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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:53 am 
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Some ramblings to provide answers to questions I am often asked. (by Tom C)

Consciousness is nonphysical
The most fundamental aspect of consciousness is information
Information is nonphysical.
The most fundamental aspect of information is bits
The most fundamental representation of bits is binary: off and on, 1 and 0, yes and no.
Thus consciousness can most fundamentally be modeled by a system of digital potential that gains usable energy, organization, or content (information) by reducing its entropy.
A self-aware self-modifiable experiential consciousness system evolves toward states of lower entropy and de-evolves toward states of higher entropy

With Newton’s vision, reality was a mechanistic set of interactive macro-particles that followed the rules of (interacted according to) the rules of Newtonian mechanics. After Maxwell reduced all macro-electromagnetic quantities/properties to four partial differential equations, reality was forced to assume a new description: it now appeared to be an interactive nonphysical field of potentiality described by an interactive matrices of information. The partial differential equations described how the dependent variables E, H, B, D, q, interacted and changed relative to each other and to the independent variables (x, y, z, t). That’s it, no particles, just a rule set that describes how various nonphysical fields of potentiality interact via an interactive matrix of information. Yet these nonphysical (non-matter) fields accurately predicted and described all manner of physical causality (interaction with/between the physical world of particles) — at least in the macro world where time and space appeared to be continuous. Einstein tried to emulate this success by describing all of reality with a Unified Field Theory but failed because at a more fundamental level time and space are not continuous, (a digital reality is a computed reality) and the physical universe is not fundamental but rather a virtual reality computed by a more fundamental interactive nonphysical field of potentiality/information called consciousness.

The double slit experiment shows that light (photons) and particles such as electrons sometimes act like a wave and sometimes like a particle. This is called “duality.“ When one “looks at“ (determines or measures) which slit the particle goes through, one observes particle behavior; when one doesn't “look“ one gets wave behavior. Physics objectively defined the mechanics of looking or not looking with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. If you know where a discrete particle is going you don't know exactly where it is and visa versa — the more precisely you know one (either momentum or position), the more uncertainty there is in your knowledge of the other.

Consciousness is nonphysical. It is a set of probability and relationship information. The brain is physical. Consciousness may be hosted by a brain and constrained by a brain. Patterns of neurons may represent information like dot-dot-dash represents the English letter “u“ in Morris code, but neurons in your brain, zeros and ones on a CD, and sequential dots and dashes on paper represent only the media and the code stored on the media, not the content or message of the information. Consciousness alone is aware of the content.

Information content, or more simply, information, is nonphysical. Its can only be read or absorbed or taken in by a consciousness which, of course, is also nonphysical. Consciousness is structured/organized information (content) that can interact in specific ways with other structured/organized information. In other words consciousness may be described as an interactive nonphysical field of potentiality or an interactive matrix of information.

Both time and space are discrete and quantized — neither are continuous.

When one measures the location of the particle (one slit or the other) one forces its wave function to collapse to a specific value. Thus the act of “looking“ by a physical being forces reality to appear corpuscular, i.e., to join the physical matter reality of well defined physical particles that may interact with other physical particles. Not “looking“ allows reality to be probabilistic, indeterminate, nonphysical fields of potentiality that may interact with other nonphysical fields of potentiality, i.e., an interactive matrix of information. Looking or detecting or measuring by physical beings and physical equipment forces reality and the wave function to devolve into a specific physical state. Not looking lets the particle and its representative wave function remain as an interactive nonphysical set of probability and relationship information. It remains in the realm of interactive consciousness potential waiting to be touched by the physical world before committing itself to that world of particles and “substantial massy things.“ Digital consciousness is fundamental (the fundamental reality) while the physical universe is a derivative or virtual reality defined by a rule set that specifies the relationships and constraints that gives form and properties of interaction to the energy, beings and objects that may evolve there.

You are not a physical being that has evolved a conscious awareness -- you are a unit of individuated consciousness belonging to a consciousness system that has evolved a virtual physical reality in which you participate or experience in accordance with the defining rule set. This highly constrained virtual physical reality is a tool that you and others use to create experience by the choices of your intent in order to decrease the entropy of your consciousness (which is how you evolve the personal value or quality of your consciousness within the overall consciousness system — and how the system itself evolves)

Because this physical reality is virtual and a computed product of digital consciousness it must live by its defining rule set. If the rules say that entangled pairs communicate changes in spin then they do that during the very next time increment (quantum of time). Because the next time increment is so very short, we incorrectly see the communication of spin states as instantaneous. Physical space is virtual and not fundamental. The rules of information transfer within this virtual physical reality, e.g., the limits of light speed, are internally consistent but do not prohibit other external rules (pieces of the defining rule set) such as maintenance of paired spin states from also being enforced. Space is not fundamental — there is no actual distance between two calculated events in a simulation — only the calculated virtual distance. In the nonphysical world of interactive information there is no such thing is spatial separation. 3D space is a creation of a constraining rule set - an artifact of rules of interaction within a digital simulation — not a fundamental attribute of a fundamental reality. Entangled pairs create a major mystery as they appear to violate the requirements of space-time because we believe space-time to be a fundamental rather than a derived reality. Derived or simulated digital realities may (and usually do) contain minor inconsistencies if the purpose of the simulation is not adversely affected and the inconsistency is required by reason of some other efficiency.

Tom


Last edited by twcjr on Mon Jan 15, 2007 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:48 pm 
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Thanks for your post, Tom. I find your descriptions and comparisons from the perspective of modern scientific theories to be particularly interesting.

Of the scientific theories you touched on, only two seem to be generally held to be descriptions of events; Newton’s Laws and Maxwell’s equations. The rest have, to some extent, been confused to be the events themselves. In the former, events are described by relatively simple equations, without any assumptions about the causal agent. However, with relativity and quantum theory being TOEs, they must not only describe the phenomena, but must also indicate causation. Of course, as you so eloquently put it, “a big picture cannot be derived from a little picture“.

Any correct TOE must describe itself. The shortcoming of the current hot theories of everything is that they leave out the most important part of reality; the thing coming up with the theory. The assumption that the interaction of particles creates consciousness seems to me to come from the notion that the observer is not a participant in the same reality as the particle; that particles are things in themselves whose existence does not require a larger defining system.

On entangled pairs: I find David Bohm’s interpretation quite interesting. He likened it to a perceptual limitation, similar to having two cameras viewing a single subject from different angles. From one perspective it appears that the two subjects are mysteriously communicating their states instantaneously, but from another, they are simply the same thing. This brings up an interesting question; how do we know that the photons aren't the same one? It’s an assumption about our understanding of a great many things which would lead us to the conclusion that the photons are different.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 5:25 pm 
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MojiDoji,

Excellent observations. As long as scientists keep trying to force the bigger picture to be described exclusively in terrms of what they think they know about the little picture, they will continue to chase their tails in ever tighter circles.

Tom


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 12:18 pm 
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I would like to shift the discussion of consciousness and physics to a discussion of the consciousness-brain connection.

This post started when a friend referenced an article (URL and directions given below) about the brains function in producing specific moral behavior and wondered how that squared with moral behavior being the result of consciousness quality evolution.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/scien ... in.html?hp
Also follow the link at the bottom of the above page for 3 more pages titled:
Scientist Finds the Beginnings of Morality in Primate Behavior

Since my reply (given below) appeared to be a continuation of the “Consciousness and Physics “ thread under the “Physics“ topic, I though I would share it here.

The brain is merely a container of consciousness, like a DVD is a container of a movie with a plot and message (at least if it is an old movie). The brain and DVD represent the media and the coded content. The content itself, the meaning and significance of the message, the information (as opposed to the coded symbols like ink on a page, 1s and 0s on a disk or patterns of neurons and synapses in a brain), is understood, or exists, only within consciousness. Media and code symbols can be physical while information/content is nonphysical. Assimilating, understanding, or operating upon the content of information requires a consciousness. Computers will begin to think only as they begin to form consciousness. Information, like consciousness, is nonphysical. As the content changes, the brain and DVD (encoded physical media) must change to represent the new content. Brain structure does not cause consciousness of a particular quality (i.e., level of morality) -- consciousness of a particular quality causes a specific brain structure to develop which represents a PMR expression (media and code) of that consciousness that is in consonance with the appropriate PMR rule-set.

Specific brain structure is not the cause of morality, rather it is the result of morality. Morality does evolve but the evolution takes place within the non physical consciousness system and then is expressed in various virtual PMRs according to their Rule-sets. All sentient beings are conscious; all have the ability to evolve their consciousness (change their content); consequently, all sentient beings that project existence into a virtual PMR reflect the nature of their consciousness and evolutionary goals in their PMR structure (body). Yes, even clams. People, bumblebees, dogs, monkeys, chimps, and goats all work the same way. All learn from the experience of their consciousness and as they learn (modify their content by decreasing or increasing their entropy, store facts, process information) they cause their biochemistry and structure (e.g., brains) to be modified.

In a real sense, negative or horrible experiences like seeing a horror movie, beating your wife in a fit of ego rage, and stealing candy from a baby all cause physical brain damage to oneself and perhaps to others as well. “Damage“ because the change in the brain’s biochemistry and structure is dysfunctional. It is also permanent unless it is one day intentionally overcome by positive experiences. Soldiers who come home with a combat stress disorder are physically brain damaged as are abused children and people who witness or take part in horrific events. Such “damage“ from a single event may be very mild and subtle to the point of being undetectable but the effect is cumulative.

In general, the more personally powerful (usually emotional) the experience, the more strongly it imprints the individual for better or for worse. For example, video games that are negative and encourage low quality (perhaps even “evil“) behavior produce brain damage in the player in proportion to how personal, abstract, or concrete the experience is — in other words the affects are personal, all individuals will not be affected the same way by the same experience. If one is detached both emotionally and intellectually from the game play, the negative affect (damage) is very slight, though still finite. All experiences, from drug addiction to falling in love do, in some way, change our consciousness, our being, and our physical brains. If brain modification represents a negative or dysfunctional change (mirrors an increases in consciousness entropy), I refer to the result as brain “damage“ because the brain now represents a being with less immediate potential. Fewer productive choices are now available to the free will. Spiritual growth becomes more difficult, and requires more effort. There is now something new on the path to personal growth and progress that must be overcome.

Because we PMR beings tend to assume that the physical (body) is primary while consciousness is a derived effect of the brain, we tend to think in terms of brain structure as the evolved biological cause of our behavior, not the resultant image (media and code) of our consciousness and its quality. Behavior that is not yet attributable to our brains we believe to be a psychological reaction to our environment. In fact, our brains encode all that we are -- psychology is no more than a study of how our consciousness can be affected by our experience. It takes a consciousness to have an experience. How our consciousness (intent, love, ego, and fear) interacts, of its own free will, with that experience causes a self-modifiable consciousness to change. Our moral behavior is the result of the quality of our consciousness.

The perspective of our science (trapped by the belief that all reality is derived from the physical) is, as usual, just backwards. The brain doesn't produce morality, it simply reflects the morality of the consciousness it represents in terms of the media and code supported by PMR physics/biology. The body (brain) also represents the constraints of our biology — it limits our response, it defines and limits the choices we can implement — it forces our consciousness to work within a constrained simplified environment that facilitates our growth process. Just as one can tear a page from a book or scratch a DVD, one can render the grey matter of a brain or upset the balance of its biochemistry. Content and capability may be modified, lost, or scrambled. Though we physical beings physically modify our brains to represent our changing consciousness, we must live within the rule-set that defines our virtual physical reality — our body, the container of our consciousness in this virtual physical reality, is subject to the laws of physics and biology because that is the nature of existence within physical reality. Stuff happens and we must deal with it — that generates growth opportunity.

The point is that this brain damage I am talking about is an accumulating impediment to your personal growth, to the evolution of your consciousness, to your spiritual development. It attaches to ego and gets in the way of your being love. An individual experiences the results of these cumulative physical brain changes as an attitude, a compulsion, a proclivity, an urge, a feeling that nudges one toward a particular interpretation of reality, an innate drive or imperative, a desire, need, want, or expectation that has its origins beneath the rational intellect. If the change is negative these urgings are reactive, ego based, and cause your decision space and reality to shrink. You may feel arrogant or superior, lash out in anger, need a hit of your favorite drug, or perhaps you have a proclivity to forcefully take whatever you want at the expense of others. On the other hand, if the physical brain changes are positive, you intuitively see things from the perspective of a bigger picture, have an enlarged decision space and live in a larger reality. Perhaps you are a person or chimp with an innate sense of morality that has a natural inhibition toward hurting others. And perhaps this innate urging toward moral behavior that you display will be mapped to some specific portion of the brain and discussed by confused biologists and philosophers in an article like the ones referenced by the above URL.

Your brain represents you -- it is a model of you, a template that you follow, the driver, energizer, and animator of your physical being. You act, think, feel and emote the way your brain compels you. To act, think, feel and emote differently, your intent and free will must grow the quality of your being, reduce the entropy of your consciousness — learn, grow, evolve, pull yourself up by your bootstraps. As you do, your physical brain, along with the drives, urges, attitudes, and behaviors it generates, will change to reflect the new you living in a larger more productive reality.

Physical evolution and consciousness evolution both follow the possibilities and constraints of their interactive existence. Our (consciousness) involvement with a virtual PMR creates unique opportunities for personal growth. Physical reality and physical evolution set the stage and supporting props for consciousness evolution by providing a highly constrained and simplified interactive learning experience with immediate feedback. The connection between brains and consciousness reflect that arrangement.

Tom C


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:45 pm 
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The brain is a container of consciousness:

Is consciousness contained by the brain in the sense that a particular piece of consciousness has been constrained to a particular PMR and the brain is the representation of that consciousness for the purpose of interacting within that PMR? As you say near the end of the post, your brain compels you to act a particular way, but that with free will, one can change the drives, urges, etc, of the brain by reducing the entropy of your consciousness, and that with the change of the quality of consciousness, the brain will change as well. However, you also say near the middle of the post that some experiences can cause brain damage. Is this brain damage caused by a change in consciousness, which changes the media, or only a change to the media with the inevitable “errors“ which occur when reading damaged media? Such as may be the case when the brain is damaged by physical trauma.

Relationship between consciousness and the brain:

If I understand you correctly, consciousness is a thing. Consciousness can be modeled within a system which is bounded by constraints, but the model is not necessarily conscious. In order to be conscious, the model must be inhabited by, or contain consciousness and that this consciousness does not come from the model, but has a source not only outside the model, but outside of the constrained system. If the media and its content are representations, there must be a difference between them and that which they represent. This seems to be a necessity, unless one can be reduced to the other (not to consciousness in general, but the specific consciousness which has been modeled).

That there is a difference between content and meaning is often overlooked. The contents of the media are nothing more than the ordering of the symbols, but meaning seemingly cannot be derived from the manipulation of symbols. If, as you say, the brain represents consciousness, the algorithms it uses to manipulate the symbols it contains are representations of the intent of consciousness. If the same content were made available to a different consciousness (to the exclusion of any other content), would the resulting brain would be different? If so, how would it be different?

If I’m on the right track, it would seem that many characteristics we attribute to ourselves are not really an intrinsic part of us beyond the meaning we found in the experiences we’ve had. These characteristics are more of a representation of our consciousness from the perspective of our experiential realm. In other words, a representation of us in a particular medium, such as the differences between how a scene would be rendered in paint, film, or a 3D virtual reality.

Causality:

This is one of the most confusing topics one could ever encounter. So many of the theories of reality rely on an implicit assumption about the nature of causality, yet it is of greater importance to the formation of such theories than nearly any other aspect. The subtlety of the assumptions about causality makes it a very difficult assumption to rid oneself of, but it is necessary to do so, if you are the model-building type. I struggled (and may still do so) with a fundamental error about causality that nearly blinded me to other perspectives for quite a long time. I have come to recognize what an impediment, not only the assumptions about causality, but the methods of the people who require them are to true understanding.

The predominant beliefs and opinions of some of the most intelligent people in the world are based in a version of causality that, in the end, seem to lead to impossible situations; endless chains of events, causeless effects, and many other implied scenarios. All of this would seem to point to an inevitable conclusion; that there’s something wrong with our basic assumptions. But what is it? Can everything be truly reduced to the action of the smallest component pieces? Are discrete-events-ordered-in-time the nuts and bolts of causality? If not, what is the relationship between these sorts of events and actual causality?

Best Wishes,

The Mojinator


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:03 pm 
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Ah Moji how the assumptions that adhere to our words like splotches of cultural mud do pervert and twist their meaning.

Moji: The brain is a container of consciousness:
Moji: Is consciousness contained by the brain in the sense that a particular piece of consciousness has been constrained to a particular PMR and the brain is the representation of that consciousness for the purpose of interacting within that PMR?

Tom: Yes, exactly. Unfortunately the word “contained“ has other connotations that deliver almost the opposite conclusion. Words! Bah Humbug!

Moji: As you say near the end of the post, your brain compels you to act a particular way, but that with free will, one can change the drives, urges, etc, of the brain by reducing the entropy of your consciousness, and that with the change of the quality of consciousness, the brain will change as well. However, you also say near the middle of the post that some experiences can cause brain damage. Is this brain damage caused by a change in consciousness, which changes the media, or only a change to the media with the inevitable “errors“ which occur when reading damaged media? Such as may be the case when the brain is damaged by physical trauma.

Tom: The brain damage you are referring to is caused by a change in consciousness, which changes the media. It’s more serious because it alters the quality of the being. Physical trauma simply modifies the decision space and generates a new set of available opportunities for both the one traumatized and for those interacting with him/her. However, what they do (how they interact) with those trauma or biochemically induced opportunities may initiate a change in consciousness quality, which may further change the media. Remember, acts or events don't cause brain damage, traumatic personal experiences do. What, if any, damage depends on how the individual personally interpreted and absorbed the experience, i.e., it is dependent on the individuals experience base, their reality (the size and nature of their decision space), and their consciousness quality.

Moji: Relationship between consciousness and the brain:
Moji: If I understand you correctly, consciousness is a thing. Consciousness can be modeled within a system which is bounded by constraints, but the model is not necessarily conscious. In order to be conscious, the model must be inhabited by, or contain consciousness and that this consciousness does not come from the model, but has a source not only outside the model, but outside of the constrained system.

Tom: Yes, exactly, again. So far, you’re batting 100 Moji. I think you are on a roll.

Moji: If the media and its content are representations, there must be a difference between them and that which they represent. This seems to be a necessity, unless one can be reduced to the other (not to consciousness in general, but the specific consciousness which has been modeled).

Tom: Yes, I agree, if the media and its content are representations, there must be a difference between them and that which they represent.
Moji: That there is a difference between content and meaning is often overlooked. The contents of the media are nothing more than the ordering of the symbols, but meaning seemingly cannot be derived from the manipulation of symbols.

Tom: Yes, I agree with that also. Meaning is derived from the interpretation of symbols. The interpretation is provided by a consciousness.

Moji: If, as you say, the brain represents consciousness, the algorithms it uses to manipulate the symbols it contains are representations of the intent of consciousness. If the same [Media] content were made available to a different consciousness (to the exclusion of any other content), would the resulting brain would be different? If so, how would it be different?

Tom: The condition you are proposing is an instantaneous total brain transplant from one PMR being to another (each with their own unique consciousness). A’s brain is duplicated and transplanted into B’s physical head. Initially, these two different beings with identical brains would seem to be extremely similar in knowledge, attitude, and demeanor (like twins) even though they would tend to make somewhat different choices reflecting the different intents expressed by their different levels of consciousness quality. However, while the one (A) to whom the brain was natural (the one whose consciousness and brain were a matched set) would continue on the same PMR trajectory, the other (B) (who suddenly had a “foreign“ brain imposed to be the representation of his quite different consciousness would begin to drift away from that trajectory and to change his brain accordingly. Eventually B would modify his brain to something that was representative of his current consciousness. B would not likely return to the exact same state he occupied before the transplant because this rather bizarre and dramatic experience of suddenly having his brains rearranged would offer him a dramatically modified set of choices and challenges that would impact the growth/development/evolution of his consciousness. So, even though he would grow back toward his original state (reflecting his consciousness immediately after the transplant), he would be on a different trajectory with a different consciousness. Real processes are almost always irreversible.

Tom: Time out. I don't want this discussion to confuse those who may be skimming along and not following too closely. Moji’s thought, if not the words, were correct: the contents of the media are nothing more than the ordered symbols. The reader will note that when I used the word “content“ in my previous post, I was speaking about the content of the consciousness, not the content of the media. In that context, meaning is an interpretation and assessment of the content and both reside within the consciousness. With a content here and a content there everywhere a content content -- I didn't want old McDonald or any other reader to get lost while they were being Mojinated. Back to work.

Moji: If I’m on the right track, it would seem that many characteristics we attribute to ourselves are not really an intrinsic part of us beyond the meaning we found in the experiences we’ve had. These characteristics are more of a representation of our consciousness from the perspective of our experiential realm. In other words, a representation of us in a particular medium, such as the differences between how a scene would be rendered in paint, film, or a 3D virtual reality.

Tom: Moji, you do indeed appear to be on the right track. Eureka! Pass the doughnuts and champagne and step back while Moji does his victory lap. You are right on tonight Moj You go, guy!

Moji: Causality:
Moji: This is one of the most confusing topics one could ever encounter. So many of the theories of reality rely on an implicit assumption about the nature of causality, yet it is of greater importance to the formation of such theories than nearly any other aspect. The subtlety of the assumptions about causality makes it a very difficult assumption to rid oneself of, but it is necessary to do so, if you are the model-building type. I struggled (and may still do so) with a fundamental error about causality that nearly blinded me to other perspectives for quite a long time. I have come to recognize what an impediment, not only the assumptions about causality, but the methods of the people who require them are to true understanding.

Tom: Yeah, those belief traps can get ugly. More invisible than clean glass, sticker than super glue.

Moji: The predominant beliefs and opinions of some of the most intelligent people in the world are based in a version of causality that, in the end, seem to lead to impossible situations; endless chains of events, causeless effects, and many other implied scenarios. All of this would seem to point to an inevitable conclusion; that there’s something wrong with our basic assumptions. But what is it?

Tom: I know that is just a rhetorical question, but I can't help myself — I’m going to answer it anyway. Our most basic assumptions of obvious fact are actually only beliefs —erroneous ones at that. The most brilliant logic based upon a wrong assumption produces an elegantly formulated incorrect result. You get the same outcome with crappy logic, but it is much less convincing, and it annoys those who pride themselves on being logical. Physical reality is a subset of a larger system. That larger system is consciousness. You can't understand the superset from the perspective of the subset. OK, I’m done, you can have your soapbox back.

Moji: Can everything be truly reduced to the action of the smallest component pieces? Are discrete-events-ordered-in-time the nuts and bolts of causality? If not, what is the relationship between these sorts of events and actual causality?

Tom: Another rhetorical question, another opportunity to preach to the choir and recite from MBT. The local causality that appears to drive things in a local PMR subset, is usually reducible to time ordered particle events because that Physical appearing virtual reality is largely (though not necessarily completely) generated and evolved from time ordered particle events that are constrained to follow the defining rule-set. Local causality is a reflection of the local rule-set. If one wishes to understand the higher level causality that produces the local reality, one must look beyond the local rule-set for answers. If one believes that the local rule-set describes the only reality, then we return to the previous answer two paragraphs up. However, sticking ones head in the PMR sand does not make the larger reality go away, it just makes it appear to go away. The existence, function, and point of the little local reality is still completely dependent upon the larger reality. The larger reality represents another level of causality. And so it goes until one gets to THE biggest picture of reality, the cause of all causes -- the buck stops there. You may or may not be in a position to see that far — it depends on how far up the ladder your awareness goes.

Tom C


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:37 pm 
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Tom: Yes, exactly. Unfortunately the word “contained“ has other connotations that deliver almost the opposite conclusion.

Moji: “Contained“ is indeed a misleading word. I like “representation“; but even it has its flaws. Although the brain may indeed represent consciousness, as you’ve inferred, the representation isn't all that it is. The brain is also media, a Turing machine, and a manager for the body (controls functions, tells it to do things, etc.). A brain can exist and possibly function without consciousness, although such brains are more similar to machines. In the way we are talking, one could say that brains are inhabited by consciousness. Brains are expressions of consciousness in a particular medium; or possibly, within a rule set, brains are the action created by the constraining of consciousness. When consciousness is around, brains happen. It may take someone far cleverer than me to come up with terminology to perfectly and clearly describe this relationship.

Tom: B would not likely return to the exact same state he occupied before the transplant because this rather bizarre and dramatic experience of suddenly having his brains rearranged would offer him a dramatically modified set of choices and challenges that would impact the growth/development/evolution of his consciousness. So, even though he would grow back toward his original state (reflecting his consciousness immediately after the transplant), he would be on a different trajectory with a different consciousness.

Moji: I don't want to dwell on this too much (although, it’s a fun thought experiment), but I can't help but to ask about it. My perspective on this is that B would essentially be A. He would have the same memories as A and would not have his original memories (but he could, in theory, have the same thoughts (meanings) he had previously, but completely in the context of A). The challenges to growth/development/evolution would be that the representation of B in PMR would not reflect the quality of B’s consciousness and this includes thinking, feelings, and memories, such that B would have the representation of A’s meaning and that until B had derived his own meanings to the contents of A’s media (brain). It would be difficult for B to see that A’s meanings were not an accurate representation of his intent. But, if A was a dim, high-entropy consciousness and B was a bright, low-entropy consciousness, the process of reconfiguration would be faster than if B was only slightly more aware than A.

Moji: Tom, didn't you cover something like this in MBT? I seem to recall a reference to a type of communication in which meaning or something closer to meaning than our talking can convey, but which presented difficulties similar to those I mentioned in the mind swap thought experiment. Perhaps because of our relatively dim awareness, we are unable to communicate in this way due to the massive confusion that would arise.

Tom: Real processes are almost always irreversible.

Moji: What do you mean by this?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:25 pm 
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MojDoji,

You are right on top of this one. I agree with all your comments, statements, and assertions.

You may be referring to a comment in MBT concerning the need for a focused intent to purposely make connections. The comment was in answer to the question: Why do we have to purposely focus our intent to harness the power of our consciousness, why aren't we just connected? Without your intent limiting your attention, you would be aware of 10 billion beings all talking (thinking) at once. That would be as dysfunctional as simultaneously seeing every web page that exists on a single monitor.

You asked what I meant by: “Real processes are almost always irreversible.“ I meant that statement to be interpreted in the scientific, picky, precise way. Another way of generally stating the second law of thermodynamics is to say that all natural processes (I said “real processes“ which was intended to be equivalent) are irreversible. For example, because all real or natural processes are irreversible, perpetual motion machines are prohibited. Equivalently, one could say that for real or natural processes the change in entropy (delta S) is always positive (delta S > 0) which is pretty much what the second law says. [For the record: For reversible processes, the change in entropy can be zero, and the second law, in its entirety says delta S ≥ 0.] However, last time I looked, perfectly reversible processes could only be approximated and are therefore only theoretical. Real processes that function in the real world (which includes consciousness) are, as far as I know, all irreversible. What this means is that you can make a movie run backwards (because it is not real), but not a life or an experience or a happening of any kind — in short: You can never entirely take it back — return everything affected to its original state. An alternative statement of the second law of thermodynamics for the masses is: After shit happens, you can never entirely clean it all up.

Moji, does this scratch your itch? I was not implying that if you screw up (for reasons unmentionable and unimaginable you make some bad choices leaving you with a raging case of brain dysfunction that accurately represents your imperfect consciousness) you are just up the creek without a paddle and no way to get back to the perfect brained good life. Your errors of intent are always reversible in the sense that you can overcome them; but never reversible in the sense that overcoming them is never exactly the same as having never made them. You don't live in a vacuum — you interact with others, you have memory — that is why it is important for us to be responsible and do it right as best we can — — the process matters. It’s because the process is irreversible that choice matters (has irreversible consequences), that we have opportunity to learn/grow/change, and that feedback is generated to lubricate the process. A digital system can be arbitrarily reset to an original configuration but you loose all your work -- there can be no cumulative growth, no living evolving consciousness in such a system.

Tom C


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 1:45 pm 
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Tom: I was not implying that if you screw up (for reasons unmentionable and unimaginable you make some bad choices leaving you with a raging case of brain dysfunction that accurately represents your imperfect consciousness) you are just up the creek without a paddle and no way to get back to the perfect brained good life.

Moji: I wasn't sure what you meant, but I had assumed you were not talking brain damage and consciousness quality.

Moji: The implications of what you said regarding morality, its relationship to the brain and brain damage, are stark. It’s a call to action. There’s no time to lose. We can't put it off, negotiate, or rationalize about it. We’re stuck here, with only one thing we can possibly do once we’ve decided which direction we’d like to go. It’s fascinating how we can focus on the “important“ issues when they don't really mean anything. Leave computations to calculators. It might be a fun diversion, or a means to an end, but it is really only a sideshow, so it’s best to keep the tools in the toolbox until we need to use them.

Tom: You may be referring to a comment in MBT concerning the need for a focused intent to purposely make connections.

Moji: I’m not sure what I was thinking of. It had something to do with early experiments in NPMR before PMR, where there was a great deal of confusion and little profitability, because of issues with relatively unconstrained communication. Does this sound like the same thing? Perhaps you could provide a reference, so I could refresh my memory.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 3:22 pm 
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Moji: The implications of what you said regarding morality, its relationship to the brain and brain damage, are stark. It’s a call to action. There’s no time to lose. We can't put it off, negotiate, or rationalize about it. We’re stuck here, with only one thing we can possibly do once we’ve decided which direction we’d like to go.

Tom: I am glad you appreciate the vast scope of the implications of this discussion. It’s a pretty potent logic grenade to toss into the tent of Western civilization. It is a point of view that would be immensely helpful to philosophers, ethicists, neuroscientists and psychologists, to name just a few (also mom, dad, and the kids as well as politicians and TV and movie producers). The implications are not so different than what you read in MBT two years ago, but the idea of your very own physical brain being damaged by your thoughtless actions and the thoughtless actions of others puts it in physical terms that hit closer to home. TOEs are one thing but when your brain is getting physically whacked well, that’s serious stuff, a call to action. Yes indeed, the implications are stark — and they better explain a whole lot of objective observation here in PMR as well.

Moji: I’m not sure what I was thinking of. It had something to do with early experiments in NPMR before PMR [...] Perhaps you could provide a reference, so I could refresh my memory.

Tom: Try Book 2, Chapter 27, good chance you will find what you are thinking of there. That chapter does speak generally to some of what has been discussed here — but hey, so do many other chapters.

Tom C


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:42 pm 
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Tom: Yes indeed, the implications are stark — and they better explain a whole lot of objective observation here in PMR as well.

Moji: The implications do a better job of explaining? Or were you referring to the relationship between consciousness, the brain, and experiences? Do I sound confused? I might be. Meaning is such an elusive thing; when you try to observe it with logic and reason, it just seems to evaporate. It’s like a shadow in your peripheral vision. I guess from a purely rational and objective perspective, it would be.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:28 pm 
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Sorry Moji,

I was being sloppy with my language and took a short cut causing the logic train to jump the tracks. What I meant was: The logical implications of my post about the connection between consciousness and the brain (along with any clarifications found in the above discussion of this topic, of course) provides a better explanation of many objective PMR observations.

(What I was thinking of: For example, one could start with the observations reported in the URL's referenced in the original post that correlated moral behavior with brain function; from there one could look at numerous research results in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, biology, social pathology, ethics, philosophy, and the effects of TV, movies, advertising, and computer games on individuals and on our culture.)

Tom


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:31 am 
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Of the fields of study you mentioned, do you see them as being close to a potential shift in their perspectives regarding the relationship between consciousness and the brain?

Which assumption represents the largest influence on the current focus of these disciplines?

Would overturning their assumptions be enough to change the current direction? If not, what else would be required?

Why are assumptions so difficult to overturn?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:56 am 
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Moji,

No, I do not see contemporary science and other fields of rational inquiry as being close to a potential shift in their perspectives. The problem is that they believe (assume) that the physical brain somehow generates consciousness, that consciousness is the result of physical process. Of course, the exact opposite is true; the brain is an artifact or derivative of consciousness. Consciousness generates the brain to reflect a constrained representation of its self. The fundamental error in their assumption is that the physical reality they perceive is all reality. The fact that that assumption cannot explain many observations and experiences is ignored — there are only two possibilities: either the observations/experiences are not real (exist only in the mind, i.e. in consciousness) or the physical cause is just not yet understood. Notice that only the physical is real, what is in the mind is, by definition, not real. To the smart people in PMR, all rational or logical inquiry must, by definition, be based upon the belief that all is rooted in the physical — once you step beyond that belief you move, by definition, outside of rational or logical inquiry into religion and metaphysics, into the realm of mind: imagination, hallucination, and useless non-testable theory.

When the scientists, referenced in the original post that started this thread, found a correlation between moral choice and brain function, they assumed that the brain evolved in such a way as to cause moral decisions, not that a moral consciousness created an artifact in the brain to represent itself. The moral decision was seen as a result of physical process because everything MUST be a result of physical process. Confusing cause and effect leads to conceptual difficulties that inhibit real progress: for example, the belief that the earth was at the center of the solar system and the universe inhibited the development of a bigger scientific picture of astronomy for centuries. [The earth was believed to be the center, the cause, the main thing, the reason for the existence of all the rest — all other heavenly bodies attended, (circled) the earth.]

Overturning the fundamental scientific assumption of brains creating consciousness, of the physical being the root cause of all existence, would radically change the solution set available to rational inquiry. It would free minds to see a bigger picture. Of course there is a host of lesser derivative assumptions riding on the back of this one fundamental assumption that would all disintegrate once their foundational belief crumbled.

Fundamental assumptions in general and scientific assumptions in particular are so hard to overturn because they are based on belief. Beliefs are so hard to overcome because they are irrational and therefore do not yield to logical argument. They appear to be so obviously correct as to be beyond questioning. Questioning such a belief is seen as irrational. It is as common as breathing to let cultural and personal belief define the boundary of one’s reality -- the limited acceptable reality.

Tom


Last edited by twcjr on Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:37 pm 
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Tom: Fundamental assumptions in general and scientific assumptions in particular are so hard to overturn because they are based on belief. Beliefs are so hard to overcome because they are irrational and therefore do not yield to logical argument.

Moji: It's interesting that what they attempt to overcome, is the conceptual limitation.

So, in this case, instead of asking which part of the brain creates moral thinking, one should ask "Do stuctures in the brain generate specific mental constructs? Do specific mental constructs create structures in the brain? Or, are both derivatives of something else?"

As far as I know, there is only correlation between the brain and consciousness that can be observed and it seems that to conclude that the brain causes consciousness is to step beyond the boundaries of science. If the existance of consciousness is only determined by measuring the body, then the theory that the brain causes consciousness (or any other mental construct) isn't falsifiable. Uh oh....


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