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Analytical argument for the existence of a non-physical personal memory
#1
Is there a non-physical memory bank? I hold that there is and that its existence can be demonstrated analytically.

See my paper Metasubjective Cognition Beyond the Brain
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#2
Titus, if I understand you correctly there are subjective/qualitative aspects of memory and you don't think those can be held in mere physical structures.

But I think there's an additional issue with memory, namely how does any physical structure have intrinsic representation? Here I'm thinking about Braude's Memory Without A Trace.

Also the neuroscientist Raymond Tallis does agree with your argument AFAICTell:

Quote:...Neurophilosophers will not be impressed by my objection. The difference between the shock-chastened sea snail and my feeling sad over a meeting that passed so quickly, is simply the difference between 20,000 neurons or a hundred billion; or, more importantly, between the modest number of connexions within Aplysia’s nervous system, and the unimaginably large number of connexions in your brain (said to be of the order of a 100 trillion). Well, I don’t believe that the difference between Kandel’s ‘memory in a dish’ and my actual memory is just a matter of the size of the nervous system or the number or complexity of the neurons in it. Clarifying this difference will enable us to see what is truly mysterious in memory...

...Making present something that is past as something past, that is to say, absent, hardly looks like a job that a piece of matter could perform, even a complex electrochemical process in a piece of matter such as a brain. But we need to specify more clearly why not. Material objects are what they are, not what they have been, any more than they are what they will be. Thus a changed synaptic connexion is its present state; it is not also the causes of its present state. Nor is the connection ‘about’ that which caused its changed state or its increased propensity to fire in response to cues. Even less is it about those causes located at a temporal distance from its present state. A paper published in Science last year by Itzhak Fried claiming to solve the problem of memory actually underlines this point. The author found that the same neurons were active in the same way when an individual remembered a scene (actually from The Simpsons) as when they watched it.

So how did people ever imagine that a ‘cerebral deposit’ (to use Henri Bergson’s sardonic phrase) could be about that which caused its altered state? Isn’t it because they smuggled consciousness into their idea of the relationship between the altered synapse and that which caused the alteration, so that they could then imagine that the one could be ‘about’ the other? Once you allow that, then the present state ofanything can be a sign of the past events that brought about its present state, and the past can be present. For example, a broken cup can signify to me (a conscious being when I last checked) the unfortunate event that resulted in its unhappy state.

Of course, smuggling in consciousness like this is inadmissible, because the synapses are supposed to supply the consciousness that reaches back in time to the causes of the synapses’ present states. And there is another, more profound reason why the cerebral deposit does not deliver what some neurophysiologists want it to, which goes right to the heart of the nature of the material world and the physicist’s account of its reality – something that this article has been circling round. I am referring to the mystery of tensed time; the mystery of an explicit past, future and present.

That remembered smile is located in the past, so my memory is aware that it reaches across time. In the mind-independent physical world, no event is intrinsically past, present or future: it becomes so only with reference to a conscious, indeed self-conscious, being, who provides the reference point – the now which makes some events past, others future, and yet others present. The temporal depth created by memories, which hold open the distance between that which is here and now and that which is no longer, is a product of consciousness, and is not to be found in the material world. As Einstein wrote in a moving letter at the end of his life, “People like me who believe in physics know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” I assume that those who think of memory as a material state of a material object – as a cerebral deposit – also believe in physics – in which case they cannot believe that tensed time exists in the brain, or more specifically, in synapses. A material object such as the brain may have a history that results in its being altered, but the previous state, the fact of alteration, or the time interval between the two states, are not present in the altered state. A synapse, like a broken cup, does not contain its previous state, the event that resulted in its being changed, the fact that it has changed, the elapsed time, or anything else containing the sense of its ‘pastness’ which would be necessary if it were the very material of memory. How could someone ever come to believe it could?
"Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within us."

  -Thomas Browne
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#3
(09-01-2017, 09:51 AM)Titus Rivas Wrote: Is there a non-physical memory bank? I hold that there is and that its existence can be demonstrated analytically.

See my paper Metasubjective Cognition Beyond the Brain

Titus, have you ever seen this paper before?: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e711/7f...43d450.pdf

It's about a patient with anterograde amnesia (page 358), which is supposed to prevent memory formation after the incident that led to amnesia, being able to still form long-term memories despite lacking access to them while awake. That the patient is clearly incapable of creating short-term memories and yet somehow manages to have long-term ones, antagonizes the idea that memory is merely a process of transition from one type to the other. But, more importantly, memory formation is clearly independent of recall, which makes the idea of accurately gauging memory "loss" based on the capacity of recall untenable.
"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before..."
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#4
(09-01-2017, 09:51 AM)Titus Rivas Wrote: Is there a non-physical memory bank? I hold that there is and that its existence can be demonstrated analytically.

See my paper Metasubjective Cognition Beyond the Brain

Here's something I came across in my own work.

Several years ago I had a lucid dream.

I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade and was sitting in my classroom listening to my teacher talk about whatever, at the blackboard.

I looked around in amazement at the class, and saw that I not only recognized every kid there, I "knew" them the way I did all those years ago. I remembered where they lived, what their mother looked like and even the color of their bike.

Out at recess I was talking to one of my friends and we were talking about meeting at his house after school. He suggested I call him when I got home so we could figure out details. 

What I discovered at the moment is that I knew his phone number!

When I woke up from the dream, I did what I always do, I wrote it all down, including his phone number.

OK, so a skeptic can simply say that I still remember this stuff from my childhood. I can't prove that wrong, but I CAN tell you that if someone put a gun to my head right now and demand that I tell them that number, I couldn't.

Also, and this again is hard to prove categorically, in my career as a storage engineer I got very familiar with the process of:
A- Assessing the amount of storage required to perform a particular task
and
B- determining the maximum storage capacity per cubic area.

After some thought and calculations, don't believe the human brain has the physical volume, not by a LONG SHOT, to store all the experiences we have ever had. Furthermore, I read something recently which said that analysis has shown if you were to digitize a typical snapshot of time and record the audio, visual and cognitive brain operation the entire brain's memory capacity would be exceeded in a few hours. Now imagine you were to store an entire lifetime of this stuff? We are not even in the right order of magnitude to do the job.

Yes, I am told that all "unimportant" memories are expunged in a daily process of dreaming., but my experience has shown this isn't the case. We retain even the most mundane of information, I would guess, forever.

So here's my take:
1- All unimportant memories are NOT expunged as I have seen, literally, in my dreams (some lucid) many times.
2- We retain most, if not all of our memories
3- Most of our memories are inaccessible to us, most of the time
4- There is a process where we can access normally inaccessible information, and this process is available in some dreams and reportedly other states of mind.
5- I feel there is insufficient capacity in our physical brain to store this stuff based on personal calculations, and 3rd party testimony.
6- We have all heard stories told about detailed past life review and a thing call the "akashic records". These also allude to the comprehensive storage of all our memories (and thoughts) from ALL of our lives. It is reasonable that if this DOES exist, it may access the same information source. 

The conclusion I draw is that since we do retain access to even mundane memories, and there isn't enough space to store this info locally, there must be some other place where this info is stored. Since I believe (for a multitude of reasons) there is a non-physical aspect of our reality and of ourselves, I imagine this information is stored non-physically.

Consequentially- this method of storage also explains lots of currently unexplained things: 
Such as how can mediums access our thoughts and memories, even ones which we have trouble remembering ourselves.
Such as how we can recall past lives in some cases.
Such as in reincarnation where information is preserved somehow after one's death until a new person is born to "remember" it.
Such as how we remember things even when in NDE while our brain is non-functional
Such as how we remember our lives and preserve our personality after death (as reported in the literature) 

That's my take on this question.
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#5
(09-11-2017, 04:28 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Titus, if I understand you correctly there are subjective/qualitative aspects of memory and you don't think those can be held in mere physical structures.

But I think there's an additional issue with memory, namely how does any physical structure have intrinsic representation? Here I'm thinking about Braude's Memory Without A Trace.

Also the neuroscientist Raymond Tallis does agree with your argument AFAICTell:

Well, my point (in this paper) is not that subjective memories (memories as they manifest in phenomenal awareness) have subjective and qualitative aspects, because that is obvious as soon as one accepts the reality of consciousness and anything manifesting in it. My main point is that there can't be a quantitative representation (comparable to a representation in a computer) in the brain that could adequately represent concepts about subjective and qualitative experiences. Any quantitative representation of concepts of consciousness would have to leave out the defining properties of consciousness, because they can't be reduced to purely quantitative properties nor represented as if they were just quantitative after all.

Thanks for your tips! I didn't know Raymond Tallis yet and I might contact him!
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#6
(09-12-2017, 02:55 AM)E. Flowers Wrote: Titus, have you ever seen this paper before?: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e711/7f...43d450.pdf

It's about a patient with anterograde amnesia (page 358), which is supposed to prevent memory formation after the incident that led to amnesia, being able to still form long-term memories despite lacking access to them while awake. That the patient is clearly incapable of creating short-term memories and yet somehow manages to have long-term ones, antagonizes the idea that memory is merely a process of transition from one type to the other. But, more importantly, memory formation is clearly independent of recall, which makes the idea of accurately gauging memory "loss" based on the capacity of recall untenable.

Well, I didn't know the paper, but I had read about the phenomenon in question. 

Even without such concrete evidence, it seems obvious to me, from a purely logical point of view, that the failure to retrieve certain memories does not imply the absence of those memories (in one's memory bank).
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#7
(09-13-2017, 12:44 PM)jkmac Wrote: Here's something I came across in my own work.

Several years ago I had a lucid dream.[...]

That's my take on this question.

Thanks for your interesting thoughts. I suppose you've also heard about the subject of the panoramic life reviews in Near-Death Experiences. Most experients with such a life review claim that it contains everything they've experienced, so to speak down to the second (or millisecond). This confirms that memory is non-physical and really involves the storage of everything we experience and conceptualize.
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#8
(09-14-2017, 09:25 PM)Titus Rivas Wrote: Thanks for your interesting thoughts. I suppose you've also heard about the subject of the panoramic life reviews in Near-Death Experiences. Most experients with such a life review claim that it contains everything they've experienced, so to speak down to the second (or millisecond). This confirms that memory is non-physical and really involves the storage of everything we experience and conceptualize.

Yes. I think I mentioned life reviews in the post. If not, it was an oversight.

There are lots of cases in various psi situations where a non-physical/non-local memory store would answer a lot of questions which are currently unanswered.
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#9
(09-14-2017, 11:58 PM)jkmac Wrote: Yes. I think I mentioned life reviews in the post. If not, it was an oversight.

There are lots of cases in various psi situations where a non-physical/non-local memory store would answer a lot of questions which are currently unanswered.

Ah, yes, you mentioned past life review, but I associated it with reincarnation rather than with the panoramic life review in NDEs. My error.

I agree that there are lots of situations in which a non-physical memory would answer a lot of questions. However, I would not call them psi situations, because psi for me implies ESP or psychokinesis. For instance, real memories of a previous life are paranormal, but they aren't psi phenomena, because for me that would imply they aren't real memories, but rather based on ESP.

Paranormal phenomena and psi phenomena aren't synonyms for me. Paranormal phenomena include any phenomena related to the mind or psyche, which can't be accomodated by physicalism, whereas psi phenomena are paranormal phenomena that can be reduced to ESP and PK. So, for me paranormal phenomena embrace psi phenomena + other phenomena such as real memories of a previous life, consciousness without cortical activity, real OBEs, etc. , that involve more than psi. Some parapsychologists would argue that parapsychology should only be interested in psi phenomena and ignore any other paranormal phenomena related to the mind or psyche. 

So, it's a matter of terminology again.

Titus
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#10
(09-15-2017, 06:49 AM)Titus Rivas Wrote: Ah, yes, you mentioned past life review, but I associated it with reincarnation rather than with the panoramic life review in NDEs. My error.

I agree that there are lots of situations in which a non-physical memory would answer a lot of questions. However, I would not call them psi situations, because psi for me implies ESP or psychokinesis. For instance, real memories of a previous life are paranormal, but they aren't psi phenomena, because for me that would imply they aren't real memories, but rather based on ESP.

Paranormal phenomena and psi phenomena aren't synonyms for me. Paranormal phenomena include any phenomena related to the mind or psyche, which can't be accomodated by physicalism, whereas psi phenomena are paranormal phenomena that can be reduced to ESP and PK. So, for me paranormal phenomena embrace psi phenomena + other phenomena such as real memories of a previous life, consciousness without cortical activity, real OBEs, etc. , that involve more than psi. Some parapsychologists would argue that parapsychology should only be interested in psi phenomena and ignore any other paranormal phenomena related to the mind or psyche. 

So, it's a matter of terminology again.

Titus
clip-So, it's a matter of terminology again.
Yes it is. I used psi as shorthand for "consciousness phenomenon" like- after death experiences, shared death experiences, reincarnation, mediumship, NDE, OBE, and others. It's tedious to try and list them all or carefully differentiate every time we mention them... If I were working on a paper to publish, I would take the time to categorize and sort them in more proper way.  Smile
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