|2009-01-11, by John Ringland|
Let us begin with the proposition that:
Consciousness is fundamental and universal.
The individual self is not unitary.
The world is not an illusion as in 'unreal' but is an
illusion in that it is not as it appears to be.
Clarification of (1 and 2): Many millions of people have
successfully performed the experiment of deep meditation and attained
the realisation that everyday consciousness is a complex
self-propelling system of thoughts, emotions, day-dreams and so on
which self organise into a personality, but beneath this there is a
level of pure awareness that is often called the watcher or the seer.
This deeper level transcends the individual personality and has its
source in an underlying universal consciousness.
It is this level of consciousness that is proposed to be
fundamental and universal. Let us call this level of consciousness
and the more complex levels of consciousness can be called mind.
Think of pure-awareness as a thread of consciousness and mind as a
complex dynamic knot of pure-awareness.
Clarification of (3): Whilst the world appears within the mind as
objects and events within space and time, these are the appearances
of things but not their deeper reality. As the many streams of
pure-awareness interact they produce in each other the contents of
consciousness (phenomena) and thereby each stream of consciousness
experiences a phenomenal world. But that world is an interpretation
of the contents of consciousness whereas the actual reality is a
field of interacting pure-awareness that are part of a single unified
This sounds rather counter-intuitive to many people who are
habituated to a common sense realist (naïve
realist) world-view – however it does make sense. Furthermore,
given its explanatory power and ontological simplicity Occam's razor
would fall in its favour.
Is there some comprehensible model or analogy through which we can
make sense of these propositions? We cannot use models involving
objects and events in space and time so are there any other known
models we can use?
How about virtual reality – not the current technology of VR
where a physical human is tricked into perceiving a virtual world,
but rather a simulated universe within which simulated systems exist
and experience that universe from within. I will be considering a
particular type of reality generative simulator called SMN.
The idea that reality may be virtual is growing in acceptance and
becoming a compelling world-view, hence here we look at its spiritual
implications. For an introduction to the scientific approach to the
subject see the article God
Is the Machine and A
Cybernetic Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.
pure-awareness or the watcher or seer does not have complex
thoughts or memories or imaginations and so on – it is a stream of
pure awareness, hence it can be analogically modelled by computation.
Both are very primitive animating principles via which information
can be experienced.
In the case of a simulated universe there is a single unified
computational process that drives a reality generative process (SMN
simulator) which iteratively computes the next state of the universe
based on the current state. This operates at a quantum level but also
has a classical analogue, which for simplicity we will discuss here.
Through the action of the simulator the computational process is
transformed into many threads or individual streams of computation
that each experiences things from its individual perspective and
interacts within a common information space.
In this way these streams have both an appearance that can be
experienced and an experiential process via which they experience
each other. These streams can be thought of as systems within a
As these systems interact they integrate into super-systems and
these super-systems also interact and integrate into more complex
super-systems. Both the inner experiential processes and the outer
observable forms become more complex.
In this way beings can emerge that have complex inner experiential
processes and complex observable forms. This explains how
pure-awareness (computation) relates to a complex mind and how
pure-awareness can be said to be fundamental and universal as well as
why it is said to have a unified source but manifests as many
From the perspective of a complex system within the simulated
universe, it experiences itself as a physical being in a physical
world that is populated by physical objects and events. Most of the
objects have relatively simple inner experiential processes hence
they engage in simple interactions so it is easy to think of these
systems as being 'inert' or 'inanimate' and governed by simple “laws
of physics”. The systems can also be dismantled or rearranged thus
leading to various forms of 'technology'.
From this complex perspective the mind seems to be unitary and is
always accompanied by something that comes to be known as the 'body'.
The body is the outer appearance of the complex system whilst the
mind is its inner experiential process. But just as the body consists
of many integrated sub-systems, so too does the mind hence it only
seems to be unitary.
Due to the iterative nature of the reality generative simulator
each simple system experiences things only in a present moment.
However for complex systems the processes that result in their
complex experiences occur over many moments hence they only
experience a perceptual moment and not an ontological moment. Due to
the iterative nature of the reality generative process, the past is
only in memory, the future is only in expectation and the present
moment is all that actually exists. However at the quantum level
there is a superposition of all states of being, hence the present
moment contains all possible states of being in potential form.
If a complex being looks only through the senses and mind it will
experience the phenomenal world of appearances and conceive of a
materialist world-view. However if it sits with
consciousness-of-consciousness and goes deeper into consciousness it
will eventually reach the level of pure awareness. In this way it
makes contact with the computational process that is One, Whole,
Unified and is the creator and sustainer of all 'things' (systems
within the universe). From this level of being (as pure computation
within a computational space) the limitations of the simulation no
longer apply and things can be known or done which seem miraculous
from a perspective within the simulation.
By identifying not with the body or the mind but with
pure-awareness (computation) and Brahman / God (reality generative
process) the being enters into a different mode of being. Rather than
be beset by fears and fetishistic desires for the appearances of
things believing them to be all that is real, instead they have a
more holistic perspective and thereby attain peace even in the midst
of apparent adversity.
Steps To Unified Metaphysical Awareness
Reality Analogy Alongside Science and Mysticism
Metaphysics and Vedic Metaphysics
terms for the Information System Paradigm
is a system and why should we care to know?
Metaphysical Perspectives on one Page
Metaphysics, Consciousness and Systemic Evolution
Scientific Case Against Materialism