QR6.3.10 Consciousness Cascades

Nerves as oscillators can act as observer gates rather than transistor gates, so a feature catches our attention when lower observations build up to a global observation. If nerves that fire together observe together, each observation chooses the neural combinations that rise at each step of the hierarchy, up to a global observer who also chooses.

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

As neural units synchronize, small observations entangle into larger ones that can collapse to observe any component combination. Precise synchrony takes time to achieve, so neurons ping constantly until resonance gives an observation that can synchronize further. The cascade eventually lets distant brain areas of language, meaning, memory and planning form a global consciousness that is my attention. A consciousness cascade 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 we can see an ambiguous figure one way then choose to see it differently. Computers struggle with low-level ambiguity but a brain based on choices at every level can ask for a processing redo. Top-down neural links also allow the global observer to prime lower neural units to act alone, allowing brain response times as low as a tenth of a second.

A photon wave collapsing at a screen point essentially chooses to observe a field point. When distant nerves synchronize, their entangled electromagnetic fields can collapse 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 other sense data. Constant neural volleys sustain lower synchronies until they cohere into bigger ones and the process repeats, eventually giving a global observation choice. The global ignition that correlates with consciousness is a series of observer choices that end in what we experience.

Consciousness is a spotlight on the senses that starts as millions of barely discernible point flickers blinking at different frequencies, that eventually synchronize into area flashes that wink separately until they finally synchronize into a coherent beam that be directed anywhere. It takes about half-a-second for the spotlight to power up, as each synchronization step leads to 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 seeing people as responsible for their own behavior has a neural foundation.

The integration of brain functions requires consciousness, so the hemispheres don’t send their half of the visual field for the other to “see” the whole field via the corpus callosum because 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 allows both frontal lobes to unite in a single plan. Hence under anesthesia, beta-gamma waves stop as the hemispheres functionally uncouple and not until they resynchronize does consciousness return to see the entire visual field (John et al., 2001). What observes the full visual field isn’t either hemisphere but the observer their synchrony creates.