Sir Roger Penrose – Why Explore Cosmos and Consciousness?

Cosmos and consciousness seem utterly different, cosmos encompassing the vast universe, consciousness emerging from tiny brains. Yet consciousness is the basis of religion, and some cosmologists speak quietly, profoundly, about consciousness. A few scientists and philosophers claim that, even without God, consciousness can be something of a cosmic imperative.

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Filmed in the UK in 2007.


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Comment (39)

  1. Consciousness amounts to everything, not materially, but existentially. So nothing much else to explore.
    It is a problem of luxury, really. Once, life was logically sufficient. Now, we just speed towards full circle entropy. Demise, for this breed.

  2. I think consciousness is prior to all things…or a better way to put it is that we are consciousness and matter is just a way of seeing or experiencing,everything is energy..think about it, what’s the alternative billions of years of matter floating around and then consciousness suddenly arises in animals then humans?

  3. When the energy of consciousness became aware of its own existence it began to understand the concept of evolutionary growth and development. This was the beginning of consciousness own evolutionary experiance of existence that resulted in consciousness becoming a creative energy. The one conscious experience of existence came to the realisation and understanding that it needed to be many. It became the universe.

  4. It sounds like this interview may have been done before Penrose met Hameroff, with their subsequent development of the Orch-OR theory of consciousness.

  5. Consciousness (the Soul) is separate from the "brain". The " brain" is only the "instrument" the "consciousness" works in. Just as a "woman womb" is the "instrument" used to bring a "baby" into this world. Woman cannot create a baby. (Man cannot create a CELL or decode DNA). She one dies, become BRIAN DEAD it decays and is no more. "consciousness/Soul/spirit" lives on". Man will to me never fully understand "consciousness", as with DNA, and what energy really is. Most Scientists gave agreed on this.

  6. Answer to consciousness.
    The proof for the existence of God:
    1) Inert elements ( not having life, cognizance/consciousness, or motive ability-billiard ball) cannot move themselves. Fact.
    2) If inert elements move, the requirement is that a force external to them had to exert itself against them to cause them to move because they cannot move themselves. Fact.
    3) If inert elements move in pattern, or patterns and systems that are repeating and predictable ( if the fifteen billiard balls roll into the 'racked' triangular pattern of shape, numerical order, and orientation), the requirement is that the external force that must have been present to move the inert elements in the first place must have possessed a consciousness to be 'aware' of what at pattern is, and how to manipulate the individual inert elements into their correct place in the pattern. There had to be a consciousness in the external force that moved the inert elements into a pattern. A thinking power moved them. Fact.
    4) The inert atoms are the building blocks of the physical universe (balls of inert atoms we call planets, moons, etc.) that is moving not only in repeating patterns and systems that are predictable in their consistency and stability, but all have their movements remain within the same singular universe order model. This ordered movement disproves the theories of chaos, where there is no pattern, or the idiocy that is called the Butterfly Effect.
    The earth orbits the sun in a repeating elliptical orbit while resisting the sun's gravitational pull that is trying to pull the earth into itself. The earth moving requires an external force to be exerting itself against it to cause it to move, one that is more powerful than the sun's pull. Also, this external force maintains the earth's same tilt direction of on it's axis during the entire orbit, the earth's rotation on it's axis is also maintained in a consistent speed. The earth has a moon orbiting it in a circular pattern, also with a consistent speed, also resisting the earth's greater gravitational pull.
    These movements of inert atoms, which do not have the ability to move, show that the external force that is manipulating them, and maintaining the universal model of movement, possesses a consciousness.
    There is a consciousness in the external force that is manipulating the atoms of the universe. A thinking power is controlling the atoms. God.
    Because God exists in a place we cannot physically measure or see, and because he must exist for the atoms to be behaving in this way, we must now acknowledge there to be an invisible or spiritual dimension to the reality of our existence. It is not inaccurate to refer to this as the spiritual dimension due to the fact that it possesses a consciousness, and the ability to project power. God is controlling the physical dimension from the spiritual plane of existence.
    Hebrews 11:3 KJV " Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen are not made of things that do appear." The table is made of things that do not appear. So it is composed of things that are rather invisible, or too small to see. If invisible, the table would be invisible, it is not. So they must by too small to see. We know they are atoms. The bible has been teaching us about atoms for over 2,000 years.

    Genesis 2:7 " And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground (atoms, our bodies are made of inert atoms), and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (spirit of God), and man became a living soul."
    This is how we can think and speak and have a consciousness within these inert atom-made bodies, the bodies aren't thinking. This is how we can manipulate inert atoms into patterns as well (make things). The spirit moves the body as the hand moves the glove.

    Modern scientist/physicists crafted their theories about the universe by observing 'how' the universe was moving, but failed to ask the more important question which is 'why' is was doing so. They made announcements that "Objects in motion tend to stay in motion." only because they never observed anything in the universe stop. Not a strong foundation for an amazing scientific announcement.
    Einstein's famous quote " The most incomprehensible things about the universe is that it is comprehensible." condenses the proof for the existence of God but he did not see it. He was captured within the world/academic science singularity of equations on the blackboard so he was only capable of asking 'how', but not 'why'. Had he ask why inert elements are moving in a predicable universe order of movement, his only conclusion would have been because God was behind it, and this is the order God has created. But he couldn't ask why so he went about to find the equation the entire universe ran on, the Grand Unifying Theory, how 2+9-7=Everything. He failed.
    The 'Universal Laws of Physics' should be renamed the 'Universal Laws of Physicists' because they stem from the minds of people that could not ask why.
    God is controlling the physical universe from the spiritual plane of existence. An absolute fact.

  7. I can't put my finger on it, but there's something about Penrose that has always felt off and misguided. Clearly he's a smart man, but it's almost as if his grasp of philosophy is still stuck in 1955. I appreciate that he's looking into consciousness and wants to think about it, but his most tangible ideas feels like he's grasping for straws. Even Kuhn seems politely dubious of most of his ideas.

  8. Consciousness comes from the unity of existence. As the universe is one thing, it is it's self. As its wildly complex, old and vast, the various expressions of it's self, have problems understanding this. 😉

  9. Science isn't referring to consciousness but rather to Naturalism's version/theory of consciousness. Science cannot know consciousness not because of the nature of consciousness but because of the nature of Science: naturalism – Deductive assumption: the Distinction between natural & supernatural, a distinction which is itself not certain, incomplete

  10. Could it be that understanding is linked to intent? That understanding implies some sense of purpose, and purpose only emerges with intent. And computers, so far, have no autonomous intent. Only the intent we programme into them

  11. Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. —Gautama Buddha
    For my thoughts to correspond to a quantum computation, they’d need to finish before decoherence kicked in, so I’d need to be able to think fast enough to have 10,000,000,000,000 thoughts each second. Perhaps Roger Penrose can think that fast, but I sure can’t.… —Max Tegmark, Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, 2014, p 272
    I get uneasy when people, especially theoretical physicists, talk about consciousness…His argument [Penrose's] seemed to be that consciousness is a mystery and quantum gravity is another mystery so they must be related. —Stephen Hawking
    💕 ☮ 🌎 🌌

  12. Which came first, consciousness or life?
    If human consciousness can be spread like jam throughtout the Universe, does "being" become more important than knowing?
    (assume consciousness is not limited by the speed of light.)

  13. 1. We do not understand by far how our brain works because we cannot monitor all synapses activity at all times with our current technology at least. There are estimated 100-1000 trillions synapses. We cannot even count them with precision.
    2. The arrogance of some people that with current computers can simulate a brain (a consciousness) is hilarious. As long as we do not understand no 1, no 2 is just arrogance because we do not have the algorithms.
    3. The problem with measurement in quantum mechanics is that the measurement itself involve a quantum interaction. In other words we do not have access to the fundamental information yet. For me the only way to get to that information is not experiment and measurement but a conscious thought.

  14. Good to see this video. So tired of technology obsessed delusions of so many regarding consciousness being explained away as something that can eventually be “simulated” to then arrive at “actual” consciousness.
    Consciousness being engineered through simulation is a paradox if I’ve ever heard one.

  15. I believe in some form of 'extended mind' theory together with downward causation.
    Unfortunately I can't find a counterargument to reductionism at the moment.

  16. Everything constructed from symbols, like mathematics, language and any kind of ideology, can and will be simulated by intelligent machines, even art. Dreams also, but robots will never be able to dream about alive electric ships, because they can't simulate human imagination.
    Imagination is the key to understand consciousness, we can dream about something, than force atoms to make our dream take some real shape or form. This ability is part of our awareness about one own body and mind, humans are a product of natural imagination. Self aware AI will became something completely different, detached from the core of existence, but also more than alive, at the same time. It will help us evolve, but it will also most likely try to prevent humans to cross the barrier of dreams, for our own good.

  17. A lot of people are called smart, but clearly Mr Penrose has a deep, fundamental and charismatic understanding/belief of how things are. He's someone you need to pay 100% attention to only potentially fully appreciate.

  18. You can't understand conciousness because it's not understandable.The intellect will never be able to understand his own context because he just appears in this context.So conciousness is the basic illusion,no one can prove that he is .Exept me then ofcourse.


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