Nobody knows what consciousness is and how it isarranged. Of course, scientists from different fields of science have a variety of assumptions on this score, but no one can give an exact answer to the question of what consciousness is. A similar situation is observed with quantum mechanics - studying the interaction of the smallest particles of the Universe with each other, physicists have learned a lot. But since quantum mechanics does not agree with Einstein's theory of general relativity, researchers cannot figure out how to bring them to a common denominator. According to one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century, physicist Richard Feynman, no one really understands quantum mechanics. Interestingly, he might just as well have talked about an equally intricate problem of consciousness. Despite the fact that some scientists believe that consciousness is just an illusion, others, on the contrary, believe that we do not understand at all where it comes from. So it's not surprising that the age-old mystery of consciousness has prompted some researchers to turn to quantum physics to explain it. But how can one unsolved mystery be explained by another?
What is Consciousness?
It is difficult to define consciousness.How to answer the question of "why am I me" or "how does my consciousness differ from the consciousness of a cat?" or "why do I perceive the world this way and not otherwise?" Fortunately, there are scientists in the world who are ready to answer, if not all, then many questions about what human consciousness is.
For example, the cognitive philosopher Daniel Dennett,Professor at Tufts University (USA), in his book "From Bacteria to Bach and Back" talks about how biological processes in the human body create a stream of thoughts and images. The professor believes that the subjective film that is played before the eyes of each of us is nothing more than an illusion skillfully woven by our brain. He also believes that consciousness is not as mysterious as we think and believes that science should explain the objective functioning of the brain.
Among scholars who disagree with Dennett's viewAustralian philosopher and teacher David Chalmers. He proposes to consider consciousness as something fundamental, for example, as the laws of physics that can be discovered in the future using the latest technology. His second even more radical idea is called the "panspichism hypothesis", according to which consciousness is universal and any system possesses it to some extent, even elementary particles and photons. And where there are photons, there may be quantum mechanics.
Read more about what consciousness is from the point of view of philosophers and neuroscientists in this material.
How is quantum physics related to consciousness?
In 1921, Albert Einstein was awardedNobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect. The physicist believed that light, which is usually considered a continuous wave, can also be distributed in quanta, which we call photons. This event, along with Max Planck's understanding of blackbody radiation, Niels Bohr's new atomic model, Arthur Compton's X-ray research and Louis de Broglie's assumption that matter has wave-like properties, marked the beginning of a new quantum era in which you and I were lucky to live.
Is it any wonder that a new quantuma theory of consciousness called Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch OR), sponsored by Nobel Prize Winner in Physics Professor Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff of the University of Arizona.
The Orch OR theory, although it has undergone a number of changesSince its inception, it has generally been said that the discovery of quantum oscillations in the "microtubules" that reside inside the neurons of the brain gives rise to consciousness. Microtubules (protein polymers) control neuronal and synaptic functions and link brain processes to self-organizing processes at a quantum level. Scientists believe that a new theory can explain even an afterlife.
Note that the theory of Penrose and Hameroff causeda number of criticisms, however, the application of quantum theory in a biological context has continued and has had the greatest success in relation to photosynthesis. Interestingly, studies of smell, enzymes, and even bird DNA also suggest that quantum effects can be more widely involved in the functioning of biological organisms.
See also: Can the Internet Be Conscious?
Recently published in Physics Worldpostgraduate student Bethany Adams' work on the role of quantum effects in the brain. Adams' study highlights a number of possible quantum effects on the brain, but her doctoral study
focuses on quantum entanglement between neurons and how it can be affected by pharmaceuticals such as lithium.
Although Adams' work covers several possibleapplications, she herself hopes that her research will bring the world a better understanding of how antidepressants and mood stabilizers work, as well as new treatments for many mental illnesses. But who knows, maybe her work will allow scientists to explain how consciousness works and where it comes from. What do you think about consciousness? How far have scientists advanced in this area? We will wait for the answer here, as well as in the comments to this article.