Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

Multisense Combustion

January 7, 2023 Leave a comment

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.

Response to Pawel Pachniewski’s hard problem of metaphysics, part one

November 18, 2022 Leave a comment

This is part one of my response to just the very beginning of Pawel’s essay (or post or whatever we are calling what we’re doing here). It was getting too long and melting my brain so I decided to just get it out in parts as I can find more time and energy to absorb and respond. It may not even be necessary to go further since my response is really directed only at the problems I see with the unacknowledged premises prior to the beginning of the argument. I may not take issue with the argument itself, if we lived in a universe where those premises were true.

I apologize also for proceeding in this insufferable manner of dissecting Pawel’s excellent writing sentence by sentence. Obviously that is not optimal, it’s just too much for my mind to hold on to at one time any other way.

Without further ado then…

>“then what else could there be out there that could be hidden in plain sight like consciousness hides in plain sight for the non-conscious?”

As far as I can tell, there is no non-conscious. I propose that what we imagine or assume is non-conscious, like a rock, is actually part of a conscious experience on a much different timescale. In our brief lifetime, and even briefer capacity of perceptual attention, the Earth and its minerals appear as concrete objects, or more precisely tangible presentations… in the tactile sense modality… of a personal conscious experience. 

While we are having a human life experience, we cannot experience geological timescales directly, but experience only parts of them as aesthetically frozen snapshots within an anthropological > zoological perceptual time window. We experience a rock because we cannot experience the spectacular history of this planet and solar system in its native geological timescale. that timescale of eons is much too slow relative to our direct perceptual window. For the same reason, we can’t experience the minerals that the rock is composed of in their native chemical timescale: it’s too fast for our perceptual window.

The scale of size is a hint also, with geological timescales corresponding to phenomena that we see as physically larger than we can experience directly. Changes to entire planets and changes to single molecules correspond to phenomena that we experience as being physically larger and smaller than we can perceive directly.

I call this relativistic lensing Eigenmorphism and have tried to clarify what I think it should mean.

So no, the rock we see and touch is not conscious, but it isn’t a thing-that-is-non-conscious in an absolute sense. We experience a rock as an appearance (a tangible appearance in the tactile sense, and also as a three-dimensional-seeming image with clear boundaries and surfaces in our stereoscopic visual sense) but there is nothing that the universe is like for that appearance we see.

Likewise there is nothing that the universe is like for any of the objects we can touch or images we can see – not planets, not bodies, not brains, not cells, not vast arrays of transistors, not emojis or stuffed animals, or numbers. In my understanding, there are no ‘things-that-are-conscious’ in an absolute sense, there are only conscious experiences that ‘thingify’ each other.

All of the appearances we perceive to be tangible objects or intangible concepts (like numbers) are, I propose, eigenmorphic snapshots of conscious experiences on timescales that are extremely disparate from our own. The degree of eigenmorphism accounts for the difference between objects that we see as alive versus inanimate. Inanimate is an illusion in an absolute sense, but real in practice locally. As long as the conscious experience we are using is a human experience, the inanimate appearances we encounter are for all practical purposes, faithful and real. We can’t walk through a wall just because its solidity isn’t presented in all timescales and modes of perception. In the timescales of perception that our body exists (zoological > biological > chemical > physical), that wall (chemical > physical) has no choice but to resist merging with our body. The resistance is happening at the level of chemical timescale awareness…too fast for us to experience directly just as the screen image of an old TV or CRT appears stable rather than as a single illuminated pixel tracking horizontally across each vertical line of the screen mask.

> “From a complete description of the universe we seem to be able to exhaustively derive a totality of all facts about the universe, save for one key phenomenon: consciousness.”

Again, this presumes that there is any other phenomenon besides consciousness – which is an assumption that seems very natural, almost undeniable, from our perspective. The question though is whether that undeniable seeming assumption is due to the nature of reality, or of the nature of consciousness in general, or to the nature of OUR limited scope of perception within consciousness. I’m arguing for the latter. If it is true that appearances of non-consciousness are a lensing artifact of the *limits* of our sense (insensitivity) and not of sense in general, then it would stand to reason that we would fail to assume consciousness outside of that scope. In my view, the whole point of having a mortal, limited, zoological experience of having an animal body is to escape the fact of the eternal totality of consciousness. We’re here on a sort of anti-vacation-vacation to taste some of the aesthetic treasures of concentrated deprivation and reunification.

>“Scientifically and philosophically, it is broadly accepted that humans are conscious in the sense that we have inner phenomenal lives – a what-its-likeness to our existence or at the very least, according to some, an illusion thereof.”

Here, I reject both the validity of concepts just because they happen to seem broadly accepted at some given moment and culture and the concept of qualia as ‘what-its-likeness’. The idiom ‘what it’s like‘ doesn’t mean anything that we can work with intellectually. It’s a folk expression that doesn’t define or describe qualia but only creates an empty placeholder of what ‘it‘ does. In my Multisense Realism philosophizing, I give the ‘it’ and the ‘like’ rigiorous clarity and context. It is aesthetic-participatory phenomena, and it is diffracted from the eternal, ongoing totality of the same phenomena through a process that creates and preserves such phenomena, both from the ‘top down’ rather than being assembled by microphenomenal, microphysical, or computational units from the ‘bottom up’.

I don’t deny bottom-up re-assembly of qualia, such as we are seeing right now on this video screen, but I see these instances of the summing of parts as possible only where there is already a sensory anticipation of a holistic/whole perception that is being diffracted top down from the totality. This has tremendous implications for anything artificial, imitated, or simulated, as I discuss in writings about AI.

>“You get kicked in the shin, it hurts.”

Indeed, it hurts even in a dream, to some extent. Also, if you’re awake, enough anesthetic can make getting kicked in the shin painless. I mention this to stave off any qualia-physics identity theory that assumes that hurting just is the neurochemical cascade resulting from getting kicked in the shin.

Of course, anesthetics work by interrupting the neurochemical cascade, but we can still clearly separate the tactile and visible qualities of those tangible appearances (molecular objects staying in the cell body rather than being released into a synapse, etc), from the painful qualities that makes us feel like we need to scream. Indeed pain is not an empty carrier of instructions to scream*, it is a vivid, visceral aesthetic reality – one that I am saying is as fundamental a part of the totality of aesthetic phenomena as galaxies and atoms.

>“it doesn’t seem like its existence can in principle be derived or known from any description of the universe”

I think that is because the totality of qualia IS the universe, and consciousness is qualia describing (qualifying and signifying) itself to itself, or to the diffracted experiences of itself.

>“To know of experience, one must undergo experience. It is only by this metaphysical relation we bear to consciousness that we know of it.”

Sure, and we should remember that knowing is also nothing but an experience itself. Unconscious processes would have no way to ‘know’ anything, or any reason to try. We can only know of the appearance of non-consciousness through undergoing experience also. We are conscious of consciousness because we are consciousness on one level experiencing the limits of its own sensitivity.

>“Stated more broadly, it cannot be easily ruled out that in fact other potentially significant phenomena are entirely obscured from us”

Certainly, however, it also cannot be ruled out that all phenomena that are obscured from us are not just more qualia beyond our local scope of sensitivity.

>“This argument rests on consciousness as a phenomenon only being knowable through being itself – that it cannot be inferred through other means.”

My response to that argument is that there may not be any other means. No phenomenon can be knowable through ‘being’ itself unless that phenomenon, including its ‘being’ is already consciousness/qualia. All ‘means’ are participatory appearances within conscious experiences. If we aren’t directly participating in our own timescale/sensitivity scope then the participatory appearance may be elided to some degree and replaced by the voyeuristic transformation/objectification as mere mechanism or function, motion, etc.

>“That when we scream in pain there are not just observable signals that travel from A to B in our body triggering behaviors”

Here too, I reject the use of the term ‘signals’ that are something that can be observed. What is actually observed is a non-narrative collection of events that seem to us to occur in a sequential chain from some scope (usually microscopic) of sense (usually sight). Molecules are released from cell A and then cell B releases molecules, not because of any signal or trigger, but just because of the consequences of what physical properties do to other physical properties. 

We don’t know why that’s happening. It could be that it simply happens, or that there is a physical but unexperienced ‘force’ like electromagnetism making it happen, or that what we see as cells, are, like rocks, are part of a vast ocean of conscious experiences on other timescales (biological, chemical rather than our native personal, anthropological timescales). If it’s happening because of an unexperienced mechanical force, then there IS NO “SIGNAL”. There is no “triggering” of behaviors. Why would there be, and how would it be generated mechanically/anesthetically? Electromagnetism, in a purely physical universe, would not need to signal itself to magnetize. It would not need to choose to move toward or away from itself, it would automatically act that way.

The idea of biological or physical signals is an anthropomorphic projection that we use to unintentionally smuggle sensitivity into phenomena that we are assuming have no sensitivity and need no sensitivity. In an unexperienced physical world (setting aside for the moment the impossibility of that, since in my understanding, there is no physical world other than the totality of conscious experience that share common sensitivity scopes), a rock rolling down a hill to collide with another rock would not ‘trigger’ the second rock to roll, as no signal would be required from the first. There would already be a-signifying (not signals), automatic properties like mass and force to explain the exchange of apparent velocities. The appearance of an additional signal or trigger would be no less of a non-sequitur than an elephant appearing whenever rocks collide.

The alternative that I propose is that ‘signals’ are always and only qualitative/aesthetic-participatory by ontological necessity, and that they are indeed the fabric of all possible real phenomena. Qualia is the ontological substrate of the ontos.

To be continued…

*Physically, screaming would just be another unexperienced chain reaction of muscle tissue contraction, expulsion of air, vibration of larynx tissues and error that has no sound unless experienced by a conscious experience using a body that includes organs that will vibrate acoustically and then a perceptual capacity to experience those tangible vibrations in the entirely different aesthetic modality of hearing/sound, and further in the zoological aesthetic modality of hearing + feeling + understanding another animal’s scream.

A Multisense Realism Syllogism and Meme

November 16, 2022 Leave a comment

P1. Every subjective feeling and thought is actually a chemical change in the brain.

P2. Every objective observation of the world is actually a chemical change in the brain.

C1. The physical world that you can know about is only something that appears in your conscious experience.

C2. Brains are part of an observed world that C1 has determined to be an appearance in consciousness.

C3. Conclusion 2 replaces ‘brain’ with ‘appearance in consciousness’ in premises 1. and 2, yielding:

    C3a. P3. Every subjective feeling and thought is actually an appearance in consciousness.

    C3b. P4. Every objective observation of the world, including the activity of brains in skulls, is actually an appearance in consciousness.

C4. Premises P4+P5 reveal that subjectivity and objectivity themselves are also only aesthetic appearances in consciousness that have no physical basis or effect.

C5. The boundary between subjectivity and objectivity is a distinction that can only exist in consciousness, not in a brain or physical world.

C6. If a physical world exists, it is a phenomenon completely outside of our consciousness.

    C6a. Such a phenomenon need not have any appearance that we are familiar with.

    C6b. Such a phenomenon need not have any appearance at all.

    C6c. Such a phenomenon has no need for any consciousness to generate appearances.

    C6d. Any capacity to generate appearances would be unknowable to the physical world, since knowing and sensing are functions of consciousness.

    C6e. The capacity to generate or evolve consciousness can only come from consciousness.

P6. There is no use case for consciousness in an organism or brain that would not be equivalent to unconscious physical mechanisms.

    P6a. Any organic use that consciousness could have would only be a result of an assumed causal power from consciousness to make changes in the organism.

    P6b. Any higher dimensional control mechanism of behaviors in an organism would easily be accomplished by physically instantiating that hierarchy in additionally created cells of the organism.

P7. There is no current theory for how consciousness could physically evolve that does not negate itself with circular a priori assumptions of consciousness.

   P7a. Any retrospective theory of biologically evolved consciousness would be completely replaceable by a theory of biologically evolved unconscious regulation mechanisms.

   P7b. Any prospective theory of biological evolution leading to consciousness must explain how and why unconscious mechanisms such as force and charge were not used instead.

   P7c. Any prospective theory of physical mechanisms that could generate conscious appearances of any kind must not rely on conscious appearances, including knowable appearances of physical worlds and brains.

C7. There can be no physical explanation for appearances of consciousness or within consciousness or within a physical universe that does not undermine itself with circular reasoning.

Multisense Taoism

October 9, 2022 3 comments

I’ll take a crack at translating the gist of the translations of Chapter 14 of the Tao Te Ching into the terms of my theory of Multisense Realism.

Awareness of seeing is invisible.
Awareness of hearing is silent.
Awareness of touching is intangible.
These three awarenesses are part of one indivisible personal awareness.

Personal awareness exists beyond both entropy and negentropy, it cannot seek itself or avoid itself by trying with direct personal effort.

To succeed in harmonizing mortal personal awareness with eternal transpersonal awareness, remain sensitive to sensitivity and aware of awareness, divesting from seeking or avoiding direct personal effort.

I didn’t want to jargon up my translation too much, but it’s worth mentioning that the passage begins by talking about how sights, sounds, and objects are being provided to us invisibly, silently, and intangibly. Here I think “Lao Tzu” (老子) is telling us how to tease out sense itself from what is being sensed. It goes on to explain that because sense cannot sense itself through the very same modality that it uses to render a sense appearance of other things, personal awareness has no appearance in subpersonal terms (sights, sounds, etc) or in intrapersonal and interpersonal terms (the personal self is beyond emotion and communication).

Here I think that Taoism makes a decision to conflate the absence of subpersonal qualities of personal consciousness with an assumed absence of sensed qualities in sense itself. While I think this is false in an absolute or scientific sense, it is true enough locally that it is quite profound and leads to a useful philosophy for living our personal lives. This is the “Eastern Way” toward the attainment of a fully satisfied selfless self, in diametric opposition to the “Western Way” toward material attainment by a forever unsatisfied self that is selfishly ‘full of itself’.

Going back to the re-interpreted text, I think that the advice given is that to follow the Tao, aka seek ‘flow states’, one should, seemingly paradoxically, neither try nor avoid trying to take personal action. Perhaps it is the opposite of the Western sentiment attributed to Thomas Paine and George Patton “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” The Eastern sentiment could be read as “Do not seek to lead or follow. Get out of the way.” The idea is to use personal motivation to integrate itself with transpersonal sense and motives rather than to assert its personal agenda onto the rest of the (interpersonal, subpersonal, impersonal, transpersonal) universe.

In MSR (MultiSense Realism) terms, I see my above new translation of Chapter 14 of the Tao Te Ching (道德经) text as alluding to the relationship between subpersonal aesthetics (sights, sounds, objects), and their source in awareness itself, which has no appearance. I think that while the Tao Te Ching is correct in its identification of the disappearance of sense modalities within their own scope of sensitivity, I think that this is actually an artifact of the way that our local human scopes of awareness are nested relative to each other rather than the whole truth about consciousness. I propose that a more complete understanding of consciousness identifies that the appearance of nothingness is actually a local condition. It is the ‘game of mortality’ that conjures the illusion of absence to stand in for that of which we have no direct access to at any given moment. For example, if I were to try to see through the back of my head, there is nothing that I can see. Rather than seeing a field of blackness behind my eyes all of the time, I don’t see anything at all.

MSR proposes that while it is true that our personal cocoon of insensitivity causes a disconnection with all other conscious experiences, this disappearance of consciousness is no enigmatic ‘non-existence’ or ‘suchness’ as Taoism suggests. MSR suggests that beyond the sensory cataract of personal experience is not a grand nothingness to which all sense returns, but one lone Holos or totality within which all experience is preserved forever in some sense (similar to the concept of the Akashic Records).

The Totality of experiences are eternally present and experience-able in an Absolute sense, but all component experiences are diffracted through complex nested modulations of relative insensitivity. This diffraction temporarily limits the totality of sense experience to a single timeline of experience that senses itself in terms that echo the very condition of that temporary limitation. Each diffracted partition of the Holos is a temporarily temporalized version of eternal experience into an episodic stream of memory-laden feelings and thoughts. This is the the binding of our subjective qualities of experience, including the sense of being a subject.

In the diffracted experience, the undiffracted remainder of the Holos is left to appear in each moment as a memory-free snapshot of phenomena that are seen but not touched and touched but not experienced. Objects that are not appearing and disappearing into intangible memory ‘in here’ but are spread out as a domain of separate but simultaneously present tangible objects ‘out there’. The subjectified aspect is inflated within while the objectified aspect is diminished without. Subjective inflation involves a super-signification owing to the entropy of missing formation and information, while objective reduction involves de-signification, owing the negentropy of concretely presented formations and logical information about them. In the MSR view, the undiscovered country beyond this mortal coil is only temporarily hidden by the curtain of spatio-temporal entropy-negentropy; orthogonal forms of insensitivity that keep us orphaned in the ephemeral Graphos rather than back home in eternal Holos.

Getting back to what the Tao Te Ching is getting at, yes it’s true that we can’t objectify our entire personal experience as an image or a body-object. A living body-object with all of its countless physiological details shows no sign of the people we experience every day as ourselves and others who we meet. A movie about our life starring ourselves as the main character would not be the same as the experience of living it, as watching that movie requires an audience that is able to lend their personal experience to the images and voices they are seeing and hearing. A cat can’t watch that movie and get anything out of it.

Do Cats (or other similar mammals) Have Personal Experience?

As the center of a person’s experience is personal, the center of a cat’s experience is equally primary, but it would be awkward to call it personal since we don’t usually think of a cat as a literal person (at least other people don’t think of your cat that way). In MSR, I use the neologism “phoric” to refer to the center-range of any experience, be it associated with the body of a person, cat, amoeba, etc. My hypothesis is that the center of a cat’s experience – their phoric range of awareness correlates typically to our emphoric experience. The relationship we share with pets is emotional and intrapersonal rather than fully personal. Cats don’t care who we are in our personal life. They don’t know what we do for a living, etc.

Our personal aesthetics cannot be deconstructed into subpersonal appearances (i.e. sights, sounds, objects), but I disagree with the Tao Te Ching that they are ineffable mysteries that come from nothingness and return to it. Our own personhood is not visible or tangible to us, but our visible countenance and voice, our body, as they change over our lifetime do point to some of our personhood if they are perceived by another person. Our personal experience has its own irreducible qualities such as character, personality, identity and will. That qualia can be represented to some degree subpersonally as a biographical film or novel for example, but it takes a person to begin to sense and make sense of a person, even themselves.

In the Western consensus view, stuck as it is in legacy physicalism, the idea that a person can be separate from their brain functions is anathema. Although the most cutting edge scientific research assures us that the body and its brain are not objectively real, the shadow cast by the traumatic birth of science from the womb of religion steers us away from moving backward into what is now seen to be superstition. If you want to end your career as a scientist, start talking publicly about immaterial souls or psychic phenomena. Because of that overreaction, we are now stuck with a weird, crypto-dualistic cosmology where only some of what is sensed is considered real and the rest is unexplainably illusory or “emergent”…including the very capacity to sense in the first place.

As the title of Philip Goff’s book “Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness” implies, we must now begin to replace this outdated view of physicalism that secretly depends on unexplained non-physical appearances with a new science of consciousness that honors the whole of nature, including the consciousness that allows it to have any appearance at all. The Western objectification of sensory-motive experiences into unexperienced units of ‘information’ or wave-particles of mass-energy is an echo of the Ptolemaic/geocentric view of astronomy. We were on the right track, but mistook the local limits of subjectivity for absolute limits of consciousness-in-general. The Western consensus has sought to amputate the universal ‘yin’ of connection to the totality of conscious experience, while at the same time taking it for granted.

In MSR, I critique physical entities like mass and energy as reductionist quantitative abstractions that accidentally deny the underlying universal fabric of qualitative sense affect and motive effect. Primordial sensory affect and motive effect replace mass and energy as the local modes of participation. The physical universe of anesthetic-mechanical appearances is understood to be a kind of shadow of the Aesthetic Holos that reflects the ability of consciousness to partially divide and alienate itself for purposes of multiplying and enriching itself. The physical world is not an illusion, simulation or maya, it is just that reality in the local sense is an inverted reflection of reality in the absolute sense.

In both the local and absolute reality, we are not a program running on the hardware of a brain. The MSR hypothesis is that brain activity is the motive-to-motor inflection point between personal conscious experience and its subpersonal appearance as living matter. Tangible changes in the 3d structures of the physical brain do not cause a simulation in some kind of computational never-never land where we only think that we live. A neuro-computationalist fantasy of that kind undermines itself since such a simulation would have to include the appearance of the brain, its neurons, and any mechanical changes thereof. Hardware and software would both have to be simulated by an unknowable Ur-hardware that has no reason to favor hardware or software appearances. Representing itself in the simulation through cameo appearances, the grand simulator would be just as likely to manifest what seems like magic as it would to run on what seem like computer code.

With the advent of electronic computing, the materialistic view that flowered in the wake of the Early Modern Period (~15th century) has now been souped up with an abstract reincarnation of itself. Computationalism and its ideas of simulation as emergent from logical processes and graphic rendering is a brilliant but misguided journey into surreal reflections of our own alienation from the Holos.

Everything from social media to the Metaverse to AGI is expanding our connection to disconnection. I think that because of that grounding in disconnection, all of these projects are ultimately doomed to failure in the ways that truly matter to us, despite promising exponential success in the ways that Western-Materialist model and its virally expanding institutions have conditioned us to think that we should want. We dreamed of extraterrestrial conquest, and instead we are conquering ourselves with anti-terrestrial nauseas. We have mistaken the uncanny for the sublime.

Escaping the Matrix and the Metaverse

The Taoist approach goes a long way toward the goal of a new science of consciousness if we can integrate it into a view that embraces and transcends its Western-materialistic opposite. I think that this can be done by correcting Lao Tzu’s error of choosing nothingness rather than everythingness as the source of sense and consciousness. The taijitu or symbol of yin and yang in balanced juxtaposition should be understood as representing the wholeness of aesthetic opposites rather than their mutual negation. Nondualism is not the absence of monism or dualism but a synthesis and transcendence of those opposites. Our cosmos is not a physical machine struggling pointlessly against entropy, rather, entropy and negentropy are the yin and yang appearances of our local sense of sensitivity and insensitivity.

In other words, appearances of entropy and negentropy are signals that a given mode of awareness is facing away from its most direct access to the Aesthetic Holos and toward the appearance of disappearance into Anesthetic Graphos. In the MSR view as opposed to the Taoist view, consciousness is trans-tangible not intangible, absolutely everything not absolutely nothing.

In between the subpersonal (MSR term: semaphoric) and the personal (phoric when centered in a personal experience) are appearances that I see as intrapersonal or emphoric. These would be feelings and emotions, perceptions and figurations of selected sensations into coherent perceptions. These emphoric modes of perception connect the phoric or personal range of perception to semaphoric range of perception, which in turn, connects subpersonal experience to the impersonal ‘bottom’ or generic end of the universe. I have called this Graphos in MSR, and it represents the Totality when seen in its most fragmented, isolated, meaningless sense of least empathy.

Graphos is the inverted image of Holos, replacing unity with the proprietary and unrepeatable with a shadow unity of interchangable cohesive units, strung together according to abstract rules of recursive cardinality and ordinality – the essence of spatial negentropy and temporal entropy. The quantized or maximally graphed end of the cosmic experience divides the infinitely rich creativity and novelty of the Holos into nearly absolute insensitivity. If the Graphos end of the Holos of existed literally, it would be a sea of digital monads, stochastic phantoms animated by nothing but their own mathematical inevitability.

This is what MSR calls the extreme OMMM end of the continuum of sense. If Holos is the Absolute thesis, Graphos is the Absolute’s thesis of its own anti-thesis. The Holos is the appearance of the totality of aesthetic phenomena, uniting sensed qualities with sense modalities. Graphos is the appearance of the disappearance of Holos, separating sensed qualities from each other and from Holos as autonomous units of automaticity.

Flanking the personal or phoric modalities of sense/appearance on the other side (moving in the ACME direction toward Holos from personal awareness rather than toward Graphos) are the apophoric, metaphoric, and holophoric scales of consciousness. Roughly; thinking, insight, and inspiration. So interpersonal thinking (learning, communicating, understanding), transpersonal intuition (psychic experience that extends beyond subjectivity and physics), and what might be called mystical union with the divine or Absolute.

Taking this back to the Tao Te Ching, I propose that Lao Tzu’s error is only an error in the absolute sense, not in a personal sense. While we are alive, the transpersonal conscious experience that envelopes our personal conscious experience is silent, invisible and intangible. We can only get glimpses of it when we’re not looking and our envelope of limited personal awareness is slightly breached such as noticing synchronicity or completely opened up in a life altering event. When those larger breaches occur and the personal intellect is flooded with its version of transpersonal awareness, some contents are necessarily distorted and omitted. Personal awareness correctly identifies its contact with transpersonal awareness as more significant than ordinary experience but without any means to ground it in its ordinary sense-making terms. Hence, to the outside observer, the psychedelic or mystical experience is seen charitably as visionary or uncharitably as psychotic.

To temper that extreme, chaotic end of the spectrum of consciousness, MSR should be seen as only an outer framework of philosophy to point toward the possibility of a new synthesis between the systemizing and empathizing modes of awareness. That possibility would be fulfilled when people free themselves from pathological extremes and find common sense closer to the terrestrial center of our universe and the fully individual and human center of ourselves.

Multisense Realism as a Specific Hypothesis of Cosmopsychism

June 11, 2022 Leave a comment

In reality, mass and energy quantitatively describe the way that matter moves matter. There is no ‘nothing’ and physical ‘space’ and matter are just different densities of the same thing, which I think is really an irreducibly sensory-motive, aesthetic-participatory phenomenon that can be understood as tangibility.

Tangibility can further be understood, in my view, as only one band of a universal spectrum of nested aesthetic-participatory phenomena ranging from appearances that are intangible (roughly ‘concepts’) to trans-tangible (‘percepts’) and includes the appearance of tangibility (‘objects’) as a relativistic lensing artifact rather than a fundamental or universal context.It is physical appearances that are ’emergent’ from the temporalizing fragmentation and spatializing reunification of a single Totality or Holos of eternal conscious experience.

Through this anabolic/negentropic-catabolic/entropic invention of novelty/recursion there is a net accumulation of Significance, which is the saturation of aesthetic-participatory phenomena and maximal Holophoric unity expressed through minimal morphographic units.

So there.

Holosgraphic 04022022

April 2, 2022 Leave a comment
Added the Apophoric/Interpersonal range

ॐ ⊇ ש { (( -ℵ ↔ Ω ) ↓ ºt ) ⊥ ( ωª ↑ (H ← d) ) }

March 17, 2022 Leave a comment

Sensation, Realism, and Consciousness

February 26, 2022 Leave a comment

The sense of image fits into the larger picture between the Subjectively Objectified and Subjectively Subjectified groupings.

Holos (Transpersonal

(Interpersonal (Personal

(Intrapersonal (Perception

(Subpersonal (Subjectified sensation) | Impersonal (Subjectively objectified sensation)


A Sound by any Other Name

January 9, 2022 Leave a comment

What is the difference between thinking that consciousness requires a living body and thinking that sounds have to be made by acoustic instruments?

It seems like the same common sense intuition, and I think in both cases, it happens to be false. From audio recording we learned that we did not need to have someone play a horn to hear a horn sound. We could actually use the sound that a needle makes when scratching over a grooved surface to make a nearly identical sound, as long as the grooves matched the grooves made when the horn was played in the first place.

As audio technology progressed, people discovered that purely electronic changes in semiconductors could be used to drive speakers to drive eardrums. We didn’t need to begin with a horn being played, or acoustic vibrations to propagate from brass to air to a steel needle to a cooling disc of resin. All we needed was electronic switches to rapidly change the flow of current through a speaker in the same pattern that the needle used to make going up and down in the groove. The up and down analog became digital stop and go, all the way up to the point where you have to jiggle people’s eardrums. That could not be done electronically but required a membrane to mechanically push air into the ears.

It seems now that we are getting closer to cutting out the acoustic middleman entirely with the possibility of Neuralink type technology and broadcast music directly into your brain without any physical sound at all. No speakers, no ears…but you still need something that senses something, and you need something that senses that something as sound. Even if we play music and record our dreams electronically, it still doesn’t solve the Hard Problem of consciousness. There remains an explanatory gap between the silent operation of electrical current and the experience of sounds, sights, feelings, thoughts, and the entire material universe of objects…including brains and electronic instruments.

That last sentence is the tricky part that physicalist thinkers can’t seem to stop overlooking. Yes, the entire physical universe that you know, that you read about, that scientists experiment on, can only exist under physicalism as a ‘model’ or ‘simulation’ that simply, um, ’emerges’ from either electromagnetism itself, or electromagnetism in various brain structures, or from the ‘information’ that we imagine is being communicated by any or all of these processes.

Of course, it’s all circular. To say ‘the brain’ is to say ‘my qualitative and cognitive experiences that I call ‘brain”. To say ‘the world’ is to say ‘my’ or ‘our’ qualitative experiences that seem like a world. There is no getting around this. The last mile of any cosmological theory always has to cash out in some experience-of-a-cosmos, with or without a theory of a cosmos-outside-of-some-experience. Noumena are optional and hypothetical. Experiential phenomena, as Decscartes almost said, cannot be deined.

I argue with a lot of people about information and qualia, because it is glaringly obvious to me that this technology based idea of information conflates the purely intellectual and abstract process of learning or communicating with the concrete aesthetics of what it is being communicated. Information or simulation theory says nothing about what is ultimately doing the communicating and what literally happens when a communication is decoded, from the billions of quantifiable microphysical stop/go events in an engineered device or neurological organ to unquantifiable and irreducibly aesthetic sight/sound/objects/feelings/thoughts.

The idea of simulation only pushes the explanatory gap down further in scale, but it is the same gap. It’s not enough that a change in a computing device or brain coincides with a change in direct experience, we have to ask what is doing the correlation in the first place, and how, and why. It’s not just “what breathes fire into the equations?”, but what the hell is fire doing in equations in the first place? Why wouldn’t it make sense to ask what breathes equations into every form of ‘fire’? What could it be other than conscious experience itself? Anything we try to put in between conscious experience and nature always has that same last-mile problem. In the end, you need something eternal that can make sense – some capacity not only to run programs on hardware to manipulate hardware but for either programs or hardware to exist as something aesthetic rather than just invisible facts in an arithmetic void.

Is Consciousness Primary to Reality? (2021 Documentary)

November 23, 2021 Leave a comment

If you haven’t seen this yet, it is well worth watching. I have notes…

3:40 “Physics tells us not what matter is but only what it does.”Here I would go further and say that physics tells us not what matter is, but only what it does to matter.

Around 24:00, the video gets in to IIT. Here too, my view is that the role of consciousness is underestimated. To say that reality has a physical and mental pole is a good start, but we should understand that these poles can only exist in the latter “mental” pole of conscious experience. It is true that “a complex mind” correlates with “a complex organization with the specific capacity of aggregating a fundamental aspect of consciousness” (23:20), however I would not say that correlation is an absolute requirement. While I agree with the earlier statement at 23:12 that no serious thinker has defended any claim for conscious minds in rocks, tables, and chairs, the reason for that in my view is not because the physical structure lacks the complexity to permit it.

My view takes in to account the significance of scales of time and size in creating parallel layers of conscious experience that make up the universe. In my view, it makes more sense to see the correlation between the increasingly complex structure of nervous systems through evolution and the richness and depth of conscious experience as being driven more by conscious experience needing to record and manipulate itself rather than anything like a mind ’emerging’ from structural complexity.

The chair is not conscious, but I think the same is true of any object. The brain is not conscious either. The brain is an organ that produces ideal chemical conditions for sophisticated conscious experiences to be expressed and realized for other sophisticated conscious experiences to interact with without merging completely with each other. The brain is part of a vertebrate body, which is part of a history of conscious experience going back more than 500 million years. A chair or a table is, in one sense, carved out of wood or some other material by a Homo sapien body’s brain and hands, but in another sense, it is one continuous history of conscious experience that is carving new experiences out of conscious experiences that are older, but still ongoing on another timescale, and using them as props to enhance experiences in the human centric umwelt.

In my Multisense Realism conjectures, I have tried to lay out a cosmogony of scales of physical spacing/timing with scales of psychological depth/richness such that our anthropological umwelt is nested within and permeated by the older onion layers of consciousness using bodies/brains on a zoological, biological, chemical, and physical scales of size and frequency of perceptual sample rate (Diagrams like these are some of the many drafts I’ve hypothesized

To ask whether a chair or table is conscious is to assume that what what we see as an image of furniture, and touch as an object of solid matter is all that these things are. Once we factor in the hypothesis of timescales as intentional partitions of subjective and objective seeming worlds (umwelts and welts), a spectrum of realism can be devised which reflects a universal spectrum of perceptual access. This is very much along the lines of what has been proposed in many other scientific and prescientific mappings of awareness, as Ken Wilber documented in his book Integral Sprituality, and which Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary wrote about as the Eight Circuit Model. These models draw on both Western and Eastern metaphysics including Numerology, Astrology, Tarot, I Ching, as well as psychological theories of development from Gebser, Maslow, Binet and many others.

With Multisense Realism, I have sketched out a way to integrate these essential-existential correlations with quantum mechanics, relativity, and semiotic theory to arrive at a conjecture of entropy-negentropy as symptoms of the lensing of conscious experiences, separating them in some sense while uniting them in others, and producing a dynamically growing vocabulary of aesthetic Significance.

From the perspective of consciousness on a celestial timescale, where planets spin like electrons and solar systems proliferate like cells, it would seem absurd that any such thing as human consciousness could exist. The thin biosphere and its mold-like bits of greenery would seem far too small and simple to host conscious experiences.

I don’t deny that in practice, IIT-like correlations between the symptom of integration of physical functions and the condition of someone’s personal awareness are reliable and pragmatic, but I suspect that this reliability is built into the animal scale experience rather than being a universal necessity for conscious experience to exist. In my view, it is not that things that we see and touch have consciousness in different degrees, it is that our consciousness has different degrees of overlap with a universal spectrum of perceptual access and identification.

I think that the implications from info-centric views of consciousness are misleading, and in fact, no technological artifact is any more conscious than a Teddy Bear or an emoji. This is not because of any bias for biological organizations of matter over technological organizations of inorganic matter, but rather than biological appearances are an expression of a type of experience that is of another order of magnitude of aesthetic richness (Significance) than experiences that are expressed pre-biologically in our perception. The Uncanny Valley is there for a reason – even if that sense of revulsion for imitations of life is not infallible.

In my view, any use of an object as a machine is by definition the use of a low-level aspect of a conscious experience on a distant timescale, and therefore diametrically opposite to sentience. The whole point of a machine is that it automatically serves our purposes, not that it develops its own competing agendas. A truly intelligent artifact would not be a machine, but a potential competitor to biological life itself. Its agency would be uncontrollable by definition. True intelligence necessarily includes the potential for consciousness to step out of its programming and conditioning, and to change itself directly through intrinsic degrees of freedom in its own participatory experience of ‘will’.Later on in the video, the combination problem is discussed. My solution here is to re-frame the assumption of cosmic evolution as occurring through an arrow of change from simplicity to complexity, and see it instead as equally an evolution by diffraction or division-by-self-similarity. 

Seeing how an embryo develops through the division and multiplication of a single cell, and how a faceted gem multiplies the image of the sun or other illumination source without diluting the source, we can begin to see how the half of the universe that modernity has increasingly hidden from us might work. I recommend these two classic videos about this dichotomy of diffracted holism vs emergent combination.

My stroke of insight – Jill Bolte Taylor

Iain McGilchrist – The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

Another couple of classics I recommend to follow my trail of breadcrumbs to Multisense Realism are these: Cosmos – Carl Sagan – 4th Dimension (Abbott’s Flatland thought experiment)

Powers of Ten (1977)

At 32:00 the video gets in to Philip Goff’s Cosmopsychism, in which the fundamental unit of nature is the totality of nature itself. This is a logical inference from the idea of diffraction and top-down causation. Multisense Realism is a form of cosmopsychism, but with less emphasis on psyche and more on qualia: Sense and sense making experience can give rise to more complex histories of awareness that begin to have our familiar quality of personhood, but there may be many other paths down which conscious experience develops itself. My view is more of a cosmoastheticism with participatory tendencies. Understanding the bias of “smallism” is critical. The Multisense Realism view is that smallism and large-ism are both aspects of tangible-ism, but that the full picture of nature requires that tangibility always be experienced from a perspective that is trans-tangible by definition. Nothing is a tangible object in its own native timescale and frame of perception.

Another idea that I have tried to illustrate here is that the smallest and largest sheafs of tangibility have more in common with each other than they do the next largest and smallest scale-sheafs/holons. As we move into the center of the cosmic onion, the core meso-centric sheaf is the most fertile and rich context of experience, much as the clear white center of the visible spectrum is the most direct and complete access to visibility.

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