The nature of human consciousness has remained one of the greatest mysteries and challenges for scientists, philosophers, and the spiritually inclined. Conventional neuroscientific models view consciousness as emerging from complex neuronal chemical interactions. However, meditation practice centered on non-dual dharma could offer a radical shift in perspective that's useful across disciplines - the ability to experience what could be described as quantum consciousness.
This perspective proposes that consciousness originates from the deeper level of quantum Reality, truly immeasurable, beyond neuronal activity... conscience, which literally means a level of experience that is anti-scientific or cannot be compared or measured in a way that makes sense or has genuine meaning, be everyday stands. By applying principles of quantum mechanics, including superposition, entanglement, and probabilistic outcomes, the quantum consciousness framework points to a new paradigm for understanding the mind-matter relationship. This white paper will analyze the key concepts, implications, and open questions related to this fascinating idea.
- Consciousness as a Fundamental Property: Rather than an emergent phenomenon, consciousness is posited as a fundamental component of the universe, rooted in the quantum realm. This frames it as an irreducible feature that is as elemental as matter and energy. You could consider the law of thermodynamics... that energy is neither created or destroyed, It is in a continuous experience of transformation.
- The Brain as a Quantum Filter: The brain serves as a filtering mechanism that constrains the limitless possibilities of the quantum world into specific conscious experiences. It achieves this through mechanisms like wave function collapse. In Zen, attention is considered one of the most important superpowers human have, because where our attention is directed, determines what is alive or dead to us in the moment.
- Entanglement and Non-locality: Particles can exhibit correlation irrespective of distance through quantum entanglement. This implies a non-local, unified nature to consciousness that transcends physical separation. You and I can be in what appears t be in two distinct and separate locations, we can hear the same information and think and feel exactly the same. One example could be 911... covid... seeing images of war or violence... or their opposite.
- Wave-Particle Duality: The blurring lines between waves and particles in quantum theory could account for the dynamic, subjective nature of conscious experiences. In a talk given by Shakyamuni Buddha, it's reported that he used an expression in the Lankavatara Sutra, "Things are not as they appear, nor are they otherwise." Experience is based on perspective as a key ingredient.
- Probabilistic Reality: Quantum events are probabilistic, suggesting an inherent indeterminacy to reality. This provides a framework for reconciling free will within a physicalist worldview. Our life despite appearances in not a beginning, middle, and end, along a horizontal plain. When are always within the vertical of Nowness in parallel and so we're the condensed version of what to some would be past, present, and future all at the same time, and so a choice without a past or a future is free.
IMPLICATIONS AND NOTICINGS
- Relation of Mind and Matter: Quantum consciousness challenges strict materialist perspectives and establishes the ontological primacy of consciousness over matter or matter abiding as a side-effect within the oceanic nature and quality of consciousness, with subjectivity... I-ing, selfing, or self-reflective awareness as an inherent component of subjective reality.
- Non-dualism: The interconnectedness implied by quantum principles points to a non-dualistic view of consciousness as both unified and personal. This bridges Eastern mystical traditions with Western analytical frameworks. TO some this might be described as objective or zoomed-out awareness.
- Free Will: Creative action of the spirit expressed as free will seems plausible in a probabilistic universe where definite outcomes do not exist prior to measurement and conscious intention and intervention. How many times have things turned out 180° opposite of what we were actively working toward? Why? Variable. Things we could not see or experience within our direct line of sight or ability to predict.
- Time and Subjectivity: The consciousness-centered perspective accords greater significance to subjective experience of time over objective clocks. For some interested there's a teaching by Zen Master Dogen called "Being Time," that seems like a beautiful poetical expression but is describing time is not a fixed equation. There time that can have the appearance of past, present, future... move present to past... or time that actually ceases, which is sometimes referred to as samadhi.
POTENTIAL EXPLANATORY POWER
- Binding Problem: The unity of conscious experience has been hard to explain from a neuronal perspective. Quantum holism provides a potential solution through nonlocal correlations.
- Cognition and Information Processing: Quantum parallelism could account for the brain's computational efficiency, surpassing classical information limits.
- Near-Death Experiences: The transcendence of subjective awareness reported in NDEs aligns with hypotheses of a non-local, universal quantum consciousness.
FALSIFIABILITY AND RESEARCH
- Role of Microtubules: Microtubules embedded within neurons have been suggested as possible sites for quantum processing underlying consciousness.
- Anesthesia and Consciousness: Anesthetic gases could perturb quantum processes underlying consciousness. Changes in brain EEG signals during anesthesia may provide insights. Affectively this is hitting the brakes on cognitive function. It's been said that sleep is the way of the de-constituting of self, and waking up is a reconstitution of an illusory self.
The perspective of quantum consciousness represents a paradigm shift with profound, interdisciplinary implications of true discovery. While expansive experimental validation remains needed, it opens up new perspectives for resolving intractable questions of mind, matter, free will, and Being rather than becoming. The harmonized integration of creativity and rigor is essential as we move forward in exploring beyond the range of the campfires light that we tend to huddle around falsely assuming it's a "safer" place than groping in darkness. By bridging yes and no, and understanding Maybe, the quantum view of consciousness could lead to revolutionary advances in our understanding of the Universe expressing Itself within an endless waves upon a singular Ocean of Being.
And so as ever the encouragement is Zazen, Zazen, Zazen... until no theories are left... only the experience.
一We Are None of Us Alone