Nowadays so many cosmologists predict the death of the universe. If someday the universe dies, totally goes into nothingness, will the mind still exist?

If mind is some kind of substance, but not entirely matter, would it still exist? Is mind creation/result of the matter? Or does mind exist somewhere, in non-material dimension, and has nothing to do with the matter?

Is there non-material dimension, where all imaginative cognitive processes happen, where consciousness exists apart from the material bodies?

To be clear, if our material universe dies and there's nothing material anymore (excluding multiverse and simulation hypothesis), can non-material dimension exist (without particular animate beings)?

What are probable solutions to all these problems? Are there any abstract philosiphical ideas which are close to answer to these questions?

  • To help provide context is there some philosopher you are reader who motivates this question for you? Without some context the question might be considered too broad or opinion based. Welcome to this SE! Sep 11, 2018 at 18:39
  • At first, there are many questions being asked here. At second, these questions are opinion-based, there is no scientific evidence that mind is dependent or independent on matter. There are philosophical views arguing for each separately and some for both (that mind is dependent on matter, but not entirely).
    – rus9384
    Sep 11, 2018 at 18:43
  • Thank you, Frank. I know this question is broad, I would like to hear different perspectives on this topic. Sep 11, 2018 at 18:46
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    A common view has it that matter reduces to mind and mind to a pure consciousness free of concepts. For a fundamental theory Mind and Matter would be reduced. It would be the reification of Mind that leads us into all our intractable philosophical problems. If this is so then matter and mind may be annihilated and recreated ad infinitum but the Source would be eternal and unchanging.
    – user20253
    Sep 12, 2018 at 9:56
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    @PeterJ I think the point is that reality did have a beginning, but that asking what came before reality is meaningless, since 'before' necessitates the existence of time itself. There literally was no 'before', because before's were not possible. We aren't trapped in our thoughts, but since our thoughts require time, we are trapped in a reality which contains 'time' (that is, this reality, not any reality which 'preceded' time itself). Time is clearly fundamental to our consciousness.
    – Richard
    Jan 14, 2019 at 14:54

5 Answers 5


In Christian teaching, we hear Jesus saying: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words will not pass away." He also says, "When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am."

If God created the universe, then God exists prior to the universe and can create other places for human souls to live as well.


Is there non-material dimension, where all imaginative cognitive processes happen, where consciousness exists apart from the material bodies?

To be clear, if our material universe dies and there's nothing material anymore (excluding multiverse and simulation hypothesis), can non-material dimension exist (without particular animate beings)?

What are probable solutions to all these problems? Are there any abstract philosophical ideas which are close to answering these questions?

What I could gather that you are raising issues related to Solipsism. I can present before you a view or views on this issue but it will be a long answer- one has to bear with it.

Based on a philosophy of subjective idealism, metaphysical solipsists maintain that the self is the only existing reality and that all other realities, including the external world and other persons, are representations of that self, and have no independent existence.

Thereby the external world can not exist without 'self'.

solipsism relates to three philosophical presuppositions, each itself fundamental and wide-ranging in importance.

  1. My most certain knowledge is the content of my own mind—my thoughts, experiences, effects, etc.

  2. There is no conceptual link between mental and physical—between, say, the conscious experience and physical body.

  3. The experience of a given person is necessarily private to that person. This includes the symphonies of Beethoven, the works of Shakespeare, all of mathematics and science

Modern Idealists, believe that the mind and its thoughts are the only true things that exist.

Rationalism is the philosophical position that truth is best discovered by the use of reasoning and logic rather than by the use of the senses (see Plato's theory of Forms). Solipsism is also skeptical of sense-data.

Solipsism is not a falsifiable hypothesis as described by Karl Popper or Imre Lakatos: there does not seem to be an imaginable disproof.[17]

One critical test is nevertheless to consider the induction from experience that the externally observable world does not seem, at first approach, to be directly manipulable purely by mental energies alone.

One can indirectly manipulate the world through the medium of the physical body, but it seems impossible to do so through pure thought (e.g. via psychokinesis). It might be argued that if the external world were merely a construct of a single consciousness, i.e. the self, it could then follow that the external world should be somehow directly manipulable by that consciousness, and if it is not, then solipsism is false.

The method of a scientist is the materialist: they first assume that the external world exists and can be known.

But the scientific method, in the sense of a predict-observe-modify loop, does not require the assumption of an external world. A solipsist may perform a psychological test on themselves, to discern the nature of the reality in their mind - however, David Deutsch uses this fact to counter-argue: "outer parts" of solipsist, behave independently so they are independent for "narrowly" defined (conscious) self.[18]

A solipsism is a form of logical minimalism. Many people are intuitively unconvinced of the nonexistence of the external world from the basic arguments of solipsism, but a solid proof of its existence is not available at present.

The earliest reference to Solipsism in Hindu philosophy is found in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, dated to early 1st millennium BCE.[20] The Upanishad holds the mind to be the only god and all actions in the universe are thought to be a result of the mind assuming infinite forms.

>One who sees everything as nothing but the Self, and the Self in everything one sees, such a seer withdraws from nothing. For the enlightened, all that exists is nothing but the Self, so how could any suffering or delusion continue for those who know this oneness? — Ishopanishad: sloka 6, 7

The **Buddha stated, "Within the fathom-long body is the world, the origin of the world, the cessation of the world and the path leading to the cessation of the world".[25] Whilst not rejecting the occurrence of external phenomena, the Buddha focused on the illusion created within the mind of the perceiver by the process of ascribing permanence to impermanent phenomena, satisfaction to unsatisfying experiences, and a sense of reality to things that were effectively insubstantial.**

Coming to the domain of scientist-philosophers the dialectics of mind and body including external world presents the following picture-

The question that intrigued the great American physicist John Archibald Wheeler in the last decades of his life was: “Are life and mind irrelevant to the structure of the universe, or are they central to it?” He suggested that the nature of reality was revealed by the bizarre laws of quantum mechanics. According to the quantum theory, before the observation is made, a subatomic particle exists in several states, called a superposition (or, as Wheeler called it, a ‘smoky dragon’). Once the particle is observed, it instantaneously collapses into a single position.

Wheeler was a scientist-philosopher who introduced the concept of wormholes and coined the term “black hole”. He pioneered the theory of nuclear fission with Niels Bohr and introduced the S-matrix (the scattering matrix used in quantum mechanics). Wheeler devised a concept of quantum foam; a theory of “virtual particles” popping in and out of existence in space (similarly, he conceptualized foam as the foundation of the fabric of the universe).

Wheeler suggested that reality is created by observers and that: “no phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon.” He coined the term “Participatory Anthropic Principle” (PAP) from the Greek “Anthropos”, or human. He went further to suggest that “we are participants in bringing into being not only the near and here, but the far away and long ago.”

This claim was considered rather outlandish until his thought experiment, known as the “delayed-choice experiment,” was tested in a laboratory in 1984. This experiment was a variation on the famous “double-slit experiment” in which the dual nature of light was exposed (depending on how the experiment was measured and observed, the light behaved like a particle (a photon) or like a wave). The results of this experiment, as well as another conducted in 2007, proved what Wheeler had always suspected – observers’ consciousness is required to bring the universe into existence. This means that a pre-life Earth would have existed in an undetermined state, and a pre-life universe could only exist retroactively.

In the coming era, the universe will be completely redefined as a "human universe" radically unlike the cold, empty void where human life and our planet is a mere mote of dust in the cosmos.

You Are the Universe literally means what it says–each of us is a co-creator of reality extending to the vastest reaches of time and space.

This seemingly impossible proposition follows from the current state of science, where outside the public eye, some key mysteries cannot be solved, even though they are the very issues that define reality itself:

“The shift into a new paradigm is happening, “All of us live in a participatory universe. Once you decide that you want to participate fully with the mind, body, and soul, the paradigm shift becomes personal. The reality you inhabit will be yours either to embrace or to change.”

Physics has had decades to process the insight - A cosmos in which all of us are embedded as co-creators, replacing the accepted universe "out there," which is separate from us. Wheeler used the image of children with their noses pressed against a bakery window to describe the view that kept the observer separate from the thing being observed. But in a fully participatory universe, the observer and the thing observed are one.

The brain isn't the seat of consciousness but acts more like a radio receiver, and perhaps emitter, translating conscious activity into physical correlates. (The radio receiver metaphor describes the feedback loop between mind and brain, which are actually not separate but part of the same complementary activity in consciousness.) To understand our true participation in the universe, we must learn much more about awareness and how it turns the mind into the matter and vice versa.

These are difficult truths for mainstream scientists to accept.

That's why in scattered pockets, some physicists are beginning to talk about a conscious universe, where consciousness is a given throughout Nature. In fact, the founders of quantum mechanics a century ago agreed more with this view, having understood that quantum mechanics implies observation and agency of mind. In their upcoming book You Are the Universe, they call it the human universe, emphasizing where the whole construct comes from.



  • This answer contains a large number of claims about quantum mechanics without references. Despite having done a substantial amount of original research on the subject, it is not clear to me where these claims are coming from. For example, which 1984 experiment of delayed choice are you referring to? Looking e.g. at this recent experiment, the choices involved were not made by a conscious observer, but rather by a quantum random number generator (a physical system itself). No conclusion about the relevance of consciousness to quantum mechanics. Jan 14, 2019 at 20:13
  • This answer largely quotes from the referenced Daily Galaxy article. From the physics perspective, I'm afraid that an article discussing a book by Deepak Chopra needs to be taken with a very large grain of salt. Jan 14, 2019 at 20:24

This is the core proposition of idealism, which is that only ideas really exist and hence mind. In Western philosophy, it's roots goes back to Platonism and in Indian philosophy, the Vedas and Buddhism. There doesn't appear to be a close correlative in Islamic philosophy, though perhaps Suhrawardis illuminationist philosophy might come close.

This by the way, does not mean that matter does not exist, but that it's mode of existence is contingent; and nor should mind in the idealistic sense be confused with the kinds of minds that we have, but there is some kind of relation, in some sense.


I'd like to describe some thoughts on this based on modern physics and cosmology. Since these can necessarily only treat our universe, this answer is merely concerned with the death of the universe and the minds within it.

Nowadays so many cosmologists predict the death of the universe.

Where do you take this from?

According to the standard model of cosmology, the universe is infinite in time (towards the future). In fact, there is a strong consensus among cosmologists that the universe [..] will continue to expand forever. There are more exotic scenarios like a big crunch or a big rip, but these are exotic because they are not supported by current observations.

What you may be referring to is the heat death of the universe, which most cosmologists expect to take place eventually. In this type of scenario, the universe itself exists forever, but will converge to a state of perfect thermodynamic equilibrium. This implies that all animate beings will eventually whither, since all life (as we know it) is based on thermodynamic nonequilibrium. Then there seem to be two main possibilities:

  • If mind is necessarily embodied, then no mind can exist beyond the heat death, since no bodies can exist.

  • If Boltzmann brains exist, then these will be the only forms of mind after the heat death.

Caveat: this is my first post on this forum. As a mathematician and mathematical physicist with no formal background in philosophy, it's impossible for me to do justice to the existing philosophical literature. I'm hoping for feedback on whether this is considered appropriate and welcome here or not.

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    Welcome to Philosophy! I am glad to see the links to the multiple sources supporting your answer. +1 Jan 15, 2019 at 1:11

If someday the universe dies, totally goes into nothingness, will the mind still exist?

You had better not heat your head too much because if you find beingness anywhere, nothingness can never exist. Please read Gita Chapter 2.16

What you perceive is because there is Consciousness. Whatever perishes, Consciousness can never perish to become a nothingness.

Are there any abstract philosophical ideas which are close to answer to these questions?

You would get many valuable pieces of information about Cosmic Mind form this link: https://www.swami-krishnananda.org/everything/everything_08.html

The following extract from the above link might be useful:

The cosmic mind is a strange condition which the ordinary mind cannot understand. It is the total apprehension of all cognisable or perceivable things, and in this condition of cosmic mental operation, there is no necessity for a connecting link between itself and the objects, because objects get subsumed under the operation of the cosmic mind.

One cannot understand the 'idea' completely before realization BECAUSE IT CAN NEVER BE CONFINED AS AN IDEA. So I don't wish to give answers to your other questions.

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