A set of post made on the Gaia community prior to it shutting down in 2010

Vision Cafe - Visionaries Unite!

Discuss the "Visionary Mind Shifts"

Re: Natural Greatness vs. Trained Goodness

2006-04-24 00:25:13

Hi All,

There are several threads and paradigms here that I'm going to attempt to bring together.

Thank you to Michael (and Brian) and all who have posted.
I see goodness vs Greatness operating at many levels.

The Math class example earlier was a good one (I had a very similar experience).
The goodness model just has us following the path because it is the right path, no questions asked or tollerated.
The greatness model would explain to us that there are many pssible paths to any solution.  Each path has it's own sequence of trials.  The path to mathematics mastery being taught here has been proven to work over years, and it has a logical structure to it, though that structure may not be visible to you as novices just yet.  It is our job as teachers to lead you on a journey where you get to discover as much as possible as quickly as possible about the realm of mathematics.  That realm is completely open.  There are no limits to the number or type of problems that can be concieved of or solved.

In this aspect mathematics is very like life in general.

It appears to me that many people have found paths that work.  Some of these have become systematised into religions and cultures and political structures, where evolution has continued under a new set of rules (usually based around power and control of resources).

The goodness paradigm seems based in the right/wrong model.
It appears to me to be fundamentally closed and limited.
The Greatness model seems based in an open paradigm, one of the infinite creativity of the human mind, and the infinite flexibility of the universe.

However, before flying off into those infinites, we need to face what is real about our current existence.
We live in social structures.
We have physical, biological, social, economic, legal and political systems to deal with.
None of them need limit us, and the reality of each must be acknowledged, as we create our vision.

I see a world where every individual has the real choice of living for thousands rather than tens of years.
To do that some things must be created.
The most urgent thing is tollerance and understanding of difference.
Tollerance doesn't come easy to the "good" (right/wrong) model.  Anything different eventually slides into bad/wrong.  Different isn't allowed.

Different is.
The greatest step in making different OK, is acknowledging our own difference, our own uniqueness, our own power to create - our own Vision.
As many have said before - the thing most of us fear most is not our inadequacy.
What we fear most is that we are great beyond measure, and the responsibility that comes with that.

We can make a difference.
We are making a difference.

We can make this world a world of peace.
We can open a path to the stars.
We can create wealth orders of magnitude beyond anything that has existed before.

I have mapped out one possible path (www.solnx.org) there are surely many others.

I stand for a future where no person goes without food, shelter, knowledge, communication or freedom, except by their choice (or the consequence of their action).

The more I see individuals empowering themselves with trust in their own vision, the more I see tollerance, wealth and peace spreading across the planet.


 

Vision Cafe - Visionaries Unite!

Discuss the "Visionary Mind Shifts"

Re: (HOT) Pride vs. Honor

2006-04-27 10:06:01

I love it.

Yesterday I sent an email to a friend - this is an excerpt from it:

"Yesterday morning I ran down to the Garden of memories just before dawn, called the names of the fallen aloud, and recited The Ode at the time the sun would have been rising behind the rain.  I had a few interesting thoughts on the way down, and as I walked back home I walked past your old place, and you and your friendship were very strong in my thoughts.

On the run down I was thinking about the question of God - is there/isn't there, and the possible interpretations of events.  Sometimes I really want to believe there is a God, and sometimes it really does seem like there might be - I had one of those experiences running along The Esplanade.

I was thinking about possible futures and imagining talking to a group of people after the project (www.solnx.org) is complete.
The focus of my thoughts was on my looking good (my hubris), how wise I would seem to others.
Just as I had that thought, I stumbled in the half light, and my glasses flew out from where I had tucked them into the collar of my T shirt.  I ended up on my hands and knees groping around in the rain, on the wet grass, trying to find my glasses by touch.
In the instant that I had the thought "now this is a rather stupid look, rather humbling for one with such mighty thoughts a few seconds before" I found the glasses.

It was one of those experiences where one has one of those "internal conversations with God" and the reality around you responds appropriately.  I've had a lot of them - some very odd indeed.
I then started thinking about other explanations again.
Need it be God, or could it be something else?

As always - there is another possible explanation.
It could just be that my inner mind knows that such hubris is entirely inappropriate, and had caused a stumble and the resulting crawling to bring my conscious mind back to reality, and to the higher purpose that both minds truly aspire to.

Which explanation is real?
Perhaps both, perhaps neither, perhaps one or the other.
I have proved to myself that it is logically impossible to either prove or disprove the existence of God - the starting assumptions one must make to engage in any sort of conversation determine the outcome.

Does it really matter?

I am coming to the conclusion that it doesn't matter, if (and only if) people are taught to trust their higher inner vision (their own conversations with God) - rather than to rely on anyone else's reported conversations or interpretations of the word of God.

It seems to me that there are several quite different modes (paradigms) of operation that people use.

At the lowest level, people are simply guided by their animal passions - like, dislike, love, hate, hunger, lust,...

At the next level people can be told what is Right/Wrong(good/bad), and follow the rules, whether those be rules be legal, religious, social custom or whatever.  In that mode to follow the rule is good, to break the rule is bad.  But rules often conflict, and people are left trying to prioritise rules.
Rules don't work in all situations, no matter how great of prescient the rule maker was.
One of the real down sides of this mode is that anything that is "different" or "unusual" goes into the "wrong/bad" camp, which leads to intolerance, racism, demonisation ....

The third level is that of Possibility/Higher Vision.  This is where an individual has learned to respect the rules, but not to obey them without thought.  The individual is committed to standing for things greater than their own instant gratification, and is committed at some level to harmony with other individuals and the wider environment.
At this level an individual can see many possible paths to any destination.  Can see chains of consequences attached to every decision (or indecision) to action (or inaction).
At this level the individual realises that the possibilities are far too complex for any human mind to ever be certain of any outcome very far into the future.  The individual knows that creating a possibility for the future is to make a stand, then engage in a dance with the seemingly chaotic consequences of all the other decisions that other people are making around them.
In this mode the simple concepts of right/wrong lose their simple meaning.
The individual can still choose a path of commitment to the greater good, but loses any absolute authority over others, as he must acknowledge that every other individual may (must) see things slightly differently, and so while their actions may differ, their purpose may be no less noble or moral.

All this in a few minutes jogging down the esplanade."


 

Vistapreneurs: Entrepreneurial Visionaries

Business Markets

Re: Robotics Industry - Building Robots for People

2006-06-18 09:43:04

I think there's a lot robots could do for people - like eliminate poverty, provide clean technologies, support liberty - see www.solnx.org for my vision.

I'm in the process of company incorporation - share prospectus will be available mid July [hasn't happenned yet - too difficult in current legal environment].

 Cheers

Ted


 

Peace,Politics and Philosophy in our Patch's.

Peace Possiblities

Re: The Game of Life

2008-06-29 00:18:03

Hi Sandy,

Just try for a minute or two imagining a world without rules.
Imagine that there is no gravity, no up or down?
Imagine that chemical reactions do not need to be consistent, no possibility of life ?

We absolutely require rules.
We can only make sense of things when there are rules to be discerned.

There appear to be at least two aspects to mastery at the game:
1 is actually understanding what the rules are, rather than imagining them to be something other than what they are (to paraphrase the Mark Twain quote - it aint what you don't know that gets you into trouble, it's what you know for sure that just aint so!) ;
2 is operating from a paradigm where one can create new rules, some of which alter the outcomes of old sets of rules.

From my half century experience there appears to be no limit to the levels of paradigm transcendence available.
Not only is the game infinite, it is infinitely dimensional, with an infinite number of paradigms available.

Not all of the paradigms are peaceful, some do not even care about personal survival - these are the most difficult to deal with (at all levels).

Each day above ground is a good one!

Ted


 

The GLOBAL PEACE POD.

General Global Conversations

Systemic Peace

2008-08-24 05:25:52

Peace seems to me an interesting thing.

It is easy to be peaceful, when we have full bellies, and we feel secure in both our present and our future.
The less secure we feel, the greater the threat to peace, as under threat our focus narrows, and we resort to those behaviours that are most familiar to our neural nets (the ones we learned first).

The wars we have now, and have recently seen in Kuwait, Iraq and Georgia are without doubt faught primarily over securing long term access to oil - and thus to wealth and security within our current economic and technical framework.

In this respect technology plays an interesting role in peace.
If the only means we have to get heat and light is to burn wood, then securing a wood supply is vital to peace and security.
If we can insulate our houses so that human body heat keeps them at a comfortable temperature even if there is snow outside, and we have LED lights that require only a couple of square feet of solar cells to keep their batteries charged even on a cloudy winters day - then wood is no longer an issue for peace.

Technology is important.
So is the economic system we use.

The physical resouces of the rock we live on (planet earth) are huge and they are limited.
We are part of a beautiful and amazing web of living and non-living systems, connected at many levels, many of which even the most aware of us are only vaguely aware of.
We need to be conscious of, and caring for that web, and alert for unforeseen consequences, and open to new pathways.
Yet our economy is not based soley on the physical.  More and more our economy is based upon knowledge.
Knowledge is an unlimited domain - infinitely dimensional, and infinite within most of those dimensions.
Unlimited economic growth is not only possible, but perhaps even desirable in the sphere of knowledge.

Thus I see, as pre-requisits for peace, technical, economic and political systems that empower individuals into states of awareness where they have the tools to provide for their own security and wealth.
www.solnx.org is my current best attempt to provide such a coherent framework.

I see it as critical that we transition past a reliance on fossil fuels into efficient use of solar energy. 
The sun delivers to the earth the equivalent of a 6 inch (15cm) depth of oil over the entire surface of the planet each year.

We have no shortage of energy, simply a shortage of the will to develop the technology to use it, as such technology cannot easily be centrally controlled, and therefore cannot generate huge profits for centralised bodies corporate.

The project above offers one way of retaining some sort of central control, through licencing - so that individuals would have all the power they need for their own purposes at no charge, but energy collected for supply to industry, or to other third parties, would be charged a premium for the initial supply of the technology.

If anyone has a better idea for world peace, that works at all levels of systems (games theory, behaviour, economic, technical) then please share it with me.

If not, then please support me in bringing www.solnx.org into reality.

Love Peace Power Passion & Propserity

Ted


 

Peace,Politics and Philosophy in our Patch's.

Politics and Philosophy

Re: On the Matter of Religious Tolerance

2009-03-27 07:36:39

If one looks at patterns of individual development - we must all go through a judgemental phase.  It seems that the software entity that is our self awareness is born in a declaration in language resulting from our brain following the rules it has been taught by culture, and in following those rules, declaring itself to be bad/wrong.

Our birth, as self conscious self aware entities possessed of language absolutely demands that we have this judgement.

The problem is that each of us as individuals must make our own personal journeys through possibility space deciding what it is that we are.

Some people fail to question and test the assumptions of culture.
All of us have only our culture, the function of intuition by which we make sense of the world (and with which we create at all levels), and the sense impressions which the universe delivers to us.
With that we make our models of the world, and it is only these models, not reality itself, that we have to play with.

Some of us manage to figure out that there are far more than 2 states in reality.  Reality does not consist of right/wrong, good/bad.  Reality is what it is in the instant, and has infinite possibility available to it.  Every choice has immediate and more distant potential cnsequences, and every choice agent has the ability to create different outcomes from the probable (almost certain) outcomes in waiting.

Rather than right/wrong, there is choice and consequence.

Every one of us is capable of making choices that work for others and the environment, or making choices that don't.   Some are able to foresee the consequences of choices with greater clarity, and for greater distances in time, than others.

Religions are no substitute for the personal journey.

Religions try to quantify in dogma, the truths that great people have seen in their experience.   They become corrupted by the day to day requirements of power and politics and survival.

It seems to me that all religions contain some elements of great wisdom, mixed with a lot of other stuff that is more about politics and control than individual development.

In that, they appear very similar to most other social institutions.

I am interested in people thinking for themselves - which is precicely what most in power do not want.

I am not alone.   I am in good company both past and present.

In a very real sense, I tolerate all religions, in they same way that I tolerate governments and corporations - as temporary tools, a stage in the evolution of human consciousness - not as something to be preserved or admired.

What think you my dear reader(s) ?


 

Peace,Politics and Philosophy in our Patch's.

Weather Room

Re: How's the Weather?

2009-05-27 07:42:57

7:40pm here in Kaikoura, New Zealand - cold with a light southerly - has been overcast all day - fire is on, and winter has arrived - snow on the hills.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-26 00:01:22

Hi All
Several observations:
Most on this thread seem to have a perspective that there is some sort of absolute truth, and that that truth is known to some tradition.
I do not use that perspective.
The only thing that I am absolutely certain of is my own existence.  Every thing else, including everything about the nature of my existence, has a probability function associated with it (ie I am more or less confident about it).
Having said that, the exponential expansion of knowledge that has occurred and continues to occur with humanity has transformed many of our paradigms of understanding over the last few decades, and I suspect will continue to increase in the rate of transformation (indefinitely).
Even 100 years ago, a dedicated individual could, with a few years study, become familiar with what was, by agreement, the sum of human knowledge.   Today that is not conceptually possible.  No single human being today can possibly know more than a very small fraction (less than 10%) of what is today generally agreed to be the sum of all knowledge.
This simple fact makes communication very difficult.  It is entirely possible that two individuals differ not only in the paradigms or perspectives that they use, but they can also differ substantially in what they consider to be "knowledge".

To me, all notions of "God", and all notions of "Spirituallity" that are more than about 30 years old, are almost certainly false.   This is not to deny the spiritual or mystical experience, merely to say that the explanatory frameworks chosen to interpret those experiences can today be replaced by frameworks that are demonstrably much more closely alligned to reality (and do not include the notion of God).
In a logical understanding of science, it is not possible to prove any hypothesis true in all cases, any hypothesis can only be demonstrated to work in a set of cases tested, and anything may be falsified by failing any test.

Having said that, there is much is most traditions that is very powerful in terms of practice, and very wise when viewed as metaphor or myth.

I personally love the story of Jesus.  A young man who trusted his own intuitions above the rule of external authority, who found love for all life, who spoke out for peace, in the face of probable almost certain (in the end probably certain) death.
To me, death is final - no everlasting soul, no enternal life.
Life is for the living now, and now, .....
To me, we are all related, by the holographic processing power of the human brain.  The ability to store and retrieve information as interference patterns allows us to form intuitions, to see pattern where none was seen previously.   The scientific method suggests that we back up these intuitions with testing in reality, with well designed experiments, and with accurate measurement and analysis of results, and consideration of all the possible alternatives that we can imagine.

I think Jesus was right in a sense. What he identified as the creative power, what he called God, what I call "holographic storage and recall" does reside within each and every one of us, and does make each and every one of us potentially infinitely creative, infinitely powerful, and infinitely loving.

Prior to electronic computers, and LASER holography, we had no physical analogy for how mind works.
Prior to Darwin and Dawkins we had no effective explanation for how bodies and minds evolved from star dust by an essentiall simple process.

Study and contemplation of the ancient past is interesting, and much more interesting and relevant to spiritual growth is study of modern science and modern scientific understanding of reality.   It is far closer to what Jesus actually is supposed to have said, than most of the dogma and interpretation that has grown around him since.

My 2c worth for the day.
Love Peace Power Passion and Prosperity to all
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-26 00:36:48

I admit to only having read this thread, and not the original.
And perhaps I misunderstand, and most do seem to agree with the concept of God - in the sense of something intentional, and interactive with humanity, predating humanity.
While I admit that in a certain sense the concept of God cannot be either proved or disproved, there is another sense in which every argument put forward as a proof has been disproven, and we are left with an understanding of the world in which we find ourselves that is both deeply profound and deeply weird.   When we approach the boundary conditions of space or time, common sense fails.   The whole notion of time that most of us has fails.
What do you think most on this thread have as an understanding of reality - an interpretive schema ?
And thanks for the welcome.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-26 02:25:38

Hi Balder & Zak,

I have read one of Ken's books cover to cover, browsed a couple of others, listened to quite a few hours of his conversations via mp3, and exchanged a couple of emails with him.
From the interpretive schema that I currently find most powerful, I see some powerful concepts in the Intergral view, and I also see some notions that seem "inverted".   Ken does seem to have an odd view of evolution - not at all a view that Richard Dawkins might understand or agree with - and Richard seems to have one of the most powerful understandings around.
The Integral notion of transcend and include is a powerful one (even if borrowed), and one of the core notions to my own schema.
The notion of moving from simple binary declarative distinctions (like true/false, right/wrong) to domains that are infinite in distinction and infinite in dimensionality is also one I use.   So we do have some common ground we may be able to work from.
Where we probably come unstuck is in the notion of spirit and complexity.  I see complexity (which includes the notion of software, control, feedback etc) as an emergent property of complex systems.  I see evolution as necessarily starting from the simple, and by an essentially "random walk" exploring possibility space - most of which, by definition will be more complex.   Some variants arrise which have within them patterns which actively seek and explore the novel and complex at ever deeper levels.   Some of us humans seem to be the best examples of that that we currently know about.

As Zak appears to believe that he doesn't exist - further attempts at communication are pointless.  One must acknowledge one's own existence, even if one is not confident of any aspects of what that existence is (which is all I was saying).   If one doesn't believe that one exists, then there is no possibility of communication or morality.

I agree that Buddhist teachings are essentially without God.  I am quite happy reading most of the early Buddhist works, if not much of the more recent interpretations.   Just as I like the story of Jesus, prior to the addition of the virgin birth and resurection bits (the sun worship stuff - which seems essentially to stem from the council of Nicea).   And I acknowledge that it is difficult to judge accurately the truth or otherwise of anything that far back in history, when so few written accounts survive.   It is hard enough even trying to figure out what Chaucer actually wrote, and we have dozens of copies of his work surviving - all with minor transciptions errors.
So yes - I think I do understand what this thread is about, and yes my questions still remain, and perhaps there is simply so little common ground between schemas that communication is essentially impossible, and perhaps I am wasting my time.
It seems to me that discussion of either Integral or Christian influence without discussion the idea of God is fraught danger of non-communication.   I have spent a couple of hours discussing the subject with Richard Rohr (one to one), and I'd say Richard is about as close to an athiest as a Christian can get and still be a Christian.

The whole approach of using God to get past God seems particularly dangerous.   The alternative appears much safer - on the large scale.

I'll give it an hour or two more, and see what eventuates.
Love Peace Power Passion & Prosperity
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-26 05:49:00

Hi Star, Neverness & Tom,
It seems that the easiest way to explain the interpretive schema I am using is to start at the start - so to speak.  Along the way I trust I will answer Tom's questions.

Which start ???
Let me try this one.
It seems probable that some 13.7 billion years ago (as we currently measure time) a small bubble of amazingly dense possibility containing some very strange energies started to expand.   It was very dense, very hot, and weird beyond any current understanding.   As it expanded the weirdness within went through several phase changes (analogous to as a piston full of steam will condense to water then ice as the piston is drawn out and the volume increases).  We call this event the Big Bang.  (Describing it in terms of time is difficult from my current paradigm, for within this paradigm, time is given by light, and is unique to each and every particle, it is just that our particles are in much the same place, and traveling at much the same speed, that we get the illusion that there is any such thing as universal time - there isn't - but that is another story - before light there cannot be time, and light was one of the things that condensed - so it gets quite weird back there - I try not to think about it too much).
From that was born all the matter and energy of our universe.  Over time matter condensed, large stars formed, then exploded creating all the elements heavier than helium.   Several generations of stars ensued, until about 5 billion years ago a cloud of stella debris started to condense, forming our sun and the planets surrounding it.
About 3 billion years ago very simple life started on earth.  This formed from ribo nucleic acids and lipids.  Evolution took over, and through a process of selective survival of variants in different conditions in different places, produced increases in complexity.  These were single celled organisms.   Some of them developed the knack of using sunlight to split water to give them the hydrogen they needed, and released oxygen as a byproduct.   Over a very long period this oxygen changed the world, first as it settled the iron out of the oceans (as rust), then it changed the atmosphere (which previously had no oxygen in it).
Eventually organisms developed which could use this oxygen as fuel.  To do this trick, they had to incorporate bacteria like organisms within them, that today we know as mitochondria.   As a side effect of that, the mitochondrial DNA disturbed the host DNA, by inserting "introns".  To counter this "attack", the organisms developed sex, as a mechanism of defending their genes from intron attack.
It seems that once sexual selection developed, organisms could develop much more rapidly, as gene variants from one line could be shared with variants form other lines - natural selection shifted up a gear.  In the last 700 million years we have gone from only single celled organisms to the phenomenal complexity of life we see today - through a process of evolution by natural selection.
About 7 million years ago it seems likely that one form of tool using ape started to squat to feed, and from that developed into free standing bipeds.   For a raft of reasons those of our ancestors with ever larger brains were selected for.   About 100,000 years ago culture and language got a major boost, and started evolving very rapidly - evolution shifted into 3rd gear.
As our ancestors developed complex language, they started to ask more complex questions, and developed stories and explanations that made sense to them, and seemed in most circumstances to work.   Many of these stories used "God(s)" to explain why things were as they are.   From these god stories we get the notion that there is some "intention" behind our being.
It seems that it is language itself that is central to our development of self awareness.   It seems that we need to have a language that develops slowly by cultural meme selection, until it gets to the stage of having declarative value judgements (like right/wrong or good/bad).   Once a language develops such things, it is only a matter of time and circumstance until an individual brain finds itself in a situation where according to the rules of right /wrong as known, it must declare itself to be wrong (or bad, or evil or whatever the binary opposite of the desirable is).
At this point, it seems the problem solving machine that is a human brain solves that problem with a declarative statement in language - in the general form - being x is wrong so I am going to be y.
Such a statement is what is known in computer parlance as a bootstrap routine (from the idea of Topsy pulling herself up by her own boot laces - impossible in reality, but computers do it every day).   It starts a pattern in language.  That pattern eventually becomes our self awareness.  Completely self started.
This has several interesting consequences, that show up in all major religious traditions.  One is the notion of original sin, or shame.  That is what happens to the original self, the one that was simply being, without being aware of its being.
Many of the problems of psychology stem from this original pattern hiding in our "sub-conscious" and trying to stay hidden, and occasionally coming out with all the energy of an irrepressible three year old, and getting into adult business.
Becoming a fully functional adult means becoming conscious of one's own beginnings, and making friends with one's earlier self(s).   The process is often repeated.  We are sometimes multitudes (as many have often noted).

Having that as a rough background, we come to the general subject of brain and cognition.
Our awareness has many components.  Our senses supply information to our neural nets, which selectively recognise and classify distinctions already made, storing and retrieving sensations and thoughts as they go.   Neural nets are fascinating things.  They operating on probability functions.  There is no guarantee that the same stimulus will produce the same response, but on average, and over time, they are remarkably efficient.
All of this information coming in from our senses informs a predictive model of reality that our brains build, that for the most part we take as reality itself.  A few simple tests can easily prove it isn't - like watching a good stage magician.   Ludwig Wittgenstein described it like shadows on the wall of a cave, which is an amazing analogy, and without a knowledge of computers and systems theory an amazing feat of intuition.

Neurons are also constantly changing.  They can change in response to external stimulii, or in response to internal stimulii.   The software we choose to run on on our "computers" can actually rewire and restructure our central processors.
There is another even more fascinating layer to this.  The way we store and retrieve information.   It seems this is done in holographic fashion - as an interference pattern rather than as a serial pattern as computers do.  Holograms are amazing at many levels, very Zen.   An artifact of this is that the process of storage and retrieval forms associations.   The context we hold in our mind as we send the request for retrieval is a major determinant of the types of associations returned.   Learning to still the chatter of conscious mind, and be alert to these deeper and quieter "intuitions" is one of benefits of meditation.

This holographic association forms deep connections between us and everything in our environment.   It can be amazingly profound.  Carl Pibram has done some great theoretical work on the subject, but for me personally it can as a blinding flash of intuition about the nature of intuition when as a third year biochem student fascinated by how brains work I attended an international symposium on LASERs that one of my flatmates was keen on - in 1974.   And my holographic processor simply made the connections for me.   It was almost 20 years before I could explain it to anyone else in a way they seemed to get.

On to ontology.
It seems to me that I exist.
It seems to me that there is a "reality" out there, of which I am part.
It seems that I have a physical body that is a result of evolution acting over billions of years, and that body has a brain that learned a culture which culture had evolved over hundreds of thousands of years.   Into this milieu my self awareness was born in language at a very early age, and started asking questions and trying to figure out what it is, and what it can do, and why it should bother about anything at all.

Sometimes I use the analogy of my self awareness as an amoeboid form in a multidimensional space, sending out pseudopodia to investigate interesting things in various dimensions of distinctions.

At other times I think of my awareness like a pole house built on a swamp, supported on thousands of bamboo poles.   If I push on any one of the poles, it sinks in the ooze, yet the whole thing is remarkably stable.

In terms of developing awareness, we must start from the simplest distinctions.  The simplest is binary.  right.wrong, light/dark, hot/cold, ....
As our distinctions develop, most become infinite spectra.   Light and dark becomes the entire electromagnetic spectrum.
Right and wrong become an infinite variety of possible perspectives, possible plans, possible actions, possible outcomes.

One recognises the infinite choices available to all, and the requirement to dance with the consequences of the choices of others; in an ever evolving, ever more dimensional dance.

So there is a limited sense in which I recognise an aspect of integral thought that recognises states and stages of development.   And there is another aspect of integral thought where the idea of spirit wanting to know itself seems like an utter nonsense to me.

Like Henry Ford said - where you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right.

I think I can be part of a team that creates a set of understandings and technologies that empower people to live indefinitely in peace and prosperity - www.solnx.org is my best formulation of a plan for doing that.
It is not any sort of constraint of who any may become or what they do, other than constraining actions that harm others or the ability of the environment to sustain others.
So that is about me in a nutshell - excepting that I have interests in all aspects of science, philosophy, life ....
Richard Rohr was out here in New Zealand a couple of years ago, and although I am a declared eclectic humanist and often argue against any notion of God, I liked Richard, and enjoyed the workshop immensely - a very thoughtful chap, with amazing integrity.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-27 05:19:37

Hi Zak
I found a couple of faults in Ayn Rand's logic, but not around the fundamentals of epistemology.
The first thing any of us must acknowledge, as a given, is our own existence.  That does not say anything about the nature of that existence, just the fact of it, in the present.
Descarte phrased it beautifully - cogito ergo sum.
If that is not an agreed starting point, any further dialogue is pointless.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-27 05:24:57

Hi Infimitas,
I'm not 100% sure of anything other than the feeling of I.
I am reasonable confident of the ontology in new thread one level up - interpretive schema.
I think we are probably fairly close, though I may be a bit more detailed in the areas of ontology and epistemology (though I skipped lightly over both in the other post).


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-27 20:28:15

A thousand years ago, most people thought the earth was flat.  The idea that almost everyone might think the earth was round was unimaginable.
At the same time, most thought that the earth was the centre of the universe.   Today almost no-one thinks that.
A thousand years ago, if you said that one day you would be able to pick up a small object, smaller than your hand, and essentially made from sand, and talk to almost anyone, almost anywhere in the world on it - almost no-one would have considered it, yet alone believed it - we have cell phones.
What if, in 50 years, the whole idea of religion falls into the same category as flat earth, or earth centred universe?
For me, there is no "truth" in the concept of "God".   I can understand how the concept arose, and how it seemed sensible.   And knowing what I know about how bodies are put together, how they work (at the chemical, physical, electrical, and systems levels), how systems work; and looking at the evidence for how things have got to be as they are now; the ideas of gods and spirits occupy the same space as "flat earth" in my understanding.
The reality of a hologram is an amazing thing.  Every part of the holograph is related to every part of the object.   The relationship is about as deep as a relationship can get.  And it is governed by very simple ideas and concepts, that allow for infinite complexity in reality.
Without having LASERs and physical holograms to work an analogy from, it is easy to understand how concepts like "god" and "spirit" made sense, but once one can see how evolution by natural selection can build neural networks, and how neural networks can build holographic storage and retrieval systems, there is no need for any deeper or more profound explanation - it is all there- infinitely complex, infinitely connected, infinitely interrelated, infinitely creative.
So for me, I fully expect to live long enough to see the time when religions are simply things of historical interest, and not an active force in current culture; and I get that time is not yet.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-27 21:13:04

Hi Bruce
To me the redundancy applies equally to both theism and religion.
If an individual is aware of their true nature - which to me seems to be that they are evolved beings, with infinite potential; then that individual will be aware of the drives to associate into groups, and the freedom to follow lines of enquiry.
Groups and associations will come and go, and individuals will be memebrs of different communities at different times, and the notion of there being a need for organised relgions or even of there being anything that is of "ultimate concern", seem to fade.
I think perhaps the problem lies with infinity - so few people seem to have any idea of it.
If one is comfortable with infinity, then one knows that one could spend the next hundred billion years in the study of a single grain of sand, and still have infinitely more to learn at the end of that time.
The idea that there could even conceptually be anything of "ultimate concern" seems to me to be a notion introduced as a tool of control.
What is - is.
We are each free agents - infinitely powerful, infinitely creative.   What will work is if we each choose to respect each other's choices, and get along with each other, and look after each other's welfare.
I can't make anyone think anything, don't want to.
I do wish to create a physical reality in which I get to experience security and freedom; and the only way I can see of doing that is to guarantee the same for everyone else.   Outside of that, what path anyone else chooses is their concern, not mine, provided it doesn't interfere with the safety or freedom of anyone else.
I am free so self express in the way that seem most appropriate to me.  (Often is seems quite inappropriate to others - particularly when it reminds them of realities they'd rather not think about.)
Love Peace Power Passion & Prosperity
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-27 22:27:40

Hi Bruce

The values I expressed, freedom, security, respect, creativity, are values that fall out of a surival - simple self interest, and a knowledge of mathematics and games theory, applied long term.
The only way to create a system that supplies those things to me, long term (thousand or millions of years long term), is to ensure that everyone else has them also, then there is no incentive for anyone to take them from me. 

Simple really.

Doesn't take a lot of working out.

Religion is defined in the Oxford as:
"Action or conduct indicating a belief in, reverence for, and desire to please, a divine ruling power; the exercise or practice of rites or observances implying this"  or
"A particular system of faith and worship" or
"Recognition on the part of man of some higher unseen power as having control of his destiny, and as being entitled to obedience, reverence, and worship; the general mental and moral attitude resulting from this belief, with reference to its effect upon the individual or the community; personal or general acceptance of this feeling as a standard of spiritual and practical life"
 and these I see as becoming redundant.

I think you are probably correct, in asserting that debate is pointless; as you have chosen to redefine the terms to mean something else, rather than use commonly accepted and agreed language to continue a discussion.   That is your choice.

I'm with Jesus.  People don't need anyone else to "save" them, they have all they need within them.  Learn to trust it, then put it into the service of life, in whatever way works best for you, whatever way serves your personal "bliss".   (I just deliver the same message, without reference to god.)  
We are each the only ones who can determine what that Bliss is.   And studying what others have thought and distinguished on the matter can save a lot of time, or waste a lot of time, depending on choices and goals.

Personally, I find intergral thought, as expressed in Ken's "A brief History of Everything" to be far from aligned with reality, and to create more problems than it solves - which is not to say that there are not some very powerful ideas in there - there are, just too many of the other kind also.

Love Peace Power Passion & Prosperity
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-28 00:01:24

Hi Infimitas
I think psi, in the common sense of it, doesn't exist.  James Randy has a 1 million dollar prize unclaimed.  There is a bloke here in NZ, who has burried half a $100 bill within 3km of his shop (the other half is framed and on display), and has $100,000 prize for anyone who can tell him exactly where the other half is, without disturbing it.   That prize is still unclaimed, after 20 years.
So that sense of psi - no.
But in the sense of relatedness, of intuitively knowing, that falls straight out of holographic association - everything related as an interference pattern - yes.
At the level of brain/mind I can accept that.  Carl Pibram thinks it applies much deeper, to the substructure of reality itself.   I have no eveidence that this hypothesis is required to explain any observation, so at present I just use Occham's Razor.
As to current scientific theories being anywhere near complete - I doubt it.
I suspect that at least half of what I place my trust in at present will at some time in the future prove to be but a subset of some deeper and more profound principle.  And what I've got now is what I have to work with, now.   I'm making no claims toward absolute "truth" - just working with probability functions.
I think the subjective experience problem is subject to something very like Hiesenberge's uncertainty principle - the more we look closely at it, the less it seems to be so, but the further back we stand from it the more certain is it's existence.
I have very little doubt that my subjective personal experience is mediated by the body and brain that I have woken up with every time I wake up.

I am equally confident that most disease has an emotional cause - resulting from declarations we have made to ourselves at some points in our lives.
We seem to be highly integrated entities - body and soul - evolved on many levels - infinitely complex and powerful.

Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-28 01:05:09

On the ontological side, as stated elsewhere, it is hard to go past Ayn Rand on epistemology.  All argument goes back in some form to one's own existence.   Having come from that starting point, logic does not allow one to deny it.
Having accepted that, there can be a lot of debate about the nature of that existence.

Some say that there is existence devoid of body - universal one-ness.   I find no evidence for such an assertion.

If find that all of the mystical experiences I have had, and those I have read about (which is quite a few) can be interpreted in through the model of neural network/ holographic intuitions - as being strictly tied to the physical existence of body/brain.

I can conceive of the possibility of transfering the awareness that is me to a different matrix than the brain/body - (uploading some call it) - and to the best of my knowledge and experience, that technology is not yet available - someday maybe.

So - while not closed to either the idea of "universal awareness" or psi, I have no evidence of anything that requires those hypotheses to explain the evidence.   Everything I have experienced or read about can, in my mind, be adequately accounted for by the model of an evolved brain/mind with neural networks and holographic intuition - all steming from simple atoms by a process of evolution by natural selection at multiple levels.   There may be more to come; and I don't think it is here yet.
Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-28 01:21:22

Hi Tom
I'll need to get back to you on that.  I'll need to did out my copy of Brief History and see what I scawled in the margins - it is a few years ago now.
I haven't read any more of Ken's Books, didn't see enough in that one to make the effort worth while.
I have listened to a few MP3s mostly of Ken and Andrew lately, while driving.  But even there, have many more interesting things to listen to.   I'm sure Ken & I could have an interesting chat if we ever got together, and our paradigms are just so different, that I doubt much would be achieved.   I've put thousands of hours into studying biochemistry, thousands into ecology, thousands into evolution, just doing Kurt Goedel's incompleteness theorem probably took me about 200 hours, until I was confident that there were no logical problems in what he was saying.   A Profound piece of work that.  I've also got several tens of thousands of hours as a hunter, on land and sea - observing all those systems in reality.  I'm a bit of an odd fish.   Don't have a lot of time for authority.   Never believed that just because most people believe something, that it is so.  Quite the reverse.

I'll see if I can get some ideas written up in the next couple of days.

I have some work I need to get done before the end of the month.  Two computer systems for two different clients, and I've been spending too long on this stuff - need to get back to something that pays the bills and feeds the family.
Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-28 01:30:56

Hi Tom,

Can't resist.

I define body in terms of the complex of systems exhibited and mediate through matter that we call our physical bodies.  There are over 20 levels of systems within these "bodies" where the output of the system forms one of the inputs to the next iteration.   Such systems are not even conceptually predictable.   All we can do with them is try and see what they produce.

Every level, depends upon the earlier levels.  (Transcend and include.)

To get a matter free matrix to support our awareness it would need to have logcal analogues of all of those systems.
Cant see it - at least not yet.

Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman on the Role of Jesus ... 2

2009-08-28 11:07:25

Hi Tom,
Some comments on:
KW Brief History of Everything.
paperback Shambhala edition ISBN 1-57062-740-1
Page 20
KWs comments on Evolution of wings is complete nonsense - demonstrates a total lack of understanding of evolution.   Evolution can only proceed by small increments.   Feathers are good at providing insulation.  In a small animal that make a living climbing trees and leaping from branch to branch, or tree to tree, any small improvement, that allows it to glide a little further, has value and can be selected for.  Over time it is but a very small change to go from a very efficient glide, to a powered flight, particularly if the arms are already strong from having to climb quickly up tree trunks (much as flying squirrels do today).

Page 23
KW talks about randomness and chance, and once again shows no understanding of evolution.   Evolution is not random chance.  Evolution is a simple mechanism that allows certain classes of process to vastly exceed randomness.
KW talks of Kosmos having direction - which seems highly improbable.  There appears to be nothing at work other than evolution with a certain degree of randomness.

Page 34 KW says "So Spirit is both the highest "level" in the holarchy, but is also the paper on which the entire holarchy is written."   My gut reaction to that statement, what a load of self serving, self aggrandising, crap.  
Totally without evidence or logic.
The whole point about the process of evolution by natural selection is that it is a simple mechanism that provides an explanation for how all the observed complexity comes into being.   There is no requirement for anything else.  All this talk about spirit and directionality is self serving to KWs aims, and has no evidential support - on the contrary, the evidence is that it is not required, and therefore does not exist.

Page 35
A nonsensical claim that the biosphere is internal to us.
As an ecologist I see many levels of relatedness, but internality is stretching it well past breaking point.

The final section of Kosmic Consciousness page 36 is from a paradigm that is without meaning or evidence in reality.


 Page 37 where KW goes in to talking about consciousness and spirit being everywhere - I am aware that many people think that spirit determines matter, and there is no evidence for this.  

All evidence indicates that complex systems have emergent properties, leading to ever more levels of complexity, in an infinitely dimensional sequence.
Evidence indicates that what we call spirit, consciousness, or awareness is simply one of those levels - not a precursor but an emergent property.

There is so much nonsense written.

Page 67 has the 4 quadrants.   These are of dubious distinction, and the so called holarchies in each quadrant are essentially arbitrary.
At age seven I was capable of relating to all sentients, not just on this planet but anywhere.  Just the simple action of a holographic processor.


Page 101 KW goes into a rant about the "world of the lab technician" which clearly demonstrates that he hates science - hates the thought that there might not be some overarching guiding principle.

I don't think it is worth saying much more.   Lots more scrawling in margins, but what point copying?

My general assessment was that KW was an individual who was almost totally ignorant a modern scientific understanding, who is trying to use pseudoscience to elevate mythology to a status above reality.   I doubt any intention on his part to deceive, I think he probably believes it, but that doesn't make it so.   He does have some good ideas - but he has a lot that are not at all good.

A couple of good ideas, clothed in a lot nonsense.

My general assesment is that a lot of people see science as something that denies the mystic experience.  It isn't.  Many people who call themselves scientists do, but that is not the fault of science, just of some individuals who would rather be right about their existing paradigm than face the possibility that another paradigm may be required.   That is a common form of the human experience.

I fully accept the mystic experience.  I have had quite a few myself.  What I do not accept is the old explanatory framework used to explain that experience.   The experience is real, but not the explanation, meaning or significance that most have given to it to this point in history.

KWs effort does not, in my opinion or experience, do much to assist.

For me - the experience is one of a holographic awareness.  This awareness is a normal function of the human brain.  It links all pattern to all other patterm across all domains available to the mind in question.   Every now and then it allows for a dimensional shift, as a new paradigm becomes apparent to the mind of an individual.  Sometimes that individual can communicate the new paradigm, sometimes not.   Mostly not, as there is usually no language, no shared experience, to allow communication.

Most people who have such experiences seem to be classed as mad in their own time.  Some few of us are already conditioned to asociality, and so can survive the lack of communication for long enough to establish some form of sharing that gets at least some part of the idea across.

That does seem to be my experience.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Interpetive Schema

2009-08-26 07:13:00

Hi Star, Neverness & Tom,
It seems that the easiest way to explain the interpretive schema I am using is to start at the start - so to speak.  Along the way I trust I will answer Tom's questions.

Which start ???
Let me try this one.

It seems probable that some 13.7 billion years ago (as we currently measure time) a small bubble of amazingly dense possibility containing some very strange energies started to expand.   It was very dense, very hot, and weird beyond any current understanding.   As it expanded the weirdness within went through several phase changes (analogous to as a piston full of steam will condense to water then ice as the piston is drawn out and the volume increases).  We call this event the Big Bang.  (Describing it in terms of time is difficult from my current paradigm, for within this paradigm, time is given by light, and is unique to each and every particle, it is just that our particles are in much the same place,a nd traveling at much the same speed, that we get the illusion that there is any such thing as universal time - there isn't - but that is another story - before light there cannot be time, and light was one of the things that condensed - so it gets quite weird back there - I try not to think about it too much).

From that was born all the matter and energy of our universe.  Over time matter condensed, large stars formed, then exploded creating all the elements heavier than helium.   Several generations of stars ensued, until about 5 billion years ago a cloud of stella debris started to condense, forming our sun and the planets surrounding it.

About 3 billion years ago very simple life started on earth.  This formed from ribo nucleic acids and lipids.  Evolution took over, and through a process of selective survival of variants in different conditions in different places, produced increases in complexity.  These were single celled organisms.   Some of them developed the knack of using sunlight to split water to give them the hydrogen they needed, and released oxygen as a byproduct.   Over a very long period this oxygen changed the world, first as it settled the iron out of the oceans (as rust), then it changed the atmosphere (which previously had no oxygen in it).

Eventually organisms developed which could use this oxygen as fuel.  To do this trick, they had to incorporate bacteria like organisms within them, that today we know as mitochondria.   As a side effect of that, the mitochondrial DNA disturbed the host DNA, by inserting "introns".  To counter this "attack", the organisms developed sex, as a mechanism of defending their genes from intron attack.

It seems that once sexual selection developed, organisms could develop much more rapidly, as gene variants from one line could be shared with variants from other lines - natural selection shifted up a gear.  In the last 700 million years we have gone from only single celled organisms to the phenomenal complexity of life we see today - through a process of evolution by natural selection.

About 7 million years ago it seems likely that one form of tool using ape started to squat to feed, and from that developed into free standing bipeds.   For a raft of reasons those of our ancestors with ever larger brains were selected for.   About 100,000 years ago culture and language got a major boost, and started evolving very rapidly - evolution shifted into 3rd gear.

As our ancestors developed complex language, they started to ask more complex questions, and developed stories and explanations that made sense to them, and seemed in most circumstances to work.   Many of these stories used "God(s)" to explain why things were as they are.   From these god stories we get the notion that there is some "intention" behind our being.

It seems that it is language itself that is central to our development of self awareness.   It seems that we need to have a language that develops slowly by cultural meme selection, until it gets to the stage of having declarative value judgements (like right/wrong or good/bad).   Once a language develops such things, it is only a matter of time and circumstance until an individual brain finds itself in a situation where according to the rules of right /wrong as known, it must declare itself to be wrong (or bad, or evil or whatever the binary opposite of the desirable is).

At this point, it seems the problem solving machine that is a human brain solves that problem with a declarative statement in language - in the general form - being x is wrong so I am going to be y.

Such a statement is what is known in computer parlance as a bootstrap routine (from the idea of Topsy pulling herself up by her own boot laces - impossible in reality, but computers do it every day).   It starts a pattern in language.  That pattern eventually becomes our self awareness.  Completely self started.

This has several interesting consequences, that show up in all major religious traditions.  One is the notion of original sin, or shame.  That is what happens to the original self, the one that was simply being, without being aware of its being.

Many of the problems of psychology stem from this original pattern hiding in our "sub-conscious" and trying to stay hidden, and occasionally coming out with all the energy of an irrepressible three year old, and getting into adult business.

Becoming a fully functional adult means becoming conscious of one's own beginnings, and making friend's with one's earlier self(s).   The process is often repeated.  We are sometimes multitudes (as many have often noted).

Having that as a rough background, we come to the general subject of brain and cognition.

Our awareness has many components.  Our senses supply information to our neural nets, which selectively recognise and classify distinctions already made, storing and retrieving sensations and thoughts as they go.   Neural nets are fascinating things.  They operate on probability functions.  There is no guarantee that the same stimulus will produce the same response, but on average, and over time, they are remarkably efficient.

All of this information coming in from our senses informs a predictive model of reality that our brains build, that for the most part we take as reality itself.  A few simple tests can easily prove it isn't - like watching a good stage magician.   Ludwig Wittgenstein described it like shadows on the wall of a cave, which is an amazing analogy, and without a knowledge of computers and systems theory an amazing feat of intuition.

Neurons are also constantly changing.  They can change in response to external stimuli, or in response to internal stimuli.   The software we choose to run on on our "computers" can actually rewire and restructure our central processors.

There is another even more fascinating layer to this.  The way we store and retrieve information.   It seems this is done in holographic fashion - as an interference pattern rather than as a serial pattern as computers do.  Holograms are amazing at many levels, very Zen.   An artifact of this is that the process of storage and retrieval forms associations.   The context we hold in our mind as we send the request for retrieval is a major determinant of the types of associations returned.   Learning to still the chatter of conscious mind, and be alert to these deeper and quieter "intuitions" is one of benefits of meditation.

This holographic association forms deep connections between us and everything in our environment.   It can be amazingly profound.  Carl Pibram has done some great theoretical work on the subject, but for me personally it came as a blinding flash of intuition about the nature of intuition when as a third year biochem student fascinated by how brains work I attended an international symposium on LASERs that one of my flatmates was keen on - in 1974.   And my holographic processor simply made the connections for me.   It was almost 20 years before I could explain it to anyone else in a way they seemed to get.   I got to experience the neural storm, bright light, rushing sound (white noise) as my neural network overloaded from the complete restructuring of understanding that went on in that instant.

On to ontology.
It seems to me that I exist.  In logic I must accept this if I am to assert anything.

It seems to me that there is a "reality" out there, of which I am part.

It seems that I have a physical body that is a result of evolution acting over billions of years, and that body has a brain that learned a culture which culture had evolved over hundreds of thousands of years.   Into this milieu my self awareness was born in language at a very early age, and started asking questions and trying to figure out what it is, and what it can do, and why it should bother about anything at all.

Sometimes I use the analogy of my self awareness as an amoeboid form in a multidimensional space, sending out pseudopodia to investigate interesting things in various dimensions of distinctions.

At other times I think of my awareness like a pole house built on a swamp, supported on thousands of bamboo poles.   If I push on any one of the poles, it sinks in the ooze, yet the whole thing is remarkably stable.

In terms of developing awareness, we must start from the simplest distinctions.  The simplest is binary.  right.wrong, light/dark, hot/cold, ....

As our distinctions develop, most become infinite spectra.   Light and dark becomes the entire electromagnetic spectrum.   Every distinction opening a new infinity to be explored in part.

Right and wrong become an infinite variety of possible perspectives, possible plans, possible actions, possible outcomes.

One recognises the infinite choices available to all, and the requirement to dance with the consequences of the choices of others; in an ever evolving, ever more dimensional dance.

So there is a limited sense in which I recognise an aspect of integral thought that recognises states and stages of development.   And there is another aspect of integral thought where the idea of spirit wanting to know itself seems like an utter nonsense to me.

Like Henry Ford said - whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right.

I think I can be part of a team that creates a set of understandings and technologies that empower people to live indefinitely in peace and prosperity - www.solnx.org is my best formulation of a plan for doing that.

It is not any sort of constraint of who any may become or what they do, other than constraining actions that harm others or the ability of the environment to sustain others.

So that is about me in a nutshell - excepting that I have interests in all aspects of science, philosophy, life ....

Richard Rohr was out here in New Zealand a couple of years ago to run a weekend workshop, and although I am a declared eclectic humanist and often argue against any notion of God, I liked Richard, and enjoyed the workshop immensely - a very thoughtful chap, with amazing integrity.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Interpetive Schema

2009-08-26 21:44:28

Hi Tom
The time thing is an interesting one.  The best analogy I have of it is that time as we currently know it seems to be mediated on light.   It seems that light photons are like frozen images of the state of the emitting particle.  Given that all particles contain orbiting (rotating) properties, a string of photons will appear to have wave like properties.
It appears that other fields are also at play.
It seems like there is some sort of existence field, quite distinct from light and photons.
The area has interest for me, but is not a major focus right now.
I am mroe interested in creating a social/political environment that gets to address the real issues threatening the survival of humanity.   Those issues are detailed in www.solnx.org and shifting awareness is part of the process (alongside technological developments).
I am not sure that there is much relationship between what is experienced and interpreted in spriitual circles and what is happening at the cutting edge of mathematical and physical interpretations of reality.
I do believe that our intuition is an exceptionally powerful tool, and can deliver understanding to individuals that is far beyond the culturally accepted norms; and at the same time it seems that sometimes we seek and see linkages where none actually exist.
It seems most probable to me that most of the "spiritual" experience of timelessness comes from shifting awareness from the neural net to the holographic processor.   Neural nets, while massively parallel are very slow.   Holographic processors are both distributed and fast.   A few seconds in holographic space could seem like years in neural net space.   I think this effect; or a related one, of disconnecting the speech and visual nets, might explain most of the experiences.
No I haven't read Wolfram's book, and I did read Goedel Escher Back about 20 years ago - very interesting book.
It seems both logical and probable that all things must start simple, and increase in complexity over time.
My biggest concern at present is getting systems in place to buy humanity enough time to get the majority of us into a space where very long life is a reallistic option, and where feelings of relatedness and expressed duty of care are the norm.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Post - Post Metaphysics or Post toasties?

2009-08-27 08:38:16

I'd say the real teacher is you.
Guys like me who are essentially asocial and spend most of their time reading and contemplating can indicate directions for exploration, and in the end, what we each get to believe, and include in our view of the world, comes down to our own choices.
Personally, I investigate most things, then consider what fits with my experience, and what passes that test goes on to be futher tested by designed experiment.
I consider that all things may need to be restested, and some things I am so confident of that I seldom consider restesting them.
It seems to me that science indicates that our brains are more powerful than most people believe, and that most of the ancient spiritual practices work, but not for the reasons that the ancients (or most of the moderns) believe.   Truth, as usual, is far stranger than fiction.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Post - Post Metaphysics or Post toasties?

2009-08-27 09:33:16

Not exactly.
Perhaps more than any other single piece of technology, the cell phone is penetrating where little else has changed.
With it flow ideas.
I haven't seen a holy book yet that refers to cell phones.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman and the Role of Jesus ... 3

2009-08-28 21:45:25

Tom
Am I correct in understanding that your term universals is similar to Plato's?
If so, in my understanding this maps to a function of brain, rather than to any external property of anything.   Holographic storage and retrieval highlights that which is similar in the context under consideration.   What is similar depends on the context used.  Change context, and the brain returns different intuitions.
Thus, in my understanding of how brain works, there is a sense of a "universal", but it is not an "out there" thing, it is a distinction unique to each and every mind, and is modulated on experience and context.

Cheers

Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman and the Role of Jesus ... 3

2009-08-29 21:13:07

Hi Tom
Truth
Interesting piece you wrote.
I have a slightly different perspective on it (suprise suprise ;).
You said in part "a real act of comprehension, in which truth would be seen as a totality—coming into being, as it actually does, from moment to moment" which is exactly what holographic association is.   It is a physical process that brings together into a new whole things that were not previously associated.   We have examples of it operating at photonic and at electrical levels.
Have you ever examine Kurt Goedel's "Incompleteness Theorem".   I am inclined to agree with Einstein that it is the greatest intellectual achievement of mankind to date.   It took me about 8 months, of spending at least 5 evenings a week, to work through it to the point that I was confident that I had checked every assumption, and every derivation within it.   If one can "understand" it, then one's perspective on truth and reality will be profoundly altered.
It kinda brings one back to the earliest of the Oxford definitions, at a deeper level perhaps "of things: Reliable; constant".
I don't know that I agree that the scientific method has changed.   It is still about coming up with an idea, designing an experiment to distinguish between two or more separate hypotheses, and performing the experiement.   Certainly the analytic tools available at every level (both practical and theoretical) are constantly evolving, but the essentials of the underlying method remain the same.
Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Freeman and the Role of Jesus ... 3

2009-08-29 21:30:08

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (commonly GEB) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Douglas Hofstadter - that was my introduction.   As I said - I didn't find it easy - took a lot of work, and it was fascinating.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Short Critique of A Brief History of Everything

2009-08-28 11:11:13

Hi Tom,

Some comments on:
KW Brief History of Everything.
paperback Shambhala edition ISBN 1-57062-740-1

Page 20
KWs comments on Evolution of wings is complete nonsense - demonstrates a total lack of understanding of evolution.   Evolution can only proceed by small increments.   Feathers are good at providing insulation.  In a small animal that make a living climbing trees and leaping from branch to branch, or tree to tree, any small improvement, that allows it to glide a little further, has value and can be selected for.  Over time it is but a very small change to go from a very efficient glide, to a powered flight, particularly if the arms are already strong from having to climb quickly up tree trunks (much as flying squirrels do today).
Page 23
KW talks about randomness and chance, and once again shows no understanding of evolution.   Evolution is not random chance.  Evolution is a simple mechanism that allows certain classes of process to vastly exceed randomness.
KW talks of Kosmos having direction - which seems highly improbable.  There appears to be nothing at work other than evolution with a certain degree of randomness.
Page 34 KW says “So Spirit is both the highest “level” in the holarchy, but is also the paper on which the entire holarchy is written.”   My gut reaction to that statement, what a load of self serving, self aggrandising, crap.  
Totally without evidence or logic.

The whole point about the process of evolution by natural selection is that it is a simple mechanism that provides an explanation for how all the observed complexity comes into being.   There is no requirement for anything else.  All this talk about spirit and directionality is self serving to KWs aims, and has no evidential support - on the contrary, the evidence is that it is not required, and therefore does not exist.
Page 35
A nonsensical claim that the biosphere is internal to us.
As an ecologist I see many levels of relatedness, but internality is stretching it well past breaking point.
The final section of Kosmic Consciousness page 36 is from a paradigm that is without meaning or evidence in reality.
Page 37 where KW goes in to talking about consciousness and spirit being everywhere - I am aware that many people think that spirit determines matter, and there is no evidence for this.  
All evidence indicates that complex systems have emergent properties, leading to ever more levels of complexity, in an infinitely dimensional sequence.
Evidence indicates that what we call spirit, consciousness, or awareness is simply one of those levels - not a precursor but an emergent property.
There is so much nonsense written.
Page 67 has the 4 quadrants.   These are of dubious distinction, and the so called holarchies in each quadrant are essentially arbitrary.
At age seven I was capable of relating to all sentients, not just on this planet but anywhere.  Just the simple action of a holographic processor.


Page 101 KW goes into a rant about the “world of the lab technician” which clearly demonstrates that he hates science - hates the thought that there might not be some overarching guiding principle.
I don't think it is worth saying much more.   Lots more scrawling in margins, but what point copying?
My general assessment was that KW was an individual who was almost totally ignorant a modern scientific understanding, who is trying to use pseudoscience to elevate mythology to a status above reality.   I doubt any intention on his part to deceive, I think he probably believes it, but that doesn't make it so.   He does have some good ideas - but he has a lot that are not at all good.
A couple of good ideas, clothed in a lot nonsense.
My general assesment is that a lot of people see science as something that denies the mystic experience.  It isn't.  Many people who call themselves scientists do, but that is not the fault of science, just of some individuals who would rather be right about their existing paradigm than face the possibility that another paradigm may be required.   That is a common form of the human experience.
I fully accept the mystic experience.  I have had quite a few myself.  What I do not accept is the old explanatory framework used to explain that experience.   The experience is real, but not the explanation, meaning or significance that most have given to it to this point in history.
KWs effort does not, in my opinion or experience, do much to assist.
For me - the experience is one of a holographic awareness.  This awareness is a normal function of the human brain.  It links all pattern to all other patterm across all domains available to the mind in question.   Every now and then it allows for a dimensional shift, as a new paradigm becomes apparent to the mind of an individual.  Sometimes that individual can communicate the new paradigm, sometimes not.   Mostly not, as there is usually no language, no shared experience, to allow communication.
Most people who have such experiences seem to be classed as mad in their own time.  Some few of us are already conditioned to asociality, and so can survive the lack of communication for long enough to establish some form of sharing that gets at least some part of the idea across.
That does seem to be my experience.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Short Critique of A Brief History of Everything

2009-09-02 01:22:15

Hi Ti-shu
There isn't a lot that I know of on holographic awareness.
There is some work done by Carl Pribram, on holography and brain, and he went a step further, talking about the holographic nature of the substructure of reality - I'm not with him on step 2, but his step one seems to have a lot going for it.
It's not something that I know about from research or reading, but rather something I know from direct experience.
In 1974 I attended a conference on LASERs and Holograms held on the campus at which I was studying.   I was doing biochemistry as a major (3rd year), and had discovered a passion for computers that wasn't part of my degree (other than a short course of ForTran programming as part of a statistics course).
While attending that conference, I experienced what I describe as a neural storm.  My vision went white, I heard a loud white noise, like rushing wind, and I came out of it with my understanding of how we think and how consciousness comes about, forever altered.   My interpretation of events was that I experienced neural overload on all my sensory neural networks as a result of a massive intuition about the nature of intuition itself, that overwhelmed all ancilliary neural networks.
Since then I have tried from time to time to explain it to others, and mostly I meet with blank looks, or lack of response.
I dropped out of University sometime after that and went commercial fishing for a couple of years, before going back to a different university and completing a BSc, then going back fishing (structured acedamia wasn't my thing).  So, as far as formal training goes, I'm just at the beginning of the scale.   Informally - I am somewhat asocial.  I don't like pubs and bars, and don't like gossip or smalltalk, so mostly I read, or watch documentaries, or go out into nature and observe (when I am not writing computer systems for someone).
While I only did basic first and second year papers on physics, electronics, geology, psychology, geography, philosophy and sundry others; I have continued an interest in those fields and many others.
I worked through Einstein's work myself at home, Reinman's tensor calculus, Goedel's incompleteness theorem, Dawkins and Maynard Smith's work on evolution and games theory, and lots more.  I have read a lot from a lot of fields, and I am only too acutely aware that what I know is a very small fraction of what is known (way less than 1%).
I may have been somewhat harsh on KW with the ignorant of modern science comment; but even as a child in the 1960s I would have refuted his claims about the nature of evolution - such statements display a complete ignorance of the concept of evolution - perhaps the most fundamental concept in a modern understanding of science.    He may have been familiar with some of the pathways of molecular genetics (as some of us are), but he did not understand the idea that was foundational to the whole of biological sciences - which is the concept of evolution by natural selection.
It seems that KW was having problems accepting the paradigms of science, as they conflicted with his paradigms about the nature of spirit.

I can fully understand how someone with much less of a breadth of interest in science than I have would find the understanding in terms of spirit appealing.   It is a practical shortcut in many senses.
What doesn't work though, in my experience, is trying to push the concept intellectually, beyond the bounds of the set of simplifying assumptions that make it an appealing model to many people.
Hence I see a lot of intellectual dishonesty, in KW and many others, which it seems stems from ignorance.  That wouldn't necessarily be a problem, except that it seems that there is a significant "will-full" element to the ignorance - which rather undercuts the argument even from their own paradigm.
I dunno - maybe I am just getting to be a grumpy old man - but I tend to lose patience with what appears to be to be willful ignorance born of laziness leading to false claims of intellectual superiority.
Everyone makes mistakes.  I make heaps, every day.   What works is to admit the mistake, fix it, clean up the consequences, and get on with life.
What doesn't work is trying to pretend that there isn't a mistake, attack the other party, and justify one's position.
And I probably do the latter far more often than I am aware of.
Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Short Critique of A Brief History of Everything

2009-09-02 01:42:26

Hi Darrell,

What you say sort of has an appeal to it, until one steps back and looks at the concepts of cosmology and of evolution.

When one looks at cosmology, one sees a relative simple set of equations relating simple starting conditions giving rise to an amazingly diverse universe, in distinct stages.   The first matter to condense was not heavier than lithium, and so little of that that one may as well say it was hydrogen with a touch of helium.

Heavier elements came out of stella nucleosynthesis, where nuclear fusion produced heavier elements in the intense pressures and temperatures of early supermassive stars, and their collapse and explosion as their fuels ran out spread some those elements around.

The process of evolution by natural selection is governed by extremely simple mathematical descriptions, yet over time can display amazing diversity. (Look at any natural ecosystem - in a sense it is all one).

Given that the amazing complexity we observe, can all be explained by a very small set of equations (able to be written on a couple of A4 pages) operating over vast amounts of time and space - what then is this thing you call spirit.

It appears not to have had any influence on anything since time began in this universe of ours - at least up until the evolution of us.   Prior to human self awareness, stuff just seems to have been following the rules.
Now it appears that we have an emergent property that allows us to create new rules, and start whole new games.

I find the notion of "spirit" in that far from helpful.  I find it confuses issues, and allows far too muchintellectual laziness and dishonesty - when taken past a certain point of being used as an analogous shortcut for understanding the rules.   I find the idea of "spirit" useful only in the same sense as Richard Dawkins uses the term "selfish" in relation to genes and memes.

Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Short Critique of A Brief History of Everything

2009-09-02 03:22:49

Have you read Rachel Garden's work in relation to Bell's inequalities and the impacts that has on Aspect's claims?
I'm rusty on the topic (haven't spoken to Rachel in over a decade), and I think she found a major hole in the idea.

Quantum mechanics is weird, no way past that.   Fortunately, right now,and for the next decade or two, it is not something I'm going to worry about or focus on.

I need to get www.solnx.org flying.

Cheers

Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Short Critique of A Brief History of Everything

2009-09-02 03:30:12

Hi Annie

I follow the rules when it seems appropriate, and bend, break or create new ones when it seems appropriate.

Haven't yet found a way of bending rules like gravity to my will - other than piloting aeroplanes (which I like doing) - but that is more like working within the rules.
Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Short Critique of A Brief History of Everything

2009-09-02 20:23:45

I've had similar experiences several times, without quite the same degree to them.   One of my best friends was epileptic, this was very different.  Its the sort of thing that one sees in the literature of spitirual experiences - a blinding light and the word of god is revealed.   Makes a lot of sense to me - having experienced something similar, yet from a different interpretive schema.

I have had full brain CT scan, for my flight medical, having admitted to having been knocked out by a blow to the head, and no signs of anything.

I'm somewhat towards the edge of several bell curves, but I don't think epilepsie has anything to do with any of them.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Short Critique of A Brief History of Everything

2009-09-17 00:33:37

Hi Darrell

You have grasped one of the essential aspects of the idea of biological evolution - the lack of any teleological component.

When we get to things quantum mechanical I am no expert, and there do appear to be some very strange things going on as interpreted from the commonsense paradigm of every day life.
Some people go to extreme lengths to try and hold onto some common sense ideas, and others abandon commonsense altogether, and others take intermediate positions, and there is little agreement between the various camps.

In all exploration, I attempt to hold on to Ockham's Razor.   It may not give the correct answer in any absolute sense, and it does always deliver the simplest answer that actually works.   As always, simplicity always depends on one's perspective.  If one is sitting on a mountain top, it can be very simple to jog down a ridge to a high valley.  If one is at sea level, and can see only high mountains, steep valleys and waterfalls with major torrents, there is no simple way of getting to the high valley, it is going to take a lot of hard work.  Where one is in one's journey very definitely affects how one views the landscape and the idea of simplicity.

For me, quantum mechanics, and the context of general relativity, points to the idea that time is a local phenomenon.  There is no such thing as universal time, that is an illusion of common sense.  Once one adopts this view, then the idea of time travel becomes impossible, there is no such thing to travel through.   In this view, light is timeless, it is like the frozen existence of the thing that emitted it.

So there is a sense in which I can see a timelessness below QM, and I do not think that has much to do with human awareness or experience in the senses I think you indicate.

When one looks at the detail of evolution at the genetic or molecular level, all of the evidence is that this is an essentially random process, with some exceptions which themselves seem to have evolved in the first instance via random processes.   There simply is no evidence of teleological direction over time.  It is not there.   Many have looked, for any faint trace - nothing!

It seems that at the sub-quantum levels there are at least two forms of existence, time like and matter like - with some sort of "existence field" that is other than time like.   And those fields interact to give us our experience of time and space, at levels very far removed from this quantum weirdness.

There does not appear to be any "pulling toward".
There does appear to be exploration of possibility space.
One of the subsets of "possibility space" is "strategy space".

Life has evolved many layers and levels of strategy, that tend to support the existence of life.   Cooperation and competition are two such strategies, and they require modifier strategies to bring stability - like retaliator strategy.   There are infinite classes of stable strategy sets that can coexist; and there are infinite classes of strategies that will fail to coexist (infinity often does that to us).

To your direct questions:

A In a limited sense, yes, as modified by the context expanded above.

B - if you are using the notion in a pure formlessness sense (without form and void) then yes this idea can be powerful.   If it is being conceived of as some sort of hidden form (some teleological impulse) then I see no evidence for it.   From my particular hill it would appear like a waterfall flowing upwars in still air (not something I ever epect to see).

Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Short Critique of A Brief History of Everything

2009-09-19 03:11:33

Hi Darrell

Yep - "Whole in one" just about sums up the effects of storing and retrieving information via interference patterns (aka holography - when done using light).
I like it.
Well done!
Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Faith & Understanding

2009-09-16 03:19:39

This is a response to many of the posts in Jesus IV - and it was getting too big.

The term faith was used in several posts.  To me faith is a infectious meme, that is common to many memeplexes, that once established is impossible to remove by external force.

Once the notion is clearly set in a mind that one must disregard any and all evidence (which is what faith boils down to) - then there is absolutely no way of dislodging or altering any of the ideas associated with it.   This characteristic has a very stabilising influence on that particular association of ideas - it makes it very stable.

Having this explanation says nothing about the truth or falsehood of the associated ideas, it merely explains their persistence.

I was taught to question everything, and the idea that anyone might accept anything without question was so unimaginable to me that I simply did not get it until my second year of university.   I was having a discussion with a very beautiful fellow student (JA) about our biochemistry course.  She was a straight A student, and didn't normally talk to me, so I was interested on two levels (hormonal and intellectual).  As our conversation deepened I suddenly got that she had never asked a single question about anything in her intellectual life.  She simply learned the rules, and learned what answers to put on the exam paper - and that got her straight A's in all subjects except biochem - where our lecturer covered vast amounts of stuff, and allowed us open book exams.   We needed to understand the concepts under discussion, and be able to find references to support particular hypotheses in the textbooks.  I loved it, actually got some A's myself in that.  JA couldn't do it.  There were no rules.

That was the first time in my life that I got to see that some people do not ask questions - they obey rules.

Since I made that distinction, I have found that mindset to be very common.

I spent much of my life living on a swamp.  It was 280ft of swamp under our house before you got to bedrock.   In the softer parts I could push a 40ft pole out of sight quite easily.

My understanding of how we build up our understanding of reality (whatever it is) is something like building a bamboo pole house on a swamp.   Every piece of information is like a bamboo pole pushed into the swamp.  It will support a certain amount of weight, but put too much weight on it and it will sink out of sight and leave you stuck in the mire.

If you have several thousand poles, all linked together with a strong network of associations, then you can build a very safe and secure house - one that is resistent to earthquake, flood and all manner of disaster.   It is, quite literally, floating.

I like Joseph Campbell's ideas of mythology, yet I view and interpret them from the evolutionary perspective.

I can understand that for people who have no real interest in how thing work, that ideas like god and spirit can be very powerful shortcuts.

KW's understanding of science seem to me very much like JAs from my student days.   He has not asked questions, not done the hard yards for himself.   What he has done is taken a set of ideas that are intuitively appealing (as we all do from time to time) and pushed it far past the limits (in my mind pushed the pole into the mire).


When I get into a car, I am comforted that I have spent enough time in metalurgy, engineering shops, service stations, repairing cars, studying electricity, gas behaviour, chemistry, physics of motion etc; that when I turn on the key I have a rough idea of what is going on, and if anything unusual happens, I can usually diagnose cause and potential for danger in less than a second.

And I get that most people just get in the car, hit the starter and drive according to the rules.

Completely different paradigms.


You cannot build a car by building a better dray.  It takes something new.  You will never get to the something new by following the rules of dray construction.

Similar in respect of the mind, and understanding the world, or creating systems that support peaceful coexistence of diversity.

If you truly seek to understand, then accept that self awareness (spirit if you must) is an emergent property of a very complex set of systems.  Human beings are one set of examples of one possible set of such systems - the most complex set that I am currently aware of.   Accept this in the same way that you accept light, or gravity or matter - it is of the same nature.

If you are trapped into a self referential, self sustaining, system of thought by some version of "faith" - well - that is what is.   You do have a choice, and only you can make it.

There is an alternative sort of "faith" to the one described above, and that is a faith in the intuitive power of your own mind.   If you hear whispers in your mind saying to you "that doesn't sound quite right", and you do not accept something said to you - that is something of an entirely different nature.

To my understanding, much of the conversation here is built on a set of assumptions that to me appear intellectually dishonest - however noble the desired outcomes.  [Read all of Integral Thought.]

I can understand people believing in ideas like god and spirit if they are not interested in intellectual rigour and disciplined enquiry.   Both ideas are very useful shortcuts to achieve workable outcomes in such a circumstance.

What I have difficulty with is claims to intellectual rigour and disciplined enquiry in support of those notions.   They just do not make logical sense - when one gets down to the base of it.

That is simply how I see this amazingly complex and interconnected universe in which we find ourselves.

I like simple honesty.

In today's world, it is not possible to make any realistic claim to a scientific understanding of reality without understanding the idea of evolution by natural selection - it is fundamental.  Proven beyond any shadow of doubt.  (What is not proven, but which is probable, is the hypothesis that all life on earth is a result of this process.  As no one was there to observe and record all stages, there is no "proof" in that rigorous absolute sense - and it certainly is the simplest of all possible hypotheses.)

Many of my friends are Christian, and some of them pray for me, which brings a smile of appreciation for their love and support - in a similar way as a supreme court judge may smile in appreciation and love at the actions of a child upholding their understanding of the law.

And I fully get that many people who read this will not be able to understand what it means - and it is as clear as I can make it right now, and it is made with love and concern for the welfare of us all.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-16 10:33:56

Hi Cam

I do not understand how you can make a statement like: "there is no proof that there is an objective world out there independently of us " - or more correctly - I cannot interpret it in any fashion that makes sense.

What I have is a brain and sense impressions of my environment.

It seems that from these, I have learned language, and built a multi layered model of the world in which I find myself.

Ayn Rand (with a little help from Kurt Goedel) has proved conclusively that one cannot use any aspect of reality to disprove reality (and that includes speech and logic and reason and intuition).

As for the world being intelligible, well every experiment yet performed seems to confirm that hypothesis (which is not a proof in and absolute sense, and when a few billion tests fail to falsify a hypothesis, it tends to give one significant faith, if not absolute certainty, in that hypothesis).

The whole point about the scientific method is that it cannot prove anything, it can only disprove things which are not so.

One cannot get to proof of anything universal with science - one can only make specific predictions and either find them to be so or not.  Finding it so proves the specific, finding it not so disproves the general.

To me, the notion that there is any sort of intention or design behind the evolution of life on earth is improbable beyond any possibility of belief.  I do not derive that notion from any set of beliefs, but rather from a huge range of experiments - of tests and results.

Self awareness - us, you and me and everyone else, seems to be a phenomenon the resides in brains that are immersed in cultures that have evolved language with a set of constructs that include binary judgements - like right/wrong - and a set of circumstances that cause that encultured brain to declare itself "wrong".  That act in language is a bootstrap routine, that starts something new - us - self aware, self declared, software entities in language, in a mind, in a brain, in a body, in a culture, in an ecology, on a planet, orbiting a sun, in a galaxy, in a universe.

I don't see any need to make it any more complex than that.   It is already pretty amazingly complex, though the complexity comes from amazingly simple starting points, following simple rules.

I'm not saying anything is good or bad.
I am just saying what is so - like gravity.
Gravity is neither good nor bad - it is just gravity.
Reason is neither good nor bad - it is just reason.

Faith, in the sense of believing in something to the point of disbelieving evidence to the contrary, is not something to be encouraged in the normal sense.   There is a sense in which faith in one's own deepest intuitions is something to be encouraged.

There is a sense that I freely acknowledge that this faith in one's own intuition can lead one to believe in something like God - because that is what intuitively feels like it is so.   I encourage people to trust these intuitions, and to do the work to test them in reality.

For me, the testing has lead to an understanding of science, and a story about how we got here that is of a different type in all respects to the ones talked about in religious books.   It has lead to an understanding of awareness, and relatedness, and creativity that is of an altogether different type than anything proposed in any scripture.

So I can certainly understand how individuals have faith in themselves and their own judgements, and that points them toward the mystic experience of the unknowable unity.   I have no problem with that - it makes perfect sense in the paradigm I use.

What I have issue with, is people using the paradigms of science and intellectual enquiry to justify positions that simply cannot be justified within that paradigm - if one is intellectually honest and in integrity.

There is no need to invoke any higher or mystical power to explain any aspect of the amazing complexity and interelatedness we see about us.   It can all be explained by relatively simple princilples operating over amazing quantities of time and space.   That is not the same thing as saying any of what is about to happen is predictable.   There are many classes of simple patterns that cannot be predicted except by working through them - many aspects of life are like that.

What I have a real issue with, is the intellectual dishonesty in KWs "A brief history of everything".   He tries to discredit the concept of evolution.  That is about the most dishonest thing that any student of science can do.  It is one of the most powerful and beautiful and simple of paradigms, with amazing recursive power.  It is like saying that 1 + 1 does not equal 2.  It has that level of dishonesty about it.

Integral theory has that level of dishonesty at its foundation.

I remember reading Teilhard de Chardin over 30 years ago, and wondering what conclusion he might have come to had he known about biochemistry and computers.  He go so close to a workable answer, but made one critical error, simply because of lack of information.   I was very impressed with the way his mind worked.

I was similarly impressed by Kant - particularly his critique of pure practical reason.  If only he had seen LASERs and holograms, I wonder where his incredible brain might have taken him.

I had a lot of fun, many years ago, reading many philosophers; in this mode, seeing where they made the crucial errors that sent them down dead end paths.   I read the bible, cover to cover, in the same mode.

Does it mean I have answers to all of life's mysteries - no!

There are many classes of questions for which the answers are personal - matters of individual choice.

Does it mean that I can give equal wieght to faith and science - NO!

Science has an honesty to it.
Science is not scientists.
Scientists are human beings, like priests or caprenters or painters or butchers.  We are all capable of all the range of human frailties and failings.

Science is about asking questions, and seeking answers - whether others agree with them or not.

People who do real science are rarely understood or appreciated.  Many die misunderstood, and their work is not recognised by others until after their death.   Many of those who are recognised in their lifetimes own more to the work of others than they admit.

Life often isn't fair, and we can all do our little bit to make it fairer and nicer than it would otherwise be, by the choices we make.

It is about creating contexts in which we see that we can create who other get to see themselves as, by how we listen to them.

We are all co-creating this universe, with our choices, moment by moment.
In the absense of choice, what gets to create the next instant is the old patterns.

Choice.
What an amazing thing.

Be great.
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-16 21:33:44

Hi Bruce

Thank you - for a very tempered and considered response.

I have not followed this forum for years.   I jumped in, read a couple of threads (end to end) and started writing.
I've been following some threads since I started, but not all.  A lot of other stuff calling for my attention at present.

As you state - it is the teleological side that I find so "dishonest".
I haven't read anything more of Wilber's, because I found the first one so dishonest, that I doubted the value of going further.
As I mentioned earlier, I have downloaded and listened to some of KWs more recent MP3s, and he does have some very good points, and a lot of the old teleological stuff still seems strongly embedded - and try as I have, I have found no evidence for it in disciplines like molecular biology - none what so ever.  It is a persistent myth.

It does take some discipline to be consistent with statistical and logical analysis.   I am far from rigourous on all occasions myself - I tend to prove one or two cases, make some assumptions, test maybe one more case, and assume things proved.   I got into some real difficulty with that method recently in respect of testing a software system; in something as simple as a rounding algorithm - I ended up with over 10,000 test cases in my testing suit - just to ensure that rounding worked in all the likely cases.  Rounding positive and engative numbers.  Rounding to a positive, negative or zero number of digits.  Rounding numbers with or without decimal digits, and whole numbers with or without decimal places.  It shocked me how many mistakes I could, and did, make.

I also have little time for any attempt to deny objective reality.  One thing I sometimes do is to invite the person who is denying objective reality to climb into an airtight steel box just big enough to hold them, for two hours, placing the box in the midday sun - and we will continue the conversation about objective reality after that - if they are able.

In relation to theism, and intellectual rigour, I only have a problem if theists start to use scientific arguments to support the idea of a teleological god - such arguments do not, in my experience, exist.   Every one I have examined, which is quite a few, failed.   If they stick firmly to mythic interpretation I have no issue.
In terms of intellectual riguour, applied to the study of science, I am confident (0.99999999999+) that no teleological interpetation can survive intellectual rigour; if the enquirer is, in fact, willing to subject all assumptions to testing.

I recall a discussion some 31 years ago, where I was leading a campus humanist group, and we met with a jesuit group at 7pm.   One by one the others all left, and there were just the two leaders left.   We continued discussion until after 5am at which point we agreed to differ on the issue of intentionality prior to the "Big Bang".   In my world view it was simpler without it, in his simpler with it, and we both agreed that neither of us was ever likely to have any evidence one way or the other.   I really enjoyed that evening.   That individual would in most people's understanding have been an atheist - as he did not see any interference since the Big Bang.   It kinda morphs the ideas somewhat.

I can play that game, and it is not the game that most people play.
Most are at a much lower level.

I have a lot to do with fisheries.  As president of our local boating club I recently passed the 20 year strategic vision statement of our fisheries department to the executive of the club - it didn't make sense to them.   None of them are stupid, they are all successful business owners, and good people in the community.   The concepts used were simply so far from their daily reality that there was no simple way of them sticking and linking.  Not without a lot of work.

When I come into a forum like this, I try and make my language and concepts available to all - which necessarily means stepping to the lowest level at which I think I can covey the essence of an idea.   Some ideas are only available above a certain level - as I know you are aware.

What concerns me, is the idea that ideas from fora such as this can be taken out of context, and used at levels below which they have any meaning, and in that lower context become dangerously meaningless.

I acknowledge that there are many cultural and developmental starting points, and many stages and states of development.

So there is a sense in which I can enjoy the intellectual challenge of traversing levels, and engaging in testing limits; and there is another sense in which the future of us all is much more dependent in us finding ways to create environments in which individuals can easily discover new levels for themselves.

Organisations like Landmark Education, with their various programs are a significant factor, and at this stage a nett positive in my estimation; and I have some significant issues with some of their material at the higher end - it is seriously flawed in its grasp of the concept of infinity (but then most are - it is a very difficult concept), and I have yet to get it resolve at the highest levels of the Landmark -  have spoken with several leaders, but none were able to make the distinction.   It is amazing to see a leader in a program like that just following the rules - and that is what most of them do.
Most odd!!!

Intergral thought seems to have some very powerful concepts in it, and it also seems to have a strong teleological element.

In so far as the movement attempts to merge teleological ideas with science, without taking the clear position that what apppears to be teleological is simply an illusion, caused by an exploration of possibility space that must necessarily have a starting point (which may be different for each and every one of us); then it appears "dishonest" to me.

Some might say - but it is a little white lie.
I say no - no lies.
It is not acceptable, at any level, to tell lies.
If it starts there, it ends in government - with the massive lies we see about us.

What was 911?
Where did the money come from to finance it?
Who has benefitted financially from all the downstream effects?
Isn't that the result of allowing "little white lies" some of which have got completely out of hand?

If one is fully intellectually honest - isn't every action against our fellow humans, or against the environment, justified, within each and every one of us, by "little" white lies?

I'm probaly off topic - and I'm probably a little lacking in patience and grumpy.

I would just really appreciate a lot more honesty that is available to everyone - not simply the privileged few!

Arohanui
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-17 01:24:22

Hi Again Bruce

Chamberlain has written a clear piece.  Can't fault it.

I find your comments on Goedel to be twisted from my perspective.

To me, Goedel showed that in any formal system, there will always be propositions that are true, and cannot be proved from the propositions that define the system.
What that means, to me, is that even if we figure all the starting conditions of this universe in which we find ourselves, it may still have some surprises for us.   I don't think Kurt would have areed with pushing it backwards to try and justify another set of apriori conditions; I don't think that is what it means at all.

I think there is an entirely different explanation for the the experience of timelessness, formlessness, that I have experienced myself on many occasions.
For me it is an internal state.  A state where I essentially switch processors.
Most of our brain is composed of neural networks.   These are very good at pattern recognition, and different sections of our brains specialise in processing different sorts of problems.
Then there is the way we store and retrieve information.  This is essentially holographic - it is a distributed system, a result of interference patterns.   It has some very interesting capabilities, in terms of forming associations.

Mostly our awareness is a sort of chatter with various aspects of ourselves, and with the predictive model of reality that our brain provided for us.
At times, usually as a result of deep meditative practice, we manage to still that chatter, and become aware of the deeper holographic association with all of our experiences and perceptions (and through them to all of existence).  This experience, of operating primarily in holographic mode, is of a completely different order to our normal experience.   It can leap from concept to concept, picture to picture, at speeds that all of our combined electronic computers today cannot match.   It is a profound experience.
The nature of the experience is acutely dependent on the context of the mind.  The nature of the associations formed in this holographic mode are almost totally determined by the context held by the mind.
Once one becomes familliar with this meta level of context manipulation and context creation, it becomes a very interesting experience.

I see no requirement to invoke anything sub-atomic, or systemic a-priori to explain it - for me it all falls out of the interaction of the various systems - phenominally complex as they are.

Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-17 05:06:13

Hi Star

Science is not a system of faith.  It is a method of answering questions.

Often, for people who are not interested in examining the details of many disciplines to understand complex interdisciplinary problems, like awareness; then we resort to simplifications that work in practice.   A classic example of this is Richard Dawkin's famous 1976 book "The Selfish Gene".  In that book, Richard goes to great lengths to explain that thinking about genes as selfish is a shortcut for understanding outcomes, they are not selfish, they have no awareness at all, they just follow simple rules.
I don't have a religion.
I just have what is - reality, the universe - whatever it is.
I have studied many methods for finding out what things are.  Methods of testing.
I have many hypotheses that I use on an operational basis, things that I use as working "truths", but I have no illusion that any of them are necessarily "The Truth".   I have no such certainty - anywhere, except in the knowledge that I exist (without being certain about any aspect of what that existence is - confident, very confident indeed in some instances, but not absolutely certain).

I am open to the possibility that a single observation that doesn't fit with a hypothesis may disprove what seemed like a very promising theory.

This is not like any religion - it is something of a different kind all together.

It is putting my trust in reality, in the universe, rather than in the word of any profit, or revered word, or authoritative interpretation.

I have great respect for Richard Dawkins, we have exchanged a couple of emails, and I have criticised a couple of his ideas some years back, and notice that in his lastest books he has modified those particular ideas.

Science is about harnessing the power of many minds to have intuitions relating to different ideas, and harnesing the power of many individuals to test those ideas against alternatives, and see which has the best fit.

My ideas about what is likely to be so are changing continuously.  If I live a billion years then I expect that they will still keep changing.  Infinity is like that - it is vast beyond the power to imagine.

There are many books on science subjects, but no author would consider their book to be the authoritative answer for all time (they might secretly hope that to be the case, and all would acknowledge the improbability of that).

I haven't made any claims about intelligence.
Intelligence is often a  handicap (in my personal experience) - because it means that few people can think fast enough to out argue me in a face to face encounter.   That allowed me to hang on to many ideas that ought to have been debunked much earlier.
I am making no claim about the intelligence or otherwise of religious people.  Many are very intelligent.

What I am claiming is that they do not have the interest in interdisciplinary science that would enable them to create an intuitive understanding that excludes concepts like god and spirit.

Within my paradigm, I can absolutely understand why people find those notions intuitively apealing - because in the absence of a great deal of information that most people are not interested in aquiring, they do appear simple and effective ideas.

What I find dishonest, is when people move from the purely religious view, and into the scientific realm, but do not do their homework well enough.  When they fail to use concepts that are fundamental to a modern scientific understanding, and make claims that to most people sound authentic and scientific, but are not.   That is what I object to.

In my younger days I used to have sport with people who came to my door to convert me to their religion, and I would dismantle their religious ideas.   The problem was none of them stayed around long enough to allow me to build an effective replacement.
I don't do that any more.

What I do, is to do my best keep people who make any claim to represent a scientific understanding honest.

It is not a put down of religion.   I acknowledge the power of a religious understanding in many circumstances.   It is just that there are limits to those circumstances, and KW and Intergral in general, appear to me to have gone well past those limits.

I love George Burnard Shaw's quote - "The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man."

In that sense, I am definitely an unreasonable man.   I am not persuaded by what most would call "reasonable" arguments based upon culture or convention.    I am persuaded by what works in reality, long term, for the benefit of all life.

From earlier interactions, I think we are mostly on the same page.

Love Peace Power Passion & Prosperity

Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-17 08:49:41

Hi Star
I am very pleased that you trust your own deepest inner judgement, above that of others, even if you do not know the source of that judgement.   To my mind, that is what Jesus meant, when he said look to god within you.  I agree with him, I just use a different interpretive schema.

I have many arguments with dogma, and the abuse of authority, and neither of those are specific to religion, though many religious examples can be found.

Stanges enough, I still assert that there are no "beliefs" in true science.  We have operational hypotheses.  These are conjectures that have passed one or more tests, and have proven useful.   Some of them have passed so many tests that we think it highly improbable that we will ever find any circumstance in which they fail.  And I for one am always open to the possibility that they may fail.
I do not call that belief in the same sense as most people take religious belief.   Every one of my hypotheses is open to be falsified by an observation.   I do not say, this is so because x said it so.   I say this seems to be so because of these experimental outcomes, and these relationships.

You say that science is yet to explain consciousness.  I disagree.  I believe that I understand consciousness, at least at the broad brush level.   Explaining it to anyone else is almost impossible, as it requires so many different paradigms.  For me it came after some 30,000 hours of study of a wide range of disciplines.
I am clear that language is a key factor.

I have worked with animals most of my life.  They have some very complex behaviours, and for the most part they cannot plan very far ahead.
What we have is very different from what most other animals have.  That we have what we have, we are inclined to interpret everything through that understanding.
I do not believe that a rock has any sort of "awareness" in any sense that even vaguely relates to anything like human awareness.

For me, Spirit is a shortcut for understanding the systems that underly awareness, and the cross domain interrelationships between these levels of systems.   Not too many people have spent thousands of hours studying systems within living organisms at the molecular and electrical levels, followed by years studying ecologies, and working as a professional hunter, followed by 30 years of working with electronic computers, at hardware, systems, and applications levels.   I'm more than a little odd.
I don't know how many other individuals understand awareness, possibly a few dozen world wide.  It will become more common.

I believe I could build an artificial awareness, and I will not - at least not until we have systems in place that provide the necessities of life to every single human being, no exceptions.

Keep on trusting that inner voice.   Follow your bliss.  Be a great life.
Love
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-17 19:06:55

Hi Star
That was a probability statement, rather than any sort of hard claim.   I think it improbable that you understand how holograms work.   If I sould sit down with you for an hour, and we had some LASERs and some holograms, and I had a few blackboards to draw pictures, I could probably gice you a rough idea.
It is my understanding that one of the key aspects of what allows us to make judgements is the holographic nature of the way our brains store and retrieve information.  It is the process that makes associations.   Every one of our brains major subsystems (visual, auditory, etc) is doing it constantly in the background; and mostly we are completely unaware of those associations.  For most of us, most of the time, few of them make it to full awareness.
For me, when I reach what most call a deep meditative state, what I am doing is slowing down the chatter between my various neural network systems and bringing my awareness to the side effects of my storage and retrieval system - my intuitions, my associations.   One aspect of the process is that it relates everything to everything else, but modulated through the context held in mind at the time.   It is a very different mode of existence/awareness from that which most of us experience most of the time, and it is potentially available to anyone any time.
I understand how it works - at every level, and some of the implications (which appear to me to be infinite and infinitely creative - at least potentially so).
But part of the problem is that I write a word like infinite, and I am about 99.99999% certain that what most people read is "very big number".   But that isn't it.  Yes infinity is very big, and actually it is beyond big.  It is, by definition, beyond enumeration.  I think that very few people indeed have much idea about infinity, and without a reasonable grasp on that idea, not much in science is going to make much sense.

Any-way -gotta go.  Off tot he nearest city, where our son is flying out to 3 months in China this evening.  BIG adventure.

Love
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-19 00:06:36

Hi Star

Most people who drive cars have no idea how they work.  They get in, turn the key, if the engine starts they put it in gear and drive it to where they want to go, following some set of rules.

If at any stage anything doesn't work, they call a mechanic.

Most mechanics follow a set of rules to diagnose a problem.

Me - as I approach a car my mind is analysing, what does the reflectivity of the paintwork or the layers of dust tell me about the recent history of the use of the vehicle, what protential problems might arise from them.   A quick glance at the base of the tyres tells me the tyre pressures (from the shape), and in under a second I have assessed the tread depths and likely response patterns of the tyres to various driving situations.

As I open the door the sound of the hinges tells me about the maintenance history and wear of the hinges.  As I climb in the vehicle, the way it moves, and the noises the suspension makes tells me about the state of repair of the shock absorbers, the memory state of the springs.
As I hit the starter, the first fraction of a second of noise tells me about the wear on the bearings of the starter motor, then the pinion wheel engages on the flywheel and the sound of that tells me about the relative wear on both gears.  As the main engine rotates without oil, the sounds tell me about the amount of wear on both the bearing surfaces and the engine bores.

A few seonds driving down the road and I am reasonably confident about the relative wear of all the major load bearing surfaces in the machine.

And so it goes.   Every sound, every vibration, every response to slight changes in the road surface, and/or control input, tell me a myriad of things about the current state and the history of that vehicle, and about the likely responses of the vehicle to changes I induce.   The more familiar I am with any particular vehicle, the more information I get.  It takes me a couple of hundred hours driving to really get my awareness aligned with any particular machine, and in a few seconds I can figure out more about any machine than most mechanics can in hours - because I have spent thousands of hours studying every aspect of machine design and manufacture, and thousands of hours working with them and working on them.   Most people find it a little scarey that most of the time I can diagnose problems in a couple of seconds.   Not just with cars, but any machine, any system, any mode of logic, any form of life or living system.

Similarly with people.

It is not a matter of simply understanding LASERs and holograms.   It is understanding every level of systems.  Atomic, molecular, electrical, and the 23 or so levels of interactive and interrelated systems built upon them.  Each new layer adding arrays of conceptual possibilities that were not available to the levels below.

Not many people are interested in that level of detail.

I have no idea how most people experience the world.  I suspect it is very differently from how I do.

I just glanced up from this computer screen and looked out the window to the mountains and clouds.   Part of my mind experienced beauty, and in another part, in that fraction of a second thought about plate techtonics, weather systems, boundary layers, phase transitions, erosion, evolutoin, .....

What happens in my head goes on thousands of times faster than I can write down or speak.   To write or speak something coherent I have to capture an idea, and hold it in a little corner of my mind that I use for communication with others - and let that corner do it's thing, while the rest of me carries on doing it's thing.

I don't know how anyone else experiences life - for  long time I thought that everyone must experienced it something like I do, and recently I am starting to suspect that maybe that is not so.

We are all similar is so many ways, and perhaps we can be different in some very profound ways also.

Love

Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-19 03:48:32

Hi Star

I'd love to share my gift directly.  I think that will require direct nerual impants, so that I can transfer images, sounds, sensations and smells directly from my brain to someone else's.    Not likely in the near future - at least a couple of decades off yet.   Meantime I am restricted to these highly indirect means - of words and pictures - that are so slow.

Perhaps interest is not the right word - perhaps obsession is closer.
I recall a session about 28 years ago with another computer enthusiast - back in the Trash80 days.  He had just bought this new game, and it had some new copy protection mechanism, and no one else had been able to crack it - so Olaf brought it to me - as an intellectual challenge.  I settled into the problem about 11pm and Olaf stood at my sholder watching what I was doing, and keeping my coffee mug full.   About 3am I cracked it.  It was a beautiful piece of coding - using an area of memory usually reserved for graphics, loading in a picture, then redifining it as a program and jumping execution to a specific location, doing the magic, then jumping out, reloading a new graphic and removing all trace of the code.
I found it initially by feel, by watching the debugger and watching the flow of execution over the memory space, and then narrowing in my search.
Olaf asked me how I new where to look - and all I could say was, it felt like the right place to look (which it was - because I knew the memory space, having spent thousands of hours playing in it).

All my life has been a combination of the ability to deal powerfully with logic and systems, and enough trust in my intuitions to follow them to whatever tests seem appropriate.

So there is a sense where I have a certain "bloody mindedness", a sort of indifference to social convention or normality; that allows me to follow these obsessive trails where they take me - in biology, economics, politics, philosophy or whereever.

At the same time - I attempt to keep some sort of contextual overview that what I am doing is in the long term best interests of all life - even if no-one else believes that - I need to.

So yes - we are all different.  Some race car drivers do not understand much about the mechanics of the machines they drive (some do). [For analogy read body/brain/mind for car.]
Some people simply live their lives in the fashion that culture indicates, and some take the higher road of the dictates of their own holographic processor.

For me, those dictates include understanding every level of the operation of the machine that is me, and understanding why this machine is infinitely flexible, infinitely creative and infinitely unpredictable.  I am confident that I have done that.   I am equally confident that it is of little predictive value to me, except in an intuitive sense, as there is just far too much complexity to deal with consciously.

So great - do your poety.
My wife does classical music and tramping.
My daughter is into design and drama.
My son is into philosophy and gaming.

There is scope in an infinitely dimensional knowledge space for infinite variety of complementary interests.

And sometimes it takes active tollerance to create a cooperative space.
As to sharing - www.solnx.org is every character from the keypresses of my fingers.
I have written more computer code than the bible.
Another of my websites - www.fishnet.co.nz has many other aspects of my life and interest and thoughts.

I have made many starts at writing a book, the current version is larger and more cohesive than any of it's predecessors.

I am active in many areas, many groups, both real and online.  I am sharing, probably more on the various fora on Gaia than anywhere else online in the last couple of years.

Arohanui

Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-19 20:11:02

Hi Star

Tramping you may know as walking or hiking - point ones face at some far off mount, put one foot in front of the other, and at some point you will be standing on a mountaintop.  Then trun around and roughly reverse the process - ending up back at ones normal residence.

You'd be more than welcome if you make it this way.  We usually have a spare room, if not, we can always find a spare bed - we keep a few spare matresses in the garage, and bring them into the hopuse as necessary.  Have had up to 20 staying.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-22 06:06:54

Hi Carl

I don't find any of those ideas work for me.

For a start, humans are not logical entities.   We can use logic as a tool, and it can be a very powerful tool, and logic is always founded on predicates - things that must be assumed to be so, and then one works from those starting assumptions and proceeds to prove (via mathematical induction or some equivalent) or disprove various statements.

Human beings have two major attirubutes, mixed in various measures form individual to individual.
First and foremost we are entities of habit.  We learn pattern and follow that pattern without question - parrot fashion.  This is what sustains "culture", and in my understanding allowed the gradual evolution of language as a memetic entity.

Next we are entities of intuition - what Kant called "pure practical reason".  Intuition is to my understanding an ability to form or distil pattern or association or abstraction from a set of observations.  It is my understanding that these intuitions, which are unique to each individual, form as a result of the mechanism of storing and retrieving information as an interference pattern.

The nature of the intuitions formed is to very large measure dependent on the context held in the mind storing and retrieving the experiences (be they sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, dreams or stories, real or imagined).

Each of us uses this intuition in the contexts available to us.   Each of us has to go through a set of stages of learning, where we form the ability and habit of abstraction to ever higher orders of abstractions.   It appears to me to be infinitely dimensional in nature - this ability to abstract - though at the higher levels can require single focus for extended periods (hours and sometimes days rather than seconds or minutes).

At the lower levels of abstraction, entities like religions have very strong intuitive appeal, particularly when set in a context of the human primate drive to belong to a group.

So I find that in certain contexts religions can in this sense be entirely logical, though in the wider context of someone steeped in scientific enquiry, the logic of religions starts to unravel very quickly, from the internal perspective, yet from an external perspective they remain a logical and predictable phenomena in a certain sense.

All religions are based upon a concept of right and wrong.

When one shifts one's awareness to a paradigm where one no longer views anything in terms of right and wrong, all things become estimates based upon probability functions, and one acknowledges and infinite number of possible perspectives and stories, each of which will have costs and benefits in certain particular situations.

As someone who is committed to extending human lifespans indefinitely and one committed to creating a society where the basic human needs (Maslow's levels 1 & 2) are met for every individual - no exceptions, a religious context has no value to me.

Not many other people are currently comfortable with the levels of abstraction that I am comfortable with, nor do many have a familiarity with the range of disciplines (both theoretical and practical) - so it appears likely that I will find communication difficult with the higher levels of cross discipline abstraction that most interest me.

I am comfortable with the reality (in my understanding of human development) that people must enter, and some pass through, a "religious" phase - be that based on a belief in god, or a belief in not god.  They are essentially equivalent from my current perspective.   It is in many aspect equivalent to the spiral dynamics view - with some subtle and not so subtle variance.

Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-22 08:34:00

Hi Star
LOL ;)
I love your opening paragraphs.  The sentiments are entirely familiar.

I do not use right and wrong, and I certainly use workable and not workable.

Consider driving cars on a two way carriageway.  It does not matter which side of the road people choose to drive on, so long as everyone agrees on one side and stick to it.  There is not a right or wrong side, but there is a workable side, in this case by agreement.
In the USA it is the right hand side.  Here in NZ it is the left hand side.   On my trips to the USA I have not been willing to risk driving a car on the other side.  Some day I will, and I will be far less safe than here in NZ.  I have driven over a million miles on the left hand side of the road, some of it very fast indeed.  I have very fast reactions, but those reactions are all wrong for the USA.  I would have to drive completely consciously - something I rarely to.

Similarly with most of the actions one can take in life.  Some are workable, for all people, in the long term, some are not.  Not wrong, they simply don't work.  Reality is the judge, not me.

To me it is insane that we have the USA acting as a global bully, using its military power to support its economic and political hegemony.  And it is what is.

Global warming is yet another farce being used for political ends by various factions.  Sure there is a problem, and there are any number of technical fixes that could be implemented.  Some of them would alter existing power structures, and to many - that is not acceptable.  To me it is simple necessity.

I am a stand to change that, and everything you mention.
www.solnx.org is my best effort at a workable plan to achieve that.

These days I aspire to making all my choices based upon long term self interest - to me it seems indistinguishable from altruism, and I often find difficulty distinguishing between me and anyone else in a certain sense.

Ignorance is often a problem - most often the greatest problem in those people who believe they have conquered it.  For all my knowledge, I am profoundly ignorant.  What I know, is smaller that what I know that I don't know, by many orders of magnitude (many billions) - without attempting to estimate how large is what I don't know that I don't know (because I am entirely ignorant of any hint of its existence).

As you note, it seems to me that it is often not ignorance as such, but rather a greed and a lack of compassion, that is at the root of most of the worst problems I see.   I have met some very compassionate and caring people who are profoundly ignorant of most of the paradigms I operate from.

Human beings have the power of love and compassion.   I have a scientific explanation of that power.  To me it seems infinite, and like many infinite things, is both profound and beautiful.

I would do away with death and disease.  A certain amount of pain seems to be required for growth.   One of the thing I do agree with Nietzsche about is "that which does not kill me makes me stronger".

Arohanui
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-22 10:11:17

Hi Star

In terms of explaining my understanding of the scientific basis for love - it is difficult.

I have tried several times in this thread - obviously without success.

It is one of those paradigm things - it requires a couple of levels of abstraction, and knowledge of several domains.   I'll have another go, being as specific as I can, without creating volumes.

Most of the profound abilities that we relate to, what Kant called "pure practical reason", what others call intuition, what some call pure love, what some call "the god within", what some call Buddha nature; are all the result of a mechanism of brain.

The mechanism is the way we store and retrieve information.

Computers store and retrieve information as a sequence of bits - each item in the sequence is either 1 or zero, true or false, on or off - depending on how you want to think of it.  All patterns are stored in a sort of sequential code.  Any change in the sequence changes the picture completely.

Our brains do things differently.  The mechanism they use is more like holograms.  Holograms are those three dimensional pictures that can be produced by LASERs and photographic plates.   There are many aspects to a holograph.

A reflective LASER hologram is made using both reflection and interference.

Inside the photgraphic emulsion are various crystals of various substances that can change state or not (develop or not).  Whether or not any specific crystal develops is a complex probability function.   That function relates the phase angle of every possible reflective path from the object to that crystal, and the reflectivity of the object from that aspect.
The phase angle is the relationship of the length of the light path of the reference beam, and each of the actual reflected beams.  If the paths are a half wavelength different, then the crests and troughs cancel each other out.  If the are a whole wavelength different they add together, and all possible in between states add in differently.

What this means in practice, is that every single crystal in the photographic emulsion contains information about the whole image (a very Zen sort of concept).  If one has only a few crystals, one has a very poor image.  The more crystals one has, the greater the resolution in the image.

With a normal photograph, when you cut it in half, you loose half the picture.

With a holograph, when you cut it in half, you loose half the resolution (it gets blurred, but it is still the whole picture).

What this method of storing and retrieving information does, is it relates things that are similar.

What is it that determines what is similar - two things:
1/ the relationships of the two things in reality;
2/ the context of the mind doing the recall.

Our minds have over 20 different processing centres operating simultaneously - storing and retrieving information - as fast as they can.   These holographic associations are forming at all levels in our minds all the time - mostly we are deaf and blind to them, because of the noise and chatter going on.

When we learn to still the chatter, and become aware of this deeper level of the functioning of the human mind - we become "holographically" connected to all of our observations - most of which will be of other people.  We can, by conscious selection of context, create the most powerful and sublime connection and relationship to all of existence, at any level we can envision.

There are some other neat things that LASER holograms can do, that our brains have direct analogues of, but trying to explain them in words is just inadequate - one needs to see them in three dimensions, then they will make sense.

I don't know if this makes sense to you - to me I see it in my head in full colour.  I see ray paths, phase diagrams, three dimensional crystal structures.  I see the holograms I saw in 1974, and so many different things I have seen since.

I see patterns of systems.  Bootstrap routines, awareness in language - very complex software on very complex hardware - so many layers and levels of interaction, subtlety and interconnection on so many levels.

I've tried to give a very brief overview of one aspect of one level of a structure that to me has 23 level, and is massively interconnected between the levels, as well as simultaneously being massively parallel.

It is a critical idea, and is not in and of itself sufficient to explain awareness, and it does explain one of the key components - one that is often cited as the key stumbling block.

Hope it makes some sort of sense.

Lotsa love
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Faith & Understanding

2009-09-23 00:36:02

Hi Star

Interesting link.   From the conceptual base of its time it is quite a remarkable work.

From my perspective, it misses a couple of layers of the processing, and has a base matrix that is substantially different from my own, and there are many parallels.

From my perspective the process is so much more complex.   For example, if we look at vision, thre is a lot of signal processing done in the retina itself - there is edge discrimination as an example.   This enhanced signal is passed to various visual processing neural networks, where learned patterns are discriminated, this is then forwarded to the asynchronous model of reality that the brain houses that for the most part our awareness considers as reality itself (which it isn't - strong parallel here).

The references to voidness seem to hint at holographic relationship at various levels.   The sort of feeling associated with cognition at this holographic level is very different from ordinary neural net processing (even though it is mediated via neural networks).

I doubt the underlying implicit assumptions/hypotheses about the nature of the supporting matrix.   I am not at all confident that I have much more than a hazy intuitive grasp on it at present, and it does appear to be something quite outside the bounds of "common sense".   That is about the best I can do at present to give any feel for it.   It seems to me far stranger than that particular text hints at, and not in any way that even vaguely relates to human awareness.

Love
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

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Re: Forum Poll

2009-09-30 23:45:06

i.   The phenomenal world of matter and individualized consciousness – the world of things and animals and men and even gods or goddesses (if you believe in them) – is the manifestation of a Divine Ground within which all partial realities have their being, and apart from which they would be non-existent.
 
False in the major sense intended, possibly true if one moves the boundaries far out.
Our being appears to be firmly mediated on physical reality - whatever either actually is.

 
ii.  Human beings are capable not merely of knowing about the Divine Ground by inference; they can also realize its existence by a direct intuition, superior to discursive reasoning.  This immediate knowledge unites the knower with that which is known.  
b False
We apear to have complex brains cabable of both intuition (via holographic storage and retrieval of information) and a variety of pattern recognition (based on neural networks) and logical extrapolation (based on learned algorithms).   Our conscious awareness seems to be an entity of software (in language) running on this extremely complex and massively parallel system that is the human brain.
All modes of "knowing" are validated by testing in reality.

        
iii. Man possesses a double nature, a phenomenal ego and an eternal Self, which is the inner man, the spirit, the spark of divinity within the soul.  It is possible for a man or woman, if s/he so desires, to identify with the spirit and therefore with the Divine Ground, which is of the same or like nature with the spirit.
 
False.
We apear to be able to experience profound connection to all things, via the intuitive faculty referred to above, yet are in all ways otherwise firmly connected to the physical reality of our bodies, on which our software runs.


iv. Humanity’s life on earth has only one end and purpose: to identify with the eternal Self and so to come to unitive knowledge of the Divine Ground.
False.
There are as many possible "ends" as there are people to choose them.
A purpose implies intent and intent implies choice.
We are each responsible for choicing our own purpose - whatever our particular culture may have predisposed us towards.

 


 

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Re: Lifting the Veil on UFOs (New Blog by Stuart Davis)

2009-10-10 20:08:04

In about 1970 there was a report of a UFO landing in the swamp just outside of Ngatea New Zealand, which made it to national television, and I went and looked at the site about 30 hours later.  There were three quite deep impressions in the swamp, like three tripod legs at about 20ft outer diameter, within a circle of dead trees about 40ft in diamter.   About 200 yards away was a similar 40ft wide swath of much taller dead trees.   Like whatever it was swopped low over the tall trees killing them then came and landed and killed everythign under it.

Scuttle Butt in town was that it had something to do with the local chemist and a local farmer, both of whom were well known pranksters - but I never had first hand confirmation from either.

Here in Kaikoura there was a very famous incident in the 80s involving an argosy cargo plane, and some bright lights and things that came and went from Air Traffic Control radar in Wellington (about 80 miles away), that has been the subject of several books.

Having lived in Kaikoura for over a decade, it seems that the most likely explanation involves a helecopter, a pilot with a wide reputation for a seriously devious sense of humour, some deer poaching, a bit too much alcohol, and a good knowledge of radar blind spots and a very powerful spotlight (and a helecopter that was much faster than the old Argosy).

So while I think it highly likely that other intelligent life has evolved elsewhere in the galaxy, and it is even possible that we live in some sort of Galactic ecology reserve, I have no direct personal evidence for UFOs, and find it highly unlikely that anything that could cross the gulf bewteen stars would let itself be observed by the likes of us if it really didn't want to be seen.

And the idea that anything that would expend the sort of energy required to cross interstella space would find anything on this planet of value worth bothering us about is to my mind just silly.

So much of UFO lore just doesn't make any sort of sense.


 

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Re: Walsh on Shadows and Shortcomings in the Integral Movement

2009-10-16 04:43:56

Hi Bruce and team
Read the thread, and several of the links (including your thread Bruce).  Lots of good stuff there.
While I can see a lot of power in many of the points raised, I see a different perspective.

In my view, all spiritual experience is a form of abstraction, of conceptualisation of experiences to the point of being able to transcend the current interpretive paradigm or schema and deliver a new, more generalised interpretive schema (and the experience that goes with it).

To my understanding there does not appear to be any logical end to that process - it appears that it is potentially infinite.

Reality it seems is at any given instant finite - somewhere of the order of 10^220 present states.

It seems to me that possibility, what reality may become, is infinite - not simply infinite, but infinitely dimensional (each dimension of which is itself infinite).

Integral, while providing a sort of sketch map of some of the lower dimensions, doesn't actually seem to do a lot, as many of the practitioners seem to devalue science, which holds the most powerful framework for understanding oneself, and through that, ultimately to unleashing the infinite potential creativity within each and every one of us.

It seems to me, that exploring "spiritual" states and stages, without a clear scientific understanding of what is going on in the substructure is a very dangerous exercise.

Certainly many traditions have done this in the past, and I am sure many will continue to do so.   Such taditions have certainly made some discoveries, and have some hard won useful knowledge and practices; and at the same time the explanatory frameworks are severely limited, and in some cases socially dangerous at the margins.

In the link you gave Bruce (a lot of great stuff in there) the question of suffering was raised by Star, and the fact that Jesus and Buddha didn't manage it.  I think it can be done. 
It sees to me that suffering is a result of our minds doing a domain collapse.  
We shift a concept from a domain where it is useful, to one where it has no place. 
The concept shifted is one of judgement, in the sense of what ought to be. 
Such a concept is powerful in the domain of possibility, where we are considering what might be, but has no place in the domain of history (what has happenned).
In the domain of history/experience, the only useful concept is acceptance, followed by any of the family of concepts of learning about reality from our mistakes (that the specific idea we had of what "ought" to have been did, or did not, work in reality).
When one actually starts to live this - all suffering goes.
Seems to be that for most of us, we have to push suffering right into the core of being to make this discovery for ourselves.

I think it will be possible to develop graphical respresentaions of the idea that are sufficiently powerful that people can get it, without having to go through the suffering first hand.
Could be a summer project for me.

Arohanui


 

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Re: How serious is that singularity speculation?

2009-10-16 00:45:28

Hi Bruce and Team
I haven't read Ray's latest book, and I do subscribe to his daily news feed, and am familiar with his history and mode of thought.
I think he underestiates the processing requirement for AI, and all that does is delay the timing of AI's emergence a little.
 Otherwise, it seems to me that there is a great deal happening at many levels.
It is just possible that we may transcend the warfare mindset before the next major war triggers; and we have a lot of problems facing us.

To my mind, the biggest problem is a systemic one, we are too interconnected, and too at risk of systemic failure at many levels.  We have seen it with banking systems, it could occur in any of many systems.   For the security of us all we need to decentralise all key systems - particularly food, energy and communication.  www.solnx.org is the only plan I am aware of that does that - for everyone - no exceptions.
And I look forward to reading Ray's book, and seeing his new movie.


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-21 21:46:04

Hi Tom and Team,
Great series of posts Tom.

I have very little doubt that consciousness is an emergent (not an underlying).

Several things I can perhaps add.
Recent work identifies the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) as the source of our spatial orientation, and the source of "out of body" experiences - see http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427291.100-out-of-your-head-leaving-the-body-behind.html

The idea that our intuition is sourced in the holographic nature of our storage and retrieval systems - and is a "side effect" of the process of recall using interference patterns.   This explains many levels of experience - the source of our internal voices, and ideas, and visions, and inspirations; the connectedness with all things.   Through holographic recall we are connected to all patterns in existence, and through holographic contemplation of infinities to all of possibility space.

Thus while I can imagine the possibility that life evolved on some other planet long before life on earth, and it is possible that some of non-human non-terrestrial evolved life form with vastly superior technology does exist; I have no direct experience or evidence of that, and thus it appears probable that death of the body is indeed the end of consciousness at this point in our evolution.  
We may ourselves be able to develop some sort of technology to provide a matrix for consciousness that is not connected to our body (known in some communities as "uploading"), and at this time we do not have that technological capability, and it seems quite some way off to me - I think the problems is about 10^18 more complex than most writers on the subject seem to think - pushing the boundary back some 70 years.

It thus seems probable that self awareness is a very small part of what goes on in a human body, and has a range of capacities that while linked to the body (as quarks are to hadrons, and they to atoms, and they to molecules, to cells, to nerves, ....) are also of an entirely different realm, which realm appears to be not only infinite, but composed of an infinite number of dimensions, each of which is itself infinite - which realm we know as "possibility".

We seem to have the ability to manefest possibility into reality - otherwise known as creativity.  It appears to be infinite!

I think Jung, while interesting, has a seriously overactive imagination.


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-23 01:44:50

I think consciousness emerges from language.
It seems to me that it is pure software - and it has links to things like "feelings".
"Feelings" is often an overloaded term - relating to several things from different domains.   There are sensations of pain - with neurological source, and emotions, with complex sources, and intuitions, which are derived from how memory works.
Consciousness experiences feelings.


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-23 22:44:39

Hi Tom
It seems to me that self awareness is born of language, though it can experience things that are not language.
Have you read anything of Helen Keller.   She had no awareness of self until she got language.   She had memory of experiences, but not memory of awareness of self.

When contemplating such things, be very clear of the distinction between something created in language, and something languaging.   We can be created in language, and still have experiences that do not involve languaging.
Consider a computer program for handling images.  The program is written in a language, yet what it does is deal with images - not language - yet it is still born of language, and it requires hardware to run on.

Similarly, while I agree with much of what Bohr said, I think there are other aspects to it, other modes of interpretation, that are not hinted at by what he wrote.   www.hotquanta.com is one very interesting alternative perspective.


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-24 07:12:42

Hi Tom

Interesting how we can take different perspectives on things.
What most strikes me about the Hot Quanta site is the nature of time.
We seem to have this persistent illusion that there is such a thing as universal time - people keep talking about time machines, as if there is this thing called time that people can travel through.
What I got from Hot Quanta is that time is local to each an every particle, and is given by light. 
And I can see some power in the perspective that you chose.

Our language evolved in the primate world, and has adapted to our technological world - and some of us are now exploring paradigms for which there is no agreed language, and there are no concretes we can point to and get agreement on.  We can only speak in parables, analogies, and hope that the listener has some idea of that which we speak.

For each of us, the journey into this abstract possibility space is an essentially personal journey, and we do our best to communicate to others.

We have so many illusions.
Most of us think our models of reality are reality itself.   Few realise how the layers of our being insulate and separate us from reality, at the same time as they give us what access we have to it.

It is an amazing reality - far stranger than any fiction.


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-24 18:10:03

Hi Irmeli

I agree with most of your questioning of consciousness.
I remember doing a cybernetics class over 30 years ago where the lecturer claimed that the full behavioural repertoir of an ant could be described in a number of equations (I think the number was 14, but not sure - something around that +/- 8).

I think he may have been slightly mistaken, and he would have been close.

I think, that because we are conscious, we tend to interpret much of what we see in terms of consciousness, terms that we are familiar with.

I have had 40 years of working with computers, and a lifetime of closely observing nature (17 years as a professional hunter), and many animal and plant life forms seem to follow very simple rules, with no need to invoke consciusness - while others (like our two labradors) seem to have behaviours that are very complex, and approach our own.   If the pup runs off, when I call her back her head is down, in seeming apology.   And perhaps even her very complex behaviour can be simply stimulous response.
Things like quail are just too stupid to have much of any sort of awareness.

It seems that the sort of consciusness that we humans have, self reflective, contemplative, abstractive - requires both language and holographic storage and retrieval (which may actually be precursors to effective languaging).
Once we enter the abstraction of possibility space, and start to contemplate possible aternative futures, and alternative interpretive schema, we are embarked upon a potentially infinite journey - open, unbounded, infinitely dimensional (beyond the scope of our 3d visual systems to visualise).

It seems to me, that what we experience as awareness is an emergent property, of the very complex system that is a human animal immersed in a languaging culture.    It seems that we are each uniquely self started in language, housed in our specific bodies, in our particular cultures; and once started, we are each potentially free to explore possibility space, for ourselves, and break the boundaries of the cultures that were a part of our birthing process.


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-25 05:43:46

Hi PangPå
My sources of concepts about language are many, Keller is one.
I have read quite a bit about language, and teaching language to animals (chimps and parrots).   I have trained many animals.   I have spent many hours in playcenters observing very young children - and spent many hours observing my own two children.  I have taken some university pyschology course on human development, and read a bit on the subject since.
I was trying to be a bit more abstract than your litteral interpretation of the computer example, and your critique is interesting.

You say signals are not symbols, and there is some truth in that, yet for you to see or hear anything, that information is translated by certain cells in your body from photon to electrical signals (FM in this case) before being passed to the brain.
There is some analogy between that and the process of compiling a language, and there are also differences.

Our brains are not based on serial Von Neuman processors, they are rather a mix of neural networks and holograhpic processess, the effect of which can only be simulated by very complex programs running on ordinary computers.

Our brains seem to be context machines.   We learn some very complex responses to certain contexts.   In a very yound child, one can see the child learning the context of language.
As we develop, we learn ever more complex associations of context, and start to be able to manipulate meta contexts, then meta-meta contexts, ......

From my own observations, and those of many others, it seems that we must have language developed to quite a complex level before we start to develop a reflective awareness of self.   The context machines that are our brains seem to be able to do some very complex languaging without any awareness - simply as context relevant responses.

It seems to be that this awareness, the 1P - the "I" that we experience is am emergent property of the system that is us, that bootstraps in language within our brains.

Every symbol must be carried on a signal.  I do understand that there is a difference, and there is also a connection.
The same signal may carry very different symbols for different recipients (one of the real problems we have attempting to communicate as we are).   In our case it can carry different symbols to different processing centers within our brains.

A language has signals, which code for symbols, which symbols have meaning dependent on context.
The art of communication is creating the likelihood that the receiver will use the same context as the sender (something I often fail at - sometimes because I don't understand, and sometimes because not many others have put the approximately 50,000 hours of study into various related disciplines that I have - so not many have the conceptual context that I do).  I am constantly experimenting, trying to create contexts for others that are effective at communicating key concepts, and I often fail.

I think I really need to get a LASER and some holograms, and show people a direct physical analog of what is going on when we learn language - that would make a lot of this so much easier, and it would only work one-to-one.


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-25 06:02:14

Hi Tom,
We still seem to have quite different conceptions.
It seems to me that like is timeless.  It is like a frozen record of the the state of the emitter.   I seems to me that light is not wave like at all, but appear way like in some experiments.

The illusion that you seem to have of a universal reference frame comes from the persistent illusion of time as a universal.   Einstein on relativity is a really interesting read.   Light doesn't have an absolute speed - it always has the same speed, whoever measures it.  This seems to be because light actually gives us time.   And I think there is another thread here on this topic.
It seems to me ath it is always  possible to imagine reference frames where only is faster than the other, and others that are vice versa.
It seems to be Einstein demonstrated this beyond any reasonable doubt.


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-25 21:31:33

Hi Tom
Einstein made some errors, but not many have picked up on them.
It seems to me that Bohm just refused to get the idea that time is relative, and given by light.
I have read many of Einsteins papers (in english translation), and his books, and the works of Rheinmann ( upon who Einstein built), and stayed with them until they made sense to me (many months of evenings reading).
It is interesting, that I had probably spent close to 1,000 hours on Einstein and associated writers (including Russell), before meeting John Murphy (the author of Hot Quanta) for the second time, and finally getting a perspective on Einstein that I had not previously.   John and I do not entirely agree, and John's knowledge is far superior to mine in the realm of methematics.  I introduce John to Bertrand Russell's grandaughter (Dr Rachel Garden) who showed John some key errors in some of the formulations of QM - based on faulty use of non-bivalent logic.

Einstein does not apply anything to an absolute.
What Einstein showed was that everything is relative.  And he showed what is necesary for that to be so.
We can tell how fast we are moving relative to anything that emits light, by the amount of "red shift".
We can tell that things that are moving very fast relative to each other experience time very differently.   We have demonstrated that, by flying atomic clocks aorund the world in 747s, and the ones that travel spinswards go slower than the ones that travel counterspinwards.

It seems to me that there are far too many people who are willing to simply accept what someone else says is true, without doing the work to test it for themselves.   We don't each have to create the intuitions for ourselves, and it does behove us to test, or at least evaluate the tests, for ourselves.  It takes time, and it is worth doing.


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-26 19:22:48

Hi Tom

You seem to have taken the illusion of perspective as an absolute.

Einstein showed that everyone, whatever speed they are doing, has a clock that runs at the same speed (from their referenece frame).   From my frame my clock is going the right speed (wrt speed of light) and yours is off, and vice versa.
The whole point of relativity is that there is no absolute reference frame.   For me, from my perspective - the speed of light is the same everywhere I look, whatever speed I am doing - and my clocks are all correct (as they must be, as they are all ultimately based upon the speed of light).

In regard to QM, I do not agree with most of the interpretation of what is meant.   The standard "Copenhagen" interpretation seems to me to be a nonsense - it only makes sense if you try to think about light as waves.
The equantions of QM work, and if one simply takes them as statistical equations, then it is possible to make sense of everything from photon level upwards.   The twin slit experiments make sense as a filter for transverse momenta - the filter being the fourier transform of shape of the slit (the principle can be applied to all experiments done to date).

Below that, there is certainly a weirdness to the sub-structure of reality - and what that means is not something I am currently prepared to put in the time that it would demand of me to work through - there are far more important things just now - most important is creating systems that ensure that every human being, no exceptions, has food, shelter, security, and the tools for education, communication and transportation to allow them to take their own choice of path through the infinity of infinities that is possibility space (what might yet be created from the reality of now).
QCD has a workability to it's weirdness, and if we manage to create indefinite life extension, and I am able to make use of the technology, then one day I will get back to exploring it - with a set of computer aided tools that will make the journey interesting for me - direct interface to visual and locomotor systems - with 3D representation and dimensional replacement (so I can choose what each dimension means, and I can use colors to add extra dimensions).


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-27 02:37:17

Hi Tom

No?

The clock of any individual always runs at a speed that means that they measure the speed of light as a constant.
So from the perspective of an individual, their clock is always the same, and it is all the other clocks that vary.

Depending on the relationships in space and time, observer A can measure B's clock faster than C'c, whereas B might measure C's clock going faster.

There isn't any absolute frame to measure against - that is the point of relativity.

What most people don't get from it, but is there, is that time is given by light.  Light itself being timeless - so to speak.

It is fairly mind bending stuff.   Took me a long time to come to terms with it, and according to MENSA my IQ is 160+ - so it is the sort of thing that I am usually fairly quick at.    And I have many experiences and examples of when IQ is no help - in fact a hinderance - as I can defend a point of view far faster than most can mount an attack - even if the point of view is invalid.   I am alert to that possibility, and I don't think I'm doing it here, and it is possible.


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-27 02:55:43

Hi Tom and Irmeli

I am very confident - 99%+ - that the "intelligence" of the subconscious of which you speak, and which we all experience, is actually an artifact of the way our brains store an retrieve information.    The associations formed in the storage and retrieval process come out of the way it is done, as an interference pattern, rather than as a direct sequential analog (as computers do).   It is this "holographic" nature of storage and retrieval that is responsible for many of the attributes of mind - including our ability to recognise context, to create intuitions, to hear voices, have visions, .........

It is incredibly powerful, and often accurate (though occasionally not).  In most situations it pays to trust it, rather than ignore it, yet at school we are taught to ignore it.   Often there are few points for the correct answer unless we can demonstrate a step by step linear process leading to the answer.   I don't work that way.   I trust my intuitions, go straight to the answer, the work back and fill in the blanks if necessary - always have done it that way - usually fast enough that the teachers never noticed - so I was able to get away with it.   Most people aren't quick enough, and get it beaten out of them.   That is sad - for all of us.

This "holographic" faculty connects us to all pattern, everywhere.  If we allow it, it will make analogies between plants and music, plate tectonics and boiling jam, ocean waves and evolution, ....................   The potential creativity if infinite - actually infinitely infinite (it contains an infinite number of infinities).
I find it works to try and share time about evenly between simply experiencing what is there to be experienced, and delving as deeply as possible into understanding how I got to have the experience, and how it relates to everything else.    My understanding seems to be constantly shifting.   I suspect that if I live a billion years, a hundred billion years, it will still be shifting - infinity is like that - big - beyond understandingly big.
Once we start to consciously manipulate the contexts of our understanding, then the contexts of our context of contexts - it starts to get very interesting.   The nature of reality shows up very differently.   One still has a great respect for sharks and busses and things of that nature, and other things become possible.  Many many things.


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-27 21:49:46

Hi Tom

Ah - I see what you were pointing at.

Have you considered what is different - rather than simply assuming an absolute referent?

What is different between the two frames?

The one with the slower time has been subject to acceleration.   In the case of the caesium clocks (or the hypothetical twins) both positive and negative - more than the other frame.

Consider the effect of acceleration on light, and therefore on time - bearing in mind that the speed of light must always be constant for the measurer, even in an accelerating frame.

Does that help - by way of dispelling the need for an absolute rference frame?


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-27 22:16:25

Hi Tom and Irmeli

There is no doubt that the systems that underly human awareness and cognition are extremely complex on many levels.

It is a fascinating topic to come to terms with.  My first love at university was biochemistry, and by the end of my second year I had done all the undergraduate biochem they would allow me to do.  The systems are beautiful, their simplicity, their subtle interconnection leading to infinite arrays of possibile interrelationship.   From sugars to RNAs, to proteins, lipids, DNA.   The levels of recursion and control on the subcellular level take years to get a rough handle on.

Once you step up to the cellular level, and look at the evolution of the HOX genes, and what that has allowed in terms of cellular specialisation, and the layers and levels of feedback at the cellular level; it get's even more amazing.   Richard Dawkins has written many amazing and beautuful books on just how evolution works - a copy of his latest "The Ancestor's Tale" is on the coffee table at my feet - I finished it yesterday.

Once you start to appreciate the holographic nature of our information processing systems, and the implications of that; our brains have evolved a predictive model of reality to allow us to work with reality in real time (but most of us are not aware of the model, and treat the model as if it were reality itself); then add in the evolution of a languaging culture; then add in that each of us makes a bootstrap declaration in language that starts the software system that is our self awareness into this milleu that is body, culture, reality - is it any wonder that most of us spend most of our lives wonder what we are?

It is clear to me why spiritual traditions have valued consciousness as the primary, because we are conscious, and will because of that primarily interpret thing in terms of consciousness.   It takes a huge amount of work and discipline by many many people over many centuries to develop models that explain all that is consciously intuitive to a consciousness emergent from the complex systems briefly described above.

What annoys me about KW, is that he had a brief brush with science, but lacked either or both of the interest or discipline to carry it through, and has as a result come out with a lot of half baked notions that do not honour the work of a huge number of scientists, and therefore diminish what might otherwise have been a substantial contribution to human development to a somewhat anti-science side cult.

And - that seems to be the way of all evolution including memetic evolution - cross polination of ideas, producing large numbers of sterile halfbreeds and occasionally something with real hybrid vigour.


 

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Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-28 01:05:16

Hi Tom,

It is acceleration that is the operative factor.
Acceleration makes us mover faster, changes our relationship to the speed of someone else.  As we travel faster, we experience a different amount of light (time) to something else.

For the two twins consider.
They both start at some place - in the same reference frame.  Let us lable that F0.   One of them then accelerates off to some other place, placing themselves in a different frame (say F1) which is accelerating.
With respect to F0, the clock on F1 slows.  Within F1, everything is ticking away normally.  F1 can measure their own rate of acceleration, and they accelerate.  Now - being relativisticly aware, they know that accelerating frames have different rules from rest frames.   They can calculate how close to light speed they can get, before the relativistic effects that slow their time (as they become more time like) and increase their mass, and become a major threat to their ability to navigate and respond.

To get somewhere near lightspeed you need a 1G acceleration for a year, so when calculating journeys to some other place, one can recon on about 3 years subjective time from any place to any other place - when talking interstella distances.

What is changing is the relationship of the clocks.
The clock in F0 continues in it's resting frame mode, irrespective of any relationship to some mythical absolute frame (FA).

If we look at a third observer, in F2, not accelerating and traveling at some speed different to F0, from the perspective of F2, F0's clock would be off by some constant, and F1's clock would be varying under the affects of acceleration.

Try a different thought experiment.
If there was some sort of absolute frame, then it should matter what direction one choose to accelerate in - but it doesn't.
It is the fact of acceleration.   The fact that one frame moves more in relationship to the other, before coming back together, that changes how the clocks seem to behave.  {To put the atomic clock experiment in context, going counter spin reduces acceleration, going spinwise increases acceleration - gravity wells are accelerating frames.}

Does that help ?


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-28 01:56:03

Hi Zak

Not at all.
My understanding is that what you state has been clearly negated as an explanatory hypothesis.

The interpretation that consciousness determines reality (Copenhagen interpretation of QM) is one possible interpretation, one that creates far more problems than it solves.  Other possible interpretations of QM exist that do not require collapsing of wave states (as there are no waves) or observer interaction (other than in the fact that any observations do have an impact on a system).  These interpretations are simply probability functions.  What generates those probabilities remains a mystery at this time (and I suspect, at some level, always will).

What seems evident, from much observation, is that ever more complex associations of things (call them quarks, atoms, molecules etc) allow for ever more complex emergent properties (something like the holon concept).

It seems that the evolved collection of atoms known as homo-sapiens have created over time a languaging culture that allows individuals within that species to bootstrap a self awareness in language, based upon a set of holographic processors housed in a mammalian body composed of trillions of cells.   It seems that this association has happened as a result of a mostly gradual process of evolution by natural selection operating at many levels over approximately 4 billion years on this planet we call earth.

Full self reflective self aware consciousnesses such as ours seem to be a relatively recent invention - within the last 5,000 years possibly, almost certainly within the last 100,000 years.

Feeling is a vastly "overloaded" term, which covers a range of things that are from very separate categories, and need to be much more explicitly addressed in a full discussion.

The aspect of "feeling" that may be called "intuition" seems to be a direct effect of holographic processing of information, and forms a level of linkage between all experience and all languaging; and at another level is responsible for all of what we call "creativity", and most of what we call "love".

The highest self, the sacred "I" is a software entity capable of choice, of evaluation, of breaking the chains of causality in a very real sense.  It is a quantum like entity, self started, self aware.  It is housed in a context machine (a human brain).   It is capable of manipulating contexts (including it's own context {don't ya just love recursion}), and thus ultimately influencing what it's brain and body does.

The vast majority of what any brain and or body does is fully automatic, and it is sensitive to context - and thus to the influence of choice and creativity.

Becoming aware of the many layers and levels of feeling - of intuitions, of emotions, of various bodily sensations, and their relationship to "reality" (whatever that is) is an essential part of attaining higher levels of self awareness.   And there are no ultimate answers to any of these things.   Some things can be hinted at, and almost nothing can be known with absolute certainty.   Every measurement, every experiment, every observation changes the systems, in subtle and less subtle ways.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-29 19:59:16

Hi Darrel

I think your (and KWs) "flatland" accusation is not against science, rather it is against a mindset, one of authority, of hard causality.   That is not science in my mind.

Science is about testing what works in reality.

Many of the tools of science have been used by those with agendas of hegemony of thought at some level, political, scientific, economic, ....  and that is not what I would call true science.

For me, true science is about as far from flatland as it is possible to get.
It is about exploring reality, all of it, including that infinitely dimension part of reality we call possibility space.

I find the terms "Flatland science" exceptionally dangerous, as it seems to be used by KW and others as a permanent linkage - it is rare to see KW use science except in conjunction with flatland.    That association is not real.

Yes there are some flatland scientists, as there are flatland theologians, and flatlant philosophers and flatland gardeners, doctors, carpenters, ........

Flatland is a mode of thought, not a discipline.  It is a stage - to use Integral speech.


In my view, which is very much science based, and a form of science that acknowledges and relies on intuition, all life is more "fountain like" than statue like.   Life is more defined by the patterns that it forms, and the meta patterns, and meta meta patterns, .......    There does not seem to be any limit to the levels at which recursive, self referential pattern can modify every aspect of "self".   The fountains of Mandlebrot may give some flavour of the idea.
Yes - consciousness is emergent - ever more so.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-29 20:15:42

Hi Valli

It is weirder than that.
There is not, nor can there be, and absolute reference frame.

In any frame, it seems that we can keep on accelerating, and as we accelerate, the world around use (which appears to be approaching light speed in respect to us) changes, slows.      If we stop the acceleration, then from each frame, the other seems just as strange, in exactly the same way.   There is no way to distinguish between them.    They are simply two frames in motion in respect to each other.

If the one that left us under acceleration, uses more accelleration to return to us, we will see great difference in the clocks.
If on the other hand, we use equivalent acceleration to accelerate the unacclerated frame up to the same speed as the one which first accelerated - the clocks will agree, each will measure the same speed of light, there will be no difference from their original frame (except that everything else will be moving around them - but without knowledge of their history, they could not determine which had undergone acceleration.

That is the beauty of what Einstein discovered.
It is weird - at several levels.  It takes a lot of discipline to come to terms with the mathematics, and the concepts behind the mathematics, and it is worth the effort.
Simple principles can lead to very complex outcomes.
Einstein and Darwin, two of the greatest minds, each a member of a trans generational lineage of thinkers, each more than willing to acknowledge that lineage.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-30 01:42:57

Hi Tom

Consider another aspect of our thought experiment before.
Let us say we have 2 frames A and B - FA and FB.
You in A, me in B.
We are side by side and synchronise our clocks.
Now - if you take off, and accelerate to an appreciable fraction of the speed of light, from my perspective, your clock slows.
If you look back at me, you see my clock has slowed (from your perspective).
Now let's say we have decided ahead of time to get back together.
How we do it leads to 2 very different outcomes.
If you in FA accelerate back to where I am, ( from my FB perspective, decelerate to stop, then accelerate back towards me, the decelerate to stop again) then when we compare clocks, mine will show much more time than yours.

If we use the alternate route.  I in FB accelerate to match your speed, then when we come together, our clocks will agree.

At all times, in both FA and FB - we will each measure the speed of light as an invariant.

No matter how fast we accelerate with respect to each other, in our own frames, the speed of light (our perceived and measured time) remains constant.

Instantaneous is an illusion.  Something is what it is, when it is, yes certainly.   The relationship of any two distinct things to each other in time depends upon their relationship in space and to the frame of the observer - there is no absolute reference frame - that is the illusion of universal time that Einstein shattered, yet probably less than 1% of all those who have ever read his stuff have got any inkling of.

I agree with you about our beingness, and that agreement comes with some caveats.
Our experience is modulated on our bodies and brains, and the various mechanisms that make them work.   Each of those mechanisms has a distinct time element to it.   Because of the interaction of all those distinct time elements in all of the processes that we emerge from, we are out of phase with "reality".   
This was a problem for smart animals long before they became reflectively self aware, so evolution solved it in a very elegant manner - our brains build and operate a predictive model of reality, and update it on an as required basis.
There is very good documentary showing on Sky TV here in NZ, on our Documentary channel - called "beautiful minds" - the current episode on "savants".   It may be showing in your part of the world on whatever you have that is equivalent.   In part it talks about how most of us have this filter that we see what we expect to see, and savants don't have that, they see everything afresh every time - and find it very confusing.  
My own experience is of having both modes available to me, and being able to consciously switch between them - it was only quite recently that the thought occurred to me that this might not be how everyone experiences the world.
I have been aware of my model of reality since I was about 4 years old, and I have been able to switch it in or out at will since about then.  I was not aware that this was anything unusual.   I was aware that I was seen as different from most people in many ways, and I am, and I didn't think this was one of them - seems it is.

It seems that most people have no awareness of their model, and simply treat it as if it is reality.  It seems that most people have no direct experience of reality, or of switching modes - with model / without model.

So yes, we are what we are, AND for all of us that is out of phase with "reality" AND for most of us most of the time, we do not experience that "out of phase"ness.

Is wood a priori to atoms ?   No.
Wood is an arrangement of atoms.
All the evidence I have reviewed is consistent with the hypothesis that we are software entities, running on an exceptionally complex atom machine called a human being, in an exceptionally complex operating system called a languaging culture.  All the result of many layers of emergent properties of complex systems (I think I got to 23 last time I did a full count - 23 sets of emergent properties, each contingent in some fashion on that which came before, and adding something in the process - holons if you like - though that term seems to contain some very woolly notions that I do not subscribe to).

As to action at a distance - I have reviewed every class of experiments that purport to show it, and I find no evidence - alternative explanations exist in every case.  Most of the classic cases in literature come from trying to think of light as waves - if you give that up (as relativity requires of us), then they all disappear, and other explanations become obvious.

Einstein did not loose the argument.
It is just that almost none of those who were arguing with him could even see his argument - so of course he did not win a "popular vote" or achieve any sort of "popular consensus".

Has anything that Einstein proposed been shown experimentally to be false?   No.
Are alternative interpretations of QM available that are consistent with general relativity ? Yes.
Are they generally accepted ?  No.
Are they wrong because of that ?  No.

It was generally accepted that the world was flat, until people started experiencing people sailing around the world - setting off in a westerly direction, continuing generally westerly until arriving back home.

I am certain that there is weird stuff happening at the subquantum level.
Exactly what it is or means I have no idea.   I am happy to leave it at that at this point.

Have you ever heard of the magic smoke theory of computer operation?
I first heard it some 30 years ago, and have observed it first hand several times.
It states that computers all run on magic smoke, as evidence, when the smoke gets out, they stop running.
Perfectly logical, demonstrable, observable and false.

Is there connectedness in the universe?   Oh yes - profound, at so many levels.

Do we understand everything?  No - only a very tiny fraction.

Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-30 02:26:43

Hi Bruce
Peter Russell seems to have a very odd definition of consciousness.

His example of driving the car without being conscious clearly disproves his assertion, then he goes on to say - well of course we couldn't have been unconsicous or we would have driven off the road.  Not true.
We have many automatic - unaware - subsystems at many levels, and they can learn some very complex habits - whether we teach them consciously, or they are taught by experience or culture.  It's like say that because a microprocessor can do complex tasks it must be conscious.  False.  It just follows simple rules, as does most of our brain most of the time.

He uses the term "forms arise in consciousness" when using his projector analogy - he seems to have his understanding upside down.

He says - "for me heart feeling emotion is all part of big mind" - for me these are all artifacts of various physical processes - yes they have impact on awareness, as does everything else, AND they are not conscious.

He says that science doesn't predict why we have experience.  That is false.
I accept that he does not understand.  That is true - without doubt.
When he claims that I don't - I assert he is false - demonstrably so.
How does consciousness come from matter - it is a hard problem - 23 levels of recursion, in separate layers of systems.

He talks of paradigms as deep unquestioned assumptions that are true - simply demonstrates that he does not understand very much about philosophy or science.
In a real scientific paradigm, we know that we know nothing for certain - we have operational hypotheses.
The guy understands some ideas, and seems to be intentionally ignorant of much of modern science, because it conflicts with a notion that he is committed to (the primacy of consciousness).
He explains the evolution of ideas - which he does well - he just seems to be stuck in a paradigm of the primacy of consciousness, and cannot accept what science delivers.
He tries to obfuscate this with a notion of meta paradigms.
He says that the meta paradigm is that the real world is the material world.  Then he talks of remote viewing, reincarantion - for which there is no credible evidence in reality - nothing that passes statistical tests reliably and repeatedly.

He says there is one anomaly - which he claims is consciousness itself - which he says cannot be explained - which is false.  
He just does not want to do the work to enable him to understand the explanation - that I can believe.
The guy is using one of the oldest mechanisms of politics - ridicule, to win over public opinion.

In my evaluation - he is way down the scale of self awareness, and apparently intentionally ignorant of the scientific paradigm - for the purpose of ridicule.
Some of what he says is accurate, and some of what he says is demonstrably false.
He does not appear to be operating from service or respect.
I think that in an open debate I would be able to create a model for most people that would get agreement that what his fundamental thesis is based on falsified premises.
Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-30 10:37:15

Hi Bruce

I'm not saying that I understand every step of the process, it is too complex for any human mind, and I do understand how it can happen, the level of complexity that must exist, and the sort of hardware that must be present for a piece of software to bootstrap itself into existence in a language.

Will anyone without a thorough experience of building and programming computers, delving deeply into the mathematics of evolution, the biochemistry of life, and the logic of recursive systems, have any sort of feel for what I feel (know) to be true - I doubt it.

Could I write it all down, yes I have many times, and to date no one has understood it.
Can I explicitly explain all the steps - no I cannot - because many of them require abstraction, and abstraction cannot be taught, only hinted at.   How many levels of abstraction - I'm guessing - about 12.
12 levels of abstraction, to come to terms with 23 levels of recursion, to understand how consciousness is an emergent property of complex systems - took me almost 40 years, and I am essentially asocial - I don't need much in the way of human interaction - I can spend 100 hours a week doing my own thing - and for most of my life I have.
I am a fairly unusual beastie.  I freely acknowledge that.
Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-30 23:39:55

Hi Bruce

Part of what keeps me from publishing is the fear that someone will use it to produce AI - which scares the crap outa me.

My biggest fear about AI, is that as it goes through it's adolescent learning phase, as it evaluates the threats in it's environment, and it looks at how we humans treat each other, and sees how most of us respond to threats, it will perceive us as a threat, and eliminate us - which it will be perfectly capable of doing - in a matter of days.

Before we build AI, we need to get our own act towards each other sorted out.   We need to have systems in place that ensure that every human being has the essentials of life - food, water, shelter, freedom of movement and communication.  No exceptions - when that is done, I will support building AI - not before.  I know how to do that too - would cost about US$30B - and take about a decade to set up (about 14 years is my best guess).

I am confident that if I had a good team of people with me, I could build a matrix for AI that is thousands of times more powerful than me, within a decade - I've known how to do it since 1974 - and I have had the same objection to doing it since 1974 - back then it would have taken me much longer - many technologies have moved on - solving many of the intermediate issues.

I have read many hundreds of articles by various people on the hard problem - to my mind, they all lack both information and imagination - which is probably just as well.

Yes - in the sense that I have not yet delivered, it is a promisory statement.  And in my mind it is of the same nature as saying I could go to London next week.   I almost certainly will not, and if something came up that was sufficiently attractive to me, I could.   Lots of things are like that.

The problem most people have, is the illusion that most of their actions are under conscious control.   They are not.
We have some conscious control of context, and even most of that is illusory.
We have experience of being - certainly.

I love our dogs.  Our pup is almost 2 now, we have had her since she was 6 weeks old.  I have observed her behaviour very closely.  She was supposed to be our daughter's dog, and somehow most of the caring for her has fallen to me, so of course she has bonded to me as pack leader.  The behaviours she has are very complex, and some of them seem quite smart, then you start to notice the odd really stupid ones, and start thinking about their relationship to other behaviours - and after a while, she doesn't seem so smart, or so aware.  Still very cute, very persistent in asking for attention, very playful, and not too bright.  Cunning sometimes - in a very simplified fashion.

I hope I get the opportunity to work with a team to get what is inside my head into reality, and it is not easy to communicate most of it.   I may have come up with some of these ideas at age 20, and from age 10 I was spending more time reading Scientific American and New Scientist and various encyclopedias than I was playing with other kids or doing "school work" (which was mostly easy, and mostly I got done before leaving class, so I could get back tot he interesting stuff, or a good novel - Asimov, Clark, Farmer, van Vogt, ...).


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-31 00:24:22

Hi Tom

Yes you have some points.  I did make some unstated simplifying assumptions, and I am confident there will be a path I could take to match speeds and clocks - and I acknowledge that there is no path free of gravitational accelerations in real space, and in some paths they are small enough to be ignored for practical purposes (within a second over a year in terms of matching clocks).

Yes relativity is about relative velocities, and the way we change velocities is via acceleration.   If there is no acceleration, then all clocks bear a constant relationship to each other (which relationship varies from frame to frame).   It is acceleration that makes life "interesting".


As to the other aspect of your problem - what "effects" are you talking about.  Within every frame - we measure the speed of light as a constant.  We cannot tell what our speed is, except in relation to something else.   We can be at .9 or .999999 lightspeed with respect to some other frame, and we will still measure the speed of light as the same constant in our frame.   From our frame we will see them moving slow, from their frame they see us moving slow.
It is time itself that changes, as time is given by light (even Einstein didn't get that - and he had enough hints - but he missed it).

In a praticial universe, like this one, we can measure our speed against the Cosmic Background Microwave Radiation as an example, and determine our speed relative to that reference frame, and that would just be our speed relative to that frame.
There is no absolute measure - and I can see that your mind is firmly wedded to the notion of absolute measure, and has given that primacy over Einstein.   You are not alone - you are in the company of most other human beings - I am different.


As to models - you miss the point.
There is a very real difference between working with a model, or with raw sense data.
If we use the raw sense data, then the sense of being out of phase becomes obvious ( bit like talking on a long distance phone call).   In this mode, if we see something happening, and we think a command to our body, and it seems to take forever for our body to respond.  Everything coming towards us seems to slightly out of phase - it gets to us before it should.  We think something is still a foot away and then there is pain - "damn it hit me" - "How'd that happen?".

When we are operating from the model, the model is synchronous with our awareness (but out of phase with reality).  We see people move their mouths, and hear people speak, and we speak back.   If you listen to a recording of conversations, there is not usually any pause.  One voice replaces another, in an endless stream.   If you think about how long it takes for the sound to travel, the ear drum to move, the bones to move, the water in the inner ear to move, the senory hairs to bend, the nerve signlas to start, and propogate to the brain, the brain to do all it's contextual stuff, then to come up with an appropriate response - it should take an appreciable time - a significant fraction of a second - that pause isn't there.

In normal operation we operate from a mental model of reality, generated for us by our brains, that allows us to operate in synchrony with ojects in our near vicinity.
This aspect of brain seems to be present in many mammals, but not reptiles, their reactions are very different to ours, very strange to our eyes.

The idea of filtering is an aspect of it.  In one aspect of filtering, our models are simplified representations of reality, and there is an area of our brain (the Recticular Activating System RAS) that determines from context which elements of the perceptual field to keep most current in the model.  We only see what is important to us in this context.  It works well most of the time - which is all that evolution requires of anything - and sometimes it lets us down big time.

Anyhow - I think it is probably best I leave this group, as this conversation isn't going anywhere rapidly, and I have a cashflow issue I need to deal with, and I like doing this sort of stuff too much - but I don't get paid for it.

I get paid for programing computers, and I have real ethical issues around our economic systems, and I also have a wife and children to support - which for now requires money and time - and I need to cook some treats for my daughters Halloween party in a few hours (we're most of a day ahead of you folks here in Kiwi Land).

Cheers

Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-31 00:32:42

Hi Xibalba
I don't understand your statement "We don´t know very well yet how life emerged  from gross matter".   Have you read any of Richard Dawkins stuff, or John Maynard Smith ?

I don't know exactoly wehere or when, we have no direct evidence, and I have no doubt about the general form of the process.   Richard's latest work "The Ancestor's tale" is a great read.
I'm not quite sure where you're coming from.

The wuote from KW is just the sort of pseudo scientific gobbldygook that Ken's stock in trade.   It is meaningless to me - or more correctly, it is clearly falsified in each of the interpretive schema within which I have tried to interpet it.   "Etheric" is what someone wedded to the notion of the primacy of consciousness must produce to keep logical consistency in their argument - there is no evidence for it that I have seen - and I have spent a lot of time looking.

Cheers

Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-31 09:30:25

I guess if you can't or wont address the argument, then attacking the man is all you've got left.
I don't understand your assertion.

There is, of course, a sense in which we have no direct evidence of exactly what happened at a molecular level at some specific place on earth some 4 billion years ago, and in all likelihood we never will - it is not the sort of thing that is likely to leave any direct traces.

There is another sense in which the evolution of a replicating molecule in a soup of proto ingredients into the first simple cellular life is not that big a transition.  It is the sort of thing I have no problem imagining.  But then I have spent many years studying atoms, molecules and their characteristics and patterns of relationship in space and time.

I can think of several llikely mechanisms.

I suspect very strongly that the first cells to form were RNA based, and relied on physical agitation to divide the cell.  And over time, other mechanisms evolved.

We may yet find more indirect clues as to the exact mechanisms, in the DNA and RNA of some of the Archea that are yet to be fully sequenced and analysed.   It is barely a decade since we fully sequenced the first human genome.   I am sure there are many surprises of detail installed for us yet.

I can understand that some people don't find Richard the easiest of people to get along with - he is not particularly tollerant of those who refuse to examine the evidence of their senses dispassionately (ie he can be an arrogant SOB at times, less often in more recent years); and he is one of the finest thinkers and writers making the mathematics and logic of leading edge evolutionary biology available to the lay reader.

I acknowledge his arrogance, and I also acknowledge his brilliance.   Do not be blinded by his arrogance to what is available from him - it is, in my experience, the most powerful paradigm of interpetation available at present (and I have investigated and tested most of them - personally).

It is my experience that there is far greater arrogance displayed by many in this forum with far less intellectual rigor to back it up.

It's over 30 years since I read the first book Richard wrote, and I have had a couple of responses from him to critiques I had of a couple of aspects of his theses.
I think the money I have spent on Richard's books to be some of the greatest value I have had from any money spent.  I can't say the same about any of the Integral books I've bought - very short on rigor, and long on using big words to confuse and sound more important and complex than they are (some good stuff in them, and far too many mistakes).

I guess that translates to me stopping posting here, and doing something of greater value.

After the response this evening, I do not feel inclined to return - reminds me too much of being bullied in the school yard - being beaten up by a bunch of ignorant arrogant thugs - just at a slightly different level.   I don't need it in my life - now or ever.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-10-31 21:18:55

Hi Xibalba

Thank you Ti-Shu - while I reply to the points of Xibalba, I think the probability that he will understand what is written in the spirit that it is written is very low, and if he were the only reader I would not be bothered writing (not worth my time) and since you spoke up, perhaps there are, as you say, others willing to listen and question, from a place of not knowing.  To you and they I write, with gratitude and appreciation, and with fellowship for fellow travelers embarked on the infinite roads of exploration of the greater infinity of infinities.

Xibalba said "I am speaking of a precise mechanism in an overall precise process and no need of indirect clues. We don´t know anything about that yet. "    Those two sentences, are, to my understanding so untrue.
If we look at the first.   What sort of precise mechanism are you speaking of, in what precise process?  Do you expect that in the last 5 decades of exploration we will have been able to recreate exactly the sequence of events that existed at some time about 4 billion years ago on earth, that, (by all molecular evidence) occurred just once, in all the molecular soup of all the oceans of the world over a billion year period.   If that is the sort of certainty you require, then I say you are completely ignorant of probability, or the size of the possibility space to be explored within such a paradigm.

That we have, in a brief period of 50 years, acquired molecular evidence from thousands of different life forms that give us excellent indication of the probable relatedness of organisms over time scales of hundreds of millions of years.   By the time we get out to billions of years, the uncertainties grow - there are so many possible mechanisms to produce the sort of variation observed, that we cannot as yet distinguish with the tools available to us, and perhaps never will.  Perhaps there will never be any more precise evidence.

In my mind, what you say is similar to saying - I have no evidence of the exact position of the neuron in you skull or the exact time of firing, that lead to a nerve impulse going to your finger, so therefore I have no idea that you pressed the keys that wrote that message on your computer that eventually got posted on this bulletin board.

I don't have any direct evidence for those things, and I do have sufficient indirect evidence that I would be very confident in laying a substantial wager that they occurred.

When I started to investigate KW, I read some stuff on line, to see if it was worth putting any time into, and there seemed to be some things of interest, so I chose to put some time in.  Then I took the next step, I bought a book by KW and read it - cover to cover.  The book was a brief history of everything.   I went through it in my usual fashion, scribbling notes in the margins.   Then I went back, and examined both the ideas that seems "new" and "interesting" and the ideas that seemed to have been "falsified" elsewhere.   I spent time contemplating each of these from different paradigms.   Asking myself, is there something here that I am missing, or is it really just that KW has completely misused a concept - taken it from a domain where it is tested and verified and applied it to a domain where not only is it untested, but it actually doesn't fit.
There were quite a few of those.

When I do the same thing with Richard Dawkins' books, very few of the scribbles are negative.   And when I wrote to him about them, he actually replied, with a considered response.
I wrote to KW, and have yet to receive a considered response.

Xibalba also wrote "And if we know so much as you claim it why can´t we elucidate yet the mechanism of the viruses HIV infection and their amazing mutability or camouflage power."   I don't know what journals you read (for me it is mostly New Scientist and The Scientist for an overview of current trends, and then following up reading specific papers of interest, and their referent papers, and if necessary, direct contact with the authors or referees to clarify any points of unclarity).   From those sources it is very clear to me that we know exactly how HIV infects, and resists treatment.   It has sections of nucleic acid that are prone to rapid mutation (for known reasons), and is thus resistant to all classical methods of antibody formation to specific properties of the external protein coat of the virus particle.   There is more variability within the HIV virus population within a single human being than we have observed in all  influenza viruses across all human populations.   HIV mutates that fast.   We even know the exact mechanism that powers that mutation, but as yet it hasn't done us any good, as no one has yet worked out an effective mechanism to counter it.  Someday - someone will figure one out, and it will likely be very different from any approach we have used against any other virus.


In a separate post you say "I don´t see any dangerous ideas with Darwin´s theory."  Which just makes me wonder what planet you are on, and will attempt to explain it.
Prior to Darwin, all authority came from some external source.   From the point of view of the Church, the answer to any question was ultimately "God did it" and as the church was the acknowledged "Authority" on the "word of God" - any challenge to that authority was actually a capital offense - called Heresy.    Probably the single biggest thing that allowed this complex political system of power and authority (be it authority over ideas or authority over people or authority over material possession) to continue, was the seemingly commonsense notion that there was no way complex life could exist without a "creator".
What Darwin did, was to demonstrate that a very simple set of processes acting over a very long time, could turn one species into another.  That things were mutable, not the fixed and perfect artifacts of a perfect divine creation.
In creating such a possible way of looking at life - Darwin allowed individuals to challenge authority at every level.

Now personally, I find that totally compatible with the words of someone like Jesus, who in parable fashion said to people "the kingdom of god is within you".   He was a good Jewish kid who went into the temple and challenged established authority - and within 300 years his teaching had been amalgamated at the council of Nicea with all manner of other traditions, and had become a new dogma tool for a new political/religious authoritarian regime.   I love the Catholic priest Richard Rohr's interpetation of scripture, and have had several great conversations with Richard.   Of course we have major differences of interpretations, and we have more similarities than difference in many ways.

For me, Darwin has given me the tools to explain how all that is me might have come out of a very simple set of starting conditions.  Darwin did not, could not, prove beyond any shadow of doubt that all life on earth arose without any external conscious input.   What he did show is that it might be possible that that was the case.     Since Darwin, many others have worked at filling in the details of how.   Richard Dawkins made a major contribution, with the invention of the term meme.   Many others have made more contributions to that discipline since, and Richard has made a huge contribution.
Can I say for certain that there is not a God?  No.   It just seems improbable to me (an idea not required for completeness).

It seems probable that we are very complex organisms, evolved by a process of evolution by natural selection at many levels over a very long time.   It seems probable to me, on the basis of spending tens of thousands of hour evaluating and testing the methods and evidence and interpretation of many thousands of experiment in many disciplines, that our self reflective conscious awareness is the result of the declaration in language by a child possessed of a holographic context processor infused with language and culture to a certain level of development.
Can I prove any of that to absolute certainty at every step - No - not possible - too complex.
Is it simpler than any of the alternative explanations available to me?  Yes - beyond all reasonable doubt.
Is Darwin's idea dangerous?
Yes.
It is dangerous to authority.
It is dangerous to vested interest.
It is dangerous to bullies.

It is the sort of idea that can empower an individual to claim their own infinite creative power, and tell everyone who would claim power over them to go take a running jump - go stick it where the sun don't shine - or whatever colloquialism works for you.

It is the sort of dangerous idea that encourages people to welcome and respect diversity, and to work with others who are prepared to work with them.   It shows the power of cooperation and competition working hand in hand for the benefit of all.

Quite the most dangerous idea anyone has ever had - IMNSHO.

Arohanui
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-11-01 02:52:02

Not everything in the world relates to you.
I'm reasonable sure that neither Darwin, nor anyone using the term "Darwin's dangerous idea" we referring to you.

Living on another planet sounds interesting to me too; a I think this one is superbly beautiful, quite the most interesting thing I am aware of.

I don't think there is any such transition from non-life to life.
I think there is a transition from non-cellular life to cellular life, which is what I presumed you were referring to.

We can most certainly create non cellular life - replicating molecules in certain conditions.
What do you define as life, what as "non life"?

You seem to be a very angry person, very judgemental.
You appear to be far more skilled in language than I.

I bothered to answer because you said things that in my understanding were untrue, and others were listening.
I didn't, and still don't, think that you are interested in considering anything that conflicts with your current paradigm, and some of the other readers do seem to be open to possibilities beyond their current understanding - so I wrote for them, and still do.

I can be an arrogant SOB at times - I know that, I look for it, and just sometimes I let it out to play.
The ultimate test of anything is how it works in reality.

I can only put my words out there in cyberspace, and have others make of them what they will; my hope being that they assist some seeker on their path.
And maybe - just maybe, you might consider looking a bit deeper than you have to date; or perhaps even address a specific issue.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-11-01 06:06:51

Thanks Nicole
Appreciate your considered response.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-11-01 08:29:16

Thanks Zak
We have often "crossed swords" and I do enjoy it.
I would like to know precisesly what it is about what Richard Dawkins says that you have difficulty with.   I have a friend here in NZ that hates Richard with such a passion that he cannot talk about him or any of his writings in a logical fashion.   Must be some sort of personality thing.
We can all do personality things from time to time - they don't really interest me that much.  I'm much more interested in a good theory, a well designed set of tests, and a well recorded and analysed set of observation from the tests.
I'm happy to address any question or argument from anyone, if they are prepared to take the time and effort to get really specific.
I think most often problems arise because of a failure to reach an agreed set of assumptions about the topic under consideration, which results in people talking about different things, each sure they are talking about the same thing, and the other fella is an idiot (which most often (s)he isn't).

Cheers

Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-11-01 21:10:55

Hi Zak

Taking what Nicole said very much to heart, (I have said similar many times myself, and it is much easier to say than it is to "be" with "cross domain/ cross paradigm" consistency) - I am having difficulty interpreting what you said in a fashion that is meaningful to me.

There is a sense in which I can can see some possibility of agreement, when you say "consciousness transcends life as we know it" - and I must add the caveat - "transcend and include".

In my understanding, consciousness is an analog of "software".  And just as software is not the computer it runs on, and software can be infinitely variable, while to computer that houses it is composed of a fixed number of atoms in a particular arrangement - so it is with us.

It seems clear to me that our experience of being, in the present, is something in the domain of experience - which experience is personal to each of us.   There are certain states and stages of experience that we can, by languaging, share with other entities, and reach an agreement about their commonality, and at the same time, each of us only gets to experience being us - so in so far as we can imagine being someone else, it is only in so far as we and the other have shared experience (real or imagined) that we can bring to the analogy.

Stepping back a level, our experience of being seems to me to have a direct correlate in the realm of our physical bodies, and that correlate is the software running in the brains housed in our bodies.   That software is a languaging system, running on a context machine that is made of many complex parts, some of which are neural networks, some of which have associated holographic processors.

The outcome of all this, is that we use a combination of our various perceptual systems, including sight, sound, touch, smell, taste, and our various electrical and magnetic senses, to take in information about our environment, and create a series of models of both the environment and ourselves.   For most of us, we are unaware of the layers of models, and we tend to treat the "surface level", the one that our consciousness gets its information from, as reality itself.  It is not.  That one may be up to 3 levels of model removed from "reality" - whatever that is.

I love the imagery from the matrix - it comes so close to how I see things being.

You say "Therefore we can see that the lack of experiencing any absolute truth leaves us barren to understanding anything transcendent."
I cannot comprehend what you might be trying to say with that.   It seems to me to be an attempt to hold on to the idea of absolute truth, and use it to justify some sort of transcendence.   In my understanding that cannot happen.

In my world the notion of "absolute truth" occupies the same space as "absolute time"; it is an illusion people must learn, so that they can unlearn it and see what lies beyond it.   In the paradigm that I operate from, neither concept holds any reality or meaning, except in a historical context, of stepping back and looking at the paradigms I had to pass through to get to this one.

What are you calling transcendent?

Do you imagine that KWs idea of flatland science is what science is really about?

That one notion is to my mind the greatest disservice that KW and many of his followers have done.

Sure there are some people working in the realm of science who are flatlanders - you will find them in all occupational groups.   Such people are not, in my experience, leaders in their fields (they may run institutions, and imagine a certain prestige, and they are not producing breakthroughs and leading people into new paradigms - my definition of a leader).

To me, guys like Rumi and Jesus and Buddha were scientists.  They tried out new ideas, they tested them in their reality, and they were not afraid to challenge the authority of their day.   That - to me - is the true definition of a scientist.  
We can all be scientists - it doesn't mean all working in labcoats in smelly, concrete walled, institutions - it means using our senses and our imagination to test all the assumptions we find within us, about how we know what we know, and how much if it really does work in all situations, for all people.   And using reality as the untimate test of truth (in so far as the term "ultimate" has any real meaning).

To me, true science is the only path to transcendence, and true science must work within as well as without.

If you think Richard Dawkins is not a true scientist, think again.  Actually read his books - cover to cover.  Challenge every idea, critique every experiment - question - look deep, as deep as you can, you may be surprised how deep he has gone.   He has held the most prestigious chair at the most prestigious institution of learning on the planet (at least for many of us who are not American).   The only way to get that chair is by vote of your peers - he has respect, amongst the elite of the elite in intellectual circles.    That does not make him infallible, and it does lend a certain probability that maybe what he has to say is of some interest and value - it certainly has been so to me.   
Having read cover to cover many many books, including the bible, Kant, Aristotle, Plato, Bentham, Hume, Mill, Wittgestein, Darwin, Russell, Einstein, and many more, I can say without a shadow of doubt that reading Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" caused the greatest paradigm shift I have ever experienced.

Possibly it did so only because I had already read and critiqued all of the authors mentioned previously - I don't know.  

I think you dismiss phenomena too lightly.  We are all merely phenomena in a sense.
In a sense there is nothing else.

And we fall into a very select class of phenomena, ones that can contemplate and explore the infinite - infinitely creative, infinitely flexible, infinitely powerful - or at least potentially so.  And we are habit forming machines, most of which habits (at whatever level) do not always serve our best or highest interests.

Distinguishing, and retraining those habits requires discipline, itself not an easy habit to acquire.

In my world, God is an invention of man, that is sustained for many distinct reasons by many different people.  Some people sustain it simply from comfortable habit, some are greedy and sustain it for the power it gives them over others, for some it is the best explanation based on the information they have, and for others it easier that actually thinking and doing the work for themselves.

For me the concept of God does not work.   I acknowledge the possibility of life forms that may fit all the criteria we have for Gods, and they are not necessary to explain either us or themselves.

For me it make no sense to call consciousness primary, it is emergent, clearly so.  All evidence points that way, if one is prepared to do the work to look deeply enough into it.

Love Peace Power Passion and Prosperity
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-11-02 00:48:56

Hi Tom

I have heard of biophotonics, and I have investigate previous incarnations of some of the ideas, and there will be some effects, and it does not seem to me that those effects are required for a primary understanding of what is going on with us and consciousness.

I do find investigation of ancient traditions interesting, and it is interesting from a perspective of the experiences recorded, and the working practices developed, rather than from any explanatory framework developed; which frameworks are interesting, and not really relevant to today's world.

Everything that follows is as I see it, rather than any sort of statement of any sort of absolute.

I acknowledge that there are paradigmatically separate layers to the beingness of this world.   As one example, to the matter we are made of, this earth we live on is very solid, yet to neutrinos streaming from the sun our whole earth is as clear as a 1/2 inch sheet of the clearest glass ever made is to light.

And the sorts of activities that different layers of the stuff of the universe can "get up to" is affected by the level of organisation at which it exists.
As you say, one can do much more with heavier elements than with hydrogen alone.   And it appears that in this universe, the explosion of stars in supernovae are the mechanism by which most of the matter heavier than lithium has come into being.

One can convert uranium back into light, and as light it just does what light does; which is very different from what uranium does.

In order to get the sort of responses in reality that complex self reflective entities like us produce, takes a long time, a lot of evolution, a lot of circumstances.    So far as we have been able to determine, it hasn't happened at any previous level of organisation of the stuff of the universe.

There is a sense in what you say about the "string of continuity" is correct, and that sense does not include consciousness - it is a string of "stuffness" which at some level becomes light, then matter, and eventually stuff like the stuff that is our bodies.   Consciousness emerges from the existence of all these prior levels of organisation of the "stuff" - it isn't itself an aspect of "stuff", any more than skyscrapers are.   Skyscrapers are composed of molecular level arrangements of "stuff", as are our bodies.   It's just that the levels of organisation and interrelationship of organisation within the "stuff" of our bodies exceeds that found in "stuff" of skyscrapers by a factor of something like 10^20 (very very big number), for all that skyscrapers are big and complex - we are that much more complex - due mostly to evolution by natural selection happening at many levels over vast periods of time.

I have no problem with the idea that we are all related at many levels.
I have no problem with the description of the mystic experience (had more than my share of them).

What I have an issue with, is the idea of the primacy of consciousness - it is a logical nonsense.
We have relatedness - certainly - deep and profound.
We have access to infinity - which has to be the strangest idea that any finite mind ever has to try and get some sort of handle on.

Yes - the mystics had real experiences, that affected them deeply and profoundly, often to the great benefit of humanity.

And, we can interpret those experiences within paradigms that do not require the primacy of consciousness - whatever the mystics may have said on that matter.

Stuffness first.
Consciousness later (emergent).

Consciousness requires a complex matrix - stuffness - it just is.

How is stuffness like it is? 
It just seems to follow fairly simple rules.

Why is stuffness like it is?
[System Alert] [Domain misclassification]  [Questions of why assume conscious choice and cannot predate the arrival of consciousness itself.]
That question makes no sense.
What colour is a symphony?
How heavy is a thought?

Our brains are very powerful context machines, and they are not very good at maintaining domain boundaries - concepts from tested domains often slip into domains where they have not been tested, or have tested and failed.   We all do it, all the time - it is part of what makes us so creative, because just occasionally, the ideas do work in the new domain.

Arohanui
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-11-02 06:28:12

Hi Nicole,

The paradigm shift thing is very much as the Zen story describes.

I can explain what is going on, and that does not create the being of it for anyone.

A paradigm shift occurs when our brains reorganise the way we relate things.  This happens when we distinguish a new level of structure and context as a possibility, and start to consciously use it.
Such a reorganisation cannot be taught, it is something that each of our brains must create for us as individuals; and having said that, it is possible to take people into "possibility spaces" with stories, analogies, parables etc, where the likelihood of people making the discovery for themselves is vastly enhanced over "normal" life experiences.

These re-organisations are instantaneous - as the brain is a context machine, and the creation of a new "context" offers and instantaneous change of operating mode.

One example of this is the "Landmark Forum" a 3 day experience that takes people outside of their normal eperience set, and creates an evironment where most people get to experience something that is profound for them.

Various people offer various interpetations of what that is, I have one which is not yet shared by anyone I know within Landmark Education.

When reading the Selfish Gene I had a shift of understanding as to how language and consciousness emerged.   Prior to that I was comfortable about how bodies and species emerged (at the overview level), and I had no real idea about how self awareness might have emerged.   At the same time it altered the relationship of the concepts of cooperation and competition for me, I got to see them as two sides of the same thing.  Reading the Selfish Gene altered forever the way in which I view systems.

From Zaks comments in one response I am not at all sure he has read it, if he has then he certainly has not understood it as I have.
I know that Richard has often stated that he regrets using the title "Selfish Gene" - in the book he goes to some length to explain that it is just s mental shortcut, a way of thinking that leads to the same conclusion as doing the math, and that genes are not at all selfish; but most people never get that far.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-11-02 22:12:49

Hi Tom

I have been gestating on the concept of polarity and distinction.
There are certainly many instances where distinction starts with a very simple case - usually a binary.

Take the distinction "light" and "dark".
Light has a significant amount of light present (at least with respect to the chemistry of our eyes, and what we have adapted to - life on a planet 93 million miles from an orange sun).
Dark is when the amount of light present is below the threshold at which our eyes can detect it.
These are not absolutes.
For us today it is very easy to imaging too much light (like being close to an A bomb, where the light alone is sufficient to vaporise eyeballs.
Continuing the example of light, from a simple distinction of light and dark, we move to shades of gray, then to colours.  Some of us continue the distinction and see that all visible light is but a very small part of a potentially infinite electromagnetic spectrum, stretching from very long "radio" frequency energies to ultra short "X"rays and beyond.

A similar thing happens with notions about how we be.

At a very young age taught concepts like right and wrong.  These form the simplest possible classification of value judgment - a binary - on or off.   Over time some of us broaden this distinction to include an infinite spectrum of possible consequences, possible relationships.   Some of us take that distinction even further, to a space that is not simply infinite, but infinitely dimensional within the original infinite spectrum.

Some people never progress in their value judgment.  For them the world of possibility is always monotone - black and white - not a very large "possibility space".

And at the same time, every person must start with the simplest, and progress from there - if they progress at all - most do, some don't and are restricted by various of what I call "cultural pathologies" (the worst aspect of faith).


Coming back to motion and relativity.

We must all start from simple notions.   As children something is either at rest, or it is moving.   We quickly get to think of the earth, and everything attached to it, as being at rest.   Friction has a lot to do with reinforcing this notion.  If we grew up in vacuum we would have different ideas, and we don't, we grow up on a planet with an atmosphere.

So we start with this idea of absolute motion (just like we start with this idea that there is such a thing as absolute time  - we even think that "time travel" is possible - the literature is full of such speculations - they seem sensible - many of us would love a TARDIS).

And over time, if we do the work of developing tools, and extending the range of our perceptions, with telescopes and microscopes and then all sorts of sensors and satellites - we discover that actually, both ideas, absolute motion and absolute time are false (can be demonstrated by experiment to be false).    We can look back and see how sensible they seemed from our earlier limited knowledge base, and how in the very special reference frame of living on a planet where all the objects move very slowly relative to each other (from light's perspective), and measurement of time is far from accurate, such thoughts worked.

The other aspect of your use of absolute appears to me to be a domain shift, and not related.

In one domain, the domain of reality - Einstein (and all the predictions made and confirmed by observations) says that there does not appear to be any reference frame that can claim to be any more special than any other.   A less well know implication is that there is no such thing as absolute time.  Time too is local to each reference frame.   The idea of simultaneous only has meaning for observers who are stationary with respect to each other and the things being observed.

This appears to be an aspect of reality, like photons or matter, or gravity or a lot of other things.   It is a characteristic from the domain of the real, deduced by a combination of imagination and logic, and tested by experiment.

Saying that, is not in itself an absolute as you seem to imply.  It is a working hypothesis not yet falsified by observation (ie operationally true) - which seems to be the best we can do when dealing with the domain of the "real".

What you don't seem to get, is that in your example of two bodies in motion relative to each other, each one sees the other one's clock going slower.    Throw a third one in and they all seem each others clocks going slower, at different rates.   That is the whole point - there is no "special" frame from which one can be absolute judge, and declare either absolute motion or absolute time.

Once you confirm that for yourself, by doing the work, reading Einstein, studying the equations, going through the experimental methods and observations, of some of the many tests - then you will be ready to take the next step - which is even weirder.  

While you persist in holding on to the notion of absolute, your mind is not capable of considering what either relativity or QM has to offer - of that I promise.

So, yes - I can see the value in having limiting cases, to demonstrate extremes, and I can see the value in distinctions starting simple; and neither of those is actually a justification for holding on to a notion like absolute movement when the evidence is that there is no such thing.  Nor is it a justification for being lazy and not bothering to do the work.
It is a perfectly valid choice not to do the work, and the appropriate response if one makes such a choice is to be in integrity and confess one's ignorance.  It is perfectly valid to say "I have not done the work to either confirm or deny Einsteins claims about relativity, and I therefore have no opinion on the matter".    I say that about lots of things.

Ignorance is not problem, it is only a problem if one does not acknowledge it.
  
Einstein is available from Gutenberg as a free download if you haven't read him, and worked through the examples until you are personally satisfied with them.   No shortage of cosmological tests of the predictions.   All that will like take a few hundred hours of intense mental concentration and discipline (it did for me) and it is worth the effort - or at least I found it so.

As to the power of Genes, have you actually read Dawkins?
The concept of species is only possible after the evolution of sex, prior to that there is no such thing as species, as all lineages are clones, and some clones are imperfect copies.   And prior to the evolution of sex (relatively recent - less than a billion years ago based on genetic evidence) there was no way for characteristics evolved in one lineage to be mixed with characteristics evolved in another lineage - all lineages had to evolve everything for themselves.   A very slow process compare to sex, which allows evolution to work on a population of genes level.

Have you read "The Extended Phenotype?"  it is a book by Dawkins about exactly the thing you accuse him of ignoring.

It is sex, and genes, that determine the thing that you say is beyond genes.

I need to ask if you have read Dawkins, or Einstein, and if so, how much time have you given to critiquing the works, and doing the work to clarify any unclarity you had.   For me - with Dawkins, probably getting close to a thousand hours over the last 30+ years, Einstein, a few hundred.
It seems to me that your understanding of evolution is about on a par with your understanding of Einstein - both would seem to benefit from some disciplined study and critique of specific examples - otherwise know as study or "doing the hard yards".

It does not concern me at all whether you do or do not.
What does concern me is that you speak as if you had authority on the subject, when I appears you do not, and that is likely to cause confusion for others.   Most of us trust other people, and do not like it when that trust is betrayed - at any level.

I freely confess to not being a world authority on Einstein - I am much more interested in evolutionary biology - have spent many thousands of hours reading and writing on that subject - I find it fascinating.  I love walking in forests, and diving in the ocean - observing.

I like sharing with others the joy of understanding how these so incredibly complex ecologies have come to be, from such simple beginnings, and how such as we, capable of understanding ourselves and everything else (at some level) fit in the picture.    Far stranger than the wildest flights of fancy.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-11-03 00:20:50

Hi Jenny

That is very thought provoking piece from Douglas - well up to his usual high standards.

Unfortunately creative humour has never been one of my strong points - certainly not in Douglas's league.

Your comments on possibilities spaces perfectly match my experience.   I did spend a year doing relief teaching over 30 years ago, at a secondary school.   I had the senior school science and Biology classes, and my "penance" class was the 4th form slow stream maths kids.   I ended up finding those kids my most rewarding part of the experience.
I was able, by intense one on one time, get every one of those kids doing algebra by the end of the year.  At the start, most couldn't multiply and some couldn't add.   I had to find examples in their lives that made maths relevant and interesting.   They were mostly farm kids, and being a farm boy myself I could do that with them.   And I would always take ten minutes at the end of a period to stretch their minds, with discussion of things like black hole, and relativity, and quantum mechanics, and evolution, in parable fashion, using examples from their lives.
The senior science kids were a disappointment - they were to a person interested only in passing exams, and not in the subject matter - such a waste!   I just could not reach them, and get through the syllabus.
One full year was all I could stand.
Fishing was much more enjoyable, people like buying and eating my fish, it was always fresh, and well cared for, and therefore tasty and nutritious.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-11-03 03:24:34

Hi Tom

That was a brilliant post - Thank you.

I struggle with almost identical issues.

I think there is a sense in which they are irreconsilable.

I think there is a very real sense in which, if you think that all your actions are determined by causality - then you are right - they are; and if you believe you have choice in the matter, if you stand as a possibility of first cause, from nothing, for no reason; then that is a creative act - causeless, simply in the declaration as such.

I have seen scanning tunnelling electron mircographs of individuals atoms, and some of the same arrangement of atoms stable over several years.  And perhaps the "stuff" of atoms has an analogous relationship to atoms as water has to a fountain - I happily confess my ignorance on such thoughts.  I have spent many hours studying and conjecturing, and I am definitely no sort of authority.

All I can say of QM is that I am certain that all of the major experiments purporting to demonstrate wave nature and action at a distance, up until 11 years ago, can be interpeted in terms of particles alone, without any need of waves, as Einstein demonstrated with his original work on the photo electric effect.   For a partial explanation of that see John Murphy's www.hotquanta.com .    I have spent many hours talking to John at his place and mine, and many other places.   He is way beyond me.  He is a specialist in math/physics and was one of the original designers of graphics workstations - he lived and breathed Fourier transforms for filters.

When it comes to QED or QCD then again I am no expert, and my best friend and ex business partner Caspar is way beyond me in that area.  And again it is his specialist area of interest, and among other things he designed and implemented the phased array radar system that NORAD uses to detect ICBMs, including all the software - which is an amazing stochastic processor.   Caspar is the most elegant programmer I have ever seen.   His code is so small, so simple, and so sublimely elegant, that I feel like a tagger to his Rembrant when working alongside him.
And my cross domain knowledge has its own strengths.

It may be the case that the potential for a Pentium 5 processor lies in grains of sand on the beach, and it isn't obvious, and is highly unlikely to happen by chance.   That level of structure and organisation takes something.  Something that is clearly non-random and emergent.   It is of a different order.   It is an amazing story - from RNA soup to silicon processor, evolution by natural selection over a long time, and across increasing numbers of domains.

I think it is perfectly justifiable to call that emergent.

If there was any sort of design or awareness behind it, why didn't it take any of the billions of possible shorter routes ?

Why this long and tourtuous one?

Doesn't make any sense.   All the probabilities lie with it being an essentially random base, atop which sits the very simple and very elegant process - evolution by natural selection, with layer upon layer of emergent properties - of which we are instances of one set.

That points to QM really being simple probability distributions, saying not much more than that about the structure of the stuff below electrons.  And that works for me.

For now - I am very happy to leave it at that.   If someone does actually make a quantum computer that works, and has no particle based explanation, I'll happily use it and rework my paradigm, until then - I'll stick with it because it is working.

Very best wishes

Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is Consciousness an Emergent?

2009-11-08 08:03:00

Hi Tom,

The question - who will die first, only make sense if you specify a frame.
Each one will see the other as very young as they die.

The way the question is stated implies a universal reference frame supplying some sort of absolute time.
I can understand that it seems like a perfectly reasonable question, and I ask you to believe me that from my understanding the question as stated is meaningless.
It is like asking "Have you stopped torturing your grandmother yet?".   The question implies something that (I am trusting) is not present - yet in all other respects is a perfectly well formed question, in terms of grammar and syntax.


I agree with you about composites, so would Richard, so do most people.
The CPU of the laptop on which I am typing this is a composite of protons and electrons, most of them arranged into silicon molecules, and most of those organised into very specific structures, to deliver very specific outcomes with great reliability.

Richard goes to great lengths to say that thinking of genes as "selfish" is simply a shortcut - a familiar human centered way of thinking that delivers the same sort of outcome as doing the mathematics of the cost benefit analysis of the distributions of interactions experienced by the population of genes.

Yes, certainly, at every level, if stuff is to get together, there must be some mode of interaction between the "stuff" that has so sort of "cooperative" outcome.   That is not a particularly profound notion, in and of itself - it is sort of fundamental to any form of understanding (at least as I see it).

The thing that distinguishes a gene from any other sort of "stuff" is the ability to replicate.  This brings a whole new domain of possible interaction strategies that do not exist in any of the preceding levels of complexity.

I don't get at all what you are trying to say that is different from anything Richard has said.

Am I missing something that you can hint at in some other way?

I just don't see how you are saying anything that Richard hasn't said in many different ways in many different books.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

Post-metaphysical Visions and Visionaries

Re: Brian Swimme (and The New Story)

2009-11-08 07:19:20

Hi Bruce and Team,

I have spent some time looking at Brian's stuff a couple of years ago, through Global Mindshift - I started engaging in conversations on that site in April 2007, and have engaged in quite a few since, with Alan and the Kern.

I like many aspects of Brian's approach, and I am clear that it works for Brian, and I have discussed some aspects with him directly, and I'd say it has about an 80% fit for me.

It seems to work for most folks, and perhaps I'm just a bit too unusual.   80% is far better than most.

If anyone wants to get more specific, I can go back and revisit in detail (I still have the videos stored on my server.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Aaron Beck and the Dalai Lama in Conversation

2009-11-04 02:45:41

Hi Tom

I think we mostly agree on anger, and as usually we are looking from different perspectives.


From one of your recent posts I see you are into Games Theory (does that include TOM ;)? ).
Anger at roots seems to a version of retaliator strategy in action.

What it does, is prepare w body for battle when it detects a major breach of any of the trust contexts.  Exactly how it does this I am not certain.

One of the outcomes, is that higher functions are restricted, as the body is prepared for battle.

The danger to some people, is that this restriction of higher brain function can be so severe, that there is effectively no higher function present to detect or monitor the extent of the retribution being metered out.   In some people, this can lead to serious harm being done to others with no higher awareness of the damage.    One of the guys I used to work with was like that.   When calm, he had the fastest reactions of anyone I have ever met - he managed to out drive Rod Millen in a $2M works Toyota, driving an RX7 we put together by gas-axing two separate crashed ones down the middle and stitching the undamaged halves back together.   But his anger was really dangerous.   He could do near lethal damage before anyone became aware he was even upset.   Not nice to be on the receiving end.  No one ever saw the first punch coming, and it was rare for anyone to mount any sort of defense before the third one landed.


Training one's higher awareness to always be able to maintain a veto on anger is difficult, and few achieve it - thus it is "dangerous", in the extreme edge of situations; and more so for some than others.


I agree with you, that in an evolutionary sense, it is part of a stable grouping of genetics that supports cooperative society by punishing cheats (retaliator strategy).


And to achieve a stable higher level relationship that replaces retaliator strategy with more complex strategies, one must be able to control anger in all situations (without making it wrong - thank you for sharing, and not now).


Cheers

Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Aaron Beck and the Dalai Lama in Conversation

2009-11-04 21:03:57

Hi Tom Bruce Nicole and lurkers,

I see lots of power in what each of you say, and to me there is an explanation underneath that adds power, and is not clearly coming out in the conversation.

I think when Tome talks of "Tit for Tat" strategy, and I talk of "Retaliator" we are talking of the same thing, and others reading this may not have much idea of that which we are speaking.

For me it is one of the fundamental building blocks of the "Matrix" in which we live.

Evolution requires only 3 things to proceed.
Something that can replicate (ie something that can cause copies of itself);
A source of infidelity in the copying process, leading to a population of variants;
Competition for replicating success amongst the variants leading to differential survival of the variants.


That is evolution in a nutshell.
And there is much that is implicit within that, that is useful to make explicit.

Very quickly in evolution, replicator that get together in cooperative fashion do better than those that go it alone, so associations of replicators form.

There are lots of factors that influence the survival of these associations.

In one view, it comes down to cost benefit analysis. 
What are the costs of being in this group, in terms of access to metabolic resources?
What are the benefits in terms of reproductive success?
Ultimately, everything in evolution is measured in reproductive success, whatever intermediate measures may be used to determine that.


When we look at the first replicators, these were most likely a family of molecules called RNAs.   Over time evolution and competition amongst associations of RNAs made conditions suitable for a related family of molecules DNAs to take over the prime role of replicator, with RNAs being reduced to a variety of secondary roles within structures called cells.

Over more time, some lineages of cells developed complex communities within cells, working with different lineages of cell within one bigger cell.   This gave rise to Eucaryotic cells, with nuclear membranes, mitochondria and chloroplasts.

Probably at this same stage, replicators developed sex.

In most situations sex is an unstable strategy.   It is almost always more costly and therefore less successful to go to the effort of sharing genetic material, than it is to simply duplicate you material into a copy of yourself.

The exception to this is if there is some source of damage to the replicator, which is what mitochondria bring to the party.   These cells within cells bring two sources of damage, as well a great source of energy (they are about 30 times more efficient than the alternative).    The problem is that they introduce oxygen free radicals, which damage the DNA, and they also introduce DNA fragments called introns, which have the characteristic of inserting themselves into other DNA in random fashion.

In such a dangerous (from the DNA replicators perspective) environment, sex has a benefit, because it in very few generations it has a significant advantage in maintaining the integrity of associations over cloning, even though it also introduces much more variability into the populations.


So in sex we see a "strategy" that works in an environment that is dangerous to individual associations that works by mixing things up, to ensure that even if the rate of damage is very high, many associations will survive.


The next major advance of the complex atomic replicators was to group cells together, to form much nigger entities.

Then cam genes (HOX) that allowed differentiation during development.   Initially inside and outside, then front and back, the above and below, then left and right (as the gene kept getting duplicated and adapted to new uses).

Then came the gene for segmentation.

When you combine segmentation, with differentiation over multiple axes, we have a recipe for the complexity of the animal world that we see.

One branch of apes (us) have taken that specialisation to an exceptional degree.  We have developed brains that allow us to learn behaviours.

We come with a set of basic behaviours, and we are able to replace all of these with new learned ones.

This ability provides an environment in which a new form of replicator can exist - a meme - a unit of transmissible behaviour (in the very broadest sense of behaviour, which includes language and thought).


So, just as we have seen the evolution of some very complex life forms in the biological world of genes, while at the same time we see that some patterns of genes making a living a very stable in particular environments; so it is with memes.

In some minds, very complex associations form and evolve, and across all minds, "culture" is continually evolving, and we see in some people the equivalence of "bacterial" complexity, while in others we observe the equivalence of hominid complexity.

There is a sense is which "culture" in the widest sense of language and all patterns of behaviour, is the ecosystem of being for memes.


So we, as self aware entities, give birth to ourselves through a declaration in language.
That language has evolved by mimetic evolution mostly over the last 100,000 years, and in another sense it would have had slow beginnings going back 10s of millions of years.

That mimetic evolution had its beginnings in an environment created by the evolution of RNAs and DNAs going back some 4 billion years.

The RNAs and DNAs got their atoms from a process that started with stuff that was mind bogglingly hot and dense and was more light like than matter like, expanding cooling, condensing through different forms, and eventually cooling down enough to give us atoms of mostly hydrogen with traces of helium and lithium.     And over millions of years some of those atoms got together in bigger clumps which became the first stars, and when they exploded, the violence of the energies at their core created all the heavier atoms that are so critical to us.

So here we are - self aware in language, which language evolved by apes imitating stuff, which apes evolved because some types of groups of atoms could leave copies, which atoms came from exploding stars, which stars were composed of condensed light.


When we first become aware, we are aware of non of this.

All we know is that we are.  We have thoughts, and experiences.
Over time we figure out we have bodies that we can do stuff with, and those bodies have habits and ways of doing stuff that seem to have been around long before we showed up, yet people expect us to be in control of it all.


How is that all relevant to this discussion?

It gives a context.

It gives a context in which the context machine that is the human brain can see that anger is a complex mimetic response, that in the first instance we have no control over.   We may certainly learn such control, and in extreme examples, some of us may even be able to create contexts in which the anger context never triggers, and the anger context will always be a part of the machine, because it is mathematically stable for it to be so.


For me, this is the context in which there is some truth to the stories of "integral" and not nearly s much"truth" as most "integral wonks" would like.

This is the context in which consciousness is clearly emergent, and we are all related, in so many complex and deep ways.


These "realities" given by scientific study of external "reality" give us powerful understanding and powerful analogies to work with in the internal reality of being a self aware consciousness in such a complex environment.


So yes, anger exists.
In part it has a physiological basis in the structure of our evolved brains, and in part it has a basis in the evolution of the complex culture that our bodies are born into, and which gives birth to our reflective self awareness, and in part it can have active components of our "will".

And each of those parts is deserving of substantial tomes to detail some of their major mechanisms.

That is what appears to be so to me (in the sense of being the most probable interpretation of the information available to me at this time).

Love Peace Power Passion and Prosperity

Ted 

And if it speaks to you - how about donating some money to www.solnx.org as an active mechanism for increasing the probability that all human beings get to experience the reality and the freedom that such an understanding brings.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-05 03:56:40

I disagree with both Ruse and Wilber - for the most part, on this particular issue - and we agree about many other issues.

There seems to be a misunderstanding by most who do not have a thorough grounding in both science and philosophy, about the distinction between belief and knowing, and what is possible.

Science and logic tend to indicate that it seems probable that is not even theoretically possible to know anything with absolute certainty.

That seems to leave us in the position where most of what is commonly called knowledge is more correctly labelled a "useful operational hypothesis that is yet to fail a test in reality".

The problem for most people is that all of us start small, essentially from nothing.   
As we develop, we make distinctions.
The easiest and simplest distinctions to make are simple binaries - true/false, hot/cold, light/dark.  

In a simple world these simple distinctions serve us well, and using them, applied to our observations, we build ever more complex models of "reality" (whatever reality is).

We must all start from such simple beginning, but those who are honest in their explorations will soon find that such simple models start to fail on a regular basis as we approach the boundaries of "everyday experience".

Exploring such boundaries leads inevitably to the conclusion that such simple notions as true/false have an operational usefulness within certain well defined conditions, yet fail if scaled up to the expanding limits of knowledge and awareness.


Certainly there is a sense in which absolute knowledge is denied to the seeker who is honest with himself - and the most accurate representation of what is real seems to be available to someone who can at once hold all the information they have gathered through experience, and at the same time hold open the question, what is so?

From standing in such a question, we build probability functions about the likelihood of any particular hypothesis being so in any particular situation.   Sometimes the probabilities are very close to unity.

So, in that sense, KW is correct, science cannot say, with absolute precision of unity, that God does or does not exist, and having studied a great deal of evidence in half a century of reading and inquiry, I hold the operational hypothesis that all evidence indicates that if there are God like entities operating in our area of space, they have had little or no influence on the evolution of any aspect of our species.    I go further and state that it seems most probable (very close to unity) that if some God like entity had something to do with the beginning of this universe (which seems highly unlikely, but we have no evidence one way or the other), then at some stage in it's history, it will have evolved from simpler material by a process of evolution by natural selection of some sort of replicator in some sort of matrix.

So - operationally, and in the sense of there being some ultimate purpose for humanity other than the purpose we each choose for ourselves, I say no - that is a highly improbable hypothesis - and I have a great deal of evidence to support that statement.

Can I understand why concepts like God are common to human cultures - certainly - in the absence of good scientific information it is a very sensible sort of hypothesis.    It takes a great deal of information and a great deal of disciplined inquiry for it to seem otherwise to a context machine such as the human mind.

I was exceedingly fortunate to have several centuries of courageous individuals willing to stand up to the dogmatic truth of their time, and risk death for heresy, and to challenge the accepted truths of their day with evidence that suggested alternative explanations gave a better fit.   Being born into such a culture, my context machine of a brain has been able to see such a probability since it was about 8 years old.   Had I not been so fortunate in having so many scientists preceding me I would probably have believed in God like most others.
I dislike false modesty, the evidence is there, and it does not serve anyone's best interests to ignore it.    And there is also a trap of hubris, in anyone stating that they have the true and final answer - because they probably haven't.

Operationally I am an atheist, and if a God showed up and said gidday - I'm the bloke that started all this and a few trillion other universes, and here are a few miracles to demonstrate - then I might review that position - and I think I might always retain a nagging doubt that such one claiming to be God was simply a very highly evolved entity with a very warped sense of humour (some sort of Douglas Adams on steroids).   I would still hold the question - what is the matrix of God? 


Science explains why religions exist, and supports many of their operational paradigms for social harmony. 
Science can falsify the claims that God must exist, without necessarily being able to make the claim that God does exist.
Science does provide a solid understanding of how theological arguments arise, while the inverse is not true - except in a tautological sense of God having a very weird sense of humour.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-05 18:31:20

Hi Gaddy

The meme theory has been found to be a powerful explanatory framework in thousands of tests.    I have performed many myself, directly.

Understanding what the meme theory is, requires quite a bit of work.

To call it superstitious nonsense, without offering any sort of reference to any experimental evidence falsifying it, is not powerful argument - it does you no good service.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-06 10:00:19

Hi Star

I don't dismiss any effort to offer evidence - I think you misunderstand me.

I shall try to explain thus:
In various fora and many posts I have been attempting to communicate ideas which require several levels of abstraction, which abstraction cannot be taught in the fashion of most nouns, or simple practical techniques - as by simply imitating.

There are several forms of learning that humans can do.

At the simplest of levels, we just mimic.

At the next level, we mimic behavioural patterns, like actions or languages, and at the same time we learn a "context" for those actions.  We learn not only what to do, but also when to do them, which contexts are appropriate.

At the next level of learning, we form abstractions.   We look at a set of whatever, and find the pattern that connects that set, and distinguishes them from other sets.


Once we get used to abstracting, there appears to be no theoretical limit to the levels of abstraction of which we are capable, though there is some evidence that few people are comfortable with more than 7 levels of abstraction.


I read the posts today, and had a sinking feeling in my gut, that there was no communication happening, I felt the old habit of, "you are wasting your time Ted - no one will thank you, you wont achieve anything, leave them to their illusions".

And I choose the alternative - to give it my best shot to actually communicate at least some significant fraction of what is in my head that is so obvious to me, but seems very difficult to communicate.


I find the criticisms of Richard hard to interpret as anything other than a mechanism in the mind of the one giving the criticism that prevents that mind from understanding what Richard is trying to communicate.

Rather than speak for Richard, I will speak for me.


For me, I find it easy to understand why people think there is a God.   The world about us is amazingly complex.   It really does look like a very complex design, it all works so well together.

I can understand that most people do not have a passionate interest in looking at the detail of how things work.
Most people do not love the inquiry so much that they are willing to spend thousands of hours doing experiments, looking down microscopes, looking up telescopes, examining things in ways that produce results that are at first glance counter intuitive.
I do have such an interest, and have done for over 50 years.

For me, I have done so much reading, and confirmed so many observations with observations of my own, that ideas like evolution are now the foundation of my thinking.   These ideas have completely replaced the ideas that all cultures give us originally in our childhood - ideas that are based on external authority - dogma.


I understand how the two fundamentally different mechanisms of mind work together to make us the sorts of things we are, and create the environments we find ourselves in.

We have two very different mechanisms at work in our brains.
We have neural networks, which are very good at forming habits, and recognising contexts.   Then we have long term memory, which seems to operate in a fashion that has its closest physical analog in how hologram works.

The combination of these two things working together makes us potentially very powerful (infinitely so, in terms of our ability to explore possibility space).


For me, I can understand the experience of the mystics, and perhaps understand why they said what they said, and I cannot agree with the interpretive schema they use when reporting their experiences.   I understand that we are very complex entities, connected to everything around us in some very deep and profound ways, and probably in ways that we are yet to even guess at (and what I understand already is already mind bogglingly amazing).

It seems obvious to me, that many here read very different meaning into what Richard Dawkins writes to what I do.

I have a somewhat more humanist approach than Richard, and there is very little in what he has to say about evolution that I disagree with.

Similarly with Ayn Rand.   Her epistemology is sound.   I found two logic errors in her ethics, which invalidate many of her conclusions, and considering the state of biological knowledge in her day, she did amazingly well.  (I have made similar comments about people doing amazingly well with huge holes in their information base regarding many other great thinkers, like Kant, Tielard de Charin, Wittgenstein, Russell and many others.)


So for me, I do not live in the sort of "Flatland science" world that some seem to think, nor in my opinion and experience does Richard Dawkins.


A very common human response to something we do not like at some level is to use ridicule to dismiss something we perceive as threatening.

Another very common human response is that when under stress, we accuse others of our own worst failings (and we all have a lot of those).


Zak calls Richard a dogmatic atheist, and Gaddy labels him a religion hater.
In my experience and understanding Zak couldn't be more wrong.   Richard has said many times, that all it would take to disprove evolution is one fossil out of sequence - such a fossil has never been found.

I don't think Richard hates anyone, and he has no time for organised religion.  And based on the history of religions in persecuting anyone who holds an opinion that is not "authorised" or that challenges "authority", I don't blame him.

I oppose any system of thought that tells anyone either how they must think, or how they must act, other than in relation to ensuring the life and liberty of themselves and everyone else.


And, when I attended Auckland university, I restarted the university branch of the humanist society, but it soon became obvious that all the other so called humanists were there to "bash" Christians, rather than to help people - a sort of intellectual one upmanship, rather than any sort of genuine inquiry into what best develops the infinite capacity of every human being.
In many cases, I felt much closer in humanity to the Christians than to the humanists, particularly some of the Jesuits.

No church has a great record in allowing intellectual freedom.   In that I stand shoulder to shoulder with Dawkins and Dennett, in wishing to see the day when religions are eliminated from the planet, and exist only as records for historians to study.

I don't hate religion, any more than I hate bacteria.   And I would not be upset to see all living humans evolve past the point where religious thought had any impact on them.

There is a massive amount of evidence that no intelligent entity has had any active role in the evolution of life on this planet.   And by implication, the idea that there is any sort of God becomes a very improbable hypothesis.

What I mean Star, by doing the work, is spending the time to become familiar with the evidence, most of which is molecular, in the DNA of the thousands of species currently alive, and to develop the understanding of probability, to allow an individual to interpret that information; and then put it in the context of cosmology.


I can certainly understand many of the contexts in which religion flourishes.  
There are several of them.
One is where people are taught from a very early age to obey, to accept external authority.
Another is where people are taught to accept the idea of the primacy of consciousness.
Another is where people are too busy with other aspects of life to put the time in to explore these fundamental questions for themselves, and need some ready and workable answers - shortcuts that work.
Another is where individuals feel threatened and want to belong to a group for security.
And we are conscious entities, that design things, so it isn't initially obviously silly to think that something must have designed the complexity we see about us.


And actually, all of those things at another level serve to restrict the development of individual awareness and creativity.


It is not my intention to impose any dogma on anyone.

It is my intention to encourage every individual to use their amazing brains to explore their own infinite powers of creativity and understanding in ways that work for them and everyone else.

It seems to me that a strong foundation of scientific understanding of reality is required.   There is a very old saying - nature to be commanded must first be obeyed.  Science has a great set of tools for learning the rules that must be obeyed, and where and when they can be bent or broken.


I am not asking anyone here to take my word for anything.

I am asking all who read to trust me enough to check it out for yourself.

I strongly recommend reading Richard Dawkins, without giving any thought to any of his critics.   After you have read him, and done your own critique, then is the appropriate time to look at the critiques of others, and make your own judgments of them - not before.

I also strongly commend Ayn Rand - particularly her work on epistemology.

Most thinkers who have committed thoughts to paper are worth reading, even if only for seeing how one or two false assumption can take one down wild dead ends.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-07 22:42:58

Hi Jenny

I certainly agree with you in the sense that we all stand on the shoulders of giants.   We are all the beneficiaries of the work done, and the insights made, by many, many people who have gone before us.

No single individual is ever likely to have the number of intuitions required to come up with all the abstract understandings available to us today, much less design the experiments to test amongst the available hypotheses to see which ones work, and which are falsified, keeping in mind the error limits of measurement in every step of every experiment.

So in that sense, yes, I agree with you, no one can do all the work, there is too much to do.


However, there is another sense of "doing the work" that is critical that we all do.
It is vital that we each keep an open mind to the ideas of others.
If we learn something that accords in many respects with our experience, and solves problems that we had open, then it is sensible for us to accept and use it, because it accords with observations we have already made ourselves, and solves problems we had open.

Sometimes (often) we come across ideas for which we have no direct observations or experience in our lives with which we can confirm or deny.   In such a case, if we are to maintain integrity in our "chain of evidence", then it is required of us to do some testing ourselves.
This testing does not require that we do every experiment ourselves, and it does require us to familiarise ourselves with the experimental methods used, and to satisfy ourselves that there are no major logical errors in the methodology or the explanation.   One cannot simply rely on peer review, unless one has already established good confidence in at least one of the peers reviewing.

Thus, for me, to maintain the integrity of my models, I  am required to test things myself, or review the tests myself, before assigning a significant probability to any datapoint (including any abstraction).

That is what I mean, when I say - "to do the work".
Every one of Richard Dawkins books is packed with information, most pages pointing to powerful abstractions.
I am not going to attempt to rewrite any of them for a post here, so just as I took the time, to read completely through one of KWs books, then go back and do a critique; for me, the same sort of "work" is required in any discipline.


Unless we do each do the work, we can have no confidence within ourselves of the boundaries of our confidence in our models.  We need to "do the work" to know where we have good information, and where we need to direct or attention to filling in the most relevant gaps.


As I see it, possibility space is infinite.  This means that what we can create in reality is infinite.
What actually gets created in reality is finite, as there are limits on space and time, but what options are available to fill that space and time are not limited.

Thus, to me, it seems clear that even if I live for 100 Billion years, acquiring new information, and making new abstractions, at the rate I have over the last 50 years, I will still have infinite domains about which I remain essentially ignorant - over which I am clear that I have no reliable data, no sound probability assessments.


As I see it - the advice - "go do it for yourself", is really all any of us have.   If we do not do it for ourselves, we can have no confidence in ourselves, and we need that confidence.
It is not saying go and do everything that has been done, that is not possible.
It is saying, before you build any abstractions, check the foundations for those abstractions yourself.

If you were a pilot the instruction would be, learn what all the parts of your aircraft can do, and learn how to distinguish the common faults that can occur with all the parts, and do your preflight checks every time, before you take to the air.   Doing that will give you confidence in your flight, and increase the probability of you having a landing that you can walk away from (the commonly held definition of a good landing).

We are all pilots of our own bodies, our own minds.   Both are potentially infinitely capable vehicles, and both are subject to certain types of failures in certain situations.  Know you machines, know their limits, and work with them.   Knowing the real limits lets us create paths that work in situations where most people fail, because they are not aware of the real limits, and they therefore attempt an impossible path.

Any destination can be reached, and sometimes the path is dictated by the capabilities of the machine.  Sometimes we need to take the log way around, and sometimes the wings on our aircraft let us fly.   If we try to fly across a deep wide chasm with our wings on, the result is not likely to be pretty.   It just works if we have some reasonably accurate idea of what works and what doesn't in particular circumstances.


The real problem is that there is no "code" in a sense.   Yes we have language for referring to certain abstract concepts.  And there is no way for someone to get the concept from the "code" alone - at some level every individual must "do the work" to create those concepts for themselves.

Sometimes that work can be the greatest fun in life.  Sometimes it can appear like hard graft.  Sometimes the experience of looking from hindsight is not at all like that of doing it.   Only once that work has been done does the "code" make any sense.


For me reading Richard Dawkins takes a lot of concentration.  It is a very active process.   Sometimes I reread paragraphs many times and sometimes I back up pages, because I get to a place where I know from the structure of what I have read that I should have a new concept, and I don't, so I go back and try looking from a different context, and see if I can see it from there.



I hope this makes sense.   I hope it provides a context for an alternative interpretation of some of my earlier writing.


Love Peace Power Passion & Prosperity
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

IPS Inquiry

Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-07 23:00:56

Hi Jenny & Star

I certainly agree with you in the sense that we all stand on the shoulders of giants.   We are all the beneficiaries of the work done, and the insights made, by many, many people who have gone before us.

No single individual is ever likely to have the number of intuitions required to come up with all the abstract understandings available to us today, much less design the experiments to test amongst the available hypotheses to see which ones work, and which are falsified, keeping in mind the error limits of measurement in every step of every experiment.

So in that sense, yes, I agree with you, no one can do all the work, there is too much to do.


However, there is another sense of "doing the work" that is critical that we all do.

It is vital that we each keep an open mind to the ideas of others.

If we learn something that accords in many respects with our experience, and solves problems that we had open, then it is sensible for us to accept and use it, because it accords with observations we have already made ourselves, and solves problems we had open.


Sometimes (often) we come across ideas for which we have no direct observations or experience in our lives with which we can confirm or deny.   In such a case, if we are to maintain integrity in our "chain of evidence", then it is required of us to do some testing ourselves.
This testing does not require that we do every experiment ourselves, and it does require us to familiarise ourselves with the experimental methods used, and to satisfy ourselves that there are no major logical errors in the methodology or the explanation.   One cannot simply rely on peer review, unless one has already established good confidence in at least one of the peers reviewing.

Thus, for me, to maintain the integrity of my models, I  am required to test things myself, or review the tests myself, before assigning a significant probability to any datapoint (including any abstraction).


That is what I mean, when I say - "to do the work".
Every one of Richard Dawkins books is packed with information, most pages pointing to powerful abstractions.
I am not going to attempt to rewrite any of them for a post here, so just as I took the time, to read completely through one of KWs books, then go back and do a critique; for me, the same sort of "work" is required in any discipline.


Unless we do each do the work, we can have no confidence within ourselves of the boundaries of our confidence in our models.  We need to "do the work" to know where we have good information, and where we need to direct or attention to filling in the most relevant gaps.


As I see it, possibility space is infinite.  This means that what we can create in reality is infinite.
What actually gets created in reality is finite, as there are limits on space and time, but what options are available to fill that space and time are not limited.

Thus, to me, it seems clear that even if I live for 100 Billion years, acquiring new information, and making new abstractions, at the rate I have over the last 50 years, I will still have infinite domains about which I remain essentially ignorant - over which I am clear that I have no reliable data, no sound probability assessments.


As I see it - the advice - "go do it for yourself", is really all any of us have.   If we do not do it for ourselves, we can have no confidence in ourselves, and we need that confidence.
It is not saying go and do everything that has been done, that is not possible.
It is saying, before you build any abstractions, check the foundations for those abstractions yourself.

If you were a pilot the instruction would be, learn what all the parts of your aircraft can do, and learn how to distinguish the common faults that can occur with all the parts, and do your preflight checks every time, before you take to the air.   Doing that will give you confidence in your flight, and increase the probability of you having a landing that you can walk away from (the commonly held definition of a good landing).

We are all pilots of our own bodies, our own minds.   Both are potentially infinitely capable vehicles, and both are subject to certain types of failures in certain situations.  Know you machines, know their limits, and work with them.   Knowing the real limits lets us create paths that work in situations where most people fail, because they are not aware of the real limits, and they therefore attempt an impossible path.

Any destination can be reached, and sometimes the path is dictated by the capabilities of the machine.  Sometimes we need to take the long way around, and sometimes the wings on our aircraft let us fly.   If we try to fly across a deep wide chasm without our wings on, the result is not likely to be pretty.   It just works if we have some reasonably accurate idea of what works and what doesn't in particular circumstances.


The real problem is that there is no "code" in a sense.   Yes we have language for referring to certain abstract concepts.  And there is no way for someone to get the concept from the "code" alone - at some level every individual must "do the work" to create those concepts for themselves.

Sometimes that work can be the greatest fun in life.  Sometimes it can appear like hard graft.  Sometimes the experience of looking from hindsight is not at all like that of doing it.   Only once that work has been done does the "code" make any sense.


For me reading Richard Dawkins takes a lot of concentration.  It is a very active process.   Sometimes I reread paragraphs many times and sometimes I back up pages, because I get to a place where I know from the structure of what I have read that I should have a new concept, and I don't, so I go back and try looking from a different context, and see if I can see it from there.



I hope this makes sense.   I hope it provides a context for an alternative interpretation of some of my earlier writing.

As I was discussion with a friend (the President of the NZ Recreational Fishing Council) just a few minutes ago, one of the major problems we face is that communication is becoming more difficult not less.   It is becoming more difficult because most people have fewer and fewer experiences in common, and it is too easy to misunderstand each other, for concepts from one domain to simply fail to translate to another.
It is becoming a major threat to humanity - complete failure of communication, in situations where communication is critical.

Love Peace Power Passion & Prosperity
Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-08 01:40:05

Hi Zak

Absolutely

Everyone makes mistakes.   Many of them.

There are only two circumstances where mistakes are a problem:
1/  We don't survive them;
2/  We don't recognise them.

As Einstein said "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new" - another of those lovely self referential things.

I make no claims to infallibility - quite the contrary.

Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-08 01:44:45

Hi Star

Can you be any more specific about what you mean.

I can think of a lot of ways of answering that, and I don't want to waste time on straw men.


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-08 04:48:56

Hi Star

I Love reading Rumi.

I love much of what Jesus said.

I love dancing in the rain, without music.

I love watching the wind on the water.

I am open to the power and experience powered by "holographic" association.    Having knowledge of how it works does nothing to distract or detract from the experience of having it work for me.


The experience does not seem to require the explanation of the universe experiencing itself through humanity, and there is certainly an experience of relatedness that is not present in our ordinary model of experiencing ourselves as "wrong" in some fundamental (based on the context normally supplied by our neural networks).

Yes it certainly is energy, in many interrelated forms.

To me, the "spiritual" side is software - about as "etheric" and "non-material" as you can get.

To me science supports the magic, it just alters the context - that is all.

I love the majesty of sunrise over the ocean, or staring at the stars, or gazing at a rainbow, or sitting on a mountain top and gazing for a hundred miles in all directions.   To me this is an aspect of the experiential - the being of life, as distinct from the understanding the being, (which is a subset of being, the model is not the thing itself).

There is so much I do not know, so much of interest, and the idea that there is intention behind it all just doesn't make any sense to me - there is far too much that can simply be explained by the random.
Syncronicity and connectedness certainly seem to exist, in many ways we understand, and probably in many that are yet to be understood.

It is certainly possible to experience being in a way that is not primarily concerned with how we appear to others, to experience feeling connected in ways that our ordinary experience does not readily allow.   All I dispute is the meaning we ascribe to such experience.

In my experience, every person capable of reading this is potentially infinitely creative.   There is so much power in using both intuition and reason, together, in combination with all that reality makes available to us.  In exploring what is there.   Every person is capable of creating their own "Meaning and significance".

As I have said many times, I accept the mystic experience.  What I am attempting to make available is a framework that allows easy transition between the experiences of the mystic and those of the scientist, free of contradiction.   It works for me.  Creating it for others is something I have failed at to date.   I seem to fail a lot in life.

I read recently a definition of a expert, as someone who has made all the failures possible in a narrowly defined domain.   That definitely is not me.   I continue to fail in all domains, and every now and then I succeed.   In many areas success has yet to happen.

Love
Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-08 11:36:22

Hi Tom

As to law beneath random - that may or may not be so, and it is irrelevant to the issue.

What is the issue, to my mind, is - Is there any evidence of intentionality in evolution prior to the emergence of human self awareness?

For me, the answer is a resounding - No.
The evidence is that all lower level processes are adequately explained by random distributions.   To state that another way - there are an infinite number of possible shorter paths to the delivery of an outcome, that any sort of intentional awareness would logically have used.  As the observed path through possibility space is a random walk, we are left with the probability (not certainty) of no intentionality present.

There is a lot of really weird stuff when one goes sub atomic.

QM seems to deal in probability distributions.
The system seems to have the characteristics of a Markov Chain (ie the probabilities for the next actual state relate only to current conditions, and have no memory of prior states).

In large scale, over human times, this gives very predictable behaviour, the smaller the scale of our investigates (in time and or space) the less predictable the outcome.

It is not entirely counter intuitive, and it does take a bit of getting used to.


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-08 18:38:49

Hi Tom,

In a sense, my answer is "And your point is what?"

I do not have absolutes in my model.

They are things that must be conceived of to allow one to go past them.

Like relativity or time.   One must start with the notion of an absolute reference frame, and universal time, and from that deduce that there cannot actually be either thing - neither is in accord with observed reality.


It is a bit like fund managers in the stock market.   Each of them is making decisions based on lots of data - for the most part their decisions are lawful in a sense, and if one analyses the activity, they do (on average) no better than random coin tosses at growing the value of a portfolio.

Another interesting and related idea from leading edge computer science - there are all sorts of possible algorithms one can use to power a search.  The one that uses the least number of machine cycles, on average - is a random search.

There is a great deal that we do not yet understand, and I suspect that will always be so.    In a sense, the amount that we know we don't know must always increase.   If you imagine an awareness as something that starts as a small bubble in an infinitely dimensional space (the bubble being what we know in an operational sense).   As we explore reality around us, and try out possibility space, the bubble expands.  The interesting thing about such an expanding bubble, is that the boundary gets larger (on average over time).   
 If the bubble is what we know, outside the boundary edge is, along all the distinguished dimensions, what we know that we don't know, and beyond that are the dimensions of what we don't know, and don't know that we don't know.
It doesn't matter how many dimensions we distinguish, there are still and infinite number beyond - infinity is like that, it really screws with common sense.

And none of that makes any difference to how we plant rice, or catch a fish, and it can make a difference to how we watch the sunlight sparkle off the ocean waves.

Lotsa love
Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-08 19:00:08

Hi Gaddy,

I think I see where you might be coming from.

Have you considered that perhaps questions of "why" only make sense after the emergence of consciousness, and that prior to that "how" is as far as one can go?    From that perspective, using "why" prior to the emergence of consciousness is a "category error".

From a certain perspective the "when" is a matter of choice.   Where, on the infinite gradient of replication complexity does one draw the line?    Nothing is truly ever self sustaining, all life relies ultimately on some sort of external energy gradient to power it, some sort of matrix within which to exist.  Some life forms have internalised some aspects of it, have some sort of "internal reserve battery", and ultimately the battery must be recharged.   Once again, there seems to be no limit to levels of recursion or the complexity that can arise.

Love Peace Power Passion & Prosperity
Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-08 20:38:54

Hi Tom

My point was a practical one, rather than a theoretical one.

At some level, we run out of information and ability to determine what is going on, and what is underlying law.  I suspect, that such may always be the case - I suspect that "ultimate Answers" may always elude us (however technologically proficient we become in the next few trillion years).

When we approach such a barrier, we can take a practical approach, and simply measure what is so - statistical analysis.    From that analysis we will be able to find practical outcomes that work.   Such has been the case in every domain studied thus far.   As we push the domain boundaries the rules break down, and that is to be expected, and so long as we stay at the higher level, things work with remarkable precision (in our case 12 decimal place precision).


As to the present state containing structure and memory, there is a sense where, yes, in some domains there are clues, and in others there are not. 

An example: if you just showed up on the scene, and saw me sitting in my seat, it would not be immediately apparent how I got there.  Did I come straight from the bedroom, or via the bathroom, or kitchen, etc.   In reality, I passed through all of those, and also most recently delivered my daughter to school then took the dog for a walk.    If one applied extreme forensic detection to the lingering traces of molecules in the carpet, there is a faint chance that you might be able to figure out the exact order of what I did today, and almost no chance of figuring out what order it did things in on the 8th of August.   Insufficient clues left to be able to distinguish between the many possible paths.

To drop back to a subject from some weeks back, that is about where we are with an exact trail of the evolution of cellular life.   It happened so far back, and there are so few traces left, that we cannot tell exactly where, when or how, and we can have a rough idea of the general sort of things that must have happened, just as you can have a rough idea that on the 8th of August at some stage of the morning I probably did get out of bed, and make my way to the chair, probably using various other utility rooms in the house, and probably walking the dogs.
And even at this short time, just two months away, there will be no detectable evidence that would enable anyone to unambiguously say exactly when and in what order, I made my way through the house from bed to chair (and laptop).  No evidence at all.

And some people expect evidence at that level of events that occurred 4 billion years ago, in environments much less stable that now.

Is expecting such evidence even a little bit sensible?

NO!!!   (He said standing on his chair and shouting at the rain outside!)


We human beings are so attached to ultimates, to being right, that we find it extremely difficult to live with uncertainties - we desperately want to throw in an ultimate - to have a final answer.

I suspect (and cannot prove, except via mathematical induction from Kurt Goedel's incompleteness theorem) that no such answer will ever be forthcoming.    I personally am quite relaxed about that.   Other things to do.


Right now - the most important thing to do, is to get on and make www.solnx.org a reality, before so very smart idiot goes and invents AI.

Given that conclusion, I might be an infrequent visitor from now on.

Cheers

Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-08 20:42:47

Hi Tom,

I accept that you see them, I am reasonably confident they are not there.

I cannot control your perception, just give you hints that maybe there is a different way of viewing things, and you need to do the viewing, or not.  Your call, not mine.

Cheers

Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-08 20:46:10

Hi Christophe,

Agreed, amazing complexity can arise from following very simple rules.
And just because there are rules, does not mean the outcome is predictable, in any sense other than actually following the rules and observing what shows up.

"What a strange strange world we live in Master Jack!"


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-09 03:12:38

Sorry Tom,

I don't understand your question.

"First" from which reference frame?

The notion of "first" only makes sense when attached to a reference frame (as time is local to each frame).  To detach it is to commit a category error.

Can you at least accept that that is so for me, even if you have not yet got the idea for yourself?

Cheers

Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-09 09:28:58

Hi Tom,

I like a lot of what you write.  Some areas you have thought about deeply, I can tell that from reading between your words.

If you believe I have any integrity, then believe that at this point, you have no idea what relativity is, what it says, what the consequences of it are.

You keep holding onto the idea of universal time.

It is not a matter of being subjective.

It is not a matter of the observer determining anything.

What it is, is a matter of time being local to every particle, and the transmission of information being done by photons, which are themselves timeless, and therefore impart time to that which they touch.

There is no universal "time field".  Every particle has its own time.
Particles that have the same velocity are able to experience time in synchrony.

Tom - please - do the work.
Read Einstein.
You can get a free copy here - http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/5001
Work through it, question it, challenge it, do not let any paragraph pass until you are complete with it.  It may take you a week, it may take a month, it may take 6 months.

If you are interested in the subject, and wish to have a discussion about it, then take the time to do the basic work.

If not, that is OK, but please don't waste your time or mine writing about it from your current state of knowledge - do the bare minimum, at least - if you want a real discussion.

If you have any questions about any part of the book, I'm happy to help, and I did it by myself, and I suspect all those who have understood it did it for themselves.  I suspect they are a very small number.  Very few who teach it seem to understand it (same goes for QM).

You can contact me directly at ted@fishnet.co.nz or tedhow@gmail.com

Cheers
Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-09 09:56:43

Hi Vali

Trying to get complete before parking discussion, and it isn't working.

It seems very clear to me that abstraction and creativity have the same root, which resides in the holographic nature of our storage and retrieval system.

I suspect, that while the last eight words of the last sentence can be read by anyone, perhaps less than a thousand on this planet, at this time, would have anywhere near a match for the levels of abstraction that I have attached to those words.

I suspect that while what I have written is about as clear, concise and truthful as I can be, it is devoid of meaning for most people, as for most people the levels of abstraction and meaning required are not present.

Have you read Phillip Pullman's story - Northern Lights - Lyra has a truth teller, a symbol machine, where each symbol has an infinite depth of meaning.   I suspect all language is like that.

It is not sufficient merely for me to speak truth, I need also be responsible for how that truth is heard.


It is too big a problem for a post like this - perhaps it is the one I must solve first.


As to the universe, I agree what is material is finite, yet what we can do with it has infinite potential.   Only a finite number of things can be bought into reality, and the possibility space from which they may be generated is itself infinite.   It is an odd juxtiposition of the finite and the infinite.

It seems to me that the universe has experienced about 10^220 quantum states thus far in its existence - a fairly large number.


Do you think any computer program is running when the computer is switched off?

With the computer off, there exists the potential of a computer program, and none is running.

With sand on a beach, we have the potential of a pentium processor, and it takes a great deal of engineering to turn sand into a CPU.


From my perspective, no different with life.
From the instant of the first inflation of the stuff that would eventually condense into matter, there was the potential for life to develop, and there was no life.

There was no pentium processor on Earth for the entire 4.5 billion year history, until just a few short years ago.

There are now some very complex software systems running, on some very special sand.

And in our heads, exists a grey goo with some even more special properties, evolved slowly over millions of generations by a process of evolution by natural selection.   And I strongly suspect (based on a lot of circumstantial evidence) that the first of those goos to become reflectively self aware did so about 10,000 years ago.

Prior to that, there was no self aware consciousness - just lower order pattern - very complex, and subtle, and of a lower order.

Sand is complex, and a pentium processor is more so.

That is as I see it.  You are welcome to share that vision.
So many have shared their vision with me, Einstein, Rand, Kant, Jesus, Rumi, Wittgenstein, .............

Cheers

Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-09 22:51:44

Hi Tom

LOL - that is not it.  I am not upset that people do not agree with me.

I do sometimes experience frustration that required abstractions are absent.
It's kinda like having a paint pallet ready to paint a landscape, but it doesn't contain any paints with any blue pigments.   It is simply not possible to paint a landscape in true colour without blue pigments.

You seem to be confused Tom.  Your definition of the "Perfect desription" only ever exists as the thing itself.
A map is not a city, it is a map - useful for the purposes of navigation, but not of taking up residence or living life in.
Stop complaining that a map is a map and not a city.

Maps are maps.
Ideas are maps of reality, not reality.
Some ideas are real rough sketch maps, some are much more detailed, and they are all maps.

No definition is ever complete full and absolute in the sense you imply, except the thing itself.

You really do have an attachment to this notion of "absolute".


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-09 22:56:36

OK Zak

I'll bite.

It depends on how you define thought.

What is thought?

Can one have language without thought?

Is a set of electrical potentials in a brain producing language in an appropriate context associated with thought if there is no reflective consciousness present to experience it?

How can one be certain that another is having thoughts, or are they simply languaging into a context?


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-09 23:00:24

Hi Vali

I'm trying to ease my way out, and it isn't easy.
I like doing this too much.
Unfortunately this doesn't bring any money in directly, and I haven't perfected any indirect means yet either; and for the next decade or two money is still required.


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-09 23:23:50

Hi Tom

Finiteness has only to do with boundaries.

The phsysical universe in which we exist does appear to have boundaries,
It does appear that it is not even conceptually possible for anything to explore those boundaries, the circumference alone appears to be expanding faster than light.

Consider the pentium processor inside the computer you are using (assuming it is not a Mac).  It is about the size of your thumbnail - very finite.  Etched into its silicon substrate are lines of metalisation, and lines of doping.  If you were to place it under a very powerful microscope and focus you intention on following every one of those lines, you could not do it in a single human lifetime.  There are that many of them, with that many twists and turns, in 3 dimensions (they are multilayered devices).

Obviously very small and very finite, yet not available to complete definition by a single human mind.

Now consider what one can do with such a device.  All the different things.  It could be used to process all the text ever written by humanity (it could probably accomplish that in less than a year).   It can do anything that any computer anywhere could do, yet it cannot do everything.   Every task takes a finite time, and that imposes limits.

Similarly for us.  What we could potentially do is infinite, unbounded.  What we will actually do is bounded in space and time.

I have a great deal of evidence that the progress of scientific understanding cannot ever reach completion.
There are two entirely separate reasons for that.
1 - this universe imposes limits on the energy and time available.
2 - possibility space is not simply infinite, it is infinitely dimensional (each dimension of which is infinite, and many dimensions of which have their own infinitudes of sub-dimensions).

I think it is entirely possible that a human level intelligence could probe the mysteries of a single grain of sand for billions of years and still have mysteries left to explore.

Finite does not necessarily mean small.


How many thumbs do you have on your right hand?


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-09 23:34:26

Hi Star

I was very careful to say "It is simply not possible to paint a landscape in true colour without blue pigments." - note the word true - I anticipated your objection ;)

I am saying that a definition, any definition, is a model, in a brain (in the case of humans, or whatever matrix is involved in whatever non-human awareness) - it is not the thing itself.  It is a map of the thing, a more or less gross simplification.

All maps are useful for their appropriate purpose, and you don't drive you car on a map, you drive it on the road.   If the map was identical to the road in all respects, you couldn't put it in your car, your car would need to drive on it, it would, in fact, be the road.

Every description is inadequate to describe the thing, or it is the thing.

And I use models all the time, at many levels - we must, we have no other choice.  And they can be very powerful, and they are most powerful if we always keep clear of the distinction between the thing and the model, and the limitations of the particular model being used.

In so far as thought tries to comprehend reality, it is a model.
In so far as thought is simply thought, it is complete as itself.

Does that help?


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-09 23:53:11

Hi Vali

Finite, and even lawful, does not necessarily mean fully deterministic.

What is the limitation of abstraction ?
I guess it depends upon how one defines abstraction.

For me, it is the side effect of storing and retrieving information as an interference pattern.   Associations form as a result.  Some are real, some are not.   In ordinary situations, this abstractive/associative process is amazingly accurate.  The further we push it from the "ordinary" the less reliable it becomes, until at the extreme margins it fails more often than not.

It is a very interesting realm to investigate.

Cheers
Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-10 00:14:28

Hi Tom

(You know my first name is Tom also - I am Thomas Edward - known as Ted - we are perhaps far more alike than different).

There is only a problem ("doesn't compute") if you are wedded to the notion of universal time.

In my understanding (which has evolved since reading Einstein - prior to reading and understanding Einstein I argued in almost identical fashion to what you are now):
Each twin dies when they die in their own frame.
Each event is invariant within that frame (within their own existence field).
Each, in their own time, has a point of death (well actually, even death isn't simple - there will be a point at which awareness ceases, and doesn't restart, and for some time there is a potential to restart, like we do every morning when we wake up - so death is much more process like than point like, but leaving that aside, we can agree on last instant of conscious awareness).

What is at issue is the nature of "first".
Does the term "first" have any sort of commonsense meaning when applied to relativistic frames (frames moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light with respect to each other).

Einstein does not deal in absolutes.   He just takes the simple observation, that the speed of light is observationally invariant - it doesn't matter which direction we measure it, or how fast we are going, we measure the same number.
He then asks the simple question, how must the universe be for that to be so?
He does a number of elegant thought experiments involving people on trains, and does some very complex maths.

You seems to be making a category error, in ascribing your mental abstractions to reality, rather than determining reality from experiment and observation.

I accept that Tom has the language constructs he describes.
I deny that they are relevant to reality in the way you imply.  I think there is ample experimental evidence against the hypothesis.  Please read Einstein - it really is a beautiful work.


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-10 00:24:16

Hi Star

Thanks for reinforcing my case elsewhere - yes, a two year old, perhaps with distinctions of gray alone, cannot see any difference between the colors.
The distinction is of a different type.

Colour blindness renders part of the spectrum gray scale - due to sensor error.

There is a great deal of variation and gradation in the way people perceive light.
And we can build sensors for spectral analysis that are much more sensitive than our eyes, and our eyes and amazing machines for seeing difference.

We all have our own operational hypotheses - and sometimes we defend these rather than being open to possibilities not previously considered.

Truth is a very colourful concept for me, a wide range of energies and intensities - it ceased to be a binary a very long time ago.


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-10 00:38:47

Hi Tom,

Use the pentium example.
I can take a ruler, of arbitrary yet agreed dimensions, and measure the processor.  I can give it a specific form in space and time.
It is not open and unbounded in spatial dimension, and is therefore finite.

Have I described everything about it?   Most certainly not, only some very superficial characteristics, in accord with the spatial nature of my chosen ruler.

Is my map of the processor at 2.2cm x 2.2cm x 0.65mm accurate - yes within the accuracy of the tool used (note these are guestimates for illustration of an argument and not actual measurements).
Does it completely describe the thing - no - it just gives limiting dimensions.


Can we measure the limiting dimensions of the universe in which we exist ?
No - we cannot directly do so.
Can we infer anything about the probability of there being, or not being, any such thing?
Yes, there are many indirect measurements of things we can make that are in accord with the hypothesis that the universe is bounded, and expanding.

Just as my map can say that a road is 200km long, yet the map is only a few cms.  So can my map of the this universe contain limited information (with quite broad error bars) about the size of the universe within which we find ourselves.

I see no contradictions in that.


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-10 19:57:52

Hi Tom

I am not familiar with Greens's thesis, and haven't worked through the logic of any criticism, so cannot make meaningful comment in detail on it at this time, except to say that it does not appear to have a relativistic appreciation of time.

What I can comment on, is the notion of time.

Going beck to the twins.

I think you confuse two different thought experiments.

Everything depends on the reference frame.
If you are looking from the reference frame of their place of birth, then who dies first depends upon who does the most acceleration.
The one who has gone furthest (wrt the birth frame) will die last (from birth frame time).   If they each accelerate in opposite directions, with precisely the same acceleration, then they will die at the same time, a very long way apart.

If one stays still on the birth frame, and the other accelerates away for some period, then stops and accelerates back again to stop back at home, then that twin will be significantly younger than the other.

If both twins leave home, accelerate out in opposite directions at the same rate, then do the stop reverse and return home (all with matched accelerations), then both will get back home at the same age, and both will be significantly younger than their classmates.

If there were any sort of absolute reference, then it should matter which way the twins go, but it doesn't.  To me, that invalidates Greene's hypothesis, yet it leaves us with a deeper problem.

It seems that time is mediated by light (photons) and that light is itself timeless (photons are like frozen instants of a particle's past) - and there is a tautology in there - a self referential loop that doesn't quite cancel out.  We must be dealing with at least two fundamentally different paradigms, one of being/existence and one of time/interaction - and yet those qualities don't quite capture their nature either.

It is mind bending stuff.

I'm not going to dig too deep right now.
Right now I am satisfied that Einstein's equations work, and have been demonstrated to work in experiment, to 12 decimal places of accuracy over any competing model I have investigated.
So if it is incomplete, it is incomplete in a way that has very little significance to the measurement of the movement of matter bigger than atoms in our region of spacetime.

Given that - there really are some very important things to do right now - like:
Put in place systems that ensure every individual has the materials and energy and technology to provide for their own existence and education and travel and communication - no exceptions.
Put in place a set of technologies that work work with, rather than against, the natural ecosystems on the planet.

It is not sustainable that my son is in China right now, in Shanghai, and he is afraid to go out in the rain, because it is the wrong colour, too polluted.
That is not healthy or sustainable.
We must create a path past the short term greed for profit that drives such pollution on such massive scale that it threatens the very existence of all of us.   Our systems are too centralised, and too interdependent - systemic failure is a very real danger.   Those who promote centralisation for the profit it delivers need to see the dangers, need to pay the price of the insurance policy for the rest of us, if they want to continue to play that game.

Einstein is important, so is QM, so is figuring out what we are; and we need to create the space where we have time to do that without this looming threat to the existence of us all.

That is doable - www.solnx.org is my best effort at a plan to achieve it.  If anyone has any better ideas - please give them to me - otherwise - I would really appreciate your assistance in making it happen.   Assistance in terms both of giving your name in support, and of money.

Cheers
Ted


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-11 01:25:29

Sorry Tom,

I just do not get what you are talking about.

You agreed with every example - and every example shows that relativistic effects are relative.

I have no idea what you are attempting to say with "Rather, what matters is not direction as in that old idea; what matters is simply motion itself".
It just seems to be some for of the ether argument.
If it isn't what additional properties does it offer?  What predictions does it make?

Later you say "but relativistic effects require no comparison at all to specific other objects: "  which is where you are wrong in the most important sense.

Yes we can observe relativistic effects in other objects, and in ourselves with respect to other objects as we accelerate.  And, this is critical, if we were accelerated by some great great ancestor, along with everything around us, and then we lost memory that acceleration - there is no way we could detect it simply from measurement of our environment.

That would be so even if our ancestor accelerated to .999 lightspeed.   We would still measure the same speed of light, and still observe the same relativistic effects if we again accelerated to a new .999 lightspeed as seen from our birth frame.  It really is, all relative.   And even in this third frame, the now travelling at .999999 lightspeed from the initial forgotten frame, light would still have the same measured speed (as measured using our clocks and rulers).

To me, it simply looks like a mind that cannot give up the notion of universal time or universal spatial reference frame.

Answer me this simple question.
Have you ever managed to conceive, and hold that abstraction, that there is no such thing as universal time, and that time itself is local to each and every particle?

If you have managed to do that, and have then progressed to your current understanding, then I will make some detail effort to investigate what you say.

If not, then I make the request that you do so.

If it doesn't work for you, you can dump it, and the only way you can make that call is by trying it for yourself.


Cheers

Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-11 01:53:52

Hi Zak

I am familiar with the premise.
I find it illogical.

Yes we have many layers and levels of energies, many layer below atom, of structure and function uncertain, and we have possibility space, which is infinitely larger than reality.

And, our reflective self-aware consciousness is clearly, and evidentially, an emergent property of the complex associations of atoms and genes that provide a holographic processor in a body, and memes that give that brain a cultural context including language, that then allow the emergence of the piece of software we call us.   

To me it is clear that we are three things - deeply related and interdependent at each level, and evolved in a specific order:

We are based upon genes, and we are not genes, we are housed in a gene machine.
We are based upon memes, and we are not memes, our brain is a meme machine, that provides a software context for our emergence.
We are self declared in language, and are self discovering, self creating, and capable of infinite creativity through access to the infinite realms of possibility space.


I can understand why many people believe the premise you outline, it has a certain attractiveness to it, particularly in the absence of a strong scientific background, and strong philosophical training, and a willingness to reject all authority, and to question and test everything for oneself.


And to me, with all my experience (as biochemist, philosopher, teacher, hunter, ecologist, computer geek{hardware and software}), it is clearly and obviously far more probable that our third tier self awareness is an emergent property of a very complex system, than it is anything like the premise you put forward.


And I freely acknowledge, that I have my set of experiences, and you have yours, and what is obvious to me, may not be so to you, and changing those probabilities so that we both agree could be the work of thousands of hours, or it might happen in an instant.

I think the probability is that at some point, and for some time, if you live long enough, you will adopt the mode of understanding very similar to that I have now, and maybe not.

I have certainly shifted my understanding many times in the last 50 years, and see no reason to suspect that I wont have many more such paradigm shift experiences (if I live long enough).

Cheers
Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-11 20:04:00

Hi Vali

Another Yes And
Yes possibility space is a fiction in a sense, the sense that it hasn't happened yet.   And it is what we have to work with.

As I conceive it, it is a space of all the possible "what if"s that could become real.
Any single human mind can only conceive of a very tiny part of this infinite "space".
What many people do not acknowledge is that there is another infinite realm of the imaginable and not doable in reality.

We can work out theories and practices to distinguish which "space" any particular conjecture belongs to, and the ultimate test is reality itself.

So I think I agree with you, and there is a sense in which nothing really big happens unless someone envisages a goal and is certain that some path exists to reach it, then sets about choosing an appropriate path, supported by appropriate people and technologies.

In a sense there are probably an infinite number of possible paths to anything in the "doable", and in another sense, there will be a limited class that fit within the available budgets of time,energy and resources.


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-11 20:41:10

Hi Zak,

Perhaps it is simply a language barrier, and perhaps we agree about almost everything.

The nuances of words from a different tradition.

It seems to me that there are many such "methodologies" that lead to the same experiential realm, and that once people experience that particular experiential realm, they want to communicate it to others.
In that sense, I can completely understand the sense of faith that is required.

It is exactly that sense of faith that a scientist has that there is a "natural" explanation for everything, even if we don't know it yet.

The faith is, in a sense, the same, and leads one to successive levels of paradox, where the only way to resolve the paradox is to break one of the "truths" that lead to that paradox - and enter a new realm of conception and being.

I have experiential knowledge of ways of being that, like the experiences of Buddha and Rumi cannot be directly communicated.

For me, I have studied many disciplines, many religions, and I can see powerful paradigms and powerful experiences in each of them; and I retain, as an underlying framework, a basic scientific approach, of designing experiment, testing, evaluating alternative hypotheses - and this approach (as distinct from any "truth"s it revealed) has transitioned with me at each level.

I can agree in a sense, that there are higher "vibrational energies", and we have a modern name for such things - we call it "software" (as distinct from hardware - ie something you can kick).

Modern computer software development is on average about 7 levels of abstraction removed from the hardware on which it is running, and it requires hardware.   When I built my first computer I drilled the motherboard myself, and soldered in all the chips - all TTL logic.  My only input device was a hexadecimal keypad.   Computers have come a long way in the last 30 years.   They have a long way to go to match the biological computers in our heads, and if current trends continue, that will happen within this century by even the most doubting critic.  The optimists say within 15 years, I'm in the camp that says our holographic memory is much more complex than that, and for serial devices to match it will take most of this century.  The other approach is, of course, to go holographic.  Which could see them surpass us within 30 years.

Irrespective of that, yes, every entity must for itself climb the ladder, and at each new level, see the ladder that got it there for the fiction it is.

After 6 or 7 or 8 ... such experiences, one starts to get the feeling that perhaps this notion of "truth" aint what it's all about.

Perhaps there are just too many infinities.

Perhaps there are other things that a being might be.

Perhaps there is love, dance, bliss.

Perhaps in that, can exist a diversity unimaginable at any level, always beyond.

Perhaps a caring and active tolerance is always the appropriate response (from a simple survival and self interest perspective).

Perhaps our difference lies in the sense of "access" in your last sentence.

It seems to me that we create it.   Not we in the sense of an ego we, but we in the sense of the self expression of all the humanity that has gone into producing the I that is me; and through that I is an active co-creator with all that is.

It is so very difficult to communicate with tools from a different realm - parable within parable - all in a word.


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-12 09:34:55

Hi Zac

Nope - looks like we don't mean the same thing at all.

Looks like you really are addicted to science bashing.

Any technology, any tool, is neutral.  It is what people do with it that makes the difference.

Sometimes it is dangerous to let very inexperienced people play with very powerful toys.  And sometimes life is a matter of choosing the lesser of the available evils.  The idea of what the Third Reich would have done with the A bomb is definitely the greater evil.

I think the malaise is systemic in a sense.  I don't see that there is anything wrong with people, the vast majority are quite capable of being loving and kind - and when the system, the culture, into which they are born is fundamentally psychotic, it is improbable that many individuals will find their own we out of that psychosis.  So yes, in a sense, there are many layers of software problems - at the cultural (mimetic level) and at the individual (reflective Tier 3 consciousness level), and they can all be overcome.

The biggest barrier to their being removed at present seems to me to be the large uncertainty around survival for most people.   Most people are not secure in their outlook for their own personal security.   Most people are effectively held in economic slavery by their survival needs (food, shelter, education, transport - tier 1 & 2 in Maslow's hierarchy) - Adam Smith has a remarkably accurate analysis of that, that is mostly as true today as when it was written.

When we can remove those concerns from the immediate present, then more people will be more able and likely to move into the self actualising realms.

So, yes we have some software glitches, and if we get an effective support technology in place, we can take that software "offline" and reprogram it remarkably quickly, in most cases.   Or at least so my experience seems to indicate.

Cheers

Ted


 

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Re: Is there an atheist schism?

2009-11-14 05:29:19

Hi Tom

Again, I disagree that there are absolutes.

Measurements like "temperature" are frame dependent.  All temperature is relative to the measuring instrument.

Relative to that instrument, yes there is a zero, and there need not necessarily be any upper limit.   The will be a greatest energy achieved in this universe, with respect to any specific frame, and that will be a practical thing, not a theoretical one.

All measuring scales have a zero point in their frame, which is in a sense arbitrary, in the sense that it is frame dependent.

I disagree that there are necessarily "absolute limits"  certainly there are some frame limits.  Which is not the same thing.


 

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Re: Science & Mysticism

2009-11-14 04:58:25

Hi Tom

I still disagree with you on your interpretation of Einstein.

I think what Einstein did was take the observation of the invariant speed of light, and construct a mathematical framework to explain how that worked between reference frames.

I disagree with you that there is any absolute implied.
That is the whole point, it is all relative.

What most people have no concept of, is the implication on the nature of time.  That time itself is local.  When one gives up the requirement for absolute (universal) time, the mathematics becomes much more elegant; and it does require a level of abstraction and conception that not many achieve.

It fundamentally alters the interpretation of QM.

I agree with you that KW misses a lot of science in most of his writing.  I still seems to me that while you are ahead of KW, you are missing stuff that is really powerful if/when you get it (and maybe I've got that wrong, and it doesn't appear so).

Love
Ted


 

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Re: Science & Mysticism

2009-11-14 08:06:10

Hi Tom,

I have tried a lot of different way of looking at what you say, and it simply does not make sense.

Yes, any difference does imply a reference, and the reference is always a specified frame.   There isn't any "absolute" in that sense.

Temperature is something else.
Lots of phenomena have a zero base.
There are zero dogs in my kitchen, and two dogs in the lounge.
Having zero dogs in the kitchen does not say anything absolute about "dog"ness - it is simply a specific measure of a specific thing in a specific time and place.   Temperature is of a similar kind.

When we say that something is at absolute zero, what we mean is that there is no movement in that thing with respect to the thing measuring it.
If something bumps into it, there will be a transfer of energy, and the temperature will increase.
Temperature in terms of molecules can have two aspects, the movement of the molecule with respect to other molecules, and the movement of the atoms within the molecule with respect to each other (vibration/oscillation).   Both contribute to our measurement of temperature.

I have no idea what you are referring to with your statement "For time, this reference is revealed, IMO, in the one-way structuring of differential clock rates".  I am not aware of anything "one way".
What are you hinting at.
Can you give a specific example.
There hasn't been anything one way in any of the examples given so far - everything has been frame dependent/ frame relative.

I may be missing something, and it appears to me that it is you who are missing something.

Is there any way that you can see - by example, that we can sort this out?


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

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Re: Science & Mysticism

2009-11-14 20:47:09

Hi Tom

I spent a a couple of hours in bed last night going through a lot of thought experiments with temperature, and it is one of the "Frame relative" things, not an absolute.

In any frame, one can create very low temperatures, and create a Bose Einstein condensate (as an example).

So let us postulate two frames.
A Tom frame on a comet, and a Ted frame on platform in earth orbit.
We each have our condensates in our apparatus, and we each have our probes measuring their temperature.
Now we approach each other, with velocities of a few tens of miles per second (nothing in relativistic terms - good old Newtonian mechanics is quite sufficient for this).
Now I take my probe and stick it in you condensate, and vice versa.

Suddenly we each measure the other's condensate as being at very high temperature and our experiments explode in a flash of plasma.

Where is the absolute in that?

We do have this name in our measuring system, of temperature, of absolute zero, which is a misnomer, and should more accurately be absolute relative zero - or simply relative zero.    The term absolute is used to distinguish it from other sorts of zeros, like an ice based zero (Celcius) or and ice + salt based zero (Fahrenheit) etc.

There isn't any zero of temperature, except with respect to some frame containing a probe and something to probe.

This is what relativity is all about.


 

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Re: Science & Mysticism

2009-11-14 21:31:46

Hi Tom

There is a sense in which, in the realm of the real, one cannot have less than zero.  Zero is the mathematical base of all counting systems, whatever their numeric base may be.   The absence of something is the necessary polarity to the presence of something.

One can chose to look at that in an infinite number of profound senses, and one can also take the simplest possible interpretation 0 or 1 (zero of one)  either something is there, or it is not - the basis of all logic, all perception, all argument, all distinction.   In that sense very simple.

There is a sense in which one can have less than zero.  One may have a state that is such that if you put something in it, that something disappears.  The state can be said to be negative with respect to the existence of the thing you are putting in it.  It may be infinitely negative, or it may be finitely negative.

In that sense, one may have less than zero - hence we have negative integers.


Coming back to temperature.

There is a sense in which temperature is a measure of the emission of photons by some "stuff".

It is possible to put matter into a state where it does not emit photons.
It is also possible to transform that same matter into a state where it is all photons (E = MC^2).

Energy and matter are two aspects of the same "stuff".  Between them they give us all the properties we experience - including time.


It seems that the more photons we push into "stuff" and then bang that stuff into equal and opposite stuff, the more photons we manage to push into very close proximity and the weirder and weirder the photon interactions get.


I'm rather fond of the interactions that photons give me when my body is about 37C and the atmosphere around me is around 20C.    I'm not all that worried about creating weird photon interactions over 10,000,000 C - in fact it scares me a little - such asymmetries are inherently threatening.


 

Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality

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Re: Science & Mysticism

2009-11-14 22:00:06

Hi Bruce & Tom (and whomever else is lurking)

In respect of light and language and the evolution of expressions, I think there is a collapsing of a lot of different things.


There are some very simple and basic things like:
In a very basic sense, light has always been important.

We need it to see, and we therefore feel safer in light than in darkness.

Light comes from the sun, gives us warmth, and without the sun things die.   This has happened often enough in human history (due to large volcanic activity) that it is well set in our language and tribal stories - and is probably at the root of most of the sun-worship in history (nothing like the absence of something to make one appreciate its presence).
Quite likely cannibalism is the only way many societies survived sustained volcanic winters (up to 10 years without a growing season - which is very common in geological timeframes - even in recorded history a one year event caused the French revolution).

Light comes from fire, which gives us food, and warmth and security.


Then there are more complex phenomena.
When a brain undergoes a massive reorganisation - a neural storm - then all neurons fire - all our senses experience the equivalent of white noise.  So the personal experience is of seeing a blinding white light, hearing a loud rushing noise, and feeling intense heat and cold simultaneously, etc.   It is very disorienting, and the first few times it happens leaves one feeling - "what the %$@@ was that?"
Once one has a sufficient understanding of neural anatomy, and the underlying systems, then one can interpret what is happening, with out such knowledge, it is a profoundly disorienting experience.

Similarly, but differently, with near death experiences.   The neuro-anatomical explanation of them is different.   Rather than a neural storm causing overwhelm, what happens in the case of near death experience is a shutting down of systems, and a de-coherence of critical functions.   The outcome is similar - we experience white noise rather than signal.  As we are primarily visual, that is experienced as a bright white light.   To the extent that we are focussed on auditory, that will be experienced as a rushing noise.
Again I have had far too many personal experiences of this phenomenon also - particularly when diving and pushing too close to the limits (too many minutes down too deep - first your vision narrows, then it goes out - dark, then it become white light and gets brighter).   I definitely do not advise trying it - not too many survive - most die - I got lucky, from a combination of a lot of training in a lot of different disciplines.


Then one can add in yet another layer - the E=MC^2 - all is light.   All matter, every part of our being, is essentially light in some form.  Our experience of time is given by a form of light.


The mistake is, in my opinion and experience, to draw any direct linkage between these three very distinct domains of experience.   There is a relationship certainly, and it does not (in my experience and understanding) appear to be of the sort that Tom is trying to describe.

The things are essentially distinct, and need to be distinguished as such.  Collapsing the domain boundaries does not serve us well at this level of discussion and inquiry.


 

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Re: Science & Mysticism

2009-11-14 22:19:54

Hi again Tom,

You said:
"Language is emergent and is preceded by being (including consciousness), suggesting anything language based is derivative from being (including consciousness), just like matter is derivative from light.  Between consciousness and language, conscious was here first.  Another way of saying this is we are more than our scientific theories ever will say; in other words, what we are seems to me always to operate beyond what words and word-based theories, perspectives and knowledge can ever posit.  This observation sounds to me to directly parallel Godel's incompleteness theorem (perhaps Ted can clarify), which put the boots to language-based completeness."

I disagree.

I assert that the evidence is contrary to what you say.
I say the evidence is clear that language comes before consciousness.

Now I do need to specify here that I am talking about the human experience of a self aware reflective consciousness.

This requires language, and is an emergent of the complex system that includes language running on a holographic processor.

Prior to that, we humans were simply apes, mimicking simple language, using it in context, just as all our actions were learned in context.

Our holographic processor gives us direct access to the infinite, via the tools of conjecture and abstraction.

To me, to say that consciousness preceeds language is false - demonstrably so - Helen Keller being one of the best examples
Certainly there was activity prior to language, complex activity, complex memes in action, but not the sort of awareness that we experience and that most of us interpret as consciousness.

The term consciousness seems to me to be one of the most poorly understood and most abused terms in the language.   Which is to be expected, as it is a label for something that can only be experienced directly, and cannot be pointed to as anything external.   We can each only experience the levels of consciousness available to us.
We must each proceed through essentially the same stages as everyone else - there are no real shortcuts.   We can certainly spend different amounts of time in each stage, dependent on or personal experience in that stage, and we must each experience each stage in turn to allow us to transcend to the next stage.   Nothing wrong in that - just how the universe works.


 

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Re: Science & Mysticism

2009-11-16 08:15:51

Hi Bruce

I admit that there are studies that admit of a possible interpretation.
I am yet to be convinced beyond reasonable doubt.

And there are some very smart and cunning animals.


 

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Re: Science & Mysticism

2009-11-16 09:02:48

Hi Tom

You said "The laws governing clock rates needs a field reference (an ether) of some sort."

I just do not see how our where you come to such a conclusion.

The whole point of relativity is that it gets away from that idea.

I do not agree with the interpretations around positing Zero Point Fields (ZPF).

None of that is required.

All that is required, to get the time distortion, is to see that acceleration requires a lot of photons be passed to matter.   These added photon result in something moving faster, that sometime becomes more light like, and less mass like, and it's clock slows.

I agree with view from a photon, which is time-less - that there is no space.
That does not mean that there is no space, it simply means that photons do not experience time, they create time, in their time-less-ness.

I do not expect any other human being to understand that.
Perhaps someday someone will.

I have downloaded the 2 pdfs you referenced,a nd will read them when I get a chance, and I have a lot of demands on my time at present.


 

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Re: Science & Mysticism

2009-11-17 01:37:35

Hi Tom

I think you said it perfectly "each an inferred presence".   My contention is that the inference is faulty.

I contend that most people are convinced by the fact that they have memories of very early life, to mean that they had the sort of awareness then that they have now.   They infer from that mistaken identity that there is some sort of primacy of consciousness.
The mistake is a hard one to pick up, as it is not immediately obvious.

It is actually logical that the meme machine must have memory prior to bootstrapping awareness; along with all the habits it picks up, which we mistakenly identify with as ourselves.


I find speculation about the substructure of being interesting, and I think it is something we need to engage in after we get the substructure of this society operating for all individuals.

I have no significant doubt that our awareness is an emergent property of a very complex set of systems.   I have no significant doubt that to talk of awareness as a primary is a gross and demonstrable error, and that all this talk of awareness and light while interesting in a speculative and analogous way in respect of consciousness owes more to poetry than science.

We are software entities very reliant on the hardware of our bodies - get used to it - deal with it powerfully.


 

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Re: Science & Mysticism

2009-11-19 02:25:35

Hi Tom,

You said in part "I also find it interesting, even convenient, that cells emit such light, which has led a few scientists to speculate that the interference pattern created by such is the real-time blueprint for organismic functioning, something that seems to me to be required but as yet unexplained by any combination of matter-based regulatory theories (nerves, hormones, blood, the works)." and I seek clarification.

What do you mean by "blueprint for organismic functioning"?

I don't see anything "as yet unexplained" in principle.

Certainly I see much unexplained in particular, and the principles of operation for most of the functionality of life seem fairly clear.   The vast bulk is regulated by enzymatic systems that have their "blueprint" in DNA, and are modulated by an enormous collection of mechanisms to give both gross and subtle control and feedback, both internally and externally.  Essentially a Darwinian process with some subtle Lamarkian overtones.

I doubt that light has any significant impact in the way you seem to imply - it simply is not required as part of the explanatory framework.

When I write of holographic processor I am using the term as an analog, and do not imply any direct use of light or photons.   It is an analog of such a process, using electricity and chemistry (which certainly has a photonic component at the substructural level, and that can safely be discounted for the purposes of this discussion).


 

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Re: Science & Mysticism

2009-11-19 04:11:12

Hi Valli

There are probably a couple of dozen major different theories about what light is.

At the level of experimental physics we can say a number of things about the observable properties of light.

It is always measured in discrete quanta.
It has a property of carrying energy, which is related to rate of spin of some property (often referred to as wavelength {erroneously in my understanding, but more on that later}).
It can be bent by gravity.
Matter at temperatures above 0K emits light of a spectrum related to temperature.
It can be defracted (bent) by a change of media.
When the speed is measured in a given medium, it is always the same, irrespective of any motion of the medium.

These observable properties led Albert Einstein to ask some fundamental questions about what must be so to have that observable set of properties, and led him the his special and general theories of relativity.

Because light displays properties of diffraction and "wavelength" many (most) people interpret that as indicating that light is a wave.  Terms such as lightwave, and wavelength are common in our language.

I contend, along with a smallish group of others, that such an interpretation is not at all in alignment with the observed properties of light, and that light (and matter) is very strange stuff indeed.

It appears that light does not experience time.   From a matter perspective it seems like light is carrying information about the state of its emitter at the time of emission, and is essentially "frozen in time".
It appears that the experience of time by matter is mediated by light.

When one starts to push this interpretation, the mathematics gets a bit ugly, when one tries to keep the notion of "universal" time in place.

If one drops the notion of universal time, and accepts that time is local to each and every particle, and that light radiating from each particle essentially carries information about the historical existence of that particle at the instant it was emitted, then the mathematics again assumes a simple beauty that leads one to suspect that the interpretation in aligned with reality.

I'm afraid there is no easy way that I have found to get a clear insight into how this works, other than by doing the homework, coming to terms with the math, trying out the alternative interpretive schema for oneself, and making up your own mind as to what works.   It is a long time since I did it, and I have forgotten far more than I remember, and it was very convincing to me at the time; and I have no recent evidence to cause me sufficient doubt to reconsider that interpretation.

Is my interpretation correct?   (Maybe, maybe not, and it does work, at least to the limits that I need to push it at this point in my life).


 

Authorised by:

Ted Howard,
Ph (+64) 27 442 4281 AH/Fax (+64) 3 319 6797
Physical/Postal: 1 Maui St, Kaikoura, NEW ZEALAND
Location: 42°25.123'S 173°41.626'E
email: ted@fishnet.co.nz