Despite my use of the word God in the subtitle of this article, or perhaps exactly because of it, I think it is more than appropriate to clarify what I actually mean when I use it. The term is so ambivalent, especially in the Western Judeo-Christian culture, as to be virtually nondescriptive. Thus, without further ado, I equate Abrahamic God with Brahman of Hinduism, eternally nameless Tao, and the unspoken truth that gets revealed upon realization of Buddhist suchness.
Simply speaking, it’s the Absolute, the ontological basis described by its aspects of existence, consciousness, and bliss (or reality, knowledge, and infinity).
In the previous article I briefly established an equivalence of this ontological basis and physical world, but it was so brief as to merely imply some nebulous notion of how one relates to the other. So, the whole subject certainly warrants a more in-depth explanation.
But first let’s have a look at the equivalence as such.
When I say A is B is C, it does not mean that A is the source of B which in turn is the source of C. It only means that the whole set S[A,B,C] behaves as A, B, or C depending on circumstances, and you can go between them essentially at will while still obeying strict rules. Simply speaking, each of the states has a definite potential to become any of the other states, and sometimes the states can even exist in superposition. A very crude analogy would be water — steam, water, and ice are the same H2O behaving in different ways.
The equivalence of mass, energy, and information in physical world is then one step further down the level of complexity from the water analogy (water is matter with mass), but the same principles apply.
As Melvin M. Vopson writes in his paper, “Landauer’s principle formulated in 1961 states that logical irreversibility implies physical irreversibility and demonstrated that information is physical. […] a bit of information is not just physical, as already demonstrated, but it has a finite and quantifiable mass while it stores information.”
And while Vopson’s “mass — energy — information equivalence principle […] is strictly applicable only to classical digital memory states at equilibrium,” and, “[i]nformation carried by relativistic media, moving waves or photons […] analogue information, or information embedded in biological living systems such as DNA are not within the scope of [his] work,” non-digital information-to-energy conversion was experimentally demonstrated.
Shoichi Toyabe, Takahiro Sagawa, Masahito Ueda, Eiro Muneyuki and Masaki Sano proved, as they write in their letter, “that a non-equilibrium feedback manipulation of a Brownian particle on the basis of information about its location achieves a Szilárd-type information-to-energy conversion.” However, before you engage in extravagant mystical flights of fancy you must take into account that, “second law of thermodynamics is not violated when the total system including both the particle and demon is considered,” because the system (or demon as in Maxwell’s demon) used by the Japanese team, “consists of macroscopic devices such as computers; the microscopic device gains energy at the expense of the energy consumption of a macroscopic device.”
So, information in this case is used “as the energy-transferring ‘medium’, [which] can be used to transport energy to nanomachine.” It is neither an independent perpetuum mobile in a true sense, nor does it imply that information alone, without presence of matter and energy elsewhere in the system, can move things. Which is, as far as I get it, exactly what mass-energy-information equivalence means.
So, let’s take a look at the more subjective levels of this universe.
As Joel Frohlich writes in his summary of an experiment conducted at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan, “during deep sleep when you’re not dreaming, your cerebral cortex shows slow waves of electrical activity. […] It turns out that the claustrum plays a key role. […]stimulating the claustrum […] leads to a state of silence across the cortex, called a down-state, in which many neurons are quiet and unresponsive. This occurs at the bottom, or trough, of each slow wave. Little, if any, information processing can occur during a down-state. And when information processing goes offline, the conscious mind vanishes, as occurs each night during dreamless sleep.” And the conscious mind is, in this case, obviously equivalent with (source of) consciousness.
However, there is an important detail that casts serious doubt on whether calling this process consciousness is correct — upon emergence from the state of deep sleep, there is a “palpable” continuity of existence and knowledge of thereof. Moreover, this knowledge is intrinsically tied to first person perspective, awareness of which is reconstructed immediately upon exiting the “down-state”.
Now, as I argued elsewhere, existence is indivisible and also permanent. In other words, existence as such is singular and is infinite in time, space, and form. Existence cannot arise from non-existence, and space, equally as each and every form, is. Furthermore, existence is equivalent with knowledge, or consciousness. This equivalence, however, is rather problematic to argue, even though it’s perfectly knowable. The clue might be hidden in the fact that the realization of being consciousness reveals that consciousness is without any names, forms and attributes.
Anyway, no matter how you slice it, physical world is. But since existence cannot arise from its negation, physical world likewise cannot arise from non-existence. If there ever was not, it would forever stay so and nothing would ever come to be. And that’s an understatement caused by limitation of language, because even no-thing, as absence of form or even space, already is. But since there is, it was, is, and will always be that way. Hence there’s also universe.
And this brings us to the very beginning of this article, because it begs the question — what actually is this “ontological basis”? What is God? How, does the physical world arise from it? And are they separate or, indeed, one?
Well, science has no answers. Atheism, as far as I’m concerned, in essence denies any ontological basis whatsoever and goes with totally impossible “miracle” of existence arising from non-existence. So, the only source of information is direct insight, which is prone to misinterpretation, or, ironically, interpretations of direct insights that stood the test of time and were deemed correct.
According to those sources, which can be confirmed by realization of one’s “true nature” (of being-consciousness), ontological basis of this universe is you. The very you that is but a tiny fragment of this world. Yes, it screams “illusion”, furthermore, explanatory strength does not guarantee that any particular explanation is correct. Therefore, the only possible proof with which we are all burdened is a completely private enterprise.
As far as I am concerned, that’s plenty. Although it means that the way in which universe manifested will remain a complete mystery forever, and it also means that the meaning of my life is simply my life, it also assures a fulfilling and pretty colorful journey.
What more can I ask for.