The Anatomy of Consciousness

During the final decades of the twentieth century, the study of consciousness evolved to the level of a new interdisciplinary field within the scientific community. Human consciousness seems to have moved to the forefront of scientific research and scholarly debate, notwithstanding the large and intransigent problems which still plague the subject. Yet, the interdisciplinary nature of the subject also defines the greatest obstacle to a successful theory of consciousness.

In particular, when a psychologist talks about conscious, subconscious or unconscious states of the mind, he, in all likelihood, is not addressing the same idea of “consciousness” that a physicist invokes to account for the “collapse” of the wave function in quantum theory. This distinction is all the more important because physicists are probing what seems to be a fundamental quantity within physical reality, rather than just a temporary state of mind, when they speak of consciousness.

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So, depending upon how one defines it, consciousness can be an integral part of physical reality, just a state of mind, or anything in between. This dual notion of the concept of consciousness pervades and unnecessarily complicates the modern study of consciousness. In large part, the problem resides in the fact that physicists, at one extreme, deal (or attempt to deal) with very precisely defined quantities, while consciousness seems to be an ambiguously defined quality for all intents and purposes, rather than an easily definable and thus measurable quantity.

The basic dichotomy represented by these two extreme views is not new in the science of consciousness. Robert Ornstein proposed that there are two major modes of consciousness, one analytic and the other holistic. The two modes are complementary, each having its own functional area. They can be likened to the “rational” and “intuitive” activities of the mind. Ornstein, 1972) Omstein’s “rational” could be thought of as representing the quantitative and logical aspects of consciousness spoken of in physics, while his “intuitive” activities of the mind soimd more like the psychologists’ concept of consciousness as a state of mind. Other scientists are far less certain about “consciousness. ” Thomas Natsoulas narrowed his list to seven different uses of the term consciousness (Natsoulas, 1978), and there is no reason to believe that his choices exhaust the possibilities.

Anthony Marcel and Edoardo Bisiach claim that the proliferation of uses of consciousness stems from the “domain or level of discourse” for the term. Sometimes consciousness is used as a functional term and other times it refers to phenomenological concepts. (Marcel and Bisiach, 1988) Whichever the case may be, the interpretation of the problem by these scientists is not all that different from Omstein’s two major modes, or, for that matter, from the differences represented by the physicist and the psychologist.

These scientists have discovered what is essentially the same basic dichotomy in the use of the term, each expressing that dichotomy after their own fashion. Given these problems in the way that various scientists use the term consciousness itself, how is a physicist or any other scientist to understand the concept of consciousness and its relationship to the physical reality with which consciousness acts or interacts? The answer would seem to come from finding the simplest differences between what is conscious and what is not, within our physical world.

This course of action actually suits physics quite well, since physics is the science that deals directly with physical reality at its most fundamental level. For all of its complex theories, assumptions, attitudes and instruments, physics is merely a logical study of the natural world which is conducted by reducing all events and phenomena to their most characteristic and fundamental natural components. The fundamental components utilized by physicists in this quest are “matter” and “matter in motion” against the background of relative space-time.

Nothing seems simpler than this methodology, but there also seems little room for consciousness within this scheme. Many scientists have tried to reduce consciousness to either electro-mechanical or physico-chemical interactions within the brain, which are ultimately explained by physics, but they have met with little success. It would thus seem that consciousness defies reduction to either “matter” or “matter in motion” in the sense that they are understood in physics, although this need not be the case.

To find the physical basis of consciousness, it is informative to look instead at the types of matter that either have or do not have the ability to move themselves about in space. Physicists normally consider only one type of matter in their deliberations on nature. In their calculations, physicists consider all matter as if it were dead, non-living matter. Within the perspective of modern physics, it does not matter whether a human or a ball is shot out of a cannon at the circus.

Under the same conditions, except for the fact that one is alive and the other is not, they would both follow the same trajectory through the sky. The only distinguishable difference between the two in the final analysis is the fact that the human made a choice to be a cannonball and moved himself into the firing chamber while the ball did neither. Dead or nonliving matter will always follow the simplest path along a field gradient according to the laws of physics and whims of nature. In contrast, a living being need not follow the path dictated by nature.

In other words, each and every living being is “self-motivated” rather than motivated by the conditions within its local physical environment. Since consciousness seems to be a property of living beings alone, or perhaps it would be better to say that life is a prerequisite for consciousness, the distinction between living and non-living matter would seem a good starting point to study consciousness and its physics. Living matter can be further distinguished by another physical property that is intimately related to “self-motivation. Living bodies are negentropic systems of matter. Both dead and non-living matter interacts entropically under normal conditions as described by the laws of thermodynamics. Under normal conditions, matter tends toward a greater state of disorder while energy tends to dissipate. This rule seems to be true for both living bodies and dead bodies when a macroscopically large system is considered, but it fails when the individual living being is considered as the whole and complete system. Living beings absorb and utilize energy.

Life organizes or orders matter within the living body to build increasingly more complex internal structures. Therefore, living beings, and thus life itself, seems to be negentropic at its simplest level. Taken together, the properties of negentropy and “self-motivation” are ideally suited to explain life, mind and consciousness within the context of the latest developments in modern physics. The physical background of all matter, whether living or dead, and its motion in the space-time continuum as described by the special and general theories of relativity.

In the general theory, there is no need to limit the number of physical dimensions to four, although that has been the custom. We only seem to detect the three dimensions of space and one of time through our five normal senses, a fact that does not necessarily prove the existence of only four dimensions. Expanding further upon this four-dimensional structure of our sensible world or environment, the curvature of space-time has nearly always been considered an “intrinsic” property of the continuum, as described by general relativity.

However, Theodor Kaluza added a fifth “extrinsic” dimension to Albert Einstein’s space-time structure in 1921 and successfully merged the electromagnetic and gravitational fields into a single field structure. Kaluza’s space-time model was resurrected in the 1980s, and has become the basis of the superstring theories during our own time. I Iowever, the particular interpretation of the Kaluza-Klein theory used by most modem theoreticians is over-restrictive.

The standard interpretation of the Kaluza model, as adapted to quantum theory by Oskar Klein in the 1920s, limits the length of a four-dimensional point extended as a line in the fifth direction to the sub-quantum range of values. If this restriction is discarded, and there is no requirement in Kaluza’s original theory that requires this particular restriction, an alternative interpretation yields a four-dimensional “sheet” of uniform but extremely minute width in the fifth direction.

The “sheet” curves locally in the fifth embedding dimension to create elementary material particles. Each mathematical point in three-space and time, including the space occupied by a material particle, is extended into the fifth dimension with a macroscopically valued length. Our normal knowledge and perception of the physical world, as refined by and through our five senses, are limited to the four-dimensional continuum because of the extremely minute width of the “sheet” rather than the minute total length of the five-dimensionally extended points of space.

Real physical curves within the “sheet” represent both the “singularities” in relativity theory and the “divergences” of quantum field theory, which have classically been interpreted as elementary material particles. However, they are not true mathematical “singularities” or “divergences” because they are no longer of infinite extension in the fifth direction, but curve around the circumference of a Riemannian five-space to return to their points of origin in the “sheet. This structure eliminates many of the problems and paradoxes inherent within both the quantum and relativity theories. Up to this point, Einstein and his colleagues investigated Kaluza’s five-dimensional structure of physical space-time in the late 1930s, but Einstein discarded the five-dimensional approach to a unified field theory in the early 1940s. Einstein could not justify the large-scale extension of matter in the fifth direction with the observation that we cannot detect or sense the five-dimensional extension.

However, Einstein failed to realize that we could perceive the extra dimension outside of our common four-dimensional space-time because our normal five senses only work in four-dimensional space-time, or rather, only within the four-dimensional material “sheet. ” It is in this manner that the five-dimensional structure of space-time provides the basis for a physical interpretation of “consciousness” as well as accounting for what is normally referred to as intuition as well as different forms of extra-sensory perception.

The dichotomy between Ornstein’s analytic and holistic aspects of consciousness represent no more than the conscious interaction with physical reality within the four-dimensional “sheet” and outside of the “sheet” but within five-space, respectively. The fifth physical dimension is filled by a pure continuous field marked by variations in density corresponding to the elementary material particles, electromagnetic waves and, of course, the four-dimensional “sheet” itself (our normally sensible universe).

We do not normally perceive or sense the fifth dimension because our physical bodies exist “within” the “sheet. However, everything in the “sheet” is extended within the single field in the fifth dimension and thus every physical action, occurrence and event in the four-dimensional space-time “sheet” affects local density variations in the extended five-dimensional single field and vice versa. When a material particle or body moves relative to other material bodies within the “sheet,” it undergoes specific physical distortions as described by special relativity. These individual distortions of matter in the “sheet” correspond to density variations in the single field in five-space, which are transmitted or felt (in a sense) through all of five-space.

Living organisms have some control over the motion of particles within their own bodies by a reversal of this process. Living organisms can thus order matter internally to build more and more complex chemical structures, i. e. , cells, organs and specialized functional bodies. Within the many cells in an individual living body, the same chemical interactions are repeated continuously throughout the whole life of the organism. To physicists, chemical interactions represent the exchange of energy between elementary particles, which translates as varying speeds of those particles.

The varying speeds correspond to density changes in the five-dimensional single field. When the speeds of a large number of particles vary in the same manner as in a single equilibrium chemical reaction or in a specific group of coupled equilibrium reactions, continuously through time, specific patterns or “entanglements” of field variations are established in the fifth dimension as a single field density variation pattern. In a sense, the vast number of patterns representing different repeating chemical interactions and thus coupled field variations in the five-dimensional extension of a living body “resonate” or form a common pattern.

This coupling or quantum “entanglement” of chemical compounds undergoing continuous and repeated interactions is the “quality” that distinguishes living from dead matter. In fact, it is “life” itself. This “entanglement” is the “something extra” beyond the Newtonian mechanism of a living body that philosophers and scholars have sought for centuries under such names as the “life force,” the “vital force” or the “Elan vital. ” In the language of modern mathematics, the chaotic variations of energy within the chemical reactions that form “life” are themselves a mathematical complexity that can be represented by an attractor.

The attractor represents a mathematical model of the quantum “entanglement” of five-dimensional field density variations that we call “life. ” The more complicated or complex a living organism, the more it needs some type of controlling mechanism to coordinate the internal interactions of organs and functions in the body as well as mediate between the organism and its immediate external environment. This control organism, a simple brain, is either an electro-mechanical or physico-chemical device depending on any given scientist’s perspective.

So electro-chemical interactions in the brain correspond to another distinct higher order specialized pattern of single field density variations that constitute “mind. ” Similar to other material organs, the four-dimensional brain has a mathematical point by mathematical point extension into the fifth dimension. The energies that constitute chemical interactions and electrical impulses in the brain thus correspond to a secondary quantum “entanglement” of five-dimensional field density patterns. In more complex organisms, a more complex brain is needed to interact with the environment.

So “mind” is the common extension of the brain into five-space, but it is also a further refinement in the five-dimensional “entanglement” of that extension that corresponds to the whole body. This “entanglement” evolves at just the point when the brain becomes “aware” of its interactions within the body and between (he body and its local external environment. The awareness of the internal functions of the body is necessary for the brain to control both the internal functions and external interactions of the body. But “mind” can also affect the body directly via the entanglements as well as control the body indirectly via the brain. Mind” corresponds to brain, but it is not located within the brain, nor is it confined to the physical (four-dimensional) limits of the brain. So “mind” extends beyond the brain alone. It is actually quite simple to demonstrate that “mind” is a five-dimensional entity. If “mind” is an awareness of body and local environment, it “must” be associated with a higher physical dimension than brain and body. In physics, “awareness” of a thing can only come from the next higher physical dimension. A two-dimensional creature would not be aware of a third dimension, but a three-dimensional creature would be aware of a two-dimensional space.

Edwin Abbott explained this notion quite effectively over a century ago in his short novelette, Flatland. Before the evolution of brain and “mind” occurs, the body would merely “react” to its environment. After “mind” evolves, they interact. “Mind” controls the motiva lion or movement of the body within its external physical environment, opening the body to an ever-increasing number and variety of physical stimuli and interactions. “Mind” and brain continue to learn through the increased encroachment of the body on its ever-widening physical environment, developing ever more complex electro-chemical structures within the body and brain.

Through continued and more varied interactions with the body’s external physical environment, the brain begins storing knowledge of the world in which its exists, in the form of thoughts, until the total amount of stored knowledge has increased to the point where the “mind” becomes aware of its non-local environment. “Mind” comes to realize that the world exists beyond the immediate reach of its senses in normal space, beyond what the brain senses through its five senses. When a person passes out of sight, the person still exists.

The “mind” learns that people and objects continue to exist even after they have passed out of the sight and hearing range of the body. Then, through further contacts with objects in its physical environment, “mind” eventually becomes aware of the flow of time, the existence of its own past, its present state, and the future. With this the new awareness of non-local space and time, a new pattern of electro-chemical interactions forms in the brain, corresponding to a further refinement of the five-dimensional field density “entanglement” which is “mind. The new knowledge of the non-local environment means more complex memories and thus more complicated patterns of the subtle field density variations in five-space, correspond ing to the most complex electro-chemical based memories in the brain itself. This new higher level “entanglement” of patterns precipitates as the beginning of “consciousness. ” “Consciousness” evolves as the “mind’s awareness” of a greater interconnection of the body, brain, local and non-local environments, in both space and time develops.

Consciousness is the growing “entanglement” or awareness of “life,” “mind” and the interconnections of all things in the universe via the fifth dimension. “Consciousness” must exist in the fifth dimension because only the physical perspective from the fifth dimension can “overlook” or be “aware” of the totality of connections between the material body and its complete environment stretching simultaneously across both space and time. “Consciousness” grows past this point of initial awareness as knowledge of the world as a whole, or rather the universe, increases in any given individual’s “mind. This physical model explains both Ornstein’s modes of consciousness and Marcel and Bisiach’s categories of consciousness. Analytic consciousness corresponds to the growth of knowledge of environment through the logical reduction that we know as science and philosophy. Ornstein’s holistic consciousness comes from the intuitive projection of local knowledge to complete the picture of the whole world in areas that the brain and mind cannot directly reach through the normal five senses. In many cases, this is how the mind gains knowledge of the non-local environment.

Analytical consciousness represents learning about the four-dimensional “sheet” by studying it from the inside-out, while the second method of holistic consciousness corresponds to learning about the “sheet” by projecting the image of “mind” across the whole “sheet,” from the outside perspective in the fifth dimension inward to the “sheet. ” The notion of “awareness” is fundamental to two of Natsoulas’ definitions of consciousness. (Natsoulas, 1978) His “awareness” and “direct awareness” correspond to the intuitive and analytical modes of Ornstein. However, the evolutionary process need not end here.

So physics seems to be able to provide a new def ini tion of consciousness, based upon a theory of “consciousness. ” Just as brain begins to manipulate local environment to evolve “mind,” “mind” and “consciousness” learn to understand and manipulate their non-local five-dimensional environment to evolve super-consciousness. “Mind” normally receives information about its physical and material environment via the material brain from the body’s five senses, but the five senses act only within the four-dimensional space-time continuum, or only within the “sheet. After the evolution of “consciousness” in the fifth dimension, “mind” is able to gain knowledge of the world (universe) as a whole via the five-dimensional connections afforded by the field density variations within the single field. “Consciousness” thus has its own direct “view” of physical reality that does not necessarily correspond to the view four-dimensional reality afforded by the five senses. The conflict between these two views of physical reality within the “mind” gives rise to intuition. In this case, information comes to the “mind” from the fifth dimension via “consciousness,” extra-dimensionally and thus extrasensorally.

In other words, the existence of “consciousness” within the fifth dimension actually requires the existence of extrasensory perception and other forms of paranormal perception, as studied in parapsychology and paraphysics. And, just as the input of information forms knowledge and thoughts in the brain that precipitated the evolution of “consciousness,” the input of new information via the “consciousness” to “mind” pathway implies the evolution of a still higher state than just “mind” and “consciousness. As “mind” and “consciousness” continue to evolve, it becomes possible that “mind” will eventually become aware of its new five-dimensional connections to the universe as a whole, as mediated by “consciousness,” and thereby learn to manipulate its hve-dimen-sional environment by its extrasensory connections.

This new awareness would correspond to the evolution of a still newer and higher level complexity of single field density variations, a super-consciousness. Consciousness” represents a higher level of thought within a four-dimensional context while super-consciousness would represent thinking within a five-dimensional context and would thus require an awareness of the fifth dimension and its relation to “consciousness,” more-or-less a “consciousness” of “consciousness. ” Just as “consciousness” eventually evolved from living beings’ experience in four-dimensional space-time, the “sheet,” a direct experience of the fifth dimension, amounting to an awareness of the fifth dimension, would be required for the evolution of super-consciousness.

Super-consciousness would require a still higher-dimensional perspective or awareness of physical reality than can be explained by a five-dimensional perspective and would thus correspond to a new complexity pattern in a sixth physical dimension. Edward Kasner first discussed the scientific concept of a sixth dimension in 1921. 1 le argued that the five-dimensional solar field required a sixth embedding dimension. When he wrote this article and others, Kasner had no idea that Kaluza was also pursuing a five-dimensional theory of space-time.

It is no coincidence that Kasner’s and Kaluza’s scientific articles were published at nearly the same time, since similar ideas of physical hyperspaces had been “in the air” for over five decades. (Beichler, 1988 and 1991) Another contemporary scholar, Robert Browne, came to nearly the same conclusion and wrote a book claiming that human knowledge of higher-dimensional spaces marked the next step in human evolution. Although Browne knew of Einstein’s special theory of relativity, he seems not to have known of general relativity when he reached his conclusion that a realization of hyperspace was the next step in human evolution.