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What is the basis of reality: matter or consciousness? Why?

June 8, 2014 Leave a comment

My answer on Quora

I. What is the basis of reality?

A. Is it Matter?

1. Matter is thought to emerge from fundamental physical forces.

a. The strong force, the weak force, electromagnetism, and gravity are considered to be the as-yet-irreducible ingredients of matter. We do not really understand what forces themselves are made of, or could be made of, so they are considered axiomatic. Known forces, fields, and the particle-wave effects which are produced by them can explain all of the scientific observations that we have, or so it would seem.

b. Not included in these physical fundamentals are ideal influences, such as geometry. How does a wave become wavy? Where does waving come from? Why are there geometric shapes when information processing of geometric problems can more easily be solved using binary math? This is a good way of showing that the hard problem of consciousness extends beyond biology and into metaphysics, since a universe which arose purely out of unconscious function would not be indicated by the symptom of being filled with figures and forms that require conscious sense modalities and perspectives to define.

If the universe were blind and intangible, and needs conscious beings to compose it into visible and tangible phenomena, then how can we say that what we think of as reality is composed by matter? Reality, as we have ever known it, is tangible (touchable) substance, with forms that often reveal characteristics of those substances. Certainly human consciousness is not what defines the universe, but how can we say what a universe would be without any definition from any consciousness? If such a ‘reality’ could exist, what would be the difference between that and nothingness, except that it is a nothingness which somehow leads to the birth of consciousness of an experienced reality?

B. Is it Consciousness?

1. What is beneath consciousness is debatable.

a. Some say that consciousness is information processing which is substrate independent. Subjective qualities like color and flavor are emergent from the complexity of arithmetic relations and exist for functional purposes (labeling or compressing data). If we recreate the complex interactions in silico, or even in a large network of pipes and mechanical valves, experiences such as the flavor of pineapple would emerge, just because that is what must happen.

b. Some say that it is the product of neurochemical functions, which could either be a computation which is substrate dependent for an unknown reason, or it could be a non-computational biological product such as digestion. A computer program could simulate digestion, but it can’t digest physically real food.

These both take the modus ponens approach to logic, where a proposition that is the same as something true is also true: Since we can taste pineapple, and we are made of a brain process, anything that performs the same process well enough must yield the same result.

If we take the modus tollens approach to logic, which is equally viable, we would say that since there is no logical justification for the flavor of pineapple to exist in either a computer program or a neurochemical function, and since a computer program or neurochemical function could conceivably be created that matches our brain to an arbitrary degree of precision, then it is false that consciousness can be defined purely in terms of biology and computation.

c. Some say that consciousness is of divine origin, or unexplained, or unexplainable. Others say that consciousness could have no origin. In my view, this makes the most sense, since the idea of an origin does not seem native to mathematics or physics, and originality appears to be a quality within consciousness rather than the other way around. In fact, every quality that we experience seems to emerge from beyond the rational limits of arithmetic or pure functions. In a universe of only material process, the idea of emergent flavors or colors, feelings, etc.seems no more plausible than divine Creation. The deeper that I have looked into the physics of perception, the more it is clear to me that our current models lack a deep understanding of the reality of consciousness, and rather assume a linear, toy model made of black boxes and behaviorism.

C. What is reality?

Typically this question takes a detour into what I consider a philosophical dead end, of trying to prove that illusions are real or reality is an illusion. The fact that we can tell the difference between illusion and reality, or that we can even conceive of a difference suggests to me that reality is category of sensory qualities – enduring sensations which are harder, heavier, more complex and filled with interrelated truths than we could have imagined. The universe that we experience, however, includes much more than that. Besides the qualities of realism, we have surreal fantasies, dreams, fiction, etc. We have fiction intended as fiction, and fiction intended as reality (like money). If we have spun for ourselves a cocoon of ’emergent’ human illusions, we must either acknowledge that such an emergence is either metaphysical, or we must expand our definition of physics to include these private and social phenomena. Looking at it objectively, something like the idea of money is causing more changes on this planet than any function of matter alone.

Isn’t it really a human bias to think that physics only includes what came before humans? If the basis of reality were matter, there seems to be no good argument for why it wouldn’t stay that way. Appealing to ‘complexity’, emergence, and randomness is to me very clearly circular thinking, as it assumes that such things are both physical yet free from the requirement of physical explanation. They indicate instead that the materialistic view has focused on the nature of physical surfaces and functional skeletons…spaces and dimensions composed of purely abstract measurement or purely concrete objects, with nothing in between. Consider that a universe of matter is one which exists from the outside in – a place ‘out there’ which only recently developed a sense of ‘in here’. Without some kind of experience which makes sense, all of the functions of nature become abstractions; un-realities which have no good excuse for ever becoming ‘realized’.

Bang!

March 24, 2014 Leave a comment

If Big Bang was a singular event that created space, time and matter, then one must view the universe as a rapidly expanding billiards table of N dimensions with all events pre-determined. There can be no intervening force or new element of causality possible. There can be no uncertainty, and any notions of either free will or divine intervention are illusory.

If the Big Bang created time, then I think that it should not be thought of as an event (in time), but rather as the hub that all events have in common. The Big Bang never happened, it did happen, it is still happening, it hasn’t happened yet. Because we are measuring it from inside of spacetime, and using instruments that are limited to only the most generic spatial-quantitative measurements, our results reflect a narrowly defined model of the origin of causality itself. It is the fallacy of the instrument – we have a hammer of physics so everything that physics measures looks like a nail. What I propose instead is a Big Diffraction, where the birth of spacetime is an influx of dissociation into countless semi-permeable perceptual frames of reference that are united beyond spacetime.

If we place ourselves in the moment of the Big Bang, we cannot judge it on a human scale of time, since that scale of time had not been invented yet. If the universe itself is awareness, the first trillionths of a second of the invention of time are no less likely to feel like five minutes than they are an eternity. As the singularity breaks into multiplicity (Tzimtzum for fans of the Kabbalah), it is inventing the possibility of multiplicity for the first time. Eternity is spawning micro-eternities in which each micro-view is stretching out eternity so that it seems both ever longer and slower and seems to have originated in an ever more brief instant. Time is all about comparing frequencies of awareness – beats per measure. Time is relativistic because time is relativity itself – the framing of perceptual reference.

What we see through a telescope is an objectified version of the story of objectification that serves as a creation myth for the anti-mythology of functionalism. Free will was never inside of spacetime to begin with. It was not created, it creates. If free will is illusory, then it is that which is illusory which gives birth to realism and physics, not the other way around. The universe is a single thread of singing, signaling, significance-building experience,weaving and winding through a maze of its own self-imposed alienation. Divinity is optional, and free will is scarce, but the universe is only a billiard table if you limit the vocabulary of inquiry to that of billiard balls.

Nested Pansensitivity Interpretation

March 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Motive_Effort_Effect

sense_sig

 

Here is an early sketch of the basic concepts of the sense-based physics in Multisense Realism (MSR). The aspects of MSR that deal with elemental conditions now fall under the heading “Nested Pansensitivity Interpretation (NPI)”. This is intended to pre-figure quantum theory, and is also referred to as quorum mechanics or post-particle physics. It is a general systems concept, so that it can apply to events on any scale, not just microphysical. The simple gifs are intended only as a metaphor – not as literal physical particles or functions. The rising bar of sense could refer to light, sound, emotion, a story unfolding, etc. It’s about the meta-ontology through which metaphysical expectations such as cycles and events arise.

In the top gif, the relation of sense, motive, effort, and effect is shown. Sense, being the primordial resource, is represented by this oscillation of light and dark, but it should be noted that this refers to the appreciation of feeling or sensing, not a literal mechanism which oscillates. Primordial pansensitivity must pre-figure time, cycles, identification of light and dark, etc.  All of those tropes of sense (symmetry, opposites, etc) are types of significance (as shown in the second gif).

In the top gif, the center circle is nested within a concentric ellipse to denote one of what I suspect are the most primitive types of significance – the distinction between interiority and exteriority.  As sense builds to a peak, it can become focused as a motive. We have countless motives within and at the fringes of our awareness as human beings, but what is being shown here is a conjecture about the nature of any part of the universe, even in the complete absence of human beings, biological life, and physical matter. I use the Omega symbol (Ω) for Motive because a) it’s cool, and b) it references exteriority and teleology obliquely, being that it is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Motive is the part of sense which is targeted for action. The symbol itself obliquely references exteriority as well, appearing as a breached circle or as a white bulb emerging. Using the minus Aleph symbol (-ℵ) has been my convention because of it’s connection to ‘before the first’, and ‘before the expectation of infinite cardinality’. Counting requires logic, which requires multiple nested cycles of sense, motive, effort, effect, and significance to be abstracted. 

 

 

 

John Weldon’s “To Be”

February 22, 2014 Leave a comment

If you say yes to the scientist, you are saying that originality is an illusion and simulation is absolute. Arithmetic can do so many things, but it can’t do something that can only be done once. Think of consciousness as not only that which can’t be done more than once, it is that which cannot even be fully completed one time. It doesn’t begin or end, and it is neither finite nor infinite, progressing or static, but instead it is the fundamental ability for beginnings and endings to seem to exist and to relate to each other sensibly. Consciousness is orthogonal to all process and form, but it reflects itself in different sensible ways through every appreciation of form.

The not-even-done-onceness of consciousness and the done-over-and-overness of its self reflection can be made to seem equivalent from any local perspective, since the very act of looking through a local perspective requires a comparison with prior perspectives, and therefore attention to the done-over-and-overness – the rigorously measured and recorded. In this way, the diagonalization of originality is preserved, but always behind our back. Paradoxically, it is only when we suspend our rigid attention and unexamine the forms presented within consciousness and the world that we can become the understanding that we expect.

Emergent Noumena

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Noumenon, plural Noumena,  in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, the thing-in-itself (das Ding an sich) as opposed to what Kant called the phenomenon—the thing as it appears to an observer. Though the noumenal holds the contents of the intelligible world, Kant claimed that man’s speculative reason can only know phenomena and can never penetrate to the noumenon. Man, however, is not altogether excluded from the noumenal because practical reason—i.e., the capacity for acting as a moral agent—makes no sense unless a noumenal world is postulated in which freedom, God, and immortality abide.

The relationship of noumenon to phenomenon in Kant’s philosophy has engaged philosophers for nearly two centuries, and some have judged his passages on these topics to be irreconcilable. Kant’s immediate successors in German Idealism in fact rejected the noumenal as having no existence for man’s intelligence. Kant, however, felt that he had precluded this rejection by his refutation of Idealism, and he persisted in defending the absolute reality of the noumenal, arguing that the phenomenal world is an expression of power and that the source from which this power comes can only be the noumenal world beyond.

A central thesis of my approach is that the assumption of noumena should also be assumed to be a ‘thing as it appears to an observer’. In the case of our own experience, we are the observer – really the participant. Even the term observer smuggles in a way of framing ontology to imply non-phenomenal facts.

In my view, Locke’s assumption of qualities like color and feeling as Secondary, while properties like position and shape are Primary, while true from the local perspective, should be (like the image on our retina) considered inverted from an absolute perspective. It’s easy to turn colors or feelings into numbers and points on a graph, just by counting them and arranging what has been counted. It’s impossible, however, to derive colors from structures or information alone.

What this means is that the capacity to discern noumena from phenomena is itself a phenomenal property. It varies by both degree and kind. This quality is often known by names like ‘sanity’ and ‘common sense’, and while our access to it as individuals depends on local neurological conditions, local neurological conditions probably depend on an even lower level of sanity on the microphenomenal scale to maintain the integrity of the microphysical world which cells and neurons inhabit.

If that’s true, and what we call sanity, a kind of preservative inertia of sensory and meta-sensory interpretation goes all the way down, then physics itself should be described as the modulation of that sanity. A superposition of superpositions if you will, as locality which generalizes and re-localizes what it has generalized. If we think of the Newtonian-Cartesian universe as made of ideal particles in a void, the Einsteinian universe idealized the void, and the Quantum universe turned the particles into bubbles un-disappearing in that void. What I propose is to put see bubbling itself as a property of reflection and contrast. Drill down into the surface of the bubble and see that it is nothing but aesthetics derived from some perspective and mode of detection. It is the possibility of phenomena that matters. Noumena without phenomena is identical to nothingness, but phenomena without noumena changes nothing, provided that phenomena diverges from its own sensory-motive properties, rather than emerges from abstract non-phenomena.

Square Spiral Diagram

January 7, 2014 Leave a comment

55squarespiral

This square spiral logo is coming in handy, but my apologies if it is getting monotonous. This is an informal flow chart of what might be called cosmological metabolism. The interplay between H and Σ describe the catabolic and anabolic principles (Entropy and Significance). The idea here is that the primordial identity or principle behind everything is sense, and that through the alienation or diffraction of sense, followed by re-uniting, significance is gained.

Sense can be understood as accumulating from the bottom up, as complexity and sophistication of experience, and also as a splitting off from the Totality. Consciousness can be understood as a nesting of coincidence which accelerates itself. Time is a comparison of coincidences in which a logical distance is inferred, while space is presented as a logical context within which objects or forms coincide directly. Clock time, therefore is a spatialization of our inner experience – a masking of private, lifelong harmonics which are semantic and quasi-narrative. The gaps of time give structure to the autobiographical dream.

Sense bridges the gap between one time and another, across distance or separation, connecting public and private. Sense tears itself down so it can build improvement. Our public view of physics eradicates meaning inadvertently by hiding coincidence. Because sense is the primordial identity, coincidence can be thought of as the existential expression of what is essentially transformations of meaning and aesthetic quality. When we spread it out over space and time, it looks like coincidence, but if we keep spreading it out, it looks like unrelated incidents. The refinement of these unrelated incidents into generic, meaningless functions, is what is physics and math are about – however, because the nature of sense is  self-reflective and self-revealing, the blueprint of its grandest coincidences can be seen, even in their absence.

A Formula for Qualia

January 2, 2014 Leave a comment

To derive the formula for qualia or sensory affect, solve the Hard Problem of Consciousness, and bridge the Explanatory gap, I suggest that we try converting the mass-energy equivalence E=mc² from the public orientation and transpose it inward to the private orientation.

Energy (E) becomes which is “was and will be” (w = was or will be)
The Speed of light (c) becomes t = time = (still or never) = now or realism
Light* () becomes “still and never again” or “stereo realism of now”
Mass (M) becomes æ = qualia = “like it”

Qualia = “like it was and will be, still and never again” =

another wording

Qualia = “Eternally signifies its past and future now”

This is about what Milan Kundera called The Unbearable Lightness of Being. That our experience of the universe is either perpetually suspended above the paradox of an existence which is both perpetually vanishing forever in some sense and repeating forever in another. If c is the still ‘speed’ of here and now, then is the acceleration of here and now, the enrichment of the local now through the collective presence and absence of eternity

  • Motive effect or will:

To derive will or motive: 

If qualia is “like it”, then square root of æ is what joins and divides the ‘like’ and the ‘it’. It is the dipole charge of ‘liking’ and ‘it-ing’ which we call desire or preference. The greater the liking, the more significance is projected onto the object, which is the imagined realization of a goal in time. Intention projects into the future, builds, and guides qualia.

Will = “(Maybe, or maybe not)(now or never)” = w = √æ t

Turning the private translation outward to Public/Western psychology so that interiority is undersignified as emergent epiphenomena, we get:

= Experience is simply what may and may not be happening for some time.

and

= Choosing = Right or wrong this time

The public-facing view of privacy reduces it to information processing. To those who have a private-facing view this is a flat and inadequate characterization. The former view is optimized for realizing spatial intelligence while the latter is optimized for appreciating timeless wisdom.

  • Quality and Equality

Since qualia is about likeness and local equivalents, it can be said that qualia equals the differential between equality and all inequalities... æ = ‘d=’.

The kicker is that since equality is itself a quale (the spelling of e-quality is a clue), we can conceive of ‘=’ as quality which is externalized**, i.e. the differential is collapsed and the entire range of what it “is like” is interpreted as what “it actually is”. The Western-facing mind naturally prefers that which only tells it ‘like it is‘, so that public physics and information science will filter out as noise all that tries to tell ‘what it is like‘ (paging Ludwig Wittgenstein…). This commercialization of residential qualities has had many benefits, but it is a philosophy which has blinded itself, and intimidated many into ignoring the true nature of consciousness. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s how private physics works. It’s how sense is made.

*The speed of light is c, but , if taken literally, can be understood as light itself, reality, or making sense: producing stereo (solid) realism.

**Physically publicized, cropped, framed, stereotyped, commercialized, hardened to endure against the changing feelings that make up private time.

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