Monday, January 18, 2016

Consciousness is the preservation of memory over time

I was thinking about death and resuscitation. Instances where a person has died, but are able to be resuscitated, like by doctors after an overdose or trauma. I wondered if the person resuscitated is the same as the person that died and I think this is so.

When the person is resuscitated, they still have all their same memories and end up with the same personality, perhaps slightly altered by the harrowing events that caused their death, but never-the-less still the same person.

This leads me to believe that instead of a soul that would perish on death and be replaced upon resuscitation, the root of the soul is actually the memories and access to them. I suddenly realized I could reduce consciousness almost entirely to just that. Memory.

There is a crucial element missing though, and that is to think of memory as something that is preserved from one moment to the next. As in, through time.

In this aggregate of memories, called You, you can include things like sensory data, language (everything you've ever read or had spoken to you) and also learned behaviors like not touching a hot stove. Indeed a portion of the memories in this aggregate behave much like instructions on how to react to your 5 senses. This includes instances where the 5 senses bring data about complex social interactions, such as with other human beings.

It seems to me that reducing consciousness in this way is elegant and simplifies the matter. It also provides clarity to every single capacity of the mind and consciousness within.

I believe the only objection possible is that the active observer component of consciousness, the part that feels like You, is not explained by this, however one must consider that the things you see, hear, feel, taste and smell through your five senses are also memories being processed within your brain. By the time the brain processes sense data, the event has already occurred, in other words.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Clarifying Non-determinism and Why Quantum Non-deterministic Noise In Your Brain Still Doesn't Give You Free Will

In my previous post my examples of non-deterministic systems were a little bit ridiculous, but in my opinion still valid. I took non-determinism to a logical extreme, that some Libertarian Free-Willers might take issue with. Reason being, most of them agree that the universe is deterministic until you get down to the very very small realm of quantum physics.

Enter Non-Deterministic Quantum Noise Free Will:
Red Guy has returned from my previous article, but this time we want to talk about the quantum noise deep within his brain, that might give him free will, since it is non-deterministic.

So let's zoom in:
Perfect.
How does this grant free will though? 
I will state that no one has proven that human minds have some kind of interaction with this level of existence. We are talking about a scale so small that it probably could not even break a covalent or ionic bond in a neurotransmitter molecule, but ignoring that, let's pretend there is a mechanism. We are still of course trying to include Moral Agency in this definition of free will and since we are talking about Red Guy, let's see if we can get a good representation of Red Guy's "Self" (the ego/id/superego etc in Freudian terms, but we'll just keep it simple and call it the "self"). Let's add that in the next picture, let's also give him a mechanism to interact with the quantum noise, a lever will do, and let's define the white dots of the noise as (Good) and the black dots as (Evil).
Ok, now we have the Red Guy's sense of self, with his itsy bitsy lever that no one has ever provided a shred of scientific evidence for, and we are really getting close to Libertarian Free Will. All Red Guy has to do is throw the lever up for Good. down for Evil (or imagine a less serious decision being made between pie and cake, we'll have UP represent PIE and DOWN represent CAKE, it really doesn't matter what the choice is or even if the lever has more than two positions as we shall see momentarily).

There's a few big problems with this already.
The first is that Red Guy's sense of self, even if it were capable of operating a quantum lever, that no one has one shred of scientific evidence for, on non-deterministic noise, does so for a reason, unfortunately for Libertarian Free-Willers, this is determinism. (cause-->effect, reason for decision-->decision)

In the next picture I've presented two alternatives and I will explain why neither is Free Will and both are deterministic.
On the left, pink lines represent data sources from outside of Red Guy. Say a parent telling him not to do something, or a response from his taste buds and memories telling him Pie is better than Cake. In this case, determinism doesn't happen from the Quantum Noise output, it happens from other sources of information input. This makes sense with most people's view of reality, because we base our choices off things that we know or in other words, have learned. People, we assume (and hope), do not base their decisions on whether or not hypothetical quantum noise inside their brain is harmonizing with their tinnitus.

On the right side of the diagram, we can imagine, as many religious-folk do, that the self is roughly synonymous with "the soul". If this supernatural form of self, did not base its choices on external senses and memories, what would it base them off of? 

I suppose that depends on your religion. Some Christians (who arguably do not understand their own religion) believe that our souls are corrupted by original sin, and thus can choose between good or evil (actually in my opinion, the serpent "Satan" didn't tempt us into eating the fruit and by giving in to this temptation we gained the ability to choose, but rather tempted us into eating the fruit and thus we egotistically believed the idea that we had ability to choose, it was really an ego trip almost identical to the one everyone who believes in free will is on, ironically, and it makes a lot more sense that way), but if people do truly commit "evils" and some do not, or even if everyone does commit them some of the time, and it isn't dictated by worldly sense data, what otherworldly data is the soul basing its choices on?

Faced with moral dilemma, does the "soul" end up doing something unlike using a lever and more like whack-a-mole upon the black (evil) dots. If the soul doesn't whack enough black dots, an evil action is committed? Is Red Guy then Good or Evil based on his soul's skill at whack-a-black-dot? Where do souls get their whack-a-dot skills? Should we base our moral judgements of individuals on something so tenuous? In any case, the choice between Good/Evil or Pie/Cake is determined by the lever-puller or dot-whacker. Reason being, Moral Agency. Whom do we hold responsible? By holding an agent responsible for an action you are saying they determined that outcome. 

You can't hold an agent responsible in an entirely non-deterministic system because the very act of holding someone responsible is saying they DETERMINED the outcome. This is what my ridiculous drawings in the previous article tried to convey, but I was worried that someone would try to pick them apart based on some claim that non-deterministic free will operates on a different level (ie. quantum noise in our brains) that was somehow less absurd.

This is arguably getting derailed quite a bit, but I'm not the one who said Quantum Noise Gives Us Free Will, END OF STORY, without providing a shred of evidence that this was possible or presenting a good scientific theory on the mechanism by which it works.
I'm really just attempting to do the work they are too lazy or inept to do and trying to build a theory out of their proposition. By the way, this is really not the way it's supposed to work.


If you assert that non-deterministic systems, such as quantum-noise in our brains, give us free will. Do your own legwork. The burden of proof is on you.

Most proponents of libertarian free will, I'd wager, know very little about actual non-determinism in physics. They are instead just setting up a magic black box scenario, where they are completely ignorant of the workings of the magic black box, but leap to the conclusion that free will must take place there.

I suppose someone will now come along and try to argue that I have the flow of causality backwards, that the Quantum Non-deterministic Noise determines the choice between Good/Evil or Pie/Cake, but if Red Guy's choices are determined by non-deterministic noise, rather than his "Self", his choices are dictated by random or perhaps chaotic forces and aren't really his choices at all. If his actions are determined by non-deterministic quantum noise, he's not even an agent, much less a moral one. (See the section I've bolded, 4 paragraphs up.)




Saturday, June 14, 2014

Resolving Definition/Redefinition Arguments in the Debate for/against Free Will With a Simple Pragmatic Requirement

In the debate for/against free will, a common theme seems to be disagreement about what free will actually means, or how it is defined. If all sides of the debate have different definitions of free will, then saying one's opponent's definition doesn't exist is somewhat less than useful.

I propose as a resolution to this dilemma the requirement that any definition of "Free Will" must include as a component of its definition, a valid foundation on which the slightly less specious term "Moral Agency" can be built. After all we do not have the debate of whether free will exists or not for no reason. When we debate whether free will exists or not, we do so because there are practical and somewhat urgent ethical ramifications for knowing whether or not it exists. Most poignantly the concern of "Moral Agency", thus the requirement I have laid out for a definition of free will to have pragmatic ability to sufficiently provide the foundation for Moral Agency. Else, why have the debate?

The question of Moral Agency is posed this way; Does an individual by his or her choosing, between multiple (presumably multiple, or intuitively assumed to be multiple, though perhaps only multiple in an illusory sense)* courses of action, bear the responsibility for the rightness or wrongness of the decision made.

This clarifies the debate and limits attempts at redefinition or removes inadequate definitions from the debate, such as the overly intuitive: "Free Will is the feeling I get that I am the one deciding between flavors of ice cream", or the logically impossible (though perhaps valid Ad Absurdum as a way to show that free will is itself logically impossible): "Free Will is the ability to have done otherwise than that which was done."

Given this pragmatic restriction to the debate, it makes sense to reanalyze the mainstream positions on Free Will, compared and contrasted in this flow chart:
 First we will take a look at what Determinism means:
In this illustration A has a deterministic causal linkage to B that should be abundantly clear. Red Guy shoots Blue Guy, Blue Guy having been shot, ends up on the ground in a puddle of blood from a gunshot wound.

Pretty Simple.

Now let's take a look at what a Non-deterministic universe would look like, keeping in mind that the Libertarian view of Free Will, holds that Moral Agency is possible in a "Non-deterministic" Universe and that is the kind of universe we live in:
 In this example, Red Guy and Blue Guy are hugging and kissing in moment A, then only a moment later at B, Red Guy is holding a literal smoking gun over Blue Guy's bleeding corpse. This is very odd indeed, but in a universe where the state of the universe at Event B is not determined by the state of the universe at Event A, such events are arguably entirely possible. Let's look at some other things that are possible in a non-deterministic universe before we decide if Moral Agency and Free Will are possible in a non-deterministic universe:
In Non-deterministic universe 2, again Red Guy and Blue Guy are peacefully making out in one moment, then in the next moment, A Duck. Of course this too is odd, but in a non-deterministic universe, the state of the universe at Moment A does not determine the state of the universe at Moment B. Please, allow me to present one more example, just to humor me, because I feel I am owed that, after debating with countless adherents to the idea of Libertarian Free Will:
In non-deterministic universe 3, we see a duck blowing its own brains out with a gun in Moment A, then since Moment B is not determined by Moment A. Red Guy and Blue Guy make out. Who would make out after seeing a majestic mallard take its own life tragically? People in a non-deterministic universe, perhaps.

I would argue that it is obvious in non-deterministic universe 1, that Red Guy is not morally responsible for Blue Guy's death. After all he was making out one moment, then apparently a murderer in the next with no explanation given for how he even got the gun, much less why he would shoot his lover Blue Guy.
Nor, in non-deterministic universe 2 are Red and Blue Guy morally responsible for A Duck, just because they made out a moment before A Duck.
So too, in non-deterministic universe 3, A Duck, is probably not morally responsible for causing Red and Blue Guy to make out, even though A Duck's suicide was very tragic indeed.

If this all seems silly, it's because non-deterministic universes would allow for this kind of silliness and you really can't have Moral Agency with such a breakdown of causality. Thus, Libertarian Free Will, should be put to rest as a pretty silly idea.

Moving on to Compatibilism then...

In case it wasn't clear in the flowchart, compatibilism is the belief that even in a deterministic universe, free will exists. Compatibilists are the ones who admit that the universe may be governed entirely by cause and effect, but because they still "feel" like they are making choices, Free Will exists. However, I began this writing by stating that not only must proponents of each stance define Free Will, they must include in their definition, for reasons of pragmatism and out of urgent ethical necessity, a solid foundation for Moral Agency within that definition.

Now, I feel like this is a mistake, because I'm really sick of this debate and frankly my confidence in humanity is waning, but I'm going to present another situation to you, describing compatibilism, in the hopes that you, dear reader, will come to the right conclusion on whether or not compatibilist free will includes within its definition a solid foundation for Moral Agency. (Then I'm going to tell it to you like it is anyway.)

Ok, I apologize, that is totally ridiculous, I'm obviously skewing the debate with ridiculous notions.

Consider for a moment though, that Moment A is not so ridiculous. Consider that Moment A could be replaced instead by the entire history of the Universe, including billions of years (or ~6,000 years of "Biblical History" if you're one of 'those people'. It makes little difference.) before Red Guy is even born, up to the point at Moment B where he pulls the trigger. In a deterministic universe, (please be kind to me and remember that we've already banished non-determinism to a silly fate), holding Red Guy morally responsible and guilty as a Moral Agent in his murder of Blue Guy, is to also say he is responsible for every single thing that ever happened before Moment B, including things that took place before his birth, which would necessarily include the very creation of the universe. To say he was guilty and morally responsible for his action of murder would be to say that he created an entire universe, billions of light years across, filled with countless stars and planets, all to kill Blue Guy. Even if that dastardly sonuva-bitch Red Guy was God, as one might infer from the amount of things he is apparently responsible for, do we then presume to judge Red Guy for this murder?


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Free Will or Glandular Response Memory?


The root of a being's will on this planet is glandular.

 The endocrine system is responsible for how we feel, about anything. If you feel disgusted or aroused or any other feeling, including emotions, you are feeling the  products of an endocrine release of chemicals throughout your body at various points such as, the Hypothalamus, the pineal gland, pituitary and thyroid, there are other sub-endocrine systems within the heart, gonads and kidneys.

 If our will is what we feel we should be doing, and thus what free will believers would say they decide they will do, then the will is the product of glandular releases of neurotransmitters and other chemicals that have effects on cells.

The notion of free will can retreat into the mental realm, but how we make decisions is supposed to be based on opinions we have formed some feeling about. That feeling is or was formed by the endocrine system.

In the case of the supposed "decision-making" process the brain is remembering what neurotransmitters and other hormones felt like and the decision is thus informed entirely by the endocrine system. We access the memory of the endocrine system through a different 'seeming' mental process that we are mostly conscious of. This mental process feels slightly different then the first reaction, but in extreme cases the memory of something can trigger the same endocrine response, rather than a subdued impression of that endocrine response.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Time and Physics, descriptions of...



I think it is good, when dealing with the subject of time and physics, to only speak of a single unit of time. A single moment constructed out of two very different constituent parts.  I call the two-sides of the moment 'happening' (you can think of this in linguistic terms as 'verb-like', it is the action, so to speak in the present moment) and the other side of the moment the 'going to happen' . This does not (yet) mean a prophetic deterministic view of the matter contained in the universe's first 3 dimensions, rather a set of inferences that are safe to make about the behavior and nature of time because of the nature of experience itself. In other words the second half of the moment is a set of things that are guaranteed to happen, given the fact that we are describing something about an experience that is expected to continue.
To reiterate: The second half of the moment is constructed of inferences such as, the reliability of there being a moment after the current moment we are experiencing. Barring notions of death, experience is continuous, even when it is interrupted, interruptions are  experienced as instantaneous transitions to another singular moment of 'happening' time. 


We do not really need the past to describe anything being observed. I say this because in terms of observation the current moment is either an 100% accurate historian or our observation and measurement of it is meaningless. If the current moment can be "tampered with" in a way that makes the history contained within the current moment meaningless, any measurement taken, ever, is immediately rendered unreliable and thus unworthy of scientific endeavor.

I have stated in other papers, and I state again here that the importance of describing things 'as-they-exist' such as defining ideas in terms of how the phenomenon they describe is experienced. Experience is the pillar of existence. I am referencing my past works when I say this, because it may further help to understand why I have said that only one moment is considered.

How it relates to the speed of light and matter.
This concept of a dual-sided, singular moment is important to understand a fundamental aspect of light and in fact, all matter, as all matter contains massless particle constituents that travel ~C, the speed of light, though they are never described as lone particles with velocity, except in a couple cases. Particularly I am interested, in this paper, in the appearance of its speed between two observers, one of them travelling at or very near light speed. 

Since we have only 1 moment, I have prepared an illustration of two observations of the current moment experienced, taken at two different speeds.

The first illustration is of a slower object moving at the speed of an average human being on earth.

The second illustration is of an observation taken at or near the speed of light. 

At higher speeds, there is still only one moment worth thinking about, because of what I have said about experience and existence, 'happening' and 'going to happen', but in effect the barrier between momentary halves shifts as speed increases towards the speed of light. It is important to think of these moments as being equal in "length" at all times because our experience of time is moment-to-moment. We really only ever experience 1 single moment that shifts in 3-dimensional along time, a fourth dimension (In my humble opinion, thinking of time as even having length is a big part of "The Problem", but we tend to need some sort of language to describe things, so for now the word stands) 
This effect is illustrated in a slightly incorrect way, in the show Star Trek, every time Starship Enterprise jumps to lightspeed. To an observer who is still in the frame of reference we can relate to (the first diagram above) the Enterprise is travelling at speeds that cause it to seem stretched out. What this observer is seeing, is actually the area shaded in red in the diagram, which for the starship is a compression of 3-dimensional space along the dimension of time.   In terms of raw experience the singularity of moment still holds true. In one instance of experience for both objects, more has obviously happened, in terms of measuring distance only, for the existence of the lightspeed object than the slower object. 


 Our tendency to measure time with circles is a bit of a confusion inducer, albeit it also turns out to be incredibly useful to describe matter particles travelling through 4-dimensions.

 Imagine 2 identical clocks. One is on Earth. The other is on the Starship Enteprise. The clock only has 1 hand and it circles the clock in 1 moment exactly. The clocks start when the ship reaches light speed. One moment passes and both clocks have completed one rotation.

The crux of the issue lies, not in the time measured, but in the fact that while the clocks are identical and have identical circumferences, (and thus measure the same block of time to each person experiencing), the hand of our clocks have traveled different distances along another dimension, namely, one of the three dimensions of space.
This next illustration (Which happens to be the correct way to view our solar system, NOT the way it is taught in school mind you) could clarify this dilemma a little bit.

 In a way this illustration is important, because it shows how in the example, the moment length can stay constant, while the effective "total distance traveled through all dimensions" changes for each object. In fact, this is why Physicists say (a physical clock made of matter) would run slower the faster you go, because some of the energy is expended along this new distance traveled because of a fundamental law of nature, the conservation of energy.

Part II
When I was younger, I was lucky enough to encounter a collection of Russian Matryoshka dolls. These are very lame as toys, but to illustrate philosophical and physical principles, it doesn't get much better.

Each of these dolls fits inside the bigger one next to it so that when you crack open the largest one, the next largest is inside, then the next largest, and so on. What I find cool when using these as an example is that the dolls do not fit perfectly and in fact have a little wiggle room that they can rattle about in. This will be important in a moment. (that is a very "meta" thing to say as we continue to talk about a moment of time)

It is useful to think about  the moment as being quite like the dolls in a remarkable way. The structure of the second half of the moment can be thought of as a smear of hollow dolls ending at some very small hollow doll that will, in 1 moment, define and give a small set of rules to the current moment. The current moment can be thought of as the doll that is actually solid. This is because the future is uncertain in terms of measurability, but still constrained in particular ways by the rules of time-experienced. 

Most people who have read this far will be familiar with Young's Double Slit Diffraction experiment seen in the next two illustrations. 


In this illustration we see the probability field of a single slit diffraction (the dotted line) juxtaposed over the probability field of double slit diffraction (the solid pink area). 

What I have proposed in this paper is that the second half of the moment, represented by hollow matryoshka dolls, actually has a shape that is a little bit decipherable. This shape can be thought of as similar to the probability fields in Young's experiment, except that we are not speaking about where a particle occurs and how fast it is going anymore, but instead, what it is doing now and what it may do next given the constraints of it being something worth experiencing.

This is important because there ends up being an overlap between the probability wave of light particles described in Young's experiment and the existence of this sort of what I would call a "spectre of a moment" in the future. 
The dual nature of light, as it is spoken of by participants in this experiment, is hypothetically due to the presence of this aberration in the shape of time caused by the objects in question travelling at the speed of light and the existence of relativity. Relativity, which is more of a concept about experience than something cold and scientific. I hope I have illustrated this in a way that is different and accurate. 

The hypothesis I am making is: 
The word time describes something that is dependent also on one's definition of experience itself,
 we can safely infer based on logic applied to the nature of experience that time has a shape, 
time has a shape not only along a 4th dimension or timeline-esque topology, but a metaphysical unit topology, the topology of each moment of time. 
While observations and measurements taken in the current moment can not give us a tool to predict the future due to uncertainty, the topology of the metaphysical-unit-side of time is constant. 
While this topological shape can not predict the future locations or velocities of particles,
it can determine the behavior of light as either particle or wave.

The evidence of this is found within Young's double slit experiment and my illustration of relativity as two singular moments experienced at different speeds. 
The hidden switch, so to speak, between whether an observation is made of a wave behavior or particle behavior is contained within a fundamental element of time as I have described it in my first illustration, but did not elaborate on until now. 
The observer described by the slower (top) object in my example can see the faster object (bottom) as a particle or a wave  based on whether or not the area represented by the red line is included in the measurement. 
To return to our spaceship example, the Starship Enterprise appears as an oblong stretched object when it goes light speed because the slower observer can see the red area, whereas the passengers on board the enterprise have no access to that information. To them time appears identical to the people in the top graphic, experiencing it.
Time is only visible as distance in this way, when light speed is reached. Just as light  is visible as a wave that creates diffraction fields only when the area represented in red, a distance in the fourth dimension is included in our observation of it.
 Any measurements taken will cause this red area to be excluded in our description (experience) of the current moment. a more particle-like situation arises.
Again returning to the starship example, this measurement would be like later looking at a photograph or "snapshot" taken by a passenger on board the enterprise. From this perspective, a false perspective of being inside the enterprise, the ship itself no longer looks distorted and stretched along the fourth dimension.

I hope this has been interesting at the very least, and I'm optimistic that it is somewhat enlightening as well to those dedicated enough to slog through my writing. It was difficult, but fun to write this.



Friday, November 23, 2012

Logical Existence Necessity

Could anything logically have to exist?

I aim to show that mathematical truth operates in such a state of necessary existence. Often people will say that math requires a mind or consciousness to be true, but I would argue that actually minds are only required for a sort of "double-check" and symbol assignment to the mathematical entities, that occurs secondarily to the initial truth property. These things would be true before the mind's existence, but they cannot be validated by minds until a mind has checked them and assigned symbols to them. It's a simple misconception that the mind must exist for the math to exist.


  • Examples of mathematical truths that obviously must exist
    • Statements of arithmetic such as 1+1=2
    • Number systems, such as real or whole numbers
    • complex patterns arising from number systems such as Fibonacci's sequence
    • logical concepts that are explicit 0 = 'nothing', it is always true even though it seems to require a logic and thus a mind. Actually a mind is only required to confirm or "double-check" this truth.
    • other logical statements, that I would blanket classify as "paradox avoidance"
I would go further and say that once you have these things you already have enough for mathematical truths that are magnitudes more complex, like irrational number patterns giving rise to form, through more complex arithmetic and mathematical operations. Perhaps for certain areas of the branching structure of mathematical axioms to meet, like calculus and the irrational number pi, a mind or consciousness must combine in some way, these axioms. However, it is my theory, as I have espoused numerous times on this blog, that a mind is just as much a mathematical entity as calculus, so any distinction about what is combining the multiple axioms to make a more complex form is not important.

  • Examples of complex mathematical forms that may take some # of axioms to build up to
    • Spatial dimensions
    • Multi-dimensionality (extra depths of field)
    • Information Singularity (kind of like a static form map of all possible information, but that also recognizes variability in the forms within it that contain variables)
    • Holographics
    • Consciousness
    • Imagination and Visualization
    • Dimensional compression schemes
    • Computation / Simulation
    • Multi-dimensional modelling
    • non-euclidian angles > 360*
    • Infinitely dimensioned fields
All these things, while they seem head-scratchingly complex, can be reached via the more simple forms that must necessarily exist.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Definition of 'Exists'



When the observer-side of the existential feedback loop function is nullified in some way, the causal linkage is broken and the existential division line is crossed, leaving into the realm of the non-observational functions and axioms. Time, as a by-product of the observational function ceases to exist. However, because a timeless state is created a new observational function is anthropically selected seemingly-instantaneously.

Dreams and visionary experiences related to ego-loss are instances of this happening. As is the universe itself being "created", ex-nihilo. It would seem consciousness must arise at some point from nihile because everything mathematically plausible will form out of the nihile-void and the observational functions among the morass of mathematical entities will bubble up across the existential division line between observational function and non-observational timeless nihile.

as an addendum; to address the fact/dilemma that there are seemingly multitudes of consciousnesses in the same universe. I turn to two potential answers. They are bound to be controversial because I draw from religious sources a bit. 
They are: A.) The deistic interpretation: The first consciousness to anthropically select this universe is more primordial, something like what religions have previously called God and this thing shaped us to have consciousnesses similar to it or "in its image"
or
B.) Consciousnesses are not separate from each other except in an illusory sense. All humanity and life here and elsewhere that possesses consciousness, all possess the same consciousness with illusory fragmentation into individuals. This collective consciousness is the one that was created out of the nihile.