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Published: May.30.2015

Energy is not Conserved:
Connections among Consciousness, Thermodynamics, and String Theory

J. Kenneth Arnette, Ph.D., Ph.D., L.P.C.
MEMPHIS TN

The Law of Conservation of Energy (or Matter-Energy, in the case of nuclear
processes) is a bedrock principle in the physical sciences that has never been seriously
questioned. Yet, this law has also never been proven to apply generally to
all systems and situations. With the advent of string theory, a fundamental question
concerning energy’s conservation arises, due to the facts that string theory:
(1) proposes at least one additional extended spatial dimension beyond our familiar
three; (2) suggests that gravitons are closed-loop strings composed of energy;
and (3) holds that gravitons are not affixed to space-time, and so can (and do)
escape our space-time and leave our universe — thus representing a net loss of
energy. Further, a type of anomalous subjective experience, the near-death experience,
strongly hints that consciousness is associated with closed-loop strings,
and that upon physical death, one’s consciousness leaves this universe (the implication
being that consciousness enters this universe the same way it leaves).
Therefore, my hypothesis is that energy leaks from this universe in the form of
gravitons, and is exchanged between this universe and a parallel one through the
transitions of individual consciousnesses between the two space-times. If my
hypothesis is correct, then the conservation law must be severely revised to apply
only to certain physical systems that involve neither consciousness nor gravitation.
But, since all mass is associated with gravitation to a greater or lesser degree
(depending on the magnitude of the mass involved), it is difficult to see how
the conservation law can be saved; instead, it should be seen as an approximation
that holds best for inanimate, low-mass, physical systems.

Kenny Arnette is currently an undergraduate philosophy major at the University
of Memphis, and expects to be entering graduate school this Fall. He previously
earned Ph.D. degrees in Physical Chemistry and Counseling Psychology, and is a
Licensed Professional Counselor (Colorado). He has been a member of SSE since
2001. His main areas of interest are consciousness and the mind-body problem,
and exploration of anomalous subjective experiences and their meanings.