Panpsychism is the belief that consciousness is found throughout the universe—not only in people and animals, but also in trees, plants, and bacteria. Panpsychists hold that some aspect of mind is present even in elementary particles. The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional reasons. But can it be empirically tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can. That’s because one of the most popular scientific theories of consciousness, integrated information theory (IIT), shares many—though not all—features of panpsychism.
BlockquoteIn healthy, conscious individuals—or in people who have brain damage but are clearly conscious—the PCI is always above a particular threshold. On the other hand, 100% of the time, if healthy people are asleep, their PCI is below that threshold (0.31). So it is reasonable to take PCI as a proxy for the presence of a conscious mind
Thanks for sharing this interesting article. What about the mind of a fully awakened ‘buddha’? Would the PCI always be above this particular threshold? Or is such an awareness beyond the possibilities of any physical measurements?
"Evaluating such patients for the presence of consciousness is tricky. IIT proponents have developed a procedure that can test for consciousness in an unresponsive person. First they set up a network of EEG electrodes that can measure electrical activity in the brain. Then they stimulate the brain with a gentle magnetic pulse, and record the echoes of that pulse. They can then calculate a mathematical measure of the complexity of those echoes, called a perturbational complexity index (PCI).
In healthy, conscious individuals—or in people who have brain damage but are clearly conscious—the PCI is always above a particular threshold. On the other hand, 100% of the time, if healthy people are asleep, their PCI is below that threshold (0.31). So it is reasonable to take PCI as a proxy for the presence of a conscious mind. If the PCI of someone in a persistent vegetative state is always measured to be below this threshold, we can with confidence say that this person is not covertly conscious. "
I think that the latter question is the answer.
Good luck getting a statistically significant research sample size large enough to test this theory though
My understanding of the experience of enlightened masters in many traditions is that consciousness is all pervasive throughout space and time. It pervades empty space and is infinite. Form arises out of this empty infinite consciousness. This is very different than the modern scientific reductionism that says that consciousness is a product of the brain. Does the brain produce consciousness, or it like a radio that receives and focuses consciousness? That is the question, and I think that it is difficult to arrive at a scientific answer to this. Advanced meditators may arrive at an answer through direct experience.