What is a Hologram?

Leia-HologramMy first introduction to holographic images was on credit cards and, more recently, on paper currency. The only other time I recall seeing one was in the first Star Wars movie where Princess Leah appears before Obi Wan Kenobi.

And life is fun: I just looked in my two volume  1958 Dictionary for “hologram” and the word is not there, which is not surprising given that I just found out that the first functioning laser device was not produced until 1960.

So, again, Wikipedia comes to my rescue:

Hologram, noun, 

1. A three dimensional image formed by the interference of light beams from a laser or other coherent light source. 

2. A photograph of an interference pattern that when suitably illuminated, produces a three dimensional image. 

But there are three things that are not apparent from the dictionary definition:

  1. To make a hologram of an object, it has first to be bathed in light from one laser beam. Then a second laser beam is bounced off the reflected light of the first and the resulting interference pattern ~ the place where the two laser beams commingle ~ is captured on film.
  1. And here is where it gets fun ~ and I have no idea who figured this out ~ when the film is then developed it is just a meaningless mass of light and dark lines. But illuminate the film with a third laser and a three dimensional image of the original object appears. A new kind of magic.
  1. And this is the most significant thing of all. Unlike anything else that we can split, like dividing a cake into two halves, you cannot split a hologram. Cut it in half and you get two smaller wholes that are complete in every way, and that will happen no matter how many more times you split it.

And the reason for that, which is why this subject is here, is that all the parts of the hologram are interconnected, a concept that is all over this web-site.

But here is where it gets even more interesting. An American writer named Michael Talbot, who had already written a number of books about the parallels between ancient mysticism and quantum physics, had came across the work of two very eminent scientists, in two quite different fields, which caused him to write The Universe as a Hologram, which HarperCollins published in 1991.

Note: A six page version, from which the following quotes are taken, was sent to by my friend Marijke in New Zealand and can be found on the Internet.

The first of these two men was the English physicist David Bohm, who had earlier collaborated with Einstein, and who was aware that in 1982 another physicist, Alain Aspect and his team in France “had discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them”.  That led Bohm to conclude that “Aspect’s findings suggest that objective reality may not exist, that despite its apparent solidarity the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram”. 

And Talbot to conclude that “At its deepest level reality may be a sort of superhologram, in which past, present and future exist simultaneously. This suggests that with the proper tools, it might even be possible to someday reach into the superholographic level of reality and pluck out scenes from the long-forgotten past”. 

And what is interesting about that comment is that he seems to have forgotten the work ~ which he cites! ~ of the psychiatrist, Dr. Stanislav Grof, who in the 1950’s was using LSD with patients to put them into altered states of consciousness. During many of those sessions his patients clearly brought forth information from the distant past which, given their current place in society, they would have had no prior knowledge of.  For, example, one woman while hallucinating described being in the body of a female snake and being aware that the sexually arousing portion of the male of that species anatomy was a patch of coloured scales on the side of its head.

When Grof later checked with a zoologist he found that, yes, some reptiles do have coloured scales on their heads that act as triggers of sexual arousal!

And I am suddenly reminded that  when I drove around the island of Lanzarote in The Canary Islands, for the first time in probably 1999, I had this strong “déjà vu” feeling that I had been there before. Part of me knew the place.

The second man was the Stanford neurophysiologist Karl Pribram who had been trying to solve the puzzle of how and where memories are stored in the brain. And he, like Bohm, was aware that earlier one of his predecessors in the field of brain surgery, Karl Lashley had found that “no matter what portion of a rat’s brain he removed he was not able to eradicate its memory of how to perform complex tasks prior to the surgery.” 

Talbot continues,

Pribram believes memories are encoded not in neurons, or small groupings of neurons, but in patterns of nerve impulses that crisscross the entire brain in the same way that patterns of light interference crisscross the entire area of a piece of film containing a holographic image. In other words… the brain is itself a hologram. (Emphasis in the original).

And he then presents a lot more evidence to support Pribram’s belief, including this little gem: It has been estimated that the human brain has the capacity to memorize something in the order of 10 billion bits of information during an average life-time … It has been discovered that one cubic centimeter of [holographic] film can hold as many as 10 billion bits of information.

Talbot then suggests ~  and don’t you just love what humans can do with their brains?~  that what happens when we combine Bohm’s theory with Pribram’s holographic model of the brain is the realization that the concreteness of the universe is but a secondary reality and what is “there” is actually a holographic blur of frequencies, and if the brain … only selects some of the frequencies out of the blur and mathematically transforms them into sensory perceptions,~ which is what brains do all the time ~  what becomes of objective reality? Put quite simply it ceases to exist. As the religions of the East have long upheld, the material world is Maya, a kind of superficial illusion. (Emphasis in the original).

To which he adds:

In a universe in which individual brains are actually indivisible portions of the greater hologram and everything is infinitely interconnected, telepathy may merely be the accessing of the holographic level. 

And obviously, as far as I am concerned, some people can access that level better than others. We call them psychics.

There are also some other interesting things that come out of this model. For example, it would explain what Jung called “The Collective Unconscious”; why what we call synchronicity occurs all the time; why when I think of someone I then get an email or a phone call even before I have time to contact them; and why flocks of birds and schools of fish can all suddenly change direction without incident ~ Biologist Rupert Sheldrake labeled that phenomenon “morphic resonance.” But his theory about that has been widely challenged in the scientific community

Lastly,  I have no idea what discoveries in this area are going to be made next. It literally all blows my mind. So maybe the best thing is just to get up each morning and see where life takes me!