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During deep sleep and general anesthesia, consciousness is lost. In the awake state, activation of the ascending arousal system regains consciousness. While consciousness remains a mystery, neuroscience studies have provided great insights into the brain functions associated with sleep, anesthesia and arousal. Neuronal synchronization has been demonstrated to play a central role.

This book proposes that the mind, defined as the immaterial part of a person, could comprise only gravitational (GR) and electromagnetic (EM) waves generated by brain activities. GR waves have virtually no interaction with matter, but their mutual attractive force is more than 80 orders of magnitude stronger than the EM-EM attraction (Faraoni and Dumse, 1998, Eq. 6.1). Thus, GR waves are well-suited for instantly binding information produced in various brain areas - an essential characteristic of consciousness.

Free GR waves will travel at the speed of light. The conscious mental state may arise from global synchronization of the brain's alpha rhythms, resulting in the creation of a gravitational geon - the bound state of GR waves. Once a geon is created, it may exist on its own for a finite period of time. Hence, the "Geon Hypothesis" conforms to the mind-body dualism, namely, mind and body are distinct entities. Since GR waves have extremely weak interaction with matter, they cannot influence neuronal processes. The mind-body interaction is mediated by the EM waves of the mental system.

The book is written for readers with various backgrounds. It will first cover the basics, and then explain the following new concepts in an easily understandable manner:

  • Consciousness arises from the global synchronization of alpha (α) rhythms which have two major sources: thalamus and anterior cingulate cortex.
  • Ascending arousal system has two branches, activating respectively the two sources of α rhythms.
  • Infra-slow oscillations play an important role in global synchronization.
  • Gravitational geon could be created by the global synchronization of α rhythms.
  • Spherical shape is important for a brain to create a geon (conscious state). Therefore, plants and lower animals without a spherical brain should not have consciousness.
  • Spherical harmonics are the eigenfunctions of the mind's GR system. A geon could be one of these eigenfunctions.
  • Self observation, namely consciousness, emerges as the GR system reduces to an eigenfunction (a geon). This may solve the hard problem.
  • Awareness of sensory inputs occurs when the α-created geon binds the θ-γ-modulated GR waves encoding the sensory signals, thereby producing a unified conscious percept. This solves the binding problem.
  • Optimal α-θ-γ binding is achieved when the α frequency (e.g., 10 Hz) is twice the θ frequency (e.g., 5 Hz).
  • Pain arises from the geon with high density of GR waves while pleasure is caused by low density.
  • Striatum can turn feeling into action, leading to the basic behavior: "seek pleasure, avoid pain".
  • Tau protein is critical for the mind-body interaction, especially in the entorhinal cortex and striatum.
  • Depression is due to overactive resting state networks, resulting in high density of GR waves in the geon, thus unhappy.
  • Wanting is caused by dopamine, including the pursuit for alcohol, addictive drugs, money and sex.
  • A dying brain (without oxygen supply) can still create a conscious geon, but with "out of body experience".

 

Author: Frank Lee
First Published: July 4, 2016
Last updated: October 10, 2016