Where did the universe come from?
How is it that we have developed this conscious experience such that we are able to experience the universe?
Ultimately I felt like the technology to discover the origins of the universe were too far away, so I chose psychology.
This week the US government declared its intentions to start a project to map the entirety of the human brain. While this endeavor seems much more within our reach than becoming a Stage 3 Civilization and harnessing the power of a star and colonizing the galaxy, I still think we are probably a good 100 years out of being able to understand the intricacies of the human brain.
We don't even have rat brains completely figured out yet!
Just the ability to give a 100% accurate prediction of 5 seconds of human behavior in a complete vacuum is something we are hopelessly incapable of doing. This is the reason that statistics is necessary. Since we can't give accurate predictions that are anywhere near definitive, we must rely on most likely outcomes. We must rely on correlation and statistical significance.
If I punch you in the face, how likely are you to hit me back?
We would have to account for a mountain of variables: How hard did I hit you? Do you like me? Do you feel like fighting right now? Have you been a fighter in your past? Are you prone to violence? What's the weather like? Do you feel good right now? How many fights have you engaged in throughout the years? And on and on and on and on.
If we could take a freeze frame of the entirety of your brain state then MAYBE just maybe we could predict the next couple of seconds, but predicting human behavior with any measure of certainty is just something that is not possible, nor philosophically feasible.
What would this mean for your feelings on consciousness? Do you believe that you are actually conscious? Actually aware of yourself and your environment and possess the ability to navigate through life of your own volition? If we can predict with certainty every move you will every make... does that negate free will?
Of course, being able to predict every move you will ever make would also necessitate being able to predict every arcane and germane stimuli you have ever experienced, are experiencing now, and will ever experience. This type of variable accounting is just not possible outside of a synthetic world within the framework of some type of supercomputer.
But some physicists have even recently hypothesized that we are actually living in a computer simulation and have devised a way to test whether this is actually the case.
Even if we were living in a computer simulation and that was actually the answer to the question, the new question would be whether or not the entities tending to the computer in which we are being simulated are actually living in a computer simulation themselves, and ad nauseum.
My hunch is that we will never be able to understand how the human mind and how consciousness works, because I feel like there is an essential underlying part of the world (heaven, computer simulation, dimension X, etc) that we don't have the capacity to understand because of the limitation of our senses. We are only able to sense height, breadth, width, and time. If there are more dimensions out there - a hypothesis that most modern physicists are on board with given the nature of most Grand Unified Theories of physics - then we are essentially locked out of ever being able to gather the knowledge that we will need to be able to produce a real framework of the workings of the universe and our minds, because we simply do not possess the capacity to be able to do so.
But don't let that deter you US government. You keep spending that coin. I'd like to have my very own R2D2 within my lifetime!
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