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Nonlocal consciousness and the Quantum World

Updated on January 08, 2017
The world is a very persistent illuision. Use it.
The world is a very persistent illuision. Use it.

The idea that Consciousness is, like space, time and energy, a fundamental and irreducible aspect of the universe is consistent with observations in neurobiology [1,4] and the view of reality mandated by quantum theory [2]. It is also consistent with the views Jonathan Black presents in A Secret History of the World, [3] that World was created by consciousness and with Hindu notions that the world is the Dreams of Brahma.

Taking Consciousness as primary sidesteps the “Hard Problem of consciousness”, namely how consciousness can arise from unconscious physical processes such as the firing of neurons.

Kastrup [4] theorised that the brain may have evolved to capture and use Consciousness for survival, an idea foreshadowed by Josephson [10] though it is equally possible that Consciousness, which is known to be able to influence brain structure, evolved the brain in order to be able to influence matter more directly.

Less controversially Quantum Physics has long challenged the materialist paradigm by making consciousness an integral participant in any experiment, though the relationship between the quantum level and the macroscopic level we experience is still unclear.

Consciousness and the Quantum

Dossey [2, p.208] cites Willis Harman of the Stanford research institute as describing the qualities of consciousness needed to explain known observations as

  • Mind is extended in time

  • Mind is extended in space

  • Mind is (ultimately) predominant over the physical

  • Minds are joined

Some scientists reject these controversial claims, though the materialist paradigm on which the most objections are based has serious problems [4] and the materialist adoption of this paradigm may be based on emotional factors resulting from early bad experience of organised religion [5]. The mind-first or mentalist paradigm also has problems which need resolution but seems to do a better job. It may be that neither paradigm is completely and that both the view, endorsed by much of traditional Western science and philosophy and exemplified by modern pragmatic materialism, relegates the mind of man to a passive processor of experience imposed by a totally deterministic external world—“a mere visitor meandering through the grand museum of life” and the opposite view, espoused by numerous and enduring mystical traditions of many cultures and eras, that all experience is created by consciousness, so that any tangible reality ultimately traces to illusion [6], are only partial views of reality.

Quantum physics offers one possible way to rescue the materialist paradigm by postulating that Quantum effects produce consciousness but this seems to be pushing the hard problem of consciousness down one level and is far from widely accepted [7]. In any case quantum theory and relativity have neither been fully reconciled nor shown to be special cases of a deeper theory.

Consciousness and Many Worlds Theory

The hypothesis presented by Kastrup [4] and described in [1] resembles a many worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, in which, for example, the position of a needle on a dial may be radically different in two different worlds and quantum mechanical collapse does not occur: consciousness merely splits into multiple consciousnesses in parallel universes. Byrne and Hall [8] show that such an interpretation fails. Kastrup's theory however seems to involve the brain filtering experience from a bank of possible experiences of a universal consciousness, and differs from a many worlds approach by, it seems, making the human brain an instrument of quantum collapse.

Consciousness, Reality Creation and the Law of Attraction

Quantum Physicists soon recognised that the act of observation, which by definition involves consciousness, determined the results of an experiment, at least in the quantum domain. But if the materialist interpretation of quantum mechanics and consciousness is true then consciousness is a wave of possibility that collapses the wave of possibility representing an experiment to a single outcome by observing ( interacting with ) the (wave of possibility representing the ) experiment [9]. This does not resolve any mysteries.

The problem is resolved if consciousness is taken as the ground of all being and observation is taken as selecting one facet from the range of possible outcomes, and that facet becomes our reality.

In the 1970s Fred Alan Wolf coined the phrase “We create our own reality” which led to formulation of the Law of Attraction and the practice of Manifestation, something anathema to skeptics and many others. Some will stop reading here convinced this has descended into fantasy. The author believes this is an area that needs examination and not shunning as taboo.

People try to manifest things from free meals to fortunes with varying degrees of success. The problem with this law, apart from the smell of magick ( In Crowley's sense) that skeptics loathe.

Manifestation, as the Law of Attraction tends to be called nowadays has the fundamental problem that in most cases if one is trying to manifest X then others are trying to manifest Not-X. In the case of a lottery where the winner is determined by a quantum mechanical observation, for example each person would want to manifest a win for themselves to the exclusion of the others. Something has to give.

The resolution seems to be [9] that we create reality in an altered state of consciousness. Contradictory wishes cannot both be granted. Consciousness is however non local, unitary and cosmic (This is NOT an argument for the existence of God, whatever you call that being). Each lottery participant chooses from this non ordinary state of consciousness where local egos and selfishness do not exist, and the probabilities of success match the expected probabilities. Quantum collapse still occurs but ordinary consciousness smooths it out.

Further reading

[1] The Mind-Body Problem: The Brain as filter for universal Mind

[2] Space, Time and Medicine: Larry Dossey, Shambhala Publications Inc (1 April 1982)

[3| The Secret History of the World, Jonathan Black, Quercus; 2 edition (29 July 2010)

[4] A Paradigm-Breaking Hypothesis for Solving the Mind-Body Problem, Bernardo Kastrup, Paranthropology 3 (3) July 2012 page 4

[5] Organized Skepticism Revisited, L. DAVID LEITER, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 661–664, 2004

[6] EXPLORE May/June 2007, Vol. 3, No. 3 203

[7] Quantum Mind

[8| Consciousness and Quantum Mechanics

[9] Consciousness in Quantum Physics

[10] Biological Utilisation of Quantum NonLocality, Foundations of Physics, Vol. 21, pp. 197-207, 1991,

The wrap

Paradoxes in Quantum Physics can largely be resolved if consciousness is taken as fundamental and irreducible. To match observations consciousness must be non-local in time and non-local in space. Minds must be joined and ultimately consciousness must be dominant over matter.

If consciousness is dominant then “We create our own reality” but conflict between individuals ( each filtering non-local consciousness) for resources that are (perceived to be) limited means we do not all get what we want. Conflicts are resolved by a mechanism that results in the conventional probabilities of success. Sometimes our unconscious mind (another unknown) also filters out things we do not want or prevents us getting what we want: the conscious mind is trying to manifest a fortune and the unconscious is saying no, we don't deserve it and it will corrupt us, money is evil and so on.

All this smells a bit of magick, even though it is backed up by Physics, Physicists and observation. Much more work is needed.


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    • jponiato profile image

      jponiato 3 years ago from Mid-Michigan

      Fascinating stuff.

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 3 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      I have a mind to read this! Again and Again and Again lol !

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 3 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thanks jponiato and someonewho knows.

      The next step is to look at implications of the theory and the problems with it

    • cryptid profile image

      cryptid 3 years ago from Earth

      Extremely thought provoking. I recall some of my issues with the book the Secret as I read this, particularly your example of the lottery. Setting the Secret aside, as its pretty much a watered-down, new-age version of the theories you examined in this article, there do seem to be some constants between Law of Attraction, religion and plain old positive thinking. If we both want to win the lottery, and you win but I don't, depending on my belief system I could say 1) My subconscious mind really didn't want/need it due to reasons known only to my subconscious, 2) I wasn't fully invested or skilled enough in my positive thought process, or 3) God has another plan for me that doesn't include the lottery. All seem to incorporate some other actions aside from pure chance, and as you say there does seem to be some basis for this, at least theoretically (and practically, in regard to experiments re: observation.)

      Interesting stuff!

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 3 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thanks Cryptid.

      A fourth possibility is that the winner was "stronger" than the nearest loser and perhaps the others just cancelled each other out.

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