Does consciousness create the material world? Before we answer this question, it’s important to first go into what the material world is actually composed of at a fundamental level. “Reality” is not simply made of tiny physical pieces, like a bunch of marbles or tiny little bowling balls. Molecules are made out of atoms, and atoms are made out of subatomic particles such as protons and electrons which are 99.99999% empty space and electrical spin. These are then made out of quarks, which then are a part of a Superstring field which consists of vibrating strings that give rise to fundamental particles based on the nature of their vibration.
We interact with a world of physical objects, but this is only due to the way our brains translate sensory data. At the smallest and most fundamental scales of nature, the idea of “physical reality” is non-existent. From the Nobel Prize winning father of quantum mechanics Neils Bohr, “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real. In quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you yet, you don’t understand it well enough.” When you touch your hands together, it is really just empty space touching more empty space, with the slightest ingredient of energetic spin of these minuscule particles. The constituents of matter have absolutely no physical structure.
This is important to understand, because if we think of the world of quantum physics as being a world of bowling balls and and marbles, then the idea of consciousness creating reality doesn’t really make sense. But understanding that reality is a cosmic concoction of non-localized energy and empty space, it becomes clear that our thoughts and the signals they register in the brain also have these same properties at their smallest level. Our thoughts are also an activity of the universe, and all activities take place within the same quantum realm prior to manifesting in physical reality.
Consciousness is one of the hard problems in science. There is no way to explain how something as material as chemical and physical processes can give rise to something as immaterial as experience. There is no reason why subjective experience exists at all, or how sentience evolved. Nature would operate just as well without subjectivity, and when we actually try to scientifically investigate the origin and physics of consciousness, we get hints that maybe consciousness and reality are not as separate as material science would have us think.
Here are some principles in quantum mechanics, taken from the book “The Self-Aware Universe” written by former professor of theoretical physics for 30 years at the University of Oregon, Dr. Amit Goswami: