Psycholinguistics in Everyday Life


The Needle and the Patch- the sewing and weaving together of psycholinguistics and quantum theory


This is an exposition on 'the needle' vs. 'the patch' or the 'hypodermic' vs. 'osmotic' metaphors for analysis and objects of analysis. It explores how we not only model objectives, but also how the objectives themselves have become reflections of (entangled in their memory of), the fundamental aspects within the subjective models used in quantum theory and more generally elsewhere.
Here are two quotes in the beginning of Howard Bloom's "The Lucifer Principle" (which I haven't read yet): "If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart ?" -- Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn "Only through knowledge will we be able... to deliver those with superstitious faith in the omnipotence of violence from their folly." -- Fang Lizhi
In terms of how we perceive and address problems, we either perceive them as being exactly-defined and immediately addressable, or we see them as ill-defined and in need of a more longer term approach to addressing them. In other words, we either use an exact and immediate hypodermic needle approach to some problem, or we employ a longer term 'osmotic' process like a skin patch. These are singular and extreme methods of addressing a problem and in between these extremes there are a host of combinations and superpositions of these extremes, which lead to many more complex variations, fugues, harmonies, etc., of addressing a problem which we could more generally call "therapies". But this metaphor in terms of medicine is more general in the sense that all problems we encounter are delt with in the same manner. For instance, in physics, the 'hypodermic' extreme is employed in the more particle-like formalisms and the 'osmotic' extreme is employed in the more wave-like formalisms. Combinations of the two extremes in physics lead to the quantum theories[1]. In signal processing and statistics, the 'hypodermic' extreme is the time-series analysis with a short-term window consisting of a Dirac pulse; whereas the 'osmotic' approach is the spectral analysis with an infinite window size. Many methods in between these extremes exist such as wavelet analysis and quadrature mirror filters etc. Similarly in linguistics, the 'hypodermic' extreme may be thought of as the application of Saussure's diachronic analysis with an infinitely short window size; and the 'osmotic' extreme may be thought of as the application of Saussure's synchronic analysis with an infinitely long window size (infinite context). In economics, the 'hypodermic' extreme is the idealism of purest short-term, speculative, and relative 'technical trading'; while the 'osmotic' extreme is the idealism of long-term, well-founded, absolute 'fundamentalist trading'. In mathematics, the 'hypodermic' extreme might be the application of a vertex-centered formalism; while the 'osmotic' extreme might be the application of an edge-centered formalism. This might be seen more clearly in computer science in terms of the Traveling Salesman Problem being a 'hypodermic' perspective on the problem as vertex-centered; while the Chinese Postman problem as a more 'osmotic' perspective, being edge-centered. In psychology, the 'hypodermic' extreme is the quick fix utilizing logic; while the 'osmotic' extreme is located in the more long-term psychoanalysis uncovering analogies and metaphors in the subconscious.

The fundamental dualism

It seems important to remember that the extremes are boundary conditions and dualistically related but that there is also a plethora of possible tactics intervening between these extrema. In mathematics and physics, this plethora, is called by many names, but we can call it more generally a 'space-time attack' on a problem since the common denominator in all cases is the variance of spatial-temporal variables like how narrow in space (needle or patch), and how fast in time (immediate or long-term) we apply our perception, analysis and tactics.

The space-time of recorded history

In terms of 'prime movers', history more largely records the efforts of the more 'hypodermic' type. Their efforts lead to immediate and exact actions which by contrast over-shadow the efforts of the more insideous and leech-like 'osmotic' prime movers. 'Great men' dominate history with their notable and exacting actions in a relative space-time. 'Great women' who have acted more osmotically in history because of their less pronounced powers in a male-dominated world, tend to go largely unnoticed in the records of history. This can be said of many societies and cultures as well. The more dominating cultures and societies get noticed like 'shock art', while the more passive and osmotic ones go either unnoticed, or are exploited, placed-under siege, white-washed over by history,...; like the Hopi native americans (who are ironically being osmotically assimilated into western society after a hypodermic invasion of the west), etc. One famous german exploited this white-washing of history effectively to blank-slate the memories of a generation of youth with the intent on memetically injecting them with a hypodermic full of false history, ideology and propaganda, all for his exacting and immediate needs. This man was recorded vastly by history with the 'shock wave' generated by his needle in the space-time continuum. Some 'prime movers' who work osmotically do get noticed over a much longer period of their effect on the continuum. For instance, Buddha is not considered as having 'shocked' the world in any brief sense of space or time, but rather by a much more diffusive and osmotic process. But generally, those who work by osmosis are anonymous in history and any news of them is 'leeched out of them' to be dispersively recorded in history either by friendly word-of-mouth, less friendly plagiarism, or the irresponsible "subconscious estrangement", of forgetting an idea one has heard, and much later through conscious percolation rediscovering that idea as ones own.

Complexes of the dual formalisms

Often, the 'hypodermic' extremists will seem to exploit the more osmotic processes in a narrow and shorter term approach in space and time, and in this sense we find no difference between the two approaches other than in terms of the amount of context of space and time that they cover. The hypodermic approach is 'morphable' into the osmotic approach and vice versa[2]. What is distinguishable is the broad range of 'music' that can be made from particulate 'hypodermic' words or notes, and the more 'osmotic' or wavelike literature and melodies. These 'complex' structures lead to the same ideas of a 'complex function'; not so much in the sense of 'complex' as being 'complicated', but as in the sense of 'complex' such as in 'apartment complex'. In this manner of speaking the mathematical sense of the word 'complex function' becomes more apparent in relation to it's use of the word 'imaginary' (which many mathmaticians call unfortunate). The complex or combination of waves in a composite function of eigenfunctions can be viewed either in terms of there being many such eigenfunctions existing orthogonally and non-interactively in the 'complex function'; or, they can be seen as existing non-orthogonally and interactively in the sense that they superpose and interfere with each other. In the former sense we are considering each eigenfunction as a discrete and recoverable entity in a 'mixture' as in signal processing where we can extract a particular (as in particulate) frequency from a complex waveform. In the later sense we are considering each eigenfunction as something more wavelike which can hide its particle-like distinction non-orthogonally in a 'superposition'. The former sense we can consider 'hypodermic', while the later sense we can consider 'osmotic'. Therefore there exists a continuum between these extreme views which quantum physics addresses in terms of wave-particles or abstact entities of osmotic-hypodermic 'quanta'. Here we see the process of analysis, being modelled in the objects of analysis themselves. The superpositions are here called 'osmotic' and in the holographic sense, the superpositions from reflected light are virtual in the same sense that the 3d effect in a random dot stereogram yeilds a virtual or a colloquially 'imaginary' image, and in the same sense that a reflected[6] 'color' is a virtual, subjective or an 'imagination' of a distribution of frequencies rather than a single particle-like frequency eigenfunction[5]. The superpositions are called 'osmotic' in the sense that the filtering action it can perform is upon the more dispersive wavelike characterics which cannot be individually distinguished within the filtering process. The is the case for instance in the quantum wavefunction which filters out a single state but while within a superposition the many others states cannot be distinguished (without collapsing the wavefunction into a measurement of a single state; such as the collapse of the 3d imagine of the stereogram when you try to 'measure' discretely what is causing that effect). The mixtures are called 'hypodermic' in the sense that there are finite and exacting distinguishments between the elements of a mixture and which can be orthogonally sieved or filtered[3] out as separate elements or informational 'states'. In the act of superposition, the process is dynamic and 'imaginary' in the sense that it is perceived subjectively. We mentally perceive the voice of a person subjectively not as a mixture of individual sounds but as a superposition of them. In the same sense of a complex function, the dynamic superposition of eigenfunctions is a 'subjection' or imagination of the complex of discrete but interacting eigenfunctions. It is in this sense that we use the 'imaginary' aspect of complex functions in mathematics to represent the phase relations of the eigenfunctions in a superposition (So the next time a mathematician says the 'imaginary' component in a complex number is an unfortunate term, you can say "bull" because it really is used in complex number mathematics in the same sense as we use 'imaginary' more colloquially[4]).

Morality and Ethics in the space-time continuum

There is nothing 'good' or 'bad' about the hypodemic or osmotic extremes. They both have their particular 'good' and 'bad' aspects. The short-term context is what determines the ethics of their actions. The long-term context is what determines the morality of their actions. For instance, the exacting hypodermic action of a great general in some specific battle may be consider good or bad depending on whether you are talking about George Washington or Attila the Hun and whether you are an american or a mongol. The morality of a longer term perspective may see Washington as being the more moral of these two, though from an even longer or wider term perspective, that morality, in the context of the native american cultures may seem very speculative. Morality is long-term, but it can only be stable in the longest term sense of eternity; which some would say, therefore that only a God is privy to in its fully complete and static sense. In the human sense, morality is long-term and more subjective, while ethics are short-term and objective.


Because economy of space and time and in space-time is so fundamental to our thinking, economics can be broadly generalized to include quantum theory. The relevant analogy here is with the stock market where a single sale (measurement) of a single (speculative) stock does not collapse the more global speculative 'wavefunction' composing the 'many worlds' of the entire market. While a single stock is in the dynamic or speculative form of a probabilistic 'wavefunction' it is not measured into a tangible state. Once it is sold, that stock's probabilistic 'wavefunction', the value it derives from the parallelized dynamic market becomes static and measured into a single non-speculative tangible called cash. The problem here though is that 'cash', while having a tangible value is itself speculative in terms of foreign exchange and inflation. So cash itself is a 'quantum' of wavelike fluctuations in the probability of a particle-like tangible value (in terms of discrete transactions), and so is analogous to role that the wave-particle quantum plays in a physics context. Hypodermic methods can employed in terms of perturbation analysis or in terms of osmosis field theories can be employed. But there is always the foundational requirements of conservation laws with require particulate enumerability, and so the wavelike characteristics are less fundamental than the particulate characteristics in terms of transactional or particulate models like the 'hypodermic extreme'. The wavelike or osmotic models must therefore enclose or encompass the particulate models as a high level language in computer science embodies the more exacting machine languages of the constrained objective world. This 'chinese box' requires some practise to get used to but I believe it is easily seen as fundamental in many systems using analogs as a guide.

The Mind-Body problem

We can rightly say that the "cash" does not exist tangibly until it is measured or transacted. In the same manner the quantum wavefunction does not tangibly exist until it is measured. When Descartes fathered modern science (and so physics), he also fathered the mind-body problem in philosophy (and so metaphysics). Many philosophers before and since have pondered the question of that ultimate intangible: the human soul. Physics has since come a long way and reached pretty much the bottom of the barrel in terms of Cartesian distinguishment only to be mirrored back to the world of non-distinguishment by the ideas of bosons, superfluids and the like. The "mind-body" problem of physics has become a question of whether or not the 'wavefunction' is an objective reality or a subjective abstraction (model of reality). In this sense, the wavefunction is like "cash" and it is like the "stock market" as a whole as well. It has a tangible and static value under measurement and a speculative and dynamic modelled behaviour too. When we ask whether the wavefunction is real or not, we also ask whether or not the human soul is real or not in an analogous way and find that indeed the dynamic or non-measured aspect of a human soul is likenable to the speculative value of cash or the speculative (probabilistic) wavefunction of quantum physics, while the tangible static 'value' of a human soul is also measureable in a finite transaction of a resume, in the finite transaction of a deed, or in the finite and static measurement of a photograph (which is understandably why many traditional native americans object to photographs and the traditionally osmotic Chinese object to being finitely interpreted or 'understood'). The question of whether the soul is real in the hypodemic "west" by opposition is stamped as "definitely real" in many western religions. It is something finite, absolute and measureable and ultimately meets its maker in a measurement called "judgement day". In the perspective of generality, the human soul is both of these and neither. It has a tangible, real and existing value and a speculative, imaginary and non-existing value as well. We allow for the speculative value because it gives us hope in a probabilitistic and non-deterministic future and we allow for the measureable and tangible value as well, when we devise laws which measure us in a finite and deterministic present. The past is our record of particulate "presents", but it is not as static as it seems. Each new "present" or sample provides more context onto the past and more context into the future as well. This context yields some "hope" that what we do has some ultimately satisfying economy under an undeterminable metric (or God) involving a context of infinity in space and an eternity in time. The context is ever changing and dynamic and so our interpretations of the past and the future are dynamic as well. Only "locally" do we establish static interpretations and this is what we tend to call "the present"; which at times may seem to be large enough so that we go unawares of the dynamic changes in our perceptions of the past and future. The osmotic value of a human soul is in the future as well as the present and the past, in the same manner that a wavefunction is infinite in duration while in a dynamic state. It does not exist in reality, but it exists in the 'freedom' of a non-deterministic probability. The tangible value of a human soul is only derived within a finite, localized and static measurement in which it pokes its head into existing in 'reality', but it then does not exist in probability, as when a 'jailed' human is made completely deterministic. Here, physics becomes metaphysics and metaphysics becomes physics.
This model is replicated at all levels i.e. an individual can function as his or her own "CEO" or "worker" or "middle manager".
[1] fermions can act like waves in a Bose-Einstein condensate etc, suggesting that the primary formalism is particle-like, but supplemented with the 'behaviour' of waves. The complement of this would be bosons acting like particles as in a diffraction experiment, suggesting that the primary formalism is wave-like, but supplemented with the 'behavior' of particles. [2] this however yields and uncertainty relation in this morphism because the extrema are idealizations of a subjective virtual reality, (i.e. they live in an ideal world of infinite bandwidth in perception) whereas in a more objective reality these extrema are truncated by the limitations on bandwidth imposed on the mental and physical channels through which the perception life becomes more discrete than continuous. [3] 'filter' is a deceptive word. It can mean 'to separate' as when a 'coffee filter' separates the grounds from the bean soup, or when a color filter separates frequencies in white light; or, it can be mean 'to separate' as in a non-spatial filter such as a thick-film Bragg hologram that operates on phases in a superpositional manner. The former process uses 'hypodermic' filtering while the later process uses 'osmotic' filtering. [4] to be fair, colloquially 'imaginary' is used both to mean: made-up or fictional, and to mean made-up or subjective. In the former case we mean 'imaginary' in the sense of a unicorn. while in the later case we mean 'imaginary' in the sense of an abstraction or subjective tools such as wavefunctions or other mathematical 'models'. [5] here the dualism of a 'distribution' and a function' in terms of the fourier transform between the spatially filterable 'spectrum' and the temporally parametrized 'function'. I won't go into the ideas of a continuous 'spatial' spectrum here but this can be addressed (the more conventional notion of a spectrum is employed as a histogram and the ordering of eigenstates can sometimes be important). [6] a reflected color is a superposition while a transmitted colour is a mixture. Compare this to the temporal and wave nature of a reflection hologram vs. the spatial and particulate nature of a transmission hologram. The angle between the reference beam and the object beam is the important morphological variable here. It takes McLuhan's "the medium is the message" and transposes continuously (morphs) it into "the message is the medium" and vice versa. A metaphor is the reversal of signal and carrier. The "light in flight" is a relevant experiment in which the reference beam becomes almost indistinguishable from the object beam. Light in Flight Light in Flight Light in Flight ABRAMSON, Nils "Light-in-Flight recording: High Speed Holographic Motion Pictures of Ultrafast Phenomena", dans Jeong, T.H. (dir.) Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Display Holography, Lake Forest, États-Unis (Illinois), Lake Forest College, 1985..