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Hopfield terrains

Mathematicians tend to see fields of study in terms of 'fields', in the sense of abstract spaces. These may be visualised in three dimensions, say, as a memory 'landscape', tho the actual mathematics, as used by John Hopfield, generalises the idea to multi-dimensions of memory associations, perhaps simulating the neural networks of the brain.

Trying to remember a name is likened to setting a marble rolling on a hilly terrain. In one of the valleys of memory is the correct name but there are closely associated, over-riding memory basins that the marble insists on rolling into, instead. For example, the Scottish inventor of television was not called Yogi Bear but it was something like that. ( Logie Baird, in fact. )

Like a scratch on an old record, a deeper memory cuts across a closely related memory's impression, and causes the needle of recollection to slip in its tracks and go round and round the wrong way, till one finds a way of putting it back on course to where one wants to be.

The memory landscape, that experience builds from life's chances, may be a fairly reliable map of the past. But a confusion of tracks on the mind, left by the senses' past traffic, can play us false. The point is that the nature of our experience builds a memory landscape that selects our memories for us. Memory becomes subject to our experience's environmental selection

The world, as a whole, does not stamp a formally correct impression, like a record, on our minds. Rather, it is a huge mix-up that we have to more or less make sense of, as far as possible, and with doubtful success, judging by the current state of the planet.





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