Action Potentials and "The Information" [Was Re: question related to Hodgkin-Huxley model]
k p Collins
kpaulc at [----------]earthlink.net
Thu Dec 25 04:23:15 EST 2003
What the action potential, is.
I have a little text scanner that is used
to scan lines of text while one reads. I
purchased it years ago, tried it out a bit,
and put it aside for another day. "Shelf-
Anyway, the little line scanner has a
manual input capability through which
annotations, such as page numbers, etc.
can be 'typed' into the text that's be-
On it's protective case, is a set of
barcodes that correlate with a set of
typographic characters [the alphabet,
punctuation laid out in emulation of
a QWERTY keyboard.
To enter a character, one activates
character mode [performs a system
reconfiguration], and then scans the
correlated barcode to add the correl-
ated typographic character to the
text that one is scanning. The bar-
codes include "shift" and "shift-lock"
items [more system-configuration
Action Potentials are analogous to
this sort of functional cross-correl-
ation stuff, =not= to "the informa-
tion" upon which a nervous system
I chose to begin this discussion
with the line scanner because it's
easily comprehended, but probably
'unfamiliar' to most folks, but
the same sort of thing happens
when any servo mechanism is used.
The line scanner's functionality is
analogous to the functionality of any
servo mechanism, through which an
input set is =transformed= into an
output set that is in the technical
'language' that the device to which
the servo is interfaced 'understands'.
Servo mechanisms are used all over
the place. All of the integrated
circuits incorporated in contempor-
aneous automobile design are the
'guts' of servo mechanisms, and
one can look at a PC as a fairly-
generalized 'servo mechanism', but
servo mechanisms are most-commonly
used in specifically-engineered
applications. For instance, to
enable a 'pilot' to control the
flight of a model airplane by
manipulating a joystick, and other
'switches', that exert transforma-
tions upon ["tune"] the signal[s]
of a radio transmitter to which the
'switches' are interfaced.
The transformed radio-frequency
electromagnetic radiation [EM]is
"transmitted" from the radio, and,
hopefully :-] received by a "re-
ceiver" that is tuned to the same
frequency as the "transmitter".
The receiver's is engineered to
generate a number of outputs, In a
simple model airplane. there are
usually at least three. One output
controls the rudder [on the trailing
edge of the vertical "tail"], another,
the "elevators" [on the small hor-
izontal 'wing' at the "tail" of
the model airplane, and the 3rd,
the speed of the model's engine.
The outputs from the receiver exert
control by sending electrical power
that's proportional to the trans-
formation of the EM that's received
to little "stepping motors" which
literally rotate a number of 'steps'
that's proportional to the EM trans-
formation. To tranlate ['transmit']
this rotational motion to the elements
[rudder, elevator, and engine] that
are to be controlled, the modeler
can use a mechanical transformation
that entails transforming the rota-
tional motion to straight-line motion,
for instance, via a pulley to which
a light cable is attached around
the periphery, and extending at a
tangent from, say, the bottom of the
pulley. A light rod is attached to
the resultant horizontal segment of
cable, and this rod is attached to
a lever that's attached to the
rudder, or elevator, or the engine's
throttle. These levers constitute
yet further transformations.
If everything's aligned properly,
and both transmitter and receiver
are tuned to the same frequency,
powered, and functioning properly,
pushing the joystick forward or
backward results in the elevator's
hinging downward or upward, respect-
ively. Pushing the joystick left or
right results in the rudder hinging
left or right, respectively, and
sliding a "potentiometer" away from
or toward the 'pilot's body results
in the engine's throttling up or
Action potentials are analogous to
the =transformations= that occur within
a servo mechanism's functioning, =not=
explicitly to "the information" that
is being processed by a nervous sys-
The difference is subtle but huge,
because, in order to transform "the
information" in ways that result in
the neurons' that are on the post-
synaptic 'end' of action potentials,
the action potentials must occur in
a way that's 'understandable' in
terms of the functionality that the
post-synaptic neurons perform.
'The neuron' undergoing an action
potential must literally calculate
this transformation with respect to
=both= it's input "information"
representation and this output
"information" representation require-
ments, which are =transformed= on
Multiply this by 100 billion, and it's
easy to see that "the information"
exists within the nervous system
=not= in a way that's 'encoded' in
terms of a "cipher", but in terms
of the neural Topology's physical
relationship with the experiential
3-D energydynamics to which the
nervous system is interfaced.
This is what I've formerly discussed
in terms of the nervous system's
literally grasping the 3-D external
experiential energydynamics, turning
them upside-down, inside-out, and
backward [in order to maintain be-
correlations within the on-the-in-
side-looking-out "internal frame of
reference" [IFR], mostly, via the
great "decussations" and commissures
inherent in the neural Topology and
discussed in AoK].
There is no 'cipher' in-there - no
'code' into which "the information"
is 'translated', other than the
myriad 3-D energydynamics transform-
ations that occur in order to
establish and maintain the nervous
system's internal frame of reference.
Why does this subtle [but huge] dif-
ference from the prevailing view,
that "action potentials" [and/or
passive or active electrotonic act-
ivation] 'encode' "the information",
Because it enables one to 'see' that
one cannot 'see' "the information"
by looking "the activation" [includ-
ing in =all= of the currently-imp-
limented "scanning" techniques].
In looking at the activation, one
only sees the =transformation=
dynamics, and because the nervous
system is a massively-parallel
"supersystem" [a system of systems;
AoK, Ap5], there are litterally
trillions of trillions of such
transformation dynamics always
happening simultaneously - the
transformations occur over the
complete range of 'scales' of the
nervous system, from ionic to the
global neural Topology.
The stuff of AoK, Ap9 ["functional
multiplexing] is highly-relevant
within this massive parallelism.
"Functional multiplexing" [via
the "chemical insulation" made
possible by the variety of neuro-
transmitters] allows the myriad
transformations to procede without
interfering with one another. Func-
tional-multiplexing occurs as trans-
formations within the transformations.
So looking at the collective action
potentials [or even one action
potential] tells the observer nothing
about "the information".
"The information" can be 'seen' only
by simultaneously looking at all of
the activation that's occurring within
a nervous system. [Looking at less
than all of the activation, both 'dims'
and 'skews' the view of "the informa-
tion" in a way that's proportional to
the portion of all of the activation
that is observed.]
To 'see' "the information" all of the
transformations that are 'embedded'
within all activation [not only ac-
tion potentials] have to be rendered
All of this stuff has been in NDT's
position all along, and it's been
implicit within AoK all along.
It's why NDT begins by 'reading' the
transformation requirements of global
nervous system topological features
such as "decussation" with respect
to the necessities of input and output,
then works toward ever-smaller 'scale',
identifying the TD E/I-minimization
mechanisms that are discussed in AoK,
smaller and smaller 'scale', until
the correlation of any ion's 'Coulomb
forces' with respect to the IFR - with
respect to 'moving toward' and 'moving
away from', in a way that's coupled to
It's doable be-cause, as is adequately
described in AoK and the refs cited in
AoK, everywhere within 'the' nervous
system's 3-D energydynamics all that's
happening is TD E/I-minimization.
"TD E/I-minimization" 'just' consists
of convergence upon minimally-activated
maximal correspondence between the
internal 3-D energydynamics and the
experiential external 3-D energydynamics.
It sounds like 'a lot', but that's only
because it's relatively 'unfamiliar'
to folks who've presumed that "the
information" 'is encoded' in action
"The information" is =not= so 'encoded'.
The action potentials are all neural-
Topology-relevant =transformations= of
In a way that's exactly analogous to the
simple model airplane's servo-mechanism
transformations, only vastly more complex -
The stuff that makes the transformations-
tions-... comprehensible has been the
subject of AoK all along.
The problem was only big, not "impossible".
Just successively accumulate anti-trans-
form 'lenses' by 'reading' the neural
Topology [the Neuroanatomy] at successively-
This's what's been in NDT all along.
AoK is an "instruction manual" for doing
this "anti-transformation-lens" development.
It's the only approach that I'm aware of
that actually works, be-cause "the information"
is =not= 'encoded' in the activation.
The activation consists of "minimal-being-
Looking at the activation without seeing
it through the neural-Topological 'lens'
leaves one 'blind' to "the information".
Just like looking at the tie-rod sliding
back and forth tells one nothing about
the model airplane's flight, unless one
simultaneously sees the entirety of the
Just like observing the line-scanner
slide across a barcode tells one nothing
about what the person using the line-
scanner is thinking.
Watch long enough, and remember all that
happens, and "the information" can be
Or, one can just wait, and read the
scanner's LCD after all the barcodes
have been scanned.
But the barcode-scanning is just trans-
So, too, with "action potentials".
Use the "special topological homeomorph-
ism's 'lens' [AoK, "Short Paper"] to
=See= "the information".
ken [K. P. Collins]
"k p Collins" <kpaulc@[----------]earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:Zh3Gb.10692$wL6.1849 at newsread1.news.atl.earthlink.net...
> "r norman" <rsn_ at _comcast.net> wrote in message
> news:trgguv4mchpeioejapdjv230kettsrecvv at 4ax.com...
> > On Tue, 23 Dec 2003 08:04:55 GMT, "k p Collins"
> > <kpaulc@[----------]earthlink.net> wrote:
> > [...]
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