Intuitively, stuff happens because we decide it should happen. If you don't do anything, nothing will happen. And your decisions come from your concsiousness.

However, in the Universe, things are constantly happening, despite there being no human there to set things in motion.

Assuming the reasonable premise that subatomic particles do not have a conscious: my question is, why do things then happen? If there's nobody to "make a decision", why is the Universe not completely static, frozen?

Note that this question goes deeper than the more scientific answer of "things happen because we have scientific laws: duh". Rather I am asking, if there's nobody to impose those laws on the universe, then why do those laws exist?

One counter-response is that being static is not the a priori state of the universe. Rather, the Universe is dynamic a priori. But, in that case, if one moves a priori, then that movement has to be random. But then in that case, how come such randomness has produced the Universe as we know it, with its patterns, structure, and complexity?

What I am getting at here is, somebody, something, must be imposing dynamic movement upon the universe. God, or some other supernatural entity. Maybe even the Universe itself.

  • See e.g. Leibniz on Causation. Oct 20 '17 at 6:21
  • I should mention Einstein would agree with you, as long as God was Spinoza's God, basically pantheism. I mean the fact that Einstein came up with his ideas sitting in a chair, many, if not all, later confirmed by observation, seems to point to orderliness, but there is a danger of reading too much into this. But we are not through yet with our thinking and investigations.
    – Gordon
    Oct 20 '17 at 15:08
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    One could say that the indeterminism of quantum reality could be interpreted in such a way that quantum reality has enough consciousness to act as an agent. Jan 27 '18 at 2:05
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    These problems arise when we assume consciousness begins with human beings.
    – user20253
    Jan 28 '18 at 14:02
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    "If you don't do anything, nothing will happen" - we have that intuition because friction is the norm in the environment and on the scale we live in. But in reality matter continues its uniform motion until perturbed by external forces. So, it takes as much energy to stop things as to set them in motion. "What set them in motion initially?" is still a valid question.
    – ngn
    Jan 28 '18 at 15:21

You can't go outside the human in this case since the human is the central point to be considered as a sample where we can find evidence of awareness and will power.

Our awareness, intelligence and will power must come from another bigger awareness, intelligence and will power. Those are not less(!!!) than ourselves, however that may be.

Pull back, again, and again, then you may stop at any point (or go to the farthest - uncaused cause) which you may consider as the source of will power.

There you will find something bigger or the biggest, however you wish, with huge awareness, huge intelligence and huge will power.

And this is the cause of what you've asked.


Causation is essentially a fiction we use to organise our experiences https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction Free will is a product of implicitly framing causation in terms of Mind (usually God's), usually creating a schism with the scientific world view, but is resolved by considering emergent properties of complex systems. There is no compulsion to derive explantions from simpler reductive layers, they are not neccessarily 'fundamental', but just part of the 'stack' of layers of organisation, with different dynamics but some interaction. Yogacara theology takes a stance aligned to this, that everything is mind, and subjective experience precedes any other kind, avoiding dualism. It rejects fundamental particles as having consciousness because they don't have subjective experiences, their reality is embedded in those, like Indra's Net.

"somebody, something, must be imposing dynamic movement upon the universe" This is essentially https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_argument#What_caused_the_First_Cause? There are many physicists looking at what happened just before the Big Bang, so in that sense empirical answers may be possible. They can probably never address why there is anything instead of nothing, but that is really a mystics question, unlikely to have a rational answer.

Another way of looking at your question, is the universe's future rather than it's past. Will the universe end in a 'heat death', a smear of hydrogen atoms at almost infinitely close to zero kelvin? Only if something interferes with that future, does 'nature' reject the static situation you describe. We currently have no reason to think so. But time will literally tell.


You are implying that consciousnesses is:

1) a requirement for things to be set in motion. It is not even clear if human-beings themselves have consciousness or are rather being drifted by cause and effect motions. So one could question the concept of consciousness itself.

2) But if it exists, you set concsciousness to be equivalent to someone who imposes laws or a will, I am not sure if you are implying a deity here or not but then again this requirement is similar to the first one. But this reduces the question to whether there has to be a will for laws to come into existence.

And this last point I am not sure of , because you base your argument on this particular element, disregarding the possibility of laws having the possibility of existence themselves. This is also the standpoint of many empiricists, who do not bother answering the question of by whom because they only are interested in there is, implying it just is, a priori, just like the “scientific answer” but only going into its structural logic.

Assuming things just can't be and everything has to have a cause and effect , even the laws in particular which have to have the cause of a will, and the will has to have a subject which frees itself from this cause and effect chain, then this subject surely has to be a deity? This assumes that the laws are chained to the will, but this also implies that laws are bound to change if your will changes. So this will has to be constant and its sole desire should be to remain constant and only inhibit the will of existence of things in a certain regularity. But this could actually also be humans and or god. Depending on how you look at the will and how deterministic you think it is.


Your question is a good one but is based on the assumption that events happen. Clearly they do in some sense but is it a metaphysical sense? Some philosophers would say not and that nothing ever really happens. This allows for your static (aspect of the) Universe, as proposed by Parmenides and proved by Nagarjuna.

The trick would be a dual-aspect theory by which events both do and do not occur depending on our level of analysis or perception. For Buddhists these are the Conventional and Ultimate aspects. Thus if you ask a mystic whether events happen they are likely to answer 'Yes and no'.

This does not answer your question but it suggests that there is a prior question about the reality of events that needs to be asked.


I think it just happens because of entropy. What is entropy anyway? Entropy is lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder. It means that anything that is in order or some order will surely at one time become disordered. This is what entropy says. Imagine a cup of hot water and put a cold spoon in it, you will notice that some of the heat from the hot water will be transferred to the cold spoon until their temperature becomes the same. It means that the kinetic energy of the particles of the hot water have transferred their energy to the particles of the cold spoon, or simply that the particles have become disordered. The same thing happens with areas of high pressure and low pressure. The air from high-pressure rushes to the low-pressure area or simply the particles become disordered. I think that the thing that pushes the thing to happen is the phenomenon of entropy. All the life processes and the transfers of various types of energy is just because of entropy.

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