The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

The Science of Impossibility: The End of Utopia

It is intriguing that the three scientific revolutions of the last century all involved introducing limits to classical Physics. Newton thought that signals could travel at infinite velocities, that position and momentum could be measured simultaneously and that energy could be manipulated at will. Relativity told us that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Quantum Mechanics told us that we cannot measure position and momentum simultaneously. Thermodynamics told us that every manipulation of energy implies a loss of order. There are limits in our universe that did not exist in Newton's ideal universe.

These limits are as arbitrary as laws and constants. Why these and not others? Could they be just clues to a more general limit that constrains our universe? Could they be simply illusions, due to the way our universe is evolving?

Newton's world has been shaken to its foundations by Darwin's revolution.  Natural systems look different now. Not monolithic artifacts of logic, but flexible and pragmatic side effects of randomness. By coincidence, while Physics kept introducing limits, Biology has been telling us the opposite. Biological systems can do pretty much anything, at random. The environment makes the selection. We have been evangelized to believe that nothing is forbidden in Nature, although a lot will be suppressed.

Once all these views are reconciled, Newton's Utopia may be replaced by a new Utopia, with simple laws and no constraints. But it's likely to look quite different from Newton's.

Where to, Albert?


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