Federico Faggin: the Physics of Consciousness

Most recently, Federico Faggin founded the “Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation” to support the scientific study of consciousness. But his path to the study of consciousness was preceded by his contributions to some of the key technologies in the computing world. In 1968, Dr. Faggin moved to Palo Alto, California, to work at Fairchild Semiconductor, where he created MOS (metal-oxide-semiconductor) silicon gate technology, which is a core technology used in fabrication of most microchips today. From there Federico Faggin did groundbreaking work at Intel, co-founded and led Zilog (conceiving the Z80 microprocessor), cofounded and led Synaptics (which pioneered touchpads and touchscreens), and became president and CEO of Foveon.

I asked for help. I prayed, not verbally and not even consciously, searching for an answer to my fundamental questions: “What is the meaning of my life?” and “Is death really the end of everything?”

Federico Faggin, from chapter 8 of Consciousness Unbound: Liberating Mind from the Tyranny of Materialism

In this episode, you’ll be treated to one of the top minds working to develop a new science of consciousness, and one inspired by his personal experiences of the profound.

Photo by Rivage on Unsplash

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Selected Links and Topics from this Episode:

  • If you like this episode, check out the TAT Foundation’s June 2024 event: Unseeing What’s Not.
  • Conscious computers and neural networks
  • How can electrical signals in the brain produce sensations and feelings? What is the physics behind this?
  • David Chalmers: “the hard problem of consciousness”
  • Qualia = sensations and feelings
  • On being famous yet unhappy
  • “I could in no way to get qualia out of electrical signals.”
    • Faggin’s first spiritual experience in 1990: “I experienced myself as the world that observes itself with my point of view. I was a point of view of the world upon the world…. I was both the observer and the observed.”
      • “My desire to understand consciousness was genuine.”
      • 20 years of exploring consciousness.
      • While CEO of Synaptics, Federico dedicated 30-40% of his time to study consciousness.
      • Federico Faggin reached the conclusion that consciousness cannot be a property of the brain. “What was clear was that consciousness must be fundamental…. Consciousness cannot emerge from something that has no consciousness.”
      • Consciousness and free will go hand-in-hand.
      • Identity, consciousness, and agency (free will).
      • “One” is the totality of existence.
      • A monad (part-whole) is a consciousness unit.
      • One want to know itself, and when one knows itself it brings into existence a monad. If One doesn’t know, it doesn’t exist. It is potential existence, but it doesn’t exist.
      • Every cell of the body is a part-whole of the body. Each cell contains the entire genome of the fertilized egg so each cell has the potential knowledge of the entire organism. We are fields, we are not the body. Each field is a part-whole of the totality.
      • The body is quantum and classical.
      • “At the deepest level reality is organized as a hologram.”
      • The difference between knowledge and being. “The difference between living an experience and reading about an experience.”
      • A quantum bit has an infinite number of states, while a classical bit has one state (0 or 1, up or down, right or left, etc.).
      • “Only a conscious being knows what is represented by quantum physics as those states.”
      • “A quantum state cannot be reproduced. You cannot make a copy. You can make a copy of a bit.” “That’s exactly like our conscious experience. I’m the only one who knows the state of me… The state of this field we are…. We are fields that control a body, and the body looks at a reality and makes an image of that reality that we, conscious beings, feel and perceive as reality…. But the body filters out all kinds of stuff.”
      • “What we believe to be reality is only what the body has given us to look at as conscious beings.”
      • Out of the body experiences.
      • “I have confidence that what I need to know will come.”
      • The Diamond Heart Approach, A.H. Almass, was a major part of his understanding of consciousness. Diamond Heart is a spiritual and psychological method.
      • “If you want to just know for knowing’s sake, you will come to know.” ~ Federico Faggin
      • Uniting science and spirituality.
      • Hard Problem and Free Will” theory of consciousness paper with Giacomo Mauro D’Ariano and Federico Faggin
      • “You can no longer believe that life emerged out of no life.”
      • The postulate that One wants to know itself.
      • Scientism versus science; changing the paradigm.
      • “We are not a computer. We are quantum and classical.”
      • “We cannot solve the problems of humanity that are in front of us if we do not understand who we are.”
      • Death, identity, and near-death experiences. “I lost completely the fear of death.” “To me, death is a passage to who you really are.”
      • “The ego pays attention exclusively to the information produced by the body.”
      • Federico Faggin confirms that cats are conscious. The great questions of life have now been answered. 🙂
      • Federico Faggin has an autobiography titled Silicon: From the Invention of the Microprocessor to the New Science of Consciousness.
      • The latest book by Federico Faggin is Irreducible: Consciousness, Life, Computers, and Human Nature.
      • Read more at Faggin Foundation.
  • Check out my new t-shirt design: Christ in the Desert
  • Leave a review on Amazon of my book Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment. We’re now at 150 reviews, and your help will make it 151!

One thought on “Federico Faggin: the Physics of Consciousness”

  1. Absolutely amazing. The only thing better, would be to get Federico, Sam and Annaka Harris, Donald Hoffman, and Bernardo Kastrop together to discuss all of this. People would get Enlightened just listening to them together.

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