Re: black holism

Mark Crosby (
Thu, 31 Jul 1997 10:08:39 -0700 (PDT)

Damien Broderick wrote:
<But I cannot help thinking that to employ the best available physics
and physiology has to be preferable to clinging to time-hallowed
common-sense errors. It would be a terrible travesty of intellectual
justice if our dawning awareness of the on-rushing Spike became
conscripted by black holists, warped into yet another comical New Age
fantasy of effortless deliverance.>

Perhaps one can fall into the quantum mysticism trap just as easily
through excessive reductionism as through the unhealthy holism you

Take, for example, the current trend by many to explain consciousness
in terms of quantum ‘computing’ in the brain’s ‘microtubules’.
Penrose and Hameroff may be best known in this regard. There’s also
psychiatrist Gordon Globus, author of _The Postmodern Brain_, who
writes the following at :

<The sensory input flux comes in and is thought to be re-presented as
Froehlich condensates. So we have a re-presentation of quantum reality
(which is not world-like) as Froehlich condensates (which are not
world- like). At the same time, there is *quantum cognition*, a
superposition of continually changing expectations (possibilities)
perhaps associated with the microtubules and the nanolevel web of
filamentous protein. Quantum cognition is also not world-like but is a
conjugate reality. This is, I believe, an original conjecture, so I
shall emphasize it: *Cognition is conjugate reality.* In the continual
interference between the stream of Froehlich condensates and conjugate
cognition, observables appear. So the brain sustains quantum field
interactions between a re-presentation of reality and cognitive
conjugate possibilities, and an observable world with its various
qualities unfolds in the match. >

Going down to this level and describing the mind, not to mention the
rest of reality, in terms of "Bose-Einstein-like Froehlich condensates
in quantum fields hoisted by brain biosubstrates, entering into
quantum field interactions" seems to me to throw out, at least, a lot
of what we know from a higher-level perspective about physiology,
geology, ecology, culture, etc. (even if it is somehow ‘algebraically

Physics may not explain everything about organisms and physiology may
not explain everything about psychology. Epistemologies appropriate
for explaining ‘things’ at one level may not be as applicable for
explaining things at another level. Middle-out approaches usually
turn out to be more practical than strictly top-down or bottom-up

Mark Crosby

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