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HOW OUR THOUGHTS CAN INFLUENCE OUR ACTIONS Quantum Theory Of The Mind-Brain Connection.

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Presentation on theme: "HOW OUR THOUGHTS CAN INFLUENCE OUR ACTIONS Quantum Theory Of The Mind-Brain Connection."— Presentation transcript:

1 HOW OUR THOUGHTS CAN INFLUENCE OUR ACTIONS Quantum Theory Of The Mind-Brain Connection.

2 Quotes From Some Top Neuroscientists On The Connection Between Mind and Brain Taken from a Special Issue of Scientific American : “The Hidden Mind”. August 2002:

3 Antonio Damasio: “At the start of the new millennium, it is apparent that one question towers above all others in the life sciences: How does the set of processes we call mind emerge from the activity of the organ we call brain?”

4 Damasio (Continued) some thinkers “believe the question to be unanswerable in principle’’ “The naysayers argue that exhaustive compilation of all these data (of neuroscience) adds up to correlates of mental states but to nothing resembling an actual mental state.” (His emphasis)

5 Antonio Damasio (Continued) “In fact, the explanation of the physics related to biological events is still incomplete” and “the finest level of description of mind … might require explanation at the quantum level.”

6 Francis Crick and C. Koch: “The overwhelming question in neurobiology today is the relationship between the mind and the brain.”

7 Crick & Koch (Continued) “Radically new concepts may indeed be needed--- recall the modifications in scientific thinking forced on us by quantum mechanics.”

8 In Summary The problem of the mind-brain connection It Is Still Far From Being Solved! The Solution May Involve Introducing Quantum Mechanics, Or Some Comparable Radical Change.

9 PSYCHOLOGISTS ALSO STUDY CONSCIOUSNESS! WILLIAM JAMES (1890, p.138): consciousness seems to be ``an organ, superadded to the other organs which maintain the animal in its struggle for existence;

10 WILLIAM JAMES (CONTINUED): “ and the presumption of course is that it helps him in some way in this struggle, just as they do. But it cannot help him without being in some way efficacious and influencing the course of his bodily history.''

11 James then examines the circumstances under which consciousness actually appears, and ends up saying: ``The conclusion that it is useful is, after all this, quite justifiable. But if it is useful it must be so through its causal efficaciousness, and the automaton-theory must succumb to common-sense'' (James 1890, p.144).

12 The “Automaton Theory” Is Precisely The Theory Entailed By Classical Mechanics. Classical Mechanics Claims That All Physical Properties Are Determined By Earlier Physical Properties Alone, With No Reference To The Contents Of Our Streams of Conscious Experiences--- With No Reference To Our Thoughts, Ideas, And Feelings.

13 A classically conceived brain is like a clockwork mechanism, except that it excretes a “stream of conscious experiences”, much like a liver excretes bile. But Bile Causally Affects Our Bodily Processes, Whereas, According To Classical Mechanics, Our Conscious Experiences Do Not Affect Our Bodily Processes!

14 Thus William James Rejects The Classical-Mechanics-Based Conception Of The Mind-Brain Connection Because it does not allow consciousness be useful for human survival, which, according to his detailed study, it seems to be!


16 The Mechanical Determinism Entailed By Classical Mechanics Is “Bottom-Up”: It Stems From The Determinism At The Microscopic Level Of The Classically Postulated Point-Like Particles. Whereas:

17 Orthodox Quantum Mechanics Says The Point-Like-Particle-Realities Postulated By Classical Physics Do Not Exist! Thus Switching To Quantum Mechanics Nullifies The Conceptual Basis Of The Notion Of Mechanical Determinism!

18 MOREOVER, Quantum Mechanics Injects Our Conscious Thoughts Into The Dynamics In A Way That Allows Them To Aid Our Bodily Survival, As William James Said They Appear To Do.

19 Quantum Theory Is Explicitly A Theory Of Observations. It Was Designed To Explain, In Terms Of Physical Concepts, Certain Observed Statistical Relationships Between Elements Of Our Streams Of Conscious Experiences. IT IS ABOUT THE MIND-PHYSICS CONNECTION! C onsequently, It Is An Appropriate Framework For Approaching The Mind-Brain Connection.

20 Bohr On QM and Observation In our description of nature the purpose is not to disclose the real essence of phenomena but only to track down as far as possible relations between the multifold aspects of our experience. the formalism does not allow pictorial representation along accustomed lines, but aims directly at establishing relations between observations obtained under conditions described by simple physical concepts.

21 Wigner on Consciousness It was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.

22 REMARK In A Satisfactory Theory Of Nature, Our Streams of Conscious Experiences, Should Be Causally Connected To The Physical, Rather Than Being Other-Worldly Interlopers That Can Somehow “Understand” or “Feel” The Meanings Of Neural Activities Without Participating In The Action. Quantum Theory Does Inject Consciousness Into The Action!

23 The “Possible States” Of A Physical System As Conceived In Classical Physics. Consider a physical system (such a someone’s brain) According to the precepts of classical physics a “possible state” of that system is specified by assigning to each particle in that system both a well defined location (position) and a well defined velocity (or better, momentum p=mv), and giving the analogous values also for the Electro- Magnetic and Gravitational fields.

24 Classical Statistical Mechanics On The Basis Of Our Knowledge Of The Results Of Some Initial Preparation Process We Distribute A Unit (Total) Probability Over The Points In The Space of All Possible States We Then Allow This Probability Distribution To Evolve (Change In Time) In Accordance With The Physical Equations of Motion Of The System. We Then Assert That The Probability At Any Later Time “T” That The Actual System Will Be In A Region R In The State Space Is The Part Of The Evolved Probability Distribution That Lies In Region R At Time “T”.

25 The Generalness of Preparation and Observation In Classical Statistical Mechanics In Classical Statistical Mechanics One Can In Principle: Prepare The System In The Statistical State Specified By Any Conceivable Distribution Of The Probability Over The State Space. And, For Any Chosen Region R Of State Space, No Matter How Small, Or How Oddly Shaped, One Can Also, In Principle: Observe Whether Or Not The Actual System Lies In Region R.

26 Preparation and Observation In Quantum Mechanics. Quantum Mechanics Is “Analogous” To Classical Statistical Mechanics. However, Arbitrary Physically Described Probability Distributions Cannot Be Prepared. And Observations Corresponding To Arbitrary Classically Conceived Regions R Are Not Allowed. Only Specially Shaped Finite-Sized Distributions Can Be Prepared Or Observed!

27 Complete Sets Of Compatible Observations Only Certain Sets Of Observations Are “Compatible” With Each Other. A “Complete Set Of Compatible States” Can Fill Up The State Space Of Classical Mechanics With “Almost Non-Overlapping” Regions R Of Finite Size. But The Allowed Regions R Cannot Be Shrunk To Less Than A Certain Size.

28 Quantum Wholeness Quantum Theory Enforces: “The Essential Element of Wholeness, Symbolized By The Quantum Of Action And Completely Foreign To Classical Physical Principles.” (Bohr) Trying To Understand The Connection Of Conscious To Brain Activity Within Classical Mechanics Is Futile Because That Theory: (1) Does Not Logically/Conceptually Connect Brain Activity To Consciousness, and (2) Fails To Impose “The Essential Element of Wholeness (Discreteness).”

29 Quantum Represents The State Of A System By a Matrix. An N-by-N Matrix Is Like Crossword Puzzle With N Rows And N Columns, But With All The Boxes Filled With Numbers. The Quantum State Of A Physical System (Such As Some Person’s Brain) Is Represented By An N-by-N Matrix. The N Rows Correspond To N Distinct Compatible Possible Observations. Likewise For The N Columns

30 Quantum State Of A Brain With ‘Fight’ And ‘Flight’ Templates for Action Shaded.

31 Effect Of Decoherence

32 Effect of Process 1 Action

33 The “Causal Gap” and “Process 1” The Way That The Classically Conceived “State Space” Is Partitioned Into A Set Of Discrete Mutually Compatible Possible Observational States Is Not Specified By The Rules Of Quantum Mechanics: There Is a “Causal Gap”. In Actual Scientific Practice The Choice Of The Partitioning Needed To Connect The Physical Description To Observation Is A “Free Choice” Made By An Experimenter”: Von Neumann Labels It “Process 1”

34 Bohr on “Free Choice” "The freedom of experimentation... corresponds to the free choice of experimental arrangement for which the mathematical structure of the quantum mechanical formalism offers the appropriate latitude." (Bohr, 1958, p.73) Our possibilities of handling the measuring instruments allow us only to make a choice between the different complementary types of phenomena that we want to study. (Bohr, 1958, p. 51)

35 Physical Effect Of An Intentional Action A Partitioning Of The State Space Into The Discrete Parts Is Needed To Tie The Physical Description To An Observation: To Our Knowledge. It Is Linked To A Conscious Intent. The Next Figure Indicates How This Intention-Driven Process I Action Divides The Set Of Diagonal (Quasi-Classical) Elements Into A Set Of Discrete Parts.

36 Effect Of Process 1 Plus Decoherence

37 Effect of ‘Yes’ Outcome

38 Effect of Schroedinger Evolution

39 Attention and Intention Focused Attention Intensifies The Mental Image Of The Intended Action. Postulate: Focusing Attention Increases The Rate Of The Process 1 Actions. This Postulate Begins To Fill The “Causal Gap” In The Currently Existing Quantum Dynamics.

40 The Quantum Zeno Effect The Rules Of Quantum Theory Imply That If The Process 1 Probing Action (Shown Above) Is Repeated Sufficiently Rapidly On The “Yes” State (Shown Above) Then The Diffusion Effect Shown Above Will Be Curtailed, And The State Will Remain Essentially Confined To The Sub-Space of States Specified By “Yes”, (Shown Above) In Which The ‘Fight’ Template For Action Is Activated.

41 Fits Beautifully With Psychology: William James On “Effort/Will” “Everywhere, then, the function of the effort is the same: to keep affirming and adopting the thought which, if left to itself, would slip away.” (James, 1892, p. 421) “The essential achievement of the will, in short, when it is most `voluntary,' is to attend to a difficult object and hold it fast before the mind.... Effort of attention is thus the essential phenomenon of will.” (James 1892, p. 417-18.)

42 Supporting Evidence Schwartz, Stapp, Beauregard, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. B 360, 1305-27 (2005)

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