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If the experimenter makes an observation of the electrons passing through one of the slits, by knowing that indeed it passed through that slit using a probing interaction, then the observed pattern behaves like that produced by particles following a defined trajectory straight through the slit hitting the screen and assembling into two bands directly opposite the slits, as expected for particle behavior.

On the other hand, in the absence of direct observation, as they pass through one slit or the other, the screen shows an interference pattern indicating the wave-like nature of the electrons. In the orthodox CI and in subsequent enhancements by von Neumann, the wave function that describes possible outcomes of a quantum event is a complete description of all such possibilities and therefore, prior to observation, all these possibilities exist in superposition.

In this sense, quantum phenomena are contextual. The implications of these views were hotly debated with, most notably, Einstein. As we know, the opposite has occurred, with entanglement repeatedly being demonstrated in many experiments spanning several decades in well controlled experiments, not only in the quantum realm, but now in the macroscopic realm with entanglement within diamond crystals.

Specifically, in John Bell proposed a theorem and mathematical formalism to test for the existence of local realism that would require hidden variables implied by the EPR paradox. In an attempt to preserve the classical view of one-to-one correspondence between every element of the physical theory and physical reality, some physicists have assumed that the wave aspect of a quantum system is real in the absence of observation or measurement.

Based on this assumption, several well-known physicists have posited theories with large cosmological implications in an attempt to obviate or subvert wave-particle dualism and quantum indeterminacy. When we properly evaluate the observational conditions and results of experiments testing Bell's theorem, it becomes clear that wave-particle dualism and quantum indeterminacy are facts of nature that must be factored into our understanding of the nature of scientific epistemology.

In doing so, we are obliged to recognize that any phenomena alleged to exist in the absence of observation or measurement in quantum physics cannot be viewed as real. There are now several experiments performed over the years by A. Aspect and collaborators in Paris, 17 by N. Gisin and collaborators in Geneva 18 as well as several other laboratories in the US and elsewhere, vindicating quantum predictions to a surprising degree of accuracy. This, we believe, in part represents the imperative of the dominant philosophy of science of the 20 th century, most robustly developed by the Vienna Circle: logical positivism.

In this philosophical system, only statements verifiable either logically or empirically would be cognitively meaningful. Developed in the absence of a knowledge of or acceptance of the findings of QM already coming out of Copenhagen, these philosophers reified a materialist view of the world that closed the door on metaphysical speculations.

While logical positivism eventually declined in influence within the world of philosophy itself, its influence in the halls of academic and popular science remains supreme. It remains the dominant contemporary world view: the world is material and empirical science is the only appropriate method for understanding the world.

Thus, we now find that, for the most part, there is a tacit belief in contemporary culture that only empirical science can explain consciousness itself. However, for the purposes of this Fundamental Awareness framework and remaining unhindered by the skeptical prejudices of this world view, we consider the Copenhagen Interpretation, particularly in the orthodox forms elaborated by von Neumann, to be the most relevant to understanding consciousness in the universe.


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As Henry Stapp has said personal communication :. The universe is comprised of self-organizing systems, in which every part, at every level of scale, contributes to the emergent properties of the whole. While there is as yet no confirmed and comprehensive view of the Planck scale of existence, we consider a generalized view that a quantum foam of entities arises within or from the vacuum. Self-organizing entities which comprise dark matter and dark energy are implicitly included in all these discussions, though the absence of details concerning their nature precludes further inclusion in our framework; to be continued!

As such, time and space emerge with the quantum foam and the universe begins its rapid, exponentially expanding evolution. This self-organization is of course mediated by the known forces: weak, strong, electromagnetic and gravitational which apply throughout, though their relative importance is scale dependent. Whether the self-organization arises from linear systems of interaction e. What these generalized forms of self -organizing complexity have in common are:.

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All systems — at every level of scale, quantum and classical - are comprised of potentially interactive entities. The nature of self-organization is dependent on the numbers of interacting entities and the richness of the modes of possible interaction. Too much disorder and there can be no self-organization; too little and there is no ability for an adaptive change in the forms of self-organization in response to a changing environment. In all of these systems, the properties of the whole are not predicted by the characteristics of the lower scale parts that comprise them, as long as there are sufficient numbers of these parts and the conditions of interaction and environment are appropriate to allow for self-organization, relatively stable higher scale, emergent structures will arise.

At higher scales, atomic and molecular self-organizations yield the emergent properties of the substances and materials of our own, usual level of scale: wetness of water, hardness of diamonds, softness of talc. Such autopoietic systems then further self-organize into communities e. However, it is in total resonance with the view of a quantum universe which eventually appears to conscious observers as the classical world. The appearance of material stuff is scale dependent. Two examples of appearances that are scale dependent and which may be reified by an observer as having inherent existence :.

Examples of scale dependent appearances—things vs. In self-organizing systems, whether the entities involved appear to be a thing vs. Another familiar example is how flocks of birds, in this case a murmuration of starlings B , appear like moving, shifting objects in the sky, though they are clearly also interactions of the birds themselves, which in turn are emergent phenomena of interacting cells, etc Photographer: Menahem Kahama, Getty Images. A murmuration of starlings appears like moving shapes in the sky, but these also, like the bait ball, resolve at closer inspection into a phenomenon made up of smaller things Fig.

In turn, the bodies of each fish or bird or, for that matter, of you, our reader , in turn, are also not things at all: at the microscopic level each body resolves into a phenomenon arising from the interactions among the community of component cells comprising the organism. In all of these there is a role for randomness, not complete disorder, but quenched disorder.

These are definitional in the behaviors of quantum systems: the wave functions which define possible behaviors are not purely random, but by definition are display a constrained stochasticity. Complete order would prevent adaptive changes; unconstrained disorder would disallow self-organization. In other words, quenched disorder have important consequences for the known issues related to environmental decoherence and quantum biological processes existing in a varying environment, allowing for stable biological structures.

Also note that appearance implies observation. Therefore, observation at all levels is implied, it cannot be taken out of the picture at any scale. It is in this sense that our complexity approach is steeped in the underlying quantum nature of the universe which naturally merges into the participatory role of consciousness.

Thus, the self-organizing universe necessarily is a non-material universe. Schematic of the self-organizing universe as it arises from non-dual, Fundamental Awareness: a monistic, non-dual, field of pure awareness. The emergence of the dualistic universe from this Fundamental Awareness is characterized, at the first and all subsequent levels of scale, by process as creative intra -activity in non-local scales, as creative inter-activity at higher, material scales, and as sentience in biological systems ; complementarity; and recursion.

As in some mathematical formulations of physical theory descriptions of existence e. This linguistic imprecision, in fact, was a primary factor in the rejection of metaphysics by the logical positivists. Nevertheless, the very transdisciplinary nature of conscious phenomena and connections to the physical, quantum world, require levels of imprecision and qualitative arguments. The subjective is intrinsically open to intersubjective validation second person interactivity , if only we avail ourselves of a method and procedure for doing so. Through such iterative interactions, they reach a common framework and agreement, to then be integrated with third person investigations and hypothesis formation.

We describe insights from four such traditions selected not because of the particular clarity or authority with which these traditions speak, but because these are the ones with which the authors are most familiar from personal first person practice or through academic study of first person reports. What all of these share is that first person experiences point to what we would describe as an underlying, monistic, non-dual Fundamental Awareness.

They are not the only formulations found in the larger diversity of metaphysical traditions in the world; indeed, even within single communities of belief, these experiences may be explained or described differently. Nonetheless, we find the commonalities between these different perspectives—and their resonance with our own personal experiences—to present a compelling case bearing the above caveats in mind for Fundamental Awareness as a framework for the nature of consciousness in the universe and the relationship between them.

Many Indian philosophical systems trace their origin to the ancient Vedas; in particular there is Vedanta. Within Vedanta there is Advaita Vedanta, which means non-dual Vedanta, perhaps the best-known school of non-duality, wherein Atman the individual and Brahman the Absolute are the same. It does not deny objective reality, but instead means that a separate reality from the experience of consciousness is non-existent. To see the world as independent and separate from the Self Brahman , is an illusion as it ultimately denies the very existence of Brahman, the non-dual, monistic ground of existence.

This detail is in line with western scientific and philosophical approaches. As Citi, the creative energy of the Absolute Being, unfolds the universe without need of any substance other than Herself as pure Awareness, She the Creatrix of the universe is the ultimate source of all created manifestations, all objects, and all experiences of the subjective individual selves. As such, She is also the source of the mind. The dynamical aspect of Awareness, Citi, gives rise to countless beings and countless worlds.

However, a particular thread of discernment came with the development of Lurianic Kabbalah, the 16 th century mystical tradition and practice system developed by Isaac Luria and his associates and disciples. Berzin describes this:. The subtlest level of mental activity Mind , which continues with no beginning and no end, without any break, even during death and even into Buddhahood. It is individual and constitutes the mental continuum of each Being. It is naturally free of conceptual cognition, the appearance-making of true existence, and grasping for true existence, since it is more subtle than the grosser levels of mental activity with which these occur.

It is named the Light. The essential nature of rigpa: primal purity. Rigpa is primordaly without stains, both being self-void and other-void;. The influencing nature of rigpa: the manner in which rigpa influences others. Rigpa is responsiveness. It responds effortlessly and spontaneously to others with compassion;.

The first of these reflects Rigpa's non-dual nature. The third reflects the spontaneous way in which it gives rise to the phenomenal world, i. Thus, what we propose here, Fundamental Awareness, begins with these primary axioms:. The substratum of existence is Fundamental Awareness, i. How to define Fundamental Awareness immediately becomes a question for which, necessarily, all answers are inherently insufficient.

As Fundamental Awareness is non-dual, any attempt to make a complete linguistic or mathematically formal system to define and describe it will inevitably contradict itself or, conversely, any consistent description, with words or mathematics, will necessarily be incomplete. And therefore, we would suggest, it can only be truly known experientially as through metaphysical practices rather than conceptually through empirical science or philosophy.

Nonetheless, we must try. Some associated statements considered as refinements or commentaries then follow:.

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This primary symmetry breaking results in the dualistic phenomenal universe with the emanation of space-time, matter and energy. The emergence of the dualistic universe from the non-dual Fundamental Awareness is characterized, at the first and all subsequent levels of scale, by process as creative intra -activity in non-local scales, as creative inter -activity at higher, material scales, and as sentience in biological systems , complementarity and recursion Fig.

The initial emanation of space and time, matter and energy that comprise both the initiating events Big Bang of the universe as well as its moment by moment maintenance represent the initiation of duality in contrast to the substratum of non-duality. This is complementarity, in Bohr's sense of the term, and one core principle of Fundamental Awareness, i.

One might ask, of course, whether this is truly fundamental because prior to the initiating symmetry break there is, by definition, no ability to assign qualities to the non-dual awareness, including complementarity. However, what pre-exists the initiating symmetry break is also therefore beyond description and, de facto, to describe it we are already an observer that has arisen from it.

Our presence to interrogate its nature necessarily implies that this non-dual pure awareness is in complementarity with the dual, phenomenal universe. Thus complementarity is fundamental in this sense. At the Planck scale we still do not have a clear understanding of the nature of existence, though terms often applied with varying degrees of precision are quantum vacuum and quantum foam. The smallest entities that arise at this smallest scale, inclusive of quanta of space and time, of energy and therefore matter, in whatever form[s] it manifests at this scale , interact with each other giving rise to acts of creation, to higher level, emergent structures.

We refer to this as process with scale and self-organizational subclasses to be further defined, below. These higher level structures e. Thus, these three principles—complementarity, process, and recursion—are seen operating together, working within and throughout the unified whole, the holarchy, of the cosmos and of its component parts, in many different ways, in the purely physical and biological realms. The concept of complementarity was first expressed for QM in Bohr's Como lectures. Essentially, quantum phenomena exhibit complementary aspects that are revealed by specific observational modes or perspectives, i.

Interestingly, it is often forgotten that Bohr also felt that complementarities existed at higher levels of scale, including the biological and cosmological realms. We have described similar quantum-like complementarities in all larger scale structures.

At these levels, relativity or QM, has to be brought in. In fact, the whole exists not at any single level of scale, nor in a hierarchy of systems, but, to use Koestler's term, 48 as a holarchy , a holistic quantum-like superposition of all levels of scale. Thus, the bait ball of fish, described above; our bodies which are comprised of human and non-human cells.

At the nanoscopic scale, cells themselves disappear from view to reveal atoms and molecules self-organizing in aqueous suspension. No single scale of observation can reveal the whole; at the moment selection is made of a scale of observation, the features of other levels of scale are hidden from view.

And such a holarchy privileges no particular scale as prime over any other. Similarly, at cosmological scales, the horizons of knowledge are defined by the scale of the universe the so-called Hubble radius and the age of the universe the Hubble age. It is important to emphasize the role of observation when a horizon of knowledge is approached: Whereas far away from such a horizon, the behavior of objects is well described by an existing single perspective, as the limits of observation are reached, a single perspective cannot work anymore. On this basis, Kafatos and Nadeau as well as others have argued that the fine tuning in the universe cannot be understood until the observer is fully brought into the picture.

We also emphasize that no scale dependent or perspective dependent view is prioritized or privileged over any other. They all have equal value, weight, or importance within the larger whole. Whatever hierarchy is presented, it is contextual and dependent on observational choices. As such , all complementarities exist in superposition.

Alternate, complementary models are always necessary for successful capture of all the qualities of the entire system. Given that the entire cosmos reflects a holarchy which can at least hypothetically be modeled as such, however vast it is, complementarity is always, at every scale and within every scale, an irreducible feature. As noted, implicit in our understanding of the universe as a holarchy of self-organizing systems is that the entities comprising these systems, from quantum foam to cosmological scales, can interact with each other and thereby self-organize, giving rise to emergent structures at higher levels of scale.

Thus, they are both interactive and creative.

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In this way, non-dual awareness gives rise to a dynamic, ever changing universe that is neither inert nor insentient i. Broadly, we would consider this creative interactivity to be largely the same as that described by Alfred North Whitehead and, thus, choose the word process to describe the general class of these activities.

Thus, we would now apply three terms to these processes based on the scale of entities described and the nature of self-organization whereby entities produce new, emergent phenomena: creative intra-activity , creative inter-activity , and sentience. In the quantum realm meaning elements of the quantum foam and the tiers of subatomic particles of the Standard Model non-locality pertains, so that while, as particles, each of the entities participating in the self-organizing may be considered a well-defined, i. The environment is internal; the internal is environment.

Non-locality leads these aspects to be complementary to each other. Thus, we chose intra-activity to describe this form of process. Comparison of complexity concepts of the universe with corresponding Buddhist concepts. As we move into higher levels of scale, such as those at which we find atoms and molecules, entities start to become more bounded. We are at the transition between the quantum realm and the classical world, a boundary which is arbitrary in the view of von Neumann.

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The external, while still extending as an infinite wave function with ever more distant, potential electron shells, their probability becomes rapidly minimized. Even more so for molecules and larger scale aggregates of molecules. In all of these systems, the stochasticity of information processing is that of the quenched disorder of the quantum world. The primary mediators at this level of scale are weak and strong forces in the organization of nuclei and electromagnetism for evolution of electron shells and molecule associated electron clouds Fig.

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Biomolecules, depending on the species, include molecules such as neurotransmitters, hormones, antibodies, leptins, etc. Cells may belong to organisms e. Table adapted from Theise and Kafatos Atoms and molecules can then begin to self-organize in two different ways. Electromagnetism continues, of course, to be of primary relevance, though gravity now becomes a truly dominant effect Figs. This takes place when ions, molecules and biomolecules begin to self-organize in the liquid environments aqueous environments on earth, at least in which life arises.

Thus defined, sentience is not separate from the physical nature of the system, it is not something between or above or underlying the components of the system, it is the process itself occurring between the component parts as expressed at the level of the whole Fig. We are left with some interesting possibilities for reframing old questions. We would note, too, that these seeming boundaries are merely a reflection of complementarities between scales as we have previously emphasized, having no truly inherent existence.

Recursion is a fact of both classical and quantum realms. Scale invariance is inherent in non-linear dynamical systems as evidenced by fractal structures, which apply to classical systems. So, for example, the different spin integer or half integer quantum numbers for particles give rise to similar structures extending over many orders of magnitudes.

Were it not for the Pauli principle, there would be no molecules and, therefore, no macro scale structures of any kind, living or otherwise. The Pauli principle is itself a consequence of quantum statistics, it applies to fermions which are half-integer spin particles , a complementary type of statistics to classical statistics, wherein all particles are identical and no limitation as to how they bind together in fact the very concept of binding is itself a quantum phenomenon ever arises. In biological organisms and subcomponents of them, such as neuronal systems, leaves, root systems, etc.


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In fact, dendritic patterns seem to be dominant in the brain, in trees, as well as streams of luminous matter connecting galaxies in clusters of galaxies, indicating an underlying principle which cannot be just assigned only to certain scales. Recursion, like complementarity and process, is present across all scales as evidenced by the Universal Diagrams, Fig. For example, the structure of objects made of bosons integer spin particles is also recursive but appears completely different from fermion-based structures. Fermions and bosons are also complementary and give rise to recursive structures, which are in creative interactivity with themselves and other surrounding structures.

A universal diagram of luminous power radiated as a function of mass of objects in the universe. The scales extend over 70— orders of magnitude, from the quantum realm to the universe. Note the tight relationship followed by most objects diagonally, bottom left to top right with bright, explosive events and quanta being outside the main diagonal relationship. Similar diagrams can be drawn for other physical parameters of objects. The first is that from the perspective of the Quantum Vacuum the universe is actually atemporal, existing in a kind of grand, all-encompassing, holarchical simultaneity, the flow of time being more a function of our human nervous systems and the stories they create, than of the physics which describe the world.

The second is that the very large is contained in the very small and the very small in the very large Fig. This is the basic understanding involving superstrings: the universe comprises them but is also composed of them. Fundamental Awareness is wholly in keeping with the orthodox von Neumann interpretation of QM. It encompasses all established contemporary sciences through the lens of self-organizing systems at all levels of scale, including living and non-living systems.

There are no contradictions between Fundamental Awareness and contemporary science. That being said, however, there are insights of value from this perspective. The first, already mentioned, is that the universe is inherently non-material. Materiality is merely a scale dependent phenomenon. Likewise, boundaries between objects are scale dependent as well which has implications for design of experimental systems, the acceptance of which necessitates a move from the purely reductionist scientific approaches toward a systems approach, particularly when considering biology.

A fuller consideration of this issue is beyond the scope of this paper, but can be found in prior published discussions. The axiomatic approach to Fundamental Awareness we begin to express herein also provides interesting possibilities for mathematization that we hope will lead to formal statements with computational and predictive power. Currently, Kafatos has developed a mathematical formalism that ties together the observer with the observed in the most primary of relationships, the I Am and all derivatives such as I Am That statements.

Five logical statements are developed wherein the object and the subject are unified but in consecutive steps, the beginning of differentiation is set up. As such, the mathematics allows for a rudimentary formalism of the qualia of experience that is a simplified version of Hilbert space convention encountered in quantum mechanics, using the bra and the ket generalized vectors corresponding to the subject and the object.

This approach has the advantage of bringing forward a familiarity with quantum formalism. As quantum mechanics is the only physics we have that fundamentally relates to observation, the connection to Hilbert space is natural. The mathematical formalism does, however, go beyond specific interpretations of quantum mechanics and has strong philosophical foundations in Western philosophy as well as monistic systems of the East.

Kafatos explores the full development of this axiomatic mathematical approach through when the identity of object and subject breaks down. Fundamental Awareness and the core principles of complementarity, process, and recursion, along with the principles inherent in a self-organizing universe find a surprising array of reflections back to the metaphysical systems described above.

In mapping concepts across these different domains, we show that Fundamental Awareness is capable of providing a language for mediating the cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary interchanges. In the Vedic traditions, as we have noted, there is tension between some of the concepts of Advaita Vedanta and Saivism. The tension between these concepts dissolves in the view of Fundamental Awareness in which complementarity is an irreducible aspect.

The Advaita Vedantist point of view is merely the complementary aspect of the Saivist view. The detail of the Saivist view now also begins to illuminate the process whereby the non-dual substratum of reflexive awareness gives rise to the dual nature of the phenomenal universe. It is not through a sudden, cusp-like emanation in which the non-dual arises all at once. Rather, there is a process even within this emanation. This process does not, however, lead to a full differentiation until the great power of limitation, Maya , limits the unlimited powers of I-ness, giving rise to space and time and still higher levels of tattvas.

These processes are amenable to mathematical formalism see above and therefore may potentially lead to a truly formal statement of a theory of Fundamental Awareness. One of the paradoxes of this Kabbalistic view of creation is that what links us and our world to the divine is also what precludes our easy, direct experience of the divine. As in those traditions, the principle of complementarity illuminates this paradox, since the simultaneous linking to the Eyn Sof and its concealment from view relate to the scale dependent nature of existence Fig.

Of particular interest is that the terms for the recursive emergence of the universe from the Eyn Sof actually reflect our scientific understandings. Complementary structures and parallel, recursive processes of Lurianic Kabalah and contemporary science. The terms for the recursive emergence of the universe from the Eyn Sof actually reflect our scientific understandings.

Both are the progression from seamless non-duality into a perceived, complementary state of Self and Other. While Fundamental Awareness may be considered a core concept, or rather a core experience of metaphysical traditions, the concept of a universal conscious plenum in Western philosophy was by no means excluded from scientific discourse until the recent exception of the 20 th mid-century onwards.

However, various aspects of Fundamental Awareness can be correlated with understandings from diverse eras and stances. Fundamental Awareness is, clearly, a form of monistic idealism. As such, it has clear relationships to other forms of idealism, reflective of some Platonic and neo-Platonic thought. In terms of Platonism, specifically, we believe that the mathematical structures that will be used to formalize the emanation of the dual universe from the non-dual, are equivalent to the Platonic ideals.

It is also certainly compatible with aspects of the German idealism of Kant, Schopenhauer and others that were perhaps the dominant philosophical perspectives in the 19 th century. This remained a useful view for many orthodox scientists in the 20 th century—not only the founders generation of QM Einstein not withstanding —but other prominent scientists as well, even as logical positivism came to hold increasingly popular sway.

For example, as Sir James Jeans stated:.

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The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. And, of course Fundamental Awareness is a form of monism. A significant difference between these models and Fundamental Awareness is that this current framework specifies what can be known about this proto-consciousness and what must remain unknown.

What is known: it is non-material, pure, non-dual reflexive self-awareness. Beyond that, nothing about it can be described.


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  • These creative interactions, in both models, then propagate recursively through higher levels of scale as described by their authors. Thus, both models, in conjunction with Fundamental Awareness, demonstrate mechanisms whereby self-assembly allows — or even mandates — evolution first of living systems themselves, and then of species specific consciousness such as that shared by humans. We also note that all fundamental mathematics, including algebraic geometry, category theory, etc. And the essence of that development as I see it, is the development of the individual.

    The uniqueness of each individual. The unique way of the individual to deal with the world. In a comment on my previous post , I was reminded of another book of David Bohm about creativity. I searched online and found a foreword on Google books. Which was so very interesting that I immediately ordered the book. In that foreword which I have to read with more patience soon was the following which I think is extremely interesting. It is about what lays beneath the aesthetics of creativity:. This theme that at its inner core, scientific inquiry is richly aesthetic is a recurrent one throughout On Creativity.

    But it is the impulse underlying this aesthetic — the impulse to learn — that is the focus of this first chapter. The learning which Bohm alludes to here is not the rote learning of established facts; it is learning about something truly new. The learning implied here is instead that of perceiving new orders of relationship, and hinges on a sensitivity to difference and similarity. I really think this is essential in understanding the importance of creativity.

    Why it is so very important to recognise this ability to be creative, to provide free space for it. To be aware of the blocks we build that prevent creativity. And the importance of developing our creativity. It is about perceiving new orders of relationships. It is about a growing sensitivity to differences and similarities.