Not being a religious person, this is a pretty huge idea for me. If it proves to be true it may allow us to learn more about the universe and our place in it than any other idea to date, including evolution and the big bang.
I do not believe in any of the established religions. They may contain some useful ideas, as proverbs, but I don't believe in the historical or spiritual accuracy of any of them. At the same time I don't really believe than death means lights out forever either.
The universe does not waste or relinquish anything it has created. The atoms and molecules that make up our bodies and the energy that makes them move has been here since the beginning of the cosmos. Everything changes form almost constantly. The bits that make up your body today will be gone and replaced by new ones 7 years from now, so whatever we are it has never seemed logical to me that we could ever disappear completely.
Now MIT physicist Max Tegmark has put forward the radical idea that consciousness is a state of matter, like a solid, liquid or gas. Explaining exactly what he means is nearly as difficult as trying to explain what we mean by 'consciousness' itself. In brief though we may be on the verge of discovering what we mean when we say "I think therefore I am". That is, on the verge of discovering what exactly "thinks" and what, exactly, we mean by "I".
As important as those things are, they would only serve as a starting point on a journey that could tell us exactly who we are, why we are here and what the cosmos itself is for.
The ideas are complicated but beyond the paper itself, you may want to read the articles posted at NovaNext and Medium.com (the physics Arvix blog, nothing to do with psychics) .
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