Multisense Realism Diagram Chronophoria v1.6

November 25, 2022 Leave a comment

I gave this the name Chronophoria after realizing that I could add the polar extremes of time to the top and bottom. A tiny detail that probably deserves more attention, however, it is there near the bottom “Instantaneously”, referring to the Anesthetic Antithesis and “Eternally”, referring to the Aesthetic Thesis near the top.

The top and bottom ends should really also include “Significance” and “Insignificance” respectively, as well as “Holos” and “Graphos”.

After a comment from the Multisense Realism page, I have added Significance and Complexity, and made a couple of other tweaks at the bottom.

1.6 Added Language and Metric-Spatial aesthetic holons.

Response to Pawel Pachniewski’s hard problem of metaphysics, part one

November 18, 2022 Leave a comment

This is part one of my response to just the very beginning of Pawel’s essay (or post or whatever we are calling what we’re doing here). It was getting too long and melting my brain so I decided to just get it out in parts as I can find more time and energy to absorb and respond. It may not even be necessary to go further since my response is really directed only at the problems I see with the unacknowledged premises prior to the beginning of the argument. I may not take issue with the argument itself, if we lived in a universe where those premises were true.

I apologize also for proceeding in this insufferable manner of dissecting Pawel’s excellent writing sentence by sentence. Obviously that is not optimal, it’s just too much for my mind to hold on to at one time any other way.

Without further ado then…

>“then what else could there be out there that could be hidden in plain sight like consciousness hides in plain sight for the non-conscious?”

https://mentalcontractions.com/2022/10/27/the-hard-problem-of-metaphysics/

As far as I can tell, there is no non-conscious. I propose that what we imagine or assume is non-conscious, like a rock, is actually part of a conscious experience on a much different timescale. In our brief lifetime, and even briefer capacity of perceptual attention, the Earth and its minerals appear as concrete objects, or more precisely tangible presentations… in the tactile sense modality… of a personal conscious experience. 

While we are having a human life experience, we cannot experience geological timescales directly, but experience only parts of them as aesthetically frozen snapshots within an anthropological > zoological perceptual time window. We experience a rock because we cannot experience the spectacular history of this planet and solar system in its native geological timescale. that timescale of eons is much too slow relative to our direct perceptual window. For the same reason, we can’t experience the minerals that the rock is composed of in their native chemical timescale: it’s too fast for our perceptual window.

The scale of size is a hint also, with geological timescales corresponding to phenomena that we see as physically larger than we can experience directly. Changes to entire planets and changes to single molecules correspond to phenomena that we experience as being physically larger and smaller than we can perceive directly.

I call this relativistic lensing Eigenmorphism and have tried to clarify what I think it should mean.

So no, the rock we see and touch is not conscious, but it isn’t a thing-that-is-non-conscious in an absolute sense. We experience a rock as an appearance (a tangible appearance in the tactile sense, and also as a three-dimensional-seeming image with clear boundaries and surfaces in our stereoscopic visual sense) but there is nothing that the universe is like for that appearance we see.

Likewise there is nothing that the universe is like for any of the objects we can touch or images we can see – not planets, not bodies, not brains, not cells, not vast arrays of transistors, not emojis or stuffed animals, or numbers. In my understanding, there are no ‘things-that-are-conscious’ in an absolute sense, there are only conscious experiences that ‘thingify’ each other.

All of the appearances we perceive to be tangible objects or intangible concepts (like numbers) are, I propose, eigenmorphic snapshots of conscious experiences on timescales that are extremely disparate from our own. The degree of eigenmorphism accounts for the difference between objects that we see as alive versus inanimate. Inanimate is an illusion in an absolute sense, but real in practice locally. As long as the conscious experience we are using is a human experience, the inanimate appearances we encounter are for all practical purposes, faithful and real. We can’t walk through a wall just because its solidity isn’t presented in all timescales and modes of perception. In the timescales of perception that our body exists (zoological > biological > chemical > physical), that wall (chemical > physical) has no choice but to resist merging with our body. The resistance is happening at the level of chemical timescale awareness…too fast for us to experience directly just as the screen image of an old TV or CRT appears stable rather than as a single illuminated pixel tracking horizontally across each vertical line of the screen mask.

> “From a complete description of the universe we seem to be able to exhaustively derive a totality of all facts about the universe, save for one key phenomenon: consciousness.”


Again, this presumes that there is any other phenomenon besides consciousness – which is an assumption that seems very natural, almost undeniable, from our perspective. The question though is whether that undeniable seeming assumption is due to the nature of reality, or of the nature of consciousness in general, or to the nature of OUR limited scope of perception within consciousness. I’m arguing for the latter. If it is true that appearances of non-consciousness are a lensing artifact of the *limits* of our sense (insensitivity) and not of sense in general, then it would stand to reason that we would fail to assume consciousness outside of that scope. In my view, the whole point of having a mortal, limited, zoological experience of having an animal body is to escape the fact of the eternal totality of consciousness. We’re here on a sort of anti-vacation-vacation to taste some of the aesthetic treasures of concentrated deprivation and reunification.

>“Scientifically and philosophically, it is broadly accepted that humans are conscious in the sense that we have inner phenomenal lives – a what-its-likeness to our existence or at the very least, according to some, an illusion thereof.”


Here, I reject both the validity of concepts just because they happen to seem broadly accepted at some given moment and culture and the concept of qualia as ‘what-its-likeness’. The idiom ‘what it’s like‘ doesn’t mean anything that we can work with intellectually. It’s a folk expression that doesn’t define or describe qualia but only creates an empty placeholder of what ‘it‘ does. In my Multisense Realism philosophizing, I give the ‘it’ and the ‘like’ rigiorous clarity and context. It is aesthetic-participatory phenomena, and it is diffracted from the eternal, ongoing totality of the same phenomena through a process that creates and preserves such phenomena, both from the ‘top down’ rather than being assembled by microphenomenal, microphysical, or computational units from the ‘bottom up’.

I don’t deny bottom-up re-assembly of qualia, such as we are seeing right now on this video screen, but I see these instances of the summing of parts as possible only where there is already a sensory anticipation of a holistic/whole perception that is being diffracted top down from the totality. This has tremendous implications for anything artificial, imitated, or simulated, as I discuss in writings about AI.

>“You get kicked in the shin, it hurts.”

Indeed, it hurts even in a dream, to some extent. Also, if you’re awake, enough anesthetic can make getting kicked in the shin painless. I mention this to stave off any qualia-physics identity theory that assumes that hurting just is the neurochemical cascade resulting from getting kicked in the shin.

Of course, anesthetics work by interrupting the neurochemical cascade, but we can still clearly separate the tactile and visible qualities of those tangible appearances (molecular objects staying in the cell body rather than being released into a synapse, etc), from the painful qualities that makes us feel like we need to scream. Indeed pain is not an empty carrier of instructions to scream*, it is a vivid, visceral aesthetic reality – one that I am saying is as fundamental a part of the totality of aesthetic phenomena as galaxies and atoms.

>“it doesn’t seem like its existence can in principle be derived or known from any description of the universe”

I think that is because the totality of qualia IS the universe, and consciousness is qualia describing (qualifying and signifying) itself to itself, or to the diffracted experiences of itself.

>“To know of experience, one must undergo experience. It is only by this metaphysical relation we bear to consciousness that we know of it.”

Sure, and we should remember that knowing is also nothing but an experience itself. Unconscious processes would have no way to ‘know’ anything, or any reason to try. We can only know of the appearance of non-consciousness through undergoing experience also. We are conscious of consciousness because we are consciousness on one level experiencing the limits of its own sensitivity.

>“Stated more broadly, it cannot be easily ruled out that in fact other potentially significant phenomena are entirely obscured from us”

Certainly, however, it also cannot be ruled out that all phenomena that are obscured from us are not just more qualia beyond our local scope of sensitivity.

>“This argument rests on consciousness as a phenomenon only being knowable through being itself – that it cannot be inferred through other means.”

My response to that argument is that there may not be any other means. No phenomenon can be knowable through ‘being’ itself unless that phenomenon, including its ‘being’ is already consciousness/qualia. All ‘means’ are participatory appearances within conscious experiences. If we aren’t directly participating in our own timescale/sensitivity scope then the participatory appearance may be elided to some degree and replaced by the voyeuristic transformation/objectification as mere mechanism or function, motion, etc.

>“That when we scream in pain there are not just observable signals that travel from A to B in our body triggering behaviors”

Here too, I reject the use of the term ‘signals’ that are something that can be observed. What is actually observed is a non-narrative collection of events that seem to us to occur in a sequential chain from some scope (usually microscopic) of sense (usually sight). Molecules are released from cell A and then cell B releases molecules, not because of any signal or trigger, but just because of the consequences of what physical properties do to other physical properties. 

We don’t know why that’s happening. It could be that it simply happens, or that there is a physical but unexperienced ‘force’ like electromagnetism making it happen, or that what we see as cells, are, like rocks, are part of a vast ocean of conscious experiences on other timescales (biological, chemical rather than our native personal, anthropological timescales). If it’s happening because of an unexperienced mechanical force, then there IS NO “SIGNAL”. There is no “triggering” of behaviors. Why would there be, and how would it be generated mechanically/anesthetically? Electromagnetism, in a purely physical universe, would not need to signal itself to magnetize. It would not need to choose to move toward or away from itself, it would automatically act that way.

The idea of biological or physical signals is an anthropomorphic projection that we use to unintentionally smuggle sensitivity into phenomena that we are assuming have no sensitivity and need no sensitivity. In an unexperienced physical world (setting aside for the moment the impossibility of that, since in my understanding, there is no physical world other than the totality of conscious experience that share common sensitivity scopes), a rock rolling down a hill to collide with another rock would not ‘trigger’ the second rock to roll, as no signal would be required from the first. There would already be a-signifying (not signals), automatic properties like mass and force to explain the exchange of apparent velocities. The appearance of an additional signal or trigger would be no less of a non-sequitur than an elephant appearing whenever rocks collide.

The alternative that I propose is that ‘signals’ are always and only qualitative/aesthetic-participatory by ontological necessity, and that they are indeed the fabric of all possible real phenomena. Qualia is the ontological substrate of the ontos.

To be continued…

*Physically, screaming would just be another unexperienced chain reaction of muscle tissue contraction, expulsion of air, vibration of larynx tissues and error that has no sound unless experienced by a conscious experience using a body that includes organs that will vibrate acoustically and then a perceptual capacity to experience those tangible vibrations in the entirely different aesthetic modality of hearing/sound, and further in the zoological aesthetic modality of hearing + feeling + understanding another animal’s scream.

A Multisense Realism Syllogism and Meme

November 16, 2022 Leave a comment

P1. Every subjective feeling and thought is actually a chemical change in the brain.

P2. Every objective observation of the world is actually a chemical change in the brain.

C1. The physical world that you can know about is only something that appears in your conscious experience.

C2. Brains are part of an observed world that C1 has determined to be an appearance in consciousness.

C3. Conclusion 2 replaces ‘brain’ with ‘appearance in consciousness’ in premises 1. and 2, yielding:

    C3a. P3. Every subjective feeling and thought is actually an appearance in consciousness.

    C3b. P4. Every objective observation of the world, including the activity of brains in skulls, is actually an appearance in consciousness.

C4. Premises P4+P5 reveal that subjectivity and objectivity themselves are also only aesthetic appearances in consciousness that have no physical basis or effect.

C5. The boundary between subjectivity and objectivity is a distinction that can only exist in consciousness, not in a brain or physical world.

C6. If a physical world exists, it is a phenomenon completely outside of our consciousness.

    C6a. Such a phenomenon need not have any appearance that we are familiar with.

    C6b. Such a phenomenon need not have any appearance at all.

    C6c. Such a phenomenon has no need for any consciousness to generate appearances.

    C6d. Any capacity to generate appearances would be unknowable to the physical world, since knowing and sensing are functions of consciousness.

    C6e. The capacity to generate or evolve consciousness can only come from consciousness.

P6. There is no use case for consciousness in an organism or brain that would not be equivalent to unconscious physical mechanisms.

    P6a. Any organic use that consciousness could have would only be a result of an assumed causal power from consciousness to make changes in the organism.

    P6b. Any higher dimensional control mechanism of behaviors in an organism would easily be accomplished by physically instantiating that hierarchy in additionally created cells of the organism.

P7. There is no current theory for how consciousness could physically evolve that does not negate itself with circular a priori assumptions of consciousness.

   P7a. Any retrospective theory of biologically evolved consciousness would be completely replaceable by a theory of biologically evolved unconscious regulation mechanisms.

   P7b. Any prospective theory of biological evolution leading to consciousness must explain how and why unconscious mechanisms such as force and charge were not used instead.

   P7c. Any prospective theory of physical mechanisms that could generate conscious appearances of any kind must not rely on conscious appearances, including knowable appearances of physical worlds and brains.

C7. There can be no physical explanation for appearances of consciousness or within consciousness or within a physical universe that does not undermine itself with circular reasoning.

Multisense Taoism

October 9, 2022 3 comments

I’ll take a crack at translating the gist of the translations of Chapter 14 of the Tao Te Ching into the terms of my theory of Multisense Realism.

Awareness of seeing is invisible.
Awareness of hearing is silent.
Awareness of touching is intangible.
These three awarenesses are part of one indivisible personal awareness.

Personal awareness exists beyond both entropy and negentropy, it cannot seek itself or avoid itself by trying with direct personal effort.

To succeed in harmonizing mortal personal awareness with eternal transpersonal awareness, remain sensitive to sensitivity and aware of awareness, divesting from seeking or avoiding direct personal effort.


Commentary:
I didn’t want to jargon up my translation too much, but it’s worth mentioning that the passage begins by talking about how sights, sounds, and objects are being provided to us invisibly, silently, and intangibly. Here I think “Lao Tzu” (老子) is telling us how to tease out sense itself from what is being sensed. It goes on to explain that because sense cannot sense itself through the very same modality that it uses to render a sense appearance of other things, personal awareness has no appearance in subpersonal terms (sights, sounds, etc) or in intrapersonal and interpersonal terms (the personal self is beyond emotion and communication).

Here I think that Taoism makes a decision to conflate the absence of subpersonal qualities of personal consciousness with an assumed absence of sensed qualities in sense itself. While I think this is false in an absolute or scientific sense, it is true enough locally that it is quite profound and leads to a useful philosophy for living our personal lives. This is the “Eastern Way” toward the attainment of a fully satisfied selfless self, in diametric opposition to the “Western Way” toward material attainment by a forever unsatisfied self that is selfishly ‘full of itself’.

Going back to the re-interpreted text, I think that the advice given is that to follow the Tao, aka seek ‘flow states’, one should, seemingly paradoxically, neither try nor avoid trying to take personal action. Perhaps it is the opposite of the Western sentiment attributed to Thomas Paine and George Patton “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” The Eastern sentiment could be read as “Do not seek to lead or follow. Get out of the way.” The idea is to use personal motivation to integrate itself with transpersonal sense and motives rather than to assert its personal agenda onto the rest of the (interpersonal, subpersonal, impersonal, transpersonal) universe.

In MSR (MultiSense Realism) terms, I see my above new translation of Chapter 14 of the Tao Te Ching (道德经) text as alluding to the relationship between subpersonal aesthetics (sights, sounds, objects), and their source in awareness itself, which has no appearance. I think that while the Tao Te Ching is correct in its identification of the disappearance of sense modalities within their own scope of sensitivity, I think that this is actually an artifact of the way that our local human scopes of awareness are nested relative to each other rather than the whole truth about consciousness. I propose that a more complete understanding of consciousness identifies that the appearance of nothingness is actually a local condition. It is the ‘game of mortality’ that conjures the illusion of absence to stand in for that of which we have no direct access to at any given moment. For example, if I were to try to see through the back of my head, there is nothing that I can see. Rather than seeing a field of blackness behind my eyes all of the time, I don’t see anything at all.

MSR proposes that while it is true that our personal cocoon of insensitivity causes a disconnection with all other conscious experiences, this disappearance of consciousness is no enigmatic ‘non-existence’ or ‘suchness’ as Taoism suggests. MSR suggests that beyond the sensory cataract of personal experience is not a grand nothingness to which all sense returns, but one lone Holos or totality within which all experience is preserved forever in some sense (similar to the concept of the Akashic Records).

The Totality of experiences are eternally present and experience-able in an Absolute sense, but all component experiences are diffracted through complex nested modulations of relative insensitivity. This diffraction temporarily limits the totality of sense experience to a single timeline of experience that senses itself in terms that echo the very condition of that temporary limitation. Each diffracted partition of the Holos is a temporarily temporalized version of eternal experience into an episodic stream of memory-laden feelings and thoughts. This is the the binding of our subjective qualities of experience, including the sense of being a subject.

In the diffracted experience, the undiffracted remainder of the Holos is left to appear in each moment as a memory-free snapshot of phenomena that are seen but not touched and touched but not experienced. Objects that are not appearing and disappearing into intangible memory ‘in here’ but are spread out as a domain of separate but simultaneously present tangible objects ‘out there’. The subjectified aspect is inflated within while the objectified aspect is diminished without. Subjective inflation involves a super-signification owing to the entropy of missing formation and information, while objective reduction involves de-signification, owing the negentropy of concretely presented formations and logical information about them. In the MSR view, the undiscovered country beyond this mortal coil is only temporarily hidden by the curtain of spatio-temporal entropy-negentropy; orthogonal forms of insensitivity that keep us orphaned in the ephemeral Graphos rather than back home in eternal Holos.

Getting back to what the Tao Te Ching is getting at, yes it’s true that we can’t objectify our entire personal experience as an image or a body-object. A living body-object with all of its countless physiological details shows no sign of the people we experience every day as ourselves and others who we meet. A movie about our life starring ourselves as the main character would not be the same as the experience of living it, as watching that movie requires an audience that is able to lend their personal experience to the images and voices they are seeing and hearing. A cat can’t watch that movie and get anything out of it.

Do Cats (or other similar mammals) Have Personal Experience?

As the center of a person’s experience is personal, the center of a cat’s experience is equally primary, but it would be awkward to call it personal since we don’t usually think of a cat as a literal person (at least other people don’t think of your cat that way). In MSR, I use the neologism “phoric” to refer to the center-range of any experience, be it associated with the body of a person, cat, amoeba, etc. My hypothesis is that the center of a cat’s experience – their phoric range of awareness correlates typically to our emphoric experience. The relationship we share with pets is emotional and intrapersonal rather than fully personal. Cats don’t care who we are in our personal life. They don’t know what we do for a living, etc.

Our personal aesthetics cannot be deconstructed into subpersonal appearances (i.e. sights, sounds, objects), but I disagree with the Tao Te Ching that they are ineffable mysteries that come from nothingness and return to it. Our own personhood is not visible or tangible to us, but our visible countenance and voice, our body, as they change over our lifetime do point to some of our personhood if they are perceived by another person. Our personal experience has its own irreducible qualities such as character, personality, identity and will. That qualia can be represented to some degree subpersonally as a biographical film or novel for example, but it takes a person to begin to sense and make sense of a person, even themselves.

In the Western consensus view, stuck as it is in legacy physicalism, the idea that a person can be separate from their brain functions is anathema. Although the most cutting edge scientific research assures us that the body and its brain are not objectively real, the shadow cast by the traumatic birth of science from the womb of religion steers us away from moving backward into what is now seen to be superstition. If you want to end your career as a scientist, start talking publicly about immaterial souls or psychic phenomena. Because of that overreaction, we are now stuck with a weird, crypto-dualistic cosmology where only some of what is sensed is considered real and the rest is unexplainably illusory or “emergent”…including the very capacity to sense in the first place.

As the title of Philip Goff’s book “Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness” implies, we must now begin to replace this outdated view of physicalism that secretly depends on unexplained non-physical appearances with a new science of consciousness that honors the whole of nature, including the consciousness that allows it to have any appearance at all. The Western objectification of sensory-motive experiences into unexperienced units of ‘information’ or wave-particles of mass-energy is an echo of the Ptolemaic/geocentric view of astronomy. We were on the right track, but mistook the local limits of subjectivity for absolute limits of consciousness-in-general. The Western consensus has sought to amputate the universal ‘yin’ of connection to the totality of conscious experience, while at the same time taking it for granted.

In MSR, I critique physical entities like mass and energy as reductionist quantitative abstractions that accidentally deny the underlying universal fabric of qualitative sense affect and motive effect. Primordial sensory affect and motive effect replace mass and energy as the local modes of participation. The physical universe of anesthetic-mechanical appearances is understood to be a kind of shadow of the Aesthetic Holos that reflects the ability of consciousness to partially divide and alienate itself for purposes of multiplying and enriching itself. The physical world is not an illusion, simulation or maya, it is just that reality in the local sense is an inverted reflection of reality in the absolute sense.

In both the local and absolute reality, we are not a program running on the hardware of a brain. The MSR hypothesis is that brain activity is the motive-to-motor inflection point between personal conscious experience and its subpersonal appearance as living matter. Tangible changes in the 3d structures of the physical brain do not cause a simulation in some kind of computational never-never land where we only think that we live. A neuro-computationalist fantasy of that kind undermines itself since such a simulation would have to include the appearance of the brain, its neurons, and any mechanical changes thereof. Hardware and software would both have to be simulated by an unknowable Ur-hardware that has no reason to favor hardware or software appearances. Representing itself in the simulation through cameo appearances, the grand simulator would be just as likely to manifest what seems like magic as it would to run on what seem like computer code.

With the advent of electronic computing, the materialistic view that flowered in the wake of the Early Modern Period (~15th century) has now been souped up with an abstract reincarnation of itself. Computationalism and its ideas of simulation as emergent from logical processes and graphic rendering is a brilliant but misguided journey into surreal reflections of our own alienation from the Holos.

Everything from social media to the Metaverse to AGI is expanding our connection to disconnection. I think that because of that grounding in disconnection, all of these projects are ultimately doomed to failure in the ways that truly matter to us, despite promising exponential success in the ways that Western-Materialist model and its virally expanding institutions have conditioned us to think that we should want. We dreamed of extraterrestrial conquest, and instead we are conquering ourselves with anti-terrestrial nauseas. We have mistaken the uncanny for the sublime.

Escaping the Matrix and the Metaverse

The Taoist approach goes a long way toward the goal of a new science of consciousness if we can integrate it into a view that embraces and transcends its Western-materialistic opposite. I think that this can be done by correcting Lao Tzu’s error of choosing nothingness rather than everythingness as the source of sense and consciousness. The taijitu or symbol of yin and yang in balanced juxtaposition should be understood as representing the wholeness of aesthetic opposites rather than their mutual negation. Nondualism is not the absence of monism or dualism but a synthesis and transcendence of those opposites. Our cosmos is not a physical machine struggling pointlessly against entropy, rather, entropy and negentropy are the yin and yang appearances of our local sense of sensitivity and insensitivity.

In other words, appearances of entropy and negentropy are signals that a given mode of awareness is facing away from its most direct access to the Aesthetic Holos and toward the appearance of disappearance into Anesthetic Graphos. In the MSR view as opposed to the Taoist view, consciousness is trans-tangible not intangible, absolutely everything not absolutely nothing.

In between the subpersonal (MSR term: semaphoric) and the personal (phoric when centered in a personal experience) are appearances that I see as intrapersonal or emphoric. These would be feelings and emotions, perceptions and figurations of selected sensations into coherent perceptions. These emphoric modes of perception connect the phoric or personal range of perception to semaphoric range of perception, which in turn, connects subpersonal experience to the impersonal ‘bottom’ or generic end of the universe. I have called this Graphos in MSR, and it represents the Totality when seen in its most fragmented, isolated, meaningless sense of least empathy.

Graphos is the inverted image of Holos, replacing unity with the proprietary and unrepeatable with a shadow unity of interchangable cohesive units, strung together according to abstract rules of recursive cardinality and ordinality – the essence of spatial negentropy and temporal entropy. The quantized or maximally graphed end of the cosmic experience divides the infinitely rich creativity and novelty of the Holos into nearly absolute insensitivity. If the Graphos end of the Holos of existed literally, it would be a sea of digital monads, stochastic phantoms animated by nothing but their own mathematical inevitability.

This is what MSR calls the extreme OMMM end of the continuum of sense. If Holos is the Absolute thesis, Graphos is the Absolute’s thesis of its own anti-thesis. The Holos is the appearance of the totality of aesthetic phenomena, uniting sensed qualities with sense modalities. Graphos is the appearance of the disappearance of Holos, separating sensed qualities from each other and from Holos as autonomous units of automaticity.

Flanking the personal or phoric modalities of sense/appearance on the other side (moving in the ACME direction toward Holos from personal awareness rather than toward Graphos) are the apophoric, metaphoric, and holophoric scales of consciousness. Roughly; thinking, insight, and inspiration. So interpersonal thinking (learning, communicating, understanding), transpersonal intuition (psychic experience that extends beyond subjectivity and physics), and what might be called mystical union with the divine or Absolute.

Taking this back to the Tao Te Ching, I propose that Lao Tzu’s error is only an error in the absolute sense, not in a personal sense. While we are alive, the transpersonal conscious experience that envelopes our personal conscious experience is silent, invisible and intangible. We can only get glimpses of it when we’re not looking and our envelope of limited personal awareness is slightly breached such as noticing synchronicity or completely opened up in a life altering event. When those larger breaches occur and the personal intellect is flooded with its version of transpersonal awareness, some contents are necessarily distorted and omitted. Personal awareness correctly identifies its contact with transpersonal awareness as more significant than ordinary experience but without any means to ground it in its ordinary sense-making terms. Hence, to the outside observer, the psychedelic or mystical experience is seen charitably as visionary or uncharitably as psychotic.

To temper that extreme, chaotic end of the spectrum of consciousness, MSR should be seen as only an outer framework of philosophy to point toward the possibility of a new synthesis between the systemizing and empathizing modes of awareness. That possibility would be fulfilled when people free themselves from pathological extremes and find common sense closer to the terrestrial center of our universe and the fully individual and human center of ourselves.

Strawmanning From the Masses (as ever).

October 2, 2022 Leave a comment

Esoteric layouts

October 1, 2022 Leave a comment

Joscha Bach, Yulia Sandamirskaya: “The Third Age of AI: Understanding Machines that Understand”

September 23, 2022 Leave a comment


Here’s my comments and Extra Annoying Questions on this recent discussion. I like and admire/respect both of them and am not claiming to have competence in the specific domains of AI development they’re speaking on, only in the metaphysical/philosophical domains that underlie them. I don’t even disagree with the merits of each of their views on how to best proceed with AI dev in the near future. What fun would it be to write about what I don’t disagree with though? My disagreements are with the big, big, big picture issues of the relationship of consciousness, information processing, consciousness, and cosmology.

Jumping right in near the beginning…

“The intensity gets associated with brightness and the flatness gets associated with the absence of brightness, with darkness”

Joscha 12:37

First of all, the (neuronal) intensity and flatness *already are functionally just as good as* brightness and darkness. There is no advantage to conjuring non-physical, non-parsimonious, unexplained qualities of visibility to accomplish the exact same thing as was already being accomplished by invisible neuronal properties of ‘intensity’ and ‘flatness’. 

Secondly, where are the initial properties of intensity and flatness coming from? Why take those for granted but not sight? In what scope of perception and aesthetic modality is this particular time span presented as a separate event from the totality of events in the universe? What is qualifying these events of subatomic and atomic positional change, or grouping their separate instances of change together as “intense” or “flat”? Remember, this is invisible, intangible, and unconscious. It is unexperienced. A theoretical neuron prior to any perceptual conditioning that would make it familiar to us as anything resembling a neuron, or an object, or an image.

Third, what is qualifying the qualification of contrast, and why? In a hypothetical ideal neuron before all conscious experience and perception, the mechanisms are already doing what physical forces mechanically and inevitably demand. If there is a switch or gate shaped structure in a cell membrane that opens when ions pile up, that is what is going to happen regardless of whether there is any qualification of the piling of ions as ‘contrasting’ against any subsequent absence of piles of ions. Nothing is watching to see what happens if we don’t assume consciousness. So now we have exposed as unparsimonious and epiphenomenal to physics not only visibility (brightness and darkness) and observed qualities of neuronal activity (intensity and flatness), but also the purely qualitative evaluation of ‘contrast’. Without consciousness, there isn’t anything to cause a coherent contrast that defines the beginning and ending of an event.

  • 13:42 I do like Joscha’s read of the story of Genesis as a myth describing consciousness emerging from a neurological substrate, however I question why the animals he mentions are constructed ‘in the mind’ rather than discovered. Also, why so much focus on sight? What about the other senses? We can feel the heat of the sun – why not make animals out of arrays of warm and cool pixels instead of bright and dark? Why have multiple modes of aesthetic presentation at all? Again – where is the parsimony that we need for a true solution to the hard problem / explanatory gap? If we already have molecules doing what molecules must do in a neuron, which is just move or resist motion, how and why do we suddenly reach for ‘contrast’-ing qualities? If we follow physical parsimony strictly, the brain doesn’t do any ‘constructing’ of brightness, or 3d sky, or animals. The brain is *already* constructing complex molecular shapes that do everything that a physical body could possibly evolve to do – without any sense or experience and just using a simple geometry of invisible, unexperienced forces. What would a quality of ‘control’ be doing in a physical universe of automatic, statistical-mechanical inevitables?

“I suspect that our culture actually knew, at some point, that reality, and the sense of reality and being a mind, is the ability to dream – the ability to be some kind of biological machine that dreams about a world that contains it.”

Joscha 14:28

This is what I find so frustrating to me about about Joscha’s view. It is SO CLOSE to getting the bigger picture but it doesn’t go *far enough*. Why doesn’t he see that the biological machine would also be part of the dream? The universe is not a machine that dreams (how? why? parsimony, hard problem) – it’s a dream that machines sometimes. Or to be more precise (and to advertise my multisense realism views), the universe is THE dream that *partially* divides itself into dreams. I propose that these diffracted dreams lens each other to seem like anti-dreams (concrete physical objects or abstract logical concepts) and like hyper-dreams (spiritual/psychedelic/transpersonal/mytho-poetic experiences), depending on the modalities of sense and sense-making that are available, and whether they are more adhesive to the “Holos” or more cohesive to the “Graphos” end of the universal continuum of sense.

“So what do we learn from intelligence in nature? So first if first if we want to try to build it, we need to start with some substrates. So we need to start with some representations.”

Yulia 16:08

Just noting this statement because in my understanding, a physical substrate would be a presentation rather than a re-presentation. If we are talking about the substrates in nature we are talking about what? Chemistry? Cells made of molecules? Shapes moving around? Right away Yulia’s view is seems to give objects representational abilities. I understand that the hard problem of consciousness is not supposed to be part of the scope of her talk, but I am that guy who demands that at this moment in time, it needs to be part of every talk that relates to AI!

“…and in nature the representations used seem to be not distributed. Neural networks, if you’re familiar with those, multiple units, multi-dimensional vectors represent things in the world…and not just (you know) single symbols.”

Yulia 16:20

How is this power of representation given to “units” or “vectors”, particularly if we are imagining a universe prior to consciousness? Must we assume that parts of the world just do have this power to symbolize, refer to, or seem like other parts of the world in multiple ways? That’s fine, I can set aside consciousness and listen to where she is going with this.

17:16: I like what Yulia brings up about the differences between natural and technological approaches as far as nature (biology really). She says that nature begins with dynamic stability by adaptation to change (homeostasis, yes?) while AI architecture starts with something static and then we introduce change if needed. I think that’s a good point, and relate it to my view that “AI is Inside Out“. I agree and go further to add that not only does nature begin with change and add stasis when needed but nature begins with *everything* that it is while AI begins with *nothing*…or at least it did until we started using enormous training sets of training data from the world.

  • to 18:14: She’s discussing the lag between sensation and higher cognition…the delay that makes prediction useful. This is a very popular notion and it is true as far as it goes. Sure, if we look at the events in the body as a chain reaction in the micro timescale, then there is a sequence going from retina to optical nerve to visual cortex, etc – but – I would argue this is only one of many timescales that we should understand and consider. In other ways, my body’s actions are *behind* my intentions for it. My typing fingers are racing to keep up with the dictation from my inner voice, which is racing to keep up with my failing memory of the ideas that I want to express. There are many agendas that are hovering over and above my moment-to-moment perceptions, only some of which I am personally aware of at any given moment but recognize my control over them in the long term. To look only at the classical scale of time and biology is to fall prey to the fallacy of smallism.
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/panpsychism/

I can identify at least six modes of causality/time with only two of them being sequential/irreversible.

The denial of other modes of causality becomes a problem if the thing we’re interested in – personal consciousness, does not exist on that timescale or causality mode that we’re assuming is the only one that is real. I don’t think that we exist in our body or brain at all. The brain doesn’t know who we are. We aren’t there, and the brain’s billions of biochemical scale agendas aren’t here. Neither description represents the other, and only the personal scale has the capacity to represent anything. I propose that they are different timescales of the same phenomenon, which is ‘consciousness’, aka nested diffractions of the aesthetic-participatory Holos. One does not cause the other in the same way that these words you see on your screen are not causing concepts to be understood, and the pixels of the screen aren’t causing a perception of them as letters. They coincide temporally, but are related only through a context of conscious perception, not built up from unconscious functions of screens, computers, bodies, or brains.

  • to 25:39 …cool stuff about insect brains, neural circuits etc. 
  • 25:56 talking about population coding, distributed representations. I disagree with the direction that representation is supposed to take here, as far as I think that it is important to at least understand that brain functions cannot *literally* re-present anything. It is actually the image of the brain that is a presentation in our personal awareness that iconically recapitulates some aspects of the subpersonal timescale of awareness that we’re riding on top of. Again, I think we’re riding in parallel, not in series, with the phenomenon that we see as brain activity. I suggest that the brain activity never adds up to a conscious experience. The brain is the physical inflection point of what we do to the body and what the body does to us. Its activity is already a conscious experience in a smaller and larger timescale than our own, that is being used by the back end of another, personal timescale of conscious experience. What we see as the body is, in that timescale of awareness that is subpersonal rather than subconscious, a vast layer of conscious experiences that only look like mechanisms because of the perceptual lensing that diffracts perspective from all of the others. The personal scope of awareness sees the subpersonal scope of awareness as a body/cells/molecules because it’s objectifying the vast distance between that biological/zoological era of conscious experience so that it can coexist with our own. It is, in some sense, our evolutionary past – still living prehistorically. We relate to it as an alien community through microscoping instruments. I say this to point way toward a new idea. I’m not expecting that this would be common knowledge and I don’t consider that cutting edge thinkers like Sandamirskaya and Bach are ‘wrong’ for not thinking of it that way. Yes, I made this view of the universe up – but I think that it does actually work better than the alternatives that I have seen so far.
  • to 34:00 talking about the unity of the brain’s physical hardware with its (presumed) computing algorithms vs the disjunction between AI algorithms and the hardware/architectures we’ve been using. Good stuff, and again aligns with my view of AI being inverted or inside out. Our computers are a bottom-up facade that imitate some symptoms of some intelligence. Natural intelligence is bottom up, top down, center out, periphery in, and everything in between. It is not an imitation or an algorithm but it uses divided conscious experience to imitate and systemize as well as having its own genuine agendas that are much more life affirming and holistic than mere survival or control. Survival and control are annoyances for intelligence. Obstructions to slow down the progress from thin scopes of anesthetized consciousness to richer aesthetics of sophisticated consciousness. Yulia is explaining why neuroscience provides a good example of working AI that we should study and emulate – I agree that we should, but not because I think it will lead to true AGI, just that it will lead to more satisfying prosthetics for our own aesthetic-participatory/experiential enhancement…which is really what we’re trying to do anyhow, rather than conjure a competing inorganic super-species that cannot be killed.

When Joscha resumes after 34:00, he discusses Dall-E and the idea of AI as ‘dreaming’ but at the same time as ‘brute force’ with superhuman training on 800 million images. Here I think the latter is mutually exclusive of the former. Brute force training yes, dreaming and learning, no. Not literally. No more than a coin sorter learns banking. No more than an emoji smiles at us. I know this is tedious but I am compelled to continue to remind the world about the pathetic fallacy. Dall-E doesn’t see anything. It doesn’t need to. It’s not dreaming up images for us. It’s a fancy cash register that we have connected to a hypnotic display of its statistical outputs. Nothing wrong with that – it’s an amazing and mostly welcome addition to our experience and understanding. It is art in a sense, but in another it’s just a Ouija board through which we see recombinations of art that human beings have made for other human beings based on what they can see. If we want to get political about it, it’s a bit of a colonial land grab for intellectual property – but I’m ok with that for the moment.

In the dialogue that follows in the middle of the video, there is some interesting and unintentionally connected discussion about the lack of global understanding of the brain and the lack of interdisciplinary communication within academia between neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, neuromorphic engineers. (philosophers of mind not invited ;( ).
Note to self: get a bit more background on the AI silver bullet of the moment, the stochastic Gradient Descent Algorithm

Bach and Sandamirskaya discuss the benefits and limitations of the neuromorphic, embodied hardware approach vs investing more in building simulations using traditional computing hardware. We are now into the shop talk part of the presentation. I’m more of a spectator here, so it’s interesting but I have nothing to add.

By 57:12 Joscha makes an hypothesis about the failure of AI thus far to develop higher understanding.

“…the current systems are not entangled with the world, but I don’t think it’s because they are not robots, I think it’s because they’re not real time.”

To this I say it’s because ‘they’ are not real. It’s the same reason why the person in the mirror isn’t actually looking back at you. There is no person there. There is an image in our visual awareness. The mirror doesn’t even see it. There is no image for the mirror, it’s just a plane of electromagnetically conditioned metal behind glass that happens to do the same kind of thing that the matter of our eyeballs does, which is just optical physics that need not have any visible presentation at all.

The problem is the assumption that we are our body, or are in our body, or are generated by a brain/body rather than seeing physicality as a representation of consciousness on one timescale that is more fully presented in another that we can’t directly access. When we see an actor in a movie, we are seeing a moving image and hearing sound. I think that the experience of that screen image as a person is made available to us not through processing of those images and sounds but through the common sense that all images and sounds have with the visible and aural aspects of our personal experience. We see a person *through* the image rather than because of it. We see the ‘whole’ through ‘holes’ in our perception.

This is a massive intellectual shift, so I don’t expect anyone to be able to pull it off just by thinking about it for 30 seconds, even if they wanted to. It took several years of deep consideration for me. The hints are all around us though. Perceptual ‘fill-in’ is the rule, not the exception. Intuition. Presentiment. Precognitive dreams, remote viewing, and other psi. NDEs. Blindsight and synesthesia.

When we see each other as an image of a human body we are using our own limited human sight, which is also limited by the animal body>eyes>biology>chemistry>physics. All of that is only the small illuminated subset of consciousness-that-we-are-personally-conscious-of-when-we-are-normatively-awake. It should be clear that is not all that we are. I am not just these words, or the writer of these words, or a brain or a body, or a process using a brain or body, I am a conscious experience in a universe of conscious experiences that are holarchically diffracted (top down, bottom up, center out, etc). My intelligence isn’t an algorithm. My intelligence is a modality of awareness that uses algorithms and anti-algorithms alike. It feasts on understanding like olfactory-gustatory awareness feasts on food.

Even that is not all of who I am, and even “I” am not all of the larger transpersonal experience that I live through and that lives through me. I think that people who are gifted with deep understanding of mathematics and systemizing logic tend to have been conditioned to use that part of the psyche to the exclusion of other modes of sense and sense making, leaving the rich heritage of human understanding of larger psychic contexts to atrophy, or worse, reappear as a projected shadow appearance of ‘woo’ to the defensive ego, still wounded from the injury of centuries under our history of theocratic rule. This is of course very dangerous, and even more dangerous, you need that atrophied part of the psyche to understand why it is dangerous…which is why seeing the hard problem in the first place is too hard for many people, even many philosophers who have been discussing it for decades.

Synchronistically, I now return to the video at 57:54, where Yulia touches on climate change (or more importantly, from our perspective, climate destabilization) and the flawed expectation of mind uploading. I agree with her that it won’t work, although probably for different reasons. It’s not because the substrate matters – it does, but only because the substrate itself is a lensing artifact masking what is actually the totality of conscious experience.

Organic matter and biology are a living history of conscious experience that cannot be transcended without losing the significance and grounding of that history. Just as our body cannot survive by drinking an image of water, higher consciousness cannot flourish in a sandbox of abstract semiotic switches. We flourish *in spite of* the limits of body and brain, not because our experience is being generated by them.

This is not to say that I think organic matter and biology are in any way the limits of consciousness or human consciousness, but rather they are a symptom of the recipe for the development of the rich human qualities of consciousness that we value most. The actual recipe of human consciousness is made of an immense history of conscious experience, wrapped around itself in obscenely complicated ways that might echo the way that protein structures are ordered. This recipe includes seemingly senseless repetition of particular conscious experiences over vast durations of time. I don’t think that this authenticity can be faked. Unlike the patina of an antique chair or the bouquet of a vintage wine that could in theory be replicated artificially, the humanness of human consciousness depends on the actual authenticity of the experience. It actually takes billions of years of just these types of physical > chemical > organic > cellular > somatic > cerebral > anthropological > cultural > historical experiences to build the capacity to appreciate the richness and significance of those layers. Putting a huge data set end product of that chain of experience in the hands of a purely pre-organic electrochemical processor and expecting it to animate into human-like awareness is like trying to train a hydrogen bomb to sing songs around a campfire.

Draft on Information, Entropy, and Negentropy

July 26, 2022 Leave a comment

It is currently popular to equate entropy with information. I have written previously why I do not think this makes sense, citing thought experiments such as running a video of ice melting in reverse. The fact that the amount of bytes of the video does not change demonstrates several concepts:

  1. Thermodynamic entropy is not equal to information entropy.
  2. The video image of ice melting is not the chemical process of ice melting.
  3. Sense modalities matter.
  4. Qualia cannot be presumed to arise organically from physical facts.
  5. Simulation is a superficial aspect of overlapping sense modalities rather than a deep fact of nature.
  6. Information includes both the sign, the unsign, the noise, and the unnoise.
  7. The sign contains maximum information and the least entropy. The sign is detected, understood, and known to be detected and understood.
  8. The unsign is the property of a given quale to be disambiguated negatively. The letter A is definitely not a consonant. We could say there is a set of things that A definitely is not. I am calling that the unsign of A.
  9. The noise is that which is assumed to be outside of the scope of signs but not outside of scope of detection.
  10. The unnoise is that which is assumed to be outside of the scope of detection, or which can neither be assumed nor ruled out.
  11. Abstraction is built on sense deployed on the ability to sense that something else has been sensed.
  12. Entropy and negentropy are qualities related to detecting detection events in the most minimal and generic terms rather than to the qualities that are being sensed themselves.
  13. The minimal and generic terms of data, such as bits, are the terms of a TEST performed concretely using physical substances and their capacity to detect and change (sensory-motive) each other’s (detectable-by-some-sensory-motive-test) state.
  14. Information refers to the results of a set of sensory-motive/experiential tests.
  15. Entropy and negentropy refer to information and qualities of sensory-motive tests.

We mistakenly call these tests and test results read-writes. Mistaken because there is NO decoding of the aesthetic qualities represented through what is being tested/”read”, there is only a copying of parts of sequences of (what we perceive to be) test results from one physical “storage” site to another”. From the perspective of hardware (which has no perspective in reality), there can be no “code”. The hardware event is controllable precisely because it has no meaning or motive of its own that would significantly impact those properties we are testing for.

Because we could dream of different facts relating to video images and chemical processes, neither can be identical to visible and tactile-tangible experiences.

Critique of A Good Idea

July 18, 2022 Leave a comment

Here are my (unfortunately critical but well-intentioned) comments on “Electromagnetism’s Bridge Across the Explanatory Gap: How a Neuroscience/Physics Collaboration Delivers Explanation Into All Theories of Consciousness“, in response to some tweets.

I think that the paper does come up with good plans of action for experimentation, and I take no issue with those. I agree that we should make artificial neurons. I agree that we do experiments that will tease out the most primitive signs of electromagetism emerging from more fundamental physics, and I agree we should think of them as hints about how consciousness provides typical human modes of awareness. My disagreements are with the assumptions made in getting there.

I fully acknowledge that my disagreements are made from my own conjectures and I expect most audiences to consider those conjectures ‘crackpot’ ideas prior to even attempting to understand them fully. That doesn’t bother me in the slightest. My only hope is that there might be some trace left of my ideas on the internet in future decades that could help theorists close improve on or disprove my many hypotheses.

From the start, the issue of consciousness is framed in relation to both First Person qualities of experience and to the sense of their being “inside” of what is being observed as brain and body behaviors.

“Observational correlates are demonstrated to be intrinsically very unlikely to explain or lead to a fundamental principle underlying the strongly emergent 1st-person-perspective (1PP) invisibly stowed away inside them. “

I submit that this is already a rhetorically loaded framing that does not consider the possibility that the sense of privacy and interiority we commonly (but not always) experience is not any more fundamental than the sense of publicity and exteriority, even though those distinctions are widely reported to be transcended in certain states of consciousness.

Nobody has ever seen a first-person (1PP) experience ’emerge’ from a brain in any way. What we have observed is a correlation appearance between experiences with intangible or trans-tangible qualities and experiences of tangible appearances of changes in the brain.

I think that I should break that awkward sentence down further.

What we have observed (scientists, doctors, patients with brain injuries, etc)

is a correlation appearance (meaning we see a brain doing something and we hear reports of something else, but they appear to happen at the same time). There is no evidence of causation, no mechanism by which a brain activity transforms into another quality like color, flavor, or privacy. There is only a (veridical) appearance of temporal synchronization.

between experiences with intangible or trans-tangible qualities (I’m trying here to refer to the qualitative phenomena of nature that we tend to associate with and assume arise only within “1PP” privacy, but to explicitly avoid jumping to that logically unnecessary conclusion. I think the relevant thing about feelings, thoughts, flavors, etc is not that they are private but that they are NOT tangible. They are not touchable presences with geometric shape. They can be intangible concepts or phenomena that I call percepts (sensations, feelings, colors, etc) that are not completely intangible or conceptual but cannot be reduced non-destructively to geometric coordinates.)

and experiences of tangible appearances of changes in the brain. (I’m trying to emphasize here that regardless of how real and objective the brain appears, its appearance does depend on the modalities of sight and touch used to detect it. Those appearances cannot be said to be more fundamental than any other appearances that tend to appear to be ‘1PP’).

In consideration of that, I think that it is just as likely that the seemingly third person and seemingly first person qualities of experience ’emerge’, or perhaps better ‘diverge’ from a larger holarchy of conscious experience.

“The brain’s specialized complexity in EM field expression distinguishes it from other organs (such as the liver and the heart) that are also EM field entities from the atomic level up. The consequence is that there is only one natural, fundamental physics correlate of P-Consciousness: EM fields as “electromagnetic correlates of consciousness””

This seems to contradict itself. It is saying that it is the complexity of EM that makes the brain more special than, say the EM object that is the large intestine, or the body as a whole…but then the assertion points to EM fields rather than the specific property of complexity as being correlates of consciousness. I point to single-celled organisms that seem to be no less conscious than human bodies do, but which have no neurons. As the paper goes on to say:

 “…for all practical purposes in the science of P-Consciousness, we are electromagnetic field objects in our entirety. As is a car, a computer, lunch, a pile of dirt, a tree, your dog, steam, and the air we breathe.” 

So which is it? If everything is electromagnetism then is everything conscious to some degree (what I call promiscuous panpsychism)?, or is the brain conscious because it is so electromagnetically complex? If the latter then the EM aspect seems all but irrelevant.

“For example, atoms form molecules and they jointly aggregate to form cellular organelles. These jointly form whole cells, and so forth.”

Here again, the position of smallism is assumed and the top-down influence is disqualified without consideration. In reality, when we observe how organisms reproduce, they divide as whole cells. We can infer that the first cells were the result of molecules accidentally persisting in more complex collections that would lead to lipid membranes and prokaryotes but our efforts to synthesize cells from ‘scratch’ have thus far been somewhat suspiciously unsuccessful. Our inferences of small-to-large evolution by natural selection may be a huge mistake.

We have not even attempted to factor in the lensing effect of the bubble of our own perceptual limits, and its role in perpetuating an anthropocentric worldview. We have not attempted to estimate the possible consequences to our thinking of a universe in terms that assume our apprehension of human consciousness as the apex form of awareness or sole form of super-awareness. We have not factored in the possibility of timescale relativity and taken five minutes to imagine how much more conscious something like the atmosphere of a planet would assume if we viewed centuries of it in time lapse equivalent to an nMRI video.

In reality, the evolution of forms may proceed not from small to large and young to old, but may at the very minimum, progress from both top and bottom, past and “future”. We may be living in a Natural Containment Hierarchy that is not merely scaled by physical sizes of bodies, but by lensings of perceived causality, aka ‘time’. I have made some efforts to diagram this:

We should not assume that our typical, 21st century, Western conditioned, mid-life, waking consciousness is the universal authority on the ontology of time/causality. The smallest and largest scales of the hierarchy/holarchy may be more unified with each other than with the holons at the center of the hierarchy.

Our willingness to ignore our self-centering view of the containment hierarchy seems to suggest to me that the possibility of an intrinsic lensing property in the way that conscious experiences are diffracted from the totality. The sense of being in the center of the containment hierarchy may be like other types of relativistic frames of reference rather than an objective reflection of the cosmos as it is without our lensing of it, and of ourselves.

I propose that the anthropocentric positioning of ourselves in the containment hierarchy should be considered as a superposition of *both* the self-centered and the self-negating perspectives. In other words, we see ourselves and our lives as midway between Planck scales and cosmological scales both because it is actually true, and because it must always seem true.

By analogy, we find that both the geocentric/flat Earth perspective and the heliocentric round Earth perspective are equally significant to understanding human history, but neither could be predicted as emerging from the other. In the same kind of way, the uncanny similarity in the apparent size of the solar disc and lunar disk in the sky, combined with the happenstance of Earth having only one such natural satellite, makes for a rather fine-tuned condition that made millennia of religious worldviews possible and dominant still for some even in the face of the obvious evidence of the post-Copernican perspective.

What I see is a universe where such fine-tuned superpositions are themselves fine-tuned superpositions in between coincidence and teleology. The coincidences are both coincidental and more than coincidental, and picking one perspective or the other can seem to have cascading ‘choose your own adventure’ or ambiguous image flip consequences. The universe seems to support delusions and solipsism for an unreasonable number of people for an unreasonable amount of time. In my understanding, this property of the universe and consciousness is profoundly important, although that estimation of significance is itself tantamount to choosing the teleological-aesthetic (solipsistic at the extreme) side of the superposition of the absolute over the mechanistic-coincidental (“nilipsistic” at the extreme) side.

“If you deleted (in the sense of “de-organized”) any layer below M, for example, the entire hierarchy disappears from that layer upwards. For example, deleting all atomic particles deletes atoms, molecules, cells, and so forth, all the way to the containing environment. In these cases, none of the deletions eliminate the lower levels, including sub-atomic particles, space, and so forth. This fact reveals the existence of a powerful vertically acting system of constraints that is not within the ambit of any individual scientific discipline.”

Not necessarily. By analogy, if we deleted all characters used in written language, and all phonemes used in verbal language, that does not mean that all human thought and communication would be deleted. All that would happen is that humans would immediately begin inventing new language using those same two sense modalities or other sense modalities if they were also deleted. In our theories, I think that we should not be blinded by the bias known as “smallism” and “big” cosmopsychic theories should be considered equally viable.

“Contemporary philosophers tend to assume that fundamental things exist at the micro-level. Coleman (2006) calls this “smallism”: the view that facts about big things are grounded in facts about little things, e.g., the table exists and is the way it is because the particles making it up are related in certain extremely complicated ways. However, the work of Jonathan Schaffer (2010) has brought to prominence an alternative picture of reality. According to the view Schaffer calls “priority monism”, facts about little things are grounded in facts about big things. The table’s atoms exist and are the way they are because the table exists and is the way it is; and all things ultimately exist and are the way they are because of certain facts about the universe as a whole. For the priority monist there is one and only one fundamental thing: the universe.

If we combine priority monism with constitutive panpsychism we get:
Constitutive cosmopsychism—The view that all facts are grounded in/realized by/constituted of consciousness-involving facts at the cosmic-level.

We can also envisage non-constitutive forms of cosmopsychism. On a standard form of layered emergentism (discussed above), human and animal minds are causally dependent on consciousness-involving micro-level facts whilst being fundamental entities in their own right; on the cosmopsychist analogue, human and animal minds are causally dependent on the conscious cosmos whilst being fundamental entities in their own right.”

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/panpsychism/

continuing…

“Layer [M+1] is where the EM field system impressed on space by brain tissue acquires its fully detailed form, including all properties inherited by the constraints, drives, and properties of the deeper layers”

Here I propose that EM fields may not in fact be ‘impressed on space’ at all, and are not even ‘fields’ in an ontological sense. My understanding suggests that electromagnetic activity is irreducibly sensorimotive, and that the inference of fields is based on early methods of detection, measurement, and logical deduction which have become obsolete with the advent of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and familiarity with psi and other exotic states of consciousness.

The universe may be a conscious experience ‘all the way down’ and all the way up, with experiences on any given timescale lensing experiences on distant timescales in objectivized (“nilipsistic“) terms (as fundamental forces, mathematical logic, and tangible topologies, for example). Having read some of Maxwell and Faraday’s original papers defining EM in terms of fields, I am struck with the distinct impression that the conclusions they made would not have been that way if they had access to QM observations like entanglement and contextuality. I think that the field metaphor was a 19th century heuristic that continues to be indispensable, but not because it is an ontological fact. 

We now note that the transition from strong to weak emergence is a fundamental feature of the process that science experienced when deconstructing the natural biosphere into the layered descriptions shown in Figure 2B. In Figure 2B this process has been labeled as “reduction.” Before the science was completed, every progression in scientific understanding started as a mystery: a question unanswered. Molecules were mysteriously related to atoms. Atoms were mysteriously emergent from what turned out to be their subatomic constituents. Higher up, we find the mystery of the strongly emergent flight of bumblebees, which turned out to be a weakly-emergent property of turbulence. 

I see this as a popular, but nonetheless dangerous and seductive fallacy. It may be true that the history of science can be seen to have repeatedly corralled seemingly strongly emergent phenomena and tamed them into weakly emergent complications, this cannot be presumed to extend from the tangible to the intangible or trans-tangible under that same logic.

This is due to the fact that atoms, molecules, bumblebee bodies, and turbulence are *uncontroversially tangible*. There was never any question but that these phenomena are observed as tangible forms moving in public space. There is in all cases an infinitely wide explanatory gap between all such tangible objects and any such intangible or trans-tangible phenomena as sensations, feelings, perceptions, awareness, colors, flavors, sounds, ideas, symbols, references, interpretations, themes, archetypes, caring, valuing, and on and on.

No amount of moving particles can ‘add up’ to anything other than other groupings or shapes of moving particles without appealing to strong emergence or promissory materialism. There is no comparable problem with particles adding up to shapes such as molecules, surfaces, cells, bodies, planets, etc. They are all 3d topological presences that can be comfortably assigned causal closure that is limited to other 3d topological phenomena (forces, fields, laws of geometry). Things like forces and fields, while superficially ‘intangible’ (and therefore must be imagined to be somehow “imprinted” on the vacuum of space or inevitable consequences of statistics on cosmological constants or standard model, etc) are nonetheless exhaustively describable in tangible terms. They are spatial regions within which some effect is observed to occur.

This kind of in silico empirical approach is simply missing from the science. No instances of in silico-equivalent EM field replication can be found. Artificial neurons created this way could help in understanding EM field expression by excitable cell tissue.

I agree with this. In order to proceed with understanding the Easy Problem of our own neurology, we should be creating artificial neurons.

As the science has unfolded, a single, dominant and promising theory of this kind has emerged. It is the “Information Integration Theory (IIT) of Consciousness” by Tononi (20042008)Balduzzi and Tononi (2008)Oizumi et al. (2014), and Tononi et al. (2016).

That may be true in the sense that there has not been a single competing theory that has been discussed as much in the media coverage of academic discussion in recent years, but I have not encountered many who see IIT as especially promising in reality. At best, some future descendant of IIT might provide some useful indications for determining whether someone is likely to come out of a coma or something, but even that utility may be completely misguided. There are many good critiques of IIT that can be found online:

“In summary, IIT fails to consistently assign consciousness to a system, because the definition is based on hypotheticals, which by definition are not instantiated by the system. Deep down, the troubles arise from the circularity of the definition of information as reduction of uncertainty. Uncertainty refers to a prior state of knowledge, but the notion of knowledge for the subject is never defined. In practice, the knowledge underlying the reduction of uncertainty is the knowledge of the observer who formalizes scenarios and quantifies probabilities of events that the system itself has never lived.”

 http://romainbrette.fr/notes-on-consciousness-ix-why-integrated-information-theory-fails

continuing…

From a C1 perspective, this position is rather hard to understand, because C1 tells us there is only one substrate that we know delivers P-Consciousness: EM fields organized in the form of a brain made of atoms.

By this reasoning, only our own personal brain is known to deliver P-Consciousness also. Because we know from our own conscious experience how limited our empathy and theory of mind can be even for members of our own species, there is no reason to assume that P-Consciousness has any more connection to humans or brains or electromagnetism than it does to ‘complexity’ in general, or to biology, or to certain scales of material accumulation.

I see these assertions of brains as critical to understanding consciousness as based on uncritical anthropocentrism. I expect that our own brain is especially suited to our own kind of conscious experience, but really the brain of any species would seem equally appropriate if we did not have the human brain as an example. The intestines or the immune system, cell nucleus, cytoskeleton, nucleic acids, and many other complicated structures and processes would seem equally hospitable.

GRT focuses on the Oscillatory Correlates of Consciousness (OCC), where the particular “oscillations” most relevant to P-Consciousness are those arising from the brain’s endogenous EM field system 

What we need to know though is what is doing the ‘correlating’? There might be all kinds of correlates of consciousness we can find – maybe high dimensional analysis of gross physiological indicators like skin resistance and blood pressure could be used to plot out some correlation too. Good stuff for the Easy Problem and medicine, but does nothing for the Hard Problem or disproving cosmopsychism.

The abovementioned EM account offered by JohnJoe McFadden is the wave-mechanical approach in his “Conscious Electromagnetic Information” (CEMI) field theory (McFadden, 2002a,b2006200720132020). “I therefore examine the proposition that the brain’s EM field is consciousness and that information held in distributed neurons is integrated into a single conscious EM field: the CEMI field” (McFadden, 2002a).

We have the same interaction problem here, with the theory that information can be somehow ‘held’ in physical topologies we call neurons begs the question of physicalism. As far as I can see, all physical effects can be explained as statistically inevitable recombinatory variations on geometric *formations* and require no such things as information, signals, signs, etc to do what they appear to do. The correlation is smuggled in retrospectively from conscious experience rather than arrived at prospectively from physics.

Our proposition is that the standard model’s scope of scientific deliverables, and the scientific behavior that produces them, is to be expanded to include (ii). We now know that EM field, as depicted by the particular (i) 3PP “laws of appearances”

Sure, I agree with that and have proposed the same kind of thing. EM should be understood to be a single Sensory-Motive-Electro-Magnetic phenomenon. That isn’t the whole story though, but it’s an important start. I have tried to diagram it early on in my Multisense Realism efforts:

let us assume that (ii) involves abstractions describing a universe made of a large collection of a single kind of primitive structural element, say X. This “X” could be perhaps regarded as an “event” or “information mote” or “energy quantum” or all these simultaneously. Its true identity is not our job to specify here. 

A seemingly pragmatic approach, but unfortunately I think that there is no way to work from X without understanding what X is in this case. I think that it is our primary job to specify it. In my view, I propose X as a scale-independent (equally micro-unit as cosmo-unity) holos of nested/diffracted aesthetic-participatory (sensory-motive) phenomena. I have elaborate diagrams and explications of how that goes.

The solution to the hard problem, we suggest, has been hard because it must be discovered (not invented) in a completely different realm of descriptions of nature of kind (ii). In effect, the very meaning of what it is that a scientist does to explain nature has itself had to change.

What scientific evidence do we have that it is possible or practical to describe the natural world U in (ii) form? When we look for it, we easily find that we have already been doing it (X descriptions) for decades, but in physics and outside the science of consciousness. They are familiar to all of us. Some examples: X = “string theory” e.g. (Sen, 1998), “loops” e.g. (Rovelli, 2006), “branes” e.g. (Ne’eman and Eizenberg, 1995), “dynamic hierarchies of structured noise” e.g. (Cahill and Klinger, 19982000Cahill, 20032005), “cellular automata” e.g. (Mitchell et al., 1994Hordijk et al., 1996Wolfram, 2002), and “quantum froth” e.g. (Swarup, 2006

This is hard to parse for me. Is it saying that things like branes, strings, loops, etc can just be considered identical to conscious experiences? 

The moment a (ii) collection of abstracted X can be found to express EM fields as an emergent behavior of the collection, the physicists involved, by directly comparing the (i) and (ii) depictions of the same nature, would then be able to see, within (ii), that part of the underlying structure of (i) that may be responsible for the 1PP. 

That sounds like a perfectly reasonable approach to me, as far as identifying some crucially important features of the origins of our own experience as human individuals, but I still see it as an Easy Problem path that assumes

1) consciousness = “1PP” and

2) 1PP is not closer the underlying phenomenon from which X arises than anything else we could imagine.

 It is based on the empirical fact that it is EM fields that ultimately deliver P-Consciousness.

I see this as a problem. First of all, the statement that EM fields deliver P-Consciousness is NOT an empirical fact. It could just as easily be the case that EM fields are P-Consciousness appearances of the nesting of P-Consciousness on particular timescales. Secondly, the paper has already committed to the *complexity* of the EM field complex-that-appears-to-itself-as-a-brain being more important than the ubiquitous presence of EM as every-appearance-in-the-universe.

The correlates of P-Consciousness paradigm must ultimately face the fundamental physics of EM fields if a fully explanatory account of P-Consciousness is to be constructed. 

That is an assumption also. A theory based on assuming smallism and anthropocentric identifications with consciousness. I am encouraged by the intentions and directions that are behind the paper, but I see it as still a step before Step One, and that in many ways, the true Step One can be arrived at by considering the diametric opposite of many of the ideas above that are assumed to be true.

The Self-Seduction of Geppetto

July 10, 2022 Leave a comment

Here, the program finds a way to invert my intentions and turn Geppetto into a robot.

My instructions were “Evil robot Pinocchio making marionnette Geppetto dance as a puppet spectacular detail superrealistic”.

Instead, Pinocchio seems to be always rendered with strings (I didn’t ask for that), and only partially a robot. Pinocchio seems to have a non-robot head and a body that ranges from non-robotic to semi-robotic. It seems ambiguous whether it is Geppetto or Pinocchio who is the evil robot puppet. At the end it appears to be a hapless Geppetto who has been taken over by the robot completely (I didn’t ask for that) and (the hallucination of?) Pinocchio is gone.

I am reminded of the Maya Angelou re-quote

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time:

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