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Posts Tagged ‘philosophy of mind’

21st century madman’s picture of God

February 25, 2017 2 comments

b21st-century-madmans-picture-of-god

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

First Consciousness or Reality?

October 1, 2016 2 comments

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.

 

 

Force and Will

September 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Somebody just told me I have free will.

Interesting.

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.

tumblr_inline_odnr9derfa1qe3q3v_500

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.

Compact Guide to Multisense Realism Cosmology

September 11, 2016 Leave a comment

2msrlook ference

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:

  1. Metaphoric = Transpersonal psychology, myth, intuition, timeless wisdom.
  2. 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.
  3. Phoric = The personal world of the self, ego, and autobiographical narrative,
  4. Emphoric = Personal feelings and emotions, instincts.
  5. 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)

The Spirit of the Law

August 9, 2016 2 comments

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?

Putting the Meta in Metaphysics

July 31, 2016 4 comments

The space view of matter

Matter as solid three dimensional objects or obstructions in a void. Classical mechanics. Even liquids or gases are miniature solid objects in motion.

Corpuscularianism is a physical theory that supposes all matter to be composed of minute particles. The theory became important in the seventeenth century; amongst the leading corpuscularians were Rene Descartes, Pierre Gassendi, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, and John Locke.”

Under this view, space is absolute in that it is a context within which objects exist. That context can be assigned x,y,z coordinates and position is conceived as being fixed to those real coordinates. Descartes’ Res Extensa equates the property of extension with ‘corporeal substance’.

The space view of matter is one of the most tangible aspects of naive realism, which also gets very meta, since the space view of matter makes matter seem most tangible. If you can touch it, it’s matter, and by extension (metaphorical extension) into philosophy, what is touchable matters. What is real? The space view of matter says that bodies colliding with bodies in a volume of space is real.

The space view of energy

Scientific views of energy from a spatial perspective describe certain kinds of changes to a field, which is in turn defined as a ‘condition in space’. In quantum mechanics, even a perfect vacuum is considered a space which contains the condition of vacuum energy. This gives rise to a chicken-egg paradox. If there’s no vacuum except one that is filled with ‘energy’, how can we really claim that space exists other than the extension of energy?

The folk conception of ‘energy’ is often as a radiant aura of effects such as increasing light, warmth, or color saturation accompanied by dynamic patterns such as vibration, emanation, and an expansive shift in awareness. This view is considered a pseudoscientific view, since the symptoms of energy that we encounter in the world are not technically ‘energies’ themselves but more like statistics about changes to material substances as approximated by our sensory detection methods.

What energy is in scientific terms is quite abstract really. Physicists don’t generally think in terms of energy as a concrete presence in space, but more of a value that is used in equations about how to cause masses to change position. Energy is an immaterial variable which is conserved within quantitative analyses of how work gets done. In that sense, energy does not ‘exist’ in the physical world that we experience, so much as it is a theoretical influence which governs changes to the physical world (which we may or may not experience).

The space view of energy is perhaps the polar opposite of the space view of matter in that it is anchored in intangibility rather than tangibility. Tesla comes to mind as a someone whose genius included a talent for seeing spatialized energy in a concrete way. His famous quote

‘If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.’

bridges the space view of energy and the time view of energy.

The space view of time

The space view of time is easily understood in terms of animation cels or a film strip. Time is a sequence of changes to some region of space. By running these changes at a fast enough rate, our perception drops the sense of separately framed spaces and is seduced into a temporal illusion of animation in a single region.

The space view of time has a powerful influence on physics and computer science which quantizes time as Planck units or CPU cycles. Linear causality appears as a dimension of seriality which governs any number of changes acting in parallel on any number of other space-like dimensions. The space view of time turns cuts across distances orthogonally as duration.

The time view of space

To think of space as a feature of time, we can use the example of a dream or a story in a book about a place. Spatial relations can be described over time without there being any actual space to reference. A first person shooter video game emulates our subjective perspective of space as a stream of events which pass in front of our view, giving an impression of a world. In fact, every space created in a computer game is created purely as the result of a very rapid series of instructions in time which paints an illusion of space beneath our threshold of perception.

The time view of energy

Like the time view of space, the time view of energy can be conceptualized as a computer program. How does a computer program, which is a sequence of instructions executed in time, produce an energy-like effect? I think the answer is that from this vantage point, space and energy are merely qualities or patterns within time. By modulating the relative speed and location of some group of changing pixels, the game designer can produce the illusion of a moving avatar in the foreground. The real changes to the pixels are uniform refreshes of the video RAM (which I think is why CGI tends to give itself away by the unnatural gliding motions of objects), so that there is nothing which is actually accelerating other than the audiences perception of what is displayed on the screen.

The time view of matter

Sticking with the computer metaphor, the time view of matter is as events which are changing at a relatively slower rate than other events. Matter becomes a geometry of continuous inertia within a temporal flow. Matter is just slow energy from the time perspective.

The matter view of space

By pivoting the point of focus from space to matter, there is no concrete thing which frames objects. Instead, the only space that there is would be the distance between objects. Distance is the absence of material which divides matter into separate instances. This view makes more sense to me and matches our naive intuition. Relativity shows that without some third frame of reference, there is no difference between passing a train and standing still while another train passes you. Since motion is relative, and distance is only a division of matter, the matter view of space can be thought of as ‘not-even-a-void’. Space becomes a non-entity.

The matter view of energy

From this perspective, energy is a change in the quality and behavior of matter. When we say that energy is just how matter does material things, energy too becomes a non-entity. This view also supports our naive realism. When we use microwaves to heat something, for example, we see that the food seems to be cooking itself, sort of dancing to the buzz of an invisible stimulation. While we can plot out wave patterns in the effect of this stimulation by placing material objects near a microwave emitter, the waving would be something that is only happening to the matter itself, not to space or any field condition of it. The only micro-wave that there is would be a waving of syncrhonized acceleration between an emitter’s molecules and the molecules of another object. A radio wave would not be a literal thing moving through space, but rather the time between the transmitter being energized and the receiver imitating that energized state would be a measure of the difference in scale between the scale of mountains and cities vs the scale of human sense organs. We experience a delay between the transmission and the reception, but on the scale of the transmission, it is actually instantaneous.

The matter view of time

If energy is nothing but what matter does, then time is nothing but an emergent factor of the relative rate of those changes. As Einstein said “Time is what a clock measures.” The matter view of time would take this absolutely literally. There would literally be no entity of time, only the act of comparing the positions of a clock in a measured way. Time would be like a theme found mainly within chemical reactions which are irreversible.

The energy view of matter

Switching to the perspective of energy probably requires shifting to a purely mathematical style of thinking. Energy doesn’t really correspond to any natural entity that we can point to. Looking at the mass-energy equivalence, we can imagine that matter would be a structure which has mass, and that there is a trade off between the loss of structure or mass and the gain in energy. It is not widely understood that in a nuclear explosion, very little matter is actually converted to energy. Most of the energy released is from the re-organization of light elements into heavier atoms (fusion), or the fission of heavy atoms into lighter elements. The periodic table is divided into two by what is known as the ‘iron peak’, with elements lighter than iron releasing energy when they fuse together, and elements heavier than iron releasing energy when they break apart.

E=mc² makes energy equivalent to mass and something like spacetime squared. Spacetime squared is a pure quantitative abstraction of physics, but I think it is possible to grasp it in common sense terms as a universal growth constant. What is expansion of spacetime other than the growth of new spaces and times, and/or new scales of space and time within spacetime? I don’t understand a lot of Kelvin Abraham’s Tetryonics, but his description of mass as a two dimensional phenomenon as distinct from matter (3d) rings true to me. Since energy is equivalent to ‘maximally growing mass’ in this thought experiment, the difference between matter and energy from the point of view of energy would be only that matter has condensed its growth into a 3d volume by minimizing the 1d time dimension (slowing down).

The energy view of time

For energy, I think time is frequency and thermodynamic irreversibility. Similar to the matter view of time, except instead of being what a clock measures, a clock would be re-imagined as a source of resistance to some process of energy release, like a spring relaxing. The spring would be a generic source of mass to inhibit the constant release of energy, and that inhibition would define the speed of the ‘clocking’ which we call time. In electrical terms, time would be what energy uses to become ‘powerful’. A kilowatt-hour is a measure of power. It’s like a metaphysical nozzle which steps the boundaryless presence of Energy (E) into the physical dynamics of storage and release as matter. Something like that. This view requires more knowledge of physics than I have

The energy view of space

I’m not sure about this either, but I would guess that energy’s view of space is interchanageable with time. Space is just another dimension of energy’s division into storage and release events. Depending on your frame of reference, energy release can appear space-like (parallel) or time-like (serial). The difference between time and space from the view of energy would seem to be a problem, as far as it requires some extra influence to explain how reference is framed in the first place, and why it should parallelize one side of energy and serialize the other. Could the storage of energy be intrinsically spatial while the release is intrinsically temporal? Is time the release of energy and space the containment of energy? I’ll leave that to someone who knows what they are talking about.

The information view of physics

The Matrix. Simulation hypothesis. Holographic universe. Digital Physics. Strong computationalism. The view of physics as information has captured the imagination of many. The rise of television and video games has certainly given this view more weight than in previous centuries. We can see first hand how electronic functions can be manipulated to encode and decode physical sensory impressions. All that is left is to take the leap of faith between ‘looks like a duck, quacks like a duck’ and ‘duck’ and we have a model of physics which emerges from statistical relations alone.

The physics view of information

Just as the information view of physics causes matter to evaporate into abstract schemas, the same thing happens to information when we pivot to the view of information from physics. All that is necessary to contrive ‘information’ is a willingness to let mass, energy, space, and time interact in accordance with laws derived from empirical fact rather than rational theories. We live in this world just because of a physical history that happened to take place, rather than any kind of universal inevitablity. We could invoke a kind of objective solipsism, where everything that we think is conscious experience or information is nothing but a physical precipitate which seems metaphysical to us by accident of neurology.

The subjective view of objects

Similar to the information view of physics in that physics evaporates into illusion or ‘maya’, but the particular information which constitutes any given experience of physics would be anchored in the subject’s power to perceive and participate. This is the ‘thoughts create reality’ model of the universe which enjoys continued popularity in New Age circles. As with any subjective model, it suffers from unfalsifiability. You can always say that your wishes failed to materialize because you weren’t ready for it, or you lacked faith or humility or some other subjective skill.

The objective view of subjects

An equally naive perspective in my estimation, pivoting to the objective, third person view is just as unfalsifiable and even more intuitively unpalatable. Instead of solipsism and anthropomorphism, we have what I call nilipsism and mechanemorphism. The compulsion to inflate every event as ‘meant to be’ or connected with a divine plan for personal growth, there is an opposite compulsion to deflate every event as accidental or connected with mechanical conditions of bodies and their biological evolution. It’s version of superstition is to attribute anything special or unusual to random mutation, coincidence, and confirmation bias.

The entropy view of significance

Here I am mixing my own use of the term ‘significance’ with the more formal concept of entropy. I see both of these concepts as equally vague in the end as entropy is contingent upon arbitrary/subjective framing of what is being considered a ‘system’.  Using an example here is helpful. Let’s say that the high value of gold is an example of what I mean by ‘significance’. Gold is considered more significant than dirt. The entropy-oriented view sees gold as something like ‘a kind of dirt’, as far as that there is nothing special about atoms with 79 protons which doesn’t reduce to various chemical and electrical properties. The high value of gold by Homo sapiens is seen as a very, very complex development over millions of years which involves arbitrary connections between human perceptual systems and meaningless qualities like shinyness and color combined with economic laws of supply and demand.

The significance view of entropy

From the vantage point of what I call ‘significance’ (*aesthetic saturation and popularity), all experiences and phenomena are perfect, beautiful, meaningful, etc. Entropy is the dilution of that appreciation of perfection – an insensitvity to the specialness and uniqueness of every fragment of being. Dirt, we could say, is another kind of gold. The universe is an ecstatic creation of incomprehensible majesty, and it can only seem less than that by the grace of an equally majestic filtering or diffraction of the absolute. Of course, this filtering only serves to increase the appreciation of the unfiltered brilliance of nature, so it is comparable to the power = energy / time relation. The universe appears shittier than it is in any given frame of reference, because it is the gap between perfection and shitty which is doing the framing.

The causal view of creation

In conventional cosmology, the universe is either caused by an uncaused influence, or it is caused by an infinite chain of causes. Time here is seen to be a metaphysical constant which is insuperable. The Big Bang is either caused by we-don’t-know-what, or it is part of an eternal repeat of Bang-Crunch cycles.

The creative view of causality

Pivoting to a ground of being which is independent of causality, we see time or causality as a construction within consciousness. This has some support in our subjective experience, i.e. dreams and other altered states of consciousness can confabulate histories spontaneously or dissolve coherence of events. The appearance of causality could be just another structure which rises and falls from an eternal fugue of delirious content.

The scientific view of religion

At the dawn of the scientific revolution, the physical universe was considered to be a reflection of divine intelligence. Over the last five or six hundred years, this appreciation of the natural world as a source of spiritual awe has gone through a process of disenchantment. The alchemical revelations of Newton and Kepler were replaced by the more secular deism of the 17th and 18th centuries. The rise of naturalism and determinism continued through the 19th and 20th centuries with the rise of logical positivism and behaviorism. By the 19th century, Darwin and Marx had revealed a view of nature and humanity which not only lacks any need for a supernatural creator, but actually recruits the fantasy of a supernatural creator to serve species-centric sociological functions. In the modern era, the voices within science about religion are generally atheistic and see religion as dangerous superstitious nonsense which should have been cured already by more effective public education. While privately many scientists are religious and do not seem to have problem reconciling natural and supernatural influences, the public face of science is seen to be at odds with religion.

The religious view of science

Looking at the same progression of the scientific era from the other perspective, modern religion ranges in its response to science from the extremely intolerant to the extremely supportive. Fundamentalist religion is often antagonistic toward science, seeing it as a godless, corrupt influence which is blinkered by human arrogance and endangers the world with hubris. Other religions and religious individuals celebrate science as a way to become closer to God through God-given reason and understanding.

The thinking view of feeling

Along the lines of the scientific view of religion, the objective view of subjects, and the entropy view of significance, the thinking view of feeling is that emotion is a threat to rational thought. The highly developed human intellect comes to define itself as superior to animal urges and soft-headed sentimentality. There are some vestigial qualities of appreciation for logic and mathematics which are still deemed worthy – the satisfaction of solving a difficult mystery, or the secular version of awe at the vastness of space or the scales of infinitesimal particles.

The feeling view of thinking

The feeling view of thinking is supported by the use of psychoactive drugs. We can see clearly that how we think is not a pristine structure that exists above the material world but dependent on a fragile matrix of biochemical conditions. Thoughts are just as susceptible to bias as emotions are, and the reductionist style of logical thought can actually exacerbate that bias and crystallize it so that it out lasts the more merciful fluctuations of feeling.

The physical view of consciousness

In a word: Neuroscience. The physical view of consciousness is that it is a brain function, pure and simple. Whatever chain of events that led to bipedalism and the opposable thumb happened to lead to a large, complex brain in Homo sapiens. Some bag of biochemical tricks has lead to an emergent illusion that we call consciousness or ‘ourselves’. The Hard Problem of consciousness is seen as a difficult problem at the moment, but with time and technological improvement, we will discover what makes the brain tick just as we have discovered how so many other physical processes work.

The information-theoretic view of consciousness

Cognitive science and information science conspire to produce a model of consciousness which emerges not from the biophysics of brains but from the integration of signal processing. Such integration need not be confined to organic substrates like brains but could just as easily be developed in a computer. Here too the Hard Problem of consciousness is seen as momentary obstacle, eventually to be cracked by increasing our knowledge of how organisms process sensory data.

The consciousness view of physics

This perspective can be found in non-dualist philosophies such as Advaita Vedanta or some versions of panpsychism. The appearance of physics within consciousness is really wide open, which can be considered a weakness of the position, since starting from consciousness doesn’t give us any special insight into the nature of physics, other than that it has been dreamed up within consciousness. It could evolve through experiences in some kind of mechanical process, or it could be orchestrated by creative intent, or both, or neither.

The consciousness view of information

From this perspective, information is really the replacement for physics within nondual panpsychism. Physics would be a type of information and information would be the way that experiences are represented within other experiences which are presented.

The consciousness view of the consciousness view of consciousness

From the above, I hope it is possible to connect some of the dots to see that physics and metaphysics change according to which features we make fundamental and which features we make emergent. Ultimately all of these perspectives have some value, however I do not think that they are equal. I think that the views which support our naive realism are the more sensible and natural orientation, so that views which make space, time, energy, or  information real are not as sensible as those which make all of those functions of matter. From there, matter makes the most sense to me as information, and information as a consequence of consciousness nested within itself.

What is most real, in my view, is qualia itself and the capacity for nesting and juxtaposing against itself in symmetric or anti-symmetric patterns. That is what I mean by Sense, and this list of perspectives is an example of what I mean by Multisense Realism. Different perspectives which alter each other in a relativistic way that is relatively absolute. There is almost infinite room to twist and turn the perspectives, however there is a natural ordering which wins out by necessity and that is that consciousness or qualia itself cannot be created or destroyed and is the foundation of all possible phenomena. Sanity can contain limited islands of insanity, but sanity itself cannot be born from the absence of sanity. In my understanding this fundamental sense and sanity is reflected in many ways, and the fact that sense and sanity is being reflected in these ways is also reflected in it. Some obvious examples are the properties of light, color, music, and geometry. Mythology and storytelling, astronomy, language, alphabets, number systems are also rich with signs of sense.

The difference between a maze and a labyrinth is this:

“A maze is a complex branching (multicursal) puzzle that includes choices of path and direction, may have multiple entrances and exits, and dead ends. A labyrinth is unicursal i.e. has only a single, non-branching path, which leads to the center then back out the same way, with only one entry/exit point.”

I think that what we have in this is a holo-graphic uni-verse in which the holo/uni is the unicursal center and the graphic-verse is the maze-like end. The holos-labyrinth intentionally pretends to be a maze, while the maze masks that intention. In this way, questions like “Can God make a stone so heavy that he can’t lift it” are answered in a qualified affirmative. The answer is “Yes”, but first God must make himself less than God to be a stone lifter. While we are alive, the holos view is usually hidden, so our days are filled with dead ends and multicursal meanderings. Perhaps after death, or many deaths, we transcend one level of human limitation and another level of holos is revealed? In any case, I think that the fact that sense exists at all is enough to push the needle to the unicursal side of the meter. Every time we make sense of something, a knot is untangled and the string becomes easier to use to pull ourselves back to the center. Teleology pushes us forward in physical time to go backward in metaphysical time, while physics provides resistance through entropy.

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

July 18, 2016 3 comments

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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: https://theconversation.com/is-the-dao-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-the-conventional-chief-executive-60403

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