Science  Write  Now

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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



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.

ma: “Haiku — an Introduction” by Robert D Wilson.

Also see Wikipedia entry on Ma.

Feature image by Tim Vickers