This is my "My Big Theory of Everything" (MBT) from Thomas Campbell Elevator Pitch. Maybe the elevator needs to get stuck for a moment, but I think the most important elements are all there 🙂 .
We start with the elementary question:
Is reality objective or subjective?
Without having studied physics, we are culturally taught that we live in a material world. We assume that everything that exists is made up of small particles. Therefore living beings and their consciousness must consist of matter. Chemical processes in the brain, which we have not yet understood (but we are very close, I promise!), somehow produce this phenomenon.
However, there are a few problems with this approach. How can your subjective experience grow out of something completely "objective"? How can you have free will if your brain is subject only to the mechanistic laws of matter, driven only by chemical reactions? If you go with the material way of thinking, there is no real free will and therefore no real consciousness. Convinced materialists go as far as to dismiss free will and consciousness as an illusion. They explain this illusion as an evolutionary side effect, only existing because living beings want to secure their survival and the consciousness illusion may serve a purpose here. In the end, you are just an inconsequential, albeit complex, meat robot that happens to exist in the vast expanse of the universe. Without meaning and without purpose. Whether you exist or not doesn't really make any difference in the infinite meaninglessness of everything.
So in this model, your consciousness is subordinate to matter, which has been a major source of headaches for me since I was a child, because this simply can't work. A subjective I-perspective cannot possibly grow out of a sterile, objective and lifeless world. Where there is no consciousness, there cannot be one simply by some "quantum tubule" magic trick or otherwise. This is a logical, unsolvable problem, also known as "The Hard Problem of Consciousness in philosophy ". "Hard" because it is just not solvable, at least within this framework of thought.
The fact that you are conscious of your existence already disproves the hypothesis that there is an objective, material reality. If it would be different, one could also prove the consciousness of other living beings with material measuring instruments.
But this is not possible, because nobody has ever measured or touched a consciousness, let alone seen it. Each individual can only subjectively experience his or her own consciousness without knowing that someone else is also conscious. This problem is known as the "philosophical zombie".
The order is twisted.
MBT reverses this hierarchy and thus joins idealist-monist philosophical teachings. Not matter, but consciousness is the foundation of everything that exists, including what we call matter right now. Everything is generated from consciousness. MBT explains this with the metaphor of virtual reality. Like a computer game, a solid seeming world is generated from consciousness. Consciousness has no material quality, it consists of pure information that organizes itself. The idea is abstract, but there is no material medium in which consciousness resides. It is the absolute foundation, nothing is more elemental than consciousness. It is not somewhere, it is not something, it is just there.
Consciousness is THE subjective. Consciousness is that which reads and understands these lines here. It is the certainty of knowing that you exist.
YOU are THE consciousness.
You are the big whole, you are all that exists and is perceivable. You have evolved from a chaotic data potential and are in a constant process of evolution that is never complete. However, you are not omnipotent or perfect. You have finite, yet powerful resources and you act efficiently. Your structure is fractal-like, which saves capacities and helps your development. Metaphors can be used well for this very reason, because everything is similar to itself.
At some point in your development, you decided to split yourself into many, many pieces that closely resemble your original Being. Fractalized pieces of consciousness with which you could experience and learn even better. Then you created rule-based places where you interact with your other fractalized parts. This development is even more efficient, faster and more focused. You intentionally forget your big identity and always have fresh experiences as "isolated" incarnations in rule-based realities.
What does this have to do with video games?
Now you are in this reality. It is a tool for your development. There are rules and consequences here that give us feedback about our being and actions, which in turn help us evolve. MBT compares these realities to Virtual Realities, similar to a multiplayer video game. It becomes clear that the supposed dualism is only a pseudo-dualism. There is no body and spirit, there is only spirit, which pretends that there are bodies.
This comparison also clarifies why consciousness cannot be localized. Imagine consciousness is a player in front of a gaming console: he controls an avatar within the video game. He temporally identifies with the avatar, but he is obviously not that avatar. No matter what one does, one will never find the player inside the avatar's body. Neither in its virtual head, nor anywhere else in the virtual body. Consciousness is not in the virtual body, it's not even in virtual reality. It is intangible from this perspective. It is impossible to grasp the actual player (sitting in front of the game console), with virtual measurement devices that exist only within the game.
Am I living in a dystopian video game?
The concept of "virtual reality" is just a contemporary metaphor that can explain many relationships in this reality. No model can explain reality in its entirety, otherwise the model would be reality. Other philosophies use other metaphors to explain reality, but they are not mutually contradictory or necessarily wrong.
Why does consciousness do all this to itself?
Although it often seems excruciating from our limited, fractalized "me" perspective, we chose to be here in all of this by choice. We are here of our own free will to drive the development of the system. With each individual development, the large consciousness system, which is ultimately you, also grows. The once chaotic information system becomes more and more stable through self-optimization. MBT explains this with the concept of entropy. High entropy equals a lot of chaos: data is disordered and the system is not effective. Low entropy equals lots of order, tranquility, and love.
All the good, as well as the bad, that happens here is a reflection of our individual being. The larger consciousness System usually does not intervene, because this would not result in real development.
Constant work is needed to keep this entropy low, or to reduce it further. If it stagnates, the system degenerates, like a house that slowly crumbles because it is not maintained again and again over the years.
Fortunately, low entropy is something very nice to work towards. Low entropy means more acceptance, empathy and love throughout the system.
My personal speculation is that this is all happening here because the YOU or consciousness system just likes to share and feel love as it enjoys its existence. It is not afraid of degeneration or chaos from the big picture perspective. It has a completely positive motivation.
High entropy, chaotic information in consciousness, equates to fear. Fear is the root of all dysfunction in us and the larger system. Fear creates EGO. Ego protects us from these fears, but makes it difficult to recognize them. It relies on beliefs, lies and projection. Moreover, it separates us from the realization of our fundamental being. Fear also generates negative emotions such as hatred, anger, envy, sadness, etc. If we acknowledge our fears and dissolve them within us, we can also shed our fear-based ego and evolve ourselves - and the whole system towards more love.
The books explain many things even more precisely and also address other problems. It is a very elegant overall concept. MBT seems very dry and technical at first sight. But in the end it unites science and spirituality humorously and without window dressing. It is a very heartfelt and profound work. Thomas Campbell himself has not only created an intellectual work, he actually lives the development of consciousness.
Don't rely on my interpretation of Tom's work. Check it out for yourself, and get your virtual head pried open wide: