Cosmological Considerations Relevant to the Origin of Consciousness

  • Ramanath Cowsik


Deep, fundamental and primitive concepts like consciousness and life are very hard to define. It is even more difficult to fully comprehend their origins. Indeed, even in the essentially simpler systems that we study in physics, the emergence of order poses great challenges, for, by and large, there is a natural tendency for systems to move from order to disorder. Or – to state the idea more concisely in the language of physics – entropy always tends to increase. Closely related to this is the concept of thermodynamic equilibrium, describing the tendency of systems to reach the same temperature as their surroundings, which is equivalent to saying that all the component microstates of the system adjust themselves into the most probable state, a state most often of minimum energy. Life and many other aspects of nature display the exact opposite behaviour, moving and evolving into systems of ever-increasing order. Therein lies the conundrum.

These concepts of physics pose a great challenge to cosmologists also, who wish to understand the existence of matter in this Big Bang universe: A straightforward calculation using the Saha equation yields a matter (and antimatter) density in the universe that is only one billionth part of the observed density. Thus, the question of origin or origins of matter in the universe is fraught with difficulties. The answer to this question was provided in the most elegant way by the Russian physicist, Sakharov.

The second great challenge in cosmology is the formation of organized structures like galaxies. A current understanding of this problem requires ideas ranging from quantum mechanics to new postulates that extend the present understanding of particle physics.

In this chapter, I present an analysis of the relevance of these considerations to the question of the origin of consciousness.


Dark Matter Thermodynamic Equilibrium Massive Star External Object Interstellar Cloud 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics, McDonnell Center for the Space SciencesWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Raman Research InstituteBangaloreIndia

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