A Framework for Quantum Paradigms in Psychopathology Based on the One Mind Model of Quantum Reality
Mark Germine, M.D., M.S.
Institute for Psychoscience
P.O. Box 1654
Mount Shasta, California, U.S.A.
This paper is a brief preliminary framework for a quantum paradigm of psychopathology, based on One Mind Model of quantum reality. What are considered the facts given to experience are discussed as the irreducible terms of any science of psychopathology. It is suggested that subjectivity and volition are important variables which must be addressed. Quantum non-locality and holism, together with the balance of the relative isolation and inseparability of quantum processes are discussed as reasons to frame paradigms of mind in a quantum sense. The nature of consciousness cannot be emergent or reductionist if any theory of practical value to psychopathology is to be advanced, and a theory of consciousness as an underlying, lawful, natural phenomenon is outlined. The “now” is described as a reiterative process that marks the boundary between past actuality and future, quantum potentiality. This “now” is the universal conscious moment, based on the lawful properties of consciousness, and is a process that localizes time in a discontinuous manner that leads sequentially toward the future. With respect to the human brain, this localization is the end product of a process that is temporally non-local, involving the reiteration of previous nows and the anticipation of the potentiality of subsequent nows.
The emerging field of quantum paradigms in psychopathology is certainly a challenging field, as it decomposes into as number of unresolved questions within science, particularly in physics and the science of mind, and also must be congruous with what we know of neuroscience and psychology. Embarking on such a field, we must employ the facts, as they present in our experience, for initial guidance.
It is our experience that we are always in a certain moment in consciousness, which we call “now.” Furthermore, it is our experience that we are all in this same now, and that this now seems to move forward in time at a certain rate in the course of our conscious lives. We also ordinarily experience ourselves as separate entities, although such separation is often counted as an illusion, and said to be a perception that can be and has been transcended. We do not perceive ourselves as divergent minds, nor do we experience out world or universes as diverging. We perceive a trajectory of prior experiences, in which we experience the past as being settled, and, in this sense, fully determined, at least in part by choices and actions that we have voluntarily made given an indefinite number of possible trajectories we could have taken. We perceive others as having the same kinds of voluntary trajectories, which interact with our own such that we are all on the same, collective trajectory. We perceive the future as being undecided, a ground of potential that expands or contracts, depending on our subjective perspective.
Time, as it exists subjectively, seems to be a perpetually reiterating now that appears to move forward. In quantum relativistic terms, objectively speaking, there can be no more localization in time than there is in space. The process is a saltation from now to now, with each moment of consciousness being a reiterative process which seems to localize us together in a front moving forward in time, where time is moving forward through a stationary now. Moments of the conscious now, essentially defining subjective time, are separated by intervals of unconscious temporal non-locality. Locality is a classical phenomenon, and it is the becoming of subjective actuality out of future potentiality that marks the transition from the quantum to the classical levels of description. It is thus only at the end of this transition – the classical actuality – which is temporally localized, and not the transition itself. The process of transition involves an irreducible duration of time between “nows,” and time cannot be localized within this duration, but is rather localized by a process that presents itself as the conscious now, with consciousness serving to localize time and the phenomenal world at the end of an unconscious, temporally non-local process. This process, in the brain, has been called microgenesis, and has been described in neurology and in the theory of mind by Jason Brown (1988, 1991, 1996).
According to Brown, the duration of the mental state involves an temporally non-local process that reiterates previous states as well as the evolutionary history of the organism, with time being essentially “deposited” or “created” at the end of this process in consciousness, and the underlying process being essentially unconscious (Brown, 1996). The underlying process is, however, revealed in certain phenomena in psychology and neurology. Strokes, for example, can essentially peel away the higher order processes of microgenesis and reveal its underlying structure to consciousness (Brown, 1988, 1991, 1996). Brown posits a “core of self” in the mind that gives rise to object world in a manner of whole to part specification (Brown, 1996).
We assume that there is a world “out there,” which is public, and a world “in here,” which is private. We perceive some measure of control over each of these worlds, individually and collectively. This is an essential boundary that exists in normal perception. We perceive each other as fundamentally similar in these perceptions, although we do not seem directly privy to the subjective worlds of others. On this basis, we construct a “theory of mind” which applies to the nature of other minds. We do not normally perceive other individuals, creatures, and objects as being extensions of ourselves, but we do ordinary perceive that there are feelings or emotions, which pass between us and other individuals and creatures. We also perceive a valuation of our own selves, of others, and of the objects or our perceptions, which we perceive as being both intrinsic and extrinsic, to varying degrees, to our own internal valuations.
Psychopathology is set within the grounds of our experience and perceptions. These are the “givens” which determine our thoughts, emotions, orientation towards reality, sphere of voluntary actions, possibility and probability of events and perceptions, and interactions with others. These factors define, for the normal human, certain “boundaries.” We view ourselves as having a distinct “identity.” This identity is framed in relation to others, individually and in groups or social structures, and to the “object world.”
Psychopathology falls into a number of broad categories, the most fundamental of which are cognitions, behaviors, emotions, moods, and level of function in a variety of spheres and settings. Psychopathology can be further framed as a set of relations: 1) identity, 2) orientation toward reality, 3) valuations of self, objects, and others, 4) acceptance of the past, 5) reasonable expectations and orientation toward the future, 6) valuation and boundaries of self and others, and 7) self-control.
The nature of psychopathology is a vast, developing, and controversial field, which can hardly be exhausted in this paper. The question for us, at this juncture, is how these variables relate to the function of mind and brain, and why we should be lead to believe that, in some sense, these variables may be related to the theory of quantum mind. What we are looking for is a pragmatic structure for quantum mind which can be related to psychopathology, and will thus have utility beyond mere academic pursuit. In this paper we consider some of the principles that can be postulated in a model of quantum mind, but which are not reasonably accommodated in classical physics.
The Terms of Quantum Mind
Ervin Schrödinger, in his Tanner Lectures of 1956 (Schrödinger, 1992), brings the problem of mind and matter into focus with regard to what he calls the arithmetic paradox. He begins his analysis by saying that we cannot represent (128) “our sentient, percipient and thinking ego” (italics added) in our “scientific world picture” because “it is itself that world picture.” He then describes basis of the arithmetic paradox (128): “There appears to be a great number of these conscious egos, the world however is only one.” Of course, this assumption of one world or universe has been challenged, as we will discuss later. Schrödinger (128) describes “antimonies” which spring from the arithematic paradox, which is that “the many conscious egos from whose mental experiences the one world is concocted.” He goes on to state (129): “There is obviously only on alternative, namely the unification of minds or consciousnesses. The multiplicities are only apparent, in truth there is only one mind.” He supports this idea by references to the Vedanta (Upanishads), Islamic mysticism, and The Perennial Philosophy (Aldous Huxley).
Schrödinger goes on to describe a second paradox, which he attributes to Sherrington, of many cell lives constituting (134) “manifold sub-brains,” which Sherrington resolved as one mind. Schrödinger states (134): “Yet we know that a sub-mind is an atrocious monstrosity, just as is a plural-mind – neither having any counterpart in anybody’s experience, neither being in any way imaginable.” He resolves these two paradoxes by supporting the “Eastern doctrine of unity” as follows (135):
Mind is by its very nature a singulare tantum. I should say: the over-all number of minds is just one. I venture to call it indestructible since it has a peculiar timetable, namely mind is always now. There is no before and after for mind. There is only a now that includes memories and expectations.
David Bohm (Bohm and Krishnamurti, 1980) describes this now as follows: “The reaction [thought] actually in continuous, but it, it seems at a certain moment to have ended and the next moment appears to be a new moment, you see, it’s still the same but it presents itself as different.” Bohm thus seems to echo the Schrödinger’s view of an irreducible “now,” which seems to recur and present the illusion of being “different.” He goes on to say that the “absolute mind” and “the universe” are “the same.”
David Bohm gave a lecture on “Religion as Wholeness and the Problem of Fragmentation” at a Church in London in 1983 (Bohm, 1983), which was later published nearly verbatim (Bohm, 2005a). In the lecture and paper he describes the fragmentation as being due to the fragmentary nature of ego versus the oneness of the “I am.” Regarding the apparent duality of mind and matter, he states (Bohm, 1983, 8): “I would suggest that this is in some ground, deeper and more subtle than are either mind or matter, and that they both enfold from this ground, which is the beginning and ending of everything.” He uses the same words in his later paper (1985a). This beginning and end can only be now, and the ground would appear to represent Bohm’s holographic implicate order, and the enfolding his holomovement. In his handwritten notes on the manuscript, however, he alters the above quotation (1983, 8): “I suggest that this is the order of soma-significance when extended to the Ultimate…” Soma-significance was a theory of meaning, or significance, and matter, or soma, as two physical poles present at the most elementary level of physics, expressing a hierarchy of levels of increasing meaning, as well as a theory of the fundamental relationship of matter, energy, and meaning (Bohm, 1985b). Soma-significance “extended to the Ultimate,” could only be the Ultimate level of meaning, which could be one mind or universal consciousness. This would be consistent with his view that absolute mind and the universe are the same.
Henry P. Stapp is known for his theory of the collapse of the brain’s wave function in consciousness on the basis of the quantum Zeno effect, through which the wave function can essentially become a choice made by a volitional agency. In a little-known booklet on a possible synthesis of quantum theory and the Vedanta, Stapp (1994) identifies mind as “subtle matter.” The idea of “subtle matter” may seem unphysical and foreign to the Western mind, but the same basic concept is utilized in David Bohm’s (1985b) view of matter according to soma-significance, through which a hierarchy exists that moves from the subtle to the manifest levels of deeper meaning or significance. Stapp (1994) also states (40): “Quantum theory thus effectively converts the scientific image of the objective world from that of the ‘giant machine’ of classical mechanics to that of an evolving body of Absolute Knowledge.” Such a body of “Absolute Knowledge” which “evolves” would seem to be very much like one mind, or universal consciousness.
Euan Squires (1990, 1991, 1996) developed a “One Mind Interpretation” of quantum theory, as an alternative to the “many views” models, e.g. the Many Worlds and Many Minds interpretations, and proposed that, in a bifurcation-type situation based on observation of two possible quantum states of a apparatus/observer system, the “forking” of the two separate minds or universes would be a violation of the Born Rule, as no probabilities would exist in these separate realities of the event. He proposed a variation of the many worlds interpretation (1996, 4) in which “consciousness actually selects one term,” and that, as there is one mind (1996, 4): “There would be a unique ‘real’, i.e., experienced world.” He further stated that (1996, 4): “The non-selected parts of the wave-function would not really exist.” Squires (1990, 210) notes that “The non-locality, which we know is a part of total reality, is now not contained in physics, but in the universal consciousness.” This particular feature would place universal consciousness outside of physics, or at least outside of the wave function proper, and make non-locality a feature of the one mind.
In my own work, through numerous references (Germine, 1998, 2004), a One Mind Model of quantum reality has been proposed, with all observers operating as a single mind collapsing the wave function, along with an experimental paradigm to test the model based on the event-related potential with respect to a given stimulus. The experiment was based on the supposition that a first observer of a quantum stimulus would have a different brain response to the occurrence of a random “odd” or “rare” stimulus, or the absence thereof, then would the brain of a second observer. Although highly significant results were found in two sets of experiments, the stimuli may have been pseudo-random and therefore not quantum, and the results have not been replicated elsewhere. The results did seem, however, to document what appears to be a non-local connection between two observers, supporting the One Mind Model. This One Mind Model differs from Squires’ one mind interpretation in that it is a collapse model, and not an Everett-type model.
The Everett-type branching of alternate potential realities in Squires’ model was criticized by Henry Stapp (1996, 7-8) as having “a plethora of empty (of consciousness) branches that evolve for all eternity, but have no effects on anyone’s experiences.” This feature is missing, however from my One Mind Model, in that the latter model involves collapse of the wave function as a Universal process rather than a process disjunctively occurring in each individual persons mind.
Peter Reyser (2009) picked up on the Squires’ model, and, in view of recent evidence of environmental decoherence, concluded that it was unlikely that a quantum-coherent state could be maintained in the brain, or that collapse of a whole-brain wave function based on the quantum Zeno effect could occur against environment decoherence. He reasoned that thermal noise of a quantum nature in the brain/environment would lead very quickly to an expanding superposition of entangled states, particularly under dynamical or chaotic dynamical conditions in the brain. Decoherent states would then evolve into a mixture or superposition of pointer states, without a clear indication of how a particular pointer state or set of pointer states would be selected. The process of selection of pointer states would then be a function of consciousness or observation, through a quantum collapse mechanism. As quantum theory is non-local, he proposed that collapse must also be non-local, and not localizable beneath the level of the universe. He also found it necessary to include the environment in any model of collapse of the wave function by observation, and, as the universe has no environment, collapse would have to occur at this level.
Bradley Monton (2010) evaluated various mind-matter duality models, and found the Squires model most plausible, but argued for a purely mentalistic, rather than a dualistic model. Richard Conn Henry (1995), in the journal Nature, argued for a mentalist interpretation of quantum theory, concluding (29): “The Universe is immaterial – mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.”
The Terms of Quantum Paradigms in Psychopathology
The recognition of subjectivity is a principle under which we all operate, but is not easily accommodated in classical theories of mind. Experience is a fact. It is the primary fact, against which everything else is inference. The founders of quantum theory brought experience out of the graveyard of classical physics and made it constitutive of reality itself. Werner Heisenberg said that quantum theory is a theory of our knowledge – of what we experience. We never experience a multiplicity of minds or of worlds. We experience a single actuality, brought about in the “now,” and planned for in the future. It is our experience that potentia, as Heisenberg called them, or multiple possibilities for the future, become actual in our experience in the now. This experience may be represented as the “collapse of the wave function,” but the problem arising from this view is that the wave function is stochastic or statistical, and the feature of volition, as a non-random process, is a fact of our experience. We therefore must rather define experience as lawful, and posit consciousness or experience ab nitio and not ex nihilo.
The subjective “now” of conscious experience cannot be objectively located, and, fundamentally, there is no other reason why this subjective now should embody the passage of time from moment to moment on a universal basis, which would comport with our experience. The choice is either to deny our experience, or to posit a universal consciousness that is subjective, yet lawful, and which marks the transition from potentiality to actuality within that universal consciousness. As this movement from potentiality to actuality occurs, within that consciousness, the symmetry of time, time moving equally in the both directions, is broken only in the now in that consciousness. Being lawful and universal, that consciousness than manifests itself progressively in conscious creatures.
Ultimately, then, consciousness does not emerge from matter and cannot be reduced to material processes, and emergentism and reductionism lose their basis through the simple acceptance of our experience being valid in the context of modern physics. Creatures do not evolve consciousness, consciousness evolves creatures, and, to this extent, the consciousness of creatures assume causal properties through the causal properties of consciousness itself. Natural selection than plays a role in so far as the development of organic systems within that consciousness has a survival value, but natural selection is not the cause of evolution. The unimaginable improbability of our universe, of abiotic evolution, of the revolution that took place when systems of DNA to RNA to protein were organized in bacteria as complex systems, of the subsequent evolution of metazoans, and the advent of advanced, thinking creatures, is not some vast accident. A causal and universal consciousness makes this evolution inevitable, given the right conditions. The total unpredictability of this process according to the chance view of natural selection is unscientific – science involves prediction, and the invocation of chance is no more scientific than the invocation of the supernatural.
The duality that seems to be implied here is a species of the supposed duality of subjects and objects. It is impossible to deny that subjects exist. To do so would vitiate the most fundamental fact of science – our own subjective experience – and would make any real theory of quantum mind subject to the impossible terms of emergentism and reductionism. No useful theory of quantum paradigms of psychopathology is possible if the psyche is itself denied in this way. The duality of objects and subjects is a false assumption. It has no grounding in physics. They are, in fact, the same thing. This false dichotomy is not a fact of experience – it does not seem to arise in infants or in “primitive” peoples. The unity of subject and object has been described as the participation mystique by Levy-Bruhl, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and others, in a variety of contexts; or as varieties of mysticism. Our implicit assumption of subject/object identity is reflected in sayings such as “water seeks its own level.”
Objectivity is theoretical. All of our experience is subjective, and this is all we know to be real with certainty. Subjectively, within consciousness, we develop systems for looking at things objectively, as objects, and subjectivity takes on the connotation of unfounded opinion. This is the crisis of perception, which is a fundamental basis of psychopathology. The fully objectified world is dead, and our interaction with what we perceive as a dead world is a fundamental disconnection that brings about the growth of what seems to be a fully separate and autonomous ego, ungrounded and prone to disruptions of various kinds.
Identity is feature of subjectivity, which gives one a clear perception of the self in the world, is a feature of the continuity of time, which we can imply only in the sense of the now as it reiterates with the temporally non-local unconscious and actuates the transition from the non-temporal, unconscious self to the temporal, conscious ego. Identity also has a second feature of non-locality, only possible in quantum theory, where the entirety of the quantum system of mind/brain can be experienced in a holistic sense. However, there is also an inseparability of the quantum system from the universe, again implied by non-locality. It is this inseparability that gives us a real connection which others. The cardinal features of identity can become dissociated or fragmented from its intrinsic wholeness in the reiteration of the “now,” resulting in its most extreme form in dissociative identities or multiple personalities, where different identities can arise in the movement of one now to the next, and, in milder forms, in the identity diffusion of the dissociative disorders. The mind that extends itself past its boundaries to projection onto the valuation and purpose of other individuals, creatures, and objects, resulting in the borderline personality, where it is combined with a fragmented identity, or in the narcissistic and/or antisocial personalities, where self-interest becomes the default syndrome of loss of the real interconnectedness. Psychology would have it that we are only connected through projections of our own internal constructs. Quantum holism and non-locality afford a tangible reality to this interconnectedness.
There is a kind of disconnection which is endemic to modern humans. Egos or identities are many, but Self, as universal consciousness, is one, with individual selves being separate only to the extent that Self manifests differently in the individual organism. On the one hand, there is a need to be separate, on the other, a need to be one. Religion, in its truest sense, serves the latter need. The ego arises from self, which is unconscious, just as conscious perception arises out of the non-local ordering parameters of consciousness on a fundamentally non-local self and unconscious mind. When this connection is lost, the ego is fundamentally disconnected. The disconnected ego inflates, only to be disappointed by reality. There are many disconnection syndromes in neurology, and, schizophrenia is, at its root, a disconnection syndrome, in which the disconnected ego fails to preserve its normal function in ordering conscious process and projects unconscious contents onto to object world.
The function of the ego in mediating between self and world is non-local. In the process, the subjective relation between self and object is changed into what appears to be an objective relationship between the ego and its objects. Projections of ego onto objects without a functional connection between unconscious self’s quantum, non-local intersubjective relations causes pathology in “object relations.” The fields of ego-psychology and object-relations psychology address a wide range of psychopathology without understanding the essential quantum underpinnings of the “self-ego axis,” or of its relationships to the object world.
The idea of quantum uncertainty undermines the classical theory of determinacy. Uncertainty opens the door to the possibility that the future is not strictly determined. Uncertainty, of course, exists in the original formations of quantum physics. The outcome of a measurement is uncertain until it is measured. However, the Schrödinger equation is stochastic, and this measure of uncertainty would not appear to involve choice. Von Neumann, following the chain of causality in determination of the wave function, as, for example, in the position of a photon striking the eye, would involve a superposition of events that would not reach actuality until it was observed. This fundamental idea was the basis of the theories of “quantum consciousness” and “quantum mind.”
What we now find, however, is that, the wave function decoheres fairly quickly in contact with the environment, such as to be represented by some set of “pointer states,” which reflect the possibilities of the wave function, and do not interfere like branches of the wave function do. The response of the physics community has been to have these pointer states bifurcate reality and/or mind into separate universes and/or minds. On the one hand, we have replaced physical reality with a virtually infinite number of universes and/or minds, each of which, supposedly, exist, somehow invisibly, in our own spacetime, outside of our awareness. We are asked to solve the problem of the conservation laws by “diluting” matter and energy in these respective universes, and on the other with some sort of “phantom minds.” On the other hand, we are asked to believe that there is “einselection” of pointer states, restoring reality to classically macroscopically. Quantum Darwinism holds that certain states are compatible with the nature of the environment, and that “natural selection” than determines the “fitness” of a pointer state. Natural selection, even as a theory of evolution over geological time, predicts nothing, and is based upon the rejection of all notions of finality and therefore purposiveness, contingent on the rejection of the ab nitio existence of consciousness as a causal phenomenon.
In actual fact, recent advances in the theories of decoherence and pointer states actually free the quantum mind from the confines of the stochastic, coherent wave function. What is actually acting on the selection of such states are the basic functions of a quantum conscious process. “Einselection” is such that selective attention in a non-local quantum conscious process is now free to choose from the multifarious states which might arise within the brain from multiple decoherent events.
The multiple universes/minds hypotheses can hardly be called science. There is no possible way to validate or falsify these quantum formulations, since these other universes and minds cannot be observed. So, these hypothetic models of quantum reality do not even qualify as theories, which must be falsifiable. The quantum revolution entailed a change in philosophy, as was well noted by the founders, especially Heisenberg, Schrödinger, Bohr, and Pauli, which was a radical departure from classical mechanism and determinism. Unfortunately, the hold of classical philosophy could not be undone, and so, in gross violation of any laws of parsimony or reasonable causality, pre-quantum materialism, determinism, and purposelessness became enshrined in a these multiple universes/multiple minds hypotheses, where, in a virtual infinitude of universes, the virtually infinitesimal probability of existence of our own can be reified.
Consciousness is volitional, and cannot be subject to strict determinism. Volition and consciousness cannot be teased apart, because consciousness always involves what we chose to attend to and the valence we attach to it. In the absence of consciousness, perception disintegrates into the status of a dream. Employing the microgenetic principles of Brown (1996), as described earlier, the emergence of a dream-like state from stroke is described briefly in this case vignette.
A 36 year old, right handed man had an infarction of his right visual cortex as a result of embolism due to endocarditis. Accordingly, he had a left hemianopsia or blindness in the left visual field. Because his brainstem visual connections were preserved, he had unconscious blind sight on the left side. On the left side of his visual field, he had a continuous hallucinosis of cartoon-like character, without any other hallucinations, which persisted for at least a week prior to his discharge from the hospital, while on the right visual field he retained normal vision. We would say here that the unconscious process, lying beneath perception, is fundamentally like a dream, and is unmasked and appears in consciousness as the underlying perception reaches consciousness, a phenomenon called heterochrony by Brown (1996).
There is no “movie screen” in the brain upon which visual perception is projected. Visual perception is a complex process which involves consciousness integrating spatial separate areas of brain function on both sides of the brain. This sort of process must be quantum and non-local, and is part of the lawful behavior of consciousness. This is called the “binding problem” in the quantum mind field, and is very difficult to explain on the basis of emergentism or reductionism, but seems to flow naturally from the notion of an ab nitio consciousness, which is the cause of the ordered structure and function of the brain.
Another example of the role of a volitional consciousness in mental process is the case of a 26 year old schizophrenic man. His mental status exam seemed fairly normal, but when asked to repeat “red ball, green chair, open window,” he immediately responded “steak, cheese, bird.” When asked what “steak, cheese, bird” had to do with “red ball, green chair, open window,” he quickly replied “steak is red, cheese is green, and birds fly out the window.” Thus, what we see as simple repetition, of which this man was quite capable, does not arise directly in consciousness. There is an unconscious associational process, characterized in free association, which precedes it. There is volitional control over this unconscious associational process such that it never reaches our conscious perception when asked to perform word repetition, but which is none-the-less present, and emerges in the disturbance of consciousness exhibited in this schizophrenic man, much as hallucinations arose in our previous case.
When there is a reduced level of consciousness, as, for example, in delirium, or if the ordering of our waking perception is deranged or derailed, as in psychosis and schizophrenia, phenomena of disordered conscious perception arise which broadly reflect the case examples given above. It is interesting, in this regard, that the brain can only maintain coherent conscious perception in a fairly narrow temperature range. High fever or hyperthermia result in a delirium with hallucinosis and a disordered thought process, while hypothermia reduces and eventually suspends consciousness. These phenomena speak to the possibility of a thermal process underlying conscious brain function.
The avolitional state, loss of the sense the conscious attention to the valuation of voluntary action, characterizes depression. The expanded state of grandiose self-perception, personal causality, and realistic designs for the perceived causality, characterizes mania.
Discussion and Conclusion
There are many more problems relating to quantum paradigms of psychopathology than we have addressed here. It may seem premature to even speak of such a field, but it could also have immense practical applications. We have just touched upon the problems of the unconscious and unconscious experience. One thing, however, is extremely clear, and must be brought out. The duality of mind and matter is a fundamental problem which can only be answered if consciousness is lawful and universal. Emergent consciousness and reduction of consciousness to some material process are nothing but concrete solutions to what is technically an abstract problem.
There have been a number of propositions regarding the relationship of consciousness and time. Sigmund Freud held that the unconscious is timeless, and that time only arises in consciousness. Carl Jung, with the apparent endorsement of Wolfgang Pauli, held that there is a collective unconscious, composed of archetypes, which are timeless, and also worked with Pauli on his theory of synchronicity, or meaningful experiences outside of normal causality. What Freud and Jung would call timeless, we call temporally non-local.
We have also hardly touched open the role of dynamical systems or chaos theory, with the brain state fundamentally evolving under the conditions of self-organized criticality, and the fundamental properties of such a system in bringing about selection by conscious process of sets of observationally-equivalent microstates purely through the action of observation or collapse of the wave function. The role of the quantum vacuum in the process of non-local consciousness and as a source of entropy and information is perhaps also an important concept in the field of quantum mind, which we have not discussed here.
If consciousness is to be described as natural, lawful, and ab nitio, then we must begin the task of defining its parameters. The first, we would suggest, is the provisional acceptance of postulates of Schrödinger, that: 1) “Mind is by its very nature a singulare tantum” and that, for consciousness, 2) “There is only a now that includes memories and expectations.” Both principles are conservation laws. The first is the conservation of mind – mind cannot be multiplied as it has been in other theoretical constructs of quantum reality and of the theory of mind. The second is a conservation law of time in consciousness, which makes it “indestructible,” per Schrödinger, and that is that there is one now. The now reiterates but does not pass – the now would not be indestructible if it passed. This second law brings us into line with Brown’s theory of microgenesis, which is supported by a large body of evidence (Brown, 1988, 1991, 1996).
In defining consciousness there are some fundamental questions concerning the structure of consciousness which will have to be addressed. There is a language in nature and in natural systems, which includes a logic or some sets of logics, and biosystems seem to be distinguished from mere mechanism by their ability to employ this language, over and over, at various levels of organization.
Admittedly, these laws and structural parameters of consciousness are such as are not seen in other fields of science, but this must be the case if we consider consciousness in a sense outside of physical emergentism or reductionism based on the known laws of physics, and we might say that the language of conscious process has a basis in the languages of mathematics and physical law, or vice versa.
At issue here is the “hard problem,” that is, the question of why we have experiences at all (Chalmers, 1995). We have argued that experience is the primary reality, and can not, in principle, be described in more fundamental terms, since it is the most fundamental term of reality, and the datum of all of science. There is no necessary relation here towards any particular philosophical orientation. Even materialism and physicalism can accommodate the a priori basis of experience (Stapp, 1994).
The programs of emergentism and reductionism seem to have failed, so far, to have heuristic value in the sciences of consciousness, quantum mind, and psychopathology. This orientation towards consciousness seems to be what makes “the hard problem” of consciousness “hard,” and perhaps, in fact, impossible to solve, given that orientation. We propose a different orientation. With regard to physics, we have here drawn this orientation from such great quantum physicists as Ervin Schrödinger, David Bohm, and Henry P. Stapp, based on assiduous research, uncovering some previously little-known documents.
I thank Henry Stapp, of Berkeley University, for providing his 1994 booklet on Vedic Ontology; Sue Godsell, Birbeck College Library, London for providing a copy of David Bohm’s 1983 manuscript; and the Krishnamurti Foundation of America for providing the videos of the 1980 Krishnmurti/Bohm dialogues. I am also grateful for informative and enlightening interchanges over the years with David Bohm, Henry Stapp, and Jason Brown.
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