Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Be a Part of God's Mind

I'm at the biennial Tuscon conference Toward a Science of Consciousness, so wild speculation about consciousness is the order of the day! In the first plenary session, psychologist Don Hoffman argued that the world contains no physical objects, only minds in interaction with each other, each of which is massively deluded about its environment. After that, my paper in the next session arguing that "if materialism is true, the United States is probably conscious" seemed relatively tame. So in the spirit of the day, let me uncork another one of wild possibilities I've recently been considering: idealist pantheism, the view that the world consists only of one thing, God's mind.

Might idealist pantheism be true? I'm not sure why it couldn't be. I can't refute it by, say, kicking a stone. Seeming tactile and visual experiences of stones, without physical stones underneath, might all be part of God's plan. It's a bizarre view, perhaps, sharply in conflict with common sense. But something bizarre might well be true. Indeed, I've argued that something bizarre must be true about the basic structure of the cosmos: Common sense is not well-tuned to get it right about such matters, and all of the viable options (e.g., multiverse theory) appear to be highly bizarre.

If idealist pantheism is true, then my mind would have to be part of God's mind. How would that work?

We would have to deny a certain version of the view that consciousness is unified. Assuming that you exist and that I can neither access your thoughts directly nor experience your thoughts as my own, then it must be the case that some parts of God's mind are out of touch with other parts. I see no incoherence in this idea, though, as long as we allow divine mental unity at some higher level of organization.

Divine mental unity might work in part through introspection. God might be able to directly introspect the contents of each individual's mind. On an access view of introspection, this might involve God's having direct access to the contents of each of our minds rather than indirect access (via perception of our bodies). We might imagine a causal process by which each mental state of each individual mind directly produces a judgment, in some part of God's mind to which no individual person has access, that that person is in that mental state. One way this might be realized would be through a divine version of Global Workspace Theory: Each person might be like a separate processing module in the cosmic mind, whose contents are fed into a divine cognitive processing system that integrates the inputs.

But in order for this to be introspection rather than perception, these inputs into the divine mental workspace would have to be inputs from pieces of God's mind rather than inputs from things external to God's mind. And that means that God would have to think with and through us, instead of merely about us. And this probably requires some kind of divine limitation or restraint or trust. If every one of my thoughts is independently assessed by God and handled suspiciously -- if those thoughts do not, in some sense, normally speak for God or for some part of God, if those thoughts are normally held at a distance for evaluation as though not God's own, then I think what we would have is not pantheism but rather the more ordinary view that I am one thing and God is another thing who judges me.

What I am imagining, then, is a rather unusual conjunction of views: vast divine knowledge of the contents of our minds combined with a lack of divine mental independence. God would have to have lots of knowledge but not a lot of processing power in the central workspace -- whatever processing power God has would have to be to a substantial extent actually distributed among us. If so, then presumably our collective judgment would have to in some manner constitute the divine judgment and probably too our collective action would have to in some manner constitute divine action. Otherwise we would not be part of God's mind but something outside of God.

Let me admit that the likelihood of all this being true seems to me rather small -- though since it seems at least possible and since I mistrust common sense in matters cosmological, I'm not sure what justifies my inclination against it.

[image source]


Eric Steinhart said...

I wrote a paper advocating pantheistic idealism, interpreted computationally of course, in Idealistic Studies in the late 1990s! Yay!

Paul Bello said...

Maybe I'm just not appreciating what's going on here, but the prospects for divine pantheism seems to rest on a category error -- and I also don't quite see the analogy with global workspace theory for related reasons. Nothing about GWT suggests that the entities competing for access to the workspace have anything like a first-person perspective, or a self, or any notion of ownership over the contents they compute over. It's here that I'm having a hard time. If we grant that at least some of God's thoughts might be constituted by the thoughts of His various parts (e.g. us), unless we adopt some queer notion of co-ownership of mental states, it's not really clear to me who *owns* them. I'm not familiar of any representationalist theory of mental content that explicitly allows a mental state to be contemporaneously indexed to more than one agent, unless one talks about group mental states. But even there, discussions of group mental states always seems to be about whether a third party is justified in ascribing a group-level mental state to a collection of folks -- but it's certainly not a discussion about whether or not anything like a group mental state exists. If part of what it is to have a mental state involves a first-person perspective, the idea that we (and most especially our thoughts) are part of God's mind seems deeply confusing on any standard definition of ownership. Thoughts?

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Eric: I hadn't seen that -- I'll check it out. Also just got your afterlives book today.

Pete Mandik said...

This is really fun stuff. I think, however, you’re making it unnecessarily complicated. Let’s start off simple. First, assume that you’re God. Now, let’s talk about what it means for a rock to exist. That reduces to your *thinking* that a rock exists. On this version of idealism, there’s nothing more to the rock’s being than its being thought of by you. The rock is not identical to you, because you have other thoughts besides the one about the rock. Now let’s bring a second rock into the story. What makes the rock not identical to the first is your thinking that it is a distinct rock. Your’e God, so you don’t need it to be anymore complicated than that. You think that b and c are distinct rocks and thus it is so. Now, can b and c be proper parts of some third rock, d? You betcha, God. Just think that they are, and they are.

Now let’s create some other minds. Go ahead and think that Eric Steinhart and Richard Brown have minds distinct from each other as well as from your own. You can do it, God! Just think it!! But what I don’t get is why you need to bring a bunch of stuff about introspection, global workspace theory, unity of consciousness, etc. etc. into it. You sure work in mysterious ways, but I woulda thought that sustaining the existence of minds nonidentical to your own would be exactly as easy as rocks.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Paul. I agree that GWT doesn't suggest that the entities competing for access are conscious, but it also seems that the theory isn't inconsistent with that idea. And in this case, we already know that the subentities (you and me) are conscious. I also agree that existing representationalist views don't generally have a provision for the attribution of mental tokens to more than one individual (with some caveats about group-level states, see List & Pettit, etc.) -- but I'm inclined to see this as a potential narrowness or lack of imagination about weird cases among people exploring representationalist views, rather than as a problem for anything I've said in the post. And there are some representationalists who have thought a bit about brain bisection cases or Siamese twins with partly merged brains. Here's one interesting discussion:

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

I don't disagree, Pete, with any of that except the "easy" part. I don't think it's *too* tricky to do some rough sketch-up of a possibility, like I've done, but the thing I want to know about your model is why the created things count as *parts of God's mind* rather than as *objects that are not part of God's mind*. My answer is: God can introspect the thoughts I'm having and God does not treat those thoughts as alien. Your answer is... that there's nothing more to my existing than my being thought by God? I don't really understand what that means. I think I do understand that story for rocks (to be a rock is just to be an idea before God's mind that God chooses to have), but what would it mean to say that I am idea? Ideas don't think; minds/souls think. This issue tripped Berkeley up in Principles, too. Thus, a different approach, 'cause everyone knows what a "global workspace" is, right? ;-)

Paul Bello said...

Hi Eric:
thanks for the link! I'll make sure to have a look sometime this evening. As for GWT, I suppose it depends on which theory you subscribe to, but I was specifically thinking of Bernie Baars' version. At least in that rendition, one central tenant is that the modules contain unconscious contents that compete for access to the workspace, where winning content gets magically conscious-ifyed and broadcast back out. I suppose the source of the disanalogy for me is that human bodies/brains in the mind of God would have to be something like the modules in Baars' GWT, and their associated thoughts would be analogous to the unconscious contents. Of course, there's the problem -- human thoughts in the mind of God (or at least some of them) would indeed be conscious thoughts, and not unconscious content. The workspace metaphor breaks down without the distinction, and at least Baars' version of GWT seems wholely incompatible with Divine Pantheism. I'm not sure that it really matters for your point anyway.

A pertinent quote from Aquinas' Summa:

"God is in all things by his power, since all things are subject to his power; He is by His presence in all things, since all things are bare and open to his eyes; He is in all things by His essence, because He is present to all as the cause of their being."

While this is a fun thought experiment, it might run afoul of intuitions about causality. If God is to retain his role as the necessary ground of being, He must be distinct in identity from anything accidental, or at least this is what I understand Thomas to be saying.

Eric Steinhart said...

I'm gonna agree with my homie Pete Mandik and say that all this really is pretty easy. Too easy by far perhaps, since the hard work needs to be done to explain which propositions God thinks, and how they're all coordinated. Lots of this work was done by Royce in an impressively precise way. (God's thoughts are certain functions from the natural numbers into themselves. Royce anticipated Turing here.) Bas van Fraassen has a very intense paper on this called "Subjective Semantics", if I recall.

Anonymous said...

I hope here amongst all of you I can get some non-judgement answers. I recently [ within the last two months ] have repeatedly seen on clocks at particular hours be it 10:10,11:11,12:12,1:11,2:22,at times 4:44 or 5:55 but rarely those last two. These sightings of times are either at home out and about on errands, on phone, or in the car. I see more of the 1:11,11:11,and 10:10 more than the others and at times at both intervals of the day. Also today I had the strangest experience I've EVER EVER been confronted with !!! I've seen many things folks in my 36 yrs from orbs to shadows to apparitions to ghosts to grim reaper type of creeper.... This thing that I experienced blows my mind!!!! Please help me this blog forum is my last resort! I've googled and had no luck!!!! Today I was sitting and waiting for an appointment and closed my eyes rested my arm on the arm of the chair and my forefinger on the brow of my left eye and rested my thumb underneath my eye on my cheek bone.... For creditability purposes I must tell you I was not adding or causing pressure to this eye. As I sat there seconds into this comfy position I noticed something within the darkness behind my eyelids! It was an eye starring back at me!!!!!! This eye moved into range as if it were getting into focus ... The eye didn't have an eyelid it was just and eye with an iris and pupil but I must tell you what else was different about this eye.... It was bright yellow !!!!! Bright!!!! then turned to a fire orange as it was coming closer and larger into focus . I was not scared I just say there in a room full of people behind my eyelids watching this eye look back at me and feeling mesmerized by it ! It was like watching previews before a movie I wanted to see what was going to happen next. After it was a bright fire orange it changed on me the "iris" I'll call it turned from this orange to a picture of blue sky with clouds... This change was gradual as if it were to fade in and out like a slideshow not in a matter as if you were a child changing pictures with a view finder . It was smooth as it transitioned to this sky and white clouds... Secs after this I was called out by the person for my appointment. So I opened my eyes and my surroundings were blurry like someone coming inside from being out in the sun!!!! Please someone help me and tell me what in the hell just happened to me today!!!!

Angra Mainyu said...


It seems to me that in that proposal, there would still be different minds. For example, your mind is a part of God's mind, and my mind is a part of God's mind, but they're different parts of God's mind. And since both your mind and my mind (or you and me, if we rule out non-mental stuff) are minds, then they're different minds.

So, even then, there are different minds.

Also, it seems we still get the result that God's mind is not the same as the mind of other people, even if the latter are parts of God's mind. For example, if my mind is a part of God's mind, it's a proper part not all of it, so it's still not the same thing as God's mind.

There are other issues, like authorship of actions, moral responsibility, etc.

For example, suppose that Jack is a serial killer, and kills people for pleasure. He's also a serial torturer, since he enjoys torturing his victims before killing them. So, Jack tortures and kills people for fun.

I'm not sure what you mean by “collective action”, so I would like to ask whether on the interpretation you propose, does God torture and kill people for fun if some person does?

If so, it seems that on God is morally evil on your proposal (not maximally evil, but morally evil nonetheless), as long as he's a moral agent. But if he is not a moral agent, then given that you and I are, then that stresses that we're different agents.

If not, then that stresses the difference: A tortured and killed B for fun, but God did not torture or kill B for fun, so A is clearly not God.

So, in any case, I'm not sure in which sense the world would consist in only one thing, given that the minds of different people would seem to be different things even if they're all part of the mind of God.

chinaphil said...

I think this suffers from the problem that infests pretty much all the consciousness-related stuff I've ever read, which is a failure to distinguish part/whole, or a desire to find a homunculus.

"God would have to have lots of knowledge but not a lot of processing power -- or at least whatever processing power God has would have to be to a substantial extent actually distributed among us."

That doesn't make any sense. If we're a part of God's mind, then our processing power is his. It's an error to say that there is some thing "God" which does not include most of the contents of God's mind.

Maybe this sounds like nitpicking, but it's important because you've ruled out common sense earlier in the piece. That means that a lot of the fuzzy logic we allow in ordinary language reasoning has to be ruled out as well, because it depends on common sense. If you're to be left with any reasoning tools at all, they have to be quite strict logic (I think! Can't think of any others off the top). And that means that God's mind is God's mind. If you're ascribing consciousness to the mind, you have to do it rigorously. Of course, if you have a theory about which part of the mind embodies the consciousness, you can apply it. But you'll have to be specific.

Pete Mandik said...

Schwitzgebel, you write: "Ideas don't think; minds/souls think." Compare to "Ideas aren't kicked by Johnson; rocks are kicked by Johnson." What's the difference that makes a difference here? If it's acceptable for the existence of a rock to be exhausted by its being thought about, what argument can be given for not extending the same courtesy for minds? If the instantiation of thinking requires the existence of an instantiating substance whose being exceeds its being thought about, why isn't the same true for hardness or the property of being kicked by Johnson?

To directly answer your question directed at me (Why count the created as GodMind parts as opposed to intentional objects of God's thoughts that aren't GodMind parts?), it's this: that's the way it is iff that's how God thinks it's the way it is.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comments, folks!

Paul: I think you can accept the general idea of a "global workspace" without buying the idea of the global workspace theory of *consciousness*, on which only what is in the workspace is conscious. So I agree with you about what Baars says -- but my inclination is to think that it's still okay to use that phrase to point to a certain architecture. Re Aquinas etc.: I'm not meaning to assume orthodoxy of this sort either!

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Eric: I'm looking forward to seeing your take on Royce!

Pete: On your last point first: That's consistent with causal dependency and not necessarily indicative of identity especially since its plausible to suppose that this sort of god is a contingent being at best. On your first point: I think I get Berkeley's account of how to make sense of tables, but I don't see how *my* identity as a thinker could be exhausted by my being thought about. I'm not saying it's impossible to create such an account -- maybe there is a good account of this sort in some part of the idealist tradition that I don't know, and Eric Steinhart will point me toward it! -- but I don't understand it, and my guess is that it will involve some metaphysical commitments that the account I've offered can avoid. There's room for more than one account on the market which might have competing advantages and disadvantages.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Angra: I'm not sure what the first problem is. The part/whole relationship is not identity, so there are different minds and no part is identical to the whole. On the second point, yes, God would probably be responsible for evil. I think this is a feature not a flaw, since the problems of theodicy would be avoided by denying divine benevolence (see a similar move in my post on super-cool theodicy).

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Chinaphil: Yes, on rereading I think I phrased that in a way that was misleading. What I meant was something like "the *proper part* of God which is the central workspace" doesn't doesn't do much processing or at least shunts enough of it off into the subprocesses (us) that feed into the workspace. Sorry for being unclear on that point! I'll make a small edit to the post to be clearer on that.

Angra Mainyu said...


Regarding the first issue, Idealist Pantheism is defined as the view that the world consists in only one thing: God's mind. What I was trying to get at is that the world would consist of many minds. God would be one of them, of which the others would be proper parts.

As for the second issue, I was asking specifically about cases like that because I would say that there is an asymmetry when it comes to morality, in the following sense:
A moral agent that does some morally good/praiseworthy actions need not be a morally good agent. It depends on other actions it does. But a moral agent who (knowingly and out of its own free will) tortures and kills people for pleasure is a moral monster, regardless of what other actions it may do.

On this view, if every agent's actions are God's actions, God would be very evil – even if not maximally evil, because (for example) he does some good things too.

That said, I do not know that this is a flaw of the view in question. I think there are other problems, though, on the view that our actions are God's actions. For example, God is trying to kill Al-Assad and create a Taliban-like state in Siria. He's also trying to create a liberal democracy in Siria. He's also trying to protect Al-Assad, kill his opponents and protect the regime, and so on.
It gives the impression that God is particularly irrational. I guess the way around that would be to stress the lack of unity of God's minds. But if even so, the theory posits that God does have a mind, and (at least, if I understand your reply to my question about torturing and killing people for fun) those actions are all deliberate, planned, and of its own free will makes it hard to see how God is not hugely irrational.
I suppose that that might not be a problem, either, depending on what you have in mind.

Paul Bello said...

Ah -- well, I suppose there's some value in looking at the architecture of GWT as a possible mechanism. Maybe where I was confused (and why I'd thought of Baars) was due to the nature of the paradox you pointed out -- that somehow on Pantheistic Idealism, God's consciousness would have to be disunified. If GWT is to be a solution to that problem, then I'd imagine you'd need a version of GWT that addressed consciousness centrally.

Re: Aquinas -- I bring this up not only because TA is on the very top of my list of favorites, but also because he rejects Pantheism on reasonable grounds in favor of Panentheism -- a God that is seperate from yet simulataenously suffused throughout the universe and its contents. In other words, the issue has been thought through. If in your thought experiment, we assume God exists (since we need to in order to even consider Pantheism), it's not really controversial to assume that God is something akin to the uncaused cause. And if we get that far, then Aquinas' reasoning has some force. The wrinkle in all of this is that Aquinas is most certainly not an idealist of any sort, but perhaps the basic argument still goes through -- God's thoughts could have been other than they are and cannot be properly identical to Him. They must somehow be caused by Him. Dunno, I'm just an AI researcher and not a card-carrying metaphysician. Probably a bit out of my depth on this one. Anyhow, thanks for the replies and for writing up such a stimulating post.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Angra: I think I can accept any of that, with the caveat that conflict among God's sub-minds might not be irrationality as much as ambivalence. Compare: Cells in our visual systems might have somewhat inconsistent representational contents and the final visual experience might reflect some compromise among them.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Paul: That all seems reasonable, but you can do something like GWT with consciousness in the subsystems; and in general I find metaphysical arguments like those of Aquinas pretty indecisive. That's part of the background metaphilosophy of this post: Open up / explore weird unorthodox options!

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Anon Apr 24: I'm sorry that you're feeling distress in this way -- not sure that I have much to say about that sort of thing, though, other than that many people report odd visual experiences when they are in the dark or close their eyes.

Angra Mainyu said...


It seems to me that there is a relevant difference between the case of God in the theory in question and the analogy about my visual system.

While there may be inconsistent representations in my visual system, that would not make me – an agent – irrational, so I would agree with that. On the other hand, what would be irrational would be for me to try to achieve incompatible goals, at least if I know or should know that they are incompatible. So, an agent that is deliberately attempting to kill Al-Assad and create regime X instead, and simultaneously is deliberately attempting to protect Al-Assad and kill those trying to create regime X is behaving in a very irrational manner in my view. But God would be doing that a zillion times – maybe even infinitely many times.

That aside, it's not clear to me how God (not the parts of his mind) would be able to act or communicate in this context. For example, if Bob asks God to get a job, can God make it happen (which would require affecting the decision of the person doing the hiring). Generally, I would like to ask what sort of a choice (and power) would God have?
On this theory, it seems God can communicate and think since our actions are his actions, but I'm not sure I can understand in which sense that is so. For example, can he communicate as God? (rather than as a part)

Callan S. said...

If idealist pantheism is true, then my mind would have to be part of God's mind. How would that work?

Couldn't it work as much as when I have a dream with people in it, they are both part of my mind and yet really just a projection?

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Angra: I still think we could see it as God working out ambivalences. Given idealism, there is no mind-independent world that God is acting upon in a conflicting way, but just parts of God's mind in competition, as it were. Maybe in some sense this is irrational, but if so I don't see why a diety couldn't be irrational in this way.

Callan: I think this touches on a similar issue to the one raised by Pete. In my view, the relevant difference is that dream-entities aren't themselves conscious. They are more like Berkeley's rocks than like Berkeley's souls.

Angra Mainyu said...


I don't see the relevance of whether there is a mind-independent world that God is acting upon in a conflicting way. For example, let's say that is Idealist Pantheism is true, and that a human being – say, Ted – knowingly tries to achieve two mutually incompatible goals. Then, there is no mind independent world Ted is acting upon in a conflicting way (since there is no mind-independent world), but his behavior is just as irrational as it would be if there were a mind-independent world.

Granted, in the case of Ted, there are other minds that are not part of Ted's mind, whereas in the case of God, all other minds are parts of God's mind somehow. But I don't think that that's relevant to the issue of whether his actions are irrational, either. On that note, in the analogy, Ted would be acting irrationally even if he were trying to act upon his own mind only. For example, he decides to try not to remember some event because it hurts him, but at the same time decides to make an effort to remember it as much as he can, he's being irrational.

Alex James said...


I'm an Idealist. New to it actually. What about if God is experiencing tactile impressions through us. Essentially, we all are god, our souls, chose to be born to experience human life. Then when the body dies we return to universal knowledge but leave the human experience vehicle behind.

Everything is our Mind. We're imagining what it would be like to be separate. We created the process of human form to occupy it. God is all knowing but lacks the experience of separation and relationship with ourselves. That imagined possible world is this one.


clasqm said...

"idealist pantheism, the view that the world consists only of one thing, God's mind."

Why bring god into this in the first place? pantheism is just the religious expression of monism, so applying Ocham's razor and reducing the number of entitites brings us to

"idealist monism, the view that the world consists only of one thing, mind"

Philosophically much cleaner, methinks. The "god" concept is semantically far too intertwined with dualist notions of creator/creation and object of devotion/devotee to work well in an idealist setting.

Alex James said...

Agreed. Well put

"The "god" concept is semantically far too intertwined with dualist notions of creator/creation and object of devotion/devotee to work well in an idealist setting."

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Angra: I could see going either way on the issue about whether acting in a conflicting way upon an outside world is different in degree of irrationality than doing whatever it is God does in this picture. But I guess I'm inclined to say that on this picture God would be working through ambivalences about conflicting ideas -- probably not something that an absolutely perfect being would have to do, but I am not offering this as a perfectionist theology.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Alex: Maybe so. I'm a skeptic, so I don't positively embrace this type of view, but I also think that people are generally too hasty to dismiss it.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Michel: Maybe so. Which way to go might depend on how one fills out other pieces of the cosmology which I haven't specified, especially regarding creation and power, and whether one wants to encourage a religious-style reverence.

Callan S. said...

Hi Eric,

In my view, the relevant difference is that dream-entities aren't themselves conscious.

Well maybe that's our state?

Gordon Knight said...

I might not be understanding this right, but it seems this version of idealist pantheism leaves intact individual minds as metaphysically distinct from both one another. Each of us is part of God, God is is in some way also a distinct mind or spirit that can access each of us as one of God's parts. The parts themselves remain at best externally related, though the relationship between God and us is whole/part.

This might be right, but we can also take our clue from the some of the british idealists and begin with the insistence that all relations are internal. Think of the example of a game of chess as the whole, and the chess pieces as parts. In one way we can think of a rook or a knight , but on closer inspection these pieces only have meaning in relation to the whole they are a part. Without the game, there is no rook. Yet when we think of a rook, we, or at least I, seem to be thinking of a distinct particular when in fact it is not.
Suppose the universe is like this. In this case there are no singular things, other than the whole. Although we can by a kind abstraction (one that comes naturally, without effort) attend to part of the whole as if they were metaphysically distinct things. If we give this an idealist twist, it would go something like this: I take myself to be aware of the contents of my own mind and take my mind to be a distinct individual, but in reality my mind is inextricably linked to this larger whole.

One difficulty for me is that I have a distinct and powerful intuition that my consciousness is a distinct, though very odd, sort of particular. But this could just be a matter of ignorance.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks for that thoughtful comment, Gordon! The chess piece analogy is nice. The pieces are only *knights* relative to the game, but they are *hunks of wood* regardless. Likewise, your consciousness is only X relative to God's mind, but it is still also an individual, different type of thing, in its own right. At least, that seems a natural thought!

Anonymous said...

Interesting to think of this along side a future version of your conscious USA argument.

One day we could exist here with one highly sophisticated consciousness represented by our government and all of its apparatuses - which by this stage might be having quite interesting thoughts in a sophisticated way...

And an idealist pantheism god, both of which might be aware of each other and be aware that they are build on the same base (us humans) but not really be the same thing.

they might (in fact I expect they would) fall into competition with each other as each tries to crow its influence. And us in the middle so to speak.

Just a thought :)


Unknown said...

Reminds me much of Hermes Trismegistus philosophy that the universe we live in and all things we know of, including us, is just a figment of the All's (god's) imagination. All a manifestation of a tiny and short-lived thought.