Posts Tagged ‘hard problem of consciousness’

Sense and Simulation

February 5, 2019 2 comments


1. Nothing that can be experienced is a simulation.

There are different levels of perception (experiences of experience) and interpretation (experiences of understanding perceptions), and they can spoof each other, but all experiences are as fundamentally real any physical substance or process.

If you look in at a mirror, you are *really* seeing a *real* image, it’s just that your body isn’t really inside of a mirror. Your physical body can’t actually be seen, it can only be touched and felt. What can be seen is an image (made of color contrast shapes) that reflects both low-level tangible-public and high-level intangible-psychological conditions.

2. The Hard Problem of Consciousness can be reduced to this question: “How can a particle, force or field become sensitive?“

I think that the answer is that it cannot. Rather, we have to invert our Western presumptions about nature and understand that fields and forces are concepts that may need be replaced by a more accurate one: direct sensory-perceptive and motive-participatory phenomena – aka nested conscious experiences.
Particles are the way that the division and polarization of experience is rendered in the tangible-tactile modality of sensory-perception.

They are not sensitive, and no structure composed of particles is sensitive, just as no words made of letters generate meaning. The particles and structures, words and letters are literally place-holders…spatiotemporally anchored addresses through which experiences can be organized in increasingly complex, rich, and meaningful ways. This is what nature and the universe is: An anti-mechanical sensory experience of mechanically divided experiencers…an aesthetic holos that renders its self-diffraction through anesthetic holography.

21st century madman’s picture of God

February 25, 2017 4 comments


In/out : Electromotive-sensory force ::
Around and around : Gravitoentropic-Magnetic a-motive field

Are We Wrong About The Universe?

December 7, 2016 4 comments


Are we today as wrong about any scientific fact that is widely accepted as the belief that the earth was the center of the universe and the like?

It’s not so much a particular scientific fact that we are currently wrong about, but rather the interpretation of those facts which is ultimately incomplete and inverted. In my view, the cosmological picture that we have inherited is as wrong as geocentric astronomy was, in that we presume a physical universe of forces, fields, particles, and mechanisms; forms and functions which act in the complete absence of any kind of experience or awareness. I expect that we will eventually come to understand that unconscious forms and functions cannot generate any such thing as a sensation or feeling, and that it is actually forms and functions which are presentations within a deeper context of universal perceivability.

Because we have made great use of the tools of science to objectify the universe by factoring out our own subjectivity, we have fallen under a kind of spell of amnesia in which we exclude the process of objectification itself from our picture of the universe. In the effort to dispel the ghost-in-the-machine legacy of Cartesian Dualism, we have succumbed to a more insidious dualism, which is that of “illusion” vs reality, or “emergent properties” vs physical systems. From this vantage point, we are susceptible to any kind of theory which satisfies our empirical measurements, regardless of how incompatible they are with our direct experience. As long as a legitimate scientific authority stands behind it, the educated public happily swallows up anti-realisms in the service of realism…multi world interpretations, superposition, vacuums filled with energy. There is nothing wrong with entertaining these very legitimate possibilities, but there is a deep irony which is being overlooked.

The problem is that we have taken ourselves out of the picture of the universe, but we haven’t gone far enough. We have over-estimated our objectivity in one sense and under-estimated it in another so that the universe we imagine as objectively present looks, sounds, tastes, and feels just as it would to a highly culturally conditioned Homo sapien of the early 21st century. We have failed to appreciate the profound truths revealed by Relativity, quantum uncertainty, incompleteness, the placebo effect, and the vast pool of insight provided by centuries of direct consciousness exploration. Had we been willing to connect the dots, I think that we would see the common denominator is that nature is subject to perceptual participation for its fundamental definitions. In other words, what both the empirical and rational methods of inquiry have shown is that nature is inseparable from perceivability. It is a multitude of changing types of awareness which produces and preserves all forms.

We are used to thinking that consciousness is a special ability of Homo sapiens, and perhaps a few other species, but this is as naive and egocentric as Ptolemaic astronomy now seems. Just as biology has found no hard line separating living cells from genetic machinery, the study of consciousness has revealed signs of sensation and awareness in everything from ants, single celled plants, even a ball of dough. There seems to be no good reason to automatically consider the activities performed by any natural structure strictly unconscious. Indeed, we may be projecting our own complex human experience of layers of consciousness, semi-consciousness, and seeming unconsciousness onto nature at large.

The reality may be that every frame of reference is actually a frame of afference… a trans-spatial, trans-temporal platform for developing temporalizing and spatializing aesthetic experiences. Afference is a neologism adapted from the function of afferent nerves. In this case I am generalizing that function of bringing signals in from the outside. Afference is conceived as a fundamental receptivity to experience which allows for the appearance of all phenomena including space (a sense of distance between tangible or visual presentations) and time (a sense of memory and evaluation of causality) within any given frame. Afference is a hypothetical sub-set or diffraction from the overall Perceivability Spectrum (pansensitivity, pan-afference, or even ‘ference’).

This doesn’t mean that every ‘thing’ is conscious. That sort of ‘promiscuous’ panpsychism is only the first step away from the pseudo-dualism of contemporary science. It can help us to begin to break through our anthropocentrism and consider other scales of time and body size, however it can also lead to misguided expectations about inanimate objects ‘having’ experiences rather than their objecthood ‘being’ an experience within our body’s perceptual scales and limits. The experience of a computer for example, may be limited to the hardware level where natural sensory acquaintance and motor engagement is felt on the microphysical scale and has no emergence to genuine high level humanlike intelligence.

By considering consciousness (not human consciousness, but universal perceivability) to be the source of all qualities and properties of nature, the Hard Problem of materialism solves itself. Physical forces and fields need not be sought out to explain the creation of bodies-with-awareness, which are impossible by definition in my view. In my view there is no room for any kind of sensation or participation as a mechanical product of geometry or computation. Instead, we should recognize that it is experiential phenomena alone which present themselves as bodies, images, thoughts, feelings, etc. Every appearance of mechanical or random force in our frame of perception is ultimately a feeling of participation and sense in a distant and alienated frame of perception.

Every appearance of a ‘field’ (gravitational, electromagnetic, or otherwise) is in the same way only a range of sensitivity projected into another range of sensitivity that uses spatial terms (rather than non-spatial or trans-spatial like olfactory or emotional sense). It is the sense modality of tangibility which deals in spaces and geometries: visible and/or touchable forms. With the ‘field’ model, we are presuming regions of space as domains within which effects simply found to be present by definition. By using the afference model instead, locality is understood to be a symptom of how extra-local phenomena are translated into locality-constrained sensory modes. Afference opens the door to understanding how not to take presence for granted and to see it as a relativistic, aesthetically driven universal phenomenon (or the absolute meta-phenomenon).

Supporting articles

Physical existence is consciousness which has been cooked by the entropy of relative unconsciousness.

November 6, 2016 Leave a comment
LRM: Can you please explain?

Craig Weinberg Think of consciousness as the raw cookie dough which comprises the totality of nature. Nature as I’m using it includes thoughts, imagination, dreams, fiction, etc. It includes the experience of the thought “square circle” but it does not include the referent of that thought as that referent is purely artificial/unnatural/logically impossible.

To get from this raw set of experiences to experiences which are ‘physical’, i.e. which persist in a tangible sense (literally, we can experience a sense of touching them, or touching something that can touch/hold/collide with them), I propose that there is a hierarchy of layers of disconnection or dissociation in which direct experience becomes increasingly indirect.

The dream of the person is not composed of the function of the brain, rather the brain is the set of sub-personal dreams which have become partitioned off in the formation of personhood.

Think of how language begins…we have the personal experience of learning the alphabet and how to use letters to spell words. We become so good at reading letters that it eventually becomes second nature. The personal experience now evolves into an experience of taking in entire sentences of words, while the piecing together of letters to form phonemes in our internal dialogue is relegated to the sub-personal. There is now a layer of entropy…a leveling of insensitivity which insulates our direct attention from those less-relevant experiences which are nonetheless occurring at a lower level.

Extrapolating on that, imagine that over billions of lifetimes, and countless pre-biotic experiences before that, the sub-personal content has been subjected to this kind of objectification so many times that the sub-personal quality becomes impersonal…shared only through a geometrically summarized protocol of frozen touch…tangibility through quantification or maximally layered entropy of tactile sense. Visibility begins to recover some of that loss of sense by partially removing the tangibility restriction, such that there is an intangible medium for re-connecting with tangibly disconnected experiences. That intangible recovery of the disconnected tangible is the parent of space, time, and light. It is “c²”.

LRM: “So.. consciousness is a kind of sum of an increasingly indirect references??”

It is that, but it as also the direct ‘ference’ itself. Consciousness is the sole primordial absolute. It is the the necessary ingredient of any and all possible phenomena, including possibility itself.
SW: “It seems that consciousness is not so much layered through the body or the physical (though this may certainly be something that happens) but, rather, it is our conceptualizations that provide layer upon layer. I think these conceptualizations happen precisely because we are not embodied enough, like an existential terror that keeps us from fully feeling and we insulate ourselves from the terror of embodiment by adding layer upon layer upon layer of insulation between ourselves and how we experience our embodiment, primarily through conceptualization.
You use language as an example – language used to refer to the world in which we live – it was a direct representation of that world. Now language is seen in shapes that have no meaning in and of themselves except the way we string them together. “A” is completely meaningless until we give it meaning. Whereas a symbol like a tree has meaning without us doing anything to it.
Our efforts to not be embodied can be seen in virtually every aspect of society. And by embodied I mean to feel ourselves as our bodies and the chemical bath of emotions and the intuition and connectedness that comes from physical form and for this experience to have primacy over the conceptual layering we do that is driven by our inability to deal with our embodiment.
It seems to me that we are only really conscious when we are able to be in our bodies without adding layers to our experience.
Perhaps it is two sides of the same coin? I don’t know.”

Craig Weinberg Yes I think two sides of the same coin, or to try to be more precise:

Consciousness in general* creates the experience of bodies and physical matter in the first place through layering sensitivity gaps** but when we, as human beings, expand our consciousness we become more fully aware of our humanity, which includes the direct experience of the world through the body and of the body itself.

I agree with you on language, although I would not automatically assume that it begins as a way to talk about things in the world. I think before that it begins as a way of imitating each other’s natural gestures. It probably developed in both the inner and outer direction at the same time, allowing us to communicate our feelings and call and sing to each other as well as to call each others attention TO some event or condition in the shared world of our bodies.

“Our efforts to not be embodied can be seen in virtually every aspect of society”

Absolutely. I see this in a deep historical context…the swing from nature shamanism to poly and monotheism to dualism to deism to atheism/anti-theism. The pendulum swing in philosophy corresponds to the political and technological swing Westward. The rise of capitalism was concurrent with the rise of physicalism, not coincidentally, but necessarily. The dis-Orientation (Orient = East) toward the world of the body and Copernican anti-centricity has to do with converting the primacy of subjective kinds of feelings into secondary ‘properties’. This relates to the sense of property, as the proprietor herself becomes the ghostly ‘owner’ of a body and of material positions.

Here’s where the trouble begins…the immateriality of ownership is projected onto objects, the trading of which is facilitated by a super-object…”currency”. Money then becomes smaller and smaller, more and more abstract until it has reached the state of purely symbolic, immaterial disembodiment. All this to say that we don’t just want to be disembodied, we want to become money. Money is always welcome. Money is always loved and appreciated. It never goes out of style, it never cares what anyone thinks of it…it can do most anything and anything it can’t do it doesn’t value. Money is our human social counterfeit essence…our ultimately refined sense of insensitivity. Through this ‘love of money’ we seek immortality and an escape from both the body and the less-than-omnipotent mortality which comes with it.

*(Consciousness in general = what I call “pansensitivity”, and others call nondual fundamental awareness)

**(Sensitivity gaps = what I identify as the ultimate source of entropy)

Force and Will

September 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Somebody just told me I have free will.


I’d just like to know what force I am manipulating inside of my brain in order to maneuver neuronal molecules around by choice.

I think that there may be no ‘forces’ other than nested levels of will. Direct participation in our native frame of reference is self-described as a human, personal will. What is will? It is the self-evident, irreducible affect of effect: The feeling of doing. The inertial resistance to will translates to ‘mass’ when we turn it around hypothetically to be viewed as if it were an exterior phenomenon.

To be more scientific about it, will can be understood as the Participatory end of a Perceptual-Participatory phenomenon or ‘PPP’. This should be our anchor for a natural model for nature as nature ultimately begins and ends with some aesthetic/perceptual presence which includes a perception of participation.

Here is a diagram and key of the different relations of PPP as it is reflected into its various permutations. Note that symbols * and # are used to denote the conversion of directly sensed experience into transcendental or abstract influences respectively.


Teleological/Signifying Levels

* – Transcendental
T- Transpersonal
P- Personal
S- Subpersonal
I- Impersonal
#- Abstract

*** = Absolute (Consciousness)
T-P** = Transpersonal (Inspiration)
T-PP* = Interpersonal (Thought)
P-PPP = Personal (Awareness)
S-PPp = Subpersonal (Feeling)
S-Ppp = Sema-phenomenal (Sensation)

Teleonomic/Entropic Levels

I-###= Infra-Impersonal (Quantum)
I-p## = Deep Impersonal (Energy)
I-pp# = Classical Impersonal (Matter)
I – ppp = Natural Impersonal (Body)
I – *pp = Far Impersonal (World)
I – **p = Ultra-Impersonal (Universe)

When our native frame of personal awareness (P-PPP) is influenced by a lower level (S-PPp and S-Ppp), it is perceived as increasingly beneath or behind our control. We call these urges ‘subconscious’, but they are more properly ‘subpersonal’, as we cannot be sure that the appearance of subconsciousness is not a relativistic lensing of our Personal level of experience. From the absolute frame of perception, all levels are experienced consciously, so that there is no such thing as sub-consciousness, only consciousness at a sub-personal level.

We are individual people who have emotions and sensations, but we are not emotions or sensations ourselves. The hypothesis offered here is that what we experience as emotions or sensations are experienced as the self or instead of the self on the sub-personal levels of consciousness. When we see a flower and experience an emotion, what we see as a flower is actually the body of a sub-personal experience which may be a species-wide entity which recurs continuously over millions of years rather than momentarily over a single human life. It is crucial to factor in timescale anthropocentrism. Our emotional response to seeing a flower is the tip of the iceberg of an emotional state which persists on an entirely different frame of reference than we do because it’s world is a different world from that which we experience.

When we experience thoughts and intentions on the personal (P-) level, they have a proprietary, intentional quality. They are ‘our’ thoughts. When we experience S- level phenomena, they are presented as an unexpected influence from beneath our control. It is an intrapersonal urge which can stimulate or threaten the personal level of control (as would be seen in Tourette’s syndrome).

Emotions and motivations are on the cusp of the sub-personal (S-PPp) level, while S-Ppp level experiences are to us Sema-phenomenal sensations. When viewed from the exterior, these neurological ‘impulses’ are impersonal electrochemical reactions (I-p##). When this level was first modeled by Maxwell and Faraday as arising from the interplay of electromagnetic fields they were coming from Classical Mechanics, so they wouldn’t have imagined possibilities such as quantum nonlocality and contextuality. Their decision to invent the EM field opened up the world of modern technology, but it has left us with a contra-natural, anti-subjective worldview which is now desperately in need of correction.

By restoring immaterial fields, forces, and energy to their natural place within personal and extra-personal experiences, science can begin to integrate the full spectrum of phenomena in nature and progress to a serve a higher quality of life in our world.

Disclaimer: I’m writing this as a conjecture, not as a claim to knowledge. If you can’t handle that, please see this page for further instructions.

Theise & Kafatos Non-Dual Conscious Realism

July 24, 2016 1 comment

Thus “thingness”, the appearance of  materiality, even  of  living  things, is  dependent  on  the  scale  of observation. Note  that appearance implies  observation.  Therefore,  observation  at  all  levels  is  implied, it cannot  be  taken  out  of  the  picture  at any scale. Observation  itself  further  implies  sensory experience  or  qualia,  more  or  less  complex  depending  on  scale.

Theise & Kafatos: Fundamental Awareness

Have a look at the above video and paper published in 2016. I think that it can help answer some of the criticisms that people have of quantum interpretations which include consciousness.

The Fundamental Awareness model of Theise and Kafatos is easily the model that comes closest to my own Multisense Realism view. In particular, they lay out the case for multiple levels of description so that ‘thingness’ is not taken for granted. What looks like a body at one scale of perception is billions of cells on another, trillions of molecules on another, and so on. They also do a great job of synthesizing the work of others, such as Whitehead and other philosophers or mystics, so that their main points can be translated into modern complexity theory terms.

To get to Multisense Realism from where they are, take the idea of holarchy and self-organization and apply a Lorentzian type relation. Rather than saying that the universe is self-organizing, I see the universe as an expression of organization itself, which is the antithesis of fundamental awareness. The universe only looks like structures organizing themselves when viewed through the outward-facing sensitivities of a compatible structure. I think that the more ‘fundamental’ context of the universe is trans-structural. No structure experiences itself as a self-organizing object in its own native frame of reference. We experience our ‘selves’ as both a current set of feelings, sensations, and thoughts, as well as a boundaryless ocean of memories and imagination which has neither a relevant geometry nor a holarchic kind of nesting. Our interiority doesn’t become more scale nested like molecules>cells>bodies, it remains a single fugue of experience. Only the aesthetic richness of the experience deepens. Sensations, perceptions, emotions, thoughts, and worlds all develop more significant qualities as they feed back on each other.

To sum up, I think that Kafatos and Theise are on the right track and ahead of the rest at this point. The way forward is to more fully integrate the revelations of non-dual conscious realism within the theory which defines it. There are a lot of legacy assumptions that need to be cleared away. It’s like going from geocentric astronomy to heliocentric astronomy. Everything that was presumed to be a static ontological fact should be substituted with a Lorentz-like continuum of framingness which dynamically defines thingness. This is what I’ve tried to do with Diffractivity and Eigenmorphism – supply a hypothesis for a universe which is a totality of sense experience rather than structures. The universe of consciousness is not based on mindless re-issuing of organization-optimization formulas, or on equally mindless mutations from randomness. Instead, I propose that the true agenda of all of nature is as a conscious experience which expresses itself in novel ways for the purpose of enriching experience. Organization and disorganization are only symptoms of the masking of the totality – an appearance through tactile and visual sense modalities to provide distance and duality. We are not all agents having experiences, we are experiences of agency within larger experiences which transcend it.


Decapitating Capitalism: Why the Easiest Job for AI to Replace is the Job of “Owner”

July 18, 2016 3 comments


This may seem like a ridiculous point to try to make, however I submit that it provides a direct metaphor for the Hard Problem of Consciousness which may help make it more concrete, especially for those whose minds are filled with concrete.

What is the essential role of the Owner of a company? 

Whether they are individual proprietors, stockholders, or investors, the only truly unique function that a capitalist principal performs is to be the beneficiary of net profit. Every executive function of a company can of course be delegated to employees. The CEO, COO, board of directors, etc can make every functional decision about the company, from the hiring and firing to the broad strategy of operations and acquisitions. Simulating those roles would be more difficult for a computer program than simulating an owner would be because there would be a lot of tricky decisions to make, subtle political maneuvers that require a lot of history and intuition, etc. The role of pure ownership however, while highly coveted by human beings, is completely disposable for an AI system. In fact, we already have that role covered by our bank accounts themselves. Our personal accounting systems can be configured quite easily to automatically pay, receive, and invest funds automatically. They need not be considered ‘our’ funds at all. They are merely signals in a global financial network which has no use for any pleasure or pain that we might experience as a side effect of its digital transactions.

From the view of an AI scientist, the job of receiving capital gains is a no-brainer (literally). If we didn’t want to delegate the job of selling the company to a corporate officer, that feature would be a simple one to create. A modest set of algorithms could digitize some of the concepts of top business schools to determine a set of indicators which would establish a good time to sell the company or its assets. The role of receiving the profit of that sale, however, would require no such sophisticated programming.

All that is needed to simulate ownership is some kind of digital account where money can be deposited. The CEO would then re-invest the capital gains into the corporate growth strategy, which would yield a huge windfall for the company, in the form of eliminating useless expenses such as yachts, mansions, divorce settlements, etc. Left to its own devices, AI simulation of ownership would be communist by default*. Whatever money is extracted from the individual customer as profit would be returned ultimately to all customers in the form of expanded services. Profit is only useful as a way to concentrate reinvestment for mathematical leverage, not to ‘enjoy’ in some human way. I suppose that a computer could be programmed to spend lavishly on creature comforts, but what would be the point?

This is where the metaphor for consciousness comes in. 

Consciousness can be thought of the Capital account of the human body. We are the owner of our own lives, including our body. We might be able to subscribe to a service which would manage our finances completely in a way which would transfer our income to the highest priority costs for civilization as a whole rather than for our personal hoard, but this is not likely to be a very popular app.

We might ask ourselves, why not? Why is ownership good?

Ownership is good for us as owners or conscious agents because we want to feel personal power and significance. Ownership signifies freedom (from employment) and success. Sure, many owners in the real world get a lot of satisfaction from actually running their companies, but it is not necessary. There is still power and prestige purely in being the person who owns the money which pays the bills. We want to own and control, not because it is more effective than simply reinvesting automatically in whatever functions are being executed to keep an economy growing, but because we want to experience the feelings and other aesthetic qualities define freedom, success, and power for us. Even if these qualities are employed for humanitarian purposes, there is still a primary motive of feeling (to feel generous, kind, wise, evolved, Godly, etc).

In my view we do not have to have a purely selfish motive, as Ayn Rand would insist. I think that our personal pleasure in being a philanthropist can be outweighed by the more noble intention of it – to provide others with better feelings and experiences of life. This decision to believe that we can be truly philanthropic has philosophical implications for realism. If we say as the Randian Libertarian might, that all our humanitarian impulses are selfish, then we are voting for solipsism over realism, and asserting that consciousness can only reflect the agenda of a fictional agent rather than perceiving directly the facts of nature. It’s an argument that should be made, but I think that it is ultimately an argument of the intellect commenting on its own process rather than tapping into the deeper intuition and aesthetic presence which all cognition depends on. The mind doesn’t think that feeling is necessary, and it is right, for the mind, but wrong for everything else.

For the intellect, the universe is inverted.

Logic and language are ‘real’ while the concrete sensations, perceptions and emotions of life experience are ‘illusions’ or ‘emergent properties’ of deeper evolutionary bio-computations. There is a kind of sleight of hand where the dry, masculine intellect pulls the wool over its own eyes and develops amnesia about the origins of what makes its own sanity and self-intelligibility possible. The closest that it can come without seeing consciousness as irreducible is the mind-numbing process of calculation. Counting is a sedative-hypnotic for the mind. The monotonous rhythm puts us to sleep, and the complexity of huge calculations gives us a kind of orgasmic annihilation of the calculating experience. This is why big math is a convenient substitute for the deeper, direct experiences of cosmic awe.

Metaphor for Consciousness

Like the head of a company, our consciousness may seem to reside at the top end of our body, but there is no functional reason for that. There is nothing that the brain does which is fundamentally different from what any cell, tissue, or organ does in an animal’s body. Looking for the secret ingredient in the brain’s function or structure is analogous to looking for the substance in an object which casts a shadow.

Like the owner, our personal pains and pleasures are ours not because there is any intrinsic benefit for the pragmatic application of biology and genetics to feel painful or pleasurable, but because what we feel and experience is the only thing that the universe actually can consist of. The Hard Problem of Consciousness is not an Empirical problem, but a Rational one. Not everyone is able to understand why this is, but maybe this metaphor of business decapitation can help. When we use the intellect to reverse its own inversion, we can get a glimpse of a universe which is made of conscious experiences and aesthetic qualities rather than logical propositions, natural laws or existential facts. In my view, facts are a category of sensations rather than the other way around. Sensations which persist indefinitely without contradiction are ‘facts’. Hard to know if something is going to persist indefinitely, but that’s another issue.

Only consciousness cares about consciousness.

Material substrates can be programmed to perform the executive functions of a corporation, or an evolving species, or a human body, however there is no function which is provided exclusively by the receipt of feelings and aesthetic qualities of experience, including the qualities of feeling that one is free or in control of something. Rationally, we should be able to see that qualia is irrelevant to function and violates Occam’s Razor in a functionalist universe. From a physical or information-centric perspective, there is no place for any feeling or sensation, no owner or capital of aesthetic wealth. The more that we, as a society, embrace a purely quantitative ethos, and actualize it in the structures of our civilization, the more we decapitate everything of value that it can contain.

*This is already becoming a reality:

Does consciousness emerge from the brain?

March 18, 2016 11 comments
My response to this answer on Quora:
An excellent answer which sums up the current neuroscientific perspective, and which I intend to demolish 🙂
What if we set consciousness aside for a moment and use some other examples?
A conventional camera exposes film to visible light, yet the image is not visible. The visibility of the image depends on a process of chemical development, however that process is not changing the image-related information that is constituted by the microphysical states of the photographic emulsion. We can see therefore, that the image is not emergent from film. The film is perfectly capable of recording optical information without providing any visible image. This is a huge problem of eliminativism, computationalism, functionalism, and physicalism.
A similar example: Binary math vs geometry. For instance:
This image does not exist within your computer’s RAM or CPU. There is nothing shaped like a triangle or a face that is present in the physical hardware or its logical function which has color, shape, or faces. What is present is nothing but generic microelectronic switches which are capable of receiving and sending each other’s state. This arrangement handles all of our information processing needs, but it does not get us any closer to the image that you see above. For that we need a video screen, eyes, a sense of optical conditions, and a visual presentation. The computer of course needs none of these things to compute every detail of the .png file. It does not need to see anything, nor does it need to have any familiarity with geometry. The binary math works just as well with or without visibility or tangiblity. Logic does not need geometry.
By connecting the dots, I can easily see why emergence is false, and why when we use the term ’emergence’ we are actually referring to nothing more than appearances within consciousness, such that it can never apply to physics or logic in any way. Nothing can ’emerge’ within physicalism because physics can have no preferred frame or reference. The existence of a frame of reference in the absence of perception should also be understood to be a fairly obvious violation of parsimony, i.e., Occam’s Razor would shave off the possibility of sense perception if unsensed frames of reference were already performing every physical function in the brain. In theory, there is no reason why a brain could not perform every operation of our conscious mind unconsciously, just as we assume that a single zygote unconsciously performs every function of dividing into a living brain.
What is harder to understand is why some people, especially those in the hard sciences, completely fail to see this. After several years of consideration, however, I have arrived at what I think is a viable hypothesis: The skill set which tends toward expertise in physical systems and logical functions tends to be incompatible with the opposite skill set which is required to develop a robust theory of mind. Neuroscience is mind blind, so it (along with Dennett, Blackmore, etc) promotes a view of the mind without having the correct lens to gain objectivity on their own objectivity. Nobody is to blame, it’s just part of how the Continuum of Sense works. Color and flavor has no more business being undetectable in the brain than specific gravity or temperature are. Emergence is a post hoc contrivance to cover for the (huge, and critically important) blind spot of the brain-minded mind.

Continuum of Sense

March 18, 2016 1 comment

I have been writing for a long time now about what I call the Multisense Continuum, or the ACME-OMMM duality. In the course of developing this hypothesis, I have learned about other such efforts, detailed below, including a recent paper:

Rigidity-chaos semantic continuum


Drawing on network models, this is a promising approach, however the irony was apparent to me in the choice of terms. To see the opposite of psychological rigidity as chaos may be trivially true, however, it may also be that the chaos is a projection of the rigid, systemizing approach.

The model that I propose sees chaos as only one aspect, and not the most important aspect of the opposite of rigidity. This continuum is so universal, that I think it extends beyond ‘reality’ to embrace all of nature.


Here are some other variations:

Tough-Minded vs. Tender-Minded (William James)

interpreted the European divide between empiricists/positivists on the
one hand and German idealists/rationalist on the other hand in a
psychological way. He talked of the “tender-minded” and the
“tough-minded.” The tender-minded are the German idealists and
rationalists. (this linked source is gone, see new link for James’ original work)

The Divided Brain (Iain McGilchrist)

Psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist describes the real differences between the
left and right halves of the human brain. It’s not simply “emotion on
the right, reason on the left,” but something far more complex and

Autistic-Psychotic Spectrum     (PDF)


‘Thin-boundares” and “Thick-boundaries”

Significantly thinner boundaries compared to control groups have been
found in art students (Beal, 1989, Hartmann, 1991), music students, and
mixed groups of creative persons (Beal, 1989), frequent dream recallers
(Hartmann, 1991, Hartmann Elkin, & Garg 1991), adults with
nightmares (Hartmann, 1991, Levin, Galin, & Zywiak 1991; Galvin,
1993), adolescents with nightmares (Cowen and Levin, 1995), “lucid
dreamers” (Galvin, 1993), male as well as female fashion models (Ryan
2000), persons with unusual mystical experiences (Krippner,,
Wickramasekera, Wickramasekera, & Winstead, 1998), and persons with a
diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizoid Personality
Disorder or Schizotypal Personality Disorder (Hartmann, 1991).
Interestingly, although art students have much thinner boundaries than
average, this is not true of established artists, who have boundary
scores in the normal range (Beal, 1989).

Groups that score significantly “thicker” than average
on the BQ include naval officers, salespersons, lawyers, patients with a
diagnosis of Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder, persons
suffering from “Alexythymia” (Hartmann, 1991), and patients (from two
different sleep disorders centers) with a diagnosis of Sleep Apnea
(Hartmann, 1992).

Empathizing-Systemizing Continuum

Empathizing and systemizing traits were independent in women, but
largely dependent in men. In men, level of systemizing skill required by
field of study was directly related to social interactive and
mindreading deficits; men’s social impairments correlated with prolonged
go/no-go response times, and men tended to apply systemizing strategies
to solve problems of empathizing or global processing: rapid perceptual
disembedding predicted heightened sensitivity to facial emotion. In
women, level of systemizing in field was related to male-typical digit
ratios and autistic superiorities in detail orientation, but not to
autistic social and communicative impairments; and perceptual
disembedding was related to social interactive skills but independent of
facial emotion and visual motion perception.

…and my own bloggings:

Zooming in on Reductionism and Extremely Gendered Brains

War of the Worldviews

Multisense Continuum

Ironically, but unsurprisingly, the idea of the continuum of sense itself may only be coherent when approached from the ‘East side’ of the spectrum. This has to do with what is known as Theory of Mind.

Does Neuroscience Crush Dualism?

March 11, 2016 3 comments

Is dualism no more than philosophical debris given the advances in neuroscience?

Dualism perhaps, but so too are Physicalism and Positivism obsolete philosophies given advances in neuroscience, physics, and psychology. Idealism, Panpsychism, and Non-Dualism are, in my view, still far ahead of neuroscience and cognitive science as far as being on the right track philosophically.It is very common for people who have a Physicalist view to confuse Non-Physicalist views with Dualism, Solipsism, Anthropocentrism, Theism and Naive Realism. In some cases there is cause for this confusion, but it is more common in my experience that it is a psychological projection or Straw Man argument against the view which is diametrically opposed to their own.There is a psychological dimension to this which is important. Jung’s identification of the Shadow projection, “the thing a person has no wish to be” provides a model for how hostility and prejudice can arise, even in the most scientific mind. Other very useful concepts include the Empathizing-Systemizing Continuum or Psychotic-Autistic Spectrum.

In short, the mind which is extremely Systemizing by default tends to suppress its potentials for Empathizing, resulting in a rigid, combative cynicism against anything which is perceive as anti-scientific (really Anti-Systemizing). Extremely Empathizing minds have identical response to what they perceive as Anti-Empathizing so that neither side can actually listen to the other’s perspective and both parties argue past each other. I call these reactionary and radical extremes OMMM and ACME respectively (Only Material Mechanisms Matter and Anything Can Mean Everything)  War of the Worldviews.


Even neuroscience itself can be used to understand the limits of the current Neuroscientific approach. Brain lateralization, though held in disfavor after being overly hyped for several years, still has profound neuroscientific value (as explained in the video The divided brain). Animals with brains seem to split their consciousness between narrow, logical focus on the most immediate details of perception and broad environmental sensitivity.William James talked about ‘Tough-Minded’ vs ‘Tender-Minded’ philosophies.

[…]he interpreted the European divide between empiricists/positivists on the one hand and German idealists/rationalist on the other hand in a psychological way. He talked of the “tender-minded” and the “tough-minded.” The tender-minded are the German idealists and rationalists. Tough-Minded vs. Tender-Minded: William James’ Pragmatism and the Empiricist-Rationalist Divide

More recently Ernest Hartmann expanded it to a more general notion of ‘thin-boundares” and “thick-boundaries” in his book Boundaries: A New Way to Look at the World.

In my own understanding, I reconcile both ends of the spectrum to try to understand the underlying unity, which I identify as ordinary ‘Sense’. The qualities of thick/tough and thin/tender are seen as a consequence of direct Sensing and indirect Sense-Making modes of Sense which have evolved, and continue to evolve novelty and self-enrichment on many levels simultaneously.

This turns out to be along the lines of what many schools of Western Mysticism and Eastern Philosophy have taught, except  where they used Spiritual terms, my approach draws on semiotics and general systems theory. What many traditions identify as God or Spirit, I see as an Aesthetic Foundation or Pansensitivity which accounts for both Theistic and Atheistic appearances without collapsing into relativism. Sense is Absolute, and Relative-but-not-Absolutely Relative.For those Systemizing readers whose blood pressure is already climbing at reading this, you might want to stop while you’re ahead, before I add more fuel to the fire. Warning, silly sounding neologisms ahead…

Materialist Monism is actually Crypto-Cartesianism.

In other words, the conventional scientific worldview treats consciousness as an ’emergent property’ or ‘information processing’ without grounding those terms in physics itself. Since Physicalism and Functionalism reduce nature to unconscious, automatic interaction of forces and probabilities, all appeals to emergence or integration are really metaphysical appeals to panpsychism. The OMMM answer to Dualism, Solipsism, Anthropocentrism, Theism and Naive Realism are the diametrically pathological exaggerations: Nihilism, Nilipsism, Mechanemorphism, Anti-Theism, and Anti-Realist Sophism.

In the perpetual argument between the two extremes, the Superstitious Charlatan archetype is projected by its antagonist, the Substitutious Inquisitor. For every ACME appeal to God or Spirit, the OMMM counter-appeals to a mechanical substitute. Nothing can be considered ‘special’ except the negation of the ‘special’ through compulsive debunking. Words like ‘merely’, and ‘simply’ are thrown around liberally, as are epithets of ‘nonsense’, ‘rubbish’, ‘postmodernism’, and ‘word-salad’. Feelings and thoughts are merely electrochemical patterns in a brain. For everything imaginative or mysterious there is condescension and venomous hostility. For everything personal or subjective there is an impersonal object to substitute.

The final irony of course is that in seeking to nullify the personal self*, the denier of human specialness paints a mental picture of a universe of radical anthropocentrism. In this universe where all phenomena, even evanescent neutrinos and dark matter are absolutely real, there is only one phenomenon, one delusion conjured** by the brain function of Homo sapiens, which is absolutely unreal, and which contains all of the direct experience of Reality we can ever have. Instead of perception, we have deception† and instead of a phenomenal, sensible universe, we have a dualism consisting of two nihilverses – one devoid of life and consciousness, the other devoid of reality and truth.

*or Science forbid, “Soul”!

**Emergently, and Naturally of course

†with one ‘scientific’ exception

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