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In physics, a "geon" is an entity consisting of only gravitational (GR) and/or electromagnetic (EM) waves which are held together in a confined region by their mutual attraction. It was first investigated in 1955 by John Wheeler, who coined the name for "gravitational-electromagnetic entity". A gravitational geon is the geon that comprises only GR waves. Subsequent research suggests that under practical conditions the attraction between EM waves is too weak to form a pure "electromagnetic geon." Only if GR waves are included, can it be possible to create a "geon" or a "gravitational geon" in the real world (Anderson and Brill, 1997; see also Section 37-E). This is because GR waves are the carrier of gravitational force. The attractive force between GR waves, or between GR and EM waves, is very strong. It has been estimated that the GR-GR attractive force is more than 80 orders of magnitude stronger than the EM-EM attraction (Faraoni and Dumse, 1998, Eq. 6.1).
According to the Geon Hypothesis, the "mind" is a geon composed of GR and EM waves. Since the mind is produced by the neural activity of the brain, the GR and EM waves of a geon should originate from brain activity. Their number must be sufficiently large, so that their mutual attraction may hold them in a small region. A human brain contains about 85 billion neurons. Each neuron has two possible states: resting or excited (firing). In the excited state, the voltage of the cell membrane changes sharply, referred to as "action potential" or "nerve impulse". At any moment, even during sleep, more than 100 million neurons in the brain are firing, accompanied by sharp changes of membrane voltage.
The membrane voltage is determined by the ion concentration on both sides of the cell membrane. These ions can pass through the cell membrane via the ion channels embedded in the cell membrane. An ion channel is a protein that may be "open" or "closed". When a neuron is at rest, most ion channels are closed, preventing ions from passing through the channels. As the neuron fires, most ion channels are open, allowing ions to pass through the channel one by one (Figure 6).
As discussed in the last two chapters, the accelerated motion of any charged particle will radiate EM waves while the accelerated motion of any particle with mass should produce GR waves. An ion has both mass and charge. Before ions enter the ion channels, they move slowly and randomly in the solution. As a neuron fires, a large number of ions will be passing through the channels, with acceleration driven by the electrochemical gradient. Since ions possess both mass and charge, their accelerated motion will produce both GR and EM waves.
In the last chapter, we used water ripples as a metaphor for GR waves. Suppose a few basketballs are thrown into the same position in the swimming pool one by one with equal time intervals, ripples will be generated. This situation is similar to the orderly passage of ions through the same channel. A series of ions passing through each channel will produce a wave. A neuron contains about ten thousand ion channels. Hence, at any moment, the brain may produce more than one trillion GR and EM waves.
GR and EM waves propagate at the speed of light. To form a geon, several physical conditions must be met. One of them is the strength of intrinsic mutual attraction mentioned above. Another important condition is the synchronized firing of a large number of neurons. This is consistent with the study of modern neuroscience which has revealed that neural synchrony plays a crucial role in the emergence of consciousness (see Chapter 31).
Physiological studies have demonstrated that excessive neuronal firing in the brain will give rise to painful feeling (next chapter), while reduced brain activity produces pleasant feeling (Chapter 8). As explained above, neuronal firing will produce GR and EM waves simultaneously. Therefore, the Geon Hypothesis suggests that the feeling of pain and pleasure could result from alteration in the density of GR and EM waves in a geon: higher wave density causes pain; reduced wave density leads to pleasure. This notion is supported by the neural circuits that can account for the animal behavior: "seek pleasure, avoid pain" (Chapter 11).
Author: Frank Lee