Monday, June 23, 2014

Consciousness and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Primitive animals form linear, fairly predictable behavior because they lack emotions and as a consequence, consciousness. The evolution of the cortex is an enormous evolutionary step, which endows the organism with emotions and consciousness. The importance of emotions in consciousness and intellect has only been scientifically appreciated in the past thirty years. In the connections of the cortical neurons, experiences can accumulate and inform future behavior. So depending on experience, stimuli can produce an opposite behavior, which is the source of uncertainty. Cortical brains (nidopallium in birds) display quantum characteristics and obey the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle prevents the position and momentum of the particle from being known simultaneously. Position and speed are complementary variables, the more precisely one is known, the less certain the other becomes. The cortical brain forms such complementary variables in its relationship with the environment. In the mind, the poles of uncertainty are the temporal position (the moment in time) and the energy of interaction (the intensity of emotion). While positive emotions uncover the temporal position of emotion, negative emotions uncover its extent. For example, a satiated person might eat only his favorite food (indicating position or taste), but a hungry person might eat almost anything (indicating the intensity of hunger). The extent of anger or negativity (how far one is willing to go) can range from sadness to anger, aggravation and even physical violence. The origin of anger is always buried in old events. Aggravation originates in old accumulated and pent-up negative experiences, which are dislodged by recent events. In contrast, positive emotions are the treasure of the moment, which cannot be accumulated or postponed for tomorrow. Hence, positive feelings produce immediate happiness, which makes them a perishable commodity. The extent of joy is a pointless question, however, because only full happiness is possible. So in contrast to the immense variety of negative emotions, positive emotions invariably take the form of happiness.

The source of mental uncertainty originates in the structure of the cortex. Thanks to the memory potential of cortical structures, past experience can heavily influence current response. The response’s nonlinear nature becomes especially prominent with enhanced stimuli. Greater incentives produce a distorted, polarized and even extreme response: both danger and bribe tests one's mettle. A heated gas fills a spatial container, but the thermodynamic energy of the mind is confined within temporal coordinates. The measure of emotional temperature or emotional pressure is the extent, the degree of negativity. Negativity always originates in the self! The sadness, criticism, sarcasm, anger, or physical brutality is the tool the mind uses to test its boundaries, the extent of its power within its environment. The provoked retaliation is proportional to the applied of criticism and anger, therefore it maintains the thermodynamic energy (the temporal pressure, i.e., stress level) of the mind. Although it is shocking that people would start activities that have no other use than produce even more stress, the mind conspires to keep its own stress level constant. Would you like to learn more? Read this and related topics in my book, 'The science of consciousness'.

Picture credit: By Thierry Dugnolle

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