[An ASKLEPIA FOUNDATION Journal]
Information Theory and the Vortex of Internal Structuring Process
by Iona Miller, ©1993
ABSTRACT: Because of its very nature a chaotic system cannot
be decomposed. If consciousness is pure information it is not limited
to physical form; its patterning may emerge from chaotic dynamics operating
at the quantum level, where the "no-thing" of pure information becomes
a structured "some-thing," through intentionality coupled with chaotic
determinism (self-organized emergent order). The so-called "software
of consciousness" is unlike the matter and energy of classical understanding,
but exerts a measureable effect on the physical world, apparently through
Fractal therapy allows us to penetrate deeply into the psyche--into
the vortex of the internal structuring process--through progressively de-structuring
patterns of organization. The undecomposable level of chaotic consciousness
is experienced as the pure, unconditioned imprint of the whole, resulting
in a new primal self image and sense of relationship to the greater whole
which emerges through nonunitary transformation.
We have to begin to view the universe as ultimately constituted not
of matter and energy, but of pure information.
--Michael Talbot, BEYOND THE QUANTUM
In the past 15 years a philosophy of mind called functionalism that
is neither dualist nor materialist has emerged from philosophical reflection
on development in artificial intelligence, computational theory, linguistics,
cybernetics and psychology. All these fields, which are collectively
known as the cognitive sciences, have in common a certain level of abstraction
and a concern with systems that process information. Functionalism,
which seeks to provide a philosophical account of this level of abstraction,
recognizes the possibility that systems as diverse as human beings, calculating
machines and disembodied spirits could all have mental states.
--Jerry A. Fodor, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
TURBULENT SELF-ORGANIZING FLUX
Research in cognitive sciences is leading toward acceptance of a model
of consciousness as pure information. Even though it is beyond physical
reality as we know it, it is nevertheless "real" and even more fundamental
than the world of matter. The functionalist definition of consciousness
is not based on the measurement of a substance or energy, but on a measure
of pure information. This implies that consciousness interpenetrates
the entire universe, but at a level more fundamental than field theory
or QM. As Bateson declared, the "no-thing" of information is the
pattern which connects.
In THE HEART SINGLE FIELD THEORY, Jacques Boivin has suggested that,
we wish to understand the nature of the Universe we have an inner hidden
advantage: we are ourselves little portions of the universe and so carry
the answer within us."
Current research at the threshold of matter--the edge of physical reality--indicates
that the vacuum state is the foundation of the appearance of matter.
Prigogine won the 1977 Nobel Prize for substantiating his notion that matter
is not inert but "alive and active." Further, the vacuum state is
teeming with nonobservable "life"; a turbulent froth which conditions the
emergence of probabilities in quantum fluctuation.
Bohm has posited a multidimensional common ground for consciousness and
matter. He alleges that the superholographic level of the universe
has a staggering number of dimensions, and that it may be a "mere stage"
beyond which is "an infinity of further development."
Bohm calls it, "vast, rich, and in a state of unending flux of enfoldment
and unfoldment, with laws most of which are only vaguely known."
In this view nature itself is a living organism whose diversity encompasses
all the diversity of form emerging from the superhologram. It is
"purposive" and possesses "deep intentionality."
According to Talbot (1986),
All of the creativity and insight that we ourselves experience must
also be seen as derivative of this common ground, and thus in a sense it
seems that nature has made us seek her. Perhaps that is why there
is a deep drive in all of us to understand the universe. It would
no longer be correct to speak of the multi-dimensional level of the universe
as a material plane. Rather, Bohm concludes, 'it could equally well
be called Idealism, Spirit, Consciousness. The separation of the
two--matter and spirit--is an abstraction. The ground is always one.'
At the level of the quantum, reality is fuzzy, and any attempt to penetrate
that mist collapses our commonsense understanding of the way the world
works. The vacuum is not an empty stage, but the domain of violent
upheavals in nothingness, where new particles are constantly being created
and destroyed. Again, according to Talbot (1986),
Most of these particles have lifetimes so incredibly brief that they
are virtually nonexistent, and hence are known as "virtual particles."
However, physicists know that virtual particles are more than just abstractions
that pop up in their equations because, ghostly and short-lived though
these particles may be, they still jostle around the atoms in our own world
a bit when they appear, and these effects can be physically measured.
Indeed, a growing number of physicists are coming to believe that everything
we know as real in the entire universe may ultimately have sprung out of
this empty and seething vacuum.
If quanta are ultimately constituted out of the vacuum--ultimately just
structures in the nothingness--what does this mean? What is structured
nothingness but just another word for information? ...Something that has
always been thought of as being "no-thing" may prove to be the only thing.
...Perhaps we should give this vacuum in our thinking another look.
There are characteristics of quantum systems that can be tied to chaotic
behavior in classical systems. Ronald F. Fox has found such a property
linking quantum physics and classical chaos:
For a classical object, one normally thinks of these quantum fluctuations
[expressed by the probability distribution] as very, very small and ignorable.
We argue that when the dynamics is chaotic, these quantum fluctuations
grow very large.
Prigogine's work on the self-organizing nature of the universe led him
to similar conclusions. Disorder is not an ultimate fate from which
nothing can escape, but is actually the progenitor of order. A more
ordered state arises out of apparent disorder. His notions also hold
true at the human level, as observed in the psychological transformation
process. Talbot summarizes Prigogine's description of emergent order
Given that most systems we know of are open and are constantly exchanging
energy or matter and, perhaps most importantly, exchanging information
with their environment, Prigogine observed that all such systems should
be viewed as fluctuating. At times such fluctuations may become so
powerful that a preexisting level of organization in a system cannot withstand
Prigogine called this moment of crisis for a system a "bifurcation point"
and believed that when such a point is reached, a system has two options.
Either it will be destroyed by the fluctuation and disintegrate into chaos,
or it will suddenly leap to an entirely new level of organization, a new
internal order that Prigogine called a "dissipative structure" (because
the role of this new level of organization is to "dissipate" the influx
of energy, matter, and/or information responsible for the disabling fluctuation).
It was for his theory of such dissipative structures that Prigogine won
the 1977 Nobel Prize.
FRACTAL THERAPY AS IMAGE PROCESSING
Because of the "butterfly effect" in chaotic dynamics, small (even "virtual")
fluctuations are pumped up to macroscopic changes in consciousness through
CCP. The process is organically initiated throughout the course of
the consciousness "journey."
In STAR WAVE, Fred Alan Wolf concludes that the ultimate stuff of
consciousness lies in the ghostly and incorporeal world of the quantum
itself. Given that there is now persuasive evidence that this world
is nonlocal, it may be that consciousness, like the quantum, does not possess
any single and precise location at all. Sometimes it seems to be
inside our heads. Sometimes, via the infinite interconnectedness
of the quantum landscape, it seems to "journey". But in truth it
never "goes" anywhere at all. It simply accesses whatever perspective
on the universe it wants via the nonlocal realm from which it operates.
Deterministic chaos is disorderly behavior produced by a simple rule.
The simple rule of CCP is to amplify disorder (i.e. fear, pain), dissolve
or depattern osified consciousness, and facilitate dynamic repatterning
of the whole self. There is a whole world of forms and formlessness
to be explored and harmonies to discover.
The fluctuating "dance of chaos" has a life of its own. Perhaps its
signature talent is the ability to curl in upon itself, to maintain its
own existence, and increase and grow in complexity. The spiral is
fundamental in nature. It plays a conspicuous and important role
in nature, civilization, science and art.
"Strange spirals" may be infinitely convoluted, or infinitely discontinuous
(fuzzy spirals; bushy spirals). Spirals amplify (and as DNA, project)
information and energy. It becomes ever more intricate, diverse,
and packed with more of its own essence, more information. They are
sustained by oscillation and damped by nonlinear vibrations.
As far as the physical universe is concerned, spiral shapes are one of
nature's most fundamental forms, too vast to catalog here. Why it
is ubiquitous in nature, civilization, and CCP is a profound question.
They often occur spontaneously in matter that is organized through symmetry
transforma-tions. Nature often constrains itself to exhibit self-similar
spiral growth. Humans have imitated the spiral motifs in culture,
art, and science.
In some ways this self-organizing dance can be likened to fractal generation,
which reveals the unfolding and enfolding structure of the unseen world.
Fractal structure repeats at all levels of organization. Fractals
reveal the geometry between dimensions.
Imagery lies at the heart of fractal generation. Fractal unfoldment
is a means of graphically depicting natural, yet nonlinear, processes of
unfolding. Via fractals on the computer screen we can directly view
the inherent beauty of these complex unfolding patterns. They present
the image of a myriad of perspectives, multiple centers and vortices within
a connecting principle.
We see an analogous phenomenon in the polyphasic transforms of the consciousness
journeys. Fractals are patterns which exhibit increasing detail ("bumpiness")
with increasing magnification or unfolding. Many interesting fractals
are self-similar, including those based on spiral waveform.
Mandelbrot informally defines fractals as "shapes that are equally complex
in their details as in their overall form. That is, if a piece of
a fractal is suitably magnified to become of the same size as the whole,
it should look like the whole, either exactly, or perhaps only after slight
Perhaps we see the same phenomenon from a slightly different perspective
in the holographic concept of reality--the part reflects the whole through
self-similarity, though it is not necessarily identical. In a hologram,
the detail about the broadest qualities of the whole would be "fuzzy."
During consciousness journeys the fractal-like images of the deep psyche
unfold, facilitating emergent creativity. Like fractals, the kaleidoscopic
images are an endless cascade of repeating detail. Image processing
reveals structures of interest on the "consciousness map". If the
involvement of the guide is too low, important features do not show up;
if too high, sometimes significant features are obscured.
CCP works like an amplification of consciousness to first de-structure
old systems, and amplify the healing effects of "whole-self patterning."
This emerges from the irregular unpredictable transformative behavior of
the strange attractor during image processing.
Complex nexes of imagery, such as Jung's complexes, or psychosynthesis'
subpersonalities, or NLP's "parts" can be broken up by the dissipative
action of the strange attractor. Existential gestalts separated by
time, but linked by similarities in experience are stored together.
They are "magnetically" entrained to the same core issues. Under
the transformative influence of CCP, initially adjacent experience/images
eventually follow widely divergent trajectories--they more or less explode.
Attractors correspond to the behavior to which a system settles down or
is "attracted." A strange attractor presents an unpredictable trajectory
among related aspects of the whole. Classical attractors are smooth
manifolds; strange attractors are not manifolds, they are rough and fractal--vortices
within vortices, within vortices, turbulent complex curls.
"Letting go" to the magnetic pull of the strange attractor by flowing in
participation with the stream of consciousness is an organic form of feedback:
the return of the input of a part of the output of a system. Thus,
entering the primal transformative spiral means entering the vortex of
the internal structuring process, the natural kaleidoscope of shapes.
At bifurcation the stability of steady states and cycle changes becomes
supercritical--far from equilibrium. Repatterning of the whole by
the natural chaotic dynamic leads to new emergent order within the framework
of personality--ego is transformed and "reborn" anew.
Repatterning may occur through harmonic resonance of certain informational
content within the general perception of overwhelming white noise or blankness,
the results of "downloading" informational overload. The information
contact that is "in phase" with the participant is fed back into the system
Iteration or repetition of the process makes it more thorough and pervasive
within the organism. More deeply implicated information becomes available
for restructuring. Iteration represents the complicated behavior
of simple functions. In CCP, the iterative process can be accelerated.
The transformative process continually folds in on itself, stretching and
kneading psychic space, bringing in that which is needed, and disposing
of irrelevant informational content. Always the condition of a nonlinear
system is crucially dependent on initial conditions.
Output is not directly proportional to input as in linear transformation,
because of the dynamic pumping up of chaotic dynamics from micro- to macro-
proportions. This is like a "phase-locked loop," a circuit whose
output is fed back into the system in order to keep it in phase with the
Feedback creates pathways in fractal generation. Fractal patterns
produce complicated networks as a result of the propagation of signals
through them. Networks can be thrown into chaotic behavior in response
to the propagation of complex input. Human beings are systems with
many functions and feedback and feedforward paths. Thus transformation
can involve several, nonlinear phase changes.
When a complex signal is propagated through a network with feedback or
feedforward paths, some networks remain stable, and other network values
"explode." Over several steps intersecting feedback paths generate
intermediate nodes. The stability of the network's behavior can be
plotted in response to a range of complex input values as the network is
iterated (i.e., as signals are stepped synchronously through the net).
Network connectivity can be represented symbolically. Symbolic representations
provide a "language" to systematize and classify the interconnections and
pathways and feedback loops--the flow of which are in general nonlinear
and difficult to conceptualize. In computer graphics, the darkness
of a region of the graph relates to how many times a trajectory crosses
a particular pixel in the display. Some regions are dominated by
high intensity, with almost no other features visible. Low intensity
values are less vivid, therefore more subtle.
Self- and world-simulation process is recursive, defining itself in terms
of itself. A recursive operation invokes itself as an intermediate
operation. In CCP this is the process of recursively feeding back
information about the dynamic process of self-world construction, and providing
a safe context for de-construction (i.e. "set and setting").
The art of the therapeutic transformation lies in the utilization of the
"controlled accident," in the ever-changing context of resonating mental
spaces. Co-consciousness carries the process forward in ways the
therapist could never imagine or direct. The "accidentals" are intuitive
communication from the unconscious, from the whole. The concepts
of chaos and chance just describe our gaps in awareness, the phenomena
of which we are ignorant.
Peat (1991) suggests that "when the shared meaning between two people
is very high, very delicate structures within their brains begin to mirror
each other. At this physical level, the boundaries between people
dissolve, the inner and outer merge, and a new wholeness is created."
Since the mind and body are deeply linked together, such a new wholeness
will also spread to the body. Holistic meaning can therefore link
people at all levels, from the mental to the physical and between a person
and nature. Actions, conversation, decisions, and dreams emerge out
of this resonance. And clearly, synchronicity would be one manifestation
of this new type of activity.
Quantum theory stresses the wholeness of communication, rather than viewing
it as a signal moving passively through some channel between two autonomous
entities. In QM, an entity can change under the influence of energy
vibrations, even from a vast distance (nonlocality), evolving a new structure
and new excitations.
We might look at this physics process as an analogy of what happens in
co-consciousness. Peat notes, "at one level, information about
structure and coherent vibrations passes between the two molecules, allowing
new collective oscillations to be created. But in another sense,
communication involves a dissolution of form in which the two systems are
constantly participating in a process of dissolution and recrystallization.
One can also picture a quantum system as being in constant communication
with its whole environment. Not only does the system respond to information,
but by means of its own coherent vibrations, it can, in a sense, reach
out and touch the environment."
Life is the physical manifestation of this creative flow of coherent information.
This "active information" binds living systems into a coherent whole and
sustains their healthy functioning. In agreement with CCP, Peat has
also surmised that,
When information ceases in its active role, and when its coherence breaks
down, the organism enters into a state of decay and breaks up into a mere
collection of inanimate components. The maintenance of a creative
flow of meaning is of key importance, not only within the human body but
also for the whole of society. And creativity need not be confined
to the animate, for it pervades the entire natural world.
To the ancients Chaos was the unknown, the spirit world, which displayed
the discontinuous monstrosities created by the erratic side of nature,
as well as her beauty. When we look into the face of nature, we see
ourselves reflected back with an eye not jaundiced by the bias of the ego.
Dreams, nightmarish visions, and the dynamic imagery process all reveal
the state of our consciousness at the deepest level--depicting the nature
of our relationship to the whole of consciousness network.
Recycling consciousness allows new emergent order to crystallize in a more-adapted
primal self image--a new steady-state, a new system of values. Transformation
takes place as one configuration or expression changes into another in
accordance with chaotic dynamics, global repatterning. Adaptation,
balance and beauty naturally emerge in the new pattern. Physicist
Joseph Ford has said that, "Evolution is chaos with feedback."
In SUPERNATURE, Lyall Watson reminds us that, "Life survives in the
chaos of the cosmos by picking order out of the winds. Death is certain,
but life becomes possible by following patterns that lead like paths of
firmer ground through the swamps of time. Cycles of light and dark,
of heat and cold, or magnetism, radioactivity, and gravity all provide
vital guides -- and life learns to respond to even their most subtle signs."
In Bohm's causal interpretation of QM, we inhabit an ocean of "active information"--the
ever-flowing, ever-changing pattern of the meaning of life itself.
The entire inner and outer environment includes the whole field of electromagnetic
information, which patterns our electronic bodies. But we also are
subject to the patterning effects of the whole of existence, a global pool
of information, a pool of being, which is paradoxically rooted in non-existence.
Bohm identifies "active information" with quantum potential, which does
not depend on its size or intensity, like other forces, but on its overall
form (coherence of the system). In this view, even a very weak quantum
potential can have a dominating effect on distant quantum objects.
It operates not by pushing or pulling an electron but by providing it with
information about its environment and thereby guiding its motion.
As Peat puts it, "Just as with an organism that is informed by its surrounding
field of electromagnetic information, so, too, the quantum potential provides
information about the surrounding quantum environment. In turn, the
electron responds to this information and so modifies its motion."
In a nonunitary interpretation of the universe it is possible for novel
processes and elements to emerge that are in no way implicit in anything
that has gone before. They permit the totally new to enter the universe,
superceding historic determinism. They are like gaps or intermittancy
in the scintillating fabric of spacetime, from which creation emerges.
In nonunitary quantum theory, communication becomes communion: long-range
interactions of quantum systems on one another cause each system to dissolve
into the environment provided by the other. Following this, the systems
recrystallize again and show a modification of their original global structure.
An analogous transformation occurs through co-consciousness in CCP.
But the nonunitary vision extends even beyond this. Quantum systems
can open themselves to true novelty and potentiality through nonunitary
transformation. In this process, Hilbert space dissolves and reforms.
With each transformation, radical change, evolution, and modification become
possible. In this image of dynamic existence, the whole of existence
is flickering, scintillating, rather than fixed and solid.
Peat describes the meaning of nonunitary transformation:
A nonunitary transformation takes us from the present into a future
that is no longer a deterministic unfolding of what is already present
but is unknown and totally open. It may well be that the future contains
echoes and memories of the present and that certain tendencies in the past
continue to unfold into the future. Nevertheless, this future is
truly free and unlimited; it is never absolutely conditioned by the past;
there is always a possibility for the new, the novel, and the unexpected
As to the actual nonunitary transformation itself, it can be thought
of as bringing about the dissolution of all forms and structures.
Just as the structured Hilbert space of a quantum system that enters into
communion with another will dissolve into something that is beyond itself,
so, too, within a nonunitary transformation, the processes, forms, and
structure of the world cease to be. Within that transformation, the
universe touches what could be called a ground of unconditioned creativity.
Then, as the present re-forms again--this present that lies in the future--the
world and all its forms and structures recrystallize.
The nonunitary world is indeed like a crystal. It comes into existence
out of a matrix of possibilities...the universe is in a constant process
of crystallization and dissolution.. At each instant the rock, the
tree, the atom, the star, and the human mind die and are born anew.
The constant coming into existence and dissolution of the nonunitary
universe could be compared with a beating heart or with the ever-repeating
cycle of birth and death. This pattern of birth and death applies
as much to a molecule or a stone as it does to a single thought or a whole
human life. Indeed, the distinction between the animate and the inanimate
has begun to dissolve, for everything is involved in a pattern of continuous
rebirth, and everything is the manifestation of one underlying creative
potential. Synchronicity, at this level, is a bubbling up of ever-fresh
forms, patterns, and connections that transcend all boundaries between
mind and matter, the physical and the spiritual.
Herein lies the essence of healing in the Creative Consciousness Process.
Non-existence underlies existence, and we fluctuate between them.
Existence is discontinuous. Just where are we when we don't exist--between
moments--at the bottom of our breath? We have dissolved into the
matrix of unconditioned creativity, unconditioned process--the spirit world,
the realm of the dead, eternity.
When the structure of the universe dissolves and comes into contact with
the creative source, time essentially ends. According to Peat,
"There is no moment and no time within a nonunitary transformation, for
time only has meaning within the processes of the manifest unitary world,
and the nonstate of dissolution lies outside time."
The meaning of a nonunitary transformation, therefore, is for the universe
to leave time and to cease to have any existence within the realm of the
known. Following that transformation, the world recrystallizes again
and reenters the domain of time. As the mystics of old well knew,
material existence lives in time, but its roots lie elsewhere.
One way of approaching the idea of nonunitary transformation is to see
it as a process whereby the present is moved into the future. But
a deeper view would be that this transformation creates an eternal yet
ever-changing now. We exist in the present, and this present constantly
dissolves and reforms anew. Time is no longer a river; it is a dynamic
bubbling spring whose waters are ever fresh. Existence is a series
of stepping stones of time. Each island is called "the present" and
lies in an ocean beyond time and structure.
Existence belongs to the interval between transformations, as the transformation
itself takes us outside time. There is no temporal interval, no gap
in time, between one "now" and the next.
Whereas unitary time is a measure of the mixing of states, nonunitary time
is concerned with dissolution and recrystallization of Hilbert space structure.
It is a mirror that takes the now and reflects it into a free and open
Yet we tend to cling to form. Structures in the universe contain
recurring themes and patterns. Within the creative moment of every
nonunitary transformation, there is the possibility that certain forms
may be reborn and enter back into themselves. The unitary therefore
forms a special, limited case of the nonunitary, and it is this aspect
that is responsible for regularity within the universe.
We suggest that the healing, creativity, and dynamic repatterning which
emerge in CCP are the results of such nonunitary transformation, during
the embryonic interval of creation.
Fodor, Jerry A., "The Mind-Body Problem," SciAmer. Jan 1991, p114.
Gutzwiller, Martin C.; "Quantum Chaos', SciAmer. January 1992, pp. 78-84.
Gutzwiller, Martin C.; CHAOS IN CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, Springer-Verlag,
Peat, F. David, THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE: Chaos, Synchronicity, and the
Hidden Order of the World, Bantam,New York, 1991.
Peterson, Ivars, "Linking Quantum Physics to Classical Chaos," Science
News, Oct 6, 1990, v138, p213(1) n14.
Pickover, Clifford A.; COMPUTERS, PATTERN, CHAOS, AND BEAUTY, St. Martin's
Press, New York, 1990.
Talbot, Michael; BEYOND THE QUANTUM, Bantam Books, New York, 1986.
Voros, Giannoni, and Zinn-Justin, Eds.; CHAOS AND QUANTUM PHYSICS, Elsevier
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