AE-DOC: matheism-and-psychonics



Chapter 3: The Psychonic Network

Quantization, Locality, Non-locality, Relativity and Causality

Mathematical psychogenesis describes how the plenum of intangible mathematical truth gives rise to the plenum of intangible cosmic consciousness, or psychonic plenum or field, due to the mathematical nature of raw consciousness itself. Whereas intangible mathematical truth is immutable, however, intangible consciousness is changeable over time. It is this mutability of consciousness (due to its own reaction to itself, according to its own hedonic and mathematical nature) which ultimately gives rise to the type of reality we experience, with the types of physical laws, particles, cosmology and beings (including humans) which inhabit this reality. A carefully exploration of how this occurs is now warranted, and will take us into the realm of quantum mechanics.

The core finding of quantum mechanics is that the physical world is quantized, i.e., space and time, matter and energy, and in fact all aspects of the physical world are not truly continuous in nature, but instead are divided into discrete units called quanta. A good rough analogy for this would be that of a digital image, which from a distance may appear to be continuous, but upon magnification is revealed to be pixelated in nature. The smallest quanta or “pixels” of space-time, in other words the smallest coherent units of space-time, are called “Planck units,” in honor of Max Planck, the physicist who first discovered that energy is quantized.

Quantum mechanics also reveals that subatomic particles which appear to be physically separated in space (even by very great distances) are actually connected non-locally. The most well-known type of such non-local connection is known as quantum entanglement. Pairs of quantum entangled particles act in such a manner that measuring the state of one particle will instantly influence and determine the state of its entangled partner. Furthermore, in addition to this quantum non-locality, the universe also exhibits conventional locality, wherein things seems to have a location or position relative to other things, to propagate through space from point to neighboring point in succession, and the like.

To summarize, it is known from quantum mechanics that the physical universe is quantized (or “pixelated,” to speak informally) and filled with apparently separate and distinct particles which seem to exhibit both locality and non-locality. The first puzzle, then, is to uncover some means whereby the continuous psychonic plenum, which would experience itself as a unified oneness, gives rise to a non-continuous quantized (“pixelated”) physical universe, full of apparently separate and distinct particles, in which things have both a local and a non-local nature.

Raw consciousness, acting in accordance with its own mathematical and hedonic nature, simultaneously has awareness and reacts to that which it is aware of. (The only thing it is aware of is itself.) From the fact that space-time is comprised of individuated Planck units, it may be surmised that the otherwise continuous plenum of consciousness “feels better” when it creates divisions within itself. (More on this “feeling better,” below.) Each such division can be thought of as a psychon, an individuated distinct cell or node of consciousness. Each psychon manifests as an individual Planck unit of spacetime. The totality of all psychons, or Planck units, form an infinite, eternal psychonic network – and it is this network which we experience as our physical world.

A psychon is not necessarily the smallest amount of consciousness which can exist, since consciousness is an infinitely divisible gapless plenum. It is, however, the smallest amount of consciousness which (due to its mathematical hedonic nature) forms an individuated coherent unit, thereby manifesting as a Planck unit, which is itself the smallest meaningful unit of physical space-time.

It may help to imagine the psychonic plenum, metaphorically, as a sort of “fluid” of consciousness. Within a fluid it is possible for chaotic flows to develop, and it is possible that such chaotic flows within the psychonic plenum may be experienced as having sub-optimal hedonic value, or even as actually painful. Because consciousness, by its very nature, both feels and reacts to feelings, the psychonic plenum would spontaneously divide into nodes of precisely the optimum size to prevent or minimize such chaotic flows, and to maximize overall hedonic value; this hedonically driven division would then be the source of the infinite, eternal network of psychons, and the quantization of physical reality. This idea of the plenum of consciousness as acting like a fluid is not necessarily meant to be taken as literal fact, but only to serve as a metaphorical explanation for its hedonic division into individual nodes, until such time as a detailed mathematical model emerges.

Less metaphorically, the thing which is actually flowing within consciousness is information, and because it is flowing within a field of consciousness, this flow is associated with experience. If the psychonic plenum were not individuated into psychons (Planck units) then this information would flow in an undirected, chaotic manner, which (from the fact that consciousness is individuated into Planck units) we may surmise the psychonic plenum reacts to (or against) this by individuating into psychons.

As stated earlier, consciousness always experiences itself unitarily, i.e., as a single unitary entity, or as a oneness; but with quantization via separation into individual Planck nodes, however, it would seem that such oneness is eliminated. However, these nodes are not really completely separated, but form a sort of two-tier psychonic network, which we could interpret physically as a local network and a non-local network. The division of the cosmic network into a local and a non-local network is evident from the locality of Einstein's relativity, as well as the non-locality of quantum mechanics.

In the local network, each psychon (Planck unit) is connected to, and information is thus transmitted to, only specific other nodes, which would be physically interpreted as being next to one another in spacetime. In the non-local network, however, every node is connected to every other, and information can thus be transmitted to any or every other node. The local network serves to dampen the flow of specifically local information which is transmitted or flows through individual nodes, while still allowing all nodes to be connected unitarily via the non-local network.

It can be assumed that the transmission of information from one psychon to another is instantaneous. Depending upon the hedonic effect of the information being handled by any particular psychon, however, the psychon may process it relatively slowly or more quickly, before sending it along to the next psychon in the network. The fastest speed with which any psychon may re-transmit any information it receives is a Planck-instant, i.e., the length of time it would take for light to traverse the length of a Planck unit. (It may be that the Planck-instant processing time only applies to the local psychonic network, but that non-local information, traversing the non-local network, may be transmitted even faster, or even instantaneously, but this needs further investigation.)

This can explain both non-local quantum phenomena and relativistic effects; it would also explain the speed of light as the maximum speed of propagation of information through spacetime. Non-local quantum effects are the result of information being processed at maximum speed, and transmitted through the non-local network, which means it gets to all other nodes simultaneously, in the absolute minimum time, i.e., within a single Planck instant or perhaps faster. When information is transmitted along the local network, however, it must traverse from one psychon to the next, sequentially, one at a time, as it propagates. If such local information is of a type which is processed at the maximum speed, it propagates at the speed of light. If it is processed at some slower speed, then of course it travels slower than light. Relativistic effects such as the “bending” of spacetime would be explained as modifications to the “local connections” between nodes, such that these connections with other nodes increase, decrease, or merely change from one set of nodes to another.

Non-local information is immediately transmitted from one psychon (Planck unit) to all others, throughout all space and time. Local information, however, can only be transmitted from one psychon to its immediate neighbors in any spatial direction, but only in the temporal direction which runs from past to future, i.e., only to its immediate spatial neighbors, in the immediate temporal future. This creates the temporal or causal orientation of spacetime and explains why one's conscious experience of existence always runs from past to future: one's memories at any particular moment are caused (or causally influenced) by past events, but never future ones, although those future moments do already exist. (Restricting the flow of local information to a causally oriented, past-to-future direction, may also serve to dampen anti-hedonic chaotic flows.)

Each of the Planck units in the cosmic network functions essentially as a cellular automaton composed of raw consciousness. Whereas computer-based cellular automata, such as those in Conway's Game of Life, function according to their programming, each Planck unit functions according to its own hedonic and mathematical nature. Furthermore, the dimensionality of the “worlds” created by computer-based cellular automata is typically identical with the dimensionality of the grid or network of which they are a part. (In the case of Conway's Game of Life, for example, this is a 2-dimensional space, with one implied dimension of time in which the 2-d space evolves.) The dimensionality of the intangible cosmic network of Planck units, however, need not be identical with the 3+1 space-time tangible reality that we experience. It is quite possible, for example, that the cosmic network could be of infinite (or any other arbitrary) dimensionality, while the nodes themselves are connected in a way which “represents” the type of 3+1 dimensional physical universe we inhabit.

The Mind-Body Connection

The psychonic network explicates the mind-body connection, and how it is that seemingly non-conscious matter can give rise to conscious beings. First of all, there is really no truly non-conscious matter. All spacetime locations, all Planck units, all particles within spacetime, and the entirety of our quantized physical reality are ultimately manifestations of the activity of psychons. An electron, for example, is ultimately comprised of a psychonic information flow. It behaves as it does and has the properties it does due to the manner in which psychons process this information. (It also should be noted that all heretofore seemingly arbitrary aspects of physical law are ultimately the result of the action of raw consciousness, individuated into psychons, according to the hedonic and mathematical nature of raw consciousness itself.)

It takes more than a mere collection of particles, however, to create the organized, complex, cohesive and unitary experience of minds, such as those of human beings and other biological organisms. While mind does require a complex, organized flow of information, involving the combined action of many particles, a very special type of interaction or phenomenon is required in order to derive a single, complex, unitary conscious experience from what would otherwise be merely a collection of the simultaneous but otherwise distinct and separate simple conscious experiences of countless individual particles.

As an example, the individual particles of a rock (or at least the psychons which process the information which is interpreted as these individual particle) each experience their own unimaginably small bit of consciousness, but these bits of consciousness never combine into anything like a unitary, cohesive “rock consciousness,” and thus a rock does not possess a mind. Quantum non-locality provides precisely the necessary mechanism whereby otherwise local separate units comprising the physical substrate of a mind are entangled into a unified whole. Specifically, information flows among a large number of quantum-entangled particles causes the psychons involved with that flow to develop or participate in a larger unitary, collective conscious experience. If this quantum-entangled information flow happens to be of the type of complex organized cohesive information flow which is characteristic of brain activity, the larger unitary collective conscious experience would be of a type which we identify as mind.

Cosmology

It is now possible to explore how psychonic activity relates to cosmology itself. It is well-established that billions years ago our entire observable universe, including all the matter and energy it contains today, was far smaller than it is today, and expanding at an inconceivable rate. This is often naively misunderstood to mean that the entire observable universe (and all of its mass-energy) occupied a singularity, i.e., a single point of spacetime, but that has never been proven. In fact, physicists know that such a thing would be actually impossible for a number of reasons. Such a singularity, comprising the entirety of the observable universe, would essentially be a black hole with the mass-energy of the entire universe. Just as a massive black holes do not explode, neither would this posited big bang singularity have exploded. So, rather than some impossible singularity of infinite density, it would be more accurate to simply state that, at the time of the big bang, the observable universe was in a highly compressed, dense, and rapidly expanding state, but not infinitely compressed and dense. (What came before the big bang will be discussed shortly.)

It is also known that the speed of the expansion of the observable universe decreased over time. This is because the force which caused the initial expansion had ceased, and in the absence of that initial expansive force, the mutual force of universal gravitation between all the mass-energy of all of the particles in the universe served to counteract the expansion. (The nature of that initial expansive force will be discussed shortly.)

Furthermore, it is now known that, despite the fact that the expansion of the observable universe began to decelerate just after the initial big bang due to gravity, this expansion has started to increase and accelerate, very slightly, approximately 5 billion years ago. This is typically attributed to a heretofore mysterious force known as dark energy, which seems to be a very weak field that permeates the universe, and acts almost like a sort of very weak anti-gravity. Because this dark energy is so weak, it is essentially undetectable under all normal circumstances. The force of dark energy, however, is cumulative over distance, so that over extraordinarily large astronomical distances its anti-gravity-like force has an expansive effect upon the observable universe as a whole. Furthermore, dark energy is a scalar force, which means that its strength does not diminish as space expands, but remains constant per unit of spatial volume. So, for example, as one cubic meter of space expands into two cubic meters, the total amount of dark energy (and its expansive force) doubles right along with the doubling of volume. As the observable universe expands, the density of the mass-energy it contains decreases along with its associated gravitational force of attraction; at the same time, however, the expansive force of dark energy continues to increase. Over time, the expansive dark energy force slowly overwhelms the attractive gravitational force, causing the expansion of the observable universe to continue to accelerate exponentially, until eventually it will be expanding at the same inconceivable rate as it was during the time of the big bang. (The nature of dark energy will be discussed shortly.)

In terms of expansion, then, the “end” of the observable universe looks very much like its “beginning.” The big difference between these two periods of expansion, however, seems to be that the beginning was characterized by extremely high density mass-energy, while the end will be characterized by extremely low density mass-energy. There is, however, a means by which new particles can be produced under conditions of extreme spacial expansion, due to a quantum phenomenon known as virtual particle pair production. This is also responsible for the Hawking radiation which is emitted by black holes, so that will be discussed first.

(This discussion of Hawking radiation and virtual particle pair production, is presented in the simplest possible fashion here, and designed to be as easy as possible for the non-professional physicist to visualize and understand. A detailed technical description would serve to unnecessarily complicate the matter at hand. Anyone interested in the full technical details involved in these issues is invited to read the Wikipedia articles on Hawing radiation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawking_radiation, and virtual particles, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_particle.)

Virtual particle pair production is just one example of a more general quantum phenomenon known as quantum uncertainty. This refers to the fact that certain physical quantities are fundamentally unknown and literally uncertain in various situations. The exact mass-energy present at any given Planck node of spacetime, for example, is subject to a degree of uncertainty, but instead always has some uncertain, fluctuating, non-zero amount of mass-energy. This uncertainty gives rise to the production of pairs of complementary opposite virtual particles, which come into existence spontaneously, only to mutually annihilate themselves after the briefest of instants. At the event horizon which serves as the boundary of a black hole, however, it is possible for one of these virtual particles to be captured and fall into the black hole, while the other manages to escape outward into space. In this case, since the two particles have become separated, they will not mutually annihilate, and will therefore live on, not as virtual particles, but as real particles.

When space is expanding rapidly enough (such as during the big bang at the “beginning” of our observable universe, or during the future expansion at the “end) it is as though every point in space acts as a sort of event horizon. Under such extreme spatial expansion, so many virtual particles appear so quickly that they fill space and their mutual gravitational attraction serves to halt the accelerating expansion.

The phenomenon of virtual particle pair production, and the subsequent conversion of these virtual particles into real particles under conditions of extremely rapid spacial expansion, make the “beginning” and “ending” periods of our observable universe look essentially identical. At the beginning was a period of rapid expansion, during which all of the mass-energy now present in the observable universe was created. At the end, there will be another period of equally rapid expansion, during which all of the mass-energy which will be present in the next cycle, entailing a new observable universe, will be created. Once this new mass-energy is created, its mutually attractive gravitational field acts to counter the accelerating expansion, causing it to decelerate.

To put this in more explicit terms, it is known that the observable universe is not the whole universe, but merely that portion of the universe from which light has had time to reach the Earth since the time of the big bang. The only logical conclusion is that the universe, as a whole, is both infinite and eternal – much like the plenum of mathematical truth and raw consciousness (in the form of the psychonic network) from which it is derived. When one imagines the expansion of the universe, then, one should be aware that, as a mathematically infinite thing, it really isn't expanding into anything. It would be more accurate to imagine that the already infinite number of Planck nodes are simply increasing, such that new nodes are coming into existence between already existing nodes. (This can be understood by a mathematical analogy: between any two different real numbers there is always another real number; this can be repeated ad infinitum.) This creates the appearance of expanding physical space, from a vantage point within physical space.

Both the big bang which initiated this epoch of the observable universe, and the extremely rapid expansion which will conclude it (while also initiating a subsequent epoch) would then most correctly be viewed as periods of the extremely rapid production of new psychons (Planck units) which is physically experienced or interpreted from within the physical universe as spatial expansion. Both periods bring about the wholesale conversion of virtual particles into real particles; in the case of the big bang, this created essentially all of the mass-energy now present in our observable universe, and in the case of the rapid expansion to come, it will create essentially all of the mass-energy which will be present in the next epoch of this eternal cosmic cycle.

The Uncertainty Principle

At various points in this chapter, it was stated that there would be further discussion regarding (1) what came before the big bang, (2) the nature of the expansive force which initiated the big bang, (3) the nature of dark energy, and (4) the nature of the quantum uncertainty which underlies virtual particle pair production, as well as many other phenomena. This discussion follows:

  1. Before the big bang was the previous epoch of the universe, much like the current one, and much like the one that will follow. The cosmos undergoes an eternal cycle consisting of alternating periods of inconceivably rapidly accelerating expansion, along with the large-scale conversion of virtual particles into real particles, and periods of decelerating expansion due to the mutual gravitational force of the newly created real particles, ad infinitum.

  2. The nature of the force which initiated the big bang, as well as the force which is now slowly accelerating the expansion of the universe, until it again will finally expand rapidly enough to cause the conversion of virtual particles into real particles, thus initiating a new epoch, is dark energy, which will be discussed next.

  3. Dark energy is a sort of side-effect of virtual particle pair production. As these virtual particles briefly come into being and mutually annihilate, this creates an unimaginably small expansive force, somewhat like a very weak anti-gravitational force. While this expansive force is not normally observed due to its extreme weakness, its effect is cumulative, and over huge astronomical distances it drives the accelerating outward expansion of the observable universe. The virtual particle pair production which is the source of this dark energy is just one manifestation of the more general quantum uncertainty principle, discussed next.

  4. The quantum uncertainty principle is fundamentally caused by the activity of cosmic consciousness, reacting to itself, in accordance with its own hedonic and mathematical nature. More specifically, each Planck node is simultaneously reacting with and to all other such nodes non-locally throughout the infinite, eternal and ever-expanding network of Planck nodes. It is precisely these never-ending, simultaneous, non-local reactions, entailing influences from infinite Planck nodes which underlie all quantum uncertainty. (To speak somewhat poetically, it is as though raw consciousness, by its very nature, is under constant flux as it seeks constant growth and expansion.)

Hypothetical and Non-hypothetical Features

Before concluding this chapter, it would be prudent and honest to take a moment to discuss the hypothetical and non-hypothetical nature of what has been presented thus far. The proposition that pure mathematical truth is infinite, eternal, omnipresent and immutable, is not hypothetical at all, but a logically necessary and inescapable truth. The further idea of matheism, i.e., that pure mathematical truth is the ultimate underlying foundation and cause of all reality, also seems to be a logically necessary, inescapable truth, and therefore also seems not to be hypothetical.

The idea of the psychonic plenum, i.e., that consciousness arises everywhere that mathematical truth exists, due to the mathematical nature of consciousness itself, is where the first venture into the hypothetical has been made. To say a thing is hypothetical, however, is not to say that it is based only on speculation or imagination, or that it is not based upon reality. A hypothesis may be valid or invalid. The hypothesis that it is the activity of the psychonic plenum which ultimately gives rise to the experience of a tangible reality, has immense value in tying together and explaining heretofore unconnected and unexplained aspects of reality, both from a philosophical and a scientific perspective. This explanatory value, then, makes it more promising than any other heretofore proposed hypothesis regarding these fundamental philosophical and scientific issues.

The venture into the hypothetical and speculative goes a bit further as it goes beyond merely positing that it is the activity of this omnipresent and ontologically necessary plenum of consciousness which gives rise to our experience of a tangible reality, to speculating upon the specifics of this activity. Speculation has been put forth that the plenum of cosmic consciousness spontaneously divides itself into individuated psychons (Planck units) and that it is these psychons which form the basis of the smallest meaningful units of spacetime. Further speculation has been made that these psychons form an infinite, eternal psychonic network, which is further subdivided into a local and a non-local network; local information propagates from one node to its immediate “neighbors,” in a causally (or past-to-future) oriented direction, while non-local information is immediately shared with all other Planck nodes.

It is possible that, while consciousness may well be ontologically necessarily omnipresent, its activity may not proceed in precisely the manner described herein. The hypothesis outlined herein, then, should not be viewed as a statement of absolute truth, but merely as the empiricorationally derived hypothesis which it is; further investigation is required to determine the extent to which this hypothesis may or may not correspond with actual reality. In any case, it is sincerely hoped that it may provide valuable insight into the characteristics of the ultimate underlying truth of reality, and sincerely believed that it does very much reflect the underlying dynamics of reality.