In my previous blog entry, I posted the first half of a lengthy article that starts off (ostensibly) scientific, then degenerates into New Age subjects like ESP and other "psychic phenomena". I cut out the less-than-scientific parts.

This blog entry posts (by request) the last half of the article. To appreciate the second half, below, you'll really need to read the first half as well.

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More than that, some believe it may solve some mysteries that have never before been explainable by science and even establish the paranormal as a part of nature. Numerous researchers, including Bohm and Pribram, have noted that many para-psychological phenomena become much more understandable in terms of the holographic paradigm.

In a universe in which individual brains are actually indivisible portions of the greater hologram and everything is infinitely interconnected, telepathy may merely be the accessing of the holographic level. It is obviously much easier to understand how information can travel from the mind of individual 'A' to that of individual 'B' at a far distant point and helps to understand a number of unsolved puzzles in psychology. In particular, Stansilov Grof feels the holographic paradigm offers a model for understanding many of the baffling phenomena experienced by individuals during altered states of consciousness.

In the 1950s, while conducting research into the beliefs of LSD as a psychotherapeutic tool, Grof had one female patient who suddenly became convinced she had assumed the identity of a female of a species of prehistoric reptile. During the course of her hallucination, she not only gave a richly detailed description of what it felt like to be encapsulated in such a form, but noted that the portion of the male of the species anatomy was a patch of colored scales on the side of its head. What was startling to Grof was that although the woman had no prior knowledge about such things, a conversation with a zoologist later confirmed that in certain species of reptiles colored areas on the head do indeed play an important role as triggers of sexual arousal.

The woman¹s experience was not unique. During the course of his research, Grof encountered examples of patients regressing and identifying with virtually every species on the evolutionary tree (research findings which helped influence the man-into-ape scene in the movie, Altered States). Moreover, he found that such experiences frequently contained obscure zoological details which turned out to be accurate.

Regressions into the animal kingdom were not the only puzzling psychological phenomena Grof encountered. He also had patients who appeared to tap into some sort of collective or racial unconscious. Individuals with little or no education suddenly gave detailed descriptions of Zoroastrian funerary practices and scenes from Hindu mythology. In other categories of experience, individuals gave persuasive accounts of out-of-body journeys, of precognitive glimpses of the future, of regressions into apparent past-life incarnations.

In later research, Grof found the same range of phenomena manifested in therapy sessions which did not involve the use of drugs. Because the common element in such experiences appeared to be the transcending of an individual¹s consciousness beyond the usual boundaries of ego and/or limitations of space and time, Grof called such manifestations transpersonal experiences, and in the late '60s he helped found a branch of psychology called transpersonal psychology devoted entirely to their study. Although Grof¹s newly founded Association of Transpersonal Psychology garnered a rapidly growing group of like-minded professionals and has become a respected branch of psychology, for years neither Grof or any of his colleagues were able to offer a mechanism for explaining the bizarre psychological phenomena they were witnessing. But that has changed with the advent of the holographic paradigm.

As Grof noted, if the mind is actually part of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to every atom, organism, and region in the vastness of space and time itself, the fact that it is able to occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have transpersonal experiences no longer seems so strange.

The holographic paradigm also has implications for so-called hard sciences like biology. Keith Floyd, a psychologist at Virginia Intermont College, has pointed out that if the concreteness of reality is but a holographic illusion, it would no longer be true to say the brain produces consciousness. Rather, it is Consciousness that creates the appearance of the brain as well as the body and everything else around us we interpret as physical.

Such a turnabout in the way we view biological structures has caused researchers to point out that medicine and our understanding of the healing process could also be transformed by the holographic paradigm. If the apparent physical structure of the body is but a holographic projection of consciousness, it becomes clear that each of us is much more responsible for our health than current medical wisdom allows. What we now view as miraculous remissions of disease may actually be due to changes in consciousness which in turn effect changes in the hologram of the body. Similarly, controversial new healing techniques such as visualization may work so well because in the holographic domain of thought images are ultimately as real as reality. Even visions and experiences involving non-ordinary reality become explainable under the holographic paradigm.

In his book Gifts of Unknown Things, biologist Lyall Watson describes his encounter with an Indonesian shaman woman who, by performing a ritual dance, was able to make an entire grove of trees instantly vanish into thin air. Watson relates that as he and another astonished onlooker continued to watch the woman, she caused the trees to reappear, then click off again and on again several times in succession. Although current scientific understanding is incapable of explaining such events, experiences like this become more tenable if hard reality is only a holographic projection.

Perhaps we agree on what is 'there' or 'not there' because what we call consensus reality is formulated and ratified at the level of the human unconscious at which all minds are infinitely interconnected. If this is true, it is the most profound implication of the holographic paradigm of all, for it means that experiences such as Watson's are not commonplace only because we have not programmed our minds with the beliefs that would make them so.

In a holographic universe there are no limits to the extent to which we can alter the fabric of reality.

What we perceive as reality is only a canvas waiting for us to draw upon it any picture we want. Anything is possible, from bending spoons with the power of the mind to events experienced by Carlos Castaneda during his encounters with the Yaqui brujo don Juan, for Magic is our birthright, no more or less miraculous than our ability to compute the reality we want when we are in our dreams.

Indeed, even our most fundamental notions about reality become suspect, for in a holographic universe, as Pribram has pointed out, even random events would have to be seen as based on holographic principles and therefore determined.

Synchronicities or meaningful coincidences suddenly makes sense, and everything in reality would have to be seen as a metaphor. Even the most haphazard events would express some underlying symmetry.

Whether Bohm and Pribram's holographic paradigm becomes accepted in science or dies an ignoble death remains to be seen, but it is safe to say that it has already had an influence on the thinking of many scientists. And even if it is found that the holographic model does not provide the best explanation for the instantaneous communications that seem to be passing back and forth between subatomic particles, at the very least, as noted by Basil Hiley, a physicist at Birbeck College in London, Aspect's findings indicate that we must be prepared to consider radically new views of reality.
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Views: 40

Comment by Doug Reardon on October 24, 2009 at 9:29pm
New Age hokum.
Comment by Atheist Exile on October 24, 2009 at 9:54pm
Yeah . . . really spoiled it there, didn't he?
Comment by Doug Reardon on October 24, 2009 at 10:18pm
Someone needs to run a level 3 diagnostic on their bullshit detector!
Comment by Atheist Exile on October 25, 2009 at 8:34am
Here's more recent information, from Wikipedia, that brings the holographic paradigm up to date.

In 1995, at the annual conference of string theorists at the University of Southern California (USC), Edward Witten gave a speech on string theory that essentially united the five string theories that existed at the time, and giving birth to a new 11-dimensional theory called M-theory. M-theory was also foreshadowed in the work of Paul Townsend at approximately the same time. The flurry of activity which began at this time is sometimes called the second superstring revolution.

During this period, Tom Banks, Willy Fischler Stephen Shenker and Leonard Susskind formulated a full holographic description of M-theory on IIA D0 branes, the first definition of string theory that was fully non-perturbative and a concrete mathematical realization of the holographic principle. Andrew Strominger and Cumrun Vafa calculated the entropy of certain configurations of D-branes and found agreement with the semi-classical answer for extreme charged black holes. Petr Horava and Edward Witten found the eleven-dimensional formulation of the heterotic string theories, showing that orbifolds solve the chirality problem. Witten noted that the effective description of the physics of D-branes at low energies is by a supersymmetric gauge theory, and found geometrical interpretations of mathematical structures in gauge theory that he and Nathan Seiberg had earlier discovered in terms of the location of the branes.

In 1997 Juan Maldacena noted that the low energy excitations of a theory near a black hole consist of objects close to the horizon, which for extreme charged black holes looks like an anti de Sitter space. He noted that in this limit the gauge theory describes the string excitations near the branes. So he hypothesized that string theory on a near-horizon extreme-charged black-hole geometry, an anti-deSitter space times a sphere with flux, is equally well described by the low-energy limiting gauge theory, the N=4 supersymmetric Yang-Mills theory. This hypothesis, complemented by converging work due to Steven Gubser, Igor Klebanov and Alexander Polyakov, is called the AdS/CFT correspondence and it is now well-accepted. It is a concrete realization of the holographic principle, which has far-reaching implications for black holes, locality and information in physics, as well as the nature of the gravitational interaction. Through this relationship, string theory has been shown to be related to gauge theories like quantum chromodynamics and this has led to more quantitative understanding of the behavior of hadrons, bringing string theory back to its roots.
Comment by a7 on October 25, 2009 at 7:19pm
let me first start by saying that both parts were fanastic and I really enjoyed them, As for the the second part I found it really good stuff and I mean that as in a form of entertainment. That's were the secotnd part belongs or until we have factual evidencce based on proven science.

most of my fav films are from this genre. Stigmata, the fury, end of days, the omen series and lots more are great for entertainment value, nothing more.

take care people

George
Comment by Atheist Exile on October 25, 2009 at 10:18pm
Thanks for your comments, George,

I'm glad you liked it :-)
Comment by Doug Reardon on October 25, 2009 at 10:56pm
Most of the papers cited were attempts to create a unified M-theory paradigms, I think you will find that things have changed significantly in the intervening 14 years.
Comment by Atheist Exile on October 26, 2009 at 12:16am

Yes, Doug, here's a reply I made to this same post on another blog (elsewhere) . . .


Yeah, Dafydd, the article is old. I'm just a layman but it's my understanding that the holographic principle and M-theory (adS/CFT correspondence) stalled out about a decade ago and has really lost steam since. Regardless, I found this brief article that summarizes this area pretty neatly.


The Holographic Principle and M-theory

To them, I said,
the truth would be literally nothing
but the shadows of the images.
-Plato, The Republic (Book VII)

Holography Through the Ages

Plato, the great Greek philosopher, wrote a series of `Dialogues' which summarized many of the things which he had learned from his teacher, who was the philosopher Socrates. One of the most famous of these Dialogues is the `Allegory of the Cave'. In this allegory, people are chained in a cave so that they can only see the shadows which are cast on the walls of the cave by a fire. To these people, the shadows represent the totality of their existence - it is impossible for them to imagine a reality which consists of anything other than the fuzzy shadows on the wall.

However, some prisoners may escape from the cave; they may go out into the light of the sun and behold true reality. When they try to go back into the cave and tell the other captives the truth, they are mocked as madmen.

Of course, to Plato this story was just meant to symbolize mankind's struggle to reach enlightenment and understanding through reasoning and open-mindedness. We are all initially prisoners and the tangible world is our cave. Just as some prisoners may escape out into the sun, so may some people amass knowledge and ascend into the light of true reality.

What is equally interesting is the literal interpretation of Plato's tale: The idea that reality could be represented completely as `shadows' on the walls.

The Holographic Principle and Modern Physics

In 1993 the famous Dutch theoretical physicist G. 't Hooft put forward a bold proposal which is reminiscent of Plato's Allegory of the Cave. This proposal, which is known as the Holographic Principle, consists of two basic assertions:

Assertion 1 The first assertion of the Holographic Principle is that all of the information contained in some region of space can be represented as a `Hologram' - a theory which `lives' on the boundary of that region. For example, if the region of space in question is the DAMTP Tearoom, then the holographic principle asserts that all of the physics which takes place in the DAMTP Tearoom can be represented by a theory which is defined on the walls of the Tearoom.

Assertion 2 The second assertion of the Holographic Principle is that the theory on the boundary of the region of space in question should contain at most one degree of freedom per Planck area.

A Planck area is the area enclosed by a little square which has side length equal to the Planck length, a basic unit of length which is usually denoted Lp. The Planck length is a fundamental unit of length, because it is the parameter with the dimensions of length which can be constructed out of the basic constants G (Newton's constant for the strength of gravitational interactions), ${\hbar}$ (Planck's constant from quantum mechanics), and c (the speed of light). A quick calculation reveals that Lp is very small indeed:

\begin{displaymath} L_{p} = 1.6 ~{\times}~ 10^{-33} \hbox{centimeters}\end{displaymath}

To many people, the Holographic Principle seems strange and counterintuitive: How could all of the physics which takes place in a given room be equivalent to some physics defined on the walls of the room? Could all of the information contained in your body actually be represented by your `shadow'?

\begin{displaymath} \input epsf \epsfbox{shadow.ps}\end{displaymath}

Man ponders shadow, or shadow ponders itself?

In fact, the way in which the Holographic Principle appears in M-theory is much more subtle. In M-theory we are the shadows on the wall. The `room' is some larger, five-dimensional spacetime and our four-dimensional world is just the boundary of this larger space. If we try to move away from the wall, we are moving into an extra dimension of space - a fifth dimension. In fact, people have recently been trying to think of ways in which we might actually experimentally `probe' this fifth dimension.

At the heart of many of these exciting ideas is a version of the Holographic Principle known as the adS/CFT correspondence.

Are YOU a Hologram? M-theory and the adS/CFT correspondence

The adS/CFT correspondence is a type of duality, which states that two apparently distinct physical theories are actually equivalent. On one side of this duality is the physics of gravity in a spacetime known as anti-de Sitter space (adS). Five-dimensional anti-de Sitter space has a boundary which is four-dimensional, and in a certain limit looks like flat spacetime with one time and three space directions. The adS/CFT correspondence states that the physics of gravity in five-dimensional anti-de Sitter space, is equivalent to a certain supersymmetric Yang-Mills theory which is defined on the boundary of adS. This Yang-Mills theory is thus a `hologram' of the physics which is happening in five dimensions. The Yang-Mills theory has gauge group SU(N), where N is very large, and it is said to be `supersymmetric' because it has a symmetry which allows you to exchange bosons and fermions. The hope is that this theory will eventually teach us something about QCD (quantum chromodynamics), which is a gauge theory with gauge group SU(3). QCD describes interactions between quarks. However, QCD has much less symmetry than the theory defined on the boundary of adS; for example, QCD has no supersymmetry. Furthermore, we still don't know how to incorporate a crucial property of QCD, known as asymptotic freedom.

Here in DAMTP, we have been working to see if the adS/CFT correspondence can be generalized. Working with collaborators in such far-flung places as the United States, Canada, and Durham, we have managed to show that the duality is still true even when you replace adS with more complicated five-dimensional spacetimes. In particular, we have calculated what happens when you put electric charge in adS, or rotation in adS, or even what happens when you put a certain exotic charge known as `NUT-charge' into adS.

Comment by a7 on October 26, 2009 at 4:13pm
I have to read more about this, i like this stuff, I aot saying thaT i Understand everything, however I have a vivid unstopable imagination.


george
Comment by Atheist Exile on October 26, 2009 at 6:44pm
Yeah, George,

Once there's a lot of advanced math to wade through, I skip it and take it on faith that it's valid. If I can't understand everything, I'm still interested in what I can understand.

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