Consciousness, Nonlocality, Free Will

DS asked in Aeon: “Patrice, in what way is consciousness “nonlocal”, and what is the evidence for this?”

DS: Science  and technique progress, and thus so do our visions of the world. Quantum computers are becoming a reality. Quantum computers work in a completely different way from the classical computers we presently have (which, fundamentally are of the same type as those the Greeks had, more than 2,000 years ago!). Present (2017) versions of Quantum computers are primitive relative to what’s coming (Artificial Consciousness computers). And you know what? Full Quantum computers depend crucially upon nonlocality.

Descartes located consciousness (“the soul”) in a tiny part of the brain (the pituitary gland).  I guess because Descartes considered it was the only part of the brain with a unique character, just like the soul is unique to the mind? Now we know the pituitary is just a master neurohormonal center…) 

Philosophers And People of Culture Have to Learn New Words and Especially the Concepts Having to Do With Quantum & Nonlocality. Lest they Become the New Barbarians…

Split brain, and other surgeries have revealed that consciousness can’t be localized that way, inside a tiny organ (whereas short-term memory can be localized, to the hippocampus, fear to the amygdala, vision to 17 areas in the cortex, etc.)

So, in that gross sense, consciousness is non-local.

Next, we are now basically certain that basic biology uses the Quantum (we have a few telling examples already, not just chlorophyll). By this I mean that consciousness uses individual quanta and their nonlocal behavior (for example individual photon, or individual electrons, the latter when, and precisely because, delocalized).

Indeed, what is the most fundamental property of the Quantum? Not just that it is quantified. Nonlocality is the Quantum most important property. The Quantum is quantified because it is nonlocal (Einstein did not understand this his entire life, from 1905 to his death). Nonlocality is the crucial difficulty of Quantum Physics (it shows up as Schrödinger cats, EPR paradox, etc.)

Supposing that the most fundamental thing we know of in the universe, consciousness, can, somehow, avoid the most fundamental physics we have found in the universe, is a form of denial akin to climate denial, or parallel universes. Ignoring Quantum Physics, as a fundamental conceptual tool to understand consciousness can only be explained by prejudice.

What prejudice? Most cultured people have no understanding, let alone feeling, for the Quantum. So they desperately clinging to Classical mechanics, something best suited for artillery shells…

As the Quantum is essentially nonlocal, and fundamental to consciousness, so is consciousness.

And what of the Quantum deniers? Well they miss entirely the immensely rich new logic that Quantum logic has offered beyond Classical logic…

The preceding should not be construed as an endorsement of so-called weirdly named “extrasensory perception”. Instead, I have argued that the sensory system itself is nonlocal (pretty much a physiological evidence, too, as we see with 17 areas…)

A trivial, but telling, case could be called “Free Will and Cosmic Rays”. Cosmic rays, cosmic elementary particles, can be millions of times more energetic than the most powerful elementary particles created by man, at CERN (their origin is obscure, logically speaking). It is known that cosmic rays can change the states of present computers (so even present computers are unpredictable!) Now the scale at which present computers operate is classical (as in classical mechanics), it is hundreds of times larger than the scale at which the inner machinery of cells operate.

That means that the inner machinery of neurons will be put in different states by cosmic rays, just like smartphones. There goes the freedom of Free Will. “Free Will” may feel free, but it may well have, and sometimes surely will have been, directed from a galaxy long ago, far away… This spectacular conclusion is not a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of science. And I have not even considered the question of (the extremely nonlocal) Quantum Entanglement. Quantum Entanglement is real and makes matters way worse.

Some will say, that’s fine, we don’t need to know all this stuff, we can be happy, and we can still pontificate about our classical notions of “Free Will” and “Consciousness”. Indeed, those who want to stay primitive, should. Yes. Yet, within bounds. There are limits to barbarity that civilization needs to set-up, as a matter of survival.

Those who want to cling to a more barbarian, less scientific past certainly cannot claim to have the will to moral superiority. They are like those who believe Muhammad rode to Jerusalem on a winged mule. One cannot accept the principle that one can believe in anything, accept that anybody can believe in anything, and civilization will go on. Verily, superior morality, superior smarts.

If anything, Quantum Physics show that much more things are connected in mysterious ways than ever thought possible. Even space and time get entangled in “Quantum Procrastination“, and cease to have any conventional meaning.

To believe that this completely new, immensely more subtle than was ever suspected (Quantum) universe, has nothing to do with the way we perceive it, and conceive of it, would be an astoundingly naive, revoltingly obsolete, lack of introspection, a short step away from those winged mules.

Patrice Ayme’


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14 Responses to “Consciousness, Nonlocality, Free Will”

  1. benign Says:


    Yes! “The Field” by Lynn McTaggart and “The Conscious Universe” by Dean Radin are wonderful places to start on this. The Berkeley physicist Henry Stack has written a lot on the quantum foundations of consciousness. The anesthetist Dr. Stuart Hameroff theorizes that quantum non-locality manifests in the microtubules in the brain. So our minds are inextricably woven into the fabric of the universe and so cannot ever be “uploaded” to a machine.

    Along with Radin, the HeartMath Institute has shown that our hearts respond to emotionally laden stimuli before they are presented (the peaceful/stressful pictures experiment).

    I read fanatically on this about a decade ago, perhaps starting with “The Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot, full of great storytelling. Puthoff and Targ also demonstrated lots of nonlocal phenomena on the CIA budget, much not declassified.

    Thus, I meditate literally to try to pick up information about things elsewhere in space and time. They say the reception to an individual brain varies with personality, but is never more than grainy.

    Let us know if you have any current references on this stuff. The whole issue of wave collapse seems to be moot (and most physicists mute haha). Who is watching the Universe to make it “real”?

    cheers, benign

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      I have talked with Henry Stapp in his office at LBL, BTW…
      Although I am very far from understanding all the issues (nobody does dixit Feynman), I view myself as an authority on the subject of Foundations of the Quantum, meaning practially that I talk with anyone…including Feynman to whom I exposed my grand scheme, he approved of it, acknowledging it would change everything… Feynman was clever enough to know what we should not be sure of, including the Big Bang… But so great was the terror out there, he won’t admit it in public. Me, of course I don’t care as I never met a PC I did not want to swallow…

      I didn’t put to many links, etc., because that’s just stuff I know… The tech now is sci fi relative to what we had ten years ago…

      As far as I am concerned, the wave collapse is real. I am thinking to write a Quantum delayed choice essay, but the Dark Matter-going-my-way-thingie, in light of work at ESO just published, is more important…

      • benign Says:

        You didn’t take the bait re: the First Observer, I note. We all must hold onto our localisms…. What is your quantum theory in plain English (applying the Feynman requirement…)?

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Feynman requirement is that we should be able to explain in plain English? OK, he said something sort of (explain simply).
          I believe the Quantum space (that’s the Hilbert space in which the Quantum computation happens) gets established at speed Tau, at least 10^10 c (normal QM has that speed infinite). This finite speed implies that Quantum entanglement leaks over cosmic scales -> Dark Matter, maybe Dark Energy

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      The universe, including us, is watching and kneading the universe to make it real. Really reality follows the manyfold way…
      I zero believe in the holographic universe. First, we don’t know if there is a boundary to the universe and where, and it’s unlikely to having meaning, theoretical or practical…

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Can’t go wrong, reading about the cosmos…

  2. benign Says:

    PS See Russell Targ’s book for the unclassified stuff on remote viewing.

  3. benign Says:

    Remote viewing is real, IMHO, as is the Field and time reversals in perception. I can accept a bootstrapping manyfold solution to wave collapse (why not? why should there have been symmetry breaking?). Holographic U multiple U’s. But if non-locality is “physically real” why shouldn’t there be access to remote info? This is not the other holographic U theory that it’s all a projection, this is simply a quasi-fractal idea that all info is replicated/accessible everywhere. Anyway, fun stuff!

  4. Paul Handover Says:

    As it happens I’m just reading John Zande’s latest book On the Problem of Good and on p.51 John refers to professor Max Tegmark of MIT and his article in New Scientist of April, 2014: Consciousness as a State of Matter, p 28-31.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      I don’t take multiverse people anymore seriously than multiangels bishops of the Twelth Century. Here is an extract from Tegmark, which is revealing enough:

      Every time I’ve written ten mainstream papers, I allow myself to indulge in writing one wacky one, like my Scientific American article about parallel universes. This is because I have a burning curiosity about the ultimate nature of reality; indeed, this is why I went into physics in the first place. So far, I’ve learned one thing in this quest that I’m really sure of: whatever the ultimate nature of reality may turn out to be, it’s completely different from how it seems. So I feel a bit like the protagonist in the Truman Show, the Matrix or the 13th Floor trying to figure out what’s really going on.

      Parallel Universe Overview (Levels I-IV)
      I think that there are at least 4 different kinds of parallel universes lurking out there, summarized in the figure down below. In this universe, I’ve published a series of articles about these 4 multiverse levels (I’d recommend starting with the the first one):
      Parallel Universes, my Scientific American cover story for May 2003 issue (nontechnical overview of all 4 levels)

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Little noticed is that, most of the time, the Quantum is neither wave nor particle (first time published: 2012 CE! In the link I gave to Science Magazine) That means matter as most people understand it is not matter as it really is.

  5. De Brunet D'Ambiallet Says:

    This quantum situation changes everything. All of classical humanism is out of the window. Or is it? What do you think?

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