Eduk wrote:There is very little you in what you say. Are you sure you aren't a Deepak Chopra style quote machine?
I guess I gave that quip because I couldn't tell where you were going with it. I don't think any of us in the preceding posts were trying to make a case that the 'scaryness' of a tree falling isn't a self-reference to body frame, that it isn't our instinctual and strategic understanding of the tree falling as either possibly falling toward us or being felled by a large predator, nor the idea that consciousness is operationally tied to the brain. It was either preaching to the choir or it was in remedy of a belief set no one was pursuing.
-- Updated October 8th, 2017, 12:05 pm to add the following --
Steve3007 wrote:I think I kind of half agree. I agree that our theories are a fiction in the sense that they are made by us in order to describe the patterns in our observations. So the onion is a kind of mental onion (as it were). It can get as big as it likes because we made it. It's an ever more all-encompassing and accurate mental model. The part where I'm not sure I agree is where you say it's an "ever-closer and more accurate approximation of reality". I would stress that this reality thing can only ever be said to be the common factor in all possible observations. I think that there are genuine, concrete reasons that we have to take this approach when we consider some of the discoveries in the 20th Century.
Part of why I go in the opposite direction, ie. peeling the onion rather than building the onion, is that I think we're always and ever excavating the reality below our fictions. In that sense I suppose my own onion model is sweeping heuristics (almost completely wrong about the mechanics of the universe) that are just enough not to get killed by predators, the core of it is perfect knowledge of the universe - which I could agree that the common factor in all possible observations could be a way in but also yes, there are some bizarre things which come up some times that lend to very uncommon and unrepeatable events - that's the sort of thing where I have to consider the pool of human experience in aggregate and, for right or wrong, I'd suggest that we're all reflecting back at the same universe even if our brains may be that different that we don't see the same universe contextually or that in particular arrangement of subatomic particles we never at all see the same universe - I do mean 'same' in the context of what's under and around regardless of rearrangement or varying human limitations.
Steve3007 wrote:My point was that when we talk about a "thing" we're not always talking about a physical object. We're often talking about something that is not a physical object but which is expressed as the arrangement of physical objects. A thing like that, because it is not a physical object, can be duplicated. So the law "something cannot come from nothing" doesn't apply there. That rule was created by us (one of those "fictions" we talked about) to apply specifically to things like matter. It was later extended to slightly less tangible phenomena like energy. But that doesn't mean it can be extended to every phenomenon that we can think of. If we do that we end up with absurd ideas, such as that the total amount of "happiness" in the world is a constant!
We have gradations here as well. A character written on something is completely passive. A closer example of man-made or at least man-manipulated stuff made of data that isn't passive would be computer programs. Could there be consciousness going on there in the processing of zeros and ones? While I think Hillary Putnam had some great ideas the only problem I have there is that at the end of the day a desktop computer or iPhone doesn't have to know what it's processing - it just moves a lot of zeros and ones around. At least I'd say that's true for classical computers as such. Deep learning and neural networks could be that ticket but it's hard to say right now whether enough of that could lead signs of genuine deep/rich emotion (which would be about as good a sign as any if it could be parsed as separate from play-acting). Also if they can find a substance that they can train to react to stimulus, get that stimulus to react to increasingly complex problems, and then get it to be rich enough in makeup to start making decisions about its own states on perceived welfare - that would probably be the ticket.
This is sort of why I made the suggestion in the other thread about consciousness, as a force of nature, being an observer and key-holder that attempts to measure the surroundings of its vehicle for what it can apply to its environment in either eating, sleeping, procreating, or avoiding predators. That system has gotten a lot more complex in its employment since the dawn of tribes and then civilization. IMHO it could very well be field-driven but what gets me, and I think this happens to most people who get into practicing mysticism or shamanism, you do occasionally struggle to pull things up from the depths of your being and you find out - below your default mode network - that there is a lot to pull up and rather than just being a few animalistic or sub-human roots of what pieces you together it's often enough the opposite - eg. the sublime and life-changing. That's where I really have to wonder where, when a person reaches into their own subconscious reserves whether they aren't doing the exact inverse of what a scientist does - ie. barking up the intrinsic tree of the universe rather than the extrinsic. If that last intuition proves to be true it would mean that there's a whole other universe (figuratively speaking) to this universe and unfortunately for science it's almost always obscured because - at least at this point - all of our tools are aimed at measuring matter and energy from a third-party perspective. The only hull-breaches physical reality might take on to some degree is the sort of Jacques Vallee Passport to Magonia type of trickster phenomena which the 20th century UFO phenomena just seemed like it was the latest cultural version of.
-- Updated October 8th, 2017, 12:06 pm to add the following --
Oops, I meant to say that the outside of the onion was sweeping heuristics. Meant to put it in but I see it never got keyed.