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Colorball Diagram Explained

December 30, 2013 Leave a comment

420anorexorcist said: Can you please explain that?

Sure, thanks for asking!

The diagram is based on ideas from my reality theory, Multisense Realism. I have found that many of these ideas coincide with previous concepts in philosophy, but if I’m on the right track, then MSR offers a new and more complete integration of scientific observations and subjective reports.

To make it clearer, I have added a numbering scheme, with negative numbers on the Left or West side, and positive numbers on the East side or Orient. In addition to the version of the colorball diagram that has been posted, there will be another version in a future post which has the same schema but introduces some new terms which qualify the frame set by degree of aesthetic depth rather than kind.

Key I

Teleological-Absolute (+∞) :: Universal-Axiomatic (-∞)
Mytho-Poetic (+3) ::  Geometric-Algebraic (-3)
Mental-Emotional (+2) :: Scientific-Mechanical (-2)
Sensory-Motive/Perceptual (+1) ::  Electro-Magnetic/Relativistic (-1)
Proto-Aesthetic (+0) :: Quantum-Digital (-0)

Key II
Absolute (+∞) :: Anesthetic (-∞)
Entelethetic (+3) ::  Hypothetic (-3)
Aesthetic (+2) :: Exthetic (-2)

Immediate (+1) ::  Etheric (-1)

Protosthetic (+0) :: Pseudethetic (-0)

There are a lot of other diagrams that I have done as collages or graphs, but what I was trying to do here is to give a sense of these ranges of aesthetic (sensed, felt, appreciated) qualities as a spherical-banded on one side and flat-concentric on the other. The idea of making the experiential side spherical is that it represents that given the assumption of Pansensitivity that MSR makes, the totality of experience is the largest possibility. The total of all experiences throughout eternity (assuming nested relativistic time frequencies) dwarfs all possible sets of phenomena or structures within that possibility.

It’s a big idea that gets discussed on the website in more detail. Suffice to say, the universe of conscious experience is being compared to a big colorful ball, but has only its surface to express some view of eternity. Thinking of the numbers of the Keys above, the higher the positive integer, the more translucent the surface becomes and the more of what might be called the genius of eternity (the most illuminated views of the past and all future potentials) is illuminated at once. The lower the number, the more opaque and reflective the surface becomes, so that individual sensations ground awareness in the immediacy of the moment.

The negative numbers can be thought of as ignoring the depth and surface of the sphere completely, but adding structure and realism by cutting across the interior. Unlike direct awareness, the power of math and science to help us infer what we cannot see for ourselves is timeless in an entirely different way. The universe of science is the orthogonal cross section of the universe of feeling and experience, so that its formula and theorems emerge from reading between the cracks of experience. The scientific mind tries to subtract themselves out of the picture, to create a perfect experimental vacuum for impartial, unbiased truth. What the Western side lacks in vitality and wisdom, it makes up for with knowledge and intelligence. The concentric circles also represent the way that the most extreme physical conditions (quantum, astrophysics) share the same forces but differ from the kinds of phenomena found in mid-sized, macroscopic scales (medicine, agriculture).

Monochord

On the East side of the colorball, the prismatic banding emphasizes a loose hierarchy of what could be called aesthetic prestige. Besides just modulating how much of the eternal experience can come to the surface of awareness, there nature of privacy is such that there is a hierarchy significance. Even if we wanted to, it would be hard to take the life of a flea or dandelion to be as interesting or important as a person. Each band signifies a ‘leveling up’ or ascending within the totality of awareness. There is a ton of legitimate and flaky stuff out there about this kind of thing of course (Ken Wilber’s work has extensive correlations of these kinds of systems) so I try not to dwell on what its about, but generally, my system tries to simplify and science-ify the whole thing, so that it does seem as likely to relate only to the experiences of human beings.

Roughly mapping to the Chakra system and other monochord designs, the journey of improving sense can be compared to language. The basic unit would be phenomena in the orange Sensory-Motive (+1) range and can be compared to [letters or syllables] in a word. These would be raw sensations and sensory qualities, aka the root nature of qualia.

Going up the ranks, the yellow Mental-Emotional (+2) range would be like [words and paragraphs] to the +1 [letters and syllables]. This level is the garden variety waking state of mind for most people. Getting things done, thinking, and being a person. It’s the range we could call Natural and Aesthetic.

When consciousness becomes so elevated that realism begins to become transparent, past and future mingle and the ordinary becomes extraordinary. The Mytho-Poetic (+3) band corresponds to ideas like the collective unconscious and archetypes, but also just regular old imagination and fictional stories. This level would correspond to [paragraphs and stories], and it is super-personal in the sense of it reaches for the heroic and divine. It is also cultural and prophetic, psychedelic, delusional. etc. As the integer increases and the surface becomes more illuminated, the interconnectedness of things is revealed as metaphor and coincidence.

The monochord can be thought of as a logarithmic scale of relative time as well. The ‘now’ of a sensation can be less than a second, but to think and feel like a person in the world requires a larger ‘now’, of hours. The Mytho-Poetic seems supernatural to us because I think that it represents our sensitivity into the larger now of weeks, years, and lifetimes. Under heightened conditions of consciousness, it is common to experience the feeling that time has stopped, whereas under sedative or narcotic masking of consciousness, time can seem to be lost or forgotten. Because higher consciousness dilates experienced time, high states can be visionary and far-sighted, or just ‘far-out’. The Mytho-Poetic level is notoriously ambiguous and deceptive, possibly because because we are glimpsing experiences which are, from our local perspective, still half-baked.

The Teleological-Absolute (+∞) can be God, if we prefer a Western metaphor. In that case it would correspond to the [author or artist] writing the stories, that are made of words, that are made of letters.Teleological = Top Down, like I am writing this from a single intention which cascades down through my wording mind, through the finger-tapping keys and the bit-byte-ing computer hardware that we share.

If, like me, you don’t resonate so much with an anthropomorphic God, the Totality can be the Absolute inertial frame instead, and the authors and artists are themselves written by the art – by sense itself. It sounds crazy, but it makes sense to me as a next step after ‘We are spiritual beings having a human experience’ to just say, ‘we are a human experience’. I call this Primordial Identity Pansensitivity.There are many concepts within Eastern philosophy and Western mysticism which reflect this kind of non-deity generator of everythingness, but I think that it is important that we understand this as physics – the physics of privacy.

If the East side is about time and experience, the West side is about scales of space and experiences in which we deduce and infer hidden patterns which explain our experience. This is Science rather than Art, and Science begins in the opposite way as the Teleological Absolute – it begins with a blank slate…or does it? The universe of space is based on laws which are taken to be axiomatic. The Universal-Axiomatic (-∞) means that when we want to get real and we have to stop looking for metaphysical truths, and instead accept that ‘stuff exists’, including laws which guide and propagate changes in the cosmos.

The Geometric-Algebraic (-3) range is the most ancient range of the Western thesis. Classical mathematics and philosophy are inseparable, and like the +3 Mytho-Poetic, range that it opposes, it has to do with perfection. Where the +3 phenomena are perfectly actualized expressions of timeless themes and characters, the -3 phenomena are elegant in their purity. This is not sense for the sake of sensation, but sense-making for the sake of permanence. +3 has its dragons and goddesses, but -3 has Pi, and Euler’s Identity, hypoteneuse, etc.

As Geometry and Algebra become more sophisticated, Trigonometry and Calculus ushered in the Enlightenment Era and modernism in science. The Scientific-Mechanical (-2) level splits Science from Philosophy, with Descartes, Copernicus, Leibniz and Newton, among others building on Renaissance advances since Galileo. The Reformation echoes the philosophical break, with top-heavy Roman Catholicism and angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin Scholasticism yielding to the rise of classical mechanics, empiricism and the industrial revolution.

From the work of scientists like James Clerk Maxwell and Marie Curie, the nature of Electro-Magnetic/Relativistic (-1) phenomena was brought to light. The electric era, followed by the radio, atomic, and electronic era tap into an invisible, etheric layer of structure. Unlike any of the previous conceptual models based on forms and volumes, the pervasiveness of vibrations and waves constructed only of frequencies and wavelengths is, in my opinion, the correlate to +1 Sensory-Motor/Perceptual phenomena, and I think that there is a lot of indication that this could be true, given the utility that neuroscience has found in electromagnetic access to the brain.

Finally, the Quantum-Digital (-0) level, picking up where Einstein left off, is giving us a taste of an information-theoretic universe. The heroes of Quantum Theory include Planck, Bohr, Heisenberg, Feynman, etc as well as Turing, Shannon, Bateson, and many others for introducing a probabilistic Wonderland in which reality can only be calculated, but not understood. Each of these levels deserves a dissertation, and then another set of dissertations about how they all relate. Hopefully that is enough to give anyone who has stuck with it this far a taste of that this is all about.

*+0 is rounded off, but it would really be +0.00…1, since absolute zero is impossible under MSR. Same with -0.00…1; rounded off here to -0.

Breaking the Nth Wall

December 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Norman Rockwell

  • Eliminative Materialism: The picture is the only reality, so the artist is an illusion.
  • Idealism: The artist is real and the picture is an illusion.
  • Dual Aspect: The artist and the painting are two halves of the whole.
  • Monotheism: Norman Rockwell is omnipotent and immortal.
  • Computationalism: Norman Rockwell is an emergent property of jpeg compression. Any sufficiently complex compression becomes Norman Rockwell.
  • Multisense Realism: The picture, artist, audience, illusion, Norman Rockwell, and computation are all sensory experiences which make sense in different but sensibly related ways.

Consciousness Mural

December 25, 2013 1 comment

bigmural

Obstruction of Solitude: A Guide To Noise

October 15, 2013 Leave a comment

“And then…all the noise!  All the noise, noise, noise, noise!
If there’s one thing I hate…all the noise, noise, noise, noise!
And they’ll shriek, squeak, and squeal racing round on their wheels,
Then dance with jin-tinglers tied onto their heels!” – The Grinch

“Karma police, arrest this man
He talks in maths
He buzzes like a fridge
He’s like a detuned radio” – Radiohead

It might be asked, “Why should we care about noise?” Two reasons come to mind.

1) To reduce, contain, or otherwise avoid it.
2) To understand what isn’t noise, and why we prefer that.

Real Noise

The general use of the word noise refers to an unpleasant sound. Even on this most literal level, there is a sense of denial about the extent to which unpleasant qualities are subjective. The stereotypical parent, upon hearing the stereotypical teenager’s musical taste being played at high volume, may yell something like “Turn off that infernal noise!”. There is a sense that the sound demands to be labeled objectively as a terrible thing to listen to, rather than as a sound which presents itself differently according to one’s state of mind or development.

At the same time, we cannot rule out all objective, or at least pseudo-objective qualities related to signal and noise. A garage recording of a metal band or a jackhammer attacking the pavement can be uncontroversially defined as being ‘noisy’, particularly in comparison to other, more gentle sounds. ‘Real noise’, then, seems to have a range of subjective and objective qualifiers. Loud, percussive sounds are inherently noisy to us humans, and we have reason to assume the same is true for animals and even plants:

“Dorothy Retallack tried experimenting with different types of music. She played rock to one group of plants and, soothing music to another. The group that heard rock turned out to be sickly and small whereas the other group grew large and healthy. What’s more surprising is that the group of plants listening to the soothing music grew bending towards the radio just as they bend towards the sunlight.”source

Whether we enjoy loud, percussive sounds is a matter of taste and context. Even the most diehard metal fan probably does not want to hear their favorite band blasting at five o’ clock in the morning from a passing car. Being able to control what we listen to contributes to our perception of it as noise.

Obstruction, Distraction, Destruction, and Leaks

Whether a piece of music offends our personal taste, or it is simply so loud that we can’t ‘hear ourselves think’, the experience of being distracted seems central to its status as noise. In the parlance of sound engineers, and later Silicon Valley schmoozers, the ‘signal to noise ratio’ describes this feature of noise to distract or divert attention from the intended communication. Noise not only obstructs access to the signal, the disturbance that it causes also detracts from the quality of the signal itself. If the signal to noise ratio is poor enough, it may not be worth the effort for the receiver to try to interpret it, and communication is destroyed.

This sense of noise as an obstacle to communication extends beyond audio or electronic signals to any context where information is accessed, transmitted, or stored. In his influential work on telecommunications, Clause Shannon described information entropy as those features of a signal which are costly to compress.  Typically it is those patterns which cannot be easily discerned as either part of the intentional signal or part of the background noise. Despite the tremendous computational resources available for mobile communication, the signal quality on mobile devices are still generally inferior to land lines. Between microphone gating that clips off conversation instead of ambient street sounds and the loss of packets due to radio broadcast conditions or network routing conditions, it is amazing that it sounds as good as it does, but it is still a relatively leaky way to transmit voices.

Neural Noise and Withdrawal

Every sense has its own particular kind of noise. Vision has glare, blur, phosphene patterns (‘seeing stars’). Touch has non-specific tingling or itching. Olfactory and gustatory senses encounter foul odors or bad aftertastes.  Feelings like nausea and dizziness which are unrelated to food or balance conditions are a kind of noise (noise is etymologically related to nausea and noxious). Part of the effect of withdrawal from an addiction that the brain becomes overly sensitized to irritating stimuli in general. It’s almost like an allergic response in that the systems which would ordinarily protect us from threats is distracted by a false threat and turned on itself.  Our sensitivity to the environment, having been hijacked by an external supply of pleasurable signals, has built up a tolerance for those super-saturated instructions.

With any kind of addiction, even healthy ones like exercise or washing your hands, the nature of sense is to accommodate and normalize perceptions which are present regularly. Because the addiction provides positive reinforcement regularly, there is an artificially low noise ratio which invites your senses to recalibrate to listen more closely to the noise (which would be quite adaptive evolutionarily, you would want to still hear that tiger or smell that smoke even when you enjoy a lifestyle of hedonism and decadence). When the source of positive distraction is removed, the sensitivity to negative distraction is still cranked up to 11, which of course, taps into the original motivation to escape the negative distractions of life with an addiction in the first place. We want something to soothe our nerves, to numb the sensitivity and quiet the noise.

A Recipe For Noise

There seem to be general patterns which are common to many kinds of noise. Noise can either be an obstructing presence, or a conspicuous absence (like the dropouts on a phone call). It can be a public or a private condition which clouds judgment, invites impatience, frustration, and intolerance.  Noise can be that which is incoherent, irrelevant, redundant, or inappropriate. Some signals can be temporarily irrelevant or incoherent, while others are permanently so. Besides being too loud, an audio noise can also be soft, such as a hiss or other aesthetic defect that exposes leaky conditions in the recording process. The context is important, as with withdrawal from addiction, our senses are more attuned to the relativity of sensation rather than objective measurement. Grey looks darker next to black than it does next to white.

Our ability to use our attention to pivot from foreground to background is part of what defines the difference between signal and noise, or sense and nonsense. We can all relate to the Charlie Brown effect, where the words that a teacher says are reduced to unintelligible vocalizations. As you read these words now, you may be scanning over so much tedious verbiage that looks like generic wordiness more than any particular message. Any signal can be a noise if you don’t pay attention to it in the right way, and any noise can be used as a meaningful code or symbol. Perhaps there is a way to get over our addictions a little easier if we can learn to see our irritation and cravings as a sign that we are on the right path to restoring our neurological gain.

Many Cures

The destruction of information or the suppression of noise is not as simple as it may seem. Take, for example, the difference between analgesic, anesthetic, and narcotic effects. Pain can be relieved systemically, locally, or simply by being made to seem irrelevant. It can be selectively suppressed or wiped out as part of an overall deadening of sensation. There are other ways to get pain relief besides pharmaceuticals as well. Athletes or soldiers are known to perform with severe injuries, and many people have endured astonishing hardships for the sake of their family without being fully aware of the pain they were in. While there may be endogenous pharmacology going on which accounts for the specific pain suppression, it is ultimately the context which the subject is conscious of which drives the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters.

Semiotics of Noise

Looking at noise from a Piercean perspective, it can be seen as a failure of semiosis – a broken icon, symbol, or index.  A broken index would be something like tinnitus or a phantom limb. The signal we are receiving does not correspond to the referent that we expect, and in fact corresponds only to a problem with the signaling mechanism, or some deeper problem. A signal which is broken as an index but can be understood meaningfully as a symptom of something else (maybe the tinnitus is due to a sinus infection) has reverted from a teleological index to a teleonomic* index. It coincides with a condition, but does not represent it faithfully in any way. It is noise in the sense that the expected association must be overlooked intentionally to get to the unintentional association to a symptom.

A broken index would also be one which we deem irrelevant. This type of noise, which would include the proliferation of automatic alerts, false alarms, flashing lights, spam, etc. There may be nothing wrong with what what the message is saying, but considerations of redundancy, and context inappropriateness makes it clear that what a computer thinks is important and what we think is important are very different things. This type of noise fails at the pragmatic level. It’s not that we don’t understand the message, or that its not for us, it’s that we don’t want to do anything about it.

Broken icons and symbols would similarly be made incoherent, irrelevant, or inappropriate by lacking enough syntactic integrity or semantic content to justify positive attention. Fragmented texts or degenerated signs can fail to satisfy functionally or aesthetically, either on their own, or due to intrusions from outside of the intended communication channel. The overall function of noise is to decompose. Like the odor of something that has spoiled, disorder and decay are symptoms of entropy. In the schema of cosmic metabolism, entropy is the catabolic phase of forms and functions – a kind of toll exacted by space and time which ensures that whatever rises to the threshold of existence and importance, will eventually destabilize, its differences de-tuning to indifference.

What Noise Tells Us About Signals

If we begin with the premise that signal and noise are polar opposites, then it may be useful to look at the opposite of some of the terms and concepts that have just been discussed. If noise is irrelevant, inappropriate, incoherent, and redundant, then the qualities which make something significant or important should include being relevant, appropriate, coherent, and essential. Where noise obstructs, distracts, and destroys, sense instructs, attracts, and constructs. Where noise is noxious and disgusting, signals soothe and give solace.

In the larger picture of self and consciousness, it is our solitude that is threatened by noise. Solitude, like solidity and structure are related to low entropy. It is the feeling of strong continuity and coherence, a silent background from which all moments of sound and fury are foregrounded. It is what receives all signals and insulates all noise. Integrated information? Maybe. The Philosopher’s Stone? Probably.

*teleonomy describes conditions of causality which are driven by blind statistics rather than sensible function. Evolution, for example, is a teleonomy since it does not care which species live or die, it is only those who happen to have been better suited to their ecological niche which end up reproducing most successfully.

Wittgenstein, Physics, and Free Will

October 14, 2013 1 comment

JE: My experience from talking to philosophers is that WIttgenstein’s view is certainly contentious. There seem to be two camps. There are those seduced by his writing who accept his account and there are others who, like me, feel that Wittgenstein expressed certain fairly trivial insights about perception and language that most people should have worked out for themselves and then proceeded to draw inappropriate conclusions and screw up the progress of contemporary philosophy for fifty years. This latter would be the standard view amongst philosophers working on biological problems in language as far as I can see.

Wittgenstein is right to say that words have different meanings in different situations – that should be obvious. He is right to say that contemporary philosophers waste their time using words inappropriately – any one from outside sees that straight away. But his solution – to say that the meaning of words is just how they are normally used, is no solution – it turns out to be a smoke screen to allow him to indulge his own prejudices and not engage in productive explanation of how language actually works inside brains.

The problem is a weaseling going on that, as I indicated before, leads to Wittgenstein encouraging the very crime he thought he was clever to identify. The meaning of a word may ‘lie in how it is used’ in the sense that the occurrences of words in talk is functionally connected to the roles words play in internal brain processes and relate to other brain processes but this is trivial. To say that meaning is use is, as I said, clearly a route to the W crime itself. If I ask how do you know meaning means use you will reply that a famous philosopher said so. Maybe he did but he also said that words do not have unique meanings defined by philosophers – they are used in all sorts of ways and there are all sorts of meanings of meaning that are not ‘use’, as anyone who has read Grice or Chomsky will have come to realise. Two meanings of a word may be incompatible yet it may be well nigh impossible to detect this from use – the situation I think we have here. The incompatibility only becomes clear if we rigorously explore what these meanings are. Wittgenstein is about as much help as a label on a packet of pills that says ‘to be taken as directed’.

But let’s be Wittgensteinian and play a language game of ordinary use, based on the family resemblance thesis. What does choose mean? One meaning might be to raise in the hearer the thought of having a sense of choosing. So a referent of ‘choose’ is an idea or experience that seems to be real and I think must be. But we were discussing what we think that sense of choosing relates to in terms of physics. We want to use ‘choose’ to indicate some sort of causal relation or an aspect of causation, or if we are a bit worried about physics still having causes we could frame it in terms of dynamics or maybe even just connections in a spacetime manifold. If Wheeler thinks choice is relevant to physics he must think that ‘choose’ can be used to describe something of this sort, as well as the sense of choosing.

So, as I indicated, we need to pin down what that dynamic role might be. And I identified the fact that the common presumption about this is wrong. It is commonly thought that choosing is being in a situation with several possible outcomes. However, we have no reason to think that. The brain may well not be purely deterministic in operation. Quantum indeterminacy may amplify up to the level of significant indeterminacy in such a complex system with so powerful amplification systems at work. However, this is far from established and anyway it would have nothing to do with our idea of choosing if it was just a level of random noise. So I think we should probably work on the basis that the brain is in fact as tightly deterministic as matters here. This implies that in the situation where we feel we are choosing THERE IS ONLY ONE POSSIBLE OUTCOME.

The problem, as I indicated is that there seem to be multiple possible outcomes to us because we do not know how are brain is going to respond. Because this lack of knowledge is a standard feature of our experience our idea of ‘a situation’ is better thought of as ‘an example of an ensemble of situations that are indistinguishable in terms of outcome’. If I say when I get to the main road I can turn right or left I am really saying that I predict an instance of an ensemble of situations which are indistinguishable in terms of whether I go right or left. This ensemble issue of course is central to QM and maybe we should not be so surprised about that – operationally we live in a world of ensembles, not of specific situations.

So this has nothing to do with ‘metaphysical connotations’ which is Wittgenstein’s way of blocking out any arguments that upset him – where did we bring metaphysics in here? We have two meanings of choose. 1. Being in a situation that may be reported as being one of feeling one has choice (to be purely behaviourist) and 2. A dynamic account of that situation that turns out not to agree with what 99.9% of the population assume it is when they feel they are choosing. People use choose in a discussion of dynamics as if it meant what it feels like in 1 but the reality is that this use is useless. It is a bit like making burnt offerings to the Gods. That may be a use for goats but not a very productive one. It turns out that the ‘family resemblance’ is a fake. Cousin Susan who has pitched up to claim her inheritance is an impostor. That is why I say that although to ‘feel I am choosing’ is unproblematic the word ‘choice’ has no useful meaning in physics. It is based on the same sort of error as thinking a wavefunction describes a ‘particle’ rather than an ensemble of particles. The problem with Wittgenstein is that he never thought through where his idea of use takes you if you take a careful scientific approach. Basically I think he was lazy. The common reason why philosophers get tied in knots with words is this one – that a word has several meanings that do not in fact have the ‘family relations’ we assume they have – this is true for knowledge, perceiving, self, mind, consciousness – all the big words in this field. Wittgenstein’s solution of going back to using words the way they are ‘usually’ used is nothing more than an ostrich sticking its head in the sand.

So would you not agree that in Wheeler’s experiments the experimenter does not have a choice in the sense that she probably feels she has? She is not able to perform two alternative manoeuvres on the measuring set up. She will perform a manoeuvre, and she may not yet know which, but there are no alternatives possible in this particular instance of the situation ensemble. She is no different from a computer programmed to set the experiment up a particular way before particle went through the slits, contingent on a meteorite not shaking the apparatus after it went through the slits (causality is just as much an issue of what did not happen as what did). So if we think this sort of choosing tells us something important about physics we have misunderstood physics, I beleive.

Nice response. I agree almost down the line.

As far as the meaning of words go, I think that no word can have only one meaning because meaning, like all sense, is not assembled from fragments in isolation, but rather isolated temporarily from the totality of experience. Every word is a metaphor, and metaphor can be dialed in and out of context as dictated by the preference of the interpreter. Even when we are looking at something which has been written, we can argue over whether a chapter means this or that, whether or not the author intended to mean it. We accept that some meanings arise unintentionally within metaphor, and when creating art or writing a book, it is not uncommon to glimpse and develop meanings which were not planned.

To choose has a lower limit, between the personal and the sub-personal which deals with the difference between accidents and ‘on purpose’ where accidents are assumed to demand correction, and there is an upper limit on choice between the personal and the super-personal in which we can calibrate our tolerance toward accidents, possibly choosing to let them be defined as artistic or intuitive and even pursuing them to be developed.

I think that this lensing of choice into upper and lower limits, is, like red and blue shift, a property of physics – of private physics. All experiences, feelings, words, etc can explode into associations if examined closely. All matter can appear as fluctuations of energy, and all energy can appear as changes in the behavior of matter. Reversing the figure-ground relation is a subjective preference. So too is reversing the figure-ground relation of choice and determinism a subjective preference. If we say that our choices are determined, then we must explain why there is a such thing as having a feeling that we choose. Why would there be a difference, for example, in the way that we breathe and the way that we intentionally control our breathing? Why would different areas of the brain be involved in voluntary control, and why would voluntary muscle tissue be different from smooth muscle tissue if there were no role for choice in physics? We have misunderstood physics in that we have misinterpreted the role of our involvement in that understanding.

We see physics as a collection of rules from which experiences follow, but I think that it can only be the other way around. Rules follow from experiences. Physics lags behind awareness. In the case of humans, our personal awareness lags behind our sub-personal awareness (as shown by Libet, etc) but that does not mean that our sub-personal awareness follows microphysical measurables. If you are going to look at the personal level of physics, you only have to recognize that you can intend to stand up before you stand up, or that you can create an opinion intentionally which is a compromise between select personal preferences and the expectations of a social group.

Previous Wittgenstein post here.

Philosophical Gender

August 23, 2013 2 comments

Like sexual gender, the psyche tends to favor hovering around one aesthetic preference at a time. So much of philosophy seems to be rooted in just that, the aesthetic preferences of the psyche. How else should we explain why we are so often personally attached to our philosophical views – why we are in fact attracted to them, and to writers and speakers who have espoused similar perspectives.

Many are traditional in their philosophical tastes, and find that even the thought of experimenting with other views makes them very uncomfortable. Others find it natural to consume philosophy of all sorts, the more the better, but at the same time they may favor one particular flavor, or they may get sick of the whole intellectual-masturbatory scene eventually.

Philosophy engenders a feeling of firm orientation within it, despite the many other options available which might directly contradict it. That’s sort of the hook. A particular way of looking at things makes you feel that you are on the right track, maybe for the first time. It can change the way that you feel about other ways of acting and thinking. Like hitting puberty, what was once merely charged with social naughtiness and furtive mystery becomes irrepressibly intense. Childish ways of behaving, especially those which cross gender or leave it undeveloped are often discarded in shame and become repulsive, at least publicly. Gender is suddenly unexpectedly prominent, and exaggerated to the point of caricature.

Philosophy is almost inevitably tied to politics. Views on what the universe is, though seemingly esoteric and remote, have a way of filtering into our attitudes about everything from nature and technology, to society, personal responsibility, money, possessions, art, drugs, literature, etc.  Early math is practically inseparable from philosophy.

There are many polarities and nested polarities within philosophy, especially philosophy of mind. I often focus on reducing those polarities (reductive vs non-reductive…there’s another polarity) to a single hetero-normative gender which I am lately calling Anthropmorphism and Mechanemorphism, but have also referred to it as ACME and OMMM, Oriental Animism and Western Mechanism, Public-entropic and Private-holotrophic, and for those with a symbol fetish, ((-ℵ↔Ω) ºt)  and (ωª (H←d)).

In the course of studying this swirl of gender, it became apparent that the swirl itself could be transcended philosophically. While the battle between mind-firsters and body-firsters rages on forever, the battle itself can be seen as their most powerful overlap. Somehow even in the antiquated writings of long dead thinkers (well, the thinkers who were deemed white enough and male enough to be published anyways), fresh controversy can be sparked. It’s remarkable, really.  The enduring conflict, a perpetually circulating difference of opinion on everything, the difference between differences, and different ways of defining difference, and defining definition.

Is philosophy is a strange attractor?

“The Lorenz attractor is an example of a strange attractor. Strange attractors are unique from other phase-space attractors in that one does not know exactly where on the attractor the system will be. Two points on the attractor that are near each other at one time will be arbitrarily far apart at later times. The only restriction is that the state of system remain on the attractor. Strange attractors are also unique in that they never close on themselves — the motion of the system never repeats (non-periodic). The motion we are describing on these strange attractors is what we mean by chaotic behavior.”

If there were an ‘end’ to all of this (which is what exactly?) I think that it can be found not in being and nothingness or in difference and repetition, but in recognizing the commonality of conflict – the sense which discerns between differences and which also is the motivation which negates indifference. Carrying this principle into physics, and then mathematics, what it looks like is that a revolution of the most primordial propositions should be considered:

  • The number ‘one’ should be reinvented and restored as the root of the number line.
  • Zero should be regarded as neither a real or imaginary number, but rather an imaginary absence of all number.
  • The Big Bang singularity should be reinterpreted to reflect this new understanding of 1 and 0, beginnings and endings.

Here is the main insight: Since the difference between a difference (1) and indifference (no difference = 0) is in fact a difference, the two concepts are not perfectly symmetrical negations of each other, but rather, indifference, like nonsense or disorder, is a qualifier of difference. Zero is just 1 minus itself. In a universe of just the concept of 1 and subtraction, 1 would have to reproduce itself once in order to have another one to subtract, and then reproduce itself once more in order to carry out the subtraction. One cannot disappear, and zero cannot generate any numbers or operations. They don’t cancel each other out, they nest within each other in strange loops.

In this way, as I have posted before, the Big Bang must never be considered an explosion in space at some particular moment in the past, but rather it is the frame of all events, and all spaces. We are within the Big Bang, which was not a 1 emerging from 0, not a Universe from Nothing, but the opposite. What I call the Big Diffraction is “The Universe Within Everything”. The whole of physics can be seen as pieces to the puzzle which is getting more piece-ier and peace-ier as it goes on. The whole of mathematics can be seen as taking place within the number one, transformed, non-Euclidean style into the Absolute set of all sets. One is not an object, it is a primordial language of experience, of sense and sense making – a singularity not only of quantity, but of ontological-psychophysical gender.

But wait. Sense is not just a matter of being and knowing, it is also a matter of sensing and thinking, of comparing. It does not resolve the Material and the Experiential as being ‘the same thing’, it resolves them as both being equal to the same thing (1) in the opposite way. The Big Bang is not just 1, it is more like “=1”. This is a more primordial opposite even than being and nothingness, since nothingness can only be imagined by something. The relation of = to 1 is as opposite of that of 1 and 0 but more subtle. Just look at the characters. Parallel horizontal lines compared with an arrow-like stroke of singular effort. I guess I’m getting too into this, but whatever, consider it a piece of Suprematist art. It’s a before and after, an open canal, and an erect figure. An invitation and an expression. There’s a whole philosophy lurking in there just in the shapes of arithmetic symbols. Hmm.

Qui? Que

August 15, 2013 1 comment

quiqueoui

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