A Unifying Theory of Consciousness Involving Psychoactive Molecules as Informational Signaling Mechanisms Rajnish Khanna (I-Cultiver, Inc., San Francisco, CA ) C4
Our understanding of the universe has advanced by leaps and bounds through application of mathematics, physics, and increasingly sophisticated tools for observing its intrinsic behavior. In parallel, we have made significant progress in deciphering the secrets of how living cells function and respond at the molecular and biochemical level. We can tell our own story starting from a primordial cell, adapting to survive through evolution, organizing to higher order of functional capabilities and eventually (at some developmental stage) becoming conscious beings. While we can pick apart the details of what we think to be the operating principles of the universe and life, we are still left with the age-old question of "who we are and where we came from?", or if I may rephrase,"what is the source of our individual consciousness and what is its origin?" We (Homo sapiens) have clearly been a successful species on our planet in terms of colonization and propagation. When Carl Linnaeus coined the term in 1758 using the word sapien (wise), we had already spent over a millennium pondering where we came from and how the universe that surrounds us works. Possible answers to these questions have been described in many ways in oral and written forms. The earliest written literature (Sumerian) dates back to approximately 3rd millennium BC. Fast forward to today, and we have now photographed the shadow of a black hole millions of light-years away (Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, April 2019). Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (GTR, published in 1915) defined gravity as a geometric property of spacetime curvature, which eventually led to the prediction of black holes. Through the latter part of 20th century, the Standard Model described the electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces of particle physics. Can these theories be unified to define everything? Even so, where does consciousness fit in this picture, and how may the nature of sentience be linked to the physical forces? If we can ever get an answer, it most certainly will be an integrative model that "minds" the scientific gaps in our understanding of the plausible explanation which could unify the physical and the biological universe. The first ever photograph of light both as a particle and wave was published by the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, 2015). As the fastest moving electromagnetic particle force, light travels across our known universe (except it cannot escape a black hole). The focus of this presentation will be information, carried by light with the capacity to inform biological systems. Scientific research has described in detail the underlying biological mechanisms that perceive light, transmit the signal, amplify and respond by modifying development, physiology, and behavior. There then is proof that universal information is transmitted with consequence to biological systems. We will connect some dots between the measurable universe and the unmeasurable universe. Suggest a role for psychoactive molecules. Perhaps we can draw a logical map to guide us through the hidden aspects of reality. Are we closer to answering any of the age-old questions?