Category Archives: Consciousness

On the evidence for fungal intelligence

Nicholas P Money writes: Mushrooms and other kinds of fungi are often associated with witchcraft and are the subjects of longstanding superstitions. Witches dance inside fairy rings of mushrooms according to German folklore, while a French fable warns that anyone foolish enough to step inside these ‘sorcerer’s rings’ will be cursed by enormous toads with… Read More »

The easy part of the hard problem of consciousness

Tam Hunt writes: How does consciousness arise? What might its relationship to matter be? And why are some things conscious while others apparently aren’t? These sorts of questions, taken together, make up what’s called the “hard problem” of consciousness, coined some years ago by the philosopher David Chalmers. There is no widely accepted solution to… Read More »

Why walking helps us think

Ferris Jabr writes: In Vogue’s 1969 Christmas issue, Vladimir Nabokov offered some advice for teaching James Joyce’s “Ulysses”: “Instead of perpetuating the pretentious nonsense of Homeric, chromatic, and visceral chapter headings, instructors should prepare maps of Dublin with Bloom’s and Stephen’s intertwining itineraries clearly traced.” He drew a charming one himself. Several decades later, a… Read More »

The origin of consciousness

Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka write: MuZero is an algorithm with a superhuman ability to learn: it has learned to play 57 different Atari video games as well as Chess, Go and Shogi, and defeated the greatest human masters in every one of them. Yet, this amazing algorithm and the computer in which it is… Read More »

Can consciousness be explained by quantum physics?

Some scientists believe consciousness is generated by quantum processes, but the theory is yet to be empirically tested. vitstudio/Shutterstock By Cristiane de Morais Smith, Utrecht University One of the most important open questions in science is how our consciousness is established. In the 1990s, long before winning the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for his… Read More »

The voice in your head

Sophie McBain writes: Patsy Hage began hearing voices when she was eight years old. She was playing with her brother in the attic when her scarf caught alight on a candle. She would always remember running downstairs to her mother, her clothing on fire, convinced she was going to die. She was rushed to hospital… Read More »

Is consciousness everywhere?

Christof Koch writes: What is common between the delectable taste of a favorite food, the sharp sting of an infected tooth, the fullness after a heavy meal, the slow passage of time while waiting, the willing of a deliberate act, and the mixture of vitality, tinged with anxiety, just before a competitive event? All are… Read More »

The link between bioelectricity and consciousness

Tam Hunt writes: Life seems to be tied to bioelectricity at every level. The late electrophysiologist and surgeon Robert Becker spent decades researching the role of the body’s electric fields in development, wound healing, and limb regrowth. His 1985 book, The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life, was a fascinating deep dive into… Read More »

Ayahuasca helps traumatized war veterans rediscover their humanity

The New York Times reports: Before their first ayahuasca ceremony, the veterans met individually with two Peruvian “maestros,” or healers, from the Shipibo community in Peru. “Their hearts are hardened,” said Teobaldo Ochavano, who helps run the nighttime ceremonies alongside his wife, Marina Sinti. “They seemed unable to experience love or joy.” Ms. Sinti said… Read More »