What We Do?
The study of consciousness requires a multidisciplinary approach involving physics, mathematics, biochemistry, neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science, and philosophy.
The Foundation is interested in the scientific investigation of consciousness under the assumption that it is an irreducible property of nature.
Each of us experiences two different realities: the inner reality of sensations and feelings (called qualia) and the outer reality of objects interacting in space and time. We believe that the outer aspect is objective, and that the inner aspect is the subjective domain of consciousness. These two realities reflect each other in some form, though they are fundamentally different. We could metaphorically say that the outer reality resembles the particle nature of matter, while the inner reality is like its wave nature. Consciousness is the capacity to perceive and know the world and ourselves. We know our unique selfhood by experiencing it as qualia (the sense of self) within our own consciousness. Similarly, the outer world produced by our sensory-brain system is portrayed in the form of qualia “projected” in the space outside of us. How is it possible to do so? A robot and a computer don’t have any consciousness and therefore they cannot experience anything, whether inside or outside. I know I exist because I feel myself as an agent operating in the world that I feel exists outside of me. I am a self, capable of feeling physical sensations, emotions, thoughts, and spiritual feelings – four distinct and different classes of qualia. Physical sensations are qualia deriving from the sensing and processing of signals produced by our physical body and by signals coming from the external world. Emotions, thoughts, and spiritual feelings are qualia that appear to arise from body’s signals. However, the processes that produce qualia are completely unknown. How can we have such sentient experiences if we are made of atoms and molecules deprived of any elementary form of consciousness? Physical laws cannot explain how electrical signals may produce qualia. Furthermore, it is impossible to explain the emergence of consciousness out of fundamental units that don’t have any. Just like it would be impossible to explain the presence of electricity and magnetism in macroscopic bodies unless some elementary particles carried tiny quanta of electrical charge and magnetic spin. Consciousness must then be an irreducible property of nature already present in the primordial “stuff” out of which space, time, energy, and matter emerged. This stuff must also have a self-reflecting property allowing it to know itself. What we perceive as space, time, matter, and energy may then emerge out of “something” that has the capacity to know itself. Starting with this hypothesis, it should be easier to explain how space-time and matter-energy may emerge from something conscious rather than having to explain how consciousness emerges from inert matter. Indeed, space and time are intimately connected with the nature of the observer, which in turn is deeply linked with the nature of consciousness. Contemporary physics describes physical reality by using two incompatible theories: quantum field theory (QFT) which explains small-scale events, and general relativity that deals with large-scale events. Both theories describe the universe as irreducibly holistic and dynamic. QFT says that the world is made of quantum fields and not of particles-objects as we thought, and GR states that the global distribution of matter and energy affects the properties of space-time in counterintuitive ways. Therefore, matter, energy, space, and time are no longer independent variables as classical physics holds. They are interdependent. These theories have resisted reconciliation, despite the major efforts made by the physics community for more than 80 years. Even worse, they offer no hope of explaining the existence of consciousness that each of us experiences within. I am convinced that starting from unconscious quantum fields interacting in space-time as we imagine, it will be impossible to explain the nature of consciousness and unify QFT and GR. I think it is essential to start from a new conception of space and time, which is the part in common to all the quantum fields. I think that the unification of physics and the unification of science and spirituality may both be possible by the simple assumption that all that exists is made of consciousness units (CUs) and their organizations undergoing repeated cycles of perception-comprehension in an “experiential space,” a space completely different from physical space, though correlated with it. In this new framework, each CU is an indivisible, unique and conscious self; it is a field that has an irreducible internal semantic reality and an external symbolic reality. This self has free will and the ability to communicate with other CUs (called action). The CUs form an indivisible and dynamic field of fields that can be described with concepts and equations still to be developed, that must however reduce to the concepts and properties of QFT when the physical dimensions are very small, and reduce to the concepts and properties of GR when the dimensions are very large. This wholeness (the field of fields), which I call One, wants to know itself and evolves without ever losing its unity, co-creating and co-evolving “container” and “content”. The new conceptual framework should explain why a physical universe emerges from the symbolic communication of the CUs in experiential space, resulting from a co-evolution of semantic and symbolic forms correlated to the ever-growing self-knowing achieved by the constantly evolving CUs For One to know itself, the CUs must communicate and combine in ever-widening hierarchies to represent their ever-increasing self-knowing with evermore complex symbols. What we perceive as space and matter, then, are only the live symbolic forms that encode the meaning. I use the expression live symbols to distinguish them from the abstract symbols we use to communicate, for reasons that will be explained in essays that will appear shortly in this site. Starting with these basic assumptions, the next step is to create a conceptual framework capable of explaining how the key concepts of physics emerge from it, thus inspiring the necessary mathematical theory to describe the symbolic nature of reality. This theory must contain QFT and GR as special cases, and it must make new testable predictions in those areas where both QFT and GR are simultaneously valid. I hope that the development of a new conceptual framework be vigorously pursued because it has the potential not only to unify physics, but even more importantly, to restore the meaning and the purpose of life that the current scientific narrative has erased the moment it defined the concept of information to be independent of its meaning.