The Entropic Brain Theory of Consciousness

In 2014 Robin Carhart-Harris, of the Imperial College London, published a paper outlining the Entropic Brain Theory of consciousness, which helps explain how the psychedelic state occurs in reference to other states of consciousness. A new paper has now been published in the journal of Neuropharmacology, outlining more recent evidence which can be used to further solidify the parameters of the entropic brain theory,

Basically, the in normal waking consciousness, we have developed filters on our perception, which constrain the way in which we see the world. These filters are products of the patterns we have viewed to reoccur in the world. Such filters reduce the amount of energy we expend in navigating the world.

Without these filters on our perception, there would be no consciousness. We would simply be seeing the world as completely interconnected and without boundaries… Sound familiar?

Carhart-harris hypothesizes that psychedelics help reduce the filters on our perception, opening us up to new ways of viewing the world. The consequence of this is that the amount of energy used and disorder in our perception is increased (i.e. entropy is increased), making this state less sustainable for long periods of time. However, transiently reducing these filters may serve to help us move on from our current dysfunctional ways of thinking, such as in the depressed mind.