrived and I was still waiting for Mary Hopkins’ nostalgic vision to arrive.
There were plenty of others making new music, promoting free love, living in communes, selling incense and dispensing the wisdom of the East. The primary dream of the Sixties, for my brother and I, was to turn people on to natural and organic foods and the idea that diet affected health and happiness. It was so clear that this was the way forward – the right sort of food for healthy human beings. And when you know you are right you assume that eventually everybody else will come around to your way of thinking (precisely the sort of attitude that makes fundamentalist religious freaks so dangerous). It seemed like it was only a matter of time until the message got across, and it soon did.
Today, over forty years later, I admit to being surprised, delighted and proud of the strides that have been made. The whole world may not be eating natural organic foods, but for every one person who did so in the Sixties there are thousands doing so today. Whole grains and pulses and seeds are back in the human food chain along with a huge growth in sustainable agriculture. Organic natural foods are now a multi-billion dollar industry and millions are aware that the food they eat has an effect upon the health and happiness they experience in their lives. We have come a very long way.
And yet, looking at the world today, it seems like the utopia we imagined remains on the distant horizon. I am surprised, depressed, and appalled at the progress of the industrial juggernaut that tries to divorce our existence from the natural world. Trucks full of liquid sugar are the least of our problems. Though we ‘blew the whistle’ on them in the 60’s, food industry chemists have spent the years between developing countless new means to cheapen, adulterate and preserve our food. The enemies of harmony push relentlessly upon Europe’s door in their efforts to introduce genetically modified experiments into the food chain.
Though most of today’s green movements evolved from the Sixties, we have witnessed increasing pollution of our food and our environment ever since. New varieties of disease and illness have visited mankind, with the pharmaceutical companies growing fat on the back of them. Their lobbyists are well-funded.
The war on drugs continues and any substance that makes us feel good without needing a prescription from the doctor is illegal, alcohol excepted. We used to think that cannabis would be legalized within a few years and that society would soon recognize the value of LSD to our cultural evolution. Few realized how determined the status quo would be to prevent us from tasting forbidden fruit that offers knowledge and bliss. Today (2015) the war seems to be faltering, the madness of it openly acknowledged, in some nations.
And yet, as scary as the world appears to be to me, in many ways these still are “the days, my friend,” just as much as “those were the days.” Year on year I have watched the seeds that were planted in the Sixties grow into a new global consciousness. Before the Sixties you very rarely heard people talking about harmony, environment, vision, meditation, visualization, massage, yoga, aromatherapy, organic food, natural healing, conservation or personal computers (another child of the times). There were many who believed that we would all be living on convenient pills by now. They were wrong.
It turns me on to see more and more of humanity connecting to this wonder-filled world – to know how many are looking within, as well as outside of their selves. It turns me on to see how much more joy and inspiration there is in the world – gods know, we’ll need it in the times ahead. And it turns me on to continue delighting in so many of life’s features that stem from the Sixties.
Mary Hopkins, I’m still lovin’ it.
– originally written March 2007, for German publisher Werner Pieper’s book on different peoples’ Sixties experience, with a few minor updates –
And after the Sixties …
The business grew into the distribution and manufacture of natural foods (Harmony Foods and Whole Earth) until 1982, when I left to launch the first VegeBurger onto the market, creating and christening the product. It did well, added a word to the language, and I sold it in 1988, leaving the food industry behind me. Two year advance on retirement, until I discover chaos theory. 1990 open Strange Attractions, world’s only chaos shop, designing and publishing lots of fractal imagery and computer graphics, later licensing these to others and through agencies. Millions of fractals reprinted throughout the world. 1998 publish my book Uncommon Sense, the State is Out of Date, outlining the messages and lessons that chaos theory has for our lives and societies – sell 3200 copies. 2000 to 2007, writing and researching next book, published 2008 and titled Sun of gOd – Discover the Self-Organizing Consciousness That Underlies Everything. Spend my time promoting this book then in 2013 I upgrade my first book, retitled The State Is Out Of Date, We Can Do It Better. I give talks and interviews on both topics.