An ASKLEPIA FOUNDATION Journal
V. INFORMATION THEORY
AN INFORMATION THEORY
The Interface of Consciousness and Information Quanta
by Iona Miller, ©1993
ABSTRACT: Information Theory has been employed to model dynamic processes ranging from the entire universe (Ed Fredkin, 1988) to human neurological functioning (Karl Pribram,1991). Pribram's research on human perception has culminated in a theory of neurodynamics based on nonlocal cortical processing -- holonomy. According to Pribram, "space-time and spectrum provide the dimensions within which information occurs." The information theory of the universe models bits of information as fundamental, while neurodynamics conceives of quanta of information. Holonomy supercedes general systems theory and thermodynamics as models of brain/mind/consciousness.
"According to his (Ed Fredkin's) theory of digital physics, information is more fundamental than matter and energy. He believes that atoms, electrons, and quarks consist ultimately of bits--binary units of information..."
--Robert Wright, "Did the Universe Just Happen?"
"Superconductinglike informational properties of communication in certain forms of matter underlie and are coordinate with the informational aspects of mind."
--Karl Pribram, BRAIN AND PERCEPTION
A DIGITAL UNIVERSE?
The interface of computer science and physics has led to the concept that information may be as fundamental as matter and energy. Some believe that information is just one of many forms of matter and energy, which is embodied in things like a computer's electrons and a brain's neural firings. Others suggest information should be part of the new scientific triad--matter/energy/information--the main ingredients of reality.
Ed Fredkin goes one step further, with his notion of "digital physics." In this, and other systems, information is more fundamental than matter and energy. He believes that atoms, electrons, and quarks are ultimately binary bits of information. These discrete bits of information may be compared to the quantization of energy in light (photons). The work of Nobel laureate, T.D. Lee suggests that time may also be discrete.
Discrete states are the essence of the digital nature of computer operation. Discreteness depends ultimately on quantum mechanics. A general state which 'spreads' is a superposition of such discrete states.
Fredkin suggests that the universe may be a vast computer which creates reality through ceaseless repetition--taking information it has just transformed and transforming it further to generate pervasive complexity. Space and time are discrete, the laws of the universe are algorithmic, and the universe works according to the same principles as a computer.
According to Fredkin, not everything is best viewed as information, but it helps us model reality and create programs to test our notions. What he is saying is that "at the most basic level of complexity an information process runs what we think of as physics. At the much higher level of complexity life, DNA--the biochemical functions--are controlled by a digital information process. Then, at another level, our thought processes are basically information processing."
Elsewhere, Penrose (1989) has shown that "an important feature of nerve transmission is that the signals are (for the most part) entirely 'all-or-nothing' phenomena. The strength of the signal does not vary: it is either there or it is not.
The chemical potentials of neurotransmitters determine the on/off character of nerve signals. This gives the action of the nervous system a digital computer-like aspect. In fact there are quite a lot of similarities between the action of a great number of interconnected neurons and the internal workings of a digital computer."
While this characterization of the universe isn't a very "warm" or "organic" model of reality, it shares much in common with iterative process in chaos theory, which probably accounts better for Fredkin's intuitive theory. This led to the use by chaologists of Fredkin's computer programs known as cellular automata. Cellular here refers, not to biology, but to adjacent spaces--cells--that form a pattern.
One of the current frontrunners in the scientific debate--"Dueling Cosmologies"--is the notion of a Plasma Universe, largely based on electromagnetic forces where gravity is secondary. Electromagnetism acting on a vast cosmic sea of electrons and protons is the dominant shaper of matter--not gravity.
Stars condense out of plasma only when the electric current passing through the material exceeds a certain threshold. Then the plasma is "pinched" and compressed to the point where gravitational collapse ensues (plasmoid).
Most of the matter in the universe (99%) is in the plasma state, and most of space is filled with plasma. Hot, magnetized plasma may be the predominant form of matter.
The universe reveals a cellular and filamentary structure. The honeycomb structure may occur at increasingly larger scales. In fact, all plasma is cellular, having regions with different properties separated by transition zones.
This cellular characteristic of plasmas ties in to Fredkin's programs because laboratory experiments and simulations reveal that initially uniform plasmas tend to break up into cells and filaments that bear a striking resemblance to the large-scale patterns of galaxies now apparent in the sky.
Running his computer programs, Fredkin found that rich patterns seemed to grow, bloom and decay. Some freeze upon maturity, some eventually dissipate. Pretty waves of deep color ebb and flow with fluidity and rhythm, playing on the edge between chaos and order.
Fredkin's theory implies that both space and time have a graininess to them which cannot be further reduced. Thus, our perceptions cause them to seem continuous with a smoothing illusion, like that produced by frames in a film.
Fredkin believes that the automata will more faithfully mirror reality as they are used to model the motion of molecules, atoms, electrons, and quarks. Cellular automata may be an alternative to differential equations in modeling physics. He posits the most fundamental level of the physical world as a cellular automaton in three dimensions--a crystalline lattice of interacting logic units. Each cell "decides" zillions of times per second whether it will be off or on at the next point in time.
The information thus produced, he asserts, is the very fabric of reality from which energy and matter emerge. Thus, his theory of physics is also a metaphysics. The known laws of physics don't permit something to come from nothing, but Fredkin can imagine such a thing. Conservation of mass and energy is a consequence this universe's rules, not of all possible rules. He imagines other algorithmic laws that permit escape from the paradox.
In this model, an electron is a pattern of information; therefore an orbiting electron is nothing more than that pattern in dynamic motion. Even the motion is illusory since bits of information that constitute the pattern never really move. Each bit stays put, confining its activity to blinking on and off, like a sports fan during "the wave" in a stadium. The information process configures the bits into "things" we call electrons, or atoms, or whatever.
This scintillation on the edge of manifestation also affects our perceptions. The graininess, rather than smoothness of reality, creates a conundrum that senses composed of the smallest units in existence find it impossible to perceive those units. As long as the creatures doing the perceiving are in that reality, the units have to be imperceptibly small. It leads to the question of whether any informational process can sense its ultimate constituents.
For example, Sternberg (1985) speaks of the limitations of the "mental screen" in mental imagery ability. "Just as an array in a computer can function as a space, with some parts of the array being relatively close and some far, so too can brain cells function as a space. The cells would be connected up in such a way that they act as if they form a screen, even if ones that are "next" to each other are separated by real distance in the brain." Experiments demonstrated the "grain" of the mental medium, and suggested that people "look" at objects in their images much as they look at actual objects, and that parts of smaller images are more difficult to resolve. The screen also had limited extent, indistinct "edges."
Sternberg summarizes his findings: "experiments have shown that images depict information, occur in a mental medium that acts like a screen (with a limited extent and a grain), and can be manipulated much like the objects they represent." This implies a limit on visual information coding.
The problem of infinite regress arises in Fredkin's theory. He believed in a rational basis for all physical quantites, a finite number of digits, rather than the infinite randomized decimal places of fractal math.
He found it hard to believe that a finite volume of space could contain an infinite amount of information, as chaos theory implies. He always agreed with Einstein, that the common interpretation of QM is mistaken: indeterminacy in the subatomic world reflects only our ignorance of the determining principles, not their absence. Quantum chaos seems to support this.
Fredkin's programs are based on recursive algorithms whose output is fed back into a universal computer as input. The algorithms become more powerful with recursion, as revealed in the simulation of physical processes. Fredkin believes the entire universe is governed by a single programming rule which is algorithmic.
Assuming DNA is a form of information, we could be governed by analogous universal informational patterning, in essence and thoughts. Conceding that much of the brain's action is indeed algorithmic, Penrose (1989) rejects the notion that natural selection, in itself, could evolve algorithms that account for our conscious awareness and self-awareness. He is convinced that conscious minds are not algorithmic entities. Algorithms require interpretation, decoding arrangements, and a "programer."
He suggests ideas as 'robust' specifications that underlie the algorithms. He declares a belief that consciousness is closely associated with the sensing of necessary truths--an essentially Platonic idea. According to Penrose, "non-algorithmic action ought to have a role within the physical world of very considerable importance. I am suggesting that this role is intimately bound up with the very concept of 'mind'. . .consciousness is of powerful selective advantage," the "intelligent groping" of natural selection.
Penrose tries to relate brain functioning or brain plasticity to the nonlocal assembly of atoms in "lattice" structures. He suggests, following QM, that many alternative atomic arrangements must coexist in complex linear superposition, until one becomes singled out in the search for a configuration of lowest energy.
Thus, not just one of the possible alternative arrangements is tried out, but vast numbers, all superposed in complex linear superposition." Superpositioned calculation may occur at the quantum level. He speculates that "the action of conscious thinking is very much tied up with the resolving out of alternatives that were previously in linear superposition.
Penrose points out the untenability of the viewpoint that our thinking is basically like a computer. The conscious mind cannot work like a computer, even though much of what is actually involved in mental activity might do so. He notes that, after all, a self-referential aspect in a computer program doesn't make it self-aware, any more than a video camera pointed into a mirror projecting infinite regress becomes self-aware. Penrose describes his resolution to the algorithmic/non-algorithmic conundrum:
My own line of reasoning has been that unconscious processes could well be algorithmic, but at a very complicated level that is monstrously difficult to disentangle in detail. The fully conscious thinking that can be rationalized as something entirely logical can again (often) be formalized as something algorithmic, but this is at an entirely different level. We are not now thinking of the internal workings (firings of neurons, etc.) but of manipulating entire thoughts. Sometimes this thought-manipulation has an algorithmic character....sometimes it has not (as with Godel's theorem)...It is the conscious impressions themselves that are the (non-algorithmic) judgements.
...There seems to be something non-algorithmic about our conscious thinking...Indeed, algorithms, in themselves, never ascertain truth!...One needs external insights in order to decide the validity or otherwise of an algorithm...it is this ability to divine (or "intuit") truth from falsity (and beauty from ugliness!), in appropriate circumstances that is the hallmark of consciousness.
...A good part of the reason for believing that consciousness is able to influence truth-judgements in a non-algorithmic way stems from consideration of Godel's theorem.
Certain mathematical insights imply non-algorithmic thinking, and here Penrose undermines Fredkin's notion of a universal algorithm:
Now this putative 'universal' system, or algorithm, cannot ever be known as the one that we mathematicians use to decide truth! For if it were, then we could construct its Godel proposition and know that to be a mathematical truth also. Thus, we are driven to the conclusion that the algorithm that mathematicians actually use to decide mathematical truth is so complicated or obscure that its very validity can never be known to us.
But, obviously mathematical truth is comprehendable, agreed upon to an extent, and reveals something of the nature of self in process:
Mathematical truth is not something that we ascertain merely by use of an algorithm. I believe, also, that our consciousness is a crucial ingredient in our comprehension of mathematical truth. We must 'see' the truth of a mathematical argument to be convinced of its validity. This 'seeing' is the very essence of consciousness. It must be present whenever we directly perceive mathematical truth. When we convince ourselves of the validity of Godel's theorem we not only 'see' it, but by so doing we reveal the very non-algorithmic nature of the 'seeing' process itself.
Fredkin's models of iteration, reversibility and dissipation of energy in computational processes may relate to "going back" in shamanism and therapy, the recursive nature of self-awareness. The way we "see" things, and the nature of things reflects our vision of reality. We tend to "see" what we believe; what we believe we will find (i.e. experimenter bias).
When consciousness turns back on itself, we observe ourselves, and observe ourselves doing that observing. Marvin Minsky cautions that understanding never came from observation by itself. He notes that, "even if we could directly sense all the interior details of mental life, it wouldn't tell us how to understand them. It might even make that enterprise more difficult, by overwhelming our capacity to interpret what we see. The causes and functions of what we observe are not themselves things we can observe."
Experiential therapy is non-interpretive, yet follows a trajectory with its own illumined lunacy--its own chaotic logic. It is precisely the sense of the overwhelming of the conscious capacity that brings on "chaotic consciousness" in experiential journeys, and leads to the de-structured healing state, emergent holistic re-patterning.
This recursive loop is analogous to informational feedback and feedforward. The future pulls us toward itself, exerting its unseen influence through "precursor waves", psychic "guide waves," which perhaps become manifest in the imagery of our dreams and process-work. If reality is established in the interaction of consciousness and the environment, anything capable of generating, receiving, or utilizing information can be considered conscious in some sense.
At the microcosmic level, a quantum wave does not push an electron around, but provides it with information about its environment which the electron then uses to maneuver on its own. The "universal guide wave" is a potential patterning principle which is a cosmic message that can be "seen" and its information applied toward or actualized as adaptation.
In THE SOCIETY OF MIND, Minsky makes the interesting comment that self-knowledge is dangerous: "Few of us would survive, if left to random chance, our most adventurous impulses could tamper freely with the basis of our personalities. Why would that be such a bad thing to do? Because an ordinary "change of mind" can be reversed if its leads to a bad result. But when you change your self-ideals--then nothing is left to turn you back."
Minsky seems to assume that the limited intellect will be meddling where it shouldn't, maybe de-structuring the "necessary neurosis." Would that it were that easy, as if we could stumble on such a method of permanent change of our deepest self-image from pure chance, random or reckless intervention.
Perhaps he didn't consider that the patterning might be spontaneously emergent creativity, more suited within the present context. This is, after all, the basis of creative regression and experiential psychotherapy--emergent adaptation.
Mircea Eliade (1963), under the premise that "time can be overcome," spoke of "going back" as a return to the origin, a reenactment of the creation:
"...going back, of which Freud saw the importance in understanding man and, especially, in healing him, was already practiced in non-European cultures. After all that we have said concerning the hope of renewing the World by repeating the cosmogony, it is not difficult to grasp the basis for these practices: the individual's return to the origin is conceived as an opportunity for renewing and regenerating the existence of him who undertakes it."
"...In all these cases the regressus ad uterum is accomplished in order that the beneficiary shall be born into a new mode of being or be regenerated. From the structural point of view, the return to the womb corresponds to the reversion of the Universe to the "chaotic" or embryonic state."
This leads to mystical rebirth into a new mode of existence. These ritual acts are both therapeutic (psycho-physiological healing) and oriented toward the values of Spirit. But Eliade cautions us that all rebirths are not created equal: not "all myths and rites of 'return to the origin' are on the same plane. To be sure, the symbolism is the same; but the contexts differ, and it is the intention shown by the context that gives us the true meaning in each case...We have also seen that the regressus ad uterum can be homologized with a regression to the state of Chaos before the Creation."
If information is fundamental, it doesn't matter what the information is "made" of, since the structure of our world depends on pattern, not the pattern's substrate. According to Fredkin, a carbon atom is a certain configuration of bits, not a certain kind of bits. He assumes the "hardware is beyond the grasp of its software." Maybe sentient beings are constitutionally numb to the texture of reality.
Like the chaologists after him, Fredkin found that there is no way to know the future in many programs, except to watch it unfold. Creative Regression may function as an iteration, which dynamically recycles consciousness in a unique form of feedback and feedforward--self-amplification.
NEURODYNAMICS AND HOLONOMY
In his 1991 publication, BRAIN AND PERCEPTION, Karl Pribram concludes his epilog with an extremely provacative statement about the relations between mind and matter as it relates to information and "spiritual" experience. Following the lead of Shannon and Gabor, he speculates that information processing occurs at the nonlocal, if not quantum level--within the frequency domain. He posits quanta rather than bits of information as a "dimensionality" which characterizes information.
According to Pribram, information, and therefore entropy and energy, are ontologically neutral to the mind-brain duality:
Space-time and spectrum provide the dimensions within which information occurs. Whenever these dimensions become informed--rather than displaying their pre-formed potential (their entropy)--optimization, whether material or mental, in the form of least action principle becomes possible.
Thus, one way of looking at the relationship between space-time and spectrum involves the least action principle, which mediates between two orders. On the one hand there are potential orders provided by an oscillation between change (measured as energy) and inertia (measured as momentum). On the other, are evolving space-time configurations. Information repeatedly actualizes potential into space-time configurations thus accounting for their evolution. One sort of evolving configuration is experienced by us as perceptual experience.
He goes on to describe an alternative or possibly related mind/brain relationship based on superconductivity and spectral frequencies in biological actions:
Bohm (1986) has noted that quantum properties (e.g., quantum non-locality) characterize superconduc-tivity....the superconducting informa-tional properties of communication in certain forms of matter underlie and are coordinate with the informational aspects of mind.
Perceptual experiences may on occasion however, reflect on the spectral energy/momentum potential more than they reflect space-time configurations. . .One such occasion results when excitation in the frontolimbic formations greatly exceeds that in the posterior cerebral convexity. Frontolimbic excitation can be induced by internal neurochemical stimulation or by external methods such as concentrating on ambiguous (or otherwise meaningless) stimuli provided by a mantra, for example.
When the spectral dimension dominates the production of a perception, space and time become enfolded in the experienced episode. Time evolution ceases and spatial boundaries disappear. An infinity of envisioned covariations character-izes the episode. Therefore, the episode is often referred to as spiritual in the sense that, as a consequence of practiced inference, an effective union is envisioned between perceiver and perceived. The boundary between mind and matter, as all other boundaries, becomes dissolved.
Pribram, it seems, has discovered a mechanism for cosmic consciousness, based in realism. He describes the transformation and constructional realism, specifying ecological details of the sensory and brain processes involved in perception. Processing is specified as consisting of both bottom-up and top-down structural constraints on processing.
Holonomic brain theory speaks of the "deep structure" of memory (engrams), and the dynamic process of representation, the re-construction of a presentation. Memory is nonlocally distributed, dismembered, and must be re-membered by a content-addressable process that transforms deep structure (e.g. process-oriented psycho-therapy). It may be triggered internally or from a sensory input, but its re-construction is a different form than either the experienced memory or the sensory gestalt that initiated the process.
The re-presentation occurs as a dynamical transformation in a distributed network of dendritic microprocesses. Thus, "representations" are not pictorial forms but self-maintaining structures that act somewhat like the setpoints of thermostats, or "attractors"--more or less temporary stable configurations subject to constant adaptive change. "Representations" coordinate with perceptions or memories, and are composed of fluctuating polarizations within the dendritic network and encoded in Fourier coefficients.
Economical encoding occurs within an ensemble of receptive fields where transformations between frequency spectrum and spacetime are easy and invertable. Holonomic processing implies the capacity to process large amounts of information and the ability to project images away from the locus of processing.
A fundamental uncertainty underlies our ability to measure both frequency and space-time concurrently. This uncertainty was described by Gabor as a quantum of information in 1946. Shannon (1946) also defined information as a reduction of uncertainty, rather than just a bit, or binary digit. An ensemble of such quanta creates processing channels, dealt with in phase space or "Hilbert space."
The neural network also embodies a sub- and transneuronal manifold which creates a holoscape from the microprocess of polarizations in the dendritic network. When our senses process a perceived pattern through Fourier transformations, the pattern is decomposed into frequency interactions. The pattern can be reconstructed, showing that space-time and spectrum are differentiated by the Fourier procedure.
In the holonomic brain theory, computations proceed in collective cooperative ensembles constituting a holoscape. The holoscape is composed of vertically oriented spine-produced dipoles embedded in horizontal dendritic polarization fields. The computations in the holonomic brain theory are therefore formally equivalent to computations in quantum field theory and thus constitute quantum neuro-dynamics...
The holonomic brain theory does not imply that neural processes are quantum mechanical, although this is not ruled out...efficiency in processing is a function of band-width, not energy, the holonomic brain theory substitutes entropy minima for energy minima.
This model defines entropy as potential information. "The structure within which information processing occurs is called uncertainty. It is this structure that allows for a measured amount of information to emerge. Here again, uncertainty equates with potential information. Information is a function of a participating processing agency, ordinarily a living creature or its surrogate. Initial conditions and the control procedures that constrain processing compose structures that determine the degrees of freedom which characterize the potential for actions to be taken in situations."
Efficiency of information processing depends not only on the presence of noise (redundancy), but also pattern matching, actively structuring the redundancies. Variety of potential paths is an optimization principle which claims that the reduction of uncertainty devolves on a trade off between equivocation and information density. Equivocation is defined as the sum of noise and redundancy. Perhaps this relates to "fuzzy logic," which is equivocal in its logical chaos, or chaotic logic.
NOISE, AND THE STRUCTURE OF NOISE (REDUNDANCY) CAN BE ADDED TO A SYSTEM TO MAXIMIZE EFFICIENCY. THE MEASURE OF EFFICIENCY, OR ENTROPY, IN INFORMATION PROCESSING DENOTES BOTH RANDOMNESS AND TACIT STRUCTURE.
Holonomic brain theory, rather than following the principle of least energy, describes computations which proceed in terms of attaining a minimum amount of entropy and therefore a maximum amount of information. The principle of least action leads to maximizing the amount of information, defined as an ensemble of minima of least entropy.
This network creates the holoscape which is a dissipative structure, composed of ensembles of uncertainty minima which serve as attractors,which define the boundary conditions for further processing. Pribram describes the neural wave equation as the least action principle at work in the neurodynamics of the density distribution of the ionic bioplasma in the dendritic network.
For objects and events to be processed, a more comprehesive context must be developed, within which perceptions become familiar, innovative, categorized, or inferred--a processing context, whether we conceive of it as the geometry of Hilbert space (phase space), the holoscape, or the "invisible landscape" of the imagination in experiential psychotherapy.
Penrose has pointed out that parallel computers are very unlikely to model the key to our conscious thinking, citing the characteristic 'oneness' of consciousness. But he does suggest the parallel computer as a model of the unconscious action of the brain. He tries to draw a relationship between the 'oneness' of consciousness and quantum parallelism.
Recall that, according to quantum theory, different alternatives at the quantum level are allowed to coexist in linear superposition! Thus, a single quantum state could in principle consist of a large number of different activities, all occurring simultaneously. This is what is meant by quantum parallelism...
If a conscious 'mental state' might in some way be akin to a quantum state, then some form of 'oneness' or globality of thought might seem more appropriate than would be the case for an ordinary parallel computer.
There are neurons in the human body (i.e. the retina) that can be triggered by single quantum events, and Penrose postulates from this there may be analogous cells in human brain.
He notes cautiously, "As far as I am aware, there is no evidence for this. The types of cell that have been examined all require a threshold to be reached, and a very large number of quanta are needed in order that the cell will fire. One might speculate, however, that somewhere deep in the brain, cells are to be found of single quantum sensitivity. If this proves to be the case, then quantum mechanics will be significantly involved in brain activity."
A nerve signal creates a detectable changing electric field in its surroundings (a toroidal field, with the nerve as axis, and moving along the nerve). This field could disturb the surroundings significantly, and create slight but meaningful (chaotic?) fluctuations.
The main problem with this quantum theory of neural processing is that the quantum effects very quickly get lost in the 'noise'. According to Penrose, "the brain is too 'hot' an object to preserve quantum coherence." Penrose questions whether classical and quantum theory are adequate to describe brains, let alone minds.
Unlike Fredkin's algorithmic reality, Penrose asserts that, "A plausible case can be made that there is an essential non-algorithmic ingredient to (conscious) thought processes."
A NOISY COSMIC MESSAGE
But what if that "noise" is an emergent holistic cosmic message deeply embedded in the chaotic background noise of creation and our consciousness?
Heinz Pagels (1982), who suggests the universe is a message, waxes poetic about the cosmic code: "What is the universe? Is it a great 3-D movie in which we are all unwilling actors? Is it a cosmic joke, a giant computer, a work of art by a Supreme Being, or simply an experiment?"
I think the universe is a message written in code, a cosmic code, and the scientist's job is to decipher that code. This idea, that the universe is a message, is very old. It goes back to Greece, but its modern version was stated by the English empiricist Francis Bacon....The second revelation is given by the universe, and that book we are just beginning to read. These sentences within this book are the physical laws--those postulated and confirmed invariances of our experience.
Pagels goes on to identify the cosmic code with "the idea of an order beyond immediate experience." He cites the example of Newton's vision of the cosmic code--the universe as a great puzzle to be solved. Thus, new knowledge emerges from a source outside of human institutions--from the material universe itself. This universe is really neither matter nor spirit, but an invisible organization of energy--no, information. maybe it isn't a cosmic code--but a cosmic ode.
Perceptible information re: the cosmic code may be found within the ubiquitous imagery of the stream of consciousness. Even seemingly banal or redundant imagery may encrypt a vast array of informational content. If the emergent nature of imagery is indeed fractal-like in its encoding, perhaps we can look to encryption and compression technology being developed in multimedia for some analogies.
Algorithms are fundamental to state-of-the-art encryption (source code algorithmic descriptions). The current standard for private communications is the IDEA algorithm (the International Data Encryption Algorithm). Cryptographers have created "private" and "public" text keys for decrypting messages. Most of those using the Internet are aware of the PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) program. Through this means only those for whom messages are intended are able to access them. They alone are able to translate their essence into meaningful form.
Perhaps, in some sense, this is how each of us with our own specific key "downloads" only those sequences of the cosmic code that are germane to ourselves. But sometimes the messages seem garbled, incomprehensible, cryptic. They require more processing time or amplification.
Compression technology is based around algorithms which are currently trade secrets; certain formulas "recognize" fractal patterns. Images can be built from simple fractal patterns. Fractal compression is generally used for graphic images, rather than the loss-less compression of text or program files. A virtually unnoticeable amount of detail is lost to the average viewer. The higher the compression ratio, the greater the image distortion within each grid.
Fractals reveal the hidden geometry within the practically random patterns of nature. The same formula used to construct the part can create the entire emergent structure [does the same hold true for our primal self-image?].
The process can be reversed to take real-world images, digitize them, and store them as a series of fractal instructions. This may be analogous to the way real-time existential gestalts are encoded in seemingly cryptic forms which echo symbolically through the imaginal inscape (phase space?) with infinite repercussions.
Even current technology can compress information to an astounding ratio of 20,000 to 1, with high image quality or resolution. A peculiar aspect of fractal images stored as mathematical formulas rather than bit maps, is that they can be decompressed to resolutions that are higher or lower than the original. Images may be scaled without distortion.
Analogously in the process of therapeutic regression and amplification, applying more processing power improves the quality of the image. In the technology, both the amount of compression and the quality of the image are improved just by letting the system "chew on the image longer."
The older, asymmetric process of fractal compression took ages to compress, but decompressed quickly. This sounds like the issues which develop over a lifetime of redundant experience becoming instantly symbolically accessible. Even outside of therapy, people speak of their "stuff coming up."
The new technology (JPEG) is a symmetric system which equalizes compression and decompression times. With "fractal image enhancement" technicians may actually add missing details from the uncompressed scanned image or digital file, by calculating what was probably left out of the image when it was originally broken down. Could this relate to notions such as the sense of fragmentation or "wholeness" in an experience, or to the integration of additional resources in a "change history", for example?
Once again we come across the notion of "missing information" which can be added to a system for adaptation or enhancement. In therapy what has been previously left out of the personal equation is the emergent creativity of the holistic repatterning process--the cosmic ode.
Is it fundamentally algorithmic in nature? Only those with a "key" may ever know.
Davis, Frederic E.; "My Main Squeeze: Fractal Compression," WIRED magazine, Nov. 1993, pp54-55.
Eliade, Mircea; MYTH AND REALITY; Harper & Row, New York, 1963.
Pagels, Heinz R.; THE COSMIC CODE: QUANTUM PHYSICS AS THE LANGUAGE OF NATURE;Simon & Schuster, New York, 1982.
Penrose, Roger; THE EMPEROR'S NEW MIND; Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, Melbourne; 1989.
Peratt, Anthony L.; "Plasma Cosmology", SKY & TELESCOPE, February 1992, p. 136-140.
Peterson, Ivars; "State of the Universe: If Not with a Big Bang, then what?"; SCIENCE NEWS, Vol. 130, April 13, 1991, p. 139-235.
Pribram, Karl, BRAIN AND PERCEPTION: HOLONOMY AND STRUCTURE IN FIGURAL PROCESSING; Erlbaum, New Jersey, 1991.
Rose, Lance; "Phil Zimmermann: Pretty Good Encrytion Hero;" BOARDWATCH magazine, Nov. 1993, pp.88-92.
Sternberg, Robert; HUMAN ABILITIES: AN INFORMATION-PROCESSING APPROACH; W.H. Freeman and Co, 1985.
Wright, Robert; "Did the Universe Just Happen?"; THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY, April 1988, pp.29-44.
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