But neurons may be far more complicated than mere switches....
More complicated, indeed. Plus given the issues of quantum superposition and entanglement, it seems we need to account for consciousness at the level of the macroscopic brain, as well as the acoustical, electromagnetic, and quantum influences coming from outside the organic brain itself.
Grandpierre postulates that different processes of consciousness and different levels of the mind are structured by acoustical, electromagnetic, and quantum fields which are themselves products of a universal vacuum field that is the foundation of the Universe. He speculates that this ultimate foundational field is the primary consciousness (or information field) of the Universe.
Electrons, possibly photons, are hypothesized as "material carriers of thought." Grandpierre writes:
"The different vacuum waves couple us in a different scale to our bodies and brains, while the electromagnetic and electron waves present couplings between between our environment, our brains and local neural processes. These couplings to the different scales of the outer world represent couplings between our different mind levels, simultaneously. In this context it is important to note that these outer sources of information -- the Earth, the Sun, the stars, and the Universe as a whole -- do show a whole range of generalized organic processes.... [e.g., the ultrasensitive response of the Sun to changes in the planetary cores of its satellites].
"In my essay (1995a) I argued that every element of the Universe is a kind of double-pyramid consisting of hierarchichal levels; i.e., conscious mind, deep-mind, genetic-mind, cosmic mind, inner world pyramid of human being), Earth, Solar System, Galaxy, Universe (outer world-pyramid of a human being). The difference between the organisms of the Universe is only what is outer and what is inner for them, but the levels in their pyramids are similar, consiting of the same constituents. In this context it is interesting to note that our calculations show that the different organisms interact with the same range of universal fields, but their sizes determine what is "outer" and what is "inner" for them, and which are the long and short wavelengths compared to their physical sizes."
Thanks so much for the great link (to Stuart Hameroff) mfulstone. He and Roger Penrose look like they've found a very promising approach to understanding consciousness. To me, the really interesting thing to ponder is that these local processes of mind/brain coupling are being executed in universal fields....