An End to Complexity?
When will the limits of physics rain on our parade?

There are various candidates for the cause, for the beginning of complexity.  What though might be the end of complexity?

It is a basic tenet of materialism that there is no end to complexity, other than what might be arbitrarily imposed by the inherent limitations of physics.

All of us have access to evidence that appears to contravene this materialist convention regarding complexity.  That evidence is the so-called unity of consciousness.  The human brain is uncontroversially the most complex system known, looking from the outside, at least.

The view from inside the brain paints a different picture.  There we have the unity of consciousness.  The principle of unification is the self.  There seems to be a control center amidst the buzzing, blooming confusion of the brain.  The neuroscientists cannot locate this center.  It is everywhere and nowhere.

The materialists have come up with two flatly contradictory explanations for the unity of consciousness:

1. it is our primary illusion
2. it has evolved as our primary mechanism of survival

One might wish that they would make up their minds (sic)!

The human brain might be the epitome of complexity, but certainly it is not end of complexity.  Nature abounds in complexity as we view it from the outside.  Precious few of us have been granted a view of the inside of nature, even if there could be such a thing.

Beyond nature we have the exploding complexity of the world of human artifice, now being epitomized in the Internet.  One shudders to imagine what it would be like to be the Internet!  Most of us would pass on that.

Then there are the theists or, somewhat more accurately, the Teilhardian/Aurobindian panentheists who envision an inner unity or telos of creation.  The buzzing, blooming confusion of the human infested cosmos is just the outward manifest illusion of an inner unity of the mind of God that is the strange and great attractor of all creation.  That divine unity is the beginning and end of all complexity.

The materialists scoff.  The rest of us wonder.  There is the angst of self-doubt, deserved self-loathing.  I think, therefor I’m not.

The Sarfattian/Bohmians place themselves squarely in the center of this confusion.  They wonder which way is up.  They suppose there must be a reason for the complexity.  This much complexity can’t quite be an accident.  They posit a strange, back-acting, morphogentic loop in the physical substratum that is the matrix/mother of all complexity.  Quantum back-action is the bootstrap of creation.

Self-determination is built into the most basic machinery of the universe.  Evolution is an acting out of this self-determination.  And here we are still in the midst, still in the throws of this acting out.  What comes next?  Is there an end to this complexity?  When and how will the limits of physics rain on our parade?  If we live by the physics, must we also die by the physics?

99.9% of humanity don’t care, don’t want to know.

I say that it all depends.  It all depends on whether there is an inside to complexity.  It all depends on whether there is also a cosmic self-determination.  Can we deny there is an inner quality to our own complexity?  There is something somewhat simple about what it is like to be the most complex of creatures.  Is there also something like what it is to be the cosmos?  And finally, where lies reality?  Does it lie inside or outside?  It all depends on how we wish to go.

If there is no inside we will end up as infinitely cloned silicon processing nodes on the Cosmic Internet, the weather and physics permitting.  What then will it be like?  If we don’t like it, who will pull the plug?  What will be the final thought?  From inside that Cosmic Brain Vat how will we know what is up or down, what is inside or out, and will it matter?  Does it matter now?  How long must we wait to find out?


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rev. 2/25/00