On Apr 29, 2004, at 5:43 PM, Stan Tenen wrote:

Attached is a pre-publication version of an upcoming paper by Karl Pribram.

What do you think of it?

Best,

Stan

My comments on excerpts

To be published in BRAIN and BEING:

At the Boundary Between Science, Philosophy, Language and Art

John Benjamins 2004

BRAIN AND MATHEMATICS

Karl H. Pribram MD; PhD Hon. Multi.

Distinguished Research Professor Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Georgetown University; and School of Computational Sciences, George Mason University

Professor Emeritus Stanford and Radford Universities

BRAIN AND MATHEMATICS

"The fundamental connecting link between mathematics and theoretical physics is the pattern recognition capabilities of the human brain." George Chapline, Physics Reports 315 1999 pp. 95-105

I knew George in 1967 in La Jolla - the scene described by Greg Benford in "Timescape." George does not deal with the "hard problem" of how to describe inner awareness in terms of physics. Neither does Francis Crick.

"It sometimes appears that the resistance to accepting the evidence that cortical cells are responding to the two dimensional Fourier components of stimuli [is due] to a general unease about positing that a complex mathematical operation similar to Fourier analysis might take place in a biological structure like cortical cells. It is almost as if this evoked for some, a specter of a little man sitting in a corner of the cell huddled over a calculator. Nothing of the sort is of course implied: the cells carry out their processing by summation and inhibition and other physiological interactions within their receptive fields. There is no more contradiction between a functional description of some electronic component being a multiplier and its being made up of transistors and wired in a certain fashion. The one level describes the process, the other states the mechanism. DeValois & DeValois, 1988 p 288

The fact that the formalism describing the brain microprocess is identical with the physical microprocess allows two interpretations: (a) The neural microprocess is in fact based on relations among microphysical quantum events, and (b) that the laws describing quantum physics are applicable to certain macrophysical interactions when these attain some special characteristics“ (p. 270). The formalism referred to describes the receptive fields of sensory neurons in the brain cortex. These were mapped in terms of Gabor wavelets or more generally, —four dimensional information hyperspaces based on Jacobi functions (Atick and Redlich, 1989) or Wigner distributions (Wechsler, 1991). Pribram, 1991 Epilogue "

I also use a Wigner distribution idea for the local macro-quantum order parameter Psi(x) that is the physical mind field.

"Within a few days of my second encounter with Hilgard, Nico Spinelli a postdoctoral fellow in my laboratory, brought in a paper written by John Eccles (Scientific American, 1958) in which he stated that although we could only examine synapses one by one, presynaptic branching axons set up synaptic wavefronts. Functionally it is these wavefronts that must be taken into consideration. I immediately realized (see Fig. 1-14, Languages of the Brain 1971) that axons entering the synaptic domain from different directions would set up interference patterns. (It was one of these occasions when one feels an utter fool. The answer to Lashly‘s and my first question as to where were the waves in the brain, had been staring us in the face and we did not have the wit to see it during all those years of discussion.)

Within another few days I received my current edition of Scientific American in which Emmet Leith and J. Upatnicks (1965) describe how recording of interference patterns on film tremendously enhanced storage and processing capability. Images could readily be recovered from the store by appropriate procedures that had been described by Dennis Gabor (1946) almost two decades earlier. Gabor called his mathematical formulation a hologram.

Using the mathematical holographic process as a metaphor seemed like a miraculous answer to Hilgard‘s question. Shading, detail, texture, everything in a pattern that we perceive can be accomplished with ease. Russell and Karen DeValois (1988) book on —Spatial Vision“ and my (1991) book —Brain and Perception“ provide detailed reviews of experimental results that support the conjecture that holography is a useful metaphor in coming to understand the brain/mind relation with regard to perception. Here I want to explore some further thoughts engendered by this use of a mathematical formulation to understand the brain/mind relation."

It is more literally true than a mere metaphor because the physicsl mind field is a giant quantum ODRLO wave Psi(x) in the brain and maybe entire body. x is in ordinary space. Forget the Copenhagen Cult nonsense of "collapse". Giant quantum waves do not collapse. "More is different" (P.W. Anderson). The reason for the hologram interference pattern of our mental life is "generalized phase rigidity" that is the biological analog in the emergence of inner consciousness to Andrei Sakharov's "metric elasticity" for the emergence of both gravity and dark energy out of the cohering of the random zero point quantum vacuum fluctuation energies. "Collapse" means death of the mind. It's the descent into noise. It's the loss of coherent integration of function and use of language seen so frequently in mental wards, on the streets filled with the homeless and in the mad ravings of wannabe Pundits on the Internet. ;-)

"Some years later, in Paris, during a conference sponsored by UNESCO where both Gabor and I were speakers, we had a wonderful dinner together. I told him about the holographic metaphor for brain processing and we discussed its Fourier basis. Gabor was pleased in general but stated that —brain processing [of the kind we were discussing] was Fourier-like but not exactly Fourier.“ I asked, what then might such a relation look like and Gabor had no answer. Rather we got onto a step-wise process that could compose the Fourier -- an explanation that I later used to trace the development of the brain process from retina to cortex. Gabor never then nor later told me about his 1946 contribution to communication theory and practice: that he had developed a formalism to determine the maximum compressibility of a telephone message that renders it still intelligible. He used the same mathematics that Heisenberg had used to describe processes in quantum physics and therefore called his —unit a quantum of information. It took me several years to locate this contribution which is referred to in Likleiter‘s article on acoustics in Stevens 1951 Handbook of Experimental Psychology.

Does this application indicate that the formalism of quantum physics applies more generally to other scales of inquiry? Alternatively, for brain function, at what scale do actual quantum physical processing take place? At what anatomical scale(s) do we find quantum coherence and at what scale does decoherence occur? "

The mind is a large thing immune to environmental decoherence.

"To summarize: The formalisms that describe the holographic process and those that describe quanta of information apparently DO extend to scales other than the quantum. Today we use quantum holography to produce images with the technique of functional Magnetic Resonance (fMRI). The quantities described by terms of the formalisms such as Planck‘s constant will, of course, vary but the formulations will to a large extent be self-similar. The important philosophical implications for the brain/mind issue have been addressed in depth by Henry Stapp on several occasions (e.g 2003, —The Mindful Universe“) as well as by many others including myself (e.g. Pribram, 1997, What is mind that the brain may order it?). "

Stapp's theory is no good because he does not ask the right question. Stapp uses the collapse idea and for that reason throws the consciousness baby out with the bath water out into the briar patch filled with thorns and poison oak in the not hallowed but hollow withered dead Halls of Ivy. Even though von Neumann, London, Wigner and Penrose played with the idea it is no good and does not work. A reading of P.W. Anderson's book "A Career in Theoretical Physics" shows why the quantum measurement approach is no good for consciousness studies. Almost all the quantum theory papers at the Tucson Conferences are not correct. Stapp came closest in his retro-PK paper in Phys Rev A for which he was roasted alive in Physics Today and other boring venues of academic respectablity. Stapp then had a failure of nerve, and like Galileo before the Inquisition of the Immaculate Deception, recanted and has been under virtual house arrest ever since. ;-)

"This means that the Poincare group (Dirac, 1930; Wigner, 1939) is relevant, requiring a manifold of as many as ten dimensions. In the context of modeling the brain process involved in the perception of Shepard figures, what needs to be accomplished —is replacing the Euclidian group [that ordinarily describes geodesics] with the Poincare group of space time isometries, the relativistic analogues of geodesics --.“ (Pribram 1991, p.117)

Sounds interesting but I do not understand how Pribram connects the math to the observations.

"Both theories handle the fundamental issue as to —how can coordinates be assigned to an entity which is, by its nature, invariant to coordinate systems“ (Pellionez and Llinas p. 2950). The very term —holonomy“ was chosen to portray this issue. It is fitting that surface structure tensor circuit theory uses insights from relativity theory while deep structure holonomy regards quantum ... processing. As physicists struggle to tie together relativity and quantum field theory in terms of quantum gravity, perhaps further insights will be obtained for understanding brain processing. (Hameroff and Penrose,1995; Smolin 2004; Ostriker and Steinhardt 2001). "

Hameroff had a good idea that the sub-neuronal micro-tubules are the Seat of the Soul. Then he went and ruined it by collaborating with Roger Penrose, who though a genius of the highest rank, got all muddled in the Copenhagen fairy tale of "collapse" of the state - really a remnant of Marxist fantasy as effective in physics as it was in economics and politics.

"The main practical difference between the theories is that In the Tensor Theory, time synchrony among brain systems (which means correlation of their amplitudes) is all that is required. Holonomic theory indicates that a richer yield is obtained when phase coherence is manifest."

Hear! hear! Hip, hip, hooray. Three cheers, and one cheer more for the hearty concept of phase coherence. But the question is, phase coherence of what?

"Heisenberg matrices (representations of the Heisenberg group) are used and combine in what is called quantum holography (that is, holonomy) with the tensor geometry of relativity. (Schempp 2000)"

"Quantum Brain Dynamics:

Henry Stapp in two excellent articles (Stapp 1997a and b) reviews the development of quantum theory and outlines how it is essential to understanding the mind/brain relationship. Stapp sets up the issue as follows. —Brain process is essentially a search process: the brain, conditioned by earlier experience, searches for a satisfactory response to the new situation that the organism faces. It is reasonable to suppose that a satisfactory response will be programmed by a template for action that will be implemented by a carefully tuned pattern of firings of some collection of neurons."

The neurons are too coarse-grained to explain the hard problem of the emergence of inner consciousness - of who we really are.

"The executive pattern would be a quasi-stable vibration that would commandeer certain energy resources, and then dissipate its energy into the initiation of the action that it represents.“

OK for our machine zombie levels of behavior, but it does not touch on the hard problem.

"Stapp goes on to note that —If the programmed action is complex and refined then this executive pattern must contain a great deal of information and must, accordingly, be confined to a small region of phase space.“

"Small"? Odd statement forStapp is thinking

Entropy ~ log of volume of phase space.

But Entropy/kB ~ number of c-bits

Therefore, we want a big volume of phase space of some system not a small volume. Did Pribram get it upside down here?

Indeed for the hologram, we use AREA not Volume and then the number of c-bits is

Area of cortex/(Quantum of Area) = number of c-bits.

Like in the Bekenstein formula. A black hole is a giant string of BITs inside the event horizon in both sense of physics and computation of a string of c-bits (and maybe qubits). All space is like a black hole in some sense if the world itself is a hologram.

"Holonomic theory indicates that spread functions such as those that compose holography, do indeed make it possible to contain a great deal of information within a small region (patches of dendritic receptive fields) of phase space."

Hmmn.

"Stapp further notes that —the relative timing of the impulses moving along the various neurons, or groups of neurons, will have to conform to certain ideals to within very fine levels of tolerance. How does the hot, wet brain, which is being buffeted around by all sorts of thermal and chaotic disturbances find its way to such a tiny region in a timely manner?“

This is the wrong idea.

"The Question is: What is The Question?" John A. Wheeler

Giant Psi waves are immune to heat decoherence.

"Further: —How in 3n dimensional space (where n represents some huge number of degrees of freedom of the brain) does a point that is moving in a potential well that blocks out those brain states that are not good solutions to the problem --- but does not block the way to good solutions find its way in a short time to a good solution under chaotic initial conditions?"

Signal nonlocality - presponse precognition is essential. This violated quantum theory.

"Stapp notes that classical solutions to this problem won‘t work and that —the quantum system [will work as it] has the advantage of being able to explore simultaneously (because the quantum state corresponds to a superposition of) all allowed possibilities.“

You need creative tension, some linear superposition, but also enough nonlinearity, in sense of the Landau-Ginzburg equation for the giant quantum Psi field, to have signal nonlocality between different parts of the brain that get their marching orders from the same Psi mind field.

"Stapp provides a viable metaphor in a glob or cloud of water acting together rather than as a collection of independently moving droplets. —The motion of each point in the cloud is influenced by its neighbors.“

For that we have the nonlocal Bohm quantum potential of the giant Psi wave. But now we have signal nonlocality not signal locality. The linear unitary Schrodinger equation of micro-quantum theory in huge configuration space is no good. We need the nonlinear nonunitary Landau-Ginzburg equation in ordinary space. Giant quantum mind fields are not "projective rays". "More is different." Trash all of Von Neumann's "Quantum Theory of Measurement." It's useless for the "hard problem." Everything you read in the New Age pop books on the physics of consciousness is "not even wrong." The rules of the Glass Bead Game have changed qualitatively. There are more things between Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in the Copehagen "philofawzy." Something is rotten in the "collapse of the state" in Denmark.

"However classical holography will also do just this."

Giant quantum wave mind fields are like classical holograms in some respects.

"But the advantage of holonomy, that is quantum holography, is that it windows the holographic space providing a —cellular“ phase space structure, in patches of dendritic fields thus enhancing the alternatives and speed with which the process can operate. In short, though the information within a patch is entangled, cooperative processing between patches can continue to cohere or de-coherence can —localize“ the process."

No, all the Tucson Pundits are completely confused. It's not entanglement they need, it's signal nonlocality that they need. They are, all of them, very far from asking the right question. Antony Valentini formulated what is close to the right question in his "sub-quantal non-equilibrium" AKA Landau-Ginzburg equation.

"With regard to evidence regarding the scale at which quantum processes are actually occurring, a number of publications have reported that quantum coherence characterizes the oscillations of ions within neural tissue channels."

See H. Frohlich's model.

(e.g. See Stapp 1997; and Jibu et al 1994; Jibu and Yasue in this volume). The question immediately arises as to whether decoherence occurs when the channels communicate with each other and if so, how. Stapp notes that —phase relationships, which are essential to interference phenomena, get diffused into the environment, and are difficult to retrieve."

Stapp is wrong. He is not looking at the correct giant quantum wave.

"These decoherence effects will have a tendency to reduce, in a system such as the brain, the distances over which the idea of a simple quantum system holds."

Red Herring. Ill-posed. Not even in the right ball park.

I pass over a lot of seeming nonsense about "solitons" et-al based on asking the wrong questions. I could be wrong but for now I will assume I am right and look again perhaps another day.

"FORMALISMS:

The Quantum formalism:

The initial quotation introducing this essay is from the ending of an excellent paper by George Chapline (1999) entitled —Is theoretical physics the same thing as mathematics“. Chapline‘s provocative title employs a bit of poetic license. Nonetheless the paper provides considerable insight as to the applicability of the quantum formalism to other scales of inquiry. Chapline shows that quantum theory —can be interpreted as a canonical method for solving pattern recognition problems“ (p95). In the paper he relates pattern recognition to the Wigner-Moyal formulation of quantum theory stating that this —would be a good place to start looking for a far reaching interpretation of quantum mechanics as a theory of pattern recognition“ (p97).

This is good and I can use Chapline's math with my idea that the mind is a giant quantum wave.

"In a generalization of the Wigner- Moyal phase space he gives the physical dimensions as the Weyl quantization of a complete holographic representation of the surface. He replaces the classical variable of position within an electromagnetic field with ordinary creation and annihilation operators. He shows that —representing a Riemann surface holographically amounts to a pedestrian version of a mathematically elegant characterization of a Riemann surface in terms of its Jacobian variety and associated theta functions“ (p.98). This representation is equivalent —to using the well known generalized coherent states for an SU(n) Lie algebra“ (p.98). This is the formalism employed in —Brain and Percption“ (Pribram, 1991) to handle the formation of invariances that describe entities and objects."

Looks promising.

"There is much more in Chaplin‘s paper that resonates with the holonomic, quantum holographic formulations that describe the data presented in —Brain and Perception“. These formulations are based on quantum-like wavelets, Gabor and Wigner phase spaces. Whether these particular formulations will be found to be the most accurate is not the issue: rather it is that such formalisms can be attempted due to the fact that the —fundamental connecting link between mathematics and physics is the pattern recognition of the human brain“ (p.104).

Here come the qubits.

"As an example of the utility of these insights, Chapline indicates how we might map the co-ordination of processing in the central nervous system. He notes that —the general idea [is] that a quantum mechanical theory of information flow can be looked upon as a model for the type of distributed information processing carried out in the brain.“ He continues, —one of the fundamental heuristics of distributed information processing networks is that minimization of energy consumption requires the use of time division multiplexing for communication between processors, and it would be natural to identify the local internal time in such networks as quantum phase“ (p.104). The caveat is, as noted, that quantum phase is fragile..."

No! Here George errs I suspect. He is apparently not familiar with P.W. Anderson's "generalized phase rigidity" of emergent complexity giving an immunity against environmental decoherence.

End of Commentary 1 on Pribram