A few Abstracts
Cracking the Hard Problem of Consciousness
(Dr. A. K. Mukhopadhyay)
David Chalmers articulated in 1994 one millennium-old philosophical issue regularly encountered by the consciousness researchers how the physical transits into non-physical and vice versa, as “Hard Problem”. He, although, a non-beginner in finding out a solution of the problem, stood since as a stumbling block and contributed generously to turn down several propositions claiming to have solved the problem. On this background, the author looks beyond the nature measurable under Planck’s scale, and proposes existence of a sub-quantum and a sub-sub-quantum nest of nature sandwiched in between the revealed nature where the physical interactions obey the laws and principle of quantum physics, and unconditional consciousness, which is the home of all experiences. Three consecutive operations in nature namely those of mind, ‘self’ and ‘life’ are required respectively to convert signal into information, to format information into knowledge, and to transform knowledge into experience. The operations are specific but interlocked, could direct top-down and bottom-up flow of events and offer a solution of the reverse hard problem as well, how experience-based ‘will’ of consciousness comes down on Newtonian wheel! The proposition could usher a new direction for consciousness study.
Consciousness and Quantum Fields: Implications of the Psychophysical Interpretation (Rajat Kumar Pradhan)
The bifurcation of Reality into the observing subject and the observed object is so fundamental to the scientific approach that it seems impossible to incorporate consciousness in Physics, or in any of the sciences, including most surprisingly, even biology. However, Quantum theory has forced us to take consciousness seriously and to investigate its possible role as a determinant of perceived reality. We analyze the implications of the recently proposed Psychophysical Interpretation of quantum theory for the possible role of consciousness in QFT. The interpretation of advanced waves as carriers of knowledge, complex conjugate wave function as the psychic counterpart of the physical amplitude, and the possibility of altering the probability of a result by subjective intervention are the key aspects in the psychophysical approach, which has recently been used to explain the alterations observed in the double-slit interference pattern by the willful effort of human meditators, as reported by Dean Radin’s group. We propose that by accepting the existence of a universal underlying consciousness, we can reasonably address, at least in principle, all the fundamental problems of present-day physics.
Consciousness: Time to Take a U-Turn from Dead End?
(Girish M & Nikhil Samant)
Abstract: Modern Science is heralded as one of the best achievements in the human history. Every way of human thinking, every institutions set up by human beings have an underlying ideology, philosophical assumptions and axioms. The scientific establishment is no exception. The premises of the Modern Science beginning from renaissance until the development of Quantum Physics are discussed. The evolution of Newtonian paradigm until discovery of Quantum Physics has faced several challenges via its course. The notions of mechanistic reductionism and objective reality are being challenged. Are the foundations provided by the Modern science adequate to understand the effects of Quantum Physics? Every critical thinking scientist has used about wonderful thing called life. The contemporary biological understanding about Life is discussed along with its stupendous assumptions. The justifications for those assumptions are discussed. Do Chemical evolution and Neo-Darwin’s theory of evolution adequately explain the mystery of consciousness? What do the advances in the study of DNA and molecular and Biology suggest? Have we reached a dead end in the study of consciousness? Is it time to take a U-turn and perhaps revisit our first principles? Is it a right time to consult traditional wisdom of the Vedas which merit scientific investigation?
Can Quantum Physics be the Science of Both Matter and Spirit?
(Dr. Goutam Paul)
Often quantum phenomena like entanglement, teleportation, non-locality, delayed choice etc. are put forth as part of models that try to explain our mind, consciousness and spirituality. In this article, we revisit these quantum phenomena in the light of the dichotomy of matter and spirit and argue why quantum physics can-not be the science of the both. In fact, quantum physics, even in its subtlest and finest form such as quantum field theory or grand unified theory can only be a science of the matter and not of the spirit. In summary, we emphasize the need for a separate science of a different kind for theorizing and experimenting with the realm of the spirit.
The Role of Yoga in Schizophrenia: Correcting Connectopathy
(Dr B. N. Gangadhar and Dr U. M. Mehta)
Yoga is not only a healthy lifestyle but also has therapeutic value in specific medical disorders. Here, we describe how yoga, which literally means to connect or unite, can influence human behavior including symptoms of schizophrenia, by reuniting certain ‘broken neural circuits’ and restoring important neurotransmitter functions. Social disability of schizophrenia is strongly linked to their innate deficiencies in processing, experiencing, inferring and responding to subtle social cues. These social cognition deficits are likely to arise due to aberrations in the human mirror neuron system network – a hard-wired resonating mechanism of the brain that provides an inner template to interpret others’ actions and behaviors. Our studies on yoga and schizophrenia have time and again demonstrated in scientifically rigorous experiments the ‘social-cognition-potentiating’ effects of yoga. Our more recent studies suggest that this benefit maybe driven by correcting the aberrant mirror neuron system activity and improving oxytocin and gamma amino butyric acid functions.
Is Consciousness Necessarily Implied by Quantum Mechanics?
(Dr. Partha Ghose)
It is first shown that the introduction of consciousness as a necessary non-physical element of the structure of quantum mechanics is only one among a plethora of possibilities to solve the measurement problem. It is then shown why such an interpretation may not be tenable.
Is the Universe a Vast, Consciousness-Created Virtual Reality Simulation (Dr. Gerald Schroeder)
Two luminaries of 20th century astrophysics were Sir James Jeans and Sir Arthur Eddington. Both took seriously the view that there is more to reality than the physical universe and more to consciousness than simply brain activity. In his Science and the Unseen World (1929) Eddington speculated about a spiritual world and that “consciousness is not wholly, nor even primarily a device for receiving sense impressions.” Jeans also speculated on the existence of a universal mind and a non-mechanical reality, writing in his The Mysterious Universe (1932) “the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.” In his book QED Feynman discusses the situation of photons being partially transmitted and partially reflected by a sheet of glass: reflection amounting to four percent. In other words one out of every 25 photons will be reflected on average, and this holds true even for a “one at a time” flux. The four percent cannot be explained by statistical differences of the photons (they are identical) nor by random variations in the glass. Something is “telling” every 25th photon on average that it should be reflected back instead of being transmitted. Other quantum experiments lead to similar paradoxes. To explain how a single photon in the two-slit experiment can “know” whether there is one slit or two, Hawking and Mlodonow write: In the double-slit experiment Feynman’s ideas mean the particles take paths that thread through the first slit, back out though the second slit, and then through the first again; paths that visit the restaurant that serves that great curried shrimp, and then circle Jupiter a few times before heading home; even paths that go across the universe and back. This, in Feynman’s view, explains how the particle acquires the information about which slits are open. It is hard to imagine a more absurd physical explanation. We can think of no way to hardwire the behavior of photons in the glass reflection or the two slit experiments into a physical law. On the other hand, writing a software algorithm that would yield the desired result is really simple. A digital reality whose laws are software is an idea that has started to gain traction in large part thanks to an influential paper in Philosophical Quarterly by Oxford professor Nick Bostrom. Writing in the New York Times John Tierney had this to say: Until I talked to Nick Bostrom, a philosopher at Oxford University, it never occurred to me that our universe might be somebody else’s hobby. But now it seems quite possible. In fact, if you accept a pretty reasonable assumption of Dr. Bostrom’s, it is almost a mathematical certainty that we are living in someone else’s computer simulation. An alternate (and more optimistic) view is that there exists a great consciousness whose mind is the hardware, and whose thoughts are the software creating a virtual universe in which we as beings of consciousness live.