Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I know that I know, but don't remember it now!

Haven't we all been in this state?

The questions that are of interest here are:
1. How is this state possible in our mind? and
2. How sure can we be of this intuition that we know? i.e. Do we really know, what we think we do?

But as is the case with all philosophical quests, we have to begin with what is it to know? So in the first part let us try and answer this question.

Does to know mean to have a prior knowledge of?
Then again it becomes recursive..so obviously we are mixing words here.When we say prior knowledge of we mean prior information to the characteristics of the object and also of how we reacted to the subject, that what we felt when we encountered it/him/her/them etc. in past.
So knowledge is a set of information which we created, based on the past experience, of that object, and stored it in our memory.
Here the note reads: when i say "we created" ,i mean created by our processor (brain) based on the analogies derived from its database (the past experience (or now we can call it knowledge) of other similar objects).

Best time to give an example - Suppose a person, who has only seen one cat in his/her life before, sees another. His/her finding it fat or thin, depends not only on the cat he/she is seeing now ,but also on the one he/she saw before.

So knowledge is a set of information which we created, based on our past experience, and stored it in our memory.
In fact what are we but our knowledge!
I will write another post on this one
Now knowledge is ...............
Assuming our brain stores all our memory (why assuming ? isn't this a fact? wait for my next article.) and that there is a mechanism of writing into the memory and reading from the memory. Note that i haven't mentioned erasing from the memory. I think, in fact that there is no mechanism to erase. I think in this system, somehow, when we read from the memory, the data we have read more is more prominently stored and to erase all you have to do is not to read the data for a certain time and whoof! it is gone.(in fact not whoof, whoof sounds discrete, it is gone, slowly fading out.)

Now coming back to the question, how is such a state possible in our brain? First lets elaborate on the state. The state is like the one when you are in the following situations.
  • you are chatting to a friend and suddenly you are discussing b'days and then you realize that you cannot tell his/her(lets stick with her to make it interesting and real) birthday if asked now. Somehow you know though that you have known her b'day once. you don't have anything to prove that but still you know that you know the b'day.then suddenly you end up asking her the b'day and with an hour long chat on how inconsiderate.....you get hung up (if that is possible on a chat!) but now you have her b'day. and whn you see this date there are 2 possible situations
    • either you say oooooooooo (you already knew!)
    • or you say umm huh..(you never knew!)

  • you are doing some work on a computer and suddenly just to break the monotonicity you say to yourself now i will not touch the mouse, do everything by keyboard (they say it is possible and in fact faster if you know how to.) . that is why they call them shortcuts. but suddenly you realize when you open the internet explorer and you have to go to the title bar ... you keep on pressing tab but you never reach there. now you reember that once you used to work with shortcuts and you new how to get to the url field directly with some shortcut. you remember it was a function key, single key , somewhere near to the middle, you say lets remmber it and hit it in one go...you try hard but you can't remember ..was it f5 or f6 or f7 or f8. then your brain goes to "f5 is for showing presentations in powerpoint", "f8 is for entereing setup during startup ...or is it f12...or f10 ...ahhh! forget it lets concentrate on url " then you end up hitting f7 something to do with caret browsing then f8 -does nothing (why it should do something) and finally f6 because by now you have remembered that f5 is for refresh. and something inside you is at rest.
ok so much for the idea of what state i am talking about.
next, lets go to the theme "how is such a state possible?". if we model our brain's storage part as something with digitized storage spaces , it is impossible for this phenomenon to occur. for example if we model our brain like the registers used in computers, or just like a big 3d storage grid with different data stored in different independent cell then, it is impossible.
it can happen only if there is some mechanism in which the data, when leaves, leaves behind a footprint. thinking in terms of waves , say some information is stored in the form of waves with amplitude highest when it is being stored and it increases every time we revisit it (depending on the
concentration of revisit) .so the wave is damping and once it reaches a value that is below a threshold our brain is unsure whether the information is there or not.
now a thought on how a memory is stored in reference to others. it is often talked about that our brain forms linkages when it stores .the image we generally get is that of a hook being placed on a hook which is dangling freely in our head. i would try and create a better image of the same phenomenon. say our storage system is like a flat rubber film which can oscillate when given an impulse. now say it is somehow divided into very small shapes say square ones for convenience by virtue of how the rubber sheet is folded (i.e not folded in a handkerchief way but folded in a protein way ). for simplicity we don't fold the sheet but keep it flat and instead draw a fine-grid with dotted lines (dotted lines to signify that though divided, nothing in nature is discrete. it is true that each minuscule square is a position to store individual memory in the form of oscillating wave, it can still interact a bit with the information stored in the adjacent square ). so now i have an image of how things are stored. stating all of the above in points
  • brain's storage - a large rubber film - divided into small squares - physically made because of the way the film is folded
  • individual memory unit - a wave - amplitude slowly decreasing- considered erased if amplitude reaches a value below a threshold
  • can interact with adjacent unit- resulting in links.
  • how do we remember?- we go to all the links which we find accessible and then try and reach the exact info we want by hopping on all the intermediate links, magnifying them in the way.
  • to ponder --how do we get hold of the first relevant info we think will help us reach the result??
now i think the above 2 situations can be explained.
when we think that we know actually we have reached a position in our remembering process i.e hopping through the links, to a position where it seems very obvious that the next piece of information has to be the one we desire but what actually happened is either it was stored and not read for a long time so it went below the threshold or it was never stored (whatever is present in the next cubicle is only the leakage of the adjacent cubicle and not a memory. this leakage generally occurs to an information which is at the edge with no or very few links to get hold of.) in both the cases our optimistic mind tries to amplify whatever is present in the cubicle to come above the threshold by mere concentrating ..sometimes it is successful..sometimes it fails because there is nothing to amplify...but most of the time it loses patience and stops amplifying and does not concentrate enough to amplify the signal enough!!
(i have to rewrite this article, to make it understandable. this is something which is written while i am thinking.)it still has so much to add to.

- one more idea what if our brain is like a modem in a vast network (it does not store the information at all .it just stores the frequency. it is like a key to access data from a server(which is more of a bank of data)). this frequency may be different kind of frequency .i. e in some other dimension.elaboration needed!!

- how is information stored in the cubicle (it is not enough to say in the form of waves. there has to an alphabet)here, i need to perform an experiment- take a square sheet of metal . spray some dust on it (more if you want) then hold the square from the sides and then hit the square with an impulse in a particular location.intuition says that there will be a pattern formed(may be a letter from the alphabet we are searching for)we can generate the other letters by holding the squares from different positions and also by hitting the square at different locations.this makes sense.position of hitting the square signifies the info we want to store and position of fixing the square on the edges signifies the contribution made by the adjacent squares on this information storage.another thread of thought- is that why the way the information is stored depends on what we know before. is it all that is to prejudices and we thought they were not programmable. we don't need to program the prejudices if we have this kind of formation in our memory structure.(uff! too much thought for one day..will continue later)

edit (31st august 2009): the pattern i am talking about is chladni's pattern


Paritosh Aggarwal said...

Very weird posts i must say. I envy your freedom to think though.

Paritosh Aggarwal said...

well, i caught glimpses of a few posts. they were kind of lnog, like this one here, so i didn't bother to read all along.
you try to connect different aspects, by thinking shuffled. you write in your own way, so yeah. anyway :D
read the source. you will notice a slight difference in coding conventions. hence you will get to the answer.

try out codedeceit - my personal webspace was just a temporary keep for the levels until codedeceit was on. so yeah, the good levels all are accumulated in codedeceit. and it was the first time we made such a thing, so we did it with alt of passion.
hope you like those too.