Truth Bomb Tuesday: A new theory of consciousness opens up some interesting possibilities.
So scientists are still baffled by some pretty basic questions.
Not basic like ‘easy’. Basic like, fundamental to our understanding of the what the heck is actually going on here.
Last week I was reading a piece on ‘consciousness’. This is still something we don’t understand – how neuron’s firing in the meat inside your head creates a consciousness.
It’s not a question of processing power. Human brains were eclipsed on sheer computing power decades ago.
No. Consciousness seems to come from somewhere else.
We just don’t know where. Like, we don’t have a clue.
But this one scientist, John McFadden, has a theory. He is a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Surrey. His books include Quantum Evolution (2011), Human Nature: Fact and Fiction (2006) and, co-authored with Jim Al-Khalili, Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology (2014).
So it seems he’s qualified to talk on the subject.
In this piece here, he proposes a new theory. It’s quite long. (Is it too hard to get a new theory of human consciousness down into a snappy 200 words? I’m a busy lady.) So I’ll do my best to break it down.
So he basically reckons that consciousness might be ‘located’ in the brains electro-magnetic field.
When our neurons fire, as they process information and do our brainy things, they transmit signals along the neural networks, but they also release an electromagnetic charge.
All of those neurons, all firing together, creates a collective charge – the electromagnetic field.
His theory is that evolution has a way of making use of everything at its disposal.
It is possible that the electromagnetic field could be disruptive to thinking – computer engineers go to great lengths to insulate individual components from electromagnetic interference.
But the human head doesn’t provide much insulation. So evolution would then find a way (= blindly select for) to turn the field into advantage.
His idea that something like free will – which is very hard to identify in brain scans, but feels very real to us – might not be a matter of firing neurons, but might actually be hosted in the electromagnetic field instead.
Our soul is hosted in our own private cloud.
I dunno. Who knows? But I find this stuff fascinating.
First, it’s exciting to me that there’s so much we don’t know about what we are and what we are capable of.
I mean, if it’s true that so much of what is fundamentally ‘us’ is stored in an electromagnetic field, can we change the shape and nature of that field simply by thinking different thoughts? (I’d guess yes). And can we teach out magnetic field to interface more consciously with larger, broader fields?
Who knows what’s possible with this strange piece of hardware we’ve been given.
And it’s exciting to me that we still live in an age where there is so much unknown.
These are the dark-ages of the future. In thousands of years, people will look back at us and wonder how we got by with such a flawed understanding of ourselves and how the world actually works.
Everything is on the table. Everything is possible.
And that’s the flip-side of the unknown: possibility.
We live in an age of so much possibility, and so much potential.
Such an amazing time to be alive.