When stars can sing

When Johannes Kepler wrote of the music of the spheres, as did Pythagoras, he was referring obliquely to what he deduced was the ubiquitous presence of consciousness throughout the universe. Which is why the planets in the solar system can ‘sing’ – that is, they generate music as they move around the sun. In his Harmonices Mundi, Kepler wrote of the tones generated by planetary movements, giving rise to speculation as to whether the music was consciously generated when matter interacted with energy.

We do know that human beings are conscious; other species too are conscious in varying degrees. But would this extend to inert matter? Are rocks and planets conscious? Could a rock feel pain, for instance, and could a planetary body consciously produce music? These matters are difficult to ascertain since consciousness is non-fungible and, therefore, it cannot be quantified in scientific terms. But just as experts declare they have discovered a new astral body on the basis of the wobble factor that indicates its existence, so, too, one can deduce whether or not something is conscious.

Another interesting question being raised in this connection is whether the mind pre-exists matter. According to panpsychism, the mind came before matter. Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus associated psyche, or soul, with movement, and if the soul is ‘mingled with the whole universe’, the world could well be consciously alive. Therefore, all matter could be self-aware in their own little ways, although not evidently so. The jury is still out on this one.

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