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Cynthia Sue Larson Interviews Stuart Hameroff

Cynthia Sue Larson with Dr. Stuart Hameroff

I talked with Stuart Hameroff this month about his ideas about quantum physics and consciousness. Dr Hameroff is a clinical anesthesiologist and Director of the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona, and lead organizer of the Toward a Science of Consciousness conferences that began in Tucson, Arizona in 1994.

Stuart Hameroff’s research involves a theory of consciousness developed over the past 20 years with British physicist Sir Roger Penrose. Their Orchestrated Objective Reduction (‘Orch OR’) theory suggests that consciousness arises from quantum vibrations in protein polymers called microtubules inside the brain’s neurons.  For a review, along with critical commentaries and replies, see: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064513001188

Hameroff and Penrose suggest these vibrations compute, collapse, interfere and resonate, regulating neuronal processes and connecting to the fundamental level of the universe, providing moments of conscious experience and choice.

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3540238905.emergphysconsciousnessCYNTHIA: Some scientists point out that the brain is basically dissipative, essentially, that it’s not isolated. Would you agree with that?

STUARTI think that the brain is a little bit more clever, that there are alternating phases of isolated/quantum and dissipative/classical processing. Quantum and classical, quantum and classical, quantum and classical. The classical is dissipative and interacts with the environment, bringing information in and letting information out, exerting causal efficacy in the world. But classical phases alternate with quantum phases at EEG frequencies, for example, at 40 Hz. Or maybe even faster, at megahertz. So for 40 Hz, that would imply every twenty-five milliseconds there is a cycle of quantum processing followed by collapse, a classical result that interacts with the outside world. In this classical phase information comes in and that’s when it’s dissipative, and then the cycle repeats. So you have a quantum phase that’s isolated, then an open phase that’s dissipative and brings information in, and then another quantum phase, so on in alternating phases. I think consciousness consists of sequences of these alternating phases, the end of each quantum phase a discrete event. Consciousness is a sequence of discrete events, not a continuum. A movie appears continuous to us, but it’s actually a sequence of frames; I think consciousness is like that, and these frames alternate, quantum and classical.

CYNTHIAI love your theory, which is about the best one I’ve seen for bringing that together. When we look in the brain, would you say we see evidence of this quantum logic happening? You might say that we do?

STUART: As far as quantum logic, specifically, I think that you see that in dreams. I think dreams are quantum information without collapse—you stay in the quantum phase, without the dissipative phase. If there’s a loud noise, you wake up, so you’re shielded, isolated. Except for sleepwalkers, or something like that.

CYNTHIA: And lucid dreaming is interesting.

STUART: Lucid dreaming, exactly.

CYNTHIA: In that case, maybe, would there be alternation?

STUART: Lucid dreaming, I have to think about that. Probably there’s some collapse, but maybe infrequent, or not total, or something like that. I’m not sure. That’s certainly an exception to the rule. Sleepwalking and lucid dreaming are special cases.  Matte Blanco described the logic of dreams which is very similar to quantum logic.

CYNTHIA: You can find the extremes there, but they come together.

STUART: Well the big issue in quantum logic is noncommutativity. In regular logic, A times B equals B times A, but in quantum logic, A times B is not equal to B times A. Paradox reigns. Opposites co-exist.

CYNTHIA: Right!

STUART: Irreversible steps are one of the keys.

CYNTHIA: In addition to the irreversible steps, some people have noticed that quantum logic is a little bit like four-fold logic—so-called “Asian logic”—because it does have True, False, True-and-False, and Not-True-Not-False.

STUART: Yeah, superposition, quantum superposition. Or as Stuart Kaufman talks about, Aristotle’s ‘excluded middle’ actually occurs in quantum logic.

CYNTHIA: Would you say that quantum logic feels like an equal partner to classical logic, or do you feel it’s more of the primarily logic that is constantly there? This gets to what you were noticing about the brain.

STUART: I think the logic of the quantum world underlies the classical world—but then when collapse occurs—you get the classical world. I believe in collapse, but quantum field theorists don’t necessarily agree with collapse. And then you have Henry Stapp’s view, that collapse is caused by the Cosmic Mind. I don’t think that solves the problem. That puts consciousness out there, kind of outside of science, so it’s really a spiritual, religious type of approach. But I think you can get spirituality out of collapse, with non-locality and Platonic values, which is what Penrose brought in.

CYNTHIA: I love the way you bring up protoconsciousness, the Planck scale, and the way consciousness might exist in that sort of decoherent state, but at the same time, you do look to consciousness to bring about collapse.

STUART: Roger Penrose essentially replaced decoherence with self collapse, what he called ‘objective reduction’. Decoherence is kind of an ill-defined thing anyway. Nobody can really say exactly what it is. Plus it doesn’t really get rid of the quantum superposition—just buries it in noise. So Roger came up with the idea that there is this objective threshold for reduction, related to the uncertainty principle, so every superposition will reach this threshold, and have a self collapse. Now normally, that occurs in a very charged, polar environment, like in this table, or in the air, or liquids. So the charge will entangle with another charge, the simple equation is: E = h/t, where E is the amount of superposition, h is Planck’s constant, and t is the time at which self collapse occurs by OR. So the larger the E, the faster the t. Roger then also said that when OR happens, there is a moment of subjective experience.

CYNTHIA: OK.

STUART: Now normally, if that happens in a polar environment, then it’s random, and it’s going to happen very quickly, but randomly, so the moment of conscious experience won’t have any cognition. That’s what we call protoconscious moments, random, non-cognitive and inconsequential—but still experience. There’s consciousness everywhere, but it doesn’t hang together and do anything meaningful.

CYNTHIA: That could explain, perhaps, why plants can photosynthesize using that quantum random walk, because on some level, they’ve got protoconsciousness.

STUART: Yeah, photosynthesis is a really interesting thing. I was talking about this yesterday with these guys down at Stanford. Does that collapse? That’s a good question. The problem is that, by e=h/t, if it’s just electrons, electrons have very little mass, so e is going to be very, very small. So it will take a lot of electrons to reach collapse.

CYNTHIA: Right.

STUART: Everything has proto-conscious moments. But in the brain, and specifically due to structures called microtubules inside neurons, the random entanglements are avoided during quantum isolation phases, and the quantum states are organized, or ‘orchestrated’ by memory, sensory inputs and resonances, and cognitive ‘orchestrated’ OR conscious moments occur. But plants have photosynthesis which uses electron quantum coherence but probably don’t have orchestrated OR and meaningful consciousness. The problem is that by E=h/t, electrons comprising E have very little mass, so E is going to be very, very small, and t very, very long. So plants might have meaningful conscious moments but very rarely.

CYNTHIA: Right.

STUART: But the quantum movements of electron excitations in plant proteins which enables highly efficient conversion to food is similar to what happens in microtubule proteins. You have these aromatic rings, kind of like benzene and phenyl rings, which have excitons and dipole states. These are the same molecules that are in psychedelics, dopamine and psychoactive drugs and neurotransmitters. And that type of environment is non-polar, so there’s no charge. There are induced dipoles, but no net charge. So the quantum states there don’t automatically and quickly entangle with the environment and collapse. They can persist and couple with other quantum states to interact cognitively and process information. Or in the case of photosynthesis, transfer energy.

CYNTHIA: This coupling with other quantum states is really interesting, and brings me to the core of something I’ve been looking at, which is levels of consciousness. When we ask this big question, “Who are we?” and “Who is the observer?” we tend to have a human bias, of course, because this is how we see the world. But obviously, people who meditate are able to focus very closely in on one particular system within themselves, such as their breathing, their heart rate, these kind of things. So it’s something that we have the ability—at least yogi masters do—through meditation and awareness of themselves—to change that kind of level of consciousness. This to me is the key.

STUART: Yes, levels of consciousness. If you go back to E=h/t, these protoconscious events are happening in the table, in the air, in the coffee cup all the time. It’s basically the same as decoherence, except there is this little snippet of protoconscious experience that’s happening everywhere. So that seems bizarre and crazy, but on the other hand you have people—panpsychists—now saying that everything’s conscious, without any clue as to what actually that might mean. But then, if you get into a non-polar environment, you avoid the random entanglements, and have cognition and meaningful consciousness. In other words, the quantum states are orchestrated. It’s like the difference between the sounds and tones of an orchestra warming up, and the orchestra playing a symphony.

CYNTHIA: Exactly.

B00M25DDQE.lucySTUART: So the orchestra warming up with the various isolated tones and notes is like protoconscious moments here and there. And then they start playing Beethoven, because it’s all orchestrated, and that’s music. It’s a very good analogy, the musical analogy, except with music you need a listener, whereas here, the vibrations are self-aware. So when you start to orchestrate the objective reduction events, you get cognition and consciousness. And then it’s a matter of the intensity of the levels. So for example, assuming it’s orchestrated, and you have meaningful consciousness, then as “E” becomes larger, “t” becomes shorter, and you get more intense conscious experience, like music changing to a higher octave. As E is larger, you use more of the brain. Did you see that movie, “Lucy”?

CYNTHIA: Yes!

STUART: It’s about how we use some percentage of the brain, and Lucy was using more and more percentage of her brain. And how they were saying she was doing it wasn’t right.

CYNTHIA: It was fanciful.

STUART: Nobody really knows. Based on available technology they tell us we only use a small fraction of our brain. Well, bullshit! How do you know how much of our brain we use? We may use a lot of it for stuff that’s not conscious, or that is conscious and cant be measured, like quantum effects in microtubules. But just for consciousness, I think if you’re meditating or if you’re in an altered state or something like that, that means you’re using more and more of your brain that is involved. Therefore, “E” becomes greater and “t” is faster, so you get faster, more frequent, conscious events. You go to a deeper level which is a higher plane. It’s been shown that meditators have  higher frequency gamma synchrony, for example, but it could go even faster, like to megahertz, for example. So we could be having ten million of these events per second. But then you’d say, “Wait a second. For EEG, our cognition is much, much slower.” What Roger and I proposed in our last paper is that these faster events interfere and give beats, just like in music, when you have beat frequencies. And the beat frequencies are what we see—the EEG. The beat frequency that we see is cognitive windows in the range of milliseconds. But they are actually deriving from faster vibrations, like in megahertz, which is where the microtubules are vibrating. So there’s a spectrum of terahertz, gigahertz, megahertz, kilohertz, and then hertz. And the EEG is basically hertz. So what we see as EEG I think of as beat frequencies of faster vibrations at a deeper level. EEG is the slower, large scale tip of an iceberg of deeper, faster vibrations. So if you’re meditating, or you go in an altered state, you’re going into that faster, more intense domain. So it will include more conscious moments per second, and they are more intense. So that’s what I think an altered state is, a deeper level, higher frequency level of consciousness—it’s the frequency at which you’re having orchestrated conscious events, more deeply into spacetime geometry. Very intense experiences may be entirely in spacetime geometry, and could exist independent of the brain, at least temporarily, remaining entangled. So this could explain out-of-body experiences. As the Beatles said – ‘The deeper you go, the higher you fly….”

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Dr. Stuart Hameroff 

http://www.quantumconsciousness.org

 

Center for Consciousness Studies

http://www.consciousness.arizona.edu

 

Consciousness in the Universe: A Review of the ‘Orch OR’ Theory

by Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064513001188/

 

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Cynthia Sue Larson is the best-selling author of six books, including Quantum Jumps. Cynthia has a degree in Physics from UC Berkeley, and discusses consciousness and quantum physics on numerous shows including the History Channel, Coast to Coast AM, and BBC. You can subscribe to Cynthia’s free monthly ezine at: http://www.RealityShifters.com

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Quantum Jumping to Find True Love

Cynthia Sue Larson

Imagine that everything in your life has been a dream, and you are just waking up for the first time right now. Can you feel a jolt of energy as you look around your surroundings–with a fresh sense of wonder that in some way you are here for the first time?

This exercise is designed to improve mindful awareness. When you envision you are starting your life with a completely fresh beginning in this very moment… you can feel a heightened state of awareness regarding all the possibilities open to you right here, right now. Mindfulness is the key to appreciating the reality we’re currently in, as well as recognizing the direction we’re moving in, and the direction we’d most like to go.

HALT! Are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired?

Notice whether you’re feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (H.A.L.T.). If you are feeling any of these things, you must first take care of your basic needs. Just as grocery shoppers are advised not to go shopping on an empty stomach so as to not purchase impulse items that tend to be junk food rather that what’s best for us, all life changes you make will be better coming from a place of strength.

When you’ve halted for just a moment to ask, “Am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired?” you can rise above relapsing into any old patterns you’d rather leave behind. Eat good food if you’re hungry. Get more sleep and rest if you’re tired. Exercise, write in a private journal, or talk with a trusted friend if you’re angry. Connect with others if you’re lonely.

Envision Seeing a Possible You with Your True Love

In a multiverse in which every single physical thing–including you–exists in a superposition of states, there are a multitude of options open to you right now. This means that amidst infinite possibilities, there is a you who has already found true love and is enjoying a healthy, respectful, loving relationship right now. This possible you knows the secret to how to find and keep true love, is enjoying the benefits of being in a wonderful relationship… and can help you find true love in your life.

You can envision meeting this possible you through entering a daydream or meditation state, imagining all the details of being in the presence of this possible you. Know that simply being in the presence of this possible you grants you access to feeling, knowing, and harmonizing your thoughts, emotions, and feelings with the state of being in a relationship based on true love. While you might be tempted to focus on the person your parallel self is in a relationship with, and that’s OK, make sure you pay special attention to the alternate you. Notice what that you is wearing, what that other you is saying, how that other you is behaving in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

As you see a possible you enjoying being in such a positive relationship, get the attention of that possible you, and ask to receive whatever it takes so you, too, can find and keep your true love in your life.

Make the Quantum Jump

When you come out of the meditation / daydream in which you saw and felt a possible you with your true love, take some time to write down what you noticed, if anything, that was different about how the possible you who’s found true love spoke, moved, and interacted.

Write down whatever you may have received from the other possible you who is already with their true love. If you got a sense of receiving feelings of confidence or being more relaxed, for example, describe what you felt. If you felt a sense of knowing you are intrinsically worthy of love, jot down everything that will later remind you of how that felt. If you heard your other parallel universes self tell you something, write it down. The idea here is to lock on to the sense of being at one with the feeling of experiencing true love.

Most of all, remember the feeling you get of being in such a loving relationship. Now that you’ve seen another possible you in an ideal relationship based on true love, know that this is attainable for you. You can also remind yourself of what true love relationships are all about by reading books, watching movies, and listening to songs that take you to that blissful, ecstatic state. By locking onto these new emotional / energetic coordinates, you are helping ensure this reality is on a bee-line straight to you.

The Honeymoon EffectThe Honeymoon Effect

If you’ve had past relationships that were less than stellar, and doubt your ability to experience true love, I think you’ll love the wonderful new book by biologist, Bruce Lipton, The Honeymoon Effect: The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth. One of the things I love most about Bruce Lipton is the fearless way he shares intimate details about his life, with such joy and contagious zest for life that one feels one’s spirits lifting even when hearing tales of past traumatic events. What makes Lipton’s new book, “The Honeymoon Effect” such a treasure is how Lipton shares his passion for understanding the underlying biology of our interpersonal chemistry side-by-side with autobiographical accounts of what’s worked and what’s not worked in his relationships in the past.

Would you believe that the cascade of chemicals that drive love can be unleashed not just by falling in love with a person, but also by falling in love with a project or idea? Lipton assures us this is so, since “wherever there is passion, not far behind are the potent chemical brews that motivate us to pursue the objects of our desire.” As an author who once made the mistake of filling the bathtub while working on a chapter of my book, Karen Kimball and the Dream Weaver’s Web, this is something I definitely relate to.

As it turns out, the keys to living happily ever after with one’s true love are found within. Lipton explains through tales from his own relationship lessons in the past why it’s not enough to simply find the man or woman of our dreams. People subconsciously seek familiar patterns from the past, so unless we address underlying psychological issues in ourselves, relationships will only ever last until the initial bursts of love endorphins wear off.

Readers seeking a how-to book might want to dive into chapter four, “Four Minds Don’t Think Alike,” to get to the heart of weird ways we so often find our partner knows just how to push our buttons at the point we know ‘the honeymoon is over.’ Lipton explains that what is actually happening when the love of our life is no longer acting all that loving is that they are expressing their subconscious mind, with all of its programming instilled in us going all the way back to childhood… and before that, into the womb. Our subconscious mind soaked up a great deal of our environment in the form of cascades of chemicals running through our bodies, in such ways that sensitize us to particular repetitive patterns of emotional patterns around us. Fortunately, by becoming mindful, we can reprogram our subconscious mind, so we are compatible with the kind of partners we’d most like to live happily ever after with. Only through such reprogramming can we hope to break free of negative relationship patterns.

The Honeymoon Effect is an inspirational book containing a real-life successful love story, together with lots of recent research in the fields of biology and psychology… and some wonderful tips on how you can become more mindful and successful in love and life. Highly recommended!

Here’s my video summary of this topic:

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Thank you for reading this blog post! Chances are good that if you read and enjoyed this post, you’ll also enjoy my books, especially the one I wrote about mind-matter interaction that shares real world experiences, science and meditations to make jumps between parallel possible worlds: Reality Shifts: When Consciousness Changes the Physical World

Sleep Learning with Lucid Dreaming

Cynthia Sue Larson

“The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” — Paul Valery 

If you saw the movie Inception, you might have found the idea of people utilizing lucid dreaming as a means for influencing others a bit creepy. Examples of dream inception in that movie crossed the line of ethical behavior, as suggestions were made to affect others at a subconscious level in their dreams.

While dream tampering in the style of Inception is science fiction, researchers at Yale University recently confirmed the scientific fact that lucid dreaming is a powerful way to master new skills. Lucid dreams are a special type of dream in which the dreamer is ‘awake within the dream,’ or aware of dreaming while in the middle of a dream. I’m especially intrigued by their finding that:

‘merely being a lucid dreamer seems to give you an advantage.’

Lucid dreaming has been known to be great for rehearsing new skills, and enhancing creativity… and now there’s even more good news. Just the act of lucid dreaming helps people learn. Clearly, there is much more to the matter of lucid dreams than meets the eye!

I can vouch for the benefits from lucid dreaming in learning new things. I’ve had lucid dreams in which I’ve gained proficiency in a variety of skills and activities, from developing increased proficiency in computer programming and foreign languages, to mastering new physical activities. I’ve even had some lucid dreams in which I’ve done things I’ve not yet tried in waking life… like repairing an automobile’s engine. These types of lucid dreams have sometimes occurred when I’ve been working extra hard on something by day to find with surprise I’m continuing to work on it through the night, getting some amazing insights in lucid dreams.

Here’s an example of lucid dreaming, excerpted from my novel, Karen Kimball and the Dream Weaver’s Web to give you a sense of how it feels to awaken within a dream:

Karen felt like she was both wide awake and yet also asleep at the same time. Her body was Karen Kimball and the Dream Weaver's Webnestled snugly in the branches of the mulberry tree, and even though her eyes were closed, she could see clouds in the sky and hear a warm summer breeze rustling the mulberry’s leaves. She felt the beating of her heart, and noticed that the vibrations that had passed through every cell in her body left her with a tingling sensation. Her left hand was still resting inside the tree, rubbing the rounded place where the branch met the trunk.

‘How amazing it is to feel the inside of a book and a tree, and how very peculiar,’ Karen thought to herself. She gently placed her right hand inside her book and once again felt the varying density and texture of the cover, pages, and bookmark.

Lucid dreaming gives us the opportunity to explore the universe and do things we’ve never done before. A big part of the beauty of this learning experience is that we are awake within these dreams, able to experiment, explore, discover, and the next day upon awakening remember and build upon these experiences.

Please watch and share my YouTube video summary of Sleep Learning with Lucid Dreaming, in which I discuss the recent lucid dream study results from Yale University, talk about how Karen Kimball solves a mystery through lucid dreaming, and provide a useful tip you can use to help you experience lucid dreams.

Sleep Learning with Lucid Dreaming video

One simple tip you can try to improve your chances of having lucid dreams is by recognizing the possibility that life itself might be a dream… and making a regular practice of observing this possibility. Simply making a regular practice of thinking and/or saying to yourself, “Right now… I’m dreaming,” can work wonders toward bringing lucid awareness into your dreams. A lucid appreciation for life can assist you in seeing your life symbolically, with fresh insights, a fuller sense of yourself being much more than your ego, and a greater sense of connection to everyone and everything in the world... and this is the foundational basis by which all reality shifts can best be observed.

Love always,
Cynthia Sue Larson
email Cynthia at cynthia@realityshifters.com

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