Wednesday, May 7, 2014

'The science of consciousness' details a new hypothesis about the mind

Theoretical physics has arrived at an impasse. Basic questions about gravity, time or mass cannot be satisfactorily answered. Bizarre and non-testable ideas stretch the boundaries of science itself. After a century of hard core materialism, consciousness science is finally a fashionable subject to study, complete with studies on spirituality, presentiment, non-locality of mind, which truly are pushing the limits of science. Welcome to the TSC (The Science of Consciousness) conference, the hodgepodge of observation, neuroscience, philosophy and even poetry mixed in. If you immersed yourself well in the proceedings, you probably have come away dazed by the variety of ideas discussed, some of which might appear bizarre or even crazy. Review some topics discussed at the conference and decide for your self!
Bruce Damer introduced a novel approach to the origin of life inspired by a 3.84 billion yrs old piece of rock, which contains the oldest known microbial life on Earth. He and his coauthor suggest that in ancient shallow pools of water polymer molecules could form by slow evaporation of water. Wind would blow these compounds around, spreading and distributing their contents, preparing for the hot spring origin of life. The wet-dry cycle reduced entropy, an important requirement for life.
Alysson Muotri discussed a new way to model brain diseases via brain organoids. Somatic cells are pushed back into pluripotent cells and grown in a petri dish for up to a year. over its evolution the organoid mini-brain cells migrate and make connections and can exhibit electric oscillation. At four months, the mini cortex formulate layers, glia cells begin to take over proliferation.
Mini-brain network activity: consistent spikes increase over time, indicating increasing complexity and mimic the bursting phenomenon in EEG.
Lachan Kent finds strong analogy between physics and consciousness, treating consciousness as fundamental, as elementary particles, where emotional state correspond to manipulation of the temporal field. This might lead to a new understanding of depression, for example, as a extended perception of time.
Paavo Pylkk√§nen is a philosopher with interest in the Bohm's pilot wave understanding of quantum mechanics. His talk emphasized the incompatible potentialities of the particle, that all particles influence each other in formulating the so-called pilot wave, which guides wave-like properties.
The language studies were represented by Noam Chomsky from MIT, Tom Bever and others. 
The Penrose-Hammeroff objective reduction theory was represented by its usual practitioners, Penrose, Hammeroff, Anirban Bandyopadhyay and others, reporting no major progress.  
Ivette Fuentes shared her enthusiasm about the imminent technological breakthroughs in general relativity and quantum mechanics. 
Hartmut Neven from Google shared on their progress on AI research and machine learning and connection to emotional states.
George Northoff from the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Ottawa talked about how the brain's spontaneous activity constructs its own time. Ultra low frequency electric activities have much higher power, which permits them to form the foundation of all other frequencies. This leads to nestedness, in which the lower frequencies have greater organizational influence due to their higher power. Thus the power of lower frequencies ensures the stability of the whole brain dynamics. 
Lakhmir S. Chawla MD. from the George Washington University analyzed end of life electric surges, which are spikes about 60 to 120 ms after the patient becomes pulseless. The activity can be also observed in decapitation of rats. The activity does not occur in every dying person, but it exceeds the electric activity level of normal waking activity. It is not a seizure, and does not occur in patients, who are brain dead. Although it might indicate the boundary of life and death, there is no current scientific consensus on the phenomenon. 
Information on brain stimulation, and other mind related subject, such as art, music and meditation was also shared. Click here for more information on the program.

The book, 'The science of consciousness' promises a new physical world view about our place in the universe, about existence, evolution, the power of emotions to guide our life and shape our future. Its approach may inspire you in your own search for meaning. If proven correct, the hypothesis will radically change our understanding of the world and even will change how we view ourselves. The hypothesis considers cosmos, formed by orthogonal dimensions, space and time. Through their interaction form the poles of the universe and a cosmological evolution, culminating in the emergence of the mind. The hypothesis proposes to solve many current puzzles in physics, such as matter-antimatter ratio, the cosmological constant, entanglement, dark matter and energy and many others. It also ponders age old questions, such as what is time, matter, mass, entropy, gravity and the other elementary forces. It shows how the operation of the mind is determined by emotions and how evolution produces increasing complexity and the intelligent mind. The hypothesis can be verified by technically feasible experiments. Details of the idea can be found in a book form on Amazon, in the Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 7(11): 910-930 or on academia.

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