You might have heard that roughly 99.9% of all solid matter is nothing but empty space. But zooming into the .1% that should consist of the stuff everything is made of only results in showing us a different kind of emptiness.
The electrons, the quarks, all the fundamental particles are not solid objects. Thinking of them as somehow tiny spheres is a convenient simplification, but this does not represent the fascinating reality of this strange quantum void.
The only things that exist here are waves
Waves that behave similar to vibrations of sound or ripples in water. But rather than oscillations of matter, the peaks and valleys of these quantum waves are not made of anything tangible, they are waves of probabilities.
Their peaks reveal the areas where there is a high probability of detecting the energy of what we may call an electron. Their valleys indicate that the chances there are much lower. As bizarre as it may sound that all the building blocks of our universe seem to behave according to chance rather than being intuitively predictable. It is a simple fact that can be tested and observed.
The real principle at work is that if we can not know where a particle is, it exists only as a probability wave that tells us where the particle is more or less likely to be found.
And only when we take action to measure where the particle could be, the wave will suddenly cease to exist and the particle reveals itself or so called “collapse of the wave function” happens. The particle has no defined location until we make the measurement.
This is why we say that light, for example, is both a wave and a particle. But this quantum weirdness does not just apply to light, it applies to all the particles that everything is made of, also to molecules. If we fire super-tiny rocks instead of photons, they will behave like waves when we’re not measuring them. We intuitively believe our universe consists of solid stuff.
But in reality, all of it, from the neurons in our brain to the galaxy we are a part of, is the result of probability waves and particles that pop in and out of existence. If no specific region of the brain, nor the neurons, nor the building blocks that our neurons consist of can account for the phenomenon of our consciousness, what is the current scientific assessment as to what brings it about?
What most scientists consider to be likely is an idea that is not only logically sound and fits our observations, but that can transform how we think about life. Even though its implications are thus far rarely discussed and explored.
Just like every other feature of the human brain and body, experience or consciousness is a tool that evolution has engineered for us through billions of years of mutations.
Conscious forms of life showed a richer capacity for learning and course-correcting. So evolution favored this development and nurtured it to a point where we became sentient, self-aware and capable of interpreting our own evolutionary drives and our purpose in in ways that can even go against our own survival if we so choose.