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> Supercausality and the Conscious Brain
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post May 07, 2006, 10:41 PM
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Supercausality and the Conscious Brain

found this at http://www.dhushara.com/book/paps/consc/brcons2.htm


8.1 Superset Correlations and the Evolution of Chaotic Neurosystems Dual-time supercausality results in pseudorandom behaviour consistent with the probability interpretation, which is non-local not only in space, but also in time. This could enable a neural net to become internally interconnected through sub-quantum effects which were non-local in time, and hence enable a form of predictivity unavailable through classical computation. The mutual exchange of quanta between such units would make them a contingent transactional set of emitters and absorbers. Such linkage could arise via excitons, or photon or phonon exchange. The cell membrane topology forms a global link between its quanta of excitability, making such linkages possible also in the single cell. A variety of excitons, including the major oscillations of the EEG could also form a basis for neurosystems linkage in the brain. The many-to-many transform nature of the neuron may provide a basis for this effect through the connection of any given state to a large population of neurons in the cortex.

An excitable cell or neurosystem which evolved initially to achieve constrained optimization through chaotic fluctuation, could thus also display a new type of predictive modelling through non-local quantum interactions. Predictive optimization may thus have driven the evolution of the excitable cell and subsequently a structurally-unstable chaotic brain in which consciousness and free-will become direct manifestations of the quantum non-locality underlying membrane and brain-function.

This view combines a reductionist approach, in which biological phenomena are reduced to chemical and finally physical models (Skinner et.al. 1989), with a new emphasis on quantum physics as the limit of a fractal process. A component of panpsychism is included in the physical description, in which consciousness can be associated with a real quantum by virtue of the uncertainty arising from its wave-particle duality. Sentience is the capacity of the emitter to utilize the confirmation waves of contingent absorbers in wave-packet reduction, while free-will or intent is the uniqueness implied by the principle of choice. Emergentism, the capacity of a system to be more than the sum of its parts, is also present, because the time-symmetric subquantum associations in the model are developed as a result of the large number of units in a parallel net which can become transactionally related as mutual conditional emitters and absorbers. This gives the brain a degree of cooperative uncertainty which is lacking in a single quantum. Free-will raises possibilities that the mind can at least in some ways alter the future states of the universe. The limits of such possibilities remain to be established.

8.2 Anomalies of Time Perception Since Grey-Walter first made subjects witness movement of slide show via a motor cortex probe and found they witnessed the slide change before they pressed a dummy button, the time properties of conscious experience have remained a conceptual challenge.

Two experiments outline some of the puzzling temporal properties of consciousness. In the first, (Kolers & von Grunau 1976) alternate lights of different colour flash for 150 ms with an intervening gap of 50 ms. Subjects report a single moving light which changes colour at the mid point, even on a first exposure, or random colour change. This creates an apparent paradox because the colour change apparently occurs before the second light has come on.

In a second class of experiment (Libet et. al. 1979), which has been the subject of repeated discussion (Libet 1985a,b,1987,1989, Churchland 1981 a,b, Honderich 1984, Snyder 1988) involves the subjective timing of stimulation of one hand (say the left, which excites the right somatosensory area) at the same time as direct stimulation of the opposite (left) finger somatosensory area. The genuine hand-tingle is perceived before the cortically induced one even if it actually occurred afterwards. Because of the considerable delay for the development of neuronal adequacy for the conscious experience (200 - 500ms) the time of the experience appears to be referred back to the primary evoked potential (10-20ms after stimulus), fig 12(b).

Although this referral can be explained as a construct of the internal model, similar to spatial representations which are subjectively "out there", temporal projection comes close to causal paradox. Libet suggests "a dissociation between the timings of the corresponding mental' and 'physical' events would seem to raise serious though not insurmountable difficulties for the ... theory of psychoneural identity". Penrose (1989) "suggested that a materialistic explanation of Libet's phenomena would require a revolution in fundamental physics" (Dennett 1991). "This antedating procedure does not seem to be explicable by any neurophysiological process... (but is) attributable to the ability of the self-conscious mind to make slight temporal adjustments, i.e. to play tricks with time." (Popper & Eccles 1977).

Dennett (1991) explains such features by looping of the subjective time sequence out of the physical sequence. The order of consciously perceived events does not have to be coincident with the physical or apparent physiological order when parallel processing builds up a global model of a time sequence. The order in which constructs become established may be arbitrary, within the space-time constraints of a large parallel device, but the completed construct will nevertheless represent the sequence of the original, perhaps modified by simplifying assumptions of the internal model. This approach suggests however that the completed representation cannot be formed until after the sequence ends, (e.g. until both the red and green lights have flashed and not half-way across), and may require editing of the partial constructs of the model either prior or subsequently to their registration.

Further experiments are required. The supercausal model was constructed to deal with the causal paradox of free-will but could apply also to these examples. Observational difficulties make the issue similar to the problems of quantum measurement. One difficulty is pinpointing the time of subconscious origin of a response which results in a button press or a verbal signal. Another is that comparing the absolute times of stimuli and neurophysiological events with those of perceived conscious events involves comparing the 'representing and represented' states (Dennett 1991).

8.3 Supercausality and the Representation of Time in the Cortex

One particularly interesting idea is that time is represented in the same distributed and holographic manner that other modalities are. The relationship between the frontal lobes and the rest of the cortex appears to involve representations of activities integrating future states (intentions) into time-directed actions based on past experiences (memories). The frontal lobes generalize motor acts into associations in a similar manner to the sensory association areas in the rest of the cortex. Thus the frontal cortex may generate a spatially distributed representation of time in terms of the organization of both remembered and planned actions spanning the past and future, utilizing oscillatory phase relations as seen in EEG and evoked potential studies, possibly in the 40Hz mode suggested by Crick & Koch (1990). Coherent oscillations would link by Hebbian coincidentality. Both short-term working memory and the long-term consolidation of the limbic system may thus form part of a transform representation of time.

Subjective time may thus be an internal model whose basis is quite different from mechanical notions of linear time, partly because it requires integrated representation of past memorizations and learning with future plans and survival strategies. It is easy to see that visual perception constructs an external spatial reality but more difficult to accept the possibility that time is similarly an internal construct. What may be even more difficult to accept is that the subjective notion of free-will or intent arises because the function of consciousness is to anticipate, forming an "ill posed" problem in time.

A holographic representation of time generated by the frontal cortex and limbic system thus provides a possible realization of the supercausal model. The central task of the brain is the representation of the activity of the organism in terms of both past and future temporal dynamics. While the past is based predominantly on memory, the future, representing the organism's survival strategy, may be based on complementary principles of computation and predictivity, utilizing both attractor-based computation and access to quantum non-locality. The modal oscillations in such a holographic representation are time-symmetric in the sense that the beats of phase coherence measure only a circular phase-shift and not a direction. This is exactly the same act that is required in quantum measurement to determine the uncertainty relations, since counting beats to determine frequency and wavelength requires a time or distance determined by the uncertainty relations (5.3.3). It thus raises the rather odd spectre that cortical oscillations and their corresponding mental states may be inflated quanta reverberating through the brain. It also suggests that the subjective notion of the present may be an extended quantum of the present, forming a reverberating envelope of past and future states.

Solving the problem of temporal representation is central to understanding the nature of attention, consciousness, and will, both because of the causal paradox implied by will, and because the problem of the 'ghost in the machine' is essentially a problem of how the temporal dynamics of attention are organised. Enclosing this ghost of attention within the quantum of the present carries the paradox into the causality-violating arena of sub-quantum physics.

8.4 The Experiencing Totality

Although normal waking experience has a reasonable correspondence to our concept of physical reality, the experiences of dreaming and other reflexive states such as hypnogogic and meditative trance, psychotropic hallucinations and near-death experiences, which transcend correspondence to the physical world, raise fundamental questions concerning the relation between the mind and the physical world. Dreaming is one of the most outstanding of these non-collective conscious states. It is one which we are all aware of, and one whose intensity, in cases of good recollection, parallels, or even exceeds that of sense experience of the 'real world'. Dreaming has definite correlates in central nervous activity in the REM phases of sleep, originally called paradoxical because of the appearance of internal waking arousal, illustrated in the EEG's and PET scans of fig 4, contrasting with the slow wave activity of deep sleep. The unusual properties of such states suggest that the more esoteric aspects of mind, which I will term dreaming, may contain deeper clues to its underlying nature beyond physical correspondence. In such a dual model, mind is more fundamental to reality than merely a physical internal model, a complementary principle to physical reality, emerging physically through indeterminacy.

The concept of a dual totality in which mind and universe are primary components raises further deep issues. While it may not be possible to describe mind from the point of view of physical world constructs alone, it is possible to describe the physical world as stability properties of conscious experience. Similarly, although our model of the physical world is inferential, our conscious experience from birth to death is direct and undeniable. It is thus possible to mount an alternative description of reality in which mind is primary and fundamental and the physical world is merely a stability structure of mind, as is central to the Indian philosophy of mind. The link between chance, living organisms and consciousness is also central to the Chinese oracle I Ching (Wilhelm 1951) in which these three are regarded as joint manifestations of a unifying predictive cosmic principle.

The status of such reflexive conscious states as dreaming may thus represent one of the greatest enigmas of scientific enquiry, because it is here that the temporal paradoxes described enter into unstable self-feedback without direct input from the external world. Dreaming is traditionally viewed as an illusory or hallucinatory invention of the mind, functioning either in the release of psychological tensions, or as a subjective manifestation of neural processing during sleep, possibly in the consolidation of long-term memories (Koukkou & Lehmann 1983, Winson 1990), or even to forget as Francis Crick has suggested. Although true REM sleep appears to be a mammalian trait, there is evidence for a paralysis phase of sleep in animals spanning the arthropods and vertebrates. Although dreams presumably do serve a physiological function, as evidenced by metabolic compensation after periods of deprivation, the origin of the content of dreaming remains obscure.

Complementing physiological studies of dreaming is a parallel stream of literature addressing the possibility that dreaming has unusual space-time properties, associated as much with future as with past experiences (Dunne c1935). Although the significance of dreaming in western culture has concentrated on the symbolism of dreaming as an expression of fears and aspirations in daily life and its analysis as a means of therapy, reference to dreaming in other cultures, such as Australian aborigines, and the Senoi of Malaysia includes the use of dreams to anticipate future problems and events, and is based on the concept that the dreaming state is another level of conscious reality, which is not an illusory representation of the 'real world', but is rather a mode of conscious existence in its own right. I have had many personal dreaming experiences with attest to such temporal properties of dreaming, including having a double dream of being stung, reporting the dream to my wife and an hour later being stung wide awake in bed.

Similar accounts occur in societies, such as the Huichols and Mazatecs of Mexico and the Amazonian Cashinahua, Shipibo, Jivaro, etc. where plants or fungi are taken to induce hallucinatory trance states during shamanic rites. Five aspects of these states have been noted by anthropologists; geometrical illusions, visions of animals and demons, the separation of the mind from the physical body, clairvoyant visions of distant places, and divination of past or future events (Harner 1973)."On the day following one ayahuasca party, six of nine men informed me of seeing the death of my 'chai', my mother's father. This occurred two days before I was informed by radio of his death".

The apparent capacity of people, in near-death experiences to have perceptions of their surroundings from another physical position (out of their body) invites further questions concerning the physical location of consciousness, particularly when they (occasionally) report accurate details they could not have witnessed from their physical position, such as the patient who correctly perceived a discarded shoe on a ledge three floors above the room where she had cardiac arrest (Groff S. 1988).

In what I would loosely describe the Sorcerer's Explanation, the dreaming aspect of reality underlies the physical so that the waking experience of the physical world is just one manifestation of a wider dreaming totality, rather than vice versa. Castenada (1976) in his many allegories, discusses the technique of dreaming in which the dreaming and waking state are connected by intent so that dreamer can gain control. The technique involves picking some simple action that the dreamer will perform as an act of volition to assume temporary command of their will, and check the onrush of dreaming attention. For example the act of looking at the backs of one's hands while in the dream. This technique is parallelled in Stephen LaBerge's (1985,1990) research into lucid dreaming (Blackmore 1990), in which the subject learns to make a variety of reality tests of the dreaming state by combining waking practice tests with setting intent during the sleep phase. These are complemented by waking techniques such as looking for the gaps (see 1.4.3) in conscious experience, stopping the internal dialogue and stalking (Abelar 1992).

The empirical investigation of such reflexive conscious states constitutes the best hope we have for discovering the foundations of the mind-brain relationship. While research is dominated by clinical tinkering with the brain from outside, a comprehensive description will continue to elude society. Thus balancing the pictures gained by brain lesions, EEG studies and PET scans should be an emphasis on pure consciousness research, combining scientific techniques with the traditional means used by societies throughout history, namely meditative and shamanic trance, the use of power plants and dreaming techniques. Several of these have been largely ignored as unscientific, or prohibited as dangerous to consumer society because of their very capacity to induce fractal or chaotic conscious states, thus setting back by decades society's development of an understanding of the mind-brain relationship. Complementing such traditional techniques are new devices emerging from brain research laboratories. One valuable such device is the Dream Light developed by LaBerge (1990) from research studies on dreaming EEGs, which detects REM periods and alerts the subject by a flashing light or acoustic signal. Such devices can help to bring the relatively uncharted and inaccessible realms of consciousness into the scientific arena.

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Plato
post May 08, 2006, 07:04 PM
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QUOTE
Variable "constants" would also open the door to theories that used to be off limits, such as those which break the laws of conservation of energy. And it would be a boost to versions of string theory in which extra dimensions change the constants of nature at some places in space-time.





Constants with and without dimensions

QUOTE
Nature presents us with various constants. Some of these constants, such as the fine-structure constant, are dimensionless and are not expressed in terms of units. However, other constants, such as the velocity of light or the mass of the proton, are dimensional and their numerical values depend entirely on the units in which they are expressed. The laws of nature do not, of course, depend on a man-made system of units.

To put this another way, if we want to measure a dimensional constant, we need a "yardstick" to make the measurement. But if we obtained one value when we measured the speed of light on a Monday, say, and a different value when we measured it on a Friday, how would we know that our yardstick had not shrunk or expanded? We would not. Moreover, if we were to interpret our observations as a change in the length of the yardstick, how could we verify it without reference to a second yardstick? Again, we could not. And so on.

However, dimensionless constants are fundamental absolute numbers, measured without reference to anything else. Therefore, if we want to investigate if the laws of nature are changing we must measure dimensionless quantities such as the fine-structure constant or the ratio of the electron and proton masses.
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Plato
post May 10, 2006, 09:05 AM
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A gap in thinking? A supersymmetrical realization about the beginning of our universe? An entropic realization abut the simplier times while today it is entropically complex. Gellman helped me understand what was "meaurably" understandable held in regard to such complexities. His speaking on "Plectics?"

Sorry, you going to have to look for it in blog search feature of my site. I can't just give all the time without something in return?smile.gif
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Lao_Tzu
post May 15, 2006, 11:20 AM
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How does predictivity happen with a causal level that is non-local in time?
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post May 15, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Physical theories are said to exhibit nonlocality if it is not possible to treat widely separated systems as independent. Nonlocality does not necessarily imply a lack of causality.


Make it simple, yes?smile.gif

What follows afterward is part of the methodolgy that is being used to force our perception to a measured basis of the interactions, at a level we are familiar, as in the RHIC. What is ALICE to LHC? What is Glast to early Universe comprehension?

I still have not shown relevant information because the principle I had been refering too, had not been asked under the heading and title of this thread.
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