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Understanding the emergence of microbial consciousness: From a perspective of the Subject–Object Model (SOM)



Microorganisms demonstrate conscious-like intelligent behaviour, and this form of consciousness may have emerged from a quantum mediated mechanism as observed in cytoskeletal structures like the microtubules present in nerve cells which apparently have the architecture to quantum compute. This paper hypothesises the emergence of proto-consciousness in primitive cytoskeletal systems found in the microbial kingdoms of archaea, bacteria and eukarya. To explain this, we make use of the Subject–Object Model (SOM) of consciousness which evaluates the rise of the degree of consciousness to conscious behaviour in these systems supporting the hypothesis of emergence and propagation of conscious behaviour during the pre-Cambrian part of Earth’s evolutionary history. Consciousness as proto-consciousness or sentience computed via primitive cytoskeletal structures substantiates as a driver for the intelligence observed in the microbial world during this period ranging from single-cellular to collective intelligence as a means to adapt and survive. The growth in complexity of intelligence, cytoskeletal system and adaptive behaviours are key to evolution, and thus supports the progression of the Lamarckian theory of evolution driven by quantum mediated proto-consciousness to consciousness as described in the SOM of consciousness.
Journal of Integrative Neuroscience 16 (2017) S27–S36 S27
DOI 10.3233/JIN-170064
IOS Press
Understanding the emergence of microbial
consciousness: From a perspective
of the Subject–Object Model (SOM)
J. Shashi Kiran Reddy a,and Contzen Pereira b
aIndependent Research Scholar, Bangalore 560064, India
bIndependent Researcher, Mumbai 400 099, India
Abstract. Microorganisms demonstrate conscious-like intelligent behaviour, and this form of consciousness may have emerged
from a quantum mediated mechanism as observed in cytoskeletal structures like the microtubules present in nerve cells which
apparently have the architecture to quantum compute. This paper hypothesises the emergence of proto-consciousness in primi-
tive cytoskeletal systems found in the microbial kingdoms of archaea, bacteria and eukarya. To explain this, we make use of the
Subject–Object Model (SOM) of consciousness which evaluates the rise of the degree of consciousness to conscious behaviour
in these systems supporting the hypothesis of emergence and propagation of conscious behaviour during the pre-Cambrian part
of Earth’s evolutionary history. Consciousness as proto-consciousness or sentience computed via primitive cytoskeletal struc-
tures substantiates as a driver for the intelligence observed in the microbial world during this period ranging from single-cellular
to collective intelligence as a means to adapt and survive. The growth in complexity of intelligence, cytoskeletal system and
adaptive behaviours are key to evolution, and thus supports the progression of the Lamarckian theory of evolution driven by
quantum mediated proto-consciousness to consciousness as described in the SOM of consciousness.
Keywords: Proto-Consciousness, cytoskeleton, Orch-OR theory, microbial intelligence, Lamarckian theory, quantum biology,
1. Introduction
The most fundamental physical mechanisms which are involved in the biological systems are dealt
and studied in the new branch of science called Quantum biology. Findings resulting from these inves-
tigations shed light on the possible role of quantum mediated processes in crafting the primitive life
forms and in the emergence of conscious life. Since biological evolution began much after the existence
of energy and matter and its unanimity, the answer to the origin of life actually lies much before the
emergence of viruses, bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes. According to Gaia theory, after the formation
of biological matter from chemical constituents there exists a mutual and dynamic interaction between
the two resulting in the process of co-evolution. This means that biological systems interact with sur-
rounding inorganic matter to form a complex, self-regulating and dynamic synergistic system of ecology
which helps in perpetuating and maintaining the conditions for life (Schneider and Boston [68]).
*Corresponding author. E-mails:,
0219-6352/17/$35.00 © 2017 – IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved
S28 J.S.K. Reddy and C. Pereira / Understanding the emergence of microbial consciousness
The formation of the first biological cell forms the basis for all life that now exists on the Gaia. Such
an event is supported by various theories and hypotheses, but with their own pros and cons (Sheldrake
[69], William [84], Lipton [39], Lanza and Berman [37], Reddy and Pereira [62,64]). With the increased
degrees of freedom driven by various ecological factors this cellar unit slowly started acting as a sepa-
rate entity by itself. The survival necessity of this entity could have triggered the development of various
adaptive mechanisms and every step towards adapting to the environment slowly, might have resulted
in a qualitative property called intelligence, and every action motivated from this intelligence field re-
sulting in a specific behaviour. Environmental and other interactive forces keep these units in a constant
survival challenge and hence create the need for mutual support for the sake of one’s existence. As stated
above, quantum biology is now starting to solve the mysteries associated with the field of evolutionary
biology and the origin of life. Though the evolution of life or consciousness in general is a wide theme
to be addressed, in the scope of the present paper, we focus our attention to the study of emergence of
consciousness in the microbial systems. For this purpose, we make use of the Subject–Object Model
(SOM) of consciousness developed by one of the present authors (Reddy [59]) and extrapolate the Or-
chestrated Objective Reduction (Orch-OR) theory put forth by Hameroff and Penrose [26]. Since the
SOM of consciousness supports the presence of consciousness in all living systems to varying levels
and degrees; which again depends on where a specific species would fall on the evolutionary scale, it
naturally supports the pansychic view of the world.
In order to understand the evolutionary footsteps of consciousness, one needs a different definition and
perspective of consciousness from that which we observe in humans. Humans can relate and express their
conscious experiences of life and hence we can set a standard to quantify them, but this is not the case
with other living systems. They exhibit different forms of conscious expressions as observable behaviour
and survival strategies etc. Hence, when we study the evolution of conscious life in these systems, we
need to consider the alterate expressions of consciousness like conscious behaviour as the deciding and
judging criteria. Several forms of conscious behaviours are known to exist across the wide spectra of
non-humans species, and hence there is no reason why arguments for possession of consciousness must
be backed by the existence of the nervous system; a unique and complex functional system, but in its own
place and organism. Though conscious behaviours observed in microorganisms may not be similar to that
of humans, they are unique in their own space; therefore many scientists preferably use the terminology
as sentience or proto-consciousness. In the context of this paper, we discuss the conscious behaviours
exhibited by various microbial systems to understand the primitive forms of conscious expressions along
with the evolving cytoskeleton.
Based on fossil evidence, microbes occupied approximately 2.75–3 billion years of Earth’s evolu-
tionary history; the pre-Cambrian period with free-living, single-celled organisms (Tomescu et al. [75]).
Some microorganisms initially embraced living in isolation but gradually formed loose communities
or colonies as part of the evolutionary advantage to evolve as a reflection of the biological imperative
to survive. About 1.5 billion years ago, eukaryotic cells appeared apparently as symbiotic mergers of
previously independent organelles such as mitochondria, plastids, etc. with the prokaryotic cells (Knoll
et al. [35]). At later stages, sentient or proto-consciousness driven differentiation, organization and so-
cialization were some of the evolutionary advantages which expedited the evolutionary process in the
microbial world (Fabbro et al. [17]). Here, consciousness as proto-consciousness was the biggest driver
for intelligence observed in the microbial world which resulted in emergence of single-cellular and col-
lective intelligence. Therefore the emergence of primitive forms of consciousness was evident with the
rise in intelligent behaviour within the world of microbes that occupied a major portion of the Gaia’s
evolutionary history (Reddy and Pereira [64], Pereira [51]).
J.S.K. Reddy and C. Pereira / Understanding the emergence of microbial consciousness S29
2. Evolution of conscious life and Subject–Object Model (SOM) of consciousness
From the time of inception of the science of consciousness there has been a lot of debate on conscious-
ness being a phenomenal property or epiphenomenal property. But for our present purpose we embrace
the latter possibility to understand the emergence and evolution of consciousness across wide living
spectra; from unicellular systems to a complex human system. While investigating the phenomenon of
consciousness in humans, it is inevitable for science to come across the question of the presence of
consciousness in other living systems. In case, if other living systems are confronted with conscious-
ness then how different is it to humans? Humans as a species occupying the premier position in the
evolutionary chart developed various advanced and complex mechanisms for functional and survival
purposes. Though most of the characteristics developed looks like survival tools, some have evolution-
ary advantages over the others. This is where the subjective aspect of consciousness comes into picture.
Since a human species involve an evolved biological system with consciousness in its most complex
form, it may not be the suitable subject for studying the evolution of consciousness. Hence, the easier
way would be to try and study simpler systems first and then relate different aspects observed in those
systems to that of humans. But science has failed in recent times to understand consciousness in other
non-human systems because it set the criteria from human perspective of consciousness. This is where
the SOM of consciousness plays a role (Reddy [59]). It bases the level of consciousness of a living
system on the degree of subjectivity it would naturally develop driven by various parameters like the
morphological evolution and complexity etc. (Cleeremans [6], Zeman [85], Reddy [60], Reddy and
Pereira [52,6063]). From this perspective, consciousness is an emergent property that is ubiquitous to
all the biological matter but to varying levels and degrees.
In general, the possibility of making a conscious choice could result from two different aspects; one
the physical structure (or the related processes) and the other, subjective experience of one’s existence
and happenings. If a system of physical structures is conscious of making choices then it gives edge
over errors while adapting to the environment and also during system malfunctioning. Development of
self-feeding mechanisms and emergency pathways increase the chances of survival, and any biological
structure having a few such characteristics can be treated as conscious in a sense. From this perspective,
system components with self-reflexive, self-feeding and self-organizing properties are conscious struc-
tures. Hence all biological structures that make up a functional system are conscious structures; because
they are aware of their own state of functioning and also can interact with surroundings and respond
accordingly. A conscious system on the other hand is a complex functional system developed by the or-
ganization of different conscious structures. For example, all the organelles inside the cell are conscious
structures, because they are conscious of their respective functions; and cell as a whole, on the other
hand is a conscious system. If the combination of different systems performing various functional tasks
is complex enough to host and support a higher order qualitative property like subjective awareness, then
a conscious choice of different quality emerges in a system. Any such system can be termed as conscious
being. This way consciousness appears as just a reflexive behaviour (Peters [54]) in simpler systems and
evolves to the state of subjective awareness in complex systems.
The extent of subjective aspect of consciousness developing in a system would in turn depend on
factors like the degrees of freedom in various informational pathways of the system, self-organizing
capacity associated with the complex pathways of the system (that would result in the lowest entropy),
self-sustaining and other self-feeding mechanisms and global communication network etc. (Edelman
and Tonon [12], Cleeremans [6], Greenfield and Collins [21], Tononi [76], Hankey [28,29], Webb and
Graziano [81], Oizumi et al. [48], Tsuchiya et al. [78]). For example, with increased morphological
S30 J.S.K. Reddy and C. Pereira / Understanding the emergence of microbial consciousness
complexity of the system, the heightened functioning is resultant of factors such as quickest feeding net-
works, minimal resistance in the wide global communication networking and maximum optimization of
functional pathways etc. Such necessity calls for the emergence of a higher order property in the system
which can subjectively monitor all these aspects. Consequently, the index for the proper functioning of
the system would be directly related to such qualitative property (Greenfield and Collins [21], Tononi
[76]). This theory explains how and why different living systems with varying complexity (morphologi-
cally and functionally) should have different levels and degrees of consciousness. This idea also justifies
why lower forms of life are having a lower degrees of consciousness and the associated subtle experience
of life.
3. Emergence of proto-consciousness in the microbial world
The SOM of consciousness defines the progression and incorporation of consciousness from inani-
mate (physical and chemical) matter to animate (biological) matter with the development of structures
that support the underlying mechanism of conscious behaviour. This model also supports the Lamarckian
model of evolution – Theory of Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics (Burkhardt [5]). The Orch-OR
theory penned by Hameroff and Penrose [26], claims that tubulin proteins of the cytoskeleton have the
possibility of evoking consciousness in the brain. Along with Bandyopadhyay coherence (BC) (Sahu
et al. [66,67]), Orch-OR theory provides a robust support for this progression, but it needs to be ex-
trapolated to be understood in primitive cytoskeletal structures. The evolution of the cytoskeleton and
appearance of microtubules in the evolving microorganisms therefore supports the underlying mech-
anisms of the evolving quantum consciousness within the microbial community of the pre-Cambrian
period (Hameroff [23]). According to the Orch-OR theory, quantum based consciousness is computed
in microtubules present in nerve cells but whether they emerge in all cells has yet to be proven. Here,
we hypothesis that quantum consciousness should originate within every cell of all unicellular and mul-
ticellular organisms, and therefore forms the support mechanism for important functions managed at a
cellular level such as cell proliferation and differentiation, apoptosis, DNA synthesis, RNA transcrip-
tion, protein expression, ATP synthesis and metabolic activity. Quantum consciousness enables a living
system to feel and understand its own existence based on the feedback resulting from different percep-
tive abilities, which also gives them a prospect to behave as per will (Pereira [50]). Hence, this form of
consciousness should be ubiquitous to all biological systems and forms the fundamental basis by which
they function, thrive and survive.
Evolutionary studies of the microbial world have been revealing an array of information which can be
utilized to understand how these microorganisms survive and secure themselves in their world. Search
for a common ancestor (LUCA – Last Universal Common Ancestor) still prevails but the use of phylo-
genetic relationships is helping us narrow down this search considerably (Glansdorff et al. [20], Boeck-
mann et al. [3]). As quoted above one possible advantage of consciousness for natural selection is the
ability to make choices (Stevens [74]). It is only through the consensual regularities of consciousness
and observed behaviours in various communities that we would come to know their world and discover
their natural abilities and characteristic features. Social behaviours observed in different families of mi-
croorganisms either fossilized or currently surviving species have also helped answer several questions
in relation to the possible emergence of conscious and intelligent decisions in the absence of neural sys-
tems. The evolution of the cytoskeleton within the classes of microorganisms is a key to understanding
the growing consciousness among these classes and can be understood by the behaviours observed within
J.S.K. Reddy and C. Pereira / Understanding the emergence of microbial consciousness S31
these groups. As previously discussed, behaviour can act as a tool to quantify and understand the levels
of conscious life in these living systems. Hence, our present hypothesis is based on combination of the
SOM, the evolutionary traits of the cytoskeleton, conscious social behaviours in the microbial world and
the quantum mechanisms that supports the emergence of consciousness in the world of microorganisms.
In cells of all domains of life (archaea, bacteria, eukaryotes) a cytoskeleton is found which is composed
of similar proteins. However, the structure, function and dynamic behaviour of the cytoskeleton can be
very different, depending on organism and cell type (Wickstead and Gull [83]). The cytoskeleton; a key
structure supporting the Orch-OR theory, has always been considered as a unique feature to eukaryotes,
which changed with the discovery that bacteria too possess homologues of both tubulin (de Boer et al.
[9], RayChaudhuri and Park [58], Mukherjee et al. [44]) and actin (Bork et al. [2]). All tubulins are
known to have evolved from a common ancestor, which resembles the protein FtsZ (Erickson [14,15],
Pilhofer et al. [56]). The cytoskeleton as we know is composed of proteins that can form longitudinal
fibres in all organisms made up of tubulin-like proteins; such as tubulin in eukaryotes and FtsZ, TubZ,
RepX in prokaryotes, and actin-like proteins; that are actin in eukaryotes and MreB, FtsA in prokaryotes,
and other intermediate filaments, found in eukaryotes; like lamins, keratins, vimentin, neurofilaments,
desmin (Gunning et al. [22]).
Crenactin; an archaeal actin homologue, which is closely related to its eukaryotic form was discov-
ered in a Crenarcheaota Pyrobaculum calidifontis as helical structures that form the cytoskeleton in these
archaea bacteria involved in cytokinesis (Ettema et al. [16], Izore et al. [31]). FtsZ contains 4 main do-
mains and was observed in the crystal structure of FtsZ from archaea Methanococcus jannaschii (Lowe
and Amos [40]). Bacterial FtsZs are 40–50% identical in sequence even across very divergent species,
while archaeal FtsZs show a similar level of identity to each other and to bacterial FtsZs (Vaughan et al.
[80]). For MreB and actin, bacterial MreBs are generally about 40% identical in sequence even across
diverse species; similar to FtsZ (Erickson [15]). Though FtsZ is a respective homolog of tubulin, the
evolutionary distance between the two proteins is substantial and hence it has been suggested that an
undiscovered species of bacteria or archaea could hold the evolutionary precursor of tubulin that could
determine the true evolution of this protein. FtsZ could therefore be considered as the precursor for quan-
tum computation resulting in the origination of quantum proto-consciousness (Barlow [1], Hameroff et
al. [25]). This idea is supported by several theoretical models and simulations which suggest that con-
formational states of tubulins within microtubular lattices are influenced by quantum events (Hameroff
and Watt [27], Tuszynski et al. [79], Pitkanen [57], Kukuljan [36], Faber et al. [18]). The presence of
a primitive form of cytoskeleton and other adaptable mechanisms in this group of microorganisms may
have been the inception of expression via quantum computed proto-consciousness. Quantum computa-
tion in these structures may seem possible because of the adaptive intelligence demonstrated by these
Archae were the first organisms to demonstrate cooperative conscious behaviours in microbial mats
which originated during the environmental transition period from anaerobic to aerobic form; a beginning
of species diversity (Lyons and Kolter [41]). Adaptive behaviour is another form of social behaviour that
is used by these microbial systems to adjust to a situation (Staddon [72], Sieb [70]). Archaeal microor-
ganisms are flagellated organisms, unlike the cyanobacteria and these structures are a well-built feature
used by these organisms to adapt and survive. Two archaeal systems, Methanocaldococcus jannaschii
and Methanocaldococcus villosus, were tested to be the fastest organisms in speed measured as bodies
per second (bps) based on their swimming potentials. These flagellated archaeal organisms demonstrate
speeds at close to 400 and 500 bps which are high speeds when compared to a bacteria like E. coli or
a fast runnable animal such as cheetah; which moves at a speed of 20 bps (Herzog and Wirth [30]).
S32 J.S.K. Reddy and C. Pereira / Understanding the emergence of microbial consciousness
Archaea is a highly conserved primitive group of bacteria which were earlier found only in extreme en-
vironments (DeLong [10], Nicks and Rahn-Lee [47]). They constitute primitive forms of extremophiles;
where each species develop certain characteristics (either physically or functionally) to thrive in extreme
environments (Stetter [73], Reed et al. [65]). For example, Haloquadratum walsbyi or ‘salt square’ be-
longs to the genus of the family Halobacteriaceae, which show box shaped structures, that give them a
higher advantage with survival due to increased surface area (Dyall-Smith et al. [11]) to maintain optimal
water activity within the cell and at cell surface (Bolhuis et al. [4]).
Since bacterial FtsZs show a similar level of identity to each other and to archaeal FtsZs (Vaughan
et al. [80]), it would be interesting to look at intelligent behaviours exhibited in by these organisms as
well. Bacterial intelligence is a form of minimal intelligence, which provides the bacterium the ability
to store, modify and execute adaptive processes by means of cooperative multicellular-type behaviours.
Conscious decisions help the bacteria to communicate and self-organize into colonies and films which
form the basis of multicellular life. Jenkins and team isolated two tubulin-like genes (bacterial tubulin a
(BtubA) and bacterial tubulin b (BtubB)) from bacteria of the genus Prosthecobacter (Division Verru-
comicrobia). These Prosthecobacter tubulins were monomeric and unlike eukaryotic tubulins, but forms
dimmers (Jenkins et al. [33]). In contrast to all other prokaryotic tubulins, BtubA/BtubB can form tubules
by 5 proto filaments instead of 13, as observed in eukaryotes (Pilhofer et al. [55]) and there is enough
proof that both may have been acquired by horizontal gene transfer from eukaryotes confirming that
the most likely ancestor of eukaryotic tubulins as of now remains to be FtsZ (Jékely [32]). Chemotaxis,
signal transduction and quorum sensing are some of the social and cooperative behaviours observed and
studied in bacteria which also resemble some of the most basic functions of the brain, such as sensory
integration, memory and decision making (Trewavas and Baluska [77]).
Microorganisms demonstrate the beginnings of primitive mental processes such as perception, learn-
ing and emotions where the organism is only aware of the environment and chooses ways to adapt
(Crespi [8]). This growth in complexity is clearly visible in the SOM that explains the growing mental
processes from primitive single celled organisms to complex multi-cellular organisms i.e. from cell to
neuron and the evolving cytoskeleton supporting complex quantum computations. Bio-film formation
and quorum sensing have been justified as sensing capabilities and social recognition in bacteria which
are also observed in social insects e.g. ants, honey bees, etc (Gibbs et al. [19], Majumdar [42]). Bac-
terial bio-films are structures created due to colonization, wherein the bacterium carries out its duties
in a cooperative manner by means of quorum sensing (Majumdar [42]). Bio-films are also created for
shelter and procurement of food by means of cooperative behaviour such as foraging (Nadell et al. [45]).
Caulobacter crescentus is a flagellated bacterium which uses its flagella for swarming behaviour un-
der stress, attaches to a substrate and loses its flagella to become a functional productive stalk, which
produces more swarmers as a means of survival (England and Gober [13]). Heterocyst like structures
have been found in fossil records which are 2 billion years old which suggests that this behaviour of
differentiation and division of labour existed in earlier prokaryotes (Zhang et al. [86]).
Therefore eukaryotic microorganisms demonstrate the presence of intelligence in its lowest form,
which has evolved to a higher state as a form of adaptation by means of cell division and cell differentia-
tion in higher organisms depicted by similarity in social behaviours (Marijuan et al. [43]). Slime moulds
or protists are the best examples that demonstrate behaviour similar to neurologically sophisticated or-
ganisms e.g. Physarum polycephalum (Latty and Beekman [38]). Physarum polycephalum is a protist
or slime mould which uses a spatial memory system to navigate through a food maze and is known to
find the shortest path using its foraging techniques (Nakagaki et al. [46]). Amoeba has no structures for
reception of stimuli but the protoplasm responds to a stimulus, which gives it the ability to perceive and
J.S.K. Reddy and C. Pereira / Understanding the emergence of microbial consciousness S33
recognize its own kind and engage in cooperative behaviour. Volvox is a colonial flagellate and shows
a transition between unicellular to multicellular form. The flagellar movement of each of the cells in
the colony help in the movement of the whole colony which is a mutual colonized social behaviour
demonstrated by these organisms as a means of protection and movement towards light (Solari et al.
[71]). Generation of a conscious moment in paramecia is depicted as a behavioural response to a stimu-
lus which helps the organism understand its surroundings (Jennings [34], Hameroff [24]). Anaesthetics
are known to act on microtubules, the cytoskeleton polymers of the protein tubulin inside brain neurons
and therefore affect consciousness and memory (Pan et al. [49]). Similarly anaesthetic effects were also
observed in cytoplasmic streaming inside slime moulds which wholly depends on the dynamics of the
cytoskeletal proteins (Perouansky [53], Craddock et al. [7]). Therefore evolution of the cytoskeleton is a
key step to propagation of consciousness which was more of a survival advantage which could provide
support in anticipating threats and strategic opportunities as key genes for the brain evolved much before
(Wickramasinghe [82]).
4. Conclusion
Sentience or conscious behaviour is prevalent in all three domains of the unicellular kingdom. Though
it is in lower degrees in comparison to the living systems that developed neural networks; by the division
of labour in cells it propagates and attains a higher state, as observed in higher organisms. Ancestral
precursors in the evolution of the cytoskeleton wherein, quantum coherence would have been an intrinsic
property of prokaryotic FtsZ and MreB, have helped propagate consciousness in primitive cells. The
growth in complexity of intelligence, cytoskeletal system and adaptive behaviours are key to evolution,
and thus supports the progression of the Lamarckian theory of evolution driven by quantum mediated
proto-consciousness to consciousness as described in the SOM of consciousness. In nature, new species
have arisen through variation and selection following the laws of nature with those varying in conformity
with the environment. In a cell or a group of cells e.g. a microbial mat or a developing embryo, the
cells always demonstrate an involuntary behaviour supported through genetic makeup which appears
as a reflex and may not be due to consciousness per se. But the reason to behave and adapt is the act
of learning which may originate through consciousness; for a cell needs to be aware for it to adapt
and perceive, and therefore even though perception and consciousness are two qualitatively distinct
properties, they complement each other.
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... The past preserves this quantum wave function collapse in an information record of sorts, that might be referred to as a quantum actualization record [95]. Quantum processes operate within biological systems including at the cellular level [99][100][101][102][103], supporting the possibility of this quantum process for future, present, and past. It has been proposed that quantum collapse of the wave function itself accounts for consciousness [99,100], but with unconscious information processing cognitive potentialities are also being actualized entailing collapse of the wave function, hence the explanation cannot distinguish consciousness. ...
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Attention defined as focusing on a unit of information plays a prominent role in both consciousness and the cognitive unconscious, due to its essential role in information processing. Existing theories of consciousness invariably address the relationship between attention and conscious awareness, ranging from attention is not required to crucial. However, these theories do not adequately or even remotely consider the contribution of attention to the cognitive unconscious. A valid theory of consciousness must also be a robust theory of the cognitive unconscious, a point rarely if ever considered. Current theories also emphasize human perceptual consciousness, primarily visual, despite evidence that consciousness occurs in diverse animal species varying in cognitive capacity, and across many forms of perceptual and thought consciousness. A comprehensive and parsimonious perspective applicable to the diversity of species demonstrating consciousness and the various forms—sliding scale theory of attention and consciousness/unconsciousness—is proposed with relevant research reviewed. Consistent with the continuous organization of natural events, attention occupies a sliding scale in regards to time and space compression. Unconscious attention in the form of the “cognitive unconscious” is time and spaced diffused, whereas conscious attention is tightly time and space compressed to the present moment. Due to the special clarity derived from brief and concentrated signals, the tight time and space compression yields conscious awareness as an emergent property. The present moment enhances the time and space compression of conscious attention, and contributes to an evolutionary explanation of conscious awareness.
... All of these approaches concerns physical phenomena but never includes consciousness. One of the reason is that some authors takes the hard or functional reductionist approach invoking the emergence of consciousness from proto-consciousness in biological processes (Reddy and Pereira, 2017) even down to the level of quantum phenomena (Georgiev, 2020;Hameroff and Penrose, 2014). The difficulty with this approach is to explain the origin of these proto-conscious agents. ...
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M odern science is fragmented as it is heavily based on an analytic approach as opposed to a synthetic one. The analytic approach led to many discoveries in many fields such as physics, biology, neuroscience and medicine. However, this fragmentation has reached its limits as can be seen from the stagnation of physics since decades despite huge amount of money and efforts invested. Medicine and therapeutic methods are also heavily impacted treating biological systems as machines with different isolated components that can be treated separately, thus leading to imbalances and furthering other type of illnesses or health problems. Despite of this long lasting fragmentation trend, new research into more holistic views of ourselves and the world around us use concepts like: integration, connectedness, system theory. This report explores a holistic approach to the quantification of the neuro-cardiorespiratory system in terms of energy balance. We describe how this approach can be used in a laboratory experiment using mental stress and breathing guidance. This approach is highly individual and cus-tomizable to many different health paradigms such as: sleep scoring, mental disorders, cardiovascular and breathing problems.
... If consciousness arises from quantum computations occurring in cytoskeletal structures inside human neurons, there is no theoretical impediment at hypothesizing that cytoskeletal structures of microbes could give rise to forms of consciousness or awareness. Microbial consciousness arising from the cytoskeleton was described in 2017 (Reddy and Pereira, 2017) (Hameroff and Penrose, 2014 ), they may also occur between the cytoskeletal structures of human neurons and those of the microbes of the brain microbiota as well as between the cytoskeletal structures of the different microbes. ...
I propose to incorporate the concepts of brain microbiota and microbial consciousness in the Orch OR theory of human consciousness with the goal of increasing its explanatory and predictive powers. If consciousness arises from quantum computations in cytoskeletal structures inside human neurons, there is no theoretical impediment at hypothesizing that it might also occur in the cytoskeletal structures of the microbes resident in our brains. If the concept of the brain microbiota could be integrated in a general Orch OR theory, its explanatory and predictive powers would be vastly increased.
... The REM stage is a very interesting consciousness state and quite different in nature from the other stages (Chow et al ., 2013;Chouchou & Desseilles, 2014) . Further, its study may lead to new discoveries in the understanding of consciousness and its relationship with physiology and our environment (Reddy & Pereira, 2017;Pylkkänen, 2019) . ...
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Cardiac coherence measurement is an established technology in biofeedback systems for stress release. Studies have typically been conducted with participants during ordinary waking consciousness, yet cardiac coherence during sleep may be even more important in illness prevention and health promotion. We investigated whether it was possible to develop an alternative effective technology: the Cardiac Coherence Index (CCI), for sleep analysis. The CCI is based on heart inter-beat interval spectral entropy and autonomic nervous system resonance analysis. We tested the hypothesis that the CCI could be a way to assess sleep quality and eventually as a tool to assess consciousness states during sleep. Our analysis suggests that high CCI corresponds to deep sleep stage, low CCI to awake state, and medium CCI to dream state. These findings further suggest that the CCI method is potentially a useful tool for the study of consciousness and as a home-based system for sleep management.
... The generation of consciousness depends on a neurobiological basis. The neural mechanism that produces the least consciousness is called the related neuron of consciousness (NCC) (Crick and Koch, 2005;Cerullo, 2015;Tononi and Koch, 2015;Reddy and Pereira, 2017;Xie et al., 2017), which was first proposed by Crick and Koch (1990). The study of the NCC is a key step toward research of consciousness. ...
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The definition of consciousness remains a difficult issue that requires urgent understanding and resolution. Currently, consciousness research is an intensely focused area of neuroscience. However, to establish a greater understanding of the concept of consciousness, more detailed, intrinsic neurobiological research is needed. Additionally, an accurate assessment of the level of consciousness may strengthen our awareness of this concept and provide new ideas for patients undergoing clinical treatment of consciousness disorders. In addition, research efforts that help elucidate the concept of consciousness have important scientific and clinical significance. This review presents the latest progress in consciousness research and proposes our assumptions with regard to the network of consciousness.
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Because of its superior information processing capability, previous authors have proposed that phase conjugation holography offers a feasible mechanism to explain various aspects of human perception. These previous models focused on the relationship between the perceived image of an object and the actual object with little attention to the anatomical location of the phase-conjugation mirror. The present article proposes that phase-conjugation mirrors exist in the brain as 3D networks of organic molecules previously observed to exhibit phase-conjugation behavior. In particular rhodopsin photoreceptor molecules are proposed to form extra-retinal, deep brain networks which function as phase-conjugation mirrors which are distributed throughout the brain. Furthermore, such networks are proposed to convert endogenous biophotons into virtual holograms which function to store cognitive information in the brain. Such a system offers a new functional definition of the mind.
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A 'field' according to quantum pilot-wave theory (Bush 2015) and quantum field theory (QFT) (Griffiths 2009) when applied to the working of the universe is a fluid that is spread across the universe with a value taken in that space which can change in time. New observations in the fields of quantum fluid mechanics, artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning in machines are providing us novel insights into how quantum processing, memory creation and storage work using the laws that governs the quantum world and quantum field theories. Such an understanding can be extrapolated to the workings of the mind to see if similar processes underlie the functioning of living systems. This paper hypothesizes that the construct of the mind is the resultant of chaotic system of interacting subatomic fields driven by force fields that intersperse with the quantum vacuum; a mechanism which has not yet been fully understood. We propose that this integrated phenomenon also gives rise to the subtle mechanisms that help in the formation of memories and also the structures which store these memories as reservoirs. The future of our evolution is the mind which evolves in these boundless intermingling quantum fields and their force fields within the quantum vacuum. With computers getting intelligent we are instantaneously but naively evolving our minds, and in the future, working together with these intelligent machines will augment it further. In fact, the design and working of these AI systems are resultant of the proof of the intelligence of conscious mind. This way the working of mind is always superior to those of the artificial systems that emerge from it.
Full-text available Journal of Consciousness (JofC), 2016;18(60): 663. Having celebrated its success in understanding most of the objective phenomena in the world, modern science is now trying to tackle problems concerning the nature of life and consciousness. But, because of the reductionist approach it has embraced to understand the workings of the physical universe, it has failed to capture any living entity in its totality. Also, since each biological species perceive reality differently, what we perceive as humans can't be claimed as the absolute reality. This brings us to the concept of absolute reality and the question of what it would be like to perceive reality in the absolute sense. In this context, the present paper is an attempt to analyze a few shortcomings in the way science addresses biological entities. This effort calls for a new science of subjective experience that might be able to capture the unique fingerprint of life.
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The nature of the subjective aspect of consciousness is elusive and hence, there has been a lot of debate on how to quantify the subjective experience of a human in comparison to other living systems. Here, the primary concern lies with the question of the presence of consciousness in other living systems, and if so, how distinct could the experience be when compared to humans. Firstly, to probe such investigations, our current theories fall short in having an absolute definition for consciousness and whatever we observe and experience as a human brings about our present notion/definition. Failures in capturing the non-deterministic nature of living/biological entities with our reductionist and deterministic models call for a new holistic science and synergistic theories of consciousness. In this regard, present paper tries to propose a novel consc iousness model; Subject-Object Model (SOM), based on the degree of subjectivity/subjectiveness a living species would naturally embrace. It propounds consciousness as a kind of evolutionary trait and thereon claims it as an emergent property resulting from the parsimony of indexing quantities. Accordingly, it conjectures; the development of certain degree and level of complexity in a living system during the process of evolution calls for an emergence of a qualitative property (like consciousness) for better survival and optimal functioning. This provides a scale to estimate the level of consciousness and the extent of subjective experience of life across the wide living spectra.
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Reduced-genome symbionts and their organelle counterparts, which have even smaller genomes, are essential to the lives of many organisms. But how and why have these genomes become so small? Endosymbiotic genome reduction is a product of isolation within the host, followed by massive pseudogenization and gene loss often including DNA repair mechanisms. This phenomenon can be observed in insect endosymbionts such as the bacteria Carsonella ruddii and Buchnera aphidicola. Yet endosymbionts are not the only organisms with reduced genomes. Thermophilic microorganisms experience selective pressures that cause their genomes to become more compact and efficient. Nanoarchaea are thermophilic archaeal ectosymbionts that live on the surface of archaeal hosts. Their genomes, a full order of magnitude smaller than the Escherichia coli genome, are very small and efficient. How have the genomes of nanoarchaea and late-stage insect endosymbionts, which live in drastically different environments, come to mirror each other in both genome size and efficiency? Because of their growth at extreme temperatures and their exterior association with their host, nanoarchaea appear to have experienced genome reduction differently than mesophilic insect endosymbionts. We suggest that habitat-specific mechanisms of genome reduction result in fundamentally different pathways for these two groups of organisms. With this assertion, we propose two pathways of symbiosis-driven genome reduction; isolation-symbiosis experienced by insect endosymbionts and thermal-symbiosis experienced by nanoarchaea.
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It has long been recognized that certain bacterial groups exhibit cooperative behavioral patterns. Bacteria accomplish such communication via exchange of extracellular signaling molecules called pheromones(autoinducer or quorum sensing molecules). As the bacterial culture grows, signal molecules are released into extracellular milieu accumulate, changing water fluidity. Under such threshold conditions swimming bacterial suspensions impose a coordinated water movement on a length scale of the order 10 to 100 micrometers compared with a bacterial size of the order of 3 micrometers.Here, we investigate the non-local hy-drodynamics of the quorum state and pattern formation using forced Burgers equation with Kwak transformation. Such approach resulted in the conversion of the Burgers equation paradigm into a reaction-diffusion system. The examination of the dynamics of the quorum sensing system, both analytically as well as numerically result in similar long-time dynamical behaviour.
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Fractals are built from patterns generated from immense complexity within the resonant frequencies that connect and tune the universe. Play of such frequencies would result in the exchange of energy and coupling of informational systems at various levels and scales. The present essay serves as a small ride into life's association with such phenomenon. At a fundamental level communication happens via process called 'resonance' (in energy terms), and this in turn manifests at a physical (or material) level as self-replicating and self-resonating patterns called 'fractals.' This could be the reason why at a physical level every structure (associated with both animate and inanimate entities) carries this fractal imprint nature, making it the cosmic signature (as embedded in the spatial grain). The fractal patterns popping out in the natural world surrounding us could be thought of as frozen energy or resonant life patterns. Thus, we hypothesize life could have emerged or appeared as a 'fracto-resonant' phenomenon, resulting from the play of interference between material and non-material aspects. In this regard, we propose frequencies or vibrations to be more fundamental to life and call for scientific studies that aim at understanding the effect of various frequencies and vibrations on life forms and consciousness.
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Origin of life on earth transpired once and from then on, it emerges as an endless eternal process. Matter and energy are constants of the cosmos and the hypothesis is that the origin of life is a moment when these constants intertwined or interacted. Energy from the cosmos interacted with inorganic matter to support matter with retention of this riveted energy, as energy to be circulated within the primitive channelized structures to conserve energy by the materialization of the proton homeostasis mechanisms developed from the obtainable inorganic matter. The driver for these processes as we now confirm, exists in the quantum world and through quantum phenomenal processes could have combined these constants to create the magic of life. Primitive earth was a chemical reactive system that triggered a macromolecular evolution by means of open thermodynamic systems, driven by cyclic gradients of temperature, electromagnetic radiation and chemical potentials which sustained life and proto-consciousness in the first life forms driven by the quantum processes. The origin of life is always an intriguing topic but the purpose for finding the cause should never be inclined towards obliterating it; for if that is the case, the further we seek, the farther it will go.
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The present mainstream science tackles the problem of Consciousness by embracing the objective or third person perspective; hence, it fails in understanding many fundamental aspects of life. Further, knowledge gained from science is not absolute in the sense that it is based on a human-centric view. This brings us to the question of how to access absolute reality? In this article, we consider the subjective aspect associated with the objective phenomena and explore a possible new science of subjective experience.
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In this paper, we argue on the ability of science to capture the true subjective experience of life, blinded within the limits of its reductionist approaches. With this approach, even though science can explain well the physics behind the objective phenomenon, it fails fundamentally in understanding the various aspects associated with the biological entities. In this sense, we are skeptical to the present approach of science and calls out for a more fundamental theory of life that considers not only the objectivity aspect of a biological entity but also the subjective experience as well. It raises questions as to what does it takes to develop a new science from a subjective standpoint.
The similarity of eukaryotic actin to crenactin, a filament-forming protein from the crenarchaeon Pyrobaculum calidifontis supports the theory of a common origin of Crenarchaea and Eukaryotes. Monomeric structures of crenactin and actin are similar, although their filament architectures were suggested to be different. Here we report that crenactin forms bona fide double helical filaments that show exceptional similarity to eukaryotic F-actin. With cryo-electron microscopy and helical reconstruction we solved the structure of the crenactin filament to 3.8 Å resolution. When forming double filaments, the 'hydrophobic plug' loop in crenactin rearranges. Arcadin-2, also encoded by the arcade gene cluster, binds tightly with its C-terminus to the hydrophobic groove of crenactin. Binding is reminiscent of eukaryotic actin modulators such as cofilin and thymosin β4 and arcadin-2 is a depolymeriser of crenactin filaments. Our work further supports the theory of shared ancestry of Eukaryotes and Crenarchaea.
Microfossils, stromatolites, preserved lipids and biologically informative isotopic ratios provide a substantial record of bacterial diversity and biogeochemical cycles in Proterozoic (2500–541 Ma) oceans that can be interpreted, at least broadly, in terms of present-day organisms and metabolic processes. Archean (more than 2500 Ma) sedimentary rocks add at least a billion years to the recorded history of life, with sedimentological and biogeochemical evidence for life at 3500 Ma, and possibly earlier; phylogenetic and functional details, however, are limited. Geochemistry provides a major constraint on early evolution, indicating that the first bacteria were shaped by anoxic environments, with distinct patterns of major and micronutrient availability. Archean rocks appear to record the Earth's first iron age, with reduced Fe as the principal electron donor for photosynthesis, oxidized Fe the most abundant terminal electron acceptor for respiration, and Fe a key cofactor in proteins. With the permanent oxygenation of the atmosphere and surface ocean ca 2400 Ma, photic zone O 2 limited the access of photosynthetic bacteria to electron donors other than water, while expanding the inventory of oxidants available for respiration and chemoautotrophy. Thus, halfway through Earth history, the microbial underpinnings of modern marine ecosystems began to take shape. This article is part of the themed issue ‘The new bacteriology’.