I was excited last night as I watched a video on YouTube with Tom Campbell. He had almost the same idea I have had on the beginning of consciousness. The basic idea is this: there was nothing except a void, with random fluctuations of information. Then there was, out of randomness, a pattern. This pattern was able to sustain itself, a cellular automaton. This became the first consciousness.
My idea is nearly the same. Except that the "void" is space, and the random fluctuations of information are quantum fluctuations. If you add in Panpsychism, everything falls together. There is no "first" consciousness, there is always consciousness in the universe. If every particle already has consciousness, just a tiny spark of awareness, then awareness is popping in and out of existence all the time. Patterns occasionally form out of randomness. This is a slightly higher awareness for a brief time. Even more rarely, you get the occasional pattern that forms a sustained (not indefinitely) pattern, a cellular automaton. Usually these automata peter out after a while, as in the Game of Life.
I first heard of the Game of Life in a science fiction novel called "Courtship Rite" by Donald Kingsbury. You start with initial conditions, usually two different color tiles in a rectangular or square bordered frame. There is a simple rule set, such as "black flips to white if three corners are touching white". Then when the game starts, the tiles begin to follow the rules, flipping or staying the same, creating "moving" patterns that seem to move with a life of their own. Sometimes, a pattern will repeat many times, staying in place, or moving across the board. These little pockets of pattern are called cellular automata.
If this actually happens in the quantum world, and I don't see why it couldn't, then the consciousness of these automata would be a little more aware. The entire automata may have it's own separate consciousness from each individual part, as each human has a separate consciousness than each individual cell in the body. This idea is called "holons", coined by Arthur Koestler.
The automaton, like all consciousness, has a sense of survival. It may then figure out how to keep it's pattern going. Eventually, it may learn other things, such as how to evolve in order to stay "alive". It may begin to learn how to manipulate other automata or particles, perhaps incorporating them into it's own patterns. It may learn how to create new patterns. It builds the first simple atom, them molecules, eventually there are clouds of dust, and finally, suns.
Then eventually, we get the universe we see today. We are all nodes in this larger consciousness, as is each particle, molecule, animal, sun, galaxy.
But there is still the overarching consciousness, that incorporates all into itself. I call it God.
If this is true, and I don't know if it is, then we really are all connected. It perfectly explains entanglement and nonlocality. There is a consciousness that connects everything.
The first automata must have had only base instincts. Perhaps only the survival instinct. I can't imagine it having higher emotions such as love or guilt. These must have evolved much later. I can see it may have felt an instinctual fear of it's demise. at first. Then as it evolved and progressed, higher emotions evolved,and that's why we have them today. As an overarching consciousness, it may experience even higher emotions we can't even imagine.
It must also be at a much higher level of consciousness than a human being. With everything in the universe connected, there must be many, many more connections than in the neural networks in our brain. The whole universe is like a giant brain. Although consciousness doesn't require a brain, higher intelligence might.
If all this is true, then this ultimate consciousness must be much older than the age of the known universe, 13.7 billion years. It must have taken billions of years of evolution to get to the point of being able to create suns. This consciousness has been around for a long time indeed.
I can't imagine being conscious for billions of years. What it must have gone through! Did it create us, other intelligent beings, to have someone to talk to? That seems a bit silly, but I wonder.