Meditation is the study of the 1st person perspective using the 1st person perspective.
Credit: Human brain imagined by Midjourney.
Present-day theories of physics are impotent with regard to the area between here-and-now and time intervals of around 5×10−44 s and lengths of around 10−35 m (i.e., Planck scale1). This area is a complete mystery, existing before and outside of space-time. There is no conceivable way to learn about it from the outside. Fortunately, however, this is also the domain of the 1st person perspective. This may seem like a small place to explore, but it doesn’t really have a size. Everybody always partially exists in this realm. You can experience it more vividly by hewing to the here-and-now.
Our here-and-now 1st person perspective extends into space-time by about 3 cm and 10 milliseconds as represented by the yellow background. These numbers are guestimates based on the size of our brain and its reaction time. The brain has no intrinsic consciousness23 but provides the user interface that we use to interact with space-time representations.4 For example, the brain contains something like a multimodal large language model5 that we use to predict and imagine. The brain also contains multimodal memories, just like my computer’s storage device. This is not a Homunculus argument,6 but we do have to accept that the here-and-now is an axiom.
Dark matter #
Imagine the universe is like a big playground filled with toys. We can see some toys, like stars and planets, because they light up. However, some toys don’t light up, and we can’t see them directly. These are like the dark matter of the universe! We know they’re there because they affect how the other toys move, but we’re still trying to figure out exactly what they are.7
Summary of evidence for dark matter #
- Galactic rotation curves: Galaxies spin much faster than they should based on the gravity of the visible matter they contain. This suggests there is a significant amount of unseen mass, likely in the form of dark matter, providing the necessary gravitational pull.
- Gravitational lensing: Massive objects, including dark matter, bend light due to their gravity. This effect has been observed in several astronomical objects, providing indirect evidence for the presence of dark matter.
- Cosmic microwave background (CMB): The CMB radiation is a faint afterglow of the Big Bang. The distribution of temperature variations in the CMB is sensitive to the amount and distribution of matter in the universe. Analysis of the CMB suggests that dark matter makes up about 85% of the matter in the universe.
- Galaxy cluster collisions: When galaxy clusters collide, the visible matter interacts and slows down, while the dark matter passes through each other largely unaffected. This behavior has been observed in several galaxy cluster collisions, further supporting the existence of dark matter.
- Standard Model of particle physics: The Standard Model, which describes the fundamental particles and forces in the universe, predicts the existence of many more weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) than we observe. These WIMPs are good candidates for dark matter particles.
- Structure formation in the universe: The large-scale structure of the universe, such as the formation of galaxies and clusters of galaxies, cannot be explained by the gravity of visible matter alone. Dark matter is thought to play a crucial role in the formation of these structures.
What is dark matter? #
One possibility is that dark matter is the projection, mostly inchoate, of here-and-now into space-time (i.e., a cluster of particles being a soul 👻).8 The better we understand how the brain works 🧠, the more we will understand what kind of user interface a soul is best suited to interact with. Perhaps science can also crack the mystery of birth 🎂 and death ☠️ (and maybe spirit possession9 and reincarnation10).
Sapolsky, R. M. (2023). Determined: A Science of Life without Free Will. Penguin Press. ↩︎
Norretranders, T. (1999). The user illusion: Cutting consciousness down to size. Penguin. ↩︎
WARNING 🤓 Extreme Speculation 🤯: Evidence from split-brain patients and many other accounts of brain injury suggest that consciousness is finely divisible, maybe down to the sub-cellular level. How might these soul particles function? They exercise volition (i.e., two-way communication between here-and-now and space-time). How do they exercise volition? Maybe by sensing the range of outcomes afforded by the uncollapsed quantum wave function 🌊 and choosing how to collapse it 🞋. Perhaps dark matter is the physical realization of qualia. ↩︎
Falconer, R. (2023). The Others Within Us: Internal Family Systems, Porous Mind, and Spirit Possession. Great Mystery Press. ↩︎
Stevenson, I. (2000). Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation. McFarland. ↩︎