Some Scientists Believe The Universe Is Conscious
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June 10 2021: Article discusses panpsychism, integrated information theory, and similar theories and philosophies that some complex objects other than our familiar organic brains may have emergent consciousness. Potentially a wide variety of complex systems may have self-awareness, with or without free-will. Some mathematicians have put together a model for figuring out the capacity for emergent consciousness in a given system, which they call phi.


Game and Story Use

  • The notion of complex systems as self-aware is pretty interesting, and bound to have lots of game potential.
  • God and/or the Gods could be will of the universe, galaxy, or even just a random planetary system.
    • This would probably equate to monism.
  • Dial up the Gaia Hypothesis to 11. Are we an active and vital component of the "organism" that is the solar system, or are we a parasite that the Earth struggles to overcome.
  • A swarm could have a hivemind, but so could perhaps an entire species.
  • There might be a shadow biosphere of inorganic life all around us, but just too different for us to recognize.
  • The internet might itself already by an artificial intelligence, created by us but not intentionally. This Ghost in the Machine remains hidden for now, but what might coax it into revealing itself?
    • On a smaller scale, the infrastructure of a city might have something similar afoot. It seems like that red light near your work really hates you, and always catches you up in traffic. Maybe it's the whole city that doesn't like you. Maybe neighborhoods compete.
  • Might all evolutionary pressure within a star system be a function of that system's desire to compete with other stars?
    • Even if the answer is "no", an alien species that believes this and tries to annex, subjegate, or strip mine other stars for the glory of its sun god could make for interesting villains.
    • Leaving your homeworld or system might remove you from the larger mind. Does this transform you in some way? Will the system reject you when you return?
    • Might stars evolve intelligent life and trade them back and forth to empower their cosmological communication with other stars?
    • Has someone been playing Fallen London too much?
  • The article is about science, but it should be noted this notion is obviously a good match for magic and fantasy as well. For related ideas see Kami, Egregore, Mythago, Genius Loci, Tulpa, Nature Spirit, Ghost, etc.
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