|Subject: Consciousness: A Physicist's Perspective
Date: Tue, 09 Apr 2002 19:15:26 +0300
From: "Dimiter G. Chakalov" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Roger Penrose <email@example.com>
Re: Roger Penrose, "Consciousness: A Physicist's Perspective",
Unicity Foundation Lectures, Imperial College, Physics Lecture Theatre
1, at 7 PM on Tuesday, 16 April 2002
Dear Professor Penrose,
I hope my preceding email has been safely received. In connection with your forthcoming lecture next Tuesday, may I ask you to shed some light on the following issues.
The human brain has the astonishing faculty of self-acting: we think about our brain, with our brain. In this context, I am respectfully requesting your answer to the question put forward by Baroness Susan Greenfield:
Do you think that your consciousness is inside your brain?
I would like to ask two additional questions, which I do hope you will address in your lecture.
What kind of energy facilitates the self-action of the human brain, and where does this energy come from?
I have to confess that I was not able to grasp the derivation of your threshold for Objective Reduction (OR). It seems to me that in the quantum realm 'out there' it is hardly possible to have any sharp value for this threshold. We get point-like values of quantum observables only upon measurements performed with macro-devices, and hence it is utterly unclear to me how one could get some sharp, point-like value of the threshold for OR without coupling to any macro-device, i.e., as some OR taking place in the quantum realm 'out there'.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Dimiter G. Chakalov
A. Einstein, Born-Einstein Letters, 29 April 1924
Subject: The gravitational self-energy
In my email from Mon, 22 Nov 1999 22:04:17 +0000 (printed below), I mentioned the issue of gravitational self-energy. I hope Sir Roger will address this crucial issue in his forthcoming lecture at Imperial College,
See also Evan Harris Walker,
Subject: The tip of an iceberg
[Personal, not for Q-Mind Digest]
On Sun, 21 Nov 1999 22:10:20 -0700, you wrote:
> the vast majority of what the brain does is
I'm sure you know how difficult this problem is. Psychologically, we have at least three 'layers', and I have absolutely no idea how one could match that multi-layer structure with *any* collapse mechanism. Any suggestions?
As to Penrose's OR (Shadows of the Mind, Sec 6.12), the 'choice' is made by something that no one knows what it is: the gravitational self-energy. This is analogous to the way the average lifetime of unstable particles is determined by an energy difference. However, we do not know how to apply the concept of 'energy' in GR, and we do not know what the heck is the nature of 'superposition'! It looks to me that your colleague is trying to replace an old enigma with a new puzzle. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
I think that your part of Orch OR is a very serious contribution to the science of CS. It is not your fault that physicists like Max Tegmark do not comment on Penrose's OR.
Will be happy if you decide to send this note to Roger Penrose.
With best regards,
Subject: Re: Request for info
On Thu, 11 Apr 2002 00:20:40 +0100, Greg Detre wrote:
> let me know what you think
Sir Roger spoke from 19.20 till 19.50, then there was a short Q&A session, with Dr. Paul De Bell, from 20.24 till 20.45. I had the chance to chat with Professor Penrose, and he told me that he had not received my questions sent by email,
nor many other questions from physicists at Q-Mind forum organized by Stuart Hameroff,
Anyway, the new thing I learned from Sir Roger was that the U process (unitary time "evolution") were [quote] *local*.
I have no idea how one could verify such statement. Please see my interpretation and tell me if I got it wrong,
I'll be in London until April 26th.
Subject: RE: Request for info
Dear Dimi Chakalov
Ordinary unitary evolution is "local" simply because it is described by a partial differential equation (the Schrodinger equation), albeit in configuration space rather than in ordinary space. By contrast, state reduction (an essential feature of EPR effects) is essentially non-local, as can be understood as the reduction in one part of an entangled state affecting the other part, which could refer to something distant.
I hope that this addresses the point you are asking about.
Yours sincerely, Roger Penrose
Subject: Re: Request for info
My dear Sir Roger,
Regarding your conjecture that U process (unitary time "evolution") were [quote] *local*, I wrote:
> I have no idea how one could verify such statement.
> Ordinary unitary evolution is "local" simply because
it is described
Again, I have no idea how could you verify the locality of unitary "evolution" in the configuration space mentioned by you above.
I'm afraid your conjecture is neither verifiable nor falsifiable.
Subject: Re: Consciousness: A Physicist's
Dear Sir Roger,
Regarding the issue raised at
may I suggest a simple experiment on verifying the incomputable faculties of the human mind, without any complicated prerequisites from Gödel theorems. Please read the text below and tell me if it makes sense.
I spillced coffcee
cincto my kcey boardc.c As a rcesulct, c's gcet inctermixcced with cwactever
I ctypce. Plcease replace mcy kceyboard.
It's nice to have what we call in psychology 'context', isn't it? I believe it provides invariant pattern recognition based on some UNspeakable Platonic ideas,
As to the physics of this phenomenon, please see
I will be happy to learn if you and/or your colleagues have grasped the meaning of the story above, despite all typos.
With kind regards,
Wilson's Law: If you want to make enemies, try to change something.
Subject: Re: White Paper, 5
P.S. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe,
Pritie amzanig huh?
On Wed, 24 Sep 2003 08:50:39 +0300, Dimi Chakalov wrote:
Subject: The Road to Reality?
My dear Sir Roger,
I mentioned your recent book at
Note: I met Sir Roger Penrose on April 16, 2002, after his talk at the Imperial College. We had a nice chat, and I gave him my visit card with all details about my web site. I was waiting for this event since 1988.
As I promised on August 1, 2004, I'll post here a selection of excerpts from his book "The Road to Reality", along with my comments. He speculated in "Shadows of the Mind", published in 1994, that "our brains have somehow contrived to harness the details of a physics that is yet unknown to human physicists."
I wonder if Roger Penrose, as a human physicist, knew nothing new about the physics of the brain in the year 2004, at the time he submitted the manuscript of his latest book for publication, or was he just ignoring some well-known facts which, however, do not fit in his OR framework. His ideas were extensively discussed at Q-Mind Forum organized by Stuart Hameroff, who repeatedly assured all participants that all postings are indeed being sent to Roger Penrose. The Q-Mind Forum, or Quantum-Mind internet discussion group, lasted three years, from 19 June 1998 to 6 June 2001. My email to Roger Penrose was never bounced back. Finally, on Friday, 19 April 2002, he did reply to one of my 'request for info'.
To sum up, it is highly unlikely that Roger Penrose has not received any information from any of the participants of Q-Mind Forum. It is also very unlikely that he is not aware of this web page, after all my urgent email sent to him and his colleagues since April 2002. Penrose knows how to surf the Net (cf. p. 1050), does not hesitate to read web pages (ref. 19.14, p. 470), and certainly communicates with his colleagues and friends by email (p. xxiii).
So, what can we learn from his recent book "The Road to Reality"? Has Roger Penrose missed -- intentionally or not -- some crucial facts? The ambiguities with the definition of 'gravitational energy' are well-known since the inception of Einstein's GR, but are there facts about the human brain, which are widely known, but are persistently ignored in his copious book?
Read my review here.