[time 514] Self and subjective memory

Matti Pitkanen (matpitka@pcu.helsinki.fi)
Tue, 3 Aug 1999 20:31:49 +0300 (EET DST)

Dear All,

I glue piece of text about self and subjective memory.


        Concept of self

There are four strong counter objections against the identification of
quantum jump as a moment of consciousness.

a) The contents of conscious experience is determined by both
the initial and final states so that it seems not possible to get any
objective information about quantum states as such: we are doomed to live
in the world of Maya, contrary to what mystics argue. One can consider
weaker form of objectivity for which state remains invariant in quantum
statistical sense: this would suggest that sensory experiences involve
ensembles of 'sub-observers' and that 'our' sensory experience is kind of
mean experience, whose objectivity is guaranteed by statistical

b) Any conscious experience should involve a conscious
selection between variousoutcomes of the quantum jump or at least
experience of free will. Sensory experience does not certainly involve
this kind of selection.

c) The idea of self as a continuous stream of consciousness is very
attractive and it seems difficult to imagine that our consciousness could
actually a sequence of moments of consciousness with gaps between.
This argument is not so strong as it might sound:
one cannot experience the gaps between moments of consciousness
since it is not possible to be conscious of not being conscious. One could
however argue that system possessing 'self' must be as near as possible to
a continuous stream of consciousness: perhaps
systems able to participate to subsequent quantum jumps have self.
The concept of self defined in this sense could differentiate between
electron and brain as experiencers.

d) If the contents of conscious experience are defined by
the initial and final states of only single quantum jump, it
is impossible to have subjective memory, that is memories
about previous conscious experiences. This seems however to be

For a long time these problems remained a challenge for TGD
inspired theory of consciousness. The recent progress in the
understanding of quantum TGD led however to a notion of self
providing a beautiful resolution of the problems created
by these counter arguments.

1. Self as subsystem able to remain unentangled

The manner to circumvent the objections against quantum jump as a moment
of consciousness identification is surprisingly simple and general
and relies on the idea that selves are sub-Universes,
that is sub-systems able to remain p-adically unentangled
under the action of the informational time evolution
operator U (counterpart for the time evolution operator
of Schroedinger equation) during subsequent quantum jumps.
This also means that one can describe selves as pure quantum states
in p-adic context. The hypothesis is that self experience of subsystem
lasts for so many quantum jumps as subsystem stays in unentangled state.
One must also consider the possibility that the experiences of subsequent
quantum jumps integrate to single experience: this would
give rise to a short term subjective memory and 'historical

In real context it is not possible to satisfy the requirement that
time development operator U does not generate
entanglement but in p-adic context situation is different. The point
is that reals to p-adics mapping involves quite generally unique pinary
cutoff. Thus real entangled state for which all but one entanglement
probabilities are below the pinary cutoff is mapped to an unentangled
state. Thus self-consciousness is critical phenomenon in real context:
when real entanglement is below critical entanglement, self is born.
Note that this criterion is also consistent with the autonomy of
living systems.

2. Is genuine subjective memory possible?

The basic hypothesis of TGD inspired theory of consciousness
has been that the contents of conscious experience are
determined totally by the initial and final states
of single quantum jump. A heavy objection against this assumption
is that the hypothesis makes it possible to have genuine memories
about previous conscious experiences.

The concept of self however allows the possibility that a connected
series of subsequent quantum jumps performed by self
integrates to single conscious experience. This hypothesis would
realize self as an extended object in subjective time
allowing self to have memories about previous conscious experiences
rather than only memories with respect to geometric time.
A natural identification of subjective memory is as short
term memory, or actually a hierarchy of short term memories
corresponding to the hierarchy of selves.
This identification requires that the subjective duration
of sensory self is typically of order second.
The hypothesis of subjective memory
makes it also possible to understand the intentionality
of conscious mind: it is easy to image
the quantum counterparts for plans, goals, desires, imagination, etc..
if subjective memory is genuine. The higher selves
in the hierarchy experience also memory, which is kind
of summary about our good and bad deeds and our experiences:
after our physical death so that there is no escape:
Big Brother sees everything!

3. Binding of experiencers and quantum entanglement

How different components of conscious experiences, suc as various
sensory qualia and the active components of conscious experience
involving thoughts, conscious selections and volition,
integrate to single experience, is known as binding problem.
In TGD framework one can distinguish between binding
of {\it conscious experiences and binding of
{\it conscious experiencers.

Quantum entanglement provides a possible mechanism of binding
of conscious {\it experiencers to larger selves.
If the p-adic primes associated with the two subsystems are different,
the p-adic prime p characterizing the combined experience is
the larger one of the two. This means that from the point of view of
smaller subsystem entanglement means enlightment, extended state
of consciousness. Enlightment by entanglement hypothesis has already
earlier been suggested as an explanation for
various altered states of consciousness reported in transpersonal
psychology (see the chapter 'Quantum entanglement,
exotic states of consciousness and model of soul').

4. Binding of experiences and summation hypothesis

Unentangled subsystem X possessing self behaves
essentially as a separate sub-Universe with respect to strong NMP.
This means that unentangled subsystems Y_i of X, in particular
subselves, participate in each quantum jump. If one postulates
that the conscious experiences of subsystems Y_i of unentangled
subsystem X integrate with the self experience of X to form single
experience, one obtains filtered hierarchy of conscious experiences with
increasingly richer contents. The integrated experience cannot a simple
sum of individual experiences of subselves (we do not experience the
conscious experiences of neurons separately). Rather, the experience of X
is most naturally sum of abstractions about experiences of Y_i.
A natural hypothesis is that X forms kind of abstraction or average
about the experiences of subselves Z_ij of Y_i representing
what it is to be average Z_ij.

5. Some consequences

The proposed concept of self leads naturally to the summation
hypothesis. Also enlightment by entanglement hypothesis is a
natural consequence of the concept of self. These hypothesis in
turn have rather nontrivial consequences.

5.1 Infinite hierarchy of selves with God at the top

A rather dramatic prediction is a Russian doll like hierarchy of
conscious experiencers having entire Universe, God, at the top.
The necessary localization in zero modes making the Universe of conscious
experience classical together with the proposed concept of self
allows to understand both active and passive
aspects of consciousness and general classification of various
types of conscious experiences becomes possible. Summation hypothesis and
enlightment by entanglement hypothesis provide a general
framework for interpreting various transpersonal experiences and
altered states of consciousness as resulting from entanglement with
larger units of consciousness.

5.2 Two kinds of quantum jumps

Irreducible self not decomposing to subselves can perform two kinds
of quantum jumps. A candidate for a new subself (actually
two candidates) is (are) created, when quantum entanglement
between two matter-mind like subsystems of self. Also
matter-mind like quantum entangelement between
the cognitive and material spacetime sheets of self can reduce to zero
in quantum jump. For matter-mind type quantum jumps
the contents of consciousness does not decompose into subselves and
the obvious interpretation of experience
is as as whole-body consciousness, state
of oneness, whereas the identification for the states of first kind
is as ordinary wake-up consciousness involving cognition. In fact
one model cognitive processing as cascades leading to creation
of subselves of subselves of ... : selves are
interpretable as symbolic representations of
objects of sensory experience and close parallelism with
computationalism and connectivism emerges.

5.3 Self-organization, ageing, death

Living systems are autonomous systems and selves, being effectively
their own sub-Universes, are indeed autonomous. Strong NMP implies that
the subselves of self perform quantum jumps, which means dissipation
and makes possible self-organization. Haken's classical theory of
self-organization applies almost as such since
time development by quantum jumps means hopping around
the space of zero modes characterizing the size and shape and
K\"ahler fields associated with the spacetime surface X^4(X^3).

Ageing results from dissipation and is the price paid for having self.
One can also formulate questions about what
happens in death in terms of physical concepts. Is entanglement with
some larger self generated after death (and during sleep)?
Is the cognitive spacetime sheet representing
bodily self preserved as 'soul' (during sleep
this is certainly the case) and continues diffusing and drifting
around the future lightcone so that reincarnation is

5.4 How psychological time and its arrow emerge?

The picture of self as cognitive spacetime sheet with finite
time duration makes it possible
to understand how psychological time emerges: psychological
time corresponds to the center of mass time coordinate
for cognitive spacetime sheet and is zero mode so that
each quantum jump localizes quantum state to sharp value
of psychological time (actually values of psychological
times). The local arrow of psychological time in turn can be understood
as resulting from diffusion and drift of cognitive spacetime sheets
in future lightcone induced by quantum jumps: diffusion and drift
result from the fact that there is much more room in the future of the
lightcone than in its past and also from the fact that
transitions increasing the value of lightcone proper time could be
slightly more probable than those reducing it.
For large values of lightcone proper time the drift dominates
and implies constant average increment of lightcone proper time in
quantum jump.

5.5 Quantum model for intelligent systems

The concept of self provides justification for the assumptions behind
the quantum model for intelligent systems find (see the chapter
'Quantum model for intelligent systems'). One can
understand at very general level the mechanism for how universe
forms abstractions about itself. Even the basic
hierarchical structures of language can identified in terms
of Russian doll like structure formed by selves.

A close connection with computationalistic approach to
psychology and consciousness is obvious.
The hierarchy of selves is analogous to a hierarchy of higher level
computer languages providing increasingly abstract descriptions
of computer program. Note also the analogy with the
the hierarchy of modules of a computer program.
Selves could be interpreted as symbolic representations for
the objects of external (and internal) world and cascades
of selves generating selves inside selves provide a model for
cognition and thought. This model provides representation
for logical implication sequences as temporally ordered
sequences generating subselves. Quantum entanglement between
selves is a good candidate for representing how wholes are formed
from parts consciously as also for the formation of associations.
Abstraction process emerges naturally as a formation
of quantum average selves about the sub-sub-selves of
Quantum statistical determinism makes possible reliable thinking and
sensory experiencing at the level of self. This is true already
at the level of single self and follows from the assumption that
self experiences all the quantum jumps performed after wake up as
single extended object in subjective time.
One could in principle model brain and sensory organs as ensembles
of sub-subsystems for which quantum measurement of certain observables
occurs in quantum jump leading to the thought or
sensory experience (this is indeed done in the chapter 'TGD inspired
model for intelligent systems'.

5.6 Binding of sensory experiences

Different sensory qualia naturally
correspond to separate subselves, whose individual experiences
are separate but combine to form various qualia in our experience.
 They could be even primary sensory organs in TGD framework.
The formation of color experience provides an
excellent example of what possibly happens: the experiences of
small group of retinal cells sum up to our color experience determined
as averages of different color experiences in the
ensemble of retinals cells.
Although the individual experiences of retinal cells
might involve experience of free will,
there is no volition in statistical sense if the state is invariant
in statistical sense (note averaging in time
implied by subjective memories). Note however that
volition might be related only to the localization in zero modes
selecting between different absolute minima of Kaehler
action rather than quantum jumps reducing the entanglement: paradoxically,
the original idea of TGD approach was that free will is involved
in quantum measurement reducing entanglement.

Synchronous neuronal firing could be understood as a consequence of
almost simultaneous wake-up of neuronal subselves, whose
almost simultaneous firing is forced by strong NMP.
If neurons have sub-selves, also subneuronal quantum jumps are
possible and this could eventually make synchoronous assembly and
de-assemly of microtubules and even synchronously occurring biochemical
reactions possible. As suggested by TGD based generalization
of psychological time, primary sensory experiences could occur at the
level of primary sensory organs and nerve pulse activity could
be regarded as resulting from the creation or wake-up
of sensory sub-self by quantum jump leading to state able to remain

5.7 Self and macroscopic quantum phases

Self must be able to remain repeatedly p-adically unentangled under the
informational time development U associated with the
quantum jumps Psi_i\--> UPsi_i-->Psi_f.
This poses strong conditions on the physics of systems possessing self.
Macroscopic quantum phases are obviously excellent candidates for selves
since particles in this kind of system are typically in same state
separated by energy gap from excited states resulting
when particles get entangled with external world.
In standard real number based physics the existence of
systems able to remain unentangled is extremely unprobable since
the generation of even slightest entanglement would destroy the self:
in TGD p-adicity saves the day. Many-sheeted spacetime concept and
quantum criticality in turn makes possible large number of macroscopic
quantum phases and one can identify macroscopic quantum phase as quantum
correlates of sensory qualia.


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