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INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
Joe Corbett has been living in Shanghai and Beijing since 2001. He has taught at American and Chinese universities using the AQAL model as an analytical tool in Western Literature, Sociology and Anthropology, Environmental Science, and Communications. He has a BA in Philosophy and Religion as well as an MA in Interdisciplinary Social Science, and did his PhD work on modern and postmodern discourses of self-development, all at public universities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at email@example.com.
States of Consciousness and the Structure of the Kosmos
Therefore, it makes sense that dark matter may be where the information from the cosmic sea of energy is stored after it has interacted with regular matter.
What are mental states, not just descriptively but ontologically? Where do they come from, and what are we experiencing when we have mystical, visionary, or other spiritual experiences? Where do dreams come from, not mechanistically but ontologically speaking? These are some of the questions I seek to answer here. But first, a brief review of the fundamental structure of the universe as confirmed by the most advanced theoretical physics of today will be necessary, as this structure may serve as the template for all the mental states we experience.
Empty space, including the vast emptiness that makes up atomic structures, is filled with an immense sea of boiling energy called the quantum vacuum, a foamy froth of virtual particles that pop in and out of existence so briefly we cannot normally detect them. This flickering, shimmering sea of energy is also postulated to be the dark energy that is causing the accelerated expansion of the universe. As the universe expands the empty space between galaxies expands, increasing the amount of the quantum vacuum energy that pushes the galaxies apart at an ever accelerating rate. This vast sea of cosmic energy consists of about 70 percent of the universe, so it's a big deal when considering what the universe is made of and what it (the universe) ultimately is.
The exact relationship of this sea of energy to the physical universe is still largely unknown, but what we do know is that the information content of a black hole is stored on its surface, and this fact has led to the hypothesis that the information content of the entire universe may be stored on the surface of space-time itself at the Planck scale, with the universe as the 3D projection of that information content. This, in turn, suggests that the flickering of the sea of quantum vacuum energy may be a means of information exchange between the quantum vacuum and the manifest physical universe. In an endless feedback loop of information retrieval and storage between the informational Ground reservoir of space-time at the Planck scale and the external universe, all the forms of the universe appear to be generated as an emergent process of information exchange between an Unconscious Mind of the Kosmos (the informational ground reservoir of space-time) and its conscious manifest aspect.
Just as in the case of human consciousness, the manifest universe (its “conscious” aspect) consists of only about 5 percent of what it is, whereas the unmanifest (or “unconscious”) universe in the form of the quantum vacuum dark energy is about 70 percent of what the universe is, which leaves us with about 25 percent that is dark matter. The interesting thing about dark matter is that it clumps together with regular matter, and appears to interact with regular matter only by way of gravity, which is linked to the structure of space-time itself as conceived by both general relativity and quantum loop gravity. In other words, gravity is a direct link to the informational storehouse of space-time, whereas dark matter is the bulk of the gravitational “stuff” in the universe that clumps to regular matter.
Therefore, it makes sense that dark matter may be where the information from the cosmic sea of energy is stored after it has interacted with regular matter. It may be a clumping of space-time itself in the form of information that has been exchanged between the quantum vacuum and regular matter. Perhaps then dark matter is the tetrahedral mesh-networks of space-time permeating and surrounding regular matter, both recording and dishing out information that is exchanged between the quantum vacuum and the physical universe.
What does all of this have to with states of the human mind? First of all, it is worth recalling that the vibrational flickering and information exchange between the manifest and unmanifest universe is happening everywhere, even inside your brain and throughout your body, right now. It occurs not just in the empty space between galaxies but in all the empty spaces even at the atomic and molecular level, which is mostly empty space! And that's a lot of information exchange going on at the most minute level of detail, even at the level of our thoughts, emotions, and cellular activity. But because the Planck scale is so small, many orders of magnitude smaller than even the atomic scale, there is plenty of space to store all of this information from the past, present, and into the future. It is truly a Kosmic Memory of everything that ever has or will happened, a Great Kosmic Unconscious storehouse.
Secondly, the gross state of waking consciousness, of which there is not much to be said here because of its familiarity to us, consists of our regular structures of consciousness made possible by language, which is a kind of exo-genetic code allowing humans to create and shape different forms of consciousness and lifeworlds. This is the correlate of the 5 percent of the manifest universe that comprises just about 100 percent of our waking experience of the world.
Next, the subtle state of dreaming is a creative state of emergent reality, where images and forms seem to come out of nowhere and appear at times to be at once surprising, shocking, bewildering, beautiful, and mysterious. This is the quantum realm of non-local entanglements and probabilistic uncertainties, as well as morphic resonances and synchronicities. This is also the transitional realm between the manifest (gross-waking) state and the unmanifest (dreamless-sleep) state. It is a realm of active information and quantum potentials at the interface of the informational Ground storehouse of the kosmic unconscious on the one hand, and the physical universe of our conscious reality on the other.
This subtle interface region of information exchange between the manifest and the unmanifest universe is where, through vibrational resonance and synchronicity, the morphic and archetypal memory fields are translated back and forth from the manifest and unmanifest realms. These forms appear dreamlike at first, ethereal and fleeting, but become more vivid and concrete (gross) with repetition, habitual practice, and routinization. In this in-between realm of active information exchange, between the causal storehouse and the gross realm of physical forms, the physical universe we know of comes to be in-formed by the informational resonances between the manifest and the unmanifest realms. In this way, the universe emerges from the causal to the subtle to the gross, and then from the gross to the subtle to the causal again in an endless feedback of flickering, shimmering holomovement.
The causal state of deep dreamless sleep has its correlate in the implicate order, the quantum vacuum of informational energy, the realm of emptiness without specific forms and images, but which is at the same time the source of form and image, as it is the storehouse of the morphic fields and archetypes, the Forms and Images of the Kosmic Witness. It has no activity itself, but simply retrieves and records information as it is exchanged with the manifest universe. This is the realm of Form created out of the tetrahedral mesh-networks that weave the fabric of space-time in and around regular matter as the manifest and unmanifest realms exchange information in endless feedback loops. The causal realm of deep dreamless sleep therefore also has its correlate in the dark matter, the informational storehouse that permeates and surrounds regular matter.
Finally, the non-dual state of consciousness has its correlate in the super-implicate order, the realm of pure empty space-time itself, the quantum vacuum empty even of morphic fields and archetypes, and existing as a pure undifferentiated potentiality. This is the realm of the tetrahedral singularity, the One without an other, the complete and self-sufficient Suchness out of which the quantum vacuum is constructed bit by tetrahedral bit, from the inflationary big bang to the emergence of the four fundamental forces (and other features of the manifest universe) out of the four surfaces, three sides, and six edges of the tetrahedron.
Thus, the gross waking state corresponds to the manifest universe, underlying which is a subtle realm of dreams, creative activity, and miraculous appearances characteristic of the quantum realm. Underlying this is the causal realm of morpho-archetypal Forms, the formless Forms, the informational storehouse of the Kosmic Unconscious, the pure Witness of informational retrieval and storage that is itself inactive and without arising forms, but in-forming of the subtle and gross realms, lurking underneath them like the dark matter permeating and surrounding regular matter. And serving as the pure Ground reservoir of energy and Source of everything is the non-dual state of the dark energy of the quantum vacuum, the ever expanding and accelerating tetrahedral structure of space-time itself, outside of which there is no other, and no outside.
Everyday we fall into a sleep of dreams from our conscious waking state and then into a deep dreamless sleep, only to re-emerge and submerge in repeating cycles through these realms until we finally come to our waking state once again in the morning. From our waking sate, sometimes we have visions, premonitions even, or see things like ghosts and UFO's. At other times we might have deep mystical experiences where we feel the presence of a universal truth or beauty, a god perhaps, and sometimes we come into contact with the unmistakable sense of our oneness with the universe. As it turns out, these phenomena are not unfamiliar to the universe itself, which is precisely why they may be so familiar in our own lives. As the old saying goes, as above so below, and as within so without.