Hector Warnes’ Comments
Carlos Hojaij: Psychiatry and Cosmology: From Star dust to an Invisible Power
Professor Hojaij impresses us once more with his versatility, scope and holistic approach to man and the Cosmos.
Regarding the title he chose, I must state that nowhere in his excellent editorial does he treat the subject of psychiatry per se. Further, there is no longer scientific doubt that we are made up of star dust which would suggest that we are bound to the law of classical and quantum physics besides biology, sociology and psychology.
The “invisible power” to which Carlos Hojaij refers is dark matter, that missing and elusive mass in the universe which constitutes the fifth essence cited by the author at the outset of his editorial (Krauss 2001). It is mind boggling to fathom the Kosmos. Paul Dirac (1938) proposed Cosmological Constants which appear to correspond to the constants found in nature.
The evolution of primate cerebral development occurred over two million years and allowed us to evolve with a brain which weighted only 600 g. to a brain of 1300 g. and which displayed an amazing complexity to which Hojaij refers with paleoanthropologic data and superb clarity (evolutionary neuroscience).
Neurophysiological events occurring in a dream at the speed of a fraction of a second is presented by Hojaij as an example of quantum dynamics. The author cites Jasper’s (1963) who discussed Maury’s dream of the guillotine and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s experiences felt during a complex partial seizure which included mystical states (“one second lived as eternity”). I am sure Hojaij is aware that the same experiences are reported with the use of psychedelics drugs.
It was really Freud who first reported in his “Interpretation of Dreams” the dream of the guillotine of Maury. In his dream Maury reported that as he mounted on the scaffold, the executioner tied him to the board which tipped over and the blade of the guillotine fell and severed his head. He awoke with terrible anxiety only to discover that a piece of the bed had fallen down and had actually struck his neck. Freud asked himself how was it possible for the dreamer to crowd together (condensation) a part of the dream content apparently quite long in a very short lapse of time between the perception of the waking stimulus and the awakening.
The center of his essay is the theme of consciousness and energy within the cosmological approach. The former he considers to be a metastructural energetic process linked to brain activity, subjectivity, self-awareness, capability of developing a symbolic structure (language), of giving meaning to things and events and of living simultaneously in a narrative and a historical perspective in a space-time continuum.
Phosphorus and its compounds make up the basic unit of energy within the cell. Energy does emanate from matter. There are electrical (faster) and chemical (slower) transmissions of energy which are inhibitory and/or excitatory in their connections among neurons. Nerve signals are electrical pulses caused by the passage of electrically-charge atoms across the walls of nerve-cells.
Hans Berger, a psychiatrist and physiologist, first recorded in 1924 the electrical activity of the brain and discovered the alpha wave also called Berger’s wave (Tudor, Tudor and Tudor 2005). He also noticed that brain waves are altered with eyes closed and during arithmetic calculations. This latter points to the relationship between cognitive activities and brain waves. Since then we have investigated in depth the electroencephalogram and its voltage, frequency, symmetry, amplitude and locus of electrical activity. There are resting and action potentials and we know that in atomic and subatomic physics ions of similar charge repel each other. Further, it is known that fluctuations in ionic current within the neurons of the brain are maintained by 100 billons of neurons interconnected via trillions of synapses and can be measured in a millisecond-range of temporal resolution. It must be pointed out that our closest relative in the evolution, the chimpanzee has 6.2 billion neurons. We measure this electro-magnetic activity in cycle per second thanks to Heinrich Hertz. For example, the delta and the theta wave have 1 to 4 Hertz and 4 to 8 Hertz, respectively. Between 20 to 25 % of our total organismic energy is used for running our brain. Of course, electromagnetic energy emanating from brain activity can not only be proven neurophysiologically, but its absence is a signal of “brain death.” Epileptology, event related potentials and kindling have greatly contributed to diagnostic and treatment approaches.
I congratulate Professor Hojaij for his essay which points to the unity of man within the universe and those mysterious forces of nature which the great scientists keep on unravelling. There is so much to discover about the nature of consciousness that hopefully Professor Hojaij would elaborate it in another essay.
Dirac, Paul. A new basis for Cosmology. Proceedings of the Royal Society. pp, 199-208, 1938. London.
Freud, S. The Interpretation of Dreams, second edition 1913. The Hogarth Press, London, 1953.
Jaspers K.: Psicopatologia General. Editorial Paidos, Buenos Aires; 1963.
Krauss L.: Quintessence. Vintage, London; 2001.
January 18, 2017