Could human consciousness be as simple as the brain’s ‘energy field’?
From science-fiction to philosophy, the question of human consciousness has always troubled our greatest thinkers. The consciousness allows us to feel, to memorise, to make decisions gives us a moral or ethical arc, makes you fall in love or hate. We know it must be there but how can someone prove something so seemingly intangible?
At least for one scientist, there are some answers. A neuroscience professor, Dr Johnjoe McFadden, from University of Surrey says he has solved the long-standing and complex mystery of what creates human consciousness. According to McFadden, this uniquely human trait is produced by the electromagnetic field of the brain’s neurons. Human consciousness is a hot topic of debate for both science and humanities; many have spent years trying to decipher why humans have awareness while other animals seemingly do not have any.
Spiritual and supernatural explanations have been offered by those who believe in these systems, but researchers cannot rely on the soul being the root cause when one cannot prove that a soul exists. Instead, McFadden offers scientific reasoning with evidence and facts. His theory has been published in the journal, Neuroscience of Consciousness.
“How brain matter becomes aware and manages to think is a mystery that has been pondered by philosophers, theologians, mystics and ordinary people for millennia,” he said.
He has referenced many philosophers in his papers in a way to explain the literary idea of consciousness as well as many neuroscientists to take care of facts and figures. He has focused his idea around the concept of ‘free will.’
According to the paper, “free will” (which is the human ability to choose a path of their own and choose what they want in life from career to what to have for dinner) is nothing but experience of nerves plugging into the brain’s self-generated electromagnetic field giving us consciousness and free will and voluntary actions.
While most of the brain function is still a mystery, at least one thing is known – messages are passed around by tiny electrical signals via specialised cells called neurons. These signals then create a tiny electromagnetic field (EMF).
This has been established by multiple brain-scanning techniques such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) but it is mostly dismissed as “irrelevant.”
But McFadden claims it is very relevant and the answer to the confounding issue of human consciousness. The EMF created by the very messages which establish a person, a by-product of every thought, movement and process. As of now, it remains a hypothesis. But McFadden is sure this is the ultimate answer to consciousness and will be key in creating awareness in robots.