Monday, 25 February 2008

The mind and chaotic attractors?

I read in this website of an interesting account of mind chaos and I will let it flow into my own chaotic mind and see what will bring out.

"In this model, low level chaos is lifted into a higher energy state by olfactory input. Chaos in this state enables the system to explore its phase space, falling into an existing attractor in the case of a recognised odour, but bifurcating to form a new attractor in the case of a newly learned stimulus."

Admitting of the existence of low level chaos before the presence of a stimulus provides a picture of the state of the mind before the stimulation. It brings into my mind the noise existing into our brain, Erich Harth's penumbrae, what is needed for some random sparkle to build upon. By referring at that state as chaos, it reflects its random character. And as the stimulus results in a flurry of activity, in a process similar to Erich Harth's Alopex optimisation algorithm, lifted into a higher energy state by the sensory input. And once, in that higher energy state the system explores its phase space. Phase space? An abstract space. The 'space' in which all possible states of a system are represented. Can phase space be visualised? All possible states? Regardless of being visualised exploring phase space, the system explores all possible states and the states focuses upon are the states that belong in an attractor. An attractor the set of states (points in the phase space), invariant under the dynamics, towards which neighboring states in a given basin of attraction asymptotically approach in the course of dynamic evolution. And the including basin of attraction, the set of points in the space of system variables such that initial conditions chosen in this set dynamically evolve to a particular attractor.

The chosen attractor. Chosen? What criteria is a choice identified with? Based on system variables. Variables that have been analysed by sense detectors. The values of the variables chemicals present, represent the initial conditions and dynamically evolve to a particular attractor. An existing attractor if the chemical and its odour has already presented itself, along with the word, the symbol associated with or bifurcating to form a new attractor if the chemical and its odour has not presented itself as yet, and duly assigned with another word, another symbol which it will make it easier, later on to convey information to other individuals about the new chemical and its odour.

Building up attractors by engaging into chaos. Why? Is there not any other way? Because it is fast? Or is it because it emerges out of noise, unstructured states? Out of nothing? And what would that noise be, the unstructured states found in the deepest level of organised matter. Quantum froth? Quantum noise? Our very own entanglement with the quantum world?

Or is it because

"The transition into chaos thus provides sensitive dependence on input, ergodic 'randomizing' phase space exploration, parametric bifurcation to form new symbols, and possible quantum amplification. Return from chaos in turn fixes stability structures from the fractal dynamics."

Chaos processes make it possible to take into consideration minute differences in the presented conditions as they are sensitively dependent upon and thus increase human analytical powers discriminating between finer and finer features. Minute details noticed multiply, a plethora of features swamp the human intellect. Each individual with a unique view of the world? A reason that explains the diversity of human endeavour?

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Thoughts about stream of consciousness

A stream of consciousness rushed through me, almost out of nowhere and it kept me thinking. It struck me, as I pondered on thoughts unraveled a few hours ago. What impressed me most, it was how easy one thought followed another, effortlessly, without pause. A continuous unbiased flow following, I dare say, a predetermined path.

It brought into my mind, the first time I heard something profound about consciousness, that left me puzzled and astonished. It was at the time, I was pondering about a seat of consciousness and struggling to get in terms with the consciousness concept. A colleague of mine, being overtaken by the event he was describing, a person who he admired, and mentioned this individual's expressive power, designating it as "a stream of consciousness". The analogy struck me as alien. I was grappling and contemplating about the concept of consciousness from a different angle and his approach impressed me, though unfamiliar at the time, but I did not dismiss it. My own exposition the other night, reminded me of his remarks. I felt, I experienced what he described a stream of consciousness, as he described it.

What is the significance of this? How can it be explained? How can it become possible? Is it an illusion? A furtive sensation not worth to grapple upon? But its results stared back at me. A feeling of disbelief. Surely, there must be something here. Can it have a physical explanation? To that effect, I feel the answer might lie in Richard Feynman's retarded and advanced waves. What I came across, for the first time, in John Gribbin's book, "Q is for Quantum. Particle physics from A to Z".

Richard Feynman along with John Archibald Wheeler grappled with the idea of 'action at a distance', the idea that interactions between objects occur instantaneously, regardless of the distance involved. It is referred primarily to gravitational interaction such as between the sun and the earth and it operates without any intervening mechanism. They provided a version of the idea, which was used later on by John Cramer, to build the model of the transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics.

As John Gribbin states in his dictionary under Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory,

"When a charged particle jiggles, it radiates both into the past and into the future. This causes another charged particle to jiggle in the future. The jiggling of that particle sends another wave both into the future and into the past. The two sets of waves cancel out everywhere except in the region between the two charged particles. But because one wave goes forwards in time and the other travels backwards in time, the connection is made instantaneously."

The two sets of waves that a source simultaneously radiates, were called retarded and advanced waves. The retarded waves, sent to the future, are moving outwards from their source and forwards in time, and they arrive somewhere, their destination, at a later time than they set out on their journey. The advanced waves, sent to the past, are moving towards their source and backwards in time, so they arrive to their destination, their source, before they set out on their journey.

As is pointed out further, clarifying the notion stated before,

"The half retarded wave goes out from the first electron forwards in time, while the half advanced wave goes out backwards in time. When the second electron shakes in response, it produces another half retarded, which is exactly out of step with the first wave and so precisely cancels out the remaining half retarded wave for all later times; and a half advanced wave, which goes back down the track of the first wave to the original electron, in step with that wave, reinforcing the original half-wave to make a full wave, ...
This half advanced wave arrives at the first electron, of course, at the moment it started to shake, ... Then it continues back into the past, canceling out the original half advanced wave from the first electron. The result is that between the two electrons there is a single wave .., but everywhere else the wave cancels out, ...

In my mind the transactional interpretation John Cramer proposed, provides a way to explain the phenomenon of consciousness. Each transaction represent an instant of consciousness, and all the instants put together become a stream, a stream of consciousness.

The atemporal view might be used to explain the vastness of our consciousness as there are no limits either spatial or temporal for each transaction. The objects interacting in each instant of consciousness can be anywhere in space and time and their interaction takes place instantaneously thanks to the advanced waves that travel backwards in time. This could explain how our imagination can have no bounds as well as our consciousness being boundless.

Further, the acceptance that the retarded and advanced waves sent in each transaction travel at the speed of light, it likewise gives a measure of how long it takes for an instant of consciousness to take place as well as the collation of all the instants in a stream of consciousness and by that give a measure of the speed mental events can take place. This notion is inherent in each individual and can explain the impatience an individual expresses, when it complains about how slow computers can be, oblivious to the fact that the huge number of calculations a computer performs, are beyond the individual's conscious abilities.