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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Steven Andresen: on 2/22/18 at 7:39am UTC, wrote Dear Alex If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the...

Satyavarapu Gupta: on 2/6/18 at 21:20pm UTC, wrote Respected Prof Alex Hankey You have very nicely started with...

Joe Fisher: on 1/28/18 at 22:00pm UTC, wrote Dear Fellow Essayists This will be my final plea for fair treatment., ...

Brian Josephson: on 1/28/18 at 16:03pm UTC, wrote Alex, since there was an enquiry in my own discussion as to suitable...

Brian Josephson: on 1/27/18 at 21:19pm UTC, wrote While there are some very nice ideas here, I find some ideas confusing, in...

Brian Josephson: on 1/27/18 at 20:46pm UTC, wrote For the record, Stuart Kauffman is a biologist and complex systems...

DIOGENES AYBAR: on 1/27/18 at 20:38pm UTC, wrote Dear Alex; Very refreshing, coming from a physicist. In complex systems...

Francesco D'Isa: on 1/27/18 at 17:28pm UTC, wrote Dear Alex Hankey, thank you for your essay, which I found very interesting...


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FQXi FORUM
October 23, 2019

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: A Place for Elements of Subjectivity in Cosmological Physics? by Alex Hankey [refresh]
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Author Alex Hankey wrote on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 16:21 GMT
Essay Abstract

Hawking has referred to the initial singularity, from which our universe’s space-time manifold emerges, as the ‘God-point’, and pointedly quipped that no God can be found there. This may sound like a purely metaphysical question, on which no physics can shed light, and on which no scientific commentary can be made. This essay discusses a way in which complexity may be able to do so. Recent advances in our understanding of the physics of complexity biology have made it possible to identify a previously unsuspected way, in which subjective awareness couples to organisms: it does so at the critical instabilities that organisms choose to make the loci of control of their regulatory systems. Cogent arguments have been given why instabilities are preferred loci of control, and why the essentially non-linear physics of their mathematical singularities give rise to information states that support self-awareness. These states also reduce quantum wave-packets. What has not hitherto been noted is that conditions at the source of the inflationary process are very similar. The spontaneous breakdown of Grand Unified Symmetry involves an instability of considerable complexity. This essay suggests reasons why that initial singularity, from which space-time was created, is sufficiently complex to support a self-conscious awareness. Maybe our universe really is more like a ‘great thought’ than a ‘great machine’, as Jeans once suggested. Undoubtedly, these ideas could fruitfully be examined in much greater detail.

Author Bio

With a 1st Class Honours Degree from Cambridge, and a PhD in theoretical physics from M.I.T. under Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg and H.E. Stanley, Alex Hankey joined Maharishi University of Management (then MIU) Dept. of Physics in 1973. His work at MERU in 1975, setting up the Christmas conference with two Nobel laureates and a Fields Medallist is retold in the 2017 book by Rhoda Orme-Johnson. Having worked for that organisation for 30 years, he returned to research in 2002. His new theories of consciousness, Ayurveda and natural medicine are all based on his length study of Indian wisdom.

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 18:04 GMT
Greetings Alex,

I am happy that my outreach to Brian also got you to submit an essay in this year's contest. From your background and the abstract; this one looks very interesting. I will have to swing back once I've caught up with the reading already in my bin. I wish you luck!

All the best,

Jonathan

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Francesco D'Isa wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 17:28 GMT
Dear Alex Hankey,

thank you for your essay, which I found very interesting and original – sadly I lack the scientific tools to better evaluate it, due my formation in philosophy.

> To summarise, the essentially non-linear physics of critical instabilities in complexity biology can give rise to information states that support self-awareness – the essence of our subjectivity.

The link that you establish between physics and the meditative states (of every tradition) is really interesting, and I find it close to my interests and studies. I didn't understood very well why a perfectly self-observing, internal, information loop is needed by the non-linearities of the system, but probably I should read the studies by Hankey that you quoted in the essay.

Thank you for sharing such an original work and good luck!

Francesco

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DIOGENES AYBAR wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 20:38 GMT
Dear Alex;

Very refreshing, coming from a physicist. In complex systems the inflexion point (the phase transition point) is the point where emergence is born. A physicist (Kauffman) embraced this idea. Life, in all its manifestations, embodies the phenomenon of Complexity; and epigenetics is the most beautiful expression of it.

When the interaction of known entities, following known...

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Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 20:46 GMT
For the record, Stuart Kauffman is a biologist and complex systems theorist, not a physicist. Perhaps you are mixing him up with quantum theorist Lou Kauffman.

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Brian D. Josephson wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 21:19 GMT
While there are some very nice ideas here, I find some ideas confusing, in particular the distinction between linear and nonlinear. All systems are linear in the limit of low amplitudes, and become significantly nonlinear at higher amplitudes. What is different in the critical region is that there is more nonlinearity there, and enough that complexity comes in, and also the universality of which you speak. It should be possible to integrate this approach with my own (also posted in this competition).

Re 'self-observing system', does this just mean that you have a loop, so it is like pointing a videocamera at a screen that is displaying the picture being videoed?

I'd recommend that you post your 2015 paper in some archive where people can view it without having to pay for it, as it contains a lot more details than in this essay. Elsevier allow you to post preprints in this way. I'd also recommend when you do this that you include links to such references that are available on the web, as you can't get them from the list in this essay.

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Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 16:03 GMT
Alex, since there was an enquiry in my own discussion as to suitable sources I've uploaded the 'Final preprint' of your paper that you sent me once to PhilPapers where it joins your earlier paper on the subject, so that people will be able to access it freely. It is at https://philpapers.org/rec/HANACB-4. If you want to change anything (e.g. add keywords), you can do this via 'edit this record'.

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 21:20 GMT
Respected Prof Alex Hankey

You have very nicely started with "Hawking"...... This may sound like a purely metaphysical question, on which no physics can shed light, and on which no scientific commentary can be made....... is exactly correct. After learning that you understood well of Indian system of Auyrveda and consciousness.... Hats off to you...Best wishes to your essay...

Here...

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 07:39 GMT
Dear Alex

If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the final days of the contest, will you consider mine please? I read all essays from those who comment on my page, and if I cant rate an essay highly, then I don’t rate them at all. Infact I haven’t issued a rating lower that ten. So you have nothing to lose by having me read your essay, and everything to...

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