Sense, Essence, and Existence

A ManifesT.O.E. of the Over-Examined Life


►►MSR Executive Summary

  ► MSR Introduction  ☍ The Multisense Continuum
   ☄ Phauxton: A Post-Particle Hypothesis
   ℵ Eigenmorphism and Pansensitivity  
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Negging the 21st Century

In the 20th century, brilliant individuals were celebrated and a chrome balloon of popular expectations surrounded the collective psyche. When the balloon began to expand in the heat and blasting force of the nucleating global culture, thousands of cracks opened up in the chrome of individual achievement. Celebrities and world leaders alike are revealed, shot through with banality like the man behind Oz’s curtain, just regular folks, and the time between new game changing tech innovations stretched longer and longer. The red heat of the 1900s gives way to a swamp of shit. It’s the twenty first century and more and more of us are stuck in the shit, and the shit is stuck in us.

Maybe that’s too negative though. Maybe we aren’t stuck in the shit at all, but just paying attention to the wrong thing.

A Conversation About Why Complexity Alone May Not Contain Experience

We don’t know that neurons give rise to experience though.

What else would? Besides, as long as a bunch of nodes in a particular arrangement firing electrical signals is a possible cause of experience, it invalidates your claim that advanced computers will never have experience

Experience could be fundamental. Physics is an experience. Math is an experience.

"as long as a bunch of nodes in a particular arrangement firing  electrical signals is a possible cause of experience, it invalidates  your claim that advanced computers will never have experience"

Sure, but I don’t think that it is a possible cause. Why would electrical signals cause anything other than electrical signals…and what’s a ‘signal’ without consciousness?

If it’s fundamental and not caused by electrical signals, wouldn’t you have to conclude it’s actually everywhere and everything at all times wherever there is stuff, and is kind of a continuum where it’s “more aware” in complex places like someone’s brain? In which case a advanced computer could still act like someone’s brain and be capable of experience.

It may not be a matter of where it is, but when. Complexity may be the footprint of deeper histories of conscious experience making use of shallower histories, in a manner similar to how larger vocabularies might be used in more serious literature. In nature, an ‘advanced vocabulary’ would generally represent an advanced level of communication, but when we artificially imitate the vocabulary of a great communicator we do not conjure an author out of the pages of a book.

What I have come to is the idea that spacetime is only half of nature, and it is the half of nature which is used by the other half to disperse itself, to isolate, organize, and realize its aesthetic projects. By aesthetic projects I mean histories of experiences - expressions of theatrical immersion. This is the true fabric of the universe; what I call pansensitivity. Perceptual participation. Touch and feel. Seeing and looking. Tasting and eating.

In order to accomplish this anabolic construction through time, the aesthetic half of nature employs a contra-aesthetic; a hemi-insensitivity if you will, which is the modulation of entropy and negentropy, i.e. physics and computation. Physics is the outflowing, catabolic arrow of time which fixes public space and scale relation, contact surfaces, topological realism, etc. Computation is the inflowing synthesis of experience and physics (thesis and antithesis). It is the reinternalization of that which has been externalized in spacetime.

The problem (or solution, depending on what you’re trying to do) with AI is that we are a high level experience which is carrying a tremendous amount of what I call significance: We are individual people, we are anthropology and zoology, we are biology, genetics and chemistry, we are physics and mathematics. We have participated directly in the creation of these levels in real time over billions of years. What has happened now is that we have come full circle and are now building high level human intellectual logic as math in physics, from the outside in. Like any puppet or assembled machine, it is a vehicle for our motives and sense-making, rather than for its own agendas that arise from the inside-out. It’s a kind of sculpture, but not a three dimensional marble statue, or a four dimensional movie, but an interactive, five dimensional movie-making meta mechanism. This is something new in our history, and it brings new challenges and new promise.

One of the challenges is that these super-machines push the envelopes of individual people to truly understand what they are, and how to interpret their lifelike qualities without mistaking them for life. Even though CGI has come a long way, I find, and I think that most people find it pretty easy to tell that there is something inauthentic about it. It may not always rise to the level of conscious attention, but particularly when a main character’s image is computer generated, the phenomenon of the uncanny valley is evident. Something about it feels creepy. There is an emptiness where there should be warmth. There seems to be nothing ‘behind the eyes’ and animators often try to compensate with big, anime eyes or comical stylings. Indeed computer animation, in my view, is most authentic and creative in its original 8-bit forms - as PacMan or Tetris. If a computer has a soul it is that; brightly colored simple graphic images which present themselves as modular, miniature dolls rather than a virtual reality.

Look at how we use the internet; not to explore machine intelligence but to talk to each other and about each other, to look at pictures of each other, of food, hear music, etc. Even our online games are mostly fictional adaptations of human experience, not an encounter with any cybernetic other waiting to be born. Computers aren’t learning about their world, they are tools of our world which we use to predict and control ourselves. Acting like a brain is not enough, being a brain is not enough, you have to actually be a person in order to feel like a person and live like a person.

Three Chocolate Groks

I’ve been having some interesting stuff bubble up today. I went to a mellow cacao-drinking ceremonial thing, and some threads came together…

1) Chirality.

A longtime staple of fractal-era New Age-itude, I always thought chirality was interesting but not sure exactly why. Today it hit me how truly implausible it is that on the molecular level the shapes of configured atoms could be identical but somehow ‘facing’ one direct. For instance, I can put a left handed glove on my right hand, in theory, but I’ll just be wearing the front of the glove on the back of my hand. Since a left handed molecule does not respond to other molecules in the same way as a right handed molecule, it says that even on the atomic level, the cosmos is a kind of text where directions like left and right are somehow relevant. It’s not like ball-and-stick models of molecules where you can just flip them and attach…even when the molecular bonds should ‘fit like a glove’ they know which way they are supposed to be “facing”. Who is there on that level to orient such a discernment?

2) Project Philosophy

Shamelessly lifted from Whitehead’s Process Philosophy, Project Philosophy would give a name “Project” to universal holons/monads/processes to emphasize nested bifurcation. A project is a becoming which is intrinsically teleological and sequential but which produces accidental and consequential effects. The project within a project produces a subjective quality of privacy in the child project relative to the parent project, which is now represented within the child project as ‘objective’ conditions.

3) Permittivity and permeability

These terms are related to electric and magnetic field strength and the calculation of the speed of light, but we might also be able to think of them metaphorically as the ‘susceptibility to phenomenalization’ within a given accumulation of matter. What I mean by this is that rather than seeing electric and magnetic fields as free-standing phenomena in empty space, they can possibly be relocated into the behavior of matter. Light would be a function of how permeable and how permissive physical conditions on one scale are to sensory-motive interaction on another scale. How easily will a piece of iron behave as if it were a single atom, and how difficult it is to disperse a signal across billions of atoms simultaneously. How matter feels, and how feeling ‘matters’.

No Strong AI, IMO

Professionals admit that AI falls short of human capabilities, and significantly more applicable. A skeptical view holds consciousness can only be realised in particular physical systems because consciousness has properties that necessarily depend on physical constitution.

It’s not that consciousness can only be realized in particular physical systems, or that it depends on physical constitution, it’s that physics is a symptom of an event in which consciousness expresses certain qualities. Shakespeare does not depend on ink and paper, but no but it does depend on the life experience of a William Shakespeare of 16th century England. It is the experience itself, the time, which is passed down like a torch through experienced lives which is consciousness. It is wrapped up like Matryoshka dolls within Matryoshka dolls of beginnings and endings and accumulations of significant qualities that carries on like interest on an investment. Reproducing a copy of a brain’s physical structure or a mind’s logical structure is like printing out bank statements for a billionaire. The paper can refer to reality correctly, but it has no authority to instantiate it.

Life is not a mixture of life and death. A true and final death is by definition not an experience that can exist. What life has is circumscribed references to death, evidences of death, etc, but not death itself. Life cannot contain actual death, only the living memorial of its own projected absence.