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About that first ever photograph of light as both a particle and wave

November 7, 2016 Leave a comment

1-thefirstever

This article that went around last year is misleading on several levels.

1. It’s not a photograph, it’s a synthetic/graphic image generated by calculated statistics.

2. It’s a composite of many measurements, not a capture of anything like light.

3. We have no way of knowing whether we are measuring the objective ‘particle nature of light’ from electron collisions, or whether we are just objectifying the collective sensitivity of the instruments we are using.

For example, if all that we had to tell whether an object existed was experiments measuring someone’s eye movements, we could not tell the difference between an eye that was looking at a moving physical object or an eye that was looking at a graphic pattern that was purely visual. We could be looking at atomic REM patterns and thinking that we’re looking at a subatomic world.

Since there is no way, rationally, to tell the difference between a consensus of shared sensations and an object detected through sensation, it is my hypothesis that realism itself breaks at the classical limit. We think that quantum physics tells us that the classical limit is a hologram, but it makes more sense to me that quantum theory breaks realism and projects a world of non-sense non-objects in public space when we are really looking at the inflection point of subjectivity on a distant scale. It is quantum physics that is a hologram, not nature.

A Couple of Scientific Conversations

April 17, 2015 2 comments
Quantum and the Bell

EM Imagine I set up Schroedinger’s cat and a machine that will open the box after 10 seconds and ring a bell if the cat is alive. I set it up, and wait 10 seconds, and don’t hear a bell. What’s happened to the wavefunction?

CM What happened is that a person, you, have made an observation based on an expectation that you have of a particular experiment.

EM But I didn’t interact with the apparatus. No signal was transferred between me and it.

CW If you didn’t interact with the apparatus then how do you know the bell didn’t ring?

EW Because I’ve noticed 10 seconds passing and not registering a bell ringing in that time?

CW Why would you expect to hear a bell ringing unless you know that you can hear that bell and that bell is part of the apparatus?

EM I wouldn’t do, but are you trying to say that being aware of that counts as interacting with the apparatus?

CW Of course. Does RAM exist if it’s just filled with 0s?

EM Sure, but the idea of RAM in my head isn’t RAM in reality.

CW Being able to hear a bell isn’t in your head either. Being able to hear a bell and infer a meaning to the apparatus from that sensory experience (or your unfulfilled expectation thereof) is what your interaction consists of.

EM Yes, and neither unfufilled expectation or potential ability to hear a bell are real interactions with the real apparatus.

CW They are if you can really hear a bell (which is part of the apparatus) and if you can really understand that hearing the bell constitutes a result of your experiment.

If a dead person doesn’t hear the bell is it still a valid observation?

EM As far as the mathematics was concerned, it was “observed” (decohered) by the time the bell rang. But “being able to hear the bell” is not an interaction. *Actually* hearing the bell is, but that doesn’t happen.

CW Your view takes sense for granted to the point that it denies a difference between a living observer and no observer.

As far as the mathematics was concerned”
Which proves my point. Mathematics truncates consciousness.

EM Your point is… what? Believing in single observers and WF collapse is more rational then just interpreting the mathematics that explains your results in the first place?

CW The mathematics don’t explain the results, they only diagram a skeleton of one measurement of the results. The actual experiment and results take place outside of mathematics.

Are molecules conscious?

Does polymerase have any sense when it transcribes DNA into RNA? Do ribosomes have any sense when they translate RNA into amino acids?

What we can say is that DNA, ribosomes, etc are all expressions of consciousness on a certain scale (microbio-chemo) as seen through another scale of consciousness (anthro),

There is a story, an experience going on that is represented to us as a ribosome, a molecule, etc, and we are seeing its body through our body. A facade that is filtered by another filtering facade. I call this Eigenmorphism. Form itself, like matter and energy, is relativistic. Whether a given phenomenon is a feeling or a structure depends on the distance across the frames of reference involved. Nothing is an object in its own frame of reference, including the universe. Our mistake since the Enlightenment is in Over-Copernicanising physics and dismissing the native frame of reference (sense) as an epiphenomenon or emergent property of the distant frame (physics)

Metaphysical vs Metaphenomenal

February 13, 2014 Leave a comment

One of the most contentious areas in philosophy revolves around what I consider to be a misconception about the relation between the physical and phenomenal. In particular, the term ‘metaphysical’ forces supernatural connotations onto what would otherwise be non-ordinary but natural experiences and states of mind. I think that the problem is in failing to recognize the physical and phenomenal as each having their own ranges which both overlap and oppose each other. What I mean is, synchronicity and precognition are not metaphysical, they are metaphenomenal. The surprising part is that this means that the ordering of events in which we participate is actually a subjective experience nested within many other subjective and perhaps trans-subjective subjective experiences on different scales. Einstein talked about the relativity of simultaneity, and the metaphenomenal (aka collective unconscious) works in a similar way.

When we make time physical without acknowledging the role that phenomenology has in producing both the form and content of “time”, we introduce a false universal voyeur which effectively flattens all aesthetic qualities and participation into a one dimensional vector in one direction. By taking the term metaphysical, we unintentionally validate this flattened view of the universe in which physics is nature, and phenomenology, particularly deep or non-ordinary phenomenology, can only be non- or meta- physical and therefore supernatural, aka superstitious, aka illusory. If we look at how physics treats its own non-ordinary phenomena, such as quantum entanglement, quasars, and dark energy, we do not see the term ‘illusion’ or ‘folk astronomy’ being thrown around. Their strangeness is acknowledged in a way which invites curiosity rather than fear. The mystery is safely projected into the impersonal realm of physics and the super-impersonal realm of theoretical physics. By contrast, the metaphenomenal range is super-personal or transpersonal, containing experiences which challenge our conventional expectations about the realism of physical bodies, locality, and time.

It is not incorrect to say that for these reasons the metaphenomenal can be considered metaphysical, however I think that is where we are placing the emphasis on the wrong set of properties. Instead of using experiences such as intuition, synchronicity, and even divination as scientific clues to a super-personal range of awareness, we are distracted by the apparent contradiction to physics (as if ordinary awareness did not contradict physics already). To rehabilitate our perspective, I suggest considering the relation between the different ranges of physical (ontic) and phenomenal (telic) phenomena in this way:

The term ‘paranormal’ is, like supernatural and metaphysical, the same kind of misnomer. If we see physics as a product of more primitive phenomenal sense, then it is consciousness itself which is doing the normalizing, so that it cannot be considered ‘normal’ itself. In another sense, since it is our consciousness which is defining normalcy, it does indeed identify its own regularity and meta-regularities and challenges those definitions as well. The metaphenomenal serves not only as an extension of the personal psyche into the collective unconscious, but also as a line in the sand beyond which sanity is not guaranteed.

Microphysical and Microphenomenal

The same thing occurs in another way, in an opposite way, on the bottom end of my chart. The sub-personal roots of microphenomenology and the sub-impersonal seeds of microphysics are the bottom up layers of causality and are more directly related than the top layers. The sub-personal (sub-conscious, id) urges and the microphysical (binary, semaphore-digital) are low level signs which are used to literally motivate and control. It is a common language of pushing things around.

To be able to exercise control it is necessary first to be able to see that which is to be controlled as separate in some sense from that which controls. There must be a way to sense them as ‘things’ or as a kind of inertial field which resists your intentions to cause a sensible effect. This experience of ‘things outside the self’ is the beginning of motivation, desire, intelligence, etc. In this way, motive and mechanism are born. The teeth in your mouth and the teeth of a gear exploit the same mechanical power to physically endure and prevail.

In the schema I propose, the fabric of the universe is tessellated or braided into these levels of nested counterpoint. The higher level objectifies the lower level into things because the higher level enjoys a more complete, but distanced panoramic view. The predator’s perspective engulfs the prey’s perspective. Biological organisms also objectify other living things and their own living body as higher than non-living things. Organisms with nervous systems take it one step beyond, seeing their own lives as a kind of meta-thing to direct as separate from the body. The human brain corresponds to a further, and perhaps ultimate mutation on the theme of self-reflection. There are physical implications for all of this but they have to do with time more than materials and structure. The expansion of time gives us more raw experiential material, more moments and more awareness of past and future within each moment. Technology and leisure make a virtuous cycle, bringing innovations which give us more things to do with our minds and bodies, and with the world.

Robert Anton Wilson wrote about the Jumping Jesus phenomenon – that it took X number of years for the first person to be born who had the impact of a Jesus or a Buddha, and how we now have several of them living at any particular moment. Buckminster Fuller and Terrence McKenna are among those who had this hyper-enthusiasm for the future which underlies today’s Singularity ethos. The ever ‘tightening gyre’, the transcendental object at the end of history, etc. It would seem, however, that at the same time, this enthusiasm is somehow perpetually deluded, and forever producing time wasting, leisure robbing coercions as well. As the acceleration increases, so does the mass, and a kind of stalemate plus or minus is maintained.

Conclusion

By shifting from the ad hoc, monolithic model of phenomenology as a kind of malfunctioning folk physics, or as physics belonging to an illusion that must be overcome spiritually, I propose a sense-based, multivalent view in which the metaphenomenal is understood to be both less than and more than physically real with high orthogonality, and the microphysical is understood to be less than and more than cosmologically meaningful with high isomrophism. The (one) mistake that David Chalmers made, in my opinion, is in accidentally introducing the idea of a zombie rather than a doll to the discussion of AI. Similar to error of the terms metaphysical and supernatural, the zombie specifies an expectation of personal level consciousness which is absent, rather than sub-personal level consciousness which is present on the microphysical levels. We can understand more clearly that a doll is not conscious on a personal level, no matter how many things it can say, or how many ways its limbs can be articulated. On the micro-physical level however, the material which makes up the doll expresses some sensory experience. It can be melted or frozen, broken or burned, etc. The material knows how to react to its environment sensibly and appropriately, and this is how material is in fact defined – by its sensible relations to material conditions. Just as we can assemble a 3D image on a 2D screen out of dumb pixels, so too can be automate a 5D human impostor on a 4D behavior stream of a doll.

By properly locating the micro-level physics beneath the personal-level phenomenology, we can see that beneath the micro-level physics there can be an even more primitive micro-phenomenology. On the top end as well, beyond the ontological truths of mathematics and logic, there are teleological apprehensions of aesthetics and meaning – without necessarily invoking a God personality (although that can work too, I just don’t see it as making as much sense as transpersonal Absolute).

*the super-impersonal is similar to the metaphenomenal in that it is difficult and esoteric, but opposite in that it is extrinsic rather than intrinsic. Where the metaphenomenal uses symbols as archetypes, loaded with metaphor and occult mystery, the superimpersonal (which would be more correct to call metaphysical) uses arcane mathematical and logical expressions. These are a kind of anti-metaphor as they relate to precisely defined, universally understood public information. The whole point is to expose the theory and completely, so that anyone is welcome to try to learn how to understand and use them, without any initiation rituals or strange pictures.

There is no Objective Color thread

December 6, 2013 Leave a comment
That’s really interesting, too much for me to all read but I appreciate the effort put into this.
I do disagree on your first point though. There is such a thing as objective color. Photons have wavelengths, and specific wavelengths are specific colors, regardless of how our eyes and brains interpret them.I read a part of the article you linked, and if you do take into account how the eye and brain interpret colors, there is still objective color. Apparently we do all have different ratio’s of red vs green vs blue cone cells, but as the article says, our brains are still in agreement over what exactly is yellow. So our eyes might be different, but our brains correct that difference.

Think about the nature of the visible spectrum. We perceive it as being composed of soft but distinct bands of hues, usually seven or eight : red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, indigo, violet and sometimes fuchsia, which is not a spectral color. Colors such as grey, white, brown, beige, and pink do not correspond to any one frequency, so they cannot be said to map to the wavelength of any particular photon, yet we perceive them as discernible colors.

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The color palette is of course, also a wheel in which colors are seen as ‘opposite’ to each other, and which generate various effects when placed adjacent to each other, as seen in various optical ‘illusions’:

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In that one what we see as green or blue are ‘actually’ the same aqua color:

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I put scare quotes around the words illusions and actually, because this information has helped me understand that what we see is never an illusion, only our cognitive expectations about that we see. By manipulating the various layers of sensation and perception to expose their conflicts, we can tease out the truth about color, and by extension consciousness. There is no ‘actually’, there is only ‘seems like from some perspective’. The experiment showed that our color perception can be altered for weeks after subjects return to an unaltered optical state*. Our brains correct the difference because they are not translating wavelength of photons but projecting relations within the optical experience as a whole.

Now think about the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Does it have seven soft bands or is it an absolutely smooth quantitative continuum? Does the continuum form a wheel with primary and secondary oppositions, or is is an unbounded linear progression? Does it repeat in octaves, where one frequency suddenly recapitulates and merges the beginning and ending of a sequence, or does it monotonously extend into the invisible spectrum?

image

Our eyes tend to differ, and photons might be the same, but color is not photons. In fact, photons from the outside world only do one thing in our retina, and that’s isomerize rhodopsin molecules – meaning that the proteins in our rod and cone cells are studded with vitamin A molecules which basically become erect in the presence of visible light. From there, the folded proteins in the cells sort of swell open and actually cut off what is know as ‘Dark Current’ – the continuous flow of glutamate which is interpreted as seeing light *in its absence*. Light, in a sense turns our experience of darkness off.

image

Once we let all of this information sink in, it should be clear that the experience of color is just that – an experience. It correlates to optical conditions, but it also correlates to conditions in which there are no optical inputs at all. Even where it is isomorphic to exterior measurements, there are no colored photons inside of the brain that we are seeing. We are seeing the same neural conditions that we feel, smell, taste, and hear, and synesthesia confirms that as well. This does not mean that neural conditions are a solipsistic simulation however, but that’s a whole other conversation (which I have my own ‘crackpot’ theory for 🙂 http://multisenserealism.com)

*http://color.psych.upenn.edu/brainard/papers/AIC01.pdf

Perspectives on Gravity

October 11, 2013 10 comments

“The universe is shaped exactly like the Earth,
If you go straight long enough you’ll end up where you were.” – Modest Mouse

Science

Newton conceived of universal gravitation as a ratio of mass to distance.

“…every point mass in the universe attracts every other point mass with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.”

Einstein revolutionized classical gravity with General Relativity, merging space with time and formulating the equivalence of mass and energy. Rather than a rigid Cartesian plenum of 3-D space and a one dimensional timeline, Einstein saw a flexible, four dimensional ‘mollusk’ of spacetime contoured by the relations of matter and energy. GR, along with Special Relativity, made the universe a much stranger place, with time dilation, black holes, the relativity of simultaneity, and the constancy of the speed of light as a universal absolute.

Since quantum theory begins at the other end of the cosmological continuum of size, there has been a continuity problem between sub-nuclear physics and astrophysics. Quantum doesn’t match up with relativity very well, so the quest to find a bridge between the two has been a prominent open question for contemporary physics.

Here are a some brief signposts along that highway between QM and GR:

Quantum Gravity:

In most, though not all, theories of quantum gravity, the gravitational field itself is also quantized. Since the contemporary theory of gravity, general relativity, describes gravitation as the curvature of spacetime by matter and energy, a quantization of gravity seemingly implies some sort of quantization of spacetime geometry. Insofar as all extant physical theories rely on a classical spacetime background, this presents not only extreme technical difficulties, but also profound methodological and ontological challenges for the philosopher and the physicist. Though quantum gravity has been the subject of investigation by physicists for over eighty years, philosophers have only just begun to investigate its philosophical implications.

Gravity makes quantum superposition decohere into classical physics.

Weak gravitational waves that fill the Universe are enough to disturb quantum superpositions and ensure that large objects behave according to classical physics. […]  Many theorists now believe that macroscopic superpositions, in which numerous quantum components must maintain a precise relationship with each other, are disrupted by continual environmental influences. Such disturbances, acting differently on each component of a superposition, “decohere” it into a classical state that is, say, dead or alive, but not both. Even a system as small as an atom requires extraordinary protection from stray electromagnetic fields in the lab to remain in a superposition. Since gravitational fields are both pervasive and inescapable, researchers have proposed that they play a fundamental role in ensuring that macroscopic systems behave in a classical way.

Hamiltonian Chaos:

We confirm, in this context, that the dynamics of a Brownian particle driven by space-time dependent fluctuations evolves towards Hamiltonian chaos and fractional diffusion. The corresponding motion of the particle has a time-dependent and nowhere vanishing acceleration. Invoking the equivalence principle of general relativity leads to the conclusion that fractional diffusion is locally equivalent to a transient gravitational field. It is shown that gravity becomes renormalizable as Newton’s constant converges towards a dimensionless quantity.

Dark matter

Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) were proposed to explain the galaxy rotation problem. Unexpectedly, when it was first observed, the velocity of rotation of galaxies appeared to be uniform: Newton’s theory of gravity predicts that the farther away an object is from the center of the galaxy it belongs to, the lower its velocity will be (for example, the velocity of a planet orbiting a star decreases as the distance between them increases). These observations gave birth to the idea that a halo of invisible stuff was surrounding each galaxy: dark matter.

Losing singularity:

In this new model, the gravitational field still increases as you near the black hole’s core. But unlike previous models, this doesn’t end in a singularity. Instead gravity eventually reduces, as if you’ve come out the other end of the black hole and landed either in another region of our universe, or another universe altogether. Despite only holding for a simple model of a black hole, the researchers – and Ashtekar – believe the theory may banish singularities from real black holes too.

Metaphors and Symmetries

Switching gears from the scientific sense of gravity to the personal sense, there are some worthwhile themes to explore. The etymology of gravity links heaviness with seriousness. Gravity relates to grave, and groove. Digging ditches and engraving (scratching). The association with burial and death probably accounts for the connection from grave to words like serious, severe,  and swear. The idea of a sworn oath or an engraved ring relates to a sense of a permanent pledge. There is an intent to hold on steadily against all odds, or all distraction. The root of swear crosses over to answer also – a hint that ‘saying’ something out loud can have serious or permanent consequences.

Serious or grave subjects are often called ‘heavy’ or ‘dense’ while frivolous topics are ‘light’ or refer to things which are airy (fluff, puff pieces). Insubstantial or insincere talk is ‘blowing smoke’. Both the literal and figurative meanings of heavy (literal = heavy weight; figurative = heavy important) have light as an antonym, but it is light in two different figurative senses. The antonym of the literal sense of light is dark, which comes back around to gravity in the form of black holes, where the intensity of gravity does not allow light to escape. It could be said that a black hole is a star’s grave.

Under the influence of gravity, weight, density, and pressure increase. Movement becomes more difficult and slow. More power is required to exert the same force. Metaphorically there is a lot of crossover – feelings of stress are compared to being ‘under a lot of pressure’ is associated with risk or powerlessness. Resistance and inertia figure in, as does entropy. Under pressure, time becomes more valuable, and the tolerance for distractions (nonsense), is lowered. Ideally, the significance of the goal should be worth the effort. Monumental investments expect monumental results.

If electromagnetism is the ‘Spring ‘ of matter’s energy, then gravity is its Fall.  If energy is a fountain which lights the matter into significance, then gravity is the drain which flattens entropy and reverses its disposition into a one dimensional, time slowing presence – mass. Said another way, gravity is the metabolism of spacetime, and the embodied force of entropy.

Entropic Force:

Dr. Thanu Padmanabhan of the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India said Gravity  “is the thermodynamic limit of the statistical mechanics of “atoms of space-time.”

Erik Verlinde, 48, a respected string theorist and professor of physics at the University of Amsterdam, is quoted as saying that gravity is “entropic force.”

Gravity’s symmetry with electromagnetism extends to the metaphysical. The etymology of the words burden and bear go back to the word for ‘birth’. Themes of give and take, and birth and death, wrap around each other. The idea of curvature, of entropy statistically evening out odd statistics and jagged exceptions is an expression of magnitude and relativity. The pull of gravity doesn’t make things spin or orbit, but since the number of velocities that a body can have is so much greater than the number of ways a body can be stationary, entropy ensures that most everything is moving somewhere, and gravity pulls light things close to heavy things faster than heavy things are pulled to light things, causing the lighter moving thing to wrap its path around the heavier mass in an ellipse.

With a black hole, and on Earth, gravity and entropy suggests a connection to loss and absence. Ultimately, gravity shows that even absence turns back on itself, since it can only ever be the sense of its own absence – the presence of the absence of presence. Sense can only diminish relative to itself, it can only appear to be slow or missing by comparison. Gravity is about falling, collapsing, and squeezing the space and time out of incidents to make them co-incidents with shared inertia. Gravity is the force of pseudointentionality, the entropy of entropy. If perception elides its blindness and entropy to concentrate significance, gravity elides in the opposite way, through quantitative density. Anomalies are crushed and drowned into smooth curves until they explode. Stars explode into clouds which collect into other stars, scars of stars, and galactic spiral clouds of stars.

Are teleonomy, evolution, entropy, and gravity the same thing? If electromagnetism and energy represent uniqueness and creativity on every level, gravity and entropy are a statistical rounding off of all of that uniqueness across all the inertial frames. It settles everything into hierarchies of magnitude on the outside and figurative scales of greatness (importance) on the inside.

Extra Credit

Gravity isn’t directly related to time. Although much our timekeeping is modeled after astronomical cycles, neither the rotation of the Earth nor its heliocentric orbit are caused by gravity alone. It seems easy to mistakenly guess that planets have gravity because they spin, as if it were some kind of centripetal force, but the gravity would be almost the same if Earth were not spinning, and gravity itself is not causing the spin in the first place. What we think is that planets condensed from moving clouds of cosmic debris, and when they become smaller, the motion becomes faster (conservation of angular momentum, like a figure skater pulling their arms in for the faster spin).

As far as gravity is concerned, the Earth and Sun only need be drawn together, all orbits, spins, and tilts in the solar system are the residual effects of the events which initially accelerated the cloud of matter into motion or changed its direction. The tilt of the Earth is thought to be the result of collisions with other massive objects during its early history. Without the tilt, you would have no seasons as every position of the Earth’s orbit would produce no noticeable difference. Same with the spin. Gravity doesn’t care if the Earth spins or not.

What gravity does do for time is provide conditions of relative permanence that would not exist otherwise. Without gravity we could still keep track of cycles of time, but they would be forever be changing completely as our view of the universe changes permanently from a non-orbiting planet hurtling aimlessly through space. Gravity provides a frame of circularity which allows greater degrees of order in our perception. Gravity doesn’t make time, but it makes it more relevant.

Absolute View vs Western View: Comparing Supreme Ultimate Diagrams

May 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Image

Contrasting two models of consciousness: The Multisense Realism model above uses an Absolute view, which accounts for all known phenomena, subjective and objective. Postulating a root “Qua” (aka, the Absolute, Totality) from which qualia are divided through quanta, Quanta is conceived of as a constraint on Qua, a partition within it. Qua is sense capacity or presence, and so Quanta is the diminished reflection of that capacity…non-sense, entropy, uncertainty, and an expectation of absence. I am trying to show this as the horizontal arrows between qualia, indicating that quanta is nothing more than a kind of negotiation protocol which allows qualia to coexist in the same public space while retaining their private integrity. This is a complete reversal of the Western view, which features Quanta in the role of Qua, as the arithmetic-logical source of all phenomena.

On the left side of the diagram, there is a very general sketch of how Qua recovers itself ‘with interest’ as a qualitative enhancement – a consequence of having reunited on the other side of entropy-disorientation. On a human level, our experience yields a net human significance. Civilization is the residue left behind, a collective perceptual inertial of technology which echoes the individual’s narrative journey of exposure to the exteriorized spaces and the celebrated return home. Significance is literally a promiscuity of association among qualia, a depth of feeling and meaning which compels participation. My view is that this principle motivates on many, if not every level of the cosmos, and is not limited to human beings or animals (even though arguably significance is exponentially more…significant for human beings, at least in our own eyes).

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The Western view is a local rather than Absolute view. It does not account for sense or order itself, rather it begins from the assumption of physical matter and works backward to primitive mathematical functions. There are question marks included on the links which seem poorly understood or unjustified by the model as a whole. These include:

Why does geometry exist? I propose this as the Death of Computationalism. Along with the lack of support for Real numbers in computation, the universe or multiverse as a Turing emulation fails to account for the existence of forms like lines, circles, angles, etc. We know from our own computing and calculating devices that it is not necessary to physically draw a triangle in order to approximate correct computations about numbers which could correspond to triangular coordinates, so it really doesn’t make sense that any cosmic computation could or would invent geometric presentations of any kind. We don’t even need to get into questions of qualia, because computationalism fails to explain any sort of aesthetic forms to embody its functions. Mathematics is disembodied and anesthetic, and it works perfectly that way – no need for any strange magical fanfare.

Why do mathematical relations and laws give rise to physics? It’s all very well to have forms and functions mingle with each other as articulate mechanisms, but why should they ‘materialize’ as space-time, matter and energy?

The question of why consciousness exists when it does not appear to have any particular advantage over unconscious mechanism is a mystery. It is very difficult not to smuggle in our own retrospective view of consciousness as having enormous utility for our survival, but this is in no way an endorsement from the prospective view. If our immune system can orchestrate phenomenally complex responses to pathogens without a conscious experience attached to it, then why would a hominid’s humdrum quest for sustenance and reproduction lend itself to such an absurdly ornate aesthetic phenomenon? Indeed, if evolution can make a human brain, with all the trimmings, using unconscious methods, surely the operation of that brain would be better suited to that tried and true option.

The final question mark is related, but not identical. Even if you have consciousness as an option for some reason, and that option works better for humans than turtles or clouds of methane for some reason, why should such a phenomenon as consciousness produce feelings which are other than a record of the physical events which they represent? Why should there be different kinds of sensory experiences when all logical functions can be reduced more effectively to a single binary format of data processing? This alternative to reality is cast aside from the Western view, but what metaphysical never-never land is it cast to? How did we get outside of the real universe and into an ‘illusion’?

The Doctor Prescribes Brian Eno – Blog of the Long Now

April 24, 2013 Leave a comment

The Doctor Prescribes Brian Eno – Blog of the Long Now

In the video, Brian Eno brings up two points which relate to the last posts about intelligence, wisdom, and their relation to entropy.

“I think that one of the things that art offers you is the chance to surrender, to not be in control any longer”.

Right. That makes sense. Art debits the private side of the phenomenal ledger. The side which is concerned with the loaning of time to be returned to the Absolute with interest. Wisdom, especially in the exalted forms of Eastern philosophy, is all about surrender and flow. Dissolving of the ego. The ego is the public interface for the private self, and the seat of the kind of intelligence addressed by causal entropic forces – machine intelligence, strategic effectiveness. Important locally but trivial ultimately, in the face of eternity.

On the other side of the ledger is the chance to strive and control using intelligence. Western philosophy tends toward cultivating objectivity and critical thinking. It is a canon of skeptical intelligence and empiricism from which science emerged. Clear thinking and resisting the desire to surrender are what debit the public facing side of the ledger. Art and Science then, are the sense and motive of human culture…the tender and tough, the wag and wegh, and yes, the yin and yang.

Eno also says “The least interesting sound in the universe, probably, is the sine wave. It’s the sound of nothing happening. It’s the sound of perfection, and it’s boring. As David Byrne said in his song, Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens. Distortion is character, basically. In fact, everything we call character is the deviation from perfection. So, perfection to me, is characterlessness.”

Aha, yes. Tying this back to the Absolute, it is the diffraction, the shattering of timelessness with spacetime (aka Tsimtsum) which creates the third element – entropy. The Absolute can only be completed by its own incompleteness, and entropy is the diagonalization of experience into public facing entropies and private facing reflections of the Absolute…quanta and qualia, science and art.

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