Quickly, I'd like to confess something to you.
I've asked this very question already, on different forums. I'm happy to provide the links to them actually, in case any bored person feels like reading through pages and pages of forum talk, or wishes to read the question in its original format.
I've received lots and lots of answers, but none of these "discussions" has ever reached a conclusion. Many people don't understand, even more people think they do but obviously don't (I know how that sounds... I'm happy to accept this may be because of the way I ask and present the question) and even more people understand, provide a reply, yet in the form of a statement which I can only agree with or not, without being able to discuss the topic further. There are some people who seem to understand, provide thoughtful responses with arguments and engage in discussions, but for unknown reasons stop posting after a while before the matter is settled.
There are lots of ways to approach this question, and it seems that one of the flaws in the way I chose to do it was in not being clear, as in, absolutely crystal clear.
The question in the form I originally came up with is available at those links which you don't have to read either, because I will try rephrasing it in a simple way that hopefully doesn't cause too much confusion.
But first, the links to passed discussions :
You might think I am obsessed with this question, which I think I might be to an extent, simply because I don't think it should be so difficult to reach a definitive conclusion on it, yet I feel it is very important.
Definitions with regards to the context I am asking the question in (the framework) :
1. Physical is meant in physicist terms. It does not mean "material" or "has mass". It means "has one or more properties of the 4 forces that are the cause of all events in the universe" (which in theory should be measurable).
I got those 4 forces from Wikipedia here : http://en.wikipedia....i/Cause#Physics
2. Existence and "to exist" encompasses both
a) anything that exists subjectively (such as Santa Claus in your imagination) or that exists objectively that we may be aware of
anything that exists objectively irrespective of whether you are aware of it
which means that it may or may not (I don't know) necessarily be composed in one way or another by the properties of those "4 elemental forces".
3. Causality is intended to mean the link between the existence of an entity and any event that may be influenced by its existence in one way or another.
(which is different from the physicist's usage of that word which is strictly defined and contained by those 4 forces, since the assumption in Physics is that they are "the cause of all events").
4. Information / data / idea / meaning / language is defined not according to its form, or expression, or support in which it is stored, but as the actual message that is "understood" once that information or data or idea or meaning is interpreted.
This (in my view) covers anything that goes through our senses (smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing) because those senses's function are by definition to provide information from objective reality to the subject which is then interpreted. (some may argue that the information is actually interpreted before it reaches the subject, regardless, as long as there is information on one side, interpretation in between which provides the subject with the message)
Therefore, anything with any kind of awareness or sensor, receptor, interpretative or reading capacity applies that capacity when processing the information etc. (which means it is not limited to living things let alone conscious living things).
Assumption : Information / data / meaning / ideas and the messages that they contain exists
The reason for this assumption is that information, data, and/or the meaning of what is communicated can be expressed, read, and understood. I can not conceptualise being able to read, interpret or understand something which does not exist, so I'm assuming that it does.
Is it physical?
a) If so, is there any kind of causality between it and anything else that is physical? (and how does that work?)
If not, is there any kind of causality between it and anything else (physical or not)
Seeing as I've discussed this quite a few times, I've started to develop my own conclusions, but do not wish to flood you in my first post if you know what I mean.
EDIT (this is what has emerged from personal thought and online discussions : If it is not physical yet has a causality, how is that possible to explain according to "physics"? (because that contradicts the postulation that "those 4 elemental forces are the cause of all events in the universe").
I think I should be able to demonstrate that "messages" contained within information / ideas and so on do have a causality, ie, they are the cause of an effect.