Panpsychism is a scientific concept which has recently become quite popular. This concept holds the view that consciousness, soul, or mind is a universal feature of all things. Specifically, it says that the universe is capable of consciousness and changing everything as such universal concept.
For a long time, modern science has been doing its best to shrink the wide gap between humans and the rest of the universe. But, they have typically come up short, until now. The one responsible for this notion is Gregory Matloff, a physicist at New York City College of Technology. In his recently issued paper, he notes that humans could be just like the rest of the world. Read on to learn more about his ideas, which are quite shocking!
Christof Koch of the Allen Institute for Brain Science is yet another supporter of this concept, who believes that all biological organisms are conscious because each time they face a new situation, they have the ability to assess it and react accordingly. Based on this view, he is trying to see whether he can measure the level of consciousness a being displays.
In order to test this theory, he will be running a wide range of experiments, including one which involves wiring the brains of two mice together to see whether the information will flow between them like an integrated system. Simply put, according to the integrated information theory, the two brains should merge into a larger information system.
“The only dominant theory we have of consciousness says that it is associated with complexity — with a system’s ability to act upon its own state and determine its own fate,” Koch notes. “Theory states that it could go down to very simple systems. In principle, some purely physical systems that are not biological or organic may also be conscious.
Koch is inspired by integrated information theory, which is quite a popular topic among neuroscientists, which suggests that consciousness is defined by the capability of a system to be affected by its previous state and affect the next one.
The human brain is just one of the many examples of that process, Koch says: “We are more complex, we have more self-awareness — well, some of us do — but other systems have awareness, too. We may share this property of experience, and that is what consciousness is: the ability to experience anything, from the most mundane to the most refined religious experience.”
It is worth noting that panpsychism, called by its formal academic name, has prominent supporters in many different fields. In addition to Christof Koch, New York University philosopher and cognitive scientist David Chalmers as well as British physicist Sir Roger Penrose, renowned for his work on gravity, are proponents of this theory, although in different ways.
The bottom line is that this concept shouldn’t be taken for granted and it is definitely worth researching it more thoroughly. “It’s all very speculative, but it’s something we can check and either validate or falsify,” Matloff argues.