CONNECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS & QUANTUM HEALING by Iona Miller
Consciousness interfaces (often simultaneously) with many different domains such as sensory input, language, thinking (primordial, rational and irrational cognitive ideation & logic) & sense of Self. There is a relative preoccupation in consciousness studies on the interface with sensory input. We could probably learn some of the constraints, attributes and underlying processes of Consciousness if we carefully analyzed the different interfaces and tried to understand the underlying generic foundations that could be applied to such seemingly different domains, including spirituality.
Consciousness is more than perceptual awareness or sense of self. It is more than the flaslight beam of egoic or focal consciousness, or even the omnidirectional vision of the global Self. It is more than awareness or awareness of awareness.
Meditation masters speak of an inner light that pervades the physical and energy bodies, and now science investigates it as biophotons, and through quantum physics we can watch that matter/energy/information devolve back into the void from which it emanates. Masters have often equated this pervasive Light with primordial Consciousness and the source of life as well as matter.
Alan Aspect set up a physical experiment which showed that photons previously entangled continue to inform each other even after separation. They do this instantaneously, so are regarded as "non-local" Is the photon conscious too? They certainly are aware. If so, then the seat of consciousness is at a different/deeper self luminous hierarchal level just as the ancients say.
Even if we cognitively comprehend that “all is one” and actively pursue that experientially through meditation, we can still be fooled about our so-called intentionality having any effect on ordinary reality.
It is fashionable now for self-styled healers to deploy their “intentionality” with earnestness and sometimes with show. But, from a psychological view, this intentionality is another name for the exercise of free will, and reopens that old philosophical question. The implication is that somehow intentionality, or conscious focus, amplifies in any way the healing energy or directionality.
Experience shows that healing can occur spontaneously in many contexts without any conscious intentionality. In fact it might even retard the process to impose any kind of willfulness in it. Much of what is healing for us takes place at the subconscious or unconscious level, below our threshold of awareness.
The ultimate embodiment of the unconscious is our psychophysical organism, the physical body with all its attendant phenomena, including consciousness and awareness. We truly embody our memories, our history. Our symptoms, whether spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical reveal a meaningful gestalt of our current existential situation. Sometimes we can heal the body, but not the emotional trauma; or perhaps the mind calms and emotions resolve even though the body is terminal.
So, earnestly engaging in intentionality, even in a diffuse, generalized, nondirective way may be no more than a healing fiction, magical thinking. It does convey a permissiveness, an atmosphere psychologically conducive to relaxing and releasing old patterns. There is, however, ample proof to show that a wide spectrum of healing rituals alone can facilitate meaningful psychophysical change. Set and setting can be strongly suggestive, even evocative. For example, it is well known that “white coat syndrome” may cause spiking in a patient’s blood pressure at the prospect of seeing the Doctor.
Slight changes in our body chemistry can lead to dramatic change. Often, it is the rapport or emotional resonance that evokes the effect, rather than the specific technique. Practitioners unfamiliar with hypnotic techniques may mistake their procedures as agent of change. Most practitioners are “true believers” of the techniques they use; but the faddish nature of many of these procedures, and the “branding” of techniques should alert us to other motivations.
If the rapport is there, a variety of psychologically induced effects come into play, including placebo effect. Still, researchers such as Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama have shown that one person’s mind can remotely influence the physiology of another, even in blind studies. In the end, do we really care how we heal, when it not knowledge but relief that we seek?
Physicists and metaphysicists seem to talk about Consciousness both as an irreducible primal essence, and consciousness as a neurological state of an organism, including human. Consciousness is equated by mystically-oriented physicists with the very essence of cosmos beyond energy/matter, residing within us as the groundstate of Being.
The reductionistic view equates it with Mind as just a sequence of awareness interacting with the environment which can become complex as self-awareness arises; hierarchically stratified neural processes.
But no one seems to really know what Consciousness or consciousness is, anymore than they know what electricity or even mathemathics actually is. For some it is cosmic, for others the most mundane result of our brain functions. The distinctions between so-called objective and subjective consciousness is now moot. Physics has shown there is only subjectivity, though facts can exist.
"Almost everyone agrees that there will be very strong correlations between what's in the brain and consciousness," says David Chalmers, a philosophy professor and Director of the Center for Consciousness at the Australian National University. "The question is what kind of explanation that will give you.
Chalmers wants more than correlation, alledging we want explanation: how and why do brain process give rise to consciousness? That's the big mystery.” The converse question would be how and why does Consciousness give rise to cosmos? The problem is, Consciousness and consciousness seem to be irreducible, try as we might.
According to Chalmers, the subjective nature of consciousness prevents it from being explained in terms of simpler components, a method used to great success in other areas of science. He believes that unlike most of the physical world, which can be broken down into individual atoms, or organisms, which can be understood in terms of cells, consciousness is irreducible. It’s an aspect of the universe, like space and time and mass. According to this view, consciousness is primal.
A theory of consciousness would not explain what consciousness is or how it arose; instead, it would try to explain the relationship between consciousness and everything else in the world. In another theory the boson involved is conformal gravity, aka dark energy, aka the vacuum, aka zero point energy. Anything that gets entangled (electrons, photons, etc) builds up consciousness. There are other theories of entanglement, coherence and decoherence.
Many say QM has the look and feel of consciousness. There are several types of explanation of quantum state reduction, an occasion of experience: Copenhagen (conscious observation causes collapse), multiple worlds (each possibility branches off to form a new universe), decoherence (interaction with environment contaminates superposition - though it doesn’t really cause reduction), some objective threshold for reduction (objective reduction - OR), or quantum gravity.
Popular QM notions seem to fall into two categories:
Copenhagen-esque--"old school" explanations which dwell on quantum theory's non-intuitiveness and in fact seem to celebrate the "leap of logic" needed to accept the observer-based wave-function collapse postulate;
New Agey Utopian idealism--"quantum theory is strange, consciousness is strange, therefore, consciousness is explained by quantum theory", entanglement is proof that "all points in the universe are connected by some underlying ineffable thing, so can't we all just get along", etc.
Quantum theory will probably play a role in explaining consciousness and its relationship
to the brain. In some theories (Greenfield), mind is rooted in the physical connections between neurons, while consciousness is an emergent property of the brain, similar to the 'wetness' of water or the 'transparency' of glass. The electrical activity of the brain makes a `model' of a self in the world and our understanding of physical reality requires this `model' to exist `in the dark'. We don’t know if it’s basis is quantum or complexity, or some combination of quantum uncertainty and chaotic sensitivity.
There may be a link between chaotic sensitivity and quantum entanglement to create the ‘trick’ of consciousness (King, 2005). Synapses are making a potential energy landscape. High energy chaos explores the full phase space and attention lowers the energy until the dynamic either enters an existing attractor (recognition) or the system bifurcates to form a new attractor (new learned stimulus). It's a form of energy minimization.
Is there a link between global brain states and quantum phenoemena? Promising hypotheses link Freeman's model of chaos and bifurcation, Cramer's idea of transactional quantum entanglement, and Pribram's idea of the holographic brain and newer ideas of stochastic resonance and more theoretical ideas of quantum chaos. All these processes can interact together to make a viable basis for intentional subjective consciousness.
The brain is full of oscillations. The oscillations are chaotic in the time domain but holographic spatial oscillation in the space domain. Neural systems identify the oscillations that are in phase and they become the process that stands out from the out of phase noise. The in phase waves cause synaptic adaption and learning. When the brain goes from 'hunting' to 'eureka' there is a transition from chaotic out of phase excitation to phase correlated excitation.
This is the same process that happens in a quantum measurement, when we can only measure energy as frequency and can't directly sample wave amplitude of a quantum, so have to let enough beats pass to get an accurate frequency and thus don't know the time exactly. This is the uncertainty relation. The two processes are homologous.
Coherent oscillations in neurons are both the consequence of coupled areas and the cause of them over time. Chaotic excitations can, of course, be in or out of phase . It is the non-linearities which enable a number of harmonic oscillators to become mode-locked into phase or phase multiplicity, so non-linearity is the basis of all these phase locking phenomena, too (King).
According to Walter Freeman, "Consciousness may well be the subjective experience of this recursive process of motor command, reafference and perception. If so, it enables the brain to plan and prepare for each subsequent action on the basis of past action, sensory input and perceptual synthesis. In short, an act of perception is not the copying of an incoming stiinuIus. It is a step in a trajectory by which brains grow, reorganize themselves and reach into their environment to change it to their own advantage."
This `model' is an intellectual abstraction and in reality it is just spatial and temporal relationships between each piece of electrical activity. Every quanta is in the form of matter waves except at state reduction. The electromagnetic fields permeating neurons and synapses consist of real and virtual photons, in their wave states, and each of these are disturbances in the photon field.
Our experience of reality is based on mind and observation. Physics is described in complex mathematics, but mathematics doesn’t explain itself anymore than matter/energy or electromagnetism. The final problem is associated with the ultimate nature nature of space, without and within us and a nonreductionistic description of our biological evolution. Physics, a natural philosophy, reflects on chemistry, biology and even social sciences.
Only our mental impressions, sensory filters, language categories, and concepts make us perceive things: things as separate from ourselves, the I and the not-I. But we are seamlessly welded to the Universe at the most fundamental levels. We cannot scientifically or spiritually distinguish ourselves from the subquantum ground of BEING, even if we feel separate or alienated.
But who among us has successfully abandoned the tendency to conceptualize observations as things, and compound that observation with qualitative attributions? We have experiences and later we say it was this or that. Some forms of meditation are based on disidentification from all aspects of existence and nominalism, neither this nor that.
Still, most of us still can’t wrap our quantum minds around it as a steady state of perception. We need working models for our praxis. Though science has extended our sight to the subquantal and cosmological levels, we still think provincially from the human scale of our natural senses. Our logic and metaphors are based in the senses. But our outer life comes from the invisible inner world, where we are literally in resonance with the Cosmos.
Concepts of matter, life, and mind have undergone major changes. Consciousness is not a material system and neither is Quantum Mechanics (QM). The world is quantum mechanical and we must learn to perceive it as such, but we don’t need to understand that to experience nonlocal healing, any more than we need to comprehend internal combustion to drive. Both pysicists and mystics have a tough time reconciling experience of the deep nature of reality with their mundane experience in the world of things.
So how does that mind and its underlying mechanisms relate to or produce consciousness? Is consciousness a quantum process, or does it underlie all process? Neurologists tell us it is a physical matter of wetware in the skull. However, the most we can say at the molecular level is that there are correlates of consciousness. The irreducible precursors of consciousness and matter are built into the universe. They just ARE, unified holistic process.
At the finest levels of observation, physicists contend the distinction between mind and matter becomes as paradoxical as the distinction between energy and matter, life and death (organic/inorganic). Quantum mechanics strongly suggests the Universe is mental. The substratum of everything, including our experience of being, has this mental character.
Healing theories, particularly nonlocal models, have drawn from theories in both new physics and consciousness studies, often compounding and confounding both disciplines. They mix levels of observation in theories, which seem to be largely conditioned by the favoritism of pet projects; thus each theory is generally associated with only one or two “brand” names of researchers.
Healers have been quick to parrot many of these ideas that support what they feel they have observed in intentional healing acts, or what validates the tenets of their school of practice. Often their comprehension of the scientific basis of the argument is slim to none. But this attribution is used to “explain” the phenomenon, with enough misapprehension to preserve the Mystery. However, it isn’t this confusion that makes it so. Are the enigmatic qualities of the quantum realm actually the same as the unity, coherence and other enigmatic qualities of the conscious one? The jury is still out.
There is no consensus among theories of what constitutes FIGURE and what constitutes the most fundamental GROUND, and it seems they share the same essential nature. Our perceived ‘content’ is not distinct from the ‘context’ in which it arises. It is one whole cloth of bubbling space-time. Nothing more, nor less. We have looked into the Abyss of spacetime and found it laughing back.
Ervin Laszlo points out regarding the finest level of observation, that because of “the quantum vacuum, the energy sea that underlies all of spacetime, it is no longer warranted to view matter as primary and space as secondary. It is to space or rather, to the cosmically extended "Dirac-sea" of the vacuum that we should grant primary reality.” Virtual particles pop in and out of existence like quantum foam.
Mass is the consequence of interactions in the depth of this universal field. There is only this absolute matter-generating subquantal field. This realization transforms our perception of life. Living systems constantly interact with the quantum vacuum, also called zero-point energy, vacuum fluctuation, or subspace. Wave-packets of matter are in a subtle interactive dance with the underlying vacuum field, a vast network of intimate interactions, extending into our biosphere and even Cosmos. Mind and matter both evolve from the cosmic womb of space.
According to Laszlo: “The interaction of our mind and consciousness with the quantum vacuum links us with other minds around us, as well as with the biosphere of the planet. It "opens" our mind to society, nature, and the universe. This openness has been known to mystics and sensitives, prophets and meta-physicians through the ages. But it has been denied by modern scientists and by those who took modern science to be the only way of comprehending reality.”
He goes on to propose a poetic metaphor: “Everything that goes on in our mind could leave its wave- traces in the quantum vacuum, and everything could be received by those who know how to "tune in" to the subtle patterns that propagate there.” In a mechanistic throwback, he likens it to an antenna picking up signals from a transmitter that contains the experience of the entire human race, reminding strongly of Carl Jung’s Collective Unconscious.
Worldviews color our perceptions of our Reality, even in science. Concepts are effective theories, useful not true. The universe is immaterial, mental and spiritual. The mind observes, but it doesn’t really observe “things”. It has a way of attributing certain qualities, subjective qualities and dynamics, to everything, even so-called “objective observation. This multisensory narrative becomes the content of our memories, how we remember what happens.
Our minds have a tendency to come up with reasons, whys and wherefores, for things as they appear to us. It is part of our survival mechanisms. However, physics has proven, through relativity theory, the uncertainty principle, wave/particle duality, and Godel’s theorem, that there can be no objectivity, no order or creativity without chaos.
The mind produces narratives. Archetypal forces act as lenses that cause us to cherish certain beliefs, which lead to a class of thoughts, and patterns of emotions and behaviors. It doesn’t matter if you come down on the side of preferring order or chaos, nature has her way.
Ultimately, spontaneous or natural healing seems to by-pass this entire complex system, overriding our conscious perspectives in many cases. We may not “believe” in paradoxical healing, but it can still “work”, effecting psychophysical change at a deeper level through the emotional mind and through Mystery.
Healing is irrational. Perhaps the question we should really be asking is what causes us to imagine we are dissociated from a state of optimal health. This doesn’t mean our bodies will always work flawlessly. Chaos theory reveals that many systems in the body are self-organizing and regulated by stochastic processes that are naturally chaotic in nature. Chaos actually helps us reorganize, recalibrate our metabolism.
We can discuss it in terms of nested structured duality, superfluids, or an array of vortices, or a microtubule bank, or a dendritic cluster, hyper-neurons, glia and gap junction networks, or an entangled or collapsing wave function; still, we're merely talking about resonance between arrays -- patterns. This perspective leads to consideration of a Holographic concept of reality, the frequency domain, David Bohm’s implicate order.
Panpsychism aside, every bit of electrical activity is unaware of itself, is unaware of every other bit of electrical activity, and is unaware of all their relationships. This raises the question: why does consciousness exists at all and why is it a unity? What is synchronicity but a feedback between perceived reality and the emerging train of events. This is consistent with the transactional interpretation in which there is a handshaking between past emitters and future absorbers.
There are many plausible ways that quantum theory can help with these profound mysteries and it will be many decades before some understanding of the actual mechanisms are finalized. So, despite the pluses and minuses of existing quantum theories of mind, these kinds of theories should be encouraged. If consciousness is or is related to quantum effects then scientists will have to think in these directions to figure it out.
"Whether this vast homogeneous expanse of isotropic matter is fitted not only to be a medium of physical interaction between distant bodies, and to fulfill other physical functions of which, perhaps, we have as yet no conception, but also to constitute the material organism of beings exercising functions of life and mind as high or higher than ours are at present - is a question far transcending the limits of physical speculation.”, said Maxwell.
Of course, that was then and this is now.
Most natural philosophers hold, and have held, that action at a distance across empty space is impossible. In other words, that matter cannot act where it is not, but only where it is. The question "where is it?" is a further question that may demand attention and require more than a superficial answer.
Arguably, every atom of matter has a universal though nearly infinitesimal prevalence, and extends everywhere; since there is no definite sharp boundary or limiting periphery to the region disturbed by its existence. The lines of force of an isolated electric charge extend throughout illimitable space.
No ordinary matter is capable of transmitting the undulations or tremors that we call light. The speed at which they go, the kind of undulation, and the facility with which they go through vacuum, forbid this. So, clearly and universally has it been perceived that waves must be waves of something, something distinct from ordinary matter.
Faraday conjectured that the same medium, which is concerned in the propagation of light, might also be the agent in electromagnetic phenomena, and he called it “the ether”. Now we speak of it as the zero-point domain of virtual photon fluctuation. Romantically, we refer to it as the plenum, since it is infinitely full of potential.
Some philosophers have reason to suppose that mind can act directly on mind without intervening mechanism, and sometimes that has been spoken of as genuine action at a distance. But, in the first place, no proper conception or physical model can be made of such a process, much less how that deploys intentionality in distance healing.
Nor is it clear that space and distance have any particular meaning in the region of psychology. The links between mind and mind may be something quite other than physical proximity. Since we don’t know how it works, in denying action at a distance across empty space we are not denying telepathy or other activities of a non-physical kind. Brain disturbance or mindbody healing are plausible physical correlates of mental action, whether of the sending or receiving variety.
There is no consensus in physics, nor in consciousness studies, though there is a correlating theory for nearly every one proposed in physics. Spontaneous healing may bypass all of these suggested metatheories. A field becomes a nearly innacurrate term in the subquantual domain or metaphysical level of observation.
According to Hameroff, “Everything (matter, energy, you, me) is part of the hidden geometry of spacetime, of which the Platonic is one aspect. Smells and colors and melodic tunes are complex assemblies of fundamental qualia embedded as configurations in fundamental spacetime geometry.
The qualia in spacetime geopmetry *out there* caused qualia *in here* within us because there is spacetime geometry within our mindbodies as well. Because spacetime geometry is inherently nonlocal it could be that *out there* and *in here* are connected, or actually the same. Only in the classical world is there a spacelike distinction. Pure consciousness is the experience of a total lack of phenomenal content while still awake and alert, and thus able to remember there was nothing.
[Some theories alledge] cognitive functions reflect consciousness which exists in the universe. I am saying that quantum processes in the brain (related to cognitive processes) are connected to protoconscious quantum information inherent in the universe. The connection results in OR which is a moment of consciousness (the protoconscious/unconscious quantum information becomes conscious) But remember the universe/spacetime geometry out there is also in our heads.” Hameroff
Several Vedic and Taoist texts (and perhaps other traditions as well) suggest that, with proper refinement of consciousness, the “outside” world can be cognized holographically, in a superposed, interpenetrating state where everything is experienced in everything else. If evidence can support such claims, perhaps the human mechanisms of perception have the capacity to directly experience an uncollapsed universe in which what is normally unconscious is merged into consciousness (or vice versa). Its like a dream.
But somehow consciousness is; somehow creativity emerges; somehow healing works; somehow we are, and are interrelated. Perhaps real meaning comes from our struggle to try to understand how these things work, to struggle toward wisdom in both the material and spiritual realms. There is meaning in the struggle to create, to heal, to know, to be.