Waves and Dimensions

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Brain waves were discovered over a hundred years ago and first measured crudely with an electroencephalogram in 1924. We know the brain is always active, even during sleep, and the patterns of activity change with our conscious state.

A few recent studies have shed additional light on the patterns of firing of neurons. The way neurons fire has been compared to the wave in stadium where the firings seem to move in spatial patterns. A recent study found:

Neural oscillations are evident across cortex but their spatial structure is not well- explored. Are oscillations stationary or do they form “traveling waves”, i.e., spatially organized patterns whose peaks and troughs move sequentially across cortex? Here, we show that oscillations in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) organized as traveling waves in the theta (4-8Hz), alpha (8-12Hz) and beta (12-30Hz) bands. Some traveling waves were planar but most rotated. The waves were modulated during performance of a working memory task. During baseline conditions, waves flowed bidirectionally along a specific axis of orientation. Waves in different frequency bands could travel in different directions. During task performance, there was an increase in waves in one direction over the other, especially in the beta band.

The rotational nature of waves may be critical for working memory. An article explaining the study notes: “A stationary wave (one in which all the neurons involved were “on” or “off” in unison) would mean that information could be unavailable when activity was off across the whole group. With a rotating traveling wave there is always activity somewhere around the circle—just like how in a stadium of fans doing “the wave,” the next section stands up as soon as the preceding one sits down”.

A different study found that the firing of neurons of rats navigating an environment were mapped on a toroidal manifold. A torus is a doughnut shape.

A study of administration of the anesthetic propofol shows it alters the spatial pattern of neural firings.

Oscillatory dynamics in cortex seem to organize into traveling waves that serve a variety of functions. Recent studies show that propofol, a widely used anesthetic, dramatically alters cortical oscillations by increasing slow-delta oscillatory power and coherence. It is not known how this affects traveling waves. We compared traveling waves across the cortex of non-human primates before, during, and after propofol-induced loss of consciousness (LOC). After LOC, traveling waves in the slow-delta (∼1 Hz) range increased, grew more organized, and traveled in different directions relative to the awake state. Higher frequency (8–30 Hz) traveling waves, by contrast, decreased, lost structure, and switched to directions where the slow-delta waves were less frequent. The results suggest that LOC may be due, in part, to increases in the strength and direction of slow-delta traveling waves that, in turn, alter and disrupt traveling waves in the higher frequencies associated with cognition.

An article describes the pattern changes: “Whereas conscious brains exhibit a mixture of waves of various frequencies rotating or traveling straight in various directions, brains under propofol anesthesia became dominated by powerful, very low frequency “delta” waves that roll straight outward in opposite directions instead of slowly rotating around central points as they do during consciousness“.

The view emerging from these studies is that the spatial organization of neural firings may be a critical component of the neural computation the brain performs. The traditional view of neural computation has been that of information passed sequentially from one neuron to other neurons as it moves through stages of processing, This new view augments the traditional view with spatial patterns and interactions carrying information. A researcher compares this difference to wave-particle duality in physics:

“The traditional view of brain function describes brain activity as an interaction of neurons. Since every neuron is confined to a specific location, this view is akin to the description of light as a particle,” says Gepshtein, director of Salk’s Collaboratory for Adaptive Sensory Technologies. “We’ve found that in some situations, brain activity is better described as interaction of waves, which is similar to the description of light as a wave. Both views are needed for understanding the brain.”

The best way to explain how the neurons were behaving, they discovered, was through interaction of microscopic waves of activity rather than interaction of individual neurons. Rather than a flash of light activating specialized sensory cells, the researchers showed how it creates distributed patterns: waves of activity across many neighboring cells, with alternating peaks and troughs of activation—like ocean waves.

When these waves are being simultaneously generated in different places in the brain, they inevitably crash into one another. If two peaks of activity meet, they generate an even higher activity, while if a trough of low activity meets a peak, it might cancel it out. This process is called wave interference.

“When you’re out in the world, there are many, many inputs and so all these different waves are generated,” says Albright. “The net response of the brain to the world around you has to do with how all these waves interact.”

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-04-ocean-brain-interacting-key.html

The authors in their study conclude:

In addition to the improved understanding of biological computation, concepts of neural wave interference show much promise for developing new methods of “analog computation, including artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Previous approaches to AI largely relied on artificial neural networks that learn by changing the strengths of connections between neurons. In contrast to this mainstream paradigm, spiking neural networks and oscillator-based computing use the system’s rich repertoire of evolving dynamical states to perform computations that offer significant energy savings (since spiking affords remarkably low expenditure of energy).

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abl5865

The idea of that consciousness is involved with spatial and analog computation is probably familiar to anyone who has been reading this blog. McFadden in his cemi theory of consciousness argues that the brain performs both digital and analog computations. The digital computations involve information transmitted from one neuron to the next. The analog computations involve the electromagnetic field that neural circuits create.Spiking is critical in McFadden’s theory since it magnifies the strength of the EM field and makes additional neurons teetering on the edge of firing to commit to firing.

Is it possible the spatial patterns perform critical functions for consciousness? Let’s begin with the idea that the spatial forms are complex and may work in many different ways, including ones not involving consciousness. Aside from that, rotating patterns of firings might assist in creating and sustaining elements of consciousness by concentrating the EM field. Planar patterns might serve to create a ground state or as an erasure or reset mechanism needed to remove or repaint elements of consciousness. Recall the propofol study mentioned above where delta waves roll straight outward in opposite directions to provide the ultimate erasure of anesthesia.

I first encountered the researcher John Smythies when I was reading about Aldous Huxley, Humphry Osmond, and The Doors of Perception. Smythies was a researcher who worked with Humphry Osmond to investigate the effects of mescaline in London in the early modern study of psychedelics. He collaborated with Russell Brain on an early attempt to bridge the gap between materialism and idealism called extended materialism in the The Analysis of Perception. Smythies among a small group gradually came to the view that consciousness is a different kind of matter that exists in a different physical space – another dimension. This is a form of dualism but one in which the material of mind exists in a space outside 3+1 spacetime.

In Space, Time, and Consciousness he draws on the work of Andre Linde who has argued that the world consists of space-time, matter and consciousness. Smythies concludes:

Linde’s theory of consciousness suggests that, in a comprehensive physical theory of the Universe, space-time, matter and consciousness will all become ontologically equal partners in a single over-riding physical reality in a multidimensional hyperspace. Linde himself does not discuss what the nature of consciousness might be other than its independent ontology. Nor does he comment on what might be the nature of the relations between a consciousness and its brain. However, some of the details of this hypothesis have been filled in by the people quoted such as Price, Broad, Russell and myself. My own contribution to this theory is to present the case that a consciousness may have its own space–time system and its own system of ontologically independent and spatiotemporally organized events sensations and images) that have as much right to be called ‘material’ as do protons and electrons. Price (1953) and I also have suggested that the relations between a consciousness and its brain are causal.

So the new formulation of reality might consist of the following ontologically equal partners — (A) physical space-time (10 or more dimensions) containing physical matter (protons, electrons, etc.); (B) phenomenal space (3 more dimensions of a parallel universe) containing mind stuff (sensations and images); and (C) real time (time 2). A and B are in relative motion along the time 1 axis in time 2. Their contents are in causal relations via the brain. The psychological ‘now’ of time marks the point of contact of the two systems.

The idea may seem initially a little far-fetched to some; however, the idea of additional dimensions to our familiar 3+1 isn’t new to physics. There are numerous contemporary theories involving extra dimensions. As Lisa Randall points out in The case for extra dimensions, Theodor Kaluza suggested an extra dimension in 1919 to unify electrodynamics and relativity. Kaluza noticed that when he solved Albert Einstein’s equations for general relativity using five dimensions, then Maxwellian equations for electromagnetism emerged spontaneously (from Wikipedia). Oskar Klein suggested in 1926 that the extra dimension would be extraordinarily small and, hence, unable to be detected. The Kaluza-Klein theory as is known became a precursor to string theory and so far is unproven but not also not disproven. Ultimately the problem is how to detect additional dimensions in a world that consists of our apparent 3+1 dimensions.

The linking of an extra dimension to electromagnetics in the Kaluza-Klein theory and the linking of electromagnetics to consciousness in McFadden’s cemi theory creates an intriguing hypothesis that consciousness has a location where its stuff exists but it is not in the three dimensional space of the brain but rather in an additional physical dimension. Consciousness itself may be a sort of folding of 3+1 spacetime as information embedded in an additional dimension mediated by an electromagnetic field. The spatial patterns of neural firings essentially encode the qualia into the additional dimension.

This is all very speculative but it is interesting to see the idea of extra dimensions relating to consciousness being considered. A recent article by Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes on The Institute of Art and Ideas argues that extra spatial dimensions may be the key to solving the hard problem of consciousness. Whether it completely answers the hard problem, I doubt, but it might get us close enough to the answer that the difference is meaningless.

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24 Responses to Waves and Dimensions

  1. I’m quite interested in the idea that consciousness might exist in some form of neuron produced EM radiation. It seems to me that we ought to be able to test this proposal given today’s technology however and given today’s understood four dimensions of existence. It’s not yet clear to me what one or more additional dimensions of existence would add to this proposal. Perhaps a good reason was provided though it wasn’t stated simply enough for me to grasp?

    Liked by 1 person

    • James Cross says:

      I’ve been puzzled about a number of things about cemi and have come to believe it is mostly correct but incomplete.

      One puzzle relates to the fact that I can’t see how the entire brain fires its neurons synchronously. Synchronous firing does happen but as noted in some of the research referenced it seems to happen in waves all over the brain. What fires synchronously are nearby cluster of neurons. How do firings in the brainstem relate to firings in the visual cortex relate to firings in the prefrontal cortex? These parts of the brain may seem close but when we talking about extremely low strength EM fields I can’t see how they connect in the ordinary three dimensions. In other words, there is still something missing about how the different synchronous firings and EM fields get integrated. I can’t believe there is a single EM field in the brain because of the strength of fields and the distances.

      A second relates to where exactly is “feeling” occurring. Ultimately the “feeling” needs to bring together information from different spots. What is actually doing the “feeling”? It could be inherent in the EM field itself but then why would feel integrated with the firings are all over the brain.

      A additional dimension may seem unnecessary but it answers the question about where “feeling” is happening and it provides for a mechanism of connecting disparate parts of the brain since, in concept, the distant (in 3D) parts of the brain could actually be near to each other in an additional dimension.

      Compare this somewhat to the holographic principle where the information of the space of consciousness is described by information encoded in the EM field(s) at its boundary. I am thinking of consciousness more like a hologram of information about the external world carried in an EM field and rendered in an additional dimension.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess I have a somewhat different conception of McFadden’s theory James. When he talks about a single EM field, I don’t think he means that all the brain’s neurons need to fire in synchrony. I think he just means that the brain’s firing in general sets up an EM field. Much of this firing should just be noise that either cancels or amplifies irrelevantly. Certain examples of synchrony however should amplify to the proper parameters to thus create the phenomenal experiencer, and specifically as that element of the full EM field.

        Many elements of the brain could or should participate in creating a given experiencer. The right synchrony in one part might be strong enough to incite the right synchrony in another, that is if it’s appropriate. For example a phenomenal image of beauty might incite phenomenal feelings of desire from another part of the brain.

        For me what seems to help is to consider things from an evolutionary perspective. Originally there should have just been a non-conscious brain. Then by chance a useless epiphenomenal experiencer would have emerged that felt good/bad irrelevantly to organism function, and specifically as the proper synchronous neural firing occurred. Later that experiencer must have been given a means from which to affect organism output function in some limited capacity. With enough iterations this entity must have chosen well enough to warrant more and more phenomenal resources. Thus the massively parallel non-conscious brain must have progressively evolved to service a tiny serial phenomenal thinker.

        I’m certainly not against the possibility that extra dimensions exist beyond the four that we know of. It seems to me that the quantum mechanics riddle probably requires such a solution. Furthermore if they exist, other dimensions should contribute extra sources of brain connectivity. But I’m not sure that cemi requires that in order to make sense. What I think we mainly need today is better empirical ways to test this theory, such as my proposal to add non-connected fake neurons to the skull to see if certain patters of synchronous firing could interfere with someone’s standard phenomenal experience, for oral report.

        Liked by 1 person

        • James Cross says:

          The question is how/where does the complete integrated experience get produced by firings all over the brain?

          Liked by 1 person

        • On the question of “how” the complete integrated experience gets produced from firings all over the brain, there’s only so far we can take that right now. This addresses a famous hard problem. But then we’ve made good progress on the problem of gravity for example, even if at some point it will also never be solved beyond “Because that’s how nature works…”. So the current issue should be to find empirical evidence that consciousness does (or does not), exist specifically as certain neuron produced electromagnetic fields. If yes then the rest will simply be extra details to work out.

          Apparently there is a binding problem which Wikipedia segregates into two forms. One is the segregation of phenomenal experience. It seems to me that a complex EM field could handle this since different parts of the field should be able to exist as different elements of phenomenal experience, whether “vision”, “pain”, or whatever. Then there’s the combination problem, or why does activity in various parts of the brain provide a singular form of subjectivity? An EM field would seem to be a great solution for that since the whole thing would exist as a singular field in that specific form.

          Initially I can see why you’d be worried about the low energy of individual neuron firings, though with sufficient synchrony they should display field effects over larger portions of the brain.

          Then regarding “where”, this experiencer should exist right inside the faraday cage skull as such a field. Again there could be extra dimensions at work as well, but let’s see what we can do with known stuff before we get too exotic. What’s mainly need today I think is empirical testing.

          Liked by 1 person

        • James Cross says:

          McFadden, I think, believes cemi solves the binding problem but I’m not totally convinced it does. Is there any evidence the brain sustains a single complex EM field over most or all of the brain? My picture of evidence so far is that there may be a lot of local EM fields which need to be consolidated.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Okay James, your skepticism is noted. But I wonder what you’d say if a test like the one I just proposed at Mike’s were to succeed? I suppose this wouldn’t mean that extra dimensions of existence were not at play as well, though regardless I wonder what you think about the proposal? Would such evidence if continually verified in a number of ways force scientists in general to believe that consciousness exists as certain EM fields? And would this begin closing the door on countless existing proposals? https://selfawarepatterns.com/2022/04/23/from-molecule-minds-to-superminds/#comment-155675

          Liked by 1 person

        • James Cross says:

          The major problem I have with your proposals is that I don’t think we understand the “language” of the neurons sufficiently to intervene in a brain and do anything other than create a disordered mess.

          It seems to me from the various papers I’ve considered in this post that the geometric patterns of the firings probably is highly significant. This seems true even without any EM field theory. I think it is highly interesting that the waves associated with conscious experience rotate or map out on toroidal manifolds.

          The weakness of the field does concern me when it comes to integrating experience across a relatively large brain.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I agree James that we don’t understand this language whatsoever and that all we could potentially do is create a disordered mess. But that’s the test. Could we create such a mess by means of an exogenous EM field alone? Most people say no because consciousness doesn’t exist that way. They believe it’s an immortal soul placed here by God. Or certain generic information that’s processed into other such information (whether on paper to other paper or anything else, though nothing specific). Or that it’s in some sense a fundamental element of all things rather than a kind of EM field… and so on. If however we could continually display that certain parameters of electromagnetic radiation will reliably tamper with consciousness for oral report, then this suggests that it’s because consciousness does reduce to that sort of radiation. Waves of a certain kind naturally disrupt other waves of that kind. From there it seems to me that we could begin empirically exploring all the questions that puzzle you right now. But what chance is there for such research to finally start when today consciousness is shrouded in all manners of mystical notions?

          Liked by 1 person

        • James Cross says:

          Have you tried searching for TMS effects on cognition?

          It seems to be routinely used to block processing. I think it has been used it on visual centers and they discovered, depending upon where, motion processing is affected or all forms of visual processing are altered resulting in a sort of blind sight situation.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I really haven’t explored Trans Magnetic Stimulation very much. As I understand it an alternating magnetic field is used to induce neuron firing at somewhat specific locations inside the skull. McFadden says that TMS provides evidence that “the brain responds to EM fields of similar structure and magnitude as the brain’s endogenous EM field”. So while this might be consistent with his theory, to me it doesn’t seem like strong evidence that cemi is actually true.

          To me the best existing evidence for cemi is found in “representational drift”. When something is remembered, like your address, it’s found that different neuron fire each time you remember this, though the ones that do fire tend to produce similar electromagnetic radiation.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Cody White says:

    Immensely fascinating, though a little above my head. The easy way this analogizes to particle/wave duality feels dangerously tantalizing – though toward what surmise, I couldn’t say. I’ll only say that to me, on a personal level, the greatest selling point for field theories of consciousness is found in the subjective rather than the objective realm. For all the talk in philosophical circles about the “redness of red” and various rooms (Chinese, Mary’s, Cartesian Theater), I note a paucity of attempts to rigorously describe what everyday conscious sensation is like. Admittedly this is hard to do, but one thing I would be willing to testify with conviction is that my own qualia present in a way that seems much more field-like than particle-like. This would be easiest to justify in the perception of visual qualia, whether real or mental imagery. But it would also hold true in body sensations, emotions, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lee Roetcisoender says:

    Nice essay Jim……. I think one of the fundamental flaws in all of these theories is that consciousness is seen as a substrate of some kind and not an emergent property. Hameroff and Penrose posit that consciousness is a quantum system however, their ORCH theory of consciousness attempts to characterize the phenomena of consciousness as a universal substrate. This idea is very popular among academics like Tononi, Koch and the ones you mentioned in the essay.

    Positing consciousness as some kind of fundamental is a mistake; consciousness needs to be seen for what it is, as a “state of being” just like a rock is a “state of being”; and both the classical system of the rock and the quantum system of the mind are emergent properties of a fundamental substrate; and for all practical purposes that fundamental substrate is matter. In this rendition, the only question on the table that remains unanswered is: what is the fundamental substrate from which matter emerges. Even though we don’t have a handle on this all encompassing question, it keeps the needle of the compass so to speak pointed in the right direction, and that direction is away from the woo, woo land of consciousness being some kind of universal substrate.

    As a pragmatic materialist myself, it all reduces back to matter, and the stonewall that we’ve encountered in physics is the realm of the quantum world. The quantum world is where the mystery resides and the quantum world is where the answers can be found; and until we are able to bridge the gap between the classical world and the quantum realm we will continue to be stymied.

    Liked by 1 person

    • James Cross says:

      The theory doesn’t require that consciousness be fundamental. Actually it would be tied to the emergence of spacetime, gravity, electromagnetism, and the universe itself. It would be an implicit capability once spacetime (4+1) emerged.

      Actually I think that is a bonus of the theory since consciousness itself seems tied to spacetime. Every sense (but taste?) has spatial elements – even smell which has distance and direction. Furthermore, its role in locomotion implies spacetime awareness. There is no learning without memory and memory is key to time. Binding it to extra dimension – likely an extremely small one if size has any meaning with this sort of thing – also accounts for the private, subjective nature.

      Like

      • Lee Roetcisoender says:

        Actually, I think the private subjective nature of consciousness is due in part to consciousness being a representational experience rather than a direct experience. A mental representation is clearly one step removed from the direct experience a positive (+) or negative (-) charge for example and therefore, any representational experience that is thus one step removed from a direct experience has to be mentally constructed. Even a hard slap to one’s face has to be mentally constructed after the fact in order to understand the when, where, how and why the discomfort that is being represented in the mind actually occurred.

        I’ve modified my own approach to a theory of consciousness to be more modest and pragmatic. As far as emergence goes, the emergence of mind and/or consciousness is directly correlated to the systems we recognize as brains, and the brain is a relatively late comer on the scene within the evolutionary process of complexity.

        But if one is looking to resolve the “hard problem”, I think that answer lies in the notion that the substrate upon which matter itself is represented is sentience; AKA my own model of pansentientism…..

        Liked by 1 person

        • James Cross says:

          I think it is representational too – in fact a holographic(-like) representation of four dimensional spacetime. None of this theory omits quantum effect. The Klein part of Kaluza-Klein is a quantum explanation.

          Like

  4. It looks like memory is stored in different places across the brain (See “Innovative Brain-Wide Mapping Reveals a Single Memory Is Stored Across Many Connected Brain Regions.” – https://scitechdaily.com/innovative-brain-wide-mapping-reveals-a-single-memory-is-stored-across-many-connected-brain-regions/). Probably, regions where consciousness is, are also distributed. How could that be related to the above theory?

    Liked by 2 people

    • James Cross says:

      Yes. I saw that. If you look at some of my responses to Eric above, I have noted that the synchronous firings also seem dispersed which calls into question that a single EM field could pervade across the entire or most of the brain. However, if the interactions were taking place in a fifth dimension that is tied to electromagnetism, I don’t think the same issue would exist. The same would likely be true for a quantum effect if Lee is correct about that.

      The other possibility is that consciousness really isn’t as integrated as it seems.

      Liked by 2 people

    • On the connectivity of consciousness, I have some thoughts on that in a psychological capacity. Then I think I might have a good way of at least interpreting McFadden’s theory so that it could make sense in only four dimensions.

      Firstly I don’t considered consciousness to be something which is inherently connected to itself over time, but rather countless individual experiences created by the brain each moment. In effect however the present experiencer should tend to be connected with past consciousness by mean of memory. And yes I do think the evidence shows that it’s distributed over the brain. Why? Because when a specific chain of neurons fire somewhere, this tends to strengthen them in the system to give them better potential to fire again somewhat when provoked. Thus the more times you’re forced to remember your address number, the better memory of it that should develop. And of course remembering how someone looks for example doesn’t provide a real time image, but rather only a sense of how that person looks. And then I guess there’s also the representational drift mentioned in my above comment with James. Different neurons tend to fire for each memory, though they tend to produce a similar EM field.

      On interpreting McFadden, what exactly is meant by “a single EM field”? This might be considered all elements of the EM radiation produced by brain neurons at a given moment, and regardless of how weak some of them happen to be. Even when they aren’t powerful enough to effectively do anything in the brain at various places across it they should still exist in some sense when not fully canceled. Actually when a given neuron fires without synchrony the associated EM wave does tend to get canceled partially to fully with other non synchronous EM waves in the vicinity. Most of the EM field seems essentially extraneous.

      As I understand it McFadden does not theorize that the entire field constitutes consciousness, but rather some component of it. Furthermore note that synchrony should produce a field within the larger one that not only doesn’t tend to get canceled given that it would take something out of phase at similar strength to do so. This dynamic should have more causal strength from which to to potentially affect neurons farther away in the brain. Thus enough synchrony should potentially even have causal effects across the entire human brain. So a single consciously experienced field with the right parameters might insight applicable memories drawn from the entire brain. Theoretically this would cause those firings to hit the right synchrony from which to join that conscious field and thus effectively become remembered.

      Actually another bit of evidence for cemi now strikes me. Observe that the brains of small creatures, like spiders, should have no problem creating EM fields that hit a physics based consciousness zone that easily affects their entire brains given how little energy should be required to do so. But the 2.65 pound human brain might be around the border of the zone where this physics tends to reach across. Thus conscious animals far larger than us, such as elephants and sperm whales, would not have brains which are fully proportional to their size. Instead such brains should tend to be reduced in size since the physics of consciousness mandates that their consciousness would loose causality over larger and larger areas of huge brains. For reference the 2.65 pound human brain is 1.8% by weight of 150 pounds, the 12 pound elephant brain is .13% of 9,000 pounds, and the 20 pound sperm whale brain is .015% of 80,000 pounds.

      Liked by 2 people

      • James Cross says:

        Briefly on size of brains. I think it turns out the number of neurons is the more important factor than the size of the brain for many capabilities. The size of neurons and how they compact can vary so a bird can have an unexpectedly large number of neurons for its brain size and whales much fewer neurons than might be expected.

        The reference to “single EM field” might be my own. I’m not sure McFadden uses it or implies it. He does go to considerably extent to argue that a EM field – like a radio wave – is the same at every point which is how you and I can both listen to the same radio station even if we are hundreds of miles apart. It provides an easy solution to the binding problem and the apparent integration of consciousness. However, the strength of a wave varies with frequency so the waves of the brain are much weaker than radio waves.

        There is also question how sparse coding fits into this. It suggests that some mental representations use few neurons. I’ve noted this same sort of sparse coding in insect olfactory memory. So a theory that relies on larger number of neurons firing at once would also seem to have difficulty explaining sparse coding.

        http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Sparse_coding

        I am thinking about a follow-up post on this to address some of these issues.

        Like

      • >”In effect however the present experiencer should tend to be connected with past consciousness by mean of memory.” Maybe so. However, memory features are independent of consciousness features. For example, we know that cats have memory, but we are shy to say that cats have consciousness.

        Liked by 1 person

        • James Cross says:

          I’m not so shy about cats having consciousness. 🙂

          Whether memory features are independent (or how independent) I think is an open question. It could be that memory, even though we conceptualize it much differently from sensory input, isn’t as different as it appears. Compare how different touch or smell is from vision. Memory could be more like touch or smell in how it works than we might initially tend to think.

          What I am saying is that there could be certain universal principles about representation of the world in the brain. Ultimately even the sensory perception is generated by neurons “listening” to other neurons and generating a message from them. Memory just comes from activating something stored and “listening” to it.

          We like to break things down in the brain: memory, perception, reasoning, imagination, etc. It could be this breakdown misses some keys aspects of what is going on.

          Liked by 1 person

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