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Consciousness


“The universe is built on a plan, the profound symmetry of which is somehow present in the inner structure of our intellect.”
–Paul Valéry


Introduction
The simple act of opening or closing your eyes changes your brain. Complex electromagnetic flows and oscillating rhythms conspire to make the mind much more than simply the cortex, the amygdala, and the other structures that constitute the brain. Immense energy consumption cannot be accounted for simply by the maintenance of the electric potential of neuronal cells and the management of their synoptic activity. Of all the organs in the human body, the mind regulates itself and successfully organizes the whole body into a seamless orchestra. Thanks to its neuronal organization, even a worm can crawl toward food and shelter. In the human brain, the sensory stimulus of sight increases oscillation frequencies. The oscillations in the limbic system project information about the environment to the cortex and back. For over a century, the electromagnetic activity of the brain has been measured by placing electrodes over the scalp, and more recently science has learned that external magnetic and electric fields can change brain activity.

The behavior of elementary particles is described by the nonintuitive rules of quantum mechanics. Remarkably, the same principles appear apply to the mind as well. The nonintuitive and multifarious nature of mental operations has been discussed by philosophers and sages over the millennia of human civilization. The laws of quantum mechanics turn up repeatedly in mental phenomena (Pothos&Busemeyer, 2009), and the organizational intricacy of the brain defies comprehension (Brembs, 2011).

The humble suggestion that matter fermions and the mind have identical structures and identical operation is a first tentative step toward opening the book of human motivation and behavior.

Traditionally, a sharp divide has existed between studying the mind and the brain. The brain has been object of neuroscience and psychiatry, whereas philosophy, religion, and psychology focused on different manifestations of mental experiences. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the time has come to consider the mind as a physical entity. The pages that follow argue that the brain’s electromagnetic potential forms a temporal compass. Stimuli unbalance successive layers of self-regulatory processes of the mind, which nevertheless always recovers its neutral state. This energy neutrality means discrete energy processing, which turns the mind into a quantum system. Such homeostatic regulation is possible because the mind identifies itself with the body (Guterstam, 2015). If the brains of a theater audience could be scanned during a performance, nearly identical cortical activation patterns would be found in each brain. The mental activation patterns of the audience would rotate in unison, moving over the temporal landscape of the performance according to a common reaction pattern (Dmochowski et al., 2014). The details of how the brain produces such an emotional rollercoaster ride form the topic of this chapter.


APPEARANCE OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
Unlike plants, animals obtain food by active processes. Behind it all is the great organizer: the nervous system. Complex organs have been shown to have evolved alongside and interdependent of the nervous system.

Nerve cells are organized in two parallel columns in bilaterians (animals with left and right sides that are approximate mirrors of each other, which include all but the most rudimentary animals). Bilateral symmetry simplifies sensory processing and muscle coordination. In bilaterians, electrically coupled nerve cells are structured in dual columns and form an electric field, which is modulated according to sensory and entropic conditions.

The representation of a body part in the brain is highly dependent on the body part’s importance for interaction with the environment. Thus, the nervous system forms a central homeostatic regulation as it governs the body in concert with the environment. Sensory organs and the mouth are situated near the anterior end of the body (the head). Sensory information of the environmental conditions permits coordinated movement in the service of food acquisition. The evolution of the limbic brain made fast and precise sensory responses possible, greatly improving survival. In sharks, for example, limbic structures form a linear organization and lead to a fairly predictable reaction to environmental stimuli. The evaginatedpallium metamorphoses into cortical structures: first the simple, three-layered allocortex and, later in evolution, the six-layered isocortex. With the emergence of the cerebrum, the linear regulation of the brain gives way to nonlinear complexity, cognition, sentience, and even intellect. Shifting energy balances activate and form neuronal connections in the cortex in a frequency-dependent manner. Repeated stimuli will never produce the same brain frequencies or mental states. In this way, the cerebral cortex allows the accumulation of emotional history (experience), which in turn produces complex, unpredictable behavior. The following section examines the connection between specific mental-energy balances and mental functioning.

Summary
The nervous system in animals provides great organizational complexity. Response to stimuli is simple and predictable in animals with a limbic brain, but the evolution of the cortex introduced nonlinear behavior. Repeated activation involves a different neuronal landscape, allowing the accumulation of experience, which results in complex and unpredictable behavior.

The multidimensional torus: Basic unit of intelligent life The social cohesion and learning ability of mammals and birds puzzles us (McNally et al., 2012). These highly intelligent animals dominate every living environment. Birds rule the sky; in the seas the cetaceans form a complex web of social life, and on land the mammals exhibit impressive memory, communication, and organization. The cerebrum introduces a frequency-dependent temporal regulation and forms emotions, which are a sophisticated homeostatic regulation. Emotions allow these animals to be warm blooded, form the mysterious inner world of consciousness, and develop complex social life.

The dynamics of the brain changes dramatically with the evolution of the cortex. It is generally accepted that the brain’s energy level is constant over time, even during sleep. For the global metabolism to remain constant, an energy decrease in one part of the brain should correspond to an energy increase in another part of the brain (Raichle & Snyder, 2007; Mantini & Vanduffel, 2012). Thus, science has consistently found that, while performing tasks, default-mode-network (DMN) activity decreases. Furthermore, such constant metabolic activity (a difficult regulatory feat) seems to characterize many—probably all—mammals. As the reader will recall from Chapter 1, such a constant energy level is an essential feature of elementary fermions.

Summary
The regulatory complexity of the cerebrum permits birds and mammals to form emotions, which allows the accumulation of experience and learning. The brain’s energy level remains constant over time; this energy neutrality is typical of elementary fermions. Unity of the mind Elementary particles are the smallest units of energy and cannot be subdivided. Descartes, Kant, and others predicted that unity has to be an essential feature of the mind. The body’s representation in the brain allows a feeling of oneness with the body (Guterstam, 2015). Ideas and thoughts form a highly fluid, malleable mental background over which interaction with the outside world becomes possible. The mind is a cacophonous sensory kaleidoscope, peppered with transient ideas and possibilities that distill into a single decision or understanding. The sensory „forest” coalescences a single, unified experience. For example, at any given time, only one view of the Necker cube can be valid. Indeed, although we can contemplate many possibilities; once we decide on a problem all other options cease to exist.

As early as 1957, the powerful inner drive to maintain cognitive consonance was recognized by Leon Festinger. His cognitive dissonance theory states that incongruent belief or behavior forces mental change to avoid the frustration of cognitive or emotional discrepancy. Even core beliefs can be sacrificed to maintain or restore mental congruency. The constancy of self becomes particularly apparent when changes, even dramatic ones, affect the body or the brain.

The Calabi–Yau torus exhibits holographic organization. The manifold of matter fermions is a holographic (temporal) record of spatial changes. The cortex formulates a „temporal horizon,” which becomes the memories and accumulated experience of a constantly changing cortical projection. Of the billions of photons hitting the retina and the millions projected to the optic nerve, only a few thousand bits of information or even fewer produce the conscious perception of the moment.

How does unified experience emerge in the mind? Neuronal activation can occur either by temporal coding (the synchrony of oscillations) or rate coding (the increasing frequency of oscillations). Temporal synchrony can powerfully generate postsynaptic oscillations. For example, simultaneous activations of a target neuron by two presynaptic neurons results in exponentially greater activation than the algebraic sum of the two initial activations. In contrast, repeated activations by one presynaptic neuron leads to post synaptic depression. In this way, sporadic, disjoined activations die out, and wide spread, congruent activities converge toward a unified, correlated mental picture (Ainsworth et al., 2012). Transitive neuronal assemblies are capable of still-higher-level synchronization by forming a nonlinear, highly dynamic, and multilevel organizational pyramid, which leads toward a unified yet highly abstract experience.

Therefore, consciousness forms on a momentarily changing and highly subjective (holographic) mental landscape, unknowable, with the power to surprise even the self. Indeed, we often cannot know or cannot make up our own mind. The momentary projection of the temporal manifold (subconscious) depends on both the viewer and the self. The holographic self is more submersed in memories and the neural potential of the cortex than an iceberg is in water.

Summary
As the smallest units of energy, elementary particles cannot be divided. The mind also forms a unified sense of self over time, despite substantial changes to the body and the constantly changing sensory stimuli it receives from the environment. The history of material systems is recorded in the information memory of the Calabi–Yau manifold. The manifold of the mind is the neuronal organization of the cortex, where the interactive history of the organism accumulates.


THE BRAIN AS CAMERA OBSCURA
The camera obscura is a box with a pinhole through which a small, inverted image is projected onto its inside wall. Surprisingly, the brain processes sensory stimulus in a similar fashion. Both sensory stimuli and motor innervation are reversed in the brain. We see images upside down, and our brain learns to invert the image in infancy. Other sensory input is also processed upside down in the cortex. Sensory stimuli from the head and face correspond to the lowest part of the parietal lobe. Similarly, the motor cortex at the back of the frontal lobe innervates the body upside down. In the primary motor cortex, the muscles of the head and face are innervated at the bottom, and the legs are innervated at the top. For any perception we wish to examine, the cortex behaves as the back wall of a camera obscura, on which a smaller, inverse image of the sensory reality is projected. For instance, on their way to the cortex, sensory and mo­tor nerves switch sides in the brainstem or the spinal cord, which thus functions like the camera’s pinhole. The cerebellum does not cross, but its connections toward the cortex do.

Examining the energetic landscape of the subconscious manifold, the advantage of the above arrangement becomes clear: The innervation of the left and right of the head, face, and hands occurs at opposite sides of the cortical energy field, ensuring maximal sensitivity for the hands and face. Nerves for the sensory and muscle coordination of the legs are found at a small energetic distance from each other on the top of the head, where the continuous field mutes differences, resulting in better balance. This arrangement increases sensitivity between the two sides of the face and the two hands and enables finer manipulation; yet interhemispheric fibers maintain synchronization between homologous brain regions (Buzsaki et al., 2013). However, the field at the conjoined cortical areas at the top of the head improves coordination and synchronization of extremities in spite of their significant physical distance from the cen­ter of the body. Notable exception is olfactory bulb, which is located in the limbic brain. Thus, the sense of smell lacks spatial dimension and has a linear nature. But because of its limbic origin, smell is more visceral, affecting us on an elementary, instinctive level.

The reversed innervation of the muscles serves another important role. Contralateral force generates an inward vector, leading to structural stability. In engineering, this is such a fundamental concept that it is used in countless applications, from simple scissors to robotics, cranes, and big loader machinery. This makes bilaterians successful and dominant in evolutionary history. Even the simplest bilaterians demonstrate bodily cohesion because the central nerves (where the field is most stable) innervate the sides furthest from the center of the body.