By: Giuseppe Vitiello,  Dipartimento di Fisica “E.R.Caianiello”, Università di Salerno, 84084 Fisciano (Salerno), Italy

We discusses brain visual experiences in conditions of low degree of openness of the brain toward the environment, for example, while dreaming, during meditation, or in non-ordinary brain activity states such as under the effects of psychoactive substances, in the state of coma, or in other states of reduced sensory perception, among others. In the dissipative many-body model, the criticality of the dynamics is enhanced in low openness brain states and is at the origin of movie-like sequences of images in visual experiences. These sequences and the abrupt shifts from one image pattern to another are depicted by chaotic trajectories through the memory space. Truthfulness and realism felt in the visual experiences are discussed in terms of the algebra of the doubling of the degrees of freedom in the dissipative model.

T. Re and G. Vitiello, Non-linear Dynamics and Chaotic Trajectories in Brain-Mind Visual Experiences during Dreams, Meditation, and Non-Ordinary Brain Activity States. OBM Neurobiology 2020; 4(2), doi:10.21926/obm.neurobiol.2002061
T. Re and G. Vitiello, On the brain-mind visual experiences,
Proceedings 2020 IEEE, WCCN, Int. Joint Conf. Neural Networks (IJCNN), Glasgow, UK, July 2020, in print

Extended captions to virtual poster (from Re T. and Vitiello G. Neurobiology 2020; 4(2) [1]). The brain is permanently open to its environment, exchanging energy and information with it through the perceptive channels. Inputs reaching the brain produce, through the action-perception cycle [2], responses that are aimed at the best being-in-the-world of the subject, i.e. to reach the equilibrium through the balancing of the fluxes of energy, information, etc. The brain identifies in the environment, the sources and the sinks for its energy requirements and waste, respectively. The environment, therefore, appears to be its complement in the in/out (time) mirroring of fluxes, its Double. The description of the system and its environment as a closed whole implies doubling of the degrees of freedom of the system, i.e., : → × Ãk, where Ãk denotes the degrees of freedom of the environment and k denotes the momentum ( and Ãk
actually describe the dipole long range correlation modes (or Nambu-Goldstone (NG) boson modes) and their time-reversed copies, respectively [3]; see [4] and Refs. reported in [1] for the mathematical formalism.

A distinctive feature of QFT, and consequently of the dissipative model, is the existence of an infinite number of state spaces for the system (representations of the canonical commutation relations (CCR)), each one being physically distinct from [i.e. unitarily inequivalent to] the others. Memory are recorded in the minimum energy state (the vacuum or ground state) of each of these state spaces. Memory recording is achieved through a process of condensation of the quanta in the vacuum, which appears to be a coherent state with a definite fractal dimension [5,6]. Since and à describe the dipole correlation modes, the memories are described as correlation patterns (ordered patterns). The collection of the numbers and à [ ={ , à ,with = à ,∀k}] is the specific code of each memory ( is the memory order parameter). Memory “recalling” is achieved through the excitation of these quanta from the vacuum.

EEG, ECoG, fNMR, and other techniques in neuroscience has revealed the formation of assemblies of myriads of neurons undergoing synchronous amplitude-modulated (AM) and phase-modulated (PM) oscillations. These AM and PM oscillation patterns are described in the model as coherent condensation patterns of neuronal long-range correlations in the brain ground state. Cortical activity is observed to go through these “multiple spatial patterns in sequences during each perceptual action that resemble cinematographic frames on multiple screens” [7].

The physical inequivalence (orthogonality) among the memory states ensures that the corresponding [different] memories do not interfere with each other, and any “confusion” among them cannot arise. One may show that orthogonality is strict when the number of links with the environment is maximum. Then, phenomena such as “fixation” or “being trapped” in a certain specific memory state (in one attractor in the attractor landscape) may occur. However, in practice, it is quite difficult to reach the maximum number of links with the environment. A higher or lower degree of openness may be reached according to several factors, occasional (such as sleeping, drug consumption, meditation, etc.) or the ones due to the age (such as
during the childhood or the older ages).

On the contrary, for reduced openness, the model predicts smaller memory domains and a ‘smoothing’ of the physical inequivalence among the memory states along with an enhanced possibility of phase transitions (criticality). Then, “paths” or trajectories through the memories may occur, producing “association” of the memories, or in certain cases “confusion” of memories. In a dynamical regime of criticality, minimization of free energy at each time is continuously pursued [4]. In the cases of extremely reduced openness, the association or confusion of memories might lead to corruption of the memory code components ( Ã ), for few or several ks, resulting in “pieces”, “bits”, or “debris” of memories [3,4], which might be recalled in movie-like sequences, outside of their original recording context and assembled in certain emerging/new contexts. Flows of images associated to such memory debris are observed to occur in dreams [3,4], in altered states of the brain such as under the effect of anesthesia, and in certain stages of deep meditation; or also in association with slow breathing techniques, or whenever the openness is reduced such as in response to psychoactive substances. Such visual experiences may also occur under the influence of external rhythmically modulated stimuli, in space (visual rhythms) or in time (musical rhythms). The repetitive persistence of these stimuli may become dominant to the point of excluding any other different input, thereby reducing the openness (similar to what happens during hypnosis).

Trajectories through coherent states are classical chaotic trajectories [6,8]. Therefore, even slight
changes in the initial conditions may lead to diverging trajectories. For instance, in dreams or dream-like and sleeping states, where inputs are not so strong, the result is the occurrence of sudden shifts from one memory to another due to the chaoticity of the dynamics favored by its enhanced criticality. As a consequence, one may experience abruptly changing scenarios and feel overwhelmed by a series of emotions. These “debris” of memories might be felt by the dreamer as new, never-lived situations, as not belonging to his past, in that intricate blend or mix, or obscure core, as the center of a vortex, called by Freud [9] the “dream navel” [3].

Pribram [10] stressed that there always exists a content of “attention” in perception and of “intention” inaction. Freeman remarked that neuronal activity serves “as a unified whole in shaping each intentional action at each moment” [11]. The brain constructs meanings out of perceptual experiences. Meanings arise from the correlations in the attractors landscape constructed out of the brain’s perceptual history [2] and are the basic substance of the subject’s identity, manifesting in the “intended actions” following the “active perception.”

Such a profound intentional component emerges as “meaningfulness” in the brain-mind visual
experiences. It might “guide” the chaotic trajectories leading to the “rearrangement” of memory traces into fresh scenarios and events which may appear even completely disjointed from the waking experience. Such traces are, however, related to the waking experience through the deep red thread of intentionality and meaningfulness, univocally associated to the subject’s identity. This profound intentional component may represent the ‘unconscious wish’ in dreams, postulated by Freud, [9] and recognized by Globus in the lucid dreaming phenomenon [12]. This is why the brain visual experiences carry hidden, veiled meanings.

Therefore, in the movie-like flow of images in non-ordinary states, dreams, and other brain-mind visual experiences, the recollection of the existing correlations in the attractor landscape may indicate unforeseen contexts, giving rise to the problem of truthfulness or realism of such contexts and of their meanings as felt by the subject within the boundaries of his/her beliefs, knowledge, and emotional states.

In order to consider formally this point, it is observed that the algebra of the doubling of the degrees of freedom implies that and à are entangled modes [8,13]. Any ‘observation’ of the modes is, in fact, dependent on the à modes, which thus constitute the “address” for the modes, and vice-versa. The conclusion is that the brain modes and the mental (Double) modes cannot be separated, i.e., there exists no separation between mental activity and brain activity. This implies that a sort of truth-evaluation-function is implicit in the dissipative model formalism [4,14,15]. In other words, in the dialogue with one’s Double, the subject finds the possibility of confirming or rejecting the truthfulness of one’s working hypotheses. One’s “confidence” in one’s perceptual experiences is based on the process of feedback-adjustment-feedback, in the continuous matching with the Double. Intentional actions are planned in accordance with the hypotheses
provided by the Double through the reconstruction of past perceptual experiences. The experience of changes in perception following repeated trials in the action creates the perception of time and causation [16].
For a review of models of quantum field states see [17].

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