The Omniscience Principle: God is You.
The Omniscience Principle is as far as I will go towards injecting some of my own understanding of the Divine into the Principles. It is not included in order to convince the reader of any underlying metaphysical reality, but rather to complete the circle that initially started with the Uncertainty Principle. But more on that later.
Referring to the excellent Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Omniscience is “the property of having complete or maximal knowledge”. Although not all philosophers might agree, I would suggest that this definition entails an omniscient being knows everything that it is logically and mathematically possible to know and that they infallibly know the truth, or falsehood of every proposition.
For this purpose, propositions are statements that have an identifiable truth value. For example, for the proposition “Bob likes cats”, an omniscient being would know that it was true if and only if it were true. For a similar statement, “Bob likes eating straw”, they would know that it was false, if and only if it were false. For a statement with no truth value, such as “this sentence is false”, the omniscient being would know that it was meaningless.
On reflection, it can be seen that a definition of omniscience is that relies on propositional knowledge is very limited. The omniscient being would know the truth of the statement, “Bob can sail a boat”, but would not necessarily know what it was like to sail a boat themselves. As such, it seems that a such a being would be little more than a giant encyclopaedia and that the truly omniscient being would also know what it is like to sail a boat.
In other words, the truly omniscient being would not only be in possession of all propositional knowledge (ie facts), they would also be in possession of all experiential knowledge. They would know what it was like to sail a boat, make love, or bungy jump from the moon.
But being in possession of all experiential knowledge isn’t just about knowing what it is like to sail a boat in general terms, it is knowing what it is like to sail a boat under every conceivable situation; even those that might seem silly or outlandish to us, but are still logically and mathematically possible. In other words, the omniscient being has knowledge of every possible boat sailing experience imaginable.
Not only has that, but the omniscient being knows what it is like to sail a boat as you! The experience of sailing a boat is not simply a matter of jumping in and steering. Rather, like any other experience it is a combination of your set and setting, of your emotional, physical and intellectual state. In order to be truly omniscient, such a being would need to know what it is like for you to sail a boat every conceivable circumstance.
Some might quibble and draw the line at the omniscient being knowing what it is like for you to sail a boat on Mars a sea of carbon dioxide snow. But it would seem that at the very least, an omniscient being would need to posses the experience of all of your boat sailing within this particular life. If a being did not have this experiential knowledge, there would be something that you knew (for example what it was like to sail home in tears after your loved one said goodbye), that you knew and the supposed omniscient being did not. Clearly such a being could not be omniscient after all.
Furthermore, the omniscient being’s experiential knowledge of your life cannot be simply limited to what it is like for you to sail a boat. To be truly omniscient, they would need to have experiential knowledge of your entire life, lived as you exactly as you are living it now. This experience would need to reflect yours exactly and would need to be experienced without any awareness that it was being experienced by an omniscient, rather a merely human, being.
To the extent that the experience of your life is knowable, the omniscient being must be in possession of all that knowledge and the information contained within both consciousnesses must be identical. In other words, there is no difference between your life, as lived by you and your life as lived by an omniscient being.
Because of this, we can see that the the consciousness of an omniscient being must, by definition, entail the consciousness of every other possible sentience.
So, who exactly are you? Are you the omniscient being living your life as you, or are you merely a copy of the omniscient being’s thoughts? If you are a copy, what is the difference between you and a CD and why would an omniscient being bother copying you, when the entirety of your experience already lay within its conscious awareness?
Of course, this entire analysis begs the question that an omniscient being actually exists. But if an omniscient being does exist, it seems inescapable to conclude that you are that being.
While the Divine Principle will prevent you from ever knowing, if God exists, God is You…