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Metaphysics & Psychology

Panpsychism: could everything in the universe be conscious ?

By T.K. Randall
March 26, 2024 · Comment icon 35 comments
Consciousness and reality.
What exactly is consciousness ? Image Credit: Bing AI / Dall-E 3
One theory suggests that everything in the universe, even the chair you are sitting on, has some level of consciousness.
While in recent years science has made great strides in unraveling the workings of the physical human brain, today we are still no closer to understanding the nature of human consciousness.

As things stand, we don't really know what consciousness even is.

Is it something that manifests as a result of the functionality of our physical brain or does it exist independent of our physical selves ?

It has been suggested, for example, that our conscious self might exist in multiple dimensions and that we live and interact with the physical world by 'driving' our bodies using the brain as an interface.
While it is clear that humans and other animals possess consciousness, one theory goes one step further by suggesting that absolutely everything - from the planets in the solar system to the chair you are sitting on - are conscious as well.

Known as panpsychism, this idea is not a new one, but a growing number of scientists seem to be subscribing to the notion that consciousness may be far more pervasive than we previously thought.

This is not to necessarily suggest that a chair, for example, is just as conscious as a human, but that objects possess levels of consciousness relative to their state and complexity.

At the most basic level, even fundamental particles may possess some level of consciousness.

Without fully understanding what consciousness is, how it works and how it arises, however, it's impossible to say for sure what really does have consciousness and what doesn't.

Source: Popular Mechanics | Comments (35)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #26 Posted by Chaldon 17 days ago
Not exactly. There are masses who need only awe, and awe they get, and there are thinkers who see the universal truth behind any religion that stood the test of time. And it is indeed inexplicable.
Comment icon #27 Posted by Chaldon 17 days ago
The universal truth behind existence does not need determination.
Comment icon #28 Posted by XenoFish 17 days ago
Okay, sure...
Comment icon #29 Posted by lightly 17 days ago
What is  is.    ..but not static. ?  Is is change.?      ???
Comment icon #30 Posted by joc 17 days ago
Scientific peer reviewed studies!  
Comment icon #31 Posted by Freez1 16 days ago
Well who ever posted this here is definitely hoping you pay and sign up to the rest of it.
Comment icon #32 Posted by The man in the tan jacket 16 days ago
Rocks feel pain, morning, noon and night. Just screaming but we can’t hear them because we don’t want to hear them.
Comment icon #33 Posted by XenoFish 16 days ago
Apparently I'm a lot more sane than I give myself credit for. 
Comment icon #34 Posted by Desertrat56 13 days ago
I remember having a weird conversation with a coworker years ago (she had a psycology degree, and I have bias about that anyway).   She said she talks to "things" and feels bad for stuff left on the road.   I said I talk to trees and rocks.   She told me that she got upset one time because she found someone's groceries lying on the side of the road.  They had probably fallen out of the back of a pick and she felt so bad but her husband wouldn't stop for her to rescue them.   ?   I believe panpsychism is how it is, all things are made of atoms and all living things have concsioussness, ... [More]
Comment icon #35 Posted by man with breasts 3 days ago
I'd say the opposite is accurate. The universe is quite insensible. If unicellular organisms however are ubiquitous. Complexity could be an aberration on other planets. 

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