CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE SOUL ARE MORE LIKE MUSIC THAN COMPUTATION (HAMEROFF)

Consciousness and The Soul Are More Like Music Than Computation

Einstein’s Simultaneity Experiment.The Reason Astronauts Age Slower Than People on Earth. Athletes are Students, too and enjoy science.

EINSTEIN’S SIMULTANEITY EXPERIMENT EXTENDED; THE REASON ASTRONAUTS AGE SLOWER THAN EARTHLINGS

Einstein was brilliant and conducted his thought experiments, within his Mind, not the laboratory, which he later illustrated with publications, which then became classic. He sought help with complicated matmatics at first and became very proficient mathmatically.

Additional observers, 2 men and 2 women, are added to Einstein’s standard experiment, with 1 man and 1 woman, for this author’s addendum to the thought experiment for the purpose of taking Einstein’s brilliance to another level.

My apologies for the unintended intrusion and offensiveness, if any, my addition might cause the Einstein family and our noble physicists. However, Einstein would appreciate this lecture to student Athletes, the focus of this website.

Imagine an 2 men observers are standing still, not moving, on a railway platform, “as a train goes roaring by and each end of the train is struck by a lightning strike just as the train’s midpoint is passing” the 2 men.

“Because both lightning strikes on each end of the train are the same distance from the (2 men) observers, the light reaches their eyes at the same instant. So they correctly says that they happened simultaneously.”

“Meanwhile, 2 women observers are on the train sitting at the train’s exact midpoint. From their perspective, the light from the 2 lightning strikes also has to travel equal distances, and the 2 women will likewise observe the speed of light to be the same in either direction.

“But if the train and the 2 women begin moving forward at the speed of light, the lightning strike coming from the rear of the train has to travel farther to be seen by the 2 women, so the light reaches their eyes a few seconds later than the light coming from the front of the train and the light from the front of the train reaches their eyes a few seconds sooner than the light from the rear of the train.

Since the light pulses arrived at different times, the 2 women can only conclude the strikes were not simultaneous and that the one in front actually happened first.

“In short, Einstein realized, simultaneity is what’s relative. Once you accept that, all the strange effects we now associate with Relativity are a matter of simple algebra.

“Einstein published his paper a few weeks after his thought experiments, titled: ‘On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies’, which offered his counter for the reconciliation of Maxwell’s equations with the Principle of Relativity.

“The revolutionary physicist used his imagination rather than fancy math to come up with his most famous and elegant equation.[Einstein’s Relativity Explained in 4 Simple Steps by Mitch Waldrop, May 16, 2017 National Geographic]

In sum, Einstein Experiment, modified with 2 men and 2 women on train station platform and the 2 women board and begin riding the train.

2 men and 2 women are waiting on a railway platform and lightning strikes on the front and rear of the train at the same time. The men and women are standing still. The strikes are simultaneous and both strikes the train at the exact same time.

The 2 men and 2 women, standing on the platform midway the length of the train and see lightning strike both the front and rear ends of the train at the exact same time I.e. adverb – simultaneously termed noun – simultaneity.

1st the Flow of time is different for observers when they are moving.If the 2 men remain standing still on the platform and the 2 women board the train and travel the speed of light toward the lightening that strikes the front of the train, what do they see?

The front and rear lightning strikes are not simultaneous for those 2 women moving toward the lightning strike at the front but simultaneous for those 2 men stationary to the light on the platform.

As, the train and the 2 women move toward the front strike of lightening the strike hits their eyes 1st before the men see the front lightning. Time lessens the interval from strike to visualization for the 2 women moving toward the strike of light; versus the 2 men standing still on the platform. For the 2 men on platform there is no time difference between front and rear strikes. The men’s time remains the same.

The 2 women observe the front lightning time sooner than the 2 men as they travel toward the front strike, and in less, sooner time than the 2 men standing still on the platform and observe the back lightning strike later, more time, than the 2 men, as the 2 women travel away from the rear strike.

Simultaneity and the flow of time itself depend on how people are moving versus not moving.

Time and Space are therefore Relative. Einstein termed the phenomenon Special Relativity, which led to E = mc² and other physics laws and discoveries. Einstein with the aid of his colleges perfected the mathematics.

If woman 1a of the 2 women on the moving train, willfully and regularly practiced her Belief, neuroplastically growing her brain’s e-Soul neuronetworks,

·  while traveling the speed of light on the train,

·  seeing, processing and integrating the lightning strike,

·  which turned out to be the Holy Spirit,

·  woman 1a would is subject to the laws and mathematics of Einstein’s Relativity and Quantum Mechanics,

·  and also subject to the laws for her developed e-Soul’s meaning and purpose at physical death, ascension to Eternity,

·  since all energy types never die and only can be changed from one form of energy to another, according to Einstein.

Scientists have quantified and defined the e-Soul while it egresses the deceased Human physical body described in the [the ‘Orch OR’ theory by Stuart Hameroff a1 Roger Penroseb2 Physics of Life Reviews Volume 11, Issue 1, March 2014, Pages 39-78], which has survived peer review test and scrutiny, even with documented EEG recordings.

The train traveling woman 2b, who theoretically, unlike woman 1a, did not practice a Belief and did not willfully activate her Belief and Faith brain neuronetworks and neuroplasticity, when she viewed the Holy Spirit light, is subject to the same laws of Physics and mathematics, but not subject to the laws of ORCH OR quantum entangled e-Soul and EEG processed by the brain neuronetworks’ microtubules.

Woman 1a’s train ride illustrates

·  the meaning and purpose of Creation,

·  the meaning and purpose of the resonant symphony of consciousness

·  and the resonant symphony of the Universe and meaning and purpose of Human life.

·  Human perseverance conquering life’s challenges with adaptation

·  and illustrates the living breathing genuine ‘Theory of Everything’

·  and begs for the yet-to-be biophysics computations necessary for the reconciliation of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics mathematical paradoxes and Stephen Hawking’s black hole paradoxes lost.

Furthermore, woman 1a’s train ride emphasizes the importance of every type conduit, which can transport Humans toward the Holy Spirit Light and our Creator, because No religion has a corner on Belief and Worship.

The exact same scenario is applicable to the 2 men standing still and not moving on platform, who see no time difference between the train front and rear lightning strikes. The 2 men visualization no time difference remains the same i.e. man 1a of the 2 men standing still and not moving on platform, willfully and regularly practiced his Belief, neuroplastically growing his brain’s e-Soul neuronetworks and man 2b did not willfully and regularly practice the appropriate Belief.

Man 1a is subject to the laws and mathematics of Einstein’s Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, and also be subject to the laws for his developed e-Soul’s meaning and purpose at physical death, ascension to Eternity, Not so for man 2b. [This entry was posted in GUIDANCE FOR CHILD / YOUTH AMATEUR ATHLETES, HEALTHCARE on October 20, 2018 by admin.]

“Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” [Mark Twain] The Human brain receives sensory inputs from hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, feeling, touching, perceiving, processing and integrating senses and activating and memorizing the signals appropriately.

Conscious Pilot

“The truths of the Universe are written out there for all to see, on the Universe itself, and are accessible to us all through the process of inquiry.

“To allow an uncertain faith to stand in as an answer where scientific knowledge is required does us all a disservice; the illusion of knowledge or reaching a conclusion before obtaining the scientific evidence, is a poor substitute for what we might actually come to learn, if only we ask the right questions.

“Science has not proved beyond a shadow of a doubt the existence of God, but if we use our beliefs as an excuse to draw conclusions that scientifically, we’re not ready for, we run the grave risk of depriving ourselves of what we might have come to truly learn.

For now, the best evidence hypotheses are circumstantial. The truths of Creation and the Universe are out there for all to see and begging discovery. [Can Science Prove The Existence Of God? By Ethan Siegel, Ph.D. astrophysicist, physics and astronomy professor, @startswithabang, Jan 20, 2017 Science Forbes]

In the experiment above this research reporter left the reader hanging with Humans standing still on platform and moving on a train and willfully with some who regularly practiced his Belief, neuroplastically growing their brain’s e-Soul neuronetworks before the introduction of the existence of God and the Human e-Soul.  Many are the references for the existence of God, our Creator and the Human e-Soul.

The following are examples of research brain scan images demonstrating the effect of God in Human brains. There are many more, which can be seen at link:  https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A2KLfSWRn81bRMAAkzLBGOd_;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–?p=Scans+brain+spirituality+prayer+heals+scientists+doctor&fr=ipad

More references for the existence of God:

[Does God Affect Our Brain? National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine]

[How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist Paperback – March 23, 2010 by Andrew Newberg M.D. (Author), Mark Robert Waldman  (Author)][Andrade C, Radhakrishnan R. Prayer and healing: A medical and scientific perspective on randomized controlled trials. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2009;51(4):247-253. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.58288.]

[What Happens During a Prayer from Dr. Issam Nemeh, Science of Creation][Can Prayer Heal? Does prayer have the power to heal? Scientists have some surprising answers. by Jeanie Lerche Davis, WebMD]

[Scientists find religion triggers same area of brain as other pleasure, Researchers scan the brains of people having strong spiritual experiences. By PAUL RATNER 01 Dec, 2016, Big Think]

[Sayadmansour A. Neurotheology: The relationship between brain and religion. Iranian Journal of Neurology. 2014;13(1):52-55].

[God and Your Brain, How He Changes It, by Dale Fletcher, June 13. 2013 Faith and Health Connection]

The evidence for existence of the Human Soul is equally compelling.

Testimonials from prominent physics researchers from institutions such as Cambridge University, Princeton University, and the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich claim that quantum mechanics predicts some version of “life after death.” They assert that a person may possess a body-soul duality that is an extension of the wave-particle duality of subatomic particles. [The Cosmos News, Published on Dec 24, 2015]

Physicist, Sir Roger Penrose, believes, after death of the physical body, human consciousness lives on as the soul, which is stored in neuron brain cells, as a packet of quantum, subatomic energy.

Dr Hans-Peter Dürr, former head of the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, has said: “What we consider the here and now, this world, it is actually just the material level that is comprehensible….”The beyond is an infinite reality that is much bigger…. “The body dies but the spiritual quantum field continues. In this way, I am immortal.”

Energy never dies [Einstein] and THIS UNIVERSE RESONANT RHAPSODY ENERGY SYMPHONY endures and survives: link [by Micheal B. Minix, Sr., M.D., Aug 1, 2018: [Link https://www.brainsthatbelieve.xyz]

Our Creator created multiple, fundamental neuroanatomical ‘Brain God Areas’ ‘Mind and Soul ‘in His likeness, encoded for spiritual, religions and meditative practices. Darwinian evolution and natural selection ensued, then established and maintained the neuroanatomical ‘Final Stage of Human Creation’. The final stage when Humans willfully neurophysiologically activate the NeuroNetwork for religious, meditation, faith and belief practices, experiences, realities and Mindfulness. [Link: http://www.godmindcreations.com, by Micheal B. Minix, Sr., M.D. Dec 3, 2015] .

Humans have been looking for God in all the wrong places. God is encoded just above the Human nose in 55 areas deep within the brain. God is neuro-networked in the Homo sapien-sapiens species, Modern Anatomical Cognitive Human spiritual, neuroanatomy for religious, meditation, faith and belief practices, experiences, realities and Mindfulness,  the Final Stage of Human Creation. [Link: http://www.godmindcreations.com, by Micheal B. Minix, Sr., M.D. Dec 3, 2015]

Activation likelihood estimation (ALE) analyzes of MRI studies suggest that meditation practice induces functional and structural brain modifications, especially in areas involved in self-referential processes, including self-awareness and self-regulation [63] [Ref: Estimating The Intrinsic Dimension In fMRI Space Via Dataset Fractal Analysis, MIT Technology Review] [What’s a Voxel and What Can It Tell Us? A Primer on fMRI, Daisy Yuhas June 21, 2012, Scientific American] [“The Meditative Mind: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis of MRI Studies. Boccia, Maddalena, Laura Piccardi, and Paola Guariglia.” BioMed Research International 2015 (2015): 419808. PMC. Web. 9 Oct. 2018]

“Dr. Andrew Newberg has scanned the brains of praying nuns, chanting Sikhs and meditating Buddhists. He studies the relationship between the brain and religious experience, a field called Neurotheology. Newberg, the originator, has published many research articles and written a book, ‘Principles of Neurotheology’ that lays the groundwork for a new kind of scientific and theological dialogue. [Principles of Neurotheology by Andrew B. Newberg, 276 pages 2010] [How God Changes Your Brain: An Introduction to Jewish Neurotheology CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Winter 2019])

“Andrew Newberg, M.D. is an American neuroscientist, Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies and an Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, a prominent researcher in the field of nuclear medical brain imaging and Neurotheology, developed neurotransmitter tracers for the evaluation of religiosity and neurological and psychiatric disorders including clinical depression, head injury, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

There are 55 FUNDAMENTAL BRAIN AREAS ASSOCIATED WITH SPIRITUALTIY / RELIGIOUS THINKING demonstrated by fMRI, while measuring O₂ saturation in blood circulating through brain area and determining the activated brain regions responding to religious, meditation, faith and belief practices, experiences, realities:

left brain right brain    frontal brain lobes prefrontal cortex
ventromedial cortex parietal lobe            dorsal brain areas
medial temporal lobes anterior cingulate cortex             occipital cortex
cerebellum multiple areas of limbic system           thalamus
thalamic reticular nucleus ventral tegmental brain            septal area
substantia nigra pars compacta   arcuate nucleus of hypothalamus
nucleus accumbens pituitary gland         ventral cortical axis
caudate nucleus insula                         bilateral fusiform regions
para-hippocampal gyrus right and left angular gyri

Autopoiesis (Autogenesis) is a Living System with Self-Sustaining (Autonomy) and Continual Self-Creation (Poiesis). Unity is the harmonious, sustainable existence and relationship of 2 divided parts, Autopoietic System and Nature

“A culture based on superstitions will do worse than one based on scientific knowledge and rational thoughts.” Venkatraman Ramakrishnan stated, a physicist and molecular biologist, who was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his research on ribosomes. While many Hindus consider astrology to be an important Vedic science and schedule life events around the movements of the stars, Ramakrishnan has spoken out against this practice in the past. He believes astrology evolved from humans’ desire to search for “patterns, generalize and believe. [In an interview with the Jan 7, 2016 Hindustan Times, he said]

[Quantum Consciousness STUART R. HAMEROFF, MD Director, Center for Consciousness Studies Professor Emeritus Department of Anesthesiology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona and Department of Psychology Banner – University Medical Center Tucson hameroff@u.arizona.edu]

“The nature of consciousness remains deeply mysterious and profoundly important, with existential, medical and spiritual implication.  We know what it is like to be conscious, to have awareness, a conscious ‘mind’, {{{ when the Human Mind open for business }}} but who, or what, are ‘we’ …. who know such things? {{{denotes mbmsrmd insertion}}}.

“The ‘standard model’, now discouraged, , is that consciousness emerges from complex computation among brain neurons, computation whose currency is seen as neuronal firings (‘spikes’) and synaptic transmissions, equated with artificial consciousness binary ‘bits’ in digital computing.

“Consciousness is presumed to ‘emerge’ from complex neuronal computation, and to have arisen during biological evolution as an adaptation of living systems, extrinsic to the makeup of the universe.

The quest for Robot Brain Chips that complete more and more mental tasks is rapidly developing, but there appear to be exact Human replication limitations, because Human Creation is unique. Humans will never manufacture another Human for eternity or be the winning quarterback in a Superbowl. [http://www.cappaa.com/robots-brain-chips-soul-football]

“On the other hand, spiritual and contemplative traditions, and some scientists and philosophers consider consciousness to be intrinsic, ‘woven into the fabric of the universe’. In these views, are protoconsciousness, conscious precursors and Platonic forms preceded biology, existing all along in the fine scale structure of reality.

“Dr Hameroff’s research involves a theory of consciousness which can bridge these 2 above approaches, a theory developed over the past 20 years with eminent British physicist Sir Roger Penrose. Called ‘orchestrated objective reduction’ (‘Orch OR’),

“It suggests consciousness arises from quantum vibrations in protein polymers called microtubules inside the brain’s neurons, vibrations which interfere, ‘collapse’ and resonate across scale, control neuronal firings, generate consciousness, and connect ultimately to ‘deeper order’ ripples in spacetime geometry.

“Consciousness is more like music than computation, from all indicators, facts and evidence. The following references are cited for additional reader research.

{{ [[The only way an algorithm can tell if you really like a song is by scanning your brain, by Jacek Krywko & Commentary October 18, 2016, Quartz]}}}

{{{ [Nozaradan S. Exploring how musical rhythm entrains brain activity with electroencephalogram frequency-tagging. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2014;369(1658):20130393. doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0393.

{{{ [Brain Waves Transformed into Music By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor | November 14, 2012 Live Science]

“Humans cannot hear the music in another Human  Brain. A novel method with which we can sonify the Electroencephalogram (EEG) data recorded in rest state as well as under the influence of a simplest acoustical stimuli, a tanpura drone. The tanpura drone has a very simple yet very complex acoustic features, which is generally used for creation of an ambiance during a musical performance.” Extensive research concerning music on and in the brain is proliferating.

{{{ [Music of Brain and Music on Brain: A Novel EEG Sonification approach by Nag, Sayan; Sanyal, Shankha; Banerjee, Archi; Sengupta, Ranjan; Ghosh, Dipak 12/2017, eprint arXiv:1712.08336 ]}}}

{{{ [10 Pieces of Music Created with Brain Waves, Here’s How to Make Music With Only Your MIND! By Becky Chung Jan 2 2017, Creators] }}}

{{{[The Health Benefits Of Music Therapy, By Danielle L’Ecuyer. HelthPrep]}}}
“EEG measures the brain’s electrical activity directly, while other methods record changes in blood flow (e.g., SPECT, fMRI) or metabolic activity (e.g., PET, NIRS), which are indirect markers of brain electrical activity. EEG can be used simultaneously with fMRI so that high-temporal-resolution data can be recorded at the same time as high-spatial-resolution data, however, since the data derived from each occurs over a different time course, the data sets do not necessarily represent exactly the same brain activity. [Wikipedia]

Several EEG Wave patterns have been recognized. Gamma Waves are associated with consciousness and the soul.

Gamma waves 

· Gamma is the frequency range approximately 30–100 Hz. carrying out a certain cognitive or motor function. Recently associated with consciousness and the Human Soul, one of the many Human brain neuronetworks.

[Niedermeyer E.; da Silva F.L. (2004). Electroencephalography: Basic Principles, Clinical Applications, and Related Fields. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 978-0-7817-5126-1 [Oberman, Lindsay M.; Hubbard, Edward M.; McCleery, Joseph P.; Altschuler, Eric L.; Ramachandran, Vilayanur S.; Pineda, Jaime A. (2005). “EEG evidence for mirror neuron dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders”. Cognitive Brain Research. 24 (2): 190 8 doi:10.1016/j.cogbrainres.2005.01.014. PMID 15993757]

“Gamma brain waves are the fastest brainwave frequency with the smallest amplitude. They are associated with the “feeling of blessings” reported by experienced meditators such as monks and nuns, and with peak concentration and extremely high levels of cognitive functioning

“Neuroscientists believe that gamma waves are able to link information from all parts of the brain and not only that, but the entire brain is  influenced by the gamma wave.

“The gamma wave originates in the thalamus and moves from the back of the brain to the front and back again 40 times per second. This rapid “full sweep” action makes the gamma state one of peak mental and physical performance. Gamma is the brainwave state of being “in the Zone,” that feeling that you can do anything.

“Everyone has gamma brainwave activity, but the amount of gamma waves produced varies. Low amounts of gamma brainwave activity have been linked to learning difficulties, poor memory and impaired mental processing.

“People with very high levels of gamma activity are exceptionally intelligent, compassionate, happy, and have excellent memories and strong self-control. IQ scores of people with high gamma wave activity are correspondingly high.

“High gamma activity also corresponds to a state of peak performance. Elite athletes, top-notch musicians and high achievers in all fields produce far more gamma waves than average.

“The benefits of producing the gamma frequency are:

·  Increased memory recall (the 40 Hz frequency is known to regulate memory processing); people with high gamma activity have exceptionally vivid and rapid memory recall.

·  Increased sensory perception. Senses are heightened when the brain produces gamma waves. Food tastes better; vision and hearing sharpen; sense of smell becomes more powerful; and your brain becomes far more sensitive to all sensory input. This makes for a much richer sensory experience and a better perception of reality.

·  Increased focus; but this enhanced focus is not necessarily aimed at one individual object or task. In the gamma state, your brain is able to process all sensory information faster and more fully with greater sensitivity; and combine the whole scenario into a highly memorable experience. People with high gamma activity can recall everything about any memorable event – the food they ate, the music they heard, the conversations, the names of people they met, the air temperature, etc.

·   One of the most remarkable properties of the gamma state is the processing speed: the brain is able to process incredible amounts of information very quickly, remember it, and retrieve that memory later.

·  People with high gamma activity are naturally happier, calmer and more at peace. This is Nature’s best anti-depressant (people suffering from depression typically have very low gamma activity).

· Gamma waves are present during REM sleep and visualization.

·  Compassion comes from a feeling of one-ness with all creation. This is the “feeling of blessings” and ecstasy that accompanies high levels of gamma brainwave activity. [The Marvelous Properties of Gamma Brain Waves  Cheyenne Diaz Feb 2018 MindValley]

Music’s Pentatonic Scale is regarded a pleasing scale of many music genres. Pentatonic are associated specifically to black gospel. The kind of music that goose-bumps the hair on The neck (piloerection) and ‘moves the soul’, possibly DNA encoded 50,000 to 70,000 years ago when Homo sapien-sapiens, modern anatomical humans became cognitive.

One scientist posited the Pentatonic Scale was the original Human vocal communication and music frequency. Many relate the Pentatonic scale to the music and even the moans of slave working in the plantation fields and on the transportation ships from Africa.

The Pentatonic Scale has five notes. “The five-note system that can do no wrong. A lot of music theory is about limiting which notes to use in your song to a small set that sound good together. The earliest set of such notes was called the Pentatonic Scale.

It has 5 notes and looks like the following. Arranging these notes in order of increasing frequency is known as a scale. It’s not important to remember these numbers. Just remember that simpler ratios make better sounding combinations of notes

“Colleagues Travis Craddock, Jack Tuszynski and Hameroff studied how anesthetics act in microtubules to erase consciousness, and with Jay Sanguinetti, John JB Allen and Sterling Cooley, are studying how transcranial ultrasound (TUS) can be used non-invasively to resonate brain microtubules and treat mental, cognitive and neurological disorders. Abi Behar-Montefiore and Ed Xia maintain thewebsite. [STUART R. HAMEROFF, MD  Director, Center for Consciousness Studies, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anesthesiology, College of Medicine,, University of Arizona and Department of Psychology, Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, Quantum Consciousness Theorist & Researcher. hameroff@u.arizona.edu]

In a study published by Mohamad Koubeissi at the George Washington University in Washington DC, he and his colleagues describe how they managed to switch a woman’s consciousness off and on by stimulating her claustrum. The claustrum appears to be the orchestra conductor. (Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B, doi.org/djjw5m).[ Consciousness on-off switch discovered deep in brain by Helen Thomson 2 July 2014 New Scientist]

Claustrum

The research team used deep brain electrodes to record signals from different brain regions to work out where her seizures originated. One electrode was positioned next to the claustrum, an area that had never been stimulated before. Stimulation of the claustrum switched consciousness on and off.

Dr Stuart Hameroff was “the skunk at an atheist convention” [Beyond Belief Conference, Session 4, La Jolla, Salk Institute, November 5-7, 2006]

Hameroff comments: “Most scientists and philosophers assume consciousness emerges from complex computation among brain neurons and synapses acting as indivisible bits, or information states. Penrose and I suggest that consciousness involves processes at deeper levels, specifically sequences of quantum computations (~40 per second) in structures called microtubules inside brain neurons. The quantum computations we propose link to neuronal-level activities, and are also ripples in fundamental spacetime geometry, the most basic level of the universe.

“One implication of our model relates to a possible scientific basis for secular spirituality (unrelated to any organized religious approach). I should say that Roger avoids discussion of such implications, but I’ve been willing to raise this possibility.

“For me, spirituality implies:

·  Interconnectedness among living beings and the universe

·  A ubiquitous reservoir of cosmic intelligence/Platonic values in touch with our conscious choices and perceptions

·  Existence of consciousness after death

“Can these issues be accounted for scientifically? I believe they possibly can.

“Interconnectedness – Conscious minds and unconscious processes may be quantum entangled.

“Cosmic intelligence/Platonic values – Penrose suggested in his 1989 book The emperor’s new mind that Platonic (Spiritual Nonsexual Amicable) values including mathematical truth, ethical values and beauty were embedded in the fine structure of the universe, specifically in fundamental spacetime geometry at the inifinitesimally tiny (and ubiquitous) Planck scale. In a 1996 paper, Penrose and I further suggested that the precursors of conscious experience were also embedded in Planck scale geometry.

“In our theory, conscious choices and perceptions are affected by this universal Platonic information which Penrose termed non-computable influence. I liken such proposed influence on conscious choices to “following the way of the Tao”, or “Divine guidance” “Conscious existence after death – In my view, consciousness occurs at the level of Planck scale geometry amplified to quantum coherence/computation in brain microtubules. When metabolic requirements for quantum coherence in brain microtubules are lost (e.g. death, near-death), quantum information pertaining to that individual may persist and remain entangled in Planck scale geometry.

“Taken as a whole, these ideas may be considered a plausibility argument for scientific, secular spirituality.

“In November 2006 I was invited to a meeting at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California called “Beyond Belief”.  Other speakers and attendees were predominantly atheists, and harshly critical of the notion of spirituality. They included Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Patricia Churchland, Steven Weinberg (the least venal), Neil deGrasse Tyson and others who collectively vilified creationists and religious warriors. But the speakers also ragged on the notion of any purpose or meaning to existence, heaped ridicule on the very possibility of a God-like entity (and those who believed in such an entity), declared that scientists and philosophers should set society’s moral and ethical standards, and called for a billion dollar public relations campaign to convince the public God does not exist.

“Near the end of the first day came my turn to speak. I began by saying that the conference to that point had been like the Spanish Inquisition in reverse –  the scientists were burning the believers.

“And while I had no particular interest in organized religion, I did believe there could be a scientific account for spirituality.

“After pointing out faulty assumptions in conventional brain models for consciousness and summarizing the Penrose-Hameroff theory, I laid out my plausibility argument for scientific, secular spirituality, suggesting cosmic connections and influence in our conscious thoughts occurred via quantum interactions in microtubules.

“I closed with a slide of the DNA molecule which emphasized it’s internal core where quantum effects rule, suggesting a Penrose non-computable influence in genetic mutations and evolution (aimed at Dawkins in the form of a quantum-based intelligent design).

“At the end a few people clapped loudly, but most sat in steely silence. The moderator and conference organizer Roger Bingham said I had enraged nearly everyone in the room. Indeed, I had raised a stink, and felt (happily) like the skunk at an atheist convention.  Comments from the audience were negative, but off base. Physicist Lawrence Krauss said my suggestion of backward time effects in the quantum unconscious (indicated by experiments, and required to rescue consciousness from its unfortunate characterization as epiphenomenal illusion) were impossible. He was apparently unaware of the verification of Wheeler’s delayed choice experiments which precisely prove such backward time effects.

“Krauss also questioned the possibility of biological quantum computation at brain temperature, but I pointed to evidence for warm quantum coherence in biological photosynthesis. Neuroscientist

“Terry Sejnowski attempted to criticize my view, but floundered, unable to explain how his conventional approach could explain 40 Hz gamma synchrony EEG (the best measurable correlate of consciousness) without quantum effects.

“Summary—synchronized integration and the “conscious pilot”
“The “conscious pilot” synchronized mobile integration model is a new candidate for the NCC. The conscious pilot refers to spatiotemporal envelopes of dendritic gamma synchrony (demarcated by gap-junction-defined “dendritic webs”) moving through the brain as vehicle for a conscious agent which can experience and control otherwise non-conscious (auto-pilot) cognitive functions.

“We start with the assumption that cognitive brain functions including sensory processing, motor control of behavior, learning, memory, and attention all occur either with or without consciousness. Without consciousness, cognitive functions are scientifically explained by neurocomputation in neuronal networks, i.e., the brain’s axonal firings and synaptic transmissions acting like “bit states” and switches in computers. These non-conscious functions are deemed the “easy problems,” “zombie modes,” or “auto-pilot.”27They are not really easy but at least approachable through neurocomputation.

“But consciousness—phenomenal awareness and conscious control—does not naturally ensue from neurocomputation. Science seeks to identify specific neuronal brain processes which underlie or correlate with consciousness—the NCC. The best measurable “neural correlate of consciousness” (NCC) is gamma synchrony EEG, coherent field potential oscillations in the range from 30 to 90 Hz. Gamma synchrony (along with consciousness, apparently) moves and evolves through various global distributions and brain regions.

“But like consciousness, gamma synchrony does not ensue from neurocomputation in synaptic networks. Rather, gamma synchrony occurs via “sideways circuits”—neurons (and glia) inter-connected by electrical synapses called gap junctions which physically fuse and electrically couple neighboring cells. In particular, groups of neurons linked by dendritic–dendritic gap junctions form extensive gamma-synchronized syncytia or “dendritic webs” extending through brain regions.

“Within neurocomputational networks, dendritic webs are laterally connected input/integration layers which can enable collective integration among synchronized neurons. As gap junctions open and close, spatiotemporal envelopes of synchronized neurons (dendritic webs) move and distribute rapidly around the brain as mobile integrators, vehicles for a conscious agent able to experience and control—tune into and take over—otherwise non-conscious auto-pilot neurocomputation. The conscious agent itself may be some finer-scale process extending within neuronal interiors through the dendritic web.28

“As a metaphor, an airplane flies on auto-pilot while the conscious pilot is sleeping or out of the cockpit engaged in other activities. If turbulence occurs, or an alarm sounds, the conscious pilot immediately returns to the cockpit and assumes conscious perception and control of the plane. When the problem resolves, the conscious pilot may again wander off as the auto-pilot computer takes over.

“In the brain, the auto-pilot is neurocomputation mediated by axonal firings and synaptic transmissions in feed-forward and feedback neuronal networks. The conscious pilot is synchronized collective integration (dendritic webs) moving and evolving sideways through input/integration layers of the same neuronal network architecture.29  [Hameroff S. The “conscious pilot”—dendritic synchrony moves through the brain to mediate consciousness. Journal of Biological Physics. 2010;36(1):71-93. doi:10.1007/s10867-009-9148-x.]

“Our theory also chafes proponents of artificial intelligence (“AI”, including advocates of the so-called Singularity) who assume consciousness results from interactions among neurons with no consideration of deeper activities or quantum mechanisms. Along these lines I recently spoke at Google in Silicon Valley, my talk being titled    A new marriage of brain and computer – Why the Singularity is bogus.   I am not by nature confrontational, but am happy to debate scientists and philosophers who oppose our theory.

“Atheism does not hold the scientific high ground. Secular spirituality based on quantum biology and the physics of spacetime geometry is a viable and important idea. I am not offering or suggesting any proof, just a plausibility argument. [J Biol Phys. 2010 Jan; 36(1): 71–93. Published online 2009 Apr 2. doi:  10.1007/s10867-009-9148-x PMCID: PMC2791805, PMID: 19669425, The “conscious pilot”—dendritic synchrony moves through the brain to mediate consciousness by Stuart Hameroff]

“Abstract: Introduction: Gamma synchrony and the “conscious pilot”
“Cognitive brain functions are accounted for by information processing in networks of neurons, “neurocomputation.” In each neuron, dendrites and the cell body/soma receive synaptic inputs and integrate them to a threshold for axonal firings as outputs—“integrate and fire.” Cognitive brain functions are thus understood as “neurocomputation” in networks of “integrate-and-fire” neurons.

“Despite this understanding, an explanation for conscious awareness eludes modern science. Illustrating this point, philosopher David Chalmers [1] has characterized non-conscious cognitive brain functions as the “easy problems,” including the brain’s abilities to non-consciously discriminate, categorize, and react to sensory stimuli, integrate information, focus attention, and control behavior. Non-conscious easy problem cognitive functions are largely habitual and also expressed as “zombie” modes [2] or “auto-pilot” [3].1 Chalmers explains that the so-called easy problems are not really that easy but at least seem directly amenable to “neurocomputation,” i.e., the brain’s integrate-and-fire neurons and synapses acting like “bit states” and switches in computers. Neurocomputation can explain non-conscious easy problem, zombie mode, and auto-pilot processes.

“The “hard problem” according to Chalmers is the question of how the brain produces conscious control and experience, i.e., phenomenal awareness with subjective feelings, composed of what philosophers call “qualia.” The hard problem refers to the fact that conscious control and experience do not naturally derive from neurocomputation.

“Without addressing the hard problem per se, neuroscientists aim to identify a “neural correlate of consciousness” (NCC), brain systems active concomitantly with conscious experience [4]. This paper presents a new model of the NCC as a mobile integrator moving through dendritic/somatic input/integration layers of the brain’s neurocomputational networks.

A key point is that non-conscious auto-pilot modes (easy problems, zombie modes) and conscious control and experience (hard problem) are not always separate and distinct. At times, non-conscious auto-pilot modes become driven or accompanied by conscious experience. For example, we often perform complex habitual behaviors like walking or driving while daydreaming, seemingly on auto-pilot with consciousness somewhere else. But when novelty occurs we consciously perceive the scene and assume conscious control—consciousness is able to “tune into and take over” non-conscious processes. So rather than a distinction between non-conscious auto-pilot modes on the one hand and conscious experience on the other, the essential distinction is actually between cognitive neurocomputation which at any given moment is, or is not, accompanied by some added fleeting feature (the “conscious pilot”) which conveys conscious experience and choice.

The best measurable feature correlating with consciousness (i.e., the NCC) is coherent electrical activity in a particular frequency band of the electroencephalogram (EEG).2The EEG records tiny brain-generated voltage fluctuations from scalp or brain surface electrodes, producing a complex continually varying signal.3 An important parameter is the degree of coherence or phase synchrony among voltage fluctuations recorded from different electrodes at any specific EEG frequency. Phase synchrony at various EEG frequencies can occur locally within one brain region, between neighboring and long-range regions, or globally distributed among many spatially separated brain regions.

In the late 1980s, Wolf Singer and colleagues [5, 6] found specific, phase-synchronized EEG in cats’ visual cortex which was strongly correlated with particular visual stimulation. The phase synchrony they found occurred at around 40 Hz, in the gamma frequency band of the EEG, and became known as “coherent 40 Hz” (gamma covering the range from 30 to 90 Hz). Subsequent studies have shown gamma synchrony in various brain locations correlating with conscious perception, motor control, language, working memory, face and word recognition, sleep/wake and dream cycles, and binding—the issue of how neurocomputational representations occurring in different brain regions and at slightly different moments are bound together in a unified conscious percept [7–19].4

Location and distribution of gamma synchrony within the brain can change dynamically, shifting on timescales of hundreds of milliseconds or faster [7, 20]. Specific modalities of conscious content reflect particular locations/distributions of gamma synchrony. For example, conscious smell occurs when odorant molecules induce gamma synchrony among olfactory bulb dendrites [21–23]. With conscious pleasure and reward, gamma synchrony is occurring in ventral tegmentum and nucleus accumbens [24].

When we are conscious of our surroundings, neurocomputational sensory arousal activity ascends via thalamus to cortex and then through other cortical areas in feed-forward and feedback circuits.5 These bottom-up and top-down recurrent neurocomputational networks are proposed to represent the world and mediate consciousness, e.g., in a “global workspace” [25–27]. But thalamocortical arousal is neither necessary nor sufficient for consciousness. We often process sensory information non-consciously while on auto-pilot, e.g., while we drive, walk, or engage in other habitual behaviors. In these situations, thalamocortical arousal and sensory processing continue without consciousness (and without gamma synchrony) [28].6 And consciousness occurs without thalamocortical arousal, e.g., in internally generated conscious states like memory recall and daydreaming owing to ongoing cortical–cortical dynamics [28].

The best measurable correlate of consciousness is long-range (e.g., cortical–cortical) gamma synchrony. In animals and surgical patients undergoing general anesthesia, gamma synchrony between frontal and posterior cortex is the specific marker which disappears with loss of consciousness and returns upon awakening [29, 30].7 In what may be considered enhanced or optimized levels of consciousness, highest amplitude, frequency, and phase coherent gamma synchrony have been recorded spanning cortical regions in meditating Tibetan monks [31].

What are the brain boundaries of gamma synchrony? Using depth electrodes in animals, gamma synchrony has been found between cortical hemispheres and between cortex, thalamus, other sub-cortical regions and even spinal cord [32]. Consciousness may require some critical threshold of gamma-synchronized neurons, e.g., long range (frontal–posterior, bi-hemispheric, corticospinal, ventral tegmentum–nucleus accumbens, etc.), critical number, or distribution. Gamma synchrony and consciousness seemingly redistribute and move together around the brain, able to tune into and assume control of otherwise non-conscious functions.8

As a metaphor, consider a passenger airplane cruising on auto-pilot. The conscious pilot is present but not directly in control nor consciously aware of the cockpit view or instrument readings. Perhaps he/she is reading a magazine, chatting in the main cabin or even sleeping and dreaming. Suddenly turbulence occurs or an alarm sounds. The conscious pilot “tunes in and takes over,” directing his/her attention to the view and instrument readings in the cockpit and assuming motor control of the plane and correcting course or elevation to avoid the turbulence. When the situation is resolved, the auto-pilot resumes monitoring and control, and the conscious pilot returns to previous activities, perhaps visiting with a flight attendant in the galley.

In the metaphorical airplane, the auto-pilot tending to the easy problems is the on-board flight computer and instruments. In the brain, non-conscious auto-pilot modes are accounted for by (e.g., thalamocortical) neurocomputation, i.e., the brain’s neuronal firings and synaptic transmissions acting like “bit states” and switches in computers.

What about the conscious pilot? Gamma synchrony is the logical candidate, correlating with consciousness and moving and redistributing throughout neurocomputational brain networks. Fully alert, attentive consciousness involving thalamocortical sensory arousal accompanied by gamma synchrony is the conscious pilot in the cockpit, perceiving the view and instrument readings and controlling the plane. Daydreaming, conscious memory, and other internally generated states would be gamma synchrony in various cortical areas, hippocampus, nucleus accumbens, etc.—the conscious pilot occupied elsewhere while the auto-pilot flies the plane.9

But gamma synchrony (like consciousness) does not directly ensue from neurocomputation.

“Summary—synchronized integration and the “conscious pilot”

“The ‘conscious pilot’ synchronized mobile integration model is a new candidate for the NCC. The conscious pilot refers to spatiotemporal envelopes of dendritic gamma synchrony (demarcated by gap-junction-defined “dendritic webs”) moving through the brain as vehicle for a conscious agent which can experience and control otherwise non-conscious (auto-pilot) cognitive functions.

“We start with the assumption that cognitive brain functions including sensory processing, motor control of behavior, learning, memory, and attention all occur either with or without consciousness. Without consciousness, cognitive functions are scientifically explained by neurocomputation in neuronal networks, i.e., the brain’s axonal firings and synaptic transmissions acting like “bit states” and switches in computers. These non-conscious functions are deemed the “easy problems,” “zombie modes,” or “auto-pilot.”27They are not really easy but at least approachable through neurocomputation.

“But consciousness—phenomenal awareness and conscious control—does not naturally ensue from neurocomputation. Science seeks to identify specific neuronal brain processes which underlie or correlate with consciousness—the NCC. The best measurable NCC is gamma synchrony EEG, coherent field potential oscillations in the range from 30 to 90 Hz. Gamma synchrony (along with consciousness, apparently) moves and evolves through various global distributions and brain regions.

“But like consciousness, gamma synchrony does not ensue from neurocomputation in synaptic networks. Rather, gamma synchrony occurs via “sideways circuits”—neurons (and glia) inter-connected by electrical synapses called gap junctions which physically fuse and electrically couple neighboring cells. In particular, groups of neurons linked by dendritic–dendritic gap junctions form extensive gamma-synchronized syncytia or “dendritic webs” extending through brain regions.

“Within neurocomputational networks, dendritic webs are laterally connected input/integration layers which can enable collective integration among synchronized neurons. As gap junctions open and close, spatiotemporal envelopes of synchronized neurons (dendritic webs) move and distribute rapidly around the brain as mobile integrators, vehicles for a conscious agent able to experience and control—tune into and take over—otherwise non-conscious auto-pilot neurocomputation. The conscious agent itself may be some finer-scale process extending within neuronal interiors through the dendritic web.28

“As a metaphor, an airplane flies on auto-pilot while the conscious pilot is sleeping or out of the cockpit engaged in other activities. If turbulence occurs, or an alarm sounds, the conscious pilot immediately returns to the cockpit and assumes conscious perception and control of the plane. When the problem resolves, the conscious pilot may again wander off as the auto-pilot computer takes over.

“In the brain, the auto-pilot is neurocomputation mediated by axonal firings and synaptic transmissions in feed-forward and feedback neuronal networks. The conscious pilot is synchronized collective integration (dendritic webs) moving and evolving sideways through input/integration layers of the same neuronal network architecture.”29

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Footnotes
1Philosopher Ned Block [114] has distinguished access consciousness (“A-consciousness”) and phenomenal consciousness (“P-consciousness”). “A-consciousness” involves cognitive functions which are immediately available/accessible to consciousness but lack phenomenal experience. Block’s A-consciousness is thus seemingly equivalent to non-conscious “easy problems,” “zombie modes,” or “auto-pilot” and his “P-consciousness” comparable to the “hard problem,” “conscious modes,” or “conscious pilot.”

2Neuronal-level origins of the EEG signal are discussed in the next section. Magnetoencephalography also reflects real-time brain activity from scalp or brain surfaces. In another type of approach, needle electrodes implanted into the brain generally record axonal action potential firings or spikes of individual neurons, not EEG which derives from local field potentials ensuing from post-synaptic dendritic activities of many neurons. Other approaches including functional brain imaging, e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), provide excellent spatial resolution of brain metabolic activity as measured by the BOLD signal related to blood oxygen levels. The BOLD signal may more closely reflect local field potentials and thus post-synaptic dendritic activity rather than axonal spikes [115, 116]. But fMRI and BOLD lack the temporal resolution of EEG.

3For analysis, the complex signal is commonly broken down into activity in particular frequency bands: delta (less than 4 Hz), theta (4 to 7 Hz), alpha (8 to 12 Hz), beta (12 to 30 Hz), and gamma (30 to 90 Hz or higher).

4In the early 1980s, brain synchrony as measured by EEG was proposed as a solution to the binding problem. Von der Malsburg [117] suggested synchronized oscillations among various brain regions bound together disparate content into unified conscious percepts. Consciousness seems to require binding, but does binding require consciousness (do non-conscious cognitive perceptions and actions involve binding)? If gamma synchrony invariably accompanies consciousness and implies binding, then non-conscious “auto-pilot” processes are likely to be unbound [17]. Thus mechanisms underlying gamma synchrony, binding, and consciousness are closely related [82, 118].

5In the “conscious pilot” metaphor, this would be the conscious pilot in the cockpit, monitoring the view and instrument readings and manually controlling the plane.

6As measured by fMRI metabolic activity, thalamocortical activity is reduced in both sleep and anesthesia compared to conscious subjects, prompting proposed equivalence between arousal and consciousness [27]. However, sensory-evoked potentials via thalamocortical arousal circuits are used to monitor spinal cord integrity during spinal surgeries under general anesthesia and thus occur without consciousness. Thalamocortical inputs in our daily life regarding, for example, the touch of shoes on our feet, are largely non-conscious. Purposeful behavior with arousal can occur without consciousness, e.g., when driving while daydreaming or in “zombie-like” patients going into, and emerging from, general anesthesia. “Going into” anesthesia is often accompanied by an excitatory “phase 2” stage, and waking from anesthesia may involve “emergence delirium,” both of which are arousal states without consciousness.

7During anesthesia, increased local unsynchronized gamma frequency EEG activity (“gamma power”) is elicited and enhanced by evoked potentials) [119]. In Gray and Singer’s [5] seminal studies on cats, localized gamma synchrony was observed in visual cortex in response to visual stimuli under very low levels (less than half anesthetic dose) of ketamine, barbiturate, and inhaled anesthesia. Slower (sub-gamma) EEG, local unsynchronized gamma activity [30], and thalamocortical-evoked potentials continue or increase during anesthesia in the absence of long-range gamma synchrony and consciousness.

8“Brainweb” of Varela et al. [120] is comparable, proposing that synchronized integration in various frequency bands in distributed brain regions comprise moments of conscious perception. The “Brainweb” assumes neuronal synchrony and connections occur via recurrent chemical synapses rather than the gap junction mechanisms discussed in this paper.

9Computer worms are another possible metaphor for the conscious pilot, moving and replicating through computational networks.

10Outnumbering neurons in the brain 10:1, glial cells (“glia”) support neuronal information processing but also have excitable membranes, receptors, calcium ion waves, cytoskeletal microtubules, synapses, and gap junctions and are involved in information processing [121, 122]. They are included in gap-junction-connected dendritic webs described in this paper.

11Signals are conveyed by depolarization waves moving along membrane surfaces of dendrites, cell body, and axons, described by the Hodgkin–Huxley [123] equations which relate ionic currents across excitable membranes with voltage potential waves traveling along their surfaces. Depolarization waves in dendrites/cell body (graded, analog) differ from those in axons (all or none, digital).

12Receptor proteins (ligand-gated ion channels) on dendrite and cell body membranes receive synaptic inputs from axons of other neurons via chemical neurotransmitters, inducing ion fluxes and graded/analog voltage patterns (excitatory and inhibitory post-synaptic potentials: “EPSPs” and “IPSPs”) which spatiotemporally integrate throughout the dendritic/cell body membrane to the AIS. When the integrated potential reaches threshold, an abrupt AIS membrane depolarization “fires” an action potential or spike which propagates rapidly and losslessly as a wave along the length of the axon. At the axon terminal, spikes induce release of neurotransmitters into synapses with downstream dendrites and cell bodies in axonal–dendritic networks of integrate-and-fire neurons.

13Coherent spike volleys or axonal firing explosions must be preceded and caused by synchronized dendritic integration activity. Alkire et al. [27] argue generally for brain integration as the substrate of consciousness.

14Many post-synaptic dendritic and somatic receptors are metabotropic, sending signals into dendritic interior cytoplasm and cytoskeleton rather than (or in addition to) changing membrane potentials. These cytoplasmic signals (chemical messengers, ion fluxes) activate enzymes, cause conformational signaling and ionic fluxes along actin filaments, and dephosphorylate microtubule-associated proteins which link and regulate cytoskeletal activity necessary for synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory [124–132]. Dendritic integration is also likely to include influence from dendrites from other neurons and glia via gap-junction-mediated synchrony (“collective integration”).

15The subjective experience of the passage of time may be related to the frequency of conscious moments. When we are excited, perhaps our baseline rate of conscious moments goes up from 40 to 60 Hz, and, subjectively, time slows down [102].

16In hippocampus, memory consolidation depends on “sharp wave–ripple complexes,” rapid 150- to 200-Hz oscillations (“ripples”) mediated by pyramidal cell gap junction connections, riding on slower theta/alpha frequency “sharp waves” [133].

17The seemingly instantaneous depolarization of gap-junction-linked excitable membranes (i.e., despite the relative slowness of dendritic potential waves or spikelets) suggests that even gap junction coupling cannot fully account for the precise coherence of global brain gamma synchrony [56]. Gap junctions are necessary (though not sufficient) to account for precise global gamma synchrony.

18Gap junctions are prominent in embryological formation of cortical circuits [134], then decline markedly in number as the brain matures. Accordingly, gap junctions are generally overlooked in relation to higher cognition and consciousness. But gap junctions do involve primary neurons. Venance et al. [135] showed gap junctions between interneurons and excitatory neurons in juvenile rat brain, and pyramidal cells (in hippocampal slices) share axonal–axonal gap junction coupling [136]. Gap junctions between primary hippocampal neurons play a role in high-frequency oscillations, e.g., 150 Hz [137]. Pruning and sparseness of gap junctions as the brain matures may be necessary for their utility. If each brain neuron were connected by open gap junctions to three or more different neurons, the entire brain would be one uninterrupted synchronized syncytium (Penrose, R—personal communication 1998).

19Connexin-based gap junctions occur between dendrites of neighboring brain neurons, between dendrites and glia, glia and glia, axons and axons, and axons and dendrites—bypassing chemical synapses [138, 139]. Among ten or more different brain connexins, connexin 36 is the primary gap junction protein between brain neuronal dendrites.

20Two examples, previously mentioned: conscious experience of smell occurs when gap-junction-mediated synchrony occurs among olfactory cortex dendrites [21–23]. When consciousness involves sexual feelings, dendritic gap junctions mediate gamma synchrony in brain regions involved in pleasure and reward [24]. Via gap junction openings and closings, gamma synchrony can move around the brain to mediate consciousness.

21Free will implies an additional issue of determinism not addressed here. Some types of volitional agency may be localized, e.g., in right inferior parietal cortex [140].

22Functionalists could argue such underlying process is unnecessary, in which case synchronized dendritic webs per se would solve the problems of conscious experience and control.

23The Penrose–Hameroff model predicts dendritic webs of approximately 100,000 neurons for discrete conscious moments, or frames, occurring every 25 ms in gamma synchrony [101].

24Unity of consciousness relates to binding, e.g., of disparate visual components such as shape, color, motion, and meaning into a unified visual percept. Unity also refers to one conscious self at home in the brain. Notable exceptions are “split-brain” patients whose corpus callosum—a bridge between right and left cortical hemispheres—has been transected (a lesion which also blocks global gamma synchrony). These patients appear to have two separate consciousnesses [141].

25Presumably, other connexin (or pannexin) proteins compensate during development, so the mice may not be completely devoid of gap-junction-mediated synchrony nor consciousness.

26Hosseinzadeh et al. [142] showed that normal rats given the gap-junction-blocking drug carbenoxolone also have impaired spatial learning.

27Block’s “access consciousness” [114] would be included, in this non-conscious group, as phenomenal experience is lacking.

28Functionalists may doubt the need or importance of a finer-scale process, in which case the dendritic web/mobile integrator solves the problem of conscious agent.

29A benevolent computer worm moving through computational circuits is another appropriate analogy.

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