The ground of faith
 Exploring
 Science and Mysticism together
spinning globe

BACK  TO OCTOBER ISSUE
LIKE BOHM, KARL PRIBRAM SEES
THE HOLOGRAPHIC NATURE OF REALITY


Working independently in the field of brain research, Stanford neurophysiologist
 Karl Pribram has also become persuaded of the holographic nature of reality.
  Pribram was drawn to the holographic model by the puzzle of how and where
 memories are stored in the brain. For decades numerous studies have shown
 that rather than being confined to a specific location, memories are dispersed
throughout the brain.  In a series of landmark experiments in the 1920s, brain
scientist Karl Lashley found that no matter what portion of a rat's brain he removed
he was unable to eradicate its memory of how to perform complex tasks it had
 learned prior to surgery .   The only problem was that no one was able to come
up with a mechanism that might explain this curious "whole in every part" nature
 of memory storage.  Then in the 1960s Pribram encountered the concept of
 holography and realized he had found the explanation brain scientists had been looking for.

It seemed immediately plausible that the distributed memory of the brain
might resemble this holographic record. I developed a precisely formulated
 theory based on known neuroantanomy and known neurophysiology that
could account for the brain’s memory store in holographic terms. In a dozen
 or so years since, many laboratories including my own have provided
evidence in support of parts of this theory.

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).  Our uncanny ability
to quickly retrieve whatever information we need from the enormous store of
our memories becomes more understandable if the brain functions according
 to holographic principles. Similarly, it is more understandable how the brain
is able to translate the avalanche of frequencies it receives via the senses (light
 frequencies, sound frequencies, and so on) into the concrete world of our
 perceptions.
But the most mind-boggling aspect of Pribram's holographic model of the
 brain is what happens when it is put together with Bohm's theory.   For if
the concreteness of the world is but a secondary reality and what is "there"
 is actually a holographic blur of frequencies, and if the brain is also a hologram
 and only selects some of the frequencies out of this blur and mathematically
transforms them into sensory perceptions, what becomes of objective reality?
  Put quite simply, it ceases to exist.  As the religions of the East have long upheld,
the material world is Maya, an illusion, and although we may think we are physical
 beings moving through a physical world, this too is an illusion.  We are really
"receivers" floating through a kaleidoscopic sea of frequency, and what we extract
from this sea and transmogrify into physical reality is but one channel from many
 extracted out of the superhologram.  This striking new picture of reality, the
synthesis of Bohm and Pribram's views, has come to be called the holographic
 paradigm, and although many scientists have greeted it with skepticism, it has
galvanized others.  A small but growing group of researchers believe it may be
 the most accurate model of reality science has arrived at thus far.  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 parapsychological
 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 distance point, and helps to understand a number of
unsolved puzzles in psychology.  In particular, Transpersonal psychologist
Stanislav Grof feels the holographic paradigm offers a model for understanding
 many of the baffling phenomena experienced by individuals during altered states
 of consciousness. He 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.

  His monograph Brain Mechanisms and Intelligence (1929) contained two significant principles: mass action and equipotentiality. Mass action postulates that certain types of learning are mediated by the cerebral cortex (the convoluted outer layer of the cerebrum) as a whole, contrary to the view that every psychological function is localized at a specific place on the cortex. Equipotentiality, associated chiefly with sensory systems such as the visual, relates to the finding that some parts of a system take over the functions of other parts. [Encl. Brittanica]
  Karl Pribram: “What the fuss is all about.” in The Holographic Paradigm, ed. Ken Wilbur, 1982. p.33

      BACK  TO OCTOBER ISSUE
This month's issue journal producers Subscription
Feedback
Resources
Authors
Copyright © The Ground of Faith 2003 (note any individual authors retain their own copyright)