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 this is not the effect of the time evolution of physical reality. That is the extraordinary discovery arising from relativity. The objective worlds is static. As Weyl describes the world does not happen, it simply is. This is a purely subjective phenomenon.
It means that consciousness is what brings about the effective time evolution of physical reality, as the viewpoint passes into the future. The inevitable implication is what is unacceptable in physics. This means the experiencing 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 a movie film. This is why Weyl’s idea is not taken up.
In modern physics, 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)
It is important to understand that Weyl is using the word consciousness in a very specific way. As described by philosopher of consciousness David Chalmers in his book The Conscious Mind (1996), the word is used for two very different kinds of phenomena.
The word consciousness is generally used to mean the awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings. The trouble is that two very different phenomena are wrapped up in that concept. Firstly, there is that which gets experienced. This essentially means the mental states and processes, and this of course includes the representation of the world detected by the senses. This is the world hologram. And this is of course a property of the brain. This he calls the ‘psychological consciousness’. This is now well understood in a practical manner in the field of neuroscience. As Dawkins states, the brain constructs a three-dimensional model, a virtual reality. This is the process of the psychological consciousness.
Secondly, there is the awareness itself, the experiencing consciousness. But this is something completely different. This he calls the ‘phenomenal consciousness’. The word consciousness is here used to refer to this experiencing consciousness.
This is not a property of the brain, as is increasingly acknowledged. 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 work. 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
Consciousness is something completely different to anything in physical reality. It is to the moments in sequence along the worldline as the projector is to the frames in sequence on the movie film. Here once again the classification of logical type is what resolves the puzzle.
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 is second logical type. Because it is composed of a sequence of frames, it has the resulting property that it can be played, brought to life. This is a property of this different second logical type. It does not apply to a frame on its own, a first-logical-type element of the system.
The projector mechanism is completely different kind of thing again, a third logical type. It operates on any and all films. And again the different type means it has different properties. It has the property of bringing to life. As is obvious, no film can do this for itself.
The status of the experiencing consciousness is a vital understanding because without this the dynamics of physics are left without an explanation of their operation. But consciousness as spirit, something other, mysterious and awesome, is not the kind of thing physicists are looking for, or in general willing to tolerate. But this explains everything. In experience, the movie of life runs. This is what operates both the dynamics in quantum mechanics, linear and collapse, as will be described in detail in the next section.
The status of the consciousness is a vital understanding without which the new physics never quite makes sense. A third logical type phenomenon is a requirement.
This resolves another longstanding cosmic mystery. Unexpectedly, we have discovered the nature of spirit in our study of the physics of reality. Spirit means literally that which brings to life. And it is the experiencing consciousness that brings the static block universe of the world to life. This is a familiar idea in spiritual disciplines dating back thousands of years. The consciousness is spirit, that which animates all life.
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 phenomenal consciousness, spirit. The me that gets experienced is the mind, the world hologram, the field of information that the psychological consciousness produces. The spirit experiences this information, and a child process of the universe is created, a ‘movie of life’.
As spirit experiences the world hologram it becomes entirely identified with this field of information. As described by Michel Bitbol, director of research at CNRS, referring to spirit as abstract Mind.
Mind, having no point of view of its own, can but adopt particular points of view and identify itself completely with each of them. Mind is by itself point-of-view-less, just as it is placeless and timeless.
Indeed, as soon as (abstract) Mind identifies itself with a point of view, it can but identify itself to a particular one. … the point of view Mind adopts, when adopted, is not one among others; it is the point of view, self-referred to as my point of view . (1990)
Thus the spirit becomes the consciousness of this particular individual. This is the ‘I’ that experiences being ‘me’.
Spirit makes complete sense of immortality. The consciousness is the spirit that passes from moment to moment, eternally. And at the moment of death it passes from this worldline to the next. The me is the mind that effectively moves along the worldline as consciousness brings this reality to life. At the point of death, the mind effectively passes on to a new worldline in the space of all possible worlds where the continuation exists, like part one and part two of a movie. The mind is the soul. We are triune, body soul and spirit, as has long been understood in the great spiritual traditions.
The next section is The Movie of Life.