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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Cartesian Gap: Closed

Is there a duality between awareness and the physical world?
no
there isn't actually a duality between anything to be honest
See when I really get in the zone, I see that there isn't. But I'm not sure which one there 'is'
the reason it appears
that there is
is that we are capable of fiction
the only division
is between the real and unreal
and that's not really a division is it?
it's a fake one
because really
there's only the real
indeed
and the fake stuff is fake
it's a bit of a brain-twister
definitely
it took me about 4 months
of just hitting it
to get my head around it properly
it was one of the serious insights
that led me to
enlightenment
no duality
But thenn, if there is a rock under my floor that I am unaware off, does it exist
except between what is and what isn't
well
you're not really aware
there's just the flow of reality
but how can I suppose it if I am unaware of it
hmm, this is where your quantam physics blog post comes in I think
which we think of as awareness
yeah
look i mean
it's fucking fascinating
really
it is
try to see what i'm saying
although it is a little bit like
intellectual contortionism
but yeah
The problem isn't that thoughts are not real.
basically that's it
that thing stephen said
think of a cinema screen
problem is
george clooney isn't really there
but there's a real image
the division isn't really there
but there's a real image of one
that the pictures the paint, are not true. They exist as thoughts NOT as reality
so the image is real
as an image
well
fuck of course
stephen
this is kind of what i'm saying
it's like the lie
the self if you will
actually does exist
as a lie
it is a real lie
and in that sense
it has that level of reality
like a unicorn
isn't a real thing
but it is a real fiction
I think the image is all that there is, but its not really an image. it's the processing of reality
there is the fiction of it
yeah
exactly
it's definitely strange
but i think it is possible
to close the cartesian gap
that mind-body duality
fuck thats what one of you meant when you said perception is the interpration of reality
by saying
fuck thats what one of you meant when you said perception is the interpration of reality
well kind of
the way i see it
is thinking about processing
what processes what
your eyes
pick up light
that hits the retina
and is processed
into a different form of information
that hits the brain
and is again
processed
but
at some point
there has to be
an end to the processing
something has to 'consume' the information
so to speak
the information has to 'go' somewhere
yeah?
dennett dicked around in this area
didn't quite crack it
basically
it's not that
as dennett said
you get multiple overlapping processing bits
that's silly
and a bit of a cheat
he's just moving the problem back a stage
hiding it in complexity
so to speak
what i think is happening
is that as the information
goes into the brain
and gets blasted through the synapses
and neurons
it is essentially
signal
signal that doesn't seem to be going anywhere
there is no CPU
in the human brian
brain
not brian
that would be silly
but anyway
no CPU
just networks
networks of signal
where is it going?
well
it's collapsing
and being destroyed
in the moment
of becoming real
that's the point
at which it intersects
with reality
which is to say
nowhere fast
awareness
stephen
stop jumping ahead
go back
read what i said
i just closed
the cartesian gap
this is a biggie
I read it
oh
i feel a bit silly now
in philosophical terms
awareness itself
IS the intersecting point
between mind and body
when SIGNAL
collapses
it becomes real
at that moment of collapse
and if you actually look
and if you actually look
Yes very interesting, pain and vision seem to share the same space
at what the actual brain is doing
in real life
you will see
that actually
this is it
it's just signal
collapsing
it is basically
in it's own gooey way
just a bundle of wiring
that's it
that's all
just a shitload of wires
no cp
cpu
nothing
just wires
and signal travelling down them
wires
and input
yeah?
look
that's how simple
the human brain is
wires
and input
just wires to carry the signal
input to get the signal there in the first place
there's no 'consciousness' bit
of the brain
consciousness
is just reality
BUT
signal
collapsing into reality
is thought
as we experience it
and if you take the whole thing together
you get
the experience
of the human mind
does any of that shit i just said
make any sense to anyone?
yes it does, but I feel somewhat there is an element still missing
ah
i don't think so
i think that basically wraps it up
i can't see anything missing
'awareness' of it all
yeah
that's reality
the collapse of the quantum wave front
consciousness
awareness
it's just different words
for the same thing
yeah
awareness is consciousness is reality
is the present moment
is the collapse of possibility into certainty
through the infinity
of actual being
within that collapse there is signal collapsing that merges with awareness in the moment of collapse
that's thought
i honestly can't see a missing piece
no I see it now
it's quite simple
once you get your head around it
it's less complex
and more that
there's all these complex things
that just aren't needed
to explain the reality
of the human condition
which is fundamentally
pretty simple
if we're being honest

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Just A Quick Note On Evolution

Just wanted to get this out in public.

In looking into evolution and such I've been able to make a connection that I think is quite important.

Evolution isn't linear, or at least, anything like as linear as it should be, according to a classical Darwinian account.  Some species have extreme stability over very long periods of time when the habitat around them changes wildly.  A very extreme example of this would be the alligator, which exists in its present form in the fossil record something like 37 million years ago.

That's through a lot of ice ages, and a lot of change, but the organism stayed static.  Now that's just one example, and an extreme one - but the stasis of species through changes in habitat, just in general, is a head-scratcher for evolutionary biologists.  It is pretty common, and indeed, the norm.

And then, every now and then, there is a kind of period known as the 'evolutionary leap' where an organism undergoes rapid change - or a new family of organisms come into being simultaneously.

They all have similar ancestry, and have clearly passed through a process of evolution, but the time is strange.

Everything is either too slow or too fast.  Things are too static, or too volatile.  And this is the exact thing that the connection I was able to make addresses.  Mercifully, it's very simple, and makes clear predictions of the fossil record, so can be clearly falsified if wrong.

This all centres around what's called, in biology, the 'unit of selection'.  What is the core unit that evolution works upon?  Is it the group?  Is it the individual?  Is it the gene itself?

The thing is that the unit of selection idea has been applied in quite a linear way.  That group, individual, and gene are linear progessions downward in terms of scale.

What I propose is a lateral movement.  Instead of looking evolution from the perspective of the group, the or individual, or the gene, why not look at it from the point of view of the beneficial mutation itself?

To actually make the beneficial mutation the unit of selection?

Strange, yes, but bear with me.  Because if you do this, it opens up a completely new dynamic that must work on evolved creatures, that gives an extremely coherent account of the utter necessity of non-linear change to evolution.

So coherent is this account that it should be very easy to statistically map it.  It should be straightforward to do that, and also to test it.  To test it in simulated computer environments, with rapidly reproducing cell cultures, and to see it very clearly in the fossil record.

If it's not happening, that will be very easily seen.  And moreover - it's not just a case of being able to test whether or not this process exists, but more than this.

It's a case of being able to test whether or not the process accurately predicts the actual contour of evolutionary change as demonstrated by the fossil record.

So what I'm saying is - it's not just testable.  This should, if true, allow a statistician to specifically predict the exact shape of non-linear evolutionary change.  This makes it strikingly falsifiable, with very clear conditions for that, and as such, I believe it should at least be worthy of consideration.

Here's the idea.

People have looked at the benefits a helpful mutation will give to the organism.

But the helpful mutation will also help itself.

It's success feeds back into itself and accelerates the rate at which it is present within an organism, and a population.

The change that mutation brings will therefore amplify.

It will amplify in two ways - in how widespread it is in the population, and how profound a change it makes upon the organism.

As this is a beneficial mutation, the more that change deepens within an organism, the more successful that organism will be, and the more pronounced and rapid that change will become.

This a runaway cycle of change.

The acceleration of the mutation continues until that mutation alone is so successful (not for the organism but for itself) that it starts destabilising the organism.

This puts a huge selection priority for supporting change in the organism.  By this, I simply mean that it is as if the organism is being selectively bred to gain traits that help the main beneficial mutation.

Because of this, if, say, a bat's wings start getting too big for it's heart to pump blood effectively to them, then a specific, and strong selective pressure will be put on that species for stronger hearts.

Also things like lighter bones - support mutations.  The main mutation is creating a powerful, directional, selective pressure.

However - it can't go on forever.  There's only so strong a heart can be before it starts using too much energy, and the bat can't eat enough to sustain it.  There's only so light bones can be before they lack the structural strength to support the organism.

As this occurs, a precisely opposing process to the self-reinforcing feedback will occur.  Self-inhibiting feedback.

What this means is that the survival benefit of the original beneficial mutation starts being counterbalanced by the instability it causing in the organism.

This brings it to a new stability.  And this stability is held together - not by the environment, or habitat outside - but by the internal tension between the positive and negative feedback processes surrounding the central beneficial mutation.

Positive and negative feedback, working to destabilise then restabilise a creature with a beneficial mutation undergoing runaway feedback.

This is a very simple way to account for non-linear evolutionary changes (evolutionary stasis, and evolutionary leaps, and such) within a purely microevolutionary framework.

It also makes clear predictions of the fossil record - that, for instance, evolutionary 'branching' will never occur outside the period of unstable positive feedback - the negative feedback will keep it in check.

Evolutionary branching can only occur in the period where a mutation has destabilised, and will do so because the mutation that is feeding back will spread across local, semi-isolated populations if they are present.  Small changes in the gene pools of each population will mean that the amplifying mutation will play out slightly differently.

Also because the mutation is beneficial, it will probably mean that the organism breaks the previous localised barriers, and comes into direct competition with the other populations who are also undergoing change.

They will compete, and one of only three things will happen.  Either one will overcome the others, or they will all subsume into the same genetic pool - if they are very localised.  If they are not, a new family of very similar species will spring into being at much the same time.

The shape of this process is something I call the 'flat-S' graph.

If you chart this change in a single species, there should be a long line of stasis, then a slowly increasing upward curve of change (as the acceleration takes hold).

This upward curve will straighten out, and become quite a straight upward line, until...

The negative feedback overtakes the process, and the graph curves back to a new stasis.

It looks like the letter 's' that's been pulled at each end to flatten it out a little, hence the name.

This is the prediction this theory makes of all evolutionary change.

Another way of looking at this is that is it a different proposed mechanism for the phenomenon of 'punctuated equilibrium' that Stephen Jay Gould identified in the fossil record, but struggled to account for.  It also describes the core process behind the 'evolutionary leap', and thus could potentially represent a new understanding of the mechanism in evolution that forms the origin of separate, specific, stable species.

It is not purely internal - this process would be unlikely to be triggered by a raw, random genetic mutation.

What would be more probably, I think, would be that a specific kind of shift in environment would strongly emphasise one set of traits over the established balance.

So we wouldn't really be looking at the scratch mutation of a defined trait, more that an environmental shift (of a certain kind) would radically emphasise a very specific, single trait that had, up until that time, been just one aspect of a stable continuum.

A good (if somewhat controversial) way of looking at this might be human beings - that the apes from which we are descended almost certainly had all of our various faculties - intelligence, self-awareness, opposable thumbs, the ability to work with tools (much in the same way that modern Chimpanzees clearly demonstrate all these things).

And when an environmental shift occurred, there was a radical change in the specific profile of evolutionary pressure - a change which centred around a single trait.

With baboons - another arboreal ape that moved to the plains - that trait was physical ferocity.  With gibbons - another arboreal ape that moved to the plains, it was dexterity.  With us, it was intelligence.

I think it credible that the reason it went this way is that the apes from which baboons, gibbons and humans were descended each had one generic, transferable, usable evolved trait that was more pronounced and more directly useful in the new environment, to them, than any other.

It then 'pushed out' all the other traits, destabilised the organism around a specific trait, and mutative feedback took hold.

While it is an extreme thing to say, it is at least potentially credible, that this is the nature of all evolutionary leaps.  And it's interesting to think that evolutionary change, as opposed to evolutionary stasis, usually centres around a single trait that is, in the face of a new environment, used in a way that it has never been used before.

There are other parallels which can be drawn here with certain new ways that the human animal has developed to use the evolved intelligence it has (specifically the scientific method itself) but that's something for another time.

If any biologist or paleontologist, or anyone with any formal training in any related discipline has any interest in working on a paper for this, just get in touch, my door is always open.

If there is a serious problem with this, and you can see it, please don't be shy, post it right up in the comments.

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