Transitional thoughts

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly

Transitional thoughts

As time passes, an increasing number of praying mantises are spotted in the native plant garden. A friend of mine said the other day that it is a sign of a healthy ecosystem. “Whenever I want to feel humbled,” writes Thomas about the ecological collapse, “I think of the species that disappeared because of our conceit. They went away painfully, but we never saw it happen. A last male or female waited forever for a mate, and then they fell dead and unmourned after their hope was dashed”. The Moon set early last night as I, too, fell asleep at an earlier time than usual, exhausted by the burning magma of thoughts in my head. 


Transitional thoughts


Moving forward, I’d like to restate the following points: The code in the hidden order of time converts information into rounds of communication between Consciousness and the Universe. No matter which fundamentals of reality take part in the circle of concepts and whether some are co-emergent,  I intuitively feel that time comes first.  I remain cautious, though, keeping in mind that I ought to go deeper. Writing helps with the disentangling of my thoughts. I would not know where to start without it as I continue to grasp the more profound significance of what I have so far barely touched upon. 

The deeper we go, the more our understanding grows and adds substance to the dynamic framework that we put in place. The approach is uncertain and won’t be devoid of twists and turns. ‘Transitional thoughts’ lays out a course of action that I tentatively draw for the next few posts, a path opening on the hazy horizon. I am well aware of the gap between running ideas in one’s head and testing them, and I wonder how mathematicians render a phenomenal experience into a mathematical representation.


Initially, I wanted this post to complement an earlier one on computational models of the Universe. A model of consciousness is a hypothetical theory about how conscious experience and the physical domain relate. It refers to brain function and individual consciousness. Since a dream of a final theory can only include a theory of consciousness, I thought that a paper on models of consciousness by Johannes Kleiner from the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy could be of interest in my own pledge to define the bond between the Universe and Consciousness. 


As it is often the case, I got sidetracked from my original intent. An article by David Chalmers and Kelvin McQueen will soon be published in the volume of Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness.  They plan to demonstrate how consciousness comes into play in the collapse of the wave function. “Measurement is where consciousness comes in. Measurement is when a physical system affects a conscious observer”. In a video chat with Robert Wright, four years ago, David Chalmers suggested that whenever the wave function collapses, that is when consciousness kicks in. Without it, there is no consciousness. 



David Chalmers and Kelvin McQueen intend on spelling out, in mathematical terms, how consciousness exerts a causal effect on the dynamics of the wave function. “Consciousness never enters a superposition. It is always in a definite state. The collapse defines the definite state of consciousness”. In my mind, quantum fluctuations are at the steering wheel of virtual particles. Could a process of appropriation occur during the superposition state leading to the collapse of the wave function? When we speak of quantum ontology, we mean that at the base of quantum mechanics lies the possibility that a wave similar to a physical thought or a speck of metaphysical dust operates a particle of matter mentally, giving it shape and guiding its movement by the transmission of information.  


A larger problem at hand is how the wave function applies to the entire Universe. The concept of universal wave function entails that the Universe as a whole is both the observer and the observable. All the actors and players within the Universe are only bearers of their own perspective. We could look at the entire Universe as the setting of an infinite number of superposed states that collapse and emerge in the quantum universe. The cosmic microwave background could be seen as the collapse of a universal wavefunction. It is as much a holographic projection of the data-embedded early universe as it is a snapshot of a universal form of consciousness. 


From the perspective of bottom-up panpsychism, “the moment any physical system potentially becomes entangled with consciousness, it too will have to go into a definite state,” concedes David Chalmers. If consciousness only occurs at the time of the collapse, it would imply that a shared resonance from micro-conscious to macro-conscious entities could only be limited in time, at best intermittent. The definite state constitutes a self-recognition of such an event. But what the collapse signals is that a transfer of information, feeling, or consciousness is finalized. In a sense, a wave-particle is a wave of consciousness that may be short-lived and whose only function is to combine with others.



In a time-embedded Universe, Consciousness takes the form of a silent chatter, the arousal of feelings internally vocalized. Thomas gained an understanding of what it is. “All creatures have consciousness,” he writes. “Consciousness seems like emptiness, but when it aligns with thought, it becomes magnified and fulfilled”.  His distinction between thought and consciousness is an interesting take on the wave-particle duality as if consciousness has always been there, but it is the thought of it that somehow eludes us. 

As we wish to pinpoint consciousness’ whereabouts and physically seize it,  we may ponder upon the implications of a method such as facial asana. It is based on the belief that one half of the face is reactive, and the other side is composed. “From an abstract perspective,” Thomas writes, “the reactive side is occupied by thought, which is in turn possessed by self, ego, whereas the composed side is occupied by consciousness, which is in turn detached from the mind and body. After we lose self, our thought becomes pure and spiritual - exactly like consciousness. When thought is possessed by self, it can be challenged to the point of disintegration, but it attains oneness of presence after it aligns with consciousness”. 

The individual consciousness takes the form of Thought, which is fluid and mobile like quicksilver, perpetually in a state of change and unrest fraught with pain and effort; the other consciousness is not in the form of Thought. It touches, hears, sees, and is those things which it perceives—without motion, without change, without effort, without distinction of subject and object, but with a vast and incredible Joy.

Edward Carpenter


The idea of alignment between thought and consciousness could be seen as a state of superposition until, in a possible form of interactionism, consciousness takes over. Going back to the wave function, it may be that a physical thought, a speck of metaphysical dust, needs to interact with us in order for us to be fully conscious of it as we evidently are at the time of measurement. 


Transitional thoughts
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Comment on this post

kevan hubbard 09/29/2020 02:40

I think that it's more of a bottom up panentheism although mixed with panpsychicism and weak pantheism that causes the universe to exist? rather than being created in one go it's being sustained by the quantum foam bubbling into existence and the interaction with consciousness makes it exist.where it's flowing in from is another matter but probably somewhere outside of the universe?

Catherine Toulsaly 09/29/2020 03:41

Hi Kevan,
Thank you for your comment. Panentheism entails some form of divine involvement. I am a bit reluctant to go there. But if you would like to write something on the subject, I’ll be interested in reading it. And thanks for subscribing to Consciousness and the Universe. Catherine