Journal of Consciousness Studies
The consensus cosmological theory of the origin of the universe holds that it emerged in a big bang 13.7 billion years ago―apparently from literally nothing. There were no initial conditions, inherent nature, order, purpose, design, or underlying nonphysical existence from which the big bang emerged. In pre-inflationary theory, nothing instantaneously became fundamentally random, inherently dynamic quantized gravity and Higgs fields subject to invariant laws of nature. As the story continues, four fundamental particle-force fields emerged through spontaneous symmetry breaking and congealed into stars, planets, organic molecules, living cellular organisms possibly with proto-conscious mentality, and later into humans with complex enough nervous systems to generate higher-order conscious behavior.
This fragmented, reductive view is associated with a bottom up matter-mind-consciousness ontology. In this view, consciousness is an emergent property of random bits of matter/energy that bind together from lower-order physical processes into higher-order, unitary biological organisms which then develop apparent causal influence on their parts. How the closed chain of cause and effect could unlink itself and insert a conscious observer with causal efficacy in the physical is utterly mysterious. In this view, consciousness must be a powerless epiphenomenon, or be non-existent and thus a fundamental misperception in humans that begs explanation. This view is characteristic of reasoning and sensory experience in the ordinary waking state of consciousness, in which there is a fundamental fragmentation of experience into the outer objective world and inner subjectivity that the reductive physicalist paradigm cannot reconcile.
In contrast, the holistic view in Vedic science is a top down consciousness-mind-matter ontology, in which everything in nature progressively emerges within the perfectly orderly unified field, Atma or pure Being. All phenomenal existence remains within the unified field and condenses through sequential symmetry breaking into manifest creation, from higher order holistic processes to lower-order inert parts. That view is systematically unfolded in Rik Veda, and extensively described in Vedic literature such as Vedanta, Sankhya, and Ayurveda. It is consistent with developing unified field theories, spontaneous sequential symmetry breaking, quantum decoherence, the ‘arrow of time,’ and the 2nd law of thermodynamics that imply the universe emerged from the lowest entropy, supersymmetric unified state.
From that view, the origin of the universe can be characterized as a ‘Big Condensation’ rather than ‘Big Bang,’ because all phenomenal existence remains within the unified field, rather than blasting out from nothing to create everything including space-time. These contrasting reductive and holistic views are reconciled in the natural development of higher states of consciousness beyond the ordinary waking state. The Vedic science of Yoga provides systematic means to validate the consciousness-mind-matter ontology through direct empirical experience of gross and subtle diversified fields of nature and the transcendent unified field that underlies and permeates them.
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