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Die Enge des Bewusstseins, ‘the narrowness of consciousness’

February 21, 2014 Leave a comment

To invent, I have said, is to choose; but the word is perhaps not wholly exact. It makes one think of a purchaser before whom are displayed a large number of samples, and who examines them, one after the other, to make a choice. Here the samples would be so numerous that a whole lifetime would not suffice to examine them. This is not the actual state of things. The sterile combinations do not even present themselves to the mind of the inventor. – Henri Poincaré

As part of his response, Albert Einstein writes:

… It is also clear that the desire to arrive finally at logically connected concepts is the emotional basis of this rather vague play with the above-mentioned elements. But taken from a psychological viewpoint, this combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought — before there is any connection with logical construction in words or other kinds of signs which can be communicated to others.

…It seems to me that what you call full consciousness is a limit case which can never be fully accomplished. This seems to me connected with the fact called the narrowness of consciousness (Enge des Bewußtseins)*.

Here Poincaré and Einstein are discussing the nature of creativity and the particular issue of how our personal awareness both does and does not generate novelty. Like the debate over free will, I see this as largely about the hierarchical flow of subjectivity. The personal level of awareness, as noted by Freud and Jung among others, is sandwiched between what could be called a sub-personal or sub-conscious range (Id) and a super-personal or metaphenomenal range (Collective Unconscious). Jung picked up where Freud left off, seeing that Super-Ego was not necessarily just a facade of social pressures against which the Ego cowers, but a living, trans-personal terrain of archetypal influences. The Jungian view looked at this terrain as being tied up in his idea of synchronicity – meaningful coincidence which can be decoded through a language of cross-cultural metaphor. Joseph Campbell wrote and spoke extensively on this language (‘The Power of Myth, ‘The Hero With A Thousand Faces’, etc.).

What I have not seen is a physical theory which takes the synchronicity and myth seriously. When we do take it seriously, I think that it meshes perfectly with the implications of the Theory of Relativity, and with what Poincaré and Einstein are talking about with the narrowness of consciousness. All that needs to be done is to relocate the concept of literal inertial frames of reference with a more figurative notion of phenomenal inertial framing. The idea of levels of consciousness is probably one of the most ancient and enduring concepts in mysticism. Whether they are seen as levels which can only be attained through a proscribed path or as introspective potentials which we can all access by ourselves, the desire to partition human experience as a hierarchy seems to be irresistible. Irresistible, that is, until recently. Contemporary psychology has largely moved away from hierarchies and grand schemas, focusing instead (with debatable success) on more modular, pharmacologically addressable functions.

While I appreciate many of the hierarchical maps of consciousness, like those so diligently compiled by Ken Wilber, I suggest that we begin from scratch, with an eye toward simplicity and correlation with general systems. In addition, the foundation for this view should be sensory-motive rather than information-theoretic or material-energetic. By sensory-motive, I refer to what Einstein talks about above. While the effect of creativity is teleological and communicative, the process itself is driven by what he calls combinatory play:  ‘the essential feature in productive thought — before there is any connection with logical construction in words’.

Just as this sub-cognitive sensible engagement is overlooked in modern, computational theories of mind, so too is the possibility of microsensory  phenomena overlooked in modern physics. I see this not as an accident, but rather the same oversight on a different scale. The idea that our own sensations emerge from a different source than the sensations which are telegraphed from the source to instrument of detection to scientific observer is not necessary if we generalize Einstein’s ‘combinatory play’ to the outer-shell of all of physics.

The MSR hypothesis is called Eigenmorphism. It is that what separates our body from our sub-conscious experience, and our sub-conscious from our personal experience can be understood in terms of a psychophysically extended narrowness of consciousness. There aren’t any inertial frames which simply exist, but only those which can be inferred through the combination of sensed perspectives. Modes of description, whether in the aesthetic of substances, quantities, or qualities are all ultimately narrowed channels of fundamental sense-making, which must be absolutely primordial. The various forms and functions which can be measured publicly are comparable to what Einstein meant about what is logically motivated and communicable, but what the deeper participation cannot be seen as the object of sight. Light, as a the most pervasive version of sense, is not a thing or an energy, but a participation multiplier – a way of being simultaneously here, there, and not literally here or there. I project my narrow attention through a mind which is already narrowed by a hierarchy of sub-personal and super-personal filters, each of which are also narrowed from scales of sensory participation so vast and unfamiliar that I read them only by the mechanical, impersonal traces that they leave. The universe that we live in is not a solipsistic narrowing of consciousness, but a nested universality of aesthetics – a combinatory play.

*The narrowness of consciousness which Einstein mentions is from William James:

“The sum total of our impressions never enters into our experience, consciously so called, which runs through this sum total like a tiny rill through a flowery mead. Yet the physical impressions which do not count are there as much as those that do, and affect our sense-organs just as energetically. Why they fail to pierce the mind is a mystery which is only named and not explained when we invoke die Enge des Bewusstseins, the narrowness of consciousness’ as its grounds.”.

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Tessellated Relativity

January 1, 2014 Leave a comment
If we set aside the standard model for the moment, let’s consider what we mean by mass and energy in common sense terms. These are just the easiest *sample units and terms*, I know that there’s a lot more to talk about with gravitation and electron volts, etc.
Mass is measured in kilograms, while Energy is measured in joules. Intuitively it is easy to think of what kg are, and how they refer to static point measurements which don’t do anything over time. Joules are a bit more abstract, but if we drill down on how they are used, we are talking about what is called force or work. Force/work in a distance-frame can be conceptualized as causing ‘mass per meter’ spatial relocations, or in a time-frame as causing ‘watts per second’ excitement.

Whether it is material movement across space or sensory excitement through time, energy must always be a verb. We call it force or work, but that is a shortcoming of the Western fetish for nouns. Really, in my view all energy must be a *forcing* or *working* verb. While I fully appreciate the accusation that this is naive realism, I suggest that this is a foundational symmetry which can be inverted only for figurative purposes. No real energy should be considered noun-like, and all standard model visualizations which contradict this should be regarded as unreal. For this reason, I think that the assumption of the photon as an entity is an obstacle to rehabilitating the standard model to one which integrated the physics of privacy. In an ironic twist, we will have to re-educate ourselves to get used to the idea that the qualia of light and color is real, and photons are imaginary descriptions from an impossible frame of reference (the voyeur public subject).

What are the consequences of energy like? Radiance. Flow. Waves. What are waves? Either a frequency through time or a repeating shape across space. We know, however, that we don’t see photons as oscillating shapes, we see them as a shining, glowing, reflecting, or gleaming in our vision or a warming or burning in our feeling. That’s all about time. Looking at the sun, the intensity increases over time as our retina becomes more and more stimulated. The same is not true of mass. Mass ‘just sits there’ at some position in space. Unlike looking at the sun, the intensity of mass does not increase by itself over time, but rather it increases inversely to distance through space (gravity).

In a post energy particle model, mass and energy modify structures (matter in space) and qualify experiences (sensation through time), and are not free standing quantities emerging from a vacuum. Mass is convergent on a point within a structure, and energy is divergent from c (non-space, non-time) as a frequently recurring stimulus. I was thinking of calling this module of MSR “Tessellated Relativity”, as the inertial frames swing spacemass-ward and time-energyward, yielding the position v momentum exclusivity.

If that’s all true – and I think that it might be on the right track, then it can be used to illuminate the workings of how qualia and sensitivity are equivalent to transparency/entanglement with larger frames of time and higher spatial perspectives.

The Lowdown on Empty Space and the Speed of Light

December 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Your task is to explain why are you trying to buck the mainstream view that space has qualities. I’m no acolyte of the mainstream but I do recognize the need to explain deviations therefrom. It so happens that there are good reasons why today’s view is that empty space has physical qualities. The main shortcoming of the mainstream view, from my viewpoint, is the artificial and unnecessary light speed speed limit. Einstein hypothesized a universe with such a limit without ever even suggesting why such a limit makes any sense. And the problem is: it doesn’t.

I think that Einstein hypothesized a speed limit in the universe because he understood or intuited that speed itself is a continuum between stillness and the opposite of stillness, rather than an unbounded scale. He saw that light does not behave like anything else – that it had properties which made it unlike things which can accelerate. Velocity is (not unrelatedly) like ‘straightness’ – there is an upper limit on how straight something can be, how little something can weigh, and the extent to which a signal can be unambiguously present or absent at a given location at any given moment.

What he did not see, IMO is that light is only one kind of signal – one way that the universe makes sense of itself. The speed of light is the speed of space, or perhaps, the speed of ‘here’, and it scales up in proportion to larger scaled ‘here’s. Light, or ‘sense’ or ‘universal public signal’, actually has no speed at all, unless you mix reference frames and thereby measure a large frame from a small one. The degree to which light has a speed is the ratio between the scale of the measurer and the scale of the measurement.

The mainstream view that space has qualities makes perfect sense when we misunderstand and overlook the role of sense in signal production. Rather than extending the relation that living things have with light (or sound, smell, thought, etc) to the microcosm, we have so far only consider the *apparent* relation that non-living things have with each other, which is limited to touch. We have yet to entertain the notion that microphysical phenoemena are, in some sense, seeing each other and signaling each other directly, and thereby creating ‘space’ and ‘time’ on the macrophysical level, from our perspective. From the microphenomenal level, it might appear just the opposite, that spacetime is being created from above, on higher levels. Both are probably true and untrue to a similar extent.

There is no reason to believe that space has properties except to maintain the assumption that physical processes are unconscious and isolated. When we hold that belief, we are forced to take a phenomenon which is transdimensional, and flatten it into a finite number of topological fields in which forms can touch each other directly. That’s a great way of doing the math so that we can predict and control the conditions of (relatively) inanimate objects, but it falls apart when we try to include more subtle sense-making phenomena.

I’m fully aware, of course, that this is a radical conjecture. My position is not that this is a complete theory or that I know how it must work, but that it is a theoretical possibility which could work, has not been explored, and should not contradict any observation of physics made thus far

Relativity and Reality

August 2, 2013 Leave a comment

Moire Example 1

To what does relativity relate? Before there can be relation there must be presence, and before a presence can relate to another presence, there must be a capacity for detection of some kind. Even collision of bodies should not be taken for granted in physics. It is a testament to our imagination that we can conceive of a universe that happens without any participants – with only there and then, but no here and now to put them in their place. What is required instead is an imagination of empathy, to trace the origins of our own consciousness not to the dots and dashes of information gathering instruments developed for our bodies to use, but to our own native information gathering capacities. Whether photons are really things or not, no model of the universe can be complete without fully explaining the relationship of photons to the phenomenon that we see as light. Whatever it is that we see cannot be excluded from any complete description of the universe.

An early diagram of the MSR Theory of Everything suggests an equivalence of perception and relativity. Without getting too deep into the subject, it can be said that any discussion of relativity entails the use of a reference point, a so called ‘inertial frame’ within which phenomena tend to cohere together and share a common velocity. Even in a speeding train, the coffee in the cup can remain fairly settled on the tray in front of us. So long as the velocity of the train is maintained, we can’t tell by looking at the cup whether the train is stationary, or moving, or moving on top of another train which is moving even faster. Without this kind of orienting framing principle, there would be no ‘thing’ to relate to any other thing; no place to move toward or away from. Relativity requires an anchor, and for reasons which I will get into soon, the anchor of quantitative properties cannot itself be quantitative but must instead be perceptual in nature. General Relativity relies on Proprietary Relativity, aka, private perception. This should not be taken as an endorsement of anthropocentric idealism, or deism, or any other effort to fictionalize physical realism, but is instead a suggestion of pansensitivity with sense as both the universal law and the local participant.

Relativity is anchored not only the law of inertia, but the consequences of it in sequestering physical tendencies into semantically stable ‘places’ which relate to each other, and through each other. This should be understood as a kind of sensitivity or awareness on the grandest, most public scale. It implies a translucence of mass and momentum in which the grandeur of events is implicitly and palpably present.

Relativity refers to the underlying nature of place and pace as it is defined by matter and energy. Matter and energy create the spacetime context by their relation with each other. The title General Relativity, just as words in the English language, infers a generalized or universal quality of relating which is dynamic. It’s not a static property of general related-ness, but rather it is an active responsiveness of all phenomena in relation to each other. The -ivity suffix of relativity treats relation as a verb, not a noun. What we observe is that in measurements where distance and time are precisely recorded, the classically held immutables of space and time actually bend and warp to reflect the presence of mass, gravity, and velocity.

I think that this is what shocked the world about Einstein’s vision. He conceived that the metric itself, the abstract ‘rigid body’ of measurement which comprised the firmament of classical mechanics…that infinite set of Cartesian coordinates actually warped its contours around things, not the other way around. The plenum of space and time is only a measure of variations in scale and frequency among repeating effects that were happening to objects. The universe was not something happening in an empty box, it was boxing itself from the inside out.

Special Relativity showed that the relativity of uniform motion observed by Galileo and the classical notion of invariant time had to be extended to accommodate the absoluteness of the speed of light. Einstein’s four dimensional space-time ‘mollusk’ describes what is understood to be an invariant space-time interval. Why is the speed of light absolute though? What mechanically makes time dilate or length contract?

If my view is on the right track, the reason why the speed of light is absolute is because light is not a thing, it is the sensitivity of matter across its own created distance. The reason that Relativity works is because the universe makes sense of itself, and is ignorant of itself on every level. This is what relativity and perception are all about. It is interesting that the deepest truths of Einstein and the deepest truths of Quantum Mechanics both have to do explicitly with measurement. Einstein’s Relativities challenge common-sense notions of the separateness of space, time, matter, and energy, and of the nature of velocity while QM deals in probabilities and uncertainties associated with measurement of complementary variables (like position and momentum). We are talking about the limits of measure in both cases, and transcending immeasurable conditions with new strategies of measurement.

To say that Relativity makes sense is accurate because we have an idea of what it means for things to make sense already. Knowledge is a validation of our public facing senses with private sense making, or vice versa. We model the movements of massive bodies in accord with Einstein’s curved space equations, but Einstein did not believe that space was literally curved, or that space was a thing at all. Curved space is a metaphor. What is curving is the statistical results of experiments where the behavior of matter in one frame is measured against the behavior of matter in another. This is the bare-metal reality of our observations. Physicists use instruments made of matter to cause and measure changes in matter. Through those measurements, we have inferred entities such as “energy”, “gravity”, “forces”, and “fields”, but we have only matter to tell us about them. Our perception relies on matter’s relation to matter, it’s relativity, to perceive conditions in remote inertial frames.

This is not an endorsement of naive realism. Certainly it is useful to model energy as a separate entity from the matter which collects and projects it, however it remains impossible to inspect energy in public, without the aid of a material instrument such as our body, and a mode of perception to detect it and render it locally in some aesthetic modality. Perception is in one sense a mirror image of relativity, in that relativity is an impersonal view of public perspective and perception is a personal view of private relations. In another sense, perception is merely the private version relativity. The same principle which allows the coffee to stay in the cup on the train can be understood to be literally the same inertial principle which maintains the worldly realism of our experience. Inertia is the indifference of sense, the comfortable ranges and tropes which contrast with novelty and disturbance.

By turning General Relativity around so that it can becomes Proprietary Relativity, a whole new way of making sense and measuring the immeasurable can be glimpsed. While it has always been implicit in the inertial frames and ‘observers’ of physics, the framing itself has never been examined properly, as far as I know. We take our own personal orientation for granted most of the time, (especially when we are overseeing an abstract equation or model of everythingness), but to model everythingness absolutely faithfully, we would need to include this very strange, but very ordinary state of affairs that we know as ‘being here’, or ‘our presence’; consciousness.

It has been the hypothesis of MSR that as far as physics is concerned (which can only tolerate a very dim and narrow view of consciousness right now), the function of consciousness should be approached first as the minimum ingredient to provide the possibility of privacy, relativity, and inertia. A vector of orientation and perspective. This is the unspoken assumption of any observer or inertial frame, that somehow there has arisen a capacity to discern a here from a there, or a now from a then. MSR tries to explain the difference between (here, now) and (not-here, not-now) in terms of public and private ‘verses’. These verses are aesthetic contexts which provide mutual contrast for each other. It is the unfortunate complexity of the human experience, with its massively redundant population of historically recorded lifetimes, bodies, and bodies within bodies within bodies (organs, cells, molecules), which obscures the purity and simplicity of the private-public relation. It is not a dualistic relation however, it is a reflexive or Ouroboran relation. The private feelings and experiences of one inertial frame are the public bodies and energies of another, sufficiently alien frame.

Having a body which is subject to conditions on the molecular, cellular, and somatic levels of public interaction gives us cause to think that these interactions are producing ‘us’, whereas my conjecture is that our bodies reflect the totality of our lives (and the lives of our entire species, of all life, and all phenomena dating back to before the dawn of life) from a particularly truncated and relativistic perspective. The body is a human life looking at itself askance through the narrow slit of its own relativistically disintegrated presence.

This essential ingredient is the necessary piece to the puzzle. It allows us to recognize that this universe not only one of theres and thens, but of here and now. Einstein famously said that he did not understand now, and that makes sense since his is the perspective most grounded in the ‘other’ – in spacetime. Sense is not an abstract scalar quantity, property, or configuration, but it is the concretely real capacity to feel, sense, or detect, even though it is both non-local and non-non-local. It is not a field or an energy, an ether, an elan vital, or any other substantialized presence. That would be redundant, since sense is presence already.

Just as Einstein relocated the universal process to electrodynamics rather than Newtonian mechanics, MSR relocates the electrodynamic process itself to a sensorydynamic milieu, a milieu which is absolute, and which presents uniqueness and originality as its product. In short, Multisense Realism posits an equivalence between locality and perception, and between perspective and equivalence/non-equivalence itself. Sense is how things seem to be, and seeming it turns out, can only be more fundamental than ‘reality’.

The notion of inertia is expanded under MSR, so that it implies a tangible experience of expectation and continuity. Inertia is the sensory capacity of context and framing. This is the stuff of worldly realism. An accumulation of qualitative semi-signs and partial presentations which is beneath the formalism of literal semiotic signals. These fundamental references cannot arise purely from bottom up mathematical relations, but rather are recovered or discovered from the totality as a whole. This concept has been developed before many times, (e.g. Bohm’s Implicate Order, Sheldrake’s Morphic Resonance, Indra’s Net, etc) but generally with a holographic flavor of non-locality. Things simply have a way of coming around again and again. With the MSR concept of perceptual inertia, perception events are carved out of the monad of eternity. Personal perceptions are fundamentally voids, bubbles within the singularity which make it seem like a multiplicity from inside the bubble. Indeed, the bubble itself is the quality of seeming divided or disconnected, a finite flavor of here and now which is suspended in a frozen diaspora of theres and thens. “Laws” are the constraints which are experienced in one inertial frame because it is nested within an event which has already happened. A smaller now cannot escape from the experience which birthed it, in which the former becomes eternal and the latter becomes the instantaneous. Relativity, gravity, inertia, and perception are all different aspects of the same law-giving realism. Ratios borne of qualitative experience, and reborn through experience which has been condensed – quantitatively deferred.

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