The arrow of time and self referentiality of consciousness

The understanding of the relationship between experienced time whose chronon is identified as quantum and geometric time has remained one of the most difficult challenges of TGD inspired theory of consciousness. Second difficult problem is self referentiablity of consciouness.

One should understand the asymmetry between positive and negative energies and between two directions of geometric time at the level of conscious experience, the correspondence between experienced and geometric time, and the emergence of the arrow of time. One should explain why human sensory experience is about a rather narrow time interval of about .1 seconds and why memories are about the interior of much larger CD with time scale of order life time. One should have a vision about the evolution of consciousness: how quantum leaps leading to an expansion of consciousness occur.

Negative energy signals to geometric past - about which phase conjugate laser light represents an example - provide an attractive tool to realize intentional action as a signal inducing neural activities in the geometric past (this would explain Libet's classical findings), a mechanism of remote metabolism, and the mechanism of declarative memory as communications with geometric past. One should understand how these signals are realized in zero energy ontology and why their occurrence is so rare.

In the following I try to demonstrate that TGD inspired theory of consciousness and quantum TGD proper indeed are in tune. I have talked about these problems already earlier and the motivation for this posting is that the discussions with Stephen Paul King in Time discussion group led to a further progress in the understanding of this issues. What I understand now much better is how the self referentiality of consciousness is realized.

Space-time and imbedding space correlates for selves

Quantum jump as a moment of consciousness, self as a sequence of quantum jumps integrating to self, and self hierarchy with sub-selves experienced as mental images, are the basic notions of TGD inspired theory of consciousness. In the most ambitious vision self hierarchy reduces to a fractal hierarchy of quantum jumps within quantum jumps. Quantum classical correspondence demands selves to have space-time correlates both at the level of space-time and imbedding space.

At the level of space-time the first guess for the correlates is as light-like or space-like 3-surfaces. If one believes on effective 2-dimensionality and quantum holography, partonic 2-surfaces plus their 4-D tangent space distribution would code the information about the space-time correlates. By quantum classical correspondence one can also identify space-time sheets as the correlates modulo the gauge degeneracy implied by super-conformal symmetries.

It is natural to interpret CDs as correlates of selves at the level of the imbedding space. CDs can be interpreted either as subsets of the generalized imbedding space or as sectors of WCW. Accordingly, selves correspond to CDs of the generalized imbedding space or sectors of WCW, literally separate interacting quantum Universes. The spiritually oriented reader might speak of Gods. Sub-selves correspond to sub-CDs geometrically. The contents of consciousness of self is about the interior of the corresponding CD at the level of imbedding space. For sub-selves the wave function for the position of tip of CD brings in the delocalization of sub-WCW.

The fractal hierarchy of CDs within CDs is the geometric counterpart for the hierarchy of selves: the quantization of the time scale of planned action and memory as T(k)= 2kT0 suggest an interpretation for the fact that we experience octaves as equivalent in music experience.

Why sensory experience is about so short time interval?

CD picture implies automatically the 4-D character of conscious experience and memories form part of conscious experience even at elementary particle level. Amazingly, the secondary p-adic time scale of electron is T=0.1 seconds defining a fundamental time scale in living matter. The problem is to understand why the sensory experience is about a short time interval of geometric time rather than about the entire personal CD with temporal size of order life-time. The explanation would be that sensory input corresponds to subselves (mental images) with T≈ .1 s at the upper light-like boundary of CD in question. This requires a strong asymmetry between upper and lower light-like boundaries of CDs.

The localization of the contents of the sensory experience to the upper light-cone boundary and local arrow of time could emerge as a consequence of self-organization process involving conscious intentional action. Sub-CDs would be in the interior of CD and self-organization process would lead to a distribution of CDs concentrated near the upper or lower boundary of CD. The local arrow of geometric time would depend on CD and even differ for CD and sub-CDs.

  1. The localization of contents of sensory experience to a narrow time interval would be due to the concentration of sub-CDs representing mental images near the either boundary of CD representing self.

  2. Phase conjugate signals identifiable as negative energy signals to geometric past are important when the arrow of time differs from the standard one in some time scale. If the arrow of time establishes itself as a phase transition, this kind of situations are rare. Negative energy signals as a basic mechanism of intentional action and transfer of metabolic energy would explain why living matter is so special.

  3. Geometric memories would correspond to subselves in the interior of CD, the oldest of them to the regions near "lower" boundaries of CD. Since the density of sub-CDs is small there geometric memories would be rare and not sharp. A temporal sequence of mental images, say the sequence of digits of a phone number, would correspond to a temporal sequence of sub-CDs.

  4. Sharing of mental images corresponds to a fusion of sub-selves/mental images to single sub-self by quantum entanglement: the space-time correlate could be flux tubes connecting space-time sheets associated with sub-selves represented also by space-time sheets inside their CDs.

Arrow of time

TGD forces a new view about the relationship between experienced and geometric time. Although the basic paradox of quantum measurement theory disappears the question about the arrow of geometric time remains. There are actually two times involved. The geometric time assignable to the space-time sheets and the M4 time assignable to the imbedding space.

Consider first the the geometric time assignable to the space-time sheets.

  1. Selves correspond to CDs. The CDs and their projections to the imbedding space do not move anywhere. Therefore the standard explanation for the arrow of geometric time cannot work.

  2. The only plausible interpretation at classical level relies on quantum classical correspondence and the fact that space-times are 4-surfaces of the imbedding space. If quantum jump corresponds to a shift for a quantum superposition of space-time sheets towards geometric past in the first approximation (as quantum classical correspondence suggests), one can understand the arrow of time. Space-time surfaces simply shift backwards with respect to the geometric time of the imbedding space and therefore to the 8-D perceptive field defined by the CD. This creates in the materialistic mind a temporal variant of train illusion. Space-time as 4-surface and macroscopic and macro-temporal quantum coherence are absolutely essential for this interpretation to make sense.

Why this shifting should always take place to the direction of geometric past of the imbedding space? Does it so always? The proposed mechanism for the localization of sensory experience to a short time interval suggests an explanation in terms of intentional action.

  1. CD defines the perceptive field for self. Negentropy Maximization Principle (NMP) or its strenghtened form could be used to justify the hypothesis that selves quite universally love to gain information about the un-known. In other words, they are curious to know about the space-time sheets outside their perceptive field (the future). Therefore they perform quantum jumps tending to shift the superposition of the space-time sheets so that unknown regions of space-time sheets emerge to the perceptive field. Either the upper or lower boundary of CD wins in the competition and the arrow of time results as a spontaneous symmetry breaking. The arrow of time can depend on CD but tends to be the same for CD and its sub-CDs. Global arrow of time could establish itself by a phase transitions establishing the same arrow of time globally by a mechanism analogous to percolation phase transition.

  2. Since the news come from the upper boundary of CD, self concentrates its attention to this region and improves the resolution of sensory experience. The sub-CDs generated in this manner correspond to mental images with contents about this region. Hence the contents of conscious experience, in particular sensory experience, tends to be about the region near the upper boundary.
  3. Note that the space-time sheets need not to continue outside the CD of self but self does not know this and believes that there is something there to be curious about. The quantum jumps inducing what reduces to a shift in region sufficiently far from upper boundary of CD creates a new piece of space-time surface! The non-continuation of the space-time sheet outside CD would be a correlate for the fact that subjective future does not exist.

The emergence of the arrow of time at the level of imbedding space reduces to a modification of the oldest TGD based argument for the arrow of time which is wrong as such. If physical objects correspond to 3-surfaces inside future directed light-cone then the sequence of quantum jumps implies a diffusion to the direction of increasing value of light-cone propert time. The modification of the argument goes as follows.

  1. CDs are characterized by their moduli. In particular, the relative coordinate for the tips of CD has values in past light cone M4- if the future tip is taken as the reference point. An attractive interpretation for the proper time of M4- is as cosmic time having quantized values. Quantum states correspond to wave functions in the modular degrees of freedom and each U process creates a non-localized wave function of this kind. Suppose that state function reduction implies a localization in the modular degrees of freedom so that CD is fixed completely apart from its center of mass position to which zero four-momentum constant plane wave is assigned. One can expect that in average sense diffuction occurs in M4- so that the size of CD tends to increase and that the most distant geometric past defined by the past boundary of CD recedes. This is nothing but cosmic expansion. This provides a formulation for the flow of time in terms of a cosmic redshift. This argument applies also to the positions of the sub-CDs inside CD. Also their proper time distance from the tip of CD is expected to increase.

  2. One can argue that one ends up with contradiction by changing the roles of upper and lower tips. In the case of CD itself is only the proper time distance between the tips which increases and speaking about "future" and "past" tips is only a convention. For sub-CDs of CD the argument would imply that the sub-CDs drifting from the opposite tips tend to concentrate in the middle region of CD unless either tip is in a preferred position. This requires a spontaneous selection of the arrow of time. One could say that the cosmic expansion implied by the drift in M4- "draws" the space-time sheet with it to the geometric past. The spontaneous generation of the asymmetry between the tips might require the "curious" conscious entities.

The mechanism of self reference

Self reference is perhaps the most mysterious aspect of conscious experience. When formulated in somewhat loose manner self reference states that self can be conscious about being conscious of something. When trying to model this ability in say computer paradigm one is easily led to infinite regress. In TGD framework a weaker form of self referentiality holds true: self can become conscious that it was conscious of something in previous quantum jump(s). Self reference therefore reduces to memory. Infinite regress is replaced with evolution recreating Universe again and again and adding new reflective levels of consciousness. It is however essential to have also the experience that memory is in question in order to have self reference. This knowledge implies that a reflective level is in question.

The mechanism of self reference would reduce to the ability to code information about quantum jump into the geometry and topology of the space-time surface. This representation defines an analog of written text which can be read if needed: memory recall is this reading process. The existence of this kind of representations means quantum classical correspondence in a generalized sense: not only quantum states but also quantum jump sequences responsible for conscious experience can be coded to the space-time geometry. The reading of this text induces self-organization process re-generating the original conscious experience or at least some aspects of it (say verbal representation of it). The failure of strict classical determinism for Kähler action is absolutely essential for the possibility to realize quantum classical correspondence in this sense.

Consider now the problem of coding conscious experience to space-time geometry and topology so that it can be read again in memory recall. Let us first list what I believe to know about memories.

  1. In TGD framework memories corresponds to sub-CDs inside CDs (causal diamonds defined as intersections of future and past directed light-cones) and are located in geometric past. This means fundamental difference from neuroscience view according to which memories are in the geometric now. Note that standard physicist would argue that this does not make sense: by the determinism of field equations one cannot think 4-dimensionally. In TGD however field equations fail to be deterministic in the standard sense: this actually led to the introduction of zero energy ontology.

  2. The reading wakes up mental images which are essentially 4-D self-organization patterns inside sub-CDs in the geometric past. Metabolic energy is needed to achieve this wake up. What is needed is generation of space-time sheets representing the potential images making possible memories.

This picture combined with the mechanism for generating the arrow of phychological time and explaining why sensory experience is located to so short time interval as it is (.1 second, the time scale of CD associated with electron by p-adic length scale hypothesis) allows to understand the mechanism of self reference. It deserves to be mentioned that the discussion with Stephen Paul King in Time discussion group served as the midwife for this step of progress.

  1. When the film makes a shift to the direction of geometric past in quantum jump subselves representing mental images representing the reaction to the "news" are generated. These correspond to sub-CDs contains space-time surfaces as correlates of subselves created and the information contents of immediate conscious experiences is about this region of space-time and imbedding space. They are like additional comment marks on the film giving information about what feelings the news from the geometric future stimulated.

  2. In subsequent quantum jumps film moves downwards towards geometric past and markings defined in terms of space-time correlates for mental images are shifted backwards with the film and define the coding of information about previous conscious experience. In memory recall metabolic energy is feeded to these subsystems and they wake up and regenerate the mental images about the remembered aspect sof the previous conscious experience. This would not be possible in positive energy ontology and if determinism in strict sense of the world would hold true.

  3. Something must bring in the essential information that these experiences are memories rather than genuine sensory experiences (say). Something must distinguish between genuine experiences and memories about them. The space-time sheets representing self reference define cognitive representations. If the space-time sheets representing the correlates for self-referential mental images are p-adic, this distinction emerges naturally. That these space-time sheets are in the intersection of real and p-adic worlds is actually enough and also makes possible negentropic entanglement carrying the conscious information. In TGD inspired quantum biology this property is indeed the defining characteristic of life.

  4. There is quite concrete mechanism for the realization of memories in terms of braidings of magnetic flux tubes discussed here.

Background material can be found in the chapter About the Nature of Time.