The Playground of Consciousness

Part 2: Expanding the Playground

Patterns and Consciousness


With the physical and experiental foundations laid out in the first class, we can now turn to the basic mechanisms of the information Kosmos. The first part of this week’s material introduced an expanded notion of a ‘concept.’
Here we will look at patterns as the basic building blocks of everything. This will lead us naturally to the expanded view of concepts introduced earlier.It will become clear that consciousness has a very clear role: that of organzing patterns and transforming and combining them to form new ones. We will look briefly at several different kinds of transformation, including resonance, specialization, and expression.In part three, we will turn once again to our own personal experience, and see how these two fundamental concepts translate into our daily lives.


Cosmology is the study of every-thing - from physical objects to thought and emotions, stock quotes and interest rates, numbers, universes, parts and wholes… When we want to talk about every-thing in a meaningful way, we need a term that is not only general enough, but also rich enough to give some indication of the interconnectedness of all ‘things’. The term we need is ‘pattern’. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary gives no less than 12 distinct meanings for ‘pattern’, and they all apply.

Let’s take a look at some very simply type of patterns. Figure 1a below shows a series of dots on a line. That’s a pattern. Figure 1b shows another pattern. In this case, we have marked the places where a dot is not present by an X. A pattern is defined by the points where there is or isn’t a dot. If we want to compare patterns or combine them, we will need some common, underlying structure. In this example, it is a series of six points on a line. This underlying structure is really a part of the pattern.

Figure 1: Some simple patterns Figure 1: Some simple patterns

We can build more complicated patterns by allowing more options for every point. For example, we can allow different colors (Figure 1c). Or we can make the underlying structure richer by using a two-dimensional grid (Figure 1d). The image on your computer screen is such a two-dimensional pattern of dots of different colors. It is easy to see how we can extend this kind of pattern to three-dimensional images. The physical universe is, in fact, such a pattern, one of tremendous complexity. Dream images and other imaginary scenes are similar patterns.

In figure 1e, we have made things more complicated again by limiting the underlying pattern or structure to a subset of the previous grid. You can compare this to taking a photo of a horse, and cutting away everything in the picture except the horse itself. It is irrelevant what else was in the picture. You don’t even care that the image came from a picture at all. All you are interested in, is the horse.

In these examples, we have made reference several times to ‘the underlying structure of the pattern’. It is important to note that these structures, and any structures in general, are indeed patterns also.

We can combine patterns in various ways. Figure 1d is a simple combination of 1a and 1b. Figure 1e is a different type of combination of figure 1d and the underlying structure (grid), which is a pattern of its own.

An important mechanism for combining patterns is shown in figure 2. Starting from two similar patterns, (a) and (b) and all patterns in between, we can create a new pattern (c) by combining them all. When we use this mechanism, we always end up with a pattern of a higher order or dimension than the ones we started out with. In this case, we went from one-dimensional lines to a two-dimensional shape. We can retrieve the one-dimensional patterns by taking a cross-section of the two-dimensional pattern.

Figure 2: Combining patterns Figure 2: Combining patterns

For a further example of this mechanism, we go back to the horse we cut out of the photo. When we combine all images of horses from photos, drawings, dreams and real life, we get an almost infinite-dimensional ‘pattern’ of what a horse looks like. If we leave out everything except the physical shape, what we have here, is the concept, the idea of what a horse looks like.

We can also go in the other direction, and derive patterns (a) and (b) in figure 2 from pattern (c). (a) and (b) are sub-patterns of (c). (c) also has many other possible sub-patterns. In fact, there are infinitely many. We will refer to sub-patterns as specializations or expressions of the larger pattern.

An important attribute of patterns we haven’t discussed yet is intensity. Intensity plays an important role in combined patterns. In figure 2(c) all sub-patterns that make up the combined pattern have the same intensity. But it is easy to imagine the lines fading as they move further apart. This would represent the idea that the pattern is more intense the closer the two points are together.

Starting from the most rudimentary patterns, we arrive very quickly at infinitely complex and varied patterns. Now that we have looked at the basic properties of patterns, including some ways to combine them into new ones, we can turn to our own experience again, and see how our own thoughts, ideas, and realities are also different kinds of patterns.

In fact, literally everything that exists is a pattern. Not only that, but every possible, concievable and concievably concievable pattern exists. All these patterns combined form the complete Playground of Consciousness.

Concepts, thoughts and ideas as patterns

In the first paper for this class, we argued for the redefinition of definitions, an expansive view of concepts. The essence of a concept lies in the infinite variety of its expressions, we said. In the remainder of this text, we will be dealing primarily with this kind of rather complicated looking, infinite-dimensional pattern like the idea of “what a horse looks like” from the previous paragraph. These patterns are indeed very complex. But keep in mind that we all work with these patterns every day effortlessly! We think in terms of these concepts as wholes, not as the millions of individual patterns that make up the concept.If I ask you to picture what a horse looks like, you will most likely ‘see’ an image of some horse. The horse may change shape or color. I can ask you to make it taller or smaller, to make it grey or brown or black, to make its tail a bit longer. This is all effortless. It is like your mind travels through the concept and in every moment shows you an ‘expression’ (sub-pattern) of your full pattern of what a horse looks like.Different people have different ideas about what a horse looks like. No two people will have the exact same concept of a horse. Even if the individual ‘images’ are the same, their intensity within the combined pattern will vary. When two pet owners are talking, the pattern of their own pet will be very intense in their concept of a pet. A bit earlier on, we mentioned how structures are also patterns. Take ‘a tree’ as an example. A physical tree starts out with a trunk with side branches, which have side branches, and so on, possibly ending in leaves. A tree as a structure is more general, the essence being the hierarchical relationship between one branch and its sub-branches. The organization chart of a company has a tree structure: every person in the chart acts as the supervisor of another person. There are also family trees, and more abstract trees used in computing. The ‘pattern’ of a tree structure, then, would consist of all possible patterns of trees we have just described. The pattern of any structure would be the combination of all possible patterns that have that structure. The simplest structures are relationships: they involve just two patterns, for example: parent and child.

The importance of this becomes obvious when we begin to combine patterns. We’ll start with the horse again. ‘Whiteness’ would be another such concept. The pattern for ‘whiteness’ would be the collection of all possible white ‘things’, including snow, milk, white walls, white furniture, white clothes, and… white horses. When we combine these two concepts, whiteness and a horse, we get a ‘white horse’. The pattern for a white horse would be the combination of all patterns that are part of both the pattern for white and the pattern for a horse.

When we build more complex combinations, the way in which we combine them, the structure and the relationships between the parts, become increasingly more important. A family is a collection of persons that have ‘partner’ and ‘parent-child’ relationships between them.

Events are, from our point of view, patterns that are based on a structure called ‘time’.

We have physical structures, biological structures, social economic, political structures… all the things that are within the mushroom cloud are patterns. As we get nearer the surface, the patterns become more and more specific.

Until we reach physical reality.

Physical reality as a pattern

Physical reality is the pattern of what we know about physical reality. Quantum physics is the science that describes what we know and what happens to it within a time structure. The wave function of quantum physics is a representation of the pattern of physical reality.

Physical reality is a ‘combined’ pattern like a horse or a tree structure. We can think of any one singular world, with fixed positions and speeds for every particle as a basic pattern. We combine many of these patterns to create our own physical reality, our own combined pattern. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle mentioned in the previous paper forces us to do this. The ‘many-worlds’ concept we used there becomes the ‘many-singular worlds’ concept.

When we talk about what we know about the world, we can only do this from our personal point of view. In particular, much of what we know comes from the information we receive through our 5 physical senses. Our senses define attributes of our reality that are relatively ‘fixed’. The door as you see it, is exactly 6’8” high. The walls you see are precisely that color, etc.

A great deal of our personal physical reality is not specified. You may not know how many people there are in the room next to yours. You don’t know who is stuck in the traffic jams on the highway. You don’t know what is happening in most places on this planet.

What we know about the world, in the quantum physical sense, is almost completely limited to the observations of our 5 senses.

The Role of Consciousness

Consciousness hasn’t escaped the reductionist drive of Western science to explain everything in terms of simpler parts. At first, the powerful position of the church prohibited the denial of spirit. However, during the past three centuries, science has gradually eliminated any role and eventually any consideration of consciousness in its picture of the Kosmos.

The developments in theoretical physics of the early 20th century have turned out to be a turning point. Many of the pioneers of quantum theory recognized that this new theory would have profound implications for the way we look at human consciousness.

The pattern that is emerging is that consciousness is a fundamental and basic aspect of the Kosmos. Its main action is one of organizing information into the most diverse forms and transforming patterns into new ones. The example most familiar to us is the human mind. There are few limitations, if any, to what the human mind can create: from computer programs that contain millions of lines of code to abstract mathematical concepts to grand scenes and landscapes. Some of these patterns are easily brought into physical form. Others are more difficult to produce - as any artist or programmer will testify. The fundamental process is the same in all cases, however.

We said earlier that every possible pattern exists. Different classes of patterns take different forms of consciousness to organize and play with them. Consciousness itself is a pattern of organization. Just like you can have a floor made of blue tiles, grey, yellow, red or green ones, you can have different consciousnesses using the same shape of tile with different colors, or tiles of the same color in different shapes.

The human personality is a particular type of consciousness. We will look at its structure in the third part. For now, let us look at some basic types of pattern transformations.


When a child plays on a swing, often the aim is to go as high as possible. This is achieved by applying the right amount of force at the right time, again and again, so the swinging movement is amplified every time. This effect is called resonance. Another example is a radio receiver. By adjusting the position of some electronic parts, the electrical circuits pick up one narrow range of frequencies out of a whole series, and amplify the signal into audible sounds.

Resonance is a phenomenon where one thing vibrates in sympathy with another, because of a similarity or mutual harmonic characteristic. When we translate this into our terminology of patterns, we find that resonance is the reinforcement of shared sub-patterns. We conjure up a large pattern by exciting a part.

Resonance is the process that is the basis of practically all interactions between patterns.

When I describe quite a large animal with four legs, domesticated, people ride on its back… you will quickly recognize this as ‘a horse’. The reason is that the combination of the concepts of the attributes I listed, all work together and resonate with each other to produce your concept of a horse in your mind. You could go on to list other attributes of horses - it is furry - or list specific examples - Bukephalos, Alexander the Great’s horse. These extensions aren’t part of the original list of clues I gave, but they are excited by them, through resonance.

Another aspect of resonance is that the two patterns will become more similar. The Earth and Moon are a good example. It is well known that the Moon always has the same side facing the Earth. This, too, is a resonance effect. In fact, the Earth’s rotation about its axis is slowing down and will eventually also be in synch with the Moon’s monthly rotation. In other words, resonating patterns influence each other, and have a tendency to become more alike.

When we communicate, the mechanism at work is resonance. When person A mentally sends a thought of a horse, and person B picks it up, it will be the resonance between the two patterns that excites the image of a horse in B’s mind. The sent pattern will resonate with the pattern of his total awareness, and will bring to the forefront a version of his complete pattern of a horse. Through the resonance inherent in communicationn, both of the participants’ patterns of a horse will change.

The intensity of a pattern or a sub-pattern within a larger pattern is important when talking about resonance. The more intense pattern, carrying more energy, will be affected less by the interaction than the weaker pattern, which may be changed beyond recognition.


Specialization is a process by which a large pattern is reduced to fit some organizational framework. The framework itself is, of course, a pattern by itself. It is very much analogous to the common usage of the word. With the vast amount of knowledge today, it is no longer possible for a single person to know everything there is to know. Through specialization, a person is able to explore a particular area of knowledge more deeply.

Perhaps the most direct example of how consciousness uses specialization is found in art. Art is expression of ideas. The particular craft or technique chosen by the artist is a kind of specialization. A painter may further decide to explore landscapes with only a limited range of colors, like blue and purple. Another artist may choose different colors. In different worlds, the same artist may explore different combinations of colors or techniques, or subjects.

The goal of the artist is to explore her own creativity within the self-imposed limits of the specialization she has chosen in any particular moment.

Systems of reality

A system of reality or plane is an area of the playground of consciousness with patterns of organization that allow a great deal of freedom. The organizational patterns of the physical system we live in are expressed in the laws of nature or natural law.

There is actually another type of natural law. There are properties of information patterns and consciousness that are universal. These laws take on a particular form when they are combined with the chosen natural laws of the plane. These universal ‘laws’ and their translation in the physical system will be the topic of the sixth class.

In the third and final part of this week’s material, we will look at the system of physical reality, its organizational patterns, and the structure of the human personality.

[Introduction](.) | [Experiments and Experience](experiments-and-experience) | [Expanding the Playground](expanding-the-playground) | [The Dynamics of Creation](the-dynamics-of-creation)