In this episode, I had the honor of speaking with Dr. James Glattfelder. Dr. Glattfelder is a physicist turned quant, turned complexity scientist, with a pinch of data science and a philosophical bent. He has a Ph D in Complex Systems from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and is interested in fundamental theories and real-world complexity.   We discussed quantum physics and consciousness, the concept of reality, panpsychism and more. Please enjoy this episode with Dr. James Glattfelder.

Could there be a quantum mechanical element to human consciousness? If so, could that allow a collective intelligence/consciousness in humans, like we see in termites? Could it save the plant? Is the fundamental element/property of consciousness be information?

We discussed: 

  1. Some, like Depak Chopra and others, some that I’ve interviewed, use “quantum physics” as an answer to what consciousness is, or how it binds to the brain. With your knowledge of both consciousness and quantum physics, do you see a possible connection there? How would that work?
  2. Panpsychism, Integrated Information Theory: consciousness is everywhere; Freeman Dyson; Max Planck
  3. The laws of physics: quantum (super small), general relativity (huge), classical (everyday life-sized): They’re not all compatible with each other. How might consciousness fit in there, if at all? [David Bohm’s Implicate Order theory, quantum potential, hidden waves, enfolding/unfolding]
  4. Self organization and complexity; Stephen Wolfram – simple rules; teleological force of universe
  5. Time is an illusion, doesn’t really exist; anthropic principle;
  6. Eastern traditions; Hinduism (lei-la); Buddhism; Shamanism; Christ Bache (high-dose LSD sessions, LSD and the Mind of the Universe)
  7. What role could non-locality, quantum entanglement play? 
    1. The interconnectedness of everything: Can this explain “cosmic consciousness” or other phenomena of expanded consciousness? Information entity, space and time not relevant
    2. The collective intelligence of ants, for example?
  8. So, what is real, then? Reality is actively constructed by the brain?
    1. Are hallucinations just as real as…reality?
    2. Emmanuel Kant – what is real, space and time
    3. Information is the most fundamental thing
    4. “Neuroscience, consciousness and spirituality” book
    5. Living in a simulation
  9. In that context, what is “self”, then?
    1. Default state, default mode network
  10. Can we even ask, what is consciousness?
    1. Does consciousness arise from the human brain-computer?
    2. Centered in my universe; panpsychism; field of consciousness; birth/death; 
  11. Is time real? How does time relate to consciousness?
  12. Other loose concepts:
    1. Something else I hear a lot of, is that everything is energy. What does quantum physics say about that?
    2. We create reality (quantum/buddhism)
    3. Each observer has their own universe; the observer effect
    4. Looking for reality in the mind is going the wrong way
  13. What didn’t I ask?
    1. Intelligence; why are we destroying the biosphere; termites – function as a collective organism; why aren’t humans becoming more ‘collective’? Find consciousness within ourselves. 
  14. What’s next from you? Digital transformation in financial interaction; blockchain; good blueprint for creating collective intelligence; decentralized ledgers; eventually come back and reflect on these topics in a book in normal;

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3 comments on “Episode 38: Quantum Physics, Reality, and Consciousness with Dr. James Glattfelder

  1. Here’s my take on things. If you think very deeply about it, what did it feel like before your consciousness existed? Were you even aware of anything before you came into existence?

    Because the truth is, empircally we know that the universe existed for roughly 13.8 billion years prior to our existence and yet all of that time passed by in an instant until you, yourself came into existence…its as if the universe has two starting points…

    I believe that when we lose full consciousness, realitve to our own subjective viewpoint…time and space blips by in an instant (an idea i call relative conscious time travel, not to be confused with normal time travel which involves dilating space/time…)

    In other words if you slip into an unconscious state, one where, from your frame of reference; no information about spacetime is being processed by your brain: that time and space will literally pass by instantaneously in relation to your mind.

    I suffered from seizures at a young age and experienced relative conscious time travel, first hand. I was 16 years old and sitting on my couch and that was the last memory I had. I awoke 3 days later in the hospital in a new space, at a new time. And from my perspective it happend instantaneously. 72 hours in the blink of an eye, it was almost as if I teleported in relation to my mind. Of course time kept chugging along for everyone else, but what if i didnt regain consciousness for a year, or 5 years? Would time and space still blink by in an instant? My hypothesis is yes…But what if i had never regained consciousness at all? Would the universe cease to exist…?

    Or is it possible that at some random moment in future time, my consciousness would just pop back into existence, no different than the way it did the first time (And everytime I ever regain consciousness when I slip into a sub-conscious or unconscious state for that matter?)

    To me literally everything boils down to probabilities…its all just likliehoods and percentage chances…

    It makes me question though, the fact that if it can happen once, as astronimcal as it is…it happend…we are here talking…we think therfore we are…

    What are the odds that we just blip in and out of existence all the time relative to the state of our consciousness in a neverending superposition with the universe…?

    May seem farfetched but I’ve actually been working to develop these thoughts into an actual theory…

    If you’d be interested in taking a read and discussing it with me I would be very interested. I will post the link to my paper below. Thanks.

  2. I think you will find this paper interesting…

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