Hypercomplexity and Omniscience
Beyond the various shades of determinism in physical phenomena, there is another level that governs our lives and also affects the physical world in subtle ways. This is the world of thoughts and ideas which have their origins in the human brain. This is very different from the world of atoms and molecules, of quarks and leptons from which it has emerged, even as a painting by a master artist is very different from the paints and brushes from which it arose. Thoughts are as different in their essence from the neurons that give rise to them, as a sonnet is from the alphabetical letters whose permutations lead to it. The level of reality including thoughts and ideas may be called the hypercomplex level. Science has yet to investigate the nature of the hypercomplex level of reality. Indeed, as of now, it does not even recognize it as a separate realm.
The relevance of hypercomplexity becomes apparent when one considers the course of one’s own or any individual’s life. A little reflection will reveal that the current situation in which one finds oneself arose from countless factors. If there had been even a slight change or replacement in one of them, one’s entire life would be different. Anyone can do the Gedankenexperiment of imagining what circumstance(s) led to one’s meeting a friend or a life-partner, or to one’s choice of education or profession, and reflect on what might have happened if that circumstance had not arisen. The course of any human life is the result of countless decision choices, but instigating those decisions are thoughts and circumstances over whose emergence we have little control.
The ways in which thoughts, ideas, and chance occurrences influence the course of individual human lives, of society and civilization, and of history should become obvious to any student of biography or history. Imagine for a moment what could have happened if the Buddha had not been protected by his father from every pain and suffering, if a different Roman governor had sent Jesus in exile rather than crucify him, if there had been no slave-mongering in Africa when the Europeans came there, or if Hitler had succeeded in his efforts to become a good painter. Imagine what could have happened or not happened if photography and other recording devices had not been invented. The world in which we live would have been significantly different.
The hypercomplex level has also had impacts on the physical world. The entire face of the earth has been modified, with roads and bridges and towns and train-tracks as a result of human activities. But all these activities had thoughts and ideas at their foundations. Human industry and technology have affected the earth’s physical and biological environment in many ways. But what are ultimately the sources of industry and technology? They are the sciences and values which are enshrined in thoughts and ideas in the hypercomplex realm. The planet Mars had for eons existed without an object from the earth landing on its surface. And this changed because of human science: a dramatic instance of hypercomplexity influencing the physical world.
The most important feature of the hypercomplex realm is that occurrences in it are utterly unpredictable. The predictability in the classical realm can, in principle, be perfect. The predictability in the realm of systems with large numbers of components is statistically constrained. The predictability in the realm of quantum systems is law-wise constrained (the Heisenberg principle). The predictability in the realm of chaos is enormously complicated, but still subject to physical laws. But the predictability in the hypercomplex realm is zero. That is why any prediction of human events, whether individual or collective, will most likely be plain wrong.
This does not mean that one cannot or should not project future possibilities on the basis of current situations. Such intelligent conjecture can even be helpful in inspiring us to intelligent, fruitful, and less destructive actions. However, it is important to bear in mind that a single unexpected event arising from elements in the hypercomplex level (such as a new idea, discovery, individual behavior, or perspective) could alter significantly the course of human events.
Freewill implies that the next move by a conscious entity is as yet undetermined, and could be one of many possibilities, depending on the free exercise of judgment by that entity. If the capacity for free exercise of judgment prior for an action (which is what free-will is) has been given to the human being by God, then God cannot and should not know what the actions of humans would be prior to their performance, especially if God is to judge and reward or punish human beings on the basis of their actions based on their own free will. If God is aware of this, how can we regard God had as having given us real freedom?
One solution to this paradox may be by recognizing the hypercomplex level of reality. At the hypercomplex level, events occur, not simply by the operation of the usual physical forces, but also from thought processes. Thus, whereas the motion of a projectile is governed solely by physical forces, the initial magnitude and direction of motion of a football are determined by a decision on the part of the ball player. Events of this kind occur only in the hypercomplex level in which thought and decisions come into play. As a result, events at this level are totally unpredictable.
From a theological perspective, the omniscience of God refers to knowledge and phenomena at the usual physical (classical and quantum) levels, but not at the hypercomplex level: Not because God is ignorant, but because God chose to create a hypercomplex level, perhaps because it is far more interesting and has great potential for unlimited creativity.