Author Topic: Holographic Galaxy Brain  (Read 347 times)

Cramulus

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Holographic Galaxy Brain
« on: August 19, 2020, 03:40:56 pm »
While being very guarded against quantum-woo and mystifying physics, I'm trying to understand a video I watched last night, about the Pribram-Bohm Hypothesis. There was a ton of stuff in that video that I found intriguing, though I'm very out of my depth. So I'm starting to unpack it piece by piece. I know that discussing consciousness in terms of quanta is usually the domain of "Law of Attraction" type dipshits, and a lot of mushy thinking, but it's interesting to me that many quantum physicists do think their work is somehow related to consciousness. Or that consciousness is ontologically significant in a cosmic sense, rather than merely some random emergent property of biology. So let's lean into the ontology of consciousness a little bit.

One topic in the video is Bohn's concept of "implicate order". This line of thinking is that all the "strangeness" we observe in quantum particles is likely explainable by a form of order even smaller than that. That even the smallest matter we can conceive of is playing by rules determined by even smaller unobserved subquantum forces. Bohn called this hidden level of reality the "implicate order". It's maybe like the source code of reality.

Think about how psychology is derived from biology. Biology is derived from chemistry. Chemistry derived from physics. Particle physics is derived from quantum physics. So psychology is "really" a derivation of quantum physics. On some level, everything about our minds comes out of the source code of quarks and higgs-bosons. Bohm's "implicate order" is perhaps like the subphysics OF quantum physics. Its what exists beneath the Planck length. The Implicate Order would contain all things -- it is the recipe book, the alphabet. Space and Time are functions of it.

(as an aside... this idea all by itself is a bit of a mindfuck.. if things like Mass can be understood in terms of these tiny little quantum thingies like Higgs Bosons, then the order underlying the Higgs Boson has no mass... maybe at some level of scale, Time is also nonexistant, produced by something else)


The video also touched on Wheeler's "Self Observing Universe" theory, as well as Holonomic Brain Theory. It framed a possible relationship between our neurons and human consciousness... Pribram observed that mapping voltage potentials within the cerebral cortex, and connecting coefficients with identical value, produced something that looked like a topographical map, or a fractal. Maybe even a hologram. Pribram felt that holographic field transformations were the fundamental basis of perception. He called this model a Holoscape, it looks like this:



We can't point to where "memories" exist in the brain, but perhaps storage is related to this idea of the holoscape. Maybe the arrangement of neurons works like a kind of field generator... stored information may be represented not in the neuron itself, but within the field generated by neurons. Wikipedia phrases it: "In a hologram, any part of the hologram with sufficient size contains the whole of the stored information. In this theory, a piece of a long-term memory is similarly distributed over a dendritic arbor so that each part of the dendritic network contains all the information stored over the entire network."

Pribram's theory (and I might be getting this wrong) is that consciousness is like the interference pattern between the Implicate Order and the Extricate space-time. This is where I get lost. I'm not sure, but I think this is where the woo may creep in. But basically, he posits that consciousness is the Non-Local Implicate Order (to Plotinus, "The One"), which is everywhere and present at the center of all matter, reaching out into the local Explicate Order (the material universe, space-time, Plotinus's "The Many"). He perhaps thinks there is some resonance between the brain's field and the implicate order. This is suggested by the Anthropic Principle ("the universe is in some sense compelled to eventually have conscious and sapient life emerge within it"), and captured in Sagan's statement that we are the universe's attempt to know itself.




As an aside.. I just want to mention Philip K Dick writing, which sometimes positions the Divine as an Invader, something breaking into our universe. The Bohm-Pribram hypothesis reaches a similar conclusion, that human consciousness is a way for the cosmos to know itself, but to do that, it has to break into the material universe and become an observer).



I'm sorry this post is all over the place. It took me an hour and a half to formulate. I appreciate any insight from the board's physics-cats -- the "holographic universe" is hard for me to wrap my head around, that's in here somewhere too but I can't unpack it myself.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2020, 03:57:53 pm by Cramulus »

LMNO

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Re: Holographic Galaxy Brain
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2020, 04:37:56 pm »
Not sure if I've signed up for the role of "cold water" in this instance, but...

As a quick background, I'm in a fairly small camp of people who try their level best never to use metaphors when talking about quantum stuff.  This is because:
     1. We understand metaphors using post-decoherence macro experiences.
     2. Pre-decoherence stuff does not behave the way post-decoherence stuff does.
     3. Pre-decoherence stuff is closer to how the universe works at a fundamental level.
Therefore, metaphors try to force what is essentially a hallucination of "reality" caused by faulty instruments onto Universe's building blocks.

Anyway, the main reason I'm skeptical of this theory of consciousness is because it's a flat-out metaphor, and it tries to fit quantum behavior into a macroscopic model, and then uses that model to determine how quanta are behaving.  They're saying, "consciousness could be caused by quantum process A.  Process A is very similar to holograms.  Therefore, we shall use the model of a hologram to describe quantum behavior."  If you swap out some words, they're saying, "gravity could be caused by two objects being attracted to each other.  That's very similar to magnets.  Therefore we shall use how magnets work to describe the behavior of gravity."

You can see that from the Wikipedia article (bolded part by me), "In a hologram, any part of the hologram with sufficient size contains the whole of the stored information. In this theory, a piece of a long-term memory is similarly distributed over a dendritic arbor so that each part of the dendritic network contains all the information stored over the entire network."  Sure, that's how holograms work, but they haven't proved that's how quanta works.

Secondly is Bohn's idea of "implicate order".  But it seems he's got his viewpoint flipped here.  The math clearly shows that this is how quanta works.  It only doesn't "make sense" if you rashly assume that quanta must have the ability to be understood in macro terms.  Quanta doesn't give a goddam what us Big Things think.  If there is an underlying piece below the quantum realm, it will most likely make even less sense to us.  But, and this is key, the math will work.  And that's all we can hope for, really.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2020, 04:39:54 pm by LMNO »

Doktor Howl

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Re: Holographic Galaxy Brain
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2020, 07:32:04 pm »
This seems to me to be a good candidate for eating a really well-prepared menu.

On the other hand, it raises some interesting ideas, such as "if you were a time traveler, every time you jumped through time, you'd cause the genocide of an entire universe.
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Re: Holographic Galaxy Brain
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2020, 03:34:50 pm »
I had difficulty watching the video.  Instead of presenting a thesis, and then providing justifications or background information for that thesis, it had the form of a stream of consciousness, where the narrator skimmed across a variety of poorly-understood and weakly-connected topics.  After watching, I couldn't tell you clearly what the Pribram-Bohm hypothesis was, let alone whether it was plausible.

As a specific example, I have a fair understanding of the Fourier transform, and use one of its relatives very heavily in my day job.  The video introduced it, presented a mostly-wrong example of what it does, and then included it as a integral part of the following slides, without clarifying what utility it served.  The Fourier transform is just a mathematical tool, for making certain types of problems easier to work with.  The Fourier transform requires infinite extent in time and frequency, so it does not, and cannot, have any correspondence to physical reality.  He could have substituted any other tool in the slides (like a computer, a hammer, or a squedge-wodger), and it wouldn't have made what he was saying any more or less clear.

In one of the slides, the speed of light was written wrong (it's ~3.00*(10^8) m/s).  This may seem like nitpicking, but it's the physical equivalent of a person giving a mathematical lecture and saying "pi = 2".

In the youtube comments (ick, I know) somebody said:
Quote
I have a PhD in experimental psychology from the University of California, San Diego.
5 minutes in, the video states that there's a 3d electrical field in the dendrites of cerebral cortex neurons "shown on the right". the cell depicted is not from the cerebral cortex but from the cerebellum. This would be something covered in any 101 level undergrad course. I doubt that the video maker has any actual knowledge of neuroscience.

So...don't take that video too seriously, I guess.


One topic in the video is Bohn's concept of "implicate order". This line of thinking is that all the "strangeness" we observe in quantum particles is likely explainable by a form of order even smaller than that. That even the smallest matter we can conceive of is playing by rules determined by even smaller unobserved subquantum forces. Bohn called this hidden level of reality the "implicate order". It's maybe like the source code of reality.
It's conceivable that there is another layer below quantum mechanics, but I agree with LMNO's opinion that it is probably even weirder.  This implicate order idea seems like adding another turtle to the stack.  But that's not how the study of physics works.  Nobody wanted this quantum physics crap, it was invented so that we had a mathematical model for the weirdness we were observing.  And the model works.  It predicts the behaviour of nanoscale semiconductors, for example.  The "implicate order" idea doesn't appear to explain anything that needs explaining, or give us any tools to better understand reality.


Quote
Think about how psychology is derived from biology. Biology is derived from chemistry. Chemistry derived from physics. Particle physics is derived from quantum physics. So psychology is "really" a derivation of quantum physics.
Each layer is not so much derived from the lower layer, as it is explained by it.  You can do biology without going too deep into chemistry, you can do lots of chemistry without messing around with quantum physics.  Science works its way down, not up.  Yes, structures at a high-level are comprised of lower-level components, but the high-level behaviour of a system isn't necessarily dictated by it's lower level components.

When you're driving a car around, it doesn't matter very much to you if the engine is fuel-injection, carbureted, rotary, electric, or steam-powered (unless you need to visit the mechanic).  You almost certainly aren't concerned with quantum-mechanical effects; they simply aren't significant at car-scale.

Similarly, there's no need to invoke quantum physics when considering human psychology...unless you need to visit the mechanic encounter some phenomena that can't be explained otherwise.  I don't think we've reached that point.  I don't see any reason why a sufficiently sophisticated electronic computer couldn't emulate human consciousness, and it doesn't invoke quantum "randomness" to function (in fact, teh quantums mostly just get in the way).
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Re: Holographic Galaxy Brain
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2020, 06:08:00 pm »
Quote from: cno
Nobody wanted this quantum physics crap, it was invented so that we had a mathematical model for the weirdness we were observing.  And the model works.

Yes!  The early 20th century physicists were pissed at what the math was telling them.  As it turns out, Einstein spend a large part of his later life trying to prove that there was something that would make it all comprehensible.  He wanted to prove quantum behavior was wrong.

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Re: Holographic Galaxy Brain
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2020, 09:53:08 pm »
My favorite take on quantum coherence/decoherence phenomena is Bohrian mechanics.

In Bohrian mechanics, many-worlds is literally true, but only one universe actually has any matter, the rest just behave as if they had matter. Ghost universes. It makes all of my friends freak the FUCK out.  :lulz:
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Re: Holographic Galaxy Brain
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2020, 10:02:41 pm »
I really like how Yudkowsky uses Occam's Razor to support his assertion that the Many Worlds theory (not the Bohrian one, the one where infinite universes actually exist) is the one that has the simplest explanation, and therefore is most likely to be true.

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Re: Holographic Galaxy Brain
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2020, 10:22:19 pm »
My issue with the Everett-Wheeler Many Worlds is the infinite mass. You have to posit at least one extra dimension that is infinite in extent (with infinities of space between the separate worlds) for it to work. Even with concepts like mass-energy barriers and string theory boundaries it still stinks, because gravity is so strong on cosmologically-large scales. You have to provide a physical mechanic to separate mass interactions from different Everett-Wheeler branches, separate them by brute force infinite distance (which is possibly physically incoherent, in the same way that considering "what if there were really infinite cigars" is), or conclude it makes no sense.
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Doktor Howl

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Re: Holographic Galaxy Brain
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2020, 04:48:26 am »
Quote from: cno
Nobody wanted this quantum physics crap, it was invented so that we had a mathematical model for the weirdness we were observing.  And the model works.

Yes!  The early 20th century physicists were pissed at what the math was telling them.  As it turns out, Einstein spend a large part of his later life trying to prove that there was something that would make it all comprehensible.  He wanted to prove quantum behavior was wrong.

Feynman said that if QM didn't piss you off, you didn't understand it.
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Re: Holographic Galaxy Brain
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2020, 04:49:15 am »
I really like how Yudkowsky uses Occam's Razor to support his assertion that the Many Worlds theory (not the Bohrian one, the one where infinite universes actually exist) is the one that has the simplest explanation, and therefore is most likely to be true.

The math says it is so, so it is so.

Which is why the Alcubierre Drive can't work.  Gravity has to be common to all universes.
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