Jeff Cox: Does Matter Emerge From Consciousness? …



From Jeff Cox

Current thinking about consciousness has it that when matter becomes arranged with enough complexity, consciousness can emerge. As atoms make molecules and molecules participate in life, then brains form and evince consciousness.

It’s my contention that it’s the other way around. That consciousness is the basic ground of reality from which matter emerges.

Consider that consciousness enables experience. Without consciousness, nothing can be experienced. Without experience, there is no perception of space or time because space and time exist within the experience of a being. But, some might argue, space, time, and matter might exist before there’s a mechanism (i.e., a mind) to perceive them. I’d argue that their existence isn’t possible unless and until there is consciousness to perceive them, so consciousness must therefore precede materialization. Without the idea of space, time, and matter first, they can’t materialize on their own.

So, endowed with consciousness, what do we experience? Matter, fundamentally. We feel the cool breeze, the icy water, the hard rock, the clacking keyboards of our computers, the sense of movement through space and time as we drive our cars.

Intelligence is a consequence of consciousness. Intelligence allows us to interpret our world of matter, to assign value, to experience the internal joys of living: love, affection, discovery, friendship, achievement, purpose, and satisfaction.

But consciousness is more fundamental than intelligence. Just by being aware we are given a world to make of what we wish. This universe that we wake into is an infinitely grand gift, provided to us through the agency of consciousness.

Just as an infinite consciousness creates all that is, so we, with our gift of participation in that consciousness, create the physical world that we inhabit.
The quantum world that brings matter to life confirms this. Quantum physicists agree that until something is observed by a conscious mind, it doesn’t exist as defined matter. This has been proven over and over again for a century by scientific experiments.

The same quantum physicists describe a state they call entanglement, where two particles are related in such a way that when something happens to one, the same thing happens to the other, simultaneously and instantaneously, though they be a thousand light years apart. Nothing physical can travel faster than the speed of light. Einstein proved that. And so something other than a physical connection must be tying together those two particles that are light years apart. I suggest that it is the consciousness from which the particles emerge that “knows” (if that’s the right word) them both and twins them into a set that responds together to any changes of state.

Science has struggled to explain consciousness for many years. Perhaps some progress could be made in understanding the universe and the role of awareness in it by thinking about consciousness as the fundamental reality from which the universe springs.

This means, of course, that the entire universe is alive.


“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness.” ­­­­‒ Max Planck

According to the Kaballah, first there was nothing. Not empty space, which has been shown to have structure on the quantum level, but Nothingness in which there is not even a concept of emptiness. Out of this, and this is the fundamental mystery of existence, there sprung a division, a positive in the negative, yin and yang, an unbearable tension that had to be relieved. It has been called the Prime Mover, The Force, and by those who wish to anthropomorphise it, God. Out of this primal energy all else developed in stages. The “Big Bang” is only an event in this scenario, and until very recently scientists refused to think of anything existing before that event, if it happened that way at all. There is also ‘brane theory, referring to colliding membranes, and there are others, T.O.E.s. If this is so, then conciousness is the cause, source and reason for all existence. My personal thought is that what people call “God” is an evolving being that gains experience through the existence of sentient beings. It is growing up, maturing, and is not a finished, static being as we are told. In addition, the ancient belief that all is conciousness…rocks, water, space, everything seen and unseen, is conciousness itself. Buckminster Fuller didn’t say “The Universe” because Universe means “all there is”. He said, simply, “Universe”. When we say another or alternate Universe, we miss the point of the word. We need a new word to describe other existences. Maybe timeline would work, because according to Feynman we create a new timeline (Read: “Universe”) every time we make a decision. See Feynman diagrams, which depict an expanding cone going forward in time at each event. There are theories that state that what we call our Universe may just be one bubble Universe (or Timeline) out of an infinite number. That would mean that this existence that we think is all there is may be like a bubble in the foam on the crest of a breaking wave and just as small and fleeting in the grand scheme of things. I’m feeling a tad windy here, but it’s all connected. If you stretch your arms straight out to represent the age of the Earth, Human history is the thinnest fingernail clipping at the tip of your finger, and if there was a “Big Bang” after a “Big Crunch” before that, ad infinitum, this Universe is just a fingernail clipping in infinite Time. I’m not looking for a conclusion anytime soon. Then there is the (serious) theory that this is a construct on a computer somewhere… End of Rant.