Part 1

A Comprehensive Theory of Consciousness:
The Theory of Enformed Systems

Donald E. Watson
Director, James Clerk Maxwell Project,
Human Energy Systems Laboratory,
University of Arizona

Gary E. R. Schwartz
Professor of Psychology, Neurology and Psychiatry,
Director, Human Energy Systems Laboratory,
University of Arizona

Linda G. S. Russek
Co-Director, Human Energy Systems Laboratory,
University of Arizona

This paper summarizes the Theory of Enformed Systems (TES), which explains, not only all elements of consciousness, but all radically-related phenomena—including life per se, quantum coherence, and telepathy. The conceptual framework of TES is found in Systemics—the branch of science that addresses holistic systems. Systemics is therefore the "science of consciousness."

What is Systemics?
The term Systemics denotes the science of holistic systems. Whereas the familiar disciplines of science address systems that are already organized, Systemics addresses organization per se. Because organization per se is prephysical, Systemics is the most basic branch of science. Hence, the fundamentals of Systemics cannot be expressed in terms of physical paradigms.

What is enformy?

Enformy (en'-fer-my) is the capacity to organize. Opposing the entropy principle, enformy accounts for the universal tendency toward increasing complexity. As the organizing principle, enformy is foundational to Systemics. That is, enformy is to Systemics as energy and mass are to mechanics.

What phenomena must a comprehensive theory of consciousness explain?

A theory of consciousness must explain all the elements traditionally attributed to human consciousness as well as all phenomena that are radically-related to these elements. Therefore, a theory that doesn't explain all of the following doesn't explain any of them.
  • Phenomena and Noumena of Human Experience: Self-awareness, Perception, Cognition, Memory, Learning, Curiosity, Creativity, Intuition, Emotion, Social bonding, Collective unconscious, Altered states, Dissociation

  • Parapsychological and Psychic Phenomena: Precognition, Telepathy, Remote viewing, Psychokinesis (micro-PK, bio-PK, retro-PK), "Psychic" healing, Psychometry, Synchronicity phenomena, Apparitions, Near-death experiences, Out-of-body experiences, Evidence of reincarnation

  • Nonexperiential Phenomena: Life per se, The evolution of species, Quantum correlation, "Water memory," Homing behavior of pigeons and other animals

What is the common root of all these phenomena?

All of the foregoing phenomena are radically-related because each of them expresses the properties and behaviors of holistic systems. That is, they belong to the set {holistic systems}. Hence, a comprehensive theory of consciousness is inhered in TES—a general theory of holistic systems.

What is a holistic system?

A holistic system is the sum of its parts plus one essential component: a four-dimensional map that specifies the relationships among those parts in spacetime. Holistic systems include correlated photons, atoms, molecules, living organisms, and social systems. The Theory of Enformed Systems is the paradigm of holistic—i.e., enformed—systems.

What is an enformed system?

An enformed system is any system that is organized as a whole by enformy. Enformed systems can be: (1) material and physical; (2) nonmaterial and physical (dynamical energy systems); or (3) prephysical (enformation maps in spacetime—e.g., quantum fields, "nonlocal mind").

What is an enformation field?

An enformation field is the domain of influence of enformy in spacetime—the four-dimensional distribution of coherent enformation.

What is enformation?

Enformation is nonrandomness in any particular frame of reference—e.g., in the context of English text, enformation is negentropy (Shannon's entropy). Enformation—which is prephysical—is fundamental to information—which is physical. That is, information is nonrandom patterns in physical systems, and enformation is the nonrandomness inhered in these patterns. SELFs consist of enformation fields.

What is a SELF?

SELF is the acronym for Singular Enformed Living Field. Humans identify their SELFs as their "selves." The SELF is the enformation field that maps the relationships among the parts of an enformed system. SELFs are continuous in spacetime but discontinuous in three-space. This discontinuity in three-space accounts for nonlocal and atemporal phenomena. SELFs are the fundamental elements of holistic systems.

What are the properties of SELFs?

SELFs possess two fundamental properties that determine their behaviors and attributes (including consciousness): conformability and coherency.

  • Conformability: a SELF's capacity to conform to enformation under the influence of enformy. Conformability allows enformy to enform a SELF (i.e., to configure it) to many levels of enformation. This property is commensurate with the complexity of the SELF and of any physical system that might be associated with it.

  • Coherency: the ability of subsets of SELFs to cohere with other SELFs in spacetime.

What are the behaviors of SELFs?

Conformability is expressed in two prephysical behaviors that are necessary for a SELF to interact with itself and maintain its own integrity as an entity: state-conformance and self-conformance.

  • State-conformance: a SELF's conforming to its own subsets. State-conformance is rudimentary to human perception, cognition, and emotion. SELFs can "think" and "feel" by conforming to enformation inhered in the states of its associated physical system—e.g., its brain. State-conformance is symmetric; brain states concomitantly conform to enformation inhered in its associated SELF. State-conformance is also essential to quantum entanglement.

  • Self-conformance: a SELF's conforming to its subsets as "its own." Through self-conformance, a SELF observes that: (1) it exists as a unique, real entity; (2) it is distinct from its environment, and; (3) its associated physical system—e.g., its "body"—belongs to it. Hence, self-conformance is rudimentary to human self-awareness, and is essential to ontological theorizing.

Coherency is expressed as SELFs cohering with one another in spacetime. This is the basis of atemporality and nonlocality.

  • Cohering in spacetime: expresses enformy's universal tendency toward increasing complexity and enformation—as evident, for example, in the evolution of increasingly complex species. (Figure 1)


Figure 1. Coherency: Enformy creates new SELFs by cohering subsets of existing SELFs in spacetime. This diagram represents a four-dimensional SELF (the inverted "U") that accounts for quantum correlation, telepathy, psychokinesis, precognition, and remote viewing. The three-dimensional subsets of four-dimensional SELFs are confined to three-space by their associated physical systems. The four-dimensional object is continuous in spacetime but discontinuous in three-space. This discontinuity accounts for phenomena that appear nonlocal and atemporal in three-space. (Diagram due to Antonio Barchetti, personal communication.)

How does TES explain the elements of consciousness and radically-related phenomena?

Implications of the theory of enformed systems are based on the fundamental properties and behaviors of SELFs operating at many levels of organization. Essential to these properties is enformy, without which holistic systems could not be created or sustained. Three aspects of TES imply (i.e., "predict") three corresponding categories of observed phenomena. Identifying these aspects does not imply that they operate independently of one another. In all categories, enformy organizes SELFs in spacetime to produce the behaviors of SELFs and their associated physical systems.

Aspect 1: Enformy coheres subsets of SELFs in spacetime. Elemental SELFs conform to enformation shared by all of the SELFs with which they cohere. Hence, enformy nonlocally and atemporally organizes individual behaviors and attributes to correspond to shared enformation. Examples: quantum correlation ("EPR" phenomenon), telepathy, precognitive remote viewing, micro-PK, retro-PK, bio-PK, external Qi Gong, "psychic" healing, "water memory," and the homing behavior of pigeons.

Aspect 2: The existence of SELFs is independent of the physical systems they can enform. Because SELFs exist in spacetime, whereas physical systems are confined to three-space, the observable behaviors of SELFs depend on their ability to organize physical systems in ways that alter their behavior in spacetime. Many resulting phenomena are atemporal and nonlocal. Examples: the SELF ("self") controlling its own brain, near-death experiences (NDEs), out-of-body experiences (OBEs), apparitions, mind-matter interactions, and three types of "reincarnation"—complete, partial, melded.

Aspect 3: Human SELFs can report the products of their state-conformance and self-conformance in the first person to other humans. This aspect implies the rudiments of ordinary human mentality, as well as unusual expressions of mentality such as multiple personality disorder. Like all SELFs, human SELFs behave according to their self-conforming and state-conforming to prephysical enformation and their associated physical systems. Unlike other SELFs, human SELFs verbally report the products of their state-conformance and self-conformance, thereby providing data for a TES-based theory of human mentality. The rudiments of human SELF mentality and behavior include: memory, perception, cognition, intuition, creativity, imagination, "conscious" thought, curiosity, social bonding, collective unconscious, telepathy, and emotion.

What problems are resolved by TES?

  • nonlocality and atemporality: These characteristics of QM and psi phenomena reflect the discontinuity in three-space and continuity in spacetime of SELFs.
  • mind/body: The mind/body problem is an artifact of dualistic perception, not an inexplicable interaction between two entities.
  • binding problem: Under TES, there is no binding problem. Neurons conform as ensembles to SELFs at many levels of organization and complexity.
  • "emergent" properties of complex systems. Physical systems are emergent products of SELFs under enformy; consciousness does not emerge from physical systems.
Differences between Several Materialistic Hypotheses and TES

Materialistic Hypotheses

Theory of Enformed Systems

"Consciousness" is unique to humans. "Consciousness" is a property of all enformed systems, living or non-living.
Mind and brain are distinct entities; they are dual aspects of the person. Neither mind nor brain is an entity; both are products of the person's dualistic perception.
Mind and matter don't interact. Enformy, therefore mental events, interacts profoundly with matter, just as energy interacts profoundly with matter.
Mind equals brain. Mind and brain are disjoint, therefore non-equivalent, sets of perceptions.
Brain operations uni-directionally cause mental activity. Mental activity and brain activity are symmetrical and concomitant.
"Consciousness" is an emergent property of complex material systems. Complex material systems are emergent products of SELFs and enformy.
Brain stores and sustains memories. Memories (SELFs) pre-exist and sustain the organization of brain.
Mind is local because it is a product of material brain. Mental activity is nonlocal because nonmaterial SELFs are continuous in spacetime but discontinuous in three-space.
Evolution of species results from initial conditions; it is produced by random mutations in DNA. Evolution results from final conditions; it is guided by experiences of organisms.
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