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Mayer Spivack
Senior consultant and advisor on organizational change and innovation. Artist.
Interests: Learning theory, psychology, psychodymamics, organizational change, organizational behavior, causes of violence, management, learning disabilities, conflict resolution, cognition, innovation, design, human factors, architectural design, sculpture, violence theory, facilitation
Recent Activity
This is a collection of articles my father wrote about his theory of syncretic associative cognition. It gives some good insight into his unique style and his thoughts about mind and intelligence. Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2011 at Arts and Minds
Editor's note: In order to illustrate and celebrate the accomplishments and thinking of my late father, Mayer Spivack, I've attached his CV here as a PDF. His work touched many fields, and many people. It's rare for anyone to dive as deep as he did in even one field; but he did it in many. His CV is an example of that special breed of interdisciplinary intellectuals and artists who make Boston so unique. Download Mayer Spivack CV Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2011 at Arts and Minds
(Note from Nova Spivack, son of Mayer Spivack) The author of this blog, Mayer Spivack, passed away on February 12, 2011, after a year and a half battle with cancer. Throughout it all he maintained his curiosity, humor, compassion, and dedication to innovation - in fact, these facets of his personality only got stronger as he got closer to his transition. I encourage you to explore the directory of topics here to get a sense of the scope of his incredible intellect. I hope that his theories and observations about the mind, design, art and science will reach a wider... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2011 at Arts and Minds
We stared in religious fascination at fish so unfortunate as to be frozen under eight inches of solid inches below our blades. Some, in the thickest black ice of the shallows were frozen in place, a natural museum exhibit. But one time in the spring, we saw these same fish thaw out and swim away while we watched. We learned a lot about second chances from this icy lesson. Not all creatures are so fortunate as to escape from eternal frozen-wide-awake immobility. Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2011 at Arts and Minds
Cancer is a time machine. The ‘C-Word’, once attached, clings like a burr, leaving sharp bits of itself everywhere. I cannot get rid of it. I heard the word pronounced by a creature whose eyes, dark with seriousness, were telling me the truth. Waking up in the morning, or less fortunately in the middle of the night, I am innocent, having only to pee. Unaware, forgetting, that the definition of my life and that of my family has been twisted short and for the worse. In a few seconds I remember that I have cancer and we have been pitched... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2011 at Arts and Minds
Mayer Spivack is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 15, 2010
We now accept that voice activated computers have come of age. There are many applications of voice input that are used by people wishing to avoid using their keyboards. We read about direct brain control of the computer interface and have seen convincing demos of this in action as a prosthetic assist and as research effort. Soon that too will seem commonplace. The profusion of technologies that offer novel ways for people to enter information into their computers will continue to amaze us. But will the keyboard ever disappear? I strongly doubt it. Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2010 at Arts and Minds
Dr. Harris, thank you for your encouragement. I agree that the questions are more interesting at the moment than any particular proposed solution my own included. I certainly expect some rejection. At the least we all are having some fun. As a non-specialist who is retired from the university (Harvard Medical School), I have no clue about how I could publish this short piece, or where to send it. Any suggestions?
Greetings Marco, and thank you for your interest and comment. Sorry to have been a slow correspondent. We will not easily confirm quantum effects in brain at this time since we are only brain-study infants, and not much more developed as quantum babies. In both realms of inquiry there is more speculation than there are evidence based findings. In fact I believe that each piece of confirmed hypothesis gives birth to flocks of speculators. Speculation, and hypotheses like my own, will therefore always outnumber 'proofs'. Some places to look for confirmation or dismissal might be to (obviously) compare the speed of recall for obscure associative memories that can only be very hard to retrieve, like the name of someone in our second grade class. Names are most easily 'forgotten' and therefore slower to 'remember'. If the speed of recall turn out to be within the classical parameters for the nerve fiber lengths that we estimate are involved, then we would need to design a more refined approach with a more complex challenge. If the result is too fast for the estimated lengths of nerve fiber then we may be more optimistic and attempt to refine methodology into energy use for multiple such queries. Hopefully, we could eventually come up with a method that allows direct observation of transmission speeds in the brain. My favorite idea for a more serious challenge requires that we first postulate a model for brain-work that is less linear than underlies most previous research and is more associative, (see my papers on associative-syncretic process). If we assume, in the first linear instance, that brain-work goes on like regulated highway traffic, with each efferent and afferent direction assigned to a different road or lane, than if we know the length of the road, the time of departure and arrival, then we can calculate the speed. Even if it Is very fast. But this model will not serve the needs of a dense population of citizens or of neurons. If instead postulate that all roads are connected in a web, hardly a new idea, then the linear model begins to fail for complex challenges. The more sub-networks that are connected together, the greater potential degradation in performance for an linear system. It is in this kind of associative process that entanglement might contribute a speed boost and an energy conservation advantage for the heat and energy intensive brain. In such a web of networks in the brain it is hard to account for the human abilities in performing complex mind-tasks involving multiple areas of concern. It seems probable that the quantity of origins and terminations, the sheer combined length of the necessary pathway could only be serviced by non-linear infrastructure operating at non-classical speeds. Small-scale tests may be performed on networks grown in the laboratory. Penrose has been concerned with human consciousness, and his propositions are directed at discovering how that is possible and how it works. While consciousness is a wonderful problem, I am on another track in this paper and his notions are not applicable here. As for "free will", I reject this old notion completely. It is an invention and a comforting myth. Free will does not exist. we and all living beasties are completely deterministic entities. To postulate and agency for free will, our own (guilty)/(innocent) selves or something within us is to invoke a homunculus sitting in a lounge chair somewhere in our forebrain. If he is there, where did he come from, and who is he if he is not “us”? Where does ‘his’ free will come from? Would any of us freely choose or freely 'will' all of the neurotic acts we commit every year? So, where is free will coming from? Our imaginations!
Mayer Spivack is now following Henry Harris
Jan 16, 2010