Questioning Consciousness

Moderators: Elvis, DrVolin, Jeff

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby DrEvil » Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:05 pm

^^Blood music is definitely worth a reread. I recently did so and enjoyed it just as much as the first time. It has a very intriguing take on the nature of reality and the laws that govern it. I also enjoyed Psychlone, but remember it as more of a pulpy scifi/horror story and not the more in-depth, thoughtful stuff he put out later, but I might just stick it in my to-read pile again. Just have to get through the latest Peter F. Hamilton thousand-pager first.

The one book of his that I've been struggling with is Queen of Angels, which supposedly is his masterpiece, but it's a really hard read at times. I've tried a few times but always got sidetracked by other, more immediately fun books.

His books are very hit and miss to me. I either absolutely love them or they're a chore to get through. Same thing with Stephen Baxter, who writes similar books.
"I only read American. I want my fantasy pure." - Dave
User avatar
DrEvil
 
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:37 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby chump » Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:19 pm

Octopi or Octopuses?



CBS Morning
January 12, 2020

The octopus is one of the most bizarre life forms on Earth – one of the smartest, most interesting, and most alien. It can camouflage itself in a flash, squeeze its entire body through a one-inch hole, and use their brains (yes, it has nine of them) to think and play. Chip Reid visits scientists at New England Aquarium in Boston, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., and talks with Sy Montgomery, author of "The Soul of an Octopus," about these curious creatures…
chump
 
Posts: 2221
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:28 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Pele'sDaughter » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:30 am

Don't believe anything they say.
And at the same time,
Don't believe that they say anything without a reason.
---Immanuel Kant
User avatar
Pele'sDaughter
 
Posts: 1859
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:45 am
Location: Texas
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby chump » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:57 pm

I haven’t watched the video, nor read any of his books, but discovered Hoffman was interesting… when I (coincidentally) posted a 'Ted Talk’ in a literally alliterate…'whatever'.



Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is ... or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us.


Anyway…

Questioning consciousness, I’ll toss in some tidings from another discussion in which the professor explained some stuff that sorta related to something similar (related to media) I was also exploring at the time:



[…]

Perhaps reality is some vast interacting network of conscious agents, simple and complex, that cause each other’s conscious experiences… Here’s the point: Once we let go of our massively intuitive, but massively false assumption of the nature of reality, it opens up new ways to think about life’s greatest mystery… Dare to recognize that perception is not about seeing truth, it’s about having kids.

[…]

What we have is one theory that turned out to be false, that perception is like reality and reality is like perceptions. Okay, thrown that theory away. That doesn’t stop us from now postulating all sorts of other theories about the nature of reality, so it’s actually progress to recognize that one of our theories was false. So, science continues as normal, there’s no problem there.

[… con’d]


29:30 Panpsychism:

Bertrand Russell, the very famous logician and philosopher, was one of the first to propose this kind of thing. He pointed out that the laws of physics are quite good at describing what matter does. But, they don’t tell us what matter is - intrinsically. So he proposed, and others as well, that maybe what matter is intrinsically is conscious experiences. And it’s an interesting philosophical idea, but… it has never been turned into science. So, panpsychism is a philosophical stance, and an interesting one. But, no one has been able to turn it into a mathematically precise scientific theory. So as a scientist there’s nothing on the table for me. And, most versions of it are as you say, dualists. And most scientists are not on board with dualism.

[…]

State of the art physicists, like Nima Arkani-Hamed at the Institute for Advanced Study of Physics at Princeton, they are saying, ’Look, when you’re trying to bring general relativity and quantum field theory, the standard model of physics together into some Theory of Everything or Unified Theory, we’re finding that we’re going to have to let go of Space-Time, that physics for the last three centuries has been about what happens inside Space and Time, and now we’re going to have to let go of Space-Time: It’s not fundamental. There’s something else that’s more fundamental from which Space-Time arises as an emergent concept or property.’

They don’t know what that deeper thing is. He’s dealing with something… that he calls the Amplituhedron

[… con’d]


I’ve been involved in artificial intelligence since 1979, when I went to the AI Lab at MIT, and I’ve been very interested in it… of course we can make them smart, they are beating us at all sorts of stuff now, so that’s not an issue. The issue is, Could they actually have genuine experiences?, Could an AI feel love?, Could it taste vanilla and actually enjoy the taste of vanilla?, Could silicon circuits and software do that?

Most of my colleagues think yes. They think that somehow programs, sophisticated programs, are in fact what consciousness is… although they can’t tell me the program and they can’t say, so… it’s just an idea right now, a philosophical idea. There is no scientific theory on the table; but, in general, what they’re saying is that, somehow, with these unconscious circuits and unconscious software, we will boot up real conscious experiences.

So, that’s the typical question about, Could AI’s become conscious? The question is, Could the circuits that were originally unconscious become conscious? Are they complex enough?

I’m saying that’s the wrong way to think about the problem. We’re assuming that circuits in space and time are objective reality. But, in fact, that’s just a user interface; and we know that our user interfaces, as you said, gives us portals into consciousness.

My icon of Zuben Damania (the interviewer) has given me a portal into the experiences of Zuben Damania; a very, very small portal, but a genuine portal. So, for me then, the question is this: Once we understand the realm of conscious agents with mathematical precision, and we understand the mapping between conscious agents, and their dynamics, and their space-time interface, so that we understand it well enough to hack it, we’ll be able to open new portals in our space-time interface, into the realm of conscious agents, perhaps using technologies like silicon and circuits and software.

Will we be able to understand that technology in a deeper way that allows us to open portals into this pre-exiting realm of conscious agents?

For what it’s worth, I think the answer is yes; and I say that with both excitement and trepidation - because that’s unbelievable power, and it’s not clear what we’re going to meet on the other side. We don’t know if all those conscious agents out there are nice. I just don’t know.

[… con’d]




https://www.quora.com/What-are-concious ... ans-theory

What are conscious agents according to Donald Hoffman's theory?

Tom McFarlane, M.S. Mathematics, University of Washington (1994)
Answered Oct. 7, 2016

First, some context. In Hoffman’s theory, conscious agents are the primitive constituents of reality. The objective world consists of conscious agents and their experiences. The world of elementary particles and fields are merely icons in a user interface of human conscious agents. But humans are just one complex type of conscious agent. In his article “Conscious Realism and the Mind-Body Problem,” Mind & Matter Vol. 6(1), pp. 87–121, Hoffman explains,
First, a conscious agent is not necessarily a person. All persons are conscious agents, or heterarchies of conscious agents, but not all conscious agents are persons. Second, the experiences of a given conscious agent might be utterly alien to us; they may constitute a modality of experience no human has imagined, much less experienced. Third, the dynamics of conscious agents does not, in general, take place in ordinary four-dimensional space-time. It takes place in state spaces of conscious observers, and for these state spaces the notion of dimension might not even be well-defined.

In his paper with C. Prakash, “Objects of consciousness,” Frontiers in Psychology, 2014. Hoffman provides a precise mathematical definition of a conscious agent in terms of a set of experiential states X, a set of actions G, and maps that relate these to each other and to states of an objective world W (which itself is composed of conscious agents). The maps can be understood as defining the structure of perception P, decision D, and action A. Based on this definition, he constructs models of interacting conscious agents and derives predictions from those models.

Image




Image

Image

Image
chump
 
Posts: 2221
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:28 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Grizzly » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:15 pm

^^^ Gud Stuuf, thx!



Has anyone posted Thomas C's MBT (my big toe)?
If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
User avatar
Grizzly
 
Posts: 2989
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:15 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby thrulookingglass » Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:15 am

I'm considering starting a new thread about pertinent issues brought up on youtube as I wasn't sure what to file this under. This neuroscientist has some interesting offerings on his psychedelic experiences and I thought they were worth sharing. It is my 'rigorous intuition' that psychedelic plants were purposely kept illegal with a veil of fear cast over their use as to shut down the general populaces understanding of soul, self, will, ego...well consciousness in general. It is clear that the 'gatekeepers' want us docile and apathetic. A liberated soul with greater understanding of the vehicle of consciousness is harder to program with oligarchic, patriarchal rule, imperialist nation-state agendas and oppressive control mechanisms. Have a look-see...

User avatar
thrulookingglass
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 2:46 pm
Location: down the rabbit hole USA
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Sounder » Sat Mar 07, 2020 5:46 am

I'm considering starting a new thread about pertinent issues brought up on youtube as I wasn't sure what to file this under.


It would seem that these 'pertinent issues' (at least) relate directly to questioning consciousness.

This neuroscientist has some interesting offerings on his psychedelic experiences and I thought they were worth sharing. It is my 'rigorous intuition' that psychedelic plants were purposely kept illegal with a veil of fear cast over their use (so) as to shut down the general populaces understanding of soul, self, will, ego...well consciousness in general.


Making psychedelic plants illegal is one aspect of interference, but others came before. One would be 'kings' declaring themselves to be god, or the ipso facto business at the Consul of Nicaea, or the hard split between the spiritual and the physical that results from dualism.

These things represent what the elites have always known and that regular people have failed to recognize or use to codify an effective counter narrative.

That is; The elites maintain their position by interfering with the natural heart connection we all have to our creator.

But, how well does that set with modern expressions of consciousness?

It is clear that the 'gatekeepers' want us docile and apathetic. A liberated soul with greater understanding of the vehicle of consciousness is harder to program with oligarchic, patriarchal rule, imperialist nation-state agendas and oppressive control mechanisms. Have a look-see...


Great vid, I will watch it again.
A drug that may liberate one soul may enslave another, depends on the context. Personally, I look to other things for liberating my soul.
All these things will continue as long as coercion remains a central element of our mentality.
Sounder
 
Posts: 4017
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:49 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Sounder » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:12 am

Thank-you Pele'sDaughter for posting the Donald Hoffman vid.

His point that we evolve for fitness and not for truth is useful and self evident it would seem. Although it may conflict with Hoffman's assertion at the end of the vid that we strive for greater understanding.

I like that the hard science folk are getting into this business, but one cannot say consciousness is information, or if you do, you are not saying much.

Thanks Grizzly for the Tom Campbell MBT material.

His notion of connecting love with lower entropy systems is appealing and I enjoyed his 'taker', 'giver' society setup contrasts, but as Hoffman says, we evolve for fitness not truth.

Both seem to equate data or information with consciousness. Seldom is one category the same as a different category, let alone something as big as consciousness being 'just' information. Still, a lot of good ideas from both.

One thing not addressed by these two gentlemen is quality of information.

A follow on post will deal with that.
Sounder
 
Posts: 4017
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:49 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Sounder » Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:22 am

My wife is currently reading Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton. She is totally un-churched but has an open heart and while puzzled by the context, marvels at the love and wisdom expressed by Merton.

The book hit me hard because at the time I was recovering from a mild but still fundamentalist upbringing. I had repudiated all myth derived beliefs but found great comfort in Merton despite his own adherence to myth. I decided that everybody has to ground their words to widely accepted conventions as a basic requirement of communication. Even if I do not accept the convention, there is still substance to be expressed or realized through a given context.

A while back while talking with my wife and grown younger daughter, she pipes up from the back seat; 'Wait, I thought you were atheist!' I said, no I just don't like it when people think they can speak for God or when they pray on street corners.

I was perhaps a bit more negative on religion than needed for my daughters. My older daughter does have religion and I asked her one time why she would have beliefs about things that happened so long ago. She replied that it is not about beliefs, it's about a way of being. Well, she shut me up.

If so inclined, Chapter five, A Body of Broken Bones is the driver for these words.
All these things will continue as long as coercion remains a central element of our mentality.
Sounder
 
Posts: 4017
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:49 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby chump » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:44 am

‘Absolute freedom is the right of the strongest to dominate,’ Camus wrote, while ‘absolute justice is achieved by the suppression of all contradiction: therefore it destroys freedom.’ The conflict between justice and freedom required constant re-balancing, political moderation, an acceptance and celebration of that which limits the most: our humanity. ‘To live and let live,’ he said, ‘in order to create what we are.’


“The only means to fight the plague is honesty.” Albert Camus, The Plague (1947)

“Between this sky and the faces turned toward it there is nothing on which to hang a mythology, a literature, an ethic, or a religion—only stones, flesh, stars, and those truths the hand can touch”
- Albert Camus



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absurdism
[...]
In absurdist philosophy, the Absurd arises out of the fundamental disharmony between the individual's search for meaning and the meaninglessness of the universe. As beings looking for meaning in a meaningless world, humans have three ways of resolving the dilemma. Kierkegaard and Camus describe the solutions in their works, The Sickness Unto Death (1849) and The Myth of Sisyphus (1942), respectively:

Suicide (or, "escaping existence"): a solution in which a person ends one's own life. Both Kierkegaard and Camus dismiss the viability of this option. Camus states that it does not counter the Absurd. Rather, in the act of ending one's existence, one's existence only becomes more absurd.

Religious, spiritual, or abstract belief in a transcendent realm, being, or idea: a solution in which one believes in the existence of a reality that is beyond the Absurd, and, as such, has meaning. Kierkegaard stated that a belief in anything beyond the Absurd requires an irrational but perhaps necessary religious "leap" into the intangible and empirically unprovable (now commonly referred to as a "leap of faith"). However, Camus regarded this solution, and others, as "philosophical suicide".

Acceptance of the Absurd: a solution in which one accepts the Absurd and continues to live in spite of it. Camus endorsed this solution, believing that by accepting the Absurd, one can achieve the greatest extent of one's freedom. By recognizing no religious or other moral constraints, and by rebelling against the Absurd (through meaning-making) while simultaneously accepting it as unstoppable, one could find contentment through the transient personal meaning constructed in the process. Kierkegaard, on the other hand, regarded this solution as "demoniac madness": "He rages most of all at the thought that eternity might get it into its head to take his misery from him!"[6]

Relationship to existentialism and nihilism

Absurdism originated from (as well as alongside) the 20th-century strains of existentialism and nihilism; it shares some prominent starting points with both, though also entails conclusions that are uniquely distinct from these other schools of thought. All three arose from the human experience of anguish and confusion stemming from the Absurd: the apparent meaninglessness in a world in which humans, nevertheless, are compelled to find or create meaning.[7] The three schools of thought diverge from there. Existentialists have generally advocated the individual's construction of his or her own meaning in life as well as the free will of the individual. Nihilists, on the contrary, contend that "it is futile to seek or to affirm meaning where none can be found."[8] Absurdists, following Camus's formulation, hesitantly allow the possibility for some meaning or value in life, but are neither as certain as existentialists are about the value of one's own constructed meaning nor as nihilists are about the total inability to create meaning. Absurdists following Camus also devalue or outright reject free will, encouraging merely that the individual live defiantly and authentically in spite of the psychological tension of the Absurd.[9]

Camus himself passionately worked to counter nihilism, as he explained in his essay "The Rebel," while he also categorically rejected the label of "existentialist" in his essay "Enigma" and in the compilation The Lyrical and Critical Essays of Albert Camus, though he was, and still is, often broadly characterized by others as an existentialist.[10] Both existentialism and absurdism entail consideration of the practical applications of becoming conscious of the truth of existential nihilism: i.e., how a driven seeker of meaning should act when suddenly confronted with the seeming concealment, or downright absence, of meaning in the universe. Camus's own understanding of the world (e.g., "a benign indifference", in The Stranger), and every vision he had for its progress,[example needed] however, sets him apart from the general existentialist trend.

Basic relationships between existentialism, absurdism and nihilism

[... con'd]
chump
 
Posts: 2221
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:28 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Sounder » Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:26 am

Camus was a compulsive writer, he had word diarrhea.

Everything he ever wrote is meaningless, if indeed there is meaning to existence.

Meaning is found in cultivating the creative fire within each of us, each in their own way.

Learning.
Sounder
 
Posts: 4017
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:49 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Harvey » Wed Apr 15, 2020 6:30 pm

Sounder » Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:26 pm wrote:Camus was a compulsive writer, he had word diarrhea.


If most peoples shit were as illuminating, we'd be doing much better than we are.

Meaning is found in cultivating the creative fire within each of us, each in their own way.


I look forward to your dissertation on how Camus did not do exactly that.
And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings
This he said to me
"The greatest thing
You'll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved
In return"


Eden Ahbez
User avatar
Harvey
 
Posts: 2100
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 4:49 am
Blog: View Blog (20)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby liminalOyster » Wed Apr 15, 2020 6:36 pm

This is bumming me out as I love both Camus and Merton.
"It's not rocket surgery." - Elvis
User avatar
liminalOyster
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 10:28 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Grizzly » Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:31 pm

I like to thing our robot creators are so devoid of emotion that they run our universe as a simulation to experience love ...
If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
User avatar
Grizzly
 
Posts: 2989
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:15 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Sounder » Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:32 am

LO wrote...
This is bumming me out as I love both Camus and Merton.


No, no no, Camus did some awesome stuff. I simply think it's pretty risky saying that life has no meaning. Often times folk do great work even working with the wrong premise, like both Merton and Camus.

Meaning is found in cultivating the creative fire within each of us, each in their own way.



Harvey wrote...
I look forward to your dissertation on how Camus did not do exactly that.


He did cultivate his creative fire, but he also seems to deny that there was any meaning in it.

Grizzly wrote...
I like to think our robot creators are so devoid of emotion that they run our universe as a simulation to experience love


Hmmmm, I like to think our creator is love.
Sounder
 
Posts: 4017
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:49 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

PreviousNext

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests