The unity of consciousness is its most salient characteristic. Brain science shows us that many different areas of the brain are involved in behavior and experience (see Kandel and Schwartz, 1985). Verbally, we can describe any aspect of an experience from the smallest geometrical feature all the way up to the overall themes through time, even though these things are mediated by different brain areas. One way of understanding and accounting for this in light of the contrary evidence of brain science, and the science of the world that says everything is separate, is to say that unity is an underlying principle of the entire universe—from the wider space-time universe and its matter, to brains, to language. The binding problem is far from simply being a problem of just the brain and mind. This unity is something that touches upon all of our knowledge of how the world works, and could provide a simple explanation of why everything exists and works as it does. Natural laws have symmetry, and an atom of gold in one location behaves like an atom of gold in another location. I think this fact, along with many others in a similar vein (see Weyl, 1952), shows that these atoms are facets of the same thing. A great unity is woven throughout all aspects of the universe. We cannot see it directly, just as we cannot see consciousness when we look at a brain. We can find lots of evidence for this organizational unity by comparing the general organizational principles of language, brains, and the universe.
Physicists search for the ultimate particle or string that ultimately constitutes the one basic building block of reality. Astrophysicists say that the universe arose from a singularity—essentially an absolute unity. Gravity is like a symbol of this unity. The unity in the common origin of life, their parallel carbon-based DNA, and basic cellular structures, all echo the parallel unity of the common origin of the matter of the universe and the common features and laws found everywhere. Stars, and the planets that orbit them, are another unity as central symbol. The sun gives light and life to the earth, and all our large molecules were made within a previous sun’s sphere—a sun that exploded (like the big bang again—within the original sphere of which all natural law and space-time was made). It becomes apparent when we attend to the repeating themes of reality that everything in the universe is actually a facet of the same thing--One thing woven into and behind all things. The mirror of the forms of matter and its processes, the ability of brains to comprehend, and the possibility of a meaningful language, all arise from this essential unity beyond time and space. Coherence is a property of the entire universe, and our brains arose as an echo of this.
We are here because a bubble formed in that unity—a self-reflective “hall of mirrors” where patterns repeat because of the underlying unity that everything has its roots in like all plants have roots in the sphere of the Earth, or like certain old California cedars share roots. The original unity did not cease to exist at the big bang, but rather spread out to become immanent everywhere—to provide the basis for the coherence in reality. Forms echo in this unity through time and space like a rock dropped in a calm pond causes rings of concentric waves to move out from the mass dropped in the center. The original bubble of the big bang—that tiny sphere—had infinite connectivity and unity along with infinite possibility. This was the first spreading out and distribution of ultimate unity. The natural laws we know congealed out of this mini “everything” computer—this ultimately connected node of mechanical meaning that all subsequent events in the universe get their coherence and basic physical form from. These repeating patterns are the most basic aspect of existence.
Future life and consciousness—which nudges probabilities and transcends space-time--selected the forms of these laws and constants of nature and all its particles. In an echo of this, Every cell in our body contains a set of DNA that is exactly alike, and originally starts from one cell—a unity. The DNA—selected by certain forces in evolution such as a tendency toward meaning/consciousness—is a set of instructions that gets distributed to every cell in the growing organism. Distributed just like natural law in the universe from the original “bubble” of space-time. A whole new person can be cloned from the DNA of one of these single cells—all of the information for a whole organism is contained in each cell everywhere in the body hologram-like. The echo of the original unity is written in every cell, just like in the symmetry and salience of natural law echos, and is informed by, the original unity in the universe. We say children have “potential”, and choose the right path—ostensibly to find a MEANINGFUL life. All these threads running through our lives—right down to the fact that literary devices like allegory and metaphor exist—arise because of the inherent unity behind the space-time reality we find ourselves embedded in, and the consequent echo of forms. In the echo, we see that time and space are an illusory canvas upon which the meaning of unity is written in the colorful language of reality. Reality is fundamentally language-like. The coherence and comprehensibility of that language is evidence of the basic nature of consciousness in relation to existence.
I call this pattern of patterns, or metapattern, the “logos echo”—after the “Logos” or divine writing of the universe of the ancient Greeks. Since time and space were created along with the universe, at some level and in some “place” beyond time and space, everything exists as one—shares it’s nature. It must be in this place that the essence of our consciousness originates. A computer screen has no meaning, no coherence, no unity, without a consciousness peering at it, binding it together. The most defining feature of consciousness is that it transcends time and space to bring things together—whether in the brain tissue, in the universe we see, or in our written language and art. The deeper you look into this view, the more interesting relationships you find. The very essence of vision is that we see things always back in time--because light takes time to reach our eyes—yet our bodies always need to travel towards things we see, which are therefore in the future for us, because it takes time to move toward them. We move towards these things as a result of what we see in the “past” in our vision. This situation of vision echoes almost precisely in general form the nature of our memory in relation to our behaviors. All prediction is based on these types of principles, and none of them would work (there would be no coherence) without the logos echo. Everything about consciousness is time and space transcending, and this principle does not stop at the limit of our biological brains. We have memory which knits together events of the past, we make plans, we find meaning—all of it dependent on the logos echo created by inherent unity. We remember themes and general things easier than specifics, perhaps through the logos echo property of the universe. The best way to remember specifics is to embed them in a larger meaning. Much of our learning is (or should be) based on analogy and metaphor—because new things generally follow similar patterns to old things. Trying to explain consciousness using this or that portion of the distributed space-time universe will not work by itself. The explanations will always be incomplete—like Godels theorem in mathematics, or the inaccuracies of metaphor or analogy when you focus on detail, or the “messiness” of woven-together forms compared to Platonic ideals.
When it comes to investigating consciousness, we can make an analogy to a dreamer. The details are like the dreamers particular personal experiences, while the grand themes behind them are the real focus of scrutiny for investigators, and interpreters. Actual dreams have more to do with metaphors and meaning pulled out of imagination/infinite possibility of the dreamer, loosely following the constraints laid down by memories, and particulars from the day, etc. Natural science is the opposite—focusing on single variables, not metaphorical themes. Unity and meaning is what is lacking in science—and it is a real priciple of the universe, not just a device of poets. Consciousness is the unity going back toward infinite possibility--constrained by, and reflected in, cosmic, biological, and liguistic evolution. If you carry anthropic cosmological ideas to their logical conclusion, all of reality is the stable dream of a higher consciousness beyond, and immanent in, space-time. It is the type of dream that gives rise to the dreamer himself. The ultimate consciousness. Our linear-causality view of the world is basically one-sided and survival oriented. Time does not flow, it separates. It is a collapse of infinite possibility into finite forms. What flows “back” in time is the forms that become higher consciousness later—like the progressive rise and fall of civilizations leading up to the greatest civilization. In cosmology, astrophysicists search for evidence of whether the universe is “closed”—meaning that gravity will overcome the outward expansion of the universe to collapse it to a point again. I am saying that the universe is open, but that a “ghost” of a collapse into a point, an ultimate consciousness, IS the closure and purpose of the universe. The backward-in-time origin of the creation explosion itself—which in this view would be the ultimate overriding echo in the universe, and the big bang was just a literary device, and a foreshadowing from the human viewpoint. The consciousness that arises will be so complete and intense that it will essentially be the same thing as the creation from infinite possibility in the new universe—the ultimate uroboros, which literally created itself. Existence has portents, just like foreshadowing as a literary device. A dream that starts more like a senseless computer, but ends more like a lucid dream when consciousness of it all arises. Many predictions should be able to be made from these theories. For example, full consciousness should be able to change things back in time, as it has been doing from its place already. We necessarily would not see these things until our own consciousness developed beyond its biological and linear-causal constraints—aided and nurtured both by our large brains and our “information society”. In other words, if our consciousness is small we would not be able to see the large things or large themes at work in the universe.
There are many analogies for this unity in our experience which serve as evidence for a real principle of our universe—such as the repeating cragginess of a fractal coastline, or an ant hill compared to a human community. We know what “free as a bird” means because the logos echo principle in our brains allows the transfer of the essential unity of that metaphor. This type of transcending unity is the source of all meaning. This is a principle of something unseen, and intangible, that we surmise is there by the order of what we can see with our biologically limited viewpoint. Without this principle of logos echo from this unity, our brains, our universe, our language, and our consciousness could not exist. An unseen principle does not get more real than that. The logos echo is the most basic principle of the universe.
Our brains developed because of this logos-echo principle—we see it in the fact that the same areas of the brain are used for many different perceptions. We see it in studies that show particular cells active in certain fragmentary pattern detections. (Penfield stimulation studies, or Hubel and Weisel, 1962). Each cell, in this view, is like a node of echo—a fragment of the hologram. Also, Lashleys studies of cortex lesions shows a loss of detail, not loss of recognition of overall patterns. Consciousness is that literal beyond-time factor that ties all this disparate tissue and activity together. Consciousness literally transcends space-time, making all cells one by referring back thru time to the original cell. Farther back in time, all life is connected by a common ancestor and is actually one big organism. We find multiple consciousness-nodes as we travel back. This could explain quite neatly the concept of “racial” memory, and Jung’s “collective unconscious” too. The DNA of our brains constrains our behavior by pain and fear—installed, and shaped by past organisms who did not make it, or ceased to exist. It is as if the great organism of life, in moving toward making greater flexibility within natural law from the birth of the universe, experimented with “ideas”—learning and remembering via the DNA. It is easy to see how this great organism of life, and really the universe too—why stop short—has a direction and purpose evidenced by the logos echo, and our consciousness. In life, the one driving force of evolution is toward the greater creativity and flexibility found in higher consciousness. A greater coherence and working unity of all things.
By using imagination, we use and transform the past in our memories to create something new. We travel back in time. On a larger scale, using the principle of this echo, it is easy to see the purpose of the great organism of life in such things as the form of trees, the heliotropism of plants, the shapes of antlers and horns, etc—as long as you don’t get bogged down by details and press as many analogies together as you can to glean true ultimate meaning in these distributed things of nature. They clearly have meaning. For example—a millipede is a long organism with hundreds of legs, and this is like the organism of life extending through time. Not just poetic imagery, but really and truly reflecting this information in a sort of echo of form from the future. Rupert Sheldrakes “formative causation” (1981) is really an early apprehension of this future state creating general paths for things in order for it to exist. The idea of Karma is similar to this, only expanded to include things as well as people. Even rare gold running in veins in the ground, and looking like the sun, has meaning in its looks, location, timelessness, and rarity. Poets are really scientists of meaning. Diamonds are symbols of higher consciousness, made of carbon, organized by intense temperature and pressure which symbolizes the struggle of life, etc. transformed into a translucent, unscratchable, rainbow-reflecting gem—the list goes on. Rare events have greater value and meaning to us because we realize a higher consciousness is reflected in them by their singularity. They were chosen out of the field of possibility. We all desire to know this greater consciousness deeper than anything else we do. We call it God, or truth. If we look at things the right way, it has always been in us--literally.
The Sun is kind of the central metaphor of higher consciousness on earth (obviously) and certainly is the source of all energy and life. If we look at the sun as TRULY a symbol of the move towards higher consciousness, or of reality revolving around this principle, many hidden things become clear. Indians used to stare at the sun until they passed out in certain of their rituals, and spoke of the “Manitou” in all things. That Manitou is evidence of something beyond the time scales presented to us by our limited biological consciousness—the logos echo. The myth of Icarus and Deadalus is another example. Kings of the Earth have been frequently symbolized by the Sun. In ancient Egyptian paintings we see a sun disk with many hands at the ends of lines reaching down from the sun over the people depicted. This is a symbol of the unity contained in consciousness. These people were not stupid—they saw “magic” and meaning in these symbols. They knew a higher consciousness was coming, and they built pyramids symbolizing this evolution towards a higher unity. We tend to think of things more immediately in our age, but then, they looked far into the future. Our science today helps us look back better than any of them by far. The organism of life was working through them, so to speak. They buried treasures in the sands of time—sent them forward in time. Their kings were seen as “gods” on earth because the future great consciousness (we are experiencing now in the information explosion) reached back through the organism of life to shape what they did and saw. They realized how much their lives were for the future—to install the portents and monoliths of a new age to come (like in the movie “2001 a Space Odyssey”). The people knew it too—that’s why the kings had so much power, they were “enlightened”. The greater consciousness of the future chose the form of what they did—they were it’s memory in a way, since all memories are really echoes into the future consciousness. We see the same thing with the mesa-pictures of the South American Indians—facing the sky, and the sun—displaying their works to the future. They knew what was important, like every individual does for their own future, as a people, as one. Having faith and hope are very important, because our biological brains are so full of animal urges and fears and hungers from our past that seem to want to prevent us from reaching the future—at least until we have reached a point in our knowledge to really and truly overcome them. Denying our “animal” nature for the sake of higher truth signals the transition from computer/survival/building phase to the higher-consciousness phase evidenced by our information-explosion, and our exponential advance in knowledge of recent years. Unity of knowledge overcomes all things—that’s why God can help you through the “valley of the shadow of death” still contained within our genes.
It seems apparent that these things were hidden to us until we got the vocabulary and grammar right with our science. In the Bible, Jesus said something like how can I tell you things of heaven, when I tell you things of earth and you don’t believe? They could not comprehend it. The great consciousness directing all life seemed to “know” that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing—much like we put blinders on horses so they don’t get spooked, or use covered bridges. We focused backward with science’s isolation of variables, and our great telescopes—to keep us moving forward and all that. This is VERY much like the idea of Frank Tiplers “Anthropic Cosmology”—only here, I say consciousness in the future DREW these things into being for its own existence automatically, instead of it being a remarkable coincidence. There is a force in the universe that reaches back and controls the unfolding of things in broad strokes, and this time-transcending future force IS CONSCIOUSNESS. It becomes patently obvious that religions and science are two sides to the same coin—the accurate reading of the message written in all reality. It is all about the meaning in things and the logos echo. If we remove the constraint of time moving forward from our narrow biology, we see that we are more like salmon swimming upstream towards the source of consciousness from which all things flow. Like in Julian Jaynes book, “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” (1976), Consciousness was born in life as the great body of life progressed through the ages. We probably DID automatically follow the “voices” of gods back then as he says—just maybe not actually heard, but motivationally. We see it in the shapes of Buddhist Stupas, temples, and pyramids. We acquired enough consciousness to control our own destinies to an extent, instead of acting automatically like a hill of ants, school of fish, or flock of geese. We became writers, and creators, of the things in our lives. We made things that reflected what our consciousness knew outward again—made our own symbols, and ratcheted ourselves up to higher consciousness on these. Gods in religions of the past were these unseen controlling factors of higher consciousness, which ultimately are aspects of God by definition—just like fingers are connected by a palm, an arm, and ultimately a brain. Natural laws are “gods” too—to the matter of the universe, just like certain biological processes and organs are necessary for life. The whole idea of “false idols” being negative is getting stuck along the way at the symbols, not progressing, etc. to realize the great living and moving truth behind all symbols. Jordan Peterson’s (1999) book on this process of progression to knowledge is the best I have seen on the topic—although he does not talk about a Godlike force drawing and creating forward as I do here, it is an excellent portrayal of the struggle toward knowledge in life—containing uncanny parallels to a lot of my thinking. He does acknowledge the importance of CONSCIOUSNESS to all progress—as a force that slays the dragon and brings something new into being. But all reality is like a big book of symbols stuck in time we must get past. Like the Tibetan Buddhists assert—all really is illusion in this respect. B. Allan Wallace states in his aptly named book “Choosing Reality” the yearning for truth in combination with a wish to help others;
…implicitly acknowledges the interdependence of self and others and the kinship of all that lives, and is the sole motivation with which one can attain the full spiritual awakening of a Buddha. Just as it is the supreme motivation for spiritual practice, so is it the finest incentive for scientific research.
Religious leaders who had “higher consciousness” were all similar in their general way of relating to reality (see Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh (1995), for example).
Consciousness is the ultimate meaning in brain tissue in the same way as there is real meaning to the universe—obviously from the time of the big bang, before time was created, in that ultimate unity. For this same reason, our language is possible. Without fundamental unity there is no representation across forms. Forms echo, and that very echo is the most meaningful and tangible thing about the universe. Consciousness is the center of meaning residing in our brains. Our particular brain is the center of meaning in a larger consciousness. Really, the natural laws of the universe are written in us because we arose in the universe and are a functional part of it. A human brain is the nexus, a portal, for these things. The natural laws are naturally apparent in our brains because the force/reflection that molded them was this property of this universe we find in the repeating of patterns—the logos echo. The actual birth of the universe is recapitulated in the singular ancestral origin of life. The origin of a person in the single cell created at conception recapitulates the phylogeny of all life in its common origins. The developing embryo looks like various animal embryos along the way, etc. The fact that we have single-cell organisms still with us is like the unity still with us threaded through reality. They help sustain us and are part of us—just as our own organs or cells are necessary for the future us.
The idea of looking in at brains and dissecting their activity automatically creates deceptions. A brain is something that operates with a large “beyond time” component--which by definition is not available upon looking at brains with our here-and-now apparatus of perception intended for another totally unrelated purpose: survival. Another way of saying survival is to say that we maintain the theatre of our existence. Our brains create the illusion of time moving by, and linear causality is carved out by them from actual causality which moves everywhere at once. Evidence for this comes from looking for a coherence, a MEANING to things happening in our universe and our civilizations. We see the unity of the origin of things—we see that unity spread everywhere in the stable, coherent, properties of our world. The forms of life, the forms of civilization, and the forms of language are woven into each other. Religions all seek to describe the importance of conscious unity, or higher consciousness—of consciousness in creation. Consciousness is the (opposite) mirror image of the big bang within us. The unity in the future that pulled the universe out of the sea of infinite possibility, and constructed it to give rise to consciousness.
We find evidence in the remarkable coincidences that led to the exact properties of the universe needed for the formation of life, and in the utter complexity of eyes and brains toward greater meaning and greater levels of consciousness. Stephen Hawking quotes Sheldon Glashow in reference to a grand unified theory—the holy grail of physics: “When the (early) universe was very very hot, we believe that all the forces may have been one. And that one underlying, seemingly magical force is what we are all now working to discover” (Boslough, 1985). We find evidence of the power and glory of consciousness in the myths of all peoples. South American shamans speak of how “The Dream not only drives the action, it also guides the action” (Perkins, 1994) the dream of ultimate conscious unity. The Aborigines of Australia spoke of the “Dreamtime” when the “spirit ancestors” dreamed the world into existence. Who knew they were so advanced? It was the future ancestors from far after the big bang that pulled us out of the void of infinite possibility—to put it in linear causal, or within-time terminology. This is the function of consciousness—to construct and bind universes. The cosmic glue that “breathes life”, and meaning, into our equations. The soul of the machine universe. All we see and perceive is symbol at some level. The thing that breathes life into all of it is consciousness—which ultimately is one. The oneness gives life and meaning to everything like some great reader reading the book of life. We are the source of meaning when we read a book, and this great source of cosmic meaning is the source of the meaning of everything because everything is a book to be read on a grand scale. The logos echo is the key to this meaning.
The SPIRAL shape shows how the unity running through reality is seen as repeating, or meaningfully related parallel themes. As you encompass larger sets within the spiral, you get to a point where you see that it is actually all ONE LINE, and is truly a unity.
PYRAMIDS are a natural progression to a unity—towards the sky, or “future”. Actually, there are two mirror-image (in form or meaning) pyramids describing reality—the unified origin of the physical universe out of infinite possibility, and at the other end the unified end of the development of life and coherence in that universe leading again to infinite possibility.
TREE of life, and reality. Trees are excellent symbols of the development of the universe and life—but you need to include their heliotropism, and dependence on the Sun to read their true meaning. The whole meaning of things is their true meaning. Life recapitulates the birth of the universe in this way, and a single life recapitulates the birth of life. We can “read the forms” of life and existence like a book.
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c 2001 Steven Eric Romer