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
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.
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
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
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. 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 'color' is a virtual, subjective or an 'imagination'
of a distribution of frequencies rather than a single
particle-like frequency eigenfunction.
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 out as separate elements or
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).
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
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
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
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".
 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'
 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
 '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.
 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'.
 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).
 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..