Consciousness, quantum physics, afterlife

A little bit of context and prewarning.

  • I am a deeply science rooted person. What follows here is pure conjecture.

We don’t know what consciousness is and how it’s manifested. At least not yet. Some doubt it will ever be understood. There’s a good reason for this. It’s a hard one to crack. It seems like the introspective loop in our brains and the movie being played does not completely satisfy as explanation.

A tweet by Lex Friedman inspired me to think about it a bit more. Scientists have a tendency to joke about quantum mechanics. This kind of interpretation is nothing new.

There’s been a long going debate about whether a conscious observer is needed for the quantum wave function to collapse and provide a definitive answer to an observation. If events are chained and the universe needs to decide for each event what to do in any experiment there’s a conscious observer at the end. We can say with reasonable certainty that an observer has a privileged role in the process.

So it seems like the universe engine needs to know whether the observer is conscious and was paying attention. If we assume that what preciously said is true then the universe needs a feedback mechanism from the observer to know this. And that is very interesting.

Not long ago I was watching an interview with Roger Penrose saying that consicousness is not computational. Whatever it is, it is more complicated than that and may very well have to do with quantum mechanics as well.

So if the universe needs a feedback mechanism and consciousness is connected with quantum mechanics then we might conclude that that feedback mechanism is quantum based. It would certainly make a lot of sense. It’s been known for a while that the universe has an out-of-band, out-of-speed communication capability that enables fenomena like the quantum eraser experiment that is not bound by the speed of light.

OK, more conjecture ahead. Let’s say that consciousness is not just communicated out of this universe but it also predominantly lives there. Let’s say stored there and may even “run” there to some extent. I’m using the word “run” that implies computation but I hope that Roger Penrose meant that it’s not computational if it’s not processed in our universe.

Our brain is immensely complex with many billions of neurons. But in the end it’s still hard to imagine how that complexity supports a seemingly even more complex function such as consciousness. It would be much easier if our brain was more thought of as an interface to consciousness and not consciousness itself. Consciousness needs information to process thru our senses and our bodies to act. Also, we sometimes fall asleep or get anesthesia and our consciousness is seemingly suspended. But when we wake up we pick up exactly where we left off. It seems like the direct continuation of our story without interruption.

Let’s play with this idea a little more. If consciousness lives somewhere else and is immediately summoned when we wake up it begs the question how the reference is maintained. We just relegated our brain’s role to an interface instead of the center of our consciousness. In any case the brain should be able to provide this reference as a complex signature to determine which consciousness to reload. If the brain is sick or loses some of its ability to provide an accurate signature it is imaginable that a wrong consciousness gets identified and loaded. I know it’s getting out of hand here but think multiple personality disorder or evil possession (L.O.L). There are stories of people waking up from long coma. There’s one person who’d been in coma for 37 years but never proven to regain consciousness. But there are stories that people woke up conscious after 7 years of coma. It would make sense for the universe to put a limit on how long a consciousness is retrievable after being unused for a long time given how it optimizes for the processing of physical phenomena. But it could be that those two are not comparable in terms of effort and energy so it’s possible that a consciousness remains retrievable indefinitely if a matching brain signature is successfully produced.

I read Peter F. Hamilton’s Reality Dysfunction novel some years ago. Enjoyed it a great deal but dismissed the premise of it as a weird idea. Now I’m thinking genius. I met him once at a book signing and always thought he was a genius. It just feels great to come back to his ideas.

We are making huge strides in the development of AI. But everyone agrees that the journey’s just begun. While everyone agrees that an AI could eventually mimick a conscious being, they doubt that it could have a soul. Conclusion being that there may not be a soul. But what if there is such thing as a soul and it’s summoned by our brain. A different line of research could focus on the brain and look for this signature it produces in order to summon a soul and to provide a functioning home for it. That would be something.

OK, onto some lighter subjects. If our consciousness lives outside of our universe then what does that outside look like. A fun thought is that it looks exactly like ours. Why? Because its inhabitants became aware that they are in this shoe and since they weren’t able to break out they decided to recreate it and see if we can break out.

Anyway, I’m just going to end it here for now. Once again, I was just playing with some ideas here. Some of it is based on my non-professional understanding of science, some of it is pure conjecture.

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