Consciousness: Matter and Spirit

I wrote about my theory of matter and spirit here, and this morning I found a fascinating article on consciousness that seems in line with my thoughts.

It sounds like an anesthesiologist is doing a double-slit experiment with the brain. Are they indeed saying that consciousness exists as a wave, and anesthesia breaks the wave function so that there are only “pieces” – which would be like consciousness particles? If so, any drug that could somehow “observe” (read: interfere) with the electrons specific to the consciousness wave would cause perfect anesthesia.  I’m not sure that the researcher makes this conclusion exactly (The Atlantic undoubtedly dumbed things down).

Quote from Joshua Lang’s “Awakening”:

Compare the brain to New York City: just as cars navigate the city’s neighborhoods via a patchwork of streets, bridges, tunnels, and highways, electrical signals traverse the brain via a meshwork of neurons. Tononi’s theory predicts that in a fully conscious brain, traffic in one neighborhood will affect traffic in other neighborhoods, but that as consciousness fades—for instance, during sleep or anesthesia—this ripple effect will decrease or disappear.

In 2008, in one of several experiments demonstrating this effect, Tononi pulsed the brains of 10 fully conscious subjects with his electromagnetic gun—the equivalent of, say, injecting a flood of new cars into SoHo. The traffic (the electromagnetic waves) rippled across Manhattan (the brain): things jammed up in Tribeca and Greenwich Village, even in Chelsea. Tononi’s EEG electrodes captured ripples and reverberations that were different for every subject and for every region of the brain, patterns as complex and varied as the traffic in Manhattan on any given day.

Tononi then put the same subjects under anesthesia. Before he pulsed his gun again, the subjects’ brain traffic seemed as busy as when they were conscious: cars still circulated in SoHo and Tribeca, in Greenwich Village and Chelsea. But the pulse had a drastically different effect: This time, the traffic jam was confined to SoHo. No more ripples. “It’s as if [the brain] has fragmented into pieces,” Tononi told me. He published these findings in 2010, and also used them to file a patent for “a method for assessing anesthetization.”

Home

You wake

upon the same mattress that once adorned

your crib and cry

because you want to go home.

Your parents have forgotten

that simplest desire, to return

to what came before,

so no one comforts

you but to say you’re already here.

Meanwhile you know

different, know how you’ve come

from everything and nothing

and now this is a shard-sharp something.

It’s a shock. You tear

with the day along its crisp-creased folds, red

from the sun’s throb between buildings,

between heartbeats,

where spacetime’s fault lines rub hot,

like the sight behind your eyelids

when you press them shut.

There’s no helping it, you come to pieces, fall

out of place and out of bed. It’s wild

how you only hear

one stream of thought and only see

one view, one bed, one family, one house

that isn’t home.

Spirit

Spirit, undaunted by time,

uses your body when you

are gone. Cause and effect

lie quiet, dead,

so Spirit doesn’t need your brain

to think its thoughts,

but can slip inside you

throughout eternity, at its whim.

And it can spend the untime tweaking

bits of your reality, until everything

and you are perfect.

Theories of Everything

The wick in the moth is less deadly

than physics is in you.

Back then, you said Curie wasn’t sorry;

now we wear prosthetic spirits.

You’ve fallen asleep head-on-desk,

computer-lit and eerie, an astronaut adrift

amongst wastepaper stars,

and I’ve slid from bed to steal your calculations.

Not the flat, careful pages; it’s the wild ones,

the trashed ones –

forced into three dimensions, twisted,

layered, and intersected –

that conceive the strangest things.

They crackle up my housecoat sleeves,

each puff nipping my unnerves

with its audacious reality, the way you once

chased my blush from chest to cheek.

Now when you stroke my skin

you touch mere electromagnetism.

Yet your unmind also crumples, coils,

winds, and intertwines

into a ball of electric poetry

that arcs sometimes to shock me;

while your body yields like a ghost.

So I fold you, knot, curl, and bend you

to steal the jump between us

and innervate the dead.

we are both all separate and all one

Some freak she was, one half

of a conjoined twin, the Universe

the other half. Joined

sense to sense like that: breath

to breath, back to back, each half-

hobbled by the other’s pull,

she researched her wild escape

but found she supplied space and time

without which all things happened

at once and never:

her own death forever forestalled.

Reality and the Brain

We think that we create our realities by our brain connections — our neural nets, which we imagine to be built over years of experience. But get this — toddlers have more brain connections than adults, maybe ten times more.

I think experience limits our realities like the statue that lies hidden within the stone. Perhaps babies are born out of the Nothing with an image of the Everything in their minds.