DOI: 10.14704/nq.2003.1.1.9

Chaos, Quantum-transactions and Consciousness: A Biophysical Model of the Intentional Mind

Chris King


The nature of subjective conscious experience, and its consequences in intentionality, remain the central unsolved problem in science and one of critical importance to humanity’s future as sentient observers and autonomous participants in a world history we are coming to have ever more pivotal influence upon. Each of us who read this paper are subjective conscious observers, making an autonomous decision to carry out a volitional action. All our knowledge of the physical universe is gained through the immediate conduit of our subjective experience and our intentionality in turn has major impacts on the physical world around us. To understand how the subjective aspect arises requires both a radical investigation down to the foundations of physics and an understanding of how subjective awareness, as opposed to mere computational capacity, may have become elaborated by Darwinian natural selection. We thus have to find reasons why subjectivity itself, rather than computation alone, is of pivotal importance in organismic survival. The answer lies in its capacity to anticipate situations crucial to survival. For this to be possible, the foundations of physics must contain a principle of space-time anticipation not covered by any mechanism of computation alone, or subjectivity would become superfluous and would have never been selected for in evolution. This paper sets out to demonstrate how quantum transactions universal to all quantum phenomena my fulfil this pivotal role. The role of dynamical chaos and bifurcation in neurodynamics has been the subject of an increasing volume of theoretical and experimental research in which transition from chaos to order may form a key process in perception and cognition. There has also been a continuing interest in the possible link between quantum non-locality and consciousness. This paper presents a two-part theory in which: (a) a fractal link between neurodynamical chaos and quantum non-locality; and (b) a complex system theory of the sub-quantum world; together provide a physical solution to the mind-brain paradoxes of subjective consciousness and free-will. The fractal link between dynamical chaos and quantum uncertainty is proposed to be made through overlapping non-linearities capable of chaos, running from the neurosystems level down through the neuron, synapse, to the ion channel. Chaotic systems possess sensitive dependence, and brain states also contain features of self-organized criticality. In a critically poised brain state representing uncertainty of outcome, it is proposed that sensitive dependence opens the brain to quantum processes. In the transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics, future states form part of the boundary condition of reduction of the wave packet. Transactional supercausality may allow a form of prediction in the excitable cell which bypasses and complements formal computation. The selective advantage of such a process would explain the emergence of consciousness in organismic evolution.


Chaos, Consciousness, Mind, Quantum mind, evolution

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