Sunday 2 January 2011

Latency and memory

In the previous two posts (The secrets of latency and A new type of analysis) I discussed the issues surrounding the unrealised potential of dynamic clusters in a complex system such as the mind and what happens when the potential is being triggered by some input.
It remains tying them all together.
If the latent contents of some domain (ie, a set of clusters related through their affinities with each other) get triggered by subsequent input, it matters whether the domain was representative of some general content or of an abstraction (that is the intersection of affinitive subdomains - see previous posts).
In the latter case, if we assume a 1st level abstraction, the number of possible triggers that are able to realise the latency is higher than in the case of content-only domains, for the simple reason that an abstract possesses greater relevance to some content than a content itself since it covers more than one set of subdomains.
Since there are more possible triggers, the latency will be realised earlier; in other words, it will be shorter lived. Yet 'latency' means the capacity for storage (ie, memory), so a shorter-lived latency means less storage capacity in relation to content. Similarly, less abstract domains mean less triggering towards further abstractions, the only realisable representative type being one of content. Because abstractive representations need more neurons, without the physical structures within the brain (number of neurons, connectivity, neurotransmitters, etc) having the chance to grow, less opportunity for further abstractions and their effects exists.
In evolutionary terms the brain needed the 'right' DNA to develop further, and when that was realised (ie, the DNA's potential having been realised) abstractions could start playing their role. In some cases they did, in others less so or not at all.
At the human level the evolution of abstractive processes can be observed in societies, one manifestation being philosophy. Comparing such texts from the past to the present, the capacity to articulate an issue in an ever higher abstract form as we progress through the ages becomes obvious (see the entire Part I of the "On the origin of Mind").
In the case of DNA a comparable differentiation across latencies can be observed when we consider the development of organisms from a common base on the one hand and their various truncations over the millennia on the other (why did microbes stop evolving and not other organisms, what stopped insects, amphibians, mammals, etc etc while others were able to pass them by).
What happens when latencies become realised? Their underlying content does not disappear, rather they become modified due to their affinitive nature with some input. When they become modified they continue to possess their latent potential for triggering, but due to the modification the sets of potentially triggering input will have changed to some extent (how much depends on the degree of modification). Therefore the sets of triggers can and do change their nature in terms of the ability to act as triggers, which means that the domains in question alter what they represent in content. A representative-content drift takes place, which ensures that the resultant domain and its necessary triggers change too.
On a higher level of observation by us humans the phenomenon is articulated as 'false memory syndrome' if focused on in the context of memory recall (see chapter 15, "On the origin of Mind"). If the focus is not on memory per se any discrepancy between recall and reality may not be recognised at all. Unless specifically looked for the shift in contextual placement of some thought and/or concept is an inevitable consequence of ongoing input, especially when it comes to language.
The unceasing ambiguity surrounding our perceptions and their source within reality is the downside of a neural system that thinks. The very nature of conscious thought prevents it from being objectively processed at a distance from the 'I'. For the most part we do not know the true origins of our ideas, and yet we convince ourselves we are in control.