Monday, 24 December 2007

Shamanism and information theory connections?

It has been brought to my attention that in this website refer to animism and shamanism as the religion of the future and what I came across in that issue of New Scientist, of 14 March 1998, in the article "Beyond reality" by Mark Buchanan.

"But now a growing band of physicists is putting forward a more alarming notion. They believe that information is a superweird new substance, more ethereal than matter or energy, but every bit as real and perhaps even more fundamental. For them, information is a kind of subtle substance that lies behind and beneath physical stuff. "Information is deeper than reality," says Anton Zeilinger, a physicist at the University of Innsbruck".

Referring to information as a new substance, ethereal and fundamental, it brings right away notions about connections with what is proclaimed, in explaining the origins of animism and shamanism and by them almost all religions. In the conception of spirit as it has been used by almost every known religion.

Animism and shamanism, if we take them as the primary religions from which all other religions have sprung up, it bears a closeness with what, that growing band of physicists proclaim about the nature of information. Animism and shamanism, bearing more similarities than any other religion. The information and the spirit originating from the same source, and share similar features. Is it a biased to interpret a connection between these semingly non-similar concepts? It might and it might not. But the objective here is not to replace with one another, the symbols used to refer to these two thought products to stand for one another, or to invent another religion. It is primarily to notice what the persistent human endeavour to accumulate knowledge has brought forth. As the word spirit, ubiquitous and universal, refers to concepts connected with the objects of the world, in the same way information refers to the objects of the world in a similar manner. And they are both are referred to as ethereal and fundamental.

Of course the information theory and its ethereal nature is a gross generalisation from the rudimentary knowledge of information handling in quanta, the collective human mind has for this level of reality. A leap of imagination which however is allowed, as these leaps of imagination are what distinguishes creative and innovative approaches to problems faced by the human mind than by going by-the-book approaches.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

One-track nature of mind

Awareness singly draws its attention to a specific stimulus and occupies itself in its computational processing ignoring other signals or stimuli or to put more correctly on a single aspect of the pattern formed by a given interface ignoring completely other aspects inherent in the interface which have useful information processing potential.

This comes out from the work of Chris Diorio and Rajesh P.N. Rao published in Nature magazine, June 2000 edition, where in their study of neural circuits in silicon they point out that neuronal networks exhibit nonlinear behaviour by selecting the strongest of an array of competing stimuli and suppressing the weaker ones referred to as distractors. The neuronal network further applies multiplicative responses to the selected stimulus amplifying its output activity. They refer to the linear amplification process as analogue and the nonlinear selection as digital. Neurons can have analogue and digital circuit responses. Behaviour that derives from a common set of active neurons is linear in the input, whereas behaviour that derives from a comparison (to effect selection) among different sets of active neurons (more than one stimulus, an aspect of an interface assisted pattern presented to the brain for processing) is nonlinear in the input.

The terms used in constructing the cognitive architecture, by A. J. Wells can easily be taken to represent the concepts of hardware and drives as he attempts the same extrapolation by referring as part of the structural make-up of the cognitive system aspects of the physical world which are not contiguous or coherent and also his architectures include elements which can be thought as processes rather than structural parts of a machine. The sense of architecture implied pertains to an image of a world coherent in conception but fragmented in perception. It might appear to our senses as being separate dissociated fragmented but these fragmented parts are other than fragmented, they are parts of a greater whole intrinsically connected to each other to perform the tasks, functions which the brain understands and undertakes. It approaches Stuart Kaufman's unified reality view, of the world.

Suffice to add that the stimulus selected for processing is determined by the individual as a result of previously learned processes biased towards an individual's needs and wants conditioned in ways the individual has formed its personality make-up.

Concepts, concept development, reflex actions and emerging behaviour patterns

Concepts, as they develop in an individual gradually become rigid and inflexible, ossified structures, driven by the necessity, in the individual, to efficiently tackle life events of a repetitive nature. This is exacerbated by the singleness of awareness, meaning that our mind can only process a single item at a time. Efficiency demands for the mind to establish reflex actions to process repetitive life tasks.

As the reflex arc develops, includes concepts and their attributes, branching out into a network by virtue of the common attributes among concepts, alongside with associated tools or mechanisms required to process the inclusive concepts and attributes. The tools and mechanisms will include the words symbols specific to a concept and syntax rules for assembling the words into meaningful sentences, pertained and defined by the culture from which the words have sprung up.

The network of concepts and associated tools form structures of schemata as it is mentioned in Cognitive Psychology textbooks. The network of concepts further associate itself with emotional social mechanisms which altogether assemble in emerged behaviour patterns. This emerging pattern of behaviour is brought forward and asserts itself each time the associated network of concepts is summoned by events in the every day life of an individual and as it is rigid, a reflex action, it will continue to submerge unchanged.

To change a certain pattern of behaviour the individual has to work on the underlying network of concepts. To enrich already existing concepts with new attributes, to amend, to add the attributes or introduce new concepts altogether. This will be taken up by the brain/mind which it will form new reflex actions and finally new emerging behaviour patterns.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Language is just the tool, in the path for achieving meaning within ourselves. Nothing more.

There is a question in the Responses to Miscellaneous Questions of Eric Faragher website of "Philosophy Articles For Debate", discussing about what constrains and defines the possible. It is not the actual question that concerns me, as much as what has been said in the attempt to give an answer to the question.

I got in a state of confusion, unease and helplessness as both participants' arguments muddied the meaning I should have arrived by following their discussion. At that sort of state I 'left' their discussion.

When I 'returned' the first thing that came to my mind were the words, symbolic systems. referring to Godel's incompleteness theorem, mentioned by Eric Faragher:

"I think Godel's point is that all symbolic systems which attempt to be comprehensive, will eventually produce a paradoxical contradiction, due to the very nature of comprehensive symbolic systems."

I found most of Eric's and Mike's arguments writhed with paradoxical contradictions, which I blamed for feeling confused and disorientated. I suspect both participants, as well as any other individual following the discussion feel likewise. At a lot younger age I felt an uncomfortable numbness at the back of my head, whenever I contemplated about infinity, universe and other similar stuff, something along the lines of, I cannot compute. A feeling of unease disturbed the balance of my mind.

I would rephrase Eric's introduction about philosophy as being boring, to philosophy as being confusing, perplexing and finally becoming scary for a great number of people.

All these feelings, nagging side-effects while individuals attempt to arrive to meaningful assertions about themselves and for their own sake, as this is what it boils down. Meaning belongs in our own heads only and nowhere else. We are not building some "objective" imaginary world but our very own world, alas with a tool, language, that is not as perfect as we think it is.

Godel's point applies foremost for language itself, a purely symbolic system in a vain attempt to be comprehensive, and as Eric points out, it is bound to end up into paradoxical contradictions. Someone should stick to language, as far as the words, the symbols used, serve their purpose, in achieving meaning, and then words should be discarded, thrown away. To follow where they lead you, to be comprehensive, it will not produce anything meaningful. It would lead to a structure which would not have anything to do with reality, it would distort reality and you will end up confused and disillusioned.

Achieving meaning for one's own sake, it is not, to solve the mysteries of the world for human kind, but to achieve meaning for yourself and that is as far as the use of complex language should go. Once you achieve meaning for yourself, whatever that is, you let yourself off language. Overindulgence in language as well as, overindulgence in what philosophers in the past said, quoting to the letter or to the last comma, like they were the holy scriptures or something similar, would only lead in perplexing, meaningless outcomes and would not confer to the meaning one makes of the world.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Making the familiar strange

In the synectics pdf they mention that

"to make the familiar strange is to distort, invert, or transpose the everyday ways of looking and responding which render the world a secure and familiar place."

We make the world a secure and familiar place by the concepts we hold and cherish, the content of our consciousness, that finally make meaningful our selves, the people around us, the whole world. Concepts are abundantly provided by family, neighbourhood, town, city, nation, country, school, workplace, religion and so on.

You distort, invert, transpose the concepts upon which your consciousness is based. It is a mental exercise where single or multiple concepts are questioned. Their correctness and validity is doubted. It can also be connected to a particular problem seeking solution.

In the same document it is mentioned

"It is a conscious attempt to achieve a new look at the same old world, people, ideas, feelings, and things."

Such an exercise is bound to change our consciousness conceptual content. It could lead to a new viewpoint. We might see our selves, the people around us, the world in a new light.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Redundant concepts? What for?

I read in a website:

"First, I will give some putative examples of A-consciousness without P-consciousness. If there could be a full-fledged phenomenal zombie, say a robot computationally identical to a person, but whose silicon brain did not support P-consciousness, that would do the trick. I think such cases conceptually possible, but this is very controversial. (See Shoemaker, 1975, 1981)"

A case that is conceptually possible. It gives a clue about the act of arguing a case. To describe nature you employ concepts. You built a structure, a conceptual structure used to explain the phenomenon. The concepts used should bear a direct relationship with what is observed in the phenomenon. If you use more concepts than are necessary, you built a cumbersome conceptual structure which exceeds the conceptual capacity of the phenomenon itself. Redundant concepts? What is their use? The thought caries on, I would say gets carried away. A construct. I would say an artificial construct. As if language has assumed a life of its own. It can go on and on.

What was that I came across just earlier on, in another website?

"Most successful explanations explain complicated phenomena in terms of simpler ones."

It is like maths. The mathematical language which it can go on and on, as it should satisfy hundreds of clauses and conditions, which are deemed necessary. With ifs, as ifs, and ifs and ifs and iffs ....., it can continue on and on to infinity. It has to be rigorous. I wonder. What for?

The same goes on in other disciplines too. New concepts are invented daily. Such disdain for simple, robust concepts. To add on to already existing concepts, by enriching their content. Depth and not girth. In a quest to conceptualize more and more obscure ideas, which instead of clarifying a field it makes it muddier than ever. End up communicating to each other in ever smaller circles.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

The fractal reality concept combined with the concept of multiple universes. A thought.

Researchers abiding to the branch of process physics, in a paper titled "Process Physics: Modelling Reality as Self-Organising Information" they put forward the concept of three-dimensional fractal process-space.

Reality being organised as a fractal development, visualized as a Mandelbrot set of self-similar objects as you descent down to smaller scales, with ever increasing detail, a trademark of chaotic system developments.

Fractal dimensions using up space as efficiently as it can ever be. Giving another scope in thinking about the concept of time?

From the number 0 to the number 1 you can fit an infinity of numbers. An infinity of fractal dimensions? And in the midst of these fractal dimensions an infinity of fractal worlds, an infinity of multiple universes?

Each of the fractal worlds a universe? The whole fractal construct the entire reality? And all this development materialised from a simple self-referential equation? Reality a result of the development of a self-referential function?

Taking a journey to another fractal world, a universe in itself hidden right next to our own familiar world among the multiplicity of myriad fractal dimensions. Disipating energy as you delve deeper into reality's fractal development?

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Thoughts about reality, a process space

Reality as a field of processes with the processes in living organisms being part of it. A mathematical bed where the living organism unfolds its life cycle as part of the processes undergoing.

It acts as a unit, a unit made out of processes. At each particular moment the processes that determine its behaviour are based on the neurons. The neurons have the ability to communicate and co-ordinate the responses of the unit to the surrounding processes. A particular response is one of a repertoire of responses the unit has already laid for. As the neurons respond to any changes in the physical quantities, variable quantities, that drive processes, in and out of the living unit. Variable quantities that their values fall within the range, of other processes that monitor their outcome, picked up by an allocated group of neurons, connect processes together. Trigger sophisticated calculations. Mathematical processes at work.

Processes bound to act together. They are in accord with each other. Conjugated? Coupled? Connected? What is the significance of that? Each of the processes involved is affected by another. A function connection. An dependency connection within the unit, and not only, as it is also connected with the surrounding processes.

If there was not a connected network of processes in the unit then any effect exerted by the surrounding processes would meet with a passive response, a result of inertia by gravity, or electromagnetic transaction or other.

But the living unit reacts energetically, is responsive. It is not a passive reaction it is an energetic reaction. It is a conscious reaction? How else can we describe this concerted action of processes working together?

May be we can get to name them by mentioning what it can be accomplished by this concerted action of these processes in living things. Or do we have to look at the processes at lower levels as well, even to quantum levels? Looking at it in a hierarchical perspective. Lower and higher levels.

Our neurons chart the space we unfold our actions in

I read in New Scientist magazine, the "Guess what I'm calculating ... Simple genius" cover story of 20th of June 1998 edition, the research of Bill Kristan and John Lewis on the neurons of simple organisms. They concluded that a leech, using only 40 or so neurons,

"can add and subtract, compute sines and cosines and manipulate trigonometric identities ..."

So, in accord with nature, neurons, the unit that builds up the structures of our awareness, consciousness and every mental ability we possess, are able to do complicated procedures, our conscious mind is ignorant of.

And it goes further

"Using neurons with overlapping receptive fields allows you to process space as a continuum",

So neurons collectively chart our surrounding space. Their collective activity, the collective firing patterns of populations of neurons encodes the information about the space we are in, even before that information about their enclosing space is even used. The collaborative nature of the neurons makes it possible to collate all the information that individual neuron groups gather, in the manner described above, overlapping. Each neuron group records space from co-ordinates within the range of presumably adjacent group of neurons.

Our neural arsenal have already built a chart of the space and presumably some element of time and it is there for our consciousness to use and guide our awareness. Is that a way to explain the phenomena of gestalt and blindsight? But even if our consciousness is unable or unwilling to, it would make no difference, things will be taken care off. The concerted efforts of all the neurons in our brain will find a solution. The problem is when our consciousness interferes and meddles with the careful approach our neurons concerted efforts have provided.

And that

"go a long way towards explaining why so many creatures seem to have an almost hard-wired sense of trigonometry."

Bill Kristan says.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Mach's principle provide the foundations of a unified whole where consciousness is embedded in

"Mach’s Principle can be viewed as an entire universe being altered by changes in a single particle ..... or perhaps more aptly, the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Peru causing rains in Kansas".

I have been thinking about Mach's Principle as having a connection with the way I picture consciousness in my mind, but other issues were competing hard their case, muddling up the landscape and as a result from the whole argument developed in my mind what was left was just the name, Mach's Principle, connections once there cut. However its glimpse is still there, tiny for that matter, but still a seed capable of causing hurricanes.

It is what I thought about the uncanny ability of our imagination traversing the universe,(or universes alike) reality. In an instant. What is behind our nurtured notions of ego, to be the world, our very own world, the beginnings of our consciousness in our infantile minds, the inner workings of a solipsist mind. Mach's principle portraying that notion. The single particle altering the entire universe, the infinitesimal flapping of the butterfly's wings in a deep connection that surpasses the furthest boundaries imagined.

I read about "autism, stems from an inability to project outside one's own head ... yet autistics ... often display exceptional talents at math and pattern recognition". Has the mind of autistic individuals still embedded, deeply connected to a world, as described by Mach's principle, in that huge bed of processes that mathematical substrate from which consciousness springs out of? Their prowess at math and pattern recognition show the connections consciousness has with the processes weaving the fabric of reality? Showing us what lies around us? What do we have to pay attention to? And at the same time hint to where we should focus our efforts to understand consciousness?

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Thoughts about the origins of imagination?

Depending on the difference in speed between the observer and the object under observation, space starts to either shrink or expand and time starts to slow down or speed up.

Why this statement stopped me in my tracks? Is it because I realise that this is something new. A new experience which I have to assimilate and fit in and at the same time re-arrange what is already there so I will accept what I regard as new?

Do I see something relevant to consciousness? This interplay of shrinking and expanding space as well as slowing down and speeding up time, as it is affected by the difference in speed between the observer and the object of observation? If somehow the fundamental forces, consciousness relies upon, are delicately influenced by speed differences. What would be the implications on the way the mind perceives phenomena? As these will undergo space shrinking or expanding actions or slowing down or speeding up time actions?

And that notion I thought about consciousness as a being a force? Is that notion relevant with the thoughts you develop now? These changes implicated by speed differences will distort the view of reality, as both space and time are influenced by. Shrinking to the quantum level, expanding to cosmos, slowing down to Planck time speeding up to eons, journeying back and forth to the beginning and the end of time? The foundations of imagination? Are there no bounds?
In relativistic terms?