Is consciousness the fundamental nature of reality? Neuroscientist Donald Hoffman discusses his theory of “conscious agents” on the Waking Cosmos podcast.
For all of science’s impressive advancements, one problem has stubbornly eluded us: Why do we have consciousness? How does inert unconscious matter give rise to the light of conscious experience? Neuroscientist Donald Hoffman has been pondering this question throughout his career. His thinking has gradually led him to a surprising possibility — that consciousness itself is fundamental to reality. Donald’s theory, however, differs from that of the growing number of other scientists and philosophers now arriving at this conclusion.
The fundamental nature of reality, Donald theorizes, is comprised of an infinite network of interacting conscious agents. Uniquely, Donald offers a precise mathematical definition of a conscious agent. He believes the theory may be used to reconstruct the universe and existing scientific discoveries purely through the interaction of these units of consciousness.
As Donald has gradually become “a student of the math” his theory has led him to consider fantastic possibilities, including the existence of infinitely great minds which exist beyond our realm of perception. Among other possibilities, Donald believes “conscious realism” leaves the door open to life after death.
In my conversation with Donald we explore the surprising implications of his theory, and what it suggests about our own place in reality.
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