Reason • Reality • Philosophy • Science • Psychology • Spirituality
One of the deepest and most mysterious of all questions is the question of existence itself, i.e., the question of why anything exists at all. After all, it could be certainly argued that it would be “simpler” and perhaps more “natural” if nothing at all existed.
The most advanced ideas in cosmology and physics support the idea that the universe (or the multiverse) is eternal, infinite, and expanding. In this view, there is no need for a moment of creation. Even the so-called “big bang” was not the “beginning” in this view, but merely served as the transition from one “epoch” to another. (We will expand upon this idea in a later section, “The Infinite and Eternal Universe.”)
It is actually very logical and sensible that existence has no “beginning,” but instead has existed eternally in some form or other. After all, if existence were not eternal, it would be necessary to explain how anything could have happened to create existence from nothing. Since the idea of “something happening” if nothing at all existed is illogical and self-contradictory, such an idea must be false, and must be abandoned; consequently, since existence obviously does exist now, and since it would be illogical to have started from a state of non-existence, the only logical conclusion is that it must have simply always existed.
While this view explains the process of “how” it is that existence exists (it exists now because it always existed, infinitely back into the past) it really does not explain “why” existence exists in the first place. It does not explain “why” there is something, rather than nothing.
A common mystical or supernatural answer to this question is to posit the existence of some sort of “supernatural being” or “God” which is placed in the role of the “Creator” of all existence. A bit of honest reflection, however, will quickly reveal that this really does nothing at all to answer the question of existence. This is because any sort of God would also have to be part of existence, since existence is everything which exists, by definition. So instead of just needing to explain existence itself, we would now need to explain both existence and God as well. And since God already would be part of existence, he/she/it could not really create existence itself, but could only create various things within existence.
So, the idea of “God” also does nothing to explain the “why” of existence: “Why is there something instead of nothing?” The idea of “God” just superfluously, unnecessarily, and illogically adds the concept of “God” to the “something.”
In order to explain why existence exists at all, one would have to invoke something which absolutely has to exist. This would be something which would have to exist even in the absence of God, or in the absence of anything else, for that matter. Something which is itself infinite and eternal, just as existence is infinite and eternal. Furthermore, it should be something without which existence itself would be impossible. As it turns out mathematical truth is just such a thing.
Mathematical truth is immutable, eternal and infinite. No being, whether human or “divine” created mathematical truth. One plus one equals two, eternally and everywhere, independently of anyone's beliefs. Even God could not make one plus one equal anything other than two, and could do nothing to change the immutable, eternal and infinite truths of mathematics.
It is often said that math is the “language” of science, and that as such it is a language created by
To say that existence or reality is mathematical in nature is one thing, of course, but it is another to describe how existence, and the type of reality we seem to inhabit, can arise purely from mathematics itself. In order to do that, we will first examine reality on both its largest (cosmological) scale and its smallest (quantum) scale. We will then take a small detour outside of the realm of physics and into the realm of computation, and find out how the interaction of very simple computational elements can produce essentially arbitrarily high degrees of complexity. Then we will move on to the really interesting part of this work, and examine the nature of consciousness in a historically unique and unprecedented way, and will see how consciousness itself may very well be “ontologically necessary” based upon its mathematical nature. From this we will devise a well-informed hypothesis as to how the mathematical and hedonic nature of consciousness gives rise to the type of physical reality we find ourselves in. Finally, after that rather heady (but hopefully illuminating!) exercise we will examine a few of the implications this hypothesis, with particular focus upon how they relate to or resolve several longstanding philosophical dilemmas.
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