Dereference Theory of Consciousness

October 24, 2016 Leave a comment

Draft 1.1

IMO machine consciousness will ultimately prove to be an oxymoron, but if we did want to look for consciousness analogs in machine behavior, here is an idea that occurred to me recently:

Look for nested dereferencing, i.e. places where persistent information processing structures load real-time sense data about the loading of all-time sense data.


At the intersection of philosophy of mind, computer science, and quantum mechanics is the problem of instantiating awareness. What follows is an attempt to provide a deeper understanding of the significance of dereferencing and how it applies to integration of information and the quantum measurement problem. This is a broad conjecture about the nature of sensation as it pertains to the function of larger information processes, with an eye toward defining and identifying specific neuroscientific or cognitive signatures to correlate with conscious activity.

A dereference event can be thought of as the precise point in which a system that is designed or evolved to expect a range of inputs receives the real input itself. This sentence, for example, invites an expectation of a terminal clause, the terms of which are expected to be English words which are semantically linked to the rest of the sentence. English grammar provides templates of possible communication, but the actual communication relies on specific content to fill in those forms. The ability to parse English communication can be simulated by unconscious, rule-based mechanisms, however, I suggest that the ability to understand that communication involves a rule-breaking replacement of an existing parse theory with empirical, semantic fact. The structure of a language, its dictionary etc, is a reference body for timeless logic structures. Its purpose is to enable a channel for sending, receiving, and modifying messages which pertain to dereferenced events in real time. It is through the contact with real time sense events that communication channels can develop in the first place, and to continue to self modify.

What is proposed here is an alternative to Multi-World Interpretation of Quantum Wave Function collapse – an inversion of the fundamental assumption in which all possible phenomena diverge or diffract within a single context of concretely sensed events. The wave function collapse in this view is not the result of a measurement of what is already objectively ‘out there’, nor is it the creation of objective reality by subjective experiences ‘in here’, but a quantized return to an increasingly ‘re-contextualized’ state. A perpetual and unpredictable re-acquaintance with unpredictable re-acquaintance.

In programmatic terms, the variable *p is dereferenced to the concrete value (*p = “the current temperature”, dereferenced p = “is now 78 degrees Fahrenheit″). To get to a better model of conscious experience (and I think that this this plugs into Orch OR, IIT, Interface Theory, and Global Workspace), we should look at the nested or double dereferencing operation. The dereferencing of dereferencing (**p) is functionally identical to awareness of awareness or perception of perception. In the *p = “the current temperature” example, **p is “the current check of the current check of the temperature”. This not only points us to the familiar Strange loop models of consciousness, but extends the loop outward to the environment and the environment into the loop. Checking the environment of the environmental check is a gateway to veridical perception. The loop modifies its own capacity for self-modification.

Disclaimer: This description of consciousness as meta-dereferencing is intended as a metaphor only. In my view, information processing cannot generate conscious experience, however, conscious experience can possibly be better traced by studying dereferencing functions. This view differs from Gödel sentences or strange loops in that those structures refer to reference (This sentence is true) while the dereference loop specifically points away from pointers, rules, programs, formal systems, etc and toward i/o conditioning of i/o conditions. This would be a way for information-theoretic principles to escape the nonlocality of superposition and access an inflection point for authentic realization (in public space-time as shared experience). “Bing” = **Φ. In other words, by dereferencing dereference, the potentially concrete is made truly concrete. Sense experience is embodied as stereo-morphic tangible realism and tangible realism is disembodied as a sense of fact-gathering about sensed fact-gatherings.

Dereference theory is an appeal to anti-simulation ontology. Because this description of cognition implicates nested input/output operations across physically or qualitatively *real* events, the subjective result is a reduced set of real sense conditions rather than confabulated, solipsistic phenomenology. The subjective sense condition does not refer only to private or generic labels within a feed-forward thinking mechanism, but also to a model-free foundation and genuine sensitivity of the local ‘hardware’ to external conditions in the public here-and-now. This sensitivity can be conceived initially as universal property of some or all physical substrates (material panpsychism), however, I think that it is vital to progress beyond this assumption toward a nondual fundamental awareness view. In other words, subjective consciousness is derived from a dereference of a local inertial frame of expectation to a universal inertial frame of unprecedented novelties which decay as repetition. Each event is instantiated as an eternally unique experience, but propagated as repetitive/normalized translations in every other frame of experience. That propagation is the foundation for causality and entropy.

QM, Perception, and Reality

October 16, 2016 Leave a comment

What is a property such as colour in the absence of context / environment and in the absence of observation? Can properties exist independently of context and / or observation? Could what we call illusion be more real than we think it is (or could reality be less real than we think it is)? “

This is the key to the whole thing. I would agree that color always appears within a wider context if that context is ‘lighter/darker’ or ‘contrast’ or other colors, however I would disagree that it must always appear in a context which is larger because of conceptual relations.

When we push on our eyeball (um, with the lids closed), we can see color without any context other than the default color of our closed-eye visual scope. We are not looking at a thing which is blue/green (in my case), we are looking at the visual field presenting itself with a specific phosphene hue which stands out from the background hue.

This is a first step toward understanding how reality is derived from realism, which is a potential derived from the accumulation of perceptual qualities. Perception is not derived from reality, only from larger scales and scopes of (non-human) perception.

First Consciousness or Reality?

October 1, 2016 Leave a comment

When answering the above question, please provide definitions for reality and consciousness because I’m not even sure I fully understand what they are. Thank you.

These are my understandings and should not be taken to constitute knowledge which is considered consensus science or philosophy. These are conjectures offered to inspire a deeper understanding into the nature of consciousness and reality.

Reality = Conscious experience in which relative qualities of realism are present. These qualities typically include persistence in memory, coherence, non-contradiction in causality, and shared pervasiveness, however we know that in a dream, even the most surreal conditions can be taken for reality. From this we can conclude that while on one level we believe that reality is based on qualities of realism, consciousness can be spoofed into assigning realistic qualities to any experience.

Logically we might think that the experience of waking up is what creates the difference between reality and dreaming, and that our waking life is simply a dream which we have not yet awakened from. There is another possibility, which is that our personal consciousness is part of a larger hierarchy or holarchy of conscious experiences, such that our sense of waking as being conscious of that which is finally and authentically real may be a sense which is as real as anything can ever be.

Consciousness = All that is not present in complete unconsciousness. We can use a lot of different terms to specify limits on this or that aspect of conscious experience. We can talk about awareness, perception, feeling, sensing, etc, or attention and being awake, being alive. In my view the point is not to make the subject more complicated but to distill it to its essence. We know what unconsciousness is. We know what general anesthesia is.

We can look at a term like ‘local anesthetic’ and see an intuitive connection between numbing of sensation and the annihilation of consciousness in general anesthesia. Between and opposing these poles, we can triangulate a term like ‘aesthesia’ or ‘aesthetic phenomena’ to refer to all that exists which is contingent upon the presence of direct presence of sensory perception and participation. Sense can be understood as the content of all experience, including thoughts and ideas, but not limited in any way to human beings, biology, or physical substances.

The point of a term like ‘aesthetic’ is to make a distinction between experiential phenomena which are indisputably concrete and anesthetic phenomena such as physical forms and logical functions (physics or information processing), which are, as far as we can ever know, hypothetical and abstract. We cannot know physics except by an indirect experience through our body and we cannot know information except by an indirect experience through our intellectual contemplation. Both of these are dependent upon conscious powers of perceptual participation and comparison.

To answer the OP question then, we must first completely sever any connection between consciousness, reality and the particular context of human beings so that consciousness as sense-perception/motive participation can be fairly considered alongside the other possibilities of physical mass-energy/space-time/force-field and information-theoretic form-functions/data-processes. If we fail to detach consciousness or qualia from the human experience then we are not comparing apples to apples. It would be like mistaking all forms of matter for parts of our physical body.

Next, we should see that there is no reality which cannot be dreamed. Lucid dreamers report that their dreams can be examined in excruciating detail and can contain experiences which are indistinguishable from waking reality. We should also leave the possibility open that even though our final reality could be a dream, it still could be different from any other dream. This difference could be an authentic sense that waking life is not any dream, but the only dream which is shared by all conscious experiences. It is the dream which counts more than all others because of its shared access, and because of the significance which is accumulated in a universe of experience which is felt so intensely for so many, for so long a time. I consider significance to be a concrete metaphysical feature – an aesthetic saturation which underlies both the privately impressive power of symbolic and archetypal phenomena and the publicly expressed power of energy, mass, matter and gravity.

Significance manifests tangibly as an arrest of motive effects, a slowing or marking of time and intensification of attention. The physical universe is a view of significance – the persistence of all experience as viewed from an anthropocentric scope of sensitivity/insensitivity. It is collection of many layers of limits of our human awareness which we see as the gaps between ourselves and our mind, brain, body, and universe of bodies. If our awareness were to expand to a transpersonal scope, we would appreciate directly that consciousness is not only a human phenomenon, but the only possible phenomenon which can make any and all other phenomena possible.

Without physics or information, we can still conceive of a universe of raw feelings, colors, sounds, etc. There could still be a dream in which things like matter or narrative activities could be present. Without consciousness/qualia, we can fool ourselves into thinking that a universe of Reality could ‘exist’ but when examined more carefully, our notion of ‘existence’ unravels into a purely abstract, faith-based concept which seems likely to me to be derived from our subjective sense of separation within consciousness rather than an objective sense of objectivity.

When we ask why something which we imagine has no experience, like a stone, it becomes a problem to rationally expect that any sort of experience should develop at all. A universe which is a physical machine cannot include immaterial feelings and thoughts without support from physics. A universe which is immaterial ‘simulation data’ also cannot include real aesthetic qualities other than the literal qualities which constitute each separate switch or branch in the data-processing substrate (be it material or otherwise). If we include conscious experiences as ‘emergent properties’ of either physics or information, we have become guilty of chasing our tail. Since the purpose of reducing our model of nature to a single phenomenon is to rationally explain every phenomenon with that single phenomenon, resorting to emergence amounts to inventing an unacknowledged second substance which has no rational connection to the first.

The solution to this in my view is to begin with the single phenomenon of sense (pan-aesthesia or pansensitivity) as the Absolute. From there, we get principles such as symmetry and reason with which to identify relations between physics and information as a Hegelian dialectic which reflects, rather than produces the original thesis of sense. Sense is the thesis, physics and information are the dual-aspect or double antithesis (antithesis of each other and of sense), significance is the synthesis, and entropy or insensitivity is the antithesis of the synthesis (the shadow of the thesis within the thesis). Because this quadruplicity is absolute, if we call it panpsychism we must be careful not to confuse it with what I call promiscuous panpsychism in which every thing, such as stones or signs have consciousness. Under pansensitivity, every “thing” is an appearance of consciousness within itself. We are not a body which has become conscious, we are a conscious experience which has foregrounded itself by back-grounding other conscious experiences as bodies.

In my view, a stone is what we see through the sense perspective of a human body in an anthropocentric timescale. In its native geological-astrophysical timescale, the events associated with the formation of minerals and planets are as dynamic and creative as biology or psychology. We see a stone because our sense of the experience which stretches back billions of years is frozen, relative to the scale of our own human experience. To us, it is a stone. Without us, there is no stone, only an aesthetic dream which speeds along at sampling rates too extreme for us to sense personally. The mineral level of experience is both too fast on the molecular level and too slow on the interstellar level for us to relate to directly.

The relation between a medium-rate human experience and an extreme-rate inorganic experience is presented as a truncated and collapsed aesthetic: as classical physics; density, mass, gravity, persistence of linear duration and causality, etc. Our human experience is nested within a deeper biological-zoological body experience, which is nested within a deeper organic-chemical experience, which is nested within a deeper inorganic-astrophysical experience.

Each of these nested ‘gears’ is concurrent with our own, even down to the Big Bang, which is eternally present as both an event in time and as the diffraction of sense into physical and psychological phenomena from beyond time. In this way, the Absolute is itself in ‘superposition’ of being sense experience which is becoming more significant sense experience by its diffraction as the physics vs information duality. This duality can be seen on the quantum scale as entanglement and contextuality. I think that entanglement is the parent of space and physics, since non-locality is a contrast against locality. For space or distance to exist, there must be a parallel, simultaneous relation which juxtaposes a non-local experience of ‘here’ with multiple experiences of ‘there, and there’. For time or causality to exist, there must be a serial contextuality in which a de-contextualized or immutable time-traveller is defined against the context of its ongoing mutable experience.

The physics-information duality shows up in relativity also as energy is defined in terms of spatiotemporalized mass (E = mc²). Energy, as the capacity to perform work is, in my view, the event horizon of conscious participation as it makes its teleological impact on what has been perceived. Energy is the footprint of subjectivity upon the subjective perception of objectivity, as it expresses the motive power to cause significant effects (or effect increasing significance). Gravity is the shadow of E = mc²…the significance-masking effect which we can conceive of as both physical entropy and information entropy. Gravity is the collapse of former significance in a given frame of reference which results in an increase in mass and aesthetic ‘seriousness’ of what remains.

To sum up: Reality is what consciousness finds serious and significant. It is a relation between the local frame of perception (such as a human lifetime) and the larger frames of reference in which that frame is nested (the history of the human species, zoology, biology, chemistry, physics, and metaphysics). In this relation the relative insignificance of the local frame is presented as a heightened quality of significance of the distal frames. We are thus presented with a way to use our limited consciousness to partially transcend its own limitation, by recognizing its own incompleteness as a material fact. This is ironic as it is the unbounded, absolute power of consciousness to transcend itself which gives rise to the nearly-absolute boundedness of realism into ‘Reality’. In other words, reality seems real because consciousness needs to become partially unreal to itself to create realism. Realism is the local appearance of phenomena beyond local appearance: Non-local consciousness (pansensitivity) as localized, decontextualed, de-sensitized, mechanics.

Reality is the way that consciousness creates the possibility of greater and greater enchantment through the appearance of disenchantment.



Force and Will

September 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Somebody just told me I have free will.


I’d just like to know what force I am manipulating inside of my brain in order to maneuver neuronal molecules around by choice.

I think that there may be no ‘forces’ other than nested levels of will. Direct participation in our native frame of reference is self-described as a human, personal will. What is will? It is the self-evident, irreducible affect of effect: The feeling of doing. The inertial resistance to will translates to ‘mass’ when we turn it around hypothetically to be viewed as if it were an exterior phenomenon.

To be more scientific about it, will can be understood as the Participatory end of a Perceptual-Participatory phenomenon or ‘PPP’. This should be our anchor for a natural model for nature as nature ultimately begins and ends with some aesthetic/perceptual presence which includes a perception of participation.

Here is a diagram and key of the different relations of PPP as it is reflected into its various permutations. Note that symbols * and # are used to denote the conversion of directly sensed experience into transcendental or abstract influences respectively.


Teleological/Signifying Levels

* – Transcendental
T- Transpersonal
P- Personal
S- Subpersonal
I- Impersonal
#- Abstract

*** = Absolute (Consciousness)
T-P** = Transpersonal (Inspiration)
T-PP* = Interpersonal (Thought)
P-PPP = Personal (Awareness)
S-PPp = Subpersonal (Feeling)
S-Ppp = Sema-phenomenal (Sensation)

Teleonomic/Entropic Levels

I-###= Infra-Impersonal (Quantum)
I-p## = Deep Impersonal (Energy)
I-pp# = Classical Impersonal (Matter)
I – ppp = Natural Impersonal (Body)
I – *pp = Far Impersonal (World)
I – **p = Ultra-Impersonal (Universe)

When our native frame of personal awareness (P-PPP) is influenced by a lower level (S-PPp and S-Ppp), it is perceived as increasingly beneath or behind our control. We call these urges ‘subconscious’, but they are more properly ‘subpersonal’, as we cannot be sure that the appearance of subconsciousness is not a relativistic lensing of our Personal level of experience. From the absolute frame of perception, all levels are experienced consciously, so that there is no such thing as sub-consciousness, only consciousness at a sub-personal level.

We are individual people who have emotions and sensations, but we are not emotions or sensations ourselves. The hypothesis offered here is that what we experience as emotions or sensations are experienced as the self or instead of the self on the sub-personal levels of consciousness. When we see a flower and experience an emotion, what we see as a flower is actually the body of a sub-personal experience which may be a species-wide entity which recurs continuously over millions of years rather than momentarily over a single human life. It is crucial to factor in timescale anthropocentrism. Our emotional response to seeing a flower is the tip of the iceberg of an emotional state which persists on an entirely different frame of reference than we do because it’s world is a different world from that which we experience.

When we experience thoughts and intentions on the personal (P-) level, they have a proprietary, intentional quality. They are ‘our’ thoughts. When we experience S- level phenomena, they are presented as an unexpected influence from beneath our control. It is an intrapersonal urge which can stimulate or threaten the personal level of control (as would be seen in Tourette’s syndrome).

Emotions and motivations are on the cusp of the sub-personal (S-PPp) level, while S-Ppp level experiences are to us Sema-phenomenal sensations. When viewed from the exterior, these neurological ‘impulses’ are impersonal electrochemical reactions (I-p##). When this level was first modeled by Maxwell and Faraday as arising from the interplay of electromagnetic fields they were coming from Classical Mechanics, so they wouldn’t have imagined possibilities such as quantum nonlocality and contextuality. Their decision to invent the EM field opened up the world of modern technology, but it has left us with a contra-natural, anti-subjective worldview which is now desperately in need of correction.

By restoring immaterial fields, forces, and energy to their natural place within personal and extra-personal experiences, science can begin to integrate the full spectrum of phenomena in nature and progress to a serve a higher quality of life in our world.

Disclaimer: I’m writing this as a conjecture, not as a claim to knowledge. If you can’t handle that, please see this page for further instructions.

Compact Guide to Multisense Realism Cosmology

September 11, 2016 Leave a comment

2msrlook ference

A compact guide to Multisense Realism.

On the top, we have the fundamental elements:

Ference: aka the Absolute, Fundamental awareness, Pansensitivity
The totality of all experience. Universal qualia. Simultaneous, eternal, and meta-ontological.

Afference: The division of ference into locally/sequentially felt qualities or affects. Sensations, feelings, perceptions, experiences, intuitions, local qualia, all fall into this category.

  • Efference: The affect of motivation which causes effects to afferent frames of reference. Efference is reflected within externalized reference frames as mass-energy/space-time.
  • Reference: Upon receipt of an effect by a frame of afference, attention is focused and informed by a reverberation of afferent associations that partially re-connect the local frame to the absolute.

Through many iterations of Afference – Efference – Afference – Reference, there is an accumulation of Significance. This is reflected in the bottom half of the image as the hierarchically stacked levels of phenomenal and physical contexts of experience.

Significance is the saturation of afference, such that significant affects are super-aesthetic and more directly revealing or reflecting aspects of the Absolute. Significance is afference returning to ference with interest.

The right hand side shows a hierarchy of typical human levels of significance. With the saturation of local qualia into subjectivity, there is an increasing complementary de-saturation as objectivity. This is shown on the left hand side. Note that the sense of causality proposed in MSR is multivalent. Unlike the top-down theistic models or bottom-up deterministic models, causality reverberates across reference frames horizontally as well as vertically.

Human consciousness is not caused by the human brain, rather human consciousness is a spectrum of active re-experience on biochemical, zoological, anthropological, and psychological levels. The brain is not caused by neurons or molecular structures, nor is it caused by the division of the single zygote into a body of organs. All physical structures are caused simultaneously by unseen consequences of re-experiences on multiple levels of description and scale. The key is timescale relativity. Every frame of reference is defined by its own scale of time relative to other frames.

What we see as molecular activity is taking place on a much faster and much slower scale than our own personal experience is. Cosmological events take place on the same scale of very fast and very slow relative to our scale. Human experience emerges* from the middle – cleaving the spectrum of scale into a larger-smaller polarities, again and again in a branching fractal pattern. Each branching creates new opportunities for significance, but also creates entropy which objectifies and distances other frames of afference.

Glossary of other Neologisms:

  1. Metaphoric = Transpersonal psychology, myth, intuition, timeless wisdom.
  2. Apophoric = “Away from” phoric. Thinking and analysis leverage a small amount of personal effort into communicable forms. The transpersonal and personal layers of experience are synthesized here as impersonal concepts and ideas.
  3. Phoric = The personal world of the self, ego, and autobiographical narrative,
  4. Emphoric = Personal feelings and emotions, instincts.
  5. Semaphoric = Sub-personal qualities of experience – sensations.

These levels constitute the hierarchy/spectrum of human subjectivity. In reality this is more of a dynamic fugue, with events on different levels taking on more or less significance than this static scale would suggest.

*actually human experience (thinking, feeling, perceiving, sensing) diverges or diffracts from the previous eras of simpler experience (anthro-, zoo-, bio-, organic, chemo-, fundamental)

A Quantum Analogy with Dice, Fans, and Basketball

September 10, 2016 Leave a comment

This is as much for my own edification as anything else, but I’m trying to get across my understanding of what is called the quantum wave function collapse. After that, it goes off into my usual attempt to say something absolutely particular about absolutely everything in general.

From what I have gathered the quantum wave function is a statistical mean which may or may not correspond to a physical phenomenon.

Now, in QM we try to predict the probability density for a particle’s position (or momentum, or energy, or whatever).  We could try to do this by writing an equation for how p(x) changes over time, but it turns out that doesn’t give us enough information; there are situations where particles start with identical p(x) but do different things as time goes on.

It’s found that we do get enough information to make predictions if we write an equation for a complex-valued function ψ(x), and derive the probability density from it as p(x)=ψ∗(x)ψ(x) The way the complex phase of ψ(x) varies from point to point encodes additional information about the particle’s momentum, which is necessary to predict its future behavior. It has units of the square root of a probability density, which is a bit weird but perfectly mathematically acceptable.  This is of course the wavefunction, and the equation that determines how it varies is the Schrödinger equation.-source

From another source:

An observable is “something we can observe”, and is it represented in quantum mechanics by an operator, that is, something that operates on a quantum state. A very simple example of an operator is the position operator. We usually write the position operator along the x axis as x^ (which is just x with a “hat” on top of it).

If the quantum state |Ψ⟩ represents a particle, that means that it contains all the information about that particle, including its position along the x axis. So we calculate the following:
Note that the state |Ψ⟩ appears as both a bra and a ket, and the operator x^ in “sandwiched” in the middle.

This is called an expectation value. When we calculate this expression, we will get the value for the position of the particle that one would “expect” to find, according to the laws of probability. To be more accurate, this is a weighted average of all possible positions; so a position that is more probable would contribute more to the expectation value.

However, in many cases the expectation value is not even a value that the observable can get. For example, if the particle can be at position x=+1 with probability ½ or at position x=−1 with probability ½, then the expectation value would be x=0, whereas the particle could never actually be in that position. – source

In the terms of the dice analogy, the table above shows a bell curve function of probability density for the observables of the dice. To make this a metaphor for quantum observations I think it would look more this way:


The difference is that we can’t observe the wave function, we can only think of the the set of possible observables for a given system and give it a name. This is important because in my view, quantum theory actually oversteps its mandate as a rational solution to a set of physical problems to become a faith-based solution to a set of metaphysical/mathematical problems.

There can never be any observation of quantum, there can only be qualitative observations from which we can infer quantitative ideas of relation*.

*note that ‘relation’ is itself an aesthetic quality which is dependent upon a preferred sense of grouping. This preference, so far as we can ever know, only occurs within a sensed experience in which aesthetic phenomena are presented as sharing a common quality. Physics in and of itself can have no relations, as general relation qualities cannot be decomposed into fundamental physical forces. No physical mechanism can make quantitative ‘relations’ happen.

What the quotes above are trying to say, in my view, is that

the wave function itself is an imaginary square root of the inferred probability density of the mentally counted sets of actually observed phenomena.

We want to think that quantum particles are the observed dice rolls: a pair of upturned faces of cubes containing a finite number of dots or ‘pips’, and that the wave function is the set of numbers 1 to 6 corresponding to each possible set of dots, but in reality there may not be two dice at all. The observable reality is that when we look at one die, the other one disappears, and we can only see both dice if we don’t look at the dots.

Two more analogies illustrating the reducibility of quantum ‘particles’ to qualitative sense:

1. Looking at a ceiling fan in motion, we can either see a circular blur, or if we follow the blur with our eyes at the same frequency as the fan, we can see the fan blades (or a standing-wave of averaged images of fan blades) but not really the circular blur.

2. I’m in my house and hear noises coming from outside. One sounds like a loud motor, and one sounds like a frequent thumping. I know from experience that the neighbors do like to play basketball in their driveway when the weather is nice. I also know that the neighbors across the street are having their roof replaced which may or may not involve some kind of compressor noise. Finally, I know that Saturday morning is a time when there are a lot of neighbors mowing their lawn.

The point of this example is to illustrate the common/superficial understanding of the wavefunction collapse would be analogous to me going outside and looking around. By observing, I find out whether there are roofers running some kind of noisy machine and pounding on shingles, or whether there is one neighbor mowing their lawn and another pounding on their fence or something, or whether there’s some combination of things going on which may include a basketball game. By ‘finding out’ what’s going on, I am collapsing the wave function of possibilities because I now know what the noises I heard inside my house refer to outside.

This is not correct as an analogy though either. It cannot be applied to quantum observables. The delayed choice quantum eraser and other experiments show surreal phenomena such as entanglement, contextuality, and the mutual exclusivity of entanglement and contextuality. It would be like me like going outside and seeing that the hammering is definitely coming from the roofers across the street, but then going outside again later and seeing that the there is a dude playing basketball instead and there were never any roofers.

Entanglement/Contextuality would be like if I went out and played basketball with the neighbors then as long as I was playing, suddenly no neighbor could have their roof repaired. In terms of the fan, it would be like if I had two fans in two separate rooms controlled by the same light switch, putting my hand in the way of one fan not only stops the other, but you can tell by filling the rooms with feathers that stopping one fan makes it so no feathers had ever blown around in the other room.

Entanglement and contextuality are opposite orientations of the same thing. The entanglement view focuses on the synchronization of what has been connected experimentally while the contextuality view focuses on the strange contradiction to our expectations about causality extending from the past to the present.

Anyhow, this too is not correct in my view. What is being overlooked is that we are taking for granted that the quality of finality in our experience is identical to the property of factuality. We want to say that because we have actually seen the blades of the fan, they are the physical objects which exist and the circular blur is an optical illusion – true enough in the case of a fan. We want to say that seeing a roofer pounding nails into a shingle is evidence that roofing is what is actually going on and the idea that the sound we heard inside could have been a basketball bouncing was a misperception. This is not what physics is telling us, however. Instead, it is telling us, in my view, that there is no fan or basketball or roofer, nor is there any mistake of misperception, there are only sensory experiences, some of which acquire a higher aesthetic density of ‘realism’ than others. We say ‘seeing is believing’ because visual sense presents such an unambiguous seeming experience most of the time but we know from optical illusions and from comparing binocular differences that even seeing should not be believed.

What we are seeing when we look at something like the double slit experiment is a context in which perception itself is revealed to be

  1. more fundamental than the ‘object’ which is sensed and
  2. a revealing of (sense experience) itself as both a self-revealer and a self-concealer.

In the phenomenon of seeing visible light we have a metaphor about the relation between metaphor and non-metaphor which is expressed non-metaphorically. It is a context in which the contextualization of contextuality is presented as an uncontextualized/absolute text. (sense = the sole abtext?)

Philosophically, we should see that it is necessary to reverse the priority assigned by Galileo and Locke to tangible/physical qualities being primary and phenomenal qualities being secondary. Physics should be considered a set of phenomenal qualities which have been reduced by the subtraction of intangible modes of sensitivity. It is only in the intangible modes which nature can be fully appreciated as the self-revealing, self-concealing meta-phenomenon that it is.

Finally, here’s another serendipitous experiment with light. On a polished granite surface I see the reflection of a single overhead light as two separate reflections. With one eye open, I can see the image of the light is on the edge of the surface, while with the other eye open instead, the image of the light is in the center of the surface. Try it next time you see a floor or counter like this and can play with closing one eye or the other. Notice how you can choose between two separate but entangled images of the light which move as your head moves or, you can focus your sight so that there is only a single image of the light.

In the former case, the details of the surface are clear – you can see the patterns of granite and can tell exactly which colored spots seem to be illuminated by the overhead light. In the latter case, you have to look ‘through’ or passed the grain of the stone and focus your visual attention on the image which is reflected from the polished surface. To make the former view real is the materialist orientation. To make the latter view real is the information-theoretic orientation. Both orientations entail the disorientation/de-realization of the other. The materialist says the floor is the real thing being illuminated, while the computationalist says that the floor and light are only generic vehicles for the underlying reality of mathematical laws of relation.

What is left out of both of these views is the connection to the eye and the experience of seeing. The eye’s location is what is telling my experience of where the image of the light’s reflection appears to be. Indeed, that appearance *is* the actual location of the lights reflection as seen through one eye. When seen through the other eye, there is a different actual location. When seen through both eyes, there are either two semi-actual locations or there is one actual light reflection against a single blurred semi-actual location.

I cannot emphasize this enough: Quantum theory is about perceiving perception. It tells us not that the reality of nature is inconceivably weird and unfamiliar, but that nature is more than ‘reality’. The different concepts of wave function, probablility density, and observables map to quantum contextuality, quantum entanglement, and classical (collapsed) realism respectively. QM is about how appearances acquire density of realism by consensus of accumulated limits. For a quantum phenomenon (which is totally abstract) to begin to seem concretely ‘real’, the sense of contextuality or entanglement must in one frame of reference seem to be shared as an isomorphic sense in every other frame of reference, without contradiction. Thus there is no mysterious ‘classical limit’ at which quantum decoherence occurs, and no magical ‘emergent properties’ which appear out of nowhere to turn intangible figments of math into concrete objects – there is only a dynamic aesthetic phenomena (sense experiences or qualia) which merge and diffract as aesthetic meta-phenomena (veridical perceptions or ‘shared reality’). There is no ‘finding out’ what really happened, there is only an adding of dimensions of realism by sacrificing qualities that extend beyond realism.

This goes for our own consensus of sense modalities as well as a consensus among peer-reviewed scientific papers. The sense of realism arises from the multiplicity of limited perspectives, which then divides the total entropy of doubt/uncertainty. With only one slit or sense or scientific mind, any given phenomenon is presented as-is – an observed effect only. With multiple senses or slits or peers, we observe a different effect which enables a cross-reference that goes beyond the observation itself to an observation of the observation process. This opens the door not only to theories which connect the particular observations but which can apply to many other kinds of observations, as well as to theories of observation in general. In this way, the general/rational/contextual/illuminating and the particular/empirical/textual-entangled/illuminated can be reconciled as opposite ends of a single spectrum of sense/aesthetic/ab-textual/visibility.

Everything is Not Energy

September 7, 2016 2 comments

There is a very common misconception that I have been running into a lot lately. It is the idea that “everything is energy”, or that “matter is energy”. I used to think that this was true also, so I understand why a vague understanding of physics concepts such as E=mc² make it seem like matter and energy are the same thing.

Here are some points that will hopefully clarify what energy is and what it is not:

  1. The m in E=mc² refers to mass rather than matter. Mass is a property of things, not a substance*. Nothing is made of just mass. Matter is an object – a particle or structure composed of particles which have positions and momentum. A carbon atom is matter, and it has a particular mass, but the amount of energy a carbon atom has depends on its movement and what frame of reference is used to observe that movement.
  2. Nuclear energy is not generated mostly from matter turning into energy, but from the release of nuclear binding energy. When small atoms like Hydrogen fuse to form Helium, or when heavy atoms like Uranium split, there is a chain reaction caused by protons, neutrons, and electrons colliding with each other and changing their configurations.

    “Increasing values of binding energy can be thought as the energy released when a collection of nuclei is rearranged into another collection for which the sum of nuclear binding energies is higher.”

  3. Energy is measured in units like joules, calories, BTUs, and kilowatt hours, which refer to the capacity to do work. Work is “Movement that occurs against a restraining force”. eqn_joule
    When we talk about light, heat, and electricity being “forms of energy” we are really saying that they are different material effects which involve work. A photon, for example, has more energy the higher its frequency is, but since a photon has no mass, that energy just means that there is more movement per second in whatever instrument is used to measure the photon. It takes more work to turn a flame blue than it does to turn it orange. The work itself, the kinetic energy, is not blue and it is not light.
  4. “Energy is…
    • a scalar quantity,
    • abstract and cannot always be perceived,
    • given meaning through calculation,
    • a central concept in science. “- source
  5. Energy is not matter, or light or vibration or quantum. A vibration is a behavior of a thing which is moving back and forth, like a guitar string. We can have tactile sensations of vibration also, but it is our sensation itself which vibrates, not literally an “energy” in the physical sense. Whatever is causing the sensation may be working and thus ‘using energy’ to vibrate but it’s a bit like saying that a ruler is using inches to cause length.
  6. “Matter and Energy really aren’t in the same class and shouldn’t be paired in one’s mind.
    1. Matter, in fact, is an ambiguous term; there are several different definitions used in both scientific literature and in public discourse.  Each definition selects a certain subset of the particles of nature, for different reasons.  Consumer beware!  Matter is always some kind of stuff, but which stuff depends on context.
    2. Energy is not ambiguous (not within physics, anyway).  But energy is not itself stuff; it is something that all stuff has.  
    3. The term Dark Energy confuses the issue, since it isn’t (just) energy after all.  It also really isn’t stuff; certain kinds of stuff can be responsible for its presence, though we don’t know the details.
    4. Photons should not be called `energy’, or `pure energy’, or anything similar.  All particles are ripples in fields and have energy; photons are not special in this regard. Photons are stuff; energy is not. – source

It may seem picky to make these distinctions or to apply them to the many informal ways that the term “energy” is used, but I think that if we are going to try to understand really what the universe is and who or what we are, it is important to have a clear idea of what we are actually talking about.

Once we understand that energy is a quantitative abstraction whose effects can be described entirely by geometry, then we can see how saying that ‘everything is energy’ gets us no closer to qualities of conscious experience like colors, flavors, feelings, and ideas. Energy is about overcoming resistance to movement. When we talk about energy-laden qualities of sense experience like warmth, light, tingling, empathy, etc, we are talking about our own consciousness being excited or expanded, not about a disembodied ‘field of energy’.

When we start to ask what a ‘field’ is, that too reveals an idea which is defined mechanically within physics, but is questionable when it comes to ascribing it concrete existence. A field is a continuity of measurements across space, not necessarily a thing which occupies space that is being measured. In the end, it all comes down to some kind of capacity for sensory experience which is participatory. In my understanding, energy can only describe a particular common sense of how participation converts private motive affects (motivation) into public motor effects (work). I think that the rest of the universe is aesthetic phenomena, aka qualia, with physical forms being qualia which have been quantized for public interaction.



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