• Enrique
    Thought I'd post the next, unfinished draft of the paper I'm working on to get some input and pique the general interest. I hope you find this scientific account of consciousness insightful and look forward to any comments you would like to make! The OP will be a couple of posts because of length.

    Introduction: The Mind as a Physical Field

    Despite massive progress in modeling neural correlates of perception, the way matter gives rise to first-person experience remains a mystery. Why do percepts such as colors, shapes, textures, sounds, thoughts, feelings have this ineffable, personal quality in addition to apparent mechanistic causation? Why has cognitive theory been unable to surpass mere correlation between the psychological and physical, mind and matter? I will not attempt to describe historical details surrounding the mind/body problem, for it is one of the most voluminous subjects in Western discourse, at the core of any human episteme. The objective is to analyze a specific domain of knowledge which holds particular promise for resolving this issue due to recent evidence at the intersection of quantum physics and neuroscience. Quantum processes like superposition, entanglement, tunneling, along with quantum properties such as wave/particle duality are becoming crucial to our understanding of organic processes, with burgeoning roles in explaining photosynthesis, enzyme catalysis, olfaction, magnetoreception, DNA mutation and more. The goal of this paper is to discuss a landslide of support for investigation of neural signaling and brain processes in general as rooted in phenomena which have traditionally been the purview of quantum physics, as well as detail how various aspects might be integrated into a comprehensive model.

    For decades the closest correlates of awareness were brain waves, with EEG able to indicate whether someone is dreaming, imagining, remembering, sensing etc., and regions of the brain differentiable according to rates of oscillation in the electric field. These electrical signatures can be decomposed into LFPs (local field potentials) and fractions of LFPs called oscillons, but further reduction to the field’s essential source has been elusive. This paper offers a new theory of electric current flow within aqueous solution which combines a concept of quantum coherence outlined in what follows and recent discoveries in neuron anatomy to explain the electrochemical mechanisms of intraneural signal transmission, of which LFPs are a consequence. Some additional theoretical insights into phase-locking are then described that indicate the electric field emergent from LFPs can control neuron firing on a scale broad enough to serve as a framework for processes of attention and will insofar as they reside within the brain.

    Temperature changes occur in brain tissue during activation, suggesting that cognitive processes are linked to thermal energy, consisting in molecular vibrations and a cooccurring photonic field typically centered on infrared portions of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum. It is hypothesized that this complex of particle vibrations and radiative waves is not merely a waste product of neuron firing and biochemical reactions but rather an essential component of mechanisms binding electromagnetic brain matter into the substance of perception, conceived as a physical field. Nonlocal mechanisms of consciousness are of course in effect as an additional factor, but if electrical coherence currents, EM fields and EM radiation coordinate with molecular arrays to produce substantial facets of what I have termed a “coherence field” in the brain, the modeling of this phenomenon may allow neuroscience to begin discerning how mind incarnates within matter as a physical field of percepts.

    Consciousness, the Brain and Quantum Coherence

    One of the main topics that arises in consciousness theory is the binding problem: how can trillions of atoms and billions of cells participate in producing the more or less integrated medium of awareness we introspect? The body and brain are intimately involved in generating this experiential substrate, for awareness seems to largely extinguish when physiological processes cease, but it is not easy to discern how the holism of conscious experience inheres within brain matter and is in large measure instantiated by it.

    As a parallel investigation, 20th and 21st century physics have come to rely on the concept of a field: matter is not fundamentally solid and stable, but rather a vast array of ripples or disturbances in a sort of fluid medium characterized by perpetual motion, with relatively persistent focal points of perturbation being what we observe and model in the form of particles. As loci of energetic perturbation, particles radiate causality farther than characteristic densities we directly measure using mass, through a spatially extended substrate we do not yet fully grasp. The concept of matter as a field of fluctuating, flowing perturbations and the concept of experience as a stream of consciousness which contiguously saturates our reality are intuitive to analogize. But constructing a viable model must conjoin domains of inquiry that diverge widely in content and methodology. How can sciences of perception, personality, meaning be reconciled with sciences of matter with their fundamental reliance on the modeling of unconscious mechanisms? If any synthesis is to be had, it seems destined to initiate by explaining brain processes as a physical field, and examination of the organ’s wavelike, diffusive properties is moving neuroscience in that direction. The aim is to explore some hypotheses which may further modeling of the brain’s coordination with experience as a physical field.

    A detailed history of the physical field concept is beyond this paper’s scope, but suffice to say that our most precise experiments and calculations reveal the continuum of matter as divisible into basic quanta with measures such as an almost infinitesimally small unit of distance called the Planck length: 1.6*10^35 meters. To give a sense for the scale, protons are about 100 million trillion times larger. This quantity originated at the turn of the 20th century as a calculational tool that integrated quantum, gravitational, and eventually relativistic units of measurement while lacking much physical meaning, though modern string theory is a prominent attempt at theoretically modeling this scale (University of New South Wales). However, a related term called Planck’s constant (approx. 6.6*10^34 joule-seconds) correlates the frequency of electromagnetic radiation with its wavelength and is a foundational component of quantum mechanics, allowing physicists to probe, model and technologize electromagnetic matter by observing how atomic and subatomic particles quantize frequencies and corresponding wavelengths of EM radiation while interacting with them.

    During the inception of quantum mechanics it was confirmed by experiments which created interference patterns by scattering electrons from crystals that these particles have wavelike properties. Louis DeBroglie developed a theory based around arranging circular, wavelike electron “orbitals” according to a constrained range of oscillative shapes characterized by quantized ratios where constructive interference obtains, similar to how a plucked guitar string vibrates in whole number ratios of its length. But when electromagnetic radiation was emitted into atoms experimentally, scientists found that each individual trial produced a more particulate than wavelike signature in a different region within the atom. Furthermore, this location could not be predicted exactly from trial to trial because the higher the frequency or energy of EM radiation, the more it knocked the electron out of its natural trajectory, altering the momentum, and the lower the energy, the somewhat less particulate an electron registered upon contact, making its position less exact. The fundamental imprecision of these measurements was quantified and codified as the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. By contrast, hundreds of trials resulted in a probability distribution of more and less likely locations that looked like a cloud of particulate density, and the shape of this cloud could be reproduced to great precision. Mathematical tools were fashioned for performing calculations on these probability distributions, namely Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics along with Schrodinger’s wave function, and quantum mechanics remains fundamentally probabilistic to this day, even in its most high-tech applications.

    So basic understanding of matter is founded on relative probability, with the textbook image of how electrons are arranged in atoms depicted by squaring Schrodinger’s wave function to enable a geometry of probability density (Morin). These geometries are assumed to be three dimensional for reason of clarity, superimposed on an ‘x, y, z’ coordinate system in ways that maximize symmetry of charge since negative charges repel. The shapes thus formed include spheres, dumbbells and doughnuts, in all sorts of hybrids.

    Quantum mechanics is one of the most accurate models in science, matching the results of thousands of experiments to impeccable precision, but is nonetheless an approximation, and uncertainty persists about what is going on beneath the superimposed math. The crux of the dilemma is how a greater than zero probability exists for a particle such as an electron to be anywhere while we experience matter as localized to particular regions of space. The math says that every particle is to some extent everywhere at once as a universal superposition of states, while real particles reside at a particular place and time, so what is the actual state of the matter itself when what we quantify is so different from what we intuit?

    Competing interpretations of quantum mechanics have been proposed which fit the math equally well, though experiments are beginning to achieve the capacity to adjudicate between them. The many-worlds interpretation hypothesizes that a particle splits into multiple, largely noninteracting timelines when undergoing certain types of perturbation such as measurement, so that superposition is undissolved by factors of localization like particle collisions even though most of these superpositions are not to this point scientifically observed. The pilot-wave interpretation assumes that particles such as electrons are guided along trajectories by underlying wave perturbations which have not been witnessed directly. Spontaneous localization interpretations attempt to model physical matter as pockets of locality that form within the probability plenum in a phenomenon directly proportional to quantity of perturbation, and a host of different parameters for how this localization occurs have been fashioned with the aim of fitting experimental data. But enough doubt remains that the traditional Copenhagen interpretation is the most popular, simply asserting the math should be viewed as working agnosticism, a technique allowing us to predict the relationship between initial and final probabilities of a material system without telling us anything realist about causality.

    Despite the incertitude, some rudimentary realist knowledge can presently be gleaned from the probability model that is sufficient for purposes of neuroscience. First of all, though a probability exists for the energy of every particle to be anywhere, each particle involves a range of most to least likely locations that eventually declines dramatically as one strays from the center of mass, and reductions in probability correspond to a diminishment of energy density, meaning regions equidistant between centers of mass tend to be less energetically dense. So centers of mass are various forms of energy maxima, and equidistance between them relative minima, a principle seeming to apply all around us, from electron orbitals, to atoms, planets, etc. We also know, at least insofar as electromagnetic properties obtain, less mass or energy density corresponds to more propensity for energy to flow through that region of space. For instance, the less dense that electrical energy is at a specific location, the more rapidly this energy can accelerate. Atom on atom causality of an electromagnetic field, provisional of maximum diffuseness (density minimum) when atoms involved are not chemically bonded, almost instantaneously reaches or nears the typical speed of magnetism and light, 300 million m/s. Currents comprised of electrons which are density maximums within the EM field of an atom can attain 90% the speed of light in a copper wire due to a cascade of local displacements called signal velocity which travels along its length, but rarely any speed in excess of that, especially at the micrometer scale or larger. Many electric currents, again a directional flow among adjacent density maximums, reach average signal velocities that can be closer to 50% the speed of light. This is a consequence of the idiosyncrasies in specific atomic structure along with a material system’s entropy, the amount of disorder from factors such as temperature that increase local commovement, preventing electrons from synchronizing within relatively large spaces.

    Under conditions where electric currents cannot flow micrometer or larger distances because of entropy, electromagnetic motion tends to agitate haphazardly and settle into maximum average locality, a state which has been termed “decoherence”. When conditions are such that electrical energy flows synchronously, this is a state of “coherence”. So a spectrum of relatively decoherent to relatively coherent states exists among electromagnetic matter. An atom’s electron orbitals or density maximums in and of themselves are relatively coherent, to the extent that atoms can be modeled as individual units of superpositioned probability waves. Trillions of atoms jostle entropically enough in typical Earth environments that relative decoherence prevails and net motion is modelable in terms of classical space and time. Chemical bonds range between a maximally decoherent and maximally coherent state, as a sort of short-ranged coherence at the boundary of Newtonian and atomic structure. And electric currents constitute a special case where atoms are induced to engage in macroscopic coherence transcending the baseline boundaries between microatomic and macroatomic. Electricity is made to flow by charge differentials in matter, with greater charge differential (voltage) as a general rule causing more rapidly accelerating currents (amperes). It will be shown that the most plausible model for signal transmission in a neuron is derived from these coherence principles.

    Electric Coherence Currents and Electromagnetic Fields Within the Brain

    It is well-established that neural signaling is modulated by diffusion of ions through channels in a neuron’s membrane, but ion collisions cannot explain some features of signal transmission. Researchers have discovered that each node of Ranvier, where voltage-gated Na+ channels let Na+ into an axon, is flanked by paranodes, where the myelin sheath attaches to the outer membrane, and these are flanked by juxtaparanodes, where voltage-gated K+ channels are located that let K+ flow out of the cell when open. Ion diffusion provides no reason for voltage-gated K+ channels to be strategically placed at the juxtaparanodes. In theory, larger diameter axons involve less axial (lengthwise) resistance due to greater volume and more dilute ion concentrations. This would allow more rapid axial diffusion rates, necessitating that nodes of Ranvier be farther apart so as to keep signal strength the same, but nodes of Ranvier are actually spaced closer together in larger diameter neurons. Computer simulations demonstrate that widening nodes of Ranvier slightly to significantly increase the quantity of voltage-gated Na+ channels does not increase rate of signal transmission with more ion diffusion. And a neuron’s signal can of course travel meters in milliseconds, far exceeding the rate of diffusion. Where a description based on ion diffusion alone falls short, applying the idea of electrical coherence current succeeds. The coherence model has not at this stage surpassed the status of Gedanken experiment, but ties all we know about the chemistry and anatomy of neurons into a complete picture, so is deserving of concerted empirical investigation.

    The solution internal to a neuron is made up primarily of water molecules and positive ions. H2O is of course a polar molecule, its hydrogen atoms being the positive poles and the oxygen atom a negative pole, bent at the fulcrum. A nanoscale solvation shell forms around each positive ion, with negative poles facing inward and positive poles outward. Thus, cellular solution contains a complex contour of positive and negative charge. Since positive ions lack an electron, the electromagnetic density of aqueous solution at their locations would be reduced. Asymmetries in electron density perpetually shift positive ions and water molecules around in pursuit of equilibrium, a nanoscale agitation which causes the solution to on average be maximally decoherent as its baseline condition.

    When Na+ floods into the axon at a node of Ranvier during an action potential, electron density decreases in that region. This creates a positive terminal that induces an electric current to flow towards the node, but the current begins adjacent to the node and cascades outward into successively distant regions. Because propagation slows due to electron mass inertia when charge is constant, I have named this the “ebb effect”. The ebb effect has not been verified by experiment, but should be observable within any aqueous solution of ions that contains regions of both charge differential and uniform average charge.

    The electron density of atoms is enveloped in an electromagnetic field that acts remotely, perturbing at or near the speed of light as atoms move. When an electrical coherence current initiates, the leading edge of procession away from the node is accompanied by an electromagnetic field fluctuation, probably the trigger by which depolarization activates voltage-gated ion channels, via a temporary nanoscale magnetism caused by synchrony of electric current flow.

    Electric current initialization decelerates through the paranodal region, and upon reaching the juxtaparanode its field perturbation triggers voltage-gated K+ channels to open and let this ion rush out of the axon. The spike in electron density propels current through internodal space at a significant fraction of light speed despite resumed slowing. The motion of this phenomenon is complex, depending on local ion concentrations, positions, and the relative rate of electron vs. ion flow, but thought experiments preliminarily suggest that electrical energy might saturate at the node of Ranvier due to a signal velocity’s relative rapidity. This would form a sort of electron wall so that greater electron density can only travel towards internodal space. Voltage-gated K+ channels then serve to greatly increase electron density by vacating positive ions from the juxtaparanode, at a faster rate than Na+ influx. A substantive breadth of higher electron density thus materializes near-instantaneously at the juxtaparanodal and paranodal regions, causing pressure which is released by the flow of electric current through internodal space and to the next node of Ranvier. An accompanying field may trigger the intervening, downstream juxtaparanode to depolarize, while the subsequent node of Ranvier has usually not been completely repolarized, and charge differential accelerates current towards the node of Ranvier. EM field stimulation then causes voltage-gated Na+ channels to let this ion flow into the axon, a chain reaction that continues to the axon terminal where a synapse occurs.

    Increase in electron density at the downstream juxtaparanode and paranode would also induce current to flow in the upstream direction, back into internodal space. It is at least conceivable that an alternating current of concentrated electron density could cause a sort of reverberation within internodal space which might be a fundamental aspect of the mechanism responsible for electric field oscillation. This may be supported by recent research improving the resolution of LFP structure using a Discrete Pade Transform (DPT) analysis. The technique revealed low amplitude, high frequency, irregular harmonics that comprise 90-99% of the total quantity of frequencies, a noise component perhaps hinting at ultrafast, intracellular reverberations within the LFP, but a definitive link between the present thought experiment and DPT data awaits further study. The extent to which these mechanisms are possible in dendrites is also empirically uncertain.

    Dendrites have clustered Na+ channels as well, so an EPSP (excitatory postsynaptic potential) takes place via at least the ebb effect mechanism. Cl- channels are located at the dendrite/soma junctions to halt EPSPs with a Cl- influx that initiates current traveling upstream into a dendrite, from greater, negative electron density to lesser, positive electron density. This current is called an IPSP (inhibitory postsynaptic potential). When Cl- influx and IPSPs wane, with EPSPs cumulatively strong enough to breach the soma via the ebb effect, a threshold is crossed, probably abetted by subsequent resumption of Cl- influx, and this relatively large electron density accelerates rapidly towards the greatest quantity of voltage-gated Na+ channels and Na+ ions in a neuron at the axon hillock. K+ leakage channels are present throughout the outer membrane to sustain positive ion concentrations as a kind of electrochemical chassis allowing ebb effect flow to trump decoherence effects, which are more substantial when greater amounts of water agitate the solution locally due to denser polarity. Sodium-potassium pumps help maintain diffusion gradients across the membrane by a constant ferrying of two K+ ions into the cell accompanied by three Na+ ions out of the cell.

    Microscopic platinum sensors have been inserted into individual neurons, revealing a crystalline structure located just beneath the axon’s outer membrane, wrapped around a core support framework of microtubules. This probably assists in holding ion concentrations at levels provisional of the ebb effect. A greater volume to surface area ratio may surround this structure in larger diameter neurons, necessitating that nodes be spaced closer together to compensate for dilution effects and a consequently less powerful electron current due to more resistance from decoherence.

    So based on what we know of cellular anatomy, an explanation for signal transmission in neurons which appeals exclusively to ion diffusion and transport is unsatisfactory, but the concept of electric coherence currents traveling through a chassis of positive ions at significant fractions of light speed meets all current requirements for a successful model, though experimental verification remains to be performed. How then does a flow of ions and electricity associated with individual neurons result in macroscopic oscillations of the brain’s electric field, and does this field have some functional role in consciousness’ architecture?

    Wave phases of individual neurons coordinate as supracellular electric field oscillations in a process termed “phase-locking”. These electric fields of more or less in-phase neural networks then constitute emergent flow shapes which reciprocally impact the firing of individual neurons. Transcranial magnetic stimulation by electric fields having properties resemblant of the organ’s endogenous field as well as application of similar fields to in vivo and in vitro preparations of neural tissue demonstrate this ultrasynchronizing entrainment effect. Phase-locking’s mechanism is still a mystery, but viable theories have been proposed.

    A neuron’s lipid membrane absorbs electric fields produced by the internal coherence current, so this current is not directly involved in phase-locking. But researcher Colin Hales has developed a computer model suggesting the global, static field that pervades neural membranes of the brain is accompanied during neuron firing by fields arising from ion channels operating both individually and in tandem. He postulates that these overlapping electric fields caused by ions moving more or less coherently through channels densely concentrated within a neuron’s membrane, flowing at a rate similar to electric current in a copper wire, 90% the speed of light, generate the transmembrane impact upon nearby neurons revealed by experiment. When certain parameters are introduced to this model, the most significant being sufficient synapse-mediated synchrony among neural networks, then ion channel fields projected beyond the neurons giving rise to them modify firing thresholds into a collective form, tightly binding groups of neurons as phase-locking’s mechanism.

    It seems plausible to the present author that a combination of K+ leakage channels and sodium-potassium pumps positioned throughout the neural membrane could produce a transmembrane electric field extending the full length of a neuron via constant flurries of ion transport, binding adjacent cells into relatively stable superstructures through the mutual influence of their fields. Holistic activation of the voltage-gated ion channels at each node by lengthwise coherence currents traveling at a sizable fraction of light speed would then cause surges of transmembrane electric field behavior, a further influence inducing clusters of neurons to fire in unison. So though electric field oscillations of a neuron may at base be the consequence of intracellular force exacted by electron density disequilibration and resultant lengthwise flow, these currents might be synced into phase-locked, more or less in-phase conglomerates by ionic currents transiting through channels, a dual mechanism of electrical energy from different sources that induces emergent electric field patterns which stimulate collective firing. Intracellular electron currents might evince irregular microreverberations in the field, K+ leakage channels and sodium-potassium pumps a constant, low-level field noise from somewhat loosely synchronized populations of ionic current (which might also contribute to the irregular harmonics of DPT), and nodal fields the more regularized oscillatory patterns of LFPs. Research is ongoing into the origin of neural oscillation, and we will know more about how and why this phenomenon occurs in the coming years. As in the case of coherence currents, an ion channel hypothesis requires more empirical validation.

    Evidence is accumulating which suggests that at least some synapses do not transition between inactivated and activated states as a continuum correlated with the gradualized flow of thousands of molecules and ions, but rather snap into three or more discrete states linked to degree of synchronous potentiation. Interestingly, a model of this phenomenon has shown that at certain frequencies of neuron firing and rates in the transition between discrete states, oscillations of a presynaptic and postsynaptic neuron can be in-phase, so phase-locking may be mediated by synaptic synchronization (Abarbanel). It is apparent that coherence currents induce transmembrane LFPs (local field potentials), hypothetically phase-locked by mutual projection from ion channels, synaptic synchronization and/or alternate mechanisms. Emergent oscillation and flow shapes in the brain’s electric field, of the kind EEG distinguishes from those of individual neurons, may then magnetically orchestrate flurries of molecular machinery, similar to how electric currents drive the operation of appliances by exacting organized magnetic effects upon their structure. Actually, brain cells may be more akin to an ecosystem that is especially fine-tuned in comparison to most physiology, with components fluxing in holistic ways partially under their own power while tightly knit by varying EM field stimulation, a cross between mechanism, food chain and mass migration. It seems probable that brain waves are more than an epiphenomenon, flowing through neural tissue to participate in morphing swaths of molecular structure into simultaneity. The more phase-locking an electric field attains among neural networks, the more large-scale, unified and self-directed its functioning can be. Research indicates that behavior of the brain’s electric field consists in regionally linked oscillation patterns as well as a 40 Hz signature corresponding to individual neurons, superimposed on slow wave oscillations emergent from the whole brain, with a large, roving concentration of semi-stable gamma activity which blends with local oscillations while it moves. This drifting density of macroscopic integration could be the primary orchestrating factor in experiential awareness. It could also be a root of volition as proposed by CEMI (conscious electromagnetic information) theory.

    The coherence current model and some auxiliary concepts seem to put certain basic principles of the mind’s organization insofar as it connects to the brain’s electromagnetism within reach, but we still lack the total picture, for this does not in itself necessitate that consciousness look or feel like anything, that it have features of awareness as opposed to being machinery, a mere technological gadget. How do percepts arise in conjunction with physiology of the brain and body?
  • Enrique
    Electromagnetic Radiation as a Binding Agent for the Physiological Substance of Perception

    All EM fields are filled by a vast array of undulations which readily superposition while flowing between and in synchrony with atoms, what we know as electromagnetic radiation or light. EM radiation can conceivably constitute the interstitial texture of perception’s substance, so the question then is how to characterize properties of this light energy. Electrons as electromagnetic constituents of massive atoms, the density maximums, and light as textural substantiality between atoms, the density minimum, evince a counterintuitive property known as entanglement. Entanglement is a process by which particle states such as spin in electrons or phase in photons correlate across distances at faster than light speed. It occurs via relatively nonlocal forces that are still poorly understood, which underlie coherence in all its forms, more fundamental than electromagnetism. In relatively diffuse, minimally entropic, or relatively homogeneous material structures such as gases of more or less minimized temperature and simple chemical composition, faster than light entanglement can readily take effect, but very exacting conditions must be generated for the phenomenon to presently be observed in the lab. Under more common circumstances such as the flow of electric current through a compact structure such as a metal, or through an entropic substance such as aqueous solution, or through heterogeneous matter such as an organic body, the nonlocality of coherence is dissipated by the medium’s baseline decoherent state so that rates slower than the speed of light obtain. Coherence among electromagnetic particles of substantial mass thus tends to be mitigated in various degrees by density, a sort of rate bottleneck effect more pronounced the greater the complexity of density contour.

    EM radiation, by contrast, is much less massive and does not have nearly the same constraints as electrons or atoms. Congregates of photons can evince statistically significant entanglement correlations across distances of at least 15 km. Light has further properties unique for electromagnetic matter, filling nonvacuum spaces populated by atomic structure as a wave, and much more readily superpositioning into additive structures than atoms, put on full display by the wide range of wavelength combinations associated with the visible spectrum. EM fields are made to undulate as EM radiation when electrons in atoms or electric currents accelerate or decelerate, and most electromagnetic matter does to some extent, so nature is saturated with light. This light interacts with atoms in complex ways that are still rudimentarily understood, but we know for sure that its wavelengths can blend into atoms when energy is complementary. Many photons scatter as they collide with atoms, a phenomenon known as the Compton effect, but light also forms vibrational complexes of atomic nodes within photonic fields. Radiative/molecular superpositions as synchronously vibrating arrays of electromagnetic matter are an excellent candidate for the substance of percepts, and research into the connection between photonics and awareness is showing promise.

    In initial analysis of light’s interaction with biological systems, it was discovered that photosynthetic reaction center complexes achieve 100% energy yield from UV radiation because light waves take multiple routes or flow through numerous chlorophyll molecules as they are translated into chemical energy, fully absorbed by a reaction center hub without fail. Chlorophyll arrays are such that EM radiation blends into them like they are a pool of water and photons a bead of this water, conjoining as a coherent energy field. Early research into the response of neurons to light exposed them to the visible and UV spectrum. It was found that this relatively high energy EM radiation affects neural function, but primarily due to the degradation of ion channels and additional structures, reducing synaptic efficiency. Subsequent examination has proved more auspicious, however.

    A long-standing hypothesis about the source of consciousness, Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff’s Orch-Or (orchestrated-objective reduction) theory, proposes that microtubules are compact enough in the brain to produce a wide array of pulsing superpositions responsible for awareness. The model has faced criticisms from scientists who claim the brain is too hot and wet to support coherence of this kind, but recent experiments have aimed to assess whether light induces a coherent energy field in microtubules where molecular structure alone cannot.

    Microtubules contain light-sensitive amino acids such as tryptophan, and the absorption of UV light was recently tested. A solution of microtubule fragments exposed to UV light was proven conducive to remote energy transfer between component tryptophan molecules. Anesthetics inhibited the phenomenon, hinting at a link with consciousness. Combining this data with a model of tryptophan positioning inside intact microtubules suggested that the amino acid can mediate a coherent energy field spanning the microtubule’s entire length, ranging to 50 micrometers. The only source of UV light in a typical cell was hypothesized as perhaps the oxidation reactions of mitochondria, so it is doubtful these wavelengths have much of a functional role in the brain, but it becomes increasingly apparent that light superpositions and entangles among relatively large molecular structures to produce coherent energy fields in a wide range of circumstances. So the question is whether some alternative light source exists within the brain to cause an expansive energy coherence.

    An obvious option for endogenous light in the brain is infrared radiation, which saturates physiological structures while constantly absorbed and emitted by rotating and vibrating atomic bonds. The capacity of the infrared spectrum to transmit through aqueous solution quickly diminishes as this radiation’s wavelength increases from 1-10 micrometers, but plenty of circumstantial evidence ties the thermal energy of molecular motion instigated by infrared radiation, better known as temperature, to brain function. Brain tissue temperatures have been measured to exceed those of the blood by 0.5-0.6 degrees Celsius in various mammals. In rats, temperature of the hippocampus increases 1.5-38 degrees Celsius when actively exploring. In male finches, temperature of brain tissue increases during variance in song tempo. Feeding and social interaction produce rapid, unique, and relatively long-lasting brain temperature elevations, occurring faster and with greater magnitude than those of the arterial blood supply. In humans, somatosensory cortex temperature increases during nerve stimulation, and likewise for motor cortex and bodily movement. Many brain regions such as the substantia nigra alter their activity when temperature is varied. Rise in temperature of neuronal pathways is generally associated with sensory stimuli, and correlations between temperature and data obtained on resting potential, action potential, nerve conduction velocity and synaptic transmission are well-established. Anesthesia lowers brain temperature, a sign that infrared radiation may be linked to conscious awareness. The total brain varies in temperature by 1-3 degrees Celsius in some animal models. The correlation is obvious, but whether temperature contributes some function or is merely a byproduct remains uncertain. Indications exist, however, that neurons may be tailored for the purpose of sustaining the brain’s infrared spectrum at robust levels. A rapid spike in temperature of two degrees microCelsius occurs during action potentials, hinting at general connection between nerve firing and a boost to the infrared spectrum. So if we hypothesize that neurons are designed to expand the quantity of infrared light while regulating its local behavior, how might this mechanism work?

    Assuming the coherence flow model is accurate, as it certainly seems to be, lengthwise signals are transmitted through a neuron as electric currents which attain a relativistically significant percentage of light speed, so the mass of this rapidly moving matter increases. Experiments in the first half of the 20th century suggested that relativistic mass has an underlying physical cause, while many modern approaches incline to view relativistic mass as a conceptual tool to be dispensed with at will. Debate rages, but regardless of the real source for theoretical mass increase when transitioning to high velocity states, some empirically based conclusions of a rather simple nature can be drawn insofar as light emission correlates with relativistic momentum in electrons. We know from technological applications that matter moving at relativistic speeds emits higher energy (frequency), shorter wavelength EM radiation while it decelerates, and lower energy, longer wavelength radiation while it accelerates. For instance, when a beam of electrons traveling at half the speed of light collides with a metal plate in an x-ray machine, it emits high energy braking radiation in the x-ray portion of the spectrum, and accelerating current in a radio antenna emits low energy radio waves. Essentially, if an accelerating coherence current is almost instantaneously compressed as it alternates, EM waves will be emitted proportional to speed, total size, and perhaps lesser overall density of the current (in addition to waves at further spectral ranges), and if a decelerating coherence current is likewise compressed, EM waves are emitted in proportion to speed, size, and perhaps greater density of the current segment that is decelerating. So if current acceleration is sustained in a neuron, the spectrum of EM radiation will be prone to lengthen, and the reverse is true for decelerating current, with the quantity of radiation increasing in both cases.

    During an action potential, electric current accelerates between a node of Ranvier and adjacent juxtaparanodes, while gradually decelerating as it traverses internodal space. If this current alternates multiple times between juxtaparanodes following an action potential while changing velocity it might be possible to generate a photonic field. But it is unclear how sustained this field would be between action potentials or whether biochemistry is diverse enough in the axon, a structure probably tailored for long-range signaling at the expense of complex intracellular machinery, to generate a photonic/molecular field comprised of rich assortments of wavelength. Additionally, myelin encasing the axon would likely tend to reflect this radiation, preventing it from exacting multicellular effects.

    At the synaptic junction, current accelerates from single positive ion concentrations (Na+ and K+) at the last node in the action potential chain to lesser electron density of Ca2+ concentrations near the axon terminal. Current would also accelerate from the first node in a dendrite to its upstream tip, on the opposite side of a synapse. In order for acceleration to be sustained, Ca2+ would have to cycle into and out of a neuron at rapid rates, continuously drawing energy away from nodes with a replenishing supply of lower electron density ions. Indications are that ions travel through ion channels via quantum mechanisms, again at approximately 90% light speed, so the cycle might be near-instantaneous enough to hold acceleration stable. But at present, more research into neuron anatomy near the synaptic junction is necessary before this hypothesis can be corroborated or refuted.

    It seems more feasible at this stage to postulate a model for current acceleration in
    the soma. A tapering from more to less positive ion concentration is maintained between the largest quantity of Na+ channels and ions in a neuron at the axon hillock and relatively expansive space of the soma with its lesser rate of Na+ and K+ reuptake. This tapering ranges all the way to cellular space near the dendrite/soma junctions, where Cl- channels and ions maintain a much higher electron density. Cl- influx during an IPSP blocks EPSPs from propagating into the soma, followed by some Cl- reuptake and an accompanying diminution of the IPSP. When the IPSP wanes, the ebb effect of EPSPs can draw greater electron density around the base of dendrites out of more interior regions of the soma. This is likely combined with a renewal of Cl- influx such that electron density increases slightly while simultaneously breaching the positive ion gradient. Once this greater electron density reaches the axon hillock’s sphere of influence, extending well into the soma, it accelerates rapidly towards the axon hillock. Upon reaching the axon hillock, a companion EM field fluctuation triggers large quantities of Na+ to rush in, sustaining acceleration from the opposite side due to greatly reduced electron density even as the relatively negative charge initiated at the dendrite/soma junction reaches a minimum due to dilution. As Na+ ions again diffuse into the soma, the gradient of positive charge is replenished, and though the overall strength and influence of positive charge lessens in the soma, Cl- concentrations increase and regain a maximum, driving acceleration from the opposite side.

    To summarize:

    At the dendrite/soma junctions:
    1.Cl- influx, concentration and electron density maximum
    2.Cl- concentration and electron density attenuation
    3.The ebb effect force of dendritic potentials followed by resumption of Cl- influx
    4.Electron density from Cl- concentration at a minimum, with continued influx

    Instigated by the axon hillock:
    1.Na+ concentration attenuation
    2.Greater Na+ concentration attenuation
    3.Na+ concentration minimum
    4.Na+ influx and concentration maximum

    Thus, a flux of Cl- concentration maximum to minimum coupled with Na+ concentration minimum to maximum conceivably maintains a constant acceleration of electric current through the soma. As in the case of possible current acceleration around the synaptic junction, this model needs empirical verification.

    So if current continuously accelerates at the synaptic junction and within the soma, what would be the properties of emitted EM radiation? Applying the nascent but plausible concept of relativistic current presented in this paper, neural currents have no circuit to stabilize their velocity as in electrical wiring, so if charge is constant they would probably initiate at the same rate as baseline agitation from decoherence and decelerate due to the ebb effect. EM wavelengths produced then hover at around 1 micrometer, slightly longer than the boundary between visible and near-infrared portions of the spectrum. This correlates to the electromagnetic domain just beyond the level of emergence associated with an individual atom’s valence shell and the roughly 400-700 nm range of EM wavelengths, in essence multiatomic vibration while a robustly decoherent state prevails. In this theory, if electric current does indeed accelerate at the synapse and through the soma, this would add slightly longer wavelengths to the spectrum. It seems reasonable as a very approximate hypothesis that the spectrum could range from at least 1-10 micrometers in wavelength. This spectrum is capable of traveling through aqueous solution at distances of roughly 100 millimeters to 10 micrometers, with range shrinking considerably as wavelength increases. The soma is about 12 cubic micrometers and the synaptic space 1 cubic micrometer, with the currents themselves probably equivalent in volume, so it seems plausible that a persistent field of photonic waves can inundate both. Boosted by maximal reflection from white matter, grey matter may be filled with a substantive light spectrum capable of interacting with molecular arrays and biochemical pathways to form a diversely superpositioned photonic field studded with a wide range of atomic and multiatomic nodes.

    Where atoms and molecules involved in the generation of percepts might be most concentrated remains unknown, but protoplasmic astrocytes which are commonly adjacent to the soma and thus have access to hypothesized light fields, with a cytoplasm relatively uncluttered by organelles such as the nucleus, are a good candidate, of course in addition to grey matter itself, the soma as well as junctions at which axons and dendrites form synaptic connections. Mounting evidence from studies with paramecia, yeast, onion roots, even crustaceans substantiates the hypothesis that biophotons of low intensity travel through cell membranes, affecting functions such as energy production and growth in populations of cells, even when separated by a sizable barrier such as the walls of a glass cuvette. A range of wavelengths seem to interact with biochemistry, and all kinds of cellular structures including those of neurons could be built around biophotonic mechanisms.

    An exception to the general link between brain hyperthermia and awareness is the visual cortex, where it has been observed with fMRI that tissue temperature decreases by 0.2 degrees Celsius during activation of the neural processing involved. Some uncertainty exists as to the accuracy of these results, but if valid this suggests molecular structures may exist in some parts of the brain to shift the EM radiation spectrum towards shorter wavelengths such as visible light that are less likely to dissipate as the heat of vibrating and rotating chemical bonds. It is intriguing to consider that centers of vision in the brain, probably correlated with the phenomenality of image perception, might generate a light field comparable to the one upon which vertebrate optical mechanisms are based.

    Some further categories of mechanism in addition to basic current acceleration seem likely for how spectrums of EM radiation may thicken and assume functional form in the nervous system and brain. Visible, near-infrared, mid-infrared radiation and perhaps beyond of course must interact with molecules in such a way that wavelengths are modified into a wide variety of vibrational signatures, with all of this dispersing into the sink of somewhat increased temperature during activation as baseline decoherence continually reasserts itself. The electric currents themselves may also rapidly decelerate upon contact with molecular structures to cause braking radiation, shortened EM wavelengths of relatively low intensity. Whether these processes occur in non-neuronal cells as a result of ion channel activity and additional mechanisms is an interesting topic, barely broached. So how then might this basic substrate of structural integration in the brain, nervous system and perhaps the wider body give rise to awareness’s percepts, the substance of perception?

    Implications of the Coherence Field Concept for Understanding Percepts as a Physical Phenomenon

    In the coherence field model we have thus far formulated, a supervenient EM field drives and orchestrates the behavior of biochemical pathways in the brain, but EM radiation within this material framework is the binding agent which flows around with effective instantaneity to integrate molecular arrays, cells and tissues at trillions of locations as the vibrational structure of perception. Details of how percepts would form in this manner are undoubtedly complex and, if upheld by further evidence, probably warrant decades of research. But if these theories are accurate, it could provide for some very simple ways to define features of mind in terms of matter.

    This model views percepts, to the extent they arise from electromagnetic properties of tissue, as the emergent organization of atomic nodes within photonic fields, numerous and diverse regions of coherent energy most fundamentally characterized by vibration. The brain is unique because electric currents likely found in all cells are so strong and compact in this organ that a robust EM field is generated which can coordinate the magnetic particles in large swaths of tissue as an individual unit. The brain is thus much more synchronized than the rest of the body. If the hypothesis proves valid, this mechanistic chassis of electrical energy is saturated by EM radiation of a primarily infrared spectral range which interacts with molecules to produce the structural components of mind, insofar as they arise from the brain, as a variably dense physical field.

    Most of our basic sentience - sound, touch, taste, smell, visceral sensations, in essence feel - would essentially be vibrational textures in matter with their shapes, rates of oscillation and locations determining the quality of experience. Input from specialized sensory apparatuses in eye, ear, olfactory, gustatory and tactile cells superimposes on fundamentally cognitive textures to render our environment a crisp perceptual world.

    Image sensation might be a modification of EM wavelengths within the textural field such that light in the visible range is produced, so that optical inspection and image imagination coevolved into complementary forms. This would explain how we visualize much of what our eyesight takes in without optical stimulation. Visual stream of consciousness is then a complex of visible light and specially adapted cellular structures, while the verbal stream would probably be infrared light and still different biomolecules and cells, together a range of emergent textures induced by the brain and perhaps the wider body. All of this sentience and stream of consciousness converges to constitute the foundational substrate of emotion and thought.

    Memory would derive from interaction of this coherent energy field with neural architecture, accounting for how recall cannot be easily pinpointed to any particular process in the brain or body, for it is linked to the interface between field and circuitry at an intracellular level we have not yet penetrated in theory. The relative role of circuitry versus intracellular biochemistry in memory, synaptic as opposed to intrinsic plasticity, is still the subject of contention, but some form of amalgamation is undoubtedly in play, and the brain’s matter is as photonic and fieldlike as it is molecular. Neural circuitry is built into intricately emergent structures so that synthetic and logiclike insights are possible, the environment “making sense” via a background of more or less abstract interrelationships rather than just starkly presenting. The self can be defined as a collection of functions that monitor one’s own circuitry and coherence field of radiative/molecular percepts.

    The question of how a coherence field of awareness projects beyond the body can be raised. It must be remembered that coherence is not fundamentally electromagnetic, physiological, or local in the Newtonian sense, and under suitable conditions causality can propagate faster than light. It might be possible for similar mechanisms to those which manifest within the brain and body to conjure beyond physiology, as a hybrid of standing and traveling waves within a medium of infrared light, visible light and perhaps more energy sources, all interspersed by atomic and molecular nodes with which this energy more or less synchronously vibrates. If an experiment can entangle photons at 3 trillion m/s across a distance of 15 km, any material structure which manipulates the underlying coherence responsible for such entanglement should be capable of similar influence, and the brain could be such a material structure. The coherence field concept may eventually explain why we do not perceive the field of awareness as entirely within our own heads or bodies despite the fact that neural and cellular architecture is required to comprise an organic mind.

    Though an EM radiation hypothesis for how matter binds into the substance of perception hangs together well based on what we currently know of physics, it has also been proposed that LFP-based fine structure of the electric field may be the source of percepts. Any region of this field is of course composed of numerous superpositioned frequencies which can be decomposed by a Fourier transform in similarity to EM radiation, producing the familiar EEG readouts. The question is whether this reaches enough complexity to be a sole seat of perception.

    As an example, we can estimate the maximum intricacy of an electric field consciousness. If we assume percepts are superpositions delimited by phase-locking, of which the basic unit is some constitutive portion of an LFP, the most complex and differentiated consciousness possible for a human would plausibly consist in neural networks of on average a hundred phase-locked neurons each, blending into both a background of slower waves and some kind of roving, semi-stable density of relatively homogeneous frequency that temporarily immingles with a variety of more local oscillations to produce experiential awareness. If phase-locking determines the boundaries of a percept, and the brain contains approximately 80 billion neurons making 100 trillion connections, each neuron would contribute to on average around 1,250 different percepts at most. This hypothetical consciousness would support 800 million simultaneous percepts and 1 trillion percepts total. But human olfaction detects more than a trillion scents, and this is one of our least acute sensory modalities, in addition to being localized within small portions of the brain. The range of variation in sounds and images far exceeds olfaction. Overall oscillation patterns within one of these minimum phase-locked assemblies may involve a continuum of relativities rather than simply being a steady state, on or off phenomenon, doing double duty in the formation of multiple percepts, so within any particular neural network the spectrum of percepts might be much greater, though level of differentiation must at some point prove discrete, constrained by an LFP’s degrees of freedom. We must also consider that much of the brain may not be sufficiently phased for producing emergent organization conducive to percepts of this type, so the possible quantity of percepts would likely be much less than maximum. Of course pending further research, room for doubt exists as to whether an LFP-based model alone is capable of accounting for the full gamut of percepts.

    It is also uncertain how an LFP-based model can explain the nonlocality of consciousness. At this point remote perception is fairly well-established, since it has been demonstrated scientifically that humans can communicate, locate archaeological sites etc. through extrasensory observation. Science is making rapid progress in its capacity to model faster than light entanglement between photonic fields, an action at a distance which is canonical to quantum physics. We presently have no reason to suspect remote perception is mediated by LFPs and emergent flow shapes induced in the brain’s electric field beyond the entanglement dynamics of EM radiation they contain.

    If we add EM radiation to the electric field model, this massively increases the diversity available to perceptual mechanisms, from maximums of roughly a few trillion superpositioning LFP subunits to at least hundreds of trillions of possible locations where photonic fields, variously superpositioned on scales resembling spectra in the external environment, can cohere with atoms and molecules to assume functional form. These photonic fields which would radiate with effective instantaneity in the brain may get locked in as emergent structure during neural activation, with the signature of this light modulation mechanism being temperature variation. To the extent that a region of the brain is especially saturated by synchronizing mechanisms such as phase-locking, as seems to be the case in processes of experiential awareness, the effects of photonic fields would simultaneously become more pervading. The LFP-based model and photonics model are thus complementary, for if research proves that EM radiation plays a functional role, this is simply an intrinsic aspect of the electric field’s fine structure as it oscillates and flows.

    The mechanism by which brain matter contributes to forming the substance of percepts is proposed by this paper as starting with a sustained acceleration of electric current between centers of ion concentration, modifying the spectrum of EM radiation (primarily infrared and more rarely visible light) while increasing its quantity. This proceeds to modulation via a cascade of light/molecular interactions, ending in temperature increase when decoherence thermally dissipates the additional energy as biochemical vibration and infrared radiation. If current acceleration is steady enough, the electromagnetic energy that results can maintain intracellular coherence fields, and likely also intercellular coherence fields due to transmission of EM radiation through cell membranes. But this mechanism might preclude coherence fields spread through complexes of axons because myelin reflects any infrared or visible radiation from intracellular currents back into the neuron.

    An alternate mechanism not discussed with much depth in this paper is the manipulating of molecular arrays through EM field permutations that can originate from electric and ionic currents. Modified vibration of molecules might then induce a separate route to cascades of modulated light/molecular interaction, also thermally dissipating as biochemical vibration and infrared radiation due to decoherence. The range at which this mechanism can modulate a coherence field depends on the density and location of affected atoms and molecules, but could conceivably transcend limitation that myelin imposes on axons and adjacent extracellular space because of transmembrane influence, perhaps expanding the perceptual field to brain matter in its entirety. Further effects along these lines are probably transmitted at approximately light speed via emergent electric wave oscillations and flows spread through macroscopic portions of the brain, synchronously morphing LFP/neural complexes, current-field patterns and the coherence fields of cellular structure in a top-down way to enact larger scale perceptual integration.

    A third possibility is that so-called nonlocal properties of the brain’s coherence field facilitate entanglements via EM radiation and through this route modulate cascades of light/molecular interaction. Mechanisms of this type could pervade the brain, exacting an extremely holistic effect upon electromagnetism, with the vibrational and radiative consequences being at this stage unknown and fairly unpredictable. We cannot rule out the potential for modification of EM radiation and molecular vibrations into much different forms than would be predicted in association with electric currents or LFPs.
  • Gnomon
    As a parallel investigation, 20th and 21st century physics have come to rely on the concept of a field: matter is not fundamentally solid and stable, but rather a vast array of ripples or disturbances in a sort of fluid medium characterized by perpetual motion, with relatively persistent focal points of these perturbations being what we observe and model in the form of particles.Enrique

    Your proposed model of Consciousness is way over my head. And my brain is still smoking, from scanning another extensive & elaborate internet-theory-of-everything that may, or may not, be related to your description of matter fields quoted above. I don't want to knock you off course. But I'm just curious about how both of these unorthodox postulations might relate to my own avante garde model of reality. Due to the century-old state of Quantum Uncertainty, I remain open-minded -- though skeptical -- about alternative views of Reality.

    This space-wave theory of the structure of physical reality might be genius, merely eccentric, or possibly crackpot. It's based on a mathematical reinterpretation of quantum theory – by Geoff Haselhurst et al -- proposing A> the Wave Structure of Matter, and B> that the “fluid medium” for those waves is the Aristotelian Substance we call “Space”. It sounds similar to some early quantum hypotheses of intangible-yet-fluid Aether as the medium of quantum waves. Consciousness is only one of many applications of this novel concept of Space and Matter. I'm not competent to critique the Wave Structure theory. But it piques my curiosity about the fundamental relationship between Physics & Metaphysics, and my own Information-based worldview.

    On Quora Forum, I asked Haselhurst for a synopsis of his long & winding theory. I'd specifically like to know how Consciousness could arise from wave interactions in fluid space. So far, I haven't gotten a response. As far as I can tell, few professional physicists are aware of this re-re-interpretation of the role of empty space in reality. This theory is not specifically about Consciousness, so If it seems off-topic to you, I'll understand. But it could put your own Mind/Matter concept into a new context -- even farther beyond Classical Physics than Relativity and Quantum theories.. :smile:

    On Truth & Reality
    The Wave Structure of Matter (WSM) in Space
    The Dynamic Unity of Reality



  • Wolfgang
    I think life can be explained by the way (dead) molecules work together. That is, the lower level of life is molecules. Consciousness at the level of molecules can also be adequately explained with this. The fact that molecules consist of atoms and that these can be represented quantum mechanically is irrelevant. I only explain the function of a car by its components such as cylinder, fuel pump, etc.
    I see consciousness as a property of the brain as the heartbeat is a property of the heart. It can be described objectively as a structure and subjectively it follows the sensitivity that is already known from unicellular organisms and occurs there as a reaction to chemical gradients.
  • T Clark
    Competing interpretations of quantum mechanics have been proposed which fit the math equally well, though experiments are beginning to achieve the capacity to adjudicate between them.Enrique

    I has been my understanding that different interpretations of quantum mechanics cannot be differentiated using empirical methods. If you have information otherwise, I would be interested in seeing it.
  • Enrique
    I has been my understanding that different interpretations of quantum mechanics cannot be differentiated using empirical methods. If you have information otherwise, I would be interested in seeing it.T Clark

    You might look into Sean Carroll's involvements in researching the many worlds interpretation (he's kind of the spokesman). Apparently physicists are coming up with models of relative phase in matter that have started to integrate practical applications of wave function math with the many worlds concept. Physicists continue to refine the mathematical parameters of spontaneous localization models for accuracy. An experiment reputedly ruled out pilot wave theory a few years ago, and I think this may have been discredited afterwards but you can do some searching around for information.
  • Rocco Rosano
    RE: A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    → Enrique, et al,

    Consciousness is a compound and complex topic with pathways that crisscross the science behind the characteristics and actions of the hundred billion neurons, and the acceptance, retention, and retrieval of information patterns that constitute the metaphysical interpretation.

    We can monitor in real-time the neurons as they generate and send electrical signals. We can inject stimuli (modulated or carrier only) and test neuronal fibers and determine the performance characteristics. We can inject tracking properties into the extracellular fluid, and we can watch various portions or locations within the brain light up and flash as it reacts to external sensory events. But we really cannot explain the differences in the capacities from one brain to the next.

    Consciousness is one of the principal differences. Of the many observations and manipulations of the brain that we can explain, we cannot tell you what part of the brain controls consciousness. And there is the threshold of metaphysics.

    Most Respectfully,
  • Enrique
    This space-wave theory of the structure of physical reality might be genius, merely eccentric, or possibly crackpot. It's based on a mathematical reinterpretation of quantum theory – by Geoff Haselhurst et al -- proposing A> the Wave Structure of Matter, and B> that the “fluid medium” for those waves is the Aristotelian Substance we call “Space”.Gnomon

    When you get into phenomenology of physics the vast possibility is hard to get a grip on and concepts haven't progressed far at this point. I read a book by a Nobel laureate who imagined aether as a multicolored, multilayered superconductor, with electromagnetic matter an impurity in the aether. The wave-medium model makes intuitive sense, as a concept of flow somewhat like electricity, but the fine structure of how it moves and transitions at the quantum scale is difficult to determine by thought experiment alone, and the structural properties beyond electromagnetism almost inconceivable. Perhaps instruments will be developed eventually that can reveal exactly what a quantum wave looks like and how it behaves, along with whether nonelectromagnetic matter has similar properties.

    I'd specifically like to know how Consciousness could arise from wave interactions in fluid space.Gnomon

    In the OP I could get a long ways with a couple basic premises: electromagnetic matter consists of density maxima/minima, while electromagnetic energy can travel and accelerate through regions of relative minima at a faster rate. These premises lead to a comprehensive explanation for neural anatomy, including node location and structure, ion channel distribution, speed of signal transmission as electron current, etc. The root cause of electric field oscillation and at least one of the mechanistic routes to percept generation might also be explained.

    In my theory, atoms and EM radiation form expanses of contiguous energy I call coherence fields, containing contours of density minima and maxima. Motions of electrons perturb the field such that local variations in superpositioned light spectra occur near-instantaneously to bind matter into a percept insofar as it arises from electromagnetism. So percepts such as sights, sounds, textures, thoughts, feelings etc. are at least partially the vibrational and/or additive properties of electromagnetic waves.
  • Benj96
    Of the many observations and manipulations of the brain that we can explain, we cannot tell you what part of the brain controls consciousnessRocco Rosano

    Why does it have to be a finite part that controls consciousness? I think all parts of the structure and how those structures interact with eachother is what consciousness is.

    If I had to put it down to a singular "part" - it would be the simple large scale interplay between "positive/reward/pleasure/good" circuits and "negative/inhibitory/depressing/bad" circuits in a pool of memories - the associations or relationships between which apply the meaning to this constant battle of opposing forces - joy, sadness, hope, disappointment, fear, peace, all concepts or "meanings" that emerge out of experience (the pool of memories) of the two basics "Good" or "Bad".

    In that way the physical brain is like sort of a network of physical discrete words like "one" "two" "three" (neurons) that have meaning applied to them (electrical activity +/-), and the grammar is how we connect words to one another to construct more complicated sentences (meaning).

    Language - reflects what a brain does. As outside/so within.
  • Gnomon
    When you get into phenomenology of physics the vast possibility is hard to get a grip on and concepts haven't progressed far at this point. I read a book by a Nobel laureate who imagined aether as a multicolored, multilayered superconductor, with electromagnetic matter an impurity in the aether.Enrique
    Yes. The Nobel Laureate you mentioned might be Frank Wilczek, whose 2008 book, The Lightness of Being, introduced the notion of space as a super-conductor. That's way above my pay grade, but the general concept of Space as an Aether Field makes some sense to me, especially as it dovetails with some of the woo-woo implications of quantum theory.

    Other physicists are beginning to take the Aether concept seriously again, in order to make sense of Maxwell's electromagnetic "field", and Einstein's references to the "fabric" of space, and the 'wave function" of quantum physics. I'm not sure what Aether has to do with Consciousness, but some thinkers view it in terms of a Mind-Field. However, any notion of a matterless Field of influence is a spooky non-classical kind of phenomenon. :smile:

    Aether as a physical Field :
    "Under a surface of vociferous denying and pointing to flawed experiments there is a general acceptance even among modern physicists and Nobel Laureates that there is a physical strata that plays fundamentally the role of an Aether, although the term is so laden with philosophical prejudices that no one really dares to commit to the name Aether and all sorts of alternative and rather silly sounding denotations are invented: “quantum foam”, “quantum fluid” for instance or this “field” or that field”, where nobody ever can point out what kind of physical species a field IS. There are at best vague ideas what a field DOES." ___Michael Brenner
  • Gnomon
    to bind matter into a perceptEnrique
    It's that binding force that I have difficulty understanding. Philosophically, I can see how energy (physical causation) could be related to human intention (cultural causation). But the mechanics of that transformation from physics to percepts are beyond my comprehension. Perhaps it's like a physical Phase Change (e.g. liquid water to solid ice), in which the intermediate steps are blurry. It seems to be merely a re-arrangement of links between atoms. But what magic makes that new pattern of inter-connection emerge into consciousness as a Percept or Concept? I can only guess that the Potential for Perception is inherent in the direction of causation : a metaphor for Aboutness. :smile:

    Aboutness : https://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/deacon/
  • Enrique
    It's that binding force that I have difficulty understanding. Philosophically, I can see how energy (physical causation) could be related to human intention (cultural causation). But the mechanics of that transformation from physics to percepts are beyond my comprehension.Gnomon

    The way I think of it, percepts are the emergent property of an energy field which we currently define electromagnetically, as density maxima or atomic structure enveloped in density minima, the electromagnetic field with undulations we know as electromagnetic radiation or light. The energy field of a brain is equal in its integration to the energy field of a visual scene for instance: components of matter are the components of perception, with quantum segregations shrouded even at the microscale, but perhaps not at the subatomic scale.

    So change in electromagnetic energy is quantized at the subatomic scale, whatever that looks like physically, but this energy flows smoothly through space (though rate transitions are nonlinear), more like a fluid, at the microscale and larger. From this perspective, the concept of an atom is somewhat arbitrary, for electromagnetism is really a bending and morphing of the aether field by the fields of nuclei.
    Heat, color, vibrational texture, etc. are an intrinsic signature of perception and energy, from both inside and outside. Awareness is simply an emergent byproduct of this energy field's organization.

    It seems that in organic consciousness at least, logic or the "meaning" of awareness is closely linked to the circuitry of neural connections, like what @Benj96 was getting at, and I think gods can play the human mind's logical forms like a fiddle, though they're supralogical themselves. (Thought I'd throw some philosophy of religion into the mix to irk the atheists)
  • neonspectraltoast
    You can't come from the perspective of an observer and analyze what consciousness is unless you make the bold, glaring, and stupid assumption that your awareness is adept at that.

    We don't see reality for what it is. Period. No question about it.
  • Enrique
    You can't come from the perspective of an observer and analyze what consciousness is unless you make the bold, glaring, and stupid assumption that your awareness is adept at that.neonspectraltoast

    A proactive, typical and intelligent assumption that neuroscience uses every day to make huge progress in modeling what mind is. We take for granted how much more we know about consciousness than those who lived prior to brain research. Sure, that doesn't mean we see reality for exactly what it is, but the mind's eye coupled with the concept of physiology as mechanism can get you a long ways. However, I would agree neuroscience makes humans prone to some fallacies that even premoderns weren't subject to, but in general we've progressed.
  • Gnomon
    Awareness is simply an emergent byproduct of this energy field's organization.Enrique
    Yes. That is generally how I see the relationship between physical structure and mental logic. But it's the steps in-between Energy and Intention that are still hard to imagine. There is still a gaping gap between quantum mechanics and spooky mysticism*1. That's why my own theory of EnFormAction requires an intentional First Cause to set Nature on a course from Material Mechanics to Mental Motives*2.

    I suppose, proposing a hypothetical conscious First Cause*3, could be dismissed as a god-of-the-gaps solution to the emergence of consciousness conundrum. But, I see no viable alternative, except to just assume -- on faith in mechanical Materialism -- that there is no gap, from which purposeful Life & Mind mysteriously emerged out of inert Matter & aimless Energy. :smile:

    *1. Quantum Mind :
    The quantum mind or quantum consciousness is a group of hypotheses proposing that classical mechanics alone cannot explain consciousness, positing instead that quantum-mechanical phenomena, such as entanglement and superposition, may play an important part in the brain's function and could explain critical aspects of consciousness. These scientific hypotheses are as yet untested, and can overlap with quantum mysticism.

    *2. EnFormAction :
    Ententional Causation. A proposed metaphysical law of the universe that causes random interactions between forces and particles to produce novel & stable arrangements of matter & energy. It’s the creative force (aka : Divine Will) of the axiomatic eternal deity that, for unknown reasons, programmed a Singularity to suddenly burst into our reality from an infinite source of possibility. AKA : The creative potential of Evolution; the power to enform; organizing Logos; directional Change.

    *3. Isaac Newton's First Cause :
    God is the same God, always and everywhere. He is omnipresent not virtually only, but also substantially, for virtue cannot subsist without substance. We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.
    Note -- "Virtue", in this case, is creative power, and "Substance" is the creation
    Note -- Newton mathematicized celestial mechanics : the logic of Change
  • Bartricks
    I would like to offer my rival 'bakery' theory of consciousness.

    Bakers make bread and study how to make bread and various bread products. It is ancient. And over time lots of different bread-based products have been developed.

    But what is the relationship between bread and consciousness? Well, bread is consciously seen and consciously enjoyed. But how does consciousness arise out of bread? Enjoyment is a conscious state. I am conscious I am enjoying the croissant. So, here we have consciousness of a conscious state. But what is the relation between the conscious state and the croissant?

    Here we must turn to bakers for insight. Bakers study bread and bread has a relation to conscious states - note, my state of enjoyment is bread-directed: I am enjoying the croissant. So bread enters as the content of that conscious state. Now I am going to say some stuff about a bread type thing so that you are impressed at my level of bakery knowledge as, provided you are dumb enough, that will make you think I know what I am talking about when it comes to consciousness, even though it has nothing whatsoever to do with it. But like I say, some conscious states have bread in their content.

    Now as bakery has taught us. a croissant is made of pastry and butter and was invented in Venice and designed to be a pastry insult to Muslim invaders, though the French somehow now get the credit for it. However, in my view the nicest are still to be found in Italy (the nicest croissants are in Verona).

    Following the tradition of using pastry to insult people, the English sausage roll has its origins in the croissant. Developed as a crude pastry insult to the French during the Napoleonic wars (an English butcher started putting sausages in croissants and selling them as pastry expressions of the English raping the French), this joke product turned out to be very tasty and evolved into the sausage roll. Note how the concept of an insult - which can't exist apart from conscious states, for only a consciousness can be insulted - is 'baked into' the concept of a croissant and, indeed, the sausage roll, the former being designed as insults to Muslim invaders and the latter being designed as insults to French invaders. (To this day in England sausage rolls are sometimes called 'pastry rapes' and there are periodic calls for them to be banned due to their - excuse the pun - unsavory origin).

    But eating a sausage roll, though it is to eat a cousin of the croissant, typically produces a distinct conscious state from that produced by eating a croissant. In fact, we're becoming increasingly aware of the complex range of conscious states associated with each bakery product.

    BAM machines (bread answer machines) - which force bread products into people's mouths and then ask them how they make them feel - have shown that every bread product that is forced into a person's mouth makes that person feel something. BAM imaging, then, has demonstrated that there is an undeniable relation between bread and consciousness. Hence why bakery will solve the problem of consciousness, which is definitely a real problem and not just the word 'problem' put in front of 'consciousness' for no good reason whatsoever. The more we study bread, the more we understand consciousness. Indeed, if we start calling conscious states associated with eating a croissant 'croissant type states' and those associated with eating a Belgian bun 'Belgian bun type states' we will have made great progress. For now we can see even more clearly how bakery will solve the problem of consciousness. For the more we do this, the more we can see that bakery is really about consciousness and that if we just listen more carefully to what bakers say about their bakery items, we will find that eventually there will be no problem of consciousness anymore. There will just be bread-states that conscious states can be said to breadovene upon.

    So, conscious states breadovene upon bread states; note this is not to say that conscious states are made of bread, it is rather to say that the subbreadovening base is bread. Conscious states have bread bases.
  • neonspectraltoast
    The fact is that each and every one of us is precious.
  • Enrique
    Conscious states have bread bases.Bartricks

    The pivotal question is then whether we need a neurobreadology to lesion the nuts out of our conscious states hahaha The medical establishment could probably get away with that if they tried long and hard enough.

    That is generally how I see the relationship between physical structure and mental logic. But it's the steps in-between Energy and Intention that are still hard to imagine. There is still a gaping gap between quantum mechanics and spooky mysticismGnomon

    When you think about the complexity that must be present in a coherence field of macroscopic emergence it is hard to imagine. Every molecule we've identified may have an unknown function, just a totally new paradigm. But if coherence field theory is accurate, all of this will prove amenable to empiricism, and it's simply a matter of investigating the binding and modulation that occurs among atoms and light. Might be a conduit from current physics to more potent models of entanglement and nonlocality, as aspects of the matter field we could detect by measuring anomalies in EM radiation phenomena that can't be explained using atomic theory.
  • Gnomon
    When you think about the complexity that must be present in a coherence field of macroscopic emergence it is hard to imagine.Enrique
    Coherence is an essential quality of any holistic system. Yet, the mysterious integrating "force" that binds isolated parts into a functional system has always seemed ineffable. Is it a measurable physical force, or an immensurable metaphysical influence?

    Intuitive Unity is not hard to imagine, but is hard to describe in reductive scientific terms. A multiplex system is typically defined in terms of its parts, not its unique singular essence. Yet, despite its complexity, we usually know wholeness intuitively when we see it, by inferring its teleological Purpose or Function. Ironically, goal-oriented "purpose" is not a scientific concept, and future-oriented "function" is an inference, not an observation.

    So, physical causation seems to result in directional change due to consistency of effects. We then interpret the invisible arrow of the trail of effects as Purpose or Function. The observing mind connects the dots by filling-in the blanks with imagination. And for humans, the purpose (intention) precedes the causation. :smile:

    What is system? :
    A system is a collection of elements or components that are organized for a common purpose.

    What is a Force? :
    An influence ; a cause ; an attraction or repulsion

    Teleological :
    relating to or involving the explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than of the cause by which they arise.
  • 180 Proof
    All the cleverest quantum woo-woo speculations (e.g. pseudo-scientistic / idealist reductionism to faux-holistic "non-local purpose" or some such :roll:) notwithstanding, I find the following insights much more consistent with the extant evidence of the neurosciences:
    (a) The smallest neuronal structures in the human brain are both three orders of magnitude too large and too hot for quantum activity (e.g. superposition, entanglement, etc) to cohere. Thus, the human brain is an entirely classical processing system.

    (b) Mind – phenomenal self-modeling (PSM) – is how sufficiently complex (e.g. human) brains reflexively interactive with their environments.

    (c) "Consciousness", an entirely classical emergent phenomenon, is mind feeling itself mind-ing (e.g. updating its PSM).
    For those who wish to avoid pseudo-science traps and quantum woo sophistry, I recommend as a start The Unconscious Quantum (reviewed here).
  • Enrique

    The smallest neuronal structures in the human brain are both three orders of magnitude too large and too hot for quantum activity (e.g. superposition, entanglement, etc) to cohere. Thus, the human brain is an entirely classical processing system.

    That is true of entanglement between atoms. But experiments have shown EM radiation can entangle across distances of 15 km, and light interacts with atoms to produce coherent energy fields among photosynthetic reaction centers and microtubules, so it seems likely that entanglement effects can at least in part generate the substance of a perceptual field and emergent stream of consciousness/awareness via superpositioned light waves. Brain tissue activation is closely correlated with temperature fluctuation, suggesting that wavelengths of infrared light may be functionally shifting around as electricity flows through neurons along with cooccurring changes in molecular vibration patterns. The evidence is not conclusive, but certainly worthy of further investigation.
  • Gnomon
    But if coherence field theory is accurate, all of this will prove amenable to empiricism, and it's simply a matter of investigating the binding and modulation that occurs among atoms and light.Enrique
    Even when you conscientiously try to stay on the empirical side of Consciousness -- "wish to avoid pseudo-science traps and quantum woo sophistry" -- you are treading on shaky ground. You may be subjected to ad hominem labeling of "quantum woo-woo speculations (e.g. pseudo-scientistic / idealst reductionism", from those who equate Holism & Idealism with New Age Mysticism.

    However, part of that hard-line Reductionist Realist stance seems to be the questionable assumption that our current understanding of Quantum physics is complete. It also presumes that there is a well-defined border between Empirical Science (observation) and Theoretical Science (conjecture). Perhaps, it ain't that simple after all. Maybe it helps to be a maverick genius, with Nobel certification, to be bold enough to speculate across that contested borderline to see what un-discovered truths might be languishing on the other side. :smile:

    Roger Penrose On Why Consciousness Does Not Compute :

    The breadth of Penrose’s interests is extraordinary, which is evident in his recent book Fashion, Faith and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe—a dense 500-page tome that challenges some of the trendiest but still unproven theories in physics, from the multiple dimensions of string theory to cosmic inflation in the first moment of the Big Bang. He considers these theories to be fanciful and implausible.

    But his theory of consciousness pushes the edges of what’s considered plausible science and has left critics wondering why he embraces a theory based on so little evidence.. . .

    Penrose’s theory promises a deeper level of explanation. He starts with the premise that consciousness is not computational, and it’s beyond anything that neuroscience, biology, or physics can now explain. . . .

    Quantum coherence occurs when a huge number of things—say, a whole system of electrons—act together in one quantum state. . . .

    In the Penrose-Hameroff theory of Orchestrated Objective Reduction, known as Orch-OR, these moments of conscious awareness are orchestrated by the microtubules in our brains, which—they believe—have the capacity to store and process information and memory. . . .

    Most scientists believe the brain is too warm and wet for quantum states to have any influence on neuronal activity because quantum coherence only seems possible in highly protected and frigid environments. . . .

    “What I’m saying—and this is my leap of imagination which people boggle at—I’m saying what’s going on in the brain must be taking advantage not just of quantum mechanics, but where it goes wrong,” he said. “It’s where quantum mechanics needs to be superseded.” So we need a new science that doesn’t yet exist? “That’s right. Exactly.” . . .

    “I’m not even sure what materialistic means, quite honestly. Quantum mechanics behaves in ways that one thinks are certainly at odds with the view we used to have.” . . .

    it’s going to be a lot deeper than even straightforward, non-computable deterministic physics. It’s a kind of delicate borderline between completely deterministic behavior and something which is completely free.” . . . .


  • Mark Nyquist
    How does your model handle the transfer of ideas? Something as simple as a short text seems to do the job and uses conventional, well understood means.

    There might be a type of dualism involved, as no brain matter is transfered yet two brains can hold the same idea. Certainly ideas are not physical in the sense they are confined to a single brain.
  • 180 Proof
    However, part of that hard-line Reductionist Realist stance seems to be the questionable assumption that our current understanding of Quantum physics is complete. It also presumes that there is a well-defined border between Empirical Science (observation) and Theoretical Science (conjecture).Gnomon
    Once again, sir, you're barking at shadows of strawmen. Woof woof sophistry. :sparkle: :sweat:
  • Bartricks
    Oh, no one is interested in my bakery theory of consciousness.

    Is that, perhaps, because it is incredibly stupid?

    Bakers aren't studying consciousness. They're studying bread. And that's true even though there is undeniably a relationship between bread and conscious states, for we are often conscious of bread and often bread itself is responsible for that.

    Yet my bakery theory remains mind-numbingly stupid. Indeed, someone who thought it was not mind-numbingly stupid would be someone who was so stupid they would be wholly incapable of discerning the clever from the stupid, as the clever would say things that sound so alien to their way of thinking that they would be fated to judge them mega stupid. So, they're a bit stuck, aren't they? There are, it seems, some theories that are so wrongheaded, anyone who subscribes to them is not going to be able to see them for what they are.

    But, oh dear, all of that is true of a scientific theory of consciousness. Oops! For scientists are not studying consciousness. They're studying the sensible world.

    If you want you can label something that scientists have evidence for a 'conscious state'. But then we can do that with bread states too. It does not mean bakers are studying consciousness and it does not mean scientists are. It just means that people are using labels to paper over the point at which they stopped doing science - or bakery - and started making unjustified philosophical assumptions.

    Here's why you all like scientific theories. You can go on about them and put in lots of trainspottery detail and argue over that detail. C-fibres. Fields. And so on. And you can tell yourself you're doing important work, because look at all that detail.

    Yet you're doing nothing more than detailing bread states after having called some of them conscious states. It's quite laughable. And it isn't philosophy. It's just a bit exercise in miss-labelling things so that you can talk science (or bakery).

    What you need is some actually goddamn evidence that conscious states are states of sensible things. There isn't any of that. There's just a dumb argument: ooo, this brain state is associated with this conscious state....therefore they're the same! An argument by means of which I have arrived at the conclusion that I am a croissant. Eating croissant caused conscious state of enjoyment. So, event of croissant consumption was conscious state of enjoyment (maybe a bit of detail here - say 'bread field' or 'bread fibres' a bit). Therefore as the bearer of that conscious state, it turns out I am a croissant. Who'd have thought!
  • 180 Proof
    Oh, no one is interested ... perhaps, because it is incredibly stupid?Bartricks
  • Enrique
    How does your model handle the transfer of ideas? Something as simple as a short text seems to do the job and uses conventional, well understood means.

    There might be a type of dualism involved, as no brain matter is transfered yet two brains can hold the same idea. Certainly ideas are not physical in the sense they are confined to a single brain.
    Mark Nyquist

    In coherence field theory, the matter of ideas would be a combination of molecular/radiative fields that vibrate while bound together by entanglement to produce emergent percepts as contents of the mind, along with neural circuitry and brain waves giving these ideas a more complex synthetic architecture. If coherence field structure modulated by EM radiation is as essential as I hypothesize, percepts might supersede the individual brain via light's interactions with more nonlocal dynamics which are not yet well-understood, and this could possibly explain scientifically verified phenomena such as remote viewing. So the theory would begin as a dualism regarding ideas as both concepts and objects, but then might reconfigure our understanding of consciousness into more integrated form, providing a unified model of physics, biology, neuroscience, psychology and memetics. I obviously haven't worked all that out at this stage, but interesting to speculate.
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