Consciousness


Weyl’s elegant solution to the paradoxes obviously makes sense. Clearly, inevitably, since one is constantly experiencing the sequence of moments in life, the viewpoint of consciousness is moving through the moments. But Weyl is saying that the passage of time and the Now are purely subjective phenomena. This is not the effect of the time evolution of physical reality. There is no such thing. The experience of the time evolution of physical reality arises because of the movement of consciousness, and that is all there is.

Which is bad enough as far as physics is concerned. But the big problem is it means consciousness cannot be a physical phenomenon. It has to be something quite different. It has to be to the moments in physical reality as the movie projector is to the frames of the movie. This is automatically rejected in modern physics because ‘physicalism’ is taken for granted, meaning that nothing exists that is not physical or caused by the physical. But as Weyl makes clear, this consciousness is not an attribute of the physical world:

… the consciousness in this function does not belong to the world. (1934, 1)

Two Phenomena

It is important to understand that Weyl is using the word consciousness in a very specific way. As described by by philosopher of consciousness David Chalmers in The Conscious Mind (1996), the word is used both for that which gets experienced, which is of course a property of the brain, and the experiencing, which is not.

That which gets experienced he calls the ‘psychological consciousness’. This is now well understood in a practical manner in the field of neuroscience. This is what gives rise to the world hologram described in The World Hologram. As Dawkins states, the brain constructs a three-dimensional model, a virtual reality. This is the process of the psychological consciousness.

But the experiencing itself is something completely different. This he calls the ‘phenomenal consciousness’. There is no known explanation for this phenomenon in modern science. As noted by philosopher of mind Jerry Fodor:

Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. So much for our philosophy of consciousness. (1992)

The answer is simple. It cannot. The great physicist Erwin Schrödinger took the same view as Weyl:

Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else. (1931)

This is what Chalmers demonstrates in his book. As he proposes, the experiencing itself should be taken as:

… a fundamental feature of the world, alongside mass, charge, and space-time. (1995, 216)
… experience must be taken as something over and above the physical properties of the world. (1996, 331)

In other words, consciousness is contextual to reality, on a par with space-time, the entirety of existence. It is universe consciousness.

The Third Logical Type

This is exactly the type of thing required to resolve the great puzzle. It is of a further, different, logical type. This is in direct contravention to the generally established principle of physicalism. But this is the only workable explanation. Logical type is described in Logical Types.

Consciousness is to the moments in sequence along the worldline as the projector is to the frames in sequence on the movie film. The frames of the film define the first-logical-type, ‘primitive’, elements of the system. The film as a whole is a second, ‘higher’ logical type of entity. It has the resulting property that it can be played, brought to life. The projector mechanism is completely different kind of thing again, a third logical type: it operates on any and all films. It is to the movies as a movie is to the single frames. It has the property of bringing to life.

Just as the projector makes frame after frame along the celluloid film to be the current image, consciousness makes moment after moment along the worldline to be the Now. Like the movie projector it is necessarily a third-logical-type phenomenon, and thus has the property of bringing the worldline to life. The movie of life runs, in consciousness. This accounts for how reality actually works. So this solves the great paradoxes of the Now and the passage of time.

Experiencing Time Passing

The final question is how does this work? How does consciousness come to pass along the worldline. The answer presented here arises directly from the nature of the wave function that defines the worldline.

The wave function defines how the physical layout of a system changes, with the progression of time. This is the linear dynamics. But this dynamics is just a definition, not an operational process, when relativity makes it clear that time itself does not progress. It is like ’60 MPH’. That is not moving! The four-dimensional world is static. But the experience of the wave function is the experience of dynamics it defines, in action. In other words, the experience of the wave function is the experience of this function. So the result is the experience of the operation of the function – the system changing as time progresses – in consciousness. And thus, subjectively, the movie of life runs, in the physical reality that is objectively static.

Spirit

And this resolves another longstanding mystery in our science. We have discovered the nature of spirit. Spirit means literally that which brings to life. And it is consciousness that brings the static block universe of the world to life. This idea is entirely familiar in spiritual disciplines dating back thousands of years. The experiencing consciousness is spirit, that which animates all life.

Universe consciousness explains the ‘motor’ of the universe. It is this that brings the dynamics to life. The status of the experiencing consciousness is a vital understanding without which the dynamics of physics never quite makes sense properly. In the modern world this is another massive shift in our established worldview. But this explains the origin of the transtemporal itself. It truly is spirit that animates all life. In experience, the movie of life runs.

As Weyl states, the consciousness in this function does not belong to the world. This is a process meta to physical reality, the passage from one definition of the physical reality to the next. This is illustrated in The Movie of Life.

The Triune Self

The two types of consciousness are essential to understand the two core attributes of the conscious subject, the I and the me. The I that experiences being me is the consciousness that always continues, the universe consciousness. It passes from moment to moment and world to world. The me is the world hologram, the mind, the field of information that the psychological consciousness produces. The body is the vehicle that produces and hosts the mind.

This makes complete sense of immortality. The consciousness is the spirit that passes from moment to moment, eternally, and from worldline to worldline at death. The me is the mind that effectively moves along the worldline as consciousness brings this reality to life. As the mind effectively passes on from one lifetime to the next, this is also the soul.

We are triune, body soul and spirit, as has long been understood in the great spiritual traditions. The higher self is the me identified with the world, experienced by the consciousness of the universe, the I. The higher self is often thought of as the eternal, omnipotent, conscious, and intelligent being that is one’s real self. The real self is the triune self, eternal, conscious, and intelligent. It is omnipotent only in the sense that the mental activity is steering the personal world. That, however, is an extraordinary change of status in and of itself.

When we adopt this full identity a new intelligence emerges. The triune self as an identity is the enlightenment of the new physics. As this automatically begets enlightened self-interest as the primary motivation, the culture is potentially transformed as Alexander King describes.