A Logical Path From Neural Ensemble Formation to Cognition With Mind-Light-Matter Unification: The Eternal Dao Can Be Told (Survey)

A Logical Path From Neural Ensemble Formation to Cognition With Mind-Light-Matter Unification: The Eternal Dao Can Be Told (Survey)

Wen-Ran Zhang (Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJCINI.2018100102


Based on a geometrical and logical unification of mind, light, and matter, a revision of Laozi is proposed and a logical path is identified from neural ensemble formation to cognition. Mind-matter or mind-body unification has been a longstanding impasse in philosophy and science hindering the advancement of biophysics, quantum biology, neuroscience, human level AI, and cognitive informatics. However, this article shows that such a unification can be reached logically. To achieve the goal, the eternal Dao is told as the Being of revealing with a formal YinYang logic. It is illustrated with computer simulation that neural ensembles can form a causal network for cognition with information conservation. It is suggested that if the theory is confirmed, the search for mind-body unification will reach a major milestone on the eternal Dao toward a better understanding of the nature of human intelligence and mental health. This work leads to a number of predictions in science philosophy.
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1. Introduction

The brain is made up of billions of cells called neurons. Neurons are interconnected with each other to control all aspects of life including bodily functions, emotions, movement, and other aspects. Each neuron is composed of three parts: the cell body, dendrites, and an axon. The nucleus is contained in the cell body which is also called the soma—the spherical part of the neuron. The cell body maintains connections to the dendrites and the axon. The cell body receives information from other neurons through its dendrites, and it may send the information to other neurons through its axon depending on the signal. According to neurobiology, the cell body controls all of the functions of the cell. Like an atom, the most important organelle in the cell body is the nucleus. Different from an atom, a cell nucleus is many times larger and more complex, which contains the cell's DNA and regulates all processes in the cell. The cell needs DNA to act as a blueprint to direct cellular activity. The nucleus also contains the nucleolus, which makes ribosomes needed for protein production. The cell body also contains the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus which work together to help in making, packaging, and sorting proteins to the other parts of the cell. Proteins are the building blocks of the cell. They enable neurons to build new axons and dendrites for new connections with other neurons, and they make the chemicals that neurons need to send signals. There are different types of neurons including bipolar neurons, unipolar neurons, and multipolar neurons.

Although great progress has been made in brain research, until this day, we still don’t understand the logic how neural ensembles produce cognitive functions of the brain. In a Nature scientific report (Sardi et al. 2017), a group of physicists negate a century-old assumption regarding neurons and brain activity with new types of experiments. Results call to re-examine neuronal functionalities beyond the traditional framework which has been followed by hundreds of labs and thousands of scientific studies in neuroscience. The uncertainty can be deemed the mystery of mind-body unification—the study of mind-matter or consciousness-brain relationships. In neuroscience textbooks, it is identified as one of the ultimate challenges of science (Kandel et al., p333).

Philosophically, mind-body unification constitutes part of the eternal Dao or the Way which is unitary but also ubiquitous and multifaceted. While, in neurobiology, it can be deemed mind-body unification, in physics it can be construed as the grand unification of general relativity and quantum theory (Einstein 1916); in philosophy, it can be regarded as the Being that reveals all beings (Heidegger 1975); in the Book of Change (or Yijing), it is designated the Yin and Yang of Nature (Zhouyi, 11-3 Century BCE, Treatise I); in quantum information science it can be assumed the logic of the brain for programming the mind (Zhang 2017a,b,c) or the laws of physics for programming the universe (Lloyd 2006). Unfortunately, in Daoism, the eternal Dao cannot be told or named as Laozi stated (Laozi, 6th-5th Century BCE, Ch1): “The Dao that can be told is not the eternal Dao; the name that can be named is not the eternal name.” We call this class of unsolved problems the roof problems of science and humanity which can be characterized by the principles of information conservation, part-whole unification, and/or formal logically definable causality. Thus, mind-body unification is not an isolated problem.

Historically, most approaches to the longstanding impasse in science and philosophy are either dualist or monist in nature. Dualism maintains a rigid distinction between the realms of mind and matter. Monism maintains that there is only one unifying reality, substance or essence in terms of which everything can be explained. Dispite the many reported discoveries, so far no formal causation model is available, and no common geometrical and logical basis is accepted. Virtually, without logically definable causality any scientific theory is incomplete.

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