Mind and consciousness is physics

Olav Drageset    olav@drageset.net

Nonphysical phenomena like mind, thoughts, consciousness and also dark matter, dark energy and entanglement, are explained by normal physical theories. A materialistic view is extended to include nonphysical substances.

Clash of worldviews.

Normal experiences such as thoughts and consciousness has not yet been included to scientific models describing the world. But all of us, including scientists, make ourselves explanations of how the world came about, what we really are and what is the truth. We all have different worldviews. Our ancestors used to have mostly mythological worldviews that included gods, demons and personified forces of the cosmos. Today a materialistic worldview is widespread amongst educated persons in the western culture. Laws of physics rule the universe. Everything can ultimately be measured and described in the language of mathematics. Scientists, especially within physics and biology, are the main promoters of this worldview. Even if it is not confirmed by scientific research that the present materialistic worldview can explain everything, this worldview is usually understood to be scientific and to be sufficient for explaining the total cosmos. To the contrary, much scientific evidence support phenomena that cannot be explained or modelled by materialistic physics, such as the experience of consciousness and research findings about extrasensory perceptions. Conservative materialism holds that mind, thoughts and consciousness are not real phenomena, but a kind of imagination that has no energy in itself. There are some scientists that try to find ways out of conservative materialism to a more holistic view based on science. Two medical professors organized a symposium in São Paulo, September 2010 to explore the frontiers of mind-brain relationship. They published a book afterwards (moreira-Almeida and Santos 2011) that still give a good overview of the state of affairs on scientific exploration of nonphysical or mental phenomena such as near death experiences, mediumship etc. Dean Radin is a well known scientist that have published a book on scientific research on extrasensory perception (Radin 2011). There are strong opponents against such efforts within the scientific community. Sometimes adequate but often in the form of neglect, ridicule and other not very scientific means and arguments.

A holistic culture is opposing the mainly materialistic and scientific culture. It is made up of religious and alternative groups. We can find an overwhelming number of well documented experiences  that cannot be explained by materialistic science. We also find an overwhelming number of instances of fraud and cheating in this culture, so it is easy to dismiss the whole field as superstition and trickery. In addition there are religious groups that oppose proven science and set ‘God’ as the creator of all life forms 6000 years ago. This makes up the clash of worldviews. We find extremes on both the materialistic and holistic sides that seem to nourish each other in order to keep a fight going, but we also find reasonable persons that express themselves in decent ways. A book written by a guru and a professor in theoretical physics can be recommended for an overview (Chopra and Mlodinow 2011)

In the middle between these two cultures, we find an increasing number of persons that take both science and the experiences reported from the holistic culture seriously and try to find ways of combining the views. Going from thesis and antithesis to synthesis. This takes probably a higher level of acceptance towards opposing views and increased criticality towards one's own beliefs and ‘truths’, which is demanding. The concept presented on this website is a proposal from this ‘group in between’.

Four articles have been (peer reviewed and) published by editors that think these views are interesting and should be further looked into. Articles can be downloaded at the end of this page. An article containing mostly the content of this web page was submitted to the journal “Mind and Matter”, an interdisciplinary journal of mind and matter research (Sept 2017). The article was declined with this e-mail. A work based on this website titled "Mind and Matter in a Single Cosmic Model"  (including four published articles and a book) was accepted as a doctoral thesis by the  the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Oslo (April 2016). After 8 months of hesitance, the thesis was returned from the physics department with this letter.

Why academia is so reluctant to address this possibility is not easy to understand. They represent the most rational part of our society and they have a special responsibility to solve these enigmas that split our society today. Only science can mend the split. Mainstream seems to avoid proposals that do not conform to conventions. 

Summary of the thesis

A new understanding of the mind and the consciousness is explained below. After that a model of a cosmos that includes the physical universe, mind, consciousness, dark matter and dark energy is presented. The model conforms to the string theory of particle physics. Explanation below is a short version made for the general public. At the end, you may download peer-reviewed and published articles with deeper explanations and references.

The theory below seems to be the only complete theory of consciousness and cosmos today. There are other proposals to what can make conscious experiences. They are all based on physical matter alone. A substantial part of scientific researchers claim that physical matter alone can never explain consciousness, which is our innermost observer that experience colours, thoughts and emotions. The model below is the only one that extends physics into nonphysical substances where such a consciousness can exist. The model is supported by direct experience and it is supported by mathematics of the string theory. It should give a high probability that it is close to the reality and a final solution. 

 The mind

The mind can be described in different ways depending on context such as different versions of psychology, neurology or philosophy. The description below is based on what is called ‘meditation psychology’ developed within Acem school of meditation during its 50 years of existence. Since several leaders in Acem are professors of medicine, neurology, psychology and other subject, and there are several practicing psychotherapists, the meditation psychology has become a description of the mind and how it functions in relation to the meditation technique, based on western understanding of psychology and medicine, - free of any connection to gurus or religion (blog) (Holen 2016) (Holen 2000) .

Close your eyes, and you look into the mind. It takes a while to get aware of what is there. Thoughts, fantasies, dreams, stress, inner images, imaginations and emotions are content of the mind that our inner observer can observe (see, feel, know the content of). The inner observer, also called ‘consciousness’ is a separate entity from the mind and can observe content of the mind using inner senses. Our inner observer can also influence the content of the mind by using free will and inner means of interaction. E. g. we can create or enable certain fantasies and suppress other stuff. According to this proposal, all stuff of the mind is based on nonphysical matter which is different from physical matter, but it is made of the same basic kind of energy and follow laws of behaviour such as physical matter does. Physics (string theory) has the potential to give the mathematical description of all nonphysical particles and forces and it has already given the laws of interaction between physical and nonphysical matter particles, and it can potentially explain how the physical brain interacts with the nonphysical content of the mind and the consciousness.

Attention is a tool used by the consciousness. It is used to focus on one single item - ‘the target of the attention’ and shut out information from the rest of the cosmos. You can direct the target freely in the outer and the inner worlds. Our inner observer can also stay at, or observe, from different locations called ‘the seat of the attention’. It is normally in the head. Among child psychologists it has been assumed that the seat of the attention for babies is in the belly. For out-of-body experiences, the seat of the attention is often near the ceiling of the room and the observer is looking at the situation from above. The seat of the attention do not seem to be locked to a certain location in the body. When awake, the seat of the attention is in the physical universe and the observer has a rational frame-of-understanding. When dreaming, according to experience, the seat of the attention has spontaneously fallen into the mind and the observer has a magico-metaphysical frame-of-understanding.  This part of the mind, which contains dreams and fantasies, can be seen as a nonphysical universe being parallel to the physical universe. It is called the ‘psychological universe’. Our inner observer has a frame-of-understanding which is in accordance with the environment of the seat. When the seat of the attention leaves the physical universe and enters the psychological universe, the observed world has also changed and the observer has a different frame-of-understanding.

The mind is experienced to have a second parallel universe called the ‘intuitive universe’. Our attention comes close to this in situations such as in front of a fireplace, hiking in the mountains, sailing at sea or practicing meditation. We can feel a calm presence with no content and the sense of time is withering. Intuitive thoughts from the intuitive universe are difficult to catch, not because they are unconscious, but because they are of a different kind than the rational or magic thoughts we are accustomed to. They are like unrealised ideas and have a certain kind of quality that we can sense. They are non-phenomenal like empty space, - but any phenomenon need a space to be realized in, and it is born from an intuitive thought. "Flow" is an expression for a state where an intuitive thought is allowed to manifest through our activity in spoken or written words, art or any kind of play or work. The quality of the intuitive thought is manifested through our actions in the physical and psychological universes.

We experience the content of the intuitive universe when we are in deep sleep. It is non-phenomenal and timeless. We are not usually able to be self conscious in this state, but it is possible. A self conscious deep sleep is called ‘yoga nidra’ despite many misleading descriptions of this expression in the literature. Intuitive thoughts have no phenomenal content but they have a lot of information, - very complex information that can be understood and expressed in several ways, depending on the competence of the receiver.

We have a physical body in the physical universe. We have a psyche in the psychological universe. We have a Self (our deepest identity), personality traits,  self-images and worldview in the intuitive universe. These entities of the intuitive universe help us understand what we observe in the outer and inner worlds. Objects, structures and meanings are made based on our earlier experiences stored as information in the intuitive universe. The created perceptions perceived as objects and structures are simple enough for us to grasp in a rational frame-of-understanding. They can be subjective  and incomplete and promote different views and discussions.

Neurologists never found how memories and character traits are stored. From this model it is obvious that the storage medium is found in the parallel nonphysical universes. 

Free will. Measurements have shown nervous signals appearing in preparation of a movement, signals can show up even before we are consciously aware of our decision to move. This has caused scientists to doubt the existence of free will. Unconscious activity can explain the measurements. Unconscious parts of the psyche should be regarded as an integral part of ourselves, which makes will a little complicated. It is however possible to differentiate between 3 different wills, one for each of the universes defined. With the rational will, you can take a decision to stop smoking. The emotional will that represents feelings and the bodily needs can make you light a new cigarette. The intuitive will is formed by the content of the intuitive universe. For some it is experienced as a calling or a deep existential urge. All three wills influence the consciousness which is the real actor.

The scope of the attention and the speed of time. We know that attention can be moved freely around and it is locked to the steady flow of time. There is also another way of altering the attention, - by changing the scope. You can concentrate on a nail, then widen the scope to include the hammer banging the nail, then extend the scope to your hand and body holding the hammer and the nail. Ultimately the whole cosmos can be included to the scope. The degrees of freedom for the attention can be regarded as cosmic dimensions. Each universe has three spatial dimensions, plus time and scope gives a total of eleven dimensions.

The scope is an important ingredient of any meditation technique. You can concentrate on a certain object or you can have a wide scope and let anything pass freely through your awareness while doing a simple task. Experienced time is slowing down when performing concentrative meditation techniques. Experienced time is speeding up when performing techniques with an open scope. This means that the speed of time and the scope of attention is connected in some way. This cosmic dimension, called speed-of-time, is very important for understanding the completeness of the cosmos as explained below.

The consciousness

E=mc2 is the famous equation associated to Albert Einstein. The equation says that matter is a form of energy, - a lot of energy. Later, another quadratic equation simplified to E2 = m2c4 was developed from quantum mechanics and relativity. It says that negative energy must exist. Physicists associated negative energy to negative matter that has never been found, so they concluded that negative energy does not exist in the real world. Mathematician Luigi Fantappiè made some calculations and found that negative energy has qualities that is characteristic for ‘life’. Negative energy creates order with time such as all life forms do, and something happening now is caused by something in the future. Everything we do is motivated by a desired future state. When you are thirsty, you find a glass, fill it with water and lift it to the mouth. The future state (of not being thirsty) is the reason for what we do to arrive at that state. Those qualities are specific for consciousness, which means that if consciousness is based on a substance, it must have negative energy. Negative energy does not need to be associated to negative matter. If it is in a parallel universe with different dimensions from the universes having positive energy, then the requirements for the mathematics is satisfied. This means that consciousness could be found in a parallel universe which is different from the universes we have described earlier.

Consciousness can be seen as a vast sea of some stuff. A limited part of this sea, such as a helix, can be identified with a certain being. Identification is probably a basic cosmic force that acts between negative and positive energy, - between consciousness and physical/nonphysical matter. Our consciousness is identified with the physical and nonphysical matter that we are made of. If you have observed water in a river or a tidal stream, you know that small helixes can be within bigger helixes that can be within even bigger helixes. This is how we see physical life and even psychologies. Cells are part of organs are part of bodies are part of globes etc. Individuals are part of families are part of communities are part of nations etc. We are made of the same stuff and identified with several entities at the same time, and identification can change slowly over time. To act in coherence with a higher unity or on behalf of the total cosmos, is a real challenge and growth potential for all of us.

String theory

The smallest bits of matter and force, much smaller than atoms,  are called elementary particles. Physicists use mathematical equations to describe them and how they interact. String theory (including M-theory) is such a theory of particle physics. Elementary particles are assumed to be vibrating strings. Different vibrational patterns make different particles. All known elementary particles are described in string theory. Open strings must have ends attached to something called a ‘brane’ so that open strings in different branes cannot interact by collision, which is a short joining of ends. Closed strings can however interact between branes, but the interactions are much weaker than collisions with joining ends. Gravity is the only elementary particle that is found to be modeled by a closed string. Physicists have assumed the universe to be a brane. If parallel universes exist, matter in other branes will interact only with gravity. We cannot see or feel the matter in those universes except for the influence of gravity, which is seen only on a grand cosmic scale because gravity is so weak but far reaching.

String theory requires at least 9 different spatial dimensions in order to work. This makes a good match to a cosmos that includes three parallel universes/branes such as explained above. Three parallel spaces make up nine dimensions. Time is the tenth dimension. String theory also requires an eleventh dimension named ‘coupling strength’. The speed-of-time can be seen as this dimension since it is a coupling strength between consciousness and matter. A narrow scope and slow speed-of-time makes a strong coupling while a wide scope and fast speed-of-time makes weak coupling.

Since string scientists did not find more than 4 dimensions in the universe, they have assumed the extra dimensions of the string theory to be curled up and compactified to such a small size that their influence cannot be measured directly. According to (Hawking 2010) different ways of curling up the dimensions give different laws of physics. There are 10250 different ways of curling up the dimensions. No match to our universe has been found yet. A cosmos containing parallel universes such as proposed above, is the first suggestion of a cosmos that contains nonphysical substances and satisfies the string theory without curling up the dimensions. The proposed model can probably be confirmed or refuted by deriving the laws for the physical universe. There is no curling up of dimensions, so there is only one possibility.

Symmetry breaking is part of the string theory. It says that a long time ago at much, much higher temperatures, the elementary particles were much more complex than the particles we find today. As the universe expanded and cooled, the particles could not stay together anymore and they broke apart into two or three pieces which are the particles we see today. Physicists have not found the particles that must have been connected to the known particles to make a mother particle. They might be in the psychological and intuitive universes.

Dark matter and dark energy are proposed by physicists to explain measurements. Dark matter is assumed to influences matter such as stars, galaxies and light in our universe and dark energy is assumed to make the universe expand faster and faster. No physical matter is found that could make these influences. Dark matter and dark energy make up 95% of everything, but physicists cannot say what this major part of the world is. The influence from the dark objects is only using the gravity force that can act from one brane/universe to another. Dark matter could be matter in the psychological universe and dark energy could be influence from the content of the intuitive universe.

A cosmic model

                                   Figure 1: Cosmic model

A singularity such as in figure 1 is a point you never can reach, but you can come as close as you wish. You can approach the seed point singularity both going eternally backwards in time and going eternally forwards in time. The seed point contains pure positive energy and pure negative energy, being kept together by the identification force. We can view the seed point as a cosmic being, that is aware of all time and all space simultaneously. It can be made up of smaller beings like a body is made up of cells.

From modern cosmology we know that the universe is expanding eternally from a small point. At a certain time, the cosmos had expanded and cooled so much that the positive energy particles could not stay together anymore. This event, called the Big Bang, caused positive energy to separate into a physical universe, a psychological universe and an intuitive universe. As consciousness, resting in negative energy, is identified with the positive energy, it must have been separated into identities in the same way as the positive energy became more lumpy. Everything must have been conscious in some way, but it is difficult to imagine how this consciousness was/is thinking and feeling since its frame of understanding can be different from ours. Expansion over time must have created new kinds of stuff and objects. After Big Bang we got stars and galaxies, and even biological beings that are incredible complex.

The mental development of biological beings seems to follow the expansion of the cosmos. The seat of the attention going from an egocentric identification to a wider more altruistic identification. From past eternity to future eternity, this development goes from an identification on particle level to an identification with the total cosmos as a unity. The difference between these two states could be only a flip of the attention that happens in the seed point when going from  future eternity with a total unitarian view of cosmos, being a single identity, to the past eternity with a splintered identity divided to the smallest pieces. Biological beings are obviously one expression of consciousness somewhere in the middle. Cosmos can be seen to be a complete entity that includes all time, all space and all energy. From outside this can be seen as something static. From inside it is observed as an always changing, developing mixture of matter, energy and life.

Download documentation

First part of the thesis
Introduction and overview (updated February 2017)

About dark matter and dark energy 
Modelling the dark universes
Peer reviewed and published in: Journal For Foundations and Applications of Physics Vol 2, no 2,  October 4th 2015

About consciousness and negative energy  
Negative energy explained by an imaginary speed of light.
Peer reviewed and published in Physics Essays Vol 28, no 1, March 2015

A new paradigm? 
Roadmap to a Cosmic Model that Supports Nonphysical and Nonlocal  Phenomena
Peer reviewed and published in Journal For Foundations and Applications of Physics Vol 2, no 1, April 5th 2015
Sociological and technical aspects for including mind and nonphysical phenomena to physics 
How Physics Could Explain the Mind
Peer reviewed and published in Physics Essays Vol 26,1 p7-14: March 2013

Other presentations

1st international Congress on Consciousness, Portugal, May 22nd 2015
Consciousness and Cosmos: Proposal for a New Paradigm based on Physics and Introspection

World Institute for Scientific Exploration (WISE), Viterbo Italy, August 6th 2013
1st international conference on  'Life Energy, Syntropy and Resonance': 
Document: String theory with a New Interpretation Can Model the Mind 

TV-talkshow "Trygdekontoret". Explanation on how string theory can define a universe of spirits. 2013, Jan 28th 
 (last 10 minutes of 40) English translation by Savant Man Shresta   Norsk tekst av innslaget

Article in Morgenbladet, a main newspaper in Norway:  
Åndenes avmakt Nov 22nd 2012
Last ned 
gratis versjon av hele artikkelen  English translation: Powerlessness of the spirits

Last update:  2017 Sept 10.         Contact: info@amatterofmind.net