Is wine conscious? is everything? They call it panpsychism, and it has been around for thousands of years in philosophy, and not quite so long in science. Well, that’s one of its names. But the idea that mind may suffuse or imbue the entire universe, persists. Conscious electrons in my wine may sound fanciful, but…
Recently, the idea has taken hold in physics. Part of it is that few understand quantum mechanics, really — never mind quantum entanglement. So physicists have reached farther to seek analogies and working models. The other part is brain science — for the better part of a century, many denied the existence of consciousness. Now they are working on the theory (which I and some others believe is wrong) that the brain produces consciousness.
But Nautilus recently published an article, “Electrons May Well Be Conscious”. It references the work of German mathematician and physicist Johannes Kleiner. He thinks that a mathematically precise definition of consciousness could revolutionize physics. You can read the nautil.us article here.
There is also the New Scientist article, “Is the universe conscious? It seems impossible until you do the maths.”
What we think of as a purely mechanistic response in particles and fields, may in fact have a dimension of mind, of consciousness. Sure it sounds like something we discussed in a dorm after a toke or two. And, being able to dismiss it as an “ism” speaks to the reception this idea has had in most scientific disciplines. But all that is changing. And faster than we think.
Conscious electrons in my wine, the concept, is also appealing in another sense. It makes possible a more personal relationship with what I enjoy with a good meal in good company.
We don’t have to go all Spinoza and Bishop Berkeley on this. It’s not really a metaphysical question. What happened is I was shopping for a wine rack and started wondering about UV rays (short wavelength light radiation) and wine. (Yes, light can have a huge effect.)
I had also just read our article on copper whiskey stills.
In other words all the material conditions to which we subject drink and food, matter. Photons don’t have mass but they do carry energy, and that is for practical purposes the same thing. Red wine especially is vulnerable.
Two articles on the light and wine: