At its most basic, consciousness is considered as an awareness of internal or external existence. Yet despite centuries of analysis and debate between philosophers and scientists, consciousness has remained a topic of much controversy and mystery – perhaps until now.
Professor Johnjoe McFadden, a UK scientist from the University of Surrey believes he has finally cracked consciousness.
There is an accepted scientific foundation to his still-controversial theory.
When neurons in the brain and nervous system fire, they not only send the familiar electrical signal down the nerve fibres.
They also send pulses of electromagnetic energy into the surrounding tissue area.
And although this energy is usually disregarded, it does carry the same information as nerve firings, but as an immaterial wave of energy, instead of a flow of physical atoms around the nerves.
This electromagnetic field is well-documented and is routinely detected by brain-scanning techniques, but has previously been dismissed as irrelevant to brain function.
Instead, McFadden proposes the brain’s information-rich electromagnetic field is in fact itself the seat of consciousness, driving ‘free will’ and voluntary actions.
This new theory can also account for the reason why computers have not exhibited even the slightest spark of self-awareness.
However, taking this theory to its conclusion, aware robots that can think for themselves could really one day become a reality.
Professor Johnjoe McFadden said: “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.
“I believe this mystery has now been solved, and that consciousness is the experience of nerves plugging into the brain’s self-generated electromagnetic field to drive what we call ‘free will’ and our voluntary actions.”