QR6.3.10 Consciousness Cascades

Nerves as oscillators that form synchronies act as observer gates rather than transistor gates, so lower observer choices precede the global observer choice. If nerves that fire together observe together, each observation choice affects higher observations, up to a global observer who also chooses what to observe.

The brain develops neural synchronies in a definite sequence to form a global observation. A microcolumn that registers a feature must synchronize to get enough strength to merge with nearby microcolumns into a cortical column that can then synchronize into a macrocolumn. The constant pings of interneurons and the thalamic beat help nerves lock in phase, as we tune violins by varying a note slightly until a resonance is maintained.

As neural units synchronize, small observations entangle into larger ones that can collapse to observe any location combination. This takes time to achieve, so neurons constantly ping until they resonant in an observation that can synchronize further. The cascade culminates when distant brain areas of language, meaning, memory and planning merge into a global consciousness that integrates the decentralized brain.

This cascade allows negotiation between higher and lower units. An outcome that doesn’t work at a high level can be redone until it does, so an ambiguous figure can be seen one way then be seen differently. Computers struggle with low-level ambiguity but a brain based on choices at every level can ask for a redo. Top-down links also allow the global observer to prime lower neural units to act alone, allowing “subconscious” response times as low as a tenth of a second.

 To recap, a photon wave collapsing at a screen point essentially chooses to observe there. When many nerves synchronize, their entangled field collapses to observe a point that represents some neural combination. The microcolumn result is a flicker of an observation but by synchrony it repeats, until instead of collapsing alone it entangles with other microcolumns that are doing the same with their sense data. Constant neural volleys sustain lower synchronies until they cohere into bigger ones and the process repeats until it gives a global observation. The global ignition that correlates with consciousness is a series of observer choices that end in what we experience.

Consciousness is like a spotlight on the senses that starts with millions of barely discernible point flickers blinking at different frequencies, that eventually synchronize into area flashes that again wink separately until they synchronize into a coherent beam that can be directed anywhere. It takes about half-a-second for the spotlight to power up, as each synchrony step allows the next.

The choice of what to attend isn’t defined by sense input nor is it entirely free, as the options available at the top level depend on choices made lower down. This isn’t a machine where each cog drives the next but a choice hierarchy, where lower choices define higher ones. When it comes to what causes human behavior, in brain terms it is choices all the way down, so the social practice of making people responsible for their own behavior has a neural foundation.

It also follows that the hemispheres don’t send their half of the visual field across the corpus callosum to let the other “see” the whole field, as this is both impossible by encapsulation and inefficient as it duplicates processing. Instead, callosal nerves synchronize corresponding areas to generate a consciousness that not only sees the entire visual field but also unites the frontal lobes in a single plan. Hence under anesthesia, beta-gamma waves stop as the hemispheres functionally uncouple and not until they synchronize again does consciousness of the entire visual field return (John et al., 2001). What observes the full visual field isn’t either hemisphere but the quantum observer that their synchrony creates.