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The CEMI Field Theory: Seven Clues to the Nature of Consciousness

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In this chapter I examine seven clues to the nature of consciousness and explore what they reveal about the underlying physical substrate of consciousness. The consciousness clues are: it impacts upon the world; it is a property of living brains but no other structure; brain activity may be conscious or unconscious; the conscious mind appears to be serial; learning requires consciousness but recall doesn’t; conscious information is bound; and consciousness correlates with synchronous firing of neurons. I discuss field theories of consciousness and introduce the conscious electromagnetic field (CEMI) theory that suggests that consciousness is a product of the brain’s electromagnetic field. I show that the CEMI field theory successfully accounts for each of the seven clues to the nature of consciousness. Finally, I show that although current quantum mechanical theories of consciousness are also field theories, they are physical untenable and should be discarded.
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12 The CEMI Field Theory:
Seven Clues to the Nature of Consciousness
Johnjoe McFadden
Summary. In this chapter I examine seven clues to the nature of consciousness
and explore what they reveal about the underlying physical substrate of conscious-
ness. The consciousness clues are: it impacts upon the world; it is a property of
living brains but no other structure; brain activity may be conscious or uncon-
scious; the conscious mind appears to be serial; learning requires consciousness but
recall doesn’t; conscious information is bound; and consciousness correlates with
synchronous firing of neurons. I discuss field theories of consciousness and introduce
the conscious electromagnetic field (CEMI) theory that suggests that consciousness
is a product of the brain’s electromagnetic field. I show that the CEMI field theory
successfully accounts for each of the seven clues to the nature of consciousness. Fi-
nally, I show that although current quantum mechanical theories of consciousness
are also field theories, they are physical untenable and should be discarded.
12.1 Why Do we Need a Theory of Consciousness?
A theory of consciousness is only necessary if there is something that needs
to be explained. With several journals, hundreds of books and ruminations of
thousands of philosophers cogitating over various theories of consciousness, it
may seem that this question must obviously be answered in the affirmative. I
agree. But it is instructive to explore exactly why we need a theory, because
the answer isn’t as obvious as we may suppose.
Firstly, if what we are discussing is a scientific theory then such a theory
is only of value if it explains facts in the world. This immediately drops out
of consideration any steam whistle “theory” where it is supposed that the
consciousness is merely an epiphenomenon. I don’t for one moment believe
that this is the case but there is a considerable body of opinion that asserts
that consciousness has no impact on the way our brain works. If this is the
case then consciousness makes no difference to the world; it generates no facts.
Science can only deal with facts – data points, observations, phenomena.
Scientific theories are a means to make sense of those facts in order to make
predictions. Without the facts, there can’t be any theories – at least none
that are scientific. If consciousness is an epiphenomenon then, as scientists,
we must turn aside and leave the topic to the philosophers and theologians
to make sense of. It is not a subject for scientific theories.
386 Johnjoe McFadden
But consciousness does of course generate phenomena. One of the most
obvious is this chapter, and indeed this book, and all the other books and
articles that have ever been written on the subject. If consciousness is an
epiphenomenon locked inside our brain then why does our body write endless
treatises on it? How does it even know it’s there? The train isn’t aware of the
steam whistle; it has no impact on its function. But consciousness has had
a major impact on the lives of philosophers, scientists and theologians who
have studied the subject. It cannot be a steam whistle.
The approach in this chapter will be to examine seven clues to nature
of consciousness and discuss how the conscious electromagnetic field theory
(CEMI field theory) makes sense of those clues. Space constraints do not
permit me to examine the other theories of consciousness against these clues,
but it would be an interesting exercise for the reader to attempt this, at least
for their favorite theory. The first clue, is what I have already discussed, the
fact that consciousness has an effect on the world. Any theory must include
a physical mechanism that allows our conscious mind to interact with the
matter of our brain.
Clue 1:Consciousness generates phenomena in the world. It is a cause of
effects.
The next clue to the nature of consciousness is the fact that it is associated
with living flesh in particular configurations that we call brains. The type of
brain that most clearly exhibits the phenomenon is a subtype of the basic
design, called the human brain. We can (for the reasons discussed above)
be pretty sure that our own brain and other people’s brains are conscious
(ignoring, because it is too unspeakably dull to even discuss, the solipsism
argument) and most would make a case for the brains of higher animals, such
as chimps, sharing that property, at least in some form. But not all living flesh
is conscious. Our livers aren’t conscious. Neither is our colon nor our kidneys.
Only brains are conscious. So it must be something about the structure of
brains that generates the phenomenon of consciousness. This fact requires an
explanation.
Clue 2:Consciousness is a property of living (human) brains. As far as we
know, it is not a property of any other structure.
Brains are of course involved in many activities but they share a common
theme: information processing. But consciousness cannot simply be a prop-
erty of information-processing systems. For a start, the brain isn’t the only
information processing system in the body. It’s not even the most complex.
With 1012 cells (compared to 1011 neurons in the brain), the immune system
processes a vast amount of information concerning the interaction between
the body and its environment. Like the brain, the components of the im-
mune system (lymphocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, etc.) communicate
12 The CEMI Field Theory 387
via a complex network of chemical signaling pathways. But the system com-
pletely lacks awareness.
And of course, artificial information processing systems, thus far at least,
are not conscious. Despite the heady predictions of artificial intelligence (AI)
pioneers in the 1960s and 1970s, no computer has ever shown even the faintest
glimmerings of either general intelligence or consciousness. Even Marvin Min-
sky, champion of AI and cofounder of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Labora-
tories recently complained, “There is no computer that has common sense.
We’re only getting the kind of things that are capable of making an air-
line reservation. No computer can look around a room and tell you about
it.” (Interview with WIRED magazine, August 2003 [45].) And although the
computing power of any single computer is puny compared to the human
mind, the internet links together millions of computers (volume is set to ex-
ceed 15 terabytes per second by 2008) yet no spark of awareness has ever
emerged from all those computations. Any theory of consciousness must ex-
plain why, thus far at least, only the wet systems that process information
through neurons possess awareness.
But even living human brains aren’t always aware. Our brain remains
very active in the state we call unconsciousness, and even when we are con-
scious, we are only aware of a very small trickle out of the vast quantity of
information flowing through our brain. Activities (like driving a car) may be
performed on “automatic pilot” while our conscious mind is engaged else-
where. Any theory of consciousness that fails to account for the difference
between conscious and unconscious brain activity is clearly incomplete.
Clue 3:Brain activity may be conscious or unconscious.
It is useful to compare lists of those brain activities that are always un-
conscious (obligate unconscious), brain activities that may or may not be
performed consciously (facultative conscious) and those activities that are
always accompanied by awareness (obligate conscious, Table 12.1). Exami-
nation of the list highlights several interesting features. Firstly, there is clearly
a tendency for the more primitive activities – those we share with lower ani-
mals and even plants – to be performed unconsciously and the more specialist
activity – the strictly human actions, like use of language – to be accompa-
nied by awareness. Why should this be? A straightforward explanation based
on complexity – the more complex the information processing going on in the
brain the more likely it is to be conscious – doesn’t work. Imagine driving,
alone in your car, along a familiar route. Your conscious brain may be review-
ing the day’s activities, planning an evening’s entertainment or considering
the latest football scores. You are unlikelytobeawareofthenumerousad-
justments to the car’s direction and velocity that your body will be making
to maintain the vehicle on the road and prevent collision. These operations
must require the information-processing capabilities of millions of neurons in
the brain’s visual system and motor centers, but you will be aware of none of
388 Johnjoe McFadden
Table 12.1. Brain activity
Brain activity
Obligate unconscious
Endocrine control
Temperature homeostasis
Facultative unconscious
Breathing
Maintaining balance
during locomotion
Learned activities,
such as driving
or riding a bicycle
Eating
Recalling information
Obligate conscious
Reading
Writing
Creative activity
Learning
Conversing
Arithmetic
Memorizing information
it. And then you feel a tap on your shoulder. You are not alone! The infor-
mation processing associated with the sensory perception of that tap is likely
to be vastly simpler than those involved with your driving manipulations but
you will be acutely aware of one and oblivious of the other. Complexity per
se cannot account for why we are aware of some, but not all brain activity.
So, if it isn’t complexity, how else do our conscious and unconscious minds
differ? Does the list provide us with further clues? I believe it does. Firstly,
there is a very clear and stark difference between conscious and unconscious
brain activity. Our brain is clearly able to perform several operations in par-
allel, if they are all unconscious. Nobody has trouble riding a bike whilst
whistling a familiar tune. We can all drive a car whilst chewing gum. But
try reading a book whilst writing a letter; or add up two six figure numbers
whilst chatting to a friend. These operations must be performed sequentially.
Any theory of consciousness must explain why our unconscious mind appears
to be massively parallel but our conscious mind is infuriatingly serial. The
question, as Bernard J. Baars puts it [4], is how does “a serial, integrated
and very limited stream of consciousness emerge from a nervous system that
is mostly unconscious, distributed, parallel and of enormous capacity”.
Clue 4.The unconscious mind can perform parallel computations but con-
sciousness appears to be serial.
It is also interesting to consider why it is that the higher level activities
that require consciousness, reading, writing (language use generally), arith-
metic, etc., are all restricted to humans. The simplest explanation is that
these capabilities evolved fairly recently and that they require the unique
computation capabilities of the conscious mind: they simply can’t be done
with the unconscious mind, despite it having the same neuronal resources at
its disposal. Any theory of consciousness must clearly delineate the opera-
tional difference between these systems.
12 The CEMI Field Theory 389
It is also intriguing that the obligate conscious activities include memo-
rizing information and learning, but recall of memorized information (such
as the motor actions required to perform a learnt task) does not require con-
sciousness. When learning a task such as playing the piano, one’s first plod-
ding fingering of the keys is painfully conscious but, once learnt, a practised
pianist can effortlessly play a familiar tune whilst singing the accompanying
song. Indeed, learning a skill seems largely to be about driving its accom-
plishment into our unconscious mind. Another aspect of this dualism is the
fact that our visual system is constantly analyzing the changing scenery as
we go through our day, but we only recall those items that we thought about.
The memory of everything else is lost. Any theory should explain why our
conscious mind appears to be the conduit for delivering information to our
memory but is not required for its retrieval.
Clue 5:Learning and memory require consciousness but recall may be un-
conscious.
The next clue to the nature of consciousness is usually known as the
binding problem and is perhaps the most problematic, because it relies on
introspection. Look at a tree. How many leaves do you seen? Tens, hundreds,
thousands? The problem for science is that the information encoding all those
leaves – their colour, texture, position in space – is being processed in quite
distinct regions of your brain. There is of course no problem in accounting
for the functionality of such a system. So long as the multiple independent
pathways in the brain come together at some point to provoke an appropri-
ate response, “this is a tree”, then the system is functioning appropriately.
A computer that similar dissects the complex scene and processes that in-
formation – perhaps in a set of quite independent but parallel processors –
would generate the same response. But a computer would not be provoked
into writing, “I think that I shall never see; a poem as lovely as a tree.”
(Joyce Kilmer). To understand such a line, you need to see the whole tree.
And that is of course what we all report. We do not see individual leaves or
scattered contours; we see the tree in all its leafy glory, as a single percept.
Where does all the information come together? As Valerie Hardcastle (1994)
put it [23], “given what we know about the segregated nature of the brain
and the relative absence of multimodal association areas in the cortex, how
[do] conscious percepts become unified into single perceptual units?”.
It has of course been argued that the binding problem is a pseudoproblem
since conceptual binding is part of the grand-illusion [5, 10]. According to
the grand-illusion hypothesis, visual scenes (or any other bound aspect of
consciousness) are actually as fragmented as the neuronal information within
our brains but our minds somehow fool us into thinking the information is
all stuck together. I fully accept that our visual experience is not as rich as
we naively assume and the stream of consciousness may actually be closer to
a dribble. However, despite this, binding remains a problem even within the
390 Johnjoe McFadden
grand-illusion hypothesis. “Change blindness”, “inattentional blindness” and
other cognitive effects indicate that our conscious mind can attend to only five
or six objects within a visual scene but each attended object is a complex item
whose informational content must be bound within consciousness. This can
be illustrated by considering optical illusions, such as the familiar “impossible
triangle”.
The geometric inconsistencies of the object are a property of the percept
corresponding to the whole object, not a collection of its parts. During the
information processing performed first by the retina and then by neurons
in the visual cortex, information corresponding to various properties of the
object (in this case just lines and angles but normally including color, texture,
shading, etc.) is stripped, separated, handled and processed by thousands of
distinct neurons. However, the illusion only makes sense if this disparate
information is somehow bound together again within our conscious minds to
generate a unified percept of the triangle.
Clue 6:Information that is encoded by widely distributed neurons in our
brain is somehow bound together to form unified conscious percepts.
There is of course no center of the brain where all this information is put
together, but it is well established that there are a number of correlates of
consciousness – dynamic activity that is usually associated with attention
and awareness. The best studied of these is synchronous firing of neurons [8,
27, 11–15, 19]. For instance, Wolf Singer and colleagues at the Max Planck In-
stitute for Brain Research in Frankfurt [27] demonstrated that neurons in the
monkey brain that responded to two independent images of a bar on a screen
fired asynchronously when the bars were moving in different directions but
fired synchronously when the same bars moved together. It appeared that
the monkeys registered each bar as a single pattern of neuronal firing but
their awareness that the bars represent two aspects of the same object, was
encoded by synchrony of firing. In another experiment that examined interoc-
ular rivalry, it was discovered that neurons that responded to the attended
image fired in synchrony, whereas the same neurons fired randomly when
awareness was lost [18]. In each of these experiments, awareness correlated,
not with a pattern of neuronal firing, but with synchrony of firing. Singer,
Eckhorn and others have suggested that these 40–80 Hz synchronous oscil-
12 The CEMI Field Theory 391
lations link distant neurons involved in registering different aspects (color,
shape, movement, etc.) of the same visual perceptions and thereby bind to-
gether features of a sensory stimulus [12, 41, 42]. However, if synchronicity
is involved in perceptual binding, it is unclear how the brain uses or even
detects synchrony.
Clue 7:Consciousness and awareness are associated not with neural fir-
ing per se but with neurons that fire in synchrony.
12.2 Field Theories of Consciousness
The idea that our conscious minds are some kind of field goes back at least
as far as the gestalt psychologists of the early twentieth century. Gestalt
psychology emerged in opposition to the contemporary atomist movement,
which claimed that perceptual experience is merely the sum of simple sen-
sory inputs. The gestalt psychologists instead emphasized the holistic nature
of perception that they claimed was more akin to fields, rather than par-
ticles. In this they were influenced by the ideas coming out of the newly
emerging science of quantum mechanics (indeed, Wolfgang K¨ohler, one of
the gestalt pioneers, studied with Max Planck, the founder of quantum me-
chanics). Fields share the holistic qualities of perceptual fields described by
the gestalt psychologists but the Gestalt psychologists went on to propose
that physical fields exist in the brain that are isomorphic to the objects they
represented, in the sense that they had the same shape as the represented
object. Palmer [36] generalizes this notion by distinguishing between intrin-
sic and extrinsic representation and claims that representation is intrinsic
“whenever a representing relation has the same inherent constraints as its
represented relation. . . [whereas] representation . . . is extrinsic whenever the
inherent structure of a representing relation is totally arbitrary and that of its
represented relation is not.” A model motorcar is thereby an intrinsic repre-
sentation of an actual motorcar, whereas the word “motorcar” is an extrinsic
representation of the same object.
It was the proposal that the brain contains real physical fields that cor-
respond to perceived objects (as Kohler described it, that the brain acts as
a “physical Gestalt”) that led to the virtual abandonment of Gestalt psy-
chology in the late 1950s. Modern neurobiology defined the neuron as the
fundamental computational unit in the brain and there didn’t appear to be
any way of forming isomorphic gestalt fields out of static neurons. But al-
though much of what the brain does can be understood in terms of standard
neuronal theory, the peculiar features of consciousness led many to retain the
concept of a field in order to account for these properties. Karl Popper [39]
proposed that consciousness was a manifestation of some kind of overarching
force field in the brain that could integrate the diverse information held in
392 Johnjoe McFadden
distributed neurons. The idea was further developed and extended by Lin-
dahl and ˚
Arhem [30] and by Libet [28, 29]. However, these authors considered
that the conscious mind could not be a manifestation of any known form of
a physical field and its nature remained mysterious.
Yet it has been known for more than a century that the brain generates
its own electromagnetic (em) field, a fact that is widely utilized in brain scan-
ning techniques such as EEG. In two papers published in 2002 I described
the conscious electromagnetic field theory [35, 34], which was an extension
of the CEMI field theory outlined in my book “Quantum Evolution” [33].
The theory has much in common with the electromagnetic field theory of
consciousness proposed by Dr. Susan Pockett in her book “The Nature of
Consciousness: A Hypothesis” [38]. The neurophysiologist E. Roy John has
also recently published a theory of consciousness involving electromagnetic
fields [26]. The key insight of these theories is the realization that, as well as
generating chemical signals that are communicated via conventional synapses,
neural firing also generates perturbations to the brain’s electromagnetic field.
12.3 The Brain’s Electromagnetic Field
At rest, the neuronal membrane forms a dipole in which the inside of the
membrane is negatively (about –65 mV) charged in relation to the outside
of the membrane. This charge difference is maintained by the action of ion
pumps that pump cations (principally sodium and calcium) out of the neu-
ron. Brain neurons are densely packed, with about 104neurons/mm2so the
fields of adjacent neurons will not be discrete but form a complex overlapping
field made up of the superposition of the fields of millions of neurons in the
vicinity. The electrical field at any point in the brain will be a superposition
of the induced fields from all of the neurons in the vicinity and will depend
on the geometry and the dielectric properties of neurons and tissue. The
combined activity of all the neurons in the brain generates a complex elec-
tromagnetic field whose strength can be estimated from theoretical principles
and measured during EEG or MEG, and is about 20–250V/m [34].
When any neuron receives a signal from upstream neurons, synaptic trans-
mitters stimulate ion pumps that cause the membrane to become more or less
negatively polarized, depending on the type of signal received. If the mem-
brane charge falls below about –40 mV then the neuron “fires” and a chain
of depolarizations is triggered that travels along the neuron and stimulates
release of neurotransmitters. Conventional neurobiology has focused on the
chemical signal that is transmitted from one neuron to another. There is ab-
solutely no doubt at all that most of the information processing performed
by the brain is due to this type of signaling. However, the massive membrane
depolarization will also generate an electromagnetic field perturbation that,
12 The CEMI Field Theory 393
traveling at the speed of light, will influence the probability of firing of adja-
cent neurons. Vigmond [44] modeled the electrical activity of pyramidal cells
anddemonstratedthatneuronfiringinduced a peak of intracellular potential
in receiver cells that ranged from a few microvolts to 0.8 mV, decaying with
approximately the inverse of distance between the cells. For neurons that are
arranged randomly, their induced fields will tend to sum to zero; but the lam-
inar organization of structures such as the neocortex and hippocampus, with
parallel arrays of neurons, will tend to amplify local fields. Using the model,
apeakintracellular voltage of 2600 V/m (and thereby ab ove the thermal noise
level in the membrane) will be induced in receiving cells if they are located
within a radius of 73–77 μm from the source cell [34]. Considering only those
cells in the plane of the source cell embedded in the human cerebral cortex
(about 104neurons/mm2), then approximately 200 neighboring cells will be
within that field volume. The firing of a single neuron will thereby be capable
of modulating the firing pattern of many neighboring neurons through field
effects.
12.4 The Influence of the Brain’s Electromagnetic Field
on Neural Firing
The field across a neuronal membrane will inevitably be the product of the
field generated by membrane dynamics (the ion pumps) but also the fields
generated by the resting states and firing of all the other neurons in the vicin-
ity. Mostly, the influence of the endogenous fields will be quite weak – maybe
up to a millivolt of induced voltage across the neuronal membrane [34] – and
so will only be capable of influencing the probability of firing if the neural
membrane is already close to the critical firing potential. However, in a busy
brain it is very likely that many neurons will be in that state, so the elec-
tromagnetic field that the brain’s activity generates will inevitably influence
neural dynamics. This will create a self-referring feedback loop that, I pro-
pose, is the physical substrate of consciousness.
Unfortunately investigating the role of the brain’s endogenous electromag-
netic field on information processing in the brain presents huge experimental
challenges, as it is not possible to turn the electromagnetic influence off and
on (nerve firing always generates electromagnetic field perturbations). But
indirect evidence for the proposal that the brain’s endogenous field plays
a role may be gained from studies of the effect of external fields on neural
activity. In humans, the strongest evidence for the sensitivity of the brain
to relatively weak electromagnetic fields comes from the therapeutic use of
transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In TMS, a current passing through
a coil placed on the scalp of subjects is used to generate a time-varying mag-
netic field that penetrates the skull and induces an electrical field in neuronal
CE41 Therefore, – computation’ – sense?
Editor’s or typesetter’s anno tations (will b e removed before the fin al T
E
X run)
394 Johnjoe McFadden
tissue. The precise mechanism by which TMS modulates brain activity is cur-
rently unclear but is generally assumed to be through electrical induction of
local currents in brain tissue that modulate nerve firing patterns. TMS has
been shown to generate a range of cognitive disturbances in subjects includ-
ing: modification of reaction time, induction of phosphenes, suppression of
visual perception, speech arrest, disturbances of eye movements and mood
changes [21]. The field induced in cortical tissue by TMS cannot be measured
directly but may be estimated from modeling studies. The evoked field de-
pends critically on the instrumentation, particularly the coil geometry and
strength and frequency of the stimulating magnetic field. In one study where
stimulation utilized a set of four coils, the induced electrical field was esti-
mated to be in the range of 20–150V/m [16]. TMS voltages are thereby in the
range of tens of volts per meter, values that are typical for the strength of the
brain’s endogenous electromagnetic field. Therefore, CE41 since TMS induces
modulations of the brain’s electromagnetic field that affect brain function and
behavior, it follows that the brain’s endogenous field must similarly influence
neuronal computation.
There is also very solid in vitro evidence for very weak em fields modu-
lating neuronal function. Fields as weak as 10–20 V/m have been shown to
modulate neuron-firing patterns of Purkinje and stellate cells in the isolated
turtle cerebellum in vitro [9] or the guinea-pig hippocampus [25]. A molluscan
neuron has even been shown to be capable of responding to earth-strength
(about 45 μT) magnetic fields [31], associated with induced electrical fields
of just 2.6×104V/m.
12.5 The CEMI Field Theory
It is clear that very weak electromagnetic field fluctuations are capable of
modulating neuron-firing patterns. These exogenous fields are weaker than
the perturbations in the brain’s endogenous electromagnetic field that are
induced during normal neuronal activity. The conclusion is inescapable: the
brain’s endogenous electromagnetic field must influence neuronal information
processing in the brain.
Information in neurons is therefore pooled, integrated and reflected back
into neurons through the brain’s electromagnetic field and its influence on
neuron-firing patterns. This self-referral loop has physical and dynamic prop-
erties that precisely map with consciousness and are most parsimoniously
accounted for if the brain’s electromagnetic field is the physical substrate
of consciousness. Conscious volition results from the influence of the brain’s
electromagnetic field on neurons that initiate motor actions. The conscious
electromagnetic information (CEMI) field theory thereby proposes:
Digital information within neurons is pooled and integrated to form an
electromagnetic information field. Consciousness is that component of the
12 The CEMI Field Theory 395
brain’s electromagnetic information field that is downloaded to motor neurons
and is thereby capable of communicating its state to the outside world.
The CEMI field theory [34, 35] suggests that processing information
through the wave-mechanical dynamics of the CEMI field provided a sig-
nificant advantage to our ancestors that was captured by natural selection to
endow our minds with the capability to process information through fields.
MacLennan [32] has proposed that the brain is capable of field computing
(which has many of the attributes of quantum computing) that may per-
form some operations with greater efficiency, or with fewer resources, than
can be achieved in a digital system. In a similar way, optical holograms can
perform convolution, deconvolution and Fourier transforms, at the speed of
light, acting on massively parallel data sets. Sending information through
the electromagnetic field may similarly confer novel information processing
capabilities on the human brain that have been captured by our conscious
mind.
12.6 Why don’t External Fields Influence our Minds?
The high conductivity of the cerebral fluid creates an effective “Faraday cage”
that insulates the brain from most natural exogenous electric fields. A con-
stant external electric field will thereby induce almost no field at all in the
brain [2]. Alternating currents from technological devices (power lines, mo-
bile phones, etc.) will generate an alternating induced field, but its magnitude
will be very weak. For example, a 60 Hz electrical field of 1000 V/m (typical
of a powerline) will generate a tissue field of only 4 ×105V/m inside the
head [2], clearly much weaker than either the endogenous electromagnetic
field or the field due to thermal noise in cell membranes. Magnetic fields do
penetrate tissue much more readily than electric fields but most naturally
encountered magnetic fields, and also those experienced during nuclear mag-
netic resonance (NMR) scanning, are static (changing only the direction of
moving charges) and are thereby unlikely to have physiological effects. Chang-
ing magnetic fields will, however, penetrate the skull and induce electric cur-
rents in the brain. However, there is abundant evidence (from, e. g., TMS
studies as outlined above) that these do modify brain activity. Indeed, repet-
itive TMS is subject to strict safety guidelines to prevent inducing seizures in
normal subjects through field effects. High-frequency electric fields generated
by cellular (mobile) phones would be expected to penetrate the head more
effectively (limited by the electromagnetic skin depth – the distance in which
the field is attenuated by a factor of e1– which for the head is about one
centimeter) but their high frequencies (in the MHz or GHz range) make them
unlikely to interact with low-frequency brain waves.
Note, however, that although external fields are seldom able to influence
nerve dynamics, this will not be true for endogenous fields. Indeed, the fact
396 Johnjoe McFadden
that EEG signals can be detected on the scalp indicates that endogenous elec-
tromagnetic fields do penetrate brain tissue. The reason for this is that the
major source of EEG signals (and more generally, the brain’s electromagnetic
field) is not the firing of single neurons but assemblies of neurons firing syn-
chronously (as discussed in my earlier paper). By firing in synchrony, neurons
distribute and amplify field effects.
12.7 Does the CEMI Field Theory Account
for the Seven Clues to the Nature of Consciousness?
Clue 1:Consciousness generates phenomena in the world. It is a cause of
effects.
A distinctive feature of the CEMI field theory is the proposal that con-
sciousness corresponds to only that component of the brain’s electromagnetic
field that impacts on motor activity. This does not imply that the brain’s
electromagnetic field acts directly on motor neurons (which may of course
be located outside the brain) but only that electromagnetic field informa-
tion is communicated to the outside world via motor neurons [35]. The site
of action of the brain’s electromagnetic field is most likely to be neurons
in the cerebral cortex involved in initiating motor actions, such as the ar-
eas that control speech, or the areas involved in laying down memories that
may later be reported via motor actions (such as speech). Indeed, there is
a good deal of evidence [1, 37] that all verbal thought is accompanied by
subvocalizations (i. e. motor cortex activity accompanied by appropriate but
normally undetectable vocal tract activity). This informational download via
the brain’s electromagnetic field avoids the pitfalls of most other field the-
ories of consciousness that either suffer the classic “mind–matter problem”
(a nonphysical consciousness whose interaction with the matter of the brain
is left unresolved) or leave consciousness as a ghost in the machine (somehow
generated by the brain but with no impact on its workings).
We experience the influence of the CEMI field as free-will.Thisiswhyour
willed actions feel so different from automatic actions: they are the effects of
the CEMI field as cause. Therefore, although like modern cognitive theory the
CEMI theory views conscious will as a deterministic influence on our actions,
in contrast to most cognitive theories it does at least provide a physically
active role for “will” in driving our conscious actions. In the CEMI field
theory, we are not simply automatons that happen to be aware of our actions.
Our awareness (the global CEMI field) plays a causal role in determining our
conscious actions.
Clue 2:Consciousness is a property of living (human) brains. As far as we
know, it is not a property of any other structure.
12 The CEMI Field Theory 397
The only place in the known universe where electromagnetic fields occur
that are capable of communicating self-generated irreducibly complex con-
cepts like “self” (and thereby persuading an observer that they are indeed
conscious) is in the human brain. Artificially generated electromagnetic fields,
such as the electromagnetic fields that communicate radio and TV signals,
are only capable of communicating the information encoded and transmitted
within their fields. They have nothingelsetosay. To question whether they
are either aware or conscious is meaningless.
Clue 3:Brain activity may be conscious or unconscious.
Neurons in a complex brain display a range of excitability and in the busy
brain of our ancestral animals there would have been many neurons poised
close to their threshold potential with voltage-gated ion channels sensitive
to small changes in the surrounding electromagnetic field. No less than elec-
trochemical interactions, those field interactions would have been subject to
natural selection. Wherever field effects provided a selective advantage to the
host, natural selection would have acted to enhance neuron sensitivity (e.g.
by maintaining neurons close to firing potential, increasing myelination or
orientating neurons in the field). Conversely, wherever field influences were
detrimental to the host (e. g. providing an electromagnetic field “feedback”
that interferred with informational processing), natural selection would have
acted to decrease that sensitivity (e. g. by maintaining neurons at membrane
voltages close to resting). Therefore, with just the information that the brain’s
electromagnetic field influences informational processing (as I have shown it
must) and thereby affects host survival, the theory of natural selection pre-
dicts that over millions of years a complex brain will evolve into an electro-
magnetic field-sensitive system and a parallel electromagnetic field-insensitive
system. These systems correspond to our conscious and unconscious minds,
respectively.
Clue 4:The unconscious mind can perform parallel computations but con-
sciousness can only do one thing at a time.
Neuronal computation, like any neural network, is ideally suited to par-
allel computations. So our unconscious mind is capable of performing many
tasks in parallel. However, if conscious actions involve the influence of an
electromagnetic field – the CEMI field – on neural pathways, then this inter-
ference is entirely explicable. Unlike digital (neural) addition, summation of
two fields is not a simple addition but generates a linear superposition that
depends on the phase relationships between the individual waves involved.
Interference is therefore inevitable for conscious multiple tasks that require
the influence of the CEMI field. The field can only do one thing at a time.
398 Johnjoe McFadden
Clue 5:Learning and memory require consciousness but recall may be un-
conscious.
The job of the brain is straightforward: to decide what the body should
do next. Mostly in humans, and probably all the time for most animals, these
decisions are made automatically by standard neural networks without influ-
ence of the CEMI field. However, occasionally the automatic pilot routines
may come unstuck. You may be presented with a new or unfamiliar situa-
tion. It is at these times that your brain will be more likely to have lots of
neurons whose membranes are poised close to the firing threshold: the un-
decided brain. These undecided neurons will be sensitive to the (relatively
weak) influence of the brain’s electromagnetic field. Your conscious mind will
be required to make a decision and the undecided neurons can plug into the
vast quantity of information stored in the CEMI field. This proposed role for
the CEMI field in brain activity in modulating neural activity is similar to
what William James envisaged more than a century ago (as quoted in [40])
“if consciousness can load the dice, can exert a constant pressure in the right
direction, can feel what nerve processes are leading to the goal, can reinforce
and strengthen these and at the same time inhibit those that threaten to lead
astray, why, consciousness will be of invaluable service”.
So the CEMI field – our conscious mind – will be pushing and pulling
on neurons to shift the brain towards some desired activity; like learning
to play the piano. The CEMI field will initially be required to provide that
fine control of motor activity necessary to perform the novel actions. But, if
the target neurons for electromagnetic augmentation are connected by Heb-
bian synapses then the influence of the brain’s electromagnetic field will tend
to become hard-wired into either increased (long-term potentiation, LTP)
or decreased (long-term depression) neural connectivity. After repeated aug-
mentation by the brain’s electromagnetic field, conscious motor actions will
become increasingly independent of electromagnetic field influences. The mo-
tor activity will be “learned” and may thereafter be performed unconsciously,
without the electromagnetic influence on the neural networks involved. We
will then be able to play without conscious input. Similarly, in the absence of
any motor output, the CEMI field may be involved in strengthening synapses
to “hard-wire” neurons and thereby lay down long-term memories.
Clue 6:Information that is encoded by widely distributed neurons in our
brain is somehow bound together to form unified conscious percepts.
Information in the conscious brain is encoded in the firing rates of bil-
lions of neurons scattered across the entire surface of the cerebral cortex.
However, that information will be reflected into the electromagnetic field
that permeates the cortex. In contrast to the discrete and distributed infor-
mation encoded in the neurons, the field-based information is always unified.
12 The CEMI Field Theory 399
Fields unify information. That is what we mean by a field. The brain’s elec-
tromagnetic field has the same level of unity as a single photon. From the
reference frame of an outside observer, a field is a continuum of values (in-
formation) extended in space and time. However, from the reference frame of
the field, there is no space nor time between any part of the field or any bit of
its information. This can be appreciated by following Einstein in imagining
hitching a ride on the back of a photon. Because photons travel at the speed
of light and time slows down to stop at this speed, it takes no time at all for
the photon to travel from its point of creation to its point of annihilation –
it is everywhere at once. So all of the information contained in the field is
everywhere at once, bound into a single dimensionless point. The CEMI field
theory proposes that consciousness resides in that dimensionless point.
Clue 7:Consciousness and awareness are associated not with neural firing
per se but with neurons that fire in synchrony.
The superposition principle states that the em field at any point is a su-
perposition of the component fields in the vicinity of that point. Like all
wave phenomena, field modulations due to nerve firing will demonstrate con-
structive or destructive interference depending on the relative phase of the
component fields. Temporally random nerve firing will generally generate in-
coherent field modulations leading to destructive interference and zero net
field. In contrast, synchronous nerve firing will phase-lock the field modula-
tions to generate a coherent field of magnitude that is the vector sum (the
geometric sum – taking into account the direction of the field) of its com-
ponents. The CEMI field – our conscious mind – will thereby be dominated
by neurons that fire in synchrony. Synchronous firing will be a correlate of
consciousness.
So the CEMI field theory accounts perfectly for each of the features of
consciousness highlighted in the above seven clues. A challenge to any other
theorist would be to do the same for their favorite theory of consciousness.
12.8 A Last Word, Concerning Quantum Theories
of Consciousness
The em fields are not of course the only kind of field. Any quantum sys-
tem may be described by a field and there is a great deal of interest in the
possibility of quantum matter fields in the brain. However, whereas there is
no doubt that electromagnetic fields exist in the brain there is no evidence
for large-scale quantum coherence of matter in the brain on the scale that
is necessary for quantum consciousness. There are also very real theoretical
problems with understanding how quantum coherence in microtubules could
be maintained for biological time scales [43]. The difficulty in maintaining
400 Johnjoe McFadden
quantum coherence in order to perform quantum computing with just a few
atoms maintained at a temperature close to absolute zero [17] is evidence
for the implausibility of maintaining quantum coherence for physiologically
relevant periods of time in a warm wet brain.
There are also many theoretical problems with quantum consciousness.
Information in consciousness is undoubtedly complex and must be encoded by
a physical informational substrate capable of encoding a complex message.
Quantum consciousness theorists who propose that the physical substrate
of consciousness is some kind of quantum state of matter, such as a Bose–
Einstein condensate (BEC), often ignore this requirement. Even if it were
physically feasible to maintain a BEC in a hot wet brain (which it isn’t),
such a state would be an unlikely substrate for consciousness because all the
atoms in a BEC are in the same quantum state and thereby encode the same
information. Quantum states are nearly always small and simple because as
they get larger and more complex, it becomes harder to maintain all the
information in a coherent state: the system decoheres. This is why quantum
computation is so difficult (and why only very simple calculations have so far
beenperformedwithqubits).
A related problem is the fact that consciousness is continuous but tem-
porally dynamic; so the contents of consciousness change on a time scale of
milliseconds or less. The substrate of consciousness must therefore be sim-
ilarly dynamic. However, dynamic quantum states of matter (such as the
putative gigahertz oscillations of microtubule protein) decohere in nanosec-
onds or less. Quantum states of matter could therefore not remain coherent
for long enough to encode the continuity of thought.
A further difficulty arises because consciousness exchanges information
with the world. Whether this informational exchange is one way or in both
directions depends on whether consciousness has a causal influence on the
world. But this property is incompatible with large-scale coherence of matter
as the substrate of consciousness, since information exchange of a quantum
state with its environment is precisely what causes decoherence. It is simply
not physically possible to maintain coherence within a large-scale quantum
system if it is freely exchanging information with its environment.
Lastly, there is solid experimental evidence that appears to rule out large-
scale quantum coherence mediated through microtubules, at least in the brain
of mice. For quantum mechanics to account for binding, the microtubules
must be entangled not only within single neurons but across the many millions
of scattered neurons that encode conscious information. This is proposed to
take place through “microtubule quantum states [that] link to those in other
neurons and glia by tunneling through gap junctions (or quantum coherent
photons traversing membranes)” [22]. However, a knock-out (KO) mouse has
recently been generated that lacks the connexin-36 (Cx36) subunit of the
principle gap junctions thought to be mediating neuronal electrotonicCE42
coupling mammalian brains [7, 20]. As expected, the connexin-36 KO mouse
CE42 Should ’electrotonic’ read ’electronic’
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12 The CEMI Field Theory 401
lacks gap junctions and therefore lacks many (if not all) of the proposed sites
for the putative inter-neuron quantum tunneling. Yet, the KO mice “showed
no obvious behavioral abnormalities” [20]. The findings indicate that, if gap
junctions are the site for tunneling of microtubule quantum states, then the
process appears to play no obvious neurophysiological role, at least in mice.
And although the question of whether mice are conscious is obviously a mat-
ter of conjecture, it would seem unlikely that a neurophysiological role for
microtubules in man (information processing) could be completely absent in
mouse. The lack of an obvious behavioral phenotype of the Cx36 mice un-
dermines a central claim of the microtubule quantum consciousness theory.
Interestingly, the Cx36 KO mice provide evidence that supports the CEMI
field theory proposal that electromagnetic fields are the substrate for con-
scious binding. As already discussed, synchronous neuronal firing is a corre-
late of attention and awareness and fast transmission of signals through gap
junctions has previously been proposed to mediate synchrony. However, high-
frequency synchronous neuronal oscillations are still observed in the Cx36 KO
mice [24], indicating that other mechanisms (such as electromagnetic fields)
may be involved in maintaining synchrony and thereby potentially providing
a substrate for conscious binding.
Although quantum theories of consciousness based on microtubule co-
herence are highly tenuous, the CEMI field theory does not exclude the
possibility of direct quantum effects in the brain. In my book “Quantum
Evolution” [33], I proposed that the most likely source of quantum effects
in the brain would not be microtubules (which have no established role in
information processing) but interactions between the brain’s electromagnetic
field and voltage-gated ion channels (with a clearly established role in in-
formation processing in the brain) in the neuronal membrane. Near to the
neuronal cell body (where the decision tofireismade)themembranepoten-
tial is very close to threshold such that the opening or closing of just a few
ion channels may be sufficient to trigger or inhibit firing. Opening of just
a single ion channel in vitro has been shown to be capable of initiating an
action potential [3]. The precise number of quanta of electromagnetic energy
that must be absorbed from the surrounding field to open a single voltage-
gated ion channel is currently unknown. The field has to push 7–12 charges
of the channel molecule’s sensor towards the open position, but it is likely
that when the membrane potential is already close to the firing threshold,
very little additional energy need be absorbed from the field. Absorption
of a single photon is sufficient to initiate proton pumping by the bacteri-
orhodopsin proton pump. It is therefore likely that nerve firing may in some
circumstances be triggered (or inhibited) by just a few quanta of energy and
thereby be subject to quantum dynamics. It is interesting to speculate on
whether such uncaused events play a role in human spontaneity or creativity.
Neils Bohr, the founding father of quantum mechanics, considered (accord-
ing to Bohm) that it is likely that “thought involves such small amounts of
402 Johnjoe McFadden
energy that quantum-theoretical limitations play an essential role in deter-
mining its character” [6]. It may be that to fully explain consciousness, we
will have to bring quantum mechanics into our thinking. But what is needed
is a quantum field theory for the brain’s electromagnetic fields, rather than
yet more fruitless speculations on quantum coherence within microtubules.
12.9 Conclusions and the Way Forward
The CEMI field theory provides an elegant solution to many of the most in-
tractable problems of consciousness and places consciousness within a secure
physical framework that is amenable to experimental testing. The proposed
interaction between the CEMI field and neuronal pathways restores to the
mind a measure of dualism, but it is a dualism rooted in the real physical
distinction between matter and energy, rather than the metaphysical (Carte-
sian) distinction between matter and soul. Although in the CEMI field theory,
free-will is deterministic, it does at least retain a crucial role for our conscious
minds in directing purposeful actions. Consciousness is not a steam whistle.
As a wave-mechanical driver of free-will, it may be the key evolutionary ca-
pability that was acquired by the human mind.
There is no such thing as a theory that cannot be tested. In my first
CEMI field paper, I highlighted eight predictions that were consequent on
the theory [34]. In my follow-up paper [35], I discussed the implications of
the theory for artificial intelligence (AI) and the possibility of engineering
consciousness into an artificial system. Crucial areas that need to be tack-
led are the development of a mathematical model to examine the interaction
between neurons and the brain’s electromagnetic field; analysis of the inter-
action between ion channels and the brain’s em field at a quantum-field level;
exploration of the role of fields in information processing performed by bio-
logical neurons; and exploration of the potential role of electromagnetic fields
in AI. With appropriate support, these issues could all be tackled within the
coming years. Hopefully we will soon discover whether our minds are really
electric.
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... This time period corresponds with performing imagined movements and the suppression of the Primary Motor Cortex (stopping actual movements) via "goal driven executive control". Such executive control involves high-frequency cognitive activity in brain regions such as the Superior Parietal Cortex and the Pre-Frontal Cortex [1,2]. 23.2% of all the most valuable features are within the Alpha and Beta bands (MI). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
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... In my earlier cemi field theory papers [13,19,[26][27][28][29]83], I made several predictions: ...
Article
Full-text available
The conscious electromagnetic information (cemi) field theory proposes that the seat of consciousness is the brain’s electromagnetic (EM) field that integrates information from trillions of firing neurons. What we call free will is its output. The cemi theory also proposes that the brain has two streams. Most actions are initiated by the first non-conscious stream that is composed of neurons that are insulated from EM field influences. These non-conscious involuntary actions are thereby invisible to our EM field-located thoughts. The theory also proposes that voluntary actions are driven by neurons that receive EM field inputs and are thereby visible to our EM field-located thoughts. I review the extensive evidence for EM field/ephaptic coupling between neurons and the increasing evidence that EM fields in the brain are a cause of behaviour. I conclude by arguing that though this EM field-driven will is not free, in the sense of being acausal, it nevertheless corresponds to the very real experience of our conscious mind being in control of our voluntary actions. Will is not an illusion. It is our experience of control by our EM field-located mind. It is an immaterial, yet physical, will.
... To link and address structure and function, there are many neuroscience models related to five major sub-pathways of two major pathways (stimulus dependent feed forward and cognitive feedback pathways): (i) the classical axonal-dendritic sub-pathway for neuro-computation (Crick & Koch, 1998;Damasio, 1999;Litt, Eliasmith, Kroona, Weinstein, & Thagarda, 2006;Steriade, McCormick & Sejnowski, 1993) and neural Darwinism (Edelman, 1993(Edelman, , 2003 and the classical sub-pathway related to consciousness electromagnetic information field (Cemi field) theory (McFadden, 2002a(McFadden, , 2002b(McFadden, , 2006, 22 (ii) the quantum dendritic-dendritic sub-pathway for quantumcomputation (Hameroff & Penrose, 1998), (iii) astro-glia-neuronal transmission (Pereira Jr., 2007), (iv) (a) the sub-pathway related to extracellular field, gaseous diffusion (Poznanski, 2002), or global volume transmission in the gray matter as fields of neural activity (Poznanski, 2009) and (b) the sub-pathway related to local extrasynaptic signaling between fine distal dendrites of cortical neurons (Poznanski, 2009), and (v) the sub-pathway related to information transmission via soliton propagation (Davia, 2006;Vimal & Davia, 2008). ...
Research Proposal
From various disciplines/investigations, so far, there are 54 facets/sub-aspects/notions of the self: [1] the conceptual self, [2] the contextualized self, [3] the core self, [4] the dialogic self, [5] the ecological self, [6] the embodied self, [7] the emergent self, [8] the empirical self, [9] the existential self, [10] the extended self, [11] the fictional self (no-self), [12] the full-grown self, [13] the interpersonal self, [14] the material self, [15] the narrative self, [16] the philosophical self, [17] the physical self, [18] the private self [19] public self, [20] the representational self, [21] the rock bottom essential self, [22] the semiotic self, [23] the social self, [24] the transparent self, and [25] the verbal self, [26] proto self [27] autobiographical self or continuous self, [28] the self-conscious self with the sense of body ownership, agency authorship of thoughts and perception, [29] working self, [30] the phenomenal self, [31] bodily self, [32] the minimal self, [33] perceived self, and [34] free-energy self, [35] the neural self, [36] the synaptic self, [37] the midline self, [38] the interpersonal self, [2] the conceptual self, [39] Experiential aspects of self, [40] affective aspects of self, [41] situated aspects of self, [42] spiritual self, [43] The ‘facet of the “self” related to genetic and recorded/published information during life’s salient work/karma/action,’ [44] immediate/momentary self, [45] cognitive self, [46] the self as A-series tensed-time (past, present, future) or the self as an existence made/composed OF time, [47]. The ‘causal self’, [48] volitional self, [49] perspectival self, [50] Transcendental self, [51] metaphysical self, [52] self as pure Consciousness or “Pure Self-Observing System”, Jivatman/Atman (= Brahman) of Vedanta, Shaivism, and so on, [53] the self-aware, independent, eternal/immortal, passive invariant self (PIS) (individualized Purusha, Drishta/witness) is from the non-interactive dualism-based Sankhya, and [54] IDAM’s individual dual-aspect-self for each of the above facets of self. We can categorize all notions of the self into two groups: (I) James’ “Me” (self-as-object in the sense of Phenomenology (experience of self, phenomenal self): Wittgenstein’s “I” (‘I see me in the mirror’) and/or Wittgenstein’s “Me” (‘I see me in the mirror’); this includes the notions/meanings/definitions/sub-aspects/facets of self as in [1]-[43]. In other words, “Me” (self-as-object) is the SE of self, i.e., self-experience/consciousness/awareness, which can include Damasio’s core self (np aspect) and the self (np aspect) that has neural-physical basis (NBP) = Northoff et al’s CSMS-NN and its activities = the p-aspect of a self-related state of a mindbrain system in the IDAM framework. (II) James’ “I” (self-as-subject (SAS), metaphysical self: “The self as a metaphysical fact that consciousness is subjective: ‘the Thinker that does the thinking’) in the sense of metaphysics (existence of self); this includes the notions/meanings/definitions/sub-aspects/facets of the self: [44]-[54]. In other words, “I” (self-as-subject) is experiencer/cognizer/thinker/actor; it is NOT the SE of self. We can further group SAS into two types/facets: (IIa) SAS in [44]-[49] that have a respective neural-physical basis (NPB) and (IIb) SAS in [50]-[53] that have respective subtle brain-body basis (SBB). In other words, if yogis are correct that SAS survives physical death then there are two facets of SAS: (IIa) SAS-in-GPB (such as cognitive self) with its own inseparable NPB and (IIb) SAS-in-SBB (such as metaphysical self) with its own inseparable SBB. [54] In the IDAM, we accept both facets of SAS without any internal inconsistency. In the IDAM (inseparable dual-aspect monism), the “self” is the experiencer/cognizer/actor (performer of actions) as a non-physical (np) aspect of a SAS-related state of a subject’s mindbrain system with respective either NPB or SBB as the inseparable physical (p) aspect. Just imagine you are in front of a mirror. (IIa) If SAS with its inseparable SBB resides in GPB then an OOBEr will experience two bodies: (a) whole SBB and (b) GPB below the neck, here SBB is superposed with GPB. If SAS-in-SBB is superposed with SAS-in-GPB, and SBB is superposed with NPBs of all other facets of self. (IIb) If SAS with its inseparable SBB resides in SBB then the OOBEr will experience two bodies: (a) SBB (below the neck) and (b) whole GPB; here SBB is not superposed with GPB, SAS-in-SBB is not superposed with SAS-in-GPB and SBB is not superposed with NPBs of all other facets of self. For example, yogi Satya Prakash Dubey (SPD)’s self resided in SBB during his OBE because he mentioned that he “saw”/experienced his whole GPB along with its surroundings. In the IDAM, it is not that by combining various proto-experiences (precursor of SE) leads to a specific SE (subjective experience) such as redness, as proposed in panpsychism. Instead, it is discarding the unrelated states in the superposition of all beable ontic states to reach to the specific state for the specific SEs. This is accomplished when a specific neural network is formed and then information is processed if all other necessary conditions are satisfied. Eventually, a specific beable ontic conscious state is selected by the “self” through the interaction between the self-related signals with the resultant of the matching/non-matching the stimulus-dependent feed-forward (FF) neural-physical signals with cognitive memory dependent feedback (FB) signals.
... To link and address structure and function, there are many neuroscience models related to five major sub-pathways of two major pathways (stimulus dependent feed forward and cognitive feedback pathways): (i) the classical axonal-dendritic sub-pathway for neuro-computation (Crick & Koch, 1998;Damasio, 1999;Litt, Eliasmith, Kroona, Weinstein, & Thagarda, 2006;Steriade, McCormick & Sejnowski, 1993) and neural Darwinism (Edelman, 1993(Edelman, , 2003 and the classical sub-pathway related to consciousness electromagnetic information field (Cemi field) theory (McFadden, 2002a(McFadden, , 2002b(McFadden, , 2006, 22 (ii) the quantum dendritic-dendritic sub-pathway for quantumcomputation (Hameroff & Penrose, 1998), (iii) astro-glia-neuronal transmission (Pereira Jr., 2007), (iv) (a) the sub-pathway related to extracellular field, gaseous diffusion (Poznanski, 2002), or global volume transmission in the gray matter as fields of neural activity (Poznanski, 2009) and (b) the sub-pathway related to local extrasynaptic signaling between fine distal dendrites of cortical neurons (Poznanski, 2009), and (v) the sub-pathway related to information transmission via soliton propagation (Davia, 2006;Vimal & Davia, 2008). ...
Preprint
From various disciplines/investigations, so far, there are 54 facets/sub-aspects/notions of the self: [1] the conceptual self, [2] the contextualized self, [3] the core self, [4] the dialogic self, [5] the ecological self, [6] the embodied self, [7] the emergent self, [8] the empirical self, [9] the existential self, [10] the extended self, [11] the fictional self (no-self), [12] the full-grown self, [13] the interpersonal self, [14] the material self, [15] the narrative self, [16] the philosophical self, [17] the physical self, [18] the private self [19] public self, [20] the representational self, [21] the rock bottom essential self, [22] the semiotic self, [23] the social self, [24] the transparent self, and [25] the verbal self, [26] proto self [27] autobiographical self or continuous self, [28] the self-conscious self with the sense of body ownership, agency authorship of thoughts and perception, [29] working self, [30] the phenomenal self, [31] bodily self, [32] the minimal self, [33] perceived self, and [34] free-energy self, [35] the neural self, [36] the synaptic self, [37] the midline self, [38] the interpersonal self, [2] the conceptual self, [39] Experiential aspects of self, [40] affective aspects of self, [41] situated aspects of self, [42] spiritual self, [43] The ‘facet of the “self” related to genetic and recorded/published information during life’s salient work/karma/action,’ [44] immediate/momentary self, [45] cognitive self, [46] the self as A-series tensed-time (past, present, future) or the self as an existence made/composed OF time, [47]. The ‘causal self’, [48] volitional self, [49] perspectival self, [50] Transcendental self, [51] metaphysical self, [52] self as pure Consciousness or “Pure Self-Observing System”, Jivatman/Atman (= Brahman) of Vedanta, Shaivism, and so on, [53] the self-aware, independent, eternal/immortal, passive invariant self (PIS) (individualized Purusha, Drishta/witness) is from the non-interactive dualism-based Sankhya, and [54] IDAM’s individual dual-aspect-self for each of the above facets of self. We can categorize all notions of the self into two groups: (I) James’ “Me” (self-as-object in the sense of Phenomenology (experience of self, phenomenal self): Wittgenstein’s “I” (‘I see me in the mirror’) and/or Wittgenstein’s “Me” (‘I see me in the mirror’); this includes the notions/meanings/definitions/sub-aspects/facets of self as in [1]-[43]. In other words, “Me” (self-as-object) is the SE of self, i.e., self-experience/consciousness/awareness, which can include Damasio’s core self (np aspect) and the self (np aspect) that has neural-physical basis (NBP) = Northoff et al’s CSMS-NN and its activities = the p-aspect of a self-related state of a mindbrain system in the IDAM framework. (II) James’ “I” (self-as-subject (SAS), metaphysical self: “The self as a metaphysical fact that consciousness is subjective: ‘the Thinker that does the thinking’) in the sense of metaphysics (existence of self); this includes the notions/meanings/definitions/sub-aspects/facets of the self: [44]-[54]. In other words, “I” (self-as-subject) is experiencer/cognizer/thinker/actor; it is NOT the SE of self. We can further group SAS into two types/facets: (IIa) SAS in [44]-[49] that have a respective neural-physical basis (NPB) and (IIb) SAS in [50]-[53] that have respective subtle brain-body basis (SBB). In other words, if yogis are correct that SAS survives physical death then there are two facets of SAS: (IIa) SAS-in-GPB (such as cognitive self) with its own inseparable NPB and (IIb) SAS-in-SBB (such as metaphysical self) with its own inseparable SBB. [54] In the IDAM, we accept both facets of SAS without any internal inconsistency. In the IDAM (inseparable dual-aspect monism), the “self” is the experiencer/cognizer/actor (performer of actions) as a non-physical (np) aspect of a SAS-related state of a subject’s mindbrain system with respective either NPB or SBB as the inseparable physical (p) aspect. Just imagine you are in front of a mirror. (IIa) If SAS with its inseparable SBB resides in GPB then an OOBEr will experience two bodies: (a) whole SBB and (b) GPB below the neck, here SBB is superposed with GPB. If SAS-in-SBB is superposed with SAS-in-GPB, and SBB is superposed with NPBs of all other facets of self. (IIb) If SAS with its inseparable SBB resides in SBB then the OOBEr will experience two bodies: (a) SBB (below the neck) and (b) whole GPB; here SBB is not superposed with GPB, SAS-in-SBB is not superposed with SAS-in-GPB and SBB is not superposed with NPBs of all other facets of self. For example, yogi Satya Prakash Dubey (SPD)’s self resided in SBB during his OBE because he mentioned that he “saw”/experienced his whole GPB along with its surroundings. In the IDAM, it is not that by combining various proto-experiences (precursor of SE) leads to a specific SE (subjective experience) such as redness, as proposed in panpsychism. Instead, it is discarding the unrelated states in the superposition of all beable ontic states to reach to the specific state for the specific SEs. This is accomplished when a specific neural network is formed and then information is processed if all other necessary conditions are satisfied. Eventually, a specific beable ontic conscious state is selected by the “self” through the interaction between the self-related signals with the resultant of the matching/non-matching the stimulus-dependent feed-forward (FF) neural-physical signals with cognitive memory dependent feedback (FB) signals.
... Another flavor of the non-neural substrate of C* is the class of field theories (e.g., [13][14][15][16][17][18]), which come in two flavors of substrate for C*: quantal fields and electrical fields. For either kind, there is not sufficient resolution to account for the 1 gigabit information capacity of our (unitary) visual experience (within the 1 kHz temporal resolution constraint of the neural processing to which it is supposed to be coupled). ...
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... If consciousness is or results from computations, where changes in energy states are information, then matter would be consciousness. Alternatively, proponents of Electromagnetic Theories of Consciousness, such as Johnjoe McFadden and Susan Pockett, maintain that consciousness results when a specific sort of electromagnetic field occurs in the brain (McFadden 2002a(McFadden , 2002b(McFadden , 2006Pocket 2000). Pockett writes that "consciousness is identical with certain spatiotemporal patterns in the electromagnetic field" (Pocket 2000, vi). ...
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