Thursday, March 18, 2010
The Holographic Brain
I picked up a book this week off the bookshelf off my "unread pile" called Imagery and healing by Jeanne Achterberg: a fascinating look at shamanism and modern medicine.It really gets to the heart of what is understood about shamanic practices and the relationship with western modern medical practices. An area of neuroscience which I had looked at at whilst studying for my masters degree is discussed which is that of the holographic brain. A fascinating subject, in particular in relation to hypnosis. The holographic model begins to resolve some of the brain behaviour paradoxes those that relate too the storage of memory and its retrieval. That,if the brain indeed operates like that of a hologram it is unnecessary to have leg to process leg information it is only necessary to have once had a leg or even thought about having a leg. The brain sets up patterns of storage. Similarly in the context of body boundaries: where do I begin and end? According to the holographic model we have a choice, so say for instance I decided to hug my wife from over 100 mile away my holographic brain begins to recreate what I have experienced about this event; the physical sensations, the emotions, and the symbols I have idiosyncratically adopted all of which are stored without reference to time and space . The image if strong enough will recreate the whole situation in my being. Karl Pribram who proposed the holographic model suggests that "imagery and feelings are like ghosts -but they are ghosts which inhabit my own and my patients subjective worlds they are our constant companions and I want to explain them" suggesting that words and behaviour are not enough to explain without recourse to a map IE an image of some sort. He goes on to say that when images are regarded in the holographic manner their omnipotent influence on physical function logically follows and that the image the behaviour and the physiological associations are a unified aspect of the same phenomenon. That is the the extant to which change can take place in the body and mind depends upon how much activity there is at the neural junctures and how many patterns are activated or in other words the belief system. If you do not believe that you have the ability to consciously effect mental and physical change with the imagination then you never even try! Healing requires work both physical and mental ; it does not happen accidentally. So lets just say for example a person was feeling stressed and anxious ; it would make sense to form an image of the body being relaxed and calm , and the precise body functions that would be required to bring that about so to attending to the breath, breathing deeply releasing tension in the muscles, remembering a time when they were completely calm and relaxed activates the neural patterns that are required to bring this about. This is where hypnosis and timeline therapy can be immensly helpful in allowing the mind to remember that it has all the resources required within to effect change in a postitive and meaningful way.