Consciousness may arise from quantum entanglement. The implications if true will radically change our view of mankind.
Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penfold have produced a theory, orch OR which stands for orchestrated objective reduction of quantum states in the brain.
Hameroff’s contribution has been to point out that there are structures in the brain, microtubules, that can maintain a state of quantum entanglement for long enough for this to potentially affect the point at which neurones fire. Hence the quantum state of the microtubules could make some neurones fire preferentially to others. This would mean that electrically the brain is not analagous to a predictable computational computer, but more analagous to an incredibly complicated quantum computer – whose behaviour cannot be predicted computationally.
Penfold’s contribution is to apply the mathematics of relativity to the incredibly small particles involved in quantum interactions, and to suggest through this that quantum entanglement is fundamentally unstable. After a specific time quantum entangled particles will ‘objectively’ ‘collapse the wave function’ and reduce to non entangled particles.
We know some ways to entangle quantum particles, but do not understand this to any great extent. But we do know that particles which are entangled can affect each other instantly, completely regardless of how far apart they are. Two brains could potentially be entangled when hundreds of miles apart. This provides a possible mechanism for ESP – extra sensory perception, particularly if Rupert Sheldrake’s ideas about brains being connected to ‘morphic fields’ are true.
It also raises the possibility that free will exists, and your actions do not result from the inevitable mechanical interactions of the billions of atoms and their sub-particles in your brain.