Evolution of the Body, Head, Brain and Dreams
Published in 2000; updated on June 29, 2015.
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Norbert Wiener (1954). "The Human Use of Human Beings." Da Capo Press, p. 18, 96, 96.
"To live effectively is to live with adequate information."
"We are but whirlpools in a river of ever-flowing water."
"We are not stuff that abides, but patterns that perpetuate themselves."
Carl Gustav Jung (1964). "Man and His Symbols." Aldus Books, Jupiter Books, p. 67.
"Just as the human body represents a whole museum of organs, each with a long evolutionary history behind it, so we should expect to find that the mind is organized in a similar way."
Walt Whitman (1888). "Continuities."
"Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost, No birth, identity, form--no object of the world. Nor life, nor force, nor any visible thing; Appearance must not foil, nor shifted sphere confuse thy brain. Ample are time and space--ample the fields of Nature. The body, sluggish, aged, cold--the embers left from earlier fires, The light in the eye grown dim, shall duly flame again; The sun now low in the west rises for mornings and for noons continual; To frozen clods ever the spring's invisible law returns, With grass and flowers and summer fruits and corn."
N Steven Lehar (2015). "Clifford Algebra: A visual introduction"
"The properties of mathematics are direct evidence for the principles of operation of the human mind."
My Fragments - From My Personal Point of View
For the complete list, please see Tamari.
MF1: Fractals relate to attractors like cobblestones in roads. Added 1 January 2000.
MF4: Evolution of form is birth and death, construction and destruction, trial and error ...
forever, but accompanied by a self-correcting mechanism/feedback. Added 1 January 2003.
MF12 : A metaphor is a harpoon thrown from the known into the unknown. Added 7 August 2010.
MF15: Poetry is dreaming while awake. Added 10 August 2010.
MF16: Life is an infinite/impossible mission; death is a finite/possible mission.
For God/Nature it is the other way around. Added 10 August 2010.
MF18: A good metaphor is the cornerstone of a new theory. Added 20 August 2010.
The Form (Evolution) of the Body
The starfish is a five-dimensional fractal on one level; the human body is a five-dimensional fractal on two levels.
Example: The pseudo-tree here is a two-dimensional fractal on three levels (0, 1, 2, 3 ... n ... ).
Figure 1: Oliver and Hoviss (1994). "Fractal Graphics, For Windows." SAMS. Figure 2: The five senses in the head are like five 'fingers.'
Figures 3, 4, 5: The form (evolution) of the head.
Figures 6, 7: The form (evolution) of the brain.
Figures 8, 9: The form (evolution) of being awake and receiving impressions.
Figures 10, 11: The form (evolution) of being asleep and experiencing dreams. See Note 4 about dreams - "Dreamter."
Designer: Ben Tamari, Graphics: Noa Arad-Yairi.
Note 1, 1 December 2005 Note on decision making
You are surfing in Ecoland. As a decision maker - on your own behalf - you are confined to your seat in the 'space shuttle' floating inside your brain. Your brain is a K2 x S1 (K2 for Klein bottle, S1 for circle); it is a non-orientable 3-manifold made by gluing a cube's top and bottom, and left and right sides, in the usual way, but gluing the front to the back with a side-to-side flip (Weeks, (2002). "The Shape of Space." 2nd ed. Marcel Dekker, NY, p. 104.) (My coloring, B.T.).
'Events' and 'facts' are perceived in your brain - the walls of the "new cube" - in a way that is not consistent with reality, like the changing colors of the walls in the figure above. Your decisions are made according to what is reflected in your brain and therefore are intuitive rather than rational, and the ensuing dreams tend to be farfetched, bizarre and comical. Kahneman and Tversky noted this irrationality phenomenon in decisions that involve money (this finding won them the Nobel Prize).
Edgar Allan Poe, A Dream Within a Dream: "Where all that we see or seem, Is but a dream within a dream."
Note 2, 25 March 2006 Note on metaphors
Lakoff, G. and Johnson M. (1980). "Metaphors We Live By." University of Chicago Press, p. 214.
"Ideas are food."
"The mind is a container."
"Ideas are objects."
For me, 'food' and 'impressions', 'digested food' and 'ideas', and 'secretions' and 'dreams' do not stand only as metaphors in relation to each other but also constitute two 'contained objects' in two modified (different) systems with the same design (i.e, architecture, see Figure 6 in which the stomach and brain are alike) in nature, just like female and male sex organs are actually two different modifications of the same architecture in nature.
The difference between food and impressions, digested food and ideas, secretions and dreams lies in the purging process that follows their metabolism. In order to purge impressions and ideas after 'digesting' them, we must sleep, since the 'entrance' and the 'exit' constitute the same physical place. When we sleep, the direction of the movement changes; this is the origin of dreams (see Klein Bottle and Figures 8-11). We have cross metaphors - we digest ideas and impressions and think food and drink (see also Metaphors - Note 2).
Note 3, 20 October 2006 Note on brains
Rossler, O.E. (1998). "Endophysics: The World as an Interface." World Scientific, p. 139.
"A cold lizard sees the world differently than a warm lizard does."
We see why we need to eat fats - just to be mentally healthy. The brain is almost a 3D Mandelbrot set.
John Andre Aasen
This drawing shows the evolution of the brain from fish to man.
Note 4, 21 July 2012 Note on the origin and function of dreams - Dreamter (Dream + Theater)
What are Dreams? - For a full review of dreaming, see: Britannica, Wikipedia/dream.
Throughout history, mankind has attempted to understand the purpose of dreams. At a certain stage, scholars began delving into the complex dreaming process itself.
For prehistoric and ancient men, dreams represented a mystic essence, coming from outside our minds. They viewed dreams as divine or fateful messages.
Robert and his contemporaries define dreams as a link in the physical process, inside our minds, claiming that their role is to distill the human experience by more or less discharging and removing the extraneous elements collected and accumulated during day-to-day experiences.
Freud interprets dreaming as a type of compensation, a process meant to restore the soul's balance in the face of unfulfilled passions and desires (mainly sexual). Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious, which speaks to us in symbols, and they become our own private psychiatrist.
Jung, like his teacher Freud, asserts that dreams lead to the subconscious and also considers its language to be one of symbols. But he adds a universal dimension and emphasizes the role of dreams in resolving mental conflicts and compensating for disappointments and frustrations.
Nearly one hundred years after Freud's "The Interpretation of Dreams" (1900), we have come full circle back to Robert and his contemporaries' view of dreams as a physical activity:
Hobson and McCarley assign the role of neuronal activation-synthesis to dreams, effectively returning to the pre-Freudian period that considered dreaming a biological process.
Crick and Mitchison see dreams as a process of reverse ("un-") learning and repairing the neural network.
Nadel and Payne portray dreams as consolidating memories.
The Meanings of Dreams
To the best of my knowledge, Robert was the first to present dreams as a tool for consolidating the experiences of the preceding day and capturing its main impressions, while disposing of irrelevant experiences (like a sculptor using his chisel to remove the layer hiding the sculpture). This school of thought is called the Junk school in the literature. I prefer to call it the Dynamic school, in the sense of dreaming as the last stage in the flow of the mind's life, the flow that begins with absorbing impressions and experiences in a waking state. During sleep and dreaming, the experiences accumulated in our brains from the distant and recent past are processed and stored. While sharing this approach, I am trying to elaborate on it and establish a broader evolutionary basis for it.
Our brains are formed of clusters upon clusters of cells nesting inside or next to one another like soap bubbles. Each bubble is a category (the origin of categorical thinking). In the dreaming process, impressions undergo "scanning" and sifting in the "dreamter - editing room," are weighed according to their informative value and sentenced to be or not to be. The dreamter, upon finding an experience worthy of being stored, performs a scan to seek a place for it in the proper category, where it will reside until its next review. If no such place exists in the proper category, the dreamter will rebuild the suitable category, diluting and filtering it based on its degree of importance, regardless of the length of its stay. Important impressions will remain and the unessential will be discarded. The bizarre nature of dreams stems from the old and the new being jumbled together in one mix.
The rules and criteria for editing dreams are unknown; we can only guess what they might be. Dream is to the soul as excrement is to body and smoke is to a fire - the last link of the process. Just as excrement lacks nutrients so the dream is devoid of meaning. But still dreams attest to our mind's state like excrement attests to our body's condition. Material perceived as meaningful when awake is not necessarily perceived as such when asleep.
Dreaming as an Outlet
Our brains can be rewired ("brainwashed") by new impressions; the pace of the recombination is like the pace of brainwashing. There is neither conscious nor unconscious but rather accessible and inaccessible, and even the inaccessible may be accessed. Accessibility is possible through hypnosis, meditation, heart-to-heart talking, and chemical and electric touch. The dreaming process has healing power by letting us drain, dispose of and forget disruptive elements in our lives.
The most urgent memories to be disposed of are anxieties and fears that have implanted themselves in our brains, disturbing smooth functioning in our daily lives and paralyzing our will to make decisions and take action. Eliminating them by dreaming is a kind of healing. It could then be surmised that dreaming is the key to recovery. Were it possible to control the "invisible hand" that concocts our dreams, we would be in control of our lives.
The Test and Logic of Dreams
Life impressions are absorbed in fragments (from the infinite world outside us - mass and energy in time and space - to the finite one inside us), but storing them in the brain requires orderly, logical organization that lends them sequence and method. This process enables us to theorize about the world, yet we don't know for sure if the world's orderly patterns originate in the senses or in the mind's capacity.
Dreaming is the last link in a cerebral/mental/physical flow (we shell refer to a substance smaller than an atom as 'mental', where as to the size of an atom and up as 'physical'). and it teaches us nothing but the overload of experiences, extra fears and the stress accumulated from our impressions and memories since way back when, up to the present. All this stored content is emitted from our brains/bodies/minds in the dreaming processes as part of dreaming is forgetting and healing.
Test Cases of Various Approaches:
1) A Roman emperor executed a man who had dreamt of strangling the emperor.
If we attribute a causal, sequential connection between the dream and reality, then the emperor acted based on logic; and if dreaming is forgetting, then it was not logical.
2) Following is an example of a dream and the different meanings ascribed to it by various interpreters (Jung, p. 29) :
"I was standing in a strange garden and picked an apple from a tree. I looked about cautiously, to make sure that no one saw me."
Proponents of the prophetic nature of dreams will advise: Abundance that is not yours will come upon you.
Freudians will say: You will be able to obtain a woman who is not yours.
Jungians will mention: "Feelings of guilt about eating the forbidden fruit; the apple scene - an erotic scene." (Jung, p. 30).
Dynamists will interpret: The knowledge inherent in the memory of "picking in a strange garden" is superfluous and must be discarded.
Dennet (1991). "Consciousness Explained."Domhoff (2000). "Moving Dream Theory Beyond Freud and Jung." Paper presented to the symposium "Beyond Freud and Jung?" Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA, 9/23/2000.
Fontana (1994). "The Secret Language of Dreams." Duncan Baird Publishers.
Freud (1900). "Die Traumdeutung."
Buffett and Clark (2008). "The Tao of Warren Buffett." (Hebrew) Matar PH.
Robert (1886). "Der Traum als Naturnothwendigkeit erklart." (Hebrew translation) Hamburg.
Jung (1974). "Dreams." Princeton UP.
Books and Articles:
Kahneman, D. et al (2005). "Rationality, Fairness, Happiness." Selected Writings, Edited by Maya Bar-Hillel (Hebrew).
Kauffman, S.A. (1993). "The Origins of Order." Oxford University Press.
Petukhov, S.V. (1989). "Non-Euclidean Geometries and Algorithms of Living Bodies." Computer Math. Applic., p. 505-534.
Pickover, C.A. (1999). "Surfing Through Hyperspace." Oxford UP.
Prigogine, I. (1980). "From Being to Becoming." W.H. Freeman and Company.
Thompson, D.W. (1942). "On Growth and Form." Dover Pub., New York, 1992.
Thom, R. (1975). "Structural Stability and Morphogenesis." Benjamin Pub.
Weeks, J.R. (2002). "The Shape of Space." 2nd ed. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York.
Wiener, N. (1954). "The Human Use of Human Beings." Da Capo Press.