The Quantum Mind: Panpsychism,
   Physics and Consciousness
                          Jed Stamas
    M.A. Physics, Psychol...
What is the connection between
consciousness and the physical world?

        Part I: What is consciousness?
        Part ...
The Scientistic Orthodoxy
        Consciousness

            Biology

          Chemistry

    Physics (Matter/Energy)


 ...
Alternative Model
                Physics (Matter/Energy)
Consciousness

                      Chemistry
     Biology
Alternative Model
                        Physics (Matter/Energy)
    Consciousness

                              Chemist...
What is Consciousness?
 • Descartes (1637): “I think therefore I am.”
   mind vs. body
 • David Chalmers: the phenomenolog...
Consciouness

• David Chalmers: Say there is a zombie
  person who has everything we have:
  except the experience of cons...
Philosophy of Consciousness

  • Idealism
  • Dualism
  • New Mysterianism
  • Neutral Monism / Panpsychism
Idealism
  •    Idealism: We project mental qualities onto the world.

  •    Problem: physical reality does not exist



...
Dualism

• mind             body
• Consciousness and matter are separate
• View of scientistic orthodoxy: a
  dualism that...
New Mysterianism

• wikipedia: “New Mysterianism is a
  philosophical position proposing that
  the hard problem of consci...
Panpsychism
          Neutral Monism
• Anti-dualist: there is only one kind of
  “stuff”
• so both consciousness and physi...
E = mc       2

• Modern physics is connecting light,
  matter, and energy together.
• Shortly after the big bang, light a...
Part II: Historical Background
Religious History of
        Europe
Before 500: Paganism / Animism

200-2000: Theism was the dominant view
instilled by ch...
Animism

primary philosophy worldwide prior to
Western tradition

Many variations: Shinto, Native American,
African, Austr...
Hylozyism
Greek: everything is alive; life and matter
are one

Advocated by Empedocles, Democritus, and
Stoic Philosophers...
Theism
Humans are the only things with souls.

Mind-body duality

The body is bad, the soul is good.

We are “of G-d,” but...
problems resulting from
       Theism:

 genital mutilation

 religious wars

 overpopulation

 environmental destruction
Atheism

Sam Harris: “Atheism is not a religion or a
philosophy. Rather, it is the exposure and
destruction of bad ideas.”...
Materialism

The idea that the material world is all that
exists.

Materialism denies the existence of the
supernatural, s...
An argument against
    materialism
According to panpsychism, there is no
supernatural because the physical and
consciousn...
Mechanistic Philosophy
 The universe is a great big machine.

 Wholes (trains, bodies, planets) can be
 reduced to their c...
Consequences of
Mechanistic Materialism

 Matter is dead.

 Humans are the only things that have minds.

 Therefore, we ca...
Secular Humanism

watered-down atheism; materialist influences

Science became technology, and technology
was integrated in...
Secular Humanism


an incoherent mixture, not a philosophy

advocates tolerance, but also human rights?
(You can’t have bo...
Panpsychist Alternatives
 Indigenous

 Western magick

 Sufism

 Masonic

 New Age

 Pagan / Neopagan

 Pantheist
Panpsychism

• “Everything is alive.”
• The physical stuff (matter/energy) has
  psychic properties (choice or
  awareness...
Panpsychism

• The natural world is all that exists.
• The natural world, at its fundamental,
  atomic, quantum level, is ...
But rocks aren’t alive!
• Ok, but both rocks and humans are
  made up of the same stuff.
• Rocks are made up on atoms, whi...
Part III: Quantum
           Mechanics

Physics of the atom
Matter and energy at the smallest scales
Developed by Faraday,...
Quantum mechanics led
to computer technology.

• Applications of quantum mechanics
  are responsible for 1/3 of all econom...
Quantum Mechanics

• explains how matter and light both
  exhibit wave-like and particle-like
  characteristics.
“Particles” such as electrons, protons,
  and photons all show interference
               patterns.

 • particle-like: li...
Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle


a certain amount of uncertainty is unavoidable when
making measurements of a particle’s...
• Although wave-particle duality also
  applies to matter (electrons, protons,
  and neutrons), for simplicity, let’s
  th...
Light is both a wave and a particle.
The particles are called photons.
The brighter the light, the more photons.
The highe...
Shine photons on
  two slits, and over
time an interference
   pattern emerges.
Before a photon is detected, it can only be described by
a probability function (wave function or superposition
state).
On...
What does it mean to “detect” a photon?
Open question: is a macroscopic instrument all that is
necessary to detect? Or, is...
Dr. Quantum
Superposition


According to Richard Feynman the superposition
principle “has in it the heart of quantum mechanics”
and is...
Light can be polarized. A filter can block out all
photons which electromagnetic fields that are not in
alignment with it.
If two polarizing films are aligned in the same direction
light from the first polarizer passes through the second.
If the p...
However, if a third polarizer is sandwiched between the
two opposed polarizers at a 45° angle, some light gets
through the...
The light passing through the diagonal polarizer is in a
superposition state: 50% horizontal and 50% vertical.
A superposi...
Schrodinger’s Cat
• Put a cat in a box. If a particle decays, poison is released
  and the cat dies. In 1 hour, there is a...
Schrodinger’s Cat
• Until it is observed, the cat is in a 50% alive, 50% dead
  superposition state.

• When you open the ...
Many Worlds Interpretation of
          Quantum Mechanics




Every event is a branch point. The cat is both alive and dea...
Probability to Reality
Quantum mechanics implies that the act of detection
collapses a superposition state into a real, ob...
1. What constitutes an observer / detector?
We don’t know. Some interpretations say that a
conscious observer is necessary...
2. How often is this happening?
We don’t know. For macroscopic objects, quantum
collapse is happening all the time, so the...
3. How is it related to time?
Ilya Progogine researched how quantum collapse is
related to the directionality of time.
4. Is this collapse similar to a conscious choice?




  Hypothesis: Quantum collapse (reality
  creation) is the proto-co...
Quantum Mechanics Supports
       Panpsychism

• Panpsychism: there is only one kind of
  stuff, and it has mind-like prop...
Animal Consciousness
• Decisions made in the mind are much more
  complex and involve networks of neurons.
• Each neuron c...
Orchestrated Objective Reduction
   • Developed by Penrose and Hammeroff
   • A paramecium does not have a brain,
     but...
Part IV: Ethical Considerations
Why is this important?

Even though science supports it, panpsychism is still
considered to be a radical, “mystical” view....
If the mainstream materialist view is not overthrown and
replaced by panpsychism, the human race may go extinct.




    •...
with mind, with rights

• 18th century: only white males with
  property
• 21st century: adult humans*
• *does not conside...
without mind & without rights
   • babies
   • animals
   • plants
   • the Earth
   • Sun & Moon
   • rocks & natural res...
without mind & without rights
   • babies: nonconsensual genital mutilation
   • animals: dying and going extinct
   • pla...
Possible Future
if materialism is not overthrown

• Coastal flooding
• Respiratory diseases
• Starvation
• Widespread antib...
Autonomous Participatory
      Panpsychism
• A moral, ethical, and political philosophy
• Autonomous choices are made by a...
Ethics
• Adults have the freedom to make
  choices, as long as those choices do not
  impinge on other’s bodies or lives.
...
• Freedom, consent = choice
• Coercion = lack of autonomous choice
• Ethics and morality has to do with
  freedom and cons...
Economics
• Corporate capitalism and materialism
  have had a cozy relationship.
• We need a new economic system, one
  th...
The End
Love is the Law, Love Under Will
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The Quantum Mind: Panpsychism, Physics, and Consciousness

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Panpsychism, or neutral monism, is the idea that there is only one kind of stuff: light/matter/energy/proto-consciousness. Quantum mechanics says that atoms and photons exist in a probability state if they are not being observed. Quantum physics supports panpsychism.

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  • Observation is an interaction event with a detector, and unless panpsychism begs the question of material consciousness observation does not require a conscious observer.
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  • The Quantum Mind: Panpsychism, Physics, and Consciousness

    1. 1. The Quantum Mind: Panpsychism, Physics and Consciousness Jed Stamas M.A. Physics, Psychology & Education, University of California, Berkeley B.S. Physics & Astronomy, Haverford College
    2. 2. What is the connection between consciousness and the physical world? Part I: What is consciousness? Part II: Historical background Part III: Quantum mechanics Part IV: Ethical considerations
    3. 3. The Scientistic Orthodoxy Consciousness Biology Chemistry Physics (Matter/Energy) hierarchical model
    4. 4. Alternative Model Physics (Matter/Energy) Consciousness Chemistry Biology
    5. 5. Alternative Model Physics (Matter/Energy) Consciousness Chemistry Biology The connection between physics and consciousness is often dismissed. However, aspects of quantum physics point in that direction.
    6. 6. What is Consciousness? • Descartes (1637): “I think therefore I am.” mind vs. body • David Chalmers: the phenomenological hard problem is the experience of consciousness • awakeness • self-awareness • sensing (pansensism) • alertness vs. sleeping or day-dreaming • pure consciouess / onesness / mystical / psychedelic (James, Huxley, Hindu, Magick)
    7. 7. Consciouness • David Chalmers: Say there is a zombie person who has everything we have: except the experience of consciousness. • So what the hell is consciousness?
    8. 8. Philosophy of Consciousness • Idealism • Dualism • New Mysterianism • Neutral Monism / Panpsychism
    9. 9. Idealism • Idealism: We project mental qualities onto the world. • Problem: physical reality does not exist Mind Matter
    10. 10. Dualism • mind body • Consciousness and matter are separate • View of scientistic orthodoxy: a dualism that dismisses consciousness entirely in favor of a completely materialistic interpretation.
    11. 11. New Mysterianism • wikipedia: “New Mysterianism is a philosophical position proposing that the hard problem of consciousness will never be explained; or at the least cannot be explained by the human mind at its current evolutionary stage.”
    12. 12. Panpsychism Neutral Monism • Anti-dualist: there is only one kind of “stuff” • so both consciousness and physics must be explained by that “stuff” • consciousness exists on the atomic level • But physicists don’t want to study consciousness; there is resistance to the idea that it is a branch of physics.
    13. 13. E = mc 2 • Modern physics is connecting light, matter, and energy together. • Shortly after the big bang, light and matter were the same stuff. • Einstein discovered that matter is energy. • Light a match, and a bit of its mass becomes light and thermal energy.
    14. 14. Part II: Historical Background
    15. 15. Religious History of Europe Before 500: Paganism / Animism 200-2000: Theism was the dominant view instilled by christianity in the AD period. 1776-present: emergence of Masonic, Secular Humanist, Atheist, Agnostic, Neo-pagan, Pantheist, and New Age systems.
    16. 16. Animism primary philosophy worldwide prior to Western tradition Many variations: Shinto, Native American, African, Australian Spirits dwell in nature, mountains are alive, rocks are alive “Old skool” panpsychism
    17. 17. Hylozyism Greek: everything is alive; life and matter are one Advocated by Empedocles, Democritus, and Stoic Philosophers. Empedocles (490-430 BCE): fire, air, water, earth; love and strife Democritus (460-370 BCE): first atomic hypothesis; thought about consciousness, ethics
    18. 18. Theism Humans are the only things with souls. Mind-body duality The body is bad, the soul is good. We are “of G-d,” but animals are not. The Earth is not a higher consciousness; G-d is.
    19. 19. problems resulting from Theism: genital mutilation religious wars overpopulation environmental destruction
    20. 20. Atheism Sam Harris: “Atheism is not a religion or a philosophy. Rather, it is the exposure and destruction of bad ideas.” Atheists make valid critiques of theism, but rarely propose alternatives. Atheist philosophy is usually based on materialism.
    21. 21. Materialism The idea that the material world is all that exists. Materialism denies the existence of the supernatural, spiritual, and the soul. How is mechanistic (world-body-machine-like) philosophy, falsely accredited to Newton, related to materialism?
    22. 22. An argument against materialism According to panpsychism, there is no supernatural because the physical and consciousness are both natural. By defining “supernatural,” materialists assume dualism, then assume that consciousness cannot influence the physical. These assumptions are not supported by quantum physics.
    23. 23. Mechanistic Philosophy The universe is a great big machine. Wholes (trains, bodies, planets) can be reduced to their constituent parts (reductionism) Everything is deterministic. falsely accredited to Newton Disproved by modern physics.
    24. 24. Consequences of Mechanistic Materialism Matter is dead. Humans are the only things that have minds. Therefore, we can do anything we want to things without minds.
    25. 25. Secular Humanism watered-down atheism; materialist influences Science became technology, and technology was integrated into human culture (economic, social, lifestyle). This caused many people to doubt theism, especially during WW2 and again in the ‘60s.
    26. 26. Secular Humanism an incoherent mixture, not a philosophy advocates tolerance, but also human rights? (You can’t have both.)
    27. 27. Panpsychist Alternatives Indigenous Western magick Sufism Masonic New Age Pagan / Neopagan Pantheist
    28. 28. Panpsychism • “Everything is alive.” • The physical stuff (matter/energy) has psychic properties (choice or awareness). • Everything is part of the same thing; holistic, anti-reductionist, monistic
    29. 29. Panpsychism • The natural world is all that exists. • The natural world, at its fundamental, atomic, quantum level, is mind-like • Quantum mechanics provides evidence of this choice making (collapsing of the wave equation / probability function)
    30. 30. But rocks aren’t alive! • Ok, but both rocks and humans are made up of the same stuff. • Rocks are made up on atoms, which behave quantum mechanically. The electrons are constantly making choices. • In the brain, the same quantum mechanics causes awareness and consciousness.
    31. 31. Part III: Quantum Mechanics Physics of the atom Matter and energy at the smallest scales Developed by Faraday, Einstein, Bohr, Planck, Heisenberg from 1838 to 1927.
    32. 32. Quantum mechanics led to computer technology. • Applications of quantum mechanics are responsible for 1/3 of all economic activity (computers, cell phones, etc.)
    33. 33. Quantum Mechanics • explains how matter and light both exhibit wave-like and particle-like characteristics.
    34. 34. “Particles” such as electrons, protons, and photons all show interference patterns. • particle-like: like a ball in space; collisions can occur, but interference cannot. • wave-like: like a wave; interference (constructive and destructive) can occur.
    35. 35. Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle a certain amount of uncertainty is unavoidable when making measurements of a particle’s characteristics. The particle is also wavelike, and it is impossible to to know the exact position or energy of a wave because it is spread out.
    36. 36. • Although wave-particle duality also applies to matter (electrons, protons, and neutrons), for simplicity, let’s think about it in terms of light.
    37. 37. Light is both a wave and a particle. The particles are called photons. The brighter the light, the more photons. The higher the frequency of the photons, the more often the electromagnetic waves vibrate, and the more energy the photons have. (E = hf)
    38. 38. Shine photons on two slits, and over time an interference pattern emerges.
    39. 39. Before a photon is detected, it can only be described by a probability function (wave function or superposition state). One can predict the probability of where a photon will land, but not exactly where it will land. Once a photon is detected, the wave function collapses into a real, known value. The act of detection (or observation) creates a physical reality.
    40. 40. What does it mean to “detect” a photon? Open question: is a macroscopic instrument all that is necessary to detect? Or, is a conscious observer (such as a scientist) necessary? Is seems impossible to design an experiment that could test this question.
    41. 41. Dr. Quantum
    42. 42. Superposition According to Richard Feynman the superposition principle “has in it the heart of quantum mechanics” and is its “only mystery.”
    43. 43. Light can be polarized. A filter can block out all photons which electromagnetic fields that are not in alignment with it.
    44. 44. If two polarizing films are aligned in the same direction light from the first polarizer passes through the second. If the polarizers are opposed at a 90° angle, the polarized light from the first polarizer is stopped by the second.
    45. 45. However, if a third polarizer is sandwiched between the two opposed polarizers at a 45° angle, some light gets through the last polarizer!
    46. 46. The light passing through the diagonal polarizer is in a superposition state: 50% horizontal and 50% vertical. A superposition state is a combination of two different states. A given photon has an equal probability of being horizontal or vertical, but it does not exist either horizontal or vertical until it is observed.
    47. 47. Schrodinger’s Cat • Put a cat in a box. If a particle decays, poison is released and the cat dies. In 1 hour, there is a 50% probability this will happen. • After an hour, is the cat alive or dead, or both?
    48. 48. Schrodinger’s Cat • Until it is observed, the cat is in a 50% alive, 50% dead superposition state. • When you open the box, you see the cat either alive or dead.
    49. 49. Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Every event is a branch point. The cat is both alive and dead, even before the box is opened, but the "alive" and "dead" cats are in different universes, both of which are equally real, but which cannot interact with each other.
    50. 50. Probability to Reality Quantum mechanics implies that the act of detection collapses a superposition state into a real, observable value. 1. What constitutes an observer / detector? 2. How often is this happening? 3. How is it related to time? 4. Is this collapse similar to a conscious choice?
    51. 51. 1. What constitutes an observer / detector? We don’t know. Some interpretations say that a conscious observer is necessary. Others say that any macroscopic scientific instrument’s detection causes collapse. We don’t know if or how detection influences the state into which the atom collapses.
    52. 52. 2. How often is this happening? We don’t know. For macroscopic objects, quantum collapse is happening all the time, so they are particle- like. But with the large number of atoms, it may be rare for any given atom to collapse.
    53. 53. 3. How is it related to time? Ilya Progogine researched how quantum collapse is related to the directionality of time.
    54. 54. 4. Is this collapse similar to a conscious choice? Hypothesis: Quantum collapse (reality creation) is the proto-consciousness that panpsychism proposes.
    55. 55. Quantum Mechanics Supports Panpsychism • Panpsychism: there is only one kind of stuff, and it has mind-like properties • light, matter, and energy all exhibit wave-particle duality • When detection occurs, a superposition state collapses, “making a choice” to be a certain way.
    56. 56. Animal Consciousness • Decisions made in the mind are much more complex and involve networks of neurons. • Each neuron consists of many microtubules, within which many atomic wave functions are collapsing. • Human higher consciousness occurs because atoms are mind-like. • Panpsychism is true!
    57. 57. Orchestrated Objective Reduction • Developed by Penrose and Hammeroff • A paramecium does not have a brain, but it can learn • Brain processing takes place in microtubules • Quantum wave functions objectively collapse over time; this is free will consciousness
    58. 58. Part IV: Ethical Considerations
    59. 59. Why is this important? Even though science supports it, panpsychism is still considered to be a radical, “mystical” view. If the mainstream materialist view is not overthrown and replaced by panpsychism, the human race may go extinct.
    60. 60. If the mainstream materialist view is not overthrown and replaced by panpsychism, the human race may go extinct. • Materialism has allowed the Earth’s rights to be ignored. • If one views the Earth as dead, it becomes easy to exploit. • If all things are alive as we are, we must respect them.
    61. 61. with mind, with rights • 18th century: only white males with property • 21st century: adult humans* • *does not consider discrimination, racism, sexist, homophobia, human rights violations
    62. 62. without mind & without rights • babies • animals • plants • the Earth • Sun & Moon • rocks & natural resources
    63. 63. without mind & without rights • babies: nonconsensual genital mutilation • animals: dying and going extinct • plants: dying and going extinct • the Earth: ocean ecosystem collapse, global warming • rocks & natural resources: mountaintop removal, declining air and water quality
    64. 64. Possible Future if materialism is not overthrown • Coastal flooding • Respiratory diseases • Starvation • Widespread antibiotic resistant bacteria • Nanotechnology & AI takeover
    65. 65. Autonomous Participatory Panpsychism • A moral, ethical, and political philosophy • Autonomous choices are made by atoms and autonomous individuals. • Infants make fewer autonomous choices. • Children learn to make autonomous choices.
    66. 66. Ethics • Adults have the freedom to make choices, as long as those choices do not impinge on other’s bodies or lives. • Holistic: the health of the Earth is important. • Living and eating requires us to kill plants and animals, but can be done in a way that is part of the ecosystem.
    67. 67. • Freedom, consent = choice • Coercion = lack of autonomous choice • Ethics and morality has to do with freedom and consent.
    68. 68. Economics • Corporate capitalism and materialism have had a cozy relationship. • We need a new economic system, one that rewards virtue and favors worker- owned small businesses and anarcho- syndicalist collectives that respect the environment.
    69. 69. The End Love is the Law, Love Under Will

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