Plurality in the Brain

The Feathersong “Unified Theory” of Plurality in the Brain

0. Completeness, etc.

This theory is our opinion on one possible (pseudo-)scientific model of how plurality might work in the brain. We are not neuroscientists or psychologists or psychiatrists, just parties who are interested from the inside and have some food for thought. Please take everything we say here with a big grain of salt, and feel free to contact us to suggest new concepts or changes.

It should also be pointed out that basically nothing is made in a vacuum these days; we’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from other people’s ideas on the internet. This is just, to our knowledge, the first time it’s all been compiled together and presented like this.

1. Holographic Theory

Holographic theory is, roughly, the concept that information is not stored sequentially, linearly, or together in one spatial area. Rather, information in a holographic system is an emergent property of the system itself. Information in a holographic system is stored throughout the system, sometimes overlapping with other information.

An example of a non-holographic system might be a piece of paper. The words are written to the page sequentially and are in a predictable place on the page. They do not move, and examining the page from another angle typically doesn’t produce a different result.

Another example of non-holographic storage is in a computer or phone. Typically these are now flash memory, which is an array of bits that may be toggled on or off. A value can be read by sequentially examining these bits and forming them into bytes, which become graphics, words, etc. The information is always in a more or less sequential and predictable location.

A neural network, such as a brain or an AI system, is a holographic system. A neural network of the brain or AI variety consists of a set of neurons with activation levels. Information is stored by “training” the network, which means applying a set of input values with a set of expected output values. These values are “stored” across the entire network; each input affects all neurons. These networks can then receive novel inputs never received before and make a good guess based on previous data; they synthesise. It is the holographic property of the system that makes this synthesis possible.


Another example of a holographic system is a light “hologram”, which many of you have probably seen before. There’s an example on many credit cards. It is a flat, two-dimensional surface; yet, because of the holographic property of the material, it is possible to turn the card and see different angles of the item that was captured for the hologram.

2. Mind as Hologram

As mentioned above, a human brain is a holographic system, and it is our contention that the human mind is an emergent holographic property of the brain. This means that what one calls their “personality” or “self” is not some discrete parts of the brain, but an emergent property from the entire brain.

3. Multiple Minds as Co-existent Holograms

In a mathematical neural network, presenting various values to the network that were previously trained will produce the expected trained output. This is in spite of the fact that the network was trained on multiple different inputs. This means that, in spite of no extra “neurons” having been added, there are multiple values, multiple recognitions “stored” in the network.

As a human mind is “stored” in a neural network, multiple minds may also be “stored” in the same network. These multiple minds may or may not use the same parts of the brain for the same purpose, so to speak.

Co-cognisant minds are ones that share enough brain structures or information trade-off points that they may openly communicate with each other, much like the corpus callosum connecting the two halves of the brain itself. When a plural group switches and has complete memory blackouts, this is (in our opinion) the result of the multiple minds not having any useful or usable overlap. Likewise, there are many systems who are extremely co-conscious, and it is likely that their minds are in strong alignment in the host brain.

4. Tulpas

It is our belief that tulpas may be created in a mind that is already open to this sort of co-conscious structure by establishing a second or third or however many holographic “mind” patterns within the brain. As all learning is just conscious manipulation of the neural pathways, it seems likely that one could consciously encourage the formation of these structures as well.

5. Walk-ins

A walk-in is an outside entity which has taken up residence within a plural group and can use the facilities of the mind like anyone who was born into it, generally.

Our theory in regards to walk-ins is that, like a web browser that allows pages to store small amounts of data local to the machine, a brain may form a neural pattern for an outside entity; the outside entity is controlling things, but perceives itself to exist within the body and can affect the brain and the body’s mood and anything else the brain has control over. Over time, the usage of this neural pattern would cause it to strengthen.

The discussion of outside entities themselves is presently spiritual in nature and outside the realm of this document.

As food for thought, it has been suggested to us by deAria that perhaps walk-ins who match a fictional or historical source represent a partial mind that has found its way to a host mind, and is integrated into and “filled out” by that host mind. This might explain phenomena such as lost memories, change in attitude versus canon, etc.

6. Otherworlds

In much the same way as an outside entity might affect a human mind, we believe that the presence and connection to an outside place may also affect the brain. In the case of a gateway system, the outside entities may live in this otherworld and bring knowledge about it back to the human body.

This, too, is generally spiritual in nature, and we won’t speculate on it further.

It’s also common for some otherworlds to be acknowledged as an internal space, not something outside the body. Given the rest of the theory in this document, it’s not hard to imagine how such a structure could be built up in a brain. This might also happen as a side effect of people needing a place to ground and exist when not fronting.

7. Completeness, etc.

We just wish to reiterate once again that this document represents our opinions and musings, and is not to be taken as scientific evidence or otherwise canonical or definitive, in spite of being presented in that tone. Please feel free to contact us about it, if you think you’ve found an exception or new idea that might be useful to add. We desire to generate knowledge and ideas with meaning, not push dogma.