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A simple question about consciousness.

  1. Dec 18, 2011 #1
    I've been following the work of Professor Stuart Hammeroff et al. and his group's work on microtubules as best I can, and I simply wish to know: are there any experimental tests currently going on either on Earth or in Space that may potentially affect the quantum coherence of human (or other) consciousness?


    Einstein once said that everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. It's always the very simple questions that are hardest to answer, so I'm going to briefly walk through my current understanding in the hope of offering you good people a rope (if not a string). ;-)

    Professor Hammeroff talks about consciousness as two waveforms meeting in the microtubule that result in a microsecond of consciousness that he calls a 'bing', and the result of these rapid fire 'bing' events is to create the illusion that consciousness is continuous. From where do these waveforms arise? From the ZPE level and along the geometry of spacetime until it hit's the microtubule and goes 'bing' when it meets another waveform.

    Now - if matter distorts spacetime, then consciousness must, to some degree, depend upon the distortion of spacetime. So if we do experiments that deconstruct matter at a fundamental level, then how much anti-distortion of spacetime would it take to interfere with the quantum waveforms that results in consciousness? Do we know this yet?

    In Hiroshima (1945), after the nuclear bomb it's common to read reports of victims loosing consciousness at the same time as the flash, and this can't be adequately explained by the explosive aftermath. If this was a directly observable effect upon quantum consciousness, then might more localised high energy experiments also affect consciousness? Infact - if the experiment is more localised and affects the geometry of spacetime more directly than the unfocused effects of a nuclear explosion... (say: to look into anti-matter for instance) - then doesn't the likelihood of affecting consciousness increase by a marked order of magnitude? Akin to the effects of diffused light compared to a high powered laser (for instance)? If we get anywhere close to affecting ZPE through altering spacetime, might we unwittingly create something that has a more widespread effect upon our consciousness at more universal levels?

    I'm just wondering how much is too much when it comes to the deconstruction of matter and it's affects upon spacetime and therefore - consciousness? How would we begin to measure such a thing?

    Thank you.”
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2011 #2

    Ken G

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    I think any consciousness researcher would need to contend with the usual moral issues of not harming their subjects. One would always try to study consciousness by modifying it in some way, and see how it responds. That would need to be done in a safe and responsible way, whether using lasers or drugs. Often, it is done by studying a situation that was not caused by the researchers, but can be taken advantage of by them.
  4. Dec 18, 2011 #3
    Well - in the most primitive sense of the word, a single cell Paramecium possesses consciousness (via microtubules). That would probably be a good place to start with. I wonder if there's ever been any experiments along these lines with particle accelerators?
  5. Dec 18, 2011 #4

    Ken G

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    How could you tell if you affected the consciousness of a paramecium? You need some kind of operational definition of how consciousness behaves. That often requires being able to ask it.
  6. Dec 19, 2011 #5
    A Paramecium is a simple single cell organism with a predictable and limited set of behaviours that only uses microtubules to operate consciously. It hunts, finds mates, has sex, and learns.

    If the subject's behaviours were subject to a marked excitation, sluggishness or non-action (suggesting a loss of consciousness) then we would know that consciousness has been affected. Of course - you would have to engineer the experiment to shield the creatures from all other effects so that only the potential changes to spacetime from the high energy deconstruction of matter could affect the consciousness of the Paramecium.

    [Subsequent experiments could (potentially) focus on the learning ability of Paramecium to adapt to changes in Spacetime - but this is going off topic a bit.]
  7. Dec 19, 2011 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    I'm afraid this has nothing to do with Quantum Mechanics.

    I'd also like to encourage people to reread the PF Rules on Overly Speculative Posts.
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