men, a mathematician and a doctor, feel they have found the answer
to those questions. The answers they have found are not only intriguing,
but worthy of consideration.
Penrose, renowned mathematician and Dr. Stuart Hameroff, anesthesiologist,
believe they have found the biology of mind. It is in the Microtubules.
Microtubules (MTs) are the molecular filament or cytoskeleton of
the neurons. These superfine lattice-like proteins provide the coding
interface between consciousness and the brain.
his book Shadows of the Mind, Penrose gives a compelling
argument to support the theory that quantum coherence, made possible
by the microtubulin cytoskeleton of neuronal cells, is the necessary
ingredient to transform consciousness into the electro-chemical
process exhibited in the brain.
Hameroff described microtubules as, "cylindrical protein polymers
interconnected by cross bridging proteins (MAPs), which structurally
and dynamically organize functional activities in living cells,
including synaptic regulation inside of the brain's neurons. They
are the most prominent features of the cytoskeleton, which is at
once 1) structural scaffolding of cells, 2) transport system and
3) onboard computer." The image above shows how microtubules
are exhibited in cell structure.
to physicist D. V. Nanopoulos, "MTs and DNA/RNA are unique
cell structures that possess a code system. It seems that the MTs
code system is strongly related to a kind of "Mental Code"
in the following sense. The MTs periodic para-crystalline structures
make them able to support a superposition of coherent quantum states,
as it has been recently conjectured by Hameroff and Penrose, representing
an external or mental order, for sufficient time needed for efficient
quantum computing. Then the quantum superposition collapses spontaneously/dynamically
through a new, string-derived mechanism for collapse proposed recently
by Ellis, Mavromatos, and myself. At the moment of collapse, organized
quantum exocytosis occurs, i.e. the simultaneous emission of neurotransmitter
molecules by the synaptic vesicles, embedded in the "firing
zone" of the pre-synaptic vesicular grids."
most important aspects of Penrose's argument is that the problem
of non-locality is solved by including MTs into the equation. The
problem of the non-locality of thought is the basis of intuition
and insight. Anyone, who has had an insight or an intuitive answer
to a problem, knows these thoughts appear spontaneously as complete
gestalts. Whole ideas are condensed into a singular understanding,
which then has to be translated into words, if it is to be communicated.
is the translation into verbal format that often renders an insight
indescribable. A global understanding does not lend itself easily
to linear modeling. In fact, it was the very idea that mathematicians
were able to "understand" their theories before they were
completed, that led Penrose to his theory. He believes this is what
separates man and his consciousness from machines. Machines are
computable only and consciousness has the capacity for insight or
non-computable creative thought.
of the leading arguments in artificial intelligence is that with
the adoption of neural networking programs, as opposed to the binary
programming of conventional computers, artificial intelligence will
someday rival human intelligence. Penrose disagrees and argues that
the very act of intuition itself is beyond the scope of any machine
and will always remain so. Machines run on programs, and no matter
how complex or sophisticated the program, or electronic and mechanical
circuitry, a program cannot experience insight. It is the microtubules
that allow insight to be translated into the electrochemical basis
of neurotransmitters, that interact at the synaptic level and allow
for spontaneous creative thought.
have now found the plausible biological underpinning for creative
mind. We are gleaning a scientific understanding of the substructure
of the brain/mind at the quantum level. Though knowing this may
not help you to produce your next creative solution, having the
knowledge and understanding that the mind and brain are intricately
combined and interdependent, does add credibility to the biology
of creative mind. It is our belief and understanding in what we
do that fuels our ability to forge new ground and succeed in seeking
a creative mind has no boundaries and searches wherever necessary,
as guided by insight, to find the solution to a problem. This includes
an elegant expression of art, literature or music, novel and unique
approaches to scientific invention, as well as mundane daily problem
solving. We think it important that everyone knows where the frontiers
of science are heading in relationship to the mind/brain issue.
Much of this is still conjecture, as always, until science has developed
the sophisticated instrumentation and experiments to prove its hypotheses.
Great minds are utilizing their creative abilities to pose the right
questions and pursue the relevant answers. We all benefit by the
dialogue of discovery, and our understanding of who we are and where
our potentials lie are expanded in the process.