I've been rereading James E. Beichler's To Die For and giving more thought to his single (operational) field theory, a.k.a. SOFT. (Previously I discussed his ideas in three posts starting here.)
In one of the earlier comment threads, a reader complained that Beichler's model of consciousness was lifted from the work of Penrose and Hameroff. I replied that Beichler acknowledges their work in his bibliography. But in rereading the book, I realized that my reply missed the point. Although Beichler, like Penrose and Hameroff, sees microtubules as key elements in consciousness, the details of his theory are quite different. Penrose and Hameroff are proposing a quantum theory of consciousness, while Beichler is proposing an electromagnetic theory. Essentially, he sees the microtubules as miniature electromagnetic inductors, with the surface of the axon acting as a capacitor, and the axon as a whole functioning as a transceiver.
In fact, I largely missed Beichler's emphasis on magnetism the first time around. He writes,
Both electricity and magnetism depend on the ability of a substance to allow or permit the fields to pass through it. This ability is represented by constants or fixed quantities that are called the permittivity (for electricity) and permeability (for magnetism). Even empty space is characterized by its permittivity and permeability, which together control how electromagnetic fields and waves move through empty space or a vacuum. In the SOFT model of the single field, we can further characterize electrical permittivity as a point-to-point connectivity constant in the normal three dimensions of space, while the magnetic permeability can be considered a point-to-point connectivity constant in the direction of the fifth dimension. We could alternatively say that the the fifth direction constitutes a magnetic space component while our normal three directions constitute the electric space components.
Working together, the link between the electric and magnetic components in five-dimensional space-time thus constitutes the electromagnetic field ... Since the fifth direction of the space-time continuum is magnetically induced, it is closely associated with magnetic fields established in our four-dimensional reality by moving electrical charges.
Not being a physicist, I don't claim to completely follow this, but the gist of it seems to be that magnetism is closely associated with the fifth dimension. Consciousness itself, says Beichler, is "magnetically induced" and resides in the fifth dimension.
This got me thinking about EVP - electronic voice phenomena. Someone leaves a tape recorder running in an empty room, and later plays it back and hears voices imprinted on the tape. Many EVP recordings are probably nothing more than random noise which the mind interprets as fragments of speech, and some EVP recordings may well be hoaxes. But in certain cases the phenomenon appears to be genuine. Similar phenomena have been reported with images imprinted on videotape or messages on computer screens.
What's interesting is that audiotapes, videotapes, and computer hard drives all rely on magnetic data storage. If consciousness inhabits a "magnetic" fifth dimension, could it perhaps directly influence magnetic storage devices? As far as I know, EVP and related phenomena do not occur in optical, as opposed to magnetic, storage media, such as recordable CDs or DVDs.
There's also an interesting, though anecdotal, phenomenon in which a person, by his very presence, is supposedly liable to disrupt the workings of delicate equipment. It is said that some scientists, simply by walking into a lab, cause the equipment to go haywire. If there is any truth to this, is it possible that the consciousness of these particular people interacts destructively with the electromagnetic fields generated by this equipment?
I also wonder about Rupert Sheldrake's morphic fields. Could such fields be fifth dimensional constructs? Since space as we know it is not a property of the fifth dimension, an alteration in the field extending from one living organism could directly influence the fields of other organisms, even if they are widely separated in physical distance. Beichler's theory might serve as a useful adjunct to Sheldrake's work.
Another thing that occurred to me was the well-known fact that people tend to get "attached" to a certain environment and feel homesick when separated from it. Ordinarily these feelings are understood as purely psychological, but could there be a fifth dimensional physical component? If every material thing has a fifth dimensional extension (or signature, or image, or counterpart), and if consciousness inhabits the fifth dimension as a physical structure, then consciousness presumably has direct physical connections to the things in its environment. We might liken consciousness to a plant that sends out roots that are deeply embedded in the surrounding soil. These physical, fifth dimensional "roots" could account for the strong feeling of attachment we often feel toward our surroundings. When we move, we are "uprooted." Our physical connections to the environment are severed. This is disorienting and distressing to consciousness, and produces the feeling we call homesickness.
Here's one more bit of speculation. Many mediums and psychics have reported that the astral body is attached to the material body by a silver cord, or by a network of fine threads. Could this cord (or these threads) be the mind's way of visualizing the extension of the material body into the fifth dimension, where consciousness resides? In other words, could the silver cord be a symbolic way of seeing the connection between a four-dimensional material body and a fifth-dimensional consciousness? (Beichler says that the mind is an extension not only of the nervous system but of the entire material body. Those who report seeing a network of fine threads say that the threads are attached to all parts of the body.)
Just some stuff to think about.