Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:59 pm
Mind-Brain Duality As Wave-Particle Duality
I have no idea of the validity of the following speculation, but I thought I'd just throw it out into the ether and see how it resonates.
Two of the real biggies when it comes to 1) physics, and 2) neurology / psychology are 1) wave - particle duality, and 2) mind - brain (or body) duality. Could the former assist in explaining the latter?
Let's define the 'immaterial' or the 'non-physical' as something that falls outside of our normal perceptions inherent in our standard biological sensory apparatus. For example, nearly all of the electromagnetic spectrum (i.e. - radio waves), magnetic fields, ultra-high or low frequency 'sounds', etc. While that might be true in a limited sense, it's not entirely true since we now have technological sensory instruments that can detect what is 'immaterial' or 'non-physical' to our biological sensory instruments. Anyway, by this definition, our mind (or soul, psyche, essence, personality, consciousness, self-awareness, etc.) is 'immaterial' or 'non-physical' since you can't see, hear, taste, touch or smell your mind or the minds of others. Your mind lies outside of your standard biological sensory apparatus. So is your mind like radio waves or something else (or nothing else) entirely?
Your standard five senses detects whatever aspects of reality external to your brain (that includes your body) it can, albeit with inherently build in limitations - your senses cannot detect that you are slightly radioactive for example. Part of what your five standard senses cannot detect is your mind. Yet clearly you can detect your mind, your consciousness, your self-awareness ("I think, therefore I am"). So, I conclude that there must be some sort of sensory apparatus inside your brain which detects your mind*. The $64,000 question is what actually is the brain’s sensory mechanism(s) or structure(s) for sensing or detecting the mind?
However, much like your standard five senses, this 'sixth sense' inherent within your brain also shuts down when you go to sleep. When you sleep you have no awareness of your mind, no consciousness, no self-awareness, no sense of self-identity, just like you have no sense of slight, of taste, of smell, of sound or of touch under ordinary circumstances (i.e. - a loud clap of thunder might register and wake you up back into a state of consciousness).
If the brain can detect the mind, then the mind has to be composed of or consist of a something, albeit a something that our normal externally oriented senses couldn't detect - like radio waves or the body's radioactivity. Now the brain itself is usually stimulated by the senses by what are called electro-chemical signals or electrical impulses (i.e. - particles) and are measured as 'brain waves' by an electroencephalogram (EEG). There's a conversion between the electro-chemical signals or electrical impulses that is brain activity and the resulting wave nature of the EEG readout based upon that instrumentation. The EEG instrumentation is a sensory mechanism that detects brain activity. So there's no question in this case of the corresponding particle-to-wave nature. Now does the brain provide its own biological or neurological instrumentation to detect the very waves it must produce or create if the wave - particle duality inherent in quantum physics is correct? Well since your brain detects your mind, the answer must clearly be "yes".
But are these brain waves signs of what we call manifestations of the mind? You exhibit brain waves 24/7/52 - even when you sleep - but then too your mind has to exist even when you sleep even if you're not aware of it since you have awareness of a mind before you go to sleep and immediately after you wake up from sleep. If you exhibit no 'brain waves' then you are clinically dead.
So is the mind a wave phenomenon akin to water waves or pressure waves (i.e. - sound) or electromagnetic waves? Just because a wave is a something doesn't mean that all waves can be detected by the biological sensory apparatus we all have, and so those waves we can't detect we can label as 'immaterial' or 'non-physical' (i.e. - radio waves) and we've already noted you can't detect the mind with our five senses. But the brain can both detect waves and give off waves since the brain's electro-chemical signals or electrical impulses are particles and we all know about wave - particle duality.
With all of the numerous electro-chemical signals or electrical impulse activities going on in the brain, all producing brain waves of one sort or another, you're bound to get lots of wave-interference patterns. Speculation: differing wave-interference patterns correspond to differing mental (mind) states no two of which are ever absolutely identical. Like the detector screen in the quantum double-slit experiment, your brain is the detector and can interpret what these ever changing wave-interference patterns signify and thus you know what state your mind is in.
So do we have a parallel between mind - brain duality and wave - particle duality? The brain consists of the particles; the mind consists of the waves. But what sort of waves (and associated wavelengths / frequencies)? The answer most probably is within the realm of electromagnetic waves.
So electro-chemical and electrical impulse particles part and parcel of brain activity can manifest itself as wave (brain wave) activity and some specific structure(s) in the brain can detect these waves (like your eyes can detect visible light waves) and convert and collate them back into electrical signals which your brain interprets as the mind just like other parts of your brain detects sight via your eyes and optic nerve (albeit I'm sure that's a massive oversimplification).
The conversion of electro-chemical and electrical impulse particles to waves happens of course all over the body but there's no wave detector(s) in the non-brain parts of your body to register and interpret them. Therefore the mind is just associated with the brain and not say with the liver or even the heart (despite lots and lots of mythology to the contrary). The heart just pumps blood - that's it.
One upshot of all of this is that if some of our brain-generated electromagnetic waves leak outside of our skulls on some rare occasions, then by chance, albeit extremely rarely, others could pick up on those and of course the reverse is true too - telepathy anyone? However, it would be extremely rare just like you could have a radio that can tune into 10,000 stations, and there happen to be 10,000 stations but only one is broadcasting. What odds your radio would just happened to be tuned to just that lone station? Further, the standard inverse-square law would suggest that any brain-generated wave signals you might be broadcasting would dilute pretty rapidly to below threshold detection levels.
*The brain can detect the mind (assuming you want to differentiate the two) – but then again (if you don’t wish to differentiate the two), how can the brain detect the brain when the brain is also carrying out lots of activities you (i.e. – your brain) have absolutely no awareness of at all?