1. Self organization within complex quantum states
The issue of information versus energy in the context of quantum self-organization (coherence) is given a very interesting treatment in this 1998 article by Andrej Detela. Although the full mathematical proofs are only hinted at in the present paper, the author provides us with an incisive series of questions and arguments which pave the way for what should become a critical area of discussion in the coming years.
In quantum states, the internal space-time structure is not dissipated as a result of external influences, but it preserved according to some form of active information. This inherent intelligence of quantum systems, the author argues, is different from both Prigogine's dissipative structures and Maturana's autopoietic structures, because it is inconceivable that a thermodynamical reservoir of negative entropy could exist for billions of years, responsible for the tremendous variety of quantum manifestations, yet escaping all our efforts to detect it. If that is correct, then the startling implication is that self-organizing quantum systems do not obey the second law of thermodynamics. Indeed, there is support from chaos theory that nothing at all can be proven about the validity of the second law when the observed system is far from thermodynamic equilibrium.
The author suggests that some type of informational structure characterizes quantum states, which cannot be expressed with usual space-time forms, but "exists on a level with a very different timeness", as demonstrated by the instantaneous communication of entangled quantum states. He believes that the nature of this type of information is the critical missing link between the idea of quantum state and that of a conscious being - hence that there is an aspect of active, purposeful direction to this information structure.
He proceeds by introducing the expression syntropic phenomena to describe all those phenomena which do not obey the second law of thermodynamics. These processes, which can lower the total entropy of a closed and isolated system, are triggered by syntropic conditions generally based upon the behavior of informational structures in space and time. All of these conditions must be met for a syntropic process to emerge. The five syntropic conditions are:
1. the influence of a magnetic field upon material particles (such as electrons)
2. oriented space: chiral structure of matter and/or the magnetic field
3. oriented time: broken temporal symmetry of the magnetic field oscillations
4. quantum coherence: the quantum states of the material particles must be coherent over at least one period of the chiral structure
5. tuning-up: the frequency of quantum oscillations must accord with the magnetic frequency, or multiples of these frequencies.
As opposed to the classical flow of material particles in the direction of a gradient (i.e. heat, diffusion, electric current), the particles of a syntropic system would flow in a preferred direction given by information (syntropic influences) leading to a decrease in entropy and self-organization. Furthermore, it can be shown that only such influences are permitted where the transport of information is not directly connected to the transport of energy. For example, the Aspect experiment (and similar variants) clearly demonstrate that "only pure information travels within an entanlged quantum state", without energy and mass bound to it.
The author then proceeds to elaborate on these five conditions, providing further qualitative arguments and examples designed to develop a basic intuitive picture about the nature of the syntropic current. The discussion touches on conservative versus selenoidal fields, temporal symmetry (syntropic fields have to be temporally odd); axial versus polar vectors and oriented space; quantum coherence and amplification; macroscopic quantum states such as protein structures and superconductive meshes (which are coherent over extended spans of space and time, and thus can manifest space-time oriented information); and quantum resonance, in which positive amplification between quantum oscillations and magnetic field oscillations leads to active coupling between the source of the temporally oriented information and the behavior of the quantum particles.
The article concludes with a discussion of syntropic conditions and phenomena associated with the living cell environment. For example, the quantum states of electric charge associated with biomolecules, which are known to be delocalized over the larger volume of the cell, demonstrate four out of the five syntropic conditions (little can be inferred from current experimental data about the time orientation of the magnetic flux oscillation). Another example is that of microtubules - which have a chiral structure and whose internal microwave radiation is also shown to be coherent and space-oriented. Finally, the question of protein conformation is addressed in the context of the above discussion: arguing the energy states between stable and unstable conformation are essentially identical, the author proposes once more that, unlike simple crystal growth, the growth of structure in living matter is a manifestation of active information in syntropic quantum states.
Thus, the process of self-organization in quantum systems (and especially in living organisms) is likely to yield challenging experimental results in the years ahead: most probably we shall witness violations of the classical thermodynamics laws. It is up to us to start developing a more comprehensive intuitive representation of subtle informational processes - which will eventually lead to more accurate models of energy/information balance in nature.
2. A model of consciousness an engineering approach
University of Alabama,
The study of higher cognitive functions (such as insight and creativity) and of altered states of consciousness has always been an intriguing and prolific area of speculation for neuroscientists. Many theories have been put forward, unfortunately with little to offer as far as experimental predictions.
The model proposed in this paper is one in which the dominant gestalt activity is a result of rhythmic scanning among a set of active thalamocortical modules, where every module receives a given time window to control the system bus. These rhythms are modulated both by external fluctuations (geomagnetic and Sun electromagnetic oscillations, the Schumann resonance) and internal cycles (such as the pineal gland melatonin secretions, the nasal cycle, etc).
The modules consist of a processor; permanent memory represented by genetically inherited anatomic organization; temporary working memory; and local connections with neighboring modules.
The global exchange of information is achieved by exchanges on the global system bus (neural transmission) and by means of common brainwave EM fields. Global coordination is a result of the detection of synchronous activity in different modules, plus the information exchange between synchronous modules.
On a neural level, new situations are resolved by simultaneous activation and synchronous activity of different regions. Since module priority is driven by a minimization of energy consumption in the context of rhythmic scanning, Ivanov suggests that altered states of consciousness can be deliberately engendered by physiological manipulation (i.e. meditation), which produces a number of critical effects on the above process. These include: 1. inhibition of sensory and motor modules that are not directly relevant to the current focus of attention - which decreases system bus overhead and metabolic noise, releasing new stores of available energy (hence an increase in power in the active frequency bands); 2. a stable focus of attention through the regulation of the limbic system and the weakening of its feedback on the flow of consciousness: this "detached observer" type of awareness is free of the normal sympathetic bursts of ANS, thus represents a steadier, more extended window of attention. 3. stabilization of basic physiological rhythms - thus a consciously controlled center of physical consciousness: since stabilization of physiological rhythms stabilizes CNS rhythms, this reduces metabolic noise and provides a foundation on which extended consciousness (focus) arises; 4. decreased energy consumption: as explained above, the reduction in the number of states through which the brain automatically cycles reduces the amount of metabolic noise and energy consumption.
The conclusion is that the best "preparation" for intellectual insight and expanded states of consciousness is a sustained psychophysiological development (see yoga, meditation) usually over the course of years, followed by short intervals of relaxation (such as daydreaming or sleep), when metabolic noise is minimal and the brain can "leap" onto higher levels of integration. The author therefore urges a systematic investigation of the preparatory phase and of the practices traditionally known to support it. While these proposals certainly make a good argument, the present paper remains what it purports to be - an "approach" - with significantly further development being required before its hypotheses can be tested.
3. On the methodology of EEG analysis during altered states of consciousness
The article begins by contrasting the "connectionist" approach to neurocognitive studies (which views consciousness as nothing more than "the behavior of a vast assembly of neurons and their associated molecules") and the neural field approach, in which brainwave patterns create local resonance, thus binding together particular parts of information.
Hypothesizing that certain patterns of electromagnetic field activity represent the basis for different states of consciousness, the author proposes a new methodological approach to characterize subtle EEG changes.
Using an engineering model, Jovanov argues that conscious processing of perceptual inputs is under the influence of both internal signal generators (such as the heart and breath control loops) and extrasensory inputs, such as the resonant influence of weak interpersonal EM fields. (Another interesting conclusion reached by the author is that lower EEG frequencies may "represent higher levels of integration, i.e. information binding".)
A methodology including both static (artifact free) and dynamic analysis of EEG spatiotemporal patterns is outlined, using a new software package which provides support for functions like EEG spectral and correlation analysis, topographic mapping of absolute and relative power in frequency bands, coherence and power ratios, wavelet analysis, monitoring temporal changes of various spatial characteristics, and chaos analysis.
Simultaneous healer and patient EEG analysis were performed using the software and methodology described above - before, during and after session for 120 seconds in each period. The results included a symmetrical bi-hemispheric shift in the power spectrum toward delta and theta waves which was dominant over the frontal and anterior temporal regions; a decrease in alpha activity; a stabilization of electrical activity (reduced number of frequency domains); functional coupling as indicated by coherence of prefrontal and frontolateral wave patterns in the delta and theta range. These particular changes were noted in both healer and patient during the healing interval, with a tendency for reversal in the post-session window.
In the opinion of the author, these findings support the contention that short-period analysis of brain activity is critical in identifying significant patterns which would otherwise be dismissed as artifactual by conventional topological mapping.
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