Even stones could have consciousness – scientists are investigating a brand new theory

Even stones could have consciousness – scientists are investigating a brand new theory
27 April 2024 J.W.H

Tam Hunt: Why is my consciousness here and yours is there? Why is the universe divided into two parts for every of us, a subject and an infinite variety of objects? How are each of us our own center of experience, receiving information concerning the remainder of the world? Why are some things conscious and others apparently not? Is the rat conscious? Mosquito? Bacteria?

All of those questions are points of the traditional “mind-body problem,” which essentially asks: What is the connection between mind and matter? For hundreds of years it has shied away from a generally satisfactory conclusion.

Over the past 20 years, the mind-body issue has undergone a serious rebranding. It is now widely generally known as the “hard problem” of consciousness, after philosopher David Chalmers coined the term in a now classic article and explored it further in his 1996 book, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory.

Chalmers believed that the mind-body problem ought to be called “hard” in comparison with what he tongue-in-cheek called the “easy” problems of neuroscience: how do neurons and the brain work on the physical level? Of course, they should not easy in any respect. But his point was that they were relatively easy in comparison with the really difficult problem of explaining the connection between consciousness and matter.

Over the past decade, my colleague on the University of California, Santa Barbara psychology professor Jonathan Schooler, and I actually have developed what we call the “resonance theory of consciousness.” We suggest that resonance – one other word for synchronized vibrations – lies at the guts not only of human consciousness, but in addition of animal consciousness and physical reality more generally. It feels like something hippies might give you – it's all vibes, man! – but stick to me.

All about vibrations

All things in our universe are in constant motion, vibrating. Even objects that appear stationary are literally vibrating, oscillating, and resonating at different frequencies. Resonance is a sort of motion characterised by oscillation between two states. Ultimately, all matter is solely vibrations of varied underlying fields. Therefore, at every scale, all of nature vibrates.

Something interesting happens when different vibrating things come together: often after some time they begin vibrating together at the identical frequency. They “sync” sometimes in ways in which could seem mysterious. This is described as a phenomenon of spontaneous self-organization.

Mathematician Steven Strogatz uses various examples from physics, biology, chemistry and neuroscience for instance “synchronization” – his term for resonance – in his 2003 book “Synchronization: How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature and Everyday Life” , including:

– When fireflies of certain species meet in large clusters, they start to flash synchronously in a way that may still seem a bit mysterious.
Lasers are created when photons of the identical power and frequency synchronize.

– The Moon's rotation is precisely synchronized with its orbit across the Earth, so we all the time see the identical face.

– The study of resonance results in potentially profound insights into the character of consciousness and the universe basically.

Synchronize in your skull

Neuroscientists have also identified synchrony of their studies. Large-scale neuronal firing occurs in human brains at measurable frequencies, and mammalian consciousness is considered commonly related to various forms of neuronal synchronization.

For example, German neurophysiologist Pascal Fries studied how different electrical patterns synchronize within the brain to create several types of human consciousness.

The chips give attention to gamma, beta and theta waves. These labels check with the speed of electrical oscillations within the brain, as measured by electrodes placed outside the skull. Groups of neurons produce these oscillations by utilizing electrochemical impulses to speak with one another. It is the speed and voltage of those signals, when averaged, that create EEG waves, which may be measured in signature cycles per second.

Gamma waves are related to large-scale coordinated actions comparable to perception, meditation, or focused awareness; beta with maximum brain activity or arousal; and theta with leisure or daydreaming. According to Fries, these three forms of waves work together to create or at the very least facilitate the emergence of several types of human consciousness. However, the precise relationship between electrical brain waves and consciousness continues to be a matter of debate.

Fries calls his concept “communication through coherence.” For him, crucial thing is the synchronization of neurons. Synchronization when it comes to shared rates of electrical oscillation enables smooth communication between neurons and groups of neurons. Without this type of synchronized coherence, inputs arrive at random phases of the neuronal excitability cycle and are ineffective, or at the very least much less effective, in communication.

Resonance theory of consciousness

Our resonance theory builds on the work of Fries and lots of others, and its broader approach may help explain not only consciousness in humans and mammals, but in addition consciousness more broadly.

Based on the observed behavior of the creatures around us, from electrons to atoms, molecules, bacteria, mice, bats, rats, and so forth, we propose that each one things may be perceived as at the very least somewhat conscious. It sounds strange at first glance, but “panpsychism” – the view that each one matter has some type of consciousness – is an increasingly accepted position regarding the character of consciousness.

The panpsychist argues that consciousness didn’t arise in some unspecified time in the future in evolution. Rather, it’s all the time related to matter and vice versa – these are two sides of the identical coin.

However, the overwhelming majority of the mind related to the assorted forms of matter in our universe is incredibly primitive. For example, an electron or an atom enjoys a small amount of consciousness. But as matter becomes more interconnected and wealthy, so does mind, and vice versa, in accordance with this manner of pondering.

Biological organisms can exchange information rapidly through various biophysical pathways, each electrical and electrochemical. Non-biological structures can only exchange information internally via heat/thermal pathways – much slower and far less information-rich as compared.

Living things use a faster flow of data to consciousness on a bigger scale than could be the case with objects of comparable size, comparable to boulders or piles of sand, for instance. There are many more internal connections in biological structures and subsequently far more “going on” than in a boulder or a pile of sand.

In our approach, boulders and piles of sand are “mere aggregates”, simply collections of highly elemental conscious entities, only on the atomic or molecular level. This is in contrast to what happens in biological life forms, where mixtures of those micro-conscious entities together create a higher-level macro-conscious entity. For us, this strategy of connection is a trademark of biological life.

The central thesis of our approach is that this: the special connections that enable large-scale consciousness – the sort that humans and other mammals enjoy – result from a shared resonance between many smaller components. The speed of the present resonance waves is the limiting factor that determines the dimensions of any conscious being at any time.

As a specific shared resonance expands into increasingly more components, the brand new conscious entity resulting from this resonance and connection becomes larger and more complex. Thus, for instance, the common resonance within the human brain that achieves gamma synchronization involves a much larger variety of neurons and neural connections than is the case with beta or theta rhythms alone.

What about greater inter-organism resonance, comparable to a cloud of fireflies with their little lights flashing in sync? Scientists consider their bioluminescent resonance is created by internal biological oscillators that mechanically synchronize each firefly with its neighbors.

Does this group of fireflies enjoy the next level of group consciousness? Probably not, because we are able to explain this phenomenon without appealing to any intelligence or consciousness. However, in biological structures with the appropriate kind of data pathways and processing power, these self-organizing tendencies can and infrequently do give rise to larger-scale conscious entities.

Our resonance theory of consciousness attempts to supply a unified framework that encompasses neuroscience in addition to more fundamental issues in neurobiology and biophysics, in addition to philosophy of mind. It gets to the guts of the differences that matter in terms of consciousness and the evolution of physical systems.

It's all about vibration, but in addition the sort of vibration and, most significantly, the vibration shared.

Tam Hunt, an affiliated guest in Jonathan Schooler's META lab within the Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences on the University of California, Santa Barbara.

This article has been republished from Conversation under Creative Commons license. Read original article.

Image Source: Pixabay.com

  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”