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Author Topic: What is the speed of thought?  (Read 5242 times)
JimS
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« on: July 28, 2012, 03:33:39 PM »


This is a topic that Roger and I have discussed a time or two. I wonder about the experts who claim that the frequency of brainwaves is in the low Hertz. From my background in communications and information technology, I know that you can't sample a signal at any less than twice it's frequency and get an accurate reproduction, and transmission of information requires bandwidth.

Let's take the sample rate idea first. The human eye/brain combination can discern flicker in a lamp or other light source at a rate (frequency) of at least 50 to 60 Hertz. To me, this implies a sampling rate of at least 100-120 Hertz. But it gets better. The range of human hearing is generally considered to top out around 20 KHz (20,000 Hertz). So we're up to 40 KHz, at a minimum, to sample the signal. Throw in the multitasking ability of the human brain - walking and chewing gum at the same time, or listening to music while typing on a computer. We're starting to get into the realm of a pretty fast computer here.

How about bandwidth? This is a word that people use all the time these days, without really understanding what it means. Simply, is is the size of the chunk of the electromagnetic spectrum that a signal must occupy to accurately transmit information at a certain rate. A telephone quality analog voice signal requires about 3 KHz of bandwidth. Hi-Fi audio, 20 KHz. Full motion analog video requires a whopping 6 MHz (6,000,000 Hertz) of spectrum. These are simple examples; as the amount of information (complexity) and/or the transmission speed increases, bandwidth must also increase.

As we look at what "brain waves" recorded by EEG machines really are, we can begin to see that the human brain is a massively parallel processing computer with a much higher effective speed than the EEG tracings reflect.

A simple guesstimate to the question "What is the speed of thought?" can be found in the article A Rat is Smarter Than Google, from Tech News Daily. The author writes:

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To show what AI researchers are up against, LeCun described the immensity of the human brain based on the latest, albeit very rough, estimates: 100 billion neurons make from 1,000 to 10,000 connections with other neurons and use those connections up to 100 to 1,000 times a second (a pretty high estimate). That's perhaps a quintillion 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 operations happening every second in everyone's head.

Wow.

The frequency of red light is 41014 Hz. The number above is 11018 Hz! That's up into X-Ray range.

If we accept that the mind, spirit, soul, consciousness, whatever, is somehow tied to, interfaced with, or contained by the brain in life, the question becomes "what is the speed and bandwidth required to carry consciousness?" My guess, it's faster and wider than any technology we have at present to try to detect it and communicate with it.

So what? What does this have to do with Paranormal Investigation? I have seen theories in writings of present and past investigators to the effect that spirits "live" somewhere in the radio spectrum, and it may be possible to detect or communicate with spirits via radio. There are a couple of problems I see with this idea. I've seen frequencies of 10 and 27 MHz in paranormal literature. This is way too low. Any medium capable of carrying the realtime processing power and information contained in an active, living sentient entity would necessarily have to be way above the radio spectrum that most of us have easy access to. Combine that with the fact that the radio spectrum at least up into the low GigaHertz is packed with man-made signals, making it a virtual cacophony of noise. Imagine a football stadium packed with people, every one of them shouting into a  megaphone. I would think that this might actually be painful to an entity trying to live in that range, and perhaps impossible to hear if they are trying to communicate with us there.

So, where are they?

In theory, it would take a device with similar speed and bandwidth capability to directly interface and communicate with such a non-corporeal entity. The human mind/brain/spirit is the only thing we have at our disposal that meets that requirement. Perhaps that is why there seems to be a psychic or spiritual element to the most profound paranormal experiences.


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Roger
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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2012, 03:52:58 PM »

Jim, you make some very compelling arguments for why the experts may be looking in the wrong frequency spectrum for brain wave activity.  I have speculated about this for a long time and here are a few things to consider.  Some of the "known brainwave frequencies" are very close to the Schumann Resonance (Earth resonant frequencies) which are in the ELF spectrum.  Is there any connection there between those frequencies and our own brain waves?  Another thought, has anyone attempted to record the brainwave activity of animals (dogs, cats, etc?) to see where their brainwave activity is in comparison to our own?  Another thought, have the experts ever considered trying to obtain EEG readings within a Faraday cage in order to exclude all other sources of man made radio frequency interference?  What little I do know of EEG machines, they employ pick up sensors that are attached to the head in various locations in order to detect electrical activity.  As such, one would assume that these sensors are designed to detect electrical activity within a given frequency spectrum?  I wonder if anyone has ever considered designing pickup sensors attuned to very high frequencies?  Lastly, what role does the chemical aspect of the brain play in the processing of information?  Just a few thoughts here is all.
Roger
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RBM
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 06:02:12 PM »

Quote from: Jim S
So, where are they?

The same space that you are in. Just a different virtual reality. In case your physics is good enough you'll note that's a contradiction of the conventional position about space/space-time.

Anyone here familiar with the Simulation Argument/Hypothesis ?

It's fairly new, within a couple decades or so, and some names that have addressed it early on, each with various differences, include Ed Fredkin, Nick Bostrom, Brian Whitworth, Tom Campbell.

'Virtual' in this case, means it not, for one thing, objective reality 'out there', as there is no 'out there' - it's all 'in here' (points to head/subjective reality).
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JimS
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2013, 11:33:51 PM »


I've read a little bit about the proposed experiments on the simulation hypothesis. Fascinating stuff, mind-warping if you think about it too much. I will be interested in the results.

-Jim
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2013, 04:34:19 PM »

The very common characterization in 'counter-intuitive'.

The caveat is, that most don't realize is how much of 'intuition' is learned.

If interested, Ross Rhodes site, The Bottom Layer can be helpful:



He's got a section for liberal art major's, which your tech knowledge should be an advantage >>

The Reality Program:

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A primer on looking at quantum physics from the cybernetic point of view. This is for liberal arts majors. Mostly concepts, no technical jargon, good illustrations.
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