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Why the phenomenon of consciousness may extend beyond ourselves. Panpsychism, the theory that the entire universe is conscious, is by no means a new idea. The ancient philosopher Plato believed in what he called the “World-Soul”, some Hindus believed that the universe was a.
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There are computers that are specifically designed to compute using quantum mechanical effects.

How your immortal consciousness will travel the universe - Michio Kaku

Quantum computing is computing using quantum-mechanical phenomena , such as superposition and entanglement. Whereas common digital computing requires that the data be encoded into binary digits bits , each of which is always in one of two definite states 0 or 1 , quantum computation uses quantum bits , which can be in superpositions of states. One of the greatest challenges is controlling or removing quantum decoherence. This usually means isolating the system from its environment as interactions with the external world cause the system to decohere.

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Currently, some quantum computers require their qubits to be cooled to 20 millikelvins in order to prevent significant decoherence. Some of the hypothetical models of quantum mind have proposed mechanisms for maintaining quantum coherence in the brain, but they have not been shown to operate.

Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon often invoked for quantum mind models. This effect occurs when pairs or groups of particles interact so that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the other s , even when the particles are separated by a large distance. Instead, a quantum state has to be described for the whole system. Measurements of physical properties such as position , momentum , spin , and polarization , performed on entangled particles are found to be correlated.

If one of the particles is measured, the same property of the other particle immediately adjusts to maintain the conservation of the physical phenomenon. According to the formalism of quantum theory, the effect of measurement happens instantly, no matter how far apart the particles are. Entanglement is broken when the entangled particles decohere through interaction with the environment; for example, when a measurement is made [62] or the particles undergo random collisions or interactions.


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According to David Pearce, "In neuronal networks, ion-ion scattering, ion-water collisions, and long-range Coulomb interactions from nearby ions all contribute to rapid decoherence times; but thermally-induced decoherence is even harder experimentally to control than collisional decoherence. Another possible conceptual approach is to use quantum mechanics as an analogy to understand a different field of study like consciousness, without expecting that the laws of quantum physics will apply. He proposed a scenario with a cat in a locked steel chamber, wherein the cat's life or death depended on the state of a radioactive atom, whether it had decayed and emitted radiation or not.


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  5. This analogy about making a decision uses a formalism that is derived from quantum mechanics, but it doesn't indicate the actual mechanism by which the decision is made. In this way, the idea is similar to quantum cognition. This field clearly distinguishes itself from the quantum mind as it is not reliant on the hypothesis that there is something micro-physical quantum mechanical about the brain. Quantum cognition is based on the quantum-like paradigm, [66] [67] generalized quantum paradigm, [68] or quantum structure paradigm [69] that information processing by complex systems such as the brain can be mathematically described in the framework of quantum information and quantum probability theory.

    This model uses quantum mechanics only as an analogy, but doesn't propose that quantum mechanics is the physical mechanism by which it operates. For example, quantum cognition proposes that some decisions can be analyzed as if there are interference between two alternatives, but it is not a physical quantum interference effect.

    The demonstration of a quantum mind effect by experiment is necessary. Is there a way to show that consciousness is impossible without a quantum effect? Can a sufficiently complex digital, non-quantum computer be shown to be incapable of consciousness? Perhaps a quantum computer will show that quantum effects are needed.

    In any case, complex computers that are either digital or quantum computers may be built.

    These could demonstrate which type of computer is capable of conscious, intentional thought. But they don't exist yet, and no experimental test has been demonstrated. Quantum mechanics is a mathematical model that can provide some extremely accurate numerical predictions. Richard Feynman called quantum electrodynamics, based on the quantum mechanics formalism, "the jewel of physics" for its extremely accurate predictions of quantities like the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron and the Lamb shift of the energy levels of hydrogen.

    If the mind depends on quantum mechanical effects, the true proof is to find an experiment that provides a calculation that can be compared to an experimental measurement.


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    It has to show a measurable difference between a classical computation result in a brain and one that involves quantum effects. The main theoretical argument against the quantum mind hypothesis is the assertion that quantum states in the brain would lose coherency before they reached a scale where they could be useful for neural processing.

    Quantum mind

    This supposition was elaborated by Tegmark. His calculations indicate that quantum systems in the brain decohere at sub-picosecond timescales. Typical reactions are on the order of milliseconds, trillions of times longer than sub-picosecond timescales. Daniel Dennett uses an experimental result in support of his Multiple Drafts Model of an optical illusion that happens on a time scale of less than a second or so. In this experiment, two different colored lights, with an angular separation of a few degrees at the eye, are flashed in succession.

    If the interval between the flashes is less than a second or so, the first light that is flashed appears to move across to the position of the second light. Furthermore, the light seems to change color as it moves across the visual field. A green light will appear to turn red as it seems to move across to the position of a red light. Dennett asks how we could see the light change color before the second light is observed.

    According to David Pearce, a demonstration of picosecond effects is "the fiendishly hard part — feasible in principle, but an experimental challenge still beyond the reach of contemporary molecular matter-wave interferometry.

    Quantum mind - Wikipedia

    The conjecture predicts that we'll discover the interference signature of sub-femtosecond macro-superpositions. The problem with trying to use quantum mechanics in the action of the brain is that if it were a matter of quantum nerve signals, these nerve signals would disturb the rest of the material in the brain, to the extent that the quantum coherence would get lost very quickly.

    You couldn't even attempt to build a quantum computer out of ordinary nerve signals, because they're just too big and in an environment that's too disorganized. Ordinary nerve signals have to be treated classically. But if you go down to the level of the microtubules, then there's an extremely good chance that you can get quantum-level activity inside them.

    For my picture, I need this quantum-level activity in the microtubules; the activity has to be a large scale thing that goes not just from one microtubule to the next but from one nerve cell to the next, across large areas of the brain. We need some kind of coherent activity of a quantum nature which is weakly coupled to the computational activity that Hameroff argues is taking place along the microtubules.

    There are various avenues of attack. One is directly on the physics, on quantum theory, and there are certain experiments that people are beginning to perform, and various schemes for a modification of quantum mechanics.

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    I don't think the experiments are sensitive enough yet to test many of these specific ideas. One could imagine experiments that might test these things, but they'd be very hard to perform. A demonstration of a quantum effect in the brain has to explain this problem or explain why it is not relevant, or that the brain somehow circumvents the problem of the loss of quantum coherency at body temperature. As Penrose proposes, it may require a new type of physical theory. Can self-awareness, or understanding of a self in the surrounding environment, be done by a classical parallel processor, or are quantum effects needed to have a sense of "oneness"?

    According to Lawrence Krauss, "You should be wary whenever you hear something like, 'Quantum mechanics connects you with the universe' Humans don't have a reliable subjective feeling for how we do a lot of functions. According to Daniel Dennett, "On this topic, Everybody's an expert Since humans are the only animals that can verbally communicate their conscious experience, performing experiments to demonstrate quantum effects in consciousness requires experimentation on a living human brain.

    Federal Government funded effort to document the connections of neurons in the brain. An ethically objectionable practice by proponents of quantum mind theories involves the practice of using quantum mechanical terms in an effort to make the argument sound more impressive, even when they know that those terms are irrelevant. Dale DeBakcsy notes that "trendy parapsychologists, academic relativists, and even the Dalai Lama have all taken their turn at robbing modern physics of a few well-sounding phrases and stretching them far beyond their original scope in order to add scientific weight to various pet theories.

    An ethical statement by a researcher should specify what kind of relationship their hypothesis has to the physical laws. Misleading statements of this type have been given by, for example, Deepak Chopra. Chopra has commonly referred to topics such as quantum healing or quantum effects of consciousness. Seeing the human body as being undergirded by a "quantum mechanical body" composed not of matter but of energy and information, he believes that "human aging is fluid and changeable; it can speed up, slow down, stop for a time, and even reverse itself," as determined by one's state of mind.

    Just like an electron or a photon is an indivisible unit of information and energy, a thought is an indivisible unit of consciousness. Chris Carter includes statements in his book, Science and Psychic Phenomena, [83] of quotes from quantum physicists in support of psychic phenomena. In a review of the book, Benjamin Radford wrote that Carter used such references to "quantum physics, which he knows nothing about and which he and people like Deepak Chopra love to cite and reference because it sounds mysterious and paranormal Real, actual physicists I've spoken to break out laughing at this crap If Carter wishes to posit that quantum physics provides a plausible mechanism for psi, then it is his responsibility to show that, and he clearly fails to do so.

    Statements like these about quantum mechanics indicate a temptation to misinterpret technical, mathematical terms like entanglement in terms of mystical feelings. This approach can be interpreted as a kind of Scientism , using the language and authority of science when the scientific concepts don't apply. Perhaps the final question is, what difference does it make if quantum effects are involved in computations in the brain? It is already known that quantum mechanics plays a role in the brain, since quantum mechanics determines the shapes and properties of molecules like neurotransmitters and proteins , and these molecules affect how the brain works.

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    This is the reason that drugs such as morphine affect consciousness. As Daniel Dennett said, "quantum effects are there in your car, your watch, and your computer. But most things — most macroscopic objects — are, as it were, oblivious to quantum effects. They don't amplify them; they don't hinge on them.