QR6.3.7 The Entangled Observer

A quantum entity, like a photon or electron, is observed when something else, like a screen, interacts with it. Until then, it is a spreading wave that doesn’t observe itself or anything else. Only when another quantum wave interacts with it, can it collapse to restart at a point in a physical event. In quantum theory, a physical event is quantum entities observing each other. And the event location is chosen from the possibilities regardless of prior events. It follows that all physical events involve observation and choice.

When quantum entities restart in a physical event, something remarkable occurs: they entangle into a single ensemble that spreads from the event point.  When two photons entangle, the spreading ensemble instantly knows if it is involved in a physical event, regardless of  physical distance (QR3.8.5). When a physical event occurs to an entangled ensemble, all the entities involved observe it, even if they then disentangle. This isn’t information exchange but it has the same effect, that distant participants obtain the same physical information.

It follows that when synchrony entangles nerves into an ensemble that observes a data point in the brain’s electromagnetic field, they all get the same information, whether they created it or not. The same logic applies to the choice of the point observed. In simple terms, distant nerve areas can share data by forming a quantum entity that observes and chooses. Applying Penrose’s logic to nerves, if tubulins can synchronize cell molecules to observe as one, brains can synchronize nerves to do the same. A quantum effect therefore underlies the observer we call “I”.

It isn’t proposed that all brain nerves synchronize, but that some do, to solve local problems, followed by a cascade from microcolumns to macrocolumns and so on, up to a global observer. Nor do all nerves need to synchronize perfectly, as only some need to do so to achieve the effect. If nerves that wire together fire together, then nerves that fire together observe together. Consciousness then arises when nerve synchronies cascade into a global observer.

   When we watch a movie, sight and sound seem like one experience because entangled visual and auditory nerves make one observation. Bottom-up sensory analysis would process vision or sound alternatively but we observe both at once and can attend either. How attention occurs isn’t known but where observation occurs alters the observation. An electromagnetic field is stronger closer to its source, so attending the sound of a movie may be choosing to observe close to the auditory area. Or I could attend to a thought or feeling by choosing to observe closer to that brain function. The brain has no wiring switch to do what attention does, so this theory explains what others can’t.

If a single neuron opens a small observation window on physical reality, then many neurons entangled open a bigger window. The brain solved the binding problem by forming layer upon layer of neural synchronies to enable a global observation, hence:

a. Consciousness takes time. A global neural synchrony takes time to build up.

b. Consciousness scales. Synchrony enables consciousness at multiple scales of the brain.

c.  Consciousness cascades. Small-scale synchronies lead to large-scale synchronies.

The following sections give more details.