The "Orch OR" theory of consciousness was originally presented in Penrose's book "The Road to Reality" in the late 1990's. At the time the theory was too speculative to garner much scientific support. However recent discoveries have supported this view, and it is now back with scientific support and basic mainstream research. In 2014 the new results have stimulated much review of this theory, along with supporters (non-determinists) and critics (determinists). This newer research supports a theosophical view where consciousness pervades reality at a fundamental level.

Key Points and papers are below

In 2002 basic calculations showed that quantum effects could last at time-scales relevant to the biology of the microtubules in dendrites. Below is a brief abstract of this paper. It helps set the tone for how science is supporting this work by Penrose as early as 2002. This paper was published in Physical Reviews E (A journal put out by the American Physical Society). (below)

Quantum computation in brain microtubules: decoherence and biologic...

A current overview of the more recent Orch OR theory discussion is given in the (16-Jan-2014) EurekAlert which is readable by most armchair scientists (layman) and is given below:

Discovery of quantum vibrations in 'microtubules' corroborates theo...

Science News has the EurokAlert review also:

Discovery of quantum vibrations in 'microtubules' corroborates theo...

The Journal which sparked most of the debate is the Applied Physics Letters. The abstract for one of the key papers is given below:

Multi-level memory-switching properties of a single brain microtubule

The most recent paper (referred to in the EurekAlert) is more technical and is written by Hameroff (Anesthesiologist) and Penrose (Mathematical Physicist). The journal which published a whole issue on this is the Physics of Life Reviews. It contains several articles, pro and con, and even a review by Deepak Chopra. The journal (and papers) is below:

Consciousness in the universe: A review of the ‘Orch OR’ theory

(Note: I started a topic on Deepak's paper for most theosophists to comment on)

The key paper in the journal above is by Hameroff (Anesthesiologist) and Penrose (Mathematical Physicist). The complete pdf is included above.

Sorry for so much material. The subject is important though. Any true Theosophist interested in studying Religion, Science and Philosophy should be highly interested in the above. I suggest it be skimmed as a first reading.

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Note: this theory (Orch OR) fits in well with the other aspects of the religious/philosophical academic theory of theosophy. It is yet another a piece of the puzzle. In fact a major missing link.

revisit the video clip from Pratchett's Hogfather movie (great clip)

Meaning of Life - Pratchett

Death seems very close to having it Right when he talks to his Granddaughter Susan...

Hi John and everyone,

Sorry, I've been very busy and only just had time to get back to the discussion. For me, imagination leads to so many other important aspects of our connection to our higher selves. Perhaps the question is what does such a capacity give us? What are we capable of imagining and what effect does that have on our lives? We imagine how others feel and that leads to all sorts of ramifications, depending on our beliefs. We imagine how something will evolve and go towards it with an attitude (belief) in mind. I think these are the cornerstones of the lives we actually produce. The books written by Jane Roberts between 1969 and about 1980 talk about these aspects of our personality through channeling work she did with a character called Seth, are much clearer then I could be on the whole subject and in huge detail.

And ala Terry Prachett, we need to experience, experiment and become, and then perhaps we have evolved our consciousness a little more.

Hope everyone is well,

Best wishes


I never read the Seth books but know many who have. That is just not in my interest realm :)

Your approach to Imagination does seem very broad in terms of usage in theosophy. I expect others may want to add to that topic. The Orch OR theory really deals exclusively with the Mind-Body problem and is not really a good spot for this topic.

The modern academic approach and work of Corbin (Sufism), Faivre ("Christian Theosophy" throughout the last 1800 years), Jung and others become very relevant here as well. We agree much on imagination. It is so key to current theosophy that we could start a separate thread/discussion on it. Would you go fo that?
(I am willing to start one, if you would prefer that to you starting it?)

yes. Rather like "How can you hear without knowledge of the three bones used to hear."

Note: the Imagination topic has just asked how Orch OR fits into imagination - if at all. just an fyi.


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