Lifeless universe

Is it possible for the world to exist by itself, without any life in it? That is, can something exist without consciousness?

Surely, even there were no humans, this would not mean that there would be no consciousness. It’s impossible to imagine a lifeless universe, since without imagination, there would be nothing to imagine. But then, if this is true, can we really say that matter “exists”? It exists only secondarily to consciousness. Thinking is being.1

If things really do exist, how? Perhaps consciousness just latches on to whatever happens to be there, such that consciousness takes the perspective of one being at a time. Or perhaps the things are created out of consciousness. Or perhaps the things exist “outside” and give rise to representations “inside”—something like this is the Platonist view in my interpretation. Perhaps a combination, or some fourth thing.

Must we simply accept that consciousness is an absurd and paradoxical contrivance that does not, and cannot, make sense to those inside of it? Dreams can be meaningful even if the dreamer doesn’t understand the neurological processes that create the dream—perhaps especially so.

  1. See also Thinking Being