"Can Consciousness Be Explained by Quantum Physics?" SciTechDaily

I found this interesting article today about quantum physics and consciousness. I know it’s a popular topic and so I thought that I post the link here in case someone was interested in reading it.

Some interesting points is that the idea of a quantum physics explanation of consciousness is considered to be a physical explanation of consciousness (i.e., a materialist view of consciousness).

Our brains are composed of cells called neurons, and their combined activity is believed to generate consciousness. Each neuron contains microtubules, which transport substances to different parts of the cell. The Penrose-Hameroff theory of quantum consciousness argues that microtubules are structured in a fractal pattern which would enable quantum processes to occur.

And the goal of finding out if quantum physics can explain consciousness would be to see the complex connections of the brain make consciousness classically via chemicals and electrical signals or through quantum particles dancing around fractals.

Our work could also have profound implications across scientific fields. By investigating quantum transport in our artificially designed fractal structures, we may have taken the first tiny steps towards the unification of physics, mathematics and biology, which could greatly enrich our understanding of the world around us as well as the world that exists in our heads.

Very interesting stuff that could lead to more discussions on physics and Buddhism once more experimentation is done!


Whatever it turns out to be, as long as that theory allows for the possibility of rebirth, it’s ok with Buddhism. It might take many decades more before the mainstream science takes rebirth evidences seriously and try to explain it using their current theory of consciousness.


Hammerof does in fact believe that consciousness continues after death. I heard him giving a talk about this at a conference a decade or so ago.


I believe that’s possible, you can even see consciousness moving out from dead body like Dad's death and spirit orb ascends - YouTube at 04:31 an orb moving out of his dad body


Interesting, what is his reasoning for this? If you can recall?

The Hammerof / Penrose theory seems to be pretty similar to the classic materialistic reductionism of modern neuroscience, only that instead of classical processes in the brain, they introduce quantum effects.

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I’m afraid my recollections are a bit vague. All I can remember from his lecture is something about “thingies” departing from microtubules at the time of death. I think he said that this was something that had been observed, and that this might be evidence of post-death consciousness. Sorry I can’t help more. I think he wrote a paper on the topic (with Deepak Chopra?) and I’m sure you can find out more online.


no thanks! :rofl:

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I’m not looking to derail this topic, but let’s not forget that in MN 38, Sāti, the fisherman’s son, was lambasted by the Buddha for this pernicious view:

As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is this same consciousness that runs and wanders through the round of rebirths, not another.”

The Buddha then goes on to describe how consciousness does not run and wander, but that it is dependently arisen, i.e. it has a condition:

Bhikkhus, consciousness is reckoned by the particular condition dependent upon which it arises. When consciousness arises dependent on the eye and forms, it is reckoned as eye-consciousness…when consciousness arises dependent on the mind and mind-objects, it is reckoned as mind-consciousness. Just as fire is reckoned by the particular condition dependent on which it burns—when fire burns dependent on logs, it is reckoned as a log fire; when fire burns dependent on [sticks], it is reckoned as a [stick] fire; when fire burns dependent on grass, it is reckoned as a grass fire; when fire burns dependent on cowdung, it is reckoned as a cowdung fire; when fire burns dependent on chaff, it is reckoned as a chaff fire; when fire burns dependent on rubbish, it is reckoned as a rubbish fire—so too, consciousness is reckoned by the particular condition dependent on which it arises.

The sutta continues into a description of the four types of nutriment, with dependent origination as their source, and ignorance of course as the basis of this whole mass of suffering. Whether this life, any life, past or future, ignorance is that which supports it and, for lack of a better word, keeps it generating anew. Ignorance is without a first point, but it too is not without a condition: if there is “wandering on” the condition for that present ignorance is the not-knowing of the four noble truths (AN 10.61).

So if anything is “continuing” in this wandering on, it is the continuation of not-knowing, of suffering.


I’m with you on that :slight_smile:

To be honest, Hammerof himself did not impress me.