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The Dream of Reality - Wikipedia
Since there are only a hundred million sensory receptors, and about ten-thousand billion synapses in our nervous system, we are , times more receptive to changes in our internal than in our external environment. In order that one may get at least some perspective on the organization of the entire machinery that computes all perceptual, intellectual and emotional experiences, I have attached Fig.
Sholl, D. Although you have to imagine the many connections among these neurons provided by the invisible axons, and a density of packing that is a hundred times that shown, the computational power of even this very small part of a brain may be sensed.
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Descartes, R. Now the entrance of the pore or little conduit, d, e, being thus opened, the animal spirits of the cavity F, enter within and are carried by it, partly into the muscles that serve to withdraw this foot from the fire, partly into those that serve to turn the eyes and the head to look at it, and partly into those that serve to advance the hands and to bend the whole body to protect it.
Skinner, B. The retina of vertebrates with its associated nervous tissue is a typical case of neural computation.
The layer labeled 1 represents the array of rods and cones, and layer 2 the bodies and nuclei of these cells. Computation takes place within the two layers labeled 3 and 5, that is, where the synapses are located. As Maturana has shown, [Note 11] Note Biologia y Medicina Exper. Biologia de Chile, Santiago, Universidad de Chile, Form computation: take the two-layered periodic network of Fig.
The Dream of Reality: Heinz Von Foerster's Constructivism (A Norton professional book)
It is clear that the computing layer will not respond to uniform light projected on the receptive layer, for the two excitatory stimuli on a computer neuron will be exactly compensated by the inhibitory signals coming from the two lateral receptors. This zero-response will prevail under strongest and weakest stimulation as well as to slow or rapid changes of the illumination. Consider now Fig.
Again all neurons of the lower layer will remain silent, except the one at the edge of the obstruction, for it receives two excitatory signals from the receptor above, but only one inhibitory signal from the sensor to the left. This, of course, is the consequence of the inherent recursive organization of those systems. By attending to all the neurophysiological pieces, we may have lost the perspective that sees an organism as a functioning whole.
In Fig. The black squares labeled N represent bundles of neurons that synapse with neurons of other bundles over the synaptic gaps indicated by the spaces between squares. The sensory surface SS of the organism is to the left, its motor surface MS to the right, and the neuropituitary NP the strongly innervated mastergland that regulated the entire endocrinal system, is the stippled lower boundary of the array of squares. Impulses traveling vertically from top to bottom stimulate the neuropituitary NP whose activity releases steroids into the synaptic gaps, as suggested by the wiggly terminations of the lines following the arrow, and thus modify the modus operandi of all synaptic junctures, hence the modus operandi of the system as a whole.
In order to make this twofold closure even more apparent I propose to wrap the diagram of Fig. This, I submit, is the functional organization of a living organism in a dough nut shell.
The computations within this torus are subject to a non-trivial constraint, and this is expressed in the Postulate of Cognitive Homeostasis:. The nervous system is organized or organizes itself so that it computes a stable reality. It may be strange in times like these to stipulate autonomy, for autonomy implies responsibility: If I am the only one who decides how I act then I am responsible for my action. The situation is quite different when there are two, as I shall demonstrate with the aid of the gentleman with the bowler hat Fig.
He insists that he is the sole reality, while everything else appears only in his imagination. How ever, he cannot deny that his imaginary universe is populated with apparitions that are not unlike himself.
By Lynn Segal - Lynn Segal
Hence, he has to concede that they themselves may insist that they are the sole reality and everything else is only a concoction of their imagination. In that case their imaginary universe will be populated with apparitions, one of which may be he, the gentleman with the bowler hat. According to the Principle of Relativity which rejects a hypothesis when it does not hold for two instances together, although it holds for each instance separately Earthlings and Venusians may be consistent in claiming to be in the center of the universe, but their claims fall to pieces if they should, ever get together , the solipsistic claim falls to pieces when besides me I invent another autonomous organism.
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