Notes from Marilyn Ferguson‘s Brain/Mind Bulletin
“I don’t know who discovered water,” the line goes, “but you can be sure it wasn’t a fish.”
An array of recent discoveries hint that we who are just as reliant on water as fish, haven’t fully discovered H2O. Furthermore, there is reason to reconsider the traditional anatomical notion that consciousness is somehow mediated by the fluids in the brain’s cavities, the ventricles.
Among water’s surprising qualities:
* Water molecules organize themselves into complex arrangements, including tetrahedrons.
* Water is critical for the proper folding of linked amino acids into protein chains.
* Water stabilizes the DNA helix.
* Some water is unfreezable. When biological tissues are cooled, about 20 percent of the tissue water refuses to freeze.
* Having fought long and hard against homeopathy, science is having to back down. Too many rigorous studies have shown that homeopathic remedies are effective, and new studies indicate that water might indeed be configured to hold memory.
Unlike most substances, which are denser in a solid state, ice is less dense. It floats on water. Sheets of surface ice keep water below warmer, enabling life to continue despite freezing conditions above. Water’s high specific heat enables oceans to absorb solar energy and act as vast energy reservoirs, slowly redistributing heat around the planet through ocean currents like the Gulf Stream. These properties, which we take for granted, are nonetheless evidence of water’s uniqueness.
“The fact is that water offends against nearly all the criteria of normality laid down by physicists and chemists” biophysicist Felix Franks wrote in Polywater (1981). Although we rarely give them a second thought, Franks said, water’s eccentric properties are instrumental in maintaining conditions that make it possible for life to exist at all.
In the 70’s researchers invented a device called “phase-conjugate mirrors,” crossing two laser beams in a reactive medium to create a kind of super hologram. The property of such “mirrors” is that light from a third laser reflected from this structure retraces its incoming path back to its origins. Clear images can be retrieved even through frosted glass.
Optometrist Ray Gottlieb, Brain/Mind’s former director of research, has suggested that the brain may use such a mechanism to carry out its remarkable capacity to retrieve associated information and make decisions.
But where in the brain would a phase-conjugate “mirror” be found? A reactive medium would be needed. The brain’s ventricles, filled with cerebrospinal fluid, seemed the likeliest site.
“The day after that idea dawned on me, I flipped through a new neuroscience volume that had come in for review,” Gottlieb said. “There was a medieval anatomical drawing that showed the ventricles as the sites of memory, imagination and reason.”
If the brain uses phase-conjugate technology, information could move without nerve pathways. Other recent research shows that cells in the visual cortex perceive selectively, apparently stimulated by cells in the pre-frontal region.
But how do these cells “decide”?
A phase-conjugate search could alert, associate and retrieve complex information distributed throughout the brain.
Information resonates, bounces, returns to the original site and reinforces it, which sends out an even stronger signal.
As Gottlieb described it: “Imagine that somewhere in the cortex an idea that has formed sends out its particular vibration that contains a configuration of that idea – some kind of code. That information is then sent out and scatters itself through the brain.
“In the brain the concept of a cup – its shape, color, the word c u p – are distributed in space but not in time. A phase-conjugate model could explain ordinary associations as well as creative insight.”
NEXT ISSUE: Further support for the ventricle as mediator of consciousness, including embryology; more on phase-conjugate mirrors and relevant new findings on how we choose what we see.
See Also: Vital Ventricles and the Non-Linear Brain.