Properties of Consciousness

An excerpt from the article Moving Mind, Moving Matter
by Dean Radin, Ph.D., Noetic Sciences Review, No. 46 - Summer 1998.


Whatever else consciousness may be, let us suppose that it also has the following properties, derived from a combination of Western and Eastern philosophies: The first property is that consciousness extends beyond the individual and has quantum field-like properties, in that it affects the probabilities of events.

Second, consciousness injects order into systems in proportion to the "strength" of consciousness present. This is a refinement of quantum physicist Erwin Schrodinger's observation about one of the most remarkable properties of life, namely, an "organisms astonishing gift . . . of 'drinking orderliness' from a suitable environment."

Third, the strength of consciousness in an individual fluctuates from moment to moment, and is regulated by focus of attention. Some states of consciousness have higher focus than others. We propose that ordinary awareness has a fairly low focus of attention compared to peak states, mystical states, and other nonordinary states.

Fourth, a group of individuals can be said to have "group consciousness." Group consciousness strengthens when the group's attention is focused on a common object or event, and this creates coherence among the group. If the group's attention is scattered, then the group's mental coherence is also scattered.

Fifth, when individuals in a group are all attending to different things, then the group consciousness and group mental coherence is effectively zero, producing what amounts to background noise. We assume that the maximum degree of group coherence is related in some complicated way to the total number of individuals present in the group, the strength of their common focus of attention, and other psychological, physiological, and environmental factors.

Sixth, physical systems of all kinds respond to a consciousness field by becoming more ordered. The stronger or more coherent a consciousness field, the more the order will be evident. Non-moving objects (like rocks) will respond to order induced by consciousness as well as moving ones (like people or tossed dice), but it is only in the more labile systems that we have the tools to readily detect these changes in order. In sum, when a group is actively focused on a common object, the "group mind" momentarily has the "power to organize," as Carl Jung put it.