What Living-Cell Biochemistry reveals about the Physics of Consciousness
The puzzle of coherence
“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent spirit. This spirit is the matrix of all matter.” Max Planck 1944. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics 1918.
Scientific thought has moved sharply away from the ideas expressed in Max Plancks’ 1944 observation.
In the past few years, however, as research in biochemistry has revealed the astonishingly precise and coherent orchestration of the interactions of living-cell proteins, questions are being raised that are difficult to answer within the usual conceptual frameworks.
With perhaps a billion reactions occurring per second in a living cell, protein and enzyme molecules have to move across the cell at precisely the right moment to interact with other proteins and enzymes.
This time-synchronized activity, the precisely orchestrated coming together of large numbers of enzyme catalysed reactions at exactly the right time, isn’t explained in current descriptions of biochemical processes.
Contemporary biochemistry texts describe the multiple, enzyme accelerated reactions of molecules in the cell as a consequence of random collisions or as though enzymes and proteins direct their own movements around the cell to join in with these reactions.
How does an enzyme molecule know where in a living cell other molecules are going to congregate, so it can facilitate a reaction which requires the simultaneous co-participation of multiple molecules?
How do these multiple large molecules know when to travel across a living cell so as to meet up precisely together at particular locations?
How can we explain the observed time-synchronized coherence in a living cell, which seems to function as a orchestrated whole, rather than as a jumble of separate molecules making random collisions?
Perhaps we can approach an answer to these questions by touching on some physics.
For nearly a century, researchers in physics have known that all ‘material stuff’ actually consists of large clusters of quantum-scale wave patterns in a cosmic field, known to physicists as the zero-point field or quantum vacuum.
Atoms are a cluster of three dimensional dynamic resonance-forms within the vacuum-energy field, not unlike the standing waves generated within audible sound frequencies which we experience as music.
The molecules that make up the living cells of our body are actually localized vibrational wave-patterns within a single cosmic field rather than the separate material objects we learned about in school.
It’s these cosmic field-excitations that seem to be exquisitely choreographed and orchestrated into a coherent process of precise interaction with each other.
When we realize our image of separate material-object molecules interacting with each other no longer fits with what is now known about physics and chemistry, an interesting shift in our understanding can occur.
Once we start to see a molecules as localized patterns of wave deformations within a single continuous field, rather than as separate objects, our understanding of the existence of coherence in the biochemistry of living cells becomes easier.
We already know from physics that this single cosmic field exhibits nonlocality, the instantaneous correlation of every part of the field with every other part.
We could speculate that this vacuum energy/zero point field also has an intrinsic capacity for time-synchronized coherence.
We can observe this apparent intrinsic coherence, in research into the process of photosynthesis.
Green plants are able to process the energy harvested from sunlight very much more efficiently than we might expect because of an apparent capacity for nonlocal coherence in the vacuum-energy field.
This nonlocal coherence enables all the alternative energy transfer pathways in the photosynthetic system to be simultaneously known and the most efficient ones used.
These discoveries help us to formulate the beginnings of an important shift in our understanding of the nature of the Universe and raise a series of questions, not just about biochemistry but also about consciousness.
Perhaps the nonlocality and capacity for dynamic coherence shown by the vacuum energy/zero point field point to it having a role in consciousness?
It’s possible that a single cosmic field is expressing itself as all material form and all experience of that form.
It’s vibrationally transforming itself into the localized field excitations characteristic of the interwoven orchestration of living-cell biochemistry while also having a nonlocal awareness of itself.
This fundamental field, intrinsic to the Universe, has both an objective aspect, known as the vacuum energy /zero-point field and a subjective aspect, known as our conscious awareness.
A century ago, the pioneers of quantum physics, many of them winners of the Nobel prize in physics, expressed views that pointed to the wholeness and oneness of the cosmic field underlying all life and matter in the Universe.
Contemporary writing in science seems largely to have lost this deeper perspective.
“ Quantum physics thus reveals a basic oneness of the Universe” Erwin Schrödinger: Nobel prize in Physics : 1933