Science thrives when there is an open, informed discussion of all evidence, and recognition that scientific knowledge is provisional and subject to revision. This attitude is in stark contrast with reaching conclusions based solely on a previous set of beliefs or on the assertions of authority figures. Indeed, the search for knowledge wherever it may lead inspired a group of notable scientists and philosophers to found in 1882 the Society for Psychical Research in London.
Dualities such as self versus other, good versus bad, and in-group versus out-group are pervasive features of human experience, structuring the majority of cognitive and affective processes. Yet, an entirely different way of experiencing, one in which such dualities are relaxed rather than fortified, is also available.
An extensive data search among various types of developmental and evolutionary sequences yielded a four quadrant model of consciousness and its development (the four quadrants being intentional, behavioural, cultural, and social). Each of these dimensions was found to unfold in a sequence of at least a dozen major stages or levels. Combining the four quadrants with the dozen or so major levels in each quadrant yields an integral theory of consciousness that is quite comprehensive in its nature and scope.
Although far from unanimous, there seems to be a general consensus that neither mind nor brain can be reduced without remainder to the other. This essay argues that indeed both mind and brain need to be included in a nonreductionistic way in any genuinely integral theory of consciousness.
In 1968, Fr hlich showed that a driven set of oscillators can condense with nearly all of the supplied energy activating the vibrational mode of lowest frequency. This is a remarkable property usually compared with Bose Einstein condensation, superconductivity, lasing, and other unique phenomena involving macroscopic quantum coherence. However, despite intense research, no unambiguous example has been documented.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Potential features of quantum computation could explain enigmatic aspects of consciousness. The Penrose Hameroff model (orchestrated objective reduction: Orch OR ) suggests that quantum superposition and a form of quantum computation occur in microtubules cylindrical protein lattices of the cell cytoskeleton within the brain's neurons. Microtubules couple to and regulate neural level synaptic functions, and they may be ideal quantum computers because of dynamical lattice structure, quantum level subunit states and intermittent isolation from environmental interactions.
The paper begins with a general introduction to the nature of human consciousness and outlines several different philosophical approaches. A critique of traditional reductionist and dualist positions is offered and it is suggested that consciousness should be viewed as an emergent property of physical systems.
Features of consciousness difficult to understand in terms of conventional neuroscience have evoked application of quantum theory, which describes the fundamental behavior of matter and energy. In this paper we propose that aspects of quantum theory (e.g. quantum coherence) and of a newly proposed physical phenomenon of quantum wave function self-collapse (objective reduction: OR - Penrose, 1994) are essential for consciousness, and occur in cytoskeletal microtubules and other structures within each of the brain's neurons.