by Ram Lakhan Pandey Vimal

9 January 2008, posted 12 January 2008





      Deterministic reductive monism and non-reductive dualism are two opposite views for consciousness and both have serious problems.  An alternative view is needed.  For this, we hypothesize that elementary particles (strings, or fermions and bosons) have two aspects: (i) elemental proto-experiences (PEs) as mental aspect and (ii) mass, charge, and spin as material aspect.  Elemental PEs are defined to be the properties of elementary particles and their interactions, which are composed of all types of subjective experiences (SEs) that are in superimposed form in elementary particles and in their interactions. This is because SEs appear to be non-reductive fundamental entities.  Since SEs are superimposed, elementary particles are not specific to any SE; they (and all inert matter) are carriers of SEs, and hence appear as non-experiential material entities. This misleadingly leads to explanatory gap.  Our hypothesis is that matter (mass, charge, and space-time) and associated elemental PEs co-evolved and co-developed into neural-nets and associated neural-net PEs, respectively.  The signals related to neural PEs interact in a neural-net and neural-net PEs emerge (possibly by the chaotic process of self-organization), which are then embedded in the neural-net by the processes of development and sensorimotor tuning with external stimuli. That is, neural-net PEs are a set of SEs embedded in a neural-net.  The non-specificity of elementary particles is transformed into the specificity of neural-nets by resonating the neural-net PEs with stimulus-PEs.  For example, a specific SE redness is selected out of embedded neural-net color PEs in visual area V4/V8 neural-net when it is activated either by external stimulus such as a long wavelength light or by internal signals such as that from memory.  This PE-SE framework integrates reductive and non-reductive views, complements the existing models, bridges the explanatory gaps, and minimizes the problem of causation. 



Keywords: Proto-experiences; subjective experiences; explanatory gaps; hard problem; access and phenomenal awareness; attention; re-entry; memory; wakefulness; co-evolution and co-development of mind and brain; chaos theory; self; self-organization.




Mind-brain problem is central to consciousness study and is one of the hardest problems we face today.  There are many views between two opposite poles of deterministic reductive monism and non-reductive dualism.  In monism, mental entities (such as subjective experiences (SEs)) emerge[1]  from the non-experiential material entities (such as neural-interactions in the brain), and both types of entities are substantively one, whereas they are distinct in dualism (Lewis & MacGregor, 2006).[2]  In monism, the serious problem is explanatory gap; whereas, in dualism, the relationship problem between mind and brain is not addressed satisfactorily.


In general, Chalmers classified most of the views on the metaphysics of consciousness into six types (Chalmers, 2003). Types A through C are reductive views where subjective experiences are considered as physical processes that do not involve expansion of a physical ontology.  Types D through F are nonreductive views where subjective experiences are considered as entities irreducible in nature, which involves expansion or reconception of a physical ontology.  (A) Type-A materialists (Dennett, 1991; Dretske, 1995; Harman, 1990) deny psycho-physical or explanatory gap. Eliminativism (SE does not exist), analytic functionalism (explaining the functions explains everything), and logical behaviorism fail to explain SE.  (B) Type-B materialists (Block & Stalnaker, 1999; Hill, 1997; Levine, 1983; Loar, 1997; Perry, 2001; Tye, 1995) accept conceptual/epistemic gap, but deny the empirical/ontological gap. They identify SE with certain physical or functional states, but it is not clear from where such SE came into existence.  (C) Type-C materialists (Churchland, 2003; Crick & Koch, 2003; Edelman, 1993, 2003; Hamker, 2004; Koch, 2004; Nagel, 1974; Tononi, 2004; Van Gulick, 2001) accept the deep epistemic gap, but hold that it will eventually be closed by further research. Since this is an unstable view, it will collapse into a version of type-A materialism, type-B materialism, type-D dualism, or type-F monism.  (D) Type-D dualists or interaction-dualists (Beck & Eccles, 1992; Foster, 1991; Hodgson, 2005; Popper & Eccles, 1977) deny the causal closure of the microphysical, and hold that physical states cause phenomenal states, and phenomenal states cause physical states. This view avoids the ‘combination problem’ of type-F view.  Consciousness is an irreducible entity; physical and mental entities are distinct (substance-dualism); and there is downward causation of the mental on the microphysical.  (E) Type-E dualists or epiphenomenalistic dualists (Jackson, 1982) accept the causal closure of the microphysical, and hold that phenomenal properties play no causal role in affecting the physical world. There is no downward causation of the mental on the microphysical.  Physical states cause phenomenal states, but not vice versa.  Consciousness is an irreducible entity; and physical and mental entities are distinct.  (F) Type-F monists or panprotopsychists (Chalmers, 1996; Griffin, 1998; Lockwood, 1989; Russell, 1927; Stoljar, 2001; Strawson, 2000; Whitehead, 1978) accept the causal closure of the microphysical network, but hold that phenomenal or protophenomenal properties are integrated with it and are located at the fundamental level of physical reality. Type-F appears to have property-dualism and substance-monism.[3]  In addition, consciousness is constituted by the intrinsic properties of fundamental physical entities, and it plays a causal role.  Here, it is postulated that macro-psychophysical laws (connecting physical and phenomenal properties) evolved from micro-psychophysical laws (connecting micro-physical and proto-phenomenal properties).  Our view is close to Type F proto-panpsychism (with property-dualism and substance-monism), where we assume that all types of SEs are superimposed in elementary particles such as strings or electrons and photons. This is because SEs are non-reductive fundamental entities.  More appropriate term may be ‘non-reductive physicalism’ for the PE-SE framework.[4] 



Our goals are (i) to introduce proto-experiences (PEs), and (ii) to investigate if PEs co-evolved and co-developed with matter (mass, charge, and space-time) into subjective experiences (SEs) and associated neural-nets.






: We define elemental proto-experiences (PEs) as the properties of elementary particles and their interactions.[5]  Elemental-PEs are composed of all types of subjective experiences (SEs) that are in superimposed form in elementary particles (strings, or fermions and bosons) and in their interactions.[6]  Therefore, elementary particles are not specific to any SE and hence appear as non-experiential material entities as have been in physics. This misleadingly leads to explanatory gap. We are simply introducing elemental PEs without disturbing physics. Thus, no physical laws are violated and business is as usual for physics. Introduction of PEs has an advantage of explaining consciousness and eliminating explanatory gap in complementary way. All physical models remain as they are except consciousness related models are complemented and mystery of emergence is addressed. This is the PE-SE framework.  



Is attraction/repulsion between charges elemental-PE? We have included elemental interactions in the definition of elemental-PEs, i.e., all SEs are in superimposed state in elementary particles and in their interaction.  We have also stated that because of superposition elementary particles behave as non-experiential material entities. However, one wonders if the statement ‘a negative charge experiences attraction towards a positive charge’ has anything to do with elemental-PEs.[7]  Similarly, one could ask if the four fundamental interactions (gravitation, electromagnetism, weak, and strong) have mind-like property, i.e., whether elemental-PEs can be expressed or latent and hence cannot be expressed.  If these queries are affirmative, we have introduced experiential entities in elementary particles in terms of characteristics of elemental interactions, which are already present in physics.  In other words, one could argue that one could simply interpret these properties of interaction also as elemental-PEs that have primitive proto-experiences with property-dualism and substance-monism.



Critique: One could argue that there is no shred of evidence for “what it’s like” to being an electron being “attracted” to (say) a single proton; the terms ‘experience’ , ‘attraction’, and ‘repulsion’ in interaction between charges are simply anthropomorphic terms and have nothing to do with elemental-PEs.  However, it is unclear what else electron could “feel” towards proton other than a force of attraction. One could argue that electrons do not have subjective experiences, but they behave as if they have experience-like properties in a rudimentary way (e.g., they can react to the flow of information such as a force of attraction or repulsion); this elementary behavior (or whatever that may be) could be considered as elemental-PEs.[8]


PE-SE framework vs. Physicalism
: What way is PE-SE framework different from the Types A-C straightforward or standard physicalistic views (SEs are emerged entities in neural-nets from the interaction of non-experiential physical entities, such as neural signals)?[9]  The difference is that we acknowledge the existence of proto-experiential entities in physics, where the emergence of SE from proto-experiential entities (such as interaction of neural PEs) is lot less ‘brute’ than that from non-experiential matter. 



PE-SE framework vs. Panpsychism: What way is PE-SE framework different from panpsychism (Strawson, 2006)?  The history of panpsychist arguments for ‘experience’ as a fundamental aspect of atomic forces are found as far back as Empedocles, and recur in the thinking of Lotze, Priestley, Haeckel, and Troland.  However, it is not clear whether their meaning of ‘experience’ was subjective experience or proto-experience.  According to (Manjaly, 2007), panpsychism as described by (Strawson, 2006) may lead to elemental substance dualism and causal-interaction problem.  The PE-SE framework has substance-monism and property-dualism at elemental level. All kinds of SEs are in superimposed form in elementary particles and in their interactions. Therefore, entities are not specific to any SE and behave as non-experiential material entities. In other words, all entities are not conscious as assumed in panpsychism. In PE-SE framework, elementary particles are carriers of SEs; they are not even proto-conscious. As the level of co-evolution increases, specificity increases. This implies that at some level, there might be critical specificity for proto-consciousness.  For example, when red light falls on the skin of primitive amoeba-like animal (floating in the ancient sea), it detects it and makes a characteristic wriggle of activity (Humphrey, 2000); one could argue that this primitive creature may have specificity higher than its critical values and may qualify for proto-consciousness.  To have SEs, systems must satisfy essential ingredient of SE, such as wakefulness, attention, re-entry, memory, and neural-net PEs (Vimal, 2008c). In addition, system must develop resonance process (described later) to generate specificity, i.e., we need neural-net for having SEs.



Types of elemental-PEs: What are the proto-experiences, exactly? [10]  (i) We have defined elemental-PEs are all types of SEs superimposed in elementary particles and their interaction.  Furthermore, if the arguments of Section 2.1.2 and 2.1.3 are affirmative, then one could also argue for the following additional elemental-PEs:[11],[12],[13]   (ii) attraction, (iii) repulsion, and (iv) possibly energy (E = h = hc/= mc2) that may have information related to PEs.[14] 




Subjective experiences

A major question is how do non-specific proto-experiences leads to specific subjective experience and/or how do SEs emerge from neural signal interactions related to PEs?  This is addressed in this Section and the following Section ‘Co-evolution & co-development of brain and mind’.


Neural-PE, neural-net PEs, and subjective experiences
: At every level of evolution, a relevant physical entity has its associated PEs: from elemental PEs to neural-net PEs.  For example, one possible source of PE in brain might be the proto-experience of ions that rush across neural-membrane during spike-generation (including activity in astroglial cells and metabolic energization), which can be called neural-PE.[15] According to (Freitas da Rocha, Pereira, & Bezerra Coutinho, 2001), coherence between feedforward incoming and reentrant feedback signals seems to be a necessary for consciousness as a ‘conflict-solving process’.  For this, contributing factors are (a) reticular activating system, (b) local electrical synchronization, (c) chemical modulation at the synapse, and (d) the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) mechanism involving Mg++, glutamate, and Ca++.  The latter two factors (c) and (d), GABA-mechanism, classical Na+/K+/Cl- system, possibly  astroglial cells and metabolic energization of the brain (Lewis & MacGregor, 2006; MacGregor, 2006a, 2006b), and calcium ions (trapped in astrocytes by a static electric field) interacting with neural electric fields (Pereira Jr., 2007a) contribute to the substrate for neural-PEs.[16]


Signals related to neural-PEs interact in a neural-net and neural-net PEs emerge, which are then embedded in the neural-net during co-development.  The process of embedding involves genetic disposition, co-development of neural-net and its associated PEs, sensorimotor co-tuning with external stimuli, re-entry (repeated entry of signals in neural-net to form traces for embedding PEs), assignment, and selection of SE.  To spell out literally how neural-net PEs can be embedded in a neural net, we take an example of color.  We assume that co-evolution processes[17] have already co-evolved elemental proto-experiences and matter (mass, charge, and space-time) into genetic proto-experiences and genes, respectively.[18]


Genetic disposition
:  Red-green color is X-chromosome linked (Pokorny, Smith, Verriest, & Pinckers, 1979).  If both parents have normal trichromatic color vision, then children will have normal color vision.  If both parents are protanopes (red-green color blindness: inability to see the color red or to distinguish red and bluish-green) then children will be protanopes (assuming both X-chromosomes of mother are abnormal).  If the father is protanope and the mother has normal color vision, then a chance of daughters being protanopes is 50%.  If the father has normal color vision and the mother is protanope then sons will be protanopes and a chance of daughters being protanopes is 50% (assuming both X-chromosomes of mother are abnormal).  Thus, genetic disposition makes a significant difference. 


For the co-development of neural-net and its PEs before birth, the ‘epigenetic landscape’ model of embryonic development (Waddington, 1940) using chaos theory can be used by appropriately recognizing the various factors (Bruzzo & Vimal, 2007).  For example, the initial conditions of chaos theory could be genetic disposition described above because little change in initial conditions has significant effects.  The ‘attractors’ are the same as in embryonic development in addition to embryonic neural-net proto-experiences.  This will yield development of retinal rods and cones, retinal cells, lateral geniculate nuclei, and visual cortical areas and their connections.  However, they still need to be co-developed significantly after birth.  The developmental process starts when an egg and a sperm meet (reproduction process) and continues for a few months postnatal.  In fetus, before birth and after brain is formed, one could say that visual cortical cells have visual proto-experiences and auditory neural-nets have auditory proto-experiences.



After birth, the co-development of neural-net and its associated PEs is achieved via sensorimotor co-tuning with external stimuli.  In this process, re-entry process plays important role, which is a repeated entry of signals in neural-net to form traces for embedding PEs.  If any of these processes is disturbed, abnormality occurs.  For example, if new born is blind-folded and hence does not receive visual stimuli, then development of visual system will be abnormal (Wiesel & Hubel, 1963). According to (Sur, Garraghty, & Roe, 1988), “functional visual projections can be routed into nonvisual structures in higher mammals, suggesting that the modality of a sensory thalamic nucleus or cortical area may be specified by its inputs during development”.  Striking reorganization of orientation maps in early life was induced by orientation-restricted continuous visual exposure (Tanaka, Ribot, Imamura, & Tani, 2006). Normal red-green genetic information and normal sensorimotor interaction with red-green stimuli will set up appropriate red-green color neural-net that will have all red-green color SEs (such as redness, greenness, and all the intermediate just-noticeable-differences) embedded in it.  When long wavelength light keeps on stimulating the visual area V4/V8 color neural-net repeatedly from birth to its critical period, SE redness will emerge in it due to re-entrant interactions between feed forward and feedback signals.  This is because neural signals are proto-experiential signals in the PE-SE framework.  [The lesion in the fusiform gyrus (where V4 is located) leads to achromatopsia (Zeki, 1990). V1/V4 may serve as the bridge locus for color qualia (Beeckmans, 2004). V4/V8 neural-net includes all those area that are involved in color SEs including Self-related areas (Northoff et al., 2006).]  Each-stimulation leaves a trace of a specific neural-net PE in the neural-net in terms of memory; this memory trace is potentiated by repeated stimulation.  This is consistent with the self-organization[19] of neural-nets: “the organic structure of the [connection] matrix [of the brain] facilitates particular patterns of energy flow, which in turn affect the subsequent development of the matrix” (Schwalbe, 1991).  According to (Arendt, 2005), “life-long self-optimization process, epigenetic information remodels the cognitive, behavioral and emotional reactivity of an individual to meet the environmental demands.”  Genetic programs the basic wiring pattern of the brain, whereas the experience does the fine tuning throughout life (Post & Weiss, 1997).  According to McCrone, “The tip of an individual dendrite may swell to expose new synapses, physically strengthening a connection. Or a neuron might sprout extra dendrites. Or whole new neurons might be brought in to swell the pathway. The number of ways of tuning the connection between two brain cells – of wiring in a memory – runs into the dozens, probably even the hundreds. The result of all this careful tuning is a neural landscape sculpted by its experiences” (from the development of brain: http://www.dichotomistic.com/mind_page_two.html).  Self-organization process specifies neuronal interconnections and continuously reshapes the brain using the epigenetic information obtained from microenvironment (such as biochemical signals generated by local neurons and glial cells) during early development and sensory experiences during late development and post-development or adulthood (Arendt, 2001, 2005; Chapman, 2000).  Although we do not precisely know how, but since brain is non-linear dynamic system, somehow SEs emerge in neural-nets, which are then embedded in it as neural-net PEs (or latent SEs).[20]  The embedding process may itself be chaotic memory consolidation process (Abraham, 1995) with neural-net PEs being chaotic attractors.[21]  According to (Sugita, 2004), “Experience in early infancy is indispensable for color perception”.  Before critical period of color vision, new born may be unable to discriminate color well.  Four-week-old infants responded only marginally to moving red/green gratings, but 9-week-old infants and adults responded well (Teller & Palmer, 1996).  Two-month-old infants have some form of color vision (Peeles & Teller, 1975).  The color vision of three-month-old infants is based on hue and/or saturation, rather than brightness (Teller, Civan, & Bronson-Castain, 2004).  Covariance channels for color and luminance are interdependent in infants (4-6 months old), whereas they are independent in adults (Peterzell, Chang, & Teller, 2000).  The tuning functions co-develop after birth by interaction with external stimuli to matured level when adulthood is reached.  For example, the spatial frequency tuning functions of red-green mechanisms for 11 year old boy were broader than for adults (Pandey & Vimal, 1993; Vimal, 1998a, 2002a). A model of activity-dependent self-organization of geniculo-cortical inputs, the exposure to drifting gratings results in orientation tuning (Tanaka, Miyashita, & Ribot, 2004).  Since a SE and its associated neural-net are the result of co-development, both may influence each other.  For example, synaptic weights may change during co-development depending on the subjective experience of stimuli leading to the above tuned mechanisms.  The process described above can be called calibration process.[22]



Specificity: An elemental PE is non-specific in the sense that it does not represent any specific SE because all types of SEs are superimposed in elementary particles, i.e., elemental PE involves all SEs in superimposed form.  The specificity of PE increases as it co-evolves to higher level.  For example, genetic-PE will have higher specificity than elemental-PE but will have lower specificity than neural-net-PE.  Specificity is zero for elemental-PEs because they involve all SEs, whereas specificity is 1 for unique hues such as yellowness (neither red nor green) because it is not in other SEs.  A bacterium has bacterium-PEs with specificity higher than that of elemental-PEs, but it may not have SEs if it does not satisfy the above essential criteria for SEs (even if it has Orch OR). We need to investigate if jellyfish, worms, turtles, and squids can satisfy the criteria for SEs; we know humans (and primates) can. Specificity increases from genome to the development of SE.  Thus, the non-specificity of proto-experiences develops into the specificity of SEs. 



Assignment of a SE: The external objects that reflect long-wavelength lights evoke subjective experience (SE) redness in normal trichromats.  One could ask how and why the subjective experience redness (not blueness or greenness) was assigned to long wavelength lights.  The dynamics of brain’s self-organization suggests, “cyclical process of emergent goal seeking, refference and sensory feedback constitute the basis for a subject consciousness” (Turbes, 1993). According to chaos theory, a self-organizing system, such as brain, is an open system, which is intimately connected with its environment; it can create novel structures and new modes of behavior (Bruzzo & Vimal, 2007).  Therefore, complex SEs (such as redness) might have been created by the self-organization process of brain to cope with its environment during co-evolution.[23]  In addition, the resonance process (Section 4.2) might also have contributed in the optimum assignment of SE during co-development.  Sensory quality or SE is largely internal, covert and private; it appeared only after natural selection shaped it.  For example, one could make statement: “In the past my ancestors evolved to feel red this way because feeling it this way gave them a real biological advantage” (Humphrey, 1992; Humphrey, 2000).  In other words, during co-evolution of SE, many SEs might have been tried by random or chaotic processes. The hypothesis that SEs are useful in obtaining summary of all information related to a physical event is consistent with (Koch & Tsuchiya, 2007).  However, the assignment of a specific SE to a specific stimulus might be via adaptation and natural selection.  That is, SE redness might have been randomly selected and Nature must have found it very useful to assign it to long wavelength reflecting objects by adaptation and natural selection.  Our ancestors must have tried all possible combinations.  The redness for red was assigned because this fitted the best.  Red object such as color of blood is very important for survival; it is the brightest of equiluminant colors.  Therefore, Nature via natural selection and adaptation selected redness experience for those objects that reflect long wavelength lights.  Blueness or other SEs for these objects would not fit the best; SE redness for them was the best fit, therefore this selection survived (‘fittest survive’).  That is, the subjective experience redness must have been selected for the state of relevant neural net responding to the objects reflecting long wavelength lights because it was the best fit in view of the adaptation and natural selection processes of evolution.  The assignment of SE blueness (or other remaining color SEs) to long wavelength light was selected out because it was not the best fit.  Furthermore, the emergence of any entity, by any process, must have its existence before random process acts on, which is consistent with our fundamental postulate that all types of SEs are in superimposed form in all elementary particles.  One could argue that SE co-evolved with its neural correlate from intrinsic elemental-PEs and matter, respectively.  Many SEs might have appeared during co-evolution for assignment by random process.  That is, many SEs for red objects might have appeared but the current SE redness of red must had fitted the best in trichromats, which was most useful in daily life.  The SE redness for dichromats might be different from that for trichromats.  You have to be protanopic if you want to experience protanope’s subjective experiences, such as protanope’s redness. [24]



Selection process: A specific subjective experience, for example, redness is selected out of embedded neural-net color PEs in visual V4/V8-red-green-neural-net when a long wavelength light is presented to our visual system.  In other words, neural-net-PEs are a set of SEs embedded (and stored as memory traces) in neural-nets in latent or covert form.  Thus, the selection process could simply be accomplished classically by the signal due to external stimulus, which is capable of activating the related embedded memory trace (i.e., the specific neural-net PE) in the relevant neural-net as the specific SE, i.e., selection by the resonance process (Section 4.2).  Alternatively, orchestrated objective reduction model (Hameroff & Penrose, 1998), based on quantum coherence in dendritic microtubule-network (Engel et al., 2007), can also be used for the selection of the specific SE out of many neural-net PEs (embedded in microtubule-network) by collapsing many states (or PEs) into a specific one (SE) depending on the stimulus. The neural-net-PEs embedded in neural-nets can be considered as neural-correlates of Penrose Platonic values encoded in fundamental space-time geometry (Hameroff, 2007),[25] however, this mechanism is not clear.  Similarly, when signals related to neural-PEs travel along the auditory pathway and interact in auditory neural-net, auditory SEs emerge.  Thus, the emergence of a specific SE depends on the context, stimuli, and the specific neural-net.





Co-evolution & co-development of brain and mind


Our hypothesis implies that non-experiential matter (mass, charge, and space-time) and related elemental proto-experiences (PEs) co-evolved and co-developed, leading to neural-nets and associated PEs, respectively.  Had there been no co-development of mind and brain, we would have some proto-experiences but we would not have subjective experiences. This is further investigated in (MacGregor & Vimal, 2008).

There are apparent problems related to the ‘co-evolution and co-development of mind and brain’ and Type-F monism, such as ‘combination problem’, the ‘unconscious mentality problem’, the ‘completeness problem’, the ‘no sign problem’, and the ‘not-mental problem’ (Seager, 1995).



Combination or generation problem:  The ‘co-evolution and co-development of mind and brain’ hypothesis addresses the ‘combination or generation problem’: “how low-level proto-experiential and other properties somehow together constitute our complex unified conscious experiences” (Chalmers, 1997; Seager, 1995).  In other words, the puzzling question is how a specific SE emerges from the interaction of less specific neural-PEs.[26]  To address this, let us take again an example of color.  Our framework suggests that the ‘V4/V8 red-green (R-G) neural-net’ and associated color neural-net-PEs co-evolved, co-developed and co-tuned with environment from its constituent physical entities and their proto-experiences.  When this neural net is activated (i.e., when the net is awake, re-entrant, attentive, and has working memory) by a long wavelength light, the neural-net has the subjective experience redness, which is selected from the latent subjective experiences (or ‘neural-net PEs’)[27] of the net.  When the neural net is not active then we consider that subjective experiences are latent in it.  For example, when ‘V4/V8 R-G neural-net’ is not activated, the subjective experiences of colors such as redness to greenness are in latent or covert form, which is called ‘neural-net PEs’.  Thus, the combination problem is addressed with the limitation of mysterious emergence of SEs. 



Resonance process: This ‘mysterious emergence of SEs’ can be unpacked a little bit: SEs arise/emerge because of the resonance process. Embedding process and selection process (Section 3) involves resonance mechanism for generating specificity: SEs superimposed in ionic/electronic neural-PEs resonate with that in stimuli.  In other words, the specificity for SE can be addressed using the concept of ‘resonance’.  Each SE has a signature in terms of experiential resonance frequency (se).  Both embedding process during co-development and selection process involve resonance mechanism: SEs superimposed in ionic/electronic neural-PEs resonate with stimuli (a) to create specific memory traces in neural-net during co-developmental sensorimotor tuning for the embedding process and (b) to select a specific SE from the embedded neural-net PEs for the selection process.  For example, the resonance frequency (redness) related to the SE redness that is superimposed in the V4/V8-neural-net signals need to match with the frequency related to redness that is superimposed in long wavelength light say 650 nm (650nm,redness).  In other words, the superimposed SEs in ionic neural-signals in the V4/V8-neural-net resonate with that in 650 nm light and the result is the ‘emergence’ of  SE redness in V4/V8-neural-net.


As mentioned before, in PE-SE framework, SEs are superimposed in all elementary entities/particles (strings, or fermions such as electron and bosons such as photon) as elemental-PEs. This entails that external objects also have superimposed SEs in their PEs. In other words, photons have superimposed SEs in their PEs; however, 650 nm light may have higher specificity because less number of SEs may be superimposed in it, such redness and nearby color SEs but not SEs related to blueness, taste, olfaction, somatosensory and so on. This makes resonance process simpler. In addition, ‘red-color’ that is the property of object (Byrne & Hilbert, 2003) may also play role in resonance process for generating specific color related SEs, such as redness.  This view is sympathetic to radical externalism (Honderich, 2006) and sensory-motor account of vision (‘seeing is a way of acting’)(O’Regan & Noë, 2001).


Since online resonance process may be time consuming whereas one can have access (reportable) awareness in the range of 75-500 msec depending on the complexity of scene (Beeckmans, 2007), it is hypothesized that some of specific SEs for specific neural-net states might have been stored (for having SE faster) in the respective neural-nets via resonance process during co-development and sensorimotor tuning.


Resonance process is consistent with the hypothesis that when Jackson’s Mary (Carruthers & Veillet, 2007; Jackson, 1986), although expert in color vision, did not have SE of redness when she was in her black-white room; however, when she leaves the room and interacts with red color objects she will have SE of redness.


Alternatively, a hypothesis in the neural-based PE-SE framework is that (i) there exist a virtual reservoir[28] that stores all possible SEs, (ii) the interaction of stimulus dependent feed-forward and feedback signals in a neural-net creates a specific neural-net state, (iii) this specific state is assigned to a specific SE from the virtual reservoir during development and sensorimotor tuning by the evolutionary process of adaptation and natural selection, (iv) this specific SE is embedded as a memory trace of neural-net-PE, and (v) when a specific stimulus, such as long wavelength light, is presented to the neural-net, the associated specific SE, such as redness, is selected by the selection process and experienced by the neural-net.  This hypothesis implicitly related to resonance process and needs further research.



Unconscious mentality problem: There is a huge gap between atomic proto-experiences and neural-net proto-experiences.  The ‘co-evolution and co-development of mind and brain’ hypothesis fills this gap and addresses the ‘unconscious mentality problem’: “accepting the mentality of the elemental units of mind while denying that they are actually conscious experiences” (Seager, 1995).  This is because they (inert material entities) are actually carriers of SEs (i.e., proto-experiences) at elementary level, not conscious subjective experiences.  This may sound like the problem related to panpsychism.  However, it is not the case in its strict form because ‘an entity has proto-experience’ does not mean ‘it has subjective experience’ as we have.  Subjective experience may not even be present in lower forms of life that do not have its essential ingredients such as wakefulness, re-entry, attention, and memory signals.  Therefore, not every entity is consciousness (has SEs or first person experiences).  For our framework, a term closest to panpsychism may be ‘panprotopsychism’ (Chalmers, 2003).  Mind in inert system can be thought of as some kind of field-like or wave-like entity, which is the carrier of SEs in unexpressed form.



Other problems:  As in (Seager, 1995), the remaining three problems are addressed as follow.  The ‘completeness problem’ is that the inert system should also show sometime causal power of proto-experiences, which is not the case; this leads to incompleteness of physical picture of world.  The ‘no sign problem’ is, “there is no evidence whatsoever of a nonphysical dimension to the elemental units of nature” and there is no ‘sign’ of mentality in the basic features of the world.  The ‘not-mental problem’ is “if there was some feature of these units we chose to label as ‘mental’, what possible ground could one provide to justify this label” (Seager, 1995).  To address these problems, it would be suffice to say that we are proposing proto-experiences (not conscious experiences) at elementary level and inert matter is the carrier of SEs, as defined in Section 2.  Furthermore, it would be helpful to think how the material aspect (such as atom, molecule, protein, genes, amoeba, cell, neural-net, brain) of an entity evolved; whatever algorithm one comes up, it should be the same or similar for the ‘mental’ aspect of that entity.  


One could argue that proto-experiences seem to be epiphenomena at elemental level.  However, proto-experiences defined as the property of interaction could also be considered as alternative useful interpretation of events that physically occur.  After co-evolution and co-development, subjective experiences can also be similarly considered as alternative useful interpretation of physical events, such as a summary of all information related to a physical event (see also (Koch & Tsuchiya, 2007) for ‘summarizing all information’ as one of the functions of consciousness).


Moreover, it does not appear that physics needs to be modified/extended (business as usual), except to note that elemental-PEs were already inherent in physics.  Elemental-PEs are defined to be ‘all types of SEs in superimposed form’ in elementary particles and their interactions.  In addition, this definition avoids the problem of causation at elemental or any higher level because our framework is in within the scope of physicalism (Strawson, 2006).[29] 



Further justification: The PE-SE framework is somewhat consistent with Chalmers’ view (Chalmers, 1996): Experience is somehow fundamental to nature, such as proto-experience associated with every physical process. This would “make a theory particularly elegant and simple, and it may also help integrate experience inside the causal order, rather than having it dangle outside as a sort of epiphenomenon”(Chalmers, 1996).  It does not suggest that “electrons are having deep thoughts about the protons they're revolving around!”  It is “just some sort of very simple, primitive analog of experience” at elemental level (Chalmers, 1996).  Strawson also suggests that PEs should be included in physics to address mind-body problem (such as explanatory gap) and to be a real physicalist (Strawson, 2006), but see (Nagasawa, 2006).  


In PE-SE framework, it is not clear that classical (not Australian) zombies[30] (Chalmers, 1996; Strawson, 2006) and robots are evolved to have PEs in their neural-nets as in humans.  Therefore, they may not have SEs even if they are equipped with signals for wakefulness, re-entry, attention, and memory.  Under deep anesthesia or deep sleep, we do not have signals for wakefulness and attention; therefore, we do not have SEs even though our neural-nets have signals related to re-entry, memory, and PEs.



How elemental-PEs precisely evolved and developed into human-SEs (without ‘brute emergence’ (Strawson, 2006)) still needs to be addressed satisfactorily to have any significant impact.  However, this is beyond the scope of this article (see (MacGregor & Vimal, 2008) for further extension), except to note that one may usefully follow very closely with how matter evolved and developed into human neural-nets, and observe what has emerged at each step of evolution.  In other words, we need to consider the co-evolution of matter and associated PEs carefully, for example, into respective genes and associated genetic-PEs, and then their co-development (including co-calibration and co-tuning with external stimuli) into respective neural-nets and associated neural-net-PEs.[31]  Once this is achieved, then other ingredients of awareness (such as wakefulness, re-entry, attention, and memory) are needed for the emergence of a specific SE in the associated specific neural-net.  


To unpack a little bit, let us consider the following scenario: Positive and negative ionic charges play major role in spike-generation.  For example, sodium ions with positive charge, potassium ions with positive charge, and chlorine ions with negative charge that are mostly involved during the generation of action potential (spikes).  These spike-signal (i.e., signal related to neural-PE) then travels from one neuron to another and interacts with other similar signals in a neural-net during re-entry, attention, and memory processes needed for SEs to emerge.  Consider a hypothesis: photopigment-genes and associated genetic-PEs leads to the formation of cones and rods and associated receptor-PEs, respectively; other relevant genes and associated genetic-PEs leads to the formation of retina, lateral geniculate nucleus, visual areas V1, V2, V4/V8 and respective associated PEs.  The PE of a neuron (neural-PE) is the PE that emerged during interaction of ions in spike-generation,[32] and has specificity higher than elemental-PEs.  These neural-PEs interact with each other in a neural-net leading to neural-net PEs by sensorimotor interactions during co-development, co-calibration, and co-tuning with external stimuli. The specificity of neural-net PE is higher than that of neural-PE.  When signals related to re-entry, attention, and memory processes interact with signals related to stimuli, a specific SE is selected from neural-net PEs (as discussed in Section 4.2). This selection (or resonance) process leads to the highest specificity.  For example, the V4/V8-neural-net-PEs related to Red-Green channel may consist of a set of redness-greenness color SEs.  When a long-wavelength light stimulus is presented to an awake and attentive visual system, a specific SE redness is selected from this set of colors.  One could say that the V4/V8-neural-net related to Red-Green channel is the experiencer of SE redness.


The major problem is how neural-net PEs emerge in the above complex sensorimotor interactions of neural PEs during co-development, co-calibration, and co-tuning with external stimuli.  Neural PE seems to be ionic (elemental) PEs such as PEs related to a large number of sodium, potassium, and chlorine ions that rush across cell membrane during the surge of ions to generate action potential (spikes).  One could try explaining neural-net-PEs or SEs by employing procedures such as the method of combining neural-PEs or the method that uses the principle of emergence in respective neural-nets.  For example, simple SEs such as in thought processing, touch, motion, pain, and various climaxes may be explained using some types of combination of neural-PEs.  However, complex cardinal SEs such as redness, greenness, and blueness certainly need the principle of emergence because it is not clear that any combination of neural-PEs will result such SEs.[33]  In any case, this emergence may be the optimized solution of the mind-brain problem because it will be less ‘brute emergence’ than that from non-experiential matter.  Further investigation is needed.







The PE-SE framework complements the existing models of awareness.  For example, visual awareness is assumed to emerge in the visual neural-net of thalamocortical system (that includes dorsal and ventral visual pathways and frontal cortex) due to dynamic interactions among widely distributed neuronal groups (Edelman, 2003).  In the PE-SE framework, the essential ingredients for access awareness (that is reportable, accessible to a subject's reasoning and belief system) include (i) wakefulness, (ii) reentrant interactions among neural populations, (iii) fronto-parietal and thalamic-reticular-nucleus attentional signals that modulate awareness, (iv) memory that retains information for awareness, and (v) neural-net PEs (a set of SEs embedded in a neural-net) (Vimal, 2008c).  Attention and the ability to report are not necessary for phenomenal awareness (Block, 2005; Lamme, 2003). (Block, 1995)’s access consciousness is equivalent to consciousness of consolidated concepts, and his phenomenal consciousness with phenomenal experience (Beeckmans, 2004). The neural source for the arousal system is the ascending reticular activating system in the brain stem, which brings the thalamocortical neural nets to wakeful state as a baseline for awareness to occur (Siegel, 2004).  Reentrant interactions among neural populations bind stimulus attributes (such as location and features) and entail awareness (Edelman, 2003; Hamker, 2004).  Attention could be the results of reentry and competitive interactions (Hamker, 2004) and modulates the stimulus related feed forward signal and awareness.  We hypothesize that neural-net and related SEs are the results of the co-evolution and co-development of matter (mass, charge, and space-time) and related elemental PEs (properties of elementary particles and their interactions), respectively.  Our hypothesis adds another ingredient in a complementary manner: the existence of PEs for generating SEs.



The PE-SE framework bridges the explanatory gaps and explains Self (Bruzzo & Vimal, 2007).  There could be three types of explanatory gaps, namely the gap between (i) subjective experience (SE) of object and the object of SE, (ii) SE and the subject of SE, and (iii) subject and object, where the term ‘object’ means internal representation of object (or associated neural correlates).  The first gap is the famous Levine’s explanatory gap (Levine, 1983): the gap between what we believe subjectively about our qualitative experiences (i.e. SE), and scientific descriptions (i.e., internal representation or associated neural correlates) of those experiences.  The hypothesis is that SE, its subject, and its object are the same neural activity in a neural-net, where a neural activity is a proto-experiential entity in our framework.  In this context, neural-net also includes self-related brain areas (Northoff, 2007a; Northoff et al., 2006).  This is true because re-entry binds all the neural signals of areas specialized for a particular attribute, such as visual areas V4/V8 for color, V5 for motion, and cortical midline structures[34] for Self.  In re-entrant framework (Edelman, 1993, 2003; Hamker, 2004; Tononi, 2004), signals re-enter repeatedly in a neural-net and bind all the features. We are referring this re-entrant signal related to the triad (subject, object, and their SEs) being the same neural activity.  These gaps are actually closed if the above hypothesis is not rejected; this triad appears distinct in our daily lives, but it is a sort of illusion because internally they are same neural-activity.  When information related to ‘subject experiencing objects’ projected (perceptually) outside (Lehar, 2003; Velmans, 2007), objects appear in three-dimension with respect to reference subject (self).  Alternatively, one could argue that the internal reality of the triad being the same neural-activity in a neural-net is an illusion with respect to the external reality of the triad being distinct (and vice-versa).  Moreover, the subjective experience of objects could be (a) phenomenal awareness that is mostly related to feed forward stimulus dependent processing in primary and association sensory cortical areas and sub-cortical areas, where attention is not necessary, or (b) access (reportable) awareness where fronto-parietal attentional feedback is needed to interact with feed forward stimulus dependent signals.


The subjective experience of subject is Self (I-ness), which can operate in 3 levels hierarchically or in parallel depending of various conditions:  (i) proto, bodily, or physical  self is related to sensory processing in sensory cortical and sub-cortical activations, (ii) core, minimal, or mental self is related to self-referential processing in cortical midline structures via deactivation, and (iii) autobiographical, emotional, spatial, verbal, narrative, or spiritual self is related to higher order processing in lateral (ventrolateral PFC: VLPFC, dorsolateral PFC: DLPFC) cortical activations (Northoff, 2007a; Northoff et al., 2006).  Self-awareness may be related to the higher order processing; self-referential processing is only conscious processing whereas self-related processing includes both unconscious and conscious processing of stimuli in relation to the self; unconscious processing of self-related stimuli (implicit self) may involve subcortical and anterior cortical midline area such as VMPFC and the OMPFC (Northoff, 2007a). Since areas of all levels interact with each other, self encompasses different levels of self-related processing and is associated with the equilibrium within the whole embodied brain that is embedded in the environment (Northoff, 2007a).  Furthermore, SE cannot be objectively measured; it requires subjective research; however, the relative effect of SEs, such as that in color discrimination, can be measured objectively.



The PE-SE framework contributes in the minimizing the problem of causation. Since elemental PEs are the properties of elementary particles and their interactions that are the building blocks of material universe, PEs influence some of the forces in physics, i.e., the cause-effect phenomenon, in our PE-SE framework, is bi-directional (PE matter). This minimizes the problem of causation.[35]



Integration of reductive and non-reductive views:  In reductive views, all phenomena can be reduced to the characteristics of elementary particles. However, before the introduction of PE-SE framework, elementary particles are considered as non-experiential material entities. That is why explanatory gap appeared. In PE-SE framework, all elementary particles (strings, or fermions and bosons) are considered to have all kinds of SEs in superimposed form. Although they are carriers of SEs and behave like non-experiential material entities, all phenomena including mental entities can be reduced to physics. Since SEs are also consistent with non-reductive views, both reductive and no-reductive views can be integrated (Vimal, 2008b).



Extension of the PE-SE framework: As commented by MacGregor, this article “opens up two major areas for future development combining theoretical and scientific scrutiny building jointly in physics, neurobiology, and brain-mind theory: (i) the evolution / development of consciousness in terms of PE-SE complexes in terms of physics, molecular biology, and brain physiology to match off against both various life forms and the human brain, and (ii) the place of PE-SE complexes as associated with interactive causation in these structures and processes in the human brain.”  A part of this has been accomplished in (MacGregor & Vimal, 2008).


Furthermore, one could argue that instead of assuming all kinds of SEs superimposed at elemental level, assume all (or some) types of SEs superimposed at neural-net level.  For example, (i) Orch-OR model assumes all types of SEs as Platonic values embedded in spacetime geometry (Hameroff, 1998b), (ii) assume that V4/V8 color related neural-net has all types of color SEs superimposed in it, or (iii) assume that specific SE say redness related V4/V8 neural-net state is assigned to SE redness. In that way, evolution will have less load to co-evolve from elemental level.  This is interesting idea and needs further research; however, it is closer to dualism, which has the problem of association or mind-brain relationship problem.  This is also an explanatory gap because it needs explanation in dualistic framework.  Thus, so far, the PE-SE framework appears to be the optimized solution.[36]  However, one could argue that the dual-aspect of elementary particles (strings or fermions and bosons) puts heavy burden on evolution because matter has to be carrier of SEs over billions of years until neural-nets emerged to be capable of having SEs in expressed form. But, one could also argue that inert matter being a carrier of SEs is in analogy to DNA being a carrier of inheritance/genetic information. Therefore, even though it is not an efficient mechanism, it may be a realistic one. Furthermore, it would be nice if a mechanism can be discovered, which can produce PEs or SEs whenever and wherever needed and also address the explanatory gaps.



Conceptual analysis:  A conceptual analysis is provided for the PE-SE framework using analytical philosophy.[37]  Let us take a simple specific example of explanatory gap.

      (I)   We have color related subjective experience (SE) ‘redness’.

      (II)  We have redness related V4/V8-neural-net that includes self-related areas such as cortical               midline structures.

      (III) Question is how (I) is derived from (II), i.e., how ‘redness’ emerges in its neural-net.


Consider the following premises: (1) is conceptual analysis and (2.1)-(2.8) are scientific explanations.

      (1) Redness is a SE of a ‘red-color’ object and is typically caused in a experiencing normal healthy trichromat when that trichromat looks at a red-color object that reflects long wavelength light.[38]

      (2.1) It is hypothesized that all types of subjective experiences (SEs) are superimposed in elementary particles (strings or fermions such as electrons and bosons such as photons) and their interactions.

      (2.2) Superimposition[39] of all SEs into one entity leads to non-specificity; therefore, electron is non-specific.

      (2.3) The two aspects are material aspect (such as charge, mass, spin) and mental aspect (such as SEs redness, … orangeness, … yellowness, … greenness).

      (2.4) From (2.1)-(2.3), electron is a dual-aspect entity that has material aspect (such as charge, mass, spin) and mental aspect (such as SEs redness, … orangeness, … yellowness, … greenness).[40]

      (2.5) The material aspect and mental aspect co-evolve and co-develop into red-green V4/V8 neural-net and associated color related neural-net PEs (such as redness, … orangeness, … yellowness, … greenness), respectively, that are embedded in that neural-net.[41]

      (2.6) Subjective experience ‘redness’ is selected from the set of color related subjective experiences (redness, … orangeness, … yellowness, … greenness) that are embedded in ‘red-green V4/V8 neural-net’ when long wavelength light is presented to our visual system: call this specific state of ‘red-green V4/V8 neural-net’ as specific ‘redness-related V4/V8 neural-net’ that experiences the specific SE ‘redness’

      (2.7) Embedding process and selection process involves resonance mechanism (Section 4.2) for generating specificity: SEs superimposed in ionic/electronic neural-PEs resonate with stimuli. 

      (2.8) From (2.1)-(2.7), ‘redness-related V4/V8 neural-net’ plays a red-color related role.

      (3) From (1), (2.6)-(2.8), SE ‘redness’ is experienced by ‘redness-related V4/V8 neural-net’.[42]

      (4) From (3) redness related ‘explanatory gap’ is deflated.


If one wants to be limited to classical physics, premises (2.1)-(2.8) can be replaced by classical scientific explanation: (2) ‘Redness-related V4/V8 neural-net’ that embeds ‘redness’ plays a red-color related role.  (3) Hence, ‘Redness-related V4/V8 neural-net’ is neural correlates of SE ‘redness’, i.e., SE ‘redness’ emerges in this net.  For this, the term ‘emerges’ needs to be unpacked as done above in premises (2.1)-(2.8), but then physics needs to be extended.



Summary of hypotheses: The hypotheses of this article are summarized as follows:


(i). Our main hypothesis is that all types of SEs are superimposed in elementary particles such as strings or fermions (e.g., electrons) and bosons (e.g., photons) and their interactions. Therefore, they are not specific to any SE and hence behave as non-experiential material entities. This is misleading because it generates explanatory gap. One could argue that elementary entities such as electrons do not have subjective experiences, but they behave as if they have mind-like or experience-like properties in a rudimentary way; they and inert matter are simply carriers of SEs in the PE-SE framework.[43]


(ii) Non-experiential matter (mass, charge, and space-time) and related elemental proto-experiences (PEs: properties of elemental interactions) co-evolved and co-developed, leading to neural-nets and associated PEs, respectively.


(iii)  SEs are emerged during the interaction of feed-forward and feedback neural-PE signals in neural-nets either by the chaotic process of self-organization (because this process has ability to create novel entities to meet the environmental demands) or by resonance process.  All possible SEs (including cardinal SEs) are stored in a virtual reservoir. See endnotes 28 and 42 for further details.


(iii) Our neural-based PE-SE framework assumes that (a) the interaction of stimulus dependent feed-forward and feedback signals in a neural-net creates a specific neural-net state, (b) this specific state is assigned to a specific SE from the virtual reservoir during development and sensorimotor tuning by the evolutionary process of adaptation and natural selection, (c) this specific SE is embedded as a memory trace of neural-net-PE, and (d) when a specific stimulus, such as long wavelength light, is presented to the neural-net, the associated specific SE, such as redness, is selected using the selection by resonance processes and experienced by the neural-net. 


(iv) The essential ingredients for access awareness (that is reportable, accessible to a subject's reasoning and belief system) include (a) wakefulness, (b) reentrant interactions among neural populations, (c) fronto-parietal and thalamic-reticular-nucleus attentional signals that modulate awareness, (d) memory that retains information for awareness, and (e) neural-net PEs (a set of SEs embedded in a neural-net).  Attention and the ability to report are not necessary for phenomenal awareness.


(v) There are three types of psychophysical gaps, namely the gap between (a) SE and the object of SE (explanatory gap), (b) SE and the subject of SE, and (c) subject and object, where object is internal representation.  The SE, its subject, and its object are the same neural activity in a neural-net, where a neural activity is a proto-experiential entity in our framework. The SE of subject is Self (I-ness).  The PE-SE framework helps in bridging the explanatory gap.[44]



Conclusions:  Our framework consists of four hypotheses (dual-aspect primal entities, co-evolution and co-development of subjective experiences and associated neural-nets from elemental proto-experiences and matter, internal-representation, and sensorimotor interaction) that lead to structural and functional coherence (Chalmers, 1995) between mind and brain.  Since a self-organizing system, such as brain, can create novel structures and new modes of behavior, it can also create complex subjective experiences (such as redness) to cope with its environment during co-evolution.  The adaptation, natural selection (fittest survive), calibration, and resonance processes can assign specific subjective experiences of objects and subject to the associated specific neural-nets via co-developmental processes such as sensorimotor tuning with external stimuli.  When a stimulus is presented to the system, the associated subjective experience is selected from the embedded neural-net proto-experiences.  Our hypothesis (a) contributes in bridging the explanatory gaps because elemental proto-experiences are introduced, and (b) minimizes the problem of causation because our framework is within the scope of physicalism. The PE-SE framework seems to integrate reductive (Types A-C) and non-reductive (Types D-F) views of philosophy, and relevant models in psychology, evolution, neurophysiology, chemistry, and physics. Our framework of neural-net PEs critically challenges existing theoretical perspectives that could significantly alter the directions of future research in the neural basis of awareness.






A part of this work was presented at the conference Quantum Mind 2007 in Salzburg, Austria (Vimal, 2007).  The work was partly supported by VP-Research Foundation Trust and Vision Research Institute research Fund.  Author would like to thank anonymous reviewers, David Chalmers, Ronald J. MacGregor, Adrian Klein, Zoran Josipovic, Lothar Schäfer, Wolfgang Baer, Robert Neil Boyd, Jim Beran, Roulette William Smith, Chris Schriner, Richard Wilson, Alfredo Pereira Jr., Robert Karl Stonjek, Kelvin McQueen, Robert G Kybird, Leon Maurer, John Mikes, Joseph McCard, Ivars Fabriciuss, Vivekanand Pandey Vimal, Shalini Pandey Vimal, Love(Shyam) Pandey Vimal, and Manju-Uma C. Pandey-Vimal for their critical comments, suggestions, and grammatical corrections, and Bjorn Merker and A. Byrne for email correspondence.  A shorter version of the article located at < http://www.geocities.com/rlpvimal/PE-SE-Vimal-Short.pdf >. Other related articles are (Bruzzo & Vimal, 2007; MacGregor & Vimal, 2008; Vimal, 2007, 2008a, 2008b, 2008c; Vimal & Davia, 2008).




Competing interests statement

The author declares that he has no competing financial interests.




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Ram Lakhan Pandey Vimal


Vision Research Institute, 428 Great Road, Suite 11, Acton, MA 01720 USA; Dristi Anusandhana Sansthana, A-60 Umed Park, Sola Road, Ahmedabad-61, Gujrat, India; Dristi Anusandhana Sansthana, c/o NiceTech Computer Education Institute, Pendra, Bilaspur, C.G. 495119, India; and Dristi Anusandhana Sansthana, Sai Niwas, East of Hanuman Mandir, Betiahata, Gorakhpur, U.P. 273001, India


Corresponding address:

Ram Lakhan Pandey Vimal, Ph.D.
Professor (Research)
Vision Research Institute,
428 Great Road, Suite 11, Acton, MA 01720, USA
Ph: +1 978 263 5028; eFAX: +1 440 388 7907
URLs: <http://www.geocities.com/rlpvimal/>; <http://www.geocities.com/vri98/>, <http://www.geocities.com/das00m/>






[1] The term ‘emergence’ implies that a new entity is created during interactions of two or more entities and its property is not present in the interacting entities.  


[2] In general, the term ‘consciousness’ may includes self (subjective or first person experience of subject), subjective experience (SE) of object, processing of SE, thought processing, memory, attention, access and phenomenal awareness, will, qualia, initiation of activities, and/or other cognitive processing.  However, in PE-SE framework, consciousness and SE are interchangeably used. In this article, the terms ‘subjective experience’ (SE) and ‘consciousness’ have same meanings as ‘first person experience’ (1E) has.  They represent the experiential quality of the content of consciousness. Thus, SE is different from the content of SE. It is a puzzling question that a SE associated with a neural-net asks to itself how the same SE is emerged in the same neural-net, i.e., I want to know how myself is emerged in me. Dualism requires mind and matter on equal footing and they are impendent entities, i.e., the system has both substance dualism and property dualism.  Whereas, dual-aspect implies that mind and matter are two aspects of the same entity, i.e., the system has property-dualism and substance-monism as in current PE-SE framework.



[3] Another similar but ancient framework is eastern RigVedic-Buddhist ontology: there are primal entities (Adi-shiva, pure consciousness, unified field, pure information) from which material entities (Prakriti, Brahma) and mental entities (Purusha, Vishnu) are derived, emerged, or evolved.  This is a sort of neutral monism (Stubenberg, 2005).  See (Schäfer, 1997, 2006) for cosmic-consciousness, (Boyd & Klein, 2007) for sub-quantum (SQ) field, (Wallace, 2007) for Buddhist unitary dimension of fundamental reality or primordial consciousness, and (Sarasvati, 1974-89) for RigVeda.


[4]  Email communication with Alfredo Pereira Jr. on October 9, 2007; see also (Pereira Jr., 2007b).


[5] Although, PE is the property of the interaction, but for convenience it can also be considered as a property of the entities that are involved in interaction.  This justifies the statement: ‘We define elemental proto-experiences (PEs) as the properties of elementary particles and their interactions’.


[6] This is because SEs do not appear to be reductive entities and hence they must be intrinsic fundamental entities; we have assumed that they should be considered as mental aspect in the dual-aspect model at elemental level to minimize the problems. According to (MacGregor & Vimal, 2008), “Every individual string corresponds to an individual elementary particle (string, or fermion or boson) and its vibrational mode defines which type of particle it is”.  In addition, all kinds of SEs are superimposed in each elementary particle in PE-SE framework. Therefore, it is hypothesized that all types of SEs are also superimposed in every individual string. In other words, a string may have two aspects: material and mental aspects; its material aspect is embedded in space-time: the four dimensions of string; its mental aspect may be embedded in one or more of the remaining dimensions of string (MacGregor & Vimal, 2008).


[7] The attributes of matter are mass, charge, space-time, and interaction between them.  Some of the definitions of mass are as follows (Anderson, 2005): (i) Inertial mass is defined as ‘the property of matter that resists acceleration’. (ii) Gravitational mass is defined as ‘the property of matter that feels the tug of gravity’.  (iii) Mass of matter comes from ‘the interaction of matter with the quantum vacuum field’ (which ‘is the lowest energy state of space-time and is made of residual electromagnetic vibrations at every point in the universe’) or Higgs field, which pervades the universe.  The two charges repel each other if they are of the same sign and attract each other if they are of the opposite sign.  In these definitions of mass or charge, one could argue that a proto-experience (PE) is the inherent quale such as (a) ‘experience’ when matter experiences during interaction with a field, ‘experience’ of resistance when matter resists during acceleration, or ‘experience’ of tug when matter feels the pull of gravity, or (b) ‘experience’ of repulsion or attraction when charges repel or attract each other.  In other words, PE might be the quality embedded in the interaction (such as interactions involved in electromagnetism, gravitation, and so on).  In sodium chloride (table salt) ionic crystal, each sodium ion experiences a force of attraction equally to all of its neighboring chlorine ions, and vice-versa.  In PE terms, they have ‘attractive’ PE for each other. However, these arguments are debatable because one could argue that the terms ‘attraction’ and ‘repulsion’ are anthromorphic and are used to explain the interactions to the students of physics in simplified manner.

        The discussion with Stonjek (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/MindBrain/message/10808) suggests that elemental-PEs can be further elaborated as follows: The substrate of the elemental-PE ‘attraction/repulsion’ at quantum level can be described as an interaction between fermion and boson (such as photon) that results in the appearance of ‘attraction/repulsion’.  The electron ‘experiences’ the force, the force is an interaction between particles via bosons.  The actual process of attraction (or repulsion) is one of an interaction with a boson - an exchange particle that is the cause of the two particles moving toward (or away from) each other. Moreover, each ion only interacts with bosons and the bosons interact with ions. “Once inside, positively-charged sodium ions ‘nudge [push]’ adjacent ions down the axon by electrostatic repulsion […] and attract negative ions away from the adjacent membrane” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_potential).  Nevertheless, the rationale for assigning PE to elemental interactions is that they are packed with ‘experiences’ in superimposed form (and hence non-specific) and are assumed to be ‘proto-experiential’ entities in our PE-SE framework.  This assumption needs justification and unpacking, which is done in endnotes 44, 43, 28, 10 and 3.  Since elemental-PEs are non-specific, they appear as if there is no ‘experiential’ property in elemental interaction and it is merely identifying the particle on which the non-experiential material force acts.  This causes confusion and leads to explanatory gap.  The question whether elemental-PEs, attraction and repulsion, are experiential in nature or simply ‘particles moving toward or away from each other’ is whether it is first-person or third-person description: one has to be electron to answer the former question correctly. In either case, the PE-SE framework cannot be rejected because one can assume entities are simply carriers of SEs if they do not show experiential nature.

        I am sympathetic to two alternative models: (1) ‘Emergence’ mechanism can be unpacked by assuming that SEs might arise by the chaotic and self-organization processes of brain to cope with its environment during co-evolution and co-development; this will not require extending physics, but needs further unpacking to close the gap. (2) Another hypothesis related to ‘panpsychism based on macro-experiencers, rather than micro-experiencers, as fundamental ingredients of reality’ may deflate the gap (Lloyd, 2007); this appears to be close to dualism and also needs unpacking. Both alternatives can be unpacked as done for elemental-PE in endnotes 44, 43, 28, 10 and 3.  The unpacking process might need extending quantum physics to sub-quantum level.

        One could also argue that non-experiential inert matter is simply carrier of SEs.  When the specificity of an organism-neural-net is higher than the critical value, PEs are expressed as SEs. For example, these carrier type PEs might be expressed into organism-PEs for the first time about 600 million years ago (Mya) in early organisms with specificity higher than critical value, in which photoreceptors were evolved to signal light (Lamb, Collin, & Pugh, 2007).  Later during Cambrian explosion (~ 540 Mya), animal body plans began evolving very rapidly and image-forming eyes and visual systems emerged (Lamb et al., 2007); probably the specificity of animal's neural-net was high enough to express their PEs into some rudimentary SEs. As argued later in Section 3, SEs arise/emerge because of the resonance process. Embedding process and selection process involve resonance mechanism for generating specificity: SEs superimposed in ionic/electronic neural-PEs resonate with that in stimuli. Thus, the PE-SE framework cannot be rejected.


[8] In our email correspondence (6 September 2007) Schäfer commented as follows: When you make statements like: “One could argue that there is no shred of evidence for ‘what it’s like’ to an electron being ‘attracted’ to (say) a single proton.  However, it is unclear what else an electron could ‘feel’ ...”, then you seem to say that, no matter the quotation marks, elementary entities have a sort of psyche. It is kind of intriguing, but one wonders. So, here I have a suggestion to make from the point of view of my own framework, combining it with yours: electrons, protons and atoms do not in themselves have a psyche or consciousness, but their “proto-experiences” are those in a Cosmic Consciousness. Electrons feel nothing, they do not have proto-experiences, but they act like they have mindlike properties in a rudimentary way (as I described, they can react to the flow of information and they can act spontaneously, like a mind). How is that possible, if they do not have in themselves a psyche? It is possible because the mindlike properties are not their own. Rather, they are the properties of the wholeness of reality; they are expressions of a Cosmic Consciousness. Here I am using the argument by Kafatos and Nadeau (from their book “The Conscious Universe”): if reality has the nature of a totality or wholeness, and since our mind has come from it and is part of it, it is possible to conclude that consciousness is an aspect of the universe or of all of reality, like a Cosmic Consciousness. Since Cosmic Consciousness is a wholeness, it is everything and it feels everything. It can feel the ‘experiences’ of any one of its sub-totalities, like electrons, which are ultimately nothing but fleeting vortices (like Bohm says) in a cosmic flux. Thus it is the Cosmic Consciousness - the wholeness which is the ultimate reality - who seeks proto-experiences in the interactions of elementary particles, i.e. experiences like attraction, spin, and so on, as you describe. In fact, one could say that the elementary entities of reality are not mass particles, but proto-experiences. From these proto-experiences the Consciousness of the Whole builds up its more and more complex experiences, setting up neural networks, constructing increasingly complex systems, where information is used in a systematic and not automatic way, up to our own consciousness, as you describe. So, rather than saying that (as I have done)  “electrons react to the flow of information in an automatic and mechanical way,” it is better to say that Cosmic Consciousness reveals itself in a rudimentary way in the automatic and mechanical reactions to information at the level of elementary particles. What this amounts to is a revival of certain aspects of Leibniz’ concept of monads: monads are the ultimate building blocks of reality, but they are not mass particles. Rather, they are spiritual elements which can be understood as atoms or quanta of spirit, the 'true elements of things'. The simplest of them resemble your proto-experiences. But the mind who is conscious of the proto-experiences is the Cosmic Mind. This is how your system fits into mine (Schäfer, 1997, 2006). From the view that a Cosmic Spirit – i.e. the capability or aspect of the Wholeness of being conscious – reveals itself in the actions of its elementary particles, one can easily extend to Hegel’s idealism: It is the Cosmic Spirit who is thinking in us. Since the Cosmic Spirit is Wholeness, the experiences of even the smallest sub-totalities of this Wholeness are his own.

        According to Richard Wilson (personal email communication on October 6, 2007), “the phrase ‘proto-experience’ has only an operational meaning: proto-experience is that which gives rise to subjective experience.”


[9] This has led to the explanatory gap between the internal representation of objects and associated subjective experiences (Levine, 1983) or 'hard problem' (Chalmers, 1995).


[10] Chalmers commented, “it looks like a form of type-F monism to me -- the contrast that you mention is in fact shared

by most forms of type-F monism.  The key questions of course for any such view are (i) what are the proto-experiences, exactly, and (ii) how do they combine into subjective experiences.  It would be nice if you could extend your account into one that gives answers to these questions!” (email communication on August 24, 2007).  These are excellent questions and need further investigation; in preliminary form, the first question is addressed in this section and the second question is somewhat addressed in Sections 3 and 4.

        The philosophical basis of the PE-SE framework related to attraction/repulsion being elemental-PEs can be examined using (Chalmers, 2006):  (I) Let P represents the attraction/repulsion between neural ions/charges that is defined to be proto-experience (PE) in addition to its usual definition in physics.  So far, physics is not extended because I am simply re-interpreting the attraction/repulsion between neural ions/charges as PE.  Physics is silent on rejecting this re-interpretation. In this way, I am introducing PE in physics as if PE was in physics all the time (this PE can be explained in physical terms).  Below I will argue that this elemental-PE can explain simple subjective experiences (SEs), but it needs unpacking for explaining complex SEs such as redness. (II) Let Q1 be the attraction/repulsion between subjects, which is called simple SE. Actually, classically all SEs including Q1 are packed into P; we need quantum and sub-quantum physics for unpacking (see below and endnotes 28 and 43). (III) Let us assume that the neural-net for this simple SE Q1 has related signature in terms of P.  For example, assume that sodium, potassium, chlorine, calcium ionic attraction/repulsion activity (such as in NMDA-receptors (Pereira Jr., 2007a, 2007b; Pereira Jr. & Furlan, 200x, 2007)) in amygdala-neural-net can represent subject’s simple SE.  (IV) If this assumption is not rejected, then one could explain the truth of this simple SE Q1 wholly in terms of the truth of P; therefore, the truth of Q1 is deducible by a priori reasoning from the truth of P.

        Furthermore, all 3 arguments in (Chalmers, 2006) can be satisfactorily addressed for the thesis C = ‘PE-SE framework: the co-evolution and co-development of elementary particles and associated PEs lead to neural-nets and associated SEs, respectively’: (i) C is true because P and Q1 are true. (ii) Physically identical zombie with Q1 -- after appropriate sensorimotor tuning/training same as human twin, share our epistemic situation and beliefs-- is conceivable in C (and hence the explanatory gap is deflated for P-Q1). This is somewhat consistent with “Option 3: Assert That Zombies Share Our Epistemic Situation” in (Chalmers, 2006); in addition beliefs are also the same for both human and zombie twin. Moreover, P&~Q1 is inconceivable because P and Q1 are true in C. Conceivability and explanation are linked, i.e., explaining Q1 in terms of P is consistent with the conceivability of Q1 with P. (iii) Both P and hence Q1 can be explained in physical terms.  

        However, complex SEs such as redness needs unpacking of elemental-PE P: postulating dual aspect primal entities (such as redness-bhutatma) that are superimposed in P.  This may require extending physics a little bit as I have tried to do in endnotes 28, 43, and 3. Alternatively, both simple and complex SEs might have been created by the chaotic and self-organization processes of brain to cope with its environment during co-evolution; this will not require extending physics, but needs further unpacking to close the gap. See Section 3.1.5 for further detail.

        Types A-C physicalism might be rejected because the original explanatory gap remains, whereas the PE-SE framework is non-reductive physicalism (Pereira Jr., 2007b), where the gap is deflated.  However, a close scrutiny reveals that Types A-C have apparent explanatory gap, not real one; it appears real gap because P is packed and we cannot ‘see’ what is inside the packing and we use term ‘emergence’ to circumvent the problem.  Once P or ‘emergence’ is unpacked then the gap is deflated.  

        It should be noted that P (ionic/neural PE) is not be specific to Q1 (so the term ‘attraction/repulsion’ in P and in Q1 may have different meaning) because P is involved in other Q’s belonging to other modalities such as visual (Dow, 2002; Gegenfurtner & Kiper, 2003), auditory, taste and so on. Other factors, such as stimuli and sensorimotor tuning during development, are also necessary to generate higher specificity. For example, long wave-light is helpful in having specific SE ‘redness’. 


        Let us take the example of color related subjective experience ‘redness’. The term ‘redness’ refers to a property of subjective experience (SE); this SE is more or less the same for all trichromats.  The term ‘red-color’ refers to a property of objects (such as reflectance property of object) and may also refer to the content of ‘redness’.  Consider the following premises: (1) is conceptual analysis and (2.1)-(2.9) are scientific explanations. Further details are given in Section 6.

        (1) Same as the premise (1) of Section 6.

        (2.1) There are sub-quantum dual-aspect primal entities such as redness-bhutatma, …, orangeness-bhutatma, …, yellowness-bhutatma, …, greenness-bhutatma and so on.

                Since phenomenal SEs are irreducible entities, they have to be precisely the same at all levels such as micro or macro level, and classical, quantum, or sub-quantum level. Therefore, prefixing dual-aspect primal entities bhutatmas with associated SE is justified. It is basically extension of Chalmers’ dual-aspect model (Chalmers, 1995) for color.

        (2.2) These sub-quantum dual-aspect primal entities are superimposed in a quantum particle such as electron. Further details are given in premise (2.1) of Section 6.

        (2.3) Superimposition of many bhutatmic proto-experiences (PEs) into one entity leads to non-specificity; therefore, electron is non-specific. Further details are given in premise (2.2) of Section 6. 

        (2.4)-(2.8) Same as the premise (2.3)-(2.7) of Section 6, except change ‘(2.1)-(2.3)’ to ‘(2.2)-(2.4)’ in premise (2.4) of Section 6. 

        (2.9) From (2.1)-(2.8), ‘redness-related V4/V8 neural-net’ plays a red-color related role.

        (3) From (1), (2.7)-(2.9), SE ‘redness’ is experienced by ‘redness-related V4/V8 neural-net’

        (4) From (3) redness related ‘explanatory gap’ is deflated.


If one does not want to extend physics, premises (2.1)-(2.9) can be replaced by classical scientific explanation: see premises (2) in the last paragraph of Section 6; see also endnotes 43, 28, and 3.


[11] According to Klein (email correspondence of 30 August-4 September 2007), “The list of elementary PEs is quite incomplete because it is not addressing the still more elementary constituent: the Information Unit operating at sentient reality's very fundaments.  Relational effects or dynamic ones are derived basically from Information inherent in the structure.  The particle's inherent structural complexity is the result of a more fundamental PE then its behavior.  Before feeling attracted to its opposite charged equivalent, it feels being an entity that is attracted or moving according to a spin.  This is a fundamental pre-proto-experience.  Starting analysis by a relational or behavioral level misses the point.  Physical entities are primary experiential entities as a Space-Time manifestation of a given Information structure.  Assessing the emergence of SE from experiential entities equals assessing the direct emergence of complex neural networks from biochemistry.  It is a disguised physical reductionism of Information at different scales of complexity to organized molecular or atomic components thus establishing a coercive causal link between nonequivalent epistemological domains - which is the unfortunately perpetuated misleading start for erroneous conclusions piling up exponentially as cumulative errors.  Furthermore, energy may have information is a rough underestimating of its real nature as Information expressed in SpaceTime.  Quantum effects as the signature of any energetic process are derived from and operate under Information control injected in the system from beyond its own coordinates as related to SpaceTime.  Our Sub-Quantum (SQ) model (Boyd & Klein, 2007) postulates as explanatory model the SQ entity's hyperdimensional rotation into Information fields, which at a descriptive level would support the (Hut & Shepard, 1996) model of extended reference frame for sentient reality. At fundamental emergence level, the SQ model reminds in a certain extent a type-F neutral monism/panprotopsychism - while at mesocosmic phenomenal scale it resonates rather with the dualist/interactionist interpretation. Thus the SQ concept is not reducible to previous philosophical explanation frameworks, nor to a mere combination thereof.”   The number of elemental PEs will increase as we find their evidence and know more about SpaceTime-information. The SQ framework requires extending physics, and it assumes that the cardinal subjective experiences (SEs) such as redness, greenness, and blueness are SQ structures.  In the PE-SE framework, cardinal SEs somehow ‘emerge’ from the interaction of neural-PE signals in respective neural-nets.


[12] The quantum elemental proto-experiences (PEs) (attraction/repulsion) can be unpacked a little bit using Bivacuum model (Kaivarainen, 2001), which is a dynamic matrix of the Universe, composed of sub-quantum particles and antiparticles, forming vortical structures.  In this model, attraction (or repulsion) is caused by the shifts of opposite (or similar) Bivacuum dipoles charge symmetry. The attraction (or repulsion) between opposite (or similar) charges is a consequence of exchange interaction between Bivacuum fermions with opposite (or similar) sign virtual clouds. The virtual clouds and virtual anticlouds “exist in form of collective excitation of subquantum particles and antiparticles of opposite energies. […] They can be considered as ‘drops’ of virtual Bose condensation of subquantum particles of positive and negative energy” (Kaivarainen, 2001)


[13] In our email correspondence (12 September 2007), Baer commented as follows, “According to the least action principle, a particle’s behavior (choosing the path of minimum action in the alternative possibilities between times t1 and t2) can be anthropomorphically interpreted as feeling.  However, such interpretation is a projected feeling, PE, placed onto the particle by the physicist observer and falls in the same category as a conscious feeling, SE, projected onto other living humans by our first person selves for the purpose of understanding their behavior. To make further progress this association, or projection of feeling, must itself be identified with the measurement and state preparation processes of quantum theory. This theory is in my opinion is still incomplete. The work of eliminating the independent external world model of particles and fields in physics, in favor of interacting processes (Whitehead, 1978) implemented as action cycles (measured in units of angular momentum), is a work in progress (see (Baer, 2007)). If we are to speculate on the world view emerging from such development then you would not simply be a body in a space time-continuum looking at independent objects in front of yourself. Instead you would be a process that can be modeled by action cycles. In this world view these letters in front of you would be manifestations in your personal action cycles and not independent external objects. You see (i.e. incorporate disturbances in your base state action cycles) by first absorbing action quanta from external processes as internal deviations from your own ground state process and second interpreting those disturbances as conscious and illusionary external experiences. For example, this word Now is in you. The photon that brought the information so you could build Now inside of you, hit your retina some time ago. You can never see the source from whence the experience Now in you came, directly, but only experience your accommodation of its interactions. So, in my opinion, your PE concept is correct to the extent that primitive experience should be incorporated into physics and personal experiences SE should be cumulative PE’s.

If collective PE are combined to form your SE, then the SE associated with the ground state process feels like your experience of empty space. The SE associated with deviations from that ground state process are your experience of particles and fields that constitutes your every day experience. However it should not be associated with classic particles and fields. Such an association simply returns us to the mysterious mind body connections of dualistic theories, which have already been identified with the measurement process in post classic physics, and is a step backwards. Instead it should be associated with action cycles defining your actual independent self, because such action cycles describe the entire object, measurement, subject, state preparation process within which conscious experience is held.”

        In the PE-SE framework, (i) the PE associated with ground state process of a particle is “a bit of space” which can be combined to form a cumulative SE identified as the pure experience of space called Nirvanna in isolated human consciousness, and (ii) the oscillations in Whitehead framework can represent every day SE (a set of many SEs embedded as neural-net PEs in neural-nets) as long as the neural net identified as classic objects is recognized as the object phase of an entire object, measurement, subject, or state preparation process.


[14] Chargeless entities with mass may have gravitational attraction-PE; however, it is not clear that gravitational PEs are involved in SEs.  According to the theory of general relativity, photons exert a gravitational attraction on other objects. Photons are bosons and are elementary particles and hence all or some of the SEs are in superimposed in them. For example, 650nm photon may have higher specificity than electrons, i.e., it may have SEs such as redness, which may be useful in resonance process (Section 4.2).  Furthermore, when photons interact with photoreceptors in retina, electrical signals arise due to phototransduction process. These electrical signals have PEs because PE is inherent in electrons.  Later, neurotransmitters play role in signal transmission, so electrochemical neural signal have neural-PE.  Since the output of both L-cone and M-cone is electrical signal (univariance principle), PEs of both electrical signals are also the same.  One can proceed further similar analysis in visual pathways until Red-Green (R-G) opponent mechanism is formed in R-G V4/V8-neural-net with associated embedded neural-net PEs.  Since we do not yet know exactly how color SEs emerged, it would be safe to state that they might have emerged from the interaction between light reflected from objects, photoreceptors, retinal, LGN, and cortical feed forward and feedback signals and supporting internal and external environment.  In other words, light may have information for color related PEs.  For example, in some sense, 650 nm light may have information for redness-related PE, 580 nm light may have information for yellowness-related PE, and so on; this entails energy E = hn = hc/l may have information related to color-PEs, where h is Planck’s constant, and n, c, and l are frequency, speed, and wavelength of light.  These information in light might have contributed to the co-evolution and co-development of color-neural-nets and associated color-neural-net-PEs and color-SEs.  Moreover, (Byrne & Hilbert, 2003) argued, “colors are physical properties, specifically, types of reflectance”.  Furthermore, if we assume that energy has information related to PEs, then E=mc2 entails that mass m may also have information related to PEs. Thus, one could argue for proto-panpsychism, such as Chalmers’ Type-F monism (Chalmers, 2003).  However, satisfactory evidence is lacking for these speculations. In PE-SE framework, inert matter is the carrier of SEs in unexpressed form.


[15] Ionic-PEs have higher specificity than elemental-PEs because for example ions in visual system are tuned to vision related SEs even though they are apparently no different from the ions in auditory system if tested in isolation (isolated sodium ions are sodium ions no matter where they are). This is because sensorimotor tuning during co-development enhances the specificity. Furthermore, the neurobiological basis of subjective experience or consciousness is obscure (Lewis & MacGregor, 2006; MacGregor, 2006a, 2006b).  According to (Bruzzo & Vimal, 2007), “Generically, (Lashley, 1960) suggested that consciousness might be associated with neural action potentials (‘spikes’).  More recently, (Poznanski, 2001) has cogently argued that the volume transmissions of the brain (ionic currents, regulator and ‘second messenger’ fluxes, and the like) are a more likely substrate for consciousness because of their global and continuous (non-discrete) character.  Our own view, in PE-SE framework, is that consciousness (including Self) might be best seen to have emerged and evolved from a primordial potential or proto-experience in matter [such as elemental PEs], […] The PE-SE framework is consistent with both (a) non-computational extracellular ‘wireless’ volume transmission (Poznanski, 2001) for non-specific or less specific consciousness (such as thought processing) and (b) synaptic-neural signal transmission in neural-nets for specific SEs (such as SE of redness via V4/V8-neural-net when long wavelength light is presented).  This is because both types of transmissions involve ionic PEs”.

        According to MacGregor, “the localization of basic neural PE is likely larger than simply the possibility of the ionic fluxes of spiking.  In addition to many deeper levels of neural activity, there is suggestive evidence that consciousness may associate with astroglial cells, and possibly through this with the metabolic energization of the brain, which would seem an elegant and highly strategic foundation” (email communication on 20 August 2007, see also (Lewis & MacGregor, 2006; MacGregor, 2006a, 2006b; Magistretti & Pellerin, 1999; Poznanski & Riera, 2006)). All levels of PEs including neural-net PEs are unconsciousness, but SEs are conscious in the PE-SE framework. Unconscious processing in other frameworks is equivalent to neural/neural-net PEs in the PE-SE framework.


[16] Thus, the coherence framework and the PE-SE framework are complementary to each other: the latter is the underlying proto-experiential mechanism of the former.  Furthermore, coherence-decoherence cycle provides ‘conscious processing to alter enzyme action’ and ‘control membrane electrical activity and influence behavior’ (Freitas da Rocha et al., 2001). This rejects the consciousness being an epiphenomenon.



[17] Jim Beran suggested elaborating co-evolution of mind and brain.  In PE-SE framework, co-evolution and co-development processes involve both genetic (DNA-based) and epigenetic (such as language, memory, and cultural evolution) contributions.  According to Stapp, “The complexity of the physical carrier has undoubtedly co-evolved with the complexity of the associated experiential reality” (Stapp, 1996), which is consistent with our framework.  Johnston reported, “Within a dynamical-systems framework, human behavior is seen as emergent from broad evolutionary processes associated with three basic forms of nature.  First nature, matter, emerged from the big bang some 12-15 billion years ago; second nature, life, from the first bacteria up to 4 billion years ago; third nature, ideology and cultural artifacts (e.g., institutions and technology), with a shift to self-reflective, symbolic thought and agrarianism in humans some 8-40 thousand years ago” (Johnston, 2005). The co-evolution of brain and mind started at Big Bang, and took billions of years to form earth.  Then life on earth started about 4 billion years ago (Hameroff, 1998a). Subjective experiences might have emerged about 540 millions years ago during Cambrian explosion (Hameroff, 1998a). The co-evolution process continued to human genes, and it is still going on in terms of close interaction between brain, mind, and culture. 

        The human mind, brain, and culture co-evolved and interacted closely with each other (Donald, 1997). The three major transitions/stages, in hominid cognitive evolution, coincide with (i) the speciation of Homo erectus (~1.5 millions years ago) and archaic Homo sapiens (~0.3 millions years ago), (during these periods supramodal, motor-modeling capacity (mimesis) created representations for the critical property of voluntary retrievability), (ii) the emergence of spoken language (~45,000 years ago) with a capacity for lexical invention, the descent of the human larynx and the redesign of the supralaryngeal vocal tract, and a high-speed phonological apparatus, and (iii) the invention of visual symbols (late Upper Paleolithic periods), external memory storage and retrieval, and a new working memory architecture (Donald, 1997).  Paleolithic period was ~15000-750,000 years ago.  All three stages might have introduced new memory features into the human cognitive system.  If consciousness or subjective experiences (SEs) emerged during Cambrian explosion (Hameroff, 1998a), working memory might have emerged in some form about 540 millions years ago because working memory appears to be necessary for consciousness. The conscious mind is juxtaposed between internal (inside the brain) and external (such as paintings, prints, graphs, display devices) memory structures (Donald, 1997).

        An interesting question is what those entities were from which brain and subjective experience or mind evolved.  For the evolution of brain, presumably the initial physical entities were the four fundamental forces of Nature: strong nuclear force, electromagnetic force, weak nuclear force, and gravitational force (Atmanspacher, 2004; 't Hooft et al., 2005) embedded in mass, charge, and space-time. For the evolution of subjective experiences, our hypothesis is that the initial entities were proto-experiences. In addition, both brain and mind co-evolved.


[18] Zoran Josipovic suggested comparing with Searle’s position.  According to (Searle, 2000), “Two common approaches to consciousness are those that adopt the building block model, according to which any conscious field is made of its various parts, and the unified field model, according to which we should try to explain the unified character of subjective states of consciousness”.  In both models, consciousness is assumed to emerge from non-experiential material entities.  Thus, it is deterministic reductive monism.  In my framework, elemental PEs are primitive experiential entities and subjective experiences are assumed to emerge from the interaction experiential PE-signals in neural-nets.  My position is close to Chalmers’ Type-F monism and dual-aspect model, i.e., SEs may be reduced to non-reductive elemental PEs and both models described by Searle can be used; only difference is that SEs emerge from non-experiential entities in Searle’s framework and they emerge from experiential PEs in my framework (that is less ‘brute’).


[19] In self-organization (or self-control), “the control parameters of a system are influenced by the state of the system itself”, i.e., “control parameter of one scheme being under the control of another” (Abraham, 1995).  For example, groups of neurons in a neural-net can self–organize into a firing-pattern in response to changes in experience (Bloom, 2000; Masterpasqua & Perna, 1997).


[20] Emergence of SEs may involve the chaotic process and self-organization (Bruzzo & Vimal, 2007). 


[21] Klein (email correspondence of 30 August 2007) doubts that the chaotic self-organization occurs in the neural net, with its neo-Darwinist hue, and neural-net PE should be seen rather as well-orchestrated matrices evolving under higher order control than mere chaotic attractors.


[22] Some examples of calibration process are as follows: (i) Brain recalibrates the simultaneity point for perceiving the auditory and visual aspects of a stimulus simultaneously by detecting and reducing time lags between input signals (Fujisaki, Shimojo, Kashino, & Nishida, 2004). (ii) Calibration of activity-dependent refinement of cortical connectivity is a function of development and sensory experience and involves synaptic scaling (Desai, Cudmore, Nelson, & Turrigiano, 2002). (iii) Orientation tuning can be recalibrated by long-term visual SE (Sengpiel, Stawinski, & Bonhoeffer, 1999; Whitaker & McGraw, 2000). (iv) Visual SE may recalibrate perirhinal cortical cells, which share similar object preferences (Miller, 2000).


[23] Subjective experiences might be chaotic attractors that exist in regions in the state space or might have come from boundary conditions and singularities.  Attractors arise from interactions of phenomenolgical, behavioral, neural, and environmental processes as a nonlinear dynamical system (Abraham, 1995). They are related to the self-organization of brain, which includes the five essential ingredients of awareness (wakefulness, re-entry, attention, memory, and proto-experiences).


[24] Klein (email correspondence of 30 August 2007) commented, “one could argue that this evolutionary track can be traced back along chreodic channels expressing morphogenetic control in the physical systems' tuning into time-dependent variables of ambient consistency.  From this perspective, the redness is rather a random individual effect rather then something that randomly emerged by co-evolution and definable as a constant in nature.  Would my red be the same with your green as subjective experience, this will no way affect our ambient integration efficiency and will never be detected.  Experiential Qualia are but an integration code system the Self relies upon for its successful navigation through implication levels of reality, different from its own one.”


[25] The number of possible subjective experiences (SEs) for Orch OR can be reduced by sensorimotor tuning during development in a neural-net.  For example, the X-linked red-green V4/V8-neural-net embeds only red-green color related SEs as neural-net PEs. In sub-quantum (SQ) framework (Boyd & Klein, 2007), the activity in neural-net resonates, which assigns a specific neural-net state to a specific SE embedded in SQ-field.  In PE-SE framework, the specificity for SE is addressed in Section 4.2.   


[26] If PEs (the way we have defined) are valid entities, can we create a zombie that is conscious (say C-zombie)?  If we can, then this will validate our definition of PEs: elemental-PEs are composed of all types of SEs superimposed in all elementary particles such as strings or fermions and bosons.


[27] There are PEs at every step of evolution and development, such as elemental PEs, atomic-PEs, …, genetic-PEs, … PEs in bacteria (Falkner, Plaetzer, & Falkner, 2007), viruses, algae, coral colonies, jelly fish, flatworms, spiders, crocodiles, cougars, gorillas … neural-PEs and neural-net-PEs in humans. The specificity increases as we go to higher level.


[28] The term virtual reservoir in our PE-SE framework is consistent our fundamental assumption that all types of SEs are in superimposed form in all elementary particles. Thus, every elementary particle can be considered as a virtual reservoir containing all types of SEs.  Though apparently different, virtual reservoir can also be considered as a sort of ‘Penrose Platonic world’ in Orch OR framework (Hameroff & Penrose, 1998), ‘societies of occasions of experience’ or ‘space for the qualia of material’ in Whitehead framework (Baer, 2007; Whitehead, 1978), ‘sub-quantum (SQ) space’ in SQ-framework (Boyd & Klein, 2007), ‘cosmic consciousness space’ cosmic-consciousness-framework (Schäfer, 1997, 2006), and ‘Purusha-Vishnu’ or ‘primordial consciousness’ space in RigVedic-Buddhist framework (Sarasvati, 1974-89; Wallace, 2007).  For an observer to know something he must build an axis composed of individual measurement cells; the set of cells he owns is the space of possibilities he can conceive, and when measurement reports are placed in that space the possibilities are down selected from the possible to the actual (Baer: email communication on 12 September 2007).  Some of these frameworks may differ significantly from each other and from our framework.  Nevertheless, introducing virtual reservoir does not necessarily extend physics because of following reasons: (i) We assume that SEs are emerged during the interaction of feed-forward and feedback neural-PE signals in neural-nets possibly by the chaotic process of self-organization because this process has ability to create novel entities to meet the environmental demands.  All possible SEs (including cardinal SEs) are in this virtual reservoir.  (ii) It is simply another useful term for the set of many possible states in quantum-wavefunction framework.  This set is used for collapsing the waves into observable subjective experiences during measurement, for example, the selection of a specific SE such as redness from the set of color neural-net-PEs in V4/V8 neural-net when a specific stimulus such as long wavelength light is presented.  

        An alternative ‘neurally backed modus operandi’ model (the author takes full responsibility on the text hereafter; the model does not necessarily reflect the views of other investigators) for virtual reservoir using some of terms of sub-quantum (SQ) framework (Boyd & Klein, 2007) ¾which requires extending physics and is the extension of Bohm’s Implicative Order (Bohm, 1983) from a bi-directional vector connecting a couple of mutually complementary domains (the implicate and explicate ones) to information based infinite array of SQ complexity states¾ is as follows: (i) SQ-field composed of a large number of complexity-sensitive implicate orders reminding the Vedic concept of bhutatmas (Boyd & Klein, 2007; Radhakrishnan, 1993) or Ädi-Shiva entities that are infinitesimal primal structures with ‘pure information’ (see endnote 3. (ii) Each bhutatma has two aspects: material aspect (Brahma, Prakriti) and mental aspect (Vishnu, Purusha) such as proto-experience (bhutatmic-PE); dual-aspect bhutatma view is consistent with double-aspect model (Chalmers, 1995) and complex-conjugate framework (Franck, 2004; Globus, 2003; Umezawa, 1993). Sub-quantum dual-aspect primal entities can be considered as units of subjective experiences. (iii) I assume that bhutatmic-PEs are subjective experiences (SEs) or first person experiences (1Es), such as redness. They are PEs because bhutatma cannot experience redness, as humans do.  To experience redness, redness-related neural-net is needed.  The number of bhutatmas is at least equal to the number of SEs; the available SQ combinatorial options is practically infinite.  This is consistent with fractional quantum Hall effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractional_quantum_Hall_effect; http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1998/laughlin-lecture.pdf).  The set of all SEs/bhutatmic-PEs is called virtual reservoir.  (iv) SE, such as redness is a SQ structure displaying resonant associative properties both with lower and higher orders of PEs.  A specific SE such as redness is specific to a specific bhutatma (call it redness-bhutatma).  (v) SE redness is experienced by redness-related neural-net (that includes self-related areas) because it has complexity index greater than its critical threshold value; every mental or physical entity is SQ-field with different complexity indices.  (vi) Different PE/SE levels can be ascribed to different Information-based orders of reality corresponding to specific complexity indices and combinations thereof.  A quantum particle, such as electron, is composed of a large number of bhutatmas of SQ-field and hence a large number of superimposed bhutatmic-PEs/SEs. Therefore, electrons in neural signals are non-specific with respect to SE because the electrons (neural signals) are involved in all neural-nets at classical level. However, the neural signals in the redness related V4/V8-neural-net are specific to SE redness of Red-Green color opponent channel. When long wavelength light is presented to our visual system, we experience redness. This is because redness-bhutatmic-PE from SQ-based ‘virtual reservoir’ is assigned to the redness-specific state of our red-green V4/V8-neural-net.

        The Bivacuum-PEs  (see also endnote 12) are composed of all kinds of sub-quantum (Boyd & Klein, 2007) bhutatmic-PEs in superimposed format.

        In PE-SE extended framework (under neurally backed modus operandi), I emphasize that bhutatmic-PEs ¾ such as redness, painfulness, happiness, saltiness and so on ¾ are not subjectively experienced by bhutatmas.  In other words, the PE-SE framework is more in accord with protopsychism rather than panpsychism; Universe is not ‘conscious’ rather Universe is ‘proto-conscious’ (has potential or possibility of being conscious after evolution when neural-nets are formed otherwise inert entities are carriers of SEs/consciousness) except humans and some lower species that satisfy the essential requirements of consciousness and have complexity indices or specificity greater than the critical threshold value.  Here, the term consciousness is used for the first person experience.  The bhutatmic-PEs are superimposed and packed in elemental-PEs as ‘virtual reservoir’; these are further packed in neural signals as neural-net PEs.  However, the non-specificity of elemental-PEs is evolved into higher specificity of neural-net-PEs.  These bhutatmic-PEs are virtual because they are simply ‘potentials’ or ‘possibilities’ and cannot be experienced unless neural-net with essential ingredients of SEs (such as wakefulness, re-entry, attention, and memory) are acquired and ‘collapse’ or ‘objective reduction’ occurs when a stimulus is presented.  That is why it took billions of years to evolve and create neural-nets in brains. One could argue that these superimposed ‘possibilities’ in ‘virtual reservoir’ might one of the motivations for Nature to evolve bhutatmas into neural-nets and associated PEs in various species for various SEs.

        The bhutatma-dual-aspect model is consistent with Baer’s model (Baer, 200x, 2007) based on the extension of Whiteheads actual occasions as a cyclic process with subjective experience on one node (sensation node) and material basis of that experience on the other (explanation node).

        In our neural-based PE-SE framework, at classical level, our hypothesis is that (i) both SE redness and ‘redness related V4/V8-neural-net’ can be reduced to SQ-structures, (ii) the redness related V4/V8-neural-net is the neural correlate of SE redness, (iii) redness emerges from the interaction of ‘long wavelength light dependent feed-forward signals’ and ‘reentrant feedback attentional neural signals’ in red-green V4/V8-neural-net in neural-correlated modus operandi of SE under certain given associative circumstances, and (iv) redness is experienced by the red-green V4/V8-neural-net at its PE range.


[29] There are four possible combinations between (substance, property) and (dualism, monism): (i) Substance-dualism and property-dualism, i.e., simply dualism (Types D) in which matter and mind are on equal footing, i.e., they are distinct entities with respect to both substance (framework or perspective) and property (material vs. mental).  For example, electron is a material (mass and charge) entity; proto-experience (PE) is a mental entity. Both are distinct with respect to perspective (substance) and property.

        (ii) Substance-monism and property-dualism, i.e., Types F, in which matter and mind are distinct entities with respect to property, but same with respect to substance.   For example, electron has material aspect (mass and charge) and can also have electron- PE, i.e., electron is the same substance (or in the same framework or perspective is the same), but has two distinct properties: mental and material. This is a dual-aspect framework; the PE-SE model is close to this.

        (iii) Substance-dualism and property-monism, i.e., matter and mind are distinct entities with respect to substance, but the same with respect to property. Type E dualism appears to be close to this.

        (iv) Substance-monism and property-monism, i.e., matter and mind are same entities with respect to substance and also with respect to property. Type A-C reductive views appear to be close to this.

        The PE-SE framework appears to have property-dualism and substance-monism in an entity, i.e. view (ii). However, it also appears to fit with view (iv); better term may be ‘non-reductive physicalism’ for the PE-SE framework (email communication with Alfredo Pereira Jr. on October 9, 2007). 

        Furthermore, it includes interaction between entities in addition to ‘self-interaction’.  For example, a charge may interact with its own electric field in electron self-interaction (Feynman, 1949; Mantz, Gervasio, Laino, & Parrinello, 2007).  When two charges interact then each charge ‘experiences’ attraction or repulsion, so charge (such as in electron) has two aspects: non-experiential physical aspect and experiential mental aspect, which is property-dualism.  Is PE really the emerged property of interaction or is it the inherent property of an entity (such as electron)?  This is partly addressed in Sections 2.1.2, 2.1.3, and 2.4. One could argue that both experiencer and experience are needed.  Proto-experience (such as repulsion between same charges) emerges during interaction.  This PE is experienced by an entity (such as electron).  If there is no interaction (including if there is no self-interaction), then the entity will not experience anything (being in the state of neutral) and it will show just its physical aspect.  Therefore, interaction is essential for PE.  A specific PE has been assigned to a specific dual-aspect primal entity bhutatma just for convenience with the understanding that this specific PE is experienced by the assigned specific bhutatma (as a subject) when it interacts other appropriate bhutatma (as an object).  For completeness and consistency, similar clarification can be applied for elemental-PEs, other level PEs, and SEs in neural-nets.  Furthermore, interaction avoids the problem of causation because it is the interaction that helps entities in building the physical and mental universe.  For example, molecules are the result of interaction between atoms.


[30] Classical philosophical zombies are creatures that ‘are outwardly and behaviourally indistinguishable from human beings but with unknown and possibly non-biological insides’ (Strawson, 2006). Australian zombies are creatures that ‘have no experiential properties although they are “perfect physical duplicates” of experiencing human beings’ (Chalmers, 1996; Strawson, 2006).


[31] If one confronts unintelligibility in the evolution and development of elemental PEs into neural-net PEs, then it would always be useful to take help of the intelligibility in the evolution and development of matter into respective neural-nets.  This is because they must have co-evolved and co-developed very closely and similarly.  Evolution-based computational model for the co-evolution and co-development of matter and elemental-PEs into neural-nets and their PEs might be useful.


[32] One could argue that the ions may be the proto-experiencers of this neuronal ionic-PE and neuron may be the proto-experiencer of the neural PE; i.e., they are proto-conscious, which is different from our regular consciousness. However, it would be parsimonious to state that they are carriers of SEs.


[33] The term ‘emergence’ implies that a new entity is created during interactions of two or more entities and its property is not present in the interacting entities.  For example, the saltiness of sodium chloride is not present in sodium or chlorine.  Similarly, SE redness emerges in V4/V8-neural-net whereas this SE may not be present in any of the neurons of the neural-net.  Furthermore, the SEs related to various colors can be derived from the 3 cardinal SEs redness, greenness, and blueness for trichromats by the method of combination or color mixing (Vimal, Pokorny, & Smith, 1987). For example, yellowness is the combination of redness and greenness, purpleness is the combination of redness and blueness, and cyanness is the combination of blueness and greenness.  In other words, the mysterious emergence problem may be limited to cardinal SEs/neural-net-PEs.  To address the problem, we may need to investigate how color vision evolved (Bowmaker, 1998; Jacobs & Rowe, 2004) or in general how consciousness evolved (Merker, 2005).  In any rate, if we cannot solve this mystery, then we cannot reject one of the standard straightforward physicalist views: ‘SEs are simply the neural activity in neural nets’, which eliminates the emergence phenomenon and the explanatory gap (email communication with Bjorn Merker in January 2007).  Different SEs are due to different neural-nets with different neural states, which may involve appropriate calibration and sensorimotor tuning with external stimuli during development.  However, a question still haunts, for example, from where the SE redness appeared that was assigned to neural activity of red-green V4/V8-neural-net by natural selection. This is partly addressed by resonance process in Section 4.2.  As MacGregor commented, the understanding of co-evolution and co-development processes “will develop around a broad, full, deep consideration of the underlying physics and neurobiology of the dynamic physiological processes of the brain and its supportive glial structures and, indeed, molecular biological structures generally – a tall, but fascinating challenge”; see (MacGregor & Vimal, 2008)

for further extension of PE-SE framework. See also endnotes 28 and 43.


[34] Cortical midline structures (CMS) include MOFC (medial orbital prefrontal cortex: BA 11, 12), VMPFC (ventromedial prefrontal cortex: BA 10, 11), PACC (pre- and subgenual anterior cingulate cortex: BA 24, 25, 32), SACC (supragenual anterior cingulate cortex: BA 24, 32), DMPFC (dorsomedial prefrontal cortex: BA 9), MPC (medial parietal cortex: BA 7, 31), PCC (posterior cingulate cortex: BA 23), and RSC (retrosplenial cortex: BA 26, 29, 30) (Northoff et al., 2006). BA: Brodman areas. This first-person-perspective is consistent with (Newen & Vogeley, 2003) that reported involvement of medial cortical and parietal areas. For the construction of body image of subject (to which it is related) in the brain, somatosensory cortex, posterior parietal lobe, and insular cortex (its lesion or electrical stimulation leads to illusion of feelings of being outside one’s own body) are involved (Berlucchi & Aglioti, 1997; Melzack, 1992; Northoff, 2001).


[35] MacGregor suggested that this article “absorbs the question of causation and captures it in some sense, by bringing it into the realm of scientific scrutiny within physics.  Some degree of energetic causal capability (however small) might be attributable to the PE’s.  For example, a view that did not attribute any causational qualities to the PE elements themselves would seem to render consciousness an epiphenomenon.  The question of free will might be seen by some to suggest a reworking, adjustment, further interpretation, or further development  (in, say, string theory) by attributing some of the forces in physics to the influence of PE elements.  The framework of this article allows room for the causation question to play itself out within physics in addition to the Chaos possibility (Lewis & MacGregor, 2006; MacGregor, 2006a, 2006b). Indeed, the identification of PE with the forceful attributes of electrons suggested in this paper is a highly suggestive sally in this direction.” (Email communication on 21 August 2007); see also (Bruzzo & Vimal, 2007; MacGregor & Vimal, 2008).  Since elemental PEs are the properties of elemental interactions that are the building blocks of material universe, PEs influence some of the forces in physics, i.e., the cause-effect phenomenon, in our PE-SE framework, is bi-directional (PE ↔ matter).


[36] In PE-SE framework, ‘emergent property’ is unpacked in terms of localized inherent property: all subjective experiences (SEs) are superimposed in elementary particles or in entities at some higher level.  Problem with superposition at higher level are (i) association or relationship problem between SEs and brain as in dualism, and (ii) how and where SEs are stored in and how there are assigned.  Superposition in entities at levels below critical specificity level may lead us to either consider those entities as carriers (so they behave like non-experiential material entities), or consider them as proto-experiential entities (for which we do not have evidence). Furthermore, SE does pop out in a suitable system, but that SE would also be in the elements of the system in latent superimposed form.  So, here, the term ‘emerge’ has little different meaning.  Without essential ingredients (such as wakefulness, attention, re-entry, memory, and proto-experiences (PEs)), SEs would fail to occur even if there is objective reduction (OR) in MT network; so there is causal link (when long wavelength light is presented then only redness emerges, ignoring phosphenes).  Dichotomies (such as SE and content of SE, or form and substance) need to be (or can be) integrated to reveal the truth!  In OR, superposed SEs collapse into one specific SE (say when a stimulus is presented), but if you do not attend then you will not have that (reportable) SE. Attention is not needed for phenomenal SE (for example, less than 17 msec presentation in Sperling  type experiments (Sperling, 1960)), but attention is needed for access or reportable SE. Presumably, OR needs to be orchestrated to make attention, re-entry, and working memory active in wakefulness (ignoring dreams). For McCrone’s Dichotomistic framework, see http://www.dichotomistic.com/logic_dichotomies_intro.html. Orch OR framework, PE-SE framework, and Dichotomistic framework are complementary to each other, with the understanding the axonal-dendritic, dendritic web, astro-glia-neuronal, and extra-cellular field type transfer of information all play important role in SEs depending on the context. We should try various techniques (such as multiple regression) to address their percent contributions.


[37] Part of this was also posted at http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/cognitiveneuroscienceforum/message/4179, http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/MindBrain/message/10910, and http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/jcs-online/message/5560.


[38] In PE-SE framework, the term ‘redness’ is SE, i.e., the first person experience, which is more or less the same for all trichromats. The term ‘red color’ is content of SE ‘redness’, i.e., the red color is a property (such as reflectance) of object and is correlated with long wavelength light and with related activation and representation in V4, whereas ‘redness’ is property of SE. Thus, I differentiate these two entitles: SE ‘redness’ and objective ‘red color’; (Levine, 1998) called ‘subjective color’ and ‘objective color’; see also (Sundström, 2007) and (Nagel, 1974).  Rays are not colored (Newton, 1730/1952); neural signal in retinal cells and probably LGN are not colored. (Crick & Koch, 1995) deny V1 involvement in consciousness. (Zeki, 1983a, 1983b) assigns V4 to color. In my view, V4/V8-neural-net is neural correlates for color.  Therefore, this is the net in which SE ‘redness’ emerges that needs unpacking, as done in premises (2.1)-(2.8), (3) and (4) of Section 6.



[39] The term ‘superimposition’ refers to the process in which all kinds of SEs (over millions) are laid over on say electron.  This means that an electron is not specific to any specific SE; and the electron acts as if it is a non-experiential material entity, which may be misleading.  In PE-SE framework, an electron is a proto-experiential entity. This is because (a) electron cannot have experience SEs and (b) to have SE the entity/system needs to have essential ingredients of having SEs such as wakefulness, attention, re-entry, and memory (that is possible in neural-nets).  That is why Nature took billions of years to evolve from elementary particles to neural-nets. Thus, although SEs are irreducible entities but cannot be experienced at various levels; it is only when observation is made then a specific SE is experienced by a specific neural-net after objective-reduction (or collapse) of many neural-net-PEs into to one specific SE say ‘redness’ when stimulus say long wavelength light is presented. Therefore, all inert or unconscious matter is considered to have PEs rather than SEs, except when essential ingredients for having SEs are satisfied. In other words, elemental-PEs and PEs at other levels can be considered as they have potential or possibilities for generating SEs. The term ‘superimposition’ is used more or less same sense as used in the quantum mechanics. For example, “In the first process, a physical system constantly evolves into a superposition of possibilities or tendencies, […] for actual events to occur. […] In the second process, the transition from the “possible” to the “actual” takes place […] when observation is made, in which one of states superimposed in the probability function is selected and becomes real in the ordinary sense” (Schäfer, 1997).


[40] The SE ‘redness’ is in superimposed state with other millions of SEs in an electron.  The SE ‘redness’ cannot be experienced by the electron because the electron does not satisfy essential ingredients of SEs (such as wakefulness, attention, re-entry, and memory).  An electron has only elemental-PE (that is packed with SEs); it is somewhat like a carrier or messenger in which SEs are not expressed or realized. Since phenomenal SEs are irreducible entities, they have to be precisely the same at all levels such as micro or macro level, classical or quantum level. It is basically extension of Chalmers’ dual-aspect model (Chalmers, 1995) for color.


[41] The material aspects, such as ‘neural-nets’ of brain, are the result of the billions of years of evolution of material aspects of elementary particles. You just hook up tightly the mental aspect, elemental-PEs, with the material aspects of elementary particles and co-evolve and co-develop precisely the same way as did material aspects. You will eventually get neural-net PEs.


[42]     Since a neural-net in PE-SE framework includes all relevant areas including Self-related area (Bruzzo & Vimal, 2007; Northoff, 2007b; Northoff & Bermpohl, 2004; Northoff et al., 2006), a neural-net is the experiencer. In PE-SE framework, the triad-- observer (subject), the observed (object’s representation), and the process of observation—is the same re-entrant neural activity in a neural-net (Bruzzo & Vimal, 2007).


[43] One could explain SEs (consciousness) at all 3 levels: classical (coarse), quantum (fine), and sub-quantum (SQ: very fine) levels. Only SQ needs extending physics to include dual-aspect bhutatmas. At classical level, we need to use the mysterious term ‘emergence’: SEs somehow emerges from the interaction between stimulus-dependent feed-forward neural signals and re-entrant feedback signals in neural-nets. The term ‘emergence’ can be unpacked a little bit at quantum level using quantum superposition (Franck, 2004): all types of SEs are superimposed in elementary particles (strings, or fermions and bosons) and a fewer types of SEs are superimposed in neural-net-PEs that are embedded in a neural-net, which ‘collapse’ to a specific SE when a specific stimulus is presented. The elemental-PEs can be further unpacked at SQ-level (under neurally backed modus operandi) by hypothesizing that elementary particles are non-specific and composed of a set of dual-aspect bhutatmas, where mental aspect of a bhutatma is a specific bhutatmic-PE (such as redness-bhutatmas) that resides in the ‘virtual reservoir’.  The elemental-PEs are the properties of the interaction between bhutatmas of one elementary particle and that of another one because this corresponds to the concept of subquantum informational resonances.  In this view, for mental entities, it appears that the specific bhutatmic-PEs at sub-quantum level (such as redness-Ädi-Shiva or redness-bhutatmas entity) transform into non-specific elementary-PEs at quantum level (such as in electron), which then evolve into specific entities at classical level (such as in redness related neural-net). The same goes for physical aspect.  Thus, Brahma aspect → elementary particles → neural-net, and Vishnu aspect → elementary PEs → neural-net-PEs (which collapse into a specific SE redness upon presentation of long wavelength light).  These transformations are necessary because a neural-net is needed to have a subjective experience in addition to essential ingredients of awareness such as wakefulness, re-entry, attention, and memory.  Without these ingredients, a system has only associated proto-experiences. That is why specific primal entities such as redness-bhutatma cannot have SE redness; it has only redness-bhutatmic PE. This entails a possible motivation for Nature to create specific neural-net to have specific SE, such as redness related V4/V8 neural-net to have SE redness. This took billions of years.

        In PE-SE framework, the terms specificity and non-specificity need further clarification. For example, electron (quantum particle), is non-specific because it has all SEs superimposed and found everywhere; however, redness-related neural-net, in classical domain, is specific because it has single SE redness. On the other hand, redness-bhutatma (primal dual-aspect entity) is specific because it has single PE redness in sub-quantum domain. Thus, specificity in sub-quantum domain → non-specificity in quantum domain → specificity in classical domain. Further details are given in endnotes 28 and 10.


[44] Richard Wilson commented (personal email communication on October 12, 2007), “I cannot see anything in your paper that closes the explanatory gap. […] The hard problem of how (some) brain activity generates conscious experiences remains.”  To address this comment, elemental-PEs need to be unpacked, which is somewhat done in endnotes 3, 28, and 43. Unpacking process leads to speculation without solid evidence.  In other words, elemental-PEs are packed and I have assumed that somehow they are proto-experiential entities and hence the PE-SE framework is less ‘brute’ than straightforward materialism (types A-C).  To summarize the unpacking process, elemental-PEs are composed of a set of all SEs (dual aspect primal entities: bhutatmic-PEs) in superimposed form and hence they are non-specific.  Co-evolution and co-developmental processes (via sensorimotor tuning) yield neural-nets and associated neural-net PEs and higher degree of specificity arises.  For example, redness-related V4/V8-neural-net and associated neural-net color PEs are co-developed, which is basically the red-green opponent channel containing all color SEs between redness and greenness. This has higher specificity than elemental PEs.  When long wavelength light is presented, specific SE redness is selected out of these color SEs by resonance process.  Thus, the PE-SE framework helps in closing the explanatory gap.  If we can unpack elemental-PEs without extending physics, it will be a great achievement because associated problems will be minimized.




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Address for manuscript correspondence:

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