Dr. Bruce Damer at the Dayalbagh Ed. Inst. Science of Consciousness Conference (Jan 1, 2021).

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Title: From mechanism to metaphysics to meaning, a new view of consciousness sourced in the science of life's origins

Recent discoveries from the science of the origin of life informs a new view of how the living world began and then evolved into the deeply interconnected and complex medium we now experience. After four billion years of stacked evolution, the collective living aggregate now sits far from equilibrium, high up on an extraordinary potential gradient. It is hypothesized that the sheer size of the systems operating the living world together with an enormous accumulated probabilistic potential lies behind remarkable outcomes including the non-ordinary conscious experiences described by mystics throughout history. I will attempt to provide a step-by step description of this hypothesis starting with the mechanism of life’s origins in geochemically cycled protocells, to the emergence of metaphysics, the properties of interconnected living molecular systems, and conclude by offering predictions how we might fill the substantial remaining gaps of understanding to address fundamental questions of meaning. This quest to address meaning could provide an explanatory model of consciousness and together with it, new tools to shape the future of human civilization.

Credits: thanks to KS Daya, Prem and Madhan Trimulai and the staff of Dayalbagh for hosting and Aaron Thayne for editing this piece.

Dr. Bruce Damer is an Astrobiologist with the UC Santa Cruz Department of Biomolecular Engineering. He has a computer science background and has collaborated for over a decade with Prof. David Deamer on developing and testing a new hypothesis for how life began on the Earth. He also has 20 years of experience working with NASA and other space agencies on designs for new spacecraft for the detection of life in the Solar System and for extending human civilization beyond the Earth. Recently he has become interested in how recent scientific evidence for the mechanism of life’s origins might provide new understanding for its subsequent evolution and the arising of the human world and conscious experience.

A more detailed description with resources of Dr. Damer's life and work can be found at his personal site:
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