Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 15, No 2 (2019)

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Neural Holography, the Dreaming Brain, and Free Will

Fred Alan Wolf


In this essay I will attempt to define the dream and the experience of free will in terms of models of holographic processing in the brain. There are two basic models with similar results. Accordingly, in the first, Schrödinger (but not quantum physical) wave holography is predicted to occur through active transport of Na+ (sodium) and P+ (potassium) ions in glial tissue in brain cortex. In the second model a temporal analogue of optical holography is employed in imaging so that cortical cells act as resonators much like a band of strings in a piano. Memory functions in the brain by making and witnessing holographic "imagery" and this functioning depends to a great deal on "who" is looking as well as on "what" is being observed. In these models we find in waking reality partial sensorial input evokes a complete, but possibly noisy, picture of what was previously sensed. Inner knowing of a volitional self is assumed already present. In dreams "out there" sensorial input is considerably diminished or absent, thus dreams reflect some new aspects of how the sense of self and volition arise. They tell us something about ourselves that we cannot view in our waking life; in some dreams we seem to have no volition while in others (lucid) we seem to exercise free will.

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