Part III : Explaining metaphysics
(Part I - Part II - - Part IV)
Abstract: The main metaphysics issues such as the mind-matter
duality, and the foundation of morality, will be adressed here
as a genuine field for reason and science, thus dismissing the
widespread belief that this would be impossible. (fate, and the
explanation and refutation of religious faith, especially
Christian faith, will be discussed in Part IV)
You may start with this introduction
to the foundations of mathematics, with particularly these notes on
metamathematics (but that come after 10 big pages assumed to
have been read)
Then, below are expressed some metaphysical concepts on the
non-material nature of the mind and how it articulates with that
of the physical universe.
Then, the introduction
to quantum physics, previously in this page, was moved
See also a more recently written presentation of my metaphysics: Mind makes
collapse interpretation of quantum physics.
The non-algorithmicity of the mind
The understanding of the mathematical time can give us clues
about the nature of the mind.
Once again I want to be apologize for the following concepts and
reasoning which lacks the normal scientific rigor, however, a
fuzzy reasoning that can give a first approximation of the truth,
can be better than no idea at all, or than leaving the way to
completely false ideas.
First, we can get a "reasonable argument" that the mind
is not a machine, in the following way: if the mind was a
machine, then the metamathematician would be a machine too,
because, after all, the metamathematican's mind is of the same
nature. Therefore, the truths he could discover (under conditions
that would prevent him from mistake) would be contained in those
that some fixed formal axiomatic system of mathematics would
provide. But, what formal system could this be ?
As we said, most of the useful mathematics and all physics can be
done in a "quite limited" mathematical world: P(P(ℕ)) or the like.
Working inside P(P(ℕ)) would provide no proof of consistency
(=non-contradiction) of an axiomatic system for any bigger sort of
So, if the metamathematician's mind was a mere fruit of a natural
evolution that adapted human mind to the understanding of the
everyday world in order to survive there, then, the ability of
finding truths that were formal consequences of an aximatic system
describing P(P(ℕ)) would have largely sufficed.
But the truth is that the metamathematician can come to be
strongly convinced of the consistency of much stronger axiom
systems (describing bigger universes). His mind's proving ability
is therefore not limited to the formal proving power of the theory
We might consider that, after all, why not admit that he would be
contained in a stronger axiomatic system than this (that can prove
more by involving a larger universe of intermediate objects).
Why not the one of all the series P(P(.....P(ℕ)...)) ?
But, as we said, the currently standard set theory (ZF) is still
much, much stronger than this.
No a priori "reasonable" formal system fixed in advance, could be
expected to prove the consistency of such an incredibly strong
theory as ZF.
The remaining question is thus: is it really possible for the
metamathematician to do better than the machine by discovering a
reliable evidence of the consistency of ZF ?
This question is not a mathematical one in a strict sense,
because, precisely, such an evidence cannot be a formal proof, and
therefore cannot be admitted as a proof in the standard practice
of mathematics which requires the proofs to be formal ones in a
given axiomatic theory. This is why, specialists in this field are
normally not dealing with such a question, so that some
philosophers looking at the situation, are abandoned to an
impression that the consistency of ZF is just a convenient
hypothesis with no justification ever discovered.
However, I did consider this question, and found out that it has a
But this justification of the consistency of ZF is quite tough. See explanations
The nature of the mind
A spiritual text presented the following idea:
"There is the part of you that
thinks and the part that hears the thoughts. The thinking part is
your mind; the part that hears the thoughts is your spiritual-self".
This is an interesting idea, because of the similarity with the
structure of metamathematics that we presented earlier. This
suggests to make a parallel between both, and provide an
understanding of the mind as inspired from this analogy - even
though they are fundamentally of different nature.
The mind is analogous with the world of objects, while the spirit is
analogous to the formulas that are making sense by taking values in
the world of objects. The spirit is what is moving the mind at the
present time. It can only do it based on the current structure of
the mind which is closely interacting with in the brain and thus
receives the effects from the senses; and does it in a way that,
usually, could not be exactly predicted until it actually happens
(in analogy with the truth undefinability theorem). Not even God can
reliably predict our exact behavior in advance, because... our
future decisions do not exist yet.
But this action of our spirit at every given time, then adds up
itself as a part of the mind of the next time. Thus the mind
progressively extends in time.
In other words, we have a succession, along time, of the states of
the mind: let us denote them as a succession M0, M1,
M2... every fraction of a second (although there may be
no truth of how much time are the intervals, because... this is a
fuzzy description); and corresponding states of the spirit, S0,
Thus S0 is the state of the spirit as it observes and
feels M0. Then S0 adds up to M0
together with external sensations to form M1, and M1
is observed by the spirit, providing the feeling (move) S1,
and so on.
But, considering that the state of the spirit at every time is
continuously added up to the mind at the next times, we can as well
say that the spirit and the mind are not 2 different things, but 2
different aspects of the same thing. This mind-spirit, thus, is just
what we personnally are (not a physical object). In such a view, we
could say there is no essential mystery of any deeper self in us
that we may have forgotten, because we do continuously perceive all
what we deeply are anyway.
(Of course, our self-understanding remains far from perfect and able
of progression, just like higher levels in the hierarchy of sets
brings more information on natural numbers as formulable in the
language of arithmetics: namely, the information that set theories
of intermediate levels had no contradiction). Well, I admit this
argument is not clear, and remains debatable. However, why care ?
What matters is less what we deeply are, than how we do behave in
practice. Any assumption on the behavior of the mind has to be
tested against observation. Further on we shall develop a number of
observations on real situations, that can be made independently of
any assumption on the nature of the mind. And it will turn out that,
well, this model we just presented fits not bad.
To say it in other words: we can understand the spirit as the life
of the mind, that drives the mind to continuously transcend itself,
which is the way it normally grows and evolves. Our mind is
currently embedded in our brain and works in close interaction with
the brain. This whole mind-spirit, or living mind, is immaterial and
eternal, and leaves the body altogether when the body dies.
The "eternity" of the mind can be explained as follows.
The existence of the mind at every given time is based on the fact
it will turn out to be perceived in the past of a later time, just
like every mathematical object in a mathematical world, owes its
full existence to the presence and meaning of a formula
whose meaning involves its existence, and that comes after it.
Indeed, the NDE testimonies do not speak about the end of all
thought outside the body, but about a new freedom and way of
thinking, freed from the brain.
This immaterial character of the mind, transcending any mathematical
system and able to find deep intuitions about infinity, does not
however mean any effective possession of the infinity. Only
intuitions somehow expressible in finite, limited terms, are
normally accessible to us in this life. For example I'd be surprised
if anyone could reliably guess the trillionth decimal of pi, while
some future supercomputers might do it.
Of course, rational thinking is but one function (style of work) of
the mind among other functions, which include other ways of thinking
(imagination, artistic sense, empathy...), sensations, feelings,
morality sense, free choice and so on.
Types of existence
Now let's directly come to the "deepest" questions.
We said (in Part II), science is not essentialist, which means that
it does not systematically require to refer to any know ultimate
cause or law, not to specify the "deep nature" (essences) of its
objects, for developing its knowledge, as such essences are usually
irrelevant. It can be satisfied with raw observations first, then
successively more accurate approximative models involving
intermediate levels of reality, rather than any ultimate nature of
things. Because its main work is about complexity and the
exploration of the many ways how things may interact with each
Nevertheless, rational thinking is not afraid of essences either,
whenever this may be relevant, as it could already successfully
explore relatively deeper and deeper essences of physical systems
through chains of successively more accurate theories.
Now the point of metaphysics is to discuss the essences of
everything; there is no reason why logical positivism could not be
applied to it too.
Historically, logical positivists happened to claim that metaphysics
is empty, and should be rejected from science. However, this may be
understood as a denunciation of the irrational way in which
metaphysics has been traditionally handled by philosophers.
Indeed it can be amazing how debates went on and on so long between
atheists, deists, religious apologists and philosophers, and it all
remained a so miserable fuss of misunderstanding lacking a clear
definition of the most basic concepts and the most basic claims
about which agreements and disagreements can take place. For
example, their debates for or against the existence of God, lacked a
clear definition for "God" or for "existence of God". They even
seemed to miss the fact that the question "does God exist" hardly
makes any sense, as God is not supposed to be an object like other
objects, so that the very qualification of "existence" should not
apply to God in the same way as it could apply to objects - another
understanding of the very concept of existence would need to
designed for it.
But if approached more rationally, metaphysics can indeed become a
meaningful scientific subject.
Here is a proposition how to do it.
First, let us note that the words "existence" and "reality" are
roughly synonymous, and when saying that "something exists", the
thing and its existence cannot be separated either : an existence
can only be considered as applying to something, and there is no
thing without existence.
Now, if things and existence are one and the same, what is that ?
The nature of material objects in our universe has been largely
understood by physicists through quite amazing mathematical
theories, so that the "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics"
for physics has been celebrated. So, even if not everything is
mathematical, the world of mathematics deserves serious
The field of mathematics comes with its own objects, and its
existence claims on these objects.
Some philosophers debated whether mathematical objects are real, and
whether mathematics is an exploration of a reality, or a
construction of the mind or anything else, but opposite views added
up and did not end to an official agreement (just as philosophers
don't resolve any question anyway).
But usually for mathematicans, the debate is rather empty. When they
study mathematics, they hold the universe of objects of their study
as real, and it works as such. Well not all is clear, but the
undeterminacy fuss does not have the same status as what
philosophers are discussing. The foundation of mathematics has been
studied as a branch of mathematics, and could resolve the main
"philosophical debates" on the nature of mathematics, from a
Some philosophers mistakenly assumed a prior (though undefined)
fixed concept of "existence" or "reality", before wondering whether
it applies to mathematical objects (universes, truths...). But as
the concept of existence is inseparable from its contents, so there
is no preexisting standard concept of "existence" separated from
mathematics, to be compared with mathematical objects. In other
words, no a priori sense can be made of the question "Are
mathematical objects real ?" for wondering what the answer is.
Instead, just as mathematical objects have their own nature, so they
have their own type of existence, that should not be confused with
other, more familiar types of existences. In other words, there are
several separate concepts (types) of "existence" or "reality", each
to come up after the respective types (natures) of the objects they
apply to (even if connections can be found between these types).
Namely, these may be classified into mathematical existence,
physical existence and conscious existence (though this
classification is approximative and will have to be refined later).
Note that the physical existence is something relative: specified
objects are only present at a given time and place.
Some characters of mathematical existence
Mathematical existence has its margin of relativity too. An
illimited range of theories can be considered, including "theories
of all mathematics", with each their range of possible universes
where they can be interpreted. A claim of existence of an object is
relative to a theory and a universe of objects in which this theory
So, the limits of mathematical existence are fuzzy, but the
fuzziness of these limits remain internal to the field mathematical
existence, and completely unrelated to (unaffected by) any other
type of existence.
More precisely, the fuziness (relativity) of the mathematical
existence, comes from the infiniteness of the systems that are
considered to exist or not. On the other hand, the mathematical
existence of finite systems (of specified limited size) enjoys an
objective character, independent of any decent choice of a theory of
mathematics and its interpretation.
Despite its relativity, the mathematical existence of infinite
systems cannot be dismissed because it is somehow guaranteed by Gödel's
completeness theorem. This theorem is at least as essential to
the foundations of mathematics as the more famous incompleteness
theorem. In fact, the incompleteness theorem only owes its higher
popularity to its much more pleasant character in the eyes of the
irrationalist propagandists who influence public opinion, as well as
the biased sensitivity of the public itself who hates mathematics
and is so fond of any excuse to praise stupidity and irrationality
The completeness theorem roughly says that for any theory without
contradiction, there exists a mathematical universe described by
At first sight, it may seem to contradict the incompleteness
theorem; however there is no contradiction between them once
understood more precisely, in ways that won't be detailed here.
So, it provides for the real existence of infinite systems (as many
theories require their universe of objects to be infinite). Of
course, as no theorem can provide for infinities out of no infinity,
the completeness theorem requires an assumption of infinity in order
But the required infinity assumption is rather weak: it only needs
the infinite list of all finite systems (to fix the idea, we can
say: the infinite set of all natural numbers). But this assumption
is already required to make sense of the premise of the theorem: a
contradiction must be a finite system of symbols. Thus, the concept
of a "theory without contradiction" involves the infinity of
searches for any finite contradiction that might be produced by the
theory. It would be hard, indeed, to grant existence to every finite
system but not to the whole infinite set they form (unless we might
mean that every natural number exists inside reality, but this
reality of all natural numbers would not itself "exist"...).
And this mathematical existence of infinite systems, while hardly
deniable, keeps a margin of relativity in a way too complex to be
summed up here (we already gave hints about this...).
However, this relativity margin does matter for us, as we are only
concerned in practice with finite systems, whose mathematical
existence is objective. Indeed, the currently known laws of quantum
physics are expressed in mathematical terms that somehow only depend
on finite systems (and the successive approximations they give, like
the computation of a real number), and thus inherit their
objectivity. (And our consciousness has no full access to infinity
Other types of existence
Now the question is: is there any other type of existence, that is,
another type of object, outside the mathematical ones ? We mentioned
about the physical and the conscious existences. Do they differ from
mathematical existence ?
Such a difference is hardly deniable. Could anyone mistake oneself
with a mathematical object (in other words, one's own existence with
a mathematical existence) ?
The status of physical existence is much more subtle, because unlike
conscious being, physical objects are not aware of their own
existence. How to make sense of such an existence, and be sure that
the physical type of existence "really exists" ? In fact, we can't.
Instead, we shall explain that only the conscious and mathematical
existences are primitive types of existence, while the physical
existence emerges as a combination (or intersection) of both.
But first of all, we need to examine (and refute) another view,
widespread among atheists, according to which consciousness emerges
out of physical reality, so that conscious existence would be mere
fruit or particular case of physical existence.
Such a view would first require some primitive type of physical
existence, not reducible to mathematical existence. Or would it ?
Just imagine the idea of a universe where everything can be
mathematically described, as well as its evolution laws. No matter
whether "it exists" or not in a familiar sense, it does exist anyway
in a mathematical sense, in the form of its encoding as a very big
number (a string of information expressing the detailed
configuration of all its parts). No matter how astronomically big
this number is, it mathematically exists. Thus, so does
mathematically "exist" the universe it encodes.
The problem is, this type of existence is much too large. With it, a
universe in which an exact copy of myself would be walking on Mars,
would be existing as well (since an encoding number for it could be
defined and thus give it an existence). Morality would make no
sense, as every possible state of happiness or suffering of every
possible living being, would "exist" just the same, so that no
initiative can help to make one of these states more "real" than
another state. By the way, in such conditions, there would be no
point connect someone's existence to a specific universe. Instead,
each person would have copies of oneself inside astronomical numbers
of universes. It would make no sense to ask "What is there on Mars"
because your present existence (as a mathematical object) would be
crossing multitudes of existing universes where the Mars planet
would be configured differently.
There would be no problem for such a strange view of existence to be
"mathematically conceivable". However, we also easily notice that
some deep intimate convictions in ourselves, a feeling of our own
existence, rejects that. There has not be something more to our
existence, than a mathematical one. But what can this be ?
To a large extent, physical objects have a mathematical form. Can
different types of existence be applicable to the same objects ?
More precisely, can mathematical objects be given another type of
existence than the mathematical one ?
Let's imagine this. Whatever "the cause" may be, consider that,
among the too numerous universes that mathematically exist, only one
or a relatively small number of them, would have the privilege of
another sort of "real existence", that others wouldn't. But... what
would be making the difference between a universe that exists, and a
universe that does not exist ?
Imagine this difference to come in a sort of arbitrary way, such as
a magic gift from elsewhere. What might this be ? Imagine this to be
a purely mathematical data. It could just be given by a formal list
of existing universes (or contents of this universe) written in some
divine book. Yes, but... such a divine book would be only one among
an astronomical number of books that mathematically "exist" as well.
Such a conventional data cannot bring any effective and more
interesting type of existence than the mathematical one it had in
the first place.
Now, materialists usually assume this reality to be some physical
one, that first makes the universe real disregarding the presence of
consciousness inside. Then, they assume that consciousness may
eventually appear in such a universe as an emergent phenomenon.
The problem is, a "physical existence" attributed to the universe,
may be attributed to its most elementary particles, in the
fundamental interaction processes between them, or to the universe
this forms as a whole, but would have no special consideration
towards any specific type of emerging phenomenon there, than to any
other type of emerging phenomenon. No particular type of emerging
phenomenon could have any special existence status. Instead, all
emerging phenomena would be mere mathematical properties of the
processes occurring there.
Even if some sort of physical existence is basically attributed
to the universe, no structures emerging from mathematically
predictable processes (that may include randomness) taking place
there, can have any other existence than a mathematical one.
This is because the "physical existence" is only attributed to
fundamental aspects of the universe, not to any emerging properties
From the same mathematical laws, the same emerging processes occur
in many physically inexistent universes as well. So, just imagine
(or mathematically consider the existence of) a human being that
only exists mathematically inside physically non-existing universes.
Being determined by the same mathematical laws (at least in very
good approximation), he would still strongly believe in his own
existence just as we do, wouldn't he ? Still, this belief would be
false. But, as our own belief in our real existence is an effect of
our behavior that just follows the same laws, and this belief turns
out to be mistaken "most of the time" (in all non-existing
universes), what the hell could ensure this belief to be more true
in our case ?
Does the question of the physical or conscious existence, even have
any meaning beyond mathematical existence ? Or should this very
issue that there may be another type of existence than the
mathematical one, be dismissed as empty, "not even wrong" ? If not,
So, even though this argument may be considered subjective and not
absolutely rigorous logical argument, I cannot consider
consciousness as a process emerging from complex phenomena following
any mathematical laws, that would inherit its existence (and the
"feeling of existence") from a physical existence.
This argument moreover confirms the first argument we presented in
Part II against a mathematical determination of the mind.
Now that conscious existence is accepted as a fundamental type of
existence, let us examine some of its main properties.
The features of conscious existence
Let us recall the main features of conscious existence, and add a
The objects of this existence (the "conscious objects") are more
precisely conscious events: perceptions, ideas, choices, feelings...
No two conscious events can be identical (in other words, none ever
identically occurs more than once).
This type of existence cannot be dissociated from the concept of
Time is an order relationship (or preorder) between all conscious
events. In other words, this is a concept that specifies for any two
conscious events A and B, whether or not "A happens before B", and
for any 3 events A, B and C, if A happens before B and B before C
then A happens before C.
This relationship can also equivalently be called "B happens after
A", or "A influences B" or "A is in the memory of B", "A exists for
In fact, all this should rather be talked about in the past:
"happened". because every conscious event only exists from the
viewpoint of later events, and we cannot talk about events that do
not exist yet.
Moreover, no event can happen both before and after another (unless
they are simultaneous, which may happen of course if we have several
The existence of every conscious event is half relative, half
absolute. First it is relative, as it does not exist yet as long as
it did not happen. But after it happened, its existence will remain
fixed forever, and accumulates "in memory". Indeed every event has
an infinite future, that does not exist yet but will come
progressively to existence in its time. To say it otherwise, the
future is not specified (we don't know it) before it happened. Some
information about it can be more or less predictable, but
predictions can't be perfectly exact.
The contents of memory can be hard to reliably check, and may
eventually seem to be lost. This impression can be strong. Even in
many cases, memory contents may seem to be completely lost
(especially of dreams, or of past lives under an assumption of
reincarnation). This means that the behaviors seem to not depend on
these past events, and can be understood separately from them to an
excellent approximation. However, this strong approximation is "only
an appearance". Many NDE testimonies confirm that all the past
contents of life remain "somewhere" in memory anyway, no matter if
we seem to have forgotten them.
Moreover, here is another argument to support the idea that, though
somehow hidden, the memory of the conscious past keeps existing
somewhere intact. Imagine it was not, and that, instead, this memory
only consists of something like a computer memory that can be
arbitrarily written or modified. This would especially the case in a
materialist view where memory would merely consist in configurations
of brain cells.
In this case, nothing would prevent external influences to rewrite
or make up this memory completely. Imagine this: what if you did not
really live the life you think you lived but all your body and brain
with all its memory has just been built up by some superintelligent
aliens 5 minutes ago. Would that be that possible ? If materialism
was true, or if in any other way it was possible to arbitrarily
modify or make up conscious memory, then you would have no reliable
evidence that anything you remember ever really happened to you.
Instead, something deep in your mind leads you to hold as an
evidence that your memory can't all be faked. Then, the act of
giving this intuition the status of an effective evidence as it
naturally suggests, requires to admit that memory is of a sort of
unalterable nature. Namely, that this memory contains the effective
evidence, or we can say, the reality itself, of the remembered
The fact that every event is affected by the whole of its past,
confirms (or contributes) that no two events can be identical (as
they don't have the same past).
All these properties of conscious existence appear very different
from those of ordinary finite mathematical objects (but they do have
strong similarities with those of infinite mathematical systems as
viewed in high level works on the foundations of mathematics, and
possibly also with computation theory).
The Turing test
It has been long said that metaphysics is not scientific because it
But here is a claim expressing a good deal of metaphysics, that is
clearly falsifiable, as is precisely a specification of the
experiment what would falsify it :
Intelligence can never pass the Turing test
The idea of the Turing
test, is to investigate the question "Can machines think like
humans". This is done by trying to develop software aimed to imitate
human thought. The quality of this imitation is assessed by human
judges taking through computers (instant messaging) with the
candidate (human or program trying to imitate human replies), and
trying to guess if the replies come from a human or a program. We
would say that the program passes the test if it can fool the judge
into believing it is a human.
It is so falsifiable that a number of researchers are already
working hard trying to refute it, with a deep conviction that they
will succeed someday.
It is reported that some judges have already been fooled, mistaking
computers for humans. But this is because the test has not been hard
enough: too short exchange of messages, lack of imagination by
judges to provide meaningful challenges. So, the claim here, is that
under harder conditions of sufficiently long and imaginative
conversations (for the length, say for example, 2 hours of phone
conversation), the chances for machines to be mistaken as humans
will remain unsignificant.
If you want other falsifiable claims expressing the same
metaphysical position in other ways, here are some:
The claim that AI cannot pass the Turing test, is related to the
deep natural intuition which makes solipsism
- There will be no technological
singularity, but a more regular progression over time
- There will always be an important proportion of intelligent
jobs for humans (computers can't overcompete humans for many
aspects of intelligence such as imagination and initiatives).
More precisely, intelligent and imaginative jobs will always
represent an important monetary fraction of jobs ( = no matter
how few people can or want to do them, they will keep their
value for the economy anyway) in comparison with the repetitive
ones; this reflecting the fact that artificial intelligence,
however useful, can never compete with much of them in
comparison with its ability to replace unintelligent works.
Namely, if it was possible to simulate human behavior by a program
in a convincing way, then a person in an environment (real or
virtual) showing other people's behaviors produced by this program,
would have the same impression as in the normal environment showing
the real behaviors of other humans. In this case it would not be
possible for someone to tell whether visible people, have anything
more than a mathematical existence (as objects of computation of
this program). This would make solipsism sustainable.
But if computers can't imitate humans, then the human character of
other's behavior is what provides the intuitive evidence of their
reality as peer consciousnesses.
Well, is it really a proof ? Such a kind of proof may sound strange.
After all, it's nothing else than a set of information. How can a
mere set of information, which is a mathematical object, prove
anything about a non-mathematical existence ? It's because the
chances to produce this information without conscious means were
insignificant. Mere mathematical means would have almost surely
produced unrealistic results. And, as the observer is conscious and
there can't be astronomical numbers of observers and tries at the
disposal of the experiment, it is rather unlikely to manage
producing any case of delusional impression of existence of a
conscious being, out of mere random or other mathematical tricks.
Let us go a little further. Admitting that the precise behavior of
appearing people (in interaction with oneself) suffices to bring the
evidence of their existence, as this behavior could not have been
imagined by a nonconscious being. What about the possibility for a
conscious being to invent this behavior instead ? Indeed it could do
better... at first sight.
But after a much longer interaction, the realism of this imitation
would fade out. To remain fully realistic in the long run (even in
the mere sense of how to fool one human observer into this
impression), the author of this imitation would need to be God, and
to imagine these characters so precisely, that this imagination
would give these characters a real existence inside his imagination,
feeling himself their feelings.
These remarks that a full knowledge of oneself (or one soul) is
equivalent to a union with God, may seem to give credit to some
religious and spiritual teachings promoting introspection as a way
However plausible this idea may sound at first sight, we should
remain very cautious, and not believe anything without proof.
The problem is, the theoretical principle that a higher form of
consciousness (encompassing many individual consciousnesses into a
whole) may exist, does not give any clues how to reach it, ifever
any way to it really exists at our disposal. Our earthly cognitive
abilities may not suffice to properly guess what such a way should
look like. Any claims of such a thing must be taken with great care,
and serious verifications.
Fortunately, we have more than mere guess to study the question.
If there is a way to any form of spiritual enlightenment, and if it
is not too hard to make it, some people may have reached it already.
But then, they should be able to bring verifiable knowledge out of
Therefore, the scientific method is fully relevant to check the
validity of any such claims.
But before entering this question, let us explain the nature of the
physical universe first.
The nature of the physical universe
Let's come now to examine the nature of the physical universe.
As we said, fundamental physics had great successes in the 20th
century. While there are still some very difficult problems to put
the known laws together into a fully consistent mathematical whole
that would provide details on some of the most extreme phenomena,
the laws underlying ordinary matter are now already quite
well-established. Namely, the physical aspects of biological
processes, starting from chemistry, and where the familiar cases of
mind-matter interactions do occur, are fully expressed by quantum
This theory already explains how mind-matter interaction can take
place, and what status it gives to physical reality, as a composite
or intermediate sort of reality between the conscious and
Unfortunately, many physicists with a materialist philosophical
positions failed to get the message. While trying to understand it
in a materialistic manner they looked for different interpretations
of this theory, but none was satisfying. Consequently, many
considered quantum theory as deeply paradoxical, or even
The situation has been described by physicist John
Baez as follows:
"How should we think about
quantum mechanics? For example, what is meant by a "measurement"
in quantum mechanics? Does "wavefunction collapse" actually
happen as a physical process? If so, how, and under what
conditions? If not, what happens instead ?
On the other hand, the interpretation
of quantum theory expressing the mind/body dualism (see also there)
was already put forward by some of the founders of quantum theory
(who are also physics Nobel Prize laureates):
Many physicists think these issues are settled, at least for
most practical purposes. However, some still think the last word
has not been heard. Asking about this topic in a roomful of
physicists is the best way to start an argument, unless they all
say "Oh no, not that again!". There are many books to read on
this subject, but most of them disagree."
"In many philosophies, the
conscious mind is seen as a separate entity, existing in a realm
not described by physical law. Some people claim that this idea
gains support from the description of the physical world
provided by quantum mechanics. Parallels between quantum
mechanics and mind/body dualism were first drawn by the founders
of quantum mechanics including Erwin Schrödinger, Werner
Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, and Eugene Wigner. (...)
Quantum mechanics made some dualist ideas about the mind/body
problem acceptable again within mainstream science."
So, why has this interpretation become progressively so unpopular
among physicists since the discovery of quantum physics ? One of the
main reason seems to be that it has been hijacked by a number of
popular authors (Quantum mysticism, New Age and New Thought
movements) who mixed it with a lot of nonsense (some crackpot
theories and irrationalist ideologies), while they don't even
understand quantum theory themselves, in order to give their
propaganda an illusion of scientific credibility.
The situation was made even messier by the presence of some more or
less famous genuine physicists (Brian Josephson, Fritjof Capra,
Casey Blood...) who followed the same path, of promoting this
interpretation of quantum theory (intervention of consciousness)
while taking other supposedly related positions that may be
dismissed as closer to crackpot (any bad understanding of current
physics) or irrationalist attitudes (any religious views filled with
nonsense) than to science. Such physicists telling nonsense about
science are mistaken as serious scientific references by some large
spiritualist communities (organization or public) that do not have
themselves the scientific skills to detect the flaws. By the
popularity they developed from this uncritical public eager to
praise anyone who looks like a physicist and is ready to affirm the
public spiritualist orientations against a supposedly stubborn
dominating class of close-minded materialist physicists, they became
the "reference" for the mind/matter dualist interpretations of
Other scientists came to be fed up with such nonsense even when
coming from peer physicists. Thus, when trying to defend science and
reason, they had to oppose these caricatural and indefensible
versions of this interpretation of quantum theory and/or its
supposedly associated deviations and ideologies, thus driving them
to reject the original concept altogether.
So, I perfectly agree with the objection of many physicists against
many spiritual writers'attitude who misuse quantum theory to support
some spiritual claims while it in fact doesn't, and while no proper
understanding of quantum physics is included in the argument. Thus
the development of a vicious circle of antagonism, paranoia and
mutual discredit between both sides.
Thus, in order to keep proper rationality standards, the below
presentation of the relations between quantum theory and
metaphysical concepts of mind/matter duality, will seek clarity,
precision and conceptual minimality (abstaining from any unnecessary
speculative claim), and include a simplified but mathematically
accurate presentation of quantum physics, which will this way appear
as less paradoxical than its reputation says.
To say very roughly, the nature of the physical existence (the deep
nature of physical entities) can be defined in this way:
This explains how the physical world combines a mathematical
description with a non-mathematical type of existence. Consciousness
visiting the mathematical world, makes a choice of which path it
will visit. But this way of choosing a specific path (physical
universe) does not affect the path itself (it does not make up any
intrinsic difference to universes that "exist" as compared to those
who don't). This "choice process" and what the physical universe
consists in, is but a behavior of consciousness, a matter of how
conscious perceptions evolve.
The physical universe is the
trajectory of a visit of consciousness inside the mathematical
However, while this may seem to agree with some spiritual teachings
at a fundamental level, caution should be kept on what practical
consequences may result, as many fuzzy reasonings made by spiritual
authors, often lead to nonsense far from reality. The fact that
reality is ultimately made of thoughts, does not imply that thoughts
can control reality just by the force of fancy, that all problems
can be resolved just by denying their existence and multiplying
pious dreams and good intentions. For example, the past cannot be
changed, no matter how regrettable it is or how if we wish to cancel
Also, for mysterious reasons, we can notice that the commitment of
consciousness to keep following the started path, is a very heavy
one : our universe is very, very big, with very many living beings
coming after each other and continuing the same adventure for many
millions of years, as well as (probably) in many planets in the
universe. This submits conscious experience to heavy constraints
from a complex network of influences: conscious choices, mistakes,
random events and diverse causalities.
It turns out that the laws of physics are made of different concepts
and theories connected together, describing different aspects of
The next sections that were previously here, introducing quantum
physics (with mathematical contents), have been moved:
Quantum theory gives probabilities for physical phenomena, but the
behavior of the mind, as we explained, does not conform to any
probability law. This means that there is a sort of conscious law
that has "preferences" among the possible behaviors allowed by the
physical probability laws, that conscious beings will follow. This
can be expressed by saying that "understanding consciousness"
reduced the entropy of the behavior of conscious individuals, as
compared to the observation of the same behavior without this
More generally, understanding the world means to find an
interpretation of the world that reduces the entropy of the
observations made there. In other words, to find an optimized
compression format for the data of the observation. Such a
definition of an optimized compression format, may either be
mathematical or non-mathematical. Of course, compression formats
usually implemented in computers are mathematical ones, but
non-mathematical compression formats are conceivable too. For
example, some people communicate with SMS in a very abbreviated
form, so that other people, eventually with some efforts, can
"uncompress the message" (understand what the message means), but it
would not be possible to make a program that would reliably
uncompress such abbreviation into the correct full words they are
I think that the world (particularly the conscious behavior) is
neither absolutely deterministic, but probability laws don't make
absolute sense either. Instead, there is a sort of free will. What
is free will ? Well, we don't know, and maybe we will never know, as
there can't be a complete understanding of it.
However, even when something is deeply beyond any possibility of
complete understanding, does neither mean that it is absolutely
wonderful, nor that it would escape all understanding.
Rather, it can often happen that, in their free will, people commit
many errors ; some miserable errors can be expectable, and some
non-material causalities (such as, losing one's love or staying
without love makes one depressed) can be incurable.
But, if an understanding is not a mathematical one, then what can it
be, and does it really make sense ? Well, this is a very hard
question. And different people may have different sensibilities, so
that they would have different distributions of a priori
probabilities between worldviews. Indeed, inside an astronomically
long list of "possible wordviews" that may be conceived, they can't
be a priori equally likely: some can be seen as much more plausible
than others, even before any observation. It all depends on the way
you want to group them: if 1000 possibilities are "as likely as" a
million others, does it mean that each of the first group is as
likely as each of the second group (so that we have 1/1000 chance to
be in the first group), or does it mean that we have 1/2 chance to
be in either group ? These are different possible ways of compacting
the information saying in which world we are.
When we don't understand the world yet, we don't know how to "make
sense" of it. So, how to compress the information about it. Then, as
we gather more information, this starts to "make sense", we discover
better ways to compress it. But good compression formats, that can
"understand" a lot of information as "explained by" a smaller
quantity of causes or "explanations", require to be themselves
specified in some compression format. And the problem, is how heavy
is the quantity of information necessary to specify this compression
format. The heavier it is, the less good is the explanation it
We can see this by expressing the compression format as a program,
and put this program together with the compressed file, thus forming
as self-extracting file (a program whose execution produced the
But we might also consider this as rephrasing the problem, but not
fundamentally changing it: it is not possible to process the
self-extraction of the file unless there is an a priori knowledge of
the computer language in which this program has been written. We may
as well reinterpret the whole self-extracting file with its program,
as being ultimately the data of the compressed file, while
considering the language interpreter (that can run the program), to
be the ultimate program that will uncompress this file.
But, the total size of the self-extracting file depends on how and
in which language the extracting program has been written; in the
same way as the size of a compressed file depends on the compression
And, as the choice of a computer language is somehow arbitrary, it
also does not make absolute sense to say how complex is a
specification of a compressing format (it is more complex or "looks
more arbitrary" when written in a language than in another).
In other words: without a lot of observational data that have
different probabilities to occur as depending on different ways the
world might be, it would be hopeless to try to argue which worldview
is more likely than another worldview: it would remain irreducibly
This subjectivity (assessment of how complex or arbitrary is
something) is especially important for non-mathematical forms of
It even occurs in the context of strictly mathematical definitions.
We just explained it about the arbitrariness of computer languages
in which compressing programs can be written, but there is more to
Some works on the foundations of mathematics, especially by G. Chaitin,
have established that there is randomness in pure mathematics too.
For example, we might consider the series of decimals of pi (or
other irrational numbers), as a series of random digits. Such
considerations have been intuitively summed up by saying that "some
mathematical claims are true just by chance".
Let us present one of his most amazing discoveries: "No file larger
than a certain size can be provably minimal" (where "minimal" =
impossible to compress as a shorter self-extracting file)
In other words, for any sufficiently large quantity of information,
we have no way to refute the possibility for all this information to
be "explained" by a smaller quantity of information. This
proposition looks strange, because it seems to reduce infinitely
many different possibilities into a finite number of cases
(expressed by self-extracting files smaller than a given size).
How can this be ? This is, in fact, a variant of the incompleteness
theorem, playing the same way on the difference of viewpoints
between "successive times" in the foundations of mathematics.
The proof of the theorem roughly goes as follows.
The idea is to explicitly write down
a program (self-extracting file) A, whose instructions say the
Program A = [Search for all possible proofs of mathematical
propositions (e.g. formal consequences of the ZF set theory),
until you discover a proof of a proposition of the form "B is not
the output of A" for whatever file B; then, give this B as
(More technical details must be included in the program to be able
in this way to speak about itself)
In fact, this program A will run eternally without ever giving any
output. Because, if it happened to give an output B, this would
mean that a proof has been discovered of the proposition "B is not
an output of A", which is false. It would be such a pity to have a
proof of a false claim.
Now that we know that this program cannot stop to give any output,
this knowledge is not accessible (it cannot be proved) in the same
formal system that is involved in the proof. Its unability to
provide any output, means that there cannot be any proof of a
proposition of the form "B is not the output of A" for whatever
file B. This is the result that we have announced.
Consequently, for any series of random events, the belief in the
existence of (unspecified) laws determining these events is
Now, back to quantum physics, we may wonder: why is it that the
behavior of lifeless systems obeys the probabilities given by
quantum theory (or is at least very close to this) while the
behavior of humans and animals is largely influence by free choice
away from these probabilities ? I have a suggestion of an
explanation, though I can't say if it is the right one or not:
The random effects of quantum processes happening in the brain, are
first perceived by only one soul, therefore giving this sould the
chance to "choose" the perceived results. But random results of
measurements in lifeless system, have many copies sent at the speed
of light in all directions, thus not giving the way to let any
unique conscious observer be the absolutely first observer (because
of the relativity of simultaneity between possible perceptions by
many distant observers). Well, we may say the delay given by the
transmission at the speed of light to the observer is too short to
be meaningful, but there are "much bigger" delays before the
measurement in converted to a visible result, and between the
arrival of the light in the retina and the transmission of the
signal to the brain where it is finally perceived.
moved to a separate page
How might any religious subject escape science ?
What is religion about ? Religion is about providing concepts about
a reality of concern for the life of people, not directly perceived
but connected to our lives and perceptions, so as to satisfy their
need to understand life, and provide a form of guidance on what to
do or how to think that may better lead to happy results for oneself
and/or for others.
We explained in the previous part what science is about.
Science is about finding truths on complex issues as reliably as
truths can be found without science on obvious things. It is about
understanding the accessible world, discovering patterns and
connections between our perceptions, so as to be able to predict
what perceptions are more likely to come in the context of other
perceptions and decisions; thus giving clues on what decisions can
better lead to wanted results. And this understanding develops
through intermediate concepts that represent aspects of reality (the
predictive power of these concepts can be seen as an image of
elements of reality causing these effects).
We don't need science to know that chocolate and strawberries are
sweet, that night is dark, or that fun, friendship and love are
good. So, these truths are "not scientific". They aren't either
beyond science, but they come before it: they are are immediately
perceptible, and don't require any mystical revelation to be
Science cannot exactly predict the weather, earthquakes, what time
the phone will be ringing, and many other things - but no other
method than science can do it better (with possibly minor, very rare
and impractical exceptions on some issues). We cannot access their
full range of causes, nor do we have the computer power to make any
exact weather forecast a week in advance even if the underlying laws
are theoretically known. Thus, the very existence and knowledge of
exact underlying laws is rather helpless and irrelevant here. Good
approximations of such laws suffice.
Finally, what is the problem ? The problem is, how the hell could
anyone fail to notice that the issues addressed by religious
doctrines are directly and naturally a particular case and an
integral part of what science can handle.
How could anyone say that issues dealt with by religions are not
scientific questions, and is there anything true in these arguments
? Let us check these people's claims, what sort of a difference
could they see between these two fields, that might be used to
justify for such a difference.
One important argument seems to be, that science cannot explain
feelings, nor predict them by putting them into equations.
Indeed, as we previously explained, the mind's behavior cannot be
predicted through formulas, as it does not follow any mathematical
However, is it really a problem ?
The assessment of happiness, in good approximation, is readily
available to our senses, not requiring any mystical revelation
either, so that this does not constitute any relevant limit of
science that an alternative form of truth inquiry could usefully
Thus, how can the absence of any theoretical reference of an exact
mathematical law supposed to determine feelings (and even the fact
that such a mathematical law does not exist), make any serious
difference here ?
It is really necessary to recall that the work of reason and science
does not require any a priori full knowledge of the ultimate laws
that determine everything ? On the contrary, the scientific research
has usually been to start from observations, for guessing more and
more clues on how do things happens, what do the outcomes depend on,
and what the underlying laws may look like.
So, what religious question might escape science ? All we need to
start a scientific research, is observations.
Do we have observations concerning happiness ? Well, yes. The
perception of one's own happiness or sadness, is one of the most
direct perceptions that can be. What about perceiving the feelings
of others ? Some may guess more or less such things, rightly or
wrongly. However, it is not so hard to get a good approximation of
this parameter, just by asking them the question.
The causes of happiness are generally perceptible things too. People
can be happy or sad depending on what happens to them. In case it
may depend on their thoughts, these can be expressed as well.
It may sometimes happen that some people become happy or sad for no
visible cause (even by themselves), however this is a marginal case.
So, happiness is roughly determined by events, which are themselves
partly random (we shall discuss later what it means) and partly
determined by a large system of visible causes and actions.
Issues on life after death ? Collections of NDE testimonies as
already available online, provide more reliable and complete
information than any religion ever did.
In fact, most religious claims, by the way they connect to life, are
in average as verifiable (and falsifiable) than most other
scientific fields. Sometimes such verifications would be very hard
to make, however such a difficulty is no way specific to religious
questions. Many traditional objects of scientific research are quite
hard to check by logic, observation or experimentation as well.
So, the main difficulty that makes such a scientific inquiry on
religious claims harder than those on more traditionally scientific
subjects, is the problem of how to start deciding to seriously
undertake the research by decently rational people. Just as the the
surest way to lose a war is by not send any soldier to the battle.
Parapsychological issues and paradoxes
The problem of evil : what's wrong with the universe
When studying the universe in its different aspects, we face a
When considering the first principles of existence,
it all looks like the universe should be deeply good, and that
everything should be wonderful there.
- that consciousness makes up the fundamental nature of
- that all councious individuals are somehow connected and parts
of a whole universal consciousness, and relations between all
individuals (parts of the universal consciousness) should in
principle be based on love,
- the beauty of the mathematical theories describing the
physical universe at a fundamental level,
However, experience shows that many things there are going wrong,
many people suffer, many people are in deep error, and many crimes
and abuses are made and profitable.
If we just try to imagine how things should be just by pure
thoughts, reasonings, we can make some deductions on what to expect
about things. Namely, that the world should be fair, joyful and
harmonious. But these expectations do not fit observations.
So we are in a strange universe where first principles cannot
properly explain some important observations. Can they ?
If theory and experience seem to contradict at first sight, then we
need to examine each in more details, and check every seemingly
contradicting argument and observation in all their aspects one by
one, to separate the true from the false everywhere. If it is not
very carefully, then contradictions should vanish, because... the
universe is real and the truth cannot contradict itself.
But this will turn out to be quite hard, and even more paradoxical
than could be expected at first sight.
As there are problems that not all is going well in the universe,
then we do need to understand exactly what is going wrong and why,
and what solutions can be found.
Just pretending that things are going right would not help.
A general trend among "spiritual people" is to view things in such
ways that it makes them feel good by insisting that, according to
them, some kinds of things would be going well. In such a way, they
reject the cause of troubles onto some other aspects of things, that
they are less disturbed to see as going wrong.
Their motivation for interpreting the causes of troubles as coming
from something rather than something else, can have several causes:
It can be feelings; but this is only a subjective feeling that makes
them more sensitive to something than something else, so that they
feel better by seeing the causes of troubles as coming from
something than something else. But other people's sensitivity can be
oriented otherwise, so that a view that better satisfies someone may
make someone else feel worse. For example, some people like to
imagine that God makes things good and that troubles come from
people's bad hearts or bad actions. This can help bring them good
feelings towards God, but also be quite unfair and insulting towards
their fellow humans (and even sometimes to themselves).
But it can also be some sort of logic and reasoning, as it seems, so
as to make their worldview coherent enough to their satisfaction of
having the impression that they understand the world rather well.
In principle, logic and reasoning cannot contradict reality. The
problem comes with naive and approximate reasoning, of a kind that
satisfies many people and seems logical to them, but that would not
stand careful scrutinity, and whose conclusions can happen to be
refuted by more careful research (reasonings and observations).
Ultimately, what is needed and good, is not to believe something
something rather than something else just because it feels well, or
because it helps to praise God. Rather, it is to objectively check
and understand more precisely how things are, so as to not make
mistakes about how to help solve problems, and to not making any
innocent person feel guilty for having done the right thing just
because such false accusations would help some other people to feel
Let us start with a famous example of a debate:
moved to a separate page
See the section moved to a separate page : Skeptics and
The immateriality of the foundations of reality is not a good
reason to dump reason
We don't know how the spiritual universe (where we go after death)
looks like. Is there any physics of what happens there ? Does it
have any sort of physical connection with our universe ? Do visual
perceptions there (light...) have any similarity of nature with the
light of our physical universe (which we do understand by quantum
physics) ? What happens to consciousness there ? Why do some souls
stay here to haunt houses ? Is there a hell ? If yes, what does it
look like, what brings people there, and for how long ?
These are so many questions that are very hard to answer, for lack
of observational data. We have some hints from near death
experiences. In particular, it presents strong indications of the
existence of reincarnation (as some other
sorts of observations can show too), but anyway not immediate
or not systematic, as shown by the meetings with dead relatives,
that show they are not reincarnated at that time.
Also, it says that we are our own judges on our life, that we review
(maybe not in all cases ??) for our instruction, not really as a
"judgment" in some negative sense, but a sort of objective
perception, not focused on judging, but which makes us feel the
effects of our deeds on others.
Maybe, by studying NDE more closely, some progress can be made in
the understanding of afterlife.
However, I would not dare to make any precise claim about afterlife
that would be just a guess not be based on sufficient evidence, for
the following reason.
As it seems, it goes beyond our imagination. Thus, if we try to
imagine something by the mere naive means we usually have at our
disposal, most probably we would have it wrong, as it would be still
Some authors tried to imagine something. For example, they would
describe a physics for the spiritual universe.
I think such a try is much too risky, because the laws of physics
are mathematically expressed, while spiritual realities have mainly
a non-mathematical nature. They try anyway, but to make it different
from the physical things (as it should), their only method is to
take any well-established fact and claim the contrary.
For example, in particle physics, no
known particles can go faster than light, and the impossibility of
information transmission faster than light has been deduced from
special relativity (as time loop contradictions would come
otherwise) ? Then, just because there is a mystery of non-locality
with quantum observations as expressed in the EPR paradox, let us imagine
particles that go faster than light: such particles must be very
Entropy is increasing ? Let's imagine a
space where entropy decreases, such a space must be very
Self-proclaimed defenders of reason promote a materialistic
philosophy ? Let's reject reason, this attitude must be very
Everybody is walking on their feet ? Then let's walk on our hands,
this way of walking must be very spiritual.
Everybody is thinking with their heads ? Let's think with our feet,
this way of thinking must be very spiritual.
Well, sorry, I don't believe in the relevance of such extravagance
contests, as any choice of something to deny will be quite arbitrary
anyway, and just taking a known concept to turn it upside down will
remain too similar in nature with its claimed opposite, in order to
be a serious candidate of a breakthrough.
That a careful rational imagination is currently not enough to
figure out things properly, does not give any more credence to a
When we don't know something, there might be so many possibilities
that may be or not be imaginable, that a try of a guess not
supported by due evidence would have no decent chances to have
anything to do with the truth. Thus the best way may be to just give
up trying to guess anything, and keep examining the data
(testimonies or other considerations), until some evidence might
appear on some specific questions.
Indeed, the fact that a question currently appears too hard for us
and that we don't currently have readily available data to orient us
to an answer, does not mean that it would be of a radically
different nature, something fundamentally beyond reason. The power
of reason does not have any clear and precise limits, and a question
that appears beyond its reach at a time might turn out to be
solvable later (may it be through testimonies of NDEs, deliberate
out-of-body experiments, or anything else).
Thus, the scientific attitude is to just admit that one does not
know something at a given time, but keep searching in hope it can be
resolved later, may it take centuries (a quite short period of time
comparted to the history of life on Earth).
This is to be strongly contrasted with the religious attitude that
consists, towards any hard or unobvious question, in claiming :
"Alleluia ! this is beyond the reach of reason and science,
therefore a miracle in the exclusive domain of faith and divine
revelation (and more precisely, mine...)"
Notes on spiritual dimensions
Let's just make a few remarks about possible connections between
physics and spiritual realities.
Consider visual perceptions of the environment in out of body
Such perceptions would be made possible by the ability of
consciousness to perceive matter. This can be either a perception of
matter, or a perception of physical light, since light and matter
are but two cases of physical systems, well described by our
physical theories, and that can interact together.
Contrary to what some authors might think, I see no likeliness in
the idea that wide perceptive abilities that experiencers may have
of our physical landscape, would be any hint that these perceptions
would take place as viewed from another dimension. Indeed our usual
visual abilities are highly dependent on the presence of the
physical light that "takes a picture" of objects, and makes this
picture perceivable at a distance.
In order to receive this picture, we need to remain inside our usual
3-dimensional space (+1 time dimension). We could not have such a
visual perception from outside this space. Otherwise this would not
be based on our physical light but another, unphysical sort of light
that has no reason to take any picture of our physical objects in
the way that the physical light does.
Inside our space, the out of body visual perceptions of physical
objects, insofar as they are based on physical light, can make use
of many more wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that those
of our humanly "visible" light: it should be possible to perceive
the ultraviolet and infrared too (to name just those carrying most
of the energy in usual conditions).
Then, when experiencers "enter the tunnel" or other such spaces
differing from our usual space, suddenly lose all visual perception
from our space. This is coherent with the idea that they left our
But does it mean that they also left all concern of the physical
laws of our universe altogether ?
This is a hard question.
Indeed it still looks like there are still in a sort of space. But
our space-time with its geometry, is a part of physics. The geometry
of our universe (space and time) is in close interaction with the
material contents, according to Einstein's theory of gravitation
(general relativity). We have explained that time is a property of
consciousness. So, if time is influenced by matter, it means that,
in its time perceptions, consciousness is also influenced by the
events of our material universe, as long as its stays inside our
space. And as our space-time is linked with matter in our universe,
is time (and maybe space) outside our universe, following any law or
influence of a similar sort ? As there is a time (and maybe space)
connection between this world and the beyond, can there be any other
sort of physical connection too ?
consciousness can travel outside our space, as it seems. Still, the
traveling distance seems to be finite, as it takes a finite and
quite limited time to go there and come back to life here. The speed
of this travel might be very fast, but can it be faster than light ?
First, can this question make any sense ? It would make sense if
there was a way to measure distances outside our physical space.
This is far from obvious.
Still, there might be a way to give a sense to this.
In our physical space, there is an available definition of distance,
once admitted a measure of time intervals, based on the fact that no
information can go faster than light: just measure how much time
must be waited on Earth when a signal goes from Earth to Mars and
then back to Earth. This measures the distance between Earth and
We can give up much of our physical laws and still make sense of the
question concerning spiritual realities.
But this depends whether the limitation of speed for transmission of
information, still holds in the spiritual universe; or on the
contrary, is it sometimes possible to reliably transmit information
faster than light between locations of our physical space through
parapsychological means ?
Sorry I don't have the answer to this question. I just know that
such a faster than light transmission, would mean to break the
relativity principle (the idea that the speed is relative, as is the
case for physical phenomena) when it comes to parapsychological
phenomena, and such a claim would need some observational evidence
to be supported.
If faster than light travel (or information transmission) as
measured in our space, is possible for souls, then it makes it hard
or perhaps impossible to define any concept of space and distance as
a fundamental character of the universe of consciousness.
But if this speed limitation holds for souls then the concept of
distance can be extended to the universe of consciousness, while the
limitation of speeds by the speed of light would hold by
definition of times and distances, just the same as is
expressed in our laws of physics.
It would make sense to ask "how far from Earth" is some space
beyond, through the "tunnel", as defined by the minimum time it
takes to wait on Earth from the departure of the soul from Earth and
it arrival back to Earth.
As NDEs usually only take mere minutes, and the way through the
tunnel may even be considered shorter, maybe seconds, this means
that the space beyond being visited, is "closer" to Earth, than are
other planets of our solar system (which are several light minutes
away from Earth).
Does it make sense ? Well, not so bad. After all, if that trip drove
us away from the galaxy, there would be too many risks to land on
the wrong planet when trying to come back ;)
Also, reincarnation stories usually speak about past lives on the
Earth, not on any other planet. This does not exclude the
possibility of life on exoplanets and travels of souls between them,
but distances are so big that it might "waste time" for souls that
might prefer keeping connections with a not too old universe, rather
than making big travels to other planets that would make them skip
an interval of age of the universe (even if they would not have to
wait this time in their own perception, according to the twin
Are the "tunnels" specific places inside some larger space (that may
be of dimension higher than 3, though perceptions strangely seemed
to remain 3-dimensional), or do they only exist to provide
"artificial" bridges between otherwise spatially (physically)
independent places (universes), with even no existence of a space
beyond their width ?
There is a lot of work ahead for future researchers...
Part I: moral comparison of science and
religion - Part II: Explaining reason and
science - Part III - Part IV : explaining
and refuting religions
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