QR6.3.16 Where is the Observer?

The question “Where does observation occur?” seems simple but it isn’t. Dualism locates it outside physical reality but can’t explain how. Dual aspect monism locates the pain experience at the point where it occurs (Velmans, 2021), but phantom limb pains have no such point. Physical realism locates it in the brain but can’t say what nerve systems observe, as if physical events are an unbroken causal chain, making any event an observation breaks the chain. Nerves busy with physical acts can’t also observe them, so a physical world can’t observe its own interactions:

“The materialistic theory is a logical blunder, because it is based on a confusion between the object and subject. It asserts that matter is objective, but at the same time tries to show that it is also the cause of the subject, which it can never be. ‘A’ can never become ‘non-A’.” (Abhedananda, 1905) p22

In quantum realism, server entities must observe physical events from outside client space because a server can’t exist on its client network, as a client event there would crash it. Observing only works if the observer and observed are always A and non-A. The observed physical event is local but is seen as we see a snow scene in a glass globe – from the outside. One can tap a point to choose a scene but can no more enter the globe than a player can enter a game screen. It follows that what observes scenes in physical space must exist outside it.

A universe that will end one day can’t ultimately benefit itself, but the entities that observe it can keep their gains when it ends. If the observers of physical events are outside physical space, like the players of a virtual game, they can evolve by their choices. It follows that instead of an accidental by-product of an indifferent universe, we are inherent to its evolution.

Yet if our universe is growing consciousness, by its scale, we are at best an experiment of consciousness and at worst, too smart for our own good and about to become extinct. It only took six million years for a chimp-like creature to become human so if we fail, something else will come along in what, for the universe, isn’t even a heartbeat. We are just one of its experiments.

The next chapter considers whether some among us long ago realized by intuition what was here deduced by science – that physical reality isn’t what it seems, that it depends on something outside itself, and that what is manifest exists for the benefit what is not.


QR6.3.15 How is reality observed?

Virtual games exist to benefit players not themselves, so the aim of Civilization isn’t to rule a virtual earth nor is that of Warcraft to conquer orcs. Those are player aims but games exist to give player value regardless of game result. The same applies to simulations, as we don’t care if a virtual plane crashes in a flight simulation as long as the pilot learns. In general, virtual realities exist to benefit those who experience them, so a virtual world that exists by and for itself alone is utterly pointless. If our universe is a virtual reality, it must benefit its observer but who exactly is that in this case?

In quantum theory, observation collapses a quantum wave in a physical event, so like time and space, observation had to begin when our universe did. The first quantum collapse after the universe began was triggered by the first observation. As it occurred before matter or information existed, it can’t derive from either. Our universe was then first observed by photon entities on a quantum scale so small we can’t imagine it. If to observe is to experience, by the first fact, it must have always been so, as what could make it so later? Light was the first observer of our reality.

Quantum theory also requires a photon to choose from its distribution where it hits a screen, irrespective of physical history. Physics calls it random, as if it had no value, but if quantum choice also allows our attention, it is a choice worth having. To call photon choices random but not apply the same logic to our own choices isn’t scientific. The simplest conclusion is that photons also choose, so choice also existed from the beginning but again on a quantum scale.

Observation and choice are critical to quantum theory because it needs them to work. When electrons interact, quantum waves overlap until a physical event entangles them into an ensemble that spreads waves again. This suggests that being the same entangled entity lets them observe each other at that moment, which gives observation a quantum base.

Quantum theory began when it was found that energy exists in discrete units or quanta. Light also exists as a stream of photon units, as Einstein showed. That a photon wave can spread over a galaxy then restart at a point implies it is an entity. A physical wave that exists over its wavelength can’t do that but a quantum wave is an entity because it can restart its existence at any point in its distribution. In human terms, that entity is it’s being, defined as what it really is, so our universe began as photon beings that observe and choose.

A photon’s being is infinitesimal but all later beings, including us, came from this primal ground. The observer began small but as quantum entities entangled, coherence increased being. Most entanglements collapse quickly but some survived as matter that evolved into life, then sentient beings like us. To create the perceptions we experience, nerves process sensory data and synchronize their firing to evoke an observer, hence brain waves correlate with consciousness. To call oneself “I” needs data processing functions like language and the unity of consciousness. Sentient beings, that think about reality and experience it, evolved from what came before.

Figure 6.41 expands Wheeler’s observing eye universe to include the role of consciousness.

Figure 6.41 A quantum universe observes itself as a virtual reality

In the beginning, quantum reality existed alone, as the only reality. Our universe began when one quantum entity gave its activity to its neighbors, creating one photon in a unit of space, and others followed suite until space expanding stopped it. This separated the primal reality into:

1. A server space, whose entities generate and restart quantum waves as needed, and

2. A client space, on which quantum waves spread and interact in a lawful manner.

The client space is our physical space, where physical events occur, while server space hosts the entities that observe them. Our universe, the U in the figure, consists of quantum waves generated by quantum entities that observe their interactions. Potters make pots from clay that already exists but what existed alone had to make the observer and observed from itself. One reality divided into observer and observed to observe itself, as follows:

1. Server entities generate quantum waves on the client space network.

2. Quantum waves interact to overload client nodes in a physical event.

3. The physical event makes the quantum entities involved restart at a chosen point.

4. Restarting at the same point entangles them into a larger quantum entity.

5. The entanglement generates an observer experience.

6. This experience reflects reality at that instant but doesn’t exist in any other sense.

Each physical event is symmetric, as two observer-observed pairs generate inner experiences of an outer reality. What is seen depends on the observer so in physics, if observer A sees two events as (T1, T2), observer B can see the same events as (T2, T1). That the same thing can be seen as physically different means physical reality is generated i.e., virtual.

A physical observation is also only a snapshot of a reality that is itself the quantum events preceding it. A physical event takes one quantum cycle but countless quantum cycles led up to it, so it is like a camera that takes a photo of reality every million years or more. As the observer chooses one experience after another, the physical world is generated as a virtual reality.

In Figure 6.41, quantum waves create physical events with tiny observations, that then formed electrons, quarks, atoms, molecules and macro-molecules like RNA that observed more. Biological evolution then took over from matter, as simple cells gave the complex cells of plants and animals. At each stage, quantum entanglement increased the observer until now brains create human observers by a cascade of neural synchronies that entangle nerves. Evolution expanded the U in Figure 6.41 to the left to increase consciousness. Part of a universe of light became matter, some matter became life, and some life became sentient. Most of the universe isn’t sentient but the trend to increase the observer is clear. Observation built up step-wise from the first observers until now, billions of years later, we can see the grandeur of what created us (Figure 6.42).

Figure 6.42 Our View of the Universe, where each dot is a galaxy



If you have translated Chapter 1 or others into your language, let me know at bwhitworth@acm.org.
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   Chapters 1-5 (2019 Version) by Ramón Pérez Montero


      Chapter 1 by Jullyano Lino


QR6.4 Discussion Questions

The following questions are addressed in this chapter. They are better discussed in a group to allow a variety of opinions to emerge. The relevant section link is given after each question:
1. What part of you experiences your life? (6.1.1)
2. What would you say to someone who denies that we consciously observe the physical world? (6.1.2)
3. To which Chalmers consciousness category does quantum realism belong? (6.1.3)
4. Is physical realism a realistic theory of what physical particles actually do? (6.1.4)
5. If quantum reality constantly creates the physical world as a virtual reality, what does the physical world cause? (6.1.5)
6. Why can’t text programs process picture files and vice-versa? (6.1.6)
7. What is the problem with theories that say something is caused by the mind? (6.1.7)
8. What is the difference between quantum realism and panpsychism, that all matter is conscious? (6.1.8)
9. How does growing an information processor differ from building one? (6.2.1)
10. What does split-brain research suggest about what controls the brain? (6.2.2)
11. What does the spinning ballerina illusion tell us about visual processing? (6.2.3)
12. Did evolution build three brains one after the other, each making the last obsolete? (6.2.4)
13. Why is the evolutionary “old” cerebellum still state-of-the-art? (6.2.5)
14. What are emotions and why were they important in brain evolution? (6.2.6)
15. Why was the intellect the last part of the brain to evolve and is the last to mature? (6.2.7)
16. Why does the brain have three centers of feedback control not just one? (6.2.8)
17. What is the effect of cutting the nerves that connect the hemispheres? (6.2.9)
18. What allows a photon received by a photosynthetic bacteria to explore many paths to an energy conversion center, not just one? (6.3.1)
19. What causes the molecules in a cell to vibrate in synchrony? (6.3.2)
20. How do nerve dendrites check they are receiving error-free data? (6.3.3)
21. What causes brain waves? (6.3.4)
22. What neurological process is consciousness now believed to derive from? (6.3.5)
23. What consciousness properties are explained if it comes from the electromagnetic field? (6.3.6)
24. How do entangled entities share information? (6.3.7)
25. Why does consciousness take time to arise? (6.3.8)
26. When different images are presented to each eye, why do we see only one image? (6.3.9)
27. Why is what you see always a choice? (6.3.10)
28. What would happen if silicon chips replaced all the nerves in the brain? (6.3.11)
29. If the brain’s electromagnetic field generates consciousness, where is it located? (6.3.12)
30. If the body has about 30 trillion cells, can we know what they are conscious of? (6.3.13)
31. What is more fundamental, mind or matter? (select mind, matter, both or neither) (6.3.14)
32. If there is only one reality, how was our observer-observed universe created? (6.3.15)
33. One day, our sun will engulf the earth and a universe that was born must eventually die, so nothing we do matters in the end! Do you agree? Give reasons. (6.3.16)

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QR6.3.14 What is Real?

People have long wondered “What is real?” but only three questions define most theories:

1. Is there a reality out there that exists whether we observe it or not? 

Yes. Realism: There is a reality that exists apart from our observation of it, so we see a common reality because there is one out there.

No. Solipsism: The physical world is created entirely by our minds, like a dream, so each person constructs their own version of reality.

2. Does observed physical matter exist by itself alone?

   Yes. Physicalism: Matter is an objective substance that exists whether it is subjectively observed or not.

   No. Idealism: Physical matter is a manifestation of something else that is not physical.

3. Is the observer a form or aspect of physical matter?

   Yes. Physical realism: All reality is just matter interacting with matter so the observer must be either a physical result, a physical combination, a physical property, or just an illusion.

   No. Dualism: When we observe reality, a non-physical mind substance that independently exists in a mental realm is observing matter substances that exist in the physical realm.

   Maybe. Neutral monism: A reality that is neither matter nor mind causes both, so both mind and matter are generated by some unknown other reality.

Each theory struggles with different facts. Solipsism struggles to explain why we all dream the same lawful reality so most of us accept realism, that there is a common reality out there. Physicalism has a vanishing matter problem, that when examined closely, the substance of matter becomes virtual particles or quantum waves that aren’t physical at all. An embarrassing fact of physics is that 96% of the universe is dark matter and energy that has no known particle cause. Idealism has a manifestation problem, that if a reality beyond matter exists, what does it do that matter doesn’t do already? Dualism has the problem that entirely different reality realms have no basis upon which to interact. Neutral monism struggles to define its “other” reality, as neither Russell nor James (James, 1904) succeeded in specifying what is distinct from mind or matter.

As a result, current science embraces physical realism, that only matter exists so all reality is particles interacting by physical laws. If so, it should be impossible to detect an object without physically touching it, but non-physical detection is now a proven fact of physics (3.8.4). Nor can it explain observation, as no physical mechanism allows dead matter to observe:

  “It is well recognized in the West that physicalism … has no adequate account (and many would say no account at all) of how consciousness could arise from the activities of non-conscious physical matter.” (Velmans, 2021) p25

We observe and know that we observe but that no physical entity could ever do this is now a mathematical theorem (Reason, 2018). As Russell concluded after many years:

“… we cannot say that ‘matter is the cause of our sensations’ (Russell, 1927) p290.

Figure 6.40 shows the main reality theories of early last century. External reality was thought to be something, but exactly what was unclear.

Figure 6.40 Theories of Reality

A century later, theory is more complex but no clearer. Some physical realists use panpsychism, that all matter is conscious, to argue that consciousness is a purely physical phenomenon (Strawson, 2008). Dualism has become property dualism, that some matter has a consciousness property (Chalmers, 1996) p165. Idealism now includes cosmopsychism, that we are dissociated from a great Mind that creates a common reality (Kastrup, 2019). Dual-aspect monism sees mental and physical as inseparable aspects of an unknowable primal reality (Vimal, 2018), so mind and matter are complementary as electricity and magnetism are in physics (Velmans, 2021) p192. But calling aspects complementary is illogical if their union is impossible, as the impossible should be false not true. Saying that if an electron is a wave and a particle, we can be a mind and a brain, is using one miracle to justify another, which isn’t science.

That consciousness is primal lets atoms be conscious but doesn’t explain us. Properties like charge add when matter aggregates but if consciousness did that, mountains would be more conscious than us. Dual-aspect monism concludes that “’I’ and ‘Self” and ‘me’ are all plural terms (like the crew of the USS Enterprise.(Benovsky, 2016) p348, contradicting the first fact that at each moment we experience one observer not many.

To sum up, dual realities can’t co-exist, dead matter can’t observe and the consciousness of atoms can’t combine. Quantum realism avoids these problems by denying physicalism entirely, as science only needs realism and observation. It addresses the other reality theories as follows:

1. Solipsism. Our universe has the same physical laws everywhere because they derive from quantum laws that are the same everywhere, so universal lawfulness is true.

2. Realism. What is around us is real but physical events just represent it, so realism is true.

3. Physicalism. There are no particles, only quantum waves that look like particles when observed, so the “substance” of matter is expected to vanish when examined closely.

4. Idealism. The non-physical reality that causes physical reality operated long before minds arose, so what created the stars and galaxies doesn’t have a manifestation problem.

5. Physical realism. Future generations may mock current physical realism as a naïve belief in magical causes, just as we now mock fairies (Kastrup, 2020). The idea that a universe of matter made itself from nothing then observed itself is magical thinking to a scientist.

6. Dualism. That the same reality causes matter and consciousness avoids the problems of two reality realms, because if mind and matter have the same source, there is no duality.

7. Panpsychism. The activating principle behind physical matter can’t be a property of it because a cause can’t arise from its result, just as an image projector can’t arise from the images it generates.

8. Dual aspect monism. That atoms are conscious doesn’t explain our consciousness but that quantum entities unite when they entangle is a fact of physics. If entanglement increases the observer, our consciousness could evolve from what came before.

Quantum waves can’t be observed because observing a wave collapses it to a particle. We take observing for granted but observation isn’t free if quantum waves must restart for it to happen. We can’t observe what causes observation because it is circular, like a hand drawing itself. Being unable to observe quantum waves is the price we pay for being able to observe at all!

Some say that what can’t be seen can’t exist but that isn’t true for a virtual reality, as gamers know that unseen programs create what they see. A gamer exploring a dungeon clicks on a door to reveal a new scene that replaces the old one, which then vanishes as if it never was. If the door reveals a monster, was it lurking there beforehand? Obviously not, as that a dungeon of monsters constantly exists in our laptop when it isn’t in use is absurd. The monster is a created experience not a permanent thing, as only what creates it exists constantly on the laptop. If the physical world is a virtual reality, the same logic applies. We see an objective world of tables and chairs, not quantum waves creating physical events on demand, but to think they constantly exist is like thinking your laptop contains a dungeon of monsters.

   In an observer-observed reality, which aspect is real? Dualism, that the observer and observed both exist, is patently false. Physical realism, that only the observed exists, is also evidently false. No-one believes solipsism, that only the observer exists, either. In quantum realism, neither the observer nor observed exist by themselves, as a primal reality generates both. It follows that quantum reality is both the world around us and the observer of it.


QR6.3.13 The Evolution of Consciousness

  The origin of the universe, life and consciousness are the three great mysteries of science. Quantum realism connects them, as our universe began from a single quantum event, life arose from a quantum effect and consciousness evolved from quantum proto-consciousness. If matter and life evolved by the same universal process, this grand evolution connects us back to the first event that created our universe.

   My body came from a single cell and bacteria evolved into us so when did life become conscious? We consider ourselves uniquely conscious but evolution doesn’t do unique. Growth and evolution are step-wise sequences so there is no line between us and them. We aren’t a realm apart from animals and life isn’t a realm apart from matter, so consciousness as the ability to observe didn’t suddenly begin at some past moment. In quantum realism everything observes, so even trilobites in the primeval seas observed things (Figure 6.38). The grand evolution of matter and life is reflected in the time-scale of observations, starting with a photon:

Figure 6.38 Even Trilobites observed

Planck time is the shortest possible time in physics. An observation at this scale would occur more times a second than there have been seconds in the life of the universe. Planck time is taken to represent photon scale observations.

A yoctosecond (ys) is a trillion-trillionth of a second. A top quark’s lifetime is  estimated at half a ys, bosons have lifetimes in ys and quark plasma light pulses are a few ys, so this timescale may represent basic matter observations.

A zeptosecond (zs) is a billion-trillionth of a second and the shortest time measured so far. Physicists estimate a few hundred zs for the two atoms of a hydrogen molecule to photoionize (Grundmann et al., 2020), so this timescale may represent atomic observations.

An attosecond (as) is a million-trillionth of a second. Ultrafast x-ray sources with as time resolution reveal bromine molecule vibronic structures (Kobayashi et al., 2020), so this timescale may represent molecular observations.

A femtosecond (fs) is a thousand-trillionth of a second or 0.000000000000001second. It is to a second as a second is to about 32 million years. High-energy fs scale X-rays that probe complex protein molecules in light harvesting bacteria respond to light in the order of one fs (Rathbone et al., 2018) p1433, so this timescale may represent macromolecule observations.

A picosecond (ps) is a trillionth of a second or a million-millionth of a second. Estimates of coherence times for cells range from 100fs to 1 ps (Rathbone et al., 2018) p1447, so this timescale may represent simple cell observations.

A nanosecond (ns) is a billionth of a second. A billion is a big number as it takes 95 years to count to a billion. Nanosecond pulsed electric fields elicit various responses in human and other cells (Koga et al., 2019), so this timescale may represent complex cell observations.

A microsecond (μs) is a millionth of a second. Bacteria existed three billion years ago but the leap to multi-cell life happened only 800 million years ago, when cells began to move ions across cell walls using ion channels that act in a few microseconds (Minor, 2010) p201, faster than any nerve, to let simple marine animals with no nerves move towards the algae they feed on (Smith et al., 2019). Microsecond pulsed electric fields are used in food production as mushrooms exposed to a ten μs electromagnetic burst can double their growth (Edwards, 2010), so this timescale may represent multicell observations.

A millisecond (ms) is a thousandth of a second. As animals grew larger, electrochemical nerves replaced chemical signals. Jellyfish nerves are all over their body but oysters have a neuroendocrine center (Liu et al., 2016), and the ten-thousand nerves of worms and slugs and the hundred-thousand nerves of crabs and insects form a chord. A honeybee with nearly a million nerves in a mm volume can fly, navigate and communicate where pollen is. These instinctive brains are fast, as an insect startle response can be less than 5ms (Sourakov, 2011) and a praying mantis can sense the vibrations of a bat attack and evade in 8ms (Triblehorn & Yager, 2005), so this timescale may represent instinctive brain observations.

A centisecond (cs) is a hundredth of a second. Frogs and reptiles evolved brains with tens of millions of nerves to process sense data from one nerve to the next. It takes at least a cs for a signal to travel a meter of nerve, so the response time for cerebellum-based one-center brains is in hundredths of a second. Tadpole startle responses occur within 1-2cs (Yamashita et al., 2000) and our blink responses take 3-4 cs, so this timescale may represent one-center brain observations.

A decisecond (ds) is a tenth of a second. Bird and small mammal brains are about ten times larger than same-size frogs or reptiles mainly due to midbrain and neocortex increases. Two-center mammal brains require thalamic coherence that takes two-tenths of a second to occur, so the rat reaction time of about 2-3ds is expected (Blokland, 1998). In 100m races, elite sprinters take 1.2-1.6 tenths of a second to start moving (Tønnessen et al., 2013) and responses under a tenth of a second are a false start, so this timescale may represent two-center brain observations.

The speed of thought seems to be about a second. Lower brain areas respond faster but brain-wide consciousness takes about half-a-second, so human thought will take longer. Our brains blink in hundredths of a second and change highway lanes in tenths of a second, but it takes longer to think. It takes about a second to mentally rotate an 80° shape (Harris et al., 2000) or a 3D shape (Shepard & Metzler, 1988) or do mental arithmetic (Han et al., 2016), so this timescale may represent three-center brain observations.

Table 6.1 (below) estimates observation timescales from a photon to a human, where the times increase with evolution. It’s hard to swat a fly that sees 250 frames a second to our 60 because to the fly, we move in slow motion. The ability to observe evolved as life did, so the difference in consciousness between us and a fly is one of scale not of kind. Working back from us to what came before suggests that consciousness was always there, just on a shorter time scale.

Figure 6.39 S. Roeselii responses

Consciousness benefits all life, as even single cells face choices that demand unified actions. The trumpet-shaped S. Roeselii is a one-cell animal that attaches to sea rocks to feed on passing rotifers. When subjected to an irritant, it tries various responses (Figure 6.39) in order, before finally detaching to relocate elsewhere (Dexter et al., 2019):

They do the simple things first, but if you keep stimulating, they ‘decide’ to try something else. S. roeselii has no brain, but there seems to be some mechanism that, in effect, lets it ‘change its mind’ once it feels like the irritation has gone on too long.

How does a cell with no brain make choices like that? The answer proposed is that cell-level observations allow cell-level choices. The evidence suggests that consciousness helped every step of evolution, from cells to our brains, by allowing more complex systems to act in a unified way.

When observing a movie, consciousness combines sight and sound into one experience. Bottom-up sensory competition would pit vision against sound, but we experience both and can choose to focus on either. If consciousness is a quantum entanglement, where it collapses will alter the observed result. Each brain area has a stronger electromagnetic field closer to it, so switching attention to the sound of a movie may be choosing a collapse close to where hearing occurs. In general, switching attention between brain functions, like feelings, thoughts or parts of the body, may be consciousness choosing a collapse location that maximizes the strength of that function. No other theory can explain attention, as there is no wiring switch in the brain to do what attention does.

Each of us is a walking, talking, thinking collection of 30 trillion cells that grew from a cell by a path discovered by evolution. We evolved from cells one step at a time and are conscious because countless less-conscious life forms found ways to become more so. Our consciousness must have evolved from what went before, whether we care to admit it or not.

   Evolution is going nowhere if only physical reality exists but if the physical universe is a virtual reality, it could exist to evolve consciousness.


Table 6.1 The Evolution of Consciousness


Time Scale



Planck time

̴10−44 seconds


Basic matter


10−24 seconds

Electrons, quarks, neutrinos



10−21 seconds

Periodic table atoms.



10−18 seconds

Oxygen, carbon dioxide …



10−15 seconds


Simple cells


10−12 seconds

Bacteria and organelles

Complex single cells


10−9 seconds

Paramecium, amoeba

Multicell life


10−6 seconds

Placozoa, algae, fungi

Instinctive brains


10−3 seconds

Fish, insects, crabs

One-center brains


10−2 seconds

Reptiles, amphibia

Two-center brains


10−1 seconds

Mammals, birds

Three-center brains




QR6.3.12 The Nature of Consciousness

The cascade theory of human consciousness answers common questions about it as follows:

1. What is consciousness? Consciousness began as the quantum ability to observe a physical event. In our case, the body senses physical events that nerves report and analyze for features that combine into an observation that has no physical basis. We know how nerves combine observed pixels but are just learning how quantum observers combine by neural synchrony. Even in the womb, some nerves process data and others generate brain waves because they must generate an observer as well as an observation, so when a baby looks at you intently, it may be forming the observer as well as the observed. Human consciousness is the brain’s ability to entangle nerves into a single “I” that observes the world registered by nerves.

2. What causes consciousness? The primary cause is that quantum entities can observe physical events but to observe on a human scale requires brains to create a bigger observer. The cause of human consciousness is the brain entangling nerves to create a quantum observer.

3. Is consciousness physical? Every physical event is an observation result so what observes it can’t also be physical, as that would be circular. If consciousness was physical, we could put it in a bottle, but what constantly creates the bottle can’t be contained in it. If a non-physical electro-magnetic field causes consciousness, then it can’t be physical either.

4. Is consciousness continuous? A physical observation is an event not a thing so experiences are intermittent not continuous, but that which experiences can constantly exist.

5. What does consciousness do? Consciousness provides the being that observes and chooses, whether at the cell or human scale. Acquiring consciousness is the only way a complex body system can act as a single entity. Imagine an online game where players discussed “What does the player do?” Some say the player is the one who observes and chooses but those who see only the game see no “player” in it, so they conclude there is no such thing. They say, “If players exist, point to one in the game!” but no-one can do that, yet the game only exists for its players. In essence, consciousness provides the “players” in the game of physical reality. 

6. Why is consciousness singular? Brain areas work in parallel but can only form one synchrony at a time, to give one conscious experience at a time. Consciousness is singular because the brain-wide resonance that creates it is singular.

7. Why does the conscious experience never fail? Brain states that give entirely new smells or feelings are experienced with no more effort than familiar ones. How does consciousness know what experience to generate each time, without fail? If the conscious cascade builds up from individual nerve observations, the experience is built up from scratch each time. Consciousness never fails because every experience is generated from the ground up.

8. Can consciousness change? If consciousness is caused by neural synchrony, it can increase or decrease as nerves join or leave the ensemble. This may be why “I” take a while to fully wake up after sleeping. Consciousness increases as the brain synchronizes better, so one can be more or less conscious over a day or lifetime. Consciousness can decay by dissociation, as in multiple personality cases. A brain-generated consciousness can grow or shrink over time.

9. Can consciousness observe itself? An observation is an observer-observed interaction where the observer isn’t the observed. In our reality, an observer can observe itself by dividing into observing and observed parts. A brain can do this, as the intellect can observe the emotions as interpreter theory proposes, but consciousness as an entanglement has no parts to split into, so it can’t do that. Yet somehow, the ability to observe includes knowing that we observe. To identify with the observer not the observed may underlie the Gnostic saying “Know Thyself”.

Human consciousness makes us special among the animal kingdom but how did it evolve?