My Belief

For every action, there has to be an equal and opposite reaction. In order for a Universe to exist, there has to be an equal and opposite anti-universe. You can’t make something out of nothing (0), so the existence of something (1, in this case a material universe) must be counterbalanced by the existence of an anti-something (-1, the anti-universe). 0 = 1 – 1. In order for the universe and the anti-universe not to have annihilated each other, they must have changed forms so that they no longer could. We know that matter and energy are inter-related in a way that suggests matter is just condensed energy. We know (or at least assume) that anti-matter does not naturally exist in this universe (except very briefly before being annihilated), but what form does anti-energy take?

My conjecture is that anti-energy is mind, and that the universe contains matter, derived from energy, and mind, derived from anti-energy. I do not equate mind with any conventional view of God, though I have some sympathy with the Schelling-derived Butlerian view of God as an emergent, powerless, responsive, experimenting entity, interested only in self-perpetuation. In other words, I am a philosophical dualist, and I believe that mind can interact with matter, causing matter to do what it would not do in the absence of mind, though mind is constrained by fundamental laws governing matter. The evolution of life, consciousness and possible free will on this planet (and possibly others), has been a process of mind discovering what it can do with matter, and accumulating those abilities. For instance, the existence of genes as coded instructions for making proteins was a deliberate (though not teleological) policy on the part of mind, and the overwriting of genes (epigenetics) in the light of actual practice is just mind’s way of passing on experience. That is what Lamarckism essentially is – the passing on of experience.

The enormously complicated sequential and concurrent physico-chemical interactions that occur inside every living cell are inexplicable in terms of automatic, random, collision chemistry, so they must be controlled by mind, though of course the laws of chemistry cannot be disobeyed. Only at the moment of death of a cell does automatic, random, collision chemistry come in to play. Life is actually doing something, ‘striving’ as Lynn Margulis put it. If believing that makes me a latter-day vitalist, so be it. As I see it, mind, life and God are all one and the same thing. As Cyril Ponnamperuma said, “God is an organic chemist”, even though he was not religious. Though mind is in broad, but not detailed, communication with itself, individual strands of mind can die, and natural selection does operate on individual strands of mind, as well as the chemical abilities they have at their disposal, to ensure some sense of progress. Of course, luck also plays an enormous part, both in the form of genuinely-random mutations and in the acquisition of new chemical abilities, which have come to many organisms in the form of viruses. Whether viruses were originally created deliberately by mind, or happened accidentally and were exploited by mind, is debatable. Similarly, comets may have been used to transfer life from one planet (or even from outer space, according to Fred Hoyle) to others. I do not believe teleology has played any part in the evolution of life. It’s just endless trial and error and repetition.