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Consciousness, Microtubules, & 'Orch OR': A 'Space-time Odyssey'

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In the 20 years of the Journal of Consciousness Studies (JCS) I've been deeply involved with the conference series 'Toward a Science of Consciousness' (TSC), and the 'orchestrated objective reduction'(Orch OR) theory of consciousness with Sir Roger Penrose. Thanks in large part to JCS and TSC, an interdisciplinary field of Consciousness Studies has emerged. Regarding the science underlying consciousness, most theories view neuronal membrane and synaptic activities in the brain as its essential currency. However, in Orch OR, consciousness derives from deeper-order, finer-scale quantum computations in microtubules inside brain neurons which 1) regulate neuronal membrane and synaptic activities, and 2) connect brain processes to fundamental space-time geometry, the fine-scale structure of the universe. Here I tell the story of my 40-year obsession with consciousness, and conclude, confidently, based on new evidence, that the biology, biophysics, and neuroscience of Orch OR are largely correct, and that consciousness occurs due to quantum vibrations in brain microtubules. If the connection to fundamental space-time geometry is also validated, Orch OR may provide a bridge between neuroscience and more spiritual approaches to consciousness.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Departments of Anesthesiology and Psychology, Center for Consciousness Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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