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Year 2010

A model for qualia, sensory receptors, and hearing

I am continung the updating the books about TGD inspired theory of consciousness. I just finished the chapter about quantum model of hearing- certainly the ugliest duckling in the flock represented by the books about TGD and TGD inspired theory of consciousness.

The key idea was inspired by a model of photoreceptors. The question was whether nearly vacuum extremals of Kähler action for which parity breaking is large due to the presence of classical Z0 field might explain chiral selection in living matter and provide model for a sensory receptor and even cell membrane space-time sheet in general as a critical system. The completely unexpected discovery was that the peak frequencies of photoreceptors coincide with Josephson frequencies of the 4 biologically most important ions in the effective membrane potential containing also Z0 contribution provided the value of Weinberg angle is sin2W)=.0295. After this observation the ideas started to flow rapidly and it took two weeks to build a reasonably stable general picture.

  1. Josephson photons have a dual interpretation as large hbar EEG photons and as biophotons: these two phenomena are reflections of one and same thing. This is a victory for the hierachy of Planck constants.
  2. DNA as topological quantum computer model led to the identification of the fundamental sensory qualia as quantum numbers assignable to quark pair (or pair of them depending on option) in turn associated with flux tube connecting DNA nucleotide and lipid.
  3. Cell membrane (at least axon) makes cell (at least neuron) a kind of homunculus with each lipid/nucleotide representing a pixel colored by different fundamental qualia.
  4. Qualia obey quantum synesthesia in the sense that the composites of spin, electroweak, and color numbers are analogous the synesthetic associations of basic qualia: this has nothing to do with ordinary synesthesia. This could make associative neurons in associative areas quantum synesthetes binding various sensory inputs to colors of single pixel of axonal membrane. Cell and genome would be also sensory holograms.
  5. The model for the magnetic body and its function becomes much more detailed and the vision about spectroscopy of consciousness- one of the ultra-romantic ideas which I have felt shame for- is realized since Josephson frequencies code for qualia.

I attach below the abstract of Quantum Model of Hearing. The material about the model for qualia can be also found from General Theory of Qualia.

The quantum model of hearing has evolved through several twists and turns. The emergence of zero energy ontology, the explanation of dark matter in terms of a hierachy of Planck constants requiring a generalization of the notion of imbedding space, the view about life as something in the intersection of real and p-adic worlds, and the notion of number theoretic entanglement negentropy led to the breakthrough in TGD inspired quantum biology and also to the recent view of qualia and sensory representations including hearing allowing a precise quantitative model at the level of cell membrane. This also modified dramatically the speculative ideas about the role of neutrinos in hearing.

Also in the recent view long range weak play a key role. They are made possible by the exotic ground state represented as almost vacuum extremal of Kähler action for which classical em and Z0 fields are proportional to each other wheras for standard ground state classical Z0 fields are very weak. Neutrinos are present but it seems that they do not define cognitive representations in the time scales characterizing neural activity. Electrons and quarks for which the time scales of causal diamonds correspond to fundamental biorhythms, take this role.

The ensuing general model of how cell membrane acts as a sensory receptor has unexpected implications for the entire TGD inspired view about biology.

  1. The most important implication concerning the model of sensory receptors relates to the vacuum degeneracy of Kähler action. It has been clear from the beginning that the nearly vacuum extremals of Kähler action could play key role key role in living systems. The reason is their criticality making them ideal systems for sensory perception. These extremals carry classical em and Z0 fields related to each other by a constant factor and this could explain the large parity breaking effects characterizing living matter. The assumption that cell membranes are nearly vacuum extremals and that nuclei can feed their Z0 charges to this kind of space-time sheets in living matter leads to a modification of the model for cell membrane as Josephson junction. Also a model of photoreceptors explaining the frequencies of peak sensitivity as ionic Josephson frequencies and allowing the identification of biophotons as Josephson radiation emerges and will be discussed in the sequel. The value of Weinberg angle in this phase is fixed to sin2W)=.0295, whereas in standard phase the value is given by sin2W)=.23.

  2. DNA as topological quantum computer model plus certain simplifying assumption leads to the conclusion that the spectrum of net quantum numbers of quark antiquark pair define the primary qualia assignable to a nucleotide-lipid pair connected by a magnetic flux tube. The most general prediction is that the net quantum numbers of two quark pairs characterize the qualia. In the latter case the qualia would be assigned to a pair of receptor cells.

  3. Composite qualia result when one allows the nucleotide-lipid pairs of the membrane to be characterized by a distribution of quark-antiquark pairs. Cell membrane -or at least the axonal parts of neurons- would define a sensory representation in which is a pair of this kind defines a pixel characterized by primary qualia. Cells would be sensory homunculi and DNA defines a sensory hologram of body of or of part of it. Among other things this would give a precise content to the notion of grandma cell.

  4. Josephson frequencies of biologically important ions are in one-one correspondence with the qualia and Josephson radiation could re-generate the qualia or map them to different qualia in a one-one and synesthetic manner in the neurons of the sensory pathway. For large values of Planck constant Josephson frequencies are in EEG range so that a direct connection with EEG emerges and Josephson radiation indeed corresponds to both biophotons and EEG. This would realize the notion of sensory pathway which originally seemed to me a highly non-realistic notion and led to the vision that sensory qualia can be realized only at the level of sensory organs in TGD framework.

  5. At the level of brain motor action and sensory perception look like reversals of each other. In zero energy ontology motor action can be indeed seen as a time reversed sensory perception so that the model of sensory representations implies also a model for motor action. Magnetic body serves as a sensory canvas where cyclotron transitions induced by Josephson frequencies induce conscious sensory map entangling the points of the magnetic body with brain and body.

The model for hearing follows as a special case from the general model for sensory receptor and representations.

  1. Concerning hearing, the basic questions relate to the precise identification of the hearing quale, to the representation of pitch of the sound at the magnetic body, and to the representation of various geometric data about sound. The electromagnetic charge of the quark pair (or equivalently electroweak isospin) looks like an excellent candidate in this respect so that charge increment would define one fundamental hearing quale.

    This quale need not correspond to pitch. The vision about hearing as a frequency quale suggests that cyclotron transition frequency corresponds to the pitch. Sound frequency would be coded to an increment of cyclotron frequency and pitch would be a quale assignable to magnetic body rather than biological body. Hearing would in a well-defined sense represent a higher level sense not understandable without the notion of magnetic body. The strength of the magnetic field would code for cyclotron frequency and therefore for the pitch. One of the mysteries related to hearing is the ability to hear frequencies much higher than the maximum rate of nerve pulses which is below kHz. The coding by Josephson frequencies and representation of them as quale of the magnetic body resolves this mystery.

  2. At quantative level the first challenge is to understand the typical hearing ranges (humans, mice, bats, sea mammals) and here the time scales of CDs associated with quarks and leptons give intriguing hints. Also their cyclotron frequencies are involved and large values of Planck constant are unavoidably involved. Josephson frequencies are given by the effective membrane potential (Z0 potential must be included) divided by Planck constant and it is possible to represent arbitrarily low frequencies in terms of membrane potential by allowing Planck constant to have high enough values.

  3. The extreme rapidity of signalling from hair cells to brain is one of the mysteries of hearing and here Josephson radiation (biophotons) provides a direct neuronal window with practically instantaneous communication. Microtubles could be associated with the flux tubes along which Josephson radiation propagates and also microtubular conformational waves could be involved.

  4. Hearing represents in many respects an exceptional quale: consider only music experience, language, internal speech, the understanding and production of speech, and right brain sings- left brain talks metaphor. This conforms with the assumption that magnetic body is involved in essential manner with hearing. Zero energy ontology leads to a vision explaining basic aspects of music experience and the notion of memetic code plus possible realization of genetic code as temporal patterns could provide first principle understanding of language.

For background see the chapters Quantum Model of Nervepulse and Quantum Model of Hearing .

Negentropic entanglement and the role of neurotransmitters

Soon after starting to develop TGD inspired theory of consciousness, I somehow ended up to an email correspondence with Gene Johnson who insistently emailed me links to abstracts about neuroscience. I read the classic Bible about brain by Kandel et al [2] and tried to make sense of it in my own conceptual framework. This was of course hopeless task since I had only the notions of quantum jump and self. The feeling that something very simple -about which I do not and perhaps cannot ever have a slightest clue- must be behind this incredible complexity made the situation really frustrating. The deeper meaning of EEG, nerve pulse neurotransmitters, hormones- actually of entire brain chemistry and also biochemistry- remained a total mystery.

Development of ideas After required number of years however some concrete ideas began to emerge.

  1. The notion of magnetic body with fractal onionlike structure meant a decisive step of progress. Also the hierarchy of Planck constants and dark matter as controller of visible matter in living systems emerged. The function of EEG as communication and control tool of magnetic body using biological body as a motor instrument and sensory receptor looked very natural. This led also to a proposal that there is an entire hierarchy of EEGs and their variants. After several trials a vision about nerve pulses as concomitants of quantum level communications emerged as also a vision about DNA as topological quantum computer based on the flux tubes connecting DNA nucleotides with the lipid layers of cell membrane emerged and providing a function for the intronic portions of genome as carriers of quantum computer programs [1].

  2. Also a vision about the biochemical role of dark matter evolved. In particular, phase transitions reducing Planck constant for a magnetic flux tube would induce its contraction and force biomolecules near to each other. This would explain the miracles of DNA replication, translation, and transcription and quite generally the processes known as aggregation of proteins. The reconnection of magnetic flux tubes changing the topology of the biological Indra's net would be also a central mechanism.

  3. The model of nerve pulse and the vision about living matter as a kind of dynamical Indra's net led to a first clear idea about the role of neural transmitters. Transmitters are classified to inhibitory or excitatory depending on whether they increase or reduce the magnitude of the membrane potential. This property is however a property of the receptor rather than that of the transmitter. The same transmitter can have both excitatory and inhibitory receptors although often either receptor type dominates. The proposal was that neural transmitters are associated with the ends of the links of the 4-dimensional web connecting neurons to each other. Neurotransmitter attaches to the plug defined by the receptor connecting the communication wire from presynaptic neuron to the flux tube leading to the passive portion of postsynpatic DNA strand acting as sensory receptor. This would make possible rapid communications to DNA. The corresponding active portion of DNA strand could then respond by generating an activity at the level of cell membrane. This conforms with the general idea that proteins represent only one particular outcome of the gene expression. This left open the question whether the excitatory-inhibitory dichotomy could have some deeper meaning.

  4. Also it became clear the emotions and information are closely related and that peptides acting both as neurotransmitters and hormones are crucial for emotions [3]. I proposed that emotions are "entropic" qualia. Although I realized the importance of negentropic entanglement I did not have time or I was not able to realize how far reaching this notion actually is.

Is genome a fractal counterpart of brain?

Fractality replaces standard reductionism in TGD Universe. An old idea inspired by p-adic length scale hypothesis is that the binary structures associated with p-adic scales L(k) propto 2k/2 and L(k+2) define a fractal hierarchy. Brain hemispheres would represent one example of this kind of pair, lipid layers of the cell mebrane second one, and DNA double strand third one. Just for fun one could assume that the structure and functions of brain hemispheres have fractal analogs at the level of DNA double strand and vice versa and look what kind of questions this inspires.

  1. Could the identical structures of DNA strands correspond to the anatomical similarity of right and left brain and could the functional asymmetry of the strands correspond to the laterizalization of brain function? Could the genome act as the brain of cell? Could various brain areas have counterparts at the level of DNA? Could the hydrogen bonds between nucleotides serve as the counterpart of corpus callosum? Could the splitting of these bonds during transcription and replication correspond to what happens to a split brain patient?

  2. Before continuing it must be made clear that the global identification of right-left dichotomy with holistic-reductionistic dichotomy is wrong. One can however consider its local variant with holism and reductionism assigned do the pairs of right and left brain areas. For instance, emotional right (left) brain (amygdala) would be reductionistic (holistic, negentropic) and intellectual right (left) would be holistic (reductionistic, entropic). The practical reason to the division to the entropic and negentropic pieces could relate to the metabolism. The entropic regions could provide the binding energy as a usable energy to the positive energy negentropic entanglement. Good is not possible without Evil! There are no winners without loosers! Right brain is specialized in spatial thinking and left brain to verbal thinking and arithmetics: the geometry-algebra division of mathematics! Right brain is not so good in motor actions as left brain as any right-handed person knows. Right brain is however better in tactile sensing: right handed persons tend to use left hand for touching objects to get an idea about their shape. Also this can be understood in holistic-reductionistic picture.

  3. Apart from reflex actions almost all activities of the body seem to be controlled to a high degree by brain. Could also the activitites of cell be regarded as motor actions of the genome acting as the brain of cell receiving sensory imput from the cell membrane? Could one identify the analogs of sensory areas receiving information from cell membrane, processing, and sending it to the association areas? Could the analogs associative areas be identified as intronic portions of DNA performing topological quantum computations and communicating the outcome to the higher motor areas at the intronic portions of the of the complementary strand, wherefrom they would be communicated to the primary motor areas identifiable as the regions of DNA expressing themselves either chemically (RNA and proteins), as activitites generated directly at the level of cell membrane, or electromagnetically? For instance, could neurotransmitter in the receptor generate the feed of sensory input to the genome inducing the change of the membrane potential as the counterpart of motor action. Could prokaryotes without introns be analogous to brain with only primary sensory and motor areas or to mere ladder-like nervous system?

One could argue that the analogy between DNA are brain fails because second DNA strand is completely passive whereas both brain hemispheres express themselves via motor actions. This is not the case! Both DNA strand has regions expressing themselves but the transcription takes place in opposite directions. Hence DNA strands have motor and sensory areas as also brain does, and the natural guess is that primary motor areas correspond to the areas expressing themselves in terms of RNA, proteins, and possibly also as actions at the level of cell membrane. Primary sensory areas would correspond to to regions complementary to the primary motor regions.

  1. What right brain sings-left brain talks metaphor could mean in this picture? Pitch-rhythm dichotomy is more technical expression for this dichotomy. Function providing local data and its Fourier transform providing global data is more abstract representation for this dichotomy and Uncertainty Principle for momentum and position relates closely to these two representations of information. This dichotomy could reflect the presence of two different natural time scales and millisecond time scale for nerve pulses and .1 second time scale for moments of sensory experience are the natural candidates.

    If so, this dichotomy could directly reflect the different time scales assignable to u and d type quarks (1 millisecond) and to electron (100 ms) and reduce to the level of elementary particle physics. This dichotomy would also have fractally scaled up variants made possible by the hierarchy of Planck constants. The analog of Fourier transform would be the negentropic unentanglement of sub-CDs (assignable to quarks) to single mental image inside electron's CD. The analog of function itself would be a collection of sub-CDs representing separate unentangled mental images assignable to individual nerge pulses in millisecond time scale. Also the topological quantum computations assigned to the intronic portions correspond to different time scales due and reflect quark-lepton dichotomy. The quarks in question could be the quarks assigned to the ends of flux tubes in the model of DNA as topological quantum computer.

  2. This raises some questions. Could the gene expressions of the two strands somehow reflect this dichotomy? For instance, could the flux tube structures assignable to the aminoacid sequences correspond to the millisecond and 100 ms scales assignable to quarks and electron have the property that also the functioning of these proteins is characterized by these typical time scales? The time scales of protein folding indeed appear in two typical ranges beginning from ms [5] and 100 ms respectively [4]. There are also short proteins for which the folding takes place in microsecond time scales which might relate to the CD of proton.

What can one say about the function of neurotransmitters?

Can one say anything interesting about the the function of neurotransmitters if one combines this highly speculative picture- which can be defended only by the belief on fractality as universal principle- with the idea that bound state and negentropic entanglement make possible the fusion of mental images.

  1. Suppose that the fusion of neuronal mental images is required to build higher level mental images that we experience. Suppose that neuronal mental images involve DNA in an essential manner. Suppose that magnetic flux tubes serve as correlates for the entanglement so that the transmission of nerve pulse from pre-synaptic neuron to post-synaptic one creates a flux tube connection between neurons possibly extending to the genome of the post-synaptic neuron. The transmitter at the end of flux tube attached to the receptor acting as a plug would build this connection to some part of DNA specialized to receive particular kind of sensory data from a particular region of cell membrane with complementary strand activating as a response a motor function inducing gene expression at cell membrane level. Gene expression as build-up of proteins would not be necessary and is also too slow for neural activities.

  2. Suppose that the entanglement between neurons generated in this process is always negentropic as the interpretation as the idea about neural correlate for a conscious association suggests. One could also ask whether the neurons could entangled entropically and whether the entropic-inhibitory association could make sense. This does not lead to anything interesting and entropic entanglement between neurons should be regarded as a pathological condition. Note that neuron-neuron entanglemement would be naturally time-like and in this case only negentropic entanglement might be meaningful.

    1. To gain some perspective consider the activation of cell in general by some external perturbation from the resting state to the active state (here I have learned a lot from email correspondence with Vladimir Mateev) In the resting state the proteins inside cell are passive -or rather, forced to be passive- as one might expect on basis of the general vision about homeostasis. The unfolded proteins and unfolded portions of the folded proteins are connected by hydrogen bonds to ordered water so that the folding occurring otherwise spontaneously is prevented. One can say that the cellular winter prevails. The situation is however nearly critical and if external perturbation occurs cell liberates metabolic energy melting the ice and spring comes. Also the outer surfaces of globular proteins are hydrogen bonded and when the ordered water melts, spontaneous melting of the protein takes place leading to a partial unfolding.

      The resulting folded proteins and partially unfolded globular proteins interact by forming aggregates and this activity would naturally involve hbar reducing phase transitions and flux tube reconnections. In TGD based model the mechanism of both folding and melting would be the liberation of metabolic energy destroying the hydrogen bonds and the energy for this comes from the ATP containing positive energy negentropic bond between O=s of phosphates.

    2. Similar situation could prevail at the cell membrane. One can imagine that cell membrane is like a particle at the bottom of a small potential well. At the other side there is a deep well representing the generation of nerve pulse and at the other side a high wall corresponding to hyper-polarization requiring energy. Both polarization and hyperpolarization are prevented by the freezing of protein activities needed to induce them. The flux tubes connecting the presynaptic neuron and receptor and possibly genome are always negentropic and their formation can as such serve as the signal leading to the partial melting of the ordered water making possible to generate action leading to either depolarization or hyperpolarization. The signal could be just the additional metabolic energy making it possible for these transitions to occur.

    3. This picture does not require any communications from the receptor to the genome and in the simplest situation the resulting action could be seen as the analog of a reflex action. These communications could of course be present and the negentropic entanglement could make it easier to induce depolarization also now. Also the question whether excitatory-inhibitory dichotomy for the receptors has some deeper meaning apart from taking the neuron nearer to or farther from criticality for firing remains unanswered.


  1. The chapter DNA as Topological Quantum Computer of "Genes and Memes".
  2. E. R. Kandel, J. H. Schwartz, T. M. Jessel (1991), Principles of Neural Science. Prentice-Hall International Inc..
  3. C. B. Pert (1997), Molecules of Emotion, Simon and Schuster Inc..
  4. T. E. Creighton (1993), Proteins: Structures and Molecular Properties. W.H. Freeman and Company. New York.
  5. Protein folding.

For background see the chapter TGD Inspired Model for Nerve Pulse.

EEG synchrony and negentropic entanglement

If one accepts the vision about life as something in the intersection of real and p-adic worlds 40 Hz EEG synchrony can be interpreted as a correlate for the generation of negentropic entanglement between cortical neurons. Before proposing this interpretation let us first describe the experimental findings of a finnish neuroscientist Antti Revonsuo (see his article Binding and the Phenomenal Unity of Consciousness).


The interpretation for 40 Hz EEG frequency inspired by the binding hypothesis is as a synchronizing frequency necessary for the generation of unified percepts. This hypothesis has been studied using auto-stereograms. There was no detectable difference in the power spectrum at 36-44 Hz range in the situation when auto-stereogram was experienced as a set of random dots as compared to the situation when it was perceived as a coherent, symmetrical gestalt. The situation was same also in 8-13 Hz and 13-20 Hz beta bands.

On the other hand, when the conscious percept was transformed from a random set of points to a coherent gestalt, there was a detectable increase in 40 Hz power in the occipital and right posterior sites for EEG electrodes in a time window 300-500 ms before the unified percept was reported. There could be also some time lapse between the unified percept and the report about it but probably this cannot explain the entire lapse. No increase of power in beta bands was detected: this might be due to the fact that the widths of the measured bands are much wider than the widths ofthe narrow sub-bands reported masked by other EEG activity according to Nunez (Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23, 2000). Note that in the model for a hierarchy of EEGs based on dark matter hierarchy beta band correspond to data communicated to the magnetic body (see this).

That the change in activity is associated with the emergence of a new percept suggests that the temporary increase of the EEG power could be assigned to the communications of the forming percept to the magnetic body.

Interpretation in terms of a generation of a negentropic entanglement

A fresh view about what really happens during 40 Hz synchrony came with the realization that negentropic entanglement is possible in the intersection of real and p-adic worlds. The generation of negentropic entanglement between two subselves means that the corresponding mental images are fused (see see this and this). The process is experienced by the fusing subselves as an expansion of consciousness whereas consciousness is lost when when bound state entanglement is generated. Also the meditative states begin with enchanged 40 Hz activity and interpretation would be same. Quite generally, the generation of negentropically entangled neuron groups could be a correlate for the emergence of a new idea or a new holistic pattern emerging from a chaos. Synchronous firing would be a natural correlate for the synergic state resulting in this manner. The paradoxical looking reduction of the oxiditative metabolism associated with 40 Hz firing could be seen as a signature of reduced dissipation when dissipating ensemble of neurons forms a single quantum coherent system.

What could then be the interpretation of the 300-500 ms time scale and synchronous firing in TGD framework?

  1. If one assumes that only brain is involved, one must answer whether the new percept emerges after such a long time period. One would naively expect that negentropic entanglement immediately gives rise to the percept. Negentropic entanglement however means that a quantum superposition of several alternative percepts is involved. In the beginning the new percept is present with only small probability so that one would only know that the moment of heureka is quite near (this is indeed the experience that one has) and in the final situation it dominates but not completely since it requires conscious effort to preserve the percept.

  2. Also magnetic body should be involved in TGD framework. The natural question is "Why this synchronous neuronal firing?". The natural answer would be that it allows to communicate the new percept as a consequence of a generation of negentropic entanglement to the magnetic body. The frequency scale of 40 Hz corresponds to a time scale of 25 milliseconds and corresponds to a length scale involved is about .75× 107 m, a good candidate for the size of the part of the magnetic body involved. This time scale is much shorter than 300-500 seconds. If the layer of the magnetic body in question corresponds to the fundamental 100 millisecond time scale assignable to electron as is natural in case of sensory percepts, the time lapse could be essentially due to the communication. If one takes the time scale literally the value of Planck constant which is about 3 to 5 larger than its standard value would suggest itself. Of course, the development of the percept from a fuzzy inkling to the final heureka could involve several communication loops between brain and magnetic body so that the interpretation as a lapse due the slowness of communications need not be inconsistent with the first interpretation.

  3. The time scale 300-500 ms could characterize the duration of negentropic entanglement but this is not necessarily the case since negentropic entanglement would be un-necessary after the percept has been represented symbolically so that one knows what is lurking behind the chaos.
The reported lower oxidative metabolism during the negentropic entanglement could be either due to the reduced dissipation due to the absence of dissipating neuronal selves or due the fact that magnetic body provides in this kind of situation the metabolic energy.

For background see the chapter Magnetic Sensory Canvas Hypothesis.

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