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Home > Archives > Volume 8, No 1 (2010) > Article

DOI: 10.14704/nq.2010.8.1.269

Comments on “Post‐Classical Phase Transitions and Emergence in Psychiatry: Beyond George Engel’s Model of Psychopathology” by Donald Mender

Mark Germine, M.D., M.S.


Donald Mender’s “Post‐Classical Phase Transitions and Emergence in Psychiatry: Beyond George Engel’s Model of Psychopathology” is an important and valuable contribution, and a starting point for our exploration of Quantum Paradigms of Psychopathology. Here I make some brief commentary on the paper that introduces some different elements to the discussion: 1) Experience is primary, the source of all observations, and may be taken as a given. As such, it is a fundamental property of nature, 2) Experience is always relational, and is based on internal relations, 3) Unconscious experience underlies conscious experience, representing the potential of the wave function, which is reduced in consciousness to actuality, 4) Volition is both a cause and a manifestation of this reduction. Identity arises from the sense of agency in volition, 5) Chaotic dynamics in the brain amplifies quantum uncertainty, providing a quantum basis for a freely‐willed, goal directed conscious process, 6) Psychopathology involves the function of this process, 7) The neural correlates of consciousness are fairly well understood, and seem to involve activation of the cerebral cortex by the brainstem reticular activating system in a cyclical fashion, and related changes in neuronal membrane polarity, 8) In the cerebral cortex, activation by glutamate and inhibition by GABA are the primary mechanisms of changes in neural membrane polarity, and 9) Anesthesia is a critical phenomenon to our understanding of consciousness, and seems to involve hyperpolarization of the neural membrane, mediated primarily by GABA.


quantum mind, psychopathology, experience

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