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 must have sent variations on this letter to the New Scientist five times or more since my book, Sun of gOd, was published. Sure, they might tag me as a nutcase but I saw that as a risk worth taking, and being tagged nutcase has never stopped me in the past.
An article in New Scientist on atheism as a faith, related only to the Abrahamic alternatives, moved me to write them once again. Whoop whoop – after major cutting, they published my letter last week as the Editor’s Pick! I earnestly hope it will plant the seed of stellar consciousness in a few scientific minds.
My long-winded original is underneath. New Scientist did a brilliant edit, but I like to think the redacted content is what finally cut through their built-in rejection reflex. Perseverance furthers.
The Original – Dear New Scientist,
Someone from another planet reading “Faith of the Faithless” (15th April) might easily think the three Abrahamic religions and atheism are the only belief systems on the planet. Buddhists and Taoists do well without any creator god while Hindus can attribute spirit to just about anything. Zoroastrians revere light and its emissaries, Sun and fire. Shinto worship a female Sun goddess.
The most worshiped deity in human history, and one that even atheists can recognise is entirely omitted from the article. Our local star actually IS the light of our life and it is NOT a delusion. The more that cosmologists study Sun and other stars the harder it becomes to explain their behaviour as random balls of plasma entirely directed by the laws of physics. How to explain Sun’s corona or the “magnetic portal” connecting it to Earth, discovered by NASA in 2008? How to explain the movement of stars in a galaxy?
As Carl Sagan put it, “Our ancestors worshiped the Sun, and they were far from foolish…. If we must worship a power greater than ourselves, does it not make sense to revere the Sun and stars?” It was not science that burned all thought of a living Sun from our culture but the Church, and scientists maintain this religious taboo out of habit, not the scientific method. When science lets go of that old Christian imprint perhaps we will, mercifully, be able to consign dark matter to the same dustbin as the luminiferous ether.
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?
One might better ask what dark matter is not than ask what it is. At least some intelligible answers will be forthcoming. So far detected only in the minds of cosmologists, “dark matter” began life as little more than a name given to the answer of a problem that hadn’t been solved. Today it has grown into a cult-like religion within supposedly ‘rational’ science, supported by faith alone and having less evidence than that ascribed to many Biblical miracles. CERN, the most expensive boy’s toy in the world, has been refitted at the cost of several billions in hope of detecting this elusive stuff, which is physical and supposedly makes up 85% of our galaxy’s mass. One is reminded of the centuries long search for the elusive “luminiferous aether” thought to carry light to our world, whose “existence is a fact that cannot be questioned,” as Lord Kelvin put it in the course of his failed 55 year quest.
What is going on here? Why are otherwise conservative evidence-based scientists declaring the existence of something when they haven’t got the foggiest clue what it is? Perhaps there is another way of looking at the problem that dark matter would solve. That problem lays in the movement of stars within their galaxy. If they are all just balls of matter being moved around by the gravitational force of a big black hole in their middle then the stars at the edge of the galaxy should be moving much slower than the ones near the middle. They are not. That’s the problem.
Let us alter our perspective for a moment, recognizing that eminent scientists of antiquity, including Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras and Ptolemy, were not bound to a Christian taboo prohibiting scientists, or anybody else, from infringing on their religion’s monopoly of all matters spiritual. It was the Church, not science, that assured humans we were the only receptacles of consciousness in the Universe, apart from God, angels and the devil. Science has dismissed those last three, which leaves just humans as capable of consciousness, though now some higher mammals are joining the club.
Letting go of all pre-programmed assumptions, which of these would you find easier to consider?
1) That for every kilo of matter we can detect in our galaxy there are five and a half kilos of matter, of physical gravitational stuff, that is completely transparent to our most sophisticated detection techniques.
2) That our multi-leveled dynamic source of the light of life knows life itself; that the Sun is not some accidental light bulb in the sky; that stars are conscious celestial beings.
I suspect most people would opt for No1, if only because No.2 has never been presented to them before, suffering from zero percent exposure. However an unbiased viewing of the scientific evidence weighs more towards conscious stellar beings than to random balls of plasma. This idea and its logical implications are further explored in my book, Sun of gOd, Discover the Self-Organizing Consciousness that Underlies Everything.
Taking this new (or ancient) perspective enables us to view our knowledge of cosmological behavior in a completely new light. A star, fashioned by the electromagnetic force from a cloud of cosmic dust, ‘feeds’ upon matter, converting it to light in a perfectly contained steady fusion reaction, something our finest scientific minds still strive to achieve armed with massive funding and our highest technology. Stars convert simple hydrogen into other elements, from carbon to silicon, from calcium to iron – a feat of ‘simple’ transmutation that we have not yet achieved, intelligent though we are. Our Sun connects to earth every eight minutes through what NASA calls a “magnetic portal,” when they think that tons of high-energy particles are exchanged. Giant electromagnetic fields link galaxies together across the vastness of space. It becomes increasingly difficult to explain the joined-up nature of this ordered Universe as random accidental action, with no shred of consciousness apparent until apes lost their hair on planet Earth and began using tools.
Consciousness is thought to be the greatest mystery of our existence yet we apparently know enough to know nothing else knows it. How can we assume that this energetic mystery does not accompany our local star? Perhaps consciousness permeates the entire Universe, manifested through the electromagnetic force that permeates everything from the inner atom to each point in the expanse between galaxies. I look forward to the day when science overcomes the religious taboo and brings the concept of spirit, or extra-human consciousness, into the field of serious study.
Right up there with dark matter on my scale of preposterousness is the multiverse, conceived as a means to explain away this Universe as a random event that just happened to bring everything together in exactly the right proportions and sequences for matter to exist, for stars to burn and so on and so forth. Some have even put a number to it, calculating that we would need many more randomverses (as I put it) than there are atoms in this Universe, to have one of them to turn out as uniquely as ours. Of course nobody has or ever will detect any of these randomverses, though many good minds indulge in the dalliance of theorizing over them. Once again, just add consciousness as an inbuilt feature and we do not need other unique verses, though they might well exist.
The problem is not with the motion of stars but with the irrational straightjacket into which Christianity has encased the scientific mindset. When scientists reject all things spiritual out of habit and not scientific principle they reject with it the idea that other realms of consciousness could exist; that “the greatest mystery” of consciousness could be more widespread than we think. If stars are conscious energetic entities then there is no need to explain their speeds and trajectories by purely random mechanical means. Though we might one day understand how stars manage movement through space we my never comprehend their reasons for travel.
We do not need dark matter. We need only recognize that stars, our Universe’s most populous residents, are not dead dumb balls of plasma randomly reacting to the laws of physics.
The subtitle of my book The State Is Out Of Date is “We Can Do It Better” and here is a great example. Many would like to think the government is keeping an eye on our safety, intervening to be sure our drugs and food are safe enough to consume (often banning chemicals that for decades they assured us were safe). The truth is very different, especially when there is nothing to tax and nobody to fine – especially when activities they support, such as nuclear power, are posing the risk. In this case, the state is telling us that the risk from Fukushima’s catastrophic meltdowns is so negligible it is not worth spending the money to prove the waters of the Pacific are safe. After all, for the same cost, they could buy at least one, maybe even two $2 MillionF35 fighter pilot helmets.
People along the British Columbia coast are being asked to step in where governments in Canada and the U.S. have not — to measure radiation from Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in B.C.’s ocean waters.
Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., are calling on the public to collect data from B.C.’s oceans for a crowd-funded research project.
The website ourradioactiveocean.org is recruiting “citizen scientists,” ordinary people who can raise $600 for a home testing kit and then take water samples to return to Woods Hole for analysis.
‘When you don’t know, people can speculate all kinds of things’– Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
“I think it’s important to get measurements, and since the governments aren’t doing it, we thought the public has a large concern we’d ask them help collect and fund the sampling,” said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute researcher Ken Buesseler.
Although it has been urged, Buesseler says there is incomplete monitoring, and little data, for radiation in Pacific coastal waters from either Canadian or American authorities.
Graham Hancock forRussell Brand in the New Statesman.
THE CONSCIOUSNESS REVOLUTION
Consciousness is one of the great mysteries of science – perhaps the greatest mystery. We all know we have it, when we think, when we dream, when we savour tastes and aromas, when we hear a great symphony, when we fall in love, and it is surely the most intimate, the most sapient, the most personal part of ourselves. Yet no one can really claim to have understood and explained it completely. There’s no doubt it’s associated with the brain in some way but the nature of that association is far from clear. In particular how do these three pounds of material stuff inside our skulls allow us to have experiences?
…later, he continues…
I refer here to the so-called “war on drugs” which is really better understood as a war on consciousness and which maintains, supposedly in the interests of society, that we as adults do not have the right or maturity to make sovereign decisions about our own consciousness and about the states of consciousness we wish to explore and embrace. This extraordinary imposition on adult cognitive liberty is justified by the idea that our brain activity, disturbed by drugs, will adversely impact our behaviour towards others. Yet anyone who pauses to think seriously for even a moment must realize that we already have adequate laws that govern adverse behaviour towards others and that the real purpose of the “war on drugs” must therefore be to bear down on consciousness itself.
“It seems a reasonable desire for people to find some means to get “out of their heads” from time to time—to take a totally different perspective on life. Perhaps some new perspectives are needed in the world today, and the attraction to drugs is evolution trying to happen. We should be pleased that many of today’s generation are avoiding the trap of alcohol addiction, together with the anti-social behavior, depression, trivia worship, and middle-age burnout that abusers risk. When not abused, alcohol can be an enjoyable and stimulating drug that is beneficial to our health and well-being. Alcohol has a well-earned place in our culture, but that place does not deserve to be defended by state legislation and turned into a drug monopoly.
Drugs are an integral part of our culture and, as we learned in school, they made up the core of the early international business that brought the world’s differing cultures into trade with each other. Those products of trade included tobacco, alcohol, opium, tea, coffee, chocolate, cocaine, and sugar. Tea was such a costly drug in the pre-revolutionary US that users would season and eat the dried leaves after drinking the strong tea. Prior to the discovery of sugar cane, the sweetening for Europe had been expensive honey; the intense sugar hit was once a luxury drug. Today, we are made addicts from childhood, with many seeing it as a child’s inalienable right to consume large quantities of sugary things. Yet it is clear that the effects of sugar consumption are more damaging than many illegal drugs, and that for many, sugar is a harder drug to kick. The other major items of trade were pepper and spices, products we might view as virtual drugs to the taste buds of the bland European palate of the mid-millennium. The glorious history of trade in the civilized world was firmly anchored in humanity’s desire for new and diverse drugs and sensory inputs.
People have always sought to include drugs in their life- style for many non-medical reasons: whether to stay awake longer or to fall asleep sooner; whether to drown their sorrows or to better understand them; whether to enjoy a banter in the bar with friends or have mystic communication with a tree; whether to explore their dark side or say hello to the god within. Some drugs are not an escape from “reality” but a gateway to exploring the very nature of reality. Even the humble drug tea was first discovered by Buddhist monks, who used its stimulatory qualities in their quest for higher consciousness when meditating through the night. One could imagine how dismayed they would be at the level of tea abuse taking place in modern Britain.”
I had quite a few things to say about GMO’s in The State Is Out Of Date, so was delighted to see that Dr Bronner’s soaps are in the forefront of the campaign to get GMO foodstuffs labeled as such in the state of Washington. Today, the 5th of November, is the critical day when voting takes place on what could be a historic turning point.
It’s midmorning at the hive of cheap buildings that serves as the global HQ of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, and, as usual, David Bronner isn’t working on anything to do with soap. Sure, his phone is ringing off the hook with business calls and a rep from Trader Joe’s is visiting tomorrow, but the 40-year-old CEO—who looks like a 6-foot-5 raver version of Captain Jack Sparrow—could care less. A Burning Man amulet dangles on a hemp necklace over his tie-dye shirt as he leans in toward his computer screen, staring at what really matters to him: the latest internal poll results for Washington Initiative 522, a ballot measure that would require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms.
The initiative, which Washingtonians will vote on tomorrow, is one of the costliest in state history: Its proponents have spent a little more than $7 million, while their opponents in biotech and agribusiness have poured in $22 million.* Dr. Bronner’s has donated a whopping $1.8 million to the Yes on 522 campaign. (That’s on top of $620,000 it gave in support of a similar California ballot measure last year.) At stake, Bronner says, is consumers’ right to decide what they put in their bodies. “If we don’t win the right to label and enable people to choose non-GMO, then everything is going to be GMO.” Read the full story here.
“The reason there are virtually no GMO products on sale in the European food chain is not because they are illegal but because they must be labeled as GMO, and people remain unconvinced on the benefits versus the risks.”
Why is there so much death and disease among sea life living near the west coast of North America right now? Could the hundreds of tons of highly radioactive water that are being released into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every single day have anything to do with it?
…Polar bears, seals and walruses along the Alaska coastline are suffering from fur loss and open sores…Along the Pacific coast of Canada and the Alaska coastline, the population of sockeye salmon is at a historic low…Something is causing fish all along the west coast of Canada to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs…the Vancouver Sun reported that cesium-137 was being found in a very high percentage of the fish that Japan was selling to Canada… Read full story here
We thought that the one positive spin-off of Three Mile Island was that it would be the death-knell for nuclear power. We thought the same after Chernobyl, and Fukushima. Yet the madness continues with the UK now going to China for money to build more. The risks are so unacceptable that only the disconnected thinking of a coercive state could countenance them.extract from The State of Business, chapter 20
“‘False Legitimacy’ is often extended to businesses that would otherwise have neither the means nor any reason to exist. As mentioned earlier, this is patently the case with nuclear power, a dangerous and uneconomic activity that would never merit its existence in a free economy. Unless exonerated by the state, companies have responsibility under common law for their activities. Nuclear power companies do not take responsibility for obsolete plants that will remain toxic and need minding for many tens of thousands of years beyond their thirty- to forty-year working lifespan. No insurance company is willing to cover for the incalculable potential costs of nuclear accidents, as demonstrated at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. The state will attempt to underwrite any disaster repairs, with our money. If I keep referring to nuclear, it is because nothing else on this planet matches its potential to so permanently destroy virtually all of this beautiful thing called life.” (get the full ebook online for less than a cup of coffee)
Last week’s New Scientist featured a cover story on the Multiverse, a curious concept born out of the head-scratching improbability of this Universe accidentally having the exact and precise parameters needed for matter and stars to exist, let alone things like us.
This is my Letter to the Editor:
Perhaps in centuries to come we will look back on physicists’ estimates of a multiverse (26 November, p.42) containing 10^500 universes in the same light as we see early theologians arguing over angel counts per pinhead. It was those theologians who set the template for the physicists’ dilemma by sweeping away a common assumption of the ancient world and its scientists – the assumption that other aspects of this world also experienced consciousness. It was the Church that decreed only humans enjoyed this special experience, together with God, angels and the devil, replacing the notion of a living world with that of a dead unconscious place created by some imaginary external Character.
Science still clings to this unfounded religious restriction on consciousness, though it may have removed the devil, angels and God from the club. In your following article on consciousness and anaesthesia (p.49) you state that “Consciousness has long been one of the great mysteries of life, the universe and everything…yet we cannot agree on how to define it.” Most would agree, though, that it is not a physical thing but an invisible energetic phenomenon. How can we know enough about consciousness to be sure that only we are equipped to experience it?
If consciousness is energetic, then our Universe’s most common occupant has all the qualifications for being able to experience it. This appeared obvious to all pre-monotheistic cultures and their scientists, though they knew nothing of the complex activities powering the Sun and other stars. They knew nothing of stars’ invisible energetic coronas, or of the enormous electro-magnetic fields linking stars and even galaxies together.
Perhaps if we embraced what was once a universal concept, instead of remaining in thrall to religious taboo, we would be equipped to arrive at a far simpler solution to this special Universe’s fine tuning.