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Could the Internet come to life?

December 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Could the Internet come to life?

It sounds like a silly proposition and it is a little tongue in cheek, but trying to come up with an answer could have ramifications for the sciences of consciousness and sentience.

Years ago cosmologist Paul Davies talked about a theory that organic matter and therefore life was intrinsically no different from inorganic matter – the only difference was the amount of complexity.

So when a system gets sufficiently complex enough, the property we know (but still can’t define) as ‘life’ might emerge spontaneously like it did from amino acids and proteins three billion years ago.

We have such a system today in the internet. As far back as 2005 Kevin Kelly talked about how the internet would soon have as many ‘nodes’ as a human brain. It’s even been written about in fiction in Robert J Sawyer’s Wake series (Page on

And since human consciousness and all the deep abstract knowledge, creativity, love, etc it gives us arises from a staggering number of deceptively simple parts, couldn’t the same thing happen to the internet (or another sufficiently large and complex system)?

I’m trying to crowdsource a series of articles on the topic (Could the Internet come to life? by Drew Turney – Beacon) and I know this isn’t the place to advertise, but even though I’d love everyone who reads this to back me I’m more interested in getting more food for thought from any responses should I get the project off the ground

I think that the responses here are going to tend toward supporting one of two worldviews. In the first worldview, the facts of physics and information science lead us inevitably to conclude that consciousness and life are purely a matter of particular configurations of forms and functions. Whether those forms and functions are strictly tied to specific materials or they are substrate independent and therefore purely logical entities is another tier of the debate, but all those who subscribe to the first worldview are in agreement: If a particular set of functions are instantiated, the result will be life and conscious experience.

The second worldview would include all of those who suspect that there is something more than that which is required…that information or physics may be necessary for life, but not sufficient. That worldview can be divided further into those who think that the other factor is spiritual or supernatural, and those who think that it is an as-yet-undiscovered factor. Those in the first worldview camp might assert that the second worldview is unlikely or impossible because of

1) Causal Closure eliminates non-physical causes of physical phenomena
2) Bell’s Theorem eliminates hidden variables (including vital essences)
3) Church-Turing Thesis supports the universality of computation

1) Causal Closure – The idea that all physical effects have physical causes can either be seen as an iron clad law of the universe, or as a tautological fallacy that begs the question of materialism. On the one hand, adherents to the first worldview can say that if there were any non-physical cause to a physical effect, we would by definition see the effect of that cause as physical. There is simply no room in the laws of physics for magical, non-local forces as the tiniest deviation in experimental data would show up for us as a paradigm shifting event in the history of physics.

On the other hand, adherents of the second view can either point to a theological transcendence of physics which is miraculous and is beyond physical explanation, or they can question the suppositions of causal closure as biased from the start. Since all physical measurements are made using physical instruments, any metaphysical contact might be minimized or eliminated.

It could be argued that physics is like wearing colored glasses, so that rather than proving that all phenomena can be reduced to ‘red images’, all that it proves is that working with the public-facing exteriors of nature yields a predictably public-facing exterior logic. Rather than diminishing the significance of private-facing phenomenal experience, it may be physics which is the diminished ‘tip of the iceberg’, with the remaining bulk of the iceberg being a transphysical, transpersonal firmament. Just as we observe the ability of our own senses to ‘fill-in’ gaps in perceptual continuity, it could be that physics has a similar plasticity. Relativity may extend beyond physics, such that physics itself is a curvature of deeper conscious/metaphysical attractors.

Another alternative to assuming causal closure is to see the different levels of description of physics as semi-permeable to causality. Our bodies are made of living cells, but on that layer of description ‘we’ don’t exist. A TV show doesn’t ‘exist’ on the level of illuminated pixels or digital data in a TV set. Each level of description is defined by a scope and scale of perception which is only meaningful on that scale. If we apply strong causal closure, there would be no room for any such thing as a level of description or conscious perspective. Physics has no observers, unless we smuggle them in as unacknowledged voyeurs from our own non-physically-accounted-for experience.

To my mind, it’s difficult to defend causal closure in light of recent changes in astrophysics where the vast bulk of the universe’s mass has been suddenly re-categorized as dark energy and dark matter. Not only could these newly minted phenomena be ‘dark’ because they are metaphysical, but they show that physics cannot be counted on to limit itself to any particular definition of what counts as physics.

2) Here’s a passage about Bell’s Theorem which says it better than I could:

“Bell’s Theorem, expressed in a simple equation called an ‘inequality’, could  be put to a direct test. It is a reflection of the fact that no signal containing any information can travel faster than the speed of light. This means that if hidden-variables theory exists to make quantum mechanics a  deterministic theory, the information contained in these ‘variables’ cannot be transmitted faster than light. This is what physicists call a  ‘local’ theory. John Bell discovered that, in order for Bohm’s hidden-variable theory to work, it would have to be very badly ‘non-local’ meaning that it would have to allow for information to travel faster then the speed of light. This means that, if we accept hidden-variable theory to clean up quantum  mechanics because we have decided that we no longer like the idea of assigning probabilities to events at the atomic scale,  we would have to give up special relativity. This is an unsatisfactory bargain.” Archive of Astronomy Questions and Answers

From an other article ( Physics: Bell’s theorem still reverberates )

As Bell proved in 1964, this leaves two options for the nature of reality. The first is that reality is irreducibly random, meaning that there are no hidden variables that “determine the results of individual measurements”. The second option is that reality is ‘non-local’, meaning that “the setting of one measuring device can influence the reading of another instrument, however remote”.

Bell’s inequality could go either way then. Nature could be random and local, non-local and physical, or non-local and metaphysical…or perhaps all of the above. We don’t have to conceive of ‘vital essences’ in the sense of dark physics that connects our private will to public matter and energy, but we can see instead that physics is a masked or spatiotemporally diffracted reflection of a nature that is not only trans-physical, but perhaps trans-dimensional and trans-ontological. It may be that beneath every fact is a kind of fiction.

If particles are, as Fritjof Capra said “tendencies to exist”, then the ground of being may be conceived of as a ‘pretend’-ency to exist. This makes sense to me, since we experience with our own imagination a constant stream of interior rehearsals for futures that might never be and histories that probably didn’t happen the way that we think. Rather than thinking of our own intellect as purely a vastly complex system on a biochemical scale, we may also think of it as a vastly simple non-system, like a monad, of awareness which is primordial and fundamentally inseparable from the universe as a whole.

3) Church-Turing Thesis has to do with computability and whether all functions of mathematics can be broken down to simple arithmetic operations. If we accept it as true, then it can be reasoned through the first worldview that since the brain is physical, and physics can be modeled mathematically, then there should be no reason why a brain cannot be simulated as a computer program.

There are some possible problems with this:

a) The brain and its behavior may not be physically complete. There are a lot of theories about consciousness and the brain. Penrose and Hameroff’s quantum consciousness postulates that consciousness depends on quantum computations within cytoskeletal structures called microtubules. In that case, what the brain does may not be entirely physically accessible. According to Orch OR, the brain’s behavior can be caused ultimately by quantum wavefunction collapse through large scale Orchestrated Objective Reductions. Quantum events of this sort could not be reproduced or measured before they happen, so there is no reason to expect that a computer modeling of a brain would work.

b) Consciousness may not be computable. Like Bell’s work in quantum mechanics, mathematics took an enigmatic turn with Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem. Long story short, Gödel showed that there are truths within any axiomatic system which cannot be proved without reaching outside of that system. Formal logic is incomplete. Like Bell’s inequality, incompleteness can take us into a world where either epistemology breaks down completely and we have no way of ever knowing whether what we know is true, or we are compelled to consider that logic itself is dependent upon a more transcendent, Platonic realm of arithmetic truth.

This leads to another question about whether even this kind of super-logical truth is the generator of consciousness or whether consciousness of some sort is required a priori to any formulation of ‘truth’. To me, it makes no sense for there to be truths which are undetectable, and it makes no sense for an undetectable truth to develop sensation to detect itself, so I’m convinced that arithmetic truth is a reduction of the deeper ground of being, which is not only logical and generic, but aesthetic and proprietary. Thinking is a form of feeling, rather than the other way around. No arithmetic code can produce a feeling on its own.

c) Computation may not support awareness. Those who are used to the first worldview may find this prospect to be objectionable, even offensive to their sensibilities. This in itself is an interesting response to something which is supposed to be scientific and unsentimental, but that is another topic. Sort of. What is at stake here is the sanctity of simulation. The idea that anything which can be substituted with sufficiently high resolution is functionally identical to the original is at the heart of the modern technological worldview. If you have a good enough cochlear implant, it is thought, of course it would be ‘the same as’ a biological ear. By extension, however, that reasoning would imply that a good enough simulation of glass of water would be drinkable.

It seems obvious that no computer generated image of water would be drinkable, but some would say that it would be drinkable if you yourself also existed in that simulation. Of course, if that were the case, anything could be drinkable, including the sky, the alphabet, etc, whatever was programmed to be drinkable in that sim-world.

We should ask then, since computational physics is so loose and ‘real’ physics is so rigidly constrained, does that mean that physics and computation are a substance dualism where they cannot directly interact, or does it mean that physics is subsumed within computation, so that our world is only one of a set of many others, or every other possible world (as in some MWI theories).

d) Computation may rely on ungrounded symbols. Another topic that gets a lot of people very irritated is the line of philosophical questioning that includes Searle’s Chinese Room and Leibniz Mill Argument. If you’ve read this far, you’re probably already familiar with these, but the upshot is that parsimony compels us to question that any such thing as subjective experience could be plausible in a mechanical system. Causal closure is seen not only to prohibit metaphysics, but also any chance of something like consciousness emerging through mechanical chain reactions alone.

Church-Turing works in the opposite way here, since all mechanisms can be reduced to computation and all computation can be reduced to arithmetic steps, there is no way to justify extra-arithmetic levels of description. If we say that the brain boils down to assembly language type transactions, then we need a completely superfluous and unsupportable injection of brute emergence to inflate computation to phenomenal awareness.

The symbol grounding problem shows how symbols can be manipulated ‘apathetically’ to an arbitrary degree of sophistication. The passing of the Turing test is meaningless ultimately since it depends on a subjective appraisal of a distant subjectivity. There isn’t any logical reason why a computer program to simulate a brain or human communication would not be a ‘zombie’, relying on purely quantitative-syntactic manipulations rather than empathetic investment. Since we ourselves can pretend to care, without really caring, we can deduce that there may be no way to separate out a public-facing effect from a private-facing affect. We can lie and pretend and say words that we don’t mean, so we cannot naively assume that just because we build a mouth which parrots speech that meaning will spontaneously arise in the mouth, or the speech, or the ‘system’ as a whole.

In the end, I think that we can’t have it both ways. Either we say that consciousness is intrinsic and irreducible, or we admit that it makes no sense as a product of unconscious mechanisms.

The question of whether the internet could come to life is, to me, only different from the question of whether Pinocchio could become a real boy in that there is a difference in degree. Pinocchio is a three dimensional puppet which is animated through a fourth dimension of time. The puppeteer would add a fifth dimension to that animation, lending their own conscious symbol-grounding to the puppet’s body intentionally. The puppet has no awareness of its own. What is different about an AI is that it would take the fifth dimensional control in-house as it were.

It gets very tricky here, since our human experience has always been with other beings that are self-directed to be living beings which are conscious or aware to some extent. We have no precedent in our evolution to relate to a synthetic entity which is designed explicitly to simulate the responses of a living creature. So far, what we have seen does not support, in my opinion, any fundamental progress. Pinocchio has many voices and outfits now, but he is still wooden. The uncanny valley effect gives us a glimpse in how we are intuitively and aesthetically repulsed by that which pretends to be alive. At this point, my conclusion is that we have nothing to fear from technology developing its own consciousness, no more than we have of books beginning to write their own stories. There is, however, a danger of humans abdicating their responsibility to AI systems, and thereby endangering the quality of human life. Putting ‘unpersons’ in charge of the affairs of real people may have dire consequences over time.

December 9, 2014 Leave a comment

The Lips of Wisdom Are Closed Except To The Ears of Understanding

IIT 3.0 Central Axioms

July 7, 2014 Leave a comment

From the Phenomenology to the Mechanisms of Consciousness: Integrated Information Theory 3.0

The recent publication of new details for Tononi & Koch’s Integrated Information Theory includes the following central axioms, which are “taken to be immediately evident,”:

  • Existence: Consciousness exists – it is an undeniable aspect of reality. Paraphrasing Descartes, “I experience therefore I am”.
  • Composition: Consciousness is compositional (structured): each experience consists of multiple aspects in various combinations. Within the same experience, one can see, for example, left and right, red and blue, a triangle and a square, a red triangle on the left, a blue square on the right, and so on.
  • Information: Consciousness is informative: each experience differs in its particular way from other possible experiences. Thus, an experience of pure darkness is what it is by differing, in its particular way, from an immense number of other possible experiences. A small subset of these possible experiences includes, for example, all the frames of all possible movies.
  • Integration: Consciousness is integrated: each experience is (strongly) irreducible to non-interdependent components. Thus, experiencing the word “SONO” written in the middle of a blank page is irreducible to an experience of the word “SO” at the right border of a half-page, plus an experience of the word “NO” on the left border of another half page – the experience is whole. Similarly, seeing a red triangle is irreducible to seeing a triangle but no red color, plus a red patch but no triangle.
  • Exclusion: Consciousness is exclusive: each experience excludes all others – at any given time there is only one experience having its full content, rather than a superposition of multiple partial experiences; each experience has definite borders – certain things can be experienced and others cannot; each experience has a particular spatial and temporal grain – it flows at a particular speed, and it has a certain resolution such that some distinctions are possible and finer or coarser distinctions are not.

In looking at each of them, I can’t help but want to point out that the opposite of each axiom is also true in a sense. Consider:

Existence: Consciousness is a spectrum of qualities which appear to come in and out of existence. Some qualities of consciousness are ‘barely there’ or arguably resist being defined as existing. We can, for example, dream of a book in which there are sentences which appear to be made out of words and letters, but cannot be read. We might remember someone’s face in a way that seems specific, but when we reach for concrete details, we find that they do not ‘exist’.

Composition: Here too, if we look at other kinds of conscious experience, such as the flavor of a wine, it is not clear that there is an objective structure. We will not necessarily agree that there are earthy notes followed by floral notes, etc. The wine can be experienced as a gestalt which, while containing the potential for nuanced composition to be drawn out, does not necessitate any such formal realization in structure. We need not presume only a combination of discrete units, but we can also model a diffraction from top level simplicities downward.

Information: Conscious contents range from being highly informative to highly repetitious without materially altering their significance. Many addictive behaviors rely on the pure pleasure of the experience without any analytical dimension of uniqueness or learning behind them. Information may only pertain to communication and representation of conscious experience, not to the experience itself.

Integration: I agree fundamentally that in one sense, each experience stands on its own, however, in another sense, every experience is associated with ranges of other experiences to different degrees. If anything, it the modulation between qualities of being integrated, informing, composed, etc and their opposite qualities of disintegration, ignorance, decomposition, etc which are implicated in consciousness.

Exclusion: Here I fundamentally disagree. While any given experience can be isolated intellectually, that partitioning appears to me to be superficial. Experience builds on itself, and every waking moment implicitly contains the presence of all past experiences and hints at future possibilities. Experience can be read on many different levels, so that even though exclusion is a large part of the function of the intellect, that aspect of experience itself is floating on a sea of metaphorical, intuitive, and universal influences. Exclusion is easy to assume in a figurative sense, as far as our typical human attention seems to find a quality of focus whenever it focuses on itself, but I think that in a literal sense, exclusion is impossible.




How does our brain recognize the difference between real world and hyper realistic animation world? – Quora

June 12, 2014 Leave a comment

(my answer on Quora)

We may not know as much about perception as we think that we do. While  we have become comfortable with the scientific explanations of the  processing of sensory signals and how to simulate them, there may be  much more to it than that. Of course we understand that there is much  more to reality than we can perceive, and that our perception can be  more easily manipulated than we would have thought possible, but that  does not mean that there are not also other ways of knowing and seeing  which we are not consciously aware of.

The phenomenon of the Uncanny valley is the statistical ‘valley’ or region of

“negative emotional response towards robots that seem “almost human”.

There is a sense of creepiness which relates to the animation of inanimate bodies. The depiction of zombies or ventriloquist puppets that come to life are part of the horror genre because we have a deep revulsion to something which is not alive but is imbued with agency and the power to move by itself. The concept of the ‘undead’ is a supernatural theme, which is similar to, but not identical to the unnatural quality that we find in computer animation. Compare the following:

Impressive for its time, but to me, these characters look unnatural, eerie, fake, etc. It is an aesthetic shock, along the lines of unexpectedly realizing that someone has a prosthetic limb.

Looking at a claymation analog like Gumby, there is a similar doll-like emptiness, but it seems to be partially compensated by the honesty of the materials. There is concretely real stuff there, it’s not an abstract imitation of material bodies. The contrast of the odd, synthetic quality with the lo-fi childish content comes out quirky and somewhat charming.

Here it can be seen how adding dimension and realism can detract from the character rather than improve it. As a 2-D cartoon, Homer Simpson has no uncanny qualities – it is a direct expression of a genuine cartoon artist. In the 3-D version, there is some of that surprise of confronting an imposter or alien.

There may be no way, in fact, to simulate reality in such a way that all people will be fooled all of the time. I propose that this may not only be true because no simulation can be sophisticated enough, but also because reality may have within it a kind of breadcrumb trail which connects back to the total set of true and real conditions of the universe. We may only be aware of some of that breadcrumb trail at some times, and some people may be more or less tuned into that intuitive capacity than others, but if that is true, then there is no reason to presume that it is emergent from the function of the brain alone.

Just as we use eyeballs to condition our sensitivity to light, to focus and see outside of our brain and into the world, our entire body, may contribute to our consciousness in ways which we do not yet understand. It may go further than that, if we believe the accounts of people who claim to see auras…perhaps there is an electromagnetic or chemo-hormonal sensitivity which extends beyond the skin. The universality of idioms such as ‘gut feeling’, ‘feel it in my bones’, and ‘touched my heart’ may not be entirely fictional, particularly since the gut has a nervous system of its own, and the heart produces its own magnetic field.

Because a cartoon or photograph is only a visual experience, we already are very limited in how many sense modalities we can use to perceive it. While we might argue over whether an AI can pass a Turing Test on the basis of text interaction, few would argue that simulating the physical presence of a live human being in real time and real space, whom you could touch and look in the eyes is something that will be possible any time soon.

Authenticity may be more than the sum of its measurable parts. Authenticity may not be an emergent phenomenon which can be constructed through mass imitation on a sub-threshold level from the bottom up. Instead, authenticity may be a vital and intrinsic property of the whole, which can only be pointed to by a model. The entire assumption that reality can be substituted with total sensory satisfaction, even with perfect technology, may be false. The brain does not have to recognize the difference between the fake and the real, it just has to feel what all of the different senses it uses are feeling and compare them to its expectations, both local expectations, and perhaps non-local or absolute truths.

Where Is This Video?

April 16, 2014 40 comments

The reducibility of our body to elementary functions and forms does not necessarily have to reduce us to forgeries. There is another possibility, which is that there is something to be forged that is precisely the opposite of a copy. As hinted at in the video, each experienced moment is a kind of unrepeatable performance. Instead of focusing on the absence of a concrete physical object, we can look at the aesthetic content of the experience itself as the concrete phenomenon – not a simulacrum (pronounced sim-you-lah-crum) but a localized fragment of authenticity itself. Is color basically a bad copy of white light? Is the universe basically a bad copy of nothingness?

Humans are not bad copies of anything, but the degree to which we are unique snowflakes is relative to the proximity of our scope of consideration. Within our own frame of reference, we are absolutely unique. Within a social frame of reference, we are stereotyped culturally. Moving out from the human context, an individual human becomes more and more generic – a mammal, an animal, a biological organism, a chemical reaction, etc. This variance is, in my view, what the universe is ‘made of’, so that no one context of description is the final ‘real’ description.

In other words, this commentary is literally “here”, and that video is actually “there”, and that is what relativity ultimately means…perception itself – awareness, is the ultimate frame of reference, and without perception, there is nothing to frame.

More Notes on the Against Idealism Video

February 14, 2014 2 comments

I had a chance to take in some more of the previously posted video arguing against idealism. This is a solid video in my opinion and I envy the clear, thorough, and surprisingly tolerable style.

27:30 In discussing perception, the narrator makes the point that sense organs require sense organs. This is not exactly as rock solid as it might seem be. There is the blind painter Esref Armagan whose fMRI looks more or less like he is seeing. At the same time, activity in the visual cortex is perceived by those who are blind from an early age as tactile rather than visual sense. The more exotic reports and studies on remote viewing and NDEs in which blind people become sighted for the first time. Together these are enough for us to at least cast some doubt on the ontologically certain connection between sense organs and sensation. Adding in synesthesia and blindsight and we at least have reason to suspect that sense modalities are both commutable with each other to some extent and separable to some extent from the specific kinds of information processing which we expect to match. To me this puts any kind of simplistically eliminativist, mind-brain identity theory in jeopardy. 

Under an idealism which posits a unified ground of being which is eternal, initial perception need not be assumed to be an absolutely novel acquaintance, but can be, I think perfectly reasonably, a kind of local re-acquaintance. In my model of this absolute ground of being, (Primordial Identity Pansensitivity) there is a kind of aesthetic interest which is gained from each re-acquaintance. Not only in a ‘practice makes perfect way’, but in a ‘significance overcomes entropy in the long run’, and in the way that the repetition of pleasure (and relief from pain) is worth repeating in and of itself.

When he gets into the memory section, the narrator assumes the model of memory as being generated locally, so that forgetting is a destruction of that memory or the destruction of the ability to recall it. While that is true enough locally, if we use the PIP Absolute that I propose, then local experience are already a kind of masking of total awareness. While we are alive, certainly the brain’s limitations directly influence our recall, but just as NDEs often include a life review, we cannot rule out that the removal of consciousness from its investment in our personal experience does not entail a reconnection with a much larger, even universal level of illumination. The case of Marilu Henner and others with superior autobiographical memory suggest that the standard, buggy memory retrieval conditions of the typical human mind may be arbitrarily or intentionally throttled. There appear to be much more effective ways for a human mind to recall events, and to see them in a quasi-visual parallelism rather than a linear, episodic unmasking of the past.

In working with the PIP model, I suggest considering it like a colorful picture covered with black crayon, which is partially revealed through scratching, and then covered up again. The picture itself would be changing as well, adding more to the canvas in response to every new scratch.

As far as consciousness requiring thought, I would argue that there are many thoughtless activities which we engage in consciously. Sex, sports, violence, etc often include thoughts, but they can be appreciated without sentences and words in our mind as well.

I would agree that human qualities of consciousness require an animal body and brain, but that does not mean that the body and brain are not themselves, aspects of non-human experiences which appear to us as made of matter. Because I think the universe is primarily aesthetic, I think the point of matter, and all forms, structures, and function is ultimately to enrich the range and depth of possible qualities of experience. Stability and realism are precious qualia, shared at the lowest levels, drawing a line between fact and fiction.

35:38 “Imagination and reasoning don’t exist in a vacuum” – I would say that is begging the question. I have seen a couple accounts of reincarnation that seem compelling, as well as evidence of child prodigies and acquired savant syndrome which suggest that like forgetting and perception limited by sense organs, imagination’s reliance on local experience may itself be a local condition of masking.

At 36:37, he talks bout free will requiring human level capacities to reason, and while I agree of course that there is a direct relation to the quality of our freedom (motives) and the quality of our understanding (sense-making) I would not say that the experience of appreciating freedom is limited to humans. Even bacteria or inorganic matter may be symptoms of an experience with some degree of volition on some alien scale of time or size. After all, if our body is only made of cells and cells are only molecules, then the potential for free will to eventually develop or not to develop lies there.

38:00 He is reiterating here the assertion that No input = No consciousness. This may be a conceit of our logical mind looking at the logical mind rather than a fact about human consciousness or consciousness in general. There are many who have used sensory isolation tanks to access vivid phenomenal states with content well outside their personal experience. It could always be claimed that these fantasies are merely recombination of memories, etc, but again it is begging the question to presume that must be the case, and especially that it must be the case for possible non-human or non-localized forms of awareness.

At 38:53, he is talking about self awareness, and offhandedly mentions that 1) all awareness must be an awareness of some thing, and that therefore the self must be some thing in order for us to be aware of it. If we assume my model of pansensitivity being absolutely primordial instead, then  awareness is by definition beneath all “being”, so that “thing” is a character in whatever story is being scratched into the existential mask. The object things and the subject selves are both divided and diffracted within a deeper context of perceptual relativity. One person’s body is another person’s experience. I am saying that relation extends all the way down, so that while seeing a thing does not mean that it is the thing which is the experience (i.e. a plastic doll is not having an experience as a doll, but the plastic it is made of responds to the environment in a sensible, interactive way within its own context.)

There is something at 39:26 about sleeping and how our consciousness is suspended while we sleep. I would agree that our personal consciousness is suspended, but who wakes us up when we have to go to the bathroom? What unconscious part of the brain cares about wetting the bed and has the power to awaken our personal consciousness? Instead of seeing the brain as being the host to a sole resident, I see our experience as a loose confederation of nested experiences, on the microphenomenal/sub-personal, personal/phenomenal, and super-personal/metaphenomenal levels (levels = really entangled ranges or scopes). Not solipsism, but shared, nested perception. The brain exists independent of our personal consciousness, but not biochemical consciousness, and not of Absolute pansensitivity.

Lastly, I would add that proving that consciousness is corruptible or not is a question which itself supervenes on consciousness. Discernment of corruption, assumption of non-corruption…these are aesthetic expectations within cognition. I enjoyed the video through the first section, and hopefully will watch the rest another time. I’m not so much interested in theistic idealism, so I’m not sure about that.

A New Final Frontier

February 9, 2014 3 comments

If Dark Matter and Dark Energy represents 96% of the “known” universe, even if it paradoxically turns out that we know virtually nothing about it, what other kinds of ratios-in-ignorance lurk as shockingly in our self-significant lives? – Quora Question

There are 23% of Dark Matter and 73% of Dark Energy.

Next time that you are in room with another person, take a moment to realize what that room looks like from the other person’s perspective. Imagine being that person and seeing the room from their perspective. Now imagine that moment in which you are imagining yourself as them as a fleeting instant in their lifetime in which your presence is all but completely unnoticed. Understand that moment is, for them, only one of an eternity of moments of a life completely other than your own.

The degree to which their age, gender, cultural identity and personal experience differs from your own is the degree to which the life they have been living is different from your own – different views of history where different events are weighted differently in significance. Events which are historical to you are, for an older person, events in their own lives which have not entirely passed, but rather live on as changes which happen to no longer be present, but whose influence can be traced through their future, backwards.

Now extend this expectation of other lives to animals and plants, no matter how small, to cells, and perhaps even to genetic histories, to chemistry and physics. Histories and perspectives so alien that the smallest hydrogen nuclei have more in common with the largest stars than they have differences, and measures of time become liminocentric, with the infinitesimal moment blurring into the astronomical eternity, and the blasting of singular furnace of mass into hypercardinal intergalactic multiplicities is divided up into all-but-infinite fractals of all-but-infinite moments of multisense realism. Each moment, each perspective a holographic reflection of itself within the fisheye reflection of the whole that it embodies. Each perspective is bound to a private cache of evanescent histories, transparent and shifting in the changing light of the mood and the moment.

What we don’t see of the universe, by virtue of the limitation of our perceptual tunnels as individuals, as humans, as animals and organisms…what we don’t see of each others experience and of the experience on scales beyond that of organic life dwarfs the ratio of dark energy. What is elided from our experience and possible experience is the true final frontier.

MSR: Perceptual Inertial Frames

January 3, 2014 Leave a comment


Colorball II Diagram

December 30, 2013 Leave a comment


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

Immediate (+1) ::  Etheric (-1)

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

The new terms in this second version are:

  • Protosthetic (+0), referring to the minimum quality of awareness as well as the quality of minimum awareness. On a scale of +0* to +∞, this level is the +0 because it represents experiences which have been aesthetically masked to appear imperceptible. This can be thought of as the personal unconscious, as opposed to the collective unconscious, which is the Absolute level that is positioned on top of the diagram, but is actually the entire sphere. It’s number would be +∞.
    The entire left half of the sphere can be thought of as a slice within the protosthetic range, just as the greyscale can be thought of as variations on black and white. 
  • Pseudethetic (-0) is the outside-in version of Protosthetic. Where protosthetic phenomena seem alienated or unconscious but are, on some level, a symptom of experience, pseudethetic phenomena are not as conscious as they appear to be. The -0 range is about artifice and simulation, and can include anything from a puppet or stuffed animal to a sophisticated AGI system. Protosthetic would include states in which we are personally unconscious, but can be thought of as that which wakes us up from a sub-personal level.
  • Exthetic (-2) is a term I’m trying out as the public-facing conjugate to Aesthetic. This is the common sense of structure that the real world generally seems to have. It is the sense of concrete exteriority which we rely on to engage with the world rather than in our mind. The sense of fixed mass objects in space and linear causality, and all of the other macroscopic cues that pervade classical physics, as well as all of the hard sciences.
  • Entelethetic (+3) is intended to refer to a level of hyper-aesthetic dreams, symbols, and archetypes. Also knows as the collective unconscious or  Dreamtime, this band of sensitivity is super-natural and trans-personal (yet still private). The word borrows from Entelechy, which has to do with a drive toward self-actualization, which is apt considering the visionary nature of this ‘third eye’ view.

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)

Multisense Continuum as a Sphere

December 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Multisense Continuum as a Sphere

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