First published in Meniscus 5 (1), June 2017
We look for it in some tiny place A structure in the brain A microtubule in a cell A curled 11-dimensional string We imagine it a field, laid out on spacetime, a matrix of infinitesimal points We try to find it by going back in time or collapsing in, shrinking towards a singularity But infinitesimal and singularity are concepts from calculus, limits of infinite journeys We find ourselves caught in Zeno’s paradox trying to touch the hub between the spokes, the doorway between the jambs, the pause between the breaths, the ma between the fragment and the phrase
“We proposed in the mid 1990’s [sic] that consciousness depends on biologically ‘orchestrated’ coherent quantum processes in collections of microtubules within brain neurons.”— Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose,“Consciousness in the Universe: A Review of the ‘Orch OR’ Theory.” Physics of Life Reviews 11, no 1 (March 2014), pp. 39–78.
Feature image by Tim Vickers