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Discussion Starter #1

By Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Times



Between quantum physics and neuroscience, a theory emerges of a mental field we each have, existing in another dimension and behaving in some ways like a black hole

October 11, 2017 12:22 pm Last Updated: October 16, 2017 1:58 pm

The relationship between the mind and the brain is a mystery that is central to how we understand our very existence as sentient beings. Some say the mind is strictly a function of the brain — consciousness is the product of firing neurons. But some strive to scientifically understand the existence of a mind independent of, or at least to some degree separate from, the brain.

The peer-reviewed scientific journal NeuroQuantology brings together neuroscience and quantum physics — an interface that some scientists have used to explore this fundamental relationship between mind and brain.

An article published in the September 2017 edition of NeuroQuantology reviews and expands upon the current theories of consciousness that arise from this meeting of neuroscience and quantum physics.
Dr. Dirk Meijer (Courtesy of Dr. Dirk Meijer) Dr. Dirk K.F. Meijer, a professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, hypothesizes that consciousness resides in a field surrounding the brain. This field is in another dimension. It shares information with the brain through quantum entanglement, among other methods. And it has certain similarities with a black hole.

This field may be able to pick up information from the Earth’s magnetic field, dark energy, and other sources. It then “transmits wave information into the brain tissue, that … is instrumental in high-speed conscious and subconscious information processing,” Dirk wrote.

In other words, the “mind” is a field that exists around the brain; it picks up information from outside the brain and communicates it to the brain in an extremely fast process.

He described this field alternately as “a holographic structured field,” a “receptive mental workspace,” a “meta-cognitive domain,” and the “global memory space of the individual.”

Extremely rapid functions of the brain suggest it processes information through a mechanism not yet revealed.

(HypnoArt) There’s an unsolved mystery in neuroscience called the “binding problem.” Different parts of the brain are responsible for different things: some parts work on processing color, some on processing sound, et cetera. But, it somehow all comes together as a unified perception, or consciousness.

Information comes together and interacts in the brain more quickly than can be explained by our current understanding of neural transmissions in the brain. It thus seems the mind is more than just neurons firing in the brain.

Neuroscientists are still searching for a mechanism for this “binding” of disparate parts of the brain’s information processing. Meijer has turned to quantum entanglement and tunneling for part of the answer.

Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in which particles appear to be connected over vast distances. When actions are performed on one of the particles, corresponding changes are observed on the others simultaneously.
Quantum tunneling is a phenomenon in which a particle tunnels through a barrier it shouldn’t be able to according to classical physics.

These quantum phenomena allow for processes so rapid, they can’t be explained with classical physics. So they may help explain ultra-fast subconscious mental processes.

Principles of quantum physics may explain how the mind processes information.

(Geralt) If the “mind” or mental field could interact with the brain this way, it could be a step toward explaining the rapidity of mental processes.

Meijer also uses the wave-particle nature of matter in quantum physics to explain the relationship between the mental field and the brain. Essentially this principle holds that electrons and photons exist in the form of waves, but can also behave like particles. In a manner of speaking, they are both waves and particles.

Similarly, Meijer said the mental field is both non-material and, at the same time, physically part of the brain: “The proposed mental workspace is regarded to be non-material, but in relation to the individual brain, entertains a non-dual wave/particle relation according to quantum physical principles: it is directly dependent on the brain physiology but not reducible to it.”

The mind and the brain, according to Meijer, are connected. They are unified, yet separate. Such an apparent paradox is characteristic of quantum physics.

The mind may reside in another spatial dimension.

(HypnoArt) Meijer hypothesizes that the mental field is in another dimension: “That we cannot directly perceive this information aspect is traditionally ascribed to a hidden fourth spatial dimension … which cannot be observed in our 3-D world, but can be mathematically derived.”

He clarified that this fourth spatial dimension is not time (time is commonly described as the “fourth dimension”). Rather, this is a concept of space-time that includes four spatial dimensions, plus time (a “4+1 space-time structure”).
He cited studies that have suggested this concept of dimensions could reconcile the miss-matches between traditional physics and quantum physics that plague scientists today.

The mind would exist in the fourth spatial dimension.

The mind could be like a black hole.

(Imonedesign) Meijer envisions a sort of screen or boundary between the outside world and the individual mental field. He likens this boundary to the event horizon of a black hole.

“It is assumed that information entering a black hole from the outside is not lost, but … rather is being projected on its outer screen, called the ‘event horizon,’” Meijer wrote.

“Consciousness is a boundary condition between a singularity (black hole) and space within the brain.” The event horizon separates “a mental model of reality for internal use in each individual” from all that exists outside of it. Yet it is connected to a “universal information matrix.”

Meijer described via email how this “dynamic holographic boundary” collects information from inside the brain as well as from the “information fields in which our brain is permanently embedded.” He said: “In this manner, it is implicitly connected to a universal information matrix.”

The structure of the hypothesized mental field could take the shape of a torus.

A torus (Public domain) Background: (Felix Mittermeier) The geometrical shape known as a torus is well suited for the nature and functions Meijer attributes to the mental field.

A torus is described by the Merriam Webster dictionary as, “a doughnut-shaped surface generated by a circle rotated about an axis in its plane that does not intersect the circle.”

Meijer presented various reasons within physics theories for choosing this shape for his hypothesized mental field. One reason is related to a theory of how electrical activity in the brain oscillates.

The nested torus structure suggested by Dr. Dirk Meijer for the mental field connected to the brain. (Courtesy of Dr. Dirk Meijer) These rhythms have been compared to microscopic features of the universe, such as those described by String Theory. Meijer described these as “multidimensional torus movements.”

The torus structure is found in physics from the micro-scale to the extreme macro-scale of black holes and the universe as a whole, Meijer explained. It could be instrumental in dynamically integrating information in the mind and brain.

Meijer discusses the broader implications for the philosophy of mind–matter relationships.

Meijer wrote: “Our paper, may directly contribute to an answer on the famous question of [cognitive scientists and philosopher David] Chalmers …: how can something immaterial like subjective experience and self-consciousness arise from a material brain?”

The ability of the mental field to pick up information from other fields, as conceived by Meijer, could also explain some anomalous phenomena, such as extrasensory perception, he noted.

In his view, “Consciousness can be regarded as the most basic building block of nature and consequently is present at all levels of the fabric of reality.”

Since quantum physics emerged, scientists have been exploring its ability to explain consciousness. Meijer’s work fits within that exploration.

Another theory called “orchestrated objective reduction,” or “Orch-OR,” was developed by physicist Sir Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Dr. Stuart Hameroff. On his website, Hameroff describes the theory: “… it suggests consciousness arises from quantum vibrations in protein polymers called microtubules inside the brain’s neurons.”

Like Meijer, Penrose and Hameroff have said “there is a connection between the brain’s biomolecular processes and the basic structure of the universe.” They have also called for a major change in how scientists view consciousness.
Hameroff said in an interview with the blog Singularity: “Most scientists can’t explain consciousness in the brain, so they can’t say that consciousness out of the brain is impossible.”

Update: Dr. Dirk Meijer has provided The Epoch Times with an update on his paper, clarifying that quantum tunneling and entanglement are not the most likely methods of information transfer between the mental field and the brain. These two phenomena have been shown to provide only a correlation between two particles, not necessarily information transfer (although that may prove to be the case with further research).

Rather, quantum wave resonance is a more likely mechanism of extremely rapid information processing in the brain. This means, instead of signals being sent between neurons in the brain, a wave pattern that encompasses all neurons, as well as the mental field, transmits the information instantaneously.

Picture a vibration wave going up and down in a consistent pattern and running all through your brain and even outside of it. That pattern communicates information that can be understood by vibratory receptors in your brain. All of this is happening in a dimension and at a microscopic level not directly perceptible through conventional scientific instrumentation at our disposal today, yet can be inferred through physical and mathematical modeling.

Follow @TaraMacIsaac on Twitter and visit the Epoch Times Beyond Science page on Facebook to continue exploring the new frontiers of science!

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Discussion Starter #2
I posted this before but it is worth reposting:

How Did Consciousness Evolve? - The Atlantic

Michael Graziano

[HR][/HR] Ever since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, evolution has been the grand unifying theory of biology. Yet one of our most important biological traits, consciousness, is rarely studied in the context of evolution. Theories of consciousness come from religion, from philosophy, from cognitive science, but not so much from evolutionary biology. Maybe that’s why so few theories have been able to tackle basic questions such as: What is the adaptive value of consciousness? When did it evolve and what animals have it?

The Attention Schema Theory (AST), developed over the past five years, may be able to answer those questions. The theory suggests that consciousness arises as a solution to one of the most fundamental problems facing any nervous system: Too much information constantly flows in to be fully processed. The brain evolved increasingly sophisticated mechanisms for deeply processing a few select signals at the expense of others, and in the AST, consciousness is the ultimate result of that evolutionary sequence. If the theory is right—and that has yet to be determined—then consciousness evolved gradually over the past half billion years and is present in a range of vertebrate species.

Neurons act like candidates in an election, each one shouting and trying to suppress its fellows.Even before the evolution of a central brain, nervous systems took advantage of a simple computing trick: competition. Neurons act like candidates in an election, each one shouting and trying to suppress its fellows. At any moment only a few neurons win that intense competition, their signals rising up above the noise and impacting the animal’s behavior. This process is called selective signal enhancement, and without it, a nervous system can do almost nothing.

We can take a good guess when selective signal enhancement first evolved by comparing different species of animal, a common method in evolutionary biology. The hydra, a small relative of jellyfish, arguably has the simplest nervous system known—a nerve net. If you poke the hydra anywhere, it gives a generalized response. It shows no evidence of selectively processing some pokes while strategically ignoring others. The split between the ancestors of hydras and other animals, according to genetic analysis, may have been as early as 700 million years ago. Selective signal enhancement probably evolved after that.

The arthropod eye, on the other hand, has one of the best-studied examples of selective signal enhancement. It sharpens the signals related to visual edges and suppresses other visual signals, generating an outline sketch of the world. Selective enhancement therefore probably evolved sometime between hydras and arthropods—between about 700 and 600 million years ago, close to the beginning of complex, multicellular life. Selective signal enhancement is so primitive that it doesn’t even require a central brain. The eye, the network of touch sensors on the body, and the auditory system can each have their own local versions of attention focusing on a few select signals.

The next evolutionary advance was a centralized controller for attention that could coordinate among all senses. In many animals, that central controller is a brain area called the tectum. (“Tectum” means “roof” in Latin, and it often covers the top of the brain.) It coordinates something called overt attention – aiming the satellite dishes of the eyes, ears, and nose toward anything important.

All vertebrates—fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals—have a tectum. Even lampreys have one, and they appeared so early in evolution that they don’t even have a lower jaw. But as far as anyone knows, the tectum is absent from all invertebrates. The fact that vertebrates have it and invertebrates don’t allows us to bracket its evolution. According to fossil and genetic evidence, vertebrates evolved around 520 million years ago. The tectum and the central control of attention probably evolved around then, during the so-called Cambrian Explosion when vertebrates were tiny wriggling creatures competing with a vast range of invertebrates in the sea.

Even if you’ve turned your back on an object, your cortex can still focus its processing resources on it.The tectum is a beautiful piece of engineering. To control the head and the eyes efficiently, it constructs something called an internal model, a feature well known to engineers. An internal model is a simulation that keeps track of whatever is being controlled and allows for predictions and planning. The tectum’s internal model is a set of information encoded in the complex pattern of activity of the neurons. That information simulates the current state of the eyes, head, and other major body parts, making predictions about how these body parts will move next and about the consequences of their movement. For example, if you move your eyes to the right, the visual world should shift across your retinas to the left in a predictable way. The tectum compares the predicted visual signals to the actual visual input, to make sure that your movements are going as planned. These computations are extraordinarily complex and yet well worth the extra energy for the benefit to movement control. In fish and amphibians, the tectum is the pinnacle of sophistication and the largest part of the brain. A frog has a pretty good simulation of itself.

With the evolution of reptiles around 350 to 300 million years ago, a new brain structure began to emerge – the wulst. Birds inherited a wulst from their reptile ancestors. Mammals did too, but our version is usually called the cerebral cortex and has expanded enormously. It’s by far the largest structure in the human brain. Sometimes you hear people refer to the reptilian brain as the brute, automatic part that’s left over when you strip away the cortex, but this is not correct. The cortex has its origin in the reptilian wulst, and reptiles are probably smarter than we give them credit for.

The cortex is like an upgraded tectum. We still have a tectum buried under the cortex and it performs the same functions as in fish and amphibians. If you hear a sudden sound or see a movement in the corner of your eye, your tectum directs your gaze toward it quickly and accurately. The cortex also takes in sensory signals and coordinates movement, but it has a more flexible repertoire. Depending on context, you might look toward, look away, make a sound, do a dance, or simply store the sensory event in memory in case the information is useful for the future.

The most important difference between the cortex and the tectum may be the kind of attention they control. The tectum is the master of overt attention—pointing the sensory apparatus toward anything important. The cortex ups the ante with something called covert attention. You don’t need to look directly at something to covertly attend to it. Even if you’ve turned your back on an object, your cortex can still focus its processing resources on it. Scientists sometimes compare covert attention to a spotlight. (The analogy was first suggested by Francis Crick, the geneticist.) Your cortex can shift covert attention from the text in front of you to a nearby person, to the sounds in your backyard, to a thought or a memory. Covert attention is the virtual movement of deep processing from one item to another.

The cortex needs to control that virtual movement, and therefore like any efficient controller it needs an internal model. Unlike the tectum, which models concrete objects like the eyes and the head, the cortex must model something much more abstract. According to the AST, it does so by constructing an attention schema—a constantly updated set of information that describes what covert attention is doing moment-by-moment and what its consequences are.

“I’ve got something intangible inside me. It’s not an eyeball or a head or an arm. It exists without substance …”Consider an unlikely thought experiment. If you could somehow attach an external speech mechanism to a crocodile, and the speech mechanism had access to the information in that attention schema in the crocodile’s wulst, that technology-assisted crocodile might report, “I’ve got something intangible inside me. It’s not an eyeball or a head or an arm. It exists without substance. It’s my mental possession of things. It moves around from one set of items to another. When that mysterious process in me grasps hold of something, it allows me to understand, to remember, and to respond.”

The crocodile would be wrong, of course. Covert attention isn’t intangible. It has a physical basis, but that physical basis lies in the microscopic details of neurons, synapses, and signals. The brain has no need to know those details. The attention schema is therefore strategically vague. It depicts covert attention in a physically incoherent way, as a non-physical essence. And this, according to the theory, is the origin of consciousness. We say we have consciousness because deep in the brain, something quite primitive is computing that semi-magical self-description. Alas crocodiles can’t really talk. But in this theory, they’re likely to have at least a simple form of an attention schema.

When I think about evolution, I’m reminded of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote, “Do what you can with what you have where you are.” Evolution is the master of that kind of opportunism. Fins become feet. Gill arches become jaws. And self-models become models of others. In the AST, the attention schema first evolved as a model of one’s own covert attention. But once the basic mechanism was in place, according to the theory, it was further adapted to model the attentional states of others, to allow for social prediction. Not only could the brain attribute consciousness to itself, it began to attribute consciousness to others.

If a basic ability to attribute awareness to others is present in mammals and in birds, then it may have an origin in their common ancestor, the reptiles.When psychologists study social cognition, they often focus on something called theory of mind, the ability to understand the possible contents of someone else’s mind. Some of the more complex examples are limited to humans and apes. But experiments show that a dog can look at another dog and figure out, “Is he aware of me?” Crows also show an impressive theory of mind. If they hide food when another bird is watching, they’ll wait for the other bird’s absence and then hide the same piece of food again, as if able to compute that the other bird is aware of one hiding place but unaware of the other. If a basic ability to attribute awareness to others is present in mammals and in birds, then it may have an origin in their common ancestor, the reptiles. In the AST’s evolutionary story, social cognition begins to ramp up shortly after the reptilian wulst evolved. Crocodiles may not be the most socially complex creatures on earth, but they live in large communities, care for their young, and can make loyal if somewhat dangerous pets.

If AST is correct, 300 million years of reptilian, avian, and mammalian evolution have allowed the self-model and the social model to evolve in tandem, each influencing the other. We understand other people by projecting ourselves onto them. But we also understand ourselves by considering the way other people might see us. Data from my own lab suggests that the cortical networks in the human brain that allow us to attribute consciousness to others overlap extensively with the networks that construct our own sense of consciousness.

Language is perhaps the most recent big leap in the evolution of consciousness. Nobody knows when human language first evolved. Certainly we had it by 70 thousand years ago when people began to disperse around the world, since all dispersed groups have a sophisticated language. The relationship between language and consciousness is often debated, but we can be sure of at least this much: once we developed language, we could talk about consciousness and compare notes. We could say out loud, “I’m conscious of things. So is she. So is he. So is that damn river that just tried to wipe out my village.”

If the wind rustles the grass and you misinterpret it as a lion, no harm done. But if you fail to detect an actual lion, you’re taken out of the gene pool.Maybe partly because of language and culture, humans have a hair-trigger tendency to attribute consciousness to everything around us. We attribute consciousness to characters in a story, puppets and dolls, storms, rivers, empty spaces, ghosts and gods. Justin Barrett called it the Hyperactive Agency Detection Device, or HADD. One speculation is that it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the wind rustles the grass and you misinterpret it as a lion, no harm done. But if you fail to detect an actual lion, you’re taken out of the gene pool. To me, however, the HADD goes way beyond detecting predators. It’s a consequence of our hyper-social nature. Evolution turned up the amplitude on our tendency to model others and now we’re supremely attuned to each other’s mind states. It gives us our adaptive edge. The inevitable side effect is the detection of false positives, or ghosts.

And so the evolutionary story brings us up to date, to human consciousness—something we ascribe to ourselves, to others, and to a rich spirit world of ghosts and gods in the empty spaces around us. The AST covers a lot of ground, from simple nervous systems to simulations of self and others. It provides a general framework for understanding consciousness, its many adaptive uses, and its gradual and continuing evolution.

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I was contemplating this while listening to the information Paul Stamets was putting out in his podcast with Joe Rogan recently.

He was talking about the effects of psychedelic mushrooms on consciousness and how humans developed from fungus some hundreds of millions of years ago.

Putting that together with other talks about shamanic experiences in the past and other stories and how profound they seem to be having a net 70% positive effect across multiple dimensions for people collectively as well as the fact that all the fungi we observe and study in the world seem to maintain a cohesive neural net almost in their communication it certainly seems possible.

If we were to make the assumption that consciousness is a broad extra-dimensional field that exists separate from us and mushroom induced experiences seem to connect people to something of that nature coupled with the Jungian collective unconsciousness as a means to connect with the collective knowledge and information of humanity that exists separate from us from my point of view it seems plausible.


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"hypothesizes that consciousness resides in a field surrounding the brain."
typical. this theory of the mind being an energy field of sorts and the brain like a psychic conduit has been around for a long time. figures it takes someone saying it scientifically to merit any actual consideration to it's validity. wonder how many the "brain is responsible for the mind" zombies will be converted now. still, yay! for Dr. Meijer. quantum physics sounds like such an interesting field but probably too complex for me to study.

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
"hypothesizes that consciousness resides in a field surrounding the brain."
typical. this theory of the mind being an energy field of sorts and the brain like a psychic conduit has been around for a long time. figures it takes someone saying it scientifically to merit any actual consideration to it's validity. wonder how many the "brain is responsible for the mind" zombies will be converted now. still, yay! for Dr. Meijer. quantum physics sounds like such an interesting field but probably too complex for me to study.
it's a meaningless hypothesis as it doesn't explain how a field can embody conscious experience--ie, it exchanges one unknown (consciousness) for another (a field, in extra spatial dimensions, no less!)...also, mental processes don't happen "instantaneously", so this theory explains something that doesn't exist (instantaneous thoughts)

I think the answer lies in the article I posted I speculated (independently) in another thread

consciousness evolved at the same time perceptions evolved...I wasn't familiar then with the brain anatomy described in the atlantic article, but the tectum and wulst are the regions of the brain that evolved to process perception, both direct and removed...consciousness must, at least in part, reside in these brain regions

also, what no-one, including the author of the atlantic article, has explained is what exactly is experiencing consciousness?...I think it is the self, the sense each living being has that it is a distinct organism...a consequence of this hypothesis is that AI will never be conscious unless it is also programmed to have a sense of self, unless there is "someone at home" who can experience AI recognizing faces, talking to humans, solving problems, etc
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