• Pop
    357
    With all due respect, this is the main problem I have with your theory - by excluding what transcends this ‘boundary of life and death’, your understanding of reality is limitedPossibility

    But at this stage I find the theory itself insufficient as an explanation of consciousness, because it cannot posit a perspective outside of consciousness itself.Possibility

    I was referring to the issue at hand. Of course my theory exists within a larger theory. As a philosopher you would like to see it in this context, understandably, but even in its cut down version my web site stats tell me nobody has read the theory completely - average time spent being 3mins. :sad:

    My friend works in HR for a large corp. Most of her time is spent resolving disputes that arise due to the limitations of email communication, so we will inevitably incur similar difficulties.

    As I devolve emotion in my imagination, it becomes just a bias to be one way rather then another. This is still fuzzy in my mind, but it seems to be linked to the first instruction in DNA - live and do not die. Emotions provide impetus to life, P-Zombies do not posses them, Emotions seem to be a force, and as such we cannot manipulate them, rather they manipulate us.
    My philosophy is most closely aligned with monistic idealism, where information is fundamental. And the first bit of information informing the big bang was not entirely reasonable. A reasonable big bang would send particles in all directions and they would continue on to infinity away from big bang center to eternity never to meet again. The information had a flaw, or a kink in it, that created a biased information. And biased information is emotion.
    The bias exerted a pull on the particles, much like a car pulling to the side, such that the particles curved in on themselves in orbit and developed spin. As the universe fell in on itself in this way it had to self resolve - self organize. This process of self organisation created consciousness. The universe became an evolving process of self organisation that has at its root a bias to resist the zero point energy state.
    Word for word, this is also my definition of human consciousness.
    The earth was thus determined. Life creating consciousness mutated from the universal consciousness that determined the earth. The domino fell with a skew to the side and life evolved, where consciousness drives evolution by mutation, and natural selection selects. Consciousness is always mutating - every instance is unique, as you also believe. But the flawed fundamental instruction, the first bit of information that informed the universe, and what caused the universe, and consciousness, is preserved in everything in the universe, it is fundamental. It may be the first instruction in DNA - live and do not die! and it is emotional information, in the form of a bias - and emotional information creates our consciousness - only, and always, but not how Barrett sees it.
    Nothing dies in this universe, it just falls to a different level of consciousness.
    Universal consciousness is a far cry from human consciousness, it is just evolving, and not aware of anything. The laws of physics describe a biased universe.
    That is the big picture, in one breath, as I understand it. It is theory upon theory, there is little here that I can prove, it is a belief. and as a belief, I feel uncomfortable positing it. But you sort of asked.

    So from this perspective I hope you can understand why I can not accept Barrett's interpretation. We should just disagree on this issue, and leave it at that.

    I wanted to ask you about a thread about six months ago, where you posted : "The learner is the universe itself, and the learned is the universe." Given we are talking about a situation in consciousness / mind, how did you know this?

    I kind of agree with what you said, and suspect that this information is buried deep in DNA information or somewhere. If the fundamental bit of information is preserved in everything, so might be other information. I understand this is all highly speculative stuff, if you would rather not go into it.
  • Possibility
    1.6k
    I was referring to the issue at hand. Of course my theory exists within a larger theory. As a philosopher you would like to see it in this context, understandably, but even in its cut down version my web site stats tell me nobody has read the theory completely - average time spent being 3mins. :sad:Pop

    Unfortunately, your website does not lend itself to being studied at length. Breaking your theory up into bite-size chunks addressing particular questions or areas of inquiry would be my suggestion (from a strictly marketing/communication standpoint).

    I wanted to ask you about a thread about six months ago, where you posted : "The learner is the universe itself, and the learned is the universe." Given we are talking about a situation in consciousness / mind, how did you know this?

    I kind of agree with what you said, and suspect that this information is buried deep in DNA information or somewhere. If the fundamental bit of information is preserved in everything, so might be other information. I understand this is all highly speculative stuff, if you would rather not go into it.
    Pop

    Well, I don’t claim objective knowledge - I can only try to express what I currently understand from continually imagining, conceptualising, experiencing/evaluating and then reimagining and re-conceptualising inter-subjective relational structures of potential/value from six-dimensional possibility. It’s a process similar to the scientific method, and extends into it, but accounts for qualitative as well as quantitative information, and the indeterminacy (uncertainty/subjectivity) or dimensional relativity of all relational structure.

    My own philosophy (highly speculative) suggests that universal existence is fundamentally driven to interrelate - to increase awareness, connection and collaboration - but is perpetually haunted by the simplest of information: the possibility (and sublime effortlessness) of non-existence. The 0 of the absolute binary. It is this binary that is eventually interpreted by life forms (four-dimensional events) as ‘live and do not die’. A similar binary interpretation forms the perceived limitations of universal existence at every dimensional level of relational structure, from one-dimensional sub-atomic particles to five-dimensional conceptual systems.

    So, the ‘bias’ you’re referring to is fairly obvious at this fundamental level: to exist, or to not exist, that is the question. You may call it ‘emotion information’, but you have to recognise the anthropocentric lens this interpretation has, and account for it in relation to physics (which struggles to reconcile the quantitative/qualitative bias - eg. QM/gravity). The less energy or information a system has or is aware of, connected to or collaborating with, the stronger the tendency to fall back towards a lower dimensional level of relational structure, or ‘consciousness’: to ignore, isolate or exclude information that requires more effort and attention to integrate than appears to be available. But, like the electron in its orbit, it takes a surge of effort to traverse either the upper or lower limit. So the system tends to ‘bounce’ or oscillate between its determined limits, for the most part. Until a ‘chance’ interaction enables a collaboration or exclusion strong enough (qualitative-attention and quantitative-effort) to tip the bias - like the behaviour of a magnetic ‘force’.

    As a monist and structural realist, my aim has been to understand a relational structure of existence that is consistent and rational (without reliance on, or rejection of, logic or ‘reason’) from ‘the All’ to ‘the Big Bang’ and back again. In my view, our biggest hurdles in understanding have all derived from an either-or approach to the quantitative/qualitative aspect of information, including the singularity, the Big Bang, abiogenesis, the advent of multi-cellular organisms, consciousness, culture and even the notion of ‘love’. Barrett’s theory goes some way towards accounting for our system bias, in my view - whether or not she would agree with me. But I’m happy to put a pin in that disagreement, although I will probably continue to refer to her model.
  • Pop
    357
    Unfortunately, your website does not lend itself to being studied at length. Breaking your theory up into bite-size chunks addressing particular questions or areas of inquiry would be my suggestion (from a strictly marketing/communication standpoint).Possibility

    Yes I agree, I'm a total novice at this, but I think I can find a better way to do it. I'm glad you replied, I value your input as one of the deepest thinkers here, and you have found some flaws with the theory for which I am grateful. You come at this from a different angle to me, which is really valuable as you will see things that I cannot, but I think we are roughly in the same ball park.

    From the perspectives that you have characterized, the hard problem of consciousness can not be solved. For this reason the paradigm is likely false.
    — Pop

    That’s a rapid jump to a dismissive conclusion. There’s much more to my position than what I’ve outlined here in response to your theory. The hard problem of consciousness assumes that inanimate matter is unable to ‘experience’.
    Possibility

    I did not mean this in the way it was taken. But it is funny that this becomes a valid argument with a complete theory, which you subsequently use on me for not presenting one. :smile:

    The role of emotion has not been pinned down by science, and it is not a topic materialism can easily deal with. The way I see it, the biological system already understood emotion - why would it need a second emotional processor? I don't think it did, It needed a triangulation processor. Something to strip away the emotion from the information. A P.zombie can do all the things that a person can mentally,
    but it has no impetus to do them - it lacks the impetus that emotion provides as it has no Pain / Pleasure spectrum. Emotion seems to be the force providing impetus to consciousness. In science a bias is a systemic error, so there can be no advantage in possessing a systemic error in your computation. The best computation will be hard cold reason / logic , an emotional force can only hinder this, in my view. But this all takes time to integrate, so in the meantime I will look forward to your objections.

    I agree with all of paragraph 1 and 2: we are all in the same boat trying to make the most of what little information there is in our possession.
    but you have to recognise the anthropocentric lens this interpretation has, and account for it in relation to physicsPossibility

    As an idealist this is not such a big problem for me as ultimately, I believe, reality only exists in mind, so minds that rely on physical proof might be unreachable, but there are plenty left over. All I can hope for realistically is to plant a seed or two.

    I will have to brush up on structural realism.

    So, do you believe that the universe is conscious but not self aware - a process of self organization with a bias to resist zero point energy? creating order from chaos? It seems this is what consciousness is - the order from what otherwise would be chaos? It is a different order in everybody, and everything.
  • Roy Davies
    79
    From the biological / cellular perspective, we simply feel pain or pleasure at the site, significantly what we feel is a gradient of pain or pleasure, and  this dominates consciousness, no reason is necessary, and this gets attended to reflexively as a priorityPop

    I’m curious about this statement. Does a simple cellular organism experience pain or pleasure? It certainly would try to avoid existential threats - which seems to match your idea of what consciousness is for. So, is that organism conscious?
  • Possibility
    1.6k
    The role of emotion has not been pinned down by science, and it is not a topic materialism can easily deal with. The way I see it, the biological system already understood emotion - why would it need a second emotional processor? I don't think it did, It needed a triangulation processor. Something to strip away the emotion from the information. A P.zombie can do all the things that a person can mentally, but it has no impetus to do them - it lacks the impetus that emotion provides as it has no Pain / Pleasure spectrum. Emotion seems to be the force providing impetus to consciousness. In science a bias is a systemic error, so there can be no advantage in possessing a systemic error in your computation. The best computation will be hard cold reason / logic , an emotional force can only hinder this, in my view. But this all takes time to integrate, so in the meantime I will look forward to your objections.Pop

    Post quantum era science can no longer afford to simply dismiss the systemic errors in its computations. Electromagnetism and gravity cannot be reconciled with quantum mechanics in relation to our predictions, because one computation treats the qualitative aspects of energy and matter as a purely quantitative value, and the other computation excludes it altogether. So, in my view, the biological system didn’t develop a second ‘emotional processor’ - it developed a more complex system to process differentiated value relations. As William James said: “‘Fear’ of getting wet is not the same fear as fear of a bear”.

    As an idealist this is not such a big problem for me as ultimately, I believe, reality only exists in mind, so minds that rely on physical proof might be unreachable, but there are plenty left over. All I can hope for realistically is to plant a seed or two.

    I will have to brush up on structural realism.
    Pop

    Try to keep an open mind when you do - such as it is. It’s a valid alternative to idealism, in my view. If you believe that reality exists only in mind, then why do so many different minds exist? And what is this ‘emotion information’ as a relational structure between minds? And how does emotion exist outside of mind? When we posit the existence of an external ‘force’, we imply an aspect of existence beyond what that force acts between. It would be ignorant to not then strive to relate to that ‘force’ as if it, too, were an aspect of existence, with properties and attributes, such that we might collaborate with it.

    So, do you believe that the universe is conscious but not self aware - a process of self organization with a bias to resist zero point energy? creating order from chaos? It seems this is what consciousness is - the order from what otherwise would be chaos? It is a different order in everybody, and everything.Pop

    I believe that humanity is the self-aware aspect of the universe, that life is the conscious aspect, and that all other elements of the universe have dimensionally reduced capacities for awareness, connection and collaboration, on account of the attention and effort (energy) limitations of their integrated relational structures. We may appear to be ‘creating’ order in our mind, but this ‘order in chaos’ exists regardless: as a fundamental possibility. All we’re really doing is understanding it in order to collaborate with minimal prediction error (our source of suffering). And it only appears to be a different order for everybody and everything because we’re still developing a system to reliably distinguish between value and meaning - this is the impending paradigm shift. Beyond this horizon, the ‘zero point [potential]’ becomes not death but nihilism: the p-zombie state of existence.
  • Roy Davies
    79
    Reality exist only as we perceive it, surely?
  • Roy Davies
    79
    I can only perceive that other entities exist, but I don’t know for sure.
  • Pop
    357
    I’m curious about this statement. Does a simple cellular organism experience pain or pleasure? It certainly would try to avoid existential threats - which seems to match your idea of what consciousness is for. So, is that organism conscious?Roy Davies

    We all have different conceptions as to what consciousness is. I have defined it as a system of self organization. But yes microorganisms do react to painful stimuli, so I would assume the absence of pain would be pleasure.
  • Pop
    357
    Reality exist only as we perceive it, surely?Roy Davies

    You can direct your questions by hovering over the comment near the time indicator and clicking the arrow.
  • Roy Davies
    79
    Thanks. I’m obviously new to this forum and am still finding out the intricacies of the platform. Though I am presently on an iPad, so not sure if hovering and clicking is an option. Aha, click and select seems to work instead, Hmm, the seemingly infinite reality of a new-to-me interface is an interesting distraction.
  • Possibility
    1.6k
    We all have different conceptions as to what consciousness is. I have defined it as a system of self organization. But yes microorganisms do react to painful stimuli, so I would assume the absence of pain would be pleasure.Pop

    How do you know if the stimuli is ‘painful’? Is it because it would be painful to you? Or is it assumed from the microorganism’s repellent reaction?
  • Possibility
    1.6k
    Reality exist only as we perceive it, surely?Roy Davies

    Who’s we?
  • Pop
    357
    The video below shows a microorganism being poked with a hair. It reacts initially by contracting. After some time of this it decides to move elsewhere. I can not know what pain means to a microorganism precisely. I have no reason to believe it is something different to them then it is to other animals. What do you think?

  • Possibility
    1.6k
    So we call it ‘painful’ because the behaviour response is generally repellent. I’m not suggesting it’s something other than pain, I’m just making sure you understand that there is no awareness that something particular is ‘painful’ as such. There are no objects or emotions: there is a two-dimensional affected area of information, which aligns in effort and attention with a two-dimensional affecting area of information. That’s all. The cell evaluates affect - an overall prediction of valence and arousal in the system, which it differentiates into two-dimensionally mapped effort and attention instructions within a four-dimensional existence: stop interacting now (ie. reduce affected/affecting area), or direct attention and effort over time towards a more valuable affecting area in which to interact.

    But you can’t separate out the qualitative information from the quantitative in this process. The two-dimensional map alignment is based on all of it. The main difference between us and the paramecium is that we can now adjust and align complex four-dimensional maps - using the same valence/arousal-to-effort/attention system. We also have the capacity to differentiate between potential map alignment instructions, and evaluate them in relation to each other, through our conceptual systems. And with self-reflection and abstract language, we can even adjust and align five-dimensional maps or conceptual systems and relate them to each other.

    So the separation of qualitative and quantitative information is an arbitrary differentiation of possible map alignment instructions (ie. reductionist methodology), that is incompatible with the way we actually interact with reality. We’ve grown so used to interacting with each other on a purely conceptual level, that we haven’t accurately developed our understanding of five-dimensional reality in order to adjust and align our conceptual systems for actual interactions.
  • Pop
    357
    So we call it ‘painful’ because the behavior response is generally repellent. I’m not suggesting it’s something other than pain, I’m just making sure you understand that there is no awareness that something particular is ‘painful’ as such.Possibility

    We can not know this for sure with other humans either. I doubt vey much that it would be exactly the same pain that I, or you, would feel, but it is an emotion that gives impetus to behavior. There is information processing going on, and a decision is made, however limited it may be.

    So the separation of qualitative and quantitative information is an arbitrary differentiation of possible map alignment instructions (ie. reductionist methodology), that is incompatible with the way we actually interact with reality.Possibility

    I'm having trouble understanding you as I don't think in terms of dimensions, but I think you are confirming that emotion cannot be separated from information. That would be how I understand it, from a reductionist point of view. I would say, from an idealists perspective, everything can be reduced to information, and everything has qualia, including information. How it is formed and processed is the question. I need to consider this, as you have instilled some doubt.
  • Possibility
    1.6k
    We can not know this for sure with other humans either. I doubt vey much that it would be exactly the same pain that I, or you, would feel, but it is an emotion that gives impetus to behavior. There is information processing going on, and a decision is made, however limited it may be.Pop

    True. It may not even be ‘pain’, and the ‘emotion’ may be misinterpreted, as well as the cause. It is, however, a negative value affect perceived in the organism, attributed to the affecting area/object/event, that gives impetus to repellent action.

    I'm having trouble understanding you as I don't think in terms of dimensions, but I think you are confirming that emotion cannot be separated from information. That would be how I understand it, from a reductionist point of view. I would say, from an idealists perspective, everything can be reduced to information, and everything has qualia, including information. How it is formed and processed is the question. I need to consider this, as you have instilled some doubt.Pop

    That’s okay - most people don’t think in terms of dimensions. The reason I do is because it helps me to keep everything in perspective. Much of our confusion in discussion comes from treating ideas or concepts (5D) as actual observable events (4D), or even as physical ‘objects’ (3D), and ignoring the relative value we would attribute from our own experiential position.

    I would say that as humans we CAN (and do) differentiate and therefore ignore, isolate and exclude our emotional position as ‘irrelevant’ information in relation to how we conceptualise the world - but NOT in our temporal existence. Once the Will gets involved - the function by which one determines and initiates action - all bets are off. Because the organism’s effort and attention is allocated according to affect - always. It’s a limitation of our existence.

    For me, though, the base binary of information is not Shannon information, but existence. It goes deeper than a material manifestation of knowledge. Shannon information is a logical ratio that effectively assumes an aligned spatial position - and then disregards the first three dimensions. So each ‘bit’ of information relies on physical contact as its base existence: 0 is no relation on contact; I is relation on contact, and therefore Shannon information exists relative to physical contact. Those who prescribe to digital logic tend to take material existence as a given, or ignore it altogether.

    All logic works in a similar way, usually relying on anthropocentrism as a base existence: zero and positive/negative infinity are its value limits in relation to an assumption of ‘life’ as a four-dimensional event. This seems more intuitive, assuming an aligned spatio-temporal position - except, like digital logic, it only assigns one value at a time.

    This one-value problem corresponds to the uncertainty principle, and the irreducibility of conjugate variable pairings that mess with the qualitative/quantitative divide: position/momentum; matter/energy; valence/arousal; attention/effort.

    If we take the base binary of information instead to be existence/non-existence, then a relational structure develops in a dimensional form that can account for the quantitative/qualitative divide more objectively than either human or digital logic.

    Sorry, this got a little heavy.
  • Pop
    357
    Sorry, this got a little heavy.Possibility

    No, that's ok, I'm glad you explained it. My problem is, as I do not think as you, I can not not always evaluate what you are saying, but I'm glad to get your alternative view, and perspective. I'm a plain old reductionist - too old to change now.

    I'm still trying to articulate how emotional information works. I'll run it by you when I'm finished.

    a negative value affect perceived in the organism, attributed to the affecting area/object/event, that gives impetus to repellent action.Possibility

    - I'll take this, as you are describing a process of self organization with an affective bias.
  • Possibility
    1.6k
    No, that's ok, I'm glad you explained it. My problem is, as I do not think as you, I can not not always evaluate what you are saying, but I'm glad to get your alternative view, and perspective. I'm a plain old reductionist - too old to change now.Pop

    Yeah, not many people think like me, I’m afraid.

    The way I see it, reductionism seeks accurate methodologies to render the world into more efficient forms of information. The problem is that the methodologies we currently rely on and have built into our language and logic are based on old assumptions and anthropocentrism that no longer stand up to scrutiny. Somewhere along the way, we figured it was more important to reliably understand each other (either quantitatively or qualitatively) than to reliably understand reality as a whole. It’s a compromise that most reductionists seem comfortable with, but only because they’ve convinced themselves of certain limitations.

    As a reductionist-idealist, it appears that you view consciousness as the base existence, with the ‘pleasure/pain spectrum’ and ‘zero point energy’ as upper and lower limitations in relation to an assumption of ‘mind’. Your notion of ‘emotion-information’ seems to me just another form of anthropocentric logic - albeit one with a bias towards qualitative information, dismissing quantitative information as ‘irrelevant’. That’s how I understand it, at this stage, anyway.

    At some point, like every other theory of consciousness, you’re going to have to reconcile your theory with quantum physics (the home of reductionist-materialists) - just like any quantum physics interpretation is going to have to reconcile with general relativity, gravity, the measurement problem and, of course, qualia.

    The way I see it, it’s never too late to change. You seem to otherwise have an active, inquisitive mind.

    a negative value affect perceived in the organism, attributed to the affecting area/object/event, that gives impetus to repellent action.
    — Possibility

    - I'll take this, as you are describing a process of self organization with an affective bias.
    Pop

    Sort of. Our self-organisation process from intentionality to action will always be subject to affect: every thought, word and movement contains at least some reference to our affective state, no matter how ‘rational’ we think we are. As far as I can see it’s only a ‘bias’ if it’s excluding or unfairly dismissive of information, though.
  • Malcolm Lett
    41
    Hi @Pop, I've read through your full article.

    I was very interested as you suggested in your OP that it tackles the hard problem of consciousness. However, I don't think you actually touch on that question.

    The article makes an early claim that everything living is conscious. eg:
    There is no reasonable way to separate consciousness from life. They are two aspects of the one thing. Consciousness is the quality that gives rise to life, and in turn consciousness is the singular thing that life expresses. The notion that only some forms of life posses consciousness is incoherent and baseless. All living creatures are self learning and programming. All living creatures are involved in a process of self organisation - always! They are all conscious, but they all possesses a different degree and a different version of consciousness.

    You don't offer any basis for this claim. It sounds like you are assuming panpsychism, which is not generally accepted. Perhaps you could offer a more detailed account of why you think everything living is conscious.

    Overall, I'd say that you've conflated self-organisation and consciousness without providing an explanation.

    Also, take a look at the Free Energy Principle (from Karl Friston), I think you'll find it's very similar to your theory of the Emotional Gradient, but is more general. I'd also suggest it's a better characterisation than using the word 'emotion'.
  • Pop
    357
    Sort of. Our self-organisation process from intentionality to action will always be subject to affect: every thought, word and movement contains at least some reference to our affective state, no matter how ‘rational’ we think we are. As far as I can see it’s only a ‘bias’ if it’s excluding or unfairly dismissive of information, though.Possibility

    Hooray! I think we agree! It seems to me that this is what I'm characterizing in the OP instance of consciousness. In my estimation, and yours, consciousness at all times has an affective state, and the affective state reduces to a feeling, which is ultimately resolved to a point on a pain / pleasure spectrum. Affect / feelings are ultimately painful or pleasurable, that they have this affect on us that orients us in our personal reality, and provides impetus to behavior. The affect creates an emotional bias - it colors the subsequent thinking / response with emotion. Hard to see when the affect is mild, but easy when it is severe. It is the element P.Zombies lack, that we posses, so this is the element that creates consciousness. In my thinking, the PPS is the base, thinking ultimately bounces off this base, to create more thinking and action.

    The way I see it, reductionism seeks accurate methodologies to render the world into more efficient forms of information. The problem is that the methodologies we currently rely on and have built into our language and logic are based on old assumptions and anthropocentrism that no longer stand up to scrutiny.Possibility

    Yes I agree, I often find myself thinking there's got to be a better way. Pining complex concepts to simple expressions is not ideal, but as you say that is where we are. Or at least that is where I am, not so yourself.

    As a reductionist-idealist, it appears that you view consciousness as the base existence, with the ‘pleasure/pain spectrum’ and ‘zero point energy’ as upper and lower limitations in relation to an assumption of ‘mind’. Your notion of ‘emotion-information’ seems to me just another form of anthropocentric logic - albeit one with a bias towards qualitative information, dismissing quantitative information as ‘irrelevant’. That’s how I understand it, at this stage, anyway.Possibility

    No not at all. I think you would characterize our position as being relative to the different dimensions of reality effecting us. I would simply say we poses a sanity that orients us in our world. Yes it is anthropocentric, as from an idealists point of view reality is personally constructed and only exists in an end user consciousness. There is an outside physical world with real people, but we have no access to it. We only have access to our personal construction of it, which is slightly different for everyone. Hence every instance of consciousness is unique.

    At some point, like every other theory of consciousness, you’re going to have to reconcile your theory with quantum physics (the home of reductionist-materialists) - just like any quantum physics interpretation is going to have to reconcile with general relativity, gravity, the measurement problem and, of course, qualia.Possibility

    This would be outside my skillset, and area of interest. I am really more interested in the psychology, belief, and sanity aspects of consciousness. I think you are correct, that it needs more information to be
    more credible. I see this information coming from research in biology. Proving cellular complexity to be a consciousness would seal the deal, I think, and there are good strides being made with cellular imaging and animation - at some point the penny must drop that this is too complex to be explained by chance
  • Pop
    357
    Hi Pop, I've read through your full article.Malcolm Lett

    Hi, well you must be the first to have read it fully. :smile: My web sit stats say the average stay is 3 mins.

    I was very interested as you suggested in your OP that it tackles the hard problem of consciousness. However, I don't think you actually touch on that question.Malcolm Lett

    Yes, I think because we all have different conceptions of consciousness, we also have different hard problems. I was trying to characterize how emotions create a mechanism that drives consciousness.
    This was what i considered as being hard . Yes my theory is panpsychist with a slight twist.

    You don't offer any basis for this claim. It sounds like you are assuming panpsychism, which is not generally accepted. Perhaps you could offer a more detailed account of why you think everything living is conscious.


    Thanks for pointing that out. I would have thought this was self evident - .All living creatures are self learning and programming. All living creatures are involved in a process of self organisation - always!
    But several people have mentioned this, so perhaps I will have to strengthen my case in this regard.

    Overall, I'd say that you've conflated self-organisation and consciousness without providing an explanation.
    Malcolm Lett

    I couldn't get over the fact that even the simplest of creatures are involved in a process of self organization, and I asked myself am I always involved in a process of self organization, and concluded yes. So I arrived at a definition, and tested if the definition works for the universe and concluded that it did.

    I don't believe there is agreement as to what consciousness is so a definition was necessary, of course it only works within the theory, and not for immaterial consciousness, etc.

    Also, take a look at the Free Energy Principle (from Karl Friston), I think you'll find it's very similar to your theory of the Emotional Gradient, but is more general. I'd also suggest it's a better characterisation than using the word 'emotion'.Malcolm Lett

    Yes, but it is a difficult concept to understand and also relies on assumptions. I have stated zero point energy, but this also is not the ideal term. I like emotion, but admit this may be my personal bias creeping in. Emotions would have evolved like everything else, but there is no reason to believe all living creatures do not posses them in some form, and a bias to be just so, and no other way is what the laws of classical physics describe of the universe.

    Thanks for your input.
  • Possibility
    1.6k
    Hooray! I think we agree! It seems to me that this is what I'm characterizing in the OP instance of consciousness. In my estimation, and yours, consciousness at all times has an affective state, and the affective state reduces to a feeling, which is ultimately resolved to a point on a pain / pleasure spectrum. Affect / feelings are ultimately painful or pleasurable, that they have this affect on us orients us in our personal reality, and provides impetus to behavior. The affect creates an emotional bias - it colors the subsequent thinking / response with emotion. Hard to see when the affect is mild, but easy when it is severe. It is the element P.Zombies lack, that we posses, so this is the element that creates consciousness. In my thinking, the PPS is the base, thinking ultimately bounces off this base, to create more thinking and action.Pop

    Steady on - my point is that our affective state is NOT reducible to ‘a feeling’ or resolved to a point on a pain-pleasure spectrum, except through ignorance, isolation or exclusion of information. Subsuming an affective state under a singular value-concept of ‘pleasure-pain’ ignores the complexity of that state, and ultimately the complexity of consciousness itself.

    Affect is not just a position on a linear scale between pleasure and pain - it includes an axis of arousal, and is part of a four-dimensional interoceptive state. This ongoing overall state is related to an ongoing four-dimensional prediction provided by conceptual reality, and the interaction generates an ongoing, predictive instruction of effort and attention towards an alignment of state and prediction. Most of that effort and attention is directed towards adjusting the state, with some directed towards adjusting the prediction, in anticipation of future states.

    This works in a similar way to genetic information. The organism generates a predictive instruction of effort and attention towards an alignment of life-form and how it lives. Most of that effort and attention is directed towards adjusting how it lives, but some is directed towards adjusting the future life-form, including gene alteration or variability, the environment it is born into, child-rearing practises, etc.

    Valence (pleasant/unpleasant) is one of two overall aspects of affect, but pain is not - rather, it often has a particular spatial location in the body. In this way, pain contributes to overall affect - both in terms of valence and arousal - but is not an overall measure in itself. So the impetus is much more complex than towards pleasure and away from pain. There are plenty of situations where we are motivated towards a particular instance of pain or away from a particular instance of pleasure. Your spectrum is unreliable as an explanation of the impetus. You need to explain why we are motivated, for instance, to persist with some pain of exercise but not others, or to avoid a caress in one situation but actively pursue it in another. Lasting pleasure in relation to short-term pain (or vice versa) or localised pain (with its accompanying arousal) in relation to overall pleasure is not accounted for in your reductionist methodology.

    Thinking and behaviour are always affected by the interoceptive state of the organism, whether we identify an ‘emotion’ or not. The classical view assumes that thinking is always rational, and that emotion is an isolated element that runs interference on our behaviour from some ‘primitive’ area of the brain. But “affect is a constant current throughout your life, even when you are completely still or asleep. It does not turn on and off in response to events you experience as emotional. In this sense, affect is a fundamental aspect of consciousness, like brightness and loudness.”

    I think you would characterize our position as being relative to the different dimensions of reality effecting us. I would simply say we poses a sanity that orients us in our world. Yes it is anthropocentric, as from an idealists point of view reality is personally constructed and only exists in an end user consciousness. There is an outside physical world with real people, but we have no access to it. We only have access to our personal construction of it, which is slightly different for everyone. Hence every instance of consciousness is unique.Pop

    I think we continually strive to orient us in our world by developing an extended relational structure through a process of prediction, interaction, error, adjustment and sampling. But each time we manage an accurate orientation, we become vaguely aware of a world beyond that external structure, and with that the inadequacy of the existing system to complete this orientation alone. A paradigm shift requires a redistribution of effort and attention away from preserving the existing system and increasing awareness and connection towards a collaborative effort to orient collectively in the world beyond. This describes the sacrifice (and rarity) of every dimensional shift in an increasing awareness: including atomic (1D), molecular (2D), biochemical (3D), biological life (4D), socio-cultural values (5D) and meaningful relations (6D). The words we use at each level differs, but the process is the same:randomness at one level is variation at another, or prediction or imagination.

    While I agree that we rely for the most part on a personal construction of the world (inside and out), I disagree that we have no access to reality at all. Rather, our access is limited by the construction of the system and by its available energy - the attention and effort we can spare in the moment - and our efficiency in this has been developing at a rapid rate. How do you think we constructed our view of reality in the first place?

    That you refer to ‘an outside physical world with real people’ is telling. The reality of the world beyond the ‘self’ does not really consist of ‘things’ and ‘people’, but of interrelated possibility or existence-information, which we organise into ideas, subsume under concepts, render as objects and reduce to physics for our various purposes. And it’s the same inside our skin - we are inseparable from this existence-information, except in our own ‘mind’ or socio-cultural construction through ignorance, isolation and exclusion.

    If every instance of consciousness is unique, then why get caught up in the inaccuracy of defining consciousness from our own limited experience? Our understanding of consciousness will come not from the content, but from the structure. Not from the trees, but from the forest. Not from quanta or qualia, but from a tested and refined relational structure that renders this complexity of information reliable for every interaction.

    This would be outside my skillset, and area of interest. I am really more interested in the psychology, belief, and sanity aspects of consciousness. I think you are correct, that it needs more information to be more credible. I see this information coming from research in biology. Proving cellular complexity to be a consciousness would seal the deal, I think, and there are good strides being made with cellular imaging and animation - at some point the penny must drop that this is too complex to be explained by chancePop

    Well, we’ll put it down to a limitation of the system for them moment. I’ve found that the psychology, belief and sanity aspects of consciousness tend to fall outside most philosophers’ area of interest - if you’re not willing to venture outside of this particular area of interest, then you may struggle to develop your theory from a philosophical perspective.

    The penny has dropped many times over, and there are many recent books fleshing out this ‘too complex to be explained by chance’ argument, and suggesting possible alternatives. But biochemistry research is hemmed in from both sides by some stubborn assumptions in materialism and evolutionary theory. Thomas Nagel, in his book ‘Mind and Cosmos’, offers some interesting speculation in the wake of these unravelling conceptions. He was unsurprisingly criticised for an open-mindedness to teleological alternatives, but the questions and structural process he proposes make his book worth a read.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    1.6k
    You don't offer any basis for this claim. It sounds like you are assuming panpsychism, which is not generally accepted. Perhaps you could offer a more detailed account of why you think everything living is conscious.Malcolm Lett

    I couldn't get over the fact that even the simplest of creatures are involved in a process of self organization, and I asked myself am I always involved in a process of self organization, and concluded yes. So I arrived at a definition, and tested if the definition works for the universe and concluded that it did.Pop

    I see no reason why consciousness should be exclusive to organic lifeforms. If consciousness is indicated by the impulse towards self organization, what are the implications in considering that the atom indisputably factors as one of the greatest organizations known to man? On another hand, if a particular degree of intelligence is a nessecary criterion for indicating the presence of consciousness, consider AI.
    It seems that the hylozoist perspective has more hope in the present day than has ever been seen in the history of man.
  • Pop
    357
    I see no reason why consciousness should be exclusive to organic lifeformsMerkwurdichliebe

    Neither do I, and I intend to expand the theory in that direction in the future sometime.
  • Pop
    357
    Steady on - my point is that our affective state is NOT reducible to ‘a feeling’ or resolved to a point on a pain-pleasure spectrum, except through ignorance, isolation or exclusion of information. Subsuming an affective state under a singular value-concept of ‘pleasure-pain’ ignores the complexity of that state, and ultimately the complexity of consciousness itself.Possibility

    I think you mostly object to my reductionist approach. You interpret what I am saying literally and definitively. But I characterize the theory as a sketch. And in the instance of consciousness I state it works something like this.

    Our affective state has to be reducible to something - note that it is always either painful, or pleasurable, or something in between. There is great complexity going on , as you state, and I doubt that such a thing as an instance of consciousness can exist, however this complex state has to be characterized in some way and I think the OP dose a fair job. It is not ignoring the complexity of the state, but trying to pin it to a simple, and widely understood expression.

    If every instance of consciousness is unique, then why get caught up in the inaccuracy of defining consciousness from our own limited experience? Our understanding of consciousness will come not from the content, but from the structure. Not from the trees, but from the forest. Not from quanta or qualia, but from a tested and refined relational structure that renders this complexity of information reliable for every interaction.Possibility

    This is where our philosophies diverge. From an idealists perspective all the things you mention are variable concepts in our mind. So it is not possible for me to construct a theory from the paradigm that you pose. I have to look to the trees, and find the elements that are common to every tree, and proceed from there. I think I have characterized a reliable emotional mechanism of consciousness, but you find it too simplistic for your paradigm.

    If you do not agree that affective states are feelings that ultimately resolve to a pain / pleasure spectrum, then you are left in an affective limbo, with no possibility of answering the hard problem, as is the case with Barrett, I imagine.

    While I agree that we rely for the most part on a personal construction of the world (inside and out), I disagree that we have no access to reality at all. Rather, our access is limited by the construction of the system and by its available energy - the attention and effort we can spare in the moment - and our efficiency in this has been developing at a rapid rate. How do you think we constructed our view of reality in the first place?

    That you refer to ‘an outside physical world with real people’ is telling. The reality of the world beyond the ‘self’ does not really consist of ‘things’ and ‘people’, but of interrelated possibility or existence-information, which we organise into ideas, subsume under concepts, render as objects and reduce to physics for our various purposes. And it’s the same inside our skin - we are inseparable from this existence-information, except in our own ‘mind’ or socio-cultural construction through ignorance, isolation and exclusion.
    Possibility

    I didn't say we have no access to reality. We have access to the physical world via information, which sadly is incomplete and often flawed or false. We must nevertheless join the dots, and there lies the problem - we fill in the blanks with our hopes, and create a belief.
    I too state in my theory that we are inseparable from the information surrounding us - we breath it in like air, our consciousness integrates it and turns it into emotion, via the PPS, affecting our entire body, providing impetus to behavior.

    At least we are in the same ball park. :smile:
  • Malcolm Lett
    41
    I see no reason why consciousness should be exclusive to organic lifeforms. If consciousness is indicated by the impulse towards self organization, what are the implications in considering that the atom indisputably factors as one of the greatest organizations known to man?Merkwurdichliebe

    The only thing we know with certainty sufficient to take for granted is that the majority of humans are conscious. As our observations of the animal kingdom have improved along with our understanding of neuroscience it is has become generally accepted that many animals are also conscious - so we now say that is is likely that a large part of the animal kingdom also experience consciousness -- ie: phenomenal experience.

    Beyond that we just don't know. All statements beyond that are nothing more than conjecture. All options are possible, though some are more reasonable/likely than others.

    And any such conjectures need to be presented with a reasonable explanation as to why anyone else might find those conjectures compelling.

    My point is, @Pop cannot make a statement to the effect that all things experience consciousness and assume it to be self evident. They either must state that they take it as an assumption/opinion (and thus make it explicit that they will not attempt to prove it), or they must offer some rationale.
  • Possibility
    1.6k
    I think you mostly object to my reductionist approach. You interpret what I am saying literally and definitively. But I characterize the theory as a sketch. And in the instance of consciousness I state it works something like this.

    Our affective state has to be reducible to something - note that it is always either painful, or pleasurable, or something in between. There is great complexity going on , as you state, and I doubt that such a thing as an instance of consciousness can exist, however this complex state has to be characterized in some way and I think the OP dose a fair job. It is not ignoring the complexity of the state, but trying to pin it to a simple, and widely understood expression.
    Pop

    I don’t object to reductionist methodology per se - I think it’s a necessary process from imagination and understanding to interaction, particularly for testing belief structures, and for the creative process to produce anything. But a widely understood expression seems a flimsy choice of something to pin a theory of consciousness to. As such, I think you’re bound by your interpretation of the expression. The success of a reductionist approach begins with the highest complexity of understanding, and aims to render that complexity in a simpler format, with minimal loss of information. I don’t think you’ve done that. As a result, you cannot account for experiences that are simultaneously both painful and pleasurable in your methodology.

    I disagree that our affective state has to be reducible further than we require to interact with a reality that the system recognises as four-dimensional. To reduce it further is to take it out of the realm of living experience - I’m happy to go there, but you’ve already said it’s out of your area of interest.

    This is where our philosophies diverge. From an idealists perspective all the things you mention are variable concepts in our mind. So it is not possible for me to construct a theory from the paradigm that you pose. I have to look to the trees, and find the elements that are common to every tree, and proceed from there. I think I have characterized a reliable emotional mechanism of consciousness, but you find it too simplistic for your paradigm.Pop

    As variable concepts in our mind, they’re unproven theories, hypotheses to be tested and refined with inter-subjective experience. It’s how we’ve constructed all our shared understanding of the universe and its history beyond empirical evidence.

    Looking at what is common to every tree will not give you an understanding of the forest - it is how each tree differs from another and how they relate to each other that provides the information you need. But it appears you are looking only for certainty, not understanding. Labelling it a ‘spruce forest’ because most of the trees classify as spruce is not understanding it. This is the problem with reductionism for its own sake - it abandons understanding for fear of uncertainty.

    If you do not agree that affective states are feelings that ultimately resolve to a pain / pleasure spectrum, then you are left in an affective limbo, with no possibility of answering the hard problem, as is the case with Barrett, I imagine.Pop

    How do you figure that? Firstly, Barrett never aimed to answer the hard problem, but to provide a more accurate theory of emotion that reconciles psychology with current neuroscience. Secondly, if according to idealism, everything exists in mind, then surely there can be no hard problem to begin with?
  • Pop
    357
    My point is, Pop cannot make a statement to the effect that all things experience consciousness and assume it to be self evident. They either must state that they take it as an assumption/opinion (and thus make it explicit that they will not attempt to prove it), or they must offer some rationale.Malcolm Lett

    I think you need to define consciousness, as we all posses a different conception.

    I have defined it as a process of self organization. I think, unless there is a god, everything in the universe is undergoing a process of self organization. Including us right here, right now!

    Everything in the universe is in motion. Everything is either mutating or consolidating - change is the only constant. Consciousness allows us to navigate this constant change - through a process of self organization. This process of self organization has an emotional bias at its base - the fear of death. This emotional gradient provides impetus to this process of self organization, through a fear of death, an aversion to pain, and an attraction to pleasure. We need to self organize relative to constantly changing external information, and an inbuilt bias to continue to live rather then die. Consciousness facilitates this.

    Abiogenesis theories, from the perspective of biology, chemistry, geophysics, astrobiology, biochemistry, biophysics, geochemistry, molecular biology, oceanography and paleontology, agree that self organization led to life. Theories of God and aliens, do not. This is where I get my definition of consciousness.

    If self organization led to life, then life is an expression of self organization.

    If A leads to B, then B is an expression of A.

    As previously stated with supporting videos: All living creatures are self learning and programming - all living creatures are involved in a process of self organisation - always! For this to occur there must be an information processing system to facilitates this, and It must have always been present - otherwise how could they self learn, program, and self organise in the first place?

    I think you need to provide a definition of consciousness so we can know exactly what it is that you are talking about. You also need to draw a line separating conscious creatures, and non conscious creatures, for your statement to be meaningful.
  • Pop
    357
    you cannot account for experiences that are simultaneously both painful and pleasurable in your methodology.Possibility

    That is a good one. I think If one seeks to avoid the experience then it is more painful then pleasurable, and visa versa. If they are equal then it is a neutral experience.

    Looking at what is common to every tree will not give you an understanding of the forestPossibility

    By studying expressions of consciousness, I've come to understand that consciousness is endlessly variable and open ended ( an evolving process of self organization with no upper limit :starstruck: ). So I look to its base for consistent elements. The trees are all different in their expression, but for a common reason.

    How do you figure that? Firstly, Barrett never aimed to answer the hard problem, but to provide a more accurate theory of emotion that reconciles psychology with current neuroscience. Secondly, if according to idealism, everything exists in mind, then surely there can be no hard problem to begin with?Possibility

    I've been there and found it to be a dead end. Emotion is the difference between a human being and a P.Zombie. Solving emotion, solves consciousness, in my opinion. Who would not want to do that?
  • Possibility
    1.6k
    That is a good one. I think If one seeks to avoid the experience then it is more painful then pleasurable, and visa versa. If they are equal then it is a neutral experience.Pop

    Your first explanation is circular. You’ve been arguing that the pain-pleasure spectrum is the impetus for behaviour, and yet here you’re saying that our behaviour determines the position of such an experience on the spectrum. So which is it?

    Your second explanation suggests the experience is void of information, which is inconsistent with such an experience. A simultaneously painful and pleasurable experience is far from ‘neutral’, and a spectrum, by definition, has no ‘neutral’ position. What you’re referring to is a linear structure, with positive values on one side, negative values on the other, and an infinite value (zero) in the centre. But that ignores the complexity of the relation between pain and pleasure, doesn’t it?

    I understand that you’ve put a lot of stock into the pain-pleasure spectrum, and it seems logical. But it’s a constrained logic. You’re working within human experience and language, and then making inferences across all living systems based on assumed intentionality. Most humans would agree with the logic of your theory, but it has no practical value. You can’t apply it to improve your interactions with reality. It doesn’t change how we relate to the world, or to each other. It offers little more than a description of consciousness from within consciousness - like the geocentric model of the solar system.

    If I can draw an analogy, describing gender as a ‘male-female spectrum’ is a false construct that allows reduction to a binary when it suits. Be careful what reductionism enables you to ignore, isolate and exclude in human experience. Take another look at the electromagnetic wave spectrum, to get an idea of the complexity that an open-ended spectrum would entail, and the ignorance, isolation and exclusion the structure supports when we define upper and lower limits. I’m persisting because I believe understanding the human perception of emotion in a broader context of effort and attention (energy) distribution for all matter with which we interact is a worthwhile challenge.

    By studying expressions of consciousness, I've come to understand that consciousness is endlessly variable and open ended ( an evolving process of self organization with no upper limit :starstruck: ). So I look to its base for consistency. The trees are all different in their expression, but for a common reason.Pop

    Are you suggesting that we have an infinite capacity for both pleasure and pain? Or that consciousness exists beyond pleasure? You’ve said before that nothing dies in the universe, it just falls to a lower level of consciousness - I imagine that’s what you believe occurs when pain is unavoidably maximised? So, would that mean maximal pleasure may lead to a higher level of consciousness?

    The upper limit is never an easy horizon to explore. No horizon ever is, but it’s always enabled a broader understanding of our complex and relative place in the world. You could start with the energy limitations of the system: self-organisation at every level of consciousness is limited by the capacity of the system to acquire energy/information from its environment and process it. As humans, we are the highest energy consumers, but as individuals, we have energy/information limits. We get around these limitations by connection and collaboration with each other, and with our environment.

    Or alternatively, take a look at Kant’s Critique of the Faculty of Judgement - his aesthetic process towards transcendent, non-conceptual delight may be more appealing to your idealist perspective, if you can resist the reductionist urge to judge.

    I've been there and found it to be a dead end. Emotion is the difference between a human being and a P.Zombie. Solving emotion, solves consciousness, in my opinion. Who would not want to do that?Pop

    Well, that’s a gross oversimplification, but I do agree that ‘solving emotion solves consciousness’, which is why I believe Barrett’s scientific meta-research into the classical theories of emotion are important to the discussion, even if you’re tempted to dismiss her constructionist theories off-hand.

    My difficulty with you using the term ‘emotion’ is that it generally refers to a particular feeling, whereas the term ‘affect’ refers to feeling in general, whether or not it is apperceived as ‘emotion’. We don’t always identify affect as emotion, but emotion is always identified from affect, whether in self-reflection, or in rationalising behaviour. In this way, an animal is affected by feeling pleasant or unpleasant valence and high or low arousal, without assuming any particular ‘emotion’ can be identified in that animal’s experience. That we attribute a particular emotion, such as pain, based on our own conceptual structures is far less certain than attributing emotion to humans based on behaviour or facial expression. And despite decades of searching by essentialist researchers, there is no typical set of behaviour or facial expressions that would reliably identify a particular emotional essence across human experience anyway. Affect, on the other hand, is consistent across all living systems, regardless of the indeterminacy of emotion. So, if you’re going to jump between human and animal consciousness, then perhaps ‘affect’ is a more consistent term for what you’re referring to. Just a thought.

    From an idealist perspective, you believe we have access to reality only through information, which you say is flawed and false in relation to some ‘physical world with real people’ that you believe exists - but from a monist perspective this, too, cannot exist as anything other than information. So we fill in the blanks with ‘hope’ - which you say consists mostly of emotion-information - to create a ‘belief’, and from the limitations of that belief system employ reductionism in relation to seeking a consistent belief statement, dismissing outliers and anomalies, to arrive at some common denominator that most people would currently agree to be ‘true’. This becomes our best approximation of reality. Am I close?

    FWIW, I agree that we have access to reality only through information, and that what we receive is inaccurate and incomplete. But it’s because the information we receive is limited and skewed by the structure of the information system that receives and processes it, not because something different exists in reality.

    The base consistency of reality is in its relational structure: All living systems consist of a four-dimensional integrated system of information, and evolve according to the sustainability of their self-organisation process to transform information/energy from their interaction with the world into a fulfilment of ongoing effort and attention requirements for the integrated system.
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