COPYRIGHT (1990) GREG ALBRECHT
If conscious and unconscious influences from the Left and Right hemispheres respectively combine in the mind in such a way that Reverse Speech is formed, what actually occurs to create the phenomenon of Reverse Speech? In other words, what is the actual mechanical process or processes responsible for Reverse Speech?
Two of the most common questions asked by people newly exposed to Reverse Speech are: ” HOW and WHY does Reverse Speech happen? The question as to why Reverse Speech occurs has been creditably answered. In this essay, I will endeavor to provide a possible answer, using holography as a model for HOW Reverse Speech actually is created in the mind itself. Please note that when I am using the word “holography”, I am only using it to describe phenomena that have similar features to holograms – it is an analogy.
Picture the hologram as a lenseless type of photograph. It may be defined in the following way…………………..
In holography a laser beam (A) is split by a prism (B) so that half the beam (known as the reference beam) travels onwards to the plate (C), while the other half (known as the control beam) illuminates the object (D) which shines on the plate (C) in such a way that the latter encodes the interference pattern of the two beams, thus storing a three – dimensional impression of the object. When the human eye (lower diagram) looks through a plate re-illuminated by the same laser beam, a three – dimensional hologram of the object is seen.
I recently read an article about the work of Karl Pribram of Stanford University Medical School. Pribram suggests that vision and memory are inter-related in the process whereby they are formed, and that the formative factors determining their existence are analogous to holograms.
Pribram’s ideas are fairly complicated, but in the quoted extract below Turner seeks to explain them………….
“Pribram has made extensive experiments in the visual and memory systems of nearly 2,000 monkeys. Recordings from electrodes implanted in the visual cortex produce wave-forms that vary according to whether the monkey sees stripes or a circle. If the monkey is rewarded with a peanut for learning to push left or right panels, depending on whether stripes or circles are seen, then wave forms alter as he educates himself. This recognition and his “intention to press” alter the wave forms before they register in the visual cortex and before the action is taken. Mutual interference between vision and memory has taken place. Where? In further experiments, Pribram implanted multiple electrodes in: the visual or striate cortex, the inferior temporal cortex (responsible for visual recognition), the lateral geniculate nucleus ( the relay station on the main optic tract ), and the visual colliculus (believed to guide movement of the eyes to objects of interest). He concluded that a feedback system from the retinas of both eyes travel to the geniculate nucleus where they meet a feedforward system, processed in parallel, which has been assembled in the visual colliculus. This assembly includes VISUAL RECOGNITION PATTERNS, LEARNED MEMORIES, as well as inputs from the association cortex and the EMOTIONALLY VOLATILE limbic system and brain stem. WAVE FORMS from these CONVERGING systems MERGE in dialectical patterns of INTERFERENCE and we become conscious, perhaps painfully self-conscious, wherever memory and seeing conflict. Pribram has accumulated much evidence that many brain functions are analogous to holograms and such terms as “WAVE FORM” and “INTERFERENCE PATTERN have special meanings in holography.” (My emphasis.) 2.
It is highly interesting and pertinent to note that vision and memory are two factors that relate directly to Reverse Speech. Martin Stiles has discovered that Speech Reversals “speak” primarily in Visual terms, less frequently in Kinesthetic, and comparatively less frequently in Auditory. This has led Martin and David to wonder, in David’s words, if “Reverse Speech is not an auditory phenomenon, as was first thought, but is rather a visual phenomenon.” Second and Third level reversals sometimes feature details of memory, i.e. names of past lovers, enemies, hurts, etc. At a deeper level, we could think of the collective unconscious, collective memories, etc. Taking these factors into account and the fact that brain functions, like the physiology of the human body, generally are inter-related in an holistic way, it would follow that somehow Reverse Speech is linked to the forces governing vision and memory. If Pribrams theory has credibility, that vision and memory are formed “holographically” in a mutual process, then one might also consider Reverse Speech to be due to processes that are holographic in nature.
Furthermore, note that visual-recognition patterns and learned memories are assembled together with inputs from the emotionally volatile limbic system and brain stem. During the early stages of Reverse Speech research, David and I noted that reversals often occur in emotional situations. Here then, is another clue, together with vision and memory, suggesting that Reverse Speech may somehow be linked to these creative forces.
How do we actually hear speech reversals? We know that backward lip movements mirror the reversed speech. Do we “hear” speech reversals unconsciously through unconscious lip reading? If this were the case, then we would be unconsciously recognizing another person’s Reverse Speech through a process that is directly related to vision. However, this seems to be contradicted by EEG tests that have been conducted where subjects only listened to reversals. These tests provided evidence that simply by listening to reversals, brain activity alters significantly and alters when different types of reversals occur. Nevertheless, this does not discount that seeing may also be involved. TOTAL unconscious recognition of speech reversals may involve seeing and hearing in a way that one complements the other.
When David and I wrote “Beyond Backwardmasking: Reverse Speech And The Voice Of The Inner Mind”, we unknowingly used terms that were peculiar to holography, i.e., “waves” and “impulses” to describe those influences that “converge” in the Zone of Interaction. Pribram uses similar terms. His term, “Interference Pattern”, has a striking parallel to The Zone Of Interaction. He theorizes that wave forms from converging systems merge in dialectic patterns of interference. We theorize that unconscious and conscious waves merge in the Zone Of Interaction.
In a hologram a “ghost image” of an object is formed. Again, we have a similarity. David and I often said that the sound of Reverse Speech was “preternatural” or “ghost-like” in nature.
A hologram creates a three dimensional “ghost-like photograph” of an object. In other words, another visual dimension is created. Likewise in Reverse Speech. Whatever forces that are responsible for its creation are creating another dimension for speech, an auditory reversed dimension that has a ghost-like sound.
Another parallel may be seen in that as holography has a controlling factor, the “control beam”, Reverse Speech has a controlling factor which is the unconscious mind.
Taking all of these factors into account, could conscious and unconscious influences (visual recognition patterns, learned memories, emotional inputs,) assemble, and in the process of convergence, create wave forms that merge in patterns of interference – that encoded in this are two messages that become revealed in the actual act of speech as forward speech sounds that have an added dimension, a complementary message, or another side or face when reversed, thus forming what we call Reverse Speech? In other words, the holographic-like processes within the mind create speech sounds that are two-dimensional in nature, just as the optical illusion on the cover of “Beyond Backwardmasking” has two distinctive images embedded together.
In order to observe the extra dimension which has been added to a two dimensional object in a hologram, we have to look through a plate that has been illuminated by a laser beam. On the other hand, to observe the extra dimension which has been added to speech, i.e. the reversed message, we have to first record it, and then using the appropriate audio equipment, reverse the speech.
Adding fuel the exciting prospect that Reverse Speech may be due to holographic like processes is the following statement by Turner….
While many details about the brain resembling holography remain to be worked out, the experimental evidence for common operating principles is overwhelming. Numerous experiments conducted by different research teams in recent years have shown that cells in the sensory cortex encode holographically. 3.
David has evidence that by the age of four months children begin experimenting with Reverse Speech. This grows in sophistication until eighteen months when they begin to use Metaphors. At two years, Archetypes and Speech Complementarity begin to appear. Vision and memory would be a key factor in this development. Children learn to differentiate objects in their environment gradually, assimilating and accommodating to build memory. Left hemisphere cognitive operations are low at this time whereas the Right Hemisphere is dominant. Could the speech norm for children from four months to age two be due to this dominance? Holographic-like activity within the mind would then occur in the context of the Right Hemisphere being dominant, meaning the forward speech would be gibberish, unformed or undeveloped until maturation of Left Hemisphere processes, which develop as learned memories develop. During this time, children would be unconsciously “practicing” speech in reverse. By the age of two years then, learned memories and the Left Hemisphere are sufficiently mature for complementary forward speech to appear. This would enable a forward message to be holographically encoded or embedded with a reverse message ie. Speech Complementarity. The lack of left hemisphere development and learned memories before two years would restrict forward speech being formed, even though “holography” within the mind could create them, and so, as I said, the forward dimension of speech is unformed.
Could situations where reversals appear on stammerings, stutterings, sighs, laughter, etc. represent a sort of “regression” to the stage where children only speak in reverse? They are similar in that their formation is determined by a dominance of the Right Hemisphere and a forward speech pattern that is gibberish or part gibberish. That is, a reversal may appear on a sigh or on or a sigh together with a word.
Fritjof Capra makes some interesting observations about the use of the hologram as an analogy. He says that………….
“The universe is definitely not a hologram, but it displays a multitude of vibrations of different frequencies, and thus the hologram may often be used as an analogy to describe phenomena associated with these vibratory patterns.”
As in the process of perception, rhythm also plays an important role in the many ways living organisms interact and communicate with one another. Human communication, for example, takes place to a significant extent through the synchronization and interlocking of individual rhythms. Recent film analyses have shown that every conversation involves a subtle and largely unseen dance in which the detailed sequence of speech patterns is precisely synchronized not only with minute movements of the speaker’s body but also with corresponding movements by the listener. Both partners are locked into an intricate and precisely synchronized sequence of rhythmic movements that lasts as long as they remain attentive and involved in their conversation. A similar interlocking of rhythms seems to be responsible for the strong bonding between infants and their mothers, and, most likely, between lovers. 4.
Link reversals are a deeper level of unconscious exchange or connection or synchronization between one or more persons. So the hologram model may have a useful role to play in our understanding of the converging factors that create a link reversal.
All of the above factors have led to a formulation of the following theoretical propositions:
1. That processes akin to holography are a primary factor in the stages whereby a dual natured pattern is encoded in the mind and which becomes evident through the act of uttering sounds that we call “speech”.
2. That this applies to all Speech Reversals.
3. That these processes take place in the Zone of Interaction and occur in a holistic way, involving multiple factors, including the Left and Right Hemispheres of the brain, plus conscious and unconscious influences.
4. That the controlling factor determining the holographic encoding of this dual-natured pattern is the unconscious mind.
5. That factors governing the development of vision, memory and emotion are inextricably linked to this process.
6. That Speech reversals are high in clarity when the holographic processes that determine their existence are reaching a peak, and low when these holographic processes are low.
7.(a) That a dual message is not able to be encoded until two years of age due to an imbalance of hemisphere development the Right being more developed.
(b) That at age two, the Left Hemisphere is sufficiently developed to be able to holographically work together with the Right Hemisphere to create Dual Speech/Speech Complementarity.
8. That the key to understanding the nature and the formation of Link Reversals is the holographic model.
# Please note that in this essay, I am not putting myself forth as an expert in the area of holography or in the way that the human brain functions. I simply have seen some interesting possibilities whereby the holographic model may be useful for us to further understand Reverse Speech/Speech Complementarity. It is my hope that the experts will examine the theory of Reverse Speech seriously, and that perhaps the propositions above will provide a stimulus for further research.
1. Charles Hampden Turner, Maps Of The Mind: Charts And Concepts Of The Mind And Its labyrinths, ( New York, Collier Books, 1981 ) p.96
2. Ibid., p.94
3. Ibid., p.97
4. Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point: Science, Society, And The Rising Culture, ( New York, Bantam Books, 1983 ) p.302