Matheism Versus Theism or Atheism
This chapter draws heavily from the companion work of the Scionics Institute, Matheism and Psychonics, in which many of the concepts discussed here are treated in much greater detail.
Theology (from Greek: “theos,” meaning “god,” and “logos,” meaning “word, discourse”) is the branch of philosophy which deals with such issues as: the possible existence and nature of God or some sort of “higher power”, however that “higher power” is defined; the possibility and nature of the “afterlife,” whether this be some sort of “heaven” or “hell,” some type of reincarnation, or anything else; the possible existence and nature of the “soul;” and so on. Theology, then, involves the philosophical study of the supernatural, particularly as it relates to things which are often part of the province of religion.
Supernatural concepts such as “gods” or “God,” the “afterlife,” and so on, emerged during primitive and superstitious times. These concepts were an attempt to explain, add meaning to, and gain some sense of comfort and control in often frightening, brutal and mysterious reality. Over time these evolved into more complex and all-embracing frameworks which provided (1) explanations for the origins of the world and the things in it, including humans, and (2) moral guidance, often ultimately focused on bringing the individual to the best possible afterlife. These explanations and moral guidance were based upon superstition, myth and misunderstanding rather than fact, reason and understanding. Thus their actual explanatory value was negative; any sense of certainty, security or hope they provided was ultimately false; and their guidance for behavior was often just plain wrong, counterproductive, and harmful.
Scionics eschews the supernatural as the mystical nonsense it is. While human knowledge is incomplete, we are at a point in human history where we have enough knowledge to effectively recognize and reject superstitious mysticisms and to accept, in their place, empiricorational facts. Accepting, thinking, and acting in accordance with facts yields far better results than accepting, thinking, and acting in accordance with falsity.
A common argument for the existence of God is the well-known watchmaker argument. This argument, in brief, states that "where there is a watch, there is a watchmaker," and by analogy, that design implies a designer. One who accepts this line of reasoning sees the enormous magnificence and complexity of life and of the universe as a whole, and from this infers that all of this complexity required a designer. The watchmaker argument, however, contains serious logical flaws.
Consider the well-known Mandelbrot set. One can zoom in on the Mandelbrot set, to any desired degree of magnification, and one will find a level of magnificence and complexity in the infinitely complex fractal pattern which emerges which is far beyond anything inherent in the simple, finite, recursive formula by which it is constructed. There is no designer of the Mandelbrot set; it is simply a mathematical object, and like all mathematical objects, it exists eternally and immutably, without beginning or end, and without any sort of creator, whether or not anyone ever actually discovers its existence.
This is just one example of the more general phenomenon that complexity often emerges from simplicity. There is also the entire class of cellular automata, of which Conway's Game of Life is probably the most well-known example. Many additional examples of the emergence of complexity from simplicity could be presented; there are actually infinite instances of this phenomenon.
That being said, let us closely examine the idea that the magnificence and complexity of the universe seems to imply a design and a designer, and therefore a God. Such a God is normally considered to be at least intelligent enough to design this universe, or at most actually omniscient, knowing literally “everything about everything.” The postulated magnificence and complexity inherent in such a God's mind could thus range widely, from the finite but unimaginably vast, to the actually infinite. But now, if one argues that the magnificence and complexity of the universe required a creator, then would not the magnificence and complexity of God, in turn, also require a creator?
Thus the watchmaker argument falls upon the very premise upon which it is founded. Instead of using the idea of some God to explain the complexity and origin of the universe, we have now pushed the question back one step further, and must now ask ourselves: What is the explanation for the complexity and origin of God? One might be tempted to simply state that this magnificent and complex being, God, always existed, but then one could just as easily have stated that the magnificent and complex universe, itself, simply always existed, in some form. (In this case, the Big Bang would not have been the origin of the cosmos, as it is often misunderstood to be, but merely a transitional period between some preexisting state and the emergence of that portion of the cosmos which we have come to label as our observable universe. Among the most promising cosmological models which hold the Big Bang as being such a transitional period are various forms of cosmological inflation, including eternal inflation, and several form of cyclic or recurring inflation. We will be exploring these issues later.)
Positing the existence of some magnificent and complex God thus actually does nothing at all to resolve the mystery of the origin of our magnificent and complex universe. In fact, rather than resolving anything, it actually only adds more complications which are removed completely once one realizes what should be obvious: that our cosmos exists now because it has always existed. The cosmos, itself, is eternal.
There is a deeper question here, however. Whether one posits the existence of some imaginary eternal God, or one accepts the reality of the eternal cosmos itself, one is still left with the mystery of just why it should be the case that anything exists at all. It may well be simpler, after all, for simply nothing at all to exist, than for any of this magnificence and complexity to exist. This leads us to one of the deepest metaphysical questions of all: Why does something exist, rather than nothing?
To put this another way, to state that the cosmos exists now because it has always existed in the past is to give a physical reason for its existence: each moment is a product of the preceding moment, back into the infinite past, forever. The question of why anything exists at all, however, may be more accurately categorized as a metaphysical question. To resolve this metaphysical question, then, Scionics employs something which is, likewise, metaphysical in nature.
This is not to say, however, that this metaphysical thing is mystical, supernatural or imaginary in nature. Unlike any imagined God, or any type of supernatural being or force, we all know this thing exists, and we all have very real experience with. This thing undeniably exists everywhere, at all points in space and time, and is inconceivably and infinitely complex. It has an infinite, eternal, immutable, and omnipresent nature, just as God is often claimed to have. It underlies everything and all phenomena in the universe. This thing is pure mathematics, or pure logical and mathematical truth. Reality exists, and has existed eternally, because pure mathematical truth exists and has existed eternally. Pure mathematical truth is the ultimate foundation and cause of all reality; this position can be called matheism.
Before continuing to explore matheism, however, it would be prudent to first note the very important distinction between various forms of human-created mathematical language, on the one hand, and the mathematical truths which they express, on the other. So, for example, one can say, "One plus one equals two," in English, "Un plus un égale deux," in French, or simply write: “1+1=2.” These are all essentially equivalent expressions in human-created mathematical languages. Each of these expressions, however, are not merely expressing arbitrary opinions, but an underlying and very real objective mathematical truth. If there were no truth behind these expressions, then they would be useless. So, when references are made herein to pure mathematics, or pure logical and mathematical truth, or even just to math or mathematics in general, these are references to the underlying objective mathematical truths, and not to any particular human-created mathematical language at all.
With that understanding, it is obvious that one plus one equals two (however one expresses this truth) eternally and everywhere, even if no one is around to be aware of this fact. Furthermore, the total structure of inter-related and inter-connected logical/mathematical truths is infinite and eternal: all of these infinite truths are true everywhere, eternally. These truths are also immutable: no God or any other being of any kind, can change this or any of the infinite objective truths of mathematics in any way.
Matheism is a position which is simultaneously distinct from either mystical theism or simplistic atheism. This distinction will be examined a bit more closely later in this writing. For now, however, suffice it to say that, rather than resorting to any sort of imagined God or other supernatural forces, or even simple blind chance, matheism instead posits that the ultimate foundation and cause of all reality is the universal and ontologically necessary truths of mathematics. (To say that a thing is ontologically necessary is to say that it must exist, or conversely, that it cannot not exist.)
Pure mathematical truth is infinite, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, and infinitely complex. It is exactly just such characteristics which are necessary for a thing to serve as the ultimate foundation and cause of all of reality. (This is why, in fact, a supernatural creator is often imagined as having these characteristics.) Despite all of this, however, pure mathematical truth is almost never talked about as being the ultimate foundation and cause of all reality. This is because mathematics is intangible, and it is not obvious at all how intangible pure mathematical truth can give rise to our experience of tangible reality.
To bridge the gap between the intangibility and immutability of pure mathematical truth, on the one hand, and the existence of a tangible reality which changes over time, on the other, Scionics invokes something which is also physically intangible (in the conventional sense) although changeable over time: raw unorganized consciousness itself. Before moving forward, however, it is important to make a clear distinction between the terms consciousness and mind.
Regardless of how these terms are used elsewhere, for our purposes consciousness (or raw consciousness) will be defined as the physically intangible stuff of awareness itself; it simultaneously has awareness, and also reacts to that which it is aware of. (The thing which it has awareness of, and reacts to, is itself, or its own contents.) In its most common, general or raw form, consciousness is essentially disorganized. Mind, on the other hand, is an organized form of consciousness, such as is found in biological organisms, where it is has arisen as a result of biological evolution via natural selection. To reiterate, mind is an organized form of otherwise disorganized consciousness. (This may be compared with a brick house, which is an organized form of an otherwise disorganized pile of bricks.)
Having made this distinction between consciousness and mind, we can now delve into the nature of consciousness itself. This can be done through a bit of reflection upon one's own conscious experiences. Some of this may seem to be obvious or even tautological, but it is important that these facts be laid out explicitly and clearly, so that the conclusions which follow may also be clearly understood.
Firstly, consciousness is only aware of itself, i.e., of its own contents, and is never aware of anything outside of itself. While it is certainly possible for new information to enter consciousness from without (such as through our senses) it is not possible for consciousness to be aware of anything which has not entered consciousness. It may be said, then, that from the perspective of consciousness, only that which exists within itself exists, and conversely, that which does not exist within itself does not exist.
From the inside, then, consciousness perceives itself as all that exists. From the outside, however, consciousness is perceived as nothing. One cannot directly observe the consciousness, qua consciousness, of another. (One may be able to observe the neural firings in another's brain, but then one is observing, not consciousness itself, but merely neural firings which correspond with consciousness.) Again, from the inside, consciousness is everything; from the outside, it is nothing.
Consciousness also always experiences itself unitarily, i.e., as a single unitary entity, or as a oneness; conversely, consciousness never experiences itself as any sort of multiplicity. Two separate, unconnected “pieces” of consciousness would have no awareness of each other, but if they were to come into contact so as to be no longer separate, then they would no longer experience themselves as differentiated, but as a unified oneness. (A good analogy here would be of water droplets: Two separate droplets of water, perhaps sitting a centimeter apart on a countertop, would be two separate droplets of water. If they were to come into contact, however, they would immediately coalesce, ceasing to be two separate droplets, and would instead exist as a single larger droplet.)
Finally, there is the action of consciousness. Consciousness is not merely an awareness, but also a simultaneous reaction to that of which it is aware. Consciousness operates on the hedonic principle, i.e., it reacts to that which it is aware of such that it seeks to keep or increase pleasure, and to eliminate or decrease pain, or to maximize hedonic value. Stated differently, consciousness reacts towards pleasure and away from pain.
Having thus laid out the consciousness/mind distinction, and also having explicitly described some of the essential aspects of consciousness, we can now put forward the hypothesis of mathematical psychogenesis, which states:
Everywhere that mathematical truth exists, so too does raw consciousness also necessarily exist, due to the very mathematical nature of raw consciousness, and
This raw consciousness acts, not in accordance with any sort of grand design or plan, but essentially automatically, in the immediate moment, in accordance with its own hedonic and mathematical nature.
Mathematical psychogenesis entails that the mathematical nature of raw consciousness is such that consciousness must exist at all times and places where mathematical truth exists. Since mathematical truth exists at all places and times, it then follows that, likewise, raw consciousness must also exist at all places and times. Since there are no gaps in reality where mathematical truth is not true, mathematical truth forms a continuous gapless plenum throughout all reality; likewise, an intangible continuous plenum of raw consciousness also exists throughout all reality.
To put this into technical terms, one may say that a psychonic plenum, or psychonic field, permeates all existence, and actually is all existence. In more traditional, albeit mystical-sounding terms, raw consciousness permeates and is all existence. Despite how it may sound, however, this is not some sort of new-age mysticism. It is based upon a very wide-scope exploration and integration of the nature of consciousness and mind, computational theory, cosmology, quantum mechanics, and reality itself, as will be demonstrated shortly.
Reality is thus panpsychic and pan-mathematical in nature, i.e., raw consciousness (in the form of the psychonic plenum or field) and mathematical truths exist everywhere; beyond that, reality is also ultimately comprised of or founded upon raw consciousness and mathematical truth. Furthermore, because this raw consciousness operates according to its own hedonic and mathematical nature, it may be said to be teleonomical rather than teleological in nature, i.e., it operates in a manner which is only apparently rather than actually goal-directed.
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 raw consciousness, aka the psychonic plenum, 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 very 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 experiences 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 individuate into nodes of precisely the optimum size to prevent or minimize such chaotic flows, and to maximize overall hedonic value; this hedonically driven individuation 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, to which we may surmise (from the fact that the physical universe is individuated into Planck units) the psychonic plenum reacts 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 adjacent 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 explains the mind-body connection, and how it is that seemingly non-conscious matter can give rise to conscious beings. First of all, there really is 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 – The Eternal Cyclic Expansion Theory
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 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. This process, whereby the universe (or immense regions of the universe) cycles from a state of rapid exponential big-bang-like expansion, to a state of of more sedate linear expansion, to a state of (at first slowly) accelerating expansion, culminating in another state of rapid exponential big-bang-like expansion, and so on, can be termed the eternal cyclic expansion theory.
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:
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 (1) alternating periods of inconceivably rapidly accelerating expansion, along with the large-scale conversion of virtual particles into real particles, and (2) periods of decelerating expansion due to the mutual gravitational force of the newly created real particles.
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.
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.
The quantum uncertainty principle is fundamentally caused by the activity of raw 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
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 real venture into the truly 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 raw consciousness spontaneously individuates itself into 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.
The hypothesis outlined herein should not be viewed as a statement of absolute truth but merely as the empiricorationally derived hypothesis which it is; as with all scientific hypotheses, further investigation is required for verification. 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.
It should be obvious that matheism and the psychonic network hypothesis have significant implications with regard to religious spiritual beliefs. They are able to account for all existence, and to resolve so many heretofore intractable philosophical problems, in a completely teleonomical and naturalistic way, without recourse to any sort of supernatural beings or forces. These ideas represent, not some sort of mystical or dogmatic version of religion or spirituality, but a uniquely scientific approach, along with exactly the type of comprehensive, logical, reality-based details which should be expected of such an approach.
The term, “religion,” however, often has a quite well-deserved negative connotation amongst the non-mystical, due to its long association with countless mystical irrationalities, reality-evasions, inane rituals, worship of non-existent beings, and the like. Slightly better, perhaps, is the term, “spiritual,” but even that term has its linguistic roots in the mystical concept of the supernatural realm of spirits, so it really isn’t that much of an improvement. Human language, having developed in a world steeped in mysticism and scientific ignorance, lacks any term for specifically referring to concepts which intersect with matters which have been traditionally classified as religious or spiritual, but which are nonetheless oriented on a strictly empiricorational, non-mystical basis. The Scionics Institute has coined the term, “scio-spirituality,” for this purpose. Matheism and psychonics are among the foundational scio-spiritual concepts developed by Scionics.
The Psychonic Plenum
The entire universe and all of reality emerges from an infinite and eternal plenum of raw consciousness; this plenum essentially is reality. It is tempting to equate the psychonic plenum with something like (or even equivalent to) the type of personal god described by many traditional religions. Such a god (if it wanted to) could create a universe and populate it with beings, intervene with events within that universe, and reward or punish its created beings for those behaviors which it determined to be good or bad.
This would be a misunderstanding of the nature of the psychonic plenum, however. Such a personal god would require a mind; a mind, however, is a highly organized form of consciousness, whose organization is dependent upon a highly organized physical structure which is capable of integrating information, such as a brain. Brains, and their associated minds, developed as a result of biological evolution via natural selection. The psychonic plenum, on the other hand, is not a product of evolution, but simply exists, as an ontological necessity, and therefore is not subject to anything like the survival pressures which selected for brains and minds in biological organisms. There is no physical information processing structure, analogous to a brain, on the cosmic scale, and no reason for one to have evolved. (It should be noted that the construction of conscious artificial intelligence is a viable alternative physical structure to biological brains, but in either case, some highly organized physical information processing structure is necessary for the emergence of a highly organized mind.)
The totality of conscious experience of the psychonic field is a sort of undifferentiated and undirected awareness of all conscious activity throughout infinite reality. This would be a sort of universal, eternal, infinite awareness, or a sort of cosmic consciousness which exists as an endless “ocean of awareness” without an overarching integrated intelligence.
It should be noted that human brains are, in a way, the opposite of such a universal consciousness. Whereas this universal consciousness is aware of everything everywhere, human consciousness is limited to the informational content of a human brain. On the other hand, whereas human consciousness is (to some degree) organized and intelligent, the cosmic consciousness of the psychonic plenum is non-organized and non-intelligent.
Human brains, the brains of all other species all throughout reality, and all conscious activity throughout existence, participates in and contributes to this cosmic consciousness. The individual conscious experience of human and other minds are essentially islands of concentrated intelligence in the otherwise non-intelligent ocean of awareness. It is also the case that these islands of concentrated intelligence are also islands of concentrated awareness, because they function as loci for the unified conscious experience of a relatively high amount of integrated information in comparison to the much lower level of conscious informational integration present elsewhere.
As mentioned above, this cosmic consciousness lacks a physical structure by which it could integrate information in an organized way on the cosmic scale, and therefore has no mechanism for the organized, meaningful mediation of information on the cosmic scale. There is also no mechanism for the individual islands of concentrated intelligence (such as human beings) to interact or communicate with one another or with the universal consciousness in any meaningful, purposeful way, via consciousness or “thought” itself. In other words, this rules out such things as telepathy, telekinesis, “astral projection,” “the law of attraction,” the “transmigration of souls,” and so on.
The Scionics Institute is tasked with creating a completely empiricorational worldview. This approach demands the absolute and unwavering acceptance and application of sound principles of reason and evidence, and of the conclusions and integrations resulting from such reason and evidence. This concomitantly entails the rejection of all forms of mysticism, superstition, magical thinking, uncritically accepted faith, and the like: the acceptance of reason and reality inescapably involves the rejection of all forms of mysticism.
It should not be surprising, then, that during the early decades of the Institute, essentially all forms of religious beliefs and practices were rejected, due to their overwhelmingly mystical, non-rational and non-reality basis. Two developments within Scionics, however, ultimately forced a very subtle but important modification to this otherwise non-religious stance. One of these is the development of matheism, as has been laid out thus far in this chapter, as a scientifically consistent view which is distinct from either mystical theism or simplistic atheism.
The other development came from a detailed survey of beliefs and practices of a great number of the world’s religions; unsurprisingly, these were almost universally found to be fundamentally and irreconcilably mystical. Upon the investigation of Buddhism, however, something unexpected was found: while certainly containing a huge amount of mysticism just like every other religion, it was also found to contain a valuable core subset of non-mystical and reality-based beliefs and practices.
Before describing the non-mystical core of Buddhism, however, it should be noted that the removal of mysticisms cannot be meaningfully applied to other religions in a way which would leave them meaningfully intact. The core of Christianity, for example, is a set of Christ-centered mysticisms; all of the other beliefs and practices become essentially meaningless once this mystical Christ-centered core is removed. This is the same regarding Judaism and Yahweh, and Islam and Mohamed, and for a host of other religions and their central mysticisms. Hinduism includes a rather diverse set of beliefs and practices, many of which are mystical, but some of which (as in Buddhism) are non-mystical in nature. Buddhism has Hindu origins, and it seems that some aspects of the non-mystical core of Buddhism (as well as some aspects of its peripheral mysticisms) are directly derived from Hinduism, while others seem to have originated within Buddhism itself. The important distinction of Buddhism, however, is that all the mystical notions surrounding Gautama Buddha, reincarnation, karma, or anything else for that matter, could be removed, and a very meaningful and coherent set of powerful meditative techniques (the efficacy of which neuroscience has conclusively demonstrated) and certain valuable and profound insights and understandings regarding the human condition and the nature of reality itself would still remain fully intact.
Buddhism has no personal god, and therefore no doctrine regarding the creation of the world by such a god. Instead, it holds that the world we experience arises from raw consciousness itself. This is completely consistent with the concepts of mathematical psychogenesis (which holds that raw consciousness necessarily exists, due to its own mathematical properties) and of the psychonic network which serves as the matrix from which the physical world arises.
Buddhism also does not have a creation myth, but holds that reality exists eternally, without beginning or end. Reality and the things which it contains, however, such as stars, planets, living beings, and everything else, do undergo change. Part of this change involves coming into being and ceasing to exist. This is completely consistent with the eternal cyclic expansion theory, whereby the universe cycles from a state of rapid exponential big-bang-like expansion, to a state of of more sedate linear expansion, to a state of (initially slowly) accelerating expansion, culminating in another state of rapid exponential big-bang-like expansion, and so on, eternally. Stars, planets, living beings, and everything else which exists in the universe comes into being within these cycles undergoes changes, and eventually ceases to exist. The cosmic cycle continues eternally.
The concept of a soul, or of some sort of eternal or indestructible self, is rejected by Buddhism. This distinguishes Buddhism from most other religions (including Hinduism, from which it originated) which do have such a concept. The soul, however, is a mystical concept, with no empiricorational basis whatsoever. The very concept itself seems to derive from (1) the heretofore inexplicable nature and existence of the conscious mind, and its connection to the body and physical reality in general, and (2) the ego-based desire for one’s own existence, and that of those one loves, to continue without end. Both Buddhism and Scionics, however, hold raw consciousness as the irreducible and ontologically necessary substrate of physical existence. Both are therefore easily able to explain the connection of the conscious mind, physical reality, and the connection between them, as the activity of raw consciousness.
The nonexistence of the soul necessarily entails the nonexistence of (1) any soul-realm, such as a heaven or a hell, and (2) the possibility of the reincarnation of a soul from one life to another. Furthermore, there is no empiricorational evidence for souls, soul-realm, reincarnation, or any sort of afterlife in which the self persists in the absence of the body, and these concepts are therefore rejected by both Buddhism and Scionics.
It comes as a surprise to many people that the reincarnation of the soul is not an aspect of Buddhist belief. This is because Buddhism does refer to such reincarnation figuratively, as a sort of parable, but not as a literal aspect of reality. What does live on in Buddhism is essentially the same thing that lives on in Scionics: the matter and energy which the person’s body was composed of, and the consequences of the actions (known as karma in Buddhism) of the person during life. This matter and energy continues to exist after the person has died, but no one would equate this with the self or soul of the previously existing person. Furthermore, the consequences of a person’s actions during life, whether good or bad, would also not be equated with the person’s self or soul.
The focus of Buddhism is not on the afterlife, but on reducing suffering in this life. This is completely consistent with Scionics, which seeks to maximize hedonic value in this life. It might seem on the surface, however, that the actual approaches of Scionics and Buddhism are incompatible, since Scionics ethics involve empiricorational hedonism, whereas Buddhism involves practicing non-attachment to hedonic value. If examined more deeply, however, these two approaches are actually completely consistent. The Buddhist approach of practicing non-attachment progressively frees one from the drive towards pleasure and away from pain; this ultimately results in the sublime and ineffable pleasure of being beyond the drive for pleasure, a state known in Buddhism as nirvana, liberation, or being awakened. The Scionics approach of maximizing hedonic value empiricorationally recognizes the negative hedonic value inherent in being subject to the constant ups and downs of an ego based driven mode of conscious relation, and therefore attempts to elevate the individual to a unitary mode. It is clear, then, that both Buddhism and Scionics recognize that the most effective path to maximum hedonic value and freedom from suffering involves, seemingly paradoxically, an ego-less state of non-attachment to pleasure. Furthermore, the state of mind of an individual who has attained what Buddhists call nirvana (or liberation or awakening) is identical to that of an individual who as attained what Scionics calls unitary conscious relation; this state is marked by a deep, profound, natural flow of wisdom and love.
The hallmark of a human being is conceptual thought. This is the essential thing which distinguishes human beings from all other animals. The ability for conceptualization is what gives us each personhood. Personhood involves many things, such as our own identification of ourselves as unique individuals, our plans for the future, our conceptual understanding of the world we live in, our value system, and much more. The death of a conceptually-capable human being involves the destruction of that personhood, and all that this entails.
Human personhood is one of the most valuable things in the universe. It is the conscious mind associated with such personhood which ascribes value to all other things, but most notably to itself and to other personhoods.
Even more valuable than personhood in general, is a personhood who is a true benefit to those around them, who strive to make the world a better place, not only for themselves but for others, from their closest family and friends to society in general. With that in mind, it would be hard to imagine an individual more valuable than one who has attained a state of unitary conscious relation. While such an individual would naturally accept their own death and the loss of their personhood with complete equanimity, the fact remains that such an individual would be a great source of wisdom and love, and a truly benevolent force in the world. The death of such individuals is a great loss, not only to those who love and depend upon them, but also to the world at large.
It is undeniable that the average human lifespan has increased dramatically since the advent of science, particularly in those parts of the world where science, technology and human freedom have been allowed to take root and flourish. While great strides have been taken towards the alleviation of suffering, the extension of human life, and the general uplifting of human experience, these are just first steps in humanity's journey toward an exalted, immortal existence, and the creation of a world where the tragic loss of personhood is a much less common occurrence.
The field of nanotechnology shows particular promise for improving many aspects of human existence, including health and longevity. Nanotechnology is the technology of the very small, so small, in fact, that it involves the manipulation of matter on the level of individual atoms. One goal of nanotechnology is to create tiny nanomachines or nanobots, atom by atom, which would themselves also be able to manipulate matter atom by atom. This would allow such machines to build copies of themselves and also to perform all sorts of highly desirable feats.
On the cellular level, all organisms may be viewed as being composed of natural biological nanomachines, which evolved over time through random mutation and natural selection. A tiny apple seed, for example, may be viewed as a package of cellular nanomachines which manipulate the individual atoms and molecules in dirt, water, and air, aided by the power of sunlight, to build, atom by atom, and molecule by molecule, a large fruit-bearing tree. Even a human being is essentially a collection of biological nanomachines. The very moment of conception involves two cells – two individual nanomachines – merging together into a single cell. This single cellular nanomachine then proceeds to construct countless identical cellular copies of itself, until its programming (contained in its DNA) instructs them to begin to differentiate into all the various types of cells which make up the different organs and structures of the body, and to organize themselves into these organs and structures. This process takes nine months from conception to birth, and continues throughout a person's life. As a person ages however, various aspects of this process begin to break down and fail, and eventually the person dies.
Through the skillful application of nanotechnology and genetics, it may be possible to augment and possibly reprogram a person's cellular nanomachines in such a manner that life-sustaining processes continue indefinitely, leading to essentially eternal youth and immortality. Ray Kurzweil, in The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, describes “human blood version 1.5.” This is a form of artificial blood which has already been completely designed, atom by atom, on paper, and simply needs the technology of nanotechnology to advance to the point where its construction is possible. This artificial blood would be 1000 times more efficient at transporting oxygen than natural human blood. He then goes on to describe “human blood version 2.0,” which would essentially be the same artificial blood, but self-propelled; in other words, it would be able to circulate through and oxygenate the body even if the person’s heart had stopped beating!
It would also be possible to create more advanced nanobots which could be injected into a person, scan the DNA of the cells it encountered, and repair any which have become damaged or degraded by age or anything else. The same or similar nanobots could also target various sorts of bacterial or viral infections, and aid in the healing of damaged tissue, with an efficacy simply unobtainable by a person's own natural biological systems. Such innovations would essentially reverse aging and cure essentially all diseases, bringing about eternal youth and biological immortality.
It would also be possible to preserve the personhood of those who die before the advent of such technology, to be restored at a future time when technology has sufficiently advanced. This could be effected via the cryogenic freezing of a person’s body upon death. To restore a cryogenically frozen person to life would require unfreezing the person’s body and repairing (perhaps via nanotechnology) any damage it might have undergone as as a result of the freezing process.
Human beings will not stop improving their existence once immortality has been effectively achieved, but will continue to enhance themselves in any number of ways. One thing which is almost certain is that human brains will eventually merge or become highly integrated with computers. The possibilities of such technology with regard to limitless communication and instant access to information and computational power are hard to overstate, and in many ways are beyond what we can imagine at this time.
As just one example, virtual reality could become indistinguishable from reality. Each individual would essentially be the “god” of their own virtual worlds. These simulated realities could offer experiences impossible in normal reality. One could experience every fantasy one ever had – and would have eternity to dream up new ones! One would even be able to invite others into one’s own worlds, if one chose to, or to visit the worlds of others. It would even be possible for two or more individuals to jointly own and control worlds together, and share them together freely.
Those who have attained unitary consciousness could explore and enjoy whatever such worlds would have to offer, but without attachment. In fact, it is even possible that the integration of computers with the brain might help to facilitate the attainment of higher levels of conscious relation, perhaps via directly stimulating or inhibiting certain neurons or networks within the brain, or directly “injecting” a sense of being at a higher level of conscious relation, or in other ways not yet imagined. This could bring about a world full of essentially enlightened beings, residing in virtual paradises as virtual gods.
The possibilities are as limitless as human imagination itself – and even beyond – enabling an existence far surpassing anything offered by the false “heavens” of mystical religions. In fact, traditional religions, when they are examined in the clear light of reason, really offer only false promises and death. Through human ingenuity and science, Scions will ultimately defeat death, and replace it with an ever-expanding, glorious, eternal life.