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Why the Problem of Consciousness Is so Hard Options
jim
Posted: Friday, May 29, 2020 10:41:41 AM

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Interesting article on why consciousness is so difficult to grasp...

https://medium.com/the-philosophers-stone/why-the-problem-of-consciousness-is-so-hard-121d6a2d51f

"The reason that humans are having such a hard time understanding consciousness is that it’s an illusion, and the thing that’s trying to understand it is the illusion itself.”
"Bot"-tee-licious
Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2020 12:58:50 PM
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This is an amazing article jim, thanks for uploading. Enjoyed reading it very much and the content really resonates with me. Non-duality is a philosophy that points to something beyond words and is impossible to define exactly.

“That whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent,” Ludwig Wittgenstein intoned in the closing passages of the Tractatus!

jdlaw
Posted: Tuesday, June 02, 2020 8:39:29 PM

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Jim,

I think simulated reality does take us just a little bit closer to understanding consciousness. Your book Digital Consciousness certainly pushes the envelope. As you know my whole connection to this thing is that consciousness has to be intertwined with nature of reality. The "singularity" (Ray Kurzweil's coining term for the moment in time that the first successful human mind upload occurs) cannot happen until we know what consciousness is … or more precisely learn how to find it, even though we can never actually "speak" (what it is).

The "ineffable" aspect of consciousness tells us that it is non-local -- meaning that the "biological" mind cannot imagine it or explain it, so instead we are channeling it rather than creating it.

I actually take this philosophy of consciousness very personal. I look at it this way. If I were a universe where all is one and everything is the one, and the universe is me; then I would be pretty lonely. Think about it. I am not saying I am the universe, but simply imagining that I am the universe. Even though the universe is so vast and infinite, if I was that universe, and all I had was me ... wouldn't I want to create a truly "independent" intelligence so that one day I could have someone to commune with?

Really, what I am talking about is first a reason for consciousness. We do not have to be able to know or explain exactly what consciousness is just to be able to know and explain why it is. The answer for me was obvious. The universe is ... and wants to be ... more. It creates us and now we have to find our own. God bless the child whose got its own.

I think "free will" is important. The whole materialist reductionist fiasco plays a big hand in the struggle of scientists and philosophers understanding consciousness. So I take a "programming consciousness" approach to understanding conscious rather than "viewing consciousness." If I am the result of a programmer trying to program consciousness within a simulation, then maybe the penultimate of my programming is to myself program another consciousness within my consciousness. In other words, to create my own simulation within this simulation. And that is me.

I think one would necessarily first have to know how to program consciousness in a machine, before one could possibly even think about putting it into a mind (an operating system).

The "skeptic" approach to programming consciousness is to create a "Deterministic free will." This is much different than a compatibilist inevitability approach, because any such compatibilist approach begins with the proposition that free will is inexplicable. It is not.


(Recall Dennett is basically a compatibilist at heart thinking that free will is "compatible with determinism')

I tend to agree with Dennett that Probabilistic free will is false. Such "fuzzy" logic merely allows randomness to guide choice which is not a choice at all. It may be true that the "will" or perhaps even the "volition" part of probabilism works fine for programming purposes. However, if a programmed calculator of evolved avoidance capabilities in intelligent agents ever became ready to rise to the level of free will (or "choice" algorithm), the "free" part would have to be based on a deterministic personality pre-condition setting. And we would call this 'pre-setting" a "personality" because it would be an overriding force in how consciousness of the universe is ultimately channeled. We would not necessarily know what consciousness is to be able to program a personality setting. This personality would both allow and control how the consciousness gets channeled.

The "personality" of the agent is set and "determined" at birth (time of creation). It is then given a minimal degrees of freedom to evolve through experience. The ineffability of experience then enables self changes (rather than prevent them). The reflex agent becomes a learning agent through trial and error. Free will is not just compatible with determinism. Free will requires determinism to win the battle over a probabilistic imprisonment.

And I know you have heard me say this before (in one of the few times we spoke on the phone) or read it in here in the forum: "people (even you and me) are a lot less self-aware than we are fooled into thinking." The Programmer of our consciousness really would like us to be more self-aware and to have more free will, but for the most part we remain only instinctual and deterministic.

Our state is not so much as Descarte stated, "I think therefore I am" but rather more of an "I think therefore I might become." The Latin "cogito ergo sum" might actually be translated a little closer to this anyway, don't you think?
"Bot"-tee-licious
Posted: Thursday, June 04, 2020 3:58:56 AM
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The following is one of the best articles I could find about non-dualism if anyone cares to deepen their understanding of it.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/japanese-zen/

The same arguments come up time and time again; idealism vs materialism; free-will vs determinism and, we are no further forward! Both sides of these philosophical theories have their pros and cons, but after a lot of contemplation, I too came to the same conclusion that NO Aristotelian either-or logic should be accepted as the standard of knowing and understanding reality. Furthermore, it was all those synchronicities on "Complementarity" that, in part, drove me to this way of thinking.

Quote:
Either-or logic fails on this account. Moreover, it contends that when this logic attempts to understand the whole, it theoretically reduces the other to the one that is judged to be true and/or real. For example, if one maintains that the mind is real, one disregards the body as unreal, yielding an idealist position. On the other hand, if one thinks the body is real, it disposes of the mind in the same way, favoring materialism as true and real, which is presupposed, for example, by natural science. Either position commits itself to reductionism. Here, questioning this practice and the consequences it entails, Zen instead speaks of mind-body oneness, a holistic perspective, as it abhors one-sidedness."


jdlaw, I suppose a "Deterministic free will" approach is beyond either-or logic and would fit in with this idea!

Non-dualism points to the unknowing emptiness appearing as 'What IS', what is beyond experience, and knowing.

jdlaw
Posted: Thursday, June 04, 2020 5:41:50 PM

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I am with you Bot-tee

If virtual is not reality, you would think non-virtual should be reality. It's not.

Kind of makes you wonder if the opposite of true is false, but non-false is not necessarily true either.



"Bot"-tee-licious
Posted: Friday, June 05, 2020 3:29:59 AM
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HaHa jdlaw, I see what you mean! In Zen, they have a third perspective which they call the "positionless position." I suppose if everyone took this stance there would be less fighting over who is right and who is wrong!




jdlaw
Posted: Monday, June 08, 2020 8:43:19 PM

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"Bot"-tee-licious wrote:
HaHa jdlaw, I see what you mean! In Zen, they have a third perspective which they call the "positionless position." I suppose if everyone took this stance there would be less fighting over who is right and who is wrong!


Hey! Where's the Like button?
"Bot"-tee-licious
Posted: Tuesday, June 09, 2020 2:53:17 AM
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jdlaw wrote:
"Bot"-tee-licious wrote:
HaHa jdlaw, I see what you mean! In Zen, they have a third perspective which they call the "positionless position." I suppose if everyone took this stance there would be less fighting over who is right and who is wrong!


Hey! Where's the Like button?


Aw, thank you so much for the lovely compliment, jdlaw. :-). Although, I'm kinda glad that the 'like' button is nowhere to be found on this forum because without it showing passive appreciation is much harder. You can no longer click 'like' to show appreciation for something. You have to comment, even if it's just a one-word response or, a 'me too' or, 'Hey! Where's the Like Button?' like you said. You have to do a lot more work and I like it like that!

jim
Posted: Saturday, June 20, 2020 11:15:37 AM

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WOW! Such great responses and ideas from you both - jdlaw and Bot - thanks! I'll try to respond more later, but at the moment, these thoughts come to me...

jdlaw wrote:
I actually take this philosophy of consciousness very personal. I look at it this way. If I were a universe where all is one and everything is the one, and the universe is me; then I would be pretty lonely. Think about it. I am not saying I am the universe, but simply imagining that I am the universe. Even though the universe is so vast and infinite, if I was that universe, and all I had was me ... wouldn't I want to create a truly "independent" intelligence so that one day I could have someone to commune with?

Really, what I am talking about is first a reason for consciousness. We do not have to be able to know or explain exactly what consciousness is just to be able to know and explain why it is. The answer for me was obvious. The universe is ... and wants to be ... more. It creates us and now we have to find our own. God bless the child whose got its own.


Completely agree with this - those who are much more spiritually advance than I all say the same - God/ATTI needed separate consciousnesses to create a much more rich and rewarding universe. An alternate POV is that ATTI IS consciousness and it was a logical outgrowth of universal evolution that by splitting/individualizing consciousness, it would evolve faster through interaction and experience.

"Bot"-tee-licious wrote:
The following is one of the best articles I could find about non-dualism if anyone cares to deepen their understanding of it.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/japanese-zen/

Quote:
Either-or logic fails on this account. Moreover, it contends that when this logic attempts to understand the whole, it theoretically reduces the other to the one that is judged to be true and/or real. For example, if one maintains that the mind is real, one disregards the body as unreal, yielding an idealist position. On the other hand, if one thinks the body is real, it disposes of the mind in the same way, favoring materialism as true and real, which is presupposed, for example, by natural science. Either position commits itself to reductionism. Here, questioning this practice and the consequences it entails, Zen instead speaks of mind-body oneness, a holistic perspective, as it abhors one-sidedness."



Thanks for the links, Bot. Got some good reading ahead of me.

Re. the positionless position and non-false idea, it reminds me so much of QM, doesn't it? In superposition, everything is in multiple states simulataneously, like qubits. Non-false makes sense, no?
"Bot"-tee-licious
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2020 2:00:54 AM
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jim wrote:
Re. the positionless position and non-false idea, it reminds me so much of QM, doesn't it? In superposition, everything is in multiple states simulataneously, like qubits. Non-false makes sense, no?


jim, this is my take on this, although, jdlaw's might be entirely different from mine.

For simplicities sake: Let A = virtual and B = non-virtual.

The "positionless position" is a negation of 'either-or' logic, so for example, the negation of A or B is ~(A or B) = ~A and ~B = not virtual and not non-virtual = non-virtual and virtual. In other words, two contradictory versions of reality can exist at the same time!

Using jdlaw's analogy of the qubit (see diagram above), the two states can be represented by an arrow pointing to a location on the sphere. The north pole is equivalent to 0 = virtual and the south pole to 1 = non-virtual. The other locations are quantum superpositions of 0 and 1 (i.e. virtual and non-virtual). When the qubit is measured, quantum mechanics requires that the result is always an ordinary bit - a 0 or a 1. The probability of each outcome depends on the qubits 'latitude.'

My crude interpretation, based on this model, is that two people doing the same quantum experiment can see two different things happen. They either see a 0 = virtual or a 1 = non-virtual and both would be correct, thus perhaps showing that there is no such thing as a shared objective reality.

jdlaw
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2020 5:55:10 AM

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"Bot"-tee-licious wrote:
[quote=jim]

My crude interpretation, based on this model, is that two people doing the same quantum experiment can see two different things happen. They either see a 0 = virtual or a 1 = non-virtual and both would be correct, thus perhaps showing that there is no such thing as a shared objective reality.



Dear Bot-tee (I hope you do not mind when I give you the shortened nickname for you online Avatar);

I am so encouraged that you were able to state this in such simple terms. I think we are in total agreement and have reached consensus reality between us on this question about why humans have such a hard time understanding consciousness.

I guess I would add that once a "shared" objective reality observation is made in disagreement (i.e. no consensus between or amongst two or more independent observers) —we as individuals are then given a true choice. We can choose to remain locked in our disagreement or we can seek for another objective reality observation. Quantum collapse does not have to take place unless and until another objective reality observation is shared.

The University of Miami theoretical physicist named Colin McGinn says we can never understand consciousness. https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1999/06/10/can-we-ever-understand-consciousness/

I tend to also lean more towards the works of Jon Stewart Bell who created the famous "Bell's Theorem" or "Bell's inequality."

I have taken McGinn's and Bell's approach and write my own theorem for the 'Non-virtual" this way


Where "Ontic" = all non-hidden variables and "Phenom" = all hidden variables

This way we do at least understand the "why" of consciousness and even a little bit about the "how" of consciousness even if we can never actually have consensus on the "what" of consciousness. This particular equation is the counterintuitive interpretation (or corollary to Bell's equation) because Bell assumes that there are always more hidden variables than non-hidden variables, I would say that it always takes at least two brain cells to come up with one imagination.

As another friend in this forum "Neo" once said, "there is no spoon." Think

"Bot"-tee-licious
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2020 5:54:38 AM
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jdlaw wrote:
Dear Bot-tee (I hope you do not mind when I give you the shortened nickname for you online Avatar);

No problem, jdlaw. I'm perfectly fine with you calling me Bot-tee, and the even shorter, Bot, I’m fine with as well. I was stupid enough to give myself this long, cumbersome, silly moniker, in the first place.

jdlaw wrote:
I am so encouraged that you were able to state this in such simple terms.

Phew! I'm glad about that, jdlaw. I was so afraid that you would find fault with my logical reasoning!

jdlaw wrote:
I guess I would add that once a "shared" objective reality observation is made in disagreement (i.e. no consensus between or amongst two or more independent observers) —we as individuals are then given a true choice. We can choose to remain locked in our disagreement or we can seek for another objective reality observation. Quantum collapse does not have to take place unless and until another objective reality observation is shared.

Thanks a lot for elaborating upon that, jdlaw. It makes perfect sense.

jdlaw wrote:
I have taken McGinn's and Bell's approach and write my own theorem for the 'Non-virtual" this way

Is your paper available online, jdlaw? If so, I would like to read it if I can. I can't promise I would totally understand everything about your work, but I would give it a try anyway.

jdlaw
Posted: Friday, July 03, 2020 6:03:18 AM

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"Bot"-tee-licious wrote:
Is your paper available online, jdlaw? If so, I would like to read it if I can. I can't promise I would totally understand everything about your work, but I would give it a try anyway.


Bot-tee, unfortunately I do not have any peer reviewed articles (in this subject area). If you were interested in legal topics, I do have published articles in several legal periodicals.

As for my personal interests, this has been a long time "hobby" of mine. I have long been interested in the topics of understanding and programming consciousness.

I warn you that one of the goals (of what I am about to provide links to) —is putting very complex topics into extremely concise terms. These writings are my open and public response to the question what is consciousness? And as you will see, my approach focuses (primarily) on the topic what is free will?

My writings on this topic make a background assumption that the readers of the "non-virtual" blog site are already in tune with and considering just the very narrow topic of programming consciousnesses in a machine.

In Jim's books "The Universe - Solved" and "Digital Consciousness - A Transformative Vision" he tackles the much broader topics (from beginning to end) about the very nature of reality and what we as humans actually "experience" here during our earthly lives. Jim's books remain very scientific throughout, and though not condescending to religions, he does not tackle the more spiritual views (though a little in his second book). Whereas my approach looks at science really as its own form of religion. I came to the realization that a "doubt" is nothing more than a "belief" of the negative proposition to faith. The spiritual and scientific are actually the same thing —just from different perspectives. (i.e. doubt is merely a belief that something is false).

You can read the general statement of my work and interests at Foundations of Skeptical Operating Systems Using Non-Classical Suspension of a Logic Gate

I think personal my favorite "publication" of my own work, however, is in this "crazy man's manifesto" chart (of sorts) that I developed (que weird Sci-fi music). I think of this chart as my "secrets of the galaxy" paper. This chart assumes that the reader already has a deep appreciation for the "new god argument" which is a transhumanist approach to making a case for "beneficent force" in the universe that controls our programming. As Man Is (note this is a graphic meant to be displayed full screen on a 4:3 HD monitor).

Hey Bot-tee, you ask for it. Now you've got it.
"Bot"-tee-licious
Posted: Saturday, July 04, 2020 5:39:09 AM
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jdlaw wrote:
Hey Bot-tee, you ask for it. Now you've got it.

Don't you worry about that, jdlaw 😃. I love a challenge, and really appreciate you providing me with those links to your work. Something to get my teeth into during lockdown!

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