Linear vs. Non-Linear Systems

There is a difference between a linear and non-linear system; our brain is non-linear in its behavior as all organisms and the natural world.  Quantum physics attempts to understand the nonlinear nature of our reality.  But those for us in European and North American cultures face significant challenges in grasping and describing complex, dynamical, adaptive systems, which is another was of saying ‘non linear system’.  There are assumptions so deeply embedded in these cultures’ education and worldview, that one is not even generally aware of them.  So these assumptions (or accepted beliefs) make it difficult to understand and/or deal with system complexity.

These assumptions include:

•Every observed effect has an observable cause.

•Even very complicated phenomena can be understood through analysis.  That is, the whole can be understood by taking it apart and studying the pieces (remember Synergy: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts- that’s non-linear)

•Sufficient analysis of a system (weather pattern, living organism, etc.) can create the capacity to predict future behavior.

These assumptions have proven marvelously potent in developing our understanding of the physical world.  They have served us less well, however, in illuminating how weather patterns function, how human individuals and groups behave, and how our brains function, they are innacurate.  Such systems as these are predictable in their general behavior but are notoriously impossible to predict in detail.  This area of study was originally called ‘chaos’ and has now matured into a collection of topics known as ‘complexity science.”

     

    • Another great example of non-linear reality, or synergy, would be steel.  In chrome-nickel-steel, the primary constituents are iron, chromium, and nickel. There are minor constituents of carbon, manganese, and others. It is a very popular way of thinking to say that a chain is no stronger than its weakest link. That seems to be very logical to us. Therefore, we feel that we can predict things in terms of certain minor constituents of wholes. That is the way much of our thinking goes. If I were to say that a chain is as strong as the sum of the strengths of its links, you would say that is silly. If I were to say that a chain is stronger than the sum of the strengths of all of its links, you might say that that is preposterous. Yet that is exactly what happens with chrome-nickel- steel. If our regular logic held true, then the iron as the weakest part ought to adulterate the whole: since it is the weakest link, the whole thing will break apart when the weakest link breaks down. So we put down the tensile strength of the commercially available iron__the highest that we can possibly accredit is about 60,000 pounds per square inch (p.s.i.); of the chromium it is about 70,000 p.s.i.; of the nickel it is about 80,000 p.s.i. The tensile strengths of the carbon and the other minor constituents come to another 50,000 p.s.i. Adding up all the strengths of all the links we get 260,000 p.s.i. But in fact the tensile strength of chrome-nickel-steel runs to about 350,000 p.s.i. Here we have the behavior of the whole completely unpredicted by the behavior of the parts.  This is non-linear!
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      NeurOPTIMAL neurofeedback uses the nonlinear brain science initiated by Dr. Karl Pribram.

      Karl H. Pribram (born February 25, 1919 in Vienna, Austria) is a professor at Georgetown University , and an emeritus professor of psychology and psychiatry at Stanford University and Radford University. Board-certified as a neurosurgeon, Pribram did pioneering work on the definition of the limbic system (mammalian brain), the relationship of the frontal cortex to the limbic system, the sensory-specific “association” cortex of the parietal and temporal lobes, and the classical motor cortex of the human brain. To the general public, Pribram is best known for his development of the holonomic brain model of cognitive function and his contribution to ongoing neurological research into memory, emotion, motivation and consciousness. He is married to American best selling author Katherine Neville.  (source: Wikipedia)

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