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Friday, December 07, 2018

Why are some things conscious and others apparently not? Is a rat conscious? A bat? A cockroach? A bacterium? An electron? These questions are all aspects of the ancient "mind-body problem," which has resisted a generally satisfying conclusion for thousands of years.



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The mind-body problem enjoyed a major rebranding over the last two decades and is generally known now as the "hard problem" of consciousness (usually capitalized nowadays), after the New York University philosopher David Chalmers coined this term in a now classic 1995 paper and his 1996 book The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory.

Fast forward to the present era and we can ask ourselves now: Did the hippies actually solve this problem? My colleague Jonathan Schooler (University of California, Santa Barbara) and I think they effectively did, with the radical intuition that it's all about vibrations ... man. Over the past decade, we have developed a "resonance theory of consciousness" that suggests that resonance -- another word for synchronized vibrations -- is at the heart of not only human consciousness but of physical reality more generally.


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I have never seen an article this bizarre in Scientific American before. I guess the editor went insane...?

#1 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-12-07 05:51 AM | Reply

Here's some more grist for the mill:


#2 | Posted by TrueBlue at 2018-12-07 06:10 AM | Reply

#2 | Posted by TrueBlue

"...perhaps when human beings die their hydrogen is released (hydrogen can potentially carry information, and many would argue that information is an essential element of consciousness) and at least some of the hydrogen escapes to space where it collects as clouds, collapses under gravitational attraction, is compressed, and ultimately gives rise to stars – stars which may retain some of the information, some of the consciousness aspects, of the former beings who gave up their hydrogen. In this way, perhaps we (and possibly all biological organisms) may be reborn as stars ... if we can demonstrate our Sun and other stars are conscious, it may lend support to the idea that ultimately ... we join our consciousnesses with those of the Sun and stars."

Oh, every part of Yes....

#3 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-12-07 06:40 AM | Reply

'Resonance' also has a different (but similar) meaning in electronics. If you could measure inside a resonating circuit branch, it would appear that there was more energy there than was put in or was taken out.

Tesla was all about resonance, in the physical and philosophical forms. The Tesla coil, and radio, and other inventions of his uses it. If you really want to go down a rabbit-hole, read the real stuff he said on the subject. There was also a play written about him in 1899 that is all about this subject, which people mistakenly claim was from tesla's own words.

#4 | Posted by kudzu at 2018-12-07 09:02 AM | Reply

Author is a practicing lawyer by day. And just a wannabe philosopher/physicist/biologist by night.
Electrons have a tiny bit of consciousness? Ya, sure. Haha.

#5 | Posted by Snowfake at 2018-12-07 09:08 AM | Reply

Beings release hydrogen constantly. Does that mean we are shedding consciousness?
Should we be capturing it with stillsuits?

#6 | Posted by bored at 2018-12-07 09:12 AM | Reply

"Always with the negative waves, Moriarty, always with the negative waves."

#7 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2018-12-07 09:18 AM | Reply

If I said what I thought about this thread everyone would think I'm an a*****e so I won't say what I think.

#8 | Posted by danni at 2018-12-07 09:27 AM | Reply

Always with the negative waves, Danni, always with the negative waves...

#9 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2018-12-07 09:34 AM | Reply

Uninformed, closed minded people will miss much in this life.

#10 | Posted by lfthndthrds at 2018-12-07 09:40 AM | Reply

Discovery of Quantum Vibrations in "Microtubules" Inside Brain Neurons Corroborates Controversial 20-Year-Old Theory of Consciousness


#11 | Posted by Corky at 2018-12-08 04:03 PM | Reply

"Discovery of Quantum Vibrations in "Microtubules" Inside Brain Neurons Corroborates Controversial 20-Year-Old Theory of Consciousness"

This suggests the objections to "hard AI" raised in Penrose's "The Emperor's New Mind" can be addressed with quantum computing.

Not that I think Hard AI is really where it's at. People just want more and more refined Bayesian classifiers. Hard AI's will probably be seen as an existential threat to us. Of course, if they're smart, they'll feel the same about us.

#12 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-12-08 04:10 PM | Reply

"An important new facet of the theory is introduced. Microtubule quantum vibrations (e.g. in megahertz) appear to interfere and produce much slower EEG "beat frequencies."

Despite a century of clinical use, the underlying origins of EEG rhythms have remained a mystery. Clinical trials of brief brain stimulation aimed at microtubule resonances with megahertz mechanical vibrations using transcranial ultrasound have shown reported improvements in mood, and may prove useful against Alzheimer's disease and brain injury in the future."

Nice that there may be some current applications.

Here's the original review of the study corroborating Penrose and Hameroff's theory of consciousnesses.


Here's Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys...


#13 | Posted by Corky at 2018-12-08 04:29 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

My brain vibrations changed in when I was 15 and some girl dragged me to Market Hall in Dallas to see Herman's Hermits.

This is the opening act I saw, smashed guitar and all.... between them and the Doors and Hendrix, I was never the same....


#14 | Posted by Corky at 2018-12-08 04:49 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

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