The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

Holonomic Consciousness

Both David Bohm and the Austrian psychologist Karl Pribram advocated the hologram as a paradigm to explain the unity and holistic property of consciousness. A hologram is another product of a quantum phenomenon: it arises from information carried by a laser beam, which can be viewed as a particular kind of Bose-Einstein condensate.

The brain stores information in a distributed manner that provides for fault tolerance and for “cue-based” retrieval. It is fault-tolerant because damage to one portion of the information does not cause damage to the information as a whole; and it is cue-based because information can be retrieved based on just partial information.

Pribram believes that the brain organizes information by interference patterns just like a hologram. Holography, invented in 1948 by the British physicist Dennis Gabor, employs coherent beams of light. A hologram is a permanent record of the interference between two waves of coherent light. Each part of the hologram contains each part of the interfering waves. This means that each part of the hologram contains the entire image. The entire hologram contains more details about the image, but the image is present in every part of the hologram. When re-illuminated with one of the original coherent lights, a three-dimensional image appears.

It turns out that the storage capacity of holograms is enormous.

Pribram's "holonomic" model of memory relies on the fact that many properties of the brain are shared by holograms.

In Pribram's opinion a sensory perception is transformed into a "brain wave", i.e. into a pattern of electro-magnetic activation that propagates through the brain just like the wave-front in a liquid. This crossing of the brain provides the interpretation of the sensory perception in the form of a "memory wave", which in turn crosses the brain. The various waves that travel through the brain can interfere. The interference of a memory wave and a perceptual (e.g., visual) wave generates a structure that resembles a hologram. 

Pribram believes that the same equations used by Gabor to develop holography  are  used by the brain to analyze sensory data. He showed that all perceptions (and not only colors or sounds) can be analyzed into their component frequencies of oscillation and therefore treated by Fourier analysis.


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