Is the Universe Conscious?
My partner and I have philosophical debates daily, so every so often, what first appeared to be nothing more than a worded turd finds are rolled in glitter to such an extent that the nuggets become interesting. Turd humor, why am I not writing for Family Guy?
Could the universe be conscious? Please keep in mind that this is nothing more than a thought experiment and isn't always going to be backed up scientifically.
Before we go in-depth, let's chat about civilizations, galactic civilizations. There are three hypothetical types. I say hypothetical because, as of writing this, we only have ourselves as examples of what it means to be conscious. Everywhere else in the universe is dead right now as far as we can tell.
The Kardashev scale is a method of measuring a civilization's level of technological advancement, based on the amount of energy a civilization can use for communication. It'll help a lot further on!
Here's a brief explanation of each.
A Type I civilization—also called a planetary civilization—can use and store all of the energy which reaches its planet from its parent star.
A Type II civilization—also called a stellar civilization—can harness the total energy of its planet's parent star (the most popular hypothetical concept being the Dyson sphere—a device which would encompass the entire star and transfer its energy to the planet(s)).
A Type III civilization—also called a galactic civilization—can control energy on the scale of its entire host galaxy.
Now, could there possibly be a Type 4? Could there be some level a civilization can reach in which they are capable of uploading their consciousnesses into the very fabric of the universe?
Research has shown that data can be stored on a single atom, and the prospect of replicating the entirety of a human brain on a computer is not impossible. It is more a question of power rather than a possibility. I'll go into further detail on that in another post!
If data can be stored on the very atoms that make up our universe, can data also be stored on the web that makes up the universe too? Most of the observable universe is, ironically, not visible. We cannot detect the nothingness between galaxies and the "empty" space within those galaxies, which is really strange. Here's why! Observable and detectable matter, the stuff we can touch and smell only makes up around 5% of the entire observable universe, so what the hell makes up the other 95%? Dark matter and Dark energy! It's everywhere, and nobody knows what it is! Dark matter is made of stuff, just not stuff we understand, such as particles like axions and other words I only 78% understand. Nonetheless, it is made of material particles.
Now we have that out of the way, and now that we're utterly confused, we can get to the fun stuff!
If a civilization of beings managed to somehow reach such a mind-bending level of capability and power, and if they could upload/recreate their collective consciousness into the atoms and the other 95% of "stuff" that makes up everything, where would they be? Well, for lack of a better comparison, they would be what almost all religions refer to as their chosen God.
Let's assume that said civilization uploaded their consciousness into the fabric of the universe billions of years ago. We as humans would quite literally be made of them, so would the Earth, the moon, and everything else in our galaxy and universe. Every atom and particle that makes up everything would be them. Going by that logic, it would then be fair to assume that by being everywhere at once, making up everything that is and will be, they would also be omnipresent and omnipotent.
Perhaps they could sense your thoughts, every word that has ever been spoken, they could witness everything that will ever and has ever taken place everywhere in the entire expanse of the universe. Sounds familiar, right?
Really think about that. The universe was originally, by our definition, dead. Yet it gave birth to life through intent or some freak occurrence. That intelligent life then proceeded to bestow intelligence onto the universe. That's the equivalent of a piece of paper writing the theory of relativity by itself.
The reason we may not have found any forms of alien life may be highly flawed by what we initially set out to do. We would be the aliens, the chair you are sitting on, and the air you are breathing as you read this post could be what we have been searching for all along. Could we communicate with them, and if so, how? Would that mean that we're all connected and everything that is anything in some quantifiable manner? Have a little think about those questions.