universal consciousness vs. individual consciousness

I enjoyed "justlikeyou comment at the EVOLUTION OF RELIGION thread. Can’t say I agree with him, aspects of it resonate with me, I know I’d like to hear more. So, I’ve quoted a paragraph from his comment, hoping jly will add some details.

"I am the Genus Homo, just like you" wrote:

We speak of something called consciousness as if it were something that is ours.

We say my consciousness or your consciousness but is it? It really isn’t.

What is ours is our direct experience of consciousness but that is something different.

In the same way that we experience a beautiful sunset, we can say the experience belongs to us but not the sunset itself. That exists independently of those who experience it.

In the same way “consciousness is something we enter into.
<blockquote><strong>It’s not produced by the brain but is experienced through the human brain.  </strong>

<strong>{how did you arrive at that conclusion, please explain}</strong></blockquote>
That means consciousness has another source.

That source is universal and timeless because it very likely existed prior to the emergence of the human brain which receives, interprets and experiences consciousness but is not the source of it.

<strong>{again, how did you arrive at that conclusion, please explain}</strong>

This explains why we find considerable differences in the level of intellectual and emotional acuity in various individuals.

The difference being one person who is highly evolved has entered more deeply into universal consciousness and a less evolved person hasn’t.

<strong>{That has a lot of superiority stink around it that most will resent.  What do mean by less 'evolved person'?}</strong>

This universal consciousness is a manifestation of the “omniscience” that is ascribed to God.

<strong>{What "universal consciousness" -   We are embedded in this one universe matrix.  Okay.  Is that consciousness? How's that work?}</strong>

I apologize for being expansive but these are complex ideas and there is simply no short hand way to convey them. I thank you for your indulgence.


<strong>I'm interested in why you can't imagine our individual consciousness being a product of our physical brains?   </strong>

<strong>Of course within a constant dialogue with the reality* of the universe around us, but still a personal thing onto each creature according to their abilities.   *and with our evolutionary past </strong>

The following comes from an essay I wrote recently, Pageant of Evolution 24hr part 2 - I think it’s important to this discussion because it underscores the point that consciousness (just like physical organisms) cannot be considering in isolation of the reality unfolding on the other side of that consciousness, namely the universe surrounding us.

Before continuing please reflect on a truth first recognized when studying the most primitive of life forms on Earth.  Spelled out by Nobel Laureate Peter Mitchell in 1957 it reads,
<blockquote>“(We) cannot consider the organism without its environment - from a formal point of view the two may be regarded as equivalent phases between which dynamic contact is maintained by the membranes that separate and link them.”</blockquote>
That’s because the cell’s barrier skin is tailored to protect its innards from its particular environment, while allowing specific nutrients to flow in and waste to flow out. Life got more complex but these basic challenges remained.

Consciousness is something that we do. My consciousness is mine, because I am doing it. AFAIK there is no such thing as a “universal consciousness”. It would be cool it there were. We could tap in and see what anyone else was being conscious of.

CC, you mention again that “we cannot consider (an) organism without its environment”. The way that statement rings true to me (thinking in terms as a behavior analyst) is that one of the distinguishing characteristics of organisms is that they have behaviors. AND all of their behaviors are a product in some way of each organism’s environment and their history of experiencing environmental contingencies.

Sounds good to me on all counts Tim. I was simply curious to hear “justlikeyou” tell us more about his perspective.

My consciousness is my own, your consciousness is your own and the two are completely separate until I see evidence to the contrary. Everything we know says consciousness resides in the brain. We each have our own brains, therefore we each have our own consciousness. There is no evidence to indicate there is anything more to consciousness other than brain chemistry. When there is I will revisit the crazy rantings I hear from stoned people.

Individual consciousness is what we do all the time.

Universal consciousness I think is manifestation of the living things in universe it self an omnipresent

There is no evidence of a motivated universal consciousness, only biological sensory awareness and motivated response. “Fight or flight” is a sensory/mental/physical survival technique and has evolved to very advanced states at different levels in the biological world.

The greater awareness and knowledge of external conditions, the greater chance for survival. Consciousness is an evolved ability in living matter.

The Slime-mold (without brain) displays rudimentary ability for conscious behavior. This is due to the presence of microtubule networks, which are the common denominator of fundamental information processors in all Eukaryotic organisms.

Consciousness requires a common "connectivity " for information sharing. Bacterial consciousness level is observed through “quorum sensing”, a purely chemical language which triggers a dynamic sensory/physical response in the recipient organism, without necessity for sentient cognition.

In spite of the mysterious “entanglement”, there is no observable common connectivity for information processing in the universe. AFAIK, the network that fills the common universal space consists of chaotic quantum fields. Can there be internal communication between quantum fields?

There seems to be only Individual (dedicated brain) or at best, Group (hive mind) consciousness. It seems highly unlikely that conditions at the other end of the universe have much impact in our end.

We would have to dissemble the 4 dimensional structure of spacetime itself and assume that both temporal and spatial measurements can be negated for instantaneous transmission of physical information @ “c”.



Arnold Ungab said,

Universal consciousness I think is manifestation of the living things in universe it self an omnipresent.

Why does consciousness have to be omnipresent? Unconscious mathematical processing of universal values and functions can be quite sufficient.

There is a universal law of “necessity and sufficiency”. It is the concept employed in Occam’s Razor.

It is an observed scientific fact that development of a complex brain (conscious information processor) is a very recent evolutionary development on earth. Is there any reason why evolutionary processes should be different elsewhere in the universe?

There is no evidence of the existence or the need for a prior conscious awareness. Where is the “need” for such complexity when there are no complex patterns except for chaos after the BB?

Individual consciousness is what we do all the time.

Universal consciousness I think is manifestation of the living things in universe it self an omnipresent

That’s just some nonsense right there. There is not one shred of evidence to suggest that “things” are “manifest” by “consciousness”. Unless you’re saying something totally different. That last line was a grade A word salad of meaninglessness.

IMO, the thing is that consciousness requires a neural network that processes and translates information which allows the consciousness to respond to input.

In all conscious Eukaryotic organisms this functional ability is a result of trillions of microtubules throughout the body of the organism.


Cellular slime molds are mycetozoan protists characterized by a trophic stage during which they exist as solitary cells that phagocytize bacteria or yeasts, and by the formation of stalked sporocarps that bear one or many walled spores (Bonner, 1967; Olive, 1975; Raper, 1973). The cells of most species are non-flagellated amoebae, but several taxa have amoeboflagellate cells.

Whereas a few species of cellular slime molds, foremost among them Dictyostelium discoideum, have been widely used for many years as model organisms for the study of cell differentiation and development (e.g., Loomis, 1975; Spudich, 1987), the interest in microtubules and mitosis of cellular slime molds is relatively recent, but progress has been rapid over the past several years, mainly due to the availability of various antibodies for immunofluorescence (Cappuccinelli et al., 1981, 1982; Guhl and Roos, 1987, 1988; Kitanishi-Yumura and Fukui, 1987; Roos and Cattelan-Kohler, 1989; Roos et al., 1984; Rubino et al., 1984; Unger et al., 1979; White et al., 1983). Undifferentiated interphase amoebae of cellular slime molds generally have an intricate microtubule (MT) complex that undergoes a complete reorganization during mitosis, as is the case in higher plant and animal cells (e.g., De Brabander et al., 1979; De Mey et al., 1982; Weber and Osborn, 1979).


Microtubules allow for “motion” in predatory organisms.


A pseudopod or pseudopodium (plural: pseudopods or pseudopodia) is a temporary arm-like projection of a eukaryotic cell membrane. Filled with cytoplasm, pseudopodia primarily consist of actin filaments and may also contain microtubules and intermediate filaments.[1][2] Pseudopods are used for motility and ingestion. They are often found in amoebas.

Chaos carolinense, an amoeboid having lobopodia

The very first evolutionary step in hunting for food.

Write4U, I happened to be trying to understand where mitochondria fit on the tree of life the other day. I hear that idea that we “evolved to host bacteria”, and it looks like plants do this also, hosting photosynthetic bacteria. But of course bacteria don’t have thoughts, so it’s more of a bit of playing around with terms. Then there’s Archea, that I know nothing about.

You use the phrase “eukaryotic organism”, is that more technically accurate than “eukarya based life”? I know, silly question. I like to sound smart at parties.


Let me qualify my posts. I am an enthousiastic layman and my posts are my interpretation of what I have read about “microtubules” and their incredible versatility in transmitting information, including mitosis, the copying of entire cells.

<b> Eukaryote </b> (yū-kar’ē-ōt),

1. A cell containing a membrane-bound nucleus with chromosomes of DNA and proteins, generally large (10-100 mcm), with cell division involving a form of mitosis in which mitotic spindles (or some microtubule arrangement) are involved; mitochondria are present, and, in photosynthetic species, plastids are found; undulipodia (cilia or flagella) are of the complex 9+2 organization of microtubules and various proteins. Possession of an eukaryote type of cell characterizes the four kingdoms above the Monera or prokaryote level of complexity: Protoctista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia, combined into the superkingdom Eukaryotae. 2. Common name for members of the Eukaryotae.


The key difference between eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms is that the eukaryotic organisms have a true nucleus and membrane-bound organelles while the prokaryotic organisms lack a nucleus and membrane-bound organelles.

All living organisms belong to two categories namely prokaryotes or eukaryotes. Prokaryotic organisms exhibit a simple cell organization while eukaryotic organisms show a complex cell organization. Moreover, prokaryotes are unicellular, and they lack a nucleus and membrane-bound organelles.

On the other hand, eukaryotes are generally multicellular and contain a true nucleus and membrane-bound organelles such as chloroplasts, mitochondria and Endoplasmic reticulum, etc.

Prokaryotes include bacteria and Archaea while eukaryotes include protists, fungi, plants and animals. Other than those above-mentioned differences, there are more differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Therefore, understanding the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms is very important. The aim of this article is to discuss the difference between eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms.


Prokaryotic organisms do possess a rudimentary form of microtubules assisting in cell division, but this proto form of a self-assembling microtubule consists of fewer parts than the modern microtubules in Eukaryotic organisms. IMO, this is important, because while prokaryota undergo cell division it is distinct from Eukaryota, which employ dynamic (tunable) microtubules for mitosis and cell division and a host of other essential information transport. A true evolutionary advance in transcribing DNA for cell division of highly complex oxygen based organisms, which may be the platform network for the experience of consciousness.

Structures and Functions of Microtubules Microtubules are filamentous intracellular structures that are responsible for various kinds of movements in all eukaryotic cells. Microtubules are involved in nucleic and cell division, organization of intracellular structure, and intracellular transport, as well as ciliary and flagellar motility. Because the functions of microtubules are so critical to the existence of eukaryotic cells (including our own), it is important that we understand their composition, how they are assembled and disassembled, and how their assembly/disassembly and functions are regulated by cells.

For the sake of brevity, only the very basic and universal concepts about microtubules and their organization into flagella will be presented here, leaving many questions unanswered. You will find that textbooks provide more complete descriptions of microtubules and their structures and functions, but they also leave many questions unanswered. Textbooks seldom tell us is how much science knows and does not know about them, and of course they cannot be up to date with the latest discoveries. To fully understand a subject it is important to go to multiple sources. If the subject is especially important to you, you should seek the primary literature, namely original research reports.

Note the self-referential function, which may lead to an experiential hive-mind.


We have trillions of these nano scale processors in our bodies and brains and are a common denominator in all Eukaryotic organisms and in a more primitive state for Prokaryote organisms, such as Archea.

Forgive if I seem overly enthusiastic about microtubules, but Dr Stuart Hameroff, anesthesiologist and expert in the control of “consciousness” in the brain offers a persuasive narrative on the function and importance of Microtubules, so much so that Roger Penrose (eminent physicist) and he are collaborating on a new theory of consciousness named ORCH OR.

Orchestrated objective reduction (Orch OR) is a biological philosophy of mind that postulates that consciousness originates at the quantum level inside neurons, rather than the conventional view that it is a product of connections between neurons. The mechanism is held to be a quantum process called objective reduction that is orchestrated by cellular structures called microtubules. It is proposed that the theory may answer the hard problem of consciousness and provide a mechanism for free will.[1] The hypothesis was first put forward in the early 1990s by theoretical physicist Roger Penrose and anaesthesiologist and psychologist Stuart Hameroff. The hypothesis combines approaches from molecular biology, neuroscience, pharmacology, philosophy, quantum information theory, and quantum gravity.[2][3]

I ran across this excellent lecture on slime moulds.

It shows a remarkable similarity to bacterial “quorum sensing” which allows the organism to differentiate between chemical “smells” to orient itself to a food source and to “remember” where it has been! It does so with mathematical precision which rivals human traffic engineers.

Moreover it can learn to anticipate a timed event, by exhibiting slow-down in anticipation of a timed cold blast. If after the mould is acclimated to the timed blast and the blast mechanism is removed, the slime mould will still slow down for several originally timed events before it returns to its normal behavior.

In addition it functions in a purely mathematical manner and in the process displays a pseudo sentient intelligent behavior, a proto model of later fully conscious sentient intelligent behavior.

This remarkably versatile single celled multi-organism shows the beginning of sensory evolution. IMO, it is the microtubules which are the only fundamental processors/machines common to and essential to all modern Eukaryote organisms, their cell growth (homeostasis), cell-division (mitosis), structural integrity (cytoskeleton) and their functional information processing such as translating DNA encoding (transcription), and “learning to anticipate” repetitive external stimulus.


IMO, if there is a physical organization or network which is suitable for the emergence of consciousness, it cannot be other than the microtubule network. These biochemical processors are at the heart of the neural network. I cannot conceive of anything which can even begin to compete with microtubules in evolved abilities for conscious information processing.


My last post in this thread as it really belongs in another subforum.

Behold the self-organizing nano scale microtubule present in all cellular biological organisms for a host of fundamental information processing.

A: An axon terminal releases neurotransmitters through a synapse and are received by microtubules in a neuron's dendritic spine. B: Simulated microtubule tubulins switch states.[1]

Biological quantum type computers, using qubits?

In regard to Individual consciousness.

The above is a possible physical mechanism for a resultant consciousness even as it might be considered a hive-mind, with limited processing powers except for humans who acquired a large brain and processing power as a result of an evolutionary mutation The fusion of 2 ancestral chromosomes into a single modern human chromosome.

The authors of the 1982 Science paper had no hesitancy in declaring that “the telomeric fusion of chromosomes 2p and 2q accounts for the reduction of the 24 pairs of chromosomes of the great apes to 23 in modern man.” But they could not confirm this with the high-powered techniques of modern genetics.

In a 2005 study published in Nature, however, the “precise fusion site” was located on human chromosome 2. The paper noted the presence of “multiple subtelomeric duplications” in this location (i.e., the expected telomere DNA) and also the vestiges of a second centromere on the chromosome that has since been “inactivated” (represented by the orange region above). In a 2012 study, meanwhile, an international team of scientists published a more detailed evolutionary account of how modern-day versions of human, chimpanzee, and gorilla chromosomes attained their current form. (For an easy-to-understand explanation of what they found, see here.)


IMO, this fusion of two chromosomes was the foundation for modern human ability to develop a larger more complex brain structure and the beginning of a physical network capable of “abstract thought” at much higher levels than mere sensory awareness of the environment, which begins at very primitive levels.

It also would suggest that a physical information processing center is required for high level experiential information processing as is evident in all Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic organisms.

In regard to Universal consciousness.

What would be the physical mechanism that results in more than just deterministic cause/effect and is capable of not just “information sharing” but has the ability for “abstract thought” and intentional behaviors beyond mere survival techniques.

Bohm proposed the concept of a self-referential “Wholeness” from which a form of geometric “Insight Intelligence” emerged, the fundamental mathematical pattern which was causal to our current reality.

That sounds profound, but what is the mechanism which makes all this physically possible? I prefer to think of something mathematical in essence.


All great apes apart from man have 24 pairs of chromosomes. There is therefore a hypothesis that the common ancestor of all great apes had 24 pairs of chromosomes and that the fusion of two of the ancestor’s chromosomes created chromosome 2 in humans. The evidence for this hypothesis is very strong.

The Evidence


This may further suggest that mutation in even simple organisms can evolve and enable to display a “proto-consciousness” or a “phyisical response mechanism” to exterior stimuli.

Example can be found in several very old species of ocean slug, which have remarkably evolved brains and information processing powers.

The key-word in all conscious and intelligent organisms is contained in the concept of relatively “specialized neural processing powers”.

These evolved ocean slugs are the cephelapods like Octopus and Cuttlefish which have had a completely differently evolutionary path to a very complex brain and high IQ.


Why Study Cephalopods/Octopods?

Check it out! This amazingly intelligent creature is the closest we will every get to a completely alien intelligenge.
Nervous system and behavior

Cephalopods are widely regarded as the most intelligent of the invertebrates, and have well developed senses and large brains (larger than those of gastropods).[7] The nervous system of cephalopods is the most complex of the invertebrates[8] and their brain-to-body-mass ratio falls between that of endothermic and ectothermic vertebrates.[6]:14 Captive cephalopods have also been known to climb out of their aquaria, maneuver a distance of the lab floor, enter another aquarium to feed on the crabs, and return to their own aquarium.[9]

Cephalopods are thought to be unable to live in freshwater due to multiple biochemical constraints, and in their +400 million year existence have never ventured into fully freshwater habitats.[5]


To address the question of a Universal consciousness, Max Tegmark proposes that some mathematical patterns are intrinsically conscious and that in view of a purely mathematical universe, some universal mathematical patterns may produce conscious experience.

This is echoed by the theory of “Integrated Information” where certain mathematical patterns produce a form of consciousness, a mathematical self-referential pattern which experiences the physical dynamics of information processing.

This is really profound stuff, as it seems almost too simple to be true, but then, by Occam’s Razor in a binary universe where things are either true or false, consciousness may not necessarily be very complicated.


After all, a form of conscious response is already present in single celled organisms, which can respond to external stimuli and bacteria which can communicate trough “quorum sensing”, a form of chemical communication between same species (intra-species language) and between different species (inter-species language).

The question remains if the Universe has the ability to experience mathematical patterns such as produced by biological “sentient” organisms.

I suspect that if one has not experienced “connecting” with another consciousness by non-physical means he or she will never be able to accept that it happens, and if one has, he or she will never accept that it doesn’t. Mental communication (telepathy, consciousness or whatever one would call it) apparently is not possible through a machine, is not even measurable with a machine and typically cannot be called on demand. Thus it must be seen that investigation into it using some scientific method will not be productive.

The best way I have found to describe universal consciousness (in physical terms) is as a huge circular apartment building in which every individual has a flat with a window facing the enclosed common courtyard. We sit at our window and our thoughts enter into the volume of the courtyard as if we are speaking. There is a huge din in which it would be nearly impossible for anyone to make out any single voice, but there are exceptions.

Two examples are mothers are often able to make out their child’s small voice in a loud crowd, and some people report getting answers to questions and achieving solutions to problems during sleep. In our courtyard model, we can sometimes tune in to a familiar voice or phrases associated with a particular question or problem will catch our ear and we can follow that conversation.

I think the notion of universal consciousness as an entity must give way to to the notion that it is many individuals sharing a common experience.

I suspect that if one has not experienced “connecting” with another consciousness by non-physical means he or she will never be able to accept that it happens, and if one has, he or she will never accept that it doesn’t.
There are lots of things that I don't experience that I accept happen.
apparently is not possible through a machine, is not even measurable with a machine and typically cannot be called on demand. Thus it must be seen that investigation into it using some scientific method will not be productive
Science is not like diagnosing a problem with your car. It can figure out things that aren't directly measurable and aren't "called on".