Quantum Consciousness Dispatch #3
As I wrote in New Trajectories, which I’ll reference as Quantum Consciousness Dispatch #1,
Prepped by Cosmic Trigger, I was primed to read The Tao of Physics, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, et al, and my standard talking points, adopted from RAW, were that Bell’s theorem in physics (non-locality) allowed in theory lots of psi phenomena like precognition or remote viewing…
RAW references Isaac Asimov in both The Starseed Signals and Cosmic Trigger. Asimov observed a 60 year lag between first understanding of new scientific principles and applications that transform the world. He expected genetics would follow that trajectory — starting from 1944, then 2004 would see biological breakthroughs based on DNA structure. Hmmm.
…And then, for Circuit 8, “The Cyber-atomic stage imprints sub-nuclear quantum-physical and gravitational signals, thus transcending biological existence. Quantum Consciousness.” Locating a higher intelligence within the atomic nucleus might seem teleological and speculative. But it is interesting that starting in the 1990’s, no less a figure than Nobel prize winning physicist Roger Penrose, with co-author Stuart Hameroff, have posited that consciousness literally arises via quantum level interactions inside brain structures known as microtubules.
And so, it turns out that, similar to genetics with gene editing, contemporary physics is demonstrating significant ability to control matter at the quantum level. As if to remind us of the Asimov arc of scientific development, (as referenced by RAW in Cosmic Trigger,) the 2022 Nobel prize in physics was awarded to John Clauser, Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger for their work which experimentally validated Bell’s Theorem (also often cited by RAW.) As we are now about 60 years after Bell’s Theorem in 1964, it appears that the application of our best understanding of quantum physics is starting to validate an ability to manipulate quantum reality at not just the sub-atomic but also the macro world where we live.
My Quantum Consciousness Dispatch #2 presented a survey of some recent examples of advances in quantum technology as applied to Computing, Manufacturing, Sensors, and some examples of experimental verification of the ability to measure Quantum Effects at the Macro Level. This helped me marshal my arguments for how all the ferment of quantum theory in the 1960’s has developed into tools for manipulation of matter in the macro world that could provide tools for achieving the Leary/Wilson ultimate 8th Circuit, Neuro-Atomic consciousness.
For the third and final (for now) Quantum Consciousness Dispatch, I posed 4 sets of questions on quantum physics as a tool for 8th Circuit realization:
- What did they predict as characteristics of NeuroAtomic (or Quantum) consciousness?
- How did they update their thinking in the 80’s 90’s?
Engineering Quantum Consciousness
- Can we extrapolate potential further developments in quantum technology, extending into the human body and brain, from the quantum engineering approaches summarized in Dispatch #2?
- How does one manipulate atoms in the brain, where temperatures close to absolute zero might be a little too cold?
- Is there a CRISPR-type of product emerging from the physics community?
Developments In Quantum-Based Theories of Consciousness
- What experimental evidence have Hameroff and Penrose presented as potentially confirming their theory? Or at least testable hypotheses?
- How could neuronal information relevant to an organism be delivered to the microtubules without being destroyed by macro-level synaptic processes?
- Are Roger Penrose’s attempts at reconciling gravity and quantum theory relevant to potential neuroscience applications?
Alternative Approaches to Quantum Consciousness
- Are there alternative interpretations for Circuit 8 than neuroatomic interventions, for example, contemporary approaches utilizing particular pharmaceuticals, ritual approaches a la Antero Alli, etc.
- Do cultural/life conditions affect organisms at the quantum level?
Leary and Wilson revisited the Eight Circuit model numerous times in the 1970’s. Trying to distill their predictions of what 8th Circuit consciousness would look like, I came up with 3 categories of expected abilities. (Quotes from Exo-Psychology, Info-Psychology, Spit in the Ocean #3, Quantum Psychology)
Category 1 — sub atomic signaling — “The Cyber-atomic stage [of human development] imprints sub-nuclear quantum-physical and gravitational signals, thus transcending biological existence. Quantum Consciousness.” Capabilities will include:
- Integrate and manipulate atomic-nuclear signals.
- [Enables] the transception [reception/transmission] by the neurogenetic intelligence [brain] of nuclear signals.
- At this stage, the basic energies which comprise all structure in the universe are available for management…Sculpts, designs, architects all forms of matter by manipulating nuclear particles and gravitational force fields. (The field of nanotechnology had begun to emerge between the first and later iterations
- Insightful communication between the nervous system and sub-nuclear energy. Quantum consciousness.
Category 2 — non local body platform — The highest circuit is electro-localized and magnetic/gravitational…That is, it requires no localized body-platform…I’m talking about a quite specific electromagnetic-gravitational field in which mind can manifest without organic bodies. This leads to several capabilities.
- Through our connections with the conscious hidden-variable world, we can participate in processes which appear to violate ordinary physical law… some of these show up in world of physics as parapsychological phenomena.
- Once we have interacted with something or someone, we are forever connected to them.
- Understanding this kind of intelligence exists on the trans-organismic level
- The entering stage displays elements of decoding signals and developing non-body connected capabilities.
Category 3 — Collective Consciousness — Once centrally located in the 8th stage, consciousness in the singular becomes aware of consciousness in the plural. This is certainly where I believe we end up in the long run, inspired by Teilhard de Chardin and others (See my book Neurosphere.)
- Neuro atomic fusion involves force fields of interstellar magnitude and implies a unified galactic consciousness. Metaphysiological fusion — “Becoming one with the Galactic Mind.”
- Eighth circuit brain links up with other neuro-atomic intelligences. (i.e., other eighth circuit brains)
- It may be that the universe is a nervous system — in which sub nuclear structures act as basic neural signals.
- Elementary particles within the nucleus are black holes they are the strong force which holds to nucleus together, super-gravitational. Black holes provide the final fusions. The linkage of the universe of everything with the void of everything.
The void of everything comes right out of Eastern thought in which Leary and Wilson marinated during the 1960’s. Not unlike Buddhist teachings, this category of the 8th circuit becomes very hard to consider as a site for some agency by an individual, nor does it yield much in terms of scientific “testable hypotheses”, but we’ll return to that.
- Collective consciousness was needed to accomplish the embryonic states of evolution. A fetus or a larval form cannot branch out on hir own.”
- Cyber-atomic — the individual deciphering and reprogramming of atomic info-structures, piloting the new nano-technologies for personal and species evolution. (This from the Info-Psychology rewrite, when nanotechnology, manipulating matter at the molecular level, was just surfacing. Molecular though, not sub atomic as in the rest of 8th Circuit theory contemplated.)
Updated Predictions — What did RAW or Leary write in the 1980’s and 90’s, based on any developments in physics, to update their thinking about the 8th Circuit? Turns out, not that much. Quantum Psychology came out in 1990. At the end of the day, it was a more organized presentation than Leary’s, and I like this bit on non-localism:
When the “self” operates on the non-local systems, it becomes a different self again. Just as happens whenever we move up from one of these systems to another. The nonlocal “self” — beyond time and space — and also beyond mind and matter — has not yet survived translation into left brain linear verbalism. It transcends all either/ors and as Buddhists know, we cannot even properly call it a self — Chinese define non-local experience in negatives — “not mind” — “not self” — “not doing” — “not existence” — even “not non-existence…obviously, it will take us at least 50 years to get a scientific handle on this level of quantum psychology.
That was 1990. But Wilson and Leary were also talking 50 years ahead as of 1975. I wondered if RAW tracking quantum theory developments after 1980. I looked at the original Trajectories newsletter from 1980–1982, and there was only one article, about Bell’s Theorem and mentioning a couple of new confirmation experiments since the early 1970’s, but no further development of the ideas.
I also went through Beyond Chaos and Beyond, a compendium including numerous articles from the Trajectoriesnewsletter in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Again, there was basically nothing in the way of updates on physics; like RAW’s later books, much more focus on conspiracy politics and libertarian thought.
Inasmuch as Leary also did not pursue the line of thought into the late 1980’s, and was more in the cyberculture and entertainment business (the infamous debate series tour with G. Gordon Liddy), I’ve concluded that the intensity (and prison time) of the 60’s and 70’s pretty much exhausted (but did not break!) both men. Nevertheless, I hope this series of dispatches will serve to attract some interest to these questions and perhaps the long term confirmation of their Eight Circuit system. They were an inspiration to me then and now.
And I also looked into the latter days of the Physics/Consciousness Research Group that inspired Leary and Wilson — what have those Nobel prize winning “hippies who saved physics” been working on since those days? The answer, still peddling the same pie in the sky… occasionally citing further confirmations of Bell’s Theorem, and of course Fred Wolf making the What the Bleep movie, mainstreaming these ideas but not much more in the way of confirmation or evidence. One must remember they were just the theoretical guys and their best work was done when they were young and in their 30’s, not unlike Einstein. As a book review later put it, “a lot of what was inspired by that era was just physics porn — titillating but with no follow-through. Who the bleep needs that?” So, I guess that’s where these Dispatches come in — let’s not be dismissive but rather contribute to the investigation.
ENGINEERING QUANTUM CONSCIOUSNESS
Now, revisiting the technological applications of quantum theory from Quantum Dispatch #2, do we have some possible research support for the 8th Circuit capabilities put forth by Wilson and Leary — any of the three categories of 1) sub-atomic signaling, 2) non-local phenomena and 3) collective consciousness? Can we extrapolate potential further developments, extending into the human body and brain, in the quantum engineering approaches summarized in Quantum Dispatch #2?
Sub-atomic signaling — In Dispatch #2, we found
In solid-state physics, a quantum sensor is a quantum device that responds to a stimulus. Usually this refers to a sensor that, which has quantized energy levels, uses quantum coherence to measure a physical quantity, or uses entanglement to improve measurements beyond what can be done with classical sensors. There are 4 criteria for solid-state quantum sensors:
1. The system has to have discrete, resolvable energy levels.
2. You can initialize the sensor and you can perform readout (turn on and get answer).
3. You can coherently manipulate the sensor.
4. The sensor interacts with a physical quantity and has some response to that quantity.
It’s that hands-on, “manipulate the sensor” element that suggests 8th Circuit-style intervention.
Indeed, I believe that the answer to the question posed above — Is there a CRISPR-type of product emerging from the physics community? — is a strong yes. We are arriving at the ability to manipulate sub-atomic particles like CRISPR manipulates genes.
And then the question is, does such manipulation extend to consciousness? Again from Dispatch #2 — “Most exciting in terms of the 8 Circuit model, this news item especially caught my eye…The new system the team devised, which they call a quantum mixer…enables the detector to home in on any desired frequency at all, with no loss in the nanoscale spatial resolution of the sensor.” Then the system can make accessible a range of frequencies of electrical or magnetic activity at the level of a single cell…It may be possible using this system to detect output signals from a single neuron (emphasis mine) in response to some stimulus, for example, which typically include a great deal of noise, making such signals hard to isolate.”
So, there’s the nuts and bolts (so to speak) engineering that is going on. What are the aspects of higher consciousness that Leary, Wilson and many of us were hoping would emerge at the 8th Circuit?
Non-local phenomena — In Dispatch #2, we found advances in quantum networking that might be a tangible mechanism for the often-popularized (though Leary and Wilson were among the first) view “that quantum entanglement proves telepathy, remote viewing and many other paranormal phenomena. The word “proves” in that sentence has, unfortunately, been meaningless I believe until recently.” Sub-atomic particles becoming entangled is not the same as macro-level phenomena.
In recent years, communication between qubits could only happen across very short distances, in the same or adjacent machines. In 2021, researchers at Fermilab and at the University of Delft were able to manipulate entanglement (emphasis mine) and send information between locations in a phenomenon known as quantum teleportation (emphasis mine).
So, this still sounds like less than non-local macro phenomena — “Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance” is accomplished by transferring information between locations without actually moving the physical matter that holds it.” But wait, my neighbors in Boulder [including Nobel Prize winner Eric Cornell] have been busy.
“…affiliated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)…the experiment involved “two tiny aluminum drums one-fifth the width of a human hair” — huge by quantum standards, weighing 70 picograms (1 gram = 100,0000,000,000 picograms) — and supercooled in a cryogenically chilled enclosure…”If you analyze the position and momentum data for the two drums independently, they each simply look hot,’ said physicist John Teufel, from NIST. ‘But looking at them together, we can see that what looks like random motion of one drum is highly correlated with the other, in a way that is only possible through quantum entanglement.” While there’s nothing to say that quantum entanglement can’t happen with macroscopic objects, before this it was thought that the effects weren’t noticeable at larger scales — or perhaps that the macroscopic scale was governed by another set of rules.
What does it mean to say that 8th Circuit “Consciousness” can engage in non-local phenomena? Is it just the brain directing the body and equipment to do so? Or could you cut out the middle man, so to speak?
This requires more thought about the nature of consciousness itself; fortunately, Nobel Prize winner Roger Penrose and partner Stuart Hameroff have been exploring a theory around that topic for some 20 years, called Orchestrated Objective Reduction (OR) in parallel with the advances in quantum technology. Can these come together? How does one manipulate atoms in the brain, [CRISPR-like, in your own brain,] where temperatures close to absolute zero might be a little too cold?
We’ll review some developments around quantum engineering in the brain/neurons, and then come back to the third category of 8th Circuit consciousness, and my personal grail, collective consciousness.
DEVELOPMENTS IN QUANTUM-BASED THEORIES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
What experimental evidence have Hameroff and Penrose presented as potentially confirming their theory? Or at least testable hypotheses? They cite a range of arguments in a special issue of the Physics of Life Review journal in 2014, but have not themselves produced any experimental work.
How could neuronal information relevant to an organism be delivered to the microtubules without being destroyed by synaptic processes? Summarizing from Dispatch #2,
“Early critiques of Orchestrated OR, such as — “As calculated by physicist Max Tegmark at Princeton University in 2000, quantum effects would not survive long enough to have any influence on the much slower rates at which neurons fire” — are being undermined by advances in both theory and engineering. For example,
Quantum sensors could measure the electric fields in a neuronal synapse, track a single ion moving through a cell membrane, or record the transfer of proteins between the smaller organelles inside a cell: all processes that are challenging to directly observe. Technology at the intersection of these two fields — quantum engineering and biology — has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of medical science at the smallest possible levels.
Matthew Fisher, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, [has suggested] that spin-entangled molecules known as Posner molecules might lead to nerves firing in a correlated fashion. This happens through a number of steps. Cellular processes run on energy that is provided by the chemical compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP). When this compound is broken down, it releases phosphates, which are made up of phosphorus (spin-half nuclei) and oxygen (zero nuclear spin). Fisher contends that the spins of the phosphorus nuclei are entangled and that, furthermore, if this quantum entanglement can somehow be isolated from other quantum interactions it might last long enough to have an effect on cognition processes.
Are Roger Penrose’s attempts at reconciling gravity and quantum theory relevant to potential neuroscience applications? In 2014, Hameroff and Penrose answered to in that Physics of Life issue (“how does quantum gravity affect operation of the qubit?”) [The answer of] Orch OR is very clear: it is the gravitational proposal [Dipol-Penrose] that causes microtubule qubits to reduce, or collapse (in a time), to definite classical microtubule states (which then regulate brain neurons).” An initial attempt to prove the theory in 2022 failed to confirm — Penrose characterized that experiment as disproving “a version of” the theory. Below is a picture I took of Penrose presenting this theory at the Science of Consciousness conference in 2018.
I’m still wondering about this one, but there’s a key distinction between quantum effects in the brain — the organ — and changes in consciousness. The Science of Consciousness conference has been running bi-annually for close to 30 years now, and I’m still not sure they, nor I, can draw that distinction very clearly.
ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO QUANTUM CONSCIOUSNESS
An underlying premise of mine in this series of dispatches is that subjective experience of non-local communications is widely reported and I always believe subjective reports (at least among observers who strike me as reliable.) But most of the handful of claimed scientific experimentation reported as supportive of the theories seems always based in indirect evidence, e.g., the Global Consciousness Project.
Are there alternative interpretations for Circuit 8 than neuro-atomic interventions, for example, contemporary approaches utilizing particular pharmaceuticals, ritual approaches a la Antero Alli, etc.? Alli’s short characterization of the 8th Circuit is “Consciousness at the level of unpredictable subatomic behavior. This center opens after consciousness leaves the physical body while functioning independently in nonlocal ‘cyberspace.’ Possible mechanisms basically fall into two categories — dissociative drugs (such as nitrous oxide and DMT) and out of body experiences (such as near-death experiences, lucid dreaming and other dreamwork, and possibly immersive technology simulations of out-of-body experiences.) So maybe I’m missing something, but these seem like high risk strategies to achieve higher consciousness. But maybe one should expect such challenges.
Do cultural/life conditions affect organisms at the quantum level? Several developmental psychology theories of Human Emergence expect that human emergence occurs precisely due to cultural, societal, and other life conditions. At every level, problems are solved, but success itself creates the next layer of problems that requires new capabilities. It’s hard to speculate at this moment, as society is trying to come to grips with a new generation of problems, such as the downsides (social media polarization) of the Internet revolution. My closing thoughts revolve around this moment in our evolution.
What about collective consciousness, the third 8th Circuit capability predicted by Leary Wilson? Well, to be honest, all I’ve got from my research on quantum technology is that, to the extent quantum entanglement enters the macro world, that phenomenon may enable us all to be connected to each other all the time. On the surface, that appears to be a comforting, kumbaya kind of future. But it’s kind of non-specific and lacking in testable hypotheses.
In related work, I’ve been chasing this idea of collective consciousness since being introduced to Teilhard de Chardin and his notion of a noosphere, the collective thinking layer of the world. I ran with that notion back at the dawn of the Internet age, and published a book called Neurosphere, exploring the idea that we would all be interconnected via the Internet and it would be a positive, utopian development. Alas, I recently felt the need to publish a mea culpa — “My book had been influenced by spiritual seekers within the high-tech community in the 1990’s. They argued that the Internet represented the emergence of Teilhard’s noosphere, and its vision of a unified humanity. Recent problems — Facebook influence on elections, surveillance culture — have undercut that argument.”
One cautionary point I had to re-learn from re-reading developmental psychologists Clare Graves (a contemporary of Leary) and Don Beck was not to expect the occurrence of dysfunctional aspects even at higher levels — any level/circuit can have both healthy and unhealthy manifestations. This is a core teaching of Graves, though the idea is absent from Teilhard’s (and Leary-Wilson’s) more millennial/utopian views. I took an initial cut at a revised consideration of collective consciousness here, written in the midst of the COVID era, truly a global phenomenon if ever there was one. But this is very much a work in progress.
But what if quantum computers and quantum networks actually instantiate, via entanglement, interconnected brains? What would that look like? What would that feel like? This is the proverbial exercise for the reader, but it feels like the technology is emerging from our brains (and laboratories) to make that happen.
So, as I now return to Leary and Robert Anton Wilson’s world and community, I feel this article to have been a very cool journey. It’s been some heavy lifting as a layman to make sense of quantum computing, quantum engineering, et al, and learning of effects manifesting at the macro level rather than the sub-atomic theory that drove much of Wilson’s speculations. Now perhaps there can be some better proofs for remote viewing, telepathy and other phenomena that Wilson and quantum theory predicted (even as I’ve grown skeptical of those claims over the years.) Even more challenging, maybe there’s a way to parse how all this plays into some way to intervene in, or accelerate, personal growth to an 8th circuit consciousness.
QUANTUM CONSCIOUSNESS ARCHIVE