A brief contemplation of Grace and Emergence

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techstepgenr8tion
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30 Apr 2019, 10:18 am

Seems like the memesphere is awash in pills - blue pills, red pills, black pills, gray pills, blue-and-yellow purple pills (too many red or black and you might need those), and it seems like quite often as people get 'pilled' they keep getting the sense that they're going down a sort of miserable existential rabbit whole - in the pursuit of truth - where progress and honesty are marked by that misery, disillusionment, and I'm really starting to wonder if this is part of a confused schema.

I might compare these two schema - 1) Truth is a jagged pill that can scar you and give you little reward except for more safety from predation and accidents of life 2) Reductive materialism leads to nihilism, human purpose, and it's the end-all-be-all of the universe.

Neither one seems to take emergence perhaps quite as seriously as it should. I also saw a recent thread about holism vs. reductionism and the suggestion that holism is the primitive and reductionism is the modern, forward-thinking, end-state.

I'm not so sure these claims even make sense from a materialist perspective when you think about them. For example does emergence exist? Clearly yes. Are apples and oranges the same thing and do they give the same taste, color, and texture experience? I mean common now - they're just quarks! Technically the pile of dog crap on the ground is just quarks as well and if you take this seriously, to be really rational with your reductionism, you shouldn't have any preference whether you're eating the orange, the apple, or the dog crap.

Kyle Kulinski said something interesting a few years ago about his turn-around on determinism. He used to think that people who believe in free will were the progressive ones, that people who were determinists where just religious sorts saying 'God has it all worked out', and then he caught a completely different sense of this when he finally heard the Harris/Sapolsky type arguments (ie. Laplacian determinism).

Similarly, with things like holism and the strength and value of emergent factors, I do wonder if we might be getting ready trade our lens in on that from being 'something for silly theists' to something that establishes it's own degree of autonomy along it's own lines of resonance. I think grace itself might be one of these sorts of emergent things where, rather than just being a heap of luck, it's a layer of emergent reality that one can target and aim themselves toward participation in.

I get that this might seem a bit abstract but I do think it'll lead somewhere - maybe if not grace first at least our sense of all the abstract intangibles of higher biological life from mammals to trees. Holism or maybe a sort of 'reintegrationism' might be what comes after reductionism hits its perigee, scrapes pegs at the ground level of reality, and suggests that we need to synthesize everything we learned from that endeavor to reach back upward.


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30 Apr 2019, 12:53 pm

It sounds like you are suffering from a toxic dose of philosophy.

I suggest either embracing relativism and plunge into whatever flood of dissipation you choose and only worry when you reach the end or pick an absolute and build on it.

For myself, I picked Christianity even though it required years to search out truth past the numerous franchise brands that stake a claim of exclusivity.



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30 Apr 2019, 1:54 pm

Quote:
It sounds like you are suffering from a toxic dose of philosophy.

I suggest either embracing relativism and plunge into whatever flood of dissipation you choose and only worry when you reach the end or pick an absolute and build on it.

For myself, I picked Christianity even though it required years to search out truth past the numerous franchise brands that stake a claim of exclusivity.


that sounds like a rather large dose of Kierkegaard to me.

re. OP:
Sapolsky and Harari are currently sining about the same tune: no free will, biological algorithms (albeit Harari adds the protective "If this is true..." at the beginning of everything he says) etc. - and both agree that there is a certain undeniable truth in pain and suffering.
Maybe that's what Jordan Peterson is trying to get at, when he speaks as a psychologist (and not as a hobby-mythologist, -anthropologist or - philosopher).

a holist perspective wouldn't exactly help the indiividual much, though, would it? sure, there may be some emergent phenomenon emerging from existence itself - but what would an individual (neuron) do with the the emergence of a psyche?
so .... does emergence matter? we can't prove it, we can't see it, and if we could, it would be from our perspective, expressed in our terms... would we understand it? I'm guessing the emergent phenomenon is a noumenon...

personally, I find elimination of suffering and pain a more practical goal.
and I don't have any faith in holism or so. I do think everything's connected, but some things closely and others only remotely, but I don't think there's some kind of harmony in that, or on a higher level.

when you, techstep, speak of emergence and holism, what do you imagine?


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techstepgenr8tion
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30 Apr 2019, 3:09 pm

timf wrote:
It sounds like you are suffering from a toxic dose of philosophy.

I'd say that this is more like a good turning point, ie. taking the consequences of emergence seriously (ie. just because everyone's forgetting its there doesn't mean it doesn't exist, if it did we'd be living in a solipsistic reality).

timf wrote:
I suggest either embracing relativism and plunge into whatever flood of dissipation you choose and only worry when you reach the end or pick an absolute and build on it.

Relativism doesn't exactly work for me for a couple reasons, 1) I think reality can be unified through context, at worst we have a floating glob of context and just don't know what the ultimate large beyond our view, ultimate small, or ultimate past/future are, 2) My reference on what's desirable is hinged relative to being human and by the time I'm no longer human I'm neither paying taxes nor posting in forums.

timf wrote:
For myself, I picked Christianity even though it required years to search out truth past the numerous franchise brands that stake a claim of exclusivity.

So I had a rediscovery-on-fire of the faith of my childhood in late 2012 and early 2013 where I had such a dead-end job that I was able to read the King James bible end to end in about a month and over the next several months read most of the books I found either obscure or paricularly interesting at least seven times each.

My takeaway from the bible sounds like it was different from yours. The Platonism, Neoplatonism, and Hermetic content jumped out at me, clarified even more by Manly P Hall's Secret Teachings of All Ages, and I followed that out to Rudolph Steiner, then Valentin Tomberg's Mediation on the Tarot, and after reading Israel Regardie, Dion Fortune, etc. I decided to join up with the Golden Dawn diaspora order I found most credible (BOTA) and went from there for several years.

The thing I've been evaluation, one of the things that I think very few people are willing to do, is evaluate mystical experiences to rake out content and connections that I think can reach a level of solidity firm enough to say 'x is incontrovertably real'. It is a radical choice but I'm also increasingly taking a very conservative ruler to it and only considering things in that category that repeatedly make the grade. For a while I was considering that, beyond the repeated observation that doing things could blast you with synchronicities, that it was largely chaos and that we were living in something of a panpsychist or functionalist universe which was potentially very alive but also had almost no serious reference or care for the human lot, truth, etc.. I think I'd say here that with concepts like grace, providence, etc. we're looking potentially at an abstract layer of emergence. It could be something that coagulated in the time of the human race, it could just as easily be something more old-growth, it's hard to say and I wouldn't want to try calling it one way or another until I hit a point where there's credible enough evidence. Even this though, the hypothesis I'm throwing into this thread, I'd say I've seen enough bits and pieces to consider it a worthy hypothesis - not something I'd call a fact or something I'd consider proven in my own mind, just something worth trying out and testing.


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30 Apr 2019, 3:33 pm

shlaifu wrote:
a holist perspective wouldn't exactly help the indiividual much, though, would it? sure, there may be some emergent phenomenon emerging from existence itself - but what would an individual (neuron) do with the the emergence of a psyche?

Not sure I can relate the question - a psyche is a context that a neuron is strapped to, the brain or body it's in is the physical context and the psyche is the data context. This is a bit like 'what would an individual transistor do with software?'. I'd say that we're in a situation where, perhaps unlike a neuron or unlike a transistor, we can ask these questions about levels of context above and outside ourselves?

shlaifu wrote:
so .... does emergence matter? we can't prove it, we can't see it, and if we could, it would be from our perspective, expressed in our terms... would we understand it? I'm guessing the emergent phenomenon is a noumenon...

One of my reasons for including the pile of dog crap with the apple and orange, aside from the likelihood that the crap would taste terrible it would probably make you quite ill. Are viruses and bacteria unprovable? If one's really going to just say that we're a sea of quarks then you'd be somewhat stuck saying that chemistry and biology are woo. Almost no one would say that and to that extent I'm pretty sure I'm addressing massive inconsistencies in approach.

shlaifu wrote:
personally, I find elimination of suffering and pain a more practical goal.
and I don't have any faith in holism or so. I do think everything's connected, but some things closely and others only remotely, but I don't think there's some kind of harmony in that, or on a higher level.

when you, techstep, speak of emergence and holism, what do you imagine?

First I don't think I'd say for sure that I'd go with absolute holism, that's pretty much Neoplatonist pantheism, Pythagorean cosmology, or the first book of Agrippa. I'd just argue that there are larger layers we're in. Similar to the ways neurons connect to make humans, animals, insects, etc. there's a chain of sensation - sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch, etc. that brings communication that creates networks of people. As far as I'm aware neuroscience has found nothing magical about neurotransmitters, there doesn't need to be anything magical about sight or hearing for that to happen.

Where my speculations do get interesting though - whether it's egregores (ie. mostly made of or by biological life), whether there's a far bigger stacking hierarchy of consciousness outside of biological life, it seems like there may be more for us to work with or within than simply look at our individual selves in the face of life's challenges. I think that last sentence might trigger a whole flood of disgust or pity if someone says "Ah, that's what the OP's about - you're giving up on reason for faith", I don't think that's a credible analysis of it though. I think I'm just willing to try things out if their possibility makes enough sense and, if my search for resources pay off, I have something to bring back to the tribe.


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30 Apr 2019, 6:43 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Seems like the memesphere is awash in pills - blue pills, red pills, black pills, gray pills, blue-and-yellow purple pills (too many red or black and you might need those), and it seems like quite often as people get 'pilled' they keep getting the sense that they're going down a sort of miserable existential rabbit whole - in the pursuit of truth - where progress and honesty are marked by that misery, disillusionment, and I'm really starting to wonder if this is part of a confused schema.

I might compare these two schema - 1) Truth is a jagged pill that can scar you and give you little reward except for more safety from predation and accidents of life 2) Reductive materialism leads to nihilism, human purpose, and it's the end-all-be-all of the universe.

Neither one seems to take emergence perhaps quite as seriously as it should. I also saw a recent thread about holism vs. reductionism and the suggestion that holism is the primitive and reductionism is the modern, forward-thinking, end-state.

I'm not so sure these claims even make sense from a materialist perspective when you think about them. For example does emergence exist? Clearly yes. Are apples and oranges the same thing and do they give the same taste, color, and texture experience? I mean common now - they're just quarks! Technically the pile of dog crap on the ground is just quarks as well and if you take this seriously, to be really rational with your reductionism, you shouldn't have any preference whether you're eating the orange, the apple, or the dog crap.

Kyle Kulinski said something interesting a few years ago about his turn-around on determinism. He used to think that people who believe in free will were the progressive ones, that people who were determinists where just religious sorts saying 'God has it all worked out', and then he caught a completely different sense of this when he finally heard the Harris/Sapolsky type arguments (ie. Laplacian determinism).

Similarly, with things like holism and the strength and value of emergent factors, I do wonder if we might be getting ready trade our lens in on that from being 'something for silly theists' to something that establishes it's own degree of autonomy along it's own lines of resonance. I think grace itself might be one of these sorts of emergent things where, rather than just being a heap of luck, it's a layer of emergent reality that one can target and aim themselves toward participation in.

I get that this might seem a bit abstract but I do think it'll lead somewhere - maybe if not grace first at least our sense of all the abstract intangibles of higher biological life from mammals to trees. Holism or maybe a sort of 'reintegrationism' might be what comes after reductionism hits its perigee, scrapes pegs at the ground level of reality, and suggests that we need to synthesize everything we learned from that endeavor to reach back upward.


Quote:
you shouldn't have any preference whether you're eating the orange, the apple, or the dog crap.

Surely this is reductio ad absurdum...
Which is rather ironic...<chuckle>
Quote:
In logic, reductio ad absurdum (Latin for "reduction to absurdity"), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin for "argument to absurdity"), apagogical arguments or the appeal to extremes, is a form of argument that attempts either to disprove a statement by showing it inevitably leads to a ridiculous, absurd, or impractical conclusion, or to prove one by showing that if it were not true, the result would be absurd or impossible.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

You seem to be employing your view of "reductionism" indiscriminately and universally...
Choosing this line of argument is in itself reductionist, is it not?

As an aside, your post here is much easier to read/understand... :wink:
An addition aside, blue-and-yellow doesn't make purple...it makes green... 8O :wink:


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techstepgenr8tion
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30 Apr 2019, 6:56 pm

Pepe wrote:
You seem to be employing your view of "reductionism" indiscriminately and universally...
Choosing this line of argument is in itself reductionist, is it not?

That's sort of the idea in this case.

Pepe wrote:
As an aside, your post here is much easier to read/understand... :wink:
An addition aside, blue-and-yellow doesn't make purple...it makes green... 8O :wink:

Sorry, it's a pop-culture reference to a D12 rap. It could be 'blue, yellow, and purple pills' but anytime I heard it I'd swear Em was saying 'blue and yellow purple pills'.


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04 May 2019, 11:22 am

Emergence happens when you get a new unforeseen benefit or problem out of the combination of 2 things, which you would never get out of the one thing nor the other. You can call it synergy. If one thing can only do A, while the other thing can only do B, a 3rd capability C may emerge from the synergies of combining the two things. We find these things out by reductionist thinking. If we take a holistic view, we see 3 capabilities A, B, and C, but do not recognize the relationship between the ability of one to do A while the other does B, and that working together, C is produced out of the synergies. I suppose that you could only cal this grace if you deign that the capability that came out of the synergy is 'good'. It could as well be something that you deign as bad, that you might call anti-grace.

I think that the universe, as it is, is holistic. It is an explosion of ongoing change; a motion picture without a pause feature. But consciousness does not witness the current and ongoing effects of the big bang; an ongoing explosion of change. Consciousness takes snapshots and tries to deduct what happened in between the snapshots, based on what happened in previous snapshots. There is even evidence that consciousness creates time by this very process. Snapshots have to be lined up chronologically and there are time cells in the Hippocampus which manage that. It is impossible for reductionist human beings to witness anything holistically, because we have no organs with which to sense the holistic nature of the universe. Evidently, we are just springs and washers in the cosmic machine of the universe, with no need to know anything about what the graceful whole is doing with all of hits constantly emerging and subsiding synergies.

Humans are finite and can not hold the infinite holistic universe in a consciousness, which merely takes periodic samplings of what is occurring outside the bone boxes where our souls live.



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04 May 2019, 3:08 pm

Max1951 wrote:
Emergence happens when you get a new unforeseen benefit or problem out of the combination of 2 things, which you would never get out of the one thing nor the other. You can call it synergy. If one thing can only do A, while the other thing can only do B, a 3rd capability C may emerge from the synergies of combining the two things. We find these things out by reductionist thinking. If we take a holistic view, we see 3 capabilities A, B, and C, but do not recognize the relationship between the ability of one to do A while the other does B, and that working together, C is produced out of the synergies. I suppose that you could only cal this grace if you deign that the capability that came out of the synergy is 'good'. It could as well be something that you deign as bad, that you might call anti-grace.

In a lot of ways actually it seems like our grasp of A and B are fair to okay at this point and science is still a bit new even with A and B to start contemplating C. If C doesn't seem like A-ish B or B-ish A then it means we have some things to learn about what A, B and C have in common. I remember Geoffrey West was on Sam Harris's Waking Up / Making Sense podcast (#86) and he suggested that biology may be the big 21st century science, and if that's the case we may have some optimism that we'll have good theories of how to get C from A and B - or we may find a whole new can of worms, but we'll at least be knocking at the right door for further inquiry if we spend that much time trying to understand biology at the emergence level.

The way I'm thinking of grace here, under it's standard definition, it's likely something very close to the top tier of emergence and it something like an answer to all of those layers beneath it, ie. finding near perfect equilibrium and harmony with what exists and - as that becomes a well-worn path - it solidifies into something akin to magnetic lines in the way emergent systems tend set.



Max1951 wrote:
I think that the universe, as it is, is holistic. It is an explosion of ongoing change; a motion picture without a pause feature. But consciousness does not witness the current and ongoing effects of the big bang; an ongoing explosion of change. Consciousness takes snapshots and tries to deduct what happened in between the snapshots, based on what happened in previous snapshots. There is even evidence that consciousness creates time by this very process. Snapshots have to be lined up chronologically and there are time cells in the Hippocampus which manage that. It is impossible for reductionist human beings to witness anything holistically, because we have no organs with which to sense the holistic nature of the universe. Evidently, we are just springs and washers in the cosmic machine of the universe, with no need to know anything about what the graceful whole is doing with all of hits constantly emerging and subsiding synergies.

Thinking about time and brain processes this is probably the most interesting place to consider Zeno's arrow paradox. In the physical world it's absurd because it's known that the arrow has velocity and is on a predictable arc considering interference and the like. Us being able to take snapshots is one thing, our ability to - not even getting to lining up snapshots in order, setting up a system clock and knowing how frequently to take frames - that's an interesting skill set.

Max1951 wrote:
Humans are finite and can not hold the infinite holistic universe in a consciousness, which merely takes periodic samplings of what is occurring outside the bone boxes where our souls live.

We have finite processing for sure, and even when we have experiences of things we can't explain our natural inclination is to put them on the back burner or even file them way in the back of long-term storage rather quickly, likely because our survival is such an imperative that there's a genuine instinctive concern I think that side-lining or obscure information could imperil us.


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04 May 2019, 6:11 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
The way I'm thinking of grace here, under it's standard definition, it's likely something very close to the top tier of emergence and it something like an answer to all of those layers beneath it, ie. finding near perfect equilibrium and harmony with what exists and - as that becomes a well-worn path - it solidifies into something akin to magnetic lines in the way emergent systems tend set.


Finding equilibrium and harmony with what exists sounds like something to aim for. Sorta how to get what you want by learning to love whatever it is that you have. Sounds like the key to a happy life to me. Changing yourself instead of changing your circumstances. Sounds good. I would think that mindfulness is key in being able to do that.



techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Thinking about time and brain processes this is probably the most interesting place to consider Zeno's arrow paradox. In the physical world it's absurd because it's known that the arrow has velocity and is on a predictable arc considering interference and the like. Us being able to take snapshots is one thing, our ability to - not even getting to lining up snapshots in order, setting up a system clock and knowing how frequently to take frames - that's an interesting skill set.


No matter how quickly we shoot the frames, there is still an infinity of missed frames between each two. Our retinas only have so many receptors too, so our snapshots can only be of a small spot of the entire environment.. And we're only conscious of bits and pieces of what we are seeing. Sherlock Holmes was different. He attended to and saw everything at the scene of the crime. I wonder if those who shoot more frames faster (if there is indeed a difference in the rate at which we take snapshots) are the more mindful and observant among us.



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04 May 2019, 7:48 pm

Max1951 wrote:
No matter how quickly we shoot the frames, there is still an infinity of missed frames between each two. Our retinas only have so many receptors too, so our snapshots can only be of a small spot of the entire environment.. And we're only conscious of bits and pieces of what we are seeing. Sherlock Holmes was different. He attended to and saw everything at the scene of the crime. I wonder if those who shoot more frames faster (if there is indeed a difference in the rate at which we take snapshots) are the more mindful and observant among us.

You may disagree - I think your rate of frames might be good for fast-action sports or having good reaction times when needed, however I don't think more frames = new sequences of information otherwise missed. People who are great detectives seem to just have certain ways of mentally constructing the world, different ways of recursively pouring through bits of information, etc.. Similarly someone could be blind, have communication with spirits, and they'd be privy to something that no one else's eyes would have picked up anyway.


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05 May 2019, 8:18 pm

Oh wow, Rupert Sheldrake and Adrian Nielson just buried me on this.

I think Rupert's pretty much set to be a leader in offering models for emergent phenomenology:


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05 May 2019, 10:17 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Oh wow, Rupert Sheldrake and Adrian Nielson just buried me on this.

I think Rupert's pretty much set to be a leader in offering models for emergent phenomenology:



Quote:
Alfred Rupert Sheldrake (born 28 June 1942) is an English author,[3] and researcher in the field of parapsychology,[4] who proposed the concept of morphic resonance, a conjecture which lacks mainstream acceptance and has been characterised as pseudoscience.[5][6]

He worked as a biochemist at Cambridge University from 1967 to 1973[3] and as principal plant physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in India until 1978.[7]

Sheldrake's morphic resonance posits that "memory is inherent in nature"[3][8] and that "natural systems... inherit a collective memory from all previous things of their kind."[8] Sheldrake proposes that it is also responsible for "telepathy-type interconnections between organisms."[9][10] His advocacy of the idea offers idiosyncratic explanations of standard subjects in biology such as development, inheritance, and memory.

Morphic resonance is not accepted by the scientific community and Sheldrake's proposals relating to it have been widely criticised. Critics cite a lack of evidence for morphic resonance and inconsistencies between its tenets and data from genetics, embryology, neuroscience, and biochemistry. They also express concern that popular attention paid to Sheldrake's books and public appearances undermines the public's understanding of science.[a] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Sheldrake


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05 May 2019, 10:55 pm

Hacks generally don't fair well making narrow and falsifiable claims, unless they've got pitchers of spiked Koolaid to hand out in which case everyone dies before they can be falsified.

Also can you add Wiki's for Thomas Nagel and Christof Koch? TY.


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06 May 2019, 2:38 am

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Hacks generally don't fair well making narrow and falsifiable claims, unless they've got pitchers of spiked Koolaid to hand out in which case everyone dies before they can be falsified.

Also can you add Wiki's for Thomas Nagel and Christof Koch? TY.


Are you saying the Wiki entry is false?
If so, I agree that one needs a pinch of salt when using it, but do you have evidence refuting what was posted?

I don't know what to make of your reference to: Thomas Nagel and Christof Koch...<shrug>


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Autistic/scout motto: "Give me a better argument and I will listen..."
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"Honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others."
Truth may be inconvenient but it is never politically incorrect...The Oracle of Truth has spoken...8) I'm a rationalist...Deal with it...:mrgreen: