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The Universe Organizes in a Galactic Neuromorphic Network

Article by William Brown, Biophysicist, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist

The Universe Organizes in a Galactic Neuromorphic Network
The Quantitative Comparison Between the Neuronal Network and the Cosmic Web 

A key observation in the science of a unified physics of reality is that the universe appears to follow a self-organizational patterning utilizing properties of holography and fractals. These two features of organizational structure in the universe are so ubiquitous that us researchers at the Resonance Science Foundation often refer to “holofractogramic physics” to simultaneously describe an organizational system that is both holographic and fractal in nature. This refers to two properties of universal organization that seem to be primary: holographic ordering of information—in which any subunit of a system contains information about the whole— and fractal ordering of structure. 

 What does “fractal ordering of structure” mean? Fractals are generated by relatively simple algorithmic functions, where feed-back feed-forward processing generates what are often complex patterns. A fractal is a self-similar (but not necessarily identical) pattern that repeats across scale or magnitude. 

No matter how much you “zoom in” or “zoom out”, a self-similar pattern is observed to repeat ad infinitum. Technically speaking, this means a fractal has the property of scale invariance, meaning that the same level of complexity repeats across scale, reminiscent of the hermetic axiom “as above, so below”. 

Here is the main point, if the universe is ordered fractally, that means there is a certain level of scale-invariant complexity, so when, for instance, observing the complexity at the meso-scale of the animal brain (see Figure 2) then there should be some expectation to see this level of complexity repeated at certain intervals at larger and smaller scales. With current technology we cannot directly probe the multiply-connected architecture of space at the Planck scale, which should approach the connectivity and informational complexity of the brain, but we can quantify the complexity of the universe at the largest scales—called the Cosmic Web— from observational data.

Figure 2. The biological system of the single cell is 1030 orders of magnitude larger than the Planck scale and 1030 orders of magnitude smaller than the observable universe, hence it is posed equidistant between these two boundaries at the “mesoscale” 

Now, a study has done exactly this, and found that there is an objective, quantitative (mathematically determined) similarity between neuronal and galaxy networks. In a paper published in Frontiers in Physics, professors Franco Vazza and Alberto Feletti, an astrophysicist and neuroscientist respectively, have quantified the structural, morphological, memory and network properties between the Universal Cosmic Web and the neuronal cell network of the human brain [1]. 

Their study quantitatively demonstrates that the similarities apparent between these two networks of matter in the universe—separated by vast scales of magnitude—are not merely coincidental or a subjective phantasm, but instead require a physical description that unifies self-organizational dynamics across scale (we have described the unified self-organizational dynamic in our paper The Unified Spacememory Network [2], and have discussed the unified organizational dynamic of the morphogenic field in The Morphogenic Field is Real and these Scientists Show how it Works). And most interesting perhaps of all, their results suggest that “Your life’s memories could, in principle, be stored in the universe’s structure” (a conclusion implicit in our study of the Unified Spacememory Network).


Now, let us examine some of the similarities in structural organization between neuronal and galactic networks (a difference of scale of ~1027 orders of magnitude), galaxies group into colossal structures called supergalactic clusters that can be hundreds of millions of parsecs in size. These structures are organized as anfractuous dendritic networks (just like neurons in the brain), with long galactic filaments connecting nodes—the main galactic hubs—with equally colossal voids in the free space between filaments and nodes. Franco Vazza and Alberto Feletti have run calculations of the interface at the void-filament boundary [3], where gravity accelerates matter to speeds of thousands of kilometers per second and have found that these are some of the most complex areas of organized matter in the universe. 


The entirety of the cosmic web—the large-scale structure traced out by all of the universe’s galaxies—extends over at least a few tens of billions of light-years. This is 27 orders of magnitude larger than the human brain… [and] one of these galaxies is home to billions of actual brains.  If the cosmic web is at least as complex as any of its constituent parts, we might naively conclude that it must be at least as complex as the brain.

So, the two systems are organized in well-defined networks, and upon examination of some of the quantitative comparison between these two systems, we see an uncanny level of similarity between them. 

Recent, observations place the estimate for the total number of galaxies in the observable sphere of the Universe at approximately 2.6 trillion [4], with approximately 50 billion galaxies having masses equal to or larger than the Milky Way. Galaxies are not distributed uniformly or homogenously through the universe, but instead aggregate in large clusters, with some super galactic clusters having a total mass exceeding a quadrillion (1015) solar masses. Large filaments several tens of megaparsecs connect clusters and groups of galaxies, which are otherwise separated by (mostly) empty space.

As mentioned, the superficial structure is highly analogous to the cytoarchitecture of the mammalian brain. Recent quantitative studies of the adult human brain estimate there are approximately 86 billion neurons in total, and an almost equal number of glial and other non-neuronal cells [5, 6]. Immediately we can see the quantitative similarities, with both systems organized in well-defined networks, with 1010−1011 nodes interconnected through filaments— when considering all galaxies with masses comparable or larger to that of the Milky Way, and whose typical extent is only a tiny fraction (≤10−3) of their host system size, just like the morphological characteristic of neurons in the adult human brain. Interestingly, estimates of the total number of neurons in the human brain is close to the number of galaxies in the observable universe.


Vazza and Feletti further note:

“Strikingly, in both cases 75% of the mass/energy distribution is made of an apparently passive material, that permeates both systems and has an only indirect role in their internal structure: water in the case of the brain, and dark energy in cosmology, which to a large extent does not affect the internal dynamics of cosmic structures.” 

It is important to highlight from the above quote that while water in the brain and dark energy in cosmology are considered to be passive media in conventional models, they are far from passive and play an integral role in the operational properties in their respective systems. For instance, the cerebral spinal fluid (which is mostly water) is a primary carrier of neuroactive substances and regulatory signaling molecules like mitogens [7], and dark energy is the result of the huge energy fluctuations of the quantum vacuum, which established the initial homogeneities in energy density that resulted in galactic clusters [8]. 

Further statistical analysis showed that the similarities between the cosmic web and the neuronal networks of the brain are not subjective, specious, or a result of the human mind simply trying to place pattern recognition where there is none (trying to bring order to a chaotic dataset, like seeing faces in the clouds). Vazza and Feletti used a spectral analysis technique commonly utilized in cosmology called density power spectrum analysis to assess the level of quantitative similarity between the two networks. 

They describe that: “The power spectrum of an image measures the strength of structural fluctuations belonging to a specific spatial scale. In other words, it tells us how many high-frequency and low-frequency notes make the peculiar spatial melody of each image.” 

They found that the power spectrum of actual cerebellum and cortex slices of brain (at 40X magnification) match the curve of the cosmic web (generated via simulation; see Franco Vazza’s work on cosmological simulations here) to a statistically significant degree (figure 5). 

 Franco Vazza; Cosmological Simulations and Projects.

Figure 5.  Distribution of fluctuations as a function of spatial scale for the same maps of Fig 1 (with the additional analysis of a thin slice through the human cortex, not shown in Fig 1). For comparison, the power spectral density of clouds, tree branches, and plasma and water turbulence are shown. From The Strange Similarity of Neuron and Galaxy Networks; by Franco Vazza & Alberto Feletti.


Somewhat perplexingly, Vazza and Feletti do not consider the brain and the cosmic web to be fractal systems, and instead suggest that their analysis can be interpreted as evidence of the emergence of scale-dependent (versus scale-independent), self-organized structures. Their perspective on this seems to come from a comparison of the brain (cerebellum and cortex) and cosmic web with highly fractal systems like clouds, tree branches, plasma turbulence, and water turbulence. These latter complex systems all have strong self-similarity across scale, however the scale over which this self-similarity is being analyzed is very narrow compared with the astronomical scale-difference between brains and the cosmic web. It may seem that when comparing across a certain set of scale-intervals the self-similarity and complexity of the cosmic web is defined to a small dependent scale—it is suggested that the fractality of self-similarity is simply at much larger intervals for the cosmic web structure. For instance, the anfractuous dendritic pattern of the cosmic web may recapitulate in the ordering of multiverses, a scale that we are currently not able to observe.  So, the holofractal ordering of the multiverse is preserved, and is an important factor in the self-organizational parameters of nature. 

The calculations involving the memory capacity of the brain based on the latest mapping of the connectivity network and the cosmic web (in terms of how many bits are required to simulate it [9]) yield some truly remarkable similarities. In Franco’s calculations he estimates the memory capacity of the cosmic network at around 10 petabytes (1016 bytes). 

“The growth of large-scale cosmic structure is a beautiful exemplification of how complexity can emerge in our Universe, starting from simple initial conditions and simple physical laws. Using ENZO cosmological numerical simulations, I applied tools from Information Theory (namely, ”statistical complexity”) to quantify the amount of complexity in the simulated cosmic volume, as a function of cosmic epoch and environment. This analysis can quantify how much difficulty there is to predict, at least in a statistical sense, the evolution of the thermal, kinetic and magnetic energy of the dominant component of ordinary matter in the Universe (the intragalactic medium plasma).” -Franco Vazza, How Complex is the Cosmic Web? [9]

Studies of the brain connectivity network place the estimate of the total memory capacity at around 2.5 petabytes (although this is a gross under-estimate as it assumes memory capacity is only a function of the synaptic connectivity network, and does not properly factor in sub-synaptic and subcellular memory processing).

Vazza and Feletti point out that based on these calculation there is an approximate similarity in the memory capacity of the galactic network and the neuronal network, meaning that the potentially the entire body of information that is stored in a human brain can also be encoded into the distribution of galaxies in the universe. Or, conversely, that “a computing device with the memory of the human brain can reproduce the complexity displayed by the universe at its largest scales”. 


RSF In Perspective —

Following a holofractographic principle of self-organizational structure in the universe and nature we would postulate a priori that patterning observed at one scale of the universe—say the mesoscale of the human brain—will be recapitulated at larger or smaller scale intervals, as the complexity of organization of the universe is scale-invariant. This latest objective, quantitative study offers confirmation that this postulation is correct, as the same patterning, level of complexity, and information processing capabilities are observed for super-galactic clusters as is seen for the human brain. An interesting point of speculation is: “does form recapitulate function”? We believe that to a certain extent it does: and so at the largest and the smallest scales of the universe—where the structural organization and dynamics of matter found in the mesoscale (for instance, the human brain) is reiterated—there will be information processing and memory properties, what we termed Spacememory. This has important implications for the natural dynamics underlying the evolution and development the universe and all its myriad interrelated subsystems, and particular significance for scientific theories regarding the nature of consciousness in the universe. Namely, it supports the valid scientific hypothesis of panpsychism, in which elements of consciousness are found at every level, every subsystem, and the universe as a whole.  



[1] F. Vazza & A. Feletti. The Quantitative Comparison Between the Neuronal Network and the Cosmic Web. Frontiers in Physics (2020) Volume 8, Article 525731.

[2] Haramein, N., Val Baker, A., Brown, W. The Unified Spacememory Network: from cosmogenesis to consciousness. The Journal of Neuroquantology (2016) Vol 14, Issue 4, doi: 10.14704/nq.2016.14.4.961 

[3] Vazza, F. On the complexity and the information content of cosmic structures. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 465, 4942-4955 (2017). 

[4] Conselice CJ, Wilkinson A, Duncan K, Mortlock A. The evolution of galaxy number density at z < 8 and its implications. Astrophys J. (2016) 830:83. doi:10. 3847/0004-637X/830/2/83

[5] Azevedo FA, Carvalho LR, Grinberg LT, Farfel JM, Ferretti RE, Leite RE, et al. Equal numbers of neuronal and nonneuronal cells make the human brain an isometrically scaled-up primate brain. J Comp Neurol. (2009). 513:532–41. doi:10.1002/cne.21974

[6] Herculano-Houzel S. The remarkable, yet not extraordinary, human brain as a scaled-up primate brain and its associated cost. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. (2012). 109:10661–8. doi:10.1073/pnas.1201895109

[7] J. G. Veening and H. P. Barendregt, “The regulation of brain states by neuroactive substances distributed via the cerebrospinal fluid; a review,” p. 16, 2010.

[8] Q. Wang, Z. Zhu, and W. G. Unruh, “How the huge energy of quantum vacuum gravitates to drive the slow accelerating expansion of the Universe,” Phys. Rev. D, vol. 95, no. 10, p. 103504, May 2017, doi: 10.1103/PhysRevD.95.103504.

[9] F. Vazza, “How complex is the cosmic web?,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 491, no. 4, pp. 5447–5463, Feb. 2020, doi: 10.1093/mnras/stz3317.



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