In the world of modern science, consciousness is reduced to a fading epiphenomenon, left over after the brain has been physically explained. It seems to arise when matter is suitably organized, but scientists and philosophers have been unable to explain why complex organization should produce anything beyond complex physical behavior. Yet consciousness won't go away.
One possibility is that, instead of being produced by matter, consciousness is a separate element, added to physical systems. This can be modeled using the idea of a virtual reality, in which a human subject enters a computer-simulated world through a sensory interface. In this book, virtual reality is used as a metaphor for our situation as conscious beings. The basic theme is that what we can imagine doing in a virtual reality system may actually be happening in nature on a vastly greater scale. Nature may be like a computer simulation interfaced with conscious observer/participants.
This groundbreaking book shows how conscious beings could interact with a physically realistic virtual world. It shows how paranormal phenomena can be reconciled in a natural way with the laws of physics, and it sheds light on paradoxes of time, on life beyond the body, and on cosmic and terrestrial evolution. In a sweeping synthesis, the ideas and data of modern science are used to illuminate the ancient theme of consciousness in a world of illusion.