Consciousness: Matter or EMF? Conventional theories of consciousness (ToCs) that assume that the substrate of consciousness is the brain's neuronal matter fail to account for fundamental features of consciousness, such as the binding problem. Field ToC's propose that the substrate of consciousness is the brain's best accounted by some kind of field in the brain. Electromagnetic (EM) ToCs propose that the conscious field is the brain's well-known EM field. EMF-ToCs are defined as those ToCs that propose that the seat of consciousness resides in the brain's EM field, rather than its neuronal substrate. PMC9889563
Consciousness and inward electromagnetic field interactions. Electromagnetic field (EMF) theories of mind/brain integration have been proposed to explain brain function for over seventy years. Interest in this theory continues to this day because it explains mind-brain integration and it offers a simple solution to the “binding problem” of our unified conscious experience. Thus, it addresses at least in part the “hard problem” of consciousness. EMFs are easily measured and many corelates have been noted for field activity; associated with loss and recovery of consciousness, sensory perceptions, and behavior. Electromagnetic fields are produced (generated) by neurons that are connected by chemical and/or electrical synapses, as well as via ephaptic connections. PMC9714613.
Qualia and Phenomenal Consciousness Arise From the Information Structure of an Electromagnetic Field in the Brain. Living systems express a boundary between themselves and the environment, requiring them to model (coarsely emulate) information from their environment in order to control through actions, to the extent possible, the vast sea of variety in which they are immersed. This model, expressed in an EM field, is P-consciousness. The model is the best possible representation of the moment-to-moment niche-relevant (action-relevant: affordance) information an organism can generate (a Gestalt). Information that is at a lower level than niche-relevant, such as the unanalyzed retinal vector-field, is not represented in P-consciousness because it is not niche-relevant. Living organisms have sensory and other systems that have evolved to supply such information, albeit in a coarse form. PMC9289677.
The Slowest Shared Resonance: A Review of Electromagnetic Field Oscillations Between Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems. Electromagnetic field oscillations produced by the brain are increasingly being viewed as causal drivers of consciousness. Recent research has highlighted the importance of the body's various endogenous rhythms in organizing these brain-generated fields through various types of entrainment. We expand this approach by examining evidence of extracerebral shared oscillations between the brain and other parts of the body, in both humans and animals. We then examine the degree to which these data support one of General Resonance Theory's (GRT) principles: the Slowest Shared Resonance (SSR) principle, which states that the combination of micro- to macro-consciousness in coupled field systems is a function of the slowest common denominator frequency or resonance. This principle may be utilized to develop a spatiotemporal hierarchy of brain-body shared resonance systems. It is predicted that a system's SSR decreases with distance between the brain and various resonating structures in the body. The various resonance relationships examined, including between the brain and gastric neurons, brain and sensory organs, and brain and spinal cord, generally match the predicted SSR relationships, empirically supporting this principle of GRT. PMC8888685.
Neural Correlates of Non-ordinary States of Consciousness in Pranayama Practitioners: The Role of Slow Nasal Breathing. SNB induced (1) slowing of electroencephalography (EEG) activities (delta-theta bands) in prefrontal regions, (2) a widespread increase of theta and high-beta connectivity complemented by an increase of phase-amplitude coupling between the two bands in prefrontal and posterior regions belonging to the Default Mode Network, (3) an increase of high-beta networks small-worldness. (4) a higher perception of being in a non-ordinary state of consciousness. The emerging scenario strongly suggests that the effects of SNB, beyond the relative contribution of vagal stimulation, are mainly ascribable to olfactory epithelium stimulation. In conclusion, slow Pranayama breathing modulates brain activity and hence subjective experience up to the point of inducing a non-ordinary state of consciousness. PMC8977447.
The Easy Part of the Hard Problem: A Resonance Theory of Consciousness. Synchronization, harmonization, vibrations, or simply resonance in its most general sense seems to have an integral relationship with consciousness itself. One of the possible "neural correlates of consciousness" in mammalian brains is a specific combination of gamma, beta and theta electrical synchrony. More broadly, we see similar kinds of resonance patterns in living and non-living structures of many types. What clues can resonance provide about the nature of consciousness more generally? This paper provides an overview of resonating structures in the fields of neuroscience, biology and physics and offers a possible solution to what we see as the "easy part" of the "Hard Problem" of consciousness, which is generally known as the "combination problem." The combination problem asks: how do micro-conscious entities combine into a higher-level macro-consciousness? The proposed solution in the context of mammalian consciousness suggests that a shared resonance is what allows different parts of the brain to achieve a phase transition in the speed and bandwidth of information flows between the constituent parts. PMC6834646.
The frequency architecture of brain and brain body oscillations: an analysis. An analysis of the center frequency of traditional frequency bands and their coupling principles suggest a binary hierarchy of frequencies. This principle leads to the foundation of the binary hierarchy brain body oscillation theory. Its central hypotheses are that the frequencies of body oscillations can be predicted from brain oscillations and that brain and body oscillations are aligned to each other. The empirical evaluation of the predicted frequencies for body oscillations is discussed on the basis of findings for heart rate, heart rate variability, breathing frequencies, fluctuations in the BOLD signal, and other body oscillations. The conclusion is that brain and many body oscillations can be described by a single system, where the cross talk - reflecting communication - within and between brain and body oscillations is governed by m : n phase to envelope and phase to phase coupling. PMC6668003.
The Clinical, Philosophical, Evolutionary and Mathematical Machinery of Consciousness: An Analytic Dissection of the Field Theories and a Consilience of Ideas. Any theory of consciousness must include the fact that a conscious entity, as far as is known, is a wet biological medium (the brain), of stupendously high entropy. This organ or entity generates a field that must account for the "binding problem", which we will define. This proposed field, the conscious electro-magnetic information (CEMI) field, also has physical properties, which we will outline. PMC7813534.
Magnetic correlates in electromagnetic consciousness. We examine the hypothesis that consciousness is a manifestation of the electromagnetic field, finding supportive factors not previously considered. It is not likely that traditional electrophysiological signaling modes can be readily transmitted throughout the brain to properly enable this field because of electric field screening arising from the ubiquitous distribution of high dielectric lipid membranes, a problem that vanishes for low-frequency magnetic fields. Many reports over the last few decades have provided evidence that living tissue is robustly sensitive to ultrasmall (1-100 nT) ELF magnetic fields overlapping the γ-frequency range often associated with awareness. An example taken from animal behavior (coherent bird flocking) lends support to the possibility of a disembodied electromagnetic consciousness. In contrast to quantum consciousness hypotheses, the present approach is open to experimental trial. PMID: 27049696. PDF.
The entropic brain: a theory of conscious states informed by neuroimaging research with psychedelic drugs. Entropy is a dimensionless quantity that is used for measuring uncertainty about the state of a system but it can also imply physical qualities, where high entropy is synonymous with high disorder. At its core, the entropic brain hypothesis proposes that the quality of any conscious state depends on the system's entropy1 measured via key parameters of brain function. Entropy is a powerful explanatory tool for cognitive neuroscience since it provides a quantitative index of a dynamic system's randomness or disorder while simultaneously describing its informational character, i.e., our uncertainty about the system's state if we were to sample it at any given time-point. The phenomenon of self-organized criticality refers to how a complex system (i.e., a system with many constituting units that displays emergent properties at the global-level beyond those implicated by its individual units) forced away from equilibrium by a regular input of energy, begins to exhibit interesting properties once it reaches a critical point in a relatively narrow transition zone between the two extremes of system order and chaos. PMC3909994.
Integrating information in the brain's EM field: the cemi field theory of consciousness. Information integration is implemented in time, rather than space, and thereby cannot correspond to physically integrated information. Only energy fields are capable of integrating information in space. I describe the conscious electromagnetic information (cemi) field theory which has proposed that consciousness is physically integrated, and causally active, information encoded in the brain's global electromagnetic (EM) field. I here extend the theory to argue that consciousness implements algorithms in space, rather than time, within the brain's EM field. I describe how the cemi field theory accounts for most observed features of consciousness and describe recent experimental support for the theory. PMC7507405.
The CEMI field theory: Closing the loop. Several theories of consciousness first described about a decade ago, including the conscious electromagnetic information (CEMI) field theory, claimed that the substrate of consciousness is the brain's electromagnetic (EM) field. These theories were prompted by the observation, in many diverse systems, that synchronous neuronal firing, which generates coherent EM fields, was a strong correlate of attention, awareness, and consciousness. However, when these theories were first described there was no direct evidence that synchronous firing was actually functional, rather than an epiphenomenon of brain function. Additionally, any EM field-based consciousness would be a 'ghost in the machine' unless the brain's endogenous EM field is also able to influence neuron firing. Once again, when these theories were first described, there was only indirect evidence that the brain's EM field influenced neuron firing patterns in the brain. In this paper I describe recent experimental evidence which demonstrate that synchronous neuronal firing does indeed have a functional role in the brain; and also that the brain's endogenous EM field is involved in recruiting neurons to synchronously firing networks. The new data point to a new and unappreciated form of neural communication in the brain that is likely to have significance for all theories of consciousness. I describe an extension of the CEMI field theory that incorporates these recent experimental findings and integrates the theory with the 'communication through coherence' hypothesis. PDF.
Synchronous Firing and Its Influence on the Brain’s Electromagnetic Field. Evidence for an Electromagnetic Field Theory of Consciousness. The human brain consists of approximately 100 billion electrically active neurons that generate an endogenous electromagnetic (em) field. Synchronous firing of distributed neurons phase-locks induced em field fluctuations to increase their magnitude and influence. Synchronous firing has previously been demonstrated to correlate with awareness and perception, indicating that perturbations to the brain’s em field also correlate with awareness. The brain’s em field represents an integrated electromagnetic field representation of distributed neuronal information and has dynamics that closely map to those expected for a correlate of consciousness. PDF.
The Conscious Electromagnetic Information (Cemi) Field Theory: The Hard Problem Made Easy? Consciousness is that component of the brain's electromagnetic field that is downloaded to motor neurons and is thereby capable of communicating its informational content to the outside world. Using cemi field theory I propose a working hypothesis that shows, among other things, that awareness and information represent the same phenomenon viewed from different reference frames. PDF.
The intricacies of the human body have amazed scientists for generations. Innumerable, entwined feedback loops regulate our internal processes, keeping us within the narrow bounds needed for survival. Despite this regulation, our systems are aperiodic and unpredictable in the long term. We are incredibly ordered on several scales of magnitude, but irregularly so. Our bodies conform to a set of non-linear, dynamic rules. The human body is not a simple machine, but an amazingly complex chaotic system. Human Beings as Chaotic Systems. By Crystal Ives.
"Life is an aperiodic crystal, it is not random, but also it is not periodic; it is something in between." Shrodinger
What is whole-person health and how can it be measured?
Nobel Conference XXVI at Gustavus Adolphus College. October 2 and 3, 1990.
Brain-heart interactions in the neurobiology of consciousness. Recent experimental evidence on patients with disorders of consciousness revealed that observing brain-heart interactions helps to detect residual consciousness, even in patients with absence of behavioral signs of consciousness. Those findings support hypotheses suggesting that visceral activity is involved in the neurobiology of consciousness, and sum to the existing evidence in healthy participants in which the neural responses to heartbeats reveal perceptual and self-consciousness. More evidence obtained through mathematical modeling of physiological dynamics revealed that emotion processing is prompted by an initial modulation from ascending vagal inputs to the brain, followed by sustained bidirectional brain-heart interactions. Those findings support long-lasting hypotheses on the causal role of bodily activity in emotions, feelings, and potentially consciousness. In this paper, the theoretical landscape on the potential role of heartbeats in cognition and consciousness is reviewed, as well as the experimental evidence supporting these hypotheses. I advocate for methodological developments on the estimation of brain-heart interactions to uncover the role of cardiac inputs in the origin, levels, and contents of consciousness. The ongoing evidence depicts interactions further than the cortical responses evoked by each heartbeat, suggesting the potential presence of non-linear, complex, and bidirectional communication between brain and heartbeat dynamics. Further developments on methodologies to analyze brain-heart interactions may contribute to a better understanding of the physiological dynamics involved in homeostatic-allostatic control, cognitive functions, and consciousness. PMCID: PMC9846460.
A simple guide to chaos and complexity. Despite their being so widespread, the concepts underpinning complex systems science and chaos theory are still foreign to many health scientists and there is some looseness in how they have been translated from their origins in mathematics and physics, which is leading to much confusion and error in their application. This glossary attempts to resolve these issues by providing a simple (but not simplified) guide to many central concepts in chaos theory and complexity science. The many references provide more detail. PMC2465602.
Professor Robert Sapolsky gives what he calls "one of the most difficult lectures of the course" about chaos and reductionism. Stanford University lecture: Human Behavioral Biology (May 19, 2010).
ADD SYSTEMS INNOVATION VIDEOS HERE. FOR EXAMPLE:
The book that popularized Chaos Theory to the general public.
We outline a mechanism for the generation of feelings based on a two-way interaction between interoceptive components of the nervous system and a particular set of nonneural components of the organism's interior, namely, viscera and circulating chemical molecules involved in their operations. Feelings emerge from this interaction as continuous and hybrid phenomena, related simultaneously to two series of events. The first is best described by the terms neural/representational/and mental and the second by the terms nonneural/visceral/and chemical. We note that this account offers a solution for the mind-body problem: homeostatic feelings consistently generate the "mental" version of bodily processes. PMID: 35896152.
The Free Energy Principle is a formal description of how life resists entropy across scales by minimizing surprise. Surprise here being an information-theoretic view of how unlikely a particular sensory state of an organism is, not the psychological phenomenon of surprise — though they are definitely linked. The free energy principle describes how organisms attempt to reduce the difference between their model of the world and their perception of it.
Neuroscientist Karl Friston on Markov blankets, Bayesian model evidence, and global brain theories.
Free Energy Principle: Organisms mainain themselves in states they (statistically) expect to be in, in the long run. This imperative to remain being a thing and striving to stay in a small set of habitable states gives rise to prediction, prediction error, and control.
An insula hierarchical network architecture for active interoceptive inference. In the brain, the insular cortex receives a vast amount of interoceptive information, ascending through deep brain structures, from multiple visceral organs. The unique hierarchical and modular architecture of the insula suggests specialization for processing interoceptive afferents. Yet, the biological significance of the insula's neuroanatomical architecture, in relation to deep brain structures, remains obscure. In this opinion piece, we propose the Insula Hierarchical Modular Adaptive Interoception Control (IMAC) model to suggest that insula modules (granular, dysgranular and agranular), forming parallel networks with the prefrontal cortex and striatum, are specialized to form higher order interoceptive representations. These interoceptive representations are recruited in a context-dependent manner to support habitual, model-based and exploratory control of visceral organs and physiological processes. We discuss how insula interoceptive representations may give rise to conscious feelings that best explain lower order deep brain interoceptive representations, and how the insula may serve to defend the body and mind against pathological depression. PMC9240682.
In the Body's Eye: The computational anatomy of interoceptive inference. A growing body of evidence highlights the intricate linkage of exteroceptive perception to the rhythmic activity of the visceral body. In parallel, interoceptive inference theories of affective perception and self-consciousness are on the rise in cognitive science. However, thus far no formal theory has emerged to integrate these twin domains; instead, most extant work is conceptual in nature. Here, we introduce a formal model of cardiac active inference, which explains how ascending cardiac signals entrain exteroceptive sensory perception and uncertainty. PMC9506608.
"QIgong should teach you to be flexible, not just in your body, but in your spirit. This is why we use the word hundun [chaos -- G.G.] when we teach Qigong. Hundun refers to the nature of this existence; everything is in a state of flux in the matrerial world. To take a rigid stance is to seek an early death. To be inflexible to the change around you is to live in fear. Qigong is a useful tool to improve your flexibility, both mental and physical. To flow with the hundun is to live in a natural way."
Consciousness, Cognition and the Neuronal Cytoskeleton – A New Paradigm Needed in Neuroscience. Viewing the brain as a complex computer of simple neurons cannot account for consciousness nor essential features of cognition. Single cell organisms with no synapses perform purposeful intelligent functions using their cytoskeletal microtubules. A new paradigm is needed to view the brain as a scale-invariant hierarchy extending both upward from the level of neurons to larger and larger neuronal networks, but also downward, inward, to deeper, faster quantum and classical processes in cytoskeletal microtubules inside neurons. Evidence shows self-similar patterns of conductive resonances repeating in terahertz, gigahertz, megahertz, kilohertz and hertz frequency ranges in microtubules. PMC9245524.
Physical energies to the rescue of damaged tissues. Rhythmic oscillatory patterns sustain cellular dynamics, driving the concerted action of regulatory molecules, microtubules, and molecular motors. We describe cellular microtubules as oscillators capable of synchronization and swarming, generating mechanical and electric patterns that impact biomolecular recognition. Rhythmic oscillatory patterns permeate the entire universe. Our cells encompass a seemingly infinity of rhythms, unfolding at the nanomechanical and electric level in the microtubular network. Essential signaling molecules are shown to behave as chromophores, supporting the absorbance and emission of light. Photobiomodulation is a rapidly growing area of inquiry for both deciphering novel signaling mechanisms and affording unprecedented clinical applications. The deployment of the diffusive features of physical energies is leading to a regenerative/precision medicine, based upon the reprogramming in situ of tissue-resident stem cells, without the needs for cell or tissue transplantation. PMC6600852.
Bundles of Brain Microtubules Generate Electrical Oscillations. MTs also form bundles, which are particularly prominent in neurons, where they help de ne axons and dendrites. MTs are bio-electrochemical transistors that form nonlinear electrical transmission lines. Electrical oscillations are an intrinsic property of brain MT bundles, which may have important implications in the control of various neuronal functions, including the gating and regulation of cytoskeleton-regulated excitable ion channels and electrical activity that may aid and extend to higher brain functions such as memory and consciousness. ResearchGate .PDF.
Cognitive decision processes are generally seen as classical Bayesian probabilities, but better suited to quantum mathematics. For example: 1) Psychological conflict, ambiguity and uncertainty can be viewed as (quantum) superposition of multiple possible judgments and beliefs. 2) Measurement (e.g. answering a question, reaching a decision) reduces possibilities to definite states ('constructing reality', 'collapsing the wave function'). 3) Previous questions influence subsequent answers, so sequence affects outcomes ('contextual non-commutativity'). 4) Judgments and choices may deviate from classical logic, suggesting random, or 'non-computable' quantum influences. Can quantum cognition operate in the brain? Do classical brain activities simulate quantum processes? Or have biomolecular quantum devices evolved? Hameroff discusses how a finer scale, intra-neuronal level of quantum information processing in cytoskeletal microtubules can accumulate, operate upon and integrate quantum information and memory for self-collapse to classical states which regulate axonal firings, controlling behavior.
Fröhlich formulated hypothesis of coherent electromagnetic activity in biological systems. The full featured Fröhlich's system is described by two complementary nonlinear models: the one with spectral energy channeling and energy condensation in the lowest frequency mode, the other with creation of a ferroelectric state and a potential valley for oscillation amplitudes. Electric and electromagnetic oscillations in various biological systems were found in a wide frequency range from acoustic to visible and UV bands but their internal physical mechanisms are rather unclear.
SEE ALSO: Morphogenesis.
A Theory Which Associates Quantum Processes with Consciousness
Quantum Processes in Neurophotonics and the Origin of the Brain's Spatiotemporal Hierarchy. The brain seems to function more as a nonlinear spatiotemporal hierarchy of interacting, dynamically layered systems. The brain's hierarchy apparently spans multiple layers covering at least 12 orders of magnitude reaching from large (nearly brain-wide, ∼10 cm), relatively slow (<100 Hertz, “Hz”) processes based on neuronal membranes and synaptic network activities (e.g., electroencephalography, “EEG”), downward and inward to increasingly smaller and faster molecular scales inside neurons including kilohertz (103 Hz), megahertz (106 Hz), gigahertz (109 Hz), and terahertz (1012 Hz) dynamics of cytoskeletal filaments and their constituents at micrometer, nanometer and subnanometer size scales. These faster, smaller processes delve into biomolecular quantum states whose properties are suggested to offer solutions to questions related to cognition and consciousness. Read Full Abstract.
Chronobiology Meets Quantum Biology: A New Paradigm Overlooking the Horizon? Biological rhythms are the field of study of Chronobiology. In the last decade, growing evidence hints that molecular platforms holding up non-trivial quantum phenomena, including entanglement, coherence, superposition and tunnelling, bona fide evolved in biosystems. Quantum effects have been mainly implicated in processes related to electromagnetic radiation in the spectrum of visible light and ultraviolet rays, such as photosynthesis, photoreception, magnetoreception, DNA mutation, and not light related such as mitochondrial respiration and enzymatic activity. Quantum effects in biological systems are the field of study of Quantum Biology. Rhythmic changes at the level of gene expression, as well as protein quantity and subcellular distribution, confer temporal features to the molecular platform hosting electrochemical processes and non-trivial quantum phenomena. Precisely, a huge amount of molecules plying scaffold to quantum effects show rhythmic level fluctuations and this biophysical model implies that timescales of biomolecular dynamics could impinge on quantum mechanics biofunctional role. The study of quantum phenomena in biological cycles proposes a profitable “entanglement” between the areas of interest of these seemingly distant scientific disciplines to enlighten functional roles for quantum effects in rhythmic biosystems. PMC9296773.
Measures characterizing the complexity of heart rate (HR) dynamics have been informative in predicting age- and disease-related decline in cardiovascular health, but few studies have evaluated whether mind-body exercise can impact HR complexity. This study evaluated the effects of long-term Tai Chi (TC) practice on the complexity of HR dynamics using an observational comparison of TC experts and age- and gender-matched TC-naïve individuals. Within the Tai Chi group, complexity at select time scales showed statistically non-significant trends toward increases. Our study supports that longer-term Tai Chi mind-body training may be associated with increased complexity of HR dynamics.
The frequency architecture of brain and brain body oscillations: an analysis. PMCID: PMC6668003.
Brain Rhythms 101. Harvard Brain Science Initiative. Dr. Cash discusses what is known about different types of brain oscillations, how they are measured and studied, what the biggest unanswered questions in this research area are, and why achieving a better understanding of brain oscillations matters clinically. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-755MtdojL8