For its own reasons, science has become more interested in looking for the soul. Some physicists suggest its ephemeral nature could be an affect of quantum mechanics:
The quantum mind or quantum consciousness hypothesis proposes that … quantum mechanical phenomena, such as quantum entanglement and superposition, may play an important part in the brain’s function, and could form the basis of an explanation of consciousness.
Heavyweights Sir Roger Penrose and Dr. Stuart Hameroff have put forth their own version:
They have argued that our experience of consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects in these microtubules, a theory which they dubbed orchestrated objective reduction (Orch-OR). Thus it is held that our souls are more than the interaction of neurons in the brain. They are in fact constructed from the very fabric of the universe – and may have existed since the beginning of time.
Dr. Hameroff even suggests how this may explain near death experiences:
Let’s say the heart stops beating, the blood stops flowing, the microtubules lose their quantum state. The quantum information within the microtubules is not destroyed, it can’t be destroyed, it just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large.
If the patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, ‘I had a near death experience’. If they’re not revived, and the patient dies, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely, as a soul.
The Orch-OR theory has many critics. (The main argument being that quantum states would decohere before reaching a spatial or temporal scale at which they could be useful for neural processing.) I don’t pretend to understand the details—no one does.*
I’m fascinated by the tacit admission there may be more to us than atoms; something that most of humanity has believed for most of history.
*”I think I can safely say that nobody
understands quantum mechanics.”
– Richard Feynman