Consciousness and quantum mechanics, time and gravity

(I hope you haven’t used up your current allotment of four [now it’s saying five] Forbes freebies – though if they count them by calendar month, it’s not too long until November. ; - )

Not too broad-ranging in relevance to reality, one might say facetiously, but nothing particularly grounding either. It also does not preclude God’s omnitemporality and sovereign activity in his providence, nor does it our free will, agency and responsibility in ‘cooperation’ with God.

Any thoughts, opinions, complaints or relevant facts?


I skimmed a portion of the article and may go back to read it. The whole time I’m looking at it, I can’t help but think what Penrose would say about the unobservable nature of an uncaused cause and the question of whether the cause of the world is aware, unaware, or not yet aware of its action.

Anything that happens is going to be caused by something else that happens to which the same question applies, or the event is uncaused, or the the event is caused by something that doesn’t happen. The catch is seeing how the latter 2 are empirically indistinguishable from each other. And how the former can appear possible no matter when or where you look at it.

And then there is each individual’s awareness or consciousness of their action, which if they are actually causing the empirically observable action, then they are an uncaused cause (unmoved mover or singularity that can affect change without changing) with respect to that action.

btw, I did read this article by Penrose recently, so that may be why I was in a skimming mood :slightly_smiling_face:

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He speaks of that, ‘why consciousness does not compute’ (don’t skim over what he says about ‘retroactive’, or ‘retro-active’).

“[Consciousness] could be non-computable because it’s retroactive,” says Penrose.

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It might be interesting to list some of the more quotable lines or paragraphs (there are more than a few!), like the latter part of this one citing Donald Hoffman :grin::

Our simple human minds created an ultra-compressed version of reality stripped of details that would break our brains—if we actually thought with our brains, which Hoffman sees no convincing evidence for.

But seriously, there are plenty to chew on.

This one caught my eye :wink:

The alternative theory Hoffman proposes is that conscious entities are fundamental entities that exist beyond spacetime. These entities are us. And we are also avatars of a single conscious entity that Hoffman calls the “conscious aleph infinity agent.”

You can probably guess where I would put the emphasis…


Yes, that one is particularly notable. There are also several more that do away with the silly notion that the thought of ‘the supernatural’ should be intrinsically repulsive.


The other notion is that the plural pronoun is automatically a given when you start to think about the world this way.

But if it is granted, it does carry with it a certain objectivity about a world with real events occurring in spacetime.

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Of course that’s all Hoffman and not Penrose. It’s funny that the latter thus calls himself ‘conservative’. :grin:

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This is all very interesting to me because it is very close to my own views on the matter. I have also made it clear consciousness does NOT cause these phenomenon… by observer what the physicist means is a measuring device and consciousness is irrelevant. But I also think quantum mechanics is essential for consciousness. I have said many times that consciousness requires a non-standard causality, where we become the cause of our actions/choices. And what we see in quantum physics doesn’t look like standard causality and some interpretations even see a reversal of time in it (or time going in both directions).

Anyway I’ll have to finish listening to what Penrose has to say. I am BTW not just going to the above Forbes link, which only allows a preview without signing up for some 30 day trial. I am watching other interviews on the subject like the discussion with Jordan Peterson (which was the first time I saw Jordan Peterson caught in an error).

I find it curious the way Penrose thinks physics is captured by a subset of mathematics and the way he thinks mathematics is a reality to be discovered. I think quantum physics is the flaw in the first and Gödel incompleteness is the flaw in the second. I think reality is far more likely to be similar to the collection of different quantum interpretations – where contradictory interpretations are equally valid (and equally flawed). It is just like how matter is equally both wave and particle – contradictory descriptions which are equally true… and equally wrong.

Or you could say… it is like a tiling problem, where the tiles cannot be made to fit 360 degrees around the starting shape and you are left with a flaw. Our system of mathematics is generated by a set of axioms in much the same way we choose our set of tiles to cover the plane (only none of the choices will cover the plane without a flaw). And mathematics rather than being something universal we have discovered, we have actually created our own order by the questions we choose to ask (the chosen axioms being a part of this) – giving us a system which is ultimately flawed. We can do it with a different axioms and questions and we just get different flaws.

Another way of putting it is that reality itself is not computable and it is possible this lack of computability is what makes consciousness possible. To be sure, mathematics works really well in describing what we see… but only to a point… just like the tiling works just fine if we face away from the flaw.

Check this one out

The error in this case is that this is not a precondition for perception because at the very least the Bible only has such a role in a portion of the world. But with that caveat, I would add that the Bible is derived from oral traditions and that those oral traditions played a role in human perception for that portion of humanity even before the Bible was written. Though this increases the first error since that is an even smaller portion of humanity. In that case we would have to look for the oldest literature in all the various ancient cultures.

On the other hand… you could make the case that the Bible plays this role for the largest portion of culture in the modern world (and we can include Islam in this since it has the same origins). And thus it is the most essential for understanding the largest portion of humanity.

I’ll be honest, when I first read the article last week I was comforted. It (for me anyway is faith affirming), the last year I have dabbled in LSD, mushrooms and DMT and the idea that Penrose and co fit into my world view of God. While I don’t want to glorify drug use and that part of my life is done, the DMT took me to a very familiar place where we have all been to and the LSD (on a very interesting drive from Melbourne to Sydney) I came across what can only be described as the divine consciousness. I can’t give a description however the idea that consciousness is not generated by the brain as I believe this article is describing nor can I describe the essance of God however; it/he/she was the essence of love and intelligibility. John Lennox’s arguments for the fact of an ‘intellegible’ universe as proof of a creator ( LSDs ability to expand ones perception to the point where you can observe a different “level of reality” i.e fractals which are mathematically based ) begin to make more sense. Again I’m not condoning the use of these substances as the dangers outweigh the positives, but as time has gone by I realise more and more that the universe is more than just ‘star stuff’ and ‘material’ I’m a non practicing Catholic but believe now in a universalist creator all faith leads to the same

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I agree with this much. The form the creator takes is mostly a function of culture. But if God is real, He is real for everyone everywhere, whatever the form may be seen as having taken.

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That universal consciousness could also be the rational possibility of solipsism. I wouldn’t suggest ever taking drugs again. A couple years before I hit the proverbial wall, and doing a philosophy undergrad, I was passing out Gospel tracts and this guy I met told me about how he use to be a Christian but was now into new age beliefs. He said if he thought in such a way of identifying his intention to think and act as coming from the same place the universe begins, he could find parking spaces and other interests. What a remarkable picture of the serpent’s deception, “You will be like God determining good and evil.” And now you get to determine even reality itself. The serpent also used the plural pronoun for “you” like most non-dualists today when they say “we are all capable of it.”

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Science wants to believe that the regular universe and the quantum universe are governed by the same forces. Obviously they are not. It is time to get over it…

‘The quantum universe’ and ‘the regular universe’ are obviously connected. Shouldn’t you get used to it?

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‘The quantum universe’ and ‘the regular universe’ are obviously connected.


They share some things? Maybe even some of


1 I could string some o’s together to mock you back (I don’t think it was merely irony), but according to Psalm 1, I don’t want to sit in that seat and neither should you.

But they do not. So we need an alternate point of view, instead of insisting what we think should be is what is, when it isn’t

This is why we have Creationism.

I’m not an authority on QM and I’m more than sure you are not either.

The strongest thing I’ve said about it:

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