Star Wars VIII: Origins of the Force

Many millenia ago, a man and a woman were on a planet.
There, a Force sensitive tree stood.

Star Wars Force Trees

A boy and a girl visited it.
They were the first humanoids that felt the Force.

Kids start to develop strange powers while standing near a mysterious tree.
(This effect can override very strong mechanical forces.)


So much for the fiction.

According to classical physics, you are a mechanical automaton:
your every physical action is predetermined before you are born solely by mechanical interactions between tiny mindless entities.
Your mental aspects are causally redundant: everything you do is completely determined by mechanical conditions alone,
without any mention of your thoughts, ideas, feelings or intentions.

Your intuitive feeling that your conscious intentions make a difference in what you do is,
according to the principles of classical physics, a false and misleading illusion.

There are two possible ways within classical physics to understand this total incapacity of your mental side
(i.e. your stream of conscious thoughts and feelings) to make any difference in what you do.

1. The first way is to consider your thoughts, ideas and feelings to be by-products of the activity of your brain.
Your mental side is then a causally impotent sideshow that is produced, or caused, by your brain,
but that produces no reciprocal action back upon your brain.

2. The second way is to contend that each of your conscious experiences
—each of your thoughts, ideas, or feelings—
is the very same thing as some pattern of motion of various tiny parts of your brain.

Materialism draws no support from contemporary physics and is in fact contradicted by it.
The notion that all physical behavior is explainable in principle solely in terms of a local mechanical process is a holdover from physical theories of an earlier era.

Placebo hook: the quantum neuro-transmitter interface
Nerve terminals are essential connecting links between nerve cells.
The general way they work is reasonably well understood. When an action potential travelling along a nerve fiber reaches a nerve terminal, a host of ion channels open. Calcium ions enter through these channels into the interior of the terminal. These ions migrate from the channel exits to release sites on vesicles containing neurotransmitter molecules. A triggering effect of the calcium ions causes these contents to be dumped into the synaptic cleft that separates this terminal from a neighboring neuron, and these neurotransmitter molecules influence the tendencies of that neighboring neuron to ‘fire’.

At their narrowest points, calcium ion channels are less than a nanometer in diameter.

This extreme smallness of the opening in the calcium ion channels has profound quantum mechanical implications.

The narrowness of the channel restricts the lateral spatial dimension.
Consequently, the lateral velocity is forced by the quantum uncertainty principle to become large.

This causes the quantum cloud of possibilities associated with the calcium ion to fan out over an increasing area as it moves away from the tiny channel to the target region where the ion will be absorbed as a whole, or not absorbed at all, on some small triggering site.

This spreading of this ion wave packet means that the ion may or may not be absorbed on the small triggering site.
Accordingly, the contents of the vesicle may or may not be released.
Consequently, the quantum state of the brain has a part in which the neurotransmitter is released
and a part in which the neurotransmitter is not released.

This quantum splitting occurs at every one of the trillions of nerve terminals.
This means that the quantum state of the brain splits into a vast host of classically conceived possibilities, one for each possible
combination of the release-or-no-release options at each of the nerve terminals.

In fact, because of uncertainties on timings and locations, what is generated by the physical processes in the brain will be not a
single discrete set of non-overlapping physical possibilities but rather a huge smear of classically conceived possibilities.

Once the physical state of the brain has evolved into this huge smear of possibilities one must appeal to the quantum rules,
in order to connect the physically described world to the streams of consciousness of the observer/participants.

This focus on the motions of calcium ions in nerve terminals is not meant to suggest that this particular effect is the only place where quantum effects enter into the brain process, or that the quantum process acts locally at these sites. What is needed here is only the existence of some large quantum effect.

The focus upon these calcium ions stems from the facts that in this case the various sizes (dimensions) needed to estimate the magnitude of the quantum effects are empirically known, and that the release of neurotransmitter into synaptic clefts is known to play a significant role in brain dynamics.

The Penrose–Hameroff model requires that the quantum state of the brain has a property called macroscopic quantum coherence, which needs to be maintained for around a tenth of a second.

Nerve terminals, ion channels and the need to use quantum theory in the study of the mind–brain connection
Neuroscientists studying the connection of mind and consciousness to physical processes in the brain often assume that a conception of nature based on classical physics will eventually turn out to be adequate.

That assumption would have been reasonable during the nineteenth century. But now, in the twenty-first century, it is rationally untenable. Quantum theory must be used in principle because the behaviour of the brain depends sensitively upon atomic, molecular and ionic processes, and these processes in the brain often involve LARGE quantum effects.

The Quantum Zeno Effect
The study of effortfully controlled intentional action brings in two empirically accessible variables, the intention and the amount of effort.
It also brings in the important physical QZE. This effect is named for the Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea.

It gives a name to the fact that repeated and closely spaced observational acts can effectively hold a quantum state in place for an extended time-interval that depends upon the rapidity at which the quantum actions are happening.

This rapidity is controlled by the amount of effort being applied. In our notation, the effect is to keep an idea in place longer than would be the case if no effort were being made. This ‘holding’ effect can override very strong mechanical forces.
End of synopsis


"Quantum physics in neuroscience and psychology:
a neurophysical model of mind–brain interaction"

by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, Henry P. Stapp and Mario Beauregard,
UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, 760 Westwood Plaza, NPI Los Angeles,

Theoretical Physics Mailstop 5104/50A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,

Centre de Recherche en Neuropsychologie Experimentale et Cognition (CERNEC),

Centre de Recherche en Sciences Neurologiques (CRSN), Universite de Montreal.