There ain’t no tree, nor moon neither.

One of the most difficult concepts for human beings to wrap their heads around is… well… that their heads are wrapped around everything!

One of the “ah-ha!” moments of my life was when it occurred to me, as I was looking at a star-filled night sky, that on the other side of the stars I saw, millions of light years away, was cranium – MINE!

Try it.  Look up from your phone, computer screen, or whatever device you’re using to view these words, and focus on the most distant object in your line of sight.  Now, think to yourself something like this; “That wall I see is an image in my brain and the reality is that, though I can’t see it, or sense it in any way, it is surrounded by my skull.”

So what?  It’s an obvious fact, but what does it mean?  The wall, the sky, the stars… they’re still out there.  The stars are still light years away.  Right?  Well, no.  Away, here, there, anywhere, become meaningless terms if “reality” is the construct of consciousness that theoretical physicists are beginning to concur that it is.  And that conclusion is based upon real science; empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.

We now know that the moon is demonstrably not there when nobody looks.
N. David Mermin

Have you ever heard the question “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”  It is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality.

Most people will argue that the tree makes a sound, and it makes that sound whether anyone is there to hear it or not.  Very likely you’re one of those people yourself.  But, as it turns out, not only is there no sound in the absence of a “conscious”observer, there isn’t even a tree!

As difficult as it’s been – make that impossible – to convince those with whom I have actually engaged in the tree-falling-in-the-forest debate that the tree fell silently, I can’t even imagine convincing them that the physical manifestation of the tree itself was dependent upon the presence of an observer.

Frankly, nothing else makes sense.  The idea that the universe exists within consciousness rather than the other way around, e.g. consciousness is a resultant product of physical reality, answers some otherwise intractable questions.  Let me give you one example.  And this is my own.

Most of us remember laying out under the stars and wondering “Where do they end?”  Laying on sleeping bags in the backyard as kids we’d wonder what was beyond the stars.  But n0 matter what the answer was, the next question would be the same, “Yeah, but what’s on the other side of that?”

It is a question that obviously, even to youngsters who haven’t heard the term “infinite regression,” has no answer.  But that is only true if we’re talking about a finite physical universe.  But what if the universe is “virtual,” a construct of consciousness.  Would the question then have an answer?  Would the question even have to be asked?

Well, let’s see.  Imagine you’re sitting in front of a computer simulated representation of a starry night, filled with stars and galaxies.  Would you wonder, like kids on a starry night, where is the last of these stars, and then what?  Probably not because we all know the computer would just make more of them.  Roll the little wheel on your wireless mouse and “move” deeper into space – simulated space – on the computer screen.  What happens?  The computer just renders more stars.

In fact a computer game was recently released entitled “Endless Sky,” described as  the 2D action space exploration game of infinite depth.  Infinite depth!  That would mean stars without end.  But not just stars.  The algorithms in the software of Endless Sky also creates planets to explore, complete with flora and fauna of infinite variety.

One of the inescapable aspects of an objective physical reality is its finite nature.  Finite things demand a beginning, and things that begin also must end.  In a virtual reality, where space and time itself is a creation within consciousness, beginnings and endings cease to have meaning.  There literally was no beginning and, good news, there is no end.

So the next time you look up at the moon, marvel even more at the fact that the moon YOU see is not the one I see, even if I am standing next to you.  Yes, they are both derived from the same informational database, but they are “rendered” by our individual consciousnesses.  Just like the page you see on this screen exists, not as a page, but as a stream of bits of information, decoded by your computer and then displayed on your computer screen.

But it doesn’t stop there.  The screen, it’s light emitting LEDs, even the light they emit, is all information when it hits your retina.

But it doesn’t become visible even then.  It is still just information as the photons of light excite the cones and rods which send electrical impulses along optical nerves to the visual cortex, and voilà, a computer screen appears “right before your eyes.”  Except it’s not.  It’s in your head.  Which by the way is only another construct of consciousness.

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
Albert Einstein

For further reading on the topic I suggest Quantum Mysteries Disentangled by Ron Garret.

This entry was posted in Philosophy, Ramblings, Religion, Science. Bookmark the permalink.

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