THE AWAKENING – Quantum Mechanics of the Human Brain and Consciousness
Before reading this interesting and potentially life changing blog, it would be a good idea to watch the following short videos at the links provided below; and read the article, third link below, as a prerequisite if one does not understand the double slit experiment or basic quantum physics.
Dr. Granville Dharmawardena of the University of Colombo writes that psychologists often speak of the mind and the body as two separate entities for convenience, but most acknowledge that they are intimately entwined. Yet none knows exactly how or how intimately. So the mind body problem keeps stubbornly resisting a definite solution. Philosopher John Searle (Mills Professor of Philosophy, University of California, and Berkley) says that today’s philosophers are reluctant to tackle such big problems as how people have been trying to understand their relationship to the universe.
All these refer to the elusive relationship between the body and the mind referred to more generally as the brain-mind problem. The brain-mind relationship has baffled mankind for a very long time. One main reason for this is that it was not considered as a candidate for scientific study until recently.
Psychology and related sciences were able to continue for many years by either ignoring the brain entirely or at best treating it as a black box whose rules of operation could be understood without reference to its internal contents or composition.
The human brain without doubt is the most complex organ in the known universe. It is physical and biological. Therefore, it has to be amenable to scientific probing without the intervention of such considerations as the Gödel’s theorem, which states that there are statements in mathematical systems which are true but cannot be proven within those systems.
Consciousness on the other hand is neither physical nor biological. Therefore, it is a more elusive subject to deal with and Gödel’s considerations may have a role to play there. Attempts to understand brain and consciousness have been mostly based on restrictive Newtonian classical science and exclusively the material realm composed of matter.
Although the powers of understanding of human senses and the scope of Newtonian science are limited to three spatial dimensions, the scope of our universe is not limited to three dimensions. In fact, news theories hypothesize there are eleven dimensions. Many of the natural phenomena happening within our universe transcend the three dimension scene. Therefore, it is not possible to assume that the mechanisms of operation of the brain and consciousness remain imprisoned within the confines of Isaac Newton’s three dimensional material universe. Just as the Earth was proved not to be the center of the universe, our current theories that govern our physical universe such as Einstein’s gravity theory and others may become obsolete in our understanding of reality.
Attempts to understand the brain-mind problem within Newton’s universe over centuries have introduced divisions and concepts that have become detrimental to having a new look at it from the point of view of modern science, more specifically quantum mechanics. . Just as the Earth was proved not to be the center of the universe, our current theories that govern our physical universe such as Einstein’s gravity theory and others may become obsolete in our understanding of reality. For example, astrophysicist can only account for about 10% of the matter in the universe. Dark matter was invented to account for the other 90%, but no one knows if dark matter even exists. Could it be that our theories are really 90% wrong, dark matter doesn’t exist, and there are actually other things that are beyond our current comprehensive ability that determine our perception of our universe and reality? Most likely, yes.
In trying to interpret the mechanisms of operation of the human brain and developing a model for consciousness that explain all practical observations, it is necessary first of all to jettison traditional thinking and clean up the mess created by human genius. It is also necessary to enlist all the observed properties of the brain and consciousness and ensure that the developed model explains all of them.
There is general agreement that the seat of consciousness is the brain in Human beings. We can go along with this concept. Philosopher Colin McGinn (Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, New Jersey the USA) introduces a property of the brain of which the brain is the basis of consciousness and a theory which fully explains the dependence of conscious states on brain states. He adds that if we knew the theory, then we have a constructive solution to the mind-body problem.
It is reasonable to consider a property of the brain, but it is not possible at this stage to shut the possibility that, as Nobel Laureate Neurobiologist Sir John Eccles points out, the scope of consciousness may not remain limited within the confines of the human skull. This is especially so because many of our practical observations and those of many others clearly show that consciousness, at times, can remain completely dis-embodied. We can hence, focus our attention on understanding three factors, the nature of consciousness, the property of the brain that enables consciousness to operate within the brain, and a model that explains the behavior of the brain and consciousness as practically observed.
The brain, which is material, has received much attention over a very long period from both classical and modern scientists. The classical science explanation of the structure and the mechanisms of operation of the brain is easily accessible through medical and biology text books.
The brain consists of about 1.3 kg. of gray matter which is made up of hundreds of billions of specialized cells known as neurons which have electrical properties akin to those of transistor circuits in computers. Like in transistor circuits these cells are interconnected and there are trillions of such neuron-neuron connections in the brain. Like in transistor circuits electrical signals are transmitted through neurons by unidirectional electrical pulses which are excited, modulated, or inhibited by pulses in other neurons, and passed on to other neurons.
However, there are differences. In transistor circuits electrical pulses are transmitted across the circuits by the migration of electrons at an enormous velocity of half the speed of light, where as in neurons, electrical pulses are transmitted by the movement of ions which are much heavier than electrons, at a much slower maximum speed of 120 meters per second (mps). This speed is not fast enough to account for the speed of human actions. The interneuron links are established through biochemical junctions, through which signals are passed from one neuron to another by the release of ions. In transistor circuits, all connections are exclusively electrical. The brain interprets signals from the senses and creates images in the brain that are the individual’s perception of reality.
For example, when we see an object, our eyes take in light through the lens of the eye and invert the light image onto the back of the eyeball where the light is converted to electrical energy and transmitted to the visual centers of the brain by the optic nerve. If the optic nerve is severed, the image in the visual center of the brain disappears. Also, if the object makes a noise, our sense of hearing picks up the noise from vibrations in air and converts these vibrations into electrical impulses that are transmitted by the cochlear nerves to the brain. If the cochlear nerve is severed, the nerves ceases to transmit to the brain and the person will hear nothing from the object.
The brain is the most complex and most important organ in the human body, and it is a voracious consumer of energy, consuming ten times more energy per unit mass as compared to other body organs. Failure to supply energy to the brain for a few minutes can cause substantial brain damage and ultimate brain death. The variety of different proteins expressed in neurons is about 30,000. This is greater than in any other body organ.
The importance of understanding the structure and mechanisms of operation of the brain prompted President George Bush of the USA to proclaim the 1990’s as the decade of the brain. EEG (Electro Encephelo Graph) was the original technique used to study brain mechanisms. Three new techniques, PET (Positron Emission Tomography), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and Magneto Encephelography have come into use in studying brain mechanisms during the last decade. As a result, we understand the functioning of the brain much better today than a couple of decades ago.
The slow electrical pulses moving at a maximum speed of 120 mps may, perhaps, be adequate to account for some of the involuntary functions inside the human body. But they are certainly not adequate to account for the speed of human activities that involve computing and the mind. The similarities between the computer circuits and the brain cells have driven brain researchers to construct computer models for the brain. Initially, they tried serial computers, and then to account for the speed, parallel computers came into play. Today, computer models dominate most brain research, but are still no match for the human brain.
However, computer models are many orders of magnitude slower than needed to account for the speed of thought. A Neurologist has calculated that if the brain was a standard serial or a parallel computer, it would take more time than the age of the universe to perform all the necessary calculations associated with just one perceptual event. But if the brain were a quantum computer, it would try out all the various possible combinations of data arrangement at once, and thus, unify its experience. So, in essence, the brain operates very similar to how science theorizes a quantum computer to work even though quantum computers do not yet exist.
Many who research on the brain-mind problem proceed with a prior assumption that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain, but quantum physics indicates that consciousness is related to the awareness that an electron appears to show in the wave/particle duality (double slit experiment). Quantum physicists have shown that the electron behaves differently when being observed by a human.
When the electron is not being observed, the electron behaves like a wave, but when an observing instrument is placed in the experiment, the electron behaves like a particle. This experience indicates that the electron will change its behavior/reality depending on whether or not the electron is being observed as if the electron is aware that it is being observed. This awareness is very similar, if not the same, as human awareness and may be related to the same consciousness.
Some researchers consider consciousness as another property, emerging as a result of trillions of electrical pulses shuttling across the brain. According to this, consciousness is only a property and not an entity. John Searle introduces consciousness as a natural biological phenomenon that does not fit comfortably into either of the traditional categories of mental and physical, caused by lower level micro processors in the brain. However, on the basis of practical observations made by cutting edge scientists, these assumptions have been rejected and now consciousness is regarded as a non-material entity capable of independent eternal existence similar to the electron in the double slit experiment. Hence, consciousness can change reality just by being aware.
Observations on OBE (Out of Body Experience) and NDE (Near Death Experience ) show that while the body is in an anaesthetized or inactive state, consciousness can remain dis-embodied, observe events from outside the body, and later re-localize in the brain. After the body renormalizes, the person can relate what his consciousness observed and heard from an out of body location while the body was inactive. Other experiments have shown that consciousness can leave a dying person, float around observing things and events and later, as Eccles had pointed out, attach itself to an unborn fetus to start a new existence as another individual.
Consciousness is, therefore, a non-material entity capable of independent, eternal existence, and not a property. Consciousness is not emergent, and is eternal similar to the electron. It can remain localized in the human brain and interact with the brain, and thereby, control the activities of the human body. While electrons in the brain behave as particles, these electrons prevent the consciousness from realizing that it is part of a larger whole. When the electrons behave as a wave, the consciousness becomes aware of its existence outside the human mind, which makes OBE and NDE possible.
Whenever the electron wave function collapses, the OBE and NDE ends and the person returns to their physical body and its perception of reality similar to the collapsing of the wave function in the double slit experiment in quantum physics. During the OBE and NDE while the electron is behaving as a wave function, consciousness can leave the brain and go into an independent floating existence outside the human body where it can travel independent of space-time similar to the entangled electron.
This behavior of consciousness is akin to the behavior of an electron in and out of an atom. The electron, which is a quantum entity, can remain localized inside an atom by quantum mechanical interaction with the electromagnetic field around the atomic nucleus, which itself is quantum in nature so long as the energy of the atom’s quantum state it occupies matches the energy possessed by the electron. Whenever the energy of the electron does not match, it has to shift to another matching state. In this case the property that localizes the electron inside the atom, the nature of the electron, and the relevant atomic model are well known in quantum physics. All these are quantum in nature. Let us consider the nature of consciousness, the property of the brain, and a model that satisfactorily solves the brain-mind problem.
Nature of Consciousness
Defining consciousness has been considered as a frightfully difficult problem. Does the word “Consciousness” have one single meaning or does it have two meanings like the words “bank” and “palm”.
Quantum Physicist, Danah Zohar, describes consciousness as something that includes general capacity for awareness and purposive response. By this description, she accepts the above two meanings of the word consciousness. Roger Penrose refers to these as active consciousness and passive consciousness.
When a person is awake, information about his/her surroundings is presented to his/her brain by his/her sense organs. The brain processes and computes millions of bits of information presented to it every second by the sensory organs and presents the processed information to consciousness. At this time, electrons in the brain behave as particles.
Through this process, consciousness remains aware of the surroundings and we say that the person is s-conscious of his/her surroundings. When this link between consciousness and the surroundings is interrupted and consciousness is not able to be aware of events in its surroundings, but is aware of events in a dream state, we say that the person is s-unconsciousness. It has been found that when a stimulus is presented to a sensory organ of an anaesthetized, all brain processes relevant to that stimulus takes place as if he/she is not anesthetized. Physicist and Pharmacologist Susan Greenfield (Professor of Pharmacology at Oxford University and Professor of Physics at Gresham College, London) points out that none has yet pointed to a single event that occurs in awake but not in anaesthetized brain.
Hence, when a person becomes s-unconscious, the property severs the link between consciousness and the brain turning on the electron wave function. During this event, consciousness can dis-embody and observe events in the surroundings directly without the help of sensory organs, keep them in memory and relate what was seen, after consciousness returns to the body and re-established links with the brain. The dis-embodied consciousness possesses visual, auditory, and olfactory senses. While dis-embodied, the consciousness experiences a new perception of reality outside of one’s self, I-ness, or oneness.
When the person then becomes s-conscious, the wave function collapses and the electron instantly changes from a wave to that of a particle preventing the person from being aware of being part of the whole. This gives rise to oneness, I-ness, and self.
It has been shown using such techniques as PET and MRI that the above process of receiving data from a stimulus by a sensory organ, transmitting them to the brain, computing and processing the data, and passing the processed data to consciousness, can be reversed by hypnotizing a person. When a hypnotherapist suggests, for example, that he/she is seeing red light to a hypnotized subject, all above processes take place in the brain as if the subject is actually seeing red light. The consciousness gives the brain a perception of reality that is different from the hypnotherapist’s perception of reality similarly to an observer in the example of general relativity where one observer on Earth watches another travel away at the speed of light. To the traveling observer, his perception of reality is different than the observer watching from Earth, and as a result, his experience of time is different than the observer on Earth.
The ability of a person to describe what his/her consciousness had observed or heard while it is in a dis-embodied state makes us to believe that memory is, at least partly, non-material and unaffected by collapsing the wave function.
Several decades ago, David Bohm pointed out many striking similarities between the behavior of our thought processes and that of some quantum processes. For example, while entertaining a vague train of thought, the act of concentrating on one in order to bring it into better focus, changes the original sequence. Like electrons governed by Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, which are never the same again once they have been looked at or measured, a thought which has been highlighted through attention is different from the vague musing which preceded it. The focused thought has “position” like the particle aspect of an electron’s two sided nature (wave/particle duality), whereas the vague musing has “momentum” like the electron’s wave aspect. We can never experience both simultaneously. This is a characteristic feature of a quantum entity. The electron is a wave or a particle, and the perception of reality by an observer changes with the behavior of the electron and observer awareness.
Quantum systems are essentially unified, and so are our thought processes. David Bohm says, “Thought processes and quantum systems are analogous in that they cannot be analyzed too much in terms of distinct elements, because the intrinsic nature of each element is not a property existing separately from and independently of other elements, but is instead a property that arises partially from its relation with other elements.”
Danah Zohar analyzed the quantum like behavior and concludes that consciousness functions according to the laws of quantum mechanics.
We can conclude that consciousness is a quantum mechanical entity that can have an independent existence. It can localize in the human brain when the electron is in a particle state. This provides the necessary quantum mechanical base conducive for it to interact with and function in the brain. When the state changes to that of a wave, consciousness takes flight and starts floating. It takes away with it at least a part of the contents of the memory. It possesses the ability to acquire visual, auditory and olfactory information in spite of the fact that there are no sense organs associated with it. This information is produced by the consciousness projection of a different reality caused by the change in state of the electron, which one may interpret later as a dream or hallucination that comes from an altered perception of reality.
In most attempts to solve the mind-body problem, it is assumed that computers can be used to simulate or model mental and neuro-biological processes in the brain and this can explain consciousness. Roger Penrose (Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Oxford University) points out that quantum mechanics and Gödel’s theorem makes us reject these assumptions concerning a different reality.
John Searle points out that a brain made of neurons is aware of what it is dealing with, whereas, a computer modeled to simulate some activity of the brain cannot be aware of what is being dealt with inside it. Therefore, using a computer model is like comparing apples to oranges. In most standard brain models, the mind is believed to emerge from trillions of signals shuttling across billions of neurons in the brain. A brain structured on mechanical principles cannot account for the property that can create s-consciousness by interacting with consciousness.
Recent EEG experiments carried out by a team of physicists at Southampton University ( England ) confirms that thought processes are quantum in nature. Here, the effect of measuring right and left brain activity on a left brain task was tested. They found that measuring left brain EEG improves performance whereas measuring right brain EEG disrupts it. In another experiment it has been found that measuring the left brain EEG makes a right hand activity more accurate.
The major stumbling block in solving the brain-mind problem is how does the brain-mind bind together millions of dissimilar neuron activities into an experience of a perceptual whole. How does the “I” or “self” or the perceived wholeness of one’s world emerge from a system consisting of so many parts, billions of neurons. What creates the “Oneness” of thought processes? What creates individuality and I-ness or “self”? What creates feelings, free will, and creativity? The eternal consciousness.
No mechanistic system consisting of separate interacting parts could give rise to the above. What are the structures in the brain that create the property which grant us access to the quantum realm? This is a good question and once this is known by all mankind, mankind will change.
It has become clear that to explain this theory, one has to consider the most highly ordered and highly unified structures possible in the universe. The structure that possesses both characters, the most highly ordered and most highly unified is the Bose-Einstein condensate.
In classical science, the most ordered structure that we can find is the Crystal. Crystals are rigid, immovable structures. In Bose-Einstein condensates, the quantum properties allow both a “fluid” order and a high degree of unity. Each particle in a Bose-Einstein condensate fills all the space and all the time in whatever container that holds the condensate. Many of their characteristics are correlated. They behave holistically as one. The condensate acts as one single particle. There is no “noise” or interference between separate parts. This is why super fluids and super conductors have their special frictionless qualities and lasers become so coherent. Super conductors, super fluids, and lasers are Bose-Einstein condensates. The photons of a laser beam overlap their boundaries and behave as one single photon and the whole system can be described by a single equation. Hence, the part always includes the whole like in fractal geometry.
Super conductors, super fluids, and lasers are either very low temperature or very high energy systems. Super conductors and super fluids loose their quantum coherence long before they reach room temperature. Quantum coherence at body temperature in body cells was found by Herbert Frolich. Prior to that, quantum physicist Fritz Popp discovered that biological tissue emits a weak glow when stimulated at the right energy levels.
Cell walls of biological tissue contain countless proteins and fat molecules which are electrical dipoles. When a cell is at rest, these dipoles are out of phase and arrange themselves in a haphazard way. But when they are stimulated they begin to oscillate or jiggle intensely and broadcast a tiny microwave signal. Frolich found that when the energy flowing through the cell reaches a certain critical level, all the cell wall molecular dipoles line up and come into phase. They oscillate in unison as though they are suddenly coordinated. This emergent quantum field is a Bose-Einstein condensate and has holistic properties common to any quantum field. Consciousness works in a similar matter.
Dana Zohar points out that ion channel oscillations in neurons are quantum phenomena which generate a Frolich like coherent electric field. There are ion channels (protein molecules) lining the membrane walls of individual neurons, which open or close in response to electrical fluctuations resulting from stimulation. They act like gates to let Sodium, Potassium, and other ions pass through.
They are of a size to be subject to quantum fluctuations and superposition. Each channel, as it oscillates, generates a tiny electric field. When a large number of ion channels (there are 10 million in each neuron) open and close in unison, as they do when stimulated, the whole neuron fires or oscillates and a large scale electric field is generated across the neuron. Certain neurons act as pace makers. When a pacemaker neuron oscillates in response to stimulation, whole bundles of neurons oscillate with it. A finding by a neurobiologist that when a person sees an object, all neurons in the Cerebral Cortex, associated with that perceptual object, oscillates in unison regardless of their location in the brain. These neurons behave similar to entangled electrons.
Danah Zohar suggests that the original ion channel oscillations are quantum phenomena; which, as in Frolich systems, generates a coherent quantum electric field. It is a Bose-Einstein condensate. Existence of such large scale coherent electrical fields across the brain explains how a large number of disparate and distant neurons can integrate their information to produce a holistic picture, hologram. The quantum entanglement proof that has been developed fairly recently says that non-local (instantaneous or faster than light) quantum correlations exists between particles apparently separated in space and time has helped scientists to understand these effects. Quantum entanglement, also called the quantum non-local connection, is a property of a quantum mechanical state of a system of two or more objects in which the quantum states of the constituting objects are linked together so that one object can no longer be adequately described without full mention of its counterpart—even if the individual objects are spatially separated in a space-like manner.
The crucial distinguishing feature of Bose-Einstein condensate is that many parts which go to make up the ordered system not only behave as a whole, but they become whole. There identities merge and overlap in such a way that they lose their individuality entirely. This is a quantum property. Such a large quantum synchronicity exists in and accounts for the special properties of lasers, super conductors, and super fluids. Only this type of quantum correlated condensed state could explain the unbroken wholeness of the thought process. Consciousness behaves as a fractal. This is similar to a hologram where small fractal parts are identical to the whole part.
The property of the brain which is the non-local quantum correlate or the Bose-Einstein condensate behaves as above. It creates a unity from the diverse bits of information drawing them to a meaningful whole. The millions of sensory data from sense organs received every moment are channeled to various disparate areas of the brain and processed by the computing facility of the brain. Consciousness receives this processed information and creates a holistic scene, hologram. It is this integration of all the processed bits of information to create a one whole that creates the identity as a person, the self or the I-ness. Here is the coherent non-local quantum correlation of the brain and it is an emergent property.
The Body-Brain and Consciousness Model
From the above considerations, it is possible to propose a three tier model for Body- Brain and consciousness, where the brain is sandwiched between the body and consciousness. Here the brain-body link is mechanical and it is fairly well understood from classical science considerations. Body and brain operate in Einstein’s space-time domain where non-locality is forbidden.
Thebrain consciousness link is established by the property which links the brain to the quantum domain where nonlocality can operate. As previously discussed, non-locality is a direct influence of one object on another distant object, and the distant object can be so far away that it would be impossible for influence to take place according to Newtonian theories. This indicates that non-locality is independent of space-time.
Consciousness is a non-material entity in the quantum domain that is capable of independent existence. Consciousness can remain localized in the brain so long as the emergent quantum particle state doe not change, just as an electron which is a quantum entity can remain localized in an atom so long as the energy of the electron matches the quantum state it occupies.
Now this gets very interesting. Whenever the property breaks down, the mathematical function that governs the behavior of quantum particles changes, i.e. the electrons changes its behavior from that of a particle to a wave function. When this happens in the brain, consciousness can leave the brain and take up a floating existence in the way an electron leaves its atom if it acquires excess energy and starts a floating existence as a free electron. Consciousness can return to the brain if the property is re-established and the wave function collapses and the particle function prevails.
This model explains all the observed properties of human consciousness including NDE, OBE and reincarnation. Since all information transfer in a non-local quantum correlation is instantaneous, just like the speed of an electron and light is instantaneous, it explains the speed of human action. It can be extended to explain phenomena such as telepathy and also explains the individual identity, or the I-ness or self.
As the human race becomes aware of their true ability, a realization will set in that the oneness, self, and I-ness associated with greed and capitalism are not compatible with human evolution. This awareness will cause humanity to evolve to a higher level of consciousness; which is beginning to happen in society today, where oneness, self, and I-ness will battle for survival. Oneness, self, and I-ness as well as greed and capitalism in its current form will cease to exist as the population becomes aware as humanity is enlightened. The emerging mankind will work toward the betterment of all and human suffering will cease to exist.
All it will take for this leap in human evolution to occur is mankind to open up their minds, become enlightened and aware of their true potential as a whole in part of the whole. As more become aware of this conscious ability that has no boundaries in space-time just like electrons have no boundaries, mankind will reach a point of awareness that will cause an instantaneous change in humanity comparable to the instantaneous change of an electron from a particle to a wave. Mankind is on the pioneering edge of the greatest evolutionary change revealed to date as most of us are oblivious, unaware, and confused by our desire to understand ourselves.
To further this understanding, check out the following pages.
Origin of the Universe:
Quasars, Time Dilation, and Relativity Related to Consciousness:
The Sharp Hole – The First Photograph of a Black Hole: