My main thesis is as follows: everything is one and is necessarily conscious of itself through “us”. Even if we seem like separate individuals, we are nothing more than expressions in which the universe manifests itself.
I argue this thesis from different points of view, so that it can be strengthened by drawing on partially independent argumentative lines.
I am not saying that my theory is properly proven, nor that there are observations or experiments that can verify or falsify it once and for all. In other words, it would have more the character of a speculative conjecture than of a scientific theory.
However, on the basis of the Duhem-Quine thesis, I do not believe that we can draw a clear line between philosophy and science. In particular I believe that my thesis is supported by a substantial number of serious and consistent clues. If we were in the legal field, they would perhaps constitute evidence.
Here I try to summarize my reasoning, without obviously being able to adequately justify the individual passages. Unfortunately the pages of my website, where I analytically develop my theory (which is still in progress), are in Italian. However, for those who want to deepen my arguments and do not know the language of Dante, there are convenient online instant translation tools (to be used, of course, with some attention).
Let me start from the unresolved problem of the origin of consciousness.
It can be argued with good arguments that consciousness cannot perform a biological function, as if it had evolved e.g. to promote the preservation and reproduction of the organism that is equipped with it (because the same identical decision-making mechanisms of which we are aware could work just as well unconsciously).
In my point of view consciousness performs an ontological, or rather onto-poietic function, that is the function of putting what’s only possible into the domain of the presently existing.
What exists, in general, both the possible and the presently existing, is not possible that it does not exist (it would be illogical to ask why it exists and whether it might not have existed).
On the other hand, what exists cannot exist only in the form of the possible, because, if it existed in this form, it could never (in no time) pass to the present existence. This passage to present existence implies time. But time, in turn, implies, just like space (in its original perspective version), consciousness.
In the absence of consciousness we can represent what exists as a holographic plate before holograms are projected or as a computer program before it is executed. However, again, if consciousness had not always been coupled to what exists, the projection of the hologram in which the observable universe consists would never (in no time) have taken place, nor the software that generates the observable universe would never have been executed.
You may ask, at this point, why the consciousness emerges apparently in living beings. According to my point of view the living beings act as an ontological “lens”, allowing the universe to articulate in space and time instead of being all simultaneous and concentrated in one point.
You may argue that many living beings other than humans are likely to be unconscious, as are many parts and functions of the human organism (even very intelligent ones such as the immune system).
However, first, by adopting an autopoietic model, we can note that there is no clear boundary between organism and environment (there is an organism-niche unity). The living being can be understood as a dissipative structure that constitutes an envelope of the whole universe.
Secondly, we can consider a living being accomplished only if and when the whole universe is completely enveloped in it (for example a hurricane, although it’s a dissipative structure, isn’t properly a living being).
My hypothesis is as follows: the universe would only become conscious in such a (complete) living being (not necessarily only in homo sapiens).
Unconscious organisms can be thought of as parts of the globally conscious universe. They appear separated from us in space and time, but space and time in turn depend on our perception (consciousness).
The role of an amoeba may not be very different from that of a cell in my body. In this respect the tree of life can be considered literally, not as a metaphor: we are parts of a single organism, biota, with different “eyes”, e.g. distinct occurrences in space and time of the same universal consciousness.
This point of view requires an argumentative questioning of the theory of evolution as based on the natural selection of the organism randomly more suitable for its environment.
We must represent the evolution, on the contrary – not only of life but also of the entire universe – as characterized by a series of breaks of symmetry. The “choice” of one line of development over the other is justified by the fact that it is a line that leads to the emergence of consciousness. It’s my version of the anthropic principle.
We must bear in mind in particular that evolution takes time. But time from virtual can become real, thus making possible evolution itself, only at the end of the process, that is, at the emergence of consciousness as the result of evolution itself. Evolution therefore has a teleonomic and circular character.
Finally we can represent consciousness as an area taken on a Moebius strip, the universe. Its “recto” is what appears to us as external, while its “verso” is what we feel and what we guess, e.g. that we are separate individuals. Emotions, in general, and in particular pleasure and pain, are the way our body reminds the universe, which it envelops, its needs for preservation and reproduction. But as there is actually no absolute distinction between inside and outside in a Moebius strip, the universe also reminds us of its need to pass from possible to presently existing for example through the emotion aroused by knowledge.
Note that in this model memory is not contained in the body or in the brain, but rather is limited by them. We can then hope for a form of near-personal immortality (This aspect of my thesis is the one that can arouse greater perplexity, in myself too, because it may seem like wishful thinking; however, I think we can ask that arguments in favor of my model are considered for their intrinsic value).
My theory recalls some Hindu doctrines, such as the Vedanta, the philosophical doctrines of Parmenides, Pythagoras, Plato and the neoplatonic tradition that derives from them, the Christian Gnosis (not necessarily the heretical doctrine that goes under this name, but also the Catholic doctrine of Clement of Alexandria, Origen and the fathers of Cappadocia), some Jewish esoteric doctrines such as Qabbalah and Islamic such as Sufism, the modern theories of Giordano Bruno, Spinoza, Schelling, theosophy and anthroposophy and certain New Age currents. However, if I register with pleasure these significant consonances, I do not intend to base my theory on these illustrious (and less illustrious) precedents, that is, to assert an improper principle of authority, but only to bring arguments in its favor.
Of course, it can be considered that, if many people have conceived something similar over the centuries, it may be because it may be true. But in general I prefer arguments that can be derived from scientific hypotheses and philosophical theories of our time, also from the limits and “blind spots” of contemporary scientific research, especially in the cosmological, biological and neuro-psychological fields.