"The mind is a compact, multiply connected thought mass with internal connections of the most intimate kind. It grows continuously as new thought masses enter it, and this is the means by which it continues to develop."

Bernhard Riemann On Psychology and Metaphysics ca. 1860

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dendritic Spine Synapse Formation--Riemann's Thought Masses?

Using a non invasive imaging technique, a research team has shown that clusters of synapses are newly formed when mice learn new motor skills. Some 150 years ago Bernhard Reimann intriguingly wrote that thoughts have a material form he called geistesmassen. While the creation of these referenced clusters are not human thoughts, it is clear that the principle of psycho-physical parallelism applies here. There should be no essential difference in this sort of phenomena in all varieties of mammalian motor cortex.

As mice learned a new task, repeated imaging of the same neurons over one-day intervals showed remodeling of synapses, with new branches (dendritic spines) forming and others eliminated during training. Image credit: Xu et al.


The noetic function of mind unique to mankind that allows us to change our practices such that we create new resources is a sort of higher material form that alters human practice. In this sense, higher ordered thoughts have physical expression. The reshaping of the landscape of human technological practice is metaphorically akin to another of Riemann's discoveries: the shockwave function.

So, the principle of geistesmassen can be characterized as operating on separate planes of reality. And in fact, it is not accidental that the notion of a Riemann function that appears on separate sheets of multiply connected manifold of n dimensions was an extension of the monadology of Leibniz. So too, Vernadsky's concept of noosphere builds upon this groundwork.

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