Quantum Spirituality

Reality is plastic and yours to make what you will. Nothing is true, everything is permitted. Subvert the dominant paradigm and shame upon those who think evil of it!

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Holographic Universe

The Secret Beyond Matter

Last week, I discussed a film that I like very much but that doesn't necessarily coincide entirely with my own view of things, so this week I'll be discussing a topic that I find rather agreeable as a potential model for reality: holographic universe.

The link in the title will take you to Amazon's purchase page for Michael Talbot's book, The Holographic Universe. No, I'm not shilling for a dead guy's book but this is a very well written and compelling read. You can find a good synopsis (at no charge) here. Based largely on the collected works of David Bohm and Karl Pribram, Talbot's holographic model suggests that "solid" reality seems to operate very much like a hologram.

As I already stated, I find this particular model to be rather agreeable for a number of reasons. For one, a holographic model would do much towards explaining how the brain functions; possibly even more than existing theories. The book provides nearly an entire chapter to discussing this alone and makes a very interesting comparison between brain function and the way holographic film operates. To quote from the synopsis linked above:

To make a hologram, the object to be photographed is first bathed in the light of a laser beam. Then a second laser beam is bounced off the reflected light of the first and the resulting interference pattern (the area where the two laser beams commingle) is captured on film.

When the film is developed, it looks like a meaningless swirl of light and dark lines. But as soon as the developed film is illuminated by another laser beam, a three-dimensional image of the original object appears.

The three-dimensionality of such images is not the only remarkable characteristic of holograms. If a hologram of a rose is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser, each half will still be found to contain the entire image of the rose.

Indeed, even if the halves are divided again, each snippet of film will always be found to contain a smaller but intact version of the original image. Unlike normal photographs, every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole.

Much in the same way that the entirety of a holographic image is contained in the various parts of the film, the brain does seem to operate in similar fashion. For instance, a patient suffering some sort of trauma causing damage to a portion of the brain or even having to have a small section removed does not lose access to a corresponding chunk of memories being stored in the damaged area. Recall may become slower, but it still occurs and memories do not seem to be completely lost indicating that such information isn't stored in a specific location in the brain:

Then in the 1960s Pribram encountered the concept of holography and realized he had found the explanation brain scientists had been looking for. Pribram believes memories are encoded not in neurons, or small groupings of neurons, but in patterns of nerve impulses that crisscross the entire brain in the same way that patterns of laser light interference crisscross the entire area of a piece of film containing a holographic image. In other words, Pribram believes the brain is itself a hologram.

Pribram's theory also explains how the human brain can store so many memories in so little space. It has been estimated that the human brain has the capacity to memorize something on the order of 10 billion bits of information during the average human lifetime (or roughly the same amount of information contained in five sets of the Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Another reason I am inclined toward a holographic model of reality has to do with anomalous and unexplained phenomena. Science typically seems to turn a blind eye to such phenomena even when hoaxes and charlatanism are ruled out as most models and theories simply have no way to even begin incorporating the phenomena. A holographic model, on the other hand, provides adequate explanation for, and does not have a conflict with, such phenomena.

Ultimately, I suppose I find myself gravitating closest to this holographic notion due to its all inclusive nature as well as the intuitive ring of truth I feel whenever I contemplate its potential. Certainly, as Shakespeare said, there's a hell of a lot more crap going on than any of us can even begin to imagine. :)


Blogger Josh said...

Fascinating... the concept of Maya from Hinduism comes to mind.

One wonders, then, at the brains of animals. If this particular theory is how things really are, then have the brains of animals evolved/developed in such a way that they interpret/process only that part of the hologram that pertains directly to their survival? Or, with their different biological capacities, do they "take in" the fullness of the illusion, the same as we do?

2/06/2007 9:00 PM  
Blogger DarkWood said...


It certainly is interesting how much credence the holographic model provides to various mystical modes of thought, eh?

I find your question rather piquing, as well. I really couldn't say how much insight such a model can provide as to the thought processes of other species, particularly considering the lack of any real communication between our species and others on this planet. Something to ponder awhile. :)

2/07/2007 6:01 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

While this comment doesn't directly address this post, it does seem relevant to the theme of the blog. I just read The Last Question by Isaac Asimov and was blown away. I wanted to write something similar years ago that had a similar ending, but he did it better and he did it first. I heartily suggest this to anyone.

2/09/2007 7:20 PM  
Blogger djbarney said...

Hello Darkwood,

Please forgive my intensity in this comment...I'm feeling rather strongly about this at the moment.

> lack of any real communication between
> our species and others

I'd say that's there's lots of real communication going on. Just because you and your cat feel things between one another, does that make it any less real a communication?

The Holographic Universe:

Are we in danger of mistaking "the map for the territory" ? Is the Universe not LIKE a hologram. Not IS.

Dan Winter talks about "pure principles".

It is a PRINCIPLE that nature follows fractal forms. A Galaxy resembles the whirl in a pool of water.."at a smaller fractal scale". Does'nt mean that it IS a fractal!

Hope that does'nt sound patronising, but I just detect some confused thought processes going on here.

IMO The Universe is FAR too old and mysterious to reduce it to western (often profane) ideas. There has been far too much trouble caused by arrogant scientists thinking they "have it all worked out" (until someone dies!).

The article: (linked through the image):

> But it's all an illusion.
> ...we perceive the universe as an
> illusion in our brains and that,
> therefore, we are not interacting with
> matter itself.

This argument always seems highly dangerous to me. So civilian deaths in Iraq are just an illusion. Damage to nature is "just an illusion". Cruelty to animals "is just an illusion". I think it's rather insidious.

"The Universe is just an illusion in our brains". Sure, the idea that Politicians or some Doctors "are there to help me" is "an illusion in my brain".

But the Universe ? I'm reminded of a desire my friend used to get when talking to abstract physicists and mystics. He wanted to grab them by the collar and bang their head against the nearest tree...."Is that an illusion!?".

The article mentions the film "The Matrix". You can always tell when someone has hopelessly misunderstood this film. They start talking about us "all being in a simulation" and "the universe being an illusion".

That all seems like the worst, western, schizophrenic illness to me. "I can't cope with reality, so here is my its-all-an-illusion theory."

The Matrix is a Gnostic allegory about the incredible nature of consciousness.

Look at Gnostic (Greek / Egyptian / Arabian, etc ) allegories from 2000 years ago and before. You will find exactly the same thing.

> The article reported that scientists
> melded computer chips with patients'
> nervous systems to treat permanent
> damage to their senses.

Darkwood. This kind of "science" (I'd say it IS'NT science!) worries me more and more. Why are we intruding on those
neurons...the sacred body...when there are projects like this...



LOL! There's a headline on the page as well..."Beyond Reality" it says.

What kind of Oxymoron is THAT?!

Back to The Matrix..you can always tell when someone needs to do some spiritual growth when they start saying things like "there's a high probability that you're living in a computer simulation".


Bingo!, I thought so. Darkwood, this article is Literalist Christian propaganda trying to subjugate YOU to the "angry God" Jehovah. Watch out!

> Realizing that they are not
> interacting with matter itself, but
> with the visions God lets them watch,

"Lets" ?

> who knows he will be held accountable > for all his actions in the hereafter

I don't like being a CHECKED ON slave.
This is what The Matrix is REALLY about.


Otherwise nice post. I suggest you look at Dan Winter's "rap" (see link above) as I think you'll find he is well rooted in the "perennial philosophy". He reminds me somewhat of Terrence Mckenna.

He taught me that these "Scientists" are NOT REALLY Scientists and are ignoring the hard one discoveries from 2000 to 3000 years ago (if not before).

We ALREADY have a "unified theory" / can understand memory...talk to Dan Winter.

(BTW I have a new post on my Blog )


2/10/2007 5:16 PM  
Blogger Ms. T. said...

Excellent blog article. I am completely intrigued by this concept. Thanks for the links and info. I will get the book and read it. It really does seem to explain some of the unexplainable. Thanks.



2/11/2007 11:55 AM  
Blogger T said...

I just wanted to let you know that I went out and bought the Holographic Universe per your advice. I haven't time right now to start reading but i am really looking forward to it. I would then like to discuss some of this with you. Thanks again for bringing this to my attention. It makes alot of sense in a sensless world. :)

Ms. T

2/22/2007 7:24 PM  
Blogger DarkWood said...

Ms. T:

While I seem to be taking a bit of a hiatus here, I am always available for discussion. :)


2/23/2007 12:13 AM  

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