What Quantum Mechanics Says About Conciousness

Consciousness1“Science vs. religion is a very recent forced choice that the founders of quantum mechanics would have never recognized, much less accepted.” – Juan Miguel Marin

“The full meaning of life, the collective meaning of all human desires, is fundamentally a mystery beyond our grasp. As a young man, I chafed at this state of affairs. But by now I have made peace with it. I even feel a certain honor to be associated with such a mystery.”  – Eugene Wigner

“Many scientists who study consciousness would agree with me that, in fact, the hard problem of consciousness is probably the one question facing modern science that is arguably forever beyond our knowing, at least in terms of a physicalist model of how the brain might create consciousness. In fact, they would agree that the problem is so profound that we don’t even know how to phrase a scientific question addressing it. But if we must decide which produces which, modern physics is pushing us in precisely the opposite direction, suggesting that it is consciousness that is primary and matter secondary.” – Eben Alexander

“I don’t believe Einstein is tied to any religious tradition, and I rather think the idea of a personal God is entirely foreign to him. But so far as he is concerned there is no split between science and religion: the central order is part of the subjective as well as the objective realm.” – Niels Bohr

Speaking of objectivity, the one objective fact we can say about consciousness from the experimental results of quantum mechanics is that consciousness must be present in order for matter to exist in a measurable state.  No matter what interpretation of quantum mechanics you choose to go by, every single last one of them says matter must be measured for it to be objectively “real.”

Roll that fact around in your noggin for a while.  I’ll come back to it.

Here’s yet another logical fact; science and spirituality cannot be opposed to one another.  By “cannot” – I mean it is logically impossible for them to be opposed by one another.  Consider that spirituality fundamentally deals with the nature of consciousness.  In order for any scientific “theory of everything” to be valid, it must be able to explain the nature of consciousness.  It must be able to explain the nature of our perception and our awareness.  It must be able to explain emotions, and all the other things that make up our qualitative experience of being.

Now, for the next few statements, I’m going to chose my words very carefully, because it will be easy for readers to jump to conclusions that I’m not actually making.

If our present science has no way of explaining conscious awareness, then we know the very foundations of that science must not be correct.

To clarify, I’m not suggesting that because science cannot tell us how consciousness arises through some biological mechanism, it must be wrong.  I’m saying that the language needed to explain consciousness simply cannot be wedged into a material science.  It is simply not possible for a mathematical equation to be able to explain qualitative experience as a human being.  It doesn’t matter how insanely complex or obtuse the mathematics gets, those numbers will never translate into feelings.  Why?  Obviously because numbers are not feelings.

“How are you feeling today Bob?”

“Oh I’m feeling a bit on the equation  side now that you mention it.   My stress–energy level must be off.”

See how ridiculous that sounds? Human language simply cannot translate math into feelings.  All mathematics is fundamentally about measuring things.  And because this language is used to describe all of science, we can say with total certainty that our present science is missing a very big piece of the puzzle when it comes to explaining “everything” in the universe.

Most scientists will tell you that they just need more time.  They say that eventually, by conducting enough experiments and doing enough math, they will be able to totally explain consciousness.  I would argue that is simply a delaying tactic.  There’s just no way for experiments and math to translate linguistically into feelings.  There is no mathematics capable of bridging the concept of a measurement into the concept of an emotion.  There is a fundamental disconnect there that cannot be bridged.

From this argument, I hope you can see that in order for science to be able to explain the nature of conscious awareness, it must incorporate some level of spirituality.  There’s just no way around it.  Only the language of spiritual concepts can bridge the gap between measurement and feeling.

So what do I mean by “language of spiritual concepts?”  I mean declarative statements, such as, “consciousness is a fundamental component of the universe.”  That statement invokes the existence of what most people would consider to be a soul, a spiritual essence.  By declaring that consciousness is a ‘thing” in its own right, rather than a confluence of events, I now have a way of linguistically bridging that measurement-feeling barrier.

I can now make statements such as, the entity of consciousness acts upon the microtubules of the brain, causing some resulting action.  And by such a statement, I have just bridged the physical to mental plain.  Entity acting upon entity, in keeping with the known laws of physical conservation.  Our modern materialist science has no such language, and cannot ever give us a complete understanding of our existence.

Now, let us get back to the quantum experiments I mentioned earlier.  Here’s a quantum mechanical experiment that demonstrates the existence of consciousness as a separate fundamental entity of the universe.  It’s called the double slit experiment.  This experiment is a classic, and its implications are beyond profound.

The experiment reinforces the fact that consciousness must be present for matter to exist in a measurable “real” state. Before matter is observed, it is nothing more than a wave of probabilities that are completely insubstantial.

I included a quote from Wigner because, out of all the founding fathers of relativistic theory, this guy really had it figured out.  Wigner came up with a thought experiment, acting as an addendum to the Schrödinger’s cat experiment, that demonstrated why quantum mechanics tells us that consciousness is a separate fundamental entity in its own right. Quoting wiki on the subject:

The Wigner’s friend thought experiment posits a friend of Wigner who performs the Schrödinger’s cat experiment after Wigner leaves the laboratory. Only when he returns does Wigner learn the result of the experiment from his friend, that is, whether the cat is alive or dead. The question is raised: was the state of the system a superposition of “dead cat/sad friend” and “live cat/happy friend,” only determined when Wigner learned the result of the experiment, or was it determined at some previous point?

Wigner designed the experiment to illustrate his belief that consciousness is necessary to the quantum mechanical measurement process. If a material device is substituted for the conscious friend, the linearity of the wave function implies that the state of the system is in a linear sum of possible states. It is simply a larger indeterminate system.

However, a conscious observer must be in either one state or the other, hence conscious observations are different, hence consciousness is not material. Wigner discusses this scenario in “Remarks on the mind-body question”, one in his collection of essays, Symmetries and Reflections, 1967. The idea has become known as the consciousness causes collapse interpretation.

Notice how the article ends.  The article invokes the word “interpretation.”  While this may sound innocuous, it is actually a very loud alarm bell when it comes to our modern materialist science.  As with all science, there is only one correct interpretation that is possible.  There are generally two ways of interpreting quantum mechanical experimental results.  One way says consciousness doesn’t actually exist, rather, every possible outcome of every event defines or exists in its own separate universe.  And the other way says consciousness is what brings matter into a measurable state of existence. – Which one sounds more crazy to you?

If we accept Wigner’s interpretation, which naturally jives with my initial argument about consciousness being a fundamental entity in its own right, then it is impossible for matter to have existed before consciousness.  Wigner’s interpretation explicitly precludes consciousness arising out of primordial goo from Earth’s soil.  However, it does not preclude a “starting point” for the universe.  The universe would have started the moment consciousness decided to collapse the first wave function, and the universe we have now is what arose from a confluence of matter being brought into a measurable state of existence through conscious intention and observation.

Now that is some pretty radical spiritualism!  Consciousness has the ability to create matter and consciousness has the ability to act upon matter.  In other words, Psychokinesis is real.  Every time you will your body to move, you are observing psychokinesis in action.  I wonder if James Randi will give me a million dollars for moving my arm up and down, because by all the standards of materialist science, my ability to will matter into movement should not be possible.

Materialists often counter that we “know” the brain creates consciousness because we can see that when people damage it, their consciousness becomes impaired.  I would argue that any such evidence actually supports both views, because what we could be observing is simply the same as breaking a radio.  If you break the radio, the radio’s interpretation of radio waves will be impaired.  The radio will spit out garbled noise or breakdown entirely, but the radio waves will still be present.  The radio is just a receiver and interpreter of the waves that surround it.

Further, evidence suggests that memory is, at least in part, non-local to the brain. We know that long term and short term memories activate different regions of the brain, and there is no known mechanism by which this transfer of memories to differing regions of the brain may be possible.  We also know that the number of synapses in the brain are not capable of accounting for the memory abilities some people are able to display.  People with so-called “photographic” memories should essentially run out of room if our current theories about memory are correct.

According to the laws of materialist science, all memory must be retained in state.  If the state of an object changes, information is lost. Imagine if the 1s and 0s that make up the information on your hard drive changed all the time.  Your computer would have no idea how to create a file out of that information.  Yet we know that the state of the brain is constantly changing.  Theories about long term state retention in the brain stretch the limits of believability.

Here’s a relatively new documentary on the divine nature of the universe that I just discovered.  This documentary refutes pretty much every single materialist argument I’ve come across.  It does a particularly good job of destroying the “random chance” formation of protein strands arguments that I’ve seen put forth.  It points out that the random probability of a short useful protein forming comes out to one chance in 10 to the power of 164.  There is only 10 to the 80 elementary particles in the standard theory’s universe.  There is only 10 to the 16 seconds since the supposed Big Bang.

Remember, that’s just for one short useful protein strand.  Frankly, there’s no way random chance could have created a living organism out of random proteins within the time frame allotted for by Big Bang theory.  And then, when you combine this fact with the known geological record, the appearance of such a wide diversity of life at the same time becomes nothing short of a miracle. There is no known physical law or principle that can explain how additive information can arise in a sequence of DNA, which would be necessary to explain the wide diversity life observed arising at the same time throughout the geologic record.

To put the “mutation” argument to rest, consider the effects of “mutation” on a Webster’s dictionary.  Scientists tell us that random chance re-ordering or destruction of DNA sequences can supposedly produce additive information.   The entire theory of evolution depends on this assumption.  Consider the dictionary to be a DNA strand.  DNA is nothing more than pages and pages of ordered information.  If I rip pages out of the dictionary, or flip pages upside down, or flip the order of the words on the pages, the information becomes useless.  By definition, mutations are non-additive.

While I’m sure that life has evolved, the driver of that evolution has absolutely nothing to do with random chance, and everything to with consciousness purposefully creating order within the building blocks of the universe.  Again, this is yet another example of psychokinesis in action.

There’s a lot more to this discussion, but the bottom line is this, science and spirituality must be brought together under the same roof if humanity is to make any sense if its own existence.