This is our Universe, an ever-expanding network of stars and galaxies. And this is your brain. Don’t they look eerily similar to one another? Why are they so alike? Could your brain be a mini-version of the cosmos? Or could the Universe actually be part of some larger consciousness?
Your brain is made up of neurons. These are cells that process information and signals throughout your body. Between these neurons is an underlying network of connections that allows them to communicate with each other. And on the largest scale imaginable, the galaxies in our Universe form clusters with vast amounts of empty space in between.
These clusters are connected to each other by a complex network known as cosmic webs. The Universe. And your brain. Puzzling, isn’t it? Well, maybe our Universe is a lot more complex than we thought. It might just be some sort of giant brain. You could be thinking, wow, What If has really gone off the rails with this episode.
But we’re not the only ones to notice similarities between galaxies in the cosmos and neurons in the human brain. Astrophysicists and neurosurgeons have been studying these networks. They found that the cosmos looks very similar to your brain, just on a much larger scale. Your brain is 77% water. And the cosmic web is about 73% dark energy.
There are around 69 billion neurons in your brain. And the cosmic web could connect at least 100 billion galaxies. Not exactly the same. But not too far off. Wait. There’s more. Neurons and galaxies both share a similar pattern. 2.5 mm (0.1 in) of your brain looks like 500 million light-years of space. Pretty cool, right?
Even that isn’t all. Each neuron of that 2.5 mm (0.1 in) of your brain connects to about five other neurons. And in space, each galaxy has about four different connections. Your brain and the cosmos aren’t identical. But they are similar enough for you to ask this. Is the Universe a giant brain? Could it have its own consciousness?
Theoretically, the Universe could achieve consciousness. But only if it managed to understand its position in space and time. Then it would need to understand how it relates to other things, like you. Have I blown your mind yet? Well, the Universe isn’t exactly like your brain. It’s a lot harder for it to exchange information between the galaxies.
It might be conscious, but on a level we don’t yet understand. And how could we understand the consciousness of our Universe if we don’t even fully know what consciousness is and how it works? What we do know is that your own consciousness is pretty advanced. All thanks to your ability to understand what the future is.
Humans are one of the few animals that think about tomorrow. At least as far as we know. But maybe we overcomplicate things. Maybe consciousness isn’t an intricate biological thing only humans have. Maybe consciousness is when systems relate to each other and work together. Like the Universe. Then, yes, the Universe is conscious.
Especially if you think of the Universe with its billions of galaxies, billions upon billions of star systems, planets, moons. That’s a lot of consciousness. Maybe there are other universes, living on a much larger scale, communicating with each other like we do. And maybe they collide.
- “What Are Fractals? – Fractal Foundation”. 2022. fractalfoundation.org.
- “One Of These Pictures Is The Brain, The Other Is The Universe. Can You Tell Which Is Which?”. Matthew Cimone. 2020. universetoday.com.
- “The Quantitative Comparison Between The Neuronal Network And The Cosmic Web”. F. Vazza and A. Feletti. 2020. Frontiers In Physics 8. doi:10.3389/fphy.2020.525731. frontiersin.org.
- “The universe is like a giant human brain, scientists find”. Andrew Griffin. 2020. independent.co.uk.
- “Ask Ethan: Is The Universe Itself Alive?”. Ethan Siegel. 2016. forbes.com.