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Will the confirmation of the Penrose-Hammeroff ORCH OR model of consciousness spark a resurgence in panpsychism?

 The recent discovery of quantum vibrations in "microtubules" inside brain neurons corroborates this theory, according to review authors. Of the 20 testable predictions of Orch OR published in 1998, six are confirmed and none refuted.

Panpsychism, the view that mind (psyche) is found everywhere (pan),is one of the oldest of all philosophical doctrines extant and was put forth by the ancient Greeks, in particular Thales of Miletus and Plato. Philosopher Baruch Spinoza and mathematician and universal genius Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who laid down the intellectual foundations for the Age of Enlightenment, argued for panpsychism, as did philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, father of American psychology William James, and Jesuit paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin.




  • Gail G3

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    Apr 9 2014: Not if it uses the name Panpschism. What a horrible name.

    However, universal mind/consciousness is the fastest growing worldview. It's where those leaving religion are going. The idea has been around for thousands of years. Just look at the Native Americans. We'll get there.
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    Apr 8 2014: wait, how does discovery of vibrations inside the brain show that mind is found everywhere, in other words outside the brain?
    • Apr 8 2014: One interpretation of their theory is that the collapse of the the quantum wave function is what gives the experience of conscious thought(I.e. the quantum activiry in the microtubules in neurons) if this the case then consciousness could be viewed as an intrinsic part of the universe. I am No physicist! I don't pretend to understand all this ha ha.
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        Apr 8 2014: Well, this is a sophisticated conversation, Jacob. Where exactly did you hear about this, or under what circumstances did you hear about it?
        • Apr 8 2014: I have a documentary froma few years ago interviewing folks that took part in a conference on consciousness. Hammeroff was in there with philosophers, neuroscientists, poets, and others. There was no consensus then and there's no consensus now as to the definition and nature of consciousness. I hadn't thought about hammeroff and Penrose in a while untill it came up in a conversation here at ted. They have made some progress since then and have confirmed some of their predictions.

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        Apr 8 2014: and how did you happen to have this documentary, Jacob? Do you think ordinary people like me could even venture a worthwhile opinion on this subject, or would it take too much background?
        • Apr 8 2014: After I read a book some time ago (Advaita Vedanta: a Philosophical Reconstruction by Eliot Deutsch) I went looking for a modern take on consciousness and found the dvd. I value your opinion sir, let it rip. I don't have a background either other than watching this 10 hr set of dvds over and over(trying to understand what the hell they're talking about) and reading a few articles and books. I think its worthwhile to contemplate these things as they inform and influence our worldview.
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        Apr 8 2014: well, common sense wise, consciousness is an attribute of a living creature isn't it? Or mind is an attribute of a living creature, right? So you can't have consciousness everywhere, right, the sky isn't a living creature, a rock isn't a living creature?
        • Apr 8 2014: At first glance I would agree with you, though many cultures have attributed spirit(s) to inanimate objects for eons. There is one way of looking at physical objects that may jive with panpsychism though. That is the idea that the physical universe is made up of energy and some type of information. There ate a handful of folks that say at its most basic level the universe is Just information. Though again I cant say I fully understand this. That being said, most of quantum physics flies right in the face of common sense.
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        Apr 9 2014: well some (or all?) of the elements in the inanimate universe are the same elements in living creatures. For example, you could find sodium in the ocean, and you could find it in our bodies. But the sodium in the ocean is not alive, whereas we are. You could find iron in a rock, and you could find it in our bodies. But the rock is not alive (or at least the iron being in it doesn't prove it's alive?), whereas we are.

        You can say the universe is information, but the information of being alive could be different information than being inanimate.

        I suppose sometimes in my mind I do think of inanimate objects as being alive, but not very much alive, just a tiny bit.

        Thanks for inviting me to let my opinion rip. Let 'er rip like an intense fart?
  • Apr 5 2014: We all know from personal experience that conciousness is building, storing, retrieving and comparing internal pictures of the external environment, dreams, hallucinations, scenarios and ourselves in pain - useful for survival - and in pleasure - useful for reproduction. Conciousness is an emergent property of the brain and nervous system.