Ever since my friend Richard Hodges sent me a brief essay on entropy a few days ago, I've been pondering this question and its relationship to both cosmological questions and our inner work.
The universe is a formed place. All of our study of physics and astronomy, chemistry, geology, in fact all of the sciences, are a study of form. In order to examine the question thoroughly, we have to begin with exactly what caused form to arise in the first place.
Presuming that the universe began with the Big Bang, it began from a state where there was, essentially, no entropy — a single point of exponentially high temperature in which everything was in a state of perfect order. The emergence of the universe represents a descent into the condition of entropy.
Put in English, instead of science-ese, the idea of entropy roughly states that form decays into formlessness. The appearance of the universe represents a transition from perfect form, which was transcendent and timeless, into a state where form gradually decays due to the action of time. We can't speak of time outside the context of the universe because it can only be conceived of and measured in relationship to the process of decay.
As I've pointed out before, the universe is a cyclical structure in which energy is returned to the transcendent through the agency of black holes. Physicists have spent a great deal of time attempting to prove that black holes have entropy, because of the dogged insistence in believing that the laws of this universe apply even to objects that no longer exist in this universe.
They have done a pretty good job of it; if you gnaw at any bone for long enough, you can wear it down, but in the end, it is still a bone, and bones are dead. Let's not forget about how stupid people want things to be smart, and smart people want things to be stupid.
What is obviously transcendent (the pre-Big Bang state) and cannot be measured by the laws of this universe is equally transcendent and immeasurable afterwards (descent into a black hole.) And, to be absolutely fair, some scientists question whether or not the laws of this universe can hold in different places such as other universes or non- accessible dimensional states.
But let us suspend our cynical amusement. Despite the inability of science to resolve this issue (short of entering other dimensions, black holes, etc.) there are interesting questions here regarding the nature of consciousness and form.
Although the manifestation of the material carries within it the inevitable result of deterioration through time, the lessons of the cyclical nature of the universe as illustrated demonstrate that there is a lawful possibility of evolution back towards the source, that is, a movement directed in return to the transcendent. The emergent nature of consciousness is a conclusive demonstration of that potential; if entropy were as inexorable and unconquerable as the physicists would have us believe, consciousness would be, in essence, impossible.
There is a recapitulation process of the formation of the universe in the process of consciousness. No one can know, for themselves or anyone else, what comes before birth; this lies in the area of the transcendent. Birth is the organic equivalent of the Big Bang. In an equally compelling manner, death—like a black hole—swallows everything at the end of conscious life, returning to the transcendent. So a single human life recapitulates in a very exact manner the process of universe formation and destruction; and all of the impressions that fall into the vessel of the body during our lifetime constitute the matter, or material, that forms this microcosmic universe.
These impressions form a wide variety of galactic structures containing a nearly infinite variety of solar systems, which are in fact the trillions of different individual impressions that the nervous system takes in over the course of its lifetime. If you imagine all of the impressions that all of the cells take in over the course of one life — every interaction between every atom and molecule, all of which constitute the universe of a single instance of human consciousness — one can see that the number must, in some senses, correspond to the insanely vast number of galaxies, stars, and planets we can see above us in the night sky, and with our most powerful telescopes.
I've explained before that we are all engaged in an attempt to form an inner solar system, but the question is actually a bit more complicated than that. In reality, we are forming an inner universe; and that universe acquires form through the acquisition and implementation of consciousness.
We will discuss that more tomorrow.