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Multisense Combustion

I was thinking about combustion engines and mentally following the sequence from the early step of mixing gasoline with air, then how that mix gets ignited in the gap of the ‘charged’ ends of the spark plug, which then changes the mix into CO2 + H2O steam molecules moving in all directions, only much faster…then those fast moving steam molecules begin to gradually move the dense metal pistons, push the metal gears in the transmission and ultimately rotate the drive train and wheels.

I wanted a video that would show a realistic visualization of combustion at the microstate scale, and this was the closest I could find right now. It’s a good video and I think it works for this, even though I was hoping for more of a scientific CGI simulation than a cartoon.

I’m doing this to help explain my understanding of how the Hard Problem of Consciousness can be transcended using sense-centric model of metaphysics.

Some key points to get from the simple explanation of the video to my Multisense Realism view:

Energy is an abstract concept that stands in for what we would call stimulating feelings or sensations. Stimulating meaning that besides the sensation of kinetic movement that would be assumed under physics (but not defined as a sensation), the event would includes another sensation of desire/motivation (call it motive) to act physically to discharge the quality of that initial feeling, because it is in some sense, uncomfortable or stressful. I propose that is all that ‘energy’ is – a felt sensory-aesthetic quality that causes a motive to experience a complementary sensory-aesthetic quality of release/return by turning the motive affect into motor effect – physical motion. The idea of potential energy is replaced by the more familiar experience of stress/strain and the idea of kinetic energy is replaced by the release of that stress through the physical act of acceleration.

The video does a great job of simplifying the conventional thermodynamic theory with a curve on a graph where potential energy of the fuel molecule decreases as it is transformed into the lower energy (more ‘relaxed’) molecules of water and carbon dioxide plus acceleration and light. In reality, there is no curve of potential energy being lost to kinetic energy. That is an abstraction to help us understand a theory of chemistry rather than a description of the event.

I propose that the actual combustion event needs at least two separate sense modalities to be modeled realistically – two modes of perception analogous to what we experience as touch (tactile/haptic/tangibility) and sight (visibility). First, the tangible sense rendering or appearance consists of molecules moving at one speed colliding and rearranging with each other so that they suddenly move very quickly (accelerate) in all directions. That’s the only truly physical, tangible thing that combustion is doing.*

The second aspect of the combustion event has tangible (photoelectric) effects, however, I propose that the only illuminating aspect is in fact visible rather than tangible. This is a radical proposal – that what we know as vision is not a simulation somehow transduced from information sent physically across a vacuum as particle-wave ‘patterns’, but is its own direct ontological medium that exists prior to biology, and perhaps even prior to tangibility. It may be the case that physics is grounded in metaphysical phenomena that are more like visual experiences than tangible experiences.

In the video, we see that part of the combustion of fuel into water and CO2 is the emission of what we conceive as light or photons. As I have proposed in other writings, light may not exist in any tangible sense, although it causes tangible effects (motion of atoms). I’m not denying that photons could exist as standalone particle/waves in a vacuum, but I think given what we observe from QM experiments and from our own experience of sight as a sense of looking and seeing rather than purely a sense of tangible collisions in the back of our eyeballs, I think it makes more sense to understand photons as either intangible sense experience or semi-tangible vehicles of trans-tangible sense experience. Illumination may be a more fundamental sense interaction than touch, so that the sense of objects are more of a collapsed reduction of some aspects of sensory-motive changes that cannot be seen directly.

By trans-tangible I mean that the ability to see brightness, colors, and images made of those contrasting visible qualities is not an ability that objects/particles or waves could generate under our current physical theory. There is an Explanatory Gap between what we think we know about mechanical events of force and what we experience directly as seeing/sight/sights/visibility. That is a How question. There is also a Hard Problem of Consciousness that arises when we ask the question of Why there would be any such thing as visible qualities in the first place when the mechanical consequences of physical events like combustion would produce the identical functions in complete invisibility. As an example, you can unplug the screen of your computer and nothing important is going to change in the circuits of the device. The device could do exactly what it was doing before, even though the main reason you have for making it do anything is to generate some non-computational physical activity in the lcd screen you’re staring at.

As long as the photon moves the electron, (or in some sense IS the motion of the electron) at a distance, then there’s no parsimonious reason to add an additional thing that the universe does to give it an ‘appearance’, much less an appearance that is presented visually rather than haptically. In a purely physical universe, nothing would have an appearance, nor would an appearance change anything physically. In a physical universe-plus-appearance, the appearance would by default be tactile/haptic and not visual. A brain would not see a world of images, it would just process the chemistry of its own fluids as it is, or with a lower resolution miniaturization of what it is.

For example, a grain of salt is an object appearance that approximates billions of molecules, so it is a low res icon that could be weakly emergent if sensed as a single tangible shape colliding with tongue cells, but to suddenly have that shape become an image of colors and brightness, or of flavor requires some strongly emergent non-physical magic. Magic because it’s not parsimonious. It doesn’t follow logically that any such thing would appear in a physical universe.

Most people currently assume that natural selection can and does produce mutations of physical cells that end up conjuring such appearances as sights and flavors, but in all cases that assume is a logical fallacy – a petitio principii or Begging the Question fallacy where the fact of the experience of sight is retrospectively smuggled in to what is supposed to be an explanation for how that experience came to be in the first place.

We can’t really see an electron or a photon, and we can’t really detect one without using our own conscious observation of how a physical instrument changes physically. This means that photons and electrons could be more like sensations that change the movements of atoms rather than free-standing physical entities in a vacuum. Photons in particular may just be how seeing or sensing appears when we look at it with something that we assume does not see (a physical instrument like a photomultiplier).

The whole notion of quantized energy states and electrons moving from inner to outer shells may be more of a story we made up about the behavior of the instruments we are using, and the modalities of sense and sense-making we are using them with than a realistic understanding of the fabric of all of nature. My proposal is that the fabric of nature is appearance itself: aesthetic presentations of multiple sense modalities, including, but not limited to, sights, sounds, feelings, thoughts, haptic/tactile textures and objects, emotions, even people. The presentation of aesthetic appearance on different nested scales of time or significance replaces the assumed anesthetic mechanics of physics or computation, and the presentation of the aesthetics of participation/voluntary will replaces the assumed automaticity of mass-energy or information processing.

Instead of literal light waves traveling as independent entities in the vacuum of space, my hypothesis suggests more of a Wheeler-Feynman Absorber Theory, but replacing anesthetic-automatic events of mere geometric emission and absorption with a Multisense Realism Theory of shared sensory-motive experiences of giving and receiving experiential qualities. Not only is illumination an experience of visible aesthetic qualities, but I am proposing that those aesthetic qualities are isomorphic to, or recapitulate the original experience of the event at the source to some degree.

In the Multisense Realism view of combustion, the idea of a subatomic particle leaving an atom and joining another is replaced by the idea of atomic scale experiences sharing a contagious sense of oscillating excitement-relaxation among existing conscious experiences. We render these experiences as movements of atoms only when we are using tangible instruments to detect their tangible side effects. Otherwise these events can be rendered in any modality – feelings, thoughts, flavors, colors, etc. There is no thing-that-is “light” other than the shared experience of illumination. Further, the experience of illumination is not only the wedding of separated experiences of generic stimulation through the sending and receiving of a sensation, but it is an experience of awareness of some aspect of the nature of that experience as it relates to all other experiences. Illumination is not only an increase in the visible quality of brightness, but within that brightness is a record OF the event that caused it. Light/illumination can be informative but it is not mere information. It is not just generic ‘news’ or signal but it news-OF an aesthetic-participatory event that is recapitulated aesthetically. A presentation that can re-present itself to itself, aka a form of consciousness.

*That’s the only thing that metabolism is doing also – in the stomach, in the blood, even in the brain. There is no standalone thing that is ‘energy’ in the universe. Energy is whatever quality of sensation that stimulates a desire to change or spread that sensation. It’s not a generic thing, but it can be modeled that way, quantified and understood enough to exert control over physical and chemical reactions.

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