Saturday, 20 June 2015

Is Consciousness Impersonating Us?

Scientists have for the first time separated a particle from one of its physical properties, thereby creating a `quantum Cheshire Cat'. The phenomenon is named after the curious feline in `Alice in Wonderland', who vanishes, leaving only its grin behind.

Researchers took a beam of neutrons and separated them from their magnetic moment, like passengers and their baggage getting separated at airport security.

The researchers used an experimental set-up known as an interferometer, at the Institute Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, France. A neutron beam was passed through a silicon crystal, sending it down two different paths.

By applying filters and a technique known as "post-selection", they were able to detect the physical separation of neutrons from their magnetic moment ­ as measured by the direction of their spin. "The system behaves as if the neutrons go through one beam path, while their magnetic moment travels along the other," researchers reported.

This raises serious issues about the `measurement paradox'. On the one hand we have the Lockean `realist' account, according to which perception involves the creation of an `inner reflection' of an independently existing external reality , and, on the other hand, a Kantean `anti-realist' concept of the `veil of perception'.

Separation of matter and its characteristics, attributes or qualities will be an important landmark in our understanding of the phenomenon of consciousness.

Consciousness is traditionally attributed to an emergent quality of neural networks. It is quite intriguing to note that even a single celled creature like the amoeba is conscious and takes appropriate measures to feed and avoid any hostile milieu.

Does consciousness operate necessarily through mediation by a biological matrix?

Could it be all-pervading like a magnetic field with the organic or biological substrate serving as merely a receiver and or processor?

Could consciousness be merely a form of energy that manifests in different forms by modulating its frequency and amplitude?

Can perception be merely a play of consciousness, a phenomenon that simultaneously projects and comprehends the external world as a holographic reality?

The separation and distinction of the objective world is because of external appearances. If the elementary fundamental constituent is the ubiquitous atom, then the perceived difference of the external form may just be a programme of the subject's perception. Rather than different partition. Rather than different particles carrying the information of matter and its qualities, it could be that different loci in the brain might be activated to perceive matter and its qualities simultaneously.

Monists like Spinoza adhere to the position that there is some neutral substance, of which both matter and mind are properties. The Advaita or non duality school of thought, too, believes in a non-numerical, holistic, all-pervading unity that simultaneously manifests as both the subject and the object.

The object and therefore all its qualities and attributes might just be a projection of a self-referencing subject that generates an apparition of separation as well as perception.

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