The Physics of Collective Consciousness. Part 2

by Attila Grandpierre
Attila Grandpierre, Ph.D. Konkoly Observatory of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
H-1525 Budapest P. O. Box 67., Hungary
February 6, 1996

5. The Levels of the Mind

The 4* 1010 neurones of the brain, having 103 synapses, respectively, each of which has 102 levels of "strength", would give us a mental "universe" consisting of maximum 1015 elements. This number is too small even if we consider the classic von Neumann estimate of 1020 bits as conscious information obtained during a lifetime. Taking into account that the amount of information reaching us from our environment through our external senses is estimated to be around 109 - 1010 bits/sec (see later on), this neuronal model becomes insufficient within 106 sec, i.e. within 10 days, even if we count only the information coming from the environment. We can use a finite state model of the brain, but we definitely need much more states than the neural model can provide. The phenomenon of creativity gives an even more stringent constraint on the number of states of the brain (Grandpierre, 1995a).

The simple, exclusively neural model of consciousness is also counter-indicated by some basic observations, e.g. the spontaneous excitation of neurones, when their activity potential develops spontaneously, i.e. not from the sensorial input. It means that an underlying mechanism exists on which the brain activity is organised. Already Szent-Györgyi drew attention to the need of sub-molecular biology and the role of spontaneous electron transfer in the cell's life activity (Szent-Györgyi, 1968). He pointed out that cell division may be regulated by donor-acceptor interactions, processes in which electrons go spontaneously from one molecule to another. Evidences were given that the electrons are moved by the energy of light from one molecule to another (Szent-Györgyi, 1968). He remarked, that electrons are necessary also in regulating the organism as a whole, and as a physical carrier of thinking since there is a basic need for a fast enough process, much faster than the biomolecules can be (Szent-Györgyi, 1974). This essay here was inspired by his lecture, trying to apply and extend it. Recently Ladik defended Szent-Györgyi's views on the proteins as good electrical conductors by numerical quantum-chemical calculations. Free electrons are present within proteins and they are substantial in DNA-protein interaction, therefore in the genetic regulation, in rapid signal transfer within biopolymers, and they play an important role in the self-regulation of the cell (Ladik, 1987, and more references therein). A new branch of science grew from the ideas of Szent-Györgyi, bioelectromagnetism. There is a tremendous literature studying the ultraweak electromagnetic radiation from cells, the biophotons (Popp, Li and Gu, 1992; Bischof, 1995) and bioelectromagnetism (Adey, 1981; Becker, Selden, 1985; Oldfield, Coghill, 1988; Popp et al., 1989; Smith and Best, 1989, Smith, 1995).

David Bohm expressed a view that in human consciousness, what actually happens in its ground level - beyond neural states representing results of only activity related to aware consciousness- may be very fast and related to pre-space, the implicate order behind space-time, to a creative factor, from which the whole phenomena and the space-time structure enfolds. These fast mental processes have characteristics common to microphysical processes (Bohm, 1986). Ultimately, thinking is related to the unconscious until its deepest ranges.

The problem of creativity is present in every field of science (Laszlo, 1995). He suggested that quantum-vacuum interactions play a significant role in the fields of cosmology, physics, biology and consciousness.

There are thoughts, which are related to the execution of some functions of the organism (Libet's experiments). These are related to some kind of action potentials above a certain specific threshold or amplitude. Non-executive thoughts, which do not trigger bodily changes, do not necessarily develop well defined action potentials. I have developed the idea that the conscious mind works with information processed by deeper mind levels, which are not embodied in activation potentials, but by more subtle changes in the brain. It is well known that the speed of information processing of the conscious mind in average conditions is estimated to be around C1=100 bit/s, while the information processed by deep mind may be estimated to be larger than the information reaching the organism from the external world through the outer senses, which is around C2=109 bit/s (see e. g. Elsasser, 1958, Griffith, 1970, Drischel, 1972, Woody, 1982, Silbernagl, Despopoulos, 1991, Scheffer, 1994). To have a feeling of these numbers, the often cited examples are the reading speed, estimated to be 50 bit/s if one needs 20 seconds to read a page of 1000 bits (one letter is around 4.5 bit, but there is a considerable redundancy in a page). One may assume that speed reading is an attempt to use the eye and conscious mind at full speed. An extreme speed reading champion reads less than 100 words per second, i.e. approximately 500 bit/s, because in an ordinary text you have less than 5 bits per word (Shannon, 1951). On the other hand, a TV screen mediates 106-7 bit/s, estimated by the number of pixels and their information content (Scheffer, 1994). The deep mind processes information from the outside world coming into the organism through external senses, and, parallel with it, the input data coming from the deeper mind levels. Our behaviour expresses around 107 bit/s through speaking, mimics and bodily movements. The ability to express information through speaking, being definitively slower than reading, is estimated to be around only 10 bit/s, if we take a time of 100 sec to read a page. The all-or-nothing picture of the neurones representing 1 bit information expressed by their ability for activation (firing) or inhibition cannot store and process such a gigantic flow of information.

6. Quantum-Vacuum Interactions in the Brain

Eccles (1986, 1994) built up his model of thought-process based on the probabilistic change of the quantum mechanical wave function, assumed to occur without energy supply. Actually, the reduction of the quantum wave function needs energy, as it is pointed out by Károlyházi (1966), recently by Albert and Vaidman (1989) and Pearle and Squires (1994). I assume that the energy is taken from the zero-point-fluctuation of the vacuum field, as described by quantum electrodynamics (QED) or stochastic electrodynamics (SED; Boyer, 1975). This assumption is inspired and substantiated by the quantum-vacuum interaction (QVI) theory of Ervin Laszlo (1995). I assume that the collapses are associated with the sizes of the relevant thinking units ('brains'). This assumption seems to be plausible if we regard the experimental results of synchronisation processes of neurones in diverse part of brains (Crick, 1994). These assumptions, if they turn to be correct later on, give the strength of the main arguments below.

Here we first calculate the size of a brain working with a kind of material carrier. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle tells us that quantum measurements cannot be arbitrarily precise regarding both energy and time:

D E*D t ~ h/ 4p (6)

The above law limits the time-span of the total energy E of virtual particles to D t. Virtual particles are created and annihilated with energy E for time D t in accordance with

E*D t ~ h/4p (7)

Gu and Rauch (1994) noted that the coherency threshold (2) is the one at which the rate of uncertainty for the real particles is minimal and so is the critical value when the signal-to-noise ratio is at a maximum. Similarly, the relationship between the position and momentum of virtual particles in the quantum vacuum is

D p*D x ~ h/4p (8)

Equations (7) and (8) describe constraints on the physical properties of virtual particles.

I assume that the quantum wave function of a real particle collapses as it interacts with the energy carried by a vacuum wave:

E(vacuum wave) ~ D E(quanta) (9)

Here for a real particle we note p =mv and E = p2/2m. For simplicity we adopt a co-ordinate system in which po = 0, Eo = 0. Then we can express position and energy together with momentum. Using m, a quantal carrier of mass as the basis of information, we obtain the following relationship between the overall size of a natural 'brain' and the time-scale of the information processing within it, using (9), (8) and (7):

D x ~ (hD t/8p m)1/ 2 (10)

Here D x stands for the width of the quantum wave function of the real particle which carries the thought process in the actual brain. A collapsed wave function, a particle is in a quantum state which is best approximated by a wave packet. The spread in momentum (i. e. in the velocity) values implies that the wave packet will spread in time. The more localised a particle is, the more quickly it spreads. The same formula (10) is derived by Károlyházi (1974, formula 4. 1. 1), without applications in biology. Therefore, D t has a meaning of a coherency length, t , the time of the spread for doubling the width of the wave function.

7. Applications to Human and Cellular Brains

First of all, it is interesting to calculate the material carrier of global human brain. It is possible to calculate the mass of this carrier with formula (10) if we use values of the parameters characteristic to the human brain. Using for D x=10 cm and for D t the time necessary for the development of an activation potential in a neurone is t = 10-3 s (S. Rose, 1973). Formula (10) then gives an exciting result of m@ 10-33 g. This result suggests that the human brain interacts with the vacuum waves through the electromagnetic field quanta.

Now let us use formula (10) the other way around, looking for brains with electrons as material carriers of thought, with mass me  ~ 9 * 10-28 g. With the help of these given values, we can estimate the size of the macroscopic brain thinking with electrons:

L (natural electronic brain, t =10-3 s ~ 10-2 cm ......(11)

This limit is close to the size of cells, namely 10-3 cm - 10-2 cm. This result means that if we want to construct a brain processing information through interaction of its electrons with vacuum waves, the brain has to have a size characteristic of the cells, if its biological characteristic time scale is t = 10-3 s. The consistency of this result may indicate that cells process information through electron-vacuum wave interactions. Nevertheless, if cells absorb energy from the vacuum, it should be possible that they give back this amount of energy to the vacuum, otherwise the interaction may decelerate quickly. We know that cells are able to give back the energy from their free energy reservoir, a general characteristics of all living system (Bauer, 1920).

At the same time, the cells may simultaneously use a faster, lighter material carrier of information processing, because their environment is much smaller and therefore changes much more quickly. In the estimation of this time scale one can use the fact that the human organism processes 109 - 1010 bit/s information unconsciously, while at the same time the conscious mind is only able to cope with 102 bit/s ( refs. cited above). If the time scale of the cells' information processing is proportional to the rate of the conscious information processing and that of the deep mind, which seems to be a reasonable assumption, then the time-scale of this more subtle cellular information processing is t = 10-9 s. This value is substantiated by the reaction rates in the interior of cells, known to be around 108-1012 s-1 (Ruth, 1989). Moreover, the lifetime of a hydrogen bound within a living cell is again 6* 10-9 s. A typical lifetime of the electronic excitations in normal metabolism is 10-8 s (Bauer, Borsdyko, 1936). Formula (10) with D x @ 10-2 cm with t @ 10-9 s then gives a value of 10-32 g for the mass of this material carrier, which can be appropriate for the mass-energy of a photon (E @ 10 eV). This result points, interestingly enough, to the presence of electromagnetic waves in the cell regulation. Independently from the ambiguity of the time scales accepted here, if the trend of acceleration of thought processes towards deeper mental levels is real, than we are supplied with an insight by formula (10) that electromagnetic processes dominate in a certain mental depth. I have to point out, that bioelectromagnetism is based on the fact that cells are regulated by electromagnetic processes.

Now let us look for the time scale of the human brain, in connection with the electron-vacuum quantal interaction! We use m@ 10-27 g for the electron mass, and D x@ 10 cm, the time scale D t@ 400 s. A longer time is needed for the brain to extract information and energy from the vacuum field through electrons than through photons. Regarding the fact that the large molecular tracks are built up by a long series of electronic events, we may get a physical picture of the time scale of long-term memory.

8. Coupling Between Global and Local Brains

Formula (10) suggests that the thinking process takes place in different time and space scales. Nevertheless, any organisation should act as an integrated unit, a system regulated globally, with all the necessary information gained. This fact points to a need to couple the different scale processes, transferring their information content to the level of decision making. We can study the nature of these couplings if we consider formula (10) from that point of view.

Let us assume, that the (necessary, but not sufficient) condition of any coupling between the different level (global or local) processes is the identical time scales, as any direct interaction may occur only between two simultaneous processes. Now we can start to look at what happens if the neural (local) and global brain phenomena are coupled. Using the neural time scale of t =10-3 s, with the electrons extended to the brain as a whole (D x=10 cm with formula (10)), a material carrier may contact in a neural time scale in a whole range of space localisation. As we take smaller scales, the mass of the carrier grows if we fix the time scale, in accordance with formula (10). At each selected size two masses should be followed: one that arise from (10), growing as D x decreases, and another which is actually present in the selected size of volume in the human brain, m@r* (D x)3 , decreasing as D x decreases. The two masses are equal when D x@ 10-6 cm. The corresponding mass is 10-13 g, a value just at the upper limit of the quantal range of the microscopic world as given by Károlyházi (1966). One can visualise the coupling now as the electron, subtracting information from the vacuum, present in a free state, interacts with a part of a neurone. The size and mass of that part of the neurone, which may be coupled to the global brain on the neural time scale, is close to the microtubules. It is interesting to note here that recent measurements of electromagnetic emission from living matter at CERN show that the time-dependent pattern of the emitted biophoton radiation shows a self-similar structure through ten orders of magnitude (Popp, 1994). This fractal structure of the emitted radiation enhances the empirical basis of the global-local coupling.

9. Frequencies of Interaction Between Different Brains

Now we are ready to estimate the wavelength of the information-carrier substances. The energy of wave quanta is E(wave) = hf, where f is the frequency of the wave with a wavelength of l= v/f. At first, we can work with a quanta of waves having a mass-energy m=E/c2 in (10). In this way we can obtain the result by the following formulas:

m=(ht )/(pl2) (12)

The relation between the wavelength of the informative wave and the brain's space-time dimensions is

l @ 8p (D x)2/(ct )* (v/c) @ 2h/(mc)* (v/c) (13)

For the human brain we take Dx = 10 cm, t = 10-3 s, and v @ c. This results in l@ 8* 10-5 cm = 800 nm, or f @ 3* 1014 Hz which is at the blue edge of the visible spectral range. For cellular information processing

D x =10-2-3 cm, t = 10-10 s , and the wavelength l@ 3* 10-6 cm = 300 nm,

f @ 1015 Hz, which is within the ultraviolet spectral range. Remarkably, these two wavelengths are close to the value of lcrit . The frequency is 1015 Hz which is just the value belonging to the activation energy of the cells' enzymatic reactions. What is more, the spectral range belonging to the mitogenetic radiation is just in the same one. The mitogenetic radiation is observed to be emitted by dividing cells at and shortly before cell division. The history and the present state of the experimental investigations on ultraweak photon emission/mitogenetic radiation is presented by Ruth (1989, and F. A. Popp, K. H. Li. And Q. Gu, 1992). Notably, the above calculated wavelength is the same one at which the energy surplus of living protein is radiated away in the process of dying (Bauer, 1935, this phenomenon is known as the "degradation radiation", see also Ruth, 1989). Ervin Bauer, the greatest forgotten biologist of the century, developed a quantitative mathematical description of the most basic biological processes: growing, metabolism, dying, replication and sensitivity. He showed that in a living organism the molecules are in a deformed, elongated and electrically polarised state containing surplus, free energy, i.e. the free energy is EM energy.

10. Quantum Energy Transfer Between the Brain and the Material Carriers of Thought

Let us estimate now the amount of energy transfer between vacuum and quanta. The uncertainty principle (7) gives us a tool to estimate the energies relevant to the individual time scales. When using t@ 10-3 s, we have for E @ 5* 10-25 ergs, while for t@ 10-9 s, E @ 5* 10-19 ergs. The energy change of the electron localised to a human brain is estimated to be

E = p2/2m @ h2/(32p2(D x)2m) (14)

i. e. 10-30 ergs with D x= 10cm for electrons.

On the physical basis presented here one can construct the following chain of events for an interaction between the mind and the brain.

In the first step the information is contained and mediated by the vacuum field. These vacuum waves may interact with electromagnetic waves in giving them their information in the second step. The electromagnetic waves then may interact with the biomolecules of the brain, like sunshine interacts with chlorophyll molecules transferring the energy of the sunlight into chemical free energy. From this available chemical energy the activation potentials of the neural networks are built up. Nevertheless, all four steps could be simultaneously influenced by the vacuum waves.

The frequencies of the vacuum waves obtained here are remarkably close to the observed frequencies at cell divisions. This circumstance suggests that the way vacuum waves interact with material waves can be a resonant phenomenon. The vacuum waves may transfer their energies and information content to material waves at the same frequencies. The real energy transfer could be necessary only at the onset of some material processes in an upper level of the mind. Here, I suggest a picture in which the different levels of our minds may work with progressively more subtle material carriers, while the deepest one works with vacuum waves without any net energy transfer taking place in the end, because the energy taken out from the vacuum may be put back by the brain itself when reading important information from the psi-field. It could be the reason why only living organisms with a significant free energy content are able to react on the basis of the information read out.

11. Quantum-Vacuum Interaction in the Universe

The sizes of a brain thinking with electromagnetic waves are within the range of

L(EM brain) @ 10-8 cm - 1.6* 109 cm @ R(atom) - R(Earth) (15)

being the limiting values. The atomic size arises from formula (10) working with t = 10-14 s as the lifetime of the van der Waals bonds choosing for "m" the mass of the most energetic electromagnetic waves m(gamma rays) @ 10-27 g. The upper limit arises from the time-scale of the global brain, t @ 103 sec and the lower limit from the mass-energy of the least energetic electromagnetic waves m(radio waves) @ 10-43 g. It is interesting to note here, that the frequency belonging to the largest electromagnetic brain is around 1 - 100 Hz, in the range of the brain and Schumann terrestrial EM waves.

One can calculate the wavelength belonging to a thought process occurring in a cosmic dimension with the size of the Universe. Using for D x ~ R(Universe) in (10) we get for l (Universe)

l (Universe) @ 2p (ct ) (v/c) (16)

Taking for t ~ the age of the Universe , ct ~ R(Universe) because the Universe is expanding with a velocity close to the speed of light. It means that the size belonging to a thought process occurring in a duration with the age of the Universe has just the same order of magnitude as the size of the Universe.

Using different values for t belonging to a certain system in (16) we get different values for l which belongs to a vacuum wave of different wavelength. Equation (16) offers the description of the coupling between the thought processes of the Universe and its organic elements, another global-local coupling. Namely, using the time-scale of the human consciousness, t ~ 10-3 s, we get the resonant wavelength of the Universe to Man as l ~ 2* 108 cm when using a value of v ~ c. This magnitude is again close to the size of the Earth, and with v > c it is possible to get even larger sizes. The size of a brain thinking with vacuum waves can be

L(vacuum waves) ~ L(human brain), R(Earth), R(Sun), R(Universe).

The different vacuum waves couple us in a different scale to the cosmos and to our bodies and brains, while the electromagnetic and electron waves present couplings between our environment, our brains and local neural processes. These couplings to the different scales of the outer world represent couplings between our different mind levels, simultaneously. In this context it is important to note, that these outer sources of informations - the Earth, the Sun, the stars, and the Universe as a whole - do show a whole range of generalised organic processes (Grandpierre, A., 1995a, 1996a,b,c,d).

In my essay (Grandpierre, A., 1995a) I argued that every element of the Universe is a kind of a double-pyramid consisting of hierarchical levels i.e. conscious mind, deep-mind, genetic-mind, cosmic mind (inner world pyramid of a human being), Earth, Solar System, Galaxy, Universe (outer world-pyramid of a human being). The difference between the organisms of the Universe is only what is outer and what is inner for them, but the levels in their pyramids are similar, consisting of the same constituents. In this context it is interesting to note, that our calculations show that the different organisms interact with the same range of universal fields, but their sizes determine, what is 'outer' and what is 'inner' for them, and which are the long and short wavelengths compared to their physical sizes.