Brain and Values: Is a Biological Science of Values Possible

By Karl H. Pribram | Go to book overview

9
Do All Dynamical Systems Have Memory? Implications of the Systemic Memory Hypothesis for Science and Society1

Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D. & Linda G. Russek, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology

The University of Arizona

P.O. Box 210068

Tucson, AZ 85721-0068

Telephone: 520-621-5497 / Fax: 520-621-9306

E-Mail: gschwart@ccit.arizona.edu


Abstract

Memory is one of the most fundamental and far reaching phenomena in nature. Memory technology is currently evolving at a rapid rate, improving our ability to store not only information but energy as well. However, is the process of memory unique and selective, limited to nervous systems, immune systems, and storage systems of modern technology? Or, is the storage of information and energy an essential and ubiquitous process in nature, inexorably tied to the very process of the existence of objects as dynamical systems? When a dynamical energy systems approach is used to examine the process of interaction (especially recurrent feedback interaction) in systems, the logic leads to the systemic memory hypothesis which posits that all dynamical systems store information and sustain memory. The chapter outlines the fundamentals of systems theory, information and energy, and illustrates the profound implications that follow when these concepts are integrated. Using resonance between and within two tuning forks as a model system, the logic of how recurrent feedback interaction generates dynamic memory is explained. Recurrent feedback interaction was anticipated by William James ( 1890), was implicit in the writings of Warren McCulloch ( 1951), is implicit in the holonomic brain theory of Karl Pribram ( 1991), and is implicit in the neural network concept of the recurrent feedback loop. Recurrent feedback interaction not only occurs between neurons in neural networks, but occurs within all cells and molecules. Heretofore unexplained observations reported in homeopathy, kinesiology, organ transplants, and parapsychology can be understood in terms of the systemic memory hypothesis. One of sciences greatest challenges is to develop mathematical models for the retrieval of holistic information inherently stored in dynamical systems. Future research can confirm or disconfirm the wide ranging predictions of the systemic memory hypothesis for science and society.

____________________
1
In Pribram KH and King JS, eds ( 1997). Brain and Values: Behavioral Neurodynamics V. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, in press ( January 23, 1997).

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes.

( Marcel Proust, 1871-1922)

-249-

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