A quick thought on consciousness and where research might go

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techstepgenr8tion
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08 Nov 2018, 12:53 pm

Max1951 wrote:
Would you see the purpose of this "option engine" to be involved in the retrieval of memories?

No I meant it much more in the context of the keys being various sorts of needs and aspirations, ie. you have thirst, hunger, need to mate, avoid predation, and the whole barrage of various things you either know you need, vaguely think you need something like, or may not know you need until you see it - all of that is in something like a set of buffers. The keyholes are factors out in one's environment that match the keys.

Max1951 wrote:
Neurologically speaking, the "keyholes" of current experience, consist of the set of sensory cortex neurons activated by all body sensors involved in the current experience. The "keys" are memories which activated a similar set of sensory cortex neurons in the past. This is the physical basis of mental analogy; the point at which physical morphs into mental; the point where the physical Joe the Beagle is analogized to Birdy the German Shepherd to produce the mental category "dog", which compresses all of the ways in which the two animals are similar into one 3 letter noun. And compressed meaning tends towards conscious meaning as it approaches Integrated Information Theory's phi value.

I still have yet to understand the sense of closure so many people have along the lines of 'mentality = neurons firing'. Current models suggest that there's something wrong if we're not philosophic zombies - ie. matter has no mind. It could be a set of events, or type of events, closely correlated, and either way it also has just as much the combination problem - perhaps in an even more forwardly obvious manner - that many would claim panpsychism has.

We know that neurotransmitters play inextricable roles in mood, in regulating everything from signals to hormones. It's less obvious that we're closer to actually pinning down anything physical that we're having an intrinsic experience of. If we do actually pin it down as something physical then we have to admit that we're physical systems having an intrinsic experience which does a fair amount of damage to the dead-matter assumption of naive materialism.

Max1951 wrote:
Have you read Roger Penrose's "Emperor's new Mind" and "Shadows of the Mind"? In "Shadows of the Mind" Penrose works with anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff to formulate a theory that the probabilities concerning what an individual does next, is determined by the quantum gravity induced collapse of quantum wave functions isolated withing cytoskeletal microtubules. This is not one of my favorite theories though. Hofstadter speaks to me. Perhaps someone with a greater grounding in quantum physics might prefer Penrose's Orchestrated Objective Reduction (microtubule walking motor proteins like kinesin modulate the development of the wave function within microtubules to orchestrate the collapse of the wave function).

It still sounds a bit 'groovy' without doing very well at broadening its own implications. Don't get me wrong, if Anirban Bandyopadhyay or Stuart Hameroff start having gainful conversations with people like Jim Al Khalili (sort of the Michael Shermer of quantum biology) it could have interesting results but it will get a lot more positive attention when and if they're able to link this to things like more effective medical treatments. Quantum entanglement sounded weird but we don't laugh at the encryption we're able to get out of it. Similarly quantum biological medicine if it pans out could get a lot of praise and a lot more funding but with the microtubule theory of consciousness Stuart, Roger, and Anirban still have a way to go in tying out their observations with evolutionary biology and figuring out why species would evolve toward such a state and perhaps even be able to sort out the environmental determinants that factor in.

Max1951 wrote:
Anything can be described mathematically. But what do the mathematical monsters represent in the physical world?

Clearly they represent complexity in its extremes. Robert Sapolsky has a lecture from 2011 (Stanford U) on Youtube titled 'Chaos and Reductionism' where he gets into how things like bifurcation routes aren't planned for at the gene level but rather they're the recursive result of things that are. Mathematical monsters are gifts that sort of keep on giving, continually folding back on themselves due to their own extreme instability, and it's one of the few things in nature that starts getting as squirrely as RNA behavior or biological life.

That I was able to have that reflection and 'feel' or process it in a profound sense was an interesting experience. I did look into it more but my biggest critique of my thought processes on this, maybe at least partially in agreement with your critique, is it at least partially has a 'chicken or egg' problem in that we don't know what it would be like to be a non-recursive or non-complex process having experiences in the same way that we don't know what it would be like for life to have not evolved on earth or the universe to have not had the right constants for life. That doesn't mean it's worthless as a hypothesis or a model to contemplate but I'd agree that it's still best taken with a grain of salt.


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Max1951
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09 Nov 2018, 12:56 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:

No I meant it much more in the context of the keys being various sorts of needs and aspirations, ie. you have thirst, hunger, need to mate, avoid predation, and the whole barrage of various things you either know you need, vaguely think you need something like, or may not know you need until you see it - all of that is in something like a set of buffers. The keyholes are factors out in one's environment that match the keys.


I think non-instinctual desires come about via trial and error. I mean that we learn to want a thing based on past experience. For instance if I try marijuana based on my curiosity, and find that I enjoy its effect, then I might desire to do it again. Instinctual desires, like hunger, are a different story. Thus when you touch a newborn's cheek with your finger it will evoke the sucking response, which was pre-programmed in the DNA. Ghrelin secretions in an empty stomach will evoke a desire to eat. But generally we desire that which we think will make our lives more agreeable, based on what has made our lives more agreeable in the past. In a word. We learn our non-instinctual desires, and our desires modulate our actions.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:

I still have yet to understand the sense of closure so many people have along the lines of 'mentality = neurons firing'. Current models suggest that there's something wrong if we're not philosophic zombies - ie. matter has no mind. It could be a set of events, or type of events, closely correlated, and either way it also has just as much the combination problem - perhaps in an even more forwardly obvious manner - that many would claim panpsychism has.


If panpsychism is true, there are no philosophical zombies. Under that theory even a stone or an atom would have a small spec of consciousness. But even under panpsychism, I would suppose that the arrangement of the material holding the panpsychic energy, could make a difference in the amount of consciousness which the material could host. Just trying to say that I feel that 'neurons firing' helps a chunk of matter realize a much greater degree of consciousness. But, yeah, who knows; panpsychically speaking, a stone might be smarter than the lot of us :)


techstepgenr8tion wrote:

We know that neurotransmitters play inextricable roles in mood, in regulating everything from signals to hormones. It's less obvious that we're closer to actually pinning down anything physical that we're having an intrinsic experience of. If we do actually pin it down as something physical then we have to admit that we're physical systems having an intrinsic experience which does a fair amount of damage to the dead-matter assumption of naive materialism.


I agree about neurotransmitters and other chemicals affecting mood. I'd just point out that, ultimately it is environmental experience which causes the neurons to fire, and evolutionarily speaking, has caused the development of neurons themselves. When neurons fire, calcium signals enter the cellular nucleus, causing RNAs to be sent to ribosomes to produce the chemicals which affect mood.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:

It still sounds a bit 'groovy' without doing very well at broadening its own implications. Don't get me wrong, if Anirban Bandyopadhyay or Stuart Hameroff start having gainful conversations with people like Jim Al Khalili (sort of the Michael Shermer of quantum biology) it could have interesting results but it will get a lot more positive attention when and if they're able to link this to things like more effective medical treatments. Quantum entanglement sounded weird but we don't laugh at the encryption we're able to get out of it. Similarly quantum biological medicine if it pans out could get a lot of praise and a lot more funding but with the microtubule theory of consciousness Stuart, Roger, and Anirban still have a way to go in tying out their observations with evolutionary biology and figuring out why species would evolve toward such a state and perhaps even be able to sort out the environmental determinants that factor in.


Yes, it will take a lot of thoughtfully developed experiments and new tech to get from 'groovy' quantum gravity collapsible wave functions in microtubules to medical treatments. But when you explore new ground, you never know where you might stumble upon something golden. And just look at the new imaging techniques and gadgets that are being developed to aid neurological research. It reminds me of all the technological developments which were made in the early space program and going to the moon.



techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Clearly they represent complexity in its extremes. Robert Sapolsky has a lecture from 2011 (Stanford U) on Youtube titled 'Chaos and Reductionism' where he gets into how things like bifurcation routes aren't planned for at the gene level but rather they're the recursive result of things that are. Mathematical monsters are gifts that sort of keep on giving, continually folding back on themselves due to their own extreme instability, and it's one of the few things in nature that starts getting as squirrely as RNA behavior or biological life.


I found Sapolsky's lecture on Reductionist and Chaos interesting. Consciousness is always a unified whole, so one for one reductionist techniques only work on the first layer of the cortex, where one body sensor is connected to one cortical neuron. But after that, bifurcation starts in the dendritic trees of neurons in lower layers of the cortex and in the nuclei, deep in the brain. And bifurcation is fractal, so we descend into chaos at some point.

In a word, the video says that you can't understand consciousness reductively. So we have to explore the fuzzy sort of science where things seem to happen chaotically, and we will never come to an exacting answer of how material turns into conscious material. So we're left with statements like, 'the system has become so complex that something strange has emerged, namely consciousness.'

How does conscious pain work? Body sensors send electrical pulses to the first cortical layer, in a one for one manner. But pain is not meaningful until it is associated with other things we have learned and remembered. So the initial electrical pulse in the first layer, sets off a Ruby Goldberg machine as cascades of neurons in lower cortical layers and deep nuclei fire and pass on potential to other neurons. It gets very complex and out of this complexity emerges consciousness, a butterfly graph which never reaches a concrete location but keeps buzzing around a vicinity. It lacks a concrete explanation of how all this electricity firing off neuron potentials gives us the feeling of an experience. It just emerges out of the complexity.

It's a theory that leaves one hungry for an explanation like 'at a value phi, there is so much information within the restricted space of the butterfly state diagram that it becomes conscious information.' No process. It just happens by magic, like the quantum jump of an electron from one atomic shell to another crossing no space in between, or how water turns to ice at certain temperatures. So why do we even bother with all the explanation and just say that consciousness emerges magically from complexity?

Or is there something about an iterative process which allows a system to perceive what it is doing; to know where it has been and where it wants to go? How does a pinprick to a skin cell, communicated to its matching neuron on the first cortical layer, come to be felt as pain? It either has to happen by associating it with other elements of knowledge or by acting as a radio receiver for a panpsychic consciousness. What else could it be?

I think I'll watch Sopolsky's next lecture on complexity and emergence. I enjoyed his approach to the question of what to do when reductionism ceases to work. He's fun to listen to. In the next lecture he'll cover Cellular Automata, where a single simple rule can produce a plot resembling a snowflake or a snail shell or a tree leaf. When you have a rule for which cells to blacken and which to leave white, and it produces a picture of a living thing, does that tell us that there is a relationship between recursive systems and consciousness? It's an idea worth exploring, but I don't think that we are looking for an exacting answer. Perhaps the electromagnetic waves produced by the firing neurons is where the feel of an experience resides. And a wave is not exacting; it's just an idea of intensity and variability.



techstepgenr8tion
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10 Nov 2018, 12:46 am

Max1951 wrote:
I think non-instinctual desires come about via trial and error. I mean that we learn to want a thing based on past experience. For instance if I try marijuana based on my curiosity, and find that I enjoy its effect, then I might desire to do it again. Instinctual desires, like hunger, are a different story. Thus when you touch a newborn's cheek with your finger it will evoke the sucking response, which was pre-programmed in the DNA. Ghrelin secretions in an empty stomach will evoke a desire to eat. But generally we desire that which we think will make our lives more agreeable, based on what has made our lives more agreeable in the past. In a word. We learn our non-instinctual desires, and our desires modulate our actions.

Part of what got me on that particular vector though, and not being quite as worried about what the machinery is made of (ie. memory and self-reference), was the question of what such processes do that would cause them to coagulate to begin with and be a thing useful or instrumental enough to be viable in nature. In that sense I think of it as a nexus of various kinds of energy and activities that are constantly flowing through and interacting with it. I still don't know whether I'm a determinist or indeterminist (Brian Greene scolding Sam Harris on determinism caught my attention - apparently there's some solid physics basis for indeterminism) but I'm not a believer in free will and largely because we're not just in the flow of time but also because inputs enter us, outputs leave us, but none of them are us and yet they flip all of our levers. We seem to have as little say in what we are as we do in what we want to become.

One of the things that still blows my mind about human life is that women who find out they're sterile or men who in some way know they'll never be fathers don't hit a biological 'game over' and die within a year. It could be that the cells themselves have a will to live for their own sake but it also gets me wondering about the sorts of things that we'll take in trade or exchange for root needs and just how unusual that sort of abstraction is when we think about biological life and how parsimonious nature tends to be with it.

It wouldn't shock me though to find that the instability of RNA has something to do with consciousness or proto-consciousness. If I try flipping that around there's also the whole other side of this that I'm forced to entertain - ie. the possibility that there are forms of life far more ancient than carbon-based ones, that they might grapple with RNA to spin up a process and essentially lend their own ingenuity to some degree. That side of the coin, which I've tried not to talk about too much in this thread so far, is the kind of thing guys like Aaron Lietch, Frater Ashen Chassan, Stephen Skinner, etc. talk about when they're interviewed on channels like Glitch Bottle with respect to the Lesser Key of Solomon, Goetia, Shemhamforash, etc.. We're still stuck in unfortunately very dated and religious language for such things which causes all kinds of confusion but it also does suggest that there are also natural reasons for such life forms to want to cultivate organic life; whether that's to embody in a different manner, whether it's sort of like their version of farming (ie. grazing on our emotions), there could be a whole host of drives to that.

One of the things Bret Weinstein said in an interview with Travis Pangburn (somewhere late in that particular Pangburn Philosophy episode) is that one of the speculations he found fascinating that he wanted to look into further was the idea that natural selection doesn't just occur in organic life but also with inorganic forms of matter. I thought it was fascinating that he thought to broaden the category in that manner and I'd love to see if he's able to expand on that or talk about that some time at length on his channel if he can think of anyone who already has started exploring said avenue. The real value to that IMHO is being able discuss creative processes going on in the universe really at all levels without either getting too dead-end in speculating we're a freak accident or getting too spooky for some people (like I perhaps did above) but rather offering a sort of middle road for thinking about these things that wouldn't require any sort of strong philosophic commitments or which would be unlikely to rattle those that people already have too jarringly.

Max1951 wrote:

If panpsychism is true, there are no philosophical zombies. Under that theory even a stone or an atom would have a small spec of consciousness. But even under panpsychism, I would suppose that the arrangement of the material holding the panpsychic energy, could make a difference in the amount of consciousness which the material could host. Just trying to say that I feel that 'neurons firing' helps a chunk of matter realize a much greater degree of consciousness. But, yeah, who knows; panpsychically speaking, a stone might be smarter than the lot of us :)

We'd also have to grapple with the idea that there could just be something that there's like to be things that we can't further ingress into aside from by being them. That's been one of the more frustrating barriers with physics is that it can't say much about intrinsics; it can tell us a plenitude of information about interactions and reliable reactions and behaviors but at the lowest level we don't know 'what' anything is without circling back through our own labels and hoping we can find one convincing enough that we can put the question back to bed for a while.

I would agree that richness and complexity likely have to go hand in hand with respect to experience, largely because you sort of have to look at complexity and fidelity as - if not exactly the same, the later needs the former.

Max1951 wrote:
I agree about neurotransmitters and other chemicals affecting mood. I'd just point out that, ultimately it is environmental experience which causes the neurons to fire, and evolutionarily speaking, has caused the development of neurons themselves. When neurons fire, calcium signals enter the cellular nucleus, causing RNAs to be sent to ribosomes to produce the chemicals which affect mood.

Do you think it's possible this might be chicken and egg at the same time though? Environment sculpts various forms of matter through natural processes, certain types of activity coagulate in some as self-reference starts to build in places that offer the requirements for such instability. Awareness reacts to environment which reacts to awareness. Seems like it's an ongoing dance of two partners in that sense.

Max1951 wrote:
Yes, it will take a lot of thoughtfully developed experiments and new tech to get from 'groovy' quantum gravity collapsible wave functions in microtubules to medical treatments. But when you explore new ground, you never know where you might stumble upon something golden. And just look at the new imaging techniques and gadgets that are being developed to aid neurological research. It reminds me of all the technological developments which were made in the early space program and going to the moon.

And I wouldn't bat it down on the groovy front, string theory's pretty groovy in it's own right as well and it seems like an often necessary travel stop on the road to new ideas.

Max1951 wrote:
I found Sapolsky's lecture on Reductionist and Chaos interesting. Consciousness is always a unified whole, so one for one reductionist techniques only work on the first layer of the cortex, where one body sensor is connected to one cortical neuron. But after that, bifurcation starts in the dendritic trees of neurons in lower layers of the cortex and in the nuclei, deep in the brain. And bifurcation is fractal, so we descend into chaos at some point.

Mmm... I think rather than saying that it's always a unified whole I'd say we have grave difficulties in talking about it when it isn't. It seems to almost by definition present us with mysteries.

Max1951 wrote:
In a word, the video says that you can't understand consciousness reductively. So we have to explore the fuzzy sort of science where things seem to happen chaotically, and we will never come to an exacting answer of how material turns into conscious material. So we're left with statements like, 'the system has become so complex that something strange has emerged, namely consciousness.'

Do you think that might also be sort of shaping up in our conversation?

I've found this helpful so far because we've been able to put recursion, self-referencing, chaos, instability, and a lot similar concepts out on the table. I'm trying to still hash out how much of this might be a game of synonyms and how much of it might be pointing at something that connects it all.

Max1951 wrote:
How does conscious pain work? Body sensors send electrical pulses to the first cortical layer, in a one for one manner. But pain is not meaningful until it is associated with other things we have learned and remembered. So the initial electrical pulse in the first layer, sets off a Ruby Goldberg machine as cascades of neurons in lower cortical layers and deep nuclei fire and pass on potential to other neurons. It gets very complex and out of this complexity emerges consciousness, a butterfly graph which never reaches a concrete location but keeps buzzing around a vicinity. It lacks a concrete explanation of how all this electricity firing off neuron potentials gives us the feeling of an experience. It just emerges out of the complexity.

We still seem to come with a degree of firmwear as well though - ie. there seems to be plenty we react to in fear or delight that doesn't come from living memory and I've heard it offered along evolutionary biology lines that you tend to start off with firmwear tantamount to the habits of the chains of ancestors which survived long enough to procreate and all of the things they did which made your existence possible.

Max1951 wrote:
It's a theory that leaves one hungry for an explanation like 'at a value phi, there is so much information within the restricted space of the butterfly state diagram that it becomes conscious information.' No process. It just happens by magic, like the quantum jump of an electron from one atomic shell to another crossing no space in between, or how water turns to ice at certain temperatures. So why do we even bother with all the explanation and just say that consciousness emerges magically from complexity?

This is also why I have little trouble listening to a podcast by Michael Shermer, Robert Sapolsky, Brian Greene, etc., and then paging right to something on Hermeticism. One of the thing's that's often fun about listening to Gordon White (Rune Soup) is that he'll often go on about these things just like we are now and jump from magic to science to postmodernism to electoral politics, over to permaculture, and then back around that dial. Here in the West we seem to be living in a day and age where our thinking is mostly dominated by political concerns and at this point the horrors of religion seem like they're so strong in cultural memory that the only antidote on offer powerful enough to stop them from asserting tyranny over reason has been an equally steadfast naive materialism. There doesn't seem to be a particularly good reason for the universe not to be teaming with consciousness, it's just that certain angles of inquiry tend to hit those cultural tripwires.


Max1951 wrote:
Or is there something about an iterative process which allows a system to perceive what it is doing; to know where it has been and where it wants to go? How does a pinprick to a skin cell, communicated to its matching neuron on the first cortical layer, come to be felt as pain? It either has to happen by associating it with other elements of knowledge or by acting as a radio receiver for a panpsychic consciousness. What else could it be?

If history, reality, the Universe, time and space *really* wanted to take it easy on us and play gently we could stumble on something like a Decartes Boson; gift-wrapped package, environmental part of the mystery solved. For what we know right now unfortunately it seems as likely as unlikely. We can hope, maybe give a 'psssst!' and hope it might patronize our intellectual and emotional needs a bit, past that I suppose there's just lots of processing the few clues we have.

Max1951 wrote:
I think I'll watch Sopolsky's next lecture on complexity and emergence. I enjoyed his approach to the question of what to do when reductionism ceases to work. He's fun to listen to. In the next lecture he'll cover Cellular Automata, where a single simple rule can produce a plot resembling a snowflake or a snail shell or a tree leaf. When you have a rule for which cells to blacken and which to leave white, and it produces a picture of a living thing, does that tell us that there is a relationship between recursive systems and consciousness? It's an idea worth exploring, but I don't think that we are looking for an exacting answer. Perhaps the electromagnetic waves produced by the firing neurons is where the feel of an experience resides. And a wave is not exacting; it's just an idea of intensity and variability.

It's the kind of information environment where you have to sort of just let your brain marinate in it and with enough saturation and a bit of luck more answers are forthcoming. There's really not much else to do because we're looking at a pattern rather than a solid 'thing', and that's more than what we're used to as a species for the most part.


_________________
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privelege of owning yourself" - Rudyard Kipling


Max1951
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13 Nov 2018, 12:10 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Part of what got me on that particular vector though, and not being quite as worried about what the machinery is made of (ie. memory and self-reference), was the question of what such processes do that would cause them to coagulate to begin with and be a thing useful or instrumental enough to be viable in nature.


Single cell life forms like bacteria communicate with each other by releasing chemicals into their environment. That reminds me of how single cell neurons communicate with each other by releasing chemicals into their environment. Put a lot of single cells like that together and they communicate a lot, and consciousness pops out. I suppose they come together into multi-cellular creatures to make their communication more efficient. For that matter, put a lot of multi-cellular humans together and they communicate electrically and build cities, which, themselves are like great big multi-cellular creatures. Cities have arteries (roads), nerve centers (governments), etc. Can we say that cities have a certain consciousness, born of the cooperation of many humans? Or is there a universal consciousness of the world...have you ever heard of the Global Consciousness Project? Have a look here;

http://noosphere.princeton.edu/gcpintro.html

So does a single neuron have its own consciousness? Are there 80 billion separate communicating consciousnesses in my head?

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
In that sense I think of it as a nexus of various kinds of energy and activities that are constantly flowing through and interacting with it. .


If you equate consciousness to the brain, the energy which would flow through consciousness would be the electrical pulses from the body sensor cells in the skin retina etc. That energy pulses through networks of neurons as they fire and synchronize, creating brainwaves. Consciousness might lie in the brainwaves created by the synchronized firing of diverse groups of neurons. I read an article today that opined that consciousness might lie in the reverberations created by brainwaves. Have a look at this link

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-11- ... brate.html

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
I still don't know whether I'm a determinist or indeterminist (Brian Greene scolding Sam Harris on determinism caught my attention - apparently there's some solid physics basis for indeterminism) but I'm not a believer in free will and largely because we're not just in the flow of time but also because inputs enter us, outputs leave us, but none of them are us and yet they flip all of our levers. We seem to have as little say in what we are as we do in what we want to become.


I'm a firm determinist. Our will is not free. We are born B F Skinner's 'tabula rasa ' or blank slate. Our life experiences writes upon this slate. We are born with some reflexes and instincts, and that's it. So how can we react other than how we have learned to react? As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. We act in the way our culture and genetic makeup dictate. The only things we can do are things which we have learned to do in our life experience. So we have an analogical script for every new experience that life throws our way. As 'tabula rasa' neonates, we know nothing. We can't make a choice. But through the serendipity of life experience, we are given an ever expanding repertoire of scripts which dictate our every choice. This has some interesting implications on morality, if you think about it.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:

One of the things that still blows my mind about human life is that women who find out they're sterile or men who in some way know they'll never be fathers don't hit a biological 'game over' and die within a year. It could be that the cells themselves have a will to live for their own sake but it also gets me wondering about the sorts of things that we'll take in trade or exchange for root needs and just how unusual that sort of abstraction is when we think about biological life and how parsimonious nature tends to be with it.


It is a cruel nature, which erases its evolutionary dead ends with extinction. What sort of goal does evolution have anyway; a perfect lifeform; a god? Is evolution the manner in which life navigates a constantly changing universe? Perhaps we're just the smallest of neurons in that universal pan psychic lifeforce. Everything is connected; everything is one. We just can't perceive the dimension in which we can realize that we're all connected.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:

It wouldn't shock me though to find that the instability of RNA has something to do with consciousness or proto-consciousness. If I try flipping that around there's also the whole other side of this that I'm forced to entertain - ie. the possibility that there are forms of life far more ancient than carbon-based ones, that they might grapple with RNA to spin up a process and essentially lend their own ingenuity to some degree. That side of the coin, which I've tried not to talk about too much in this thread so far, is the kind of thing guys like Aaron Lietch, Frater Ashen Chassan, Stephen Skinner, etc. talk about when they're interviewed on channels like Glitch Bottle with respect to the Lesser Key of Solomon, Goetia, Shemhamforash, etc.. We're still stuck in unfortunately very dated and religious language for such things which causes all kinds of confusion but it also does suggest that there are also natural reasons for such life forms to want to cultivate organic life; whether that's to embody in a different manner, whether it's sort of like their version of farming (ie. grazing on our emotions), there could be a whole host of drives to that.


Viruses can insert themselves into our DNA. If that gives the DNA a better chance at survival in its environment, the modified DNA might be incorporated in the passed-down genome epigenetically. Similarly, some scientists claim that mitochondria, with its own set of DNA may have originally been a bacterium which became trapped within the phospholipid bi-layer of a cell during its formation. Also, gut bacteria send chemical signals to the brain via the Vagus nerve, which affect hunger and mood. Truly, the world runs through our body and flips our switches. It's all one big system. You mention the possibility of some higher life form grazing on our emotions. Maybe it's more likely that this higher life form is an incorporation of all life on earth into an Earth-being, who, in turn, is a component of a single universal life form which pervades all matter.

BTW, your mention of the Seal of Solomon and of the 27th Path of Peh your by line make me think that you might follow the Kabbalastic tradition. If so, do you think these teachings hold any value in the study of consciousness?


techstepgenr8tion wrote:

One of the things Bret Weinstein said in an interview with Travis Pangburn (somewhere late in that particular Pangburn Philosophy episode) is that one of the speculations he found fascinating that he wanted to look into further was the idea that natural selection doesn't just occur in organic life but also with inorganic forms of matter. I thought it was fascinating that he thought to broaden the category in that manner and I'd love to see if he's able to expand on that or talk about that some time at length on his channel if he can think of anyone who already has started exploring said avenue. The real value to that IMHO is being able discuss creative processes going on in the universe really at all levels without either getting too dead-end in speculating we're a freak accident or getting too spooky for some people (like I perhaps did above) but rather offering a sort of middle road for thinking about these things that wouldn't require any sort of strong philosophic commitments or which would be unlikely to rattle those that people already have too jarringly.


I find it hard to get a toehold in thinking that evolution affects inorganic matter. The only way I can see is if panpsychism is assumed to be the means of consciousness. Because evolution is doing that which is necessary to assure the continued existence of a life form. Thus, something only evolves if it has life to preserve. As to the spookiness of it all, biology is based in physics and what is spookier than the physics of the fundamental. The universe gets spookier, the closer you look at it. Of course human evolution affects the material world indirectly, through our technological innovations. With the help of Caterpillar Corp, we move mountains.


techstepgenr8tion wrote:
We'd also have to grapple with the idea that there could just be something that there's like to be things that we can't further ingress into aside from by being them. That's been one of the more frustrating barriers with physics is that it can't say much about intrinsics; it can tell us a plenitude of information about interactions and reliable reactions and behaviors but at the lowest level we don't know 'what' anything is without circling back through our own labels and hoping we can find one convincing enough that we can put the question back to bed for a while.


I would agree that richness and complexity likely have to go hand in hand with respect to experience, largely because you sort of have to look at complexity and fidelity as - if not exactly the same, the later needs the former.


The question of internal subjective meaning can be answered in 2 ways.

1 - panpsychism magically understands what it's like to be a piece of matter.
2 - the iterative nature of conscious experience, where every new quale is felt in relation to previous, similar quales remembered from previous conscious experience.

Under such a theory, consciousness would start off as a small seed in the zygotes, and grow throughout life by means of experience. Each new experience would be understood in terms of previous experience, and so carry the meaning of the previous experience into the new experience. When meaning reaches a certain saturation which Integrated Information Theory calls 'phi', consciousness would emerge.

An interesting corollary here is that there has only ever been one single consciousness, which is passed from generation to generation via the germ cells in reproduction. So we begin with an infinitesimal consciousness that grows with experience. Not that much different than cells dividing in a living body. Neurons in a single person are separate and work together via communication just like people are separate and work through communication.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Do you think it's possible this might be chicken and egg at the same time though? Environment sculpts various forms of matter through natural processes, certain types of activity coagulate in some as self-reference starts to build in places that offer the requirements for such instability. Awareness reacts to environment which reacts to awareness. Seems like it's an ongoing dance of two partners in that sense.


It might be chicken and egg, or maybe not. If life arose by chance combinations (monkeys accidently type out "War and Peace"), then you have the chicken and egg problem. But if the seed of consciousness arose by intelligent design, it would be the work of a greater intelligence. Of course, with this option, you end up with endless regress, as the creator would have to have a creator, all the way down. Neither seems very likely. But what else could it be?

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Mmm... I think rather than saying that it's always a unified whole I'd say we have grave difficulties in talking about it when it isn't. It seems to almost by definition present us with mysteries.


String theory talks about 11 dimensions and there are compelling theoretical reasons to think it might be true.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswith ... 16efec5a53


So what if we are all really one, when you look at creation in 11 dimensions? A horseshoe passing through a 2 dimensional Flatland plane looks like 2 dots until you reach the rounded part which connects the 3 dots, then it looks like a shortening line. So maybe in our perceived 4 dimensions we look separate, but we would be one consciousness in a 5th or 11th dimension.


techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Do you think that might also be sort of shaping up in our conversation?

I've found this helpful so far because we've been able to put recursion, self-referencing, chaos, instability, and a lot similar concepts out on the table. I'm trying to still hash out how much of this might be a game of synonyms and how much of it might be pointing at something that connects it all.


It's the same problem as when neurologists detect certain patterns in the brain, which occur with certain thoughts in the mind. Correlation indicates where to look for a relationship but doesn't prove a relationship by itself. I think that the best we'll ever do is to extract utilitarian value out of theoretical concepts of consciousness, much like we extract utilitarian value out of other theories, like relativity or the Standard Model of Physics. Although the theories are unproven, we can make them work for us.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
We still seem to come with a degree of firmwear as well though - ie. there seems to be plenty we react to in fear or delight that doesn't come from living memory and I've heard it offered along evolutionary biology lines that you tend to start off with firmwear tantamount to the habits of the chains of ancestors which survived long enough to procreate and all of the things they did which made your existence possible. .


I think that you are talking about the function of the amygdala here. The amygdala is what directly connects the unconscious perception of an immediate danger with a script for action against the danger. Thus, when we touch a hot stove, we withdraw our hand before we feel the pain. If we would wait until the pain became conscious, the hand would be irreparably damaged. Ditto for reaction in fleeing a predator. The amygdala evolved because it was an obvious requirement for preserving life.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
This is also why I have little trouble listening to a podcast by Michael Shermer, Robert Sapolsky, Brian Greene, etc., and then paging right to something on Hermeticism. One of the thing's that's often fun about listening to Gordon White (Rune Soup) is that he'll often go on about these things just like we are now and jump from magic to science to postmodernism to electoral politics, over to permaculture, and then back around that dial. Here in the West we seem to be living in a day and age where our thinking is mostly dominated by political concerns and at this point the horrors of religion seem like they're so strong in cultural memory that the only antidote on offer powerful enough to stop them from asserting tyranny over reason has been an equally steadfast naive materialism. There doesn't seem to be a particularly good reason for the universe not to be teaming with consciousness, it's just that certain angles of inquiry tend to hit those cultural tripwires.


I find much of Buddhism to be down to earth, and have great bearing on the subject of consciousness. Particularly in the area of the self, which is seen as the root of all suffering. Maybe without the 'self' concept we might realize more truth in the oneness of creation. Much of Buddhism seems to be a study of consciousness. Buddhist meditation attempts to exercise consciousness apart from personal biographical memory, and to concentrate on the present sensory experience without relation to the preceding or following 'self'. It allows one to cease thinking in order to concentrate on being. And it cracks open the door to a vision of the oneness of everything. But Buddhism too, just like other religions, has amassed a bunch of cultural baggage around itself which tends to impede progress, as you say.



techstepgenr8tion wrote:
If history, reality, the Universe, time and space *really* wanted to take it easy on us and play gently we could stumble on something like a Decartes Boson; gift-wrapped package, environmental part of the mystery solved. For what we know right now unfortunately it seems as likely as unlikely. We can hope, maybe give a 'psssst!' and hope it might patronize our intellectual and emotional needs a bit, past that I suppose there's just lots of processing the few clues we have.


So long as two people mix up their DNA to make new, genetically unique individuals, we have a chance at finding the gift-wrapped concept that allows us to understand exactly how mind emerges from matter. At some point, man is going to have to upload his consciousness to a more durable substrate, if his consciousness is to survive. Evolution has gotten us this far. Maybe it will work its magic in the future. Either that, or we are just another dead end for cruel nature to exterminate.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
It's the kind of information environment where you have to sort of just let your brain marinate in it and with enough saturation and a bit of luck more answers are forthcoming. There's really not much else to do because we're looking at a pattern rather than a solid 'thing', and that's more than what we're used to as a species for the most part.


I think the question of consciousness is always stewing in my subconscious. Several times a day, I take note of things which mysteriously pop into my consciousness and think about what must have been going on in my subconscious to cause that. And any new insight feels gratifying. Looking for answers to this greatest riddle ever, is a lot of fun.



techstepgenr8tion
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15 Nov 2018, 12:51 am

Max1951 wrote:
Single cell life forms like bacteria communicate with each other by releasing chemicals into their environment. That reminds me of how single cell neurons communicate with each other by releasing chemicals into their environment. Put a lot of single cells like that together and they communicate a lot, and consciousness pops out. I suppose they come together into multi-cellular creatures to make their communication more efficient. For that matter, put a lot of multi-cellular humans together and they communicate electrically and build cities, which, themselves are like great big multi-cellular creatures. Cities have arteries (roads), nerve centers (governments), etc. Can we say that cities have a certain consciousness, born of the cooperation of many humans? Or is there a universal consciousness of the world...have you ever heard of the Global Consciousness Project? Have a look here;

http://noosphere.princeton.edu/gcpintro.html

On that last part I've really liked Mark Stavish's recent interview on his new book entitled Egregores. I do think he's right, and I'd add that I've listened to him for the last several years, am aware that he was already writing some incredibly detailed esoteric and alchemical work as far back as the 1990s (some of his articles and early lessons are still around in various places on SacredTexts).

I think a really simple and bimodal way of putting it, one that doesn't offend either panpsychism or materialism too greatly is something that does join in the center of that Venn diagram, is that consciousness is clearly holographic in nature. The debate over whether that's literal when extended beyond physical brains or whether it's just a 'behaves as if but isn't' really involves everyone in the argument looking at all of the evidence, which is tough in this climate.


Max1951 wrote:
If you equate consciousness to the brain, the energy which would flow through consciousness would be the electrical pulses from the body sensor cells in the skin retina etc. That energy pulses through networks of neurons as they fire and synchronize, creating brainwaves. Consciousness might lie in the brainwaves created by the synchronized firing of diverse groups of neurons. I read an article today that opined that consciousness might lie in the reverberations created by brainwaves. Have a look at this link

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-11- ... brate.html

The argument I was making there might be better summed up with the analogy of an eardrum. Yes, we do have all of the cellular and neurological feedback mechanisms that make the coordination of action and information possible but in a way our environments play us like musical instruments. There's nothing you do, nothing you think to do, feel to do, or even can do, without some type of external or deeper (from beyond the threshold of conscious or discursive assembly) which would cause you to do so. Void of context nothing happens, and it's no wonder - energy's not free.

Max1951 wrote:
I'm a firm determinist. Our will is not free. We are born B F Skinner's 'tabula rasa ' or blank slate. Our life experiences writes upon this slate. We are born with some reflexes and instincts, and that's it. So how can we react other than how we have learned to react? As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. We act in the way our culture and genetic makeup dictate. The only things we can do are things which we have learned to do in our life experience. So we have an analogical script for every new experience that life throws our way. As 'tabula rasa' neonates, we know nothing. We can't make a choice. But through the serendipity of life experience, we are given an ever expanding repertoire of scripts which dictate our every choice. This has some interesting implications on morality, if you think about it.

I think the determinism/indeterminism is a subtler argument. Both would argue that free will is an illusion. The difference is that one view (the determinist view) argues that you could wind the clock forward or backward and have a solid/contiguous 4-dimensional solid from the big bang all the way to the present and beyond, where you could rewind and replay a segment of time as many times as you wished and it would be an absolutely perfect causal replica. I thought this way for years but, being firmly rebuked by Brian Greene, I'm thinking he may know something I don't and I'll want to look into that more. Quantum noise or indeterminism would have zero impact in favor of free will but what it would mean is that such a 4-dimensional solid as the earlier view offered doesn't exist and that the universe can't be causally traced back to its origin in such a way.

Max1951 wrote:
It is a cruel nature, which erases its evolutionary dead ends with extinction. What sort of goal does evolution have anyway; a perfect lifeform; a god? Is evolution the manner in which life navigates a constantly changing universe? Perhaps we're just the smallest of neurons in that universal pan psychic lifeforce. Everything is connected; everything is one. We just can't perceive the dimension in which we can realize that we're all connected.

We're clearly all connected by the big bang and perhaps even by the same causal framework or physics driving us. I'd think evolution has less of a goal than a rule though (some kind of parsimony I'd guess as most laws of physics follow) and it's perhaps figuring out what that rule is that might be the trick to predicting where it might head.

Max1951 wrote:
Viruses can insert themselves into our DNA. If that gives the DNA a better chance at survival in its environment, the modified DNA might be incorporated in the passed-down genome epigenetically. Similarly, some scientists claim that mitochondria, with its own set of DNA may have originally been a bacterium which became trapped within the phospholipid bi-layer of a cell during its formation. Also, gut bacteria send chemical signals to the brain via the Vagus nerve, which affect hunger and mood. Truly, the world runs through our body and flips our switches.

Giving credence to that it's increasingly coming to light as well just how much of our identity is shaped by the flora balance we have in our GI tracks.

Max1951 wrote:
It's all one big system. You mention the possibility of some higher life form grazing on our emotions. Maybe it's more likely that this higher life form is an incorporation of all life on earth into an Earth-being, who, in turn, is a component of a single universal life form which pervades all matter.

It's an interesting and distinct possibility, and it also spills into the next question:

Max1951 wrote:
BTW, your mention of the Seal of Solomon and of the 27th Path of Peh your by line make me think that you might follow the Kabbalastic tradition. If so, do you think these teachings hold any value in the study of consciousness?

The only thing I want to correct in what you said above, it might sound picyune but contextually important, the Seal of Solomon and the Lesser Key of Solomon are very distinctly different thing. The one is just the Star of David in a circle, ie. a symbol - and it may very well have a lot of practical and historical import with repect to the two interlaced triangles, you see that in the East as well, and there are occult/metaphysical ideas tied to that. The Lesser Key of Solomon is a collection, something like four or five major texts, of renaissance high magic which is largely centered around the evocation of angels, olympic and planetary spirits, and demons. I did have the chance to read the Ars Almadel and not surprisingly they have a very hierarchical view of the angels and archangels and go into clear detail on which archangel governs which day, how big the host they oversee (usually in the thousands or even tens of thousands) is, and for the goetia you have something similar for the demonic realm having kings, queens, dukes, and all serving under them. In the last couple decades, especially with the internet and decline in taboos on this subject, there's been a big resurgence of very cerebral guys in the west going to the Sloan and Hurley manuscript libraries to compare multiple copies of the original texts, hash out original translations, and particularly Joseph Peterson and Stephen Skinner have been considered to be the forefront of that sort of work as well as at least maybe half a dozen other practicing magicians who have strong classical Latin and Greek to parse through these with.

As for my experience of Kabbalah and thoughts on it. I've been in Builders of the Adytum technically for about five years, I say technically because I had to put my studies on hold since July, work got so heavy that I realized that to study the monographs and do the work for an hour a day wouldn't be possible if I wanted to keep my job - ie. I needed to pour every waking moment into figuring out everything I needed to know with Javascript, Angular, Asp.Net Core, jwt token security wraps, etc. and that's also not even getting into the depth of the assignment that got thrown at me.

My take on Kabbalah at this point is something like this - I was a great deal warmer to it philosophically when I had a more psychological approach to what magic and mysticism were. The early to mid 20th century approach was to blend it into psychology, really consider it at least half positive psychology and reprogramming your own brain type of stuff, Israel Regardie had a lot to do with championing that approach (although I think he just saw it as a considerable component and one that was less assaulting on most people's sensibilities at the time than considering that one was interacting with actual autonomous entities). As time has gone on and as I've had more mystical/occult experiences I have to bring to bear that they're not fungible experiences in the way one might expect if they could psychologize themselves into making things happen. The most powerful experience I've had have equally been somewhat abrupt, maybe at this point I can think enough about the precursors to know with better likelihood when they might occur and there may very well be something to working with other people in groups which sort of pools resources better but past that, while I wouldn't fully exclude the psychological model, I might have been 60/40 in favor of it's quantity of effect in the past, I'm probably closer to 80/20 in the other direction - where I think the psychological is the much smaller component than the independent and autonomous.

As far as the ten spheres and twenty two paths (32 intelligences) I think what they're perhaps good for is giving you a scaffolding to self-diagnose certain kinds of deficiencies in balance. One of the reason I made the path of Peh reference is because I've been quite intellectual and less than social, to the point that the later shows loudly against the former. The intellect is seen as highly Mercurial (Hod) whereas social life, art, and love are seen as things of Venus (Netzach). While it's true that I have a very deep connection with music and have made a lot of it in the past it's also true that in other ways my balance toward Hod is almost too much and it makes me think of the Golden Dawn and A.'.A.'. (Argenteum Astrum/Astrum Argon) grade systems in which its acknowledged that if you're in grade 3=8 (Practicus, which is the Hod grade) that you'll be too imbalanced by that work to quit your esoteric training that you need to go to 4=7 (Philosophus, the Netzach grade) to balance out your development. I sometimes wonder, net of any major past lodge work, if I've had the equivalent of an initiation into Hod in my life and, seeking balance, cross the path of Peh toward Netzach to develop my relationship with that sphere. Crowley's A.'.A.'. demanded that you be able to do an hour of a particular asanah with a plate of water on top of your head with out so much as rippling it, along with some other pretty big tasks, before you could even make it to the 1=10 grade and you had to be astrally projecting at will to make it to 2=9 so obviously I'm not a 3=8 in that sense, but, perhaps in a lower sort of arc I'm in that sort of place.

Also - I do think its possible that the ten spheres and twenty two paths could be a very credible map of some aspect of the universe, just that I haven't had enough solid experience of them to confirm that. In that sense it does still seem like a very big and even somewhat distant concept. I did find Dion Fortune's Mystical Qabbalah very useful as well as her predecessor Gareth Knight's A Practical Guide to Qabbalistic Symbolism (he hits the paths, Fortune doesn't), and Robert Wang took a shot back in the 80's at comparing five different tarot decks and how they approach the four planes, ten spheres, and twenty two paths.

As far as what I think of the fusion of the tarot to the Tree of Life; I get it, I think tarot is a system that evolved over maybe five or six centuries in a sort of 'wisdom of the crowd' way, and the different things people saw in the symbols picked up steam, tarot and Kabbalah danced in closer proximity until Eliphas Levi finally stapled the two together. Later you had W Wynn Wescott and Samuel MacGregor Mathers (I'm sure others before them as well) figuring out which hebrew letter and path associated with which key, where the three mothers, seven doubles, and twelve singles would go, etc. It's almost humorous that they started with the Fool on Aleph and went right through chronolocially to putting The World or The Universe on Tau. One of my big questions when I first started, especially when Meditations on the Tarot (Valentin Tomberg) had such a big positive influence on me, was noting that the Martinist Papus/Wirth type decks put the Fool on Shin and bumped all of the other tarot cards down a letter (ie. Magician on Aleph, High Priestess on Beth, etc.).

I do think there is archetypally interesting and useful information in a lot of the tarot keys, particularly those designed with that exact purpose in mind like the Wirth, the Rider Waite, the BOTA, and anything in the 1880's to 1930's range with that heavy esoteric lodge magic leaning and intentionality thrown into attention to detail on every planetary and astrological correlation, the count of every point on every object to match a number that has a particular meaning in context, etc. etc., but I'm a lot more iffy as to whether it's a contiguous system of wisdom or just a grab-bag of assorted goodies and even there I'd hesitate any suggestions that such was divinely inspired by angels, inner schools, or anything like that - which could be my ignorance or my pragmatism showing, just that if it were it would be tough to explain how arbitrary and competitive the systems are. The other possibility, and one I maybe liked as an explanation more when I was more of the psychological model persuasion, was that they were all like different systems martial arts where the katas would be different, the forms would be different, some of the moves would be different, but on efficiency and net effect they'd arrive at the same place. And... who knows, maybe I need to stick with it another five or ten years, maybe do more ceremonial magic on the side, to figure out how much or how little I properly know about this stuff.


Max1951 wrote:
I find it hard to get a toehold in thinking that evolution affects inorganic matter. The only way I can see is if panpsychism is assumed to be the means of consciousness. Because evolution is doing that which is necessary to assure the continued existence of a life form. Thus, something only evolves if it has life to preserve. As to the spookiness of it all, biology is based in physics and what is spookier than the physics of the fundamental. The universe gets spookier, the closer you look at it. Of course human evolution affects the material world indirectly, through our technological innovations. With the help of Caterpillar Corp, we move mountains.

I do hope Brett elaborates on that because he left it open, what he said could have been taken equally as invasively spooky or invasively eliminativist and he didn't care to suggest which of those two ways he was going (it's still up on Youtube). I'll have to grab some of his specific examples if he ever brings it up again.

Max1951 wrote:
The question of internal subjective meaning can be answered in 2 ways.

1 - panpsychism magically understands what it's like to be a piece of matter.
2 - the iterative nature of conscious experience, where every new quale is felt in relation to previous, similar quales remembered from previous conscious experience.

The weakness the second argument has is it tries to abstract out a difference that I still have to take as more politically driven than anything. There may be very good reasons to try thinking of it in the second way and perform experiments designed with that in mind rather than the first model but on the surface it seems to throw its hands up and go mysterian or throw out the uncomfortable stuff rather than grapple with it.

I'll say this - if any sort of consensus shift toward panpsychism caused a 'black upwelling of occultism' that turned into an attempted massive regrab of the planet for anti-science, anti-intellect, pro-torture, pro-stupidity, pro sympathetic magiic, and pro Code of Hammurabi behavior where the year would be declared zero and logic and reason declared satanic - I'd stand with every staunch materialist I've ever had words with to flog that back where it came from.

Past that I can't consider the political interesting when it's under enough strain to have a tortured relationship with curiosity and examination.

Max1951 wrote:
Under such a theory, consciousness would start off as a small seed in the zygotes, and grow throughout life by means of experience. Each new experience would be understood in terms of previous experience, and so carry the meaning of the previous experience into the new experience. When meaning reaches a certain saturation which Integrated Information Theory calls 'phi', consciousness would emerge.

There's another leg to that mystery as well - ie. only certain brain structures seem to partake in ginning up conscious awareness as we experience. Sure, it's possible that there are other conscious beings separate from us experiencing life as those parts that live in a rather strange flu-dreamy twilight that we'd never want to visit but I'm still not sure how solid the evidence on that one is. It seems like a lot of it has to do with something that the frontal lobe does and I've seen a lot of diagrams of there being a closed loop between the occipital, prefrontal, and other structures along that pathway which build up a lot of the sort of self-referencing you describe. Maybe we can say 'not all neurons' but at least for, without full conclusive evidence, I'd at least say that it strongly appears that only certain neurological structures are involved in the lights being on. Anaesthesia's another powerful case of everything else functioning with the lights being off.

Max1951 wrote:
An interesting corollary here is that there has only ever been one single consciousness, which is passed from generation to generation via the germ cells in reproduction. So we begin with an infinitesimal consciousness that grows with experience. Not that much different than cells dividing in a living body. Neurons in a single person are separate and work together via communication just like people are separate and work through communication.

That's sort of the biologists Tree of Life, ie. the three early types of single-celled organisms that divided off to make all the different classes of flora and fauna we see today.

Out of curiosity, do you have any particular origin theory that jives with your understanding better than others? I tend to think the hydrothermal vents theory is likely the most persuasive and it goes back to that heat dissipation and chemical chaos idea that I brought up earlier.

Max1951 wrote:
It might be chicken and egg, or maybe not. If life arose by chance combinations (monkeys accidently type out "War and Peace"), then you have the chicken and egg problem. But if the seed of consciousness arose by intelligent design, it would be the work of a greater intelligence. Of course, with this option, you end up with endless regress, as the creator would have to have a creator, all the way down. Neither seems very likely. But what else could it be?

Yeah, I brought up the Elohim concept earlier because I think there are ways to look at it without leaning on a Bronze Age grasp of it. I tend to think generally speaking that the panspermia idea is a little far-fetched, the Sitchen idea even more laughable, but the idea of a conscious universe having all kinds of regents that might dabble with origins and stand back to watch an experiment unfold (or to let a farm grow), it clearly might offend a lot of people's sensibilities but if I take my own models and experiences seriously I can't be closed to it as a possibility. Another is that anything we experience in the way of the mystical or occult is something that strictly speaking had its origins with biological life and rides on the back of biological life as another emergent layer, just that while that's possible there's a lot I've had to think about which voids the necessity of going there - although it's been tempting when I wanted a good explanation of the amorality of the world, any hint of divine anything immediately does make me cringe along the moral lines and to the extent that I'm opened to that interpretation I'm also forced to accept the possibility that the morality, goals, etc. of such said beings aren't operating on reference points that match or scale to our own.

Max1951 wrote:
String theory talks about 11 dimensions and there are compelling theoretical reasons to think it might be true.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswith ... 16efec5a53

So what if we are all really one, when you look at creation in 11 dimensions? A horseshoe passing through a 2 dimensional Flatland plane looks like 2 dots until you reach the rounded part which connects the 3 dots, then it looks like a shortening line. So maybe in our perceived 4 dimensions we look separate, but we would be one consciousness in a 5th or 11th dimension.

The trouble with that for me is that I still have no idea what they mean by 11 dimensions.

A particularly cringe-worthy article (at least in terms of its click-baitiness) is the one below titled 'The Human Brain Can Create Structures in Up to 11 Dimensions'.
https://www.sciencealert.com/science-di ... dimensions
With a lot of that stuff I still never know if I'm seeing something credible or stepping into a woo trap without feeling like I have a full enough command of the topic to say that on examination I feel confident enough to say that there's a there there.

There might be some fascinating math to that, and maybe that's the part of it I should explore first.



Max1951 wrote:
It's the same problem as when neurologists detect certain patterns in the brain, which occur with certain thoughts in the mind. Correlation indicates where to look for a relationship but doesn't prove a relationship by itself. I think that the best we'll ever do is to extract utilitarian value out of theoretical concepts of consciousness, much like we extract utilitarian value out of other theories, like relativity or the Standard Model of Physics. Although the theories are unproven, we can make them work for us.

Even if we don't figure out exact causation I do think we'll be able to say certain things about it with precision, maybe in the next few decades, that we couldn't previously. If the idea of it being holographic, for example, isn't a closed case I'm pretty sure it will be.

Max1951 wrote:
I think that you are talking about the function of the amygdala here. The amygdala is what directly connects the unconscious perception of an immediate danger with a script for action against the danger. Thus, when we touch a hot stove, we withdraw our hand before we feel the pain. If we would wait until the pain became conscious, the hand would be irreparably damaged. Ditto for reaction in fleeing a predator. The amygdala evolved because it was an obvious requirement for preserving life.

I can't remember where I heard all of it but I get the distinct impression that there is a bit more to it. It's not an amazing amount but it does deal with preferences and the like, a bit like the stresses that start a person on a particular journey or in a particular direction are set in foundational relationships between the activities of certain genes. If the twin studies are anything to go by they also seem to show a strong, not 100% but at least half, suggestion in this direction.


Max1951 wrote:
I find much of Buddhism to be down to earth, and have great bearing on the subject of consciousness. Particularly in the area of the self, which is seen as the root of all suffering. Maybe without the 'self' concept we might realize more truth in the oneness of creation. Much of Buddhism seems to be a study of consciousness. Buddhist meditation attempts to exercise consciousness apart from personal biographical memory, and to concentrate on the present sensory experience without relation to the preceding or following 'self'. It allows one to cease thinking in order to concentrate on being. And it cracks open the door to a vision of the oneness of everything. But Buddhism too, just like other religions, has amassed a bunch of cultural baggage around itself which tends to impede progress, as you say.

I tend to see consciousness or the ego as a shapable tool, one where if it causes suffering it's mostly through its misuse or misapplication. I think for example of the most depressed times in my life, they were times where I was going through hell but throught everyone else had it much better. I think of times that were equally as bad where I'd already figured that life was a Hobbsian nightmare, I clearly didn't have a great time but the depression element wasn't there because my psychological reference to the situation wasn't so lopsided.

Similarly I think if we have any major goals to contend with in terms of handling consciousness it's mostly learning to relax, get accustomed to what life actually is (including all of the tragedy involved), and deal with it while slowly and methodically picking away at major recurring problems and solving them rather than raging against being itself or having these huge solopsistic plums of fancy that we call mass political movements. This is where I find a lot of agreement with John Gray's particular atheist philosophy - ie. one where we're in a place that's not under our control, where we're less significant than we think, and the sooner we realize it and reign our fancies back in accordingly the better.

Max1951 wrote:
So long as two people mix up their DNA to make new, genetically unique individuals, we have a chance at finding the gift-wrapped concept that allows us to understand exactly how mind emerges from matter. At some point, man is going to have to upload his consciousness to a more durable substrate, if his consciousness is to survive. Evolution has gotten us this far. Maybe it will work its magic in the future. Either that, or we are just another dead end for cruel nature to exterminate.

The challenge of studying things like the mystery or origin of life by studying birth, it may good for a certain narrow set of questions, to the broader ones I tend to think it's a bit like studying the phenomena of combustion by lighting a candle with another candle.

On the 'brains in computers' idea I had a thought on how the first steps in exploring that could be taken, might be nothing that novel or interesting but I think it's better than Sam Harris's suggestion of having braincells replaced by chips until or unless the person commands the process to stop for discomfort or realization that it's nothing but them emptying out. It goes like this - the idea would be to see whether there was a way to extend one's consciousness into a prosthesis. Vision I think would be the easiest thing to test and the question would then be whether a prosthesis, meant to not directly relay image patterns but relay them to a point that can be accessed (potentially) and consciousnesses would have to meet it halfway up the tube - that would at least perhaps demonstrate that consciousness could move along wires or along circuits if they were built or coded right, hopefully without the mess or risk of irreparable brain damage or, lol, worse - getting incinerated in an transporter while a different person who looks and acts just like you is born or immediately falls down dead.


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aghogday
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15 Nov 2018, 11:23 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEeaS6fuUoA

Relative Free Will Is An Intelligence That 'We' Co-Create When we Bring the Mechanical Reasoning Cognition Together
With the Social Artistic Empathic Body And Mind Balancing Cognition; And in Turn Then LEarn Much More about
Directing our 'Ego', otherwise known as the Personalities 'We' Co-Create with Others to get along well enough
in Peace and Harmony of Kindness, Courage, and Wisdom to Develop Our Human Potentials Greater Now
Without All the Inertia oF all That is Related to Fear and Hate and Other 'Trumpian' 'Qualities' on Display.

It's Okay to get stuck in the Weeds; but if one loses the Bigger Picture, any Semblance of Relative Free Will
Flies out the Doors and Windows of Being Human. We Live in Days of Weeds; Lots of Weeds that Distract
'Us' from the Whole of What Is. It doesn't Take A Rocket Scientist
to do that/this; Just Someone And Or Some Folks who have
Not Forgotten how to Put the Entire Picture
of Life iN A Dance and Song Together
of Beauty, Courage, Wisdom
And by God Yes Kindness As
Easy Peasy As An F iN Fairy Tale;
Yes, Really Fuller Human Fun Now.

In other Words, One Can/Will
Be A String With A Note or An
Entire Orchestra With a Symphony;
Won't Ever Happen though until the 'Yin
And Yang' of what i JusT sAid Gets in Balance;
For Until Then Life Is Not Even Close to 'Stereo'.

'Chances' Are 'Pretty Good' That If Humans Can/Will Imagine
Angels And Put them in Words And Pictures, 'We'/'They' Can/Do Enjoy Relative Free Will.
It's Just Another Form of Human Art As All Symbols We Co-Create With Relative Free Will.

What underlies That/
This/ IS A Smile or
A FRown.

I Vote Smile;
A Holy Sacred Meaning
And Purpose of Life for
'Normal' Human Beings;

Now, If A Person has to
Ask what the Holy and
Sacred Meaning and Purpose
of Life is; If They Don't Come BacK iN Words And More Importantly
Actions of Love With Other Folks Moving, Connecting, and Co-Creating
Beauty, Kindness, Courage, and Wisdom in Much Bigger Life Views of Happiness;
Chances
are they
have
Lost
tHeir Relative
Free Will or Never Earned It;
Or Perhaps Are Never Born With It Now
iN 'A First Place' As 'A Programmer' Of 'This' 'Holographic Simulation'
Doesn't Have to Follow any Rules of Human Beings or the Symbols they Create
As Underlings of 'The Simulator'. Science is Becoming More Bizarre Than Any Religion Imagined Yet;

And that's Okay;
as Long as 'the
Holographic Simulation' is 'Fun';
But Again, Humans Don't 'Control All Of The 'Fair PArts' That Are Relative to Individual View of Will.

Some of us Evolve in one Lifetime With More Relative Free Will; And Some Of Us Just Don't Do It Now.
And That's one of the Most 'Basic Facts of Life' in Human Common Sense And Feel of Bigger Picture Life.

Step Out And
Be 'Neo' More; Relatively
Speaking/Doing/Singing/Dancing
That's Entirely Up to 'You' JusT NoW;

Or Not
If 'You'
Believe That/This Way too;
It's True iN LiGHT And/Or DArk; A Large PArt
Of Relative Free Will NoW is Self Fulfilling or Not;
Even 'Maslow' and 'Fowler' iN Bigger Human Photo Views
See This/That Human FAct Of Art iN Being More Fully Human NoW.

It's A Beautiful Sunny Day; i Love All of Fit; And It Doesn't Hurt my 'Eyes'; That's All i Need to KNoW..;)

And The FAct That It Was Cloudy And Rainy The Last 5 Days Makes The Whole DaM Thing A More 'Lovely Day'..;)

And If That Now "Officially"
IS Not THE Holy And Sacred FuLL
Purpose And Meaning of LiFE NoW
i Don't F iN Care For i Am Happy NoW..;)


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techstepgenr8tion
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17 Nov 2018, 12:22 am

aghogday wrote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEeaS6fuUoA

Relative Free Will Is An Intelligence That 'We' Co-Create When we Bring the Mechanical Reasoning Cognition Together
With the Social Artistic Empathic Body And Mind Balancing Cognition; And in Turn Then LEarn Much More about
Directing our 'Ego', otherwise known as the Personalities 'We' Co-Create with Others to get along well enough
in Peace and Harmony of Kindness, Courage, and Wisdom to Develop Our Human Potentials Greater Now
Without All the Inertia oF all That is Related to Fear and Hate and Other 'Trumpian' 'Qualities' on Display.

I was talking to a guy a few nights back, at one of the groups I attend, whose an NDE'er and also believes deeply in free will. In particularly we were talking about the sort of new-age idea of manifestation, I think he gives it more credibility than it's due and one of the things I tried to explain to him was by analogy of the game where a guy is told to stand with his back against a wall and pick up a chair with his back straight, and he can't because weight and leverage are so far against him that he just about has to lean on the chair to keep his balance.

Something similar, relative to the content of our lives and our apprehensions of the world we live in I think, happens with ability to manifest. If we are manifesting then we're manifesting all the time and not knowing it just that we're manifesting a pretty exact facsimile of what pipes in through our senses in a world were, rather objectively, there aren't many high heavenly hills to direct one's intention toward - we're all sort of in the same toilet - so fighting for anything other than getting out of abject abuse and privation, for example wanting a bigger car or house, tends to be trying to push oneself even harder against the margin or diminishing return that one is already quite deep into statistically to even have a smaller house and car to complain about. Anyone who has a mouse, a keyboard, a monitor, even just a phone, heat, running water, lacks broken bones from parental or domestic violence, etc. is so privileged relative to so many in the world that their manifestation desires, especially the self-centered ones, would hardly even be interesting to the broader system unless it was something more like a proper business deal where the broader system would get a lot out of it as well in return.


_________________
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privelege of owning yourself" - Rudyard Kipling


Max1951
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21 Nov 2018, 1:57 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
On that last part I've really liked Mark Stavish's recent interview on his new book entitled Egregores. I do think he's right, and I'd add that I've listened to him for the last several years, am aware that he was already writing some incredibly detailed esoteric and alchemical work as far back as the 1990s (some of his articles and early lessons are still around in various places on SacredTexts).

I think a really simple and bimodal way of putting it, one that doesn't offend either panpsychism or materialism too greatly is something that does join in the center of that Venn diagram, is that consciousness is clearly holographic in nature. The debate over whether that's literal when extended beyond physical brains or whether it's just a 'behaves as if but isn't' really involves everyone in the argument looking at all of the evidence, which is tough in this climate.




I can think of one way that shared consciousness can happen. You see it in human couples who have lived together for a long period of time. A couple which does everything together will have similar experiences. And I feel that it is our experiences which make us what we are, personality-wise. So two people who have had similar experiences over a 50 year period will become more similar to each other personality wise. What they enjoy and what they take offense at will be similar. They will have the ability to complete each others' sentences and thoughts. Their reactions and their thinking patterns will run along similar lines. The only reason that they are not the same consciousness is that the experiences they have together will be interpreted in light of the experiences they had individually before they became a couple.

And take the case of Siamese twins who have done everything together since, and even before, birth. There should be an even greater similarity in their consciousnesses. If all of the body sensor signals from a single body are sent simultaneously to both brains, then the consciousness which develops should be exactly the same in both brains. (That last sentence is a thought experiment. I don't know how body sensors would be connected up to brains in Siamese twins who share a body.) If some of the body sensors were connected up to one brain, and other body sensors were connected up to the other brain, then the two heads would have separate experiences, and thus separate consciousnesses.

The random number generators or the Princeton Global Consciousness Project veer off of true randomness when lots of people have the same experience (like during 9/11). Could this be because both the material of the random number generators and the material in the people having the shared experience, are all part of the same pan psychic consciousness. It's a fact that the random number generators veer off randomness. How can this fact be explained otherwise? This could be the means by which the two join in the center of the Venn diagram, as you put it.

But I don't see how there can be anything holographic about such a consciousness. What lines were you thinking along, to come to believe that consciousness is holographic? I've heard that there's something holographic about the event horizon of black holes. Do you see that as somehow connected to a pan psychic consciousness? Or do you think that some advanced civilization broadcasts their holograms as a way of exploring the universe?




techstepgenr8tion wrote:
The argument I was making there might be better summed up with the analogy of an eardrum. Yes, we do have all of the cellular and neurological feedback mechanisms that make the coordination of action and information possible but in a way our environments play us like musical instruments. There's nothing you do, nothing you think to do, feel to do, or even can do, without some type of external or deeper (from beyond the threshold of conscious or discursive assembly) which would cause you to do so. Void of context nothing happens, and it's no wonder - energy's not free.


Yes. This is exactly the way that I see things. The environment feeds senses and senses feed memories, and memories feed consciousness.



techstepgenr8tion wrote:
I think the determinism/indeterminism is a subtler argument. Both would argue that free will is an illusion. The difference is that one view (the determinist view) argues that you could wind the clock forward or backward and have a solid/contiguous 4-dimensional solid from the big bang all the way to the present and beyond, where you could rewind and replay a segment of time as many times as you wished and it would be an absolutely perfect causal replica. I thought this way for years but, being firmly rebuked by Brian Greene, I'm thinking he may know something I don't and I'll want to look into that more. Quantum noise or indeterminism would have zero impact in favor of free will but what it would mean is that such a 4-dimensional solid as the earlier view offered doesn't exist and that the universe can't be causally traced back to its origin in such a way.


I believe that consciousness is a chaotic system. And, given what you say above, I would vote for indeterminism, because in chaotic system you can't tell what the beginning state of the system was, and you can't tell what the future state of the system will be. This is because, in a re-entrant system, over time, small differences at the millionth decimal place could lead to totally new result in future states of the system.


techstepgenr8tion wrote:
We're clearly all connected by the big bang and perhaps even by the same causal framework or physics driving us. I'd think evolution has less of a goal than a rule though (some kind of parsimony I'd guess as most laws of physics follow) and it's perhaps figuring out what that rule is that might be the trick to predicting where it might head.


I tend to think that beings and natural formations are the results of reentrant rules which lead to their creation ,in a manner similar to how an image of snowflake can be formed by running a Turing machine which processes the rule for the snowflake's creation, in a re-entrant fashion. (more on this below) The Turing Machine idea is a very interesting counterpoint to evolution, but it requires a rule maker... or does it? Could a Turing machine have formed by self organization of atoms into molecules and molecules into a DNA which could accommodate any environment? I really like that idea.


techstepgenr8tion wrote:
I've been in Builders of the Adytum technically for about five years, I say technically because I had to put my studies on hold since July, work got so heavy that I realized that to study the monographs and do the work for an hour a day wouldn't be possible if I wanted to keep my job - ie. I needed to pour every waking moment into figuring out everything I needed to know with Javascript, Angular, Asp.Net Core, jwt token security wraps, etc. and that's also not even getting into the depth of the assignment that got thrown at me.


It sounds like you work in the computer field. That was my career too. Anyway, does your membership in Builders of Adytum give you any insight into the source of consciousness? What is the connection between Qaballah and Tarot? I know nothing of such things, but I have a very open mind, obviously.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
My take on Kabbalah at this point is something like this - I was a great deal warmer to it philosophically when I had a more psychological approach to what magic and mysticism were. The early to mid 20th century approach was to blend it into psychology, really consider it at least half positive psychology and reprogramming your own brain type of stuff, Israel Regardie had a lot to do with championing that approach (although I think he just saw it as a considerable component and one that was less assaulting on most people's sensibilities at the time than considering that one was interacting with actual autonomous entities). As time has gone on and as I've had more mystical/occult experiences I have to bring to bear that they're not fungible experiences in the way one might expect if they could psychologize themselves into making things happen. The most powerful experience I've had have equally been somewhat abrupt, maybe at this point I can think enough about the precursors to know with better likelihood when they might occur and there may very well be something to working with other people in groups which sort of pools resources better but past that, while I wouldn't fully exclude the psychological model, I might have been 60/40 in favor of it's quantity of effect in the past, I'm probably closer to 80/20 in the other direction - where I think the psychological is the much smaller component than the independent and autonomous.


OK, so you are saying that Qaballah can be interpreted in either a hokus pocus occult magical way, or in a psychological way, and that you are split between these two in your interpretation? It is interesting to note that the only difference between magic and science, is that science is magic until we can explain how it happens via scientific concepts which we have researched and developed. So consciousness is magic until we can prove how it works.

Along those lines, I would say that we never experience our raw senses. Our experience is nothing like the electrical impulses which cause our experience has happened. We assume a lot of stuff based on our previous experiences. So we do not see the gorilla walk across the basketball court during an exciting play. Expectation modifies sensory experience. Much of what we take as pure sensory experience really comes from previous experience and we interpolate the rest of the story. There are only so many cells in retina, we fill in what our eyes can't pick up. Ditto for our other 4 senses. So consciousness is always an integrated whole; we understand new things by comparing them to older things which we have experienced.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
As far as the ten spheres and twenty two paths (32 intelligences) I think what they're perhaps good for is giving you a scaffolding to self-diagnose certain kinds of deficiencies in balance. One of the reason I made the path of Peh reference is because I've been quite intellectual and less than social, to the point that the later shows loudly against the former. The intellect is seen as highly Mercurial (Hod) whereas social life, art, and love are seen as things of Venus (Netzach). While it's true that I have a very deep connection with music and have made a lot of it in the past it's also true that in other ways my balance toward Hod is almost too much and it makes me think of the Golden Dawn and A.'.A.'. (Argenteum Astrum/Astrum Argon) grade systems in which its acknowledged that if you're in grade 3=8 (Practicus, which is the Hod grade) that you'll be too imbalanced by that work to quit your esoteric training that you need to go to 4=7 (Philosophus, the Netzach grade) to balance out your development. I sometimes wonder, net of any major past lodge work, if I've had the equivalent of an initiation into Hod in my life and, seeking balance, cross the path of Peh toward Netzach to develop my relationship with that sphere. Crowley's A.'.A.'. demanded that you be able to do an hour of a particular asanah with a plate of water on top of your head with out so much as rippling it, along with some other pretty big tasks, before you could even make it to the 1=10 grade and you had to be astrally projecting at will to make it to 2=9 so obviously I'm not a 3=8 in that sense, but, perhaps in a lower sort of arc I'm in that sort of place.

Also - I do think its possible that the ten spheres and twenty two paths could be a very credible map of some aspect of the universe, just that I haven't had enough solid experience of them to confirm that. In that sense it does still seem like a very big and even somewhat distant concept. I did find Dion Fortune's Mystical Qabbalah very useful as well as her predecessor Gareth Knight's A Practical Guide to Qabbalistic Symbolism (he hits the paths, Fortune doesn't), and Robert Wang took a shot back in the 80's at comparing five different tarot decks and how they approach the four planes, ten spheres, and twenty two paths.


So, then, Qaballah lays out a number of prescriptions to be followed to lead a life that is directed towards certain qualities in a person's life ? It's a sort of diagnosis to determine which track to switch to, to reach closer to one's desires in one's life? For instance, Qaballah would give us the recipe for the path a person should take, if they want to pursue a life of service others? And would Tarot's connection to Qaballah be that Tarot, almost like a blood test, tells us the type of life which we are living now, and predict where this will lead, so that we can switch our path to one that would better correspond to our desires for ourselves?

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
That's sort of the biologists Tree of Life, ie. the three early types of single-celled organisms that divided off to make all the different classes of flora and fauna we see today.

Out of curiosity, do you have any particular origin theory that jives with your understanding better than others? I tend to think the hydrothermal vents theory is likely the most persuasive and it goes back to that heat dissipation and chemical chaos idea that I brought up earlier.


Panspermia is my favorite idea for the immediate cause of life. I believe that life rode in on an ice comet which collided with Earth. The proto-DNA (which is the adaptation engine) rode to earth on the same comet which brought us much of our water. (Have you read about the two types of water? They are inferring that perhaps one type of water was indigenous to the earth while the other fell to earth with an ice comet.) I would guess that the molecular re-entrant rule for life came with the same comet and became all of the forms of life which we see on earth, through various adaptations to the many environments which earth hosts and has hosted.


techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Yeah, I brought up the Elohim concept earlier because I think there are ways to look at it without leaning on a Bronze Age grasp of it. I tend to think generally speaking that the panspermia idea is a little far-fetched, the Sitchen idea even more laughable, but the idea of a conscious universe having all kinds of regents that might dabble with origins and stand back to watch an experiment unfold (or to let a farm grow), it clearly might offend a lot of people's sensibilities but if I take my own models and experiences seriously I can't be closed to it as a possibility. Another is that anything we experience in the way of the mystical or occult is something that strictly speaking had its origins with biological life and rides on the back of biological life as another emergent layer, just that while that's possible there's a lot I've had to think about which voids the necessity of going there - although it's been tempting when I wanted a good explanation of the amorality of the world, any hint of divine anything immediately does make me cringe along the moral lines and to the extent that I'm opened to that interpretation I'm also forced to accept the possibility that the morality, goals, etc. of such said beings aren't operating on reference points that match or scale to our own.


I think that what you call the Elohim concept or intelligent design is a tempting idea. The only problem with it, however, is it doesn't explain anything. It just leads one to opine on the origin of Elohim and the origin of the originators of Elohim; endless reversion. One can circumvent that problem by assuming that Elohim is the universe, itself (akin to Panpsychism); that all things and all beings are one in Elohim (analogous to all things being cells in the body of Elohim). If you do that, the origin of life is the same as the origin of the universe. I think that I am like you, in that I don't object to the idea of an Elohim. I just have a problem with all of the cultural baggage the idea of a god always gets enshrouded in, when humans get a hold of it. (Interesting that the word for one all powerful being, Elohim, is plural. It's almost like the word itself is trying to tell us that Elohim is the universe.)

And I have difficulty thinking that people are culpable for the amorality in the world. I think that what we think of as amorality would be seen in a different light if we looked at the universal Elohim instead of an amoral person. What we think of as evil or amoral is taking the single cell (being) view, instead of the universal (God) view. That is, in the grand scheme of things, there is no evil.

And the Parable of the Chinese farmer from Taoism shows us the folly of trying to discriminate what is good or what is bad. At the being level, we can not discriminate between good and bad. You need the universal viewpoint of Elohim to discern that. Here's the parable.

A Chinese farmer gets a horse, which soon runs away. A neighbor says, "That's bad news." The farmer replies, "Good news, bad news, who can say?"

The horse comes back and brings another horse with him. Good news, you might say.
The farmer gives the second horse to his son, who rides it, then is thrown and badly breaks his leg.
"So sorry for your bad news," says the concerned neighbor. "Good news, bad news, who can say?" the farmer replies.

Really, calling a being amoral would be like calling a cell in your body amoral. We humans have such a high opinion of ourselves. But the place we occupy in the universe would be much more humble than we ever could imagine. When we say that Rover is a bad dog, we don't mean that Rover is amoral. Dogs are not beings capable of morality. And neither are humans. Dogs and humans both act in the ways that they have learned to act. We learn from the environment. We do not choose what we learn. The environment teaches us what it will. True free will is an illusion.

Here's more on the rules of self organization encoded in the physical molecule DNA, through a re-entrant process. like the cellular automatons of oak leaves and ferns in Stephen Wolfram's book, "A New Kind of Science", illustrates how natural formations self organize via the repetition of a single simple rule. For instance, when an ice crystal in a snowflake forms, it expels heat from the area where it forms, thus inhibiting more ice crystals from forming around it. Wolfram encoded that information in a computer program with processed the rule in a re entrant fashion. He calls such programs cellular automata. Anyway, the program plotted out a perfect picture of a snowflake, as shown in the URL below. I believe that DNA encodes such a rule, not in a computer program, but in atoms and molecules, which react to the ever changing environment and accommodate it.

Watch the cellular automaton of a snowflake grow, according to Wolfram's programmed rule here;

http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/SnowflakeGrowth/


techstepgenr8tion wrote:
The trouble with that for me is that I still have no idea what they mean by 11 dimensions.

A particularly cringe-worthy article (at least in terms of its click-baitiness) is the one below titled 'The Human Brain Can Create Structures in Up to 11 Dimensions'.

https://www.sciencealert.com/science-di ... dimensions

With a lot of that stuff I still never know if I'm seeing something credible or stepping into a woo trap without feeling like I have a full enough command of the topic to say that on examination I feel confident enough to say that there's a there there.

There might be some fascinating math to that, and maybe that's the part of it I should explore first.


As I understand it, string theory holds that at every point in 3 dimensional space, there exists a 6 dimensional space particle in a shape called a Calabi Yau manifold. This granular area of space is oddly shaped with 500 holes through which strings can wind in all different ways. All of the particles of the standard model then are formed by the way they loop through the holed in the Calibri-Yau manifold. See examples of Calibri-Yau here;

https://www.google.com/search?q=calabi+ ... 38&bih=596

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
On the 'brains in computers' idea I had a thought on how the first steps in exploring that could be taken, might be nothing that novel or interesting but I think it's better than Sam Harris's suggestion of having braincells replaced by chips until or unless the person commands the process to stop for discomfort or realization that it's nothing but them emptying out. It goes like this - the idea would be to see whether there was a way to extend one's consciousness into a prosthesis. Vision I think would be the easiest thing to test and the question would then be whether a prosthesis, meant to not directly relay image patterns but relay them to a point that can be accessed (potentially) and consciousnesses would have to meet it halfway up the tube - that would at least perhaps demonstrate that consciousness could move along wires or along circuits if they were built or coded right, hopefully without the mess or risk of irreparable brain damage or, lol, worse - getting incinerated in an transporter while a different person who looks and acts just like you is born or immediately falls down dead.


A couple of things have been accomplished to extend consciousness.

1. Prostheses have been developed which feedback into the nervous system to enable the person to actually feel with an artificial appendage.

2. Two subjects wearing electrode bearing caps have been connected over the internet, so that when a local subject thinks about moving a finger, the remote subject undergoes the movement which originated in the local subject's mind.

In both of these cases, we are dealing with the recreation of a sensory feel and not memory. All memory, and thus all personality, originates in sensory signals, but the brain manipulates and integrates those signals into its connectome. Scientists have been able to track the brain activity of a thought, and so, to read the mind of the person, when they are thinking that thought (the patterns match). But they really don't understand how the pattern is formed. So the study of consciousness has a long way to go.



techstepgenr8tion
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22 Nov 2018, 9:51 pm

Max1951 wrote:
The random number generators or the Princeton Global Consciousness Project veer off of true randomness when lots of people have the same experience (like during 9/11). Could this be because both the material of the random number generators and the material in the people having the shared experience, are all part of the same pan psychic consciousness. It's a fact that the random number generators veer off randomness. How can this fact be explained otherwise? This could be the means by which the two join in the center of the Venn diagram, as you put it.

To ask maybe a more controversial question, what would make you necessarily think that's a human consciousness created phenomena? Might it be possible that such ripples are what's pushing human behavior and events? I go back to that eardrum analogy I gave earlier (that you commented on further down) where we don't own either our inputs or really our outputs when our processing itself was given to us by birth and is always some combination of accrued history.

Max1951 wrote:
But I don't see how there can be anything holographic about such a consciousness. What lines were you thinking along, to come to believe that consciousness is holographic? I've heard that there's something holographic about the event horizon of black holes. Do you see that as somehow connected to a pan psychic consciousness? Or do you think that some advanced civilization broadcasts their holograms as a way of exploring the universe?

Holographic in the data structure sense - ie. that the whole is represented in the smaller parts and the smaller in the whole. I'm referencing how you can take scissors to a hologram on paper and when you do you get a smaller version of the same hologram in lower detail. Consciousness seems to share in that recursion, not just when relating to memory being laid down over time recursively but within it's immediate structure.

Max1951 wrote:
I believe that consciousness is a chaotic system. And, given what you say above, I would vote for indeterminism, because in chaotic system you can't tell what the beginning state of the system was, and you can't tell what the future state of the system will be. This is because, in a re-entrant system, over time, small differences at the millionth decimal place could lead to totally new result in future states of the system.

I'd be curious to parse out the difference between chaotic and truly complex, if there is one. For example do the two concepts diverge at some point? is the truly complex just deeply semi-chaotic? It seems like it has to be a bit of each grappling with the other otherwise you have either something like pure entropy or something as orderly as a block of salt.

Max1951 wrote:
I tend to think that beings and natural formations are the results of reentrant rules which lead to their creation ,in a manner similar to how an image of snowflake can be formed by running a Turing machine which processes the rule for the snowflake's creation, in a re-entrant fashion. (more on this below) The Turing Machine idea is a very interesting counterpoint to evolution, but it requires a rule maker... or does it? Could a Turing machine have formed by self organization of atoms into molecules and molecules into a DNA which could accommodate any environment? I really like that idea.

For anything awake or aware to really self-create it would mean enough of the sort of counter-levering I mentioned above coagulating into stable states, ie. RNA world hypothesis and things like that. It seems like this is something that nature does wherever it can and it's almost guaranteed after enough iterations.

Max1951 wrote:
It sounds like you work in the computer field. That was my career too. Anyway, does your membership in Builders of Adytum give you any insight into the source of consciousness? What is the connection between Qaballah and Tarot? I know nothing of such things, but I have a very open mind, obviously.

Its what I mentioned in last post - ie. from the 19th century on they figured that they could use the symbolism of the Tarot as an expansion of the concepts in the Sefir Yetzirah and use it as an expanded visual model (especially for the trumps) for the paths and intelligences on the Tree of Life.

Max1951 wrote:
OK, so you are saying that Qaballah can be interpreted in either a hokus pocus occult magical way, or in a psychological way, and that you are split between these two in your interpretation? It is interesting to note that the only difference between magic and science, is that science is magic until we can explain how it happens via scientific concepts which we have researched and developed. So consciousness is magic until we can prove how it works.

I tend to cringe when I hear what most people associate with the word 'magic'. It seems like it's the gold-standard of BS, a relic of superstition and history, and it's an interpretation people are so confidently sure of that it can be taken for granted that they'd never double-check that assumption even with Google and the whole world of information at their fingertips. That we're already talking about panpsychism, Global Consciousness Project, etc. we've already tripped over that default credibility line and talking pyramid power, crystal healing, chakras, Atlantis, and all the other Chopra-bin woo, and I'd save my 'Well, at least I'm not them' for the people who actually do simply take things on faith rather than hammering on their own assumptions to make sure that they're indeed steady. I'd walk this line of thinking back down the other side by saying that for my last five or six years of looking into these topics its an open-minded consideration that our world is a deep stack of loosely-coupled information systems that at least behave as if they have sentience and self awareness and do communicate with those who take the time to try. To that extent the religious language people used was simply a sign of the times and was the box or bucket they had for such things. Most people these days don't get into mystic/occult practice from a standpoint of deep unquestioning belief (if they have that they're probably in the religion their parents raised them in), they usually start off with the more purely psychological model and perhaps they see it as a more comprehensive and deep-reaching method of psychology and it's *as they go along* with that assumption that they quite often start coming across enough data points difficult enough to refute that they pull back toward the notion that they are dealing with autonomous agencies rather than taking the belief that they started off with, ie. sort of tripping or daydreaming from autosuggestion, in part because the pure autosuggestion aspect doesn't necessarily work.

On another note, and back to the more traditional science and biology, we're already starting to consider hive insects like ants to be more like loosely-coupled organisms rather than separate organisms. I do think as we keep looking down this line of thinking we'll likely open many cans of worms and likely it will be a field of inquiry that will move very slow because the implications of what they'll find will cause such deep blushing and threat of excommunication from academia that the papers won't come out unless dozens of researchers sign off on them at the same time to try shielding themselves from the invectives.

Max1951 wrote:
Along those lines, I would say that we never experience our raw senses. Our experience is nothing like the electrical impulses which cause our experience has happened. We assume a lot of stuff based on our previous experiences. So we do not see the gorilla walk across the basketball court during an exciting play. Expectation modifies sensory experience. Much of what we take as pure sensory experience really comes from previous experience and we interpolate the rest of the story. There are only so many cells in retina, we fill in what our eyes can't pick up. Ditto for our other 4 senses. So consciousness is always an integrated whole; we understand new things by comparing them to older things which we have experienced.

I think there are significant limits to that approach. Bringing my psychedelic experiences back to bear I'd suggest that most of what gets trimmed out of our conscious awareness is the tenuous and complex. There are pictures of parks, like the mountains around Moraine Lake in Banff, with waves on the water that I could hardly look at because the recursive fractal complexity of the rock layers that showed up in the pictures were overwhelming. Similarly I could look at cathedrals and have something similar happen. It seems like a lot of things that inspire awe in us have a lot of recursive complexity and that's also a lot of what our brains try to tune down when we're in normal awake states. It's like the idea of having a metal veneer on cars so that you don't see what's under the hood, or very minimalistic casing in things like IPhones so that you don't see all the circuitry that's in them. We make our best decisions most quickly when we have such complexity tuned down to a minimum and only the most relevant information (like spedometer, odometer, check engine or check thermostat lights) in reach without having the full complexity of what the fuel injection system, pistons, crank and cam shafts, transmission, rocker arms, etc. are all doing in sync - let alone the electronic skid protection if we have that tied in.

In this sense, in daily functioning, we like very high-level thumbnails or avatars of what we're working with and we only want to have to know how the sausage is made if those high-level avatars aren't working and we have to open the hood of the car, or unscrew the back of the IPhone, to see what's wrong.

In that sense though I really don't think we lose much reality, or at least not without consequences accruing relatively quickly and forcing us to contend with them. It's true these days that there are a lot of people who do live in socially constructed realities to a degree that they have no sense of the unforgiving, Joe Rogan had Eric Weinstein on his show again (4 hours!) and they were talking about this within the first ten minutes where someone drags a friend out to go hiking and that friend sits down two hours in and says they want to go home, and the other friend indicates that they're far enough from civilization that there's no such possibility - no Uber to call or anything like that.

This is also where I also have to consider that self-delusion has niche instances where its allowed. It seems to take an economy of wishful thinking or denial of reality big enough to cushion people's desires to evade it and be one where reality and its consequences rarely come up through the cracks. Technically I find it interesting that I just used the word 'economy', Mark Blyth's said on several occasions that part of the challenge of financial economics and getting incentive stuctures aligned is that you can know everything is going wrong, try to act responsibly, and go broke because everyone is stampeding together in the same line and the party fueling the self-delusion is big enough and has deep enough pockets that it will be several years or more until the consequences are hit. That gets back to something like social techtonics though and it's an area where if we want to safeguard our cultures against major slippage, regression, and decline, we'll have to find ways to anchor reality throughout our structures as we also increasingly tame nature in our own sphere and make life more comfortable. Not sure how we'll do that but it clearly needs to be hashed out going forward, otherwise we'll have constant cycles of bubbling and collapse and with our current tech we also risk our own extinction through loss of sobriety.

Max1951 wrote:
So, then, Qaballah lays out a number of prescriptions to be followed to lead a life that is directed towards certain qualities in a person's life ? It's a sort of diagnosis to determine which track to switch to, to reach closer to one's desires in one's life? For instance, Qaballah would give us the recipe for the path a person should take, if they want to pursue a life of service others? And would Tarot's connection to Qaballah be that Tarot, almost like a blood test, tells us the type of life which we are living now, and predict where this will lead, so that we can switch our path to one that would better correspond to our desires for ourselves?

I'm not sure I quite followed the Tarot part of that, I'd reinforce that the modern Qabalistic use of tarot actually has nothing to do with divination (ie. shuffling and reading the cards to predict things). It's a study of the symbolism in the cards, the Hebrew alphabet letters associate with each of the major trump, their associations with the paths on the Tree of Life, etc.. At most a person grabs one of the trump, puts it up an easel of some type, and stares at it (meditates) for anywhere from five minutes to an hour depending on the situation. In that sense it's just an expansion of the symbols and ideas and it's related to tarot decks from the late 19th and early 20th centuries (although including Marsaiiles) which were specifically built with attention to detail for coding information (like numbers of points on things for example) in mind.

As far as what I've directly gained or where I think it's taking us - I'd say it's helped me cultivate a certain kind of examination of things and heightened certain kinds of problem solving skills. Also, if I try to figure out what kinds of ceremonial workings I might want to try out from time to time, in line with what I mentioned before with the ToL giving structure, I have a quick set of reference points to what deity I might want to work with or what kind of working I might want to pursue.

Max1951 wrote:
Panspermia is my favorite idea for the immediate cause of life. I believe that life rode in on an ice comet which collided with Earth. The proto-DNA (which is the adaptation engine) rode to earth on the same comet which brought us much of our water. (Have you read about the two types of water? They are inferring that perhaps one type of water was indigenous to the earth while the other fell to earth with an ice comet.) I would guess that the molecular re-entrant rule for life came with the same comet and became all of the forms of life which we see on earth, through various adaptations to the many environments which earth hosts and has hosted.

It could be, I think where my intuition varies is that it seems like an environment rich with hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus seems like it has what's needed to at least get RNA up and running. It does seem plausible that a wealth of RNA would, perhaps by chance, start grabbing up the right aminos to make DNA and a lot of things could kick off from there. Steven C Meyer's Signature in the Cell showed me why these things are tough to speculate on, ie. just one faulty assumption in the stability of certain stages of systems and otherwise perfectly good math can suggest the idea that our being here is a statistical impossibility - garbage in, garbage out.

Max1951 wrote:
I think that what you call the Elohim concept or intelligent design is a tempting idea. The only problem with it, however, is it doesn't explain anything. It just leads one to opine on the origin of Elohim and the origin of the originators of Elohim; endless reversion. One can circumvent that problem by assuming that Elohim is the universe, itself (akin to Panpsychism); that all things and all beings are one in Elohim (analogous to all things being cells in the body of Elohim). If you do that, the origin of life is the same as the origin of the universe. I think that I am like you, in that I don't object to the idea of an Elohim. I just have a problem with all of the cultural baggage the idea of a god always gets enshrouded in, when humans get a hold of it. (Interesting that the word for one all powerful being, Elohim, is plural. It's almost like the word itself is trying to tell us that Elohim is the universe.)

I'd never actually offer it as an explanation, more of an incidental. If I take a panpsychist view of things seriously I'm not connecting these ideas with a God whose beyond time and space by the suggestion that such agencies could be involved. It's not ruling such a super-deity out either, it's more like considering such beings as part of the sphere of natural causes, both then and now. If they had any involvement they're not divine clock makers that wound things up and left, they were here then and are here now. Science, as we practice it today, doesn't have a way of addressing such ideas without shooting itself in the foot badly. It may take science actually encountering a complex system, that's clearly conscious and clearly inorganic, to be forced to come up with a very narrow and very specialized language where it can keep superstition and ideological corruption at bay while at the same time examining the role that such agencies would play in shaping environments. You do hit a certain point perhaps where the things you're trying to ignore can't be ignored any longer because they become too integral to the way the things your studying work. I don't envy the people who'll have to deal with that problem, and I think they'll have the biggest fight on their hands ever with everyone from religious fundamentalists to the feminist glaciology people trying to capsize science for their own purposes (look how bad things are right now even!).

So yeah, I largely agree that science needs to stick with thorough examination of physical causes and then only worry about conscious agencies in the mix if and when it's already traced a perfect bubble around such agencies and it gets to the point of the gaping hole in explanation being more embarrassing than just plugging in what's there.

Max1951 wrote:
And I have difficulty thinking that people are culpable for the amorality in the world. I think that what we think of as amorality would be seen in a different light if we looked at the universal Elohim instead of an amoral person. What we think of as evil or amoral is taking the single cell (being) view, instead of the universal (God) view. That is, in the grand scheme of things, there is no evil.

To be culpable we would have needed to retrocausally made chimps murderous to then inherit their murderousness and tribalism from them. The idea's an absurdity. Going back to what Joe and Eric were talking about - we're no more or less bloody than much of the natural world around us. For better or worse we came from a more predatory species and nearly all of the worse we have in us is echoed in other species that would do awful things if they had the level of communication we have. I think John Gray hit that point thoroughly and accurately in Straw Dogs.

Max1951 wrote:
And the Parable of the Chinese farmer from Taoism shows us the folly of trying to discriminate what is good or what is bad. At the being level, we can not discriminate between good and bad. You need the universal viewpoint of Elohim to discern that. Here's the parable.

A Chinese farmer gets a horse, which soon runs away. A neighbor says, "That's bad news." The farmer replies, "Good news, bad news, who can say?"

The horse comes back and brings another horse with him. Good news, you might say.
The farmer gives the second horse to his son, who rides it, then is thrown and badly breaks his leg.
"So sorry for your bad news," says the concerned neighbor. "Good news, bad news, who can say?" the farmer replies.

Really, calling a being amoral would be like calling a cell in your body amoral. We humans have such a high opinion of ourselves. But the place we occupy in the universe would be much more humble than we ever could imagine. When we say that Rover is a bad dog, we don't mean that Rover is amoral. Dogs are not beings capable of morality. And neither are humans. Dogs and humans both act in the ways that they have learned to act. We learn from the environment. We do not choose what we learn. The environment teaches us what it will. True free will is an illusion.

I'd draw on Sam Harris here. If we could imagine a world with perfect and absolute suffering where the suffering had no silver-lining, no meaning, no purpose, and no progress ever happened, we don't have a better application for 'bad' or 'evil' than that scenario. Anything sort of that is gradation and there may a near infinite set of possible systems were significant suffering, like nature red in tooth and nail, is unavoidable. Those functions may not be evil in and of themselves but they're clearly agonizing for those who find themselves at the short end of the stick and its easy to equate that with a relative evil. Total removal of suffering might not be possible, or even desirable for various reasons, but reducing the intolerable aspects of it seems like it's been something that's shaped our sense of progress and moved us forward in respect to what kinds of cultures we want to create and live in.

Max1951 wrote:
As I understand it, string theory holds that at every point in 3 dimensional space, there exists a 6 dimensional space particle in a shape called a Calabi Yau manifold. This granular area of space is oddly shaped with 500 holes through which strings can wind in all different ways. All of the particles of the standard model then are formed by the way they loop through the holed in the Calibri-Yau manifold. See examples of Calibri-Yau here;

https://www.google.com/search?q=calabi+ ... 38&bih=596

It's interesting, and Eric Weinstein brought up some odd structures in that interview where an eight-dimensional torus can imply something like a 248-dimensional object and that these things exist is something we're still along way from figuring out what we can do with. My best guess, until we can get closer to experiencing such things subjectively or experience subjective effects very adjacent to them this will remain the kind of thing only truly die-hard mathematicians will sort of understand.

Max1951 wrote:
A couple of things have been accomplished to extend consciousness.

1. Prostheses have been developed which feedback into the nervous system to enable the person to actually feel with an artificial appendage.

Hmm, it would be fascinating if their sense of touch was localizing at points on the prosthesis but I get the impression this is probably more like the trick where the blind learn to see by way of something like a bunch of small servos touching their skin in the form of video information. If they're provably having sensation in the prosthesis itself that would be a revolutionary discovery.

Max1951 wrote:
2. Two subjects wearing electrode bearing caps have been connected over the internet, so that when a local subject thinks about moving a finger, the remote subject undergoes the movement which originated in the local subject's mind.

In both of these cases, we are dealing with the recreation of a sensory feel and not memory. All memory, and thus all personality, originates in sensory signals, but the brain manipulates and integrates those signals into its connectome. Scientists have been able to track the brain activity of a thought, and so, to read the mind of the person, when they are thinking that thought (the patterns match). But they really don't understand how the pattern is formed. So the study of consciousness has a long way to go.

It's interesting research but I think it will need to break plane somehow, like in my example, for us to get vital clues into the phenomena. You have both substrate dependent and substrate independent theories that are competing right now and at least half of those could get knocked out if we had the proper 'N of 1' type V. S. Ramachandran style discoveries and who knows, it could turn out that Ray Kurzweil is only partially as crazy as people thought with the idea of uploading minds. I think we have to figure out though what it is about neurons that anchors us in or gives us such a habitat that most people only find themselves drifting away from it when they're in some sort of tragic accident and the body's too mangled. I'm somewhat forced to see neurology as an interface and perhaps a very efficient condenser. We have so much to learn, not just about how consciousness operates in the brain but so much to grapple with about how wide-spread a phenomena is and some of the mysteries surrounding it include it's closure and how you don't have either complete connection everywhere or, short of that, how even cells can communicate with their own machinery let alone human brains communicate with cells (ie. understanding how the combination problem solves itself).


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Max1951
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25 Nov 2018, 10:42 am

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
To ask maybe a more controversial question, what would make you necessarily think that's a human consciousness created phenomena? Might it be possible that such ripples are what's pushing human behavior and events? I go back to that eardrum analogy I gave earlier (that you commented on further down) where we don't own either our inputs or really our outputs when our processing itself was given to us by birth and is always some combination of accrued history.


Absolutely. The environment creates our souls, through the experiences. We have no control over the experiences that life will deign to throw at us, yet those very experiences make us who we are. That is the basis upon which I claim that no human is culpable for his actions.

If someone is not fit to coexist with society, it is because their experiences made them that way. And you can't hold a person responsible for the experiences that the world has thrown his way. He didn't decide to be born. He didn't decide who his parents were, and they have such a huge effect on personality development. Yet, even if parents and caregivers provided bad examples for the criminal-to-be, they can not be held responsible, because they too are only victims of their environments and experiences. And the trail of culpability recedes further and further into the past, encompassing more and more influences which have all boiled down to the present criminal behavior. So, really, anything that requires society to lock up someone, because they are harmful to society, is not really the fault of the malefactor, but it is the fault of the society. The evils of many accumulate in the malefactor. So, we have to lock up the malefactor through no fault of his own, but for the accumulated poor experiences which that society has heaped upon the malefactor.

Yes, we have to lock them up so they don't disrupt society. We lock them up because they are dangerous and need to be controlled by the society which created them. What sickens me is the way society has always acted as if the malefactor is a bad actor in a generally well acting society. Society heaps guilt upon them as if they were culpable for the evil. But really society itself is responsible for the evil, both past society and present society. The malefactors should not be seen as evil people who need to be punished, but as the scapegoats who bear the ill effects of the society which has created them. I'm not saying to free all the prisoners because they aren't culpable for their actions. I'm saying pity and respect the prisoners and try to reform them by providing them with more salutary experiences in the future, because their sins are our sins.


techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Holographic in the data structure sense - ie. that the whole is represented in the smaller parts and the smaller in the whole. I'm referencing how you can take scissors to a hologram on paper and when you do you get a smaller version of the same hologram in lower detail. Consciousness seems to share in that recursion, not just when relating to memory being laid down over time recursively but within it's immediate structure.


This sounds like fractals, which themselves are products of recursion. Like the state of a pendulum reflects any perturbation, the state of a human soul reflects any experience. As Buddhism holds, we live in an ongoing explosion of change. Each experience changes us in some way, from miniscule to gigantic changes in our souls. And, as in any recursive process, small changes can become life altering changes over time, with many recursions/experiences.

And it's tempting to conjecture that one of these state changes is the development of self awareness. Such a change is no more unlikely than the state change that hydrogen and oxygen undergo when they combine to form water. Neither hydrogen nor oxygen has any solvent properties, yet the water that they form is a universal solvent! This property of being a solvent is a new property that emerged out of the relationship between two dissimilar elements. Neither element contained it in the beginning, but combined, they can dissolve anything. In a similar manner, consciousness emerges out of neurons and electrical pulses. Who's to say that a panpsychic god-consciousness did not arise out of an emergence event, within the detritus of the big bang?




techstepgenr8tion wrote:
I'd be curious to parse out the difference between chaotic and truly complex, if there is one. For example do the two concepts diverge at some point? is the truly complex just deeply semi-chaotic? It seems like it has to be a bit of each grappling with the other otherwise you have either something like pure entropy or something as orderly as a block of salt.


I think that order slips into complexity, which in turn slips into chaos. This process is driven by how hard you drive the system. The best explanation of this that I have seen is in the ninth part of a youtube series called 'Emergence Theory'. That video uses a cup of coffee to illustrate the transition from order to complexity to chaos. We start off with a glass cup with coffee on the bottom and cream floating on top. At this stage, the cream and coffee are very ordered; i.e. very low entropy.

But when you begin to drive the system more vigorously, stirring the cream into the coffee, you can see all sorts of complexity in the swirls that begin to form; some are like little hurricanes that spawn other little hurricanes resembling fractals. The system then has some medium amount of entropy. It's at this stage that emergence can happen. That is to say that there might be a relationship between coffee and cream that cause new properties to emerge from the mixture, like the flavor or the color of coffee mixing with cream, which is not the color or flavor of either ingredient.

If you drive the system even harder, you reach maximum entropy, where swirls and things simply stop happening and you have a uniform mixture of coffee and cream. When you reach this point, you have chaos. The information on how the cream and coffee were mixing is obliterated, so you can't take a mixed cup of coffee with cream and work out how the separate cream and coffee had mixed together, and you can't get any information about the future of the mixture. This is called chaos.


techstepgenr8tion wrote:
For anything awake or aware to really self-create it would mean enough of the sort of counter-levering I mentioned above coagulating into stable states, ie. RNA world hypothesis and things like that. It seems like this is something that nature does wherever it can and it's almost guaranteed after enough iterations.


I think that what you describe can be called emergence. That is the relationship that occurs between two or more different things that cause new properties which were not to be found in any of the original parts. As I said above, consciousness emerges out of the combination of environment and DNA. The RNA and all the intermediate steps would all emerge during the period between minimal and maximal entropy. Maximal entropy would, of course, happen after the death of the conscious being.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
On another note, and back to the more traditional science and biology, we're already starting to consider hive insects like ants to be more like loosely-coupled organisms rather than separate organisms. I do think as we keep looking down this line of thinking we'll likely open many cans of worms and likely it will be a field of inquiry that will move very slow because the implications of what they'll find will cause such deep blushing and threat of excommunication from academia that the papers won't come out unless dozens of researchers sign off on them at the same time to try shielding themselves from the invectives.


This is emergence too. Like, how do all the ants come to walk along the shortest line to the source of food? We all know that it is through the auspices of pheromones. At the beginning the ants strike out in all directions. A number of ants might find the food, coming at it from different directions, and each ant has laid down a pheromone trail. As the ants march back and forth to and from the food, they follow the pheromone trails. But on the more circuitous pheromone trails, it takes so long for the ant to reach the food that the pheromone trail evaporates and the ant gets lost, perhaps finding the food by luck in his confusion. As this process iterates, the strongest detectable pheromone trails become those which run along the shortest route to the food. After more iterations, all the ants are following the most detectable pheromone trail to reach the food, and this is the shortest route. There you have what seems like intelligence evolving from a bunch of ants spraying chemicals all over the sidewalk. Instead of ants, think cells or neurons and you get an idea of how consciousness can evolve from unconscious matter.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
I think there are significant limits to that approach. Bringing my psychedelic experiences back to bear I'd suggest that most of what gets trimmed out of our conscious awareness is the tenuous and complex. It seems like a lot of things that inspire awe in us have a lot of recursive complexity and that's also a lot of what our brains try to tune down when we're in normal awake states In this sense, in daily functioning, we like very high-level thumbnails or avatars of what we're working with and we only want to have to know how the sausage is made if those high-level avatars aren't working


We only perceive that which we have learned to perceive. If our needs are satisfied with a sketchy idea of our environment, there is no need to look closer. We only attend to that which is useful to us.



techstepgenr8tion wrote:
In that sense though I really don't think we lose much reality, or at least not without consequences accruing relatively quickly and forcing us to contend with them. It's true these days that there are a lot of people who do live in socially constructed realities to a degree that they have no sense of the unforgiving, Joe Rogan had Eric Weinstein on his show again (4 hours!) and they were talking about this within the first ten minutes where someone drags a friend out to go hiking and that friend sits down two hours in and says they want to go home, and the other friend indicates that they're far enough from civilization that there's no such possibility - no Uber to call or anything like that.


Things which might hurt us, like predators, are things that we are certainly aware of. We even react to such things before we are conscious of them, thought he auspices of the amygdala/hippocampus connection; just like when we touch a hot stove and withdraw our hand before we are conscious of the pain. So I would say that we lose a great deal, and possibly most of the information that the environment is putting before us. We lose it because it is superfluous to us. It is not even information relative to our experience. We have not learned any use for it in our previous experiences. If, during our development, we learn a use for it, then we will attend to it. I think it's all about efficient use of brain time. as the brain uses about a third of our energy, while composing only 5% of our bodily mass.


techstepgenr8tion wrote:
This is also where I also have to consider that self-delusion has niche instances where its allowed. It seems to take an economy of wishful thinking or denial of reality big enough to cushion people's desires to evade it and be one where reality and its consequences rarely come up through the cracks. Technically I find it interesting that I just used the word 'economy', Mark Blyth's said on several occasions that part of the challenge of financial economics and getting incentive stuctures aligned is that you can know everything is going wrong, try to act responsibly, and go broke because everyone is stampeding together in the same line and the party fueling the self-delusion is big enough and has deep enough pockets that it will be several years or more until the consequences are hit. That gets back to something like social techtonics though and it's an area where if we want to safeguard our cultures against major slippage, regression, and decline, we'll have to find ways to anchor reality throughout our structures as we also increasingly tame nature in our own sphere and make life more comfortable. Not sure how we'll do that but it clearly needs to be hashed out going forward, otherwise we'll have constant cycles of bubbling and collapse and with our current tech we also risk our own extinction through loss of sobriety.


I think that we make great use of self delusion because we find it fun. What are movies and virtual reality about anyway? We also build artificial realities where we can experience and learn to deal with ral life events via practice with simulations.


techstepgenr8tion wrote:
I'd never actually offer it as an explanation, more of an incidental. If I take a panpsychist view of things seriously I'm not connecting these ideas with a God whose beyond time and space by the suggestion that such agencies could be involved. It's not ruling such a super-deity out either, it's more like considering such beings as part of the sphere of natural causes, both then and now. If they had any involvement they're not divine clock makers that wound things up and left, they were here then and are here now. Science, as we practice it today, doesn't have a way of addressing such ideas without shooting itself in the foot badly. It may take science actually encountering a complex system, that's clearly conscious and clearly inorganic, to be forced to come up with a very narrow and very specialized language where it can keep superstition and ideological corruption at bay while at the same time examining the role that such agencies would play in shaping environments. You do hit a certain point perhaps where the things you're trying to ignore can't be ignored any longer because they become too integral to the way the things your studying work. I don't envy the people who'll have to deal with that problem, and I think they'll have the biggest fight on their hands ever with everyone from religious fundamentalists to the feminist glaciology people trying to capsize science for their own purposes (look how bad things are right now even!).

So yeah, I largely agree that science needs to stick with thorough examination of physical causes and then only worry about conscious agencies in the mix if and when it's already traced a perfect bubble around such agencies and it gets to the point of the gaping hole in explanation being more embarrassing than just plugging in what's there.


For me, to accept panpsychism is to accept the idea of a superior consciousness which is the source of all consciousness in the universe. I would see each conscious living being as analogous to a neuron in the brain of an all-encompassing conscious being. I would see such a panpsychic consciousness in non-organic things like rocks as being very minimal and meaningless at the human level, and the consciousness apportioned to organic life as greater and more complex. But I would see the unity of the panpsychic consciousness in everything, as connected in what we might call a god. But I mean a philosophical or scientific god, without cultural baggage. I speak of god in the philospohical sence here, not in the sense that any of the world's religions look upon the god idea, with their ideas of good and bad and reward and punishment. I would say that such a god is not the creator and ruler of creation. I would see the universe, with all its beings and materials as the physical manifestation of such a god. But all this is when I think panpsychically. I feel that it is just as likely that consciousness arises naturally in each being through a process of recursion and emergence.





techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Hmm, it would be fascinating if their sense of touch was localizing at points on the prosthesis but I get the impression this is probably more like the trick where the blind learn to see by way of something like a bunch of small servos touching their skin in the form of video information. If they're provably having sensation in the prosthesis itself that would be a revolutionary discovery.


The brain's sensory cortex has a direct connection to each body sensor. It receives pulses of electricity to a specific sensory cortex neuron, whenever a sensor at a given location is stimulated (look up body map on sensory cortex). So the process of actually feeling an artificial limb is controlled by the number and location of the sensors, the nature of the electrical pulse, and the sensory neuron to which each sensor is connected. So if a sensor on the tip of the right index finger of the prosthesis is connected to the same cortical neuron as a sensor on the tip of the right index finger of the original limb, and the electric pulse is of the same nature as would be emitted by the original limb sensor, then we experience the feeling from the prosthesis which mimics the feeling of the original limb.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
It's interesting research but I think it will need to break plane somehow, like in my example, for us to get vital clues into the phenomena. You have both substrate dependent and substrate independent theories that are competing right now and at least half of those could get knocked out if we had the proper 'N of 1' type V. S. Ramachandran style discoveries and who knows, it could turn out that Ray Kurzweil is only partially as crazy as people thought with the idea of uploading minds. I think we have to figure out though what it is about neurons that anchors us in or gives us such a habitat that most people only find themselves drifting away from it when they're in some sort of tragic accident and the body's too mangled. I'm somewhat forced to see neurology as an interface and perhaps a very efficient condenser. We have so much to learn, not just about how consciousness operates in the brain but so much to grapple with about how wide-spread a phenomena is and some of the mysteries surrounding it include it's closure and how you don't have either complete connection everywhere or, short of that, how even cells can communicate with their own machinery let alone human brains communicate with cells (ie. understanding how the combination problem solves itself).
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I tend to think that the uploading of minds, if it ever can be done, is a long way off. I think that we would need to duplicate the connectome of the entire brain, together with artificial body sensors, to be able to get a person's soul on a computer. We would need better visualizing technology to do that; the ability to take a total snapshot of the connectome in an instant of time. Each connectome would be unique, as neurons connect because of bodily experience (Hebbian Plasticity). How a given brain is wired up to react to stimuli is dependent on the experiences a given person has had and on the order in which that person has experienced those events. Until we are able to record an entire brain connectome at a given time, we will not be able to upload consciousness. I think that we will develop synthetic consciousness long before uploading is possible.



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25 Nov 2018, 2:01 pm

Max1951 wrote:
I think that order slips into complexity, which in turn slips into chaos. This process is driven by how hard you drive the system. The best explanation of this that I have seen is in the ninth part of a youtube series called 'Emergence Theory'. That video uses a cup of coffee to illustrate the transition from order to complexity to chaos. We start off with a glass cup with coffee on the bottom and cream floating on top. At this stage, the cream and coffee are very ordered; i.e. very low entropy.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you don't have order in the usual sense giving rise to these effects. Just about any self-organizing system in nature is perhaps accrued recursively and becomes a stable 'thing' through the feedback loops it then generates with its environment. That stability is something like managed chaos with a stable state emerging out of it.

Max1951 wrote:
I think that what you describe can be called emergence. That is the relationship that occurs between two or more different things that cause new properties which were not to be found in any of the original parts. As I said above, consciousness emerges out of the combination of environment and DNA. The RNA and all the intermediate steps would all emerge during the period between minimal and maximal entropy.

As far as I grasp emergence I think it's safe to say that it's a map of interactions, such that water is 'wet' precisely on how H2O molecules relate to one another without that quality being in individual water molecules. It really doesn't seem like it could create anything new per se but it does create a myriad of different dynamics structured on what the properties of the chemicals giving rise to the emergent effects are.

Max1951 wrote:
This is emergence too. Like, how do all the ants come to walk along the shortest line to the source of food? We all know that it is through the auspices of pheromones. At the beginning the ants strike out in all directions. A number of ants might find the food, coming at it from different directions, and each ant has laid down a pheromone trail. As the ants march back and forth to and from the food, they follow the pheromone trails. But on the more circuitous pheromone trails, it takes so long for the ant to reach the food that the pheromone trail evaporates and the ant gets lost, perhaps finding the food by luck in his confusion. As this process iterates, the strongest detectable pheromone trails become those which run along the shortest route to the food. After more iterations, all the ants are following the most detectable pheromone trail to reach the food, and this is the shortest route.

They clearly do communicate by pheromones, there's also a role delegation mechanism for division of labor that kicks in when you have something more than five or six ants.

Max1951 wrote:
There you have what seems like intelligence evolving from a bunch of ants spraying chemicals all over the sidewalk. Instead of ants, think cells or neurons and you get an idea of how consciousness can evolve from unconscious matter.

There's no real reason for complex things to be conscious and that's especially true if matter is as unconscious as the accepted views go today.

Max1951 wrote:
We only perceive that which we have learned to perceive. If our needs are satisfied with a sketchy idea of our environment, there is no need to look closer. We only attend to that which is useful to us.

Our starting block for perception in this case I think is much more heavily guided by evolution. If a caveman was overwhelmed by information that no one else could see he probably didn't have many, if any, offspring.

Max1951 wrote:
Things which might hurt us, like predators, are things that we are certainly aware of. We even react to such things before we are conscious of them, thought he auspices of the amygdala/hippocampus connection; just like when we touch a hot stove and withdraw our hand before we are conscious of the pain. So I would say that we lose a great deal, and possibly most of the information that the environment is putting before us. We lose it because it is superfluous to us. It is not even information relative to our experience. We have not learned any use for it in our previous experiences. If, during our development, we learn a use for it, then we will attend to it. I think it's all about efficient use of brain time. as the brain uses about a third of our energy, while composing only 5% of our bodily mass.

I think we're really dealing with a throughput limit. You can only have so much getting processed at a time and you're hobbled if you double or triple that. So our minds only scrape off the most consequential layer to present to consciousness.

While its true that all kinds of people get wrapped up in things that its hard to imagine as immediately useful, like memorizing lines from movies or knowing everything about popular tv shows or celebrities we'd have to define what the social sphere is, what it's about, and I tend think it's a bit of a battlefield for the survival of genes and so much of what we find intolerable on TV that makes up the bedrock of social conformity is really a mesh of maneuvering games, shibboleth, and social proof material. Its very intolerability shows a person's dedication to conform to prescribed behavior in order to get resources or pass their genes on. Unfortunately it's people who enjoy things for their own sake, or who develop refined tastes, who get left by the wayside and generally destroyed for their not knowing that genuine interest, rather than instrumental interest, in anything whether television, music, art, etc. is disconnected from its purpose as artillery in the fitness-for-survival demonstration game. In that case fame through achievement is about their only hope of not being a pariah.

Max1951 wrote:
I think that we make great use of self delusion because we find it fun. What are movies and virtual reality about anyway? We also build artificial realities where we can experience and learn to deal with ral life events via practice with simulations.

They're hell if a person's life starts failing on grounds that they had tied in with the self-delusion, then they both have to clean up the problem and admit to themselves that they were telling themselves a lie (although true - that assumes integrity, in most places that's a rare and even outsiderish thing to have).

Also I have a tough time calling a simulation, especially an instructional one, a delusion. I might consider it a tool for building skill sets in a lower risk environment where such is survivable, such as what education in general is supposed to offer.

Max1951 wrote:
For me, to accept panpsychism is to accept the idea of a superior consciousness which is the source of all consciousness in the universe. I would see each conscious living being as analogous to a neuron in the brain of an all-encompassing conscious being. I would see such a panpsychic consciousness in non-organic things like rocks as being very minimal and meaningless at the human level, and the consciousness apportioned to organic life as greater and more complex. But I would see the unity of the panpsychic consciousness in everything, as connected in what we might call a god. But I mean a philosophical or scientific god, without cultural baggage. I speak of god in the philospohical sence here, not in the sense that any of the world's religions look upon the god idea, with their ideas of good and bad and reward and punishment. I would say that such a god is not the creator and ruler of creation. I would see the universe, with all its beings and materials as the physical manifestation of such a god. But all this is when I think panpsychically. I feel that it is just as likely that consciousness arises naturally in each being through a process of recursion and emergence.

There's also the old 'it didn't need to have a reason or purpose - it just happened that way' that could equally apply to panpsychism. That would perhaps go more in the accidental animism than pantheistic direction however. That's not to say we know for sure whether one or the other is right, just that I don't think pantheism is a necessary outcome from the premise.

Max1951 wrote:
The brain's sensory cortex has a direct connection to each body sensor. It receives pulses of electricity to a specific sensory cortex neuron, whenever a sensor at a given location is stimulated (look up body map on sensory cortex). So the process of actually feeling an artificial limb is controlled by the number and location of the sensors, the nature of the electrical pulse, and the sensory neuron to which each sensor is connected. So if a sensor on the tip of the right index finger of the prosthesis is connected to the same cortical neuron as a sensor on the tip of the right index finger of the original limb, and the electric pulse is of the same nature as would be emitted by the original limb sensor, then we experience the feeling from the prosthesis which mimics the feeling of the original limb.

And that's pretty much what I thought, which is why I suggested that there's no evidence that we can export embodied consciousness into machines unless some type of puzzle were built where enough simulus at a reception site was given but a puzzle within the apparatus that could only be hacked and resolved if consciousness made its way in. If that puzzle were unsolvable it would suggest that what Kurzweil wants to do is also impossible.


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