It is Time We All Know the World for What it Truly Is

 George Orwell once said that “in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Since he offered those words decades ago, we have seen deceit become a pervasive and global problem, where the general public really has no clue what is happening around the world. The truth is, we live in a world of secrecy, and many prominent figures throughout history have been trying to tell us this for years. Even President Theodore Roosevelt warned us of the secret government, revealing that “behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.”

Eisenhower in his farewell speech said: “Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.  We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love .“

More people became aware of the world of secrecy when Edward Snowden, a former intelligence contractor, leaked the very first documentation that proved the existence of clandestine black budget operations. These programs go far beyond surveillance and have no oversight from Congress. (You can read more about that topic here.)

To become aware of these hidden truths, one must be curious about our world and capable of thinking critically. It’s hard to know who to trust, especially when it comes to international politics. Examine information and go with what resonates with you; after that, you can look at what different politicians are saying, determine how it fits in with everything you’ve looked at, and connect the dots accordingly.

When it comes to geopolitics, things have become quite clear within the past few years for many, and there is a general consensus among many political leaders and academics that, for a long time, there has been a deliberate manipulation of the opinions of the masses, and that those who manipulate this “unseen mechanism, constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power” of global geopolitics. Our minds are “molded, our tastes formed” and our ideas are “suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” (Edward Bernays)

If the powers that be today find some standard or norm to their advantage, they force everyone else to comply. But if tomorrow these same standards get in their way, they are swift to throw them in the bin, declare them obsolete, and set or try to set new rules.

For years we’ve relied on mainstream media, but more people are starting to realize that it cannot be trusted, especially when it comes to covering major events like 9/11, the so called ‘war on terror,’ and other critical topics. Global corporate media has become a tool of deception and misinformation, and many of us still have yet to wake from our slumber and realize that this source of ‘information’ is simply an elite owned tool meant to push an agenda that has little to do with public interest.

The results of this massive deception and misinformation has foisted upon the American people and through them to our global citizenry a “con” job of epic proportion in the guise of the most recent presidency. While many are beginning to awaken to this fact, many more remain in their slumber as they are basically being stripped of their liberties, their livelihoods, and their dignities as human beings. Now more than ever, we must wake up, take responsibility for where we find ourselves, and most importantly, we must act to restore our principles of freedom, democracy, dignity, and tolerance that are the backbone principles of our founding fathers.

It is not too late. It is not impossible to reverse these ugly and mean-spirited actions that are unfolding. We simply must stand and proclaim “this is NOT who we are!” For the truth is while the majority has been quiet and, frankly, lazy, we still are the majority and we are by nature good, loving, and generous people that cherish freedom, choice, and opportunity for everyone.

Understanding the Quantum World and Our Quantum Nature Part Three the Quantum Soul

In the first two parts of this series we examined and began to understand the quantum nature of our reality and that, in fact, our brains are equipped to deal with this quantum reality. In this segment, we are going to extend this to exactly how we may exist in an eternal dynamic. This is NOT a religious belief, but a scientific explanation.

A book titled “Biocentrism – How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the Nature of the Universe” has stirred up the Internet, because it contained a notion that life does not end when the body dies, and it can last forever. The author of this publication, scientist Dr. Robert Lanza who was voted the 3rd most important scientist alive by the NY Times, has no doubts that this is possible.

Beyond time and space

Lanza is an expert in regenerative medicine and scientific director of Advanced Cell Technology Company. Before he has been known for his extensive research which dealt with stem cells, he was also famous for several successful experiments on cloning endangered animal species. But not so long ago, the scientist became involved with physics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics.

This explosive mixture has given birth to the new theory of biocentrism, which the professor has been preaching ever since. Biocentrism teaches that life and consciousness are fundamental to the universe. It is consciousness that creates the material universe, not the other way around. Lanza points to the structure of the universe itself, and that the laws, forces, and constants of the universe appear to be fine-tuned for life, implying intelligence existed prior to matter.

He also claims that space and time are not objects or things, but rather tools of our animal understanding. Lanza says that we carry space and time around with us “like turtles with shells,” meaning that when the shell comes off (space and time), we still exist. The theory implies that death of consciousness simply does not exist. It only exists as a thought because people identify themselves with their body. They believe that the body is going to perish, sooner or later, thinking their consciousness will disappear too. If the body generates consciousness, then consciousness dies when the body dies.

But if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable box receives satellite signals, then of course consciousness does not end at the death of the physical vehicle. In fact, consciousness exists outside of constraints of time and space. It is able to be anywhere: in the human body and outside of it. In other words, it is non-local in the same sense that quantum objects are non-local.

Lanza also believes that multiple universes can exist simultaneously. In one universe, the body can be dead. And in another it continues to exist, absorbing consciousness which migrated into this universe. This means that a dead person while traveling through the same tunnel ends up not in hell or in heaven, but in a similar world he or she once inhabited, but this time alive. And so on, infinitely… It’s almost like a cosmic Russian doll afterlife effect.

Multiple worlds

This hope-instilling, but extremely controversial theory by Lanza has many unwitting supporters, not just mere mortals who want to live forever, but also some well-known scientists. These are the physicists and astrophysicists who tend to agree with existence of parallel worlds and who suggest the possibility of multiple universes. Multiverse (multi-universe) is a so-called scientific concept, which they defend. They believe that no physical laws exist which would prohibit the existence of parallel worlds.

The first one was a science fiction writer H.G. Wells who proclaimed in 1895 in his story “The Door in the Wall”. And after 62 years, this idea was developed by Dr. Hugh Everett in his graduate thesis at the Princeton University. It basically posits that at any given moment the universe divides into countless similar instances. And the next moment, these “newborn” universes split in a similar fashion. In some of these worlds you may be present: reading this article in one universe, or watching TV in another.

The triggering factor for these multiplying-worlds is our actions, explained Everett. If we make some choices, instantly one universe splits into two with different versions of outcomes. In the 1980s, Andrei Linde, scientist from the Lebedev’s Institute of physics, developed the theory of multiple universes. He is now a professor at Stanford University.

Linde explained: Space consists of many inflating spheres, which give rise to similar spheres, and those, in turn, produce spheres in even greater numbers, and so on to infinity. In the universe, they are spaced apart. They are not aware of each other’s existence. But they represent parts of the same physical universe. The fact that our universe is not alone is supported by data received from the Planck space telescope.

Using the data, scientists have created the most accurate map of the microwave background, the so-called cosmic relic background radiation, which has remained since the inception of our universe. They also found that the universe has a lot of dark recesses represented by some holes and extensive gaps.

Theoretical physicist Laura Mersini-Houghton from the North Carolina University with her colleagues argue: the anomalies of the microwave background exist due to the fact that our universe is influenced by other universes existing nearby. And holes and gaps are a direct result of attacks on us by neighboring universes.

Soul

So, there is abundance of places or other universes where our soul could migrate after death, according to the theory of neo-biocentrism.

  • But does the soul exist?
  • Is there any scientific theory of consciousness that could accommodate such a claim?

According to Dr. Stuart Hameroff, a near-death experience happens when the quantum information that inhabits the nervous system leaves the body and dissipates into the universe. Contrary to materialistic accounts of consciousness, Dr. Hameroff offers an alternative explanation of consciousness that can perhaps appeal to both the rational scientific mind and personal intuitions.

Consciousness resides, according to Stuart and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose, in the microtubules of the brain cells, which are the primary sites of quantum processing. Upon death, this information is released from your body, meaning that your consciousness goes with it. They have argued that our experience of consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects in these microtubules, a theory which they dubbed orchestrated objective reduction (Orch-OR).

Consciousness, or at least proto-consciousness is theorized by them to be a fundamental property of the universe, present even at the first moment of the universe during the Big Bang. “In one such scheme proto-conscious experience is a basic property of physical reality accessible to a quantum process associated with brain activity.” Our souls are in fact constructed from the very fabric of the universe – and may have existed since the beginning of time.

Our brains are just receivers and amplifiers for the proto-consciousness that is intrinsic to the fabric of space-time. So is there really a part of your consciousness that is non-material and will live on after the death of your physical body?

Dr Hameroff told the Science Channel’s Through the Wormhole documentary: “Let’s say the heart stops beating, the blood stops flowing, the microtubules lose their quantum state. The quantum information within the microtubules is not destroyed, it can’t be destroyed, it just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large”.

Robert Lanza would add here that not only does it exist in the universe, it exists perhaps in another universe. If the patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience”. He adds: “If they’re not revived, and the patient dies, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely, as a soul.”

This account of quantum consciousness explains things like near-death experiences, astral projection, out of body experiences, and even reincarnation without needing to appeal to religious ideology. The energy of your consciousness potentially gets recycled back into a different body at some point, and in the mean time it exists outside of the physical body on some other level of reality, and possibly in another universe. Robert Lanza on Biocentrism:

Now based on these understandings and theories, we have actual studies of individuals who seem to be attuned to all of these realities. A study, conducted by the Dr. Edgar Mitchell Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial Encounters, represents the first comprehensive multi-language investigation on individuals who have reported to have had unidentified flying object (UFO) related contact experiences with non-human intelligence (NHI). Their research methodology utilized two comprehensive quantitative surveys totaling more than 600 questions administered in 3,057 subjects. This study addressed several topic areas which included a diverse range of physical, psychological, perceptual, and anomalous aspects of claimed contact experiences. The results revealed complex interactions with perceived NHI that involve physical changes, altered states of consciousness and paranormal experiences. What may be the most significant aspect of the results is that over 85% of the study

population claimed to have had very similar major positive behavioral transformations as a direct outcome of their UFO related contact experience(s) with NHI. The Quantum Hologram Theory of Consciousness (QHTC), which explains the nature of our reality and non-ordinary states of consciousness, may provide the foundation for understanding the interrelationship between the various “contact modalities” (e.g., UFOs, NDEs, OBEs, telepathic communication, channeling, remote viewing, orb sightings, etc.) within a multidimensional reality.

We hope that we have presented to our readers in this series, a scientific and plausible understanding that we do indeed live in a quantum reality and we are indeed quantum in our nature, maybe even infinite as well. There certainly is a rational disciplined theory to advance at any rate. Given these very real possibilities presents to all of us some interesting realities and generates some even more intriguing questions.

If we are infinite and multidimensional, what could we possibly fear?

If we are capable of multidimensional experiences and contact with multiple realities, why do we not all explore them?

Good questions, so we suggest that we all reach out and find out individually who we are and who we really share our reality with in our quantum reality. Sit back, relax, open your mind and say hello to your neighbors.

Understanding the Quantum World and Our Quantum Nature Part Two Quantum Brain

In the first part of this series we began to understand the “quirky” nature of quantum mechanics in very basic ways. We realize this understanding is hard to get your head around, and even scientists are struggling with understanding the facts they are uncovering. Stated in the simplest manner, quantum mechanics demonstrates that the universe is really made up of sub-atomic particles which behave in ways that redefine how we have traditionally understood physics. Secondly, it appears the universe and all matter and energy in it is connected on this sub-atomic quantum level.

The basic premise is that quantum physics is not only the future of science, but is also the key to understanding consciousness, life, death, God, psychology, and the meaning of life. Quantum physics is an antidote to the moral sterility and mechanistic approach of scientific materialism and is the best and clearest approach to understanding our universe. In short, quantum physics is indeed the theory of everything.

The recent discovery of quantum vibrations inside neurons in the brain supports a controversial theory of consciousness.  If correct, it might lead to new treatments for many different conditions, as claimed in a new review of the evidence by Hameroff and Penrose (2013).  The theory – which implies the brain is connected to the universe at a quantum level – was first proposed in the 1990s, but it suffered extensive criticism.

One major point against it was that the brain was thought to be too “warm, wet and noisy” for coherent quantum processes. Recent evidence, though, from researchers led by Anirban Bandyopadhyay has found the proposed quantum vibrations inside microtubules within brain neurons. These microtubules are components of cell scaffolding – they help provide our cells with their structure – that are around 25µm in length. Other research has also found evidence of quantum coherence in living cells. It has been found in our sense of smell, in the parts of bird’s brains responsible for navigation and in plant photosynthesis.

Hameroff and Penrose explain that their theory suggests: “Consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in microtubules, protein polymers inside brain neurons, which both govern neuronal and synaptic function, and connect brain processes to self-organizing processes in the fine scale, ‘proto-conscious’ quantum structure of reality.” They claim that their theory is: “The most rigorous, comprehensive and successfully-tested theory of consciousness ever put forth. From a practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations could benefit a host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions.” They also think that the electrical ‘brain waves’ which can be detected by an EEG machine could be a result of these deeper level microtubule vibrations.

The restatement of the theory has produced a flurry of criticism in the journal where it was published, Physics of Life Reviews, but the authors maintain that their theory suggests: “Conscious experience is intrinsically connected to the fine-scale structure of space – time geometry, and that consciousness could be deeply related to the operation of the laws of the universe.”

Deepak Chopra was asked to comment from the viewpoint of Eastern philosophy, which at first glance will seem irrelevant to most physicists. The essence of Eastern philosophy is to approach reality through subjective experience. Science takes the objective world as a given and has excluded subjectivity. On the face of it, the two worldviews face in opposite directions, even though it cannot be denied that our only access to reality is through subjective experience. If there is a reality beyond human awareness, it will remain unknown to us.

The potential for reconciling science and consciousness was first glimpsed during the quantum revolution a century ago when several of the greatest physicists, including Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Planck, and Pauli, surmised that consciousness might be so fundamental that it can’t be gotten around. This line of inquiry proved uncomfortable, however, and although the observer effect and the measurement problem brought consciousness to the fringes of experimentation, the Eastern view that reality is best explained through investigations into human awareness – our vehicle for knowing reality – was steadfastly ignored.

The landscape is changing now. Physics has never come closer to describing the quantum foundation of consciousness than in this article by Penrose and Hameroff. It begins with the brain as a testable locus of the mind, the standard materialist position. But by tracing brain activity to quantum events at the microtubule level, the Orch OR model positions itself at the halfway house between the physicalist perspective and the “spiritual” perspective most purely represented by Vedanta. Vedanta is non-dual theory (Penrose–Hameroff claim that “spiritual” systems are dual), that posits that the cosmos is the play of consciousness, which undergoes transformations into what we perceive as matter and energy. By inserting Platonic values from mathematics, Orch OR, while still accepting the primacy of a world “out there,” opens up a choice.

The choice is between two non-dual explanations for how mind came into being. Vedanta says that mind is innate in creation. To be viable, this brand of monism must show how mind created matter and energy. The challenge from the Penrose–Hameroff side is to show how matter and energy created mind. Of the two, Vedanta, in our view, has the upper hand. Mind creates matter every time we have thoughts that generate unique electrochemical activity in the brain. But no one has credibly shown how molecules learned to think. This article is an optimistic step in a project that is paradoxical when viewed by Vedanta.

The_Awakening_V_Evolution_by_CygX1

The paradox is that Vedanta rejects materialism as unsound while at the same time allowing any model to be valid on its own limited terms. Since all models are created in consciousness, and since consciousness creates reality, the scientific model is a creative use of consciousness – all models, including the religious and philosophical, are equal in this respect. Science isn’t privileged, but neither is Buddhism or Theosophy or aboriginal animism. Vedanta can live with the paradox that all systems of thought are viable and inadequate at the same time. The only privileged thing is consciousness itself.

Orch OR provides a credible, testable model for how mental activity enters the physical world. Take its optimism and turn it around: the mind-brain problem is indeed closer to being solved, not because quantum events give rise to mind but because these events indicate that an invisible agency (consciousness) is producing orderly, intelligent, information-infused activity at the very interface where space-time emerges. The Platonic values of mathematics are undeniable, and once they are admitted into the picture, Vedanta would allow in every other Platonic value (truth, beauty, love). Then “nothing” – pure awareness without qualities – is the only viable explanation left standing for the origin of mind and reality itself.

We are beginning to see how quantum physics affects our understanding of:
– Zen
– Thoughts, feelings, and intuitions
– Dreams
– Karma, death, and reincarnation
– God’s will, evolution, and purpose
– The meaning of dreams
– The spiritualization of economics and business, politics and – -education, and society itself

This goes a long way in explaining our shift into a fourth and fifth dimensional world. It really isn’t that difficult to comprehend when the science defines the esoteric more clearly, is it? Your consciousness really does create your reality, and if we take that one step further; our collective consciousness creates our entire world and how we experience it. The important take away here is that we don’t have to believe, we can know scientifically we are participatory in our creation.

Piercing-the-Veil-711x560Interestingly, this quantum reality is alluded to in the bible, not once, but twice. In Luke 17:6, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘be uprooted and planted in the sea,’.  In Matthew 17:20, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Now that this is beginning to make sound scientific sense, what kind of world are we going to create together?

Understanding the Quantum World and Our Quantum Nature Part One

We are beginning a three part series to help us all understand the true “nature” of the new reality that is currently unfolding. It really isn’t as mysterious as we might think. It is more a matter of our evolution reaching a point where we are beginning to understand the quantum nature of the universe and more importantly the quantum nature of our consciousness.

It is our hope that this series of articles will allow many of our readers to “wrap their head” around what they sense is happening and by that understanding be able to more actively direct their consciousness in such a manner to explore more fully the new reality they find themselves entering. It is a little heady, but this is the real science of our reality.

Philip Ball of the BBC wrote earlier this month an interesting article to get to the first basic understanding of this new reality.   “ I cannot define the real problem, therefore I suspect there’s no real problem, but I’m not sure there’s no real problem.” The American physicist Richard Feynman said this about the notorious puzzles and paradoxes of quantum mechanics, the theory physicists use to describe the tiniest objects in the Universe. But he might as well have been talking about the equally knotty problem of consciousness.

Some scientists think we already understand what consciousness is, or that it is a mere illusion. But many others feel we have not grasped where consciousness comes from at all. The perennial puzzle of consciousness has even led some researchers to invoke quantum physics to explain it. That notion has always been met with skepticism, which is not surprising: it does not sound wise to explain one mystery with another. But such ideas are not obviously absurd, and neither are they arbitrary.

For one thing, the mind seemed, to the great discomfort of physicists, to force its way into early quantum theory. What’s more, quantum computers are predicted to be capable of accomplishing things ordinary computers cannot, which reminds us of how our brains can achieve things that are still beyond artificial intelligence. “Quantum consciousness” is widely derided as mystical woo, but it just will not go away.

What is going on in our brains?

Quantum mechanics is the best theory we have for describing the world at the nuts-and-bolts level of atoms and subatomic particles. Perhaps the most renowned of its mysteries is the fact that the outcome of a quantum experiment can change depending on whether or not we choose to measure some property of the particles involved.

When this “observer effect” was first noticed by the early pioneers of quantum theory, they were deeply troubled. It seemed to undermine the basic assumption behind all science: that there is an objective world out there, irrespective of us. If the way the world behaves depends on how – or if – we look at it, what can “reality” really mean?

Some of those researchers felt forced to conclude that objectivity was an illusion, and that consciousness has to be allowed an active role in quantum theory. To others, that did not make sense. Surely, Albert Einstein once complained, the Moon does not exist only when we look at it!

Today some physicists suspect that, whether or not consciousness influences quantum mechanics, it might in fact arise because of it. They think that quantum theory might be needed to fully understand how the brain works.

Might it be that, just as quantum objects can apparently be in two places at once, so a quantum brain can hold onto two mutually-exclusive ideas at the same time?

These ideas are speculative, and it may turn out that quantum physics has no fundamental role either for or in the workings of the mind. But if nothing else, these possibilities show just how strangely quantum theory forces us to think.

double-slit-experimentThe Famous Double-slit Experiment.

The most famous intrusion of the mind into quantum mechanics comes in the “double-slit experiment”. Imagine shining a beam of light at a screen that contains two closely-spaced parallel slits. Some of the light passes through the slits, whereupon it strikes another screen.

Light can be thought of as a kind of wave, and when waves emerge from two slits like this they can interfere with each other. If their peaks coincide, they reinforce each other, whereas if a peak and a trough coincide, they cancel out. This wave interference is called diffraction, and it produces a series of alternating bright and dark stripes on the back screen, where the light waves are either reinforced or cancelled out.

This experiment was understood to be a characteristic of wave behavior over 200 years ago, well before quantum theory existed. The double slit experiment can also be performed with quantum particles like electrons; tiny charged particles that are components of atoms. In a counter-intuitive twist, these particles can behave like waves. That means they can undergo diffraction when a stream of them passes through the two slits, producing an interference pattern.

Now suppose that the quantum particles are sent through the slits one by one, and their arrival at the screen is likewise seen one by one. Now there is apparently nothing for each particle to interfere with along its route – yet nevertheless the pattern of particle impacts that builds up over time reveals interference bands. The implication seems to be that each particle passes simultaneously through both slits and interferes with itself. This combination of “both paths at once” is known as a superposition state. But here is the really odd thing.

If we place a detector inside or just behind one slit, we can find out whether any given particle goes through it or not. In that case, however, the interference vanishes. Simply by observing a particle’s path – even if that observation should not disturb the particle’s motion – we change the outcome.

The physicist Pascual Jordan, who worked with quantum guru Niels Bohr in Copenhagen in the 1920s, put it like this: “observations not only disturb what has to be measured, they produce it… We compel [a quantum particle] to assume a definite position.” In other words, Jordan said, “we ourselves produce the results of measurements.” If that is so, objective reality seems to go out of the window. And it gets even stranger. Particles can be in two states.

If nature seems to be changing its behavior depending on whether we “look” or not, we could try to trick it into showing its hand. To do so, we could measure which path a particle took through the double slits, but only after it has passed through them. By then, it ought to have “decided” whether to take one path or both.

An experiment for doing this was proposed in the 1970s by the American physicist John Wheeler, and this “delayed choice” experiment was performed in the following decade. It uses clever techniques to make measurements on the paths of quantum particles (generally, particles of light, called photons) after they should have chosen whether to take one path or a superposition of two.

It turns out that, just as Bohr confidently predicted, it makes no difference whether we delay the measurement or not. As long as we measure the photon’s path before its arrival at a detector is finally registered, we lose all interference. It is as if nature “knows” not just if we are looking, but if we are planning to look.

Whenever, in these experiments, we discover the path of a quantum particle, its cloud of possible routes “collapses” into a single well-defined state. What’s more, the delayed-choice experiment implies that the sheer act of noticing, rather than any physical disturbance caused by measuring, can cause the collapse. But does this mean that true collapse has only happened when the result of a measurement impinges on our consciousness?

That possibility was admitted in the 1930s by the Hungarian physicist Eugene Wigner. “It follows that the quantum description of objects is influenced by impressions entering my consciousness,” he wrote. “Solipsism may be logically consistent with present quantum mechanics.”

Wheeler even entertained the thought that the presence of living beings, which are capable of “noticing”, has transformed what was previously a multitude of possible quantum pasts into one concrete history. In this sense, Wheeler said, we become participants in the evolution of the Universe since its very beginning. In his words, we live in a “participatory universe.”

To this day, physicists do not agree on the best way to interpret these quantum experiments, and to some extent what you make of them is (at the moment) up to you. But one way or another, it is hard to avoid the implication that consciousness and quantum mechanics are somehow linked.

Beginning in the 1980s, the British physicist Roger Penrose suggested that the link might work in the other direction. Whether or not consciousness can affect quantum mechanics, he said, perhaps quantum mechanics is involved in consciousness.

What if, Penrose asked, there are molecular structures in our brains that are able to alter their state in response to a single quantum event. Could not these structures then adopt a super-position state, just like the particles in the double slit experiment? And might those quantum super-positions then show up in the ways neurons are triggered to communicate via electrical signals?

Maybe, says Penrose, our ability to sustain seemingly incompatible mental states is no quirk of perception, but a real quantum effect. After all, the human brain seems able to handle cognitive processes that still far exceed the capabilities of digital computers. Perhaps we can even carry out computational tasks that are impossible on ordinary computers, which use classical digital logic.

Penrose first proposed that quantum effects feature in human cognition in his 1989 book The Emperor’s New Mind. The idea is called Orch-OR, which is short for “orchestrated objective reduction”. The phrase “objective reduction” means that, as Penrose believed, the collapse of quantum interference and superposition is a real, physical process, like the bursting of a bubble.

Orch-OR draws on Penrose’s suggestion that gravity is responsible for the fact that everyday objects, such as chairs and planets, do not display quantum effects. Penrose believes that quantum super-positions become impossible for objects much larger than atoms, because their gravitational effects would then force two incompatible versions of space-time to coexist.

Penrose developed this idea further with American physician Stuart Hameroff. In his 1994 book Shadows of the Mind, he suggested that the structures involved in this quantum cognition might be protein strands called microtubules. These are found in most of our cells, including the neurons in our brains. Penrose and Hameroff argue that vibrations of microtubules can adopt a quantum super-position. But there is no evidence that such a thing is remotely feasible.

It has been suggested that the idea of quantum super-positions in microtubules is supported by experiments described in 2013, but in fact those studies made no mention of quantum effects. Besides, most researchers think that the Orch-OR idea was ruled out by a study published in 2000. Physicist Max Tegmark calculated that quantum super-positions of the molecules involved in neural signaling could not survive for even a fraction of the time needed for such a signal to get anywhere.

Quantum effects such as super-position are easily destroyed, because of a process called decoherence. This is caused by the interactions of a quantum object with its surrounding environment, through which the “quantumness” leaks away. Decoherence is expected to be extremely rapid in warm and wet environments like living cells.

Nerve signals are electrical pulses, caused by the passage of electrically-charged atoms across the walls of nerve cells. If one of these atoms was in a super-position and then collided with a neuron, Tegmark showed that the super-position should decay in less than one billion billionth of a second. It takes at least ten thousand trillion times as long for a neuron to discharge a signal. As a result, ideas about quantum effects in the brain are viewed with great skepticism.

However, Penrose is unmoved by those arguments and stands by the Orch-OR hypothesis. And despite Tegmark’s prediction of ultra-fast decoherence in cells, other researchers have found evidence for quantum effects in living beings. Some argue that quantum mechanics is harnessed by migratory birds that use magnetic navigation, and by green plants when they use sunlight to make sugars in photosynthesis. Besides, the idea that the brain might employ quantum tricks shows no sign of going away. For there is now another, quite different argument for it.

Could Phosphorus Sustain a Quantum State?

In a study published in 2015, physicist Matthew Fisher of the University of California a t Santa Barbara argued that the brain might contain molecules capable of sustaining more robust quantum super-positions. Specifically, he thinks that the nuclei of phosphorus atoms may have this ability.

Phosphorus atoms are everywhere in living cells. They often take the form of phosphate ions, in which one phosphorus atom joins up with four oxygen atoms. Such ions are the basic unit of energy within cells. Much of the cell’s energy is stored in molecules called ATP, which contain a string of three phosphate groups joined to an organic molecule. When one of the phosphates is cut free, energy is released for the cell to use.

Cells have molecular machinery for assembling phosphate ions into groups and cleaving them off again. Fisher suggested a scheme in which two phosphate ions might be placed in a special kind of superposition called an “entangled state”. The phosphorus nuclei have a quantum property called spin, which makes them rather like little magnets with poles pointing in particular directions. In an entangled state, the spin of one phosphorus nucleus depends on that of the other.

Put another way, entangled states are really super-position states involving more than one quantum particle. Fisher says that the quantum-mechanical behavior of these nuclear spins could plausibly resist decoherence on human timescales. He agrees with Tegmark that quantum vibrations, like those postulated by Penrose and Hameroff, will be strongly affected by their surroundings “and will decohere almost immediately”. But nuclear spins do not interact very strongly with their surroundings.

All the same, quantum behavior in the phosphorus nuclear spins would have to be “protected” from decoherence.

Quantum particles can have different spins. This might happen, Fisher says, if the phosphorus atoms are incorporated into larger objects called “Posner molecules”. These are clusters of six phosphate ions, combined with nine calcium ions. There is some evidence that they can exist in living cells, though this is currently far from conclusive. In Posner molecules, Fisher argues, phosphorus spins could resist decoherence for a day or so, even in living cells. That means they could influence how the brain works.

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The idea is that Posner molecules can be swallowed up by neurons. Once inside, the Posner molecules could trigger the firing of a signal to another neuron, by falling apart and releasing their calcium ions. Because of entanglement in Posner molecules, two such signals might thus in turn become entangled: a kind of quantum superposition of a “thought”, you might say. “If quantum processing with nuclear spins is in fact present in the brain, it would be an extremely common occurrence, happening pretty much all the time,” Fisher says. He first got this idea when he started thinking about mental illness.

“My entry into the biochemistry of the brain started when I decided three or four years ago to explore how on earth the lithium ion could have such a dramatic effect in treating mental conditions,” Fisher says. Lithium drugs are widely used for treating bipolar disorder. They work, but nobody really knows how.

“I wasn’t looking for a quantum explanation,” Fisher says. But then he came across a paper reporting that lithium drugs had different effects on the behavior of rats, depending on what form – or “isotope” – of lithium was used. On the face of it, that was extremely puzzling. In chemical terms, different isotopes behave almost identically, so if the lithium worked like a conventional drug the isotopes should all have had the same effect.

But Fisher realized that the nuclei of the atoms of different lithium isotopes can have different spins. This quantum property might affect the way lithium drugs act. For example, if lithium substitutes for calcium in Posner molecules, the lithium spins might “feel” and influence those of phosphorus atoms, and so interfere with their entanglement. If this is true, it would help to explain why lithium can treat bipolar disorder.

It does not help that there is now a New Age cottage industry devoted to notions of “quantum consciousness“, claiming that quantum mechanics offers plausible rationales for such things as telepathy and telekinesis. As a result, physicists are often embarrassed to even mention the words “quantum” and “consciousness” in the same sentence.

But setting that aside, the idea has a long history. Ever since the “observer effect” and the mind first insinuated themselves into quantum theory in the early days, it has been devilishly hard to kick them out. A few researchers think we might never manage to do so. We do not understand how thoughts work.

In 2016, Adrian Kent of the University of Cambridge in the UK, one of the most respected “quantum philosophers”, speculated that consciousness might alter the behavior of quantum systems in subtle but detectable ways. Kent is very cautious about this idea. “There is no compelling reason of principle to believe that quantum theory is the right theory in which to try to formulate a theory of consciousness, or that the problems of quantum theory must have anything to do with the problem of consciousness,” he admits. But he says that it is hard to see how a description of consciousness based purely on pre-quantum physics can account for all the features it seems to have.

One particularly puzzling question is how our conscious minds can experience unique sensations, such as the color red or the smell of frying bacon. With the exception of people with visual impairments, we all know what red is like, but we have no way to communicate the sensation and there is nothing in physics that tells us what it should be like. Sensations like this are called “qualia”. We perceive them as unified properties of the outside world, but in fact they are products of our consciousness – and that is hard to explain. Indeed, in 1995 philosopher David Chalmers dubbed it “the hard problem” of consciousness.

“Every line of thought on the relationship of consciousness to physics runs into deep trouble,” says Kent. This has prompted him to suggest that “we could make some progress on understanding the problem of the evolution of consciousness if we supposed that consciousnesses alters (albeit perhaps very slightly and subtly) quantum probabilities.” In other words, the mind could genuinely affect the outcomes of measurements.

It does not, in this view, exactly determine “what is real”. But it might affect the chance that each of the possible actualities permitted by quantum mechanics is the one we do in fact observe, in a way that quantum theory itself cannot predict. Kent says that we might look for such effects experimentally. He even bravely estimates the chances of finding them. “I would give credence of perhaps 15% that something specifically to do with consciousness causes deviations from quantum theory, with perhaps 3% credence that this will be experimentally detectable within the next 50 years,” he says.

So first there does seem to be a real quantum connection to how we consciously perceive the universe around us. We, in fact, alter our reality by how we anticipate we are going “see it”. So for example, if we “anticipate” contact with other civilizations, and our collective consciousness “concurs, that possibility may indeed manifest itself, as it is in the realm of quantum possibilities. Anyway, try to digest this a bit and forgive this rather long and nerdy article, but it is absolutely necessary to understand the power of our minds and how our thoughts alter the universe around us.