(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
The American neurophysiologist Walter Freeman discovered that the neural acitivity due to a sensory stimuli disappears in the cortex and in lieu of it an apparently unrelated pattern appears, as if the brain created its own version of what happens in the world. Most of the sensory input is basically wasted. Freeman came to believe that "a form of epistemological solipsism isolates brains from the world". Each brain creates its own world, which is internally consistent and complete.
Contrary to a popular paradigm, perception does not consist of information reception, processing, storage, and recall. Perception is the creation of meaning.
The questions now are: why do brains work this way; what part of the sensory input is kept; where does knowledge come from; and, last but not least, how do brains communicate with one another?
Freeman provides some rudimentary neurphysiological description (not really answer) for the first questions and then dwells at length on the last question.
How do "solipsistic" brains communicate? Brains communicate, basically, by "unlearning": unlearning is a process by which a brain must give up its beliefs and learn new ones through socially cooperative actions. He believes that brains have evolved primarily as organs of social cooperation, and originally they started communicating for sexual reproduction. He retraces the story of socialization, from the early formation of pair bonds and tribal groups and identifies music, dance, and sexually based rituals as the means by which meanings in the brains were shared.
When analyzing consciousness, Freeman emphasizes the importance of the lymbic system, the organ of plan and goal formation, as it provides the sense of time, space and expectancy. Since awareness follows the self by about half a second, Freeman believes that awareness is the perception of the brain's working, and not the other way around.
Freeman develops a mathematical theory of neurodynamics, whereby states of the brain are described by nonlinear dynamics of a quantity which he calls "neural activity" and which he introduces as the equivalent of Newton's force in Physics.