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Really? Our Brain and the Universe Functions Like a Hologram?

Updated on March 11, 2012

I am reading this amazing book called the “Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot.

I like to be introduced to books, thoughts and ideas that are outside my framework which create a “screeking” noise in my brain as I am forced to stretch my “little box of reality” to understand and perhaps integrate some new concepts. This book made my brain “screek” a lot!

I found pretty amazing ideas in this book and often felt like I was Alice down the rabbit hole so as I jot down some of the thoughts I found most interesting I invite you to relax into T.H. Huxley words. “Sit down before fact like a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads” ....

Prior to these two guys, David Bohm, a protege of Einstein... can you even image having a conversation with Einstein, let alone being considered a protege, and Karl Pribram, a neuro-physiologist the world was thought to be made up of separate components connected randomly through cause and effect. Each of these men arrived independently and from two very different directions the conclusion that the world and the brain behave like a hologram.

Bohm’s research involved quantum physics experiments and Pribram focused on memory and other brain functions.

Cool things about Holograms:

Holograms are created by splitting a laser light into two separate beams. The first beam is bounced off the object to be photographed. The second light is then allowed to collide with the reflected light of the first... voila, when this happens they create an interference pattern which is then recorded on a piece of film.

Interference patterns are amazing. To the naked eye the image on the film looks nothing at all like the object photographed. In fact it looks more like the wave pattern formed by pebbles thrown into the water.

Only when a laser or an other bright light is shined through the film does a three dimensional image of the original object reappear.

Since we have all experienced the 3D images, we know they are extremely life like and can be viewed from multiple sides. And often it is only when you reach out to touch the image do you discover that there is really nothing there.

All the information recorded is contained throughout all of the laser film. If you cut the film, unlike photographic film all the information is contained in the remaining piece. No matter how small the piece of holographic film remains the total image is fully revealed, it just gets fuzzier, less crisp and clear. While in a film negative or photo if you cut it into smaller pieces all you see is a fragment of the whole. Instead of viewing the whole apple you may see only the portion containing the apple stem..

Multiple images can be recorded on a single piece of holographic film plus lots and lots and lots of information. In the fact in the book they said the contents of 50 bibles could be stored on one image.

Multiple images are recorded and subsequently revealed according to the angle in which it was shot and viewed.

The Brain is a Hologram?

Ok, so how was the leap made between holograms and the brain functioning as a hologram? This is where it book becomes very fascinating.

In the 1920’s Wilder Penfield,a neurosurgeon offered convincing evidence that each individual memory was located in a specific and separate place in the brain. And because everything we experience is record it becomes a massive chronicle with lots of trifling information. He reasoned that was why memories of so many experiences randomly crop up.

His theory was prevalent and agreed upon for decades. It wasn’t until Pribram ,a young neurosurgeon went to work with Karl Lashley at the Yerkes Laboratory in Orange Park, Florida.

For thirty years Lashley had trained rats to perform a variety of tests including navigating a maze. He then would surgically remove portions of their brain and retest them... I know really sad and gross. This part of the book made me ill.

Lashley’s goal was to literally cut out the portion of their brain containing their maze running ability. He was not able to do so. What he found was even with massive portions of their brains removed, their motor skills became impaired but their memories remained intact.

“For Pribram these were incredible findings. If memories possessed specific locations in the brain in the same way that books posses specific locations on library shelves, then why didn’t Lashley’s surgical plunderings have any effect on them? For Pribram the only answer seemed to be that memories were not localized at specific brain sites, but were somehow spread out or distributed throughout the brain as a whole.”

In 1960 he read an article in the Scientific America describing the construction of the first hologram and was struck with a possible solution to where and how memory is stored in the brain.

People who received head injuries in car collisions never forgot half of their relatives or half the novel they had been reading - their memories just got fuzzier, less clear... responding very much like holographic film.

In his mind if it was possible for every portion of a piece of holographic film to contain all the information necessary to create a whole image, then it seemed equally possible for every part of the brain to contain all of the information necessary to recall a whole memory.

Pribram published his first article in 1966 about the possible holographic nature of the brain. He and other researchers began to refine and expand his theory.

One very interest thought has to do with the vastness of our memories. Simply how is it that we are able to recall and forget. As stated before one of the unique properties of holographic film is that by changing the angle it is possible to record many different images on the same surface. Therefore to retrieve specific images one simply illuminates the film with a laser possessing the same angle as the original two beams.

So our ability to remember could be analogous as is our inability to recall something - we maybe simply failing to find the right angle to call up the image or memory we are searching.

This is an interesting place to stop as I am pondering the following questions...

- Is failure to remember an aspect of our inability to remain flexible?

- Can age related memory illnesses be treated by decommissioning fixed patterns, rote behaviors and reliable responses to life?

- Can a person learn to retrieve memories by learning how to shift their internal perspective?


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    • GPSWorldTraveler profile image

      GPSWorldTraveler 6 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Natalie, Thank you for the compliment. I look forward to more conversations... will read your other article soon.

    • profile image

      Textured Ideas 6 years ago

      Hi GPS,

      Thank you for your encouragement! It's great to find like minded individuals on topics such as this. I will soon write a hub about my take on it then, thanks =)

      Yes it's a completely enthralling book! Have you read any of Michael's other books? I'm yet to purchase them but definitely will.

      I just saw the link to your website blog, so I shall have a read of that =) Your style of writing is really interesting so thank you for sharing.

      Kind Regards,


    • GPSWorldTraveler profile image

      GPSWorldTraveler 6 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Natalie, I am glad you enjoyed the article... however, I am more excited that you are reading the book - fascinating isn't it. Please, don't let this article prevent you from writing your take on the material, as I would so much enjoy reading your perspective and seeing these concepts through your eyes!

    • profile image

      Textured Ideas 6 years ago

      I am pleased to have found this hub as I'm currently reading The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot, and it makes so much sense that it is mind blowing. It explains a hell of a lot of things that appear surreal and supernatural to be very plausible, and he writes in such a pleasant 'unpreaching' manner. Thank you for writing about this subject and giving people the chance to open their minds to new outlooks on life. I was going to do a hub on it but you beat me to it ;-)

      Regards, Natalie.

    • GPSWorldTraveler profile image

      GPSWorldTraveler 6 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Wow, that is totally amazing. Thanks for sharing this "applicational" view. This adds another dimension and crreeek to my brain :)

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      We've talked about this before in class about organizational theory and how organizations can be a like a brain, where entire segments of an organization can be eliminated and the whole will actually continue to function, or function better! Very fascinating. Thanks.

    • Candelish profile image

      Mindy 6 years ago from Florida


      Thank you,that is one of the best compliments I have received. I hadn't until now. :-) I always thought my views were a little out there. I will add the topic to my list of articles I want to write. Thanks for the 2 article ideas you have now given me! I look forward to reading more of your Hubs.

    • GPSWorldTraveler profile image

      GPSWorldTraveler 6 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Candelish, it seems like we definitely have similar views about 'WHAT IS REAL'- Going to check out MENSA, sounds very interesting. By the by - have you thought about writing an article on this subject? I would love to read more from your point of view.

    • Candelish profile image

      Mindy 6 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for the compliment, and let me return it! I absolutely adore these types of discussions and your questions are not only relevant but transfer to real world applications in many fields.

      Lately (past 2 yrs or so) I have been fixated on multiple dimensions. (This is 1 of the main topics for my fictional writing.) What's truly quirky (NOT to be confused with quarks) is that the Holographic Universe is what set me on this path.

      Since everyone's reality is different even while experiencing the same event, who can say for sure what it truly is. I think it takes "to each his own" to the limit.

      But go down farther to the atomic and even sub-atomic levels. Since physical matter (everything we can touch) is actually energy in a different state as are we; it's no surprise that monks, gurus and many more spiritualists have always stated that the physical is the illusion and to truly understand, people must transcend the physical plane. (Sorry for the really run on sentence.) I came to the conclusion that "reality" is maybe nothing more than "dust in the wind". (Couldn't help that one.) Because that is what it will turn into. What truly happens when the physical hits a black hole? Maybe the "spark" that animates every living thing is just a dimensional shift away?

      For memory, check out MENSA contests. There are wonderful articles on how each contestant has their own system of memory triggers and storage for easy retrieval. They weren’t born with photographic memories. Oh WOW, I just got a great idea for a new Hub!!! Thank You!

    • GPSWorldTraveler profile image

      GPSWorldTraveler 6 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Candelish, I thought so too - the whole concept that the world is an illusion is a spiritual teaching I have heard frequently... then when it scientifically was applied to the brain and universe made my brain skrreeech as I was thinking were was the "real", if this is a holographic image. What other books have you enjoyed? I was really stoked when I read the information in this book. Thanks for your thoughtful comment - I look forward to reading your postings as well.

    • Candelish profile image

      Mindy 6 years ago from Florida

      I loved this book. I also like when I have to take a step back and think about an idea just to be sure that I understand all of the ramifications. As far as memory within the brain, I've found it to be like many skill sets. The more you use and train it, the more you remember. Their inferences regarding taking the holographic base of knowledge and reflecting it to the "material" things around us, seems to follow many teachings throughout history that were more spiritual than scientific.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

      This is an interesting read for me, since I have been wondering lately if my past is gradually being absorbed by a brain fog...I don't have any difficulty retaining current information, but just sort of feel like my past is being swallowed up in forgetfulness.