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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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III. Ecosmos: A Fertile, Habitable, Solar-Bioplanet Lifescape

D. Natural Econsciousness and Ecognition

Fingelkurts, Andrew, et al. Consciousness as a Phenomenon in the Operational Architectonics of Brain Organization: Criticality and Self-Organization Considerations. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals. 55/1, 2013. With coauthors Alexander Fingelkurts and Carlos Neves, systems neuroscientists at the Brain & Mind Technologies Research Center, Espoo, Finland advance novel understandings of neural phenomena by a clever merger of statistical physics with nonlinear complex systems. Andrew and Alexander are identical twins with 1998 doctorates in Psychophysiology from Moscow State University. On their website, excerpts below, can be found many theoretical publications toward this joint innovative project.

In this paper we aim to show that phenomenal consciousness is realized by a particular level of brain operational organization and that understanding human consciousness requires a description of the laws of the immediately underlying neural collective phenomena, the nested hierarchy of electromagnetic fields of brain activity – operational architectonics. We argue that the subjective mental reality and the objective neurobiological reality, although seemingly worlds apart, are intimately connected along a unified metastable continuum and are both guided by the universal laws of the physical world such as criticality, self-organization and emergence. (Abstract)

The new emerging and interdisciplinary field of non-linear dynamics offers new strategies and paradigms for understanding such a complex systems like the human brain and its relation to behavior and mind. For example, it now appears that pattern formation and self-organization in nonequilibrium physical, chemical and biological systems may be governed by a number of general principles. Theories of brain dynamics based on EEG/MEG activity get special attention because EEG/MEG is an integrative biological signals resulting from the summated coactivation of the neurophysiological substrate, and they also strongly correlated with cognitive states and functions as assessed at the behavioral level. (AAF website)

It was shown in the work of our colleagues and us that the sequence of metastable spatial EEG/MEG mosaics does exist and probably reflects the rapid stabilization periods of the interrelation of large neuron systems. At the EEG/MEG level this is reflected in the stabilization of quasi-stationary segments on corresponding recording sites. Within the introduced framework (brain operational architectonics), physical brain processes and psychological processes are considered as two basic aspects of a single whole informational brain state. (AAF website)

Forrest, Jeffery Yi-Lin. A Systemic Perspective on Cognition and Mathematics. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2013. The Chinese-American polyscholar and lead author of Systems Science (CRC, 2012) brings an Asian, organic wisdom to these latest theories. He opens with an affinity of his work to Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s general systems theory which is seen as a “systemic yo-yo” image of a mutual reciprocity of agent entity and integral relations. This common model is then applied to human physiology, character, and thought, along with a systems expansion of mathematics. But its special grace is how it is appreciated as a 21st century version of the classic Tao Te Ching. There is one ancient, eternal o Way of the cycle and spiral of these archetypal engendered elements, as they may tend toward harmony and balance. As we noted in reviews of his other works, with many colleagues as he notes, here is a grand synthesis across the millennia and continents that can reveal anew a procreative genesis universe.

Gazzaniga, Michael. The Consciousness Instinct: Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018. In this latest, consummate volume, the UC Santa Barbara cognitive neuroscientist reviews his half-century of studies and contributions, along with past millennia of the many ways human beings have sought to understand their own sentience. An array of 17th to 20th century mechanical, reductive models are set aside for a 21st century global florescence as informed consciousness gains scientific validity and a cerebral occasion (as this site section seeks to document). But as the second quote advises, our phenomenal acumen must be connected with a bicameral material cosmos for an adequate explanation. By this once and future insight that a singular theory for everything is inadequate, rather extant mindful reality is to be understood by way of two archetypal principles.

In order to properly do this, knowing awareness need be given a physical basis of the particle/wave complementarity. Niels Bohr’s original conception, who cited Yin and Yang, is first recalled within quantum mechanics. A recent expansion is next made to the lifetime writings of Howard Pattee, the emeritus SUNY Binghampton mathematical logician (search 2012). In his deep writings, a self-organized, referential, literate evolution involves and proceeds by dual “matter-symbol” phases. That is to say, materiality, such as genetic molecules, has a second, immaterial quality of the information they convey. In regard, our Complementary Brain section reports how the left hemisphere mainly engages textual aspects, from which the right side perceives their contextual meaning (McHugh). As living systems evolve these universal, interactive complements, a stirring, perceptive consciousness is intrinsically fostered.


How do neurons turn into minds? How does physical atoms, molecules, chemicals, and cells create the vivid and various worlds inside our heads? In The Consciousness Instinct, the neuroscience pioneer Michael Gazzaniga puts the latest research in conversation with the history of human thinking about the mind, giving a big-picture view of what science has revealed about consciousness. The idea of the brain as a machine, proposed centuries ago, has led to assumptions about the relationship between mind and brain that dog scientists and philosophers to this day. New research suggests the brain is actually a confederation of independent modules working together. Understanding how consciousness could emanate from such an organization will help define the future of brain science and artificial intelligence, and close the gap between brain and mind.

Whatever model one has for how the brain does its trick of turning neuronal firings into mental events, we must try to understand the gap between these two phenomena, one objective and the other subjective, and whether bridging that gap is even possible. No matter whether you think that local modules are responsible or that central brain circuits underlie what we call conscious states, you still have to deal with the gap. To get at this fundamental question, we’re going to have to look back at what the mathematicians and physicists have been thinking about for the past 150 years. The fruits of their thinking were virtually ignored by biologists, psychologists, and neuroscientists and dismissed as irrelevant to the problem of consciousness. I think they can help, because what has gone underappreciated from math and physics is the ideas of complementarity, which holds that a single thing can have two kinds of description and reality. (152)

Symbols lead a double life, with two different complementary modes of description. In one life, symbols are made of physical material that follows Newton’s laws and constrains the building process by its physical structure. However in the other life, as repositories of information, the symbols ignore these laws. The double life of symbols has largely been ignored. Those interested in information processing ignore the objective material side. Molecular biologists and determinists, interested in only the material side ignore the subjective symbolic side. By claiming just one aspect, neither studies their full, complementary character. As we discussed earlier, for a self-reproducing and evolvable form of life to exist, physical symbols must perform both roles. (186-187)

It should therefore not surprise us that two complementary modes of behavior, two levels of description, keep appearing in our thinking. The subject/object cut is present in all the great philosophical debates. Pattee regards the two complementary modes as inescapable and necessary for any explanation that links the subjective and objective models of experience. The two models are inherent in life itself, were present from the beginning, and have been conserved by evolution. (198)

Gell-Mann, Murray. Consciousness, Reduction, and Emergence. Pedro Marijuan, ed. Cajal and Consciousness.. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 929, 2001. The Nobel physicist describes a stepwise evolutionary emergence of embodied awareness due to complex adaptive systems and the repetitive interplay of law and contingency.

We can describe that situation (how mathematics applies the same everywhere) by saying that the unified quantum theory of elementary particles possesses the property that its solutions have a certain degree of self-similarity from one scale to the next. (45-46) The underlying theory is universal and intrinsic, and so is the approximate similarity….On another planet orbiting some other star, intelligent organisms with seven tentacles, thirteen sense organs, and brains shaped like pretzels would eventually arrive at the same universal law, in whatever form or forms appealed to them. (46)

Gornitz, Thomas. Quantum Theory and the Nature of Consciousness. Foundations of Science. Online July, 2017. Similar to Philipp Hoehn’s quantum information paper (search) the senior Goethe University physicist offers a novel synthesis to properly join mind and matter over this widest span. As such efforts seek understanding, an issue again is how to phrase and integrate conceptual features. For example, the trace of cosmic and Earthly life is seen as “From Becoming to Being.” Akin to 2017 entries in An Enhanced Individuality, a vectorial course from natural origins takes shape as a manifest ascent of aware, knowledgeable, personal individuation. Herein this is put as “The Evolution of Intellectuality and the Forming of Meaning.”

Our interest focuses on the idea that consciousness is a powerful acting entity. Up to now there does not exist a scientific concept for this idea. A solution can be found in a new understanding of the basics of physical theory that could be given by abstract and absolute quantum bits of information (AQI bits). It is necessary to find a new word for the free-of-meaning AQI bits: they establish a quantum pre-structure termed “Protyposis” (Greek: “pre-formation”), out of which real objects can be formed, starting from energetical and material elementary particles. They are the basic entities, whereof the physical nature of the brain, on the one hand, and the mental nature of consciousness, on the other hand, were formed during the cosmological and the following biological evolution. A deeper understanding of quantum structures may help to overcome the resistance against quantum theory in the field of brain research and consciousness. (Abstract edited excerpts)

Goswami, Amit. The Self-Aware Universe. New York: Putnam, 1995. A physicist interprets quantum theories in a way that indicates consciousness, not matter, is the ultimate essence.

This book...shows how we can develop a science that embraces the religions of the world, working in concert with them to understand the whole human condition. The centerpiece of this new paradigm is the recognition that modern science validates an ancient idea - the idea that consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all being. (xvii-xviii)

Green, Herbert. Information Theory and Quantum Physics. Berlin: Springer, 2000. By this theoretical approach, consciousness can be rooted in a quantum universe which is then most distinguished by an informational basis. These risen qualities are now encapsulated in human beings who perform the cosmologically necessary act of observership.

Guevara Erra, Ramon, et al. Statistical Mechanics of Consciousness. Physical Review E. 94/052402, 2016. Universite Paris Descartes and University of Toronto research physicians including Jose Perez Velazquez (search) perceive an evolutionary parallel between neural network complexities with a relative information content and a resultant emergence of sentient awareness. One might recall that this surmise is a 21st century affirmation of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s tandem ascent of complexity and consciousness, as many others also intimated.

It is said that complexity lies between order and disorder. In the case of brain activity and physiology in general, complexity issues are being considered with increased emphasis. We sought to identify features of brain organization that are optimal for sensory processing, and that may guide the emergence of cognition and consciousness, by analyzing neurophysiological recordings in conscious and unconscious states. We find a surprisingly simple result: Normal wakeful states are characterized by the greatest number of possible configurations of interactions between brain networks, representing highest entropy values. Therefore, the information content is larger in the network associated to conscious states, suggesting that consciousness could be the result of an optimization of information processing. These findings help to guide in a more formal sense inquiry into how consciousness arises from the organization of matter. (Abstract)

Guevara Erra, Ramon, et al. Towards a Statistical Mechanics of Consciousness: Maximization of Number of Connections is Associated with Conscious Awareness. arXiv:1606.00821. Amongst the present integration of scientific fields, Ramon Guevara Erra, University of Paris Descartes psychology, with D. M. Mateos, Richard Wennberg, and Jose Perez Velazquez, University of Toronto neuroscience propose a quantitative physical basis for informed organic sentience. By this union, a widest expanse from mind to matter is again bridged, connected, and proven. A new vital cosmos becomes implied whence, as every other age and culture knows, is suffused with generative consciousness as its deepest essence. As Perez Velazquez noted in his 2009 paper Finding Simplicity in Complexity (Journal of Biological Physics 35/209) we can begin to aver “general organizing principles of natural phenomena,” and “a universal logic ruling (its) evolution.” (See Biao Leng, et al Gravitational Scaling in Beijing Subway Network for another brush.) In our collaborative midst, an epochal revolution unto discovery is just being accomplished, if only me and We might ask about, allow witness, realize and be saved by.

It has been said that complexity lies between order and disorder. In the case of brain activity, and physiology in general, complexity issues are being considered with increased emphasis. We sought to identify features of brain organization that are optimal for sensory processing, and that may guide the emergence of cognition and consciousness, by analysing neurophysiological recordings in conscious and unconscious states. We find a surprisingly simple result: normal wakeful states are characterised by the greatest number of possible configurations of interactions between brain networks, representing highest entropy values. Therefore, the information content is larger in the network associated to conscious states, suggesting that consciousness could be the result of an optimization of information processing. These findings encapsulate three main current theories of cognition, as discussed in the text, and more specifically the conceptualization of consciousness in terms of brain complexity. We hope our study represents the preliminary attempt at finding organising principles of brain function that will help to guide in a more formal sense inquiry into how consciousness arises from the organization of matter. (Abstract)

We propose that there is a certain general organization of brain cell ensembles that will be optimal for conscious awareness, that is, for the processing of sensory inputs. As an extension of previous work [7] where it was proposed that a general organising principle of natural phenomena is the tendency toward maximal – more probable – distribution of energy/matter, we venture that the brain organization optimal for conscious awareness will be a manifestation of the tendency towards a widespread distribution of energy (or, equivalently, maximal information exchange). (2)

Kafatos, Menas and Robert Nadeau. The Conscious Universe. New York: Springer, 2000. If the implications of a holistic, non-local quantum theory are fully pursued, as it is becoming known, they imply a cosmos where mind and a creative complementarity are both primary and sequentially emergent.

What we are suggesting is that if complementary relations are enfolded into the life of the universe throughout all scales, and become recognizable in mathematical physics as we approach the event horizon between part and whole, it could well be that complementarity will also be useful in comprehending relations on the largest of scales and understanding the emergence of patterns at all levels characteristic of our universe. (168-69)

Kawade, Yoshimi. The Origin of Mind: The Mind-Matter Continuity Thesis. Biosemiotics. 6/3, 2013. For this “Origins of Mind” issue a Japanese linguist scholar, in the tradition of biologist Kinji Imanishi (1902-1992), distances from Western contrary views to aver Asian convictions of an innately mindful nature and cosmos. Mechanistic neoDarwinian selection only occurs after the fact of formative, “proto-mind” influences. Accordingly, cells and organisms possess an original creative autonomy, rather than passively impacted by environments, akin to theorist Robert Reid’s revision (2007, 2010). In such a conducive, informed milieu, life’s evolution is distinguished by ramifying semiotic and communicative qualities. As a result, a regnant consciousness emerges from primal matter to human witness and cognizance. It is worth much notice that a bicameral worldwide noosphere is not beholding to western machine sterility. For Eastern, and Southern realms, a phenomenal organic vitality and vision is the evident once and future preference.

Living things are autonomous agents distinguished from nonliving things in having the purpose to actively maintain their existence. All living things, including single-celled organisms, have certain degrees of freedom from physical causality to choose their actions with intentions to fulfill their purpose. This circumstance is analogous to that of human intention-actions guided by mind, and points to the ubiquitous presence of the dimension of mind in the living world. The primordial form of mind in single-celled organisms eventually evolved into the human mind by virtue of the adaptive value of mind for survival. Life seems to have originated from nonliving matter in processes that are continuous. Thus the dimension of mind must extend to the nonliving world, and the origin of mind should be taken to relate to the origin of matter. Inasmuch as matter exists in a hierarchy of levels of complexity extending from quarks up to the whole universe, mind must also be presumed to exist in a hierarchy of levels of complexity associated with matter. (Abstract)

The biologist M. Dan (Saibou no ishi (Cell’s Will) 2008) ascertains, with support by observations of a large variety of living systems, that each living cell is an autonomous being with its own will and acts on its will to achieve the purpose to live and, in the case of a cell in multicellular organisms, to fulfill its particular role for the whole organism. Since such a view will not be gained by mechanistic-reductionistic approaches to living systems that are prevalent in contemporary biological research, she emphasizes the importance of observing the behavior of whole organisms. Proto-emotion and cellular will be aspects of a proto-mind. It will develop gradually into mature mind, integrating will, emotion and other elements through organic evolution, because of the adaptive value for survival that mind undoubtedly has, even at its primordial levels.

King, Chris. Quantum Mechanics, Chaos and the Conscious Brain. Journal of Mind and Behavior. 18/2-3, 1997. Speculations that the human brain manifests a universal evolutionary dynamics which springs from quantum non-locality. Subjective consciousness is primal and gives rise to free will and choice. The Australian neuroscientist has also posted a “Biocosmology” website at: www.dhushara.com/book/bchtm/biocos.htm.

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