My work in Cognition led me to the conclusion that the brain (specifically the cerebral cortex) was built on a very specific algorithm. The conclusion provided such an elegant solution to the Cognition problem that I was convinced of its accuracy.
All I needed was a prominent neuroscientist who provided the physiological underpinnings and I was ready to write two popular non-fiction books along with one or more papers on cognition. Instead, I found that the field was working at a much lower level. My best explanation for the experience is as follows:
Imagine walking into a room of engineers knowing what the automobile does in the abstract. You know it transports people from point A to point B and must have various parts including a source of energy and a place for people to sit. You walk into this room hoping the engineers will validate your theory and you find a thousand people each working on a different part. The catch is, they only have half the parts.
One person is messing with a hinge. Another has figured out that the piston fits into the cylinder (and incidentally the cup holder, but his experiments showed that wasn’t a meaningful relationship). A third is pondering over the soft substance from inside the seat. The “cutting edge” in auto theory is the recognition that the door covering the gas cap, the passenger doors, the hood, and the trunk door all serve roughly the same purpose.
The example seems silly (indeed some might find it insulting) because you know how a car works, but imagine giving half of the pieces of the car to Leonardo DiVinci and you’d be pretty darn impressed that he figured that much out.
They didn’t have enough parts to assemble the problem ground up. However, once you knew the big picture, it was easy to figure out where (almost) everything goes and to have some idea of what was missing. It seemed like an opportunity on a golden platter so I dove head first into Neuroscience.
Several of the major structural issues were addressed pretty clearly in the research. For those unfamiliar with the brain, the cortext has 6 distinct layers with well structured connections between/among the layers and from specific layers to other regions of the brain. Once you knew what you were looking for, it was obvious that specific regions were the only regions that met the criteria. Some answers were less obvious, but the number of options were almost always very limited.
However, I wanted to argue that the whole cortex used the same algorithm in different timeframes to achieve its function. The concept has support in popular literature (Jeff Hawkin’s On Intelligence), outside the cognitive mainstream (Hayek’s The Sensory Order: An Inquiry Into The Foundations Of Theoretical Psychology (1952)) and more importantly in mainstream neuroscience (Mountcastle’s An Organizing Principle for Cerebral Function in The Mindful Brain: Cortical Organization and the Group-Selective Theory of Higher Brain Function).
This lead me into a far more complicated study of synaptic plasticity and ultimately fundamental processes like protein synthesis and trafficking. After a few years, it became obvious that I could not, in a timely manner, get the complete picture ready for publishing. Instead, I have come to terms with the fact that I will need to publish a few sections that are most important for either my argument or building up the needed reputation. The rest will provide substance for my research platform called Eviduction (“the synthesis of evidence and deduction”). Follow the link to read more. As my works are actually published, I will do my best to link readers to an up-to-date listing.