The Quantum Mind
Is There Computational Ability Within the Neurone?
Those who follow the study of consciousness will be well aware of the Sir Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff “Orchestrated Objective Reduction” theory of consciousness that’s been in development since the mid 1990’s. For the rest of us there is a concise summary on Wikipedia here.
The model is basically a marriage between Penrose’s hypothesis with respect to the Godel incompleteness theorem and Hameroff’s hypothesis about the computational function of microtubules. Both of these lines of thought have been independently controversial, and as you can imagine have generated criticism as they, together, form a model of consciousness. The evidence of a computational system that is far more expansive, connected, and fundamental than neuronal connections alone, is intriguing to say the least.
The video embedded below is from a 2010 lecture at Google where Stuart Hameroff describes his contribution to the model of consciousness and defends his hypothesis of computational microtubules. If you can keep up (Hameroff packs a lot into this 45 minute video!), it is a great introduction to the model and is wonderful food for thought.
A word of warning when Googling for more information: if you are new to considering quantum theories in regards to consciousness and the nature of everything – be aware that just about every New Age, mystic, religious, and metaphysical group makes some attempt to hijack quantum mechanics to substantiate their view of reality. Once you realise there are some very strong agendas out there associated with anything ‘quantum’, then you will be better equipped to tease out the science from the marketing.
Latest on this theory…
Stuart Hameroff & Roger Penrose. Consciousness in the universe: A review of the ‘Orch OR’ theory. Physics of Life Reviews, 2013 DOI: 10.1016/j.plrev.2013.08.002
Stuart Hameroff & Roger Penrose. Reply to criticism of the ‘Orch OR qubit’–‘Orchestrated objective reduction’ is scientifically justified. Physics of Life Reviews, 2013 DOI: 10.1016/j.plrev.2013.11.00
Stuart Hameroff & Roger Penrose. Consciousness in the universe. Physics of Life Reviews, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.plrev.2013.08.002