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Chalmeroff Scale Revisited

February 4, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

This project is based on an idea that I had during the TSC conference in Tucson last year. Named after David Chalmers and Stuart Hameroff, I tried to suggest a fundamental unit of consciousness which could encapsulate the full range of subjective experience, from the mystical or psychotic to the practical/realistic and the logical/theoretical.

This might be too ambitious of an idea to fit in with our current understanding of awareness, mired as we are at the moment in the misconception of ‘information’ independent of sensory experience. Here then is a first draft on a re-scoped effort to nail down a scale of awareness which does not amputate awareness itself by focusing only on functional considerations.

Here then is my dumbed down version of multisense realism, placing subjectivity in terms that should be familiar to a contemporary audience. I hate to leave out the most important parts – the details of sensory-motor participation, perceptual inertia, solitropy, and significance, but maybe this more modest proposal will have a better chance of gaining traction.


Chalmeroff Scale of Consciousness

In an effort to parameterize the study of consciousness, it is proposed that the approach described in Giulio Tononi’s Consciousness as Integrated Information: a Provisional Manifesto be augmented with a metric based upon the orientation of integration. Orientation specifies a range of proximity to the site of integration (self), so that a low value on the Chalmeroff scale would indicate information which pertains directly to the agency of the self. Information with a value of one on this scale would, for example, include the presence referred to by the pronoun (“I”). Information which is interior to the self (phenomenological) would be given a decimal value below one, logarithmically, so that the lower the value, the more ineffable the information is.

Ineffability is formally defined as follows:
The degree to which the integration of information which has been generated by a complex of private elements is inversely proportionate to the accessibility of meaningful integration from outside of the complex.

In other words, an experience is ineffable when the subject derives meaning from generated information which supervenes on an extensive personal history. A person who has struggled for many years to accomplish something will attach much more significance to that accomplishment than an outsider who is ignorant of the struggle. This amounts to a relativity of information entropy, which occurs privately through run-time rather than programmatically as configurations of data.

This relativity adds an orthogonal dimension to the quantitative measure of Integrated Information Theory (IIT), as it describes how realistically we can expect to approximate the internal integration of a system externally. Information which relates to public physical interactions for example would not require much of an investment by an outside observer to recognize and interpret. Social interactions are somewhat more ineffable and would generate private information which could be interpreted by an outside observer with a more substantial investment in learning to read the social narratives, as would an anthropologist.

The IIT defines Qualia space (Q) as a multi-axis space where each axis refers to a possible state of integrated relationships(Φ) among information generating elements. On top of this foundation, it is necessary to recognize the significance of the self-world orientation. It is proposed that the first person orientation actually generates the topology of the Qualia space, such that low Chalmeroff value information maps to a polar-radial-mandala geometry while higher Chalmeroff value information increasingly maps to a Cartesian grid. In this way, the essence of the transition from private phenomenology to public realism can be represented clearly, if somewhat simplistically.

IIT provides a mathematical analysis for experience as a complex of spatial relations, to which the Chalmeroff scale adds a dimension of significance which is not merely emergent from public data, but residually implicit from all contexts, both interior and exterior to the system. In this way, the static wireframe model of information mechanisms can be understood to survive as narrative animations within a cosmological totality (eternity).

  1. February 4, 2013 at 4:37 am

    It seems to me, what is most important, is what are qualia qualitatively like, i.e. how is my redness different than greenness, and how is my redness different than everyone Else’s redness, and how might we reliably eff such qualitative ineffable information such that everyone must agree. It’s hard for me to understand how adding yet another abstracted interpretation of more causal properties would be of any benefit. Especially if not everyone would agree on the values when doing such measurements?

    • February 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      Hi Brent,

      I think that before we can agree on a way to eff the ineffable differences between two person’s qualia (or one person’s qualia in two different instances, or in multiple instances through time, etc) we must first define ineffability in a tangible and quantifiable way. That is exactly what I am trying to do with the Chalmeroff scale – to test the idea that privacy and ineffability are related to the ratio of temporal continuity within a qualia space to the density of access outside of the qualia space.

      I don’t see how adding this spatio-temporal access to illuminate mathematically the principles of privacy threatens to cloud the issue, particularly since the IIT does not contain many fundamental abstract interpretations. To the contrary, I think that the Chalmeroff scale supplies an important bridge from the purely abstract modeling of consciousness as integrated information to the concrete experience of consciousness as personal integrator.

  2. Joseph McCard (really)
    February 23, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Brent wrote: how is my redness different than everyone Else’s redness, and how might we reliably eff such qualitative ineffable information such that everyone must agree.

    Joe: I have suggested that qualitative differences can be represented as different forms of aware-ized-energy. My feeling of red is just this identifiable form or pattern of awareized-energy, green is that form or pattern. The activity of the color receptive field centers of my ganglion cells has its own unique energy “fingerprint”.

    Aware-ized energy is not some causal property of energy, it just IS energy. It does not cause consciousness of red, it is consciousness of red. See, for example, Alfredo Pereira’s calcium waves just are feelings, they do not cause feeling.

    As in identity theory, my feeling of red just is my particular state of my aware-ized energy. My red energy fingerprint suggests my feeling is kinds like yours, but different.

    • February 24, 2013 at 12:10 am

      I agree almost completely. The only difference is that in my view, once we recognize feeling as (private) physics, then there is no need to invent an in-between substance to call ‘energy’ or ‘aware-ized’. Since awareness is not a property of energy, there is no need to say that there is a something there to be made aware. There is awareness, period. No energy is necessary. It is convenient to model energy when we are trying to publicly observe the world – it helps us to predict and control what moves and when, etc, but the model is figurative. There is no actual presence which is public energy, rather there is only an effect throughout whatever collection of antennas is participating in the experience.

      • Joseph McCard (really)
        February 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm

        Craig: It is convenient to model energy when we are trying to publicly observe the world – it helps us to predict and control what moves and when, etc, but the model is figurative.

        Joe: From my perspective, I have the capacity (via the energy of my thoughts) to create the world. I do not publicly observe the world, I privately create my world in co-operation with you. I make predictions, I control which events I perceive.

        From your perspective, the world happens to you. For me, I happen to the world.

        Figuratively, for the Negro, they did not land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on them. (Malcolm X)

      • February 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm

        seriously, “for the Negro”? oof.

        I will admit that even in my most idealistic modes I have never seriously entertained the idea that I create the world directly with my thoughts. I do co-create aspects of the world, but I find solipsistic idealism neither plausible nor desirable. Inserting the meaningless term ‘energy’ in the middle of it really doesn’t add anything at all as far as I can tell. Why not just say that you create the entire universe by the magic of your thoughts? What have you created today I wonder?

      • Joseph McCard (really)
        February 24, 2013 at 1:19 pm

        In the movie, ” War Games”, with Matthew Broderick as David Lightman, two of his hacker friends explain the concept of a backdoor password.

        Craig wrote on jcs-online: motive is the active mode of sense, not to make real but to project private sense into a more public form. Motive is strategic gesture, and the strategy is sense.

        Craig wrote above: …then there is no need to invent an in-between substance to call ‘energy’

        It sounds to me “motive” is an invented in-between password that allows energy in the backdoor.

      • February 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm

        Just the opposite. Motive refers to the genuine physical origin, whereas energy refers to an invented in-between pseudosubstance. When we assume the universe is impersonal bodies in space rather than personal experiences through time, then we conjure ‘energy’ to plug the hole where a body’s intentions should be.

  3. Joseph McCard (really)
    February 24, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Craig wrote: I think that I have successfully hit on the basic principles of how exactly sense and motive are to be integrated with physics. Motive disperses and diffracts sense as limited, repeating
    experience (time), nested narratives make sense of each other increasingly as objects or bodies divided by space, the sense of bodies across space is matter and the sense of the motives behind those bodies is energy.

    Joe wrote: Motive is behind energy? Motive disperses and diffracts? Can you at least understand how I can think that the two, motive and energy, are conflated? Can you show me how to see it differently?

    Motive refers to the genuine physical origin. What does that even mean?

    • February 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      “Motive is behind energy?” more than that. There is no energy. It’s all motive.

      “Motive refers to the genuine physical origin. What does that even mean?”

      It means that energy is an idea which is useful but inaccurate when taken literally. I’m saying, for example, that money is actually a human motive which employs banks, currency, documents, traded goods and services, etc. There is no literal “money”. There is no genuinely physical thing that is “money”. Energy is the same way. It is only real as a figurative name. Motive is, by contrast, the concretely physical experience of desiring and doing.

  4. Joseph McCard (really)
    February 24, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Free will is not free? Re: our previous discussion about when “bad” things happen. As I see it, we either have free will or we don’t.

    I cooperatively create the Universe with all consciousness.

    • February 27, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      To me its clear that our will is constrained to different degrees of freedom. I am free to create an orange tree in my imagination right now, but no matter how earnestly I believe that I will manifest an orange tree in public, it isn’t going to happen.

  5. Joseph McCard (really)
    March 3, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    “Motive disperses and diffracts sense.”

    Perhaps you have a non-normative definition of “disperse” and”distract”?

    Distribute or spread over a wide area. There is the implication of action in spreading and distributing. There is also the assumption of space.

    Are there some other words to express what you mean, or perhaps you can at least provide your “legal” definition?

    • March 3, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Yes, it’s hard to talk about these kinds of primordial levels of physics without using metaphors. In this case, the distribution is not necessarily a function of space, as space itself is a perceptual presentation which likely belongs further down in the dispersal. There is nowhere to disperse to from the Absolute, so it seems likely that other, more directly sensory-motive changes would be more primitive. Rhythms within rhythms. Cycles of hold and release within other cycles of hold and release.

  6. Joseph McCard (really)
    March 3, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    There have been times when you have agreed with some comment I have made, as long as my comment did not contradict your claims. Do you ever wonder, when you dispute someone else’s contrary-to-yours claim, why it is that you are ALWAYS right? I have never heard you concede a point.

    • March 3, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      Oh definitely. I agree with you on a lot of things, and would have agreed with you on some more just a few years ago. The reason that I don’t concede points is because I can see immediately when the criticism’s of others are based in their misinterpretation of my ideas rather than genuinely finding something that I have not though of before. It’s sort of like knowing that the planets revolve around the sun. I don’t have to doubt that others are wrong if their criticism exposes a pre-heliocentric belief. I’m not caught off guard by it, or worried that I need to question myself at all, because I can tell right away that they keep assuming the Earth is in the center of the solar system, even if they don’t realize that they are doing it. It takes constant readjusting to this new orientation, so it’s not a poor reflection on others at all, it’s just not the kind of thing that you can cherry pick which ideas you like and which you don’t – they all follow from the same source, which is to see the private sense as the hub of the wheel of public physics.

  1. February 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm
  2. March 5, 2013 at 11:33 am

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