Consciousness is one of the most amazing and incomprehensible things in the world. Where does it come from and how is it related to our brain and body? There are no definitive answers to these questions yet, but there are various hypotheses and theories. One of the most unusual and controversial is the theory of quantum consciousness.
According to this theory, consciousness arises from quantum processes that occur in neurons – brain cells. Neurons form a complex network that transmits electrical signals between different parts of the brain. But inside each neuron there are even more subtle structures – microtubules. They carry various substances inside the cell and participate in its division.
Microtubules have a special shape – a fractal. A fractal is a pattern that repeats indefinitely at different scales. For example, if you look at a cauliflower flower or a fern branch, you will see that they are made up of the same shapes that are repeated less and less. Fractals can be found in nature, in art and technology.
Fractals are not two-dimensional or three-dimensional objects, but occupy an intermediate position. Their dimension can be fractional – for example, 1.5 or 2.8. This means that they have a finite area but an infinite perimeter.
The authors of the theory of quantum consciousness – physicist Roger Penrose and anesthetist Stuart Hameroff – believe that the fractal shape of microtubules allows them to maintain quantum effects at room temperature. Quantum effects are special phenomena that occur at the level of atoms and electrons. They do not obey the usual laws of physics and have many strange properties.
For example, quantum particles can be in two or more states at the same time – for example, be alive and dead, like the famous Schrödinger’s cat. Also, quantum particles can be entangled – that is, connected to each other at a distance. If you change the state of one entangled particle, then its partner will immediately change its state accordingly.
Penrose and Hameroff believe that quantum processes in microtubules create consciousness. They explain this by saying that quantum physics provides an opportunity for complexity and uncertainty. This may be necessary to explain phenomena such as free will, creativity, and intuition.
However, this theory does not have wide support in the scientific community. Many scientists consider it unscientific and impossible. They indicate that quantum effects are very fragile and disappear quickly when exposed to the environment. Since our brains operate at room temperature and are constantly exposed to noise and interference, they cannot sustain quantum processes for long enough.
In addition, there is no experimental data that would confirm or disprove the theory of quantum consciousness. We cannot yet measure the behavior of quantum particles in the brain, if they exist at all. Therefore, this theory remains only a hypothesis without evidence.
But this may change in the future. Some scientists are trying to test the principles of the quantum theory of consciousness in the laboratory. They create fractal structures from quantum particles and measure their states and movements.
For example, a group of scientists from China and the Netherlands conducted an experiment using photons – particles of light. They created miniature fractal networks of optical waveguides, thin glass tubes through which light propagates. They fired photons into these networks and watched them move through the fractal patterns.
They found that quantum fractals behave differently than classical fractals. The quantum distribution of light over a fractal network depends on its size and shape. This could provide new insight into how quantum effects can exist in complex structures.
This research is the first step towards testing or refuting the theory of quantum consciousness. If we can compare the results of laboratory experiments with measurements of brain activity, we can learn the truth about the nature of consciousness.
This work may also have profound implications for the unification of physics, mathematics, and biology. Scientists will be able to open new horizons for understanding the world around us and the world in our heads.