Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quantum Consciousness Effects: Is This What 'Wires' the Brain?

In a Google TechTalk (see here for video and analysis), Alan Wallace calls the predominant scientific paradigm,  a "consciousness-formed-inside-the-brain" perspective, "the retinal blind-spot in the Western scientific viewpoint." Now, his video is of a talk he gave to Google in 2007, and I understand that a lot of work is now being done with respect to seasoned meditators and brain MRIs etc. - a lot of this work being inspired by Wallace himself - yet, I wonder how much of this research is even investigating the opposite viewpoint (the traditional Eastern philosophical and psychological view) that consciousness is separate from, formative, and greater than the brain.

Neural Ridge (bottom and left)
Heart/Circulatory System (top)
On a related note. . . . Sometime ago I saw a video on the development of a human embryo. Shortly after the fertilized egg cell begins to divide - when there is a very minimal number of cells - a dark "neural ridge" appears. It will later "evolve" into the central nervous system and brain. Shortly thereafter,   a 'group' of cells begins to pulse, cells that will develop into the heart, lungs and circulatory system, as the ebryo grows through its amphibian, reptilian and mammalian stages to form a complete and viable human being.

(I know that this "recapitulation theory," or the "theory of embryological parallelism," is controversial; yet it seems indisputable that the developing embryo goes through various stages that mimic the evolution of humans from single cells to fully formed human individuals. Certainly, neuroscientists distinguish between the "reptilian" brain, the "mamallian" cortex, and the "primate's" neo-cortex.)

My question is: How is there some form of 'consciousness' built into the DNA that causes these developments to take place?

At the genetic level that DNA proteins form (from adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosene, as I remember from High School biology), we are very close in degrees of magnitude to the atomic and sub-particulate levels where quantum effects begin to be the determinative factors. As quantum "events," sub-particles continually flash into and out of 'existence' seemingly instantaneously. 

Yet we "know" that a quantum event need an "observer" and "observation" in order to collapse the probability wave that is all - apparently - that is "real" in any sense before an initial act of "observation" takes place.

How is there an "observation" that collapses the "probability waves" of the particles and sub-particles from which DNA is constructed at an atomic level?

Of course, the biggest challenge for modern physics is probably how to square the quantum dynamics that can be observed at the microscopic and cosmic level with relativity theory that operates at the macrocosmic level. (I like to think, as Sri Ramakrishna observed, that "God is in the microcosmos and the macrocosmos," a conclusion Einstein would undoubtedly support.)

I can only conclude that there is a pervading "consciousness" throughout our universe that is, in a quantum theoretical sense, the "observer." The renowned physicist  (spiritual seeker and colleague of both Einstein and Krishnamurti), David Bohm, as explained in "The Dancing Wu Li Masters," said that it makes absolutely no sense to talk about a quantum system that is smaller than the universe itself. It is all part of an explicate "Whole" beneath which an "Implicate Order" operates. This is, of course, the conclusion that Eastern yogis and sages came to many thousands of years ago. It is certainly the view of the Buddhist Abidharma which, while old, is not as old as the Upanishads that express this holistic and cosmic perspective quite clearly.

Or, as Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita (Chap. X:42):

". . . Know that with one single fraction of my Being, I pervade and support the Universe, and know that I AM."

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