Is the Universe conscious?
I don’t know. No one knows. But here’s a theory.
If we accept the idea that we are born from the Universe, in so far as we share the same energy and elemental make-up, then we are not only part of the Universe: we are the Universe.
But the Universe is made up of stars, planets, black holes, wormholes, comets and dust, right? Oh, and energy. All-pervasive energy: an elemental, life-giving force that cannot be created or destroyed.
So if the Universe is energy, and if the Universe has physical parts, and if we are made of star stuff — if we are indeed the Universe itself made manifest in biological form — then we might think of the Universe analogously as a human being.
In that case, we might surmise:
The Universe has a body — yes, the physical bits — and so do we.
The Universe has a soul — yes, it is made of eternal energy — and so are we.
The Universe is conscious — it is…oh wait, is it? If so, how?
Here we get stuck. We are conscious; but does the Universe, our maker, exhibit consciousness? If so, then what is that consciousness? And is the Universe conscious of itself?
If we maintain the Universe/human analogy, then it might be said that the Universe has a sub-conscious in so far as its physical elements follow certain natural, universal, cosmic laws in the same way that our body functions on a sub-conscious level — for example, the parasympathetic nervous system: we aren’t self-aware of the mechanics of our body, but our sub-conscious allows it to function according to certain physical and biological laws.
But even if we buy into that theory, then is the Universe self-conscious?
This is where we get unstuck.
The Universe isn’t self-conscious, but we are. And so the Universe has self-consciousness because it has us: we are the self-consciousness of the Universe, born of itself, and therefore the means by which the Universe reflects back on itself: it is self-aware through us.
If all this sounds a little bit bogus then you’d be right. But stay with me.
Does the Universe need to be self-aware? If not, then why did it create living, conscious beings? Why create bacteria, then multi-celled organisms, then give birth to life, which eventually evolved into self-aware creatures — that is, us?
The answer is: because the Universe and everything in it only exists because we perceive it. Indeed it is an ontological and philosophical truism that a thing only ‘exists’ if it is perceived by something conscious of perceiving it: without perception there is nothing, for nothing can exist unless it is perceived to exist.
Therefore, in order for the Universe to be aware of its own existence, it needed to create beings that are able to perceive it, consciously.
It needed to create us.
We may conjecture, then, that the Universe gave birth to human consciousness so that it could be conscious of itself. And so our capacity for self-awareness and perception is the consciousness of the Universe.
Is that why are we here?
Were we made to complete creation? Did the Universe create us in order for it to be conscious of itself?
And so to return to our initial question, is the Universe conscious?
I’ll hazard a ‘yes’.
Whilst I realise this theory rests entirely on the Universe/human analogy — with a body, soul, consciousness and so on — I thought I’d share this idea to inspire some thought.