I’ve posted a new video here on the Grail, a rather technical (though fascinating) lecture by ‘quantum consciousness’ research Stuart Hameroff – given at Google HQ – titled “A New Marriage of Brain and Computer – Why ‘The Singularity’ Is Bogus“. Hameroff (along with the highly respected scientist Sir Roger Penrose) submits that the current theory of consciousness may be severely lacking – and that consciousness may actually be a quantum process with ground-breaking implications for our model of reality:
Consciousness defines our existence and reality, but the mechanism by which the brain generates thoughts and feelings remains unknown. Most explanations portray the brain as a computer, with nerve cells (“neurons”) and their synaptic connections acting as simple switches. However computation alone cannot explain why we have feelings and awareness, an “inner life.”
We also don’t know if our conscious perceptions accurately portray the external world. At its base, the universe follows the seemingly bizarre and paradoxical laws of quantum mechanics, with particles being in multiple places simultaneously, connected over distance, and with time not existing. But the “classical” world we perceive is definite, with a flow of time. The boundary or edge (quantum state reduction, or ‘collapse of the wave function”) between the quantum and classical worlds somehow involves consciousness.
In recent years I have considered that such a connection to the basic proto-conscious level of reality where Platonic values are embedded is strikingly similar to Buddhist and other spiritual concepts.
You can find out more about the topic at Stuart’s website. He also has just started a blog, and over there you’ll find an amusing look at his talk last year at the “Beyond Belief” Conference, which also featured Richard Dawkins, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Sam Harris and Patricia Churchland. The title of the blog entry says it all: “Being the Skunk at an Atheist Convention“. Remember also that we interviewed Stuart here at TDG a few years back and he certainly had some interesting things to say.