Erwin Schrödinger & the conscious universe + James Lovelock dies (Gaia hypothesis)

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James Lovelock, scientific mind behind the Gaia Living Earth Theory, has died at 103

INTRO: James Lovelock, the British environmental scientist whose influential Gaia theory sees the Earth as a living organism gravely imperiled by human activity, has died on his 103rd birthday. Lovelock’s family said Wednesday that he died the previous evening at his home in southwest England “surrounded by his family.” The family said his health had deteriorated after a bad fall but that until six months ago Lovelock “was still able to walk along the coast near his home in Dorset and take part in interviews.” (MORE - details)

James Lovelock explaining Gaia hypothesis:

(shorter) What is the Gaia hypothesis?:

James Lovelock dies:

Schrödinger and the conscious universe

Most assume that matter is fundamental, and that consciousness arises out of the complexity of matter. But Nobel Prize winning quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger did not share that assumption. For him, the universe contains a single mind, writes Robert Prentner and Donald D. Hoffman.

EXCERPTS: . . . One such speculative assumption (which can neither be proven nor disproven) is the one that there exists an external (mind-independent) world. Another one is the assumption that there exist separate minds. For both claims, according to Schrödinger, we cannot get any empirical evidence: how could we step out of our own experience to check them? But both create insurmountable problems. The first creates the problem of how to think about the relation between these two types of realities (mind-matter). Why does it appear (according to our best science) that we live in a purely physical world devoid of qualities? The second creates the problem of how to think about the relation between different minds (mind-mind). Why and how are we different from each other? Schrödinger believed that there is an elegant way to dissolve both of these problems by starting with an alternative metaphysical assumption. He did not endorse traditional Western views that go under the names of reductive materialism and subjective idealism, but he found inspiration in non-Western, particularly Indian philosophies.

[...] Schrödinger desired a radically monist-theory that acknowledges the reality of consciousness. Given the current theoretical landscape in the study of consciousness, the “theory of conscious agents” seems to fit best with these requirements. It aims for a precise, crisp formulation of what consciousness does, and it proposes that any combination of two or more conscious agents is itself another agent. It also seems to be compatible with the idea that the entire collection of agents constitutes the nature of reality, though this requires the theory to come up with a model of how the physical world can arise (and be nothing apart) from this collection.

How could this be so? Schrödinger relied on a couple of arguments that have been raised previously in philosophy (e.g. by Kant) but his position boils down to this: what we call the physical world is the result of a process that Schrödinger called “objectivation”, i.e. the transformation of the one self-world (Atman=Brahman) into something that can be readily conceptualized and studied objectively, hence something that is fully void of subjective qualities. In the theory of conscious agents this amounts to the creation of “interfaces”. Such interfaces simplify what is going on in order to allow you to act efficiently. Good interfaces hide complexity. They do not let you see reality as it is but only as it is useful to you. What you call the “physical world” is merely a highly-simplified representation of non-dual consciousness.

This physical world also appears to harbor a multitude of subjects directed at it. It is the very same process of objectivation, which led to the false impression of an autonomous physical world, that also leads to the fallacy of assuming different forms of consciousness inhabiting different bodies. The quick fix of adding mental properties to a non-mental world would not be able to really solve the problems mentioned earlier. [...] But those problems can be circumvented by never giving in to the metaphysical assumption of the existence of one physical world that is opposed to many separated selves in the first place. According to the theory of conscious agents, the idea of fundamentally separated selves is a useful fiction that arises only if we conflate what we see on the interface with the true reality of non-dual consciousness.

The theory of conscious agents proposes an interesting answer to Schrödinger’s questions. Why does it appear that we are living in a physical world without qualities? Why and how are we different from each other? Because the dynamics of conscious agents results in the creation of interfaces that hide the true character of reality. We are the same, yet we can appear as different. From one perspective all agents combine into a single one which equals a (single) world. From a different perspective, this single agent is equal to a network of distinct agents that all inhabit their own worlds. Which perspective we choose, depends on what we want to explain... (MORE - missing details)
Zinjanthropos Offline
Gaia….a living world where everything dies? Doesn’t seem much different than the the thought of life being some sort of entity.
Magical Realist Offline
“Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
― Erwin Schrödinger

Seems to posit consciousness as a fundamental property of reality, like matter and spacetime.
I agree with this insofar as it does not lead to a solipsism of an individual consciousness. IOW, there is consciousness, and it is universal, revealing itself thru 7 billion human experiments. Mind itself is non-local, unfettered to any particular brain. It is everywhere, the substrate out of which all possible things and events come to be..

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