In/out : Electromotive-sensory force ::
Around and around : Gravitoentropic-Magnetic a-motive field
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).
When answering the above question, please provide definitions for reality and consciousness because I’m not even sure I fully understand what they are. Thank you.
These are my understandings and should not be taken to constitute knowledge which is considered consensus science or philosophy. These are conjectures offered to inspire a deeper understanding into the nature of consciousness and reality.
Reality = Conscious experience in which relative qualities of realism are present. These qualities typically include persistence in memory, coherence, non-contradiction in causality, and shared pervasiveness, however we know that in a dream, even the most surreal conditions can be taken for reality. From this we can conclude that while on one level we believe that reality is based on qualities of realism, consciousness can be spoofed into assigning realistic qualities to any experience.
Logically we might think that the experience of waking up is what creates the difference between reality and dreaming, and that our waking life is simply a dream which we have not yet awakened from. There is another possibility, which is that our personal consciousness is part of a larger hierarchy or holarchy of conscious experiences, such that our sense of waking as being conscious of that which is finally and authentically real may be a sense which is as real as anything can ever be.
Consciousness = All that is not present in complete unconsciousness. We can use a lot of different terms to specify limits on this or that aspect of conscious experience. We can talk about awareness, perception, feeling, sensing, etc, or attention and being awake, being alive. In my view the point is not to make the subject more complicated but to distill it to its essence. We know what unconsciousness is. We know what general anesthesia is.
We can look at a term like ‘local anesthetic’ and see an intuitive connection between numbing of sensation and the annihilation of consciousness in general anesthesia. Between and opposing these poles, we can triangulate a term like ‘aesthesia’ or ‘aesthetic phenomena’ to refer to all that exists which is contingent upon the presence of direct presence of sensory perception and participation. Sense can be understood as the content of all experience, including thoughts and ideas, but not limited in any way to human beings, biology, or physical substances.
The point of a term like ‘aesthetic’ is to make a distinction between experiential phenomena which are indisputably concrete and anesthetic phenomena such as physical forms and logical functions (physics or information processing), which are, as far as we can ever know, hypothetical and abstract. We cannot know physics except by an indirect experience through our body and we cannot know information except by an indirect experience through our intellectual contemplation. Both of these are dependent upon conscious powers of perceptual participation and comparison.
To answer the OP question then, we must first completely sever any connection between consciousness, reality and the particular context of human beings so that consciousness as sense-perception/motive participation can be fairly considered alongside the other possibilities of physical mass-energy/space-time/force-field and information-theoretic form-functions/data-processes. If we fail to detach consciousness or qualia from the human experience then we are not comparing apples to apples. It would be like mistaking all forms of matter for parts of our physical body.
Next, we should see that there is no reality which cannot be dreamed. Lucid dreamers report that their dreams can be examined in excruciating detail and can contain experiences which are indistinguishable from waking reality. We should also leave the possibility open that even though our final reality could be a dream, it still could be different from any other dream. This difference could be an authentic sense that waking life is not any dream, but the only dream which is shared by all conscious experiences. It is the dream which counts more than all others because of its shared access, and because of the significance which is accumulated in a universe of experience which is felt so intensely for so many, for so long a time. I consider significance to be a concrete metaphysical feature – an aesthetic saturation which underlies both the privately impressive power of symbolic and archetypal phenomena and the publicly expressed power of energy, mass, matter and gravity.
Significance manifests tangibly as an arrest of motive effects, a slowing or marking of time and intensification of attention. The physical universe is a view of significance – the persistence of all experience as viewed from an anthropocentric scope of sensitivity/insensitivity. It is collection of many layers of limits of our human awareness which we see as the gaps between ourselves and our mind, brain, body, and universe of bodies. If our awareness were to expand to a transpersonal scope, we would appreciate directly that consciousness is not only a human phenomenon, but the only possible phenomenon which can make any and all other phenomena possible.
Without physics or information, we can still conceive of a universe of raw feelings, colors, sounds, etc. There could still be a dream in which things like matter or narrative activities could be present. Without consciousness/qualia, we can fool ourselves into thinking that a universe of Reality could ‘exist’ but when examined more carefully, our notion of ‘existence’ unravels into a purely abstract, faith-based concept which seems likely to me to be derived from our subjective sense of separation within consciousness rather than an objective sense of objectivity.
When we ask why something which we imagine has no experience, like a stone, it becomes a problem to rationally expect that any sort of experience should develop at all. A universe which is a physical machine cannot include immaterial feelings and thoughts without support from physics. A universe which is immaterial ‘simulation data’ also cannot include real aesthetic qualities other than the literal qualities which constitute each separate switch or branch in the data-processing substrate (be it material or otherwise). If we include conscious experiences as ‘emergent properties’ of either physics or information, we have become guilty of chasing our tail. Since the purpose of reducing our model of nature to a single phenomenon is to rationally explain every phenomenon with that single phenomenon, resorting to emergence amounts to inventing an unacknowledged second substance which has no rational connection to the first.
The solution to this in my view is to begin with the single phenomenon of sense (pan-aesthesia or pansensitivity) as the Absolute. From there, we get principles such as symmetry and reason with which to identify relations between physics and information as a Hegelian dialectic which reflects, rather than produces the original thesis of sense. Sense is the thesis, physics and information are the dual-aspect or double antithesis (antithesis of each other and of sense), significance is the synthesis, and entropy or insensitivity is the antithesis of the synthesis (the shadow of the thesis within the thesis). Because this quadruplicity is absolute, if we call it panpsychism we must be careful not to confuse it with what I call promiscuous panpsychism in which every thing, such as stones or signs have consciousness. Under pansensitivity, every “thing” is an appearance of consciousness within itself. We are not a body which has become conscious, we are a conscious experience which has foregrounded itself by back-grounding other conscious experiences as bodies.
In my view, a stone is what we see through the sense perspective of a human body in an anthropocentric timescale. In its native geological-astrophysical timescale, the events associated with the formation of minerals and planets are as dynamic and creative as biology or psychology. We see a stone because our sense of the experience which stretches back billions of years is frozen, relative to the scale of our own human experience. To us, it is a stone. Without us, there is no stone, only an aesthetic dream which speeds along at sampling rates too extreme for us to sense personally. The mineral level of experience is both too fast on the molecular level and too slow on the interstellar level for us to relate to directly.
The relation between a medium-rate human experience and an extreme-rate inorganic experience is presented as a truncated and collapsed aesthetic: as classical physics; density, mass, gravity, persistence of linear duration and causality, etc. Our human experience is nested within a deeper biological-zoological body experience, which is nested within a deeper organic-chemical experience, which is nested within a deeper inorganic-astrophysical experience.
Each of these nested ‘gears’ is concurrent with our own, even down to the Big Bang, which is eternally present as both an event in time and as the diffraction of sense into physical and psychological phenomena from beyond time. In this way, the Absolute is itself in ‘superposition’ of being sense experience which is becoming more significant sense experience by its diffraction as the physics vs information duality. This duality can be seen on the quantum scale as entanglement and contextuality. I think that entanglement is the parent of space and physics, since non-locality is a contrast against locality. For space or distance to exist, there must be a parallel, simultaneous relation which juxtaposes a non-local experience of ‘here’ with multiple experiences of ‘there, and there’. For time or causality to exist, there must be a serial contextuality in which a de-contextualized or immutable time-traveller is defined against the context of its ongoing mutable experience.
The physics-information duality shows up in relativity also as energy is defined in terms of spatiotemporalized mass (E = mc²). Energy, as the capacity to perform work is, in my view, the event horizon of conscious participation as it makes its teleological impact on what has been perceived. Energy is the footprint of subjectivity upon the subjective perception of objectivity, as it expresses the motive power to cause significant effects (or effect increasing significance). Gravity is the shadow of E = mc²…the significance-masking effect which we can conceive of as both physical entropy and information entropy. Gravity is the collapse of former significance in a given frame of reference which results in an increase in mass and aesthetic ‘seriousness’ of what remains.
To sum up: Reality is what consciousness finds serious and significant. It is a relation between the local frame of perception (such as a human lifetime) and the larger frames of reference in which that frame is nested (the history of the human species, zoology, biology, chemistry, physics, and metaphysics). In this relation the relative insignificance of the local frame is presented as a heightened quality of significance of the distal frames. We are thus presented with a way to use our limited consciousness to partially transcend its own limitation, by recognizing its own incompleteness as a material fact. This is ironic as it is the unbounded, absolute power of consciousness to transcend itself which gives rise to the nearly-absolute boundedness of realism into ‘Reality’. In other words, reality seems real because consciousness needs to become partially unreal to itself to create realism. Realism is the local appearance of phenomena beyond local appearance: Non-local consciousness (pansensitivity) as localized, decontextualed, de-sensitized, mechanics.
Reality is the way that consciousness creates the possibility of greater and greater enchantment through the appearance of disenchantment.
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.
* – Transcendental
*** = Absolute (Consciousness)
T-P** = Transpersonal (Inspiration)
T-PP* = Interpersonal (Thought)
P-PPP = Personal (Awareness)
S-PPp = Subpersonal (Feeling)
S-Ppp = Sema-phenomenal (Sensation)
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.
A compact guide to Multisense Realism.
On the top, we have the fundamental elements:
Ference: aka the Absolute, Fundamental awareness, Pansensitivity
The totality of all experience. Universal qualia. Simultaneous, eternal, and meta-ontological.
Afference: The division of ference into locally/sequentially felt qualities or affects. Sensations, feelings, perceptions, experiences, intuitions, local qualia, all fall into this category.
- Efference: The affect of motivation which causes effects to afferent frames of reference. Efference is reflected within externalized reference frames as mass-energy/space-time.
- Reference: Upon receipt of an effect by a frame of afference, attention is focused and informed by a reverberation of afferent associations that partially re-connect the local frame to the absolute.
Through many iterations of Afference – Efference – Afference – Reference, there is an accumulation of Significance. This is reflected in the bottom half of the image as the hierarchically stacked levels of phenomenal and physical contexts of experience.
Significance is the saturation of afference, such that significant affects are super-aesthetic and more directly revealing or reflecting aspects of the Absolute. Significance is afference returning to ference with interest.
The right hand side shows a hierarchy of typical human levels of significance. With the saturation of local qualia into subjectivity, there is an increasing complementary de-saturation as objectivity. This is shown on the left hand side. Note that the sense of causality proposed in MSR is multivalent. Unlike the top-down theistic models or bottom-up deterministic models, causality reverberates across reference frames horizontally as well as vertically.
Human consciousness is not caused by the human brain, rather human consciousness is a spectrum of active re-experience on biochemical, zoological, anthropological, and psychological levels. The brain is not caused by neurons or molecular structures, nor is it caused by the division of the single zygote into a body of organs. All physical structures are caused simultaneously by unseen consequences of re-experiences on multiple levels of description and scale. The key is timescale relativity. Every frame of reference is defined by its own scale of time relative to other frames.
What we see as molecular activity is taking place on a much faster and much slower scale than our own personal experience is. Cosmological events take place on the same scale of very fast and very slow relative to our scale. Human experience emerges* from the middle – cleaving the spectrum of scale into a larger-smaller polarities, again and again in a branching fractal pattern. Each branching creates new opportunities for significance, but also creates entropy which objectifies and distances other frames of afference.
Glossary of other Neologisms:
- Metaphoric = Transpersonal psychology, myth, intuition, timeless wisdom.
- Apophoric = “Away from” phoric. Thinking and analysis leverage a small amount of personal effort into communicable forms. The transpersonal and personal layers of experience are synthesized here as impersonal concepts and ideas.
- Phoric = The personal world of the self, ego, and autobiographical narrative,
- Emphoric = Personal feelings and emotions, instincts.
- Semaphoric = Sub-personal qualities of experience – sensations.
These levels constitute the hierarchy/spectrum of human subjectivity. In reality this is more of a dynamic fugue, with events on different levels taking on more or less significance than this static scale would suggest.
*actually human experience (thinking, feeling, perceiving, sensing) diverges or diffracts from the previous eras of simpler experience (anthro-, zoo-, bio-, organic, chemo-, fundamental)
There is a very common misconception that I have been running into a lot lately. It is the idea that “everything is energy”, or that “matter is energy”. I used to think that this was true also, so I understand why a vague understanding of physics concepts such as E=mc² make it seem like matter and energy are the same thing.
Here are some points that will hopefully clarify what energy is and what it is not:
- The m in E=mc² refers to mass rather than matter. Mass is a property of things, not a substance*. Nothing is made of just mass. Matter is an object – a particle or structure composed of particles which have positions and momentum. A carbon atom is matter, and it has a particular mass, but the amount of energy a carbon atom has depends on its movement and what frame of reference is used to observe that movement.
- Nuclear energy is not generated mostly from matter turning into energy, but from the release of nuclear binding energy. When small atoms like Hydrogen fuse to form Helium, or when heavy atoms like Uranium split, there is a chain reaction caused by protons, neutrons, and electrons colliding with each other and changing their configurations.
“Increasing values of binding energy can be thought as the energy released when a collection of nuclei is rearranged into another collection for which the sum of nuclear binding energies is higher.”
- Energy is measured in units like joules, calories, BTUs, and kilowatt hours, which refer to the capacity to do work. Work is “Movement that occurs against a restraining force”.
When we talk about light, heat, and electricity being “forms of energy” we are really saying that they are different material effects which involve work. A photon, for example, has more energy the higher its frequency is, but since a photon has no mass, that energy just means that there is more movement per second in whatever instrument is used to measure the photon. It takes more work to turn a flame blue than it does to turn it orange. The work itself, the kinetic energy, is not blue and it is not light.
- “Energy is…
- a scalar quantity,
- abstract and cannot always be perceived,
- given meaning through calculation,
- a central concept in science. “- source
- Energy is not matter, or light or vibration or quantum. A vibration is a behavior of a thing which is moving back and forth, like a guitar string. We can have tactile sensations of vibration also, but it is our sensation itself which vibrates, not literally an “energy” in the physical sense. Whatever is causing the sensation may be working and thus ‘using energy’ to vibrate but it’s a bit like saying that a ruler is using inches to cause length.
- “Matter and Energy really aren’t in the same class and shouldn’t be paired in one’s mind.
- Matter, in fact, is an ambiguous term; there are several different definitions used in both scientific literature and in public discourse. Each definition selects a certain subset of the particles of nature, for different reasons. Consumer beware! Matter is always some kind of stuff, but which stuff depends on context.
- Energy is not ambiguous (not within physics, anyway). But energy is not itself stuff; it is something that all stuff has.
- The term Dark Energy confuses the issue, since it isn’t (just) energy after all. It also really isn’t stuff; certain kinds of stuff can be responsible for its presence, though we don’t know the details.
- Photons should not be called `energy’, or `pure energy’, or anything similar. All particles are ripples in fields and have energy; photons are not special in this regard. Photons are stuff; energy is not. – source
It may seem picky to make these distinctions or to apply them to the many informal ways that the term “energy” is used, but I think that if we are going to try to understand really what the universe is and who or what we are, it is important to have a clear idea of what we are actually talking about.
Once we understand that energy is a quantitative abstraction whose effects can be described entirely by geometry, then we can see how saying that ‘everything is energy’ gets us no closer to qualities of conscious experience like colors, flavors, feelings, and ideas. Energy is about overcoming resistance to movement. When we talk about energy-laden qualities of sense experience like warmth, light, tingling, empathy, etc, we are talking about our own consciousness being excited or expanded, not about a disembodied ‘field of energy’.
When we start to ask what a ‘field’ is, that too reveals an idea which is defined mechanically within physics, but is questionable when it comes to ascribing it concrete existence. A field is a continuity of measurements across space, not necessarily a thing which occupies space that is being measured. In the end, it all comes down to some kind of capacity for sensory experience which is participatory. In my understanding, energy can only describe a particular common sense of how participation converts private motive affects (motivation) into public motor effects (work). I think that the rest of the universe is aesthetic phenomena, aka qualia, with physical forms being qualia which have been quantized for public interaction.
The distinction between “The letter of the law” and “The spirit of the law” is a good way to understand the relation of consciousness to matter or to computation. Specifically, when we talk about the spirit of the law, we are speaking metaphorically. We don’t actually mean that there is a spiritual force radiating from paragraphs of text in legal documents which have a conscious intent. When we talk about the letter of the law, we are being much more literal (literally literal). The letter of the law refers to the actual written code that is recorded on paper, or stone tablets somewhere and copied from one physical medium to another.
To be literal about it, we would say the Spirit (or motive) behind the creation of the law. The law itself is inert. It is purely a medium to contain and transport a reference to the lawgiver’s motive, so that the motive can be actualized in the behaviors of those who follow the law. Laws don’t write themselves, and they don’t follow themselves. Their existence depends entirely on a world of agents and their efforts to influence each other.
The same is true of the relation between conscious experience, which is irreducibly sensory-motive, and external forms and functions which act as reflective mediums or vehicles for conscious experience. Like the letters of the law, physical forms or logical functions have no teleological motive. Those who mistake forms for having the potential to develop consciousness do so as a result of identifying too literally with their body and the experiences that they have through their body of its world of bodies and objects.
When we think too literally, we overlook the enormous gulf between the literal code of law (including the laws of physics or laws of mathematics) and the motive behind the giving and following of law. We begin to imagine that bodies or computer programs can become so complex that some spirit with sense and motive can ‘emerge’ from them. When someone argues that we will eventually discover the function of the brain which produces consciousness, or develop a program which will simulate consciousness, they are making an assumption about the relation between consciousness and the forms which it reflects back to itself. Translating this assumption into the context of law, it is an argument which says that there is no immaterial ‘spirit of the law’, so that therefore there must be a complicated set of legal codes which we mistake for such a ‘spirit’. For many this assumption is in the blind spot of their intellect so that they are incapable of knowing that they are even making an assumption at all, let alone that it could be an oversight which is ‘emergent’ from their way of thinking about it.
The reason that forms and functions cannot create conscious experience has nothing to do with our current level of technological development, rather the reason is that the thesis that forms and functions can create consciousness is based on a reductive functionalism which breaks down when we carry the thesis out fully. Namely, our motive for reducing consciousness to physics or computation in the first place is based on principles of parsimony and sufficiency. Those same principles prohibit us from inflating physics or computation to consciousness. Consciousness cannot be justified, nor can any emergent properties which only appear within consciousness. If laws could create themselves and follow themselves, then there would be no need for any further experience of participating in either that creation or application. Like a computer program, the law would be generated automatically and a programmed chain reaction would follow. There would be no function for a sense of participation. The Hard Problem of Consciousness, translated into legal terms would ask why, if there is no spirit of the law, must lawyers ‘practice’ law instead of the law simply carrying itself out. Why would anyone argue over how a law should be ‘interpreted’?
The law ultimately is a communication between people as a way to try to maintain order in a civilization. It is not an alien life form whose body survives on ink and microfilm. Without a spirit or motivation to impart a sense of proper conduct onto other people, the law literally cannot exist as a law. In the same way, computer programs cannot exist without a motive of people to give and receive conscious experiences to each other. The letter of a program or of a physical structure cannot refer to anything by itself, and cannot act as a reference since there is no rational place for any such layer of intention. The laws of physics or mathematics don’t argue with each other. They don’t set up courts with juries to try to convince each other that one force should apply here and another should apply there. Why do we?
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Blogs I Follow
- Table 41: A Novel by Joseph Suglia
- Rationalising The Universe
- Consciousness creates reality
- Conscience and Consciousness
- DNA OF GOD
- Musings and Thoughts on the Universe, Personal Development and Current Topics
- Paul's Bench
- This is not Yet-Another-Paradox, This is just How-Things-Really-Are...
- Catharine Toso
- The Traditionalist
- dhamma footsteps
- Gray Matters
- Writings By Ender