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(*update to The Competition page)

Antrhopmorphism and Mechanemorphism

1. What is meant by mechanemorphism?

Anthropomorphize = To attribute human form or personality to things not human
Mechanemorphize = To attribute machine form or impersonality to things not mechanical.

The Multisense Realism perspective is grounded in a philosophy of science which seeks to be more objective about objectivity itself. In Western models of consciousness, experience is generated by the objective mechanism, the forms and functions of the brain.  As a result, the subjective experience itself, which does not seem mechanically necessary, becomes orphaned. I have heard it referred to as an illusion, an emergent property, epiphenomena, or even a spandrel (evolutionary side effect which plays no role in further developments). These kinds of terms are necessary to overlook the dualism which mechanemoprhism creates. It is a way of silencing or explaining away the very phenomenon which give rise to the inquiry into consciousness in the first place. This phenomenon of human inquiry is very much the opposite of mechanism. It is a personal participation which arises from meaning and motive rather than blind energy. It is a ‘Why?’ as well as a ‘How’.

When we, as upstanding citizens of the Western scientific consensus, mechanemorphize ourselves it is because we are considering only the public facing aspects of {the total phenomenon that we are} and finding them mechanistic. The conjecture of MSR is that because consciousness is more likely to use mechanism for differentiation and extension than machines are to use consciousness for anything (why would they?), we should not assume the public presentation of our own mechanism is the fundamental phenomenon. MSR suggests that perceptual relativity itself, the sense of the contrast between private qualia and public quanta, is in fact the most likely universal primitive. While human perception may be local to this planet during a relatively short era, perceptual relativity as a phenomenon is larger, older, and more universal than physics. Mechanism must be learned. Feeling and being is innate.

If we examine the nature of mechanism carefully, we should see that the essence of mechanism is unconsciousness. What is an automaton? What does it mean to automate a process? It means that we squeeze out all requirements for our own participation. It is a function which happens without us.

Why is that important? Because a machine will serve whatever master that it is constructed to serve. It will do the same thing over and over until it breaks, because it can’t tell the difference and it can’t care. The machine itself {the totality of the phenomenon that is the machine} has no presence as a genuine whole which is independent of our expectations of it. Outside of our uses of it, it is only an assembly of unrelated parts.

Natural phenomena are not assembled unconsciously, they are spun off and broken out from larger wholes. They are conceived through fusion and fission of their own sense and motive. As a result, the awareness of something like a human being, which is self-elaborated to an almost perverse degree, has a footprint in many different levels of awareness and interaction. While the public effect of what we are seems mechanistic to us, the private affect of who we are does not seem that way. If we were to recreate the universe and we wanted to recreate it faithfully, we would have to include this non-mechanistic experience, as it is the primary experience of the universe for ourselves, and perhaps for all participants in the universe as well.

To say that someone is ‘robotic’, or ‘acting like a machine’ is to say that they are impersonal, cold, relentless, unfeeling. These meanings are not there by accident, they are universal intuitions. As impartial scientists, we should recognize that it is no more scientific to presume that the universe is fundamentally mechanistic than it would be to presume that it is fundamentally anthropomorphic. We have many indications in non-ordinary consciousness, the placebo effect, quantum mechanics, synchronicity, and the anthropopological universality of spiritual concepts that objectivity is not a matter of what “simply is” but may in fact be, on a more primitive level, the complex interplay of “what seems to be the case”. There is no evidence that this ‘seeming’ can be taken for granted in a physical or mathematical system. There is no argument that I know of which should persuade a neutral party why mechanemorphism deserves more consideration than anthropomorphism as a default ontological assumption. Instead, MSR argues that this contrast of extremes known as anthropomorphism and mechanemorphism are a clue as to the template of the underlying nature of nature – that it is in fact an aesthetic agenda from which human subjectivity is directly descended.

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