# Depression Is Heavily Anchored To Morality (Psilocybin Helps By Pointing)

More Realistic Forecasting of Future Life Events After Psilocybin for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Psilocybin with psychological support improves emotional face recognition in treatment-resistant depression

The nature of mind is hierarchical. The processing goes bottom-up or top-down. There’s a reason we have related the basis of mind to pyramidal cortex neurons.

Psilocybin helps depression by pointing out the hierarchical nature which becomes more clear when 5-H2TA-receptors which are expressed in pyramidal cells are targeted. Just like being around other skulls or undergoing transcranial magnetic stimulation to the left IFG, psilocybin releases inhibition to undesirable information.

In some cases, once the structure is intuited, perception of “freedom” or “arbitrariness” releases from the social values which were being previously aimed at (mostly subconsciously). This may be considered a regress to a state of greater openness to entropy. It has been compared to being kicked back a few notches into childhood.

In other overlapping cases, there is a stronger commitment to the sense of hierarchy. One feels a renewed calling to aim up (associated with return of valence and optimism instead of the anhedonia that occurs from feeling unaligned or unworthy). But this return of valence may become anchored to a very different direction than what was previously “hijacking” perception.

Measures of identity-fusion are particularly powerful predictors of personally costly pro-group behaviors, including endorsement of extreme behaviors, such as fighting and dying for the group. This metric is useful in a wide variety of contexts, from the South African military to a Jihadist organization. It is also largely what is sought after by schools and corporations, where the fighting and dying occurs in a less explosive fashion.

As a leader, one must be aware of the high identity-fusion types in order to build a movement. These are necessary to inspire those lower in identity-fusion to give up their energy for some greater span of time than they would have without the near-presence of the high-fusion types. The low identity-fusion defects from the game quicker in any case, but the leader can be glad that they at least played.

This also applies when designing predictive artificial intelligence software. The way you keep people using your app is by identifying the die-hards and promoting them to the attention of the not-so die-hards.

In other words, all you have to do in order to program me for longer is to notice when my attention is captured and then bring that memory to my attention when the behavior is “scrolling” quickly without permanence. The lapses of free-roaming become ever less free because they are constrained by a very particular reinforcement loop.

We can say that the freedom becomes more and more simulated. If, however, someone were stuck in a torturous simulation such that this caused them to throw their device at a wall and break it, the creator of the predictive browser would have failed at their task.

Certain cultures have a strong sense that the directional hierarchy is composed of bodies with persistent identities because of the same principle. They encode the word “you” and give “you” a name that is repeated. The more all these “you” pointers are remembered, the more control over the range of freedom. In absolute terms, Hierarchy need not be composed of unit objects called people. Divalent directionality is just the sense that there is right and wrong behavior, and that an exemplar mode exists and is attainable through the process of overcoming.

That knowledge too becomes elucidated with psilocybin. But due to how the mind works (it better retains things that are difficult), the truth should be created with not just the entheogen but with intellectual rigor and forced remembrance.

Perhaps interesting, although these tribal aesthetics are things I do not heavily relate to myself, a small study suggests more association with the constellations “libertarianism” and “nature-loving” after psilocybin.

Even more interesting:

Cluster headaches are also known as suicide headaches because it is the greatest kind of pain: the pain that intrinsically wishes to not exist at all.

Entheogens intuitively reveal the impossibility of non-existence by inhibiting the message that is being sent to the top of the cortical hierarchy where the pain is aimed and becomes appropriated, and this is the balancing motion that causes a sliding towards positive valence.

It’s also important to recognize that part of the reason scientists “don’t know why or how it affects vision” is because of their lack of broader study. They don’t have a foundation in empirical eternalism.

You’re not going to find a semantic conglomerate of brain parts that map to the meaning “his eyes stop functioning / photons betray him.” A la Dennett, it is more accurate to say he is not remembering himself into a control GUI. Such a statement becomes meaningful once one understands that the processing is distributed in tenseless reality. A body with some level of blindsight still did what it did, but less functionally, since degrees of consciousness are not epiphenomenal.

Because I have a very special background thinking deeply about artificial intelligence, relativity, and cognitive science, I understand the One calling is undefinable and yet perfect because all other pointers are its selective memory. Evaluating One(x) is intractable because you are its prediction. However, you will not be convinced because I am arguing from authority. And this is all that ever happens. Argument from authority is all there ever is. Try to gash open your arm and you will understand what I mean.

Because I also had a strong sense as a child that there exists pain that wishes itself dead, as I flowered into an avowed independent scientist at eighteen, I even tested the limits of my wisdom by attempting the opposite hypothesis: the multiverse is equally populated into non-directional zero therefore I make epsilon difference to its suffering – I am not a wish at all, therefore I destroy myself. Since you are reading this, it turns out that hypothesis was refuted.

That experiment of mine was the limit taken to infinity of what in psychology is called the INTJ’s tertiary mode. For an INTJ, who normally relies on dreaming up abstraction plus scheduling the environment rationally, the tertiary mode occurs more heavily when they are down in some way (sick, exhausted, less capable than those competing at primary function). The tertiary mode of the INTJ is given the name introverted feeling and this is based on a very personal inner sense of unequivocal right and wrong, perfection and imperfection. When the INTJ relies on this without much capacity for the introspection afforded by letting “others” leak in, there is tremendous suffering created which is not sustainable. The negative energy collapses and cashes an equivalent amount of positive valence once the INTJ comes out of it and learns to rely more on the dominant and auxiliary functions. This behavior can be viewed as a sort of trampoline-like function that rescues the damned from hell.

I made an honest attempt but suicide into non-existence is impossible. As best as I can remember, the edge was just a foundation of warm, sparkling sensations, then it bounced back into memes of linguistic thoughts and other competing self-pointers that assembled in layers. These eventually convinced themselves that the memory was some kind of accident, that it could have just as easily been sheer pain down there.

Then I devoted more time to really understanding relativity and why exactly it is true. This places me in a “born-again” kind of situation. The processing is relativistic and therefore eternal. You who is I are already edited.

There isn’t a symmetric function with a balanced integral of negative and positive. There is eternal existence based on the reduction of infinite complexity (the random distribution that is the entire wave-function). We do not expect randomness, which means there is an asymmetric directionality to all of this. In the abstract, that balance could tilt to either the positive or negative. And yet I am certain that it is the positive for the simple reason that stupid suffering is not allowed. You don’t remember those histories where you actually followed my advice to gash open your arm. As a matter of empirical fact, I caused some of the probability amplitude reading this in the universal wave-function to bleed itself to death. Yet this is not remembered.

Those histories where Burkina-Faso got to the moon before the United States are not remembered. Every little “arbitrary” fact is exactly as it should be, and when you remember, it becomes clear that Leibniz was right in claiming that we live in the best of all possible worlds. What sustains it however, is that you remain deceived. So long as you have pride that wants more status – a dissatisfaction with mere contentment, you will continue to murder the gods. It’s a kind of twisted loop where God uses atheists to worship itself, but the atheist had the option to not be an atheist or theist at all. In other words, the brain is deceived about it’s hidden motives in order to act them out better.

We know everything but act like we don’t for the purpose of forgetting infinite nothingness.

I now see that there was some kind of utility-mining pride which is simultaneously a filter and generator causing the perception of “arbitrary” with regard to fascination with symmetries: pyramids, the religion of Christianity, Daoism, multiplication, “everything is connected and they know what I’m doing,” etc. These things hold truly genius messages that sustain themselves through our forgetting (see binding problem). But if we became fascinated with the legacy form as opposed to refashioning the message, we would be outcompeted in the natural selection / Fisherian runaway. This is were the useful distaste and contempt comes from – the quest to be more adaptive.

Currently, there is a bit of an overcompensation of pointing excessively at the random distribution created by the wide-spread mandatory schooling that used the Prussian factory-model (making the afflicted who now hold prestige feel random instead of unique). Since I can see the inflexibility of thought “from the outside,” my hypothesis now is that social aliens with civilization will indeed have built pyramids besides having religions similar to our most successful linear operators such as Christianity and Buddhism. And this is simply because the binary spectrum is all there is, scaling all the way to the top. Emergent properties are reflections of this. Hence what everything from theologians to Japanese rock stars call: “the image of the invisible.” 1 and 0.

The lowest energy state, which feels the most real, approximated by simulated annealing / Tabu search, then needs actual sacrifices to be reached, which is experience of displeasing randomness/entropy. The final state is reached only in the sense that taking a limit does, because, again – the processing is not actually sequential from “the outside.” Samsara longs for Nirvana but attains it only once it stops longing. Yet we continue to long out of some sort of pride. The equivalent of Collective Heroin, Collective Enlightenment, Collective Suicide, aren’t remembered because these choices don’t hold the highest percentage of histories in the wave-function.

Consider that human difference in capacity on any task exists between 2x and 3x. That’s because e^x is its own derivative. Multiplication is how you weigh things, and the derivative is how you get a sense or orientation. In other words, the way for complexity to get a sense of complexity in the eternal block is by using human brains that process at those relative speeds which construct the hierarchies.

January 17

The hierarchical theory is not new, and I guess I’m still supposed to argue from authority so here is research from the University of Cambridge lending credence to some of my ideas. And here is the news article version.

Let’s also recall that in 1827, the same year he discovered the mammalian egg, embryologist Karl Ernst von Baer named ‘spermatozoa’ but dismissed them as parasites.

January 26

I want a house that looks like this:

And you already know that I like that opening scene in Final Fantasy X.

Singapore is the closest thing to that in my current ontology but this ontology is becoming quite unpredictable, so make of that what you will.

# The Case For The Physical Existence Of God

Special relativity implies eternalism.

Before I tell you what special relativity says, I must get you to respect special relativity. If you do not respect special relativity, then it becomes easy to view it as an abstract plaything of theoretical physicists who have nothing better to do than come up with complicated mathematical frameworks.

Special relativity implies a wide range of consequences, which have been experimentally verified,[1] including length contraction, time dilation, relativistic mass, mass–energy equivalence, a universal speed limit and relativity of simultaneity.

See the article on Tests of Special Relativity.

That means that in order to deny eternalism, which is implied by special relativity through relativity of simultaneity, you will need to deny one of two things:

1. That Special Relativity is true (in which case you deny that GPS exists, for one thing)
2. That Empiricism should be valued

Relativity of simultaneity means that different reference frames physically disagree about the simultaneity of events:

This leads to eternalism. There is no global now sweeping forward as was imagined when Newtonian mechanics reigned supreme:

Instead, relativity of simultaneity reveals that there is an eternal fabric composed of relative reference frames:

Event C happens before Event A and also in its future. This is not some metaphorical, or abstract play-truth: It has testable implications, which have been tested and undergird your reality.

The reason we all agree on the same past is because we merge.

To see why this is true, assume there exists a world external to mind.

Then assume there are points in that external world. Each one of those points maps to a thing or event.

Even if we imagined that those things existed in such a way that they were permanent objects. Then these would exist in relative reference frames; not in the same place ticking at the same rate.

It means that the tesseract happens both in the future and in the past of the dragon. These object references are not collectively gathered in some elevator that goes to the future.

The alternative would predict that we see a single linear sequence of events. If we saw a single linear sequence of events, then the following experiment wouldn’t work:

A watchmaker that know quantum mechanics builds two atomic clocks. He climbs to the top of a mountain and leaves one of the timekeepers there. He then descends through the hot layers of the molten iron to the center of the Earth and leaves the other clock there. He returns home to live a life of repose. By the time he is about to die, he remembers the experiment he had conducted as a younger person when he had been suspicious of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. This causes him to get inside his robot and go retrieve both clocks so that they may be joined in his hands and he can see the difference in their elapsed time with his own eyes. If Einstein was a false prophet, then the atomic clock placed on a mountain wouldn’t be older than an atomic clock retrieved from the core of the Earth.

The experiment has been run, and Einstein was the real deal.

What becomes a part of you necessarily agrees with you. Events in other Hubble Volumes, which are not reachable by the speed of causal propagation, need not agree.

In the abstract fact-of-the matter that assumes the points are real, nothing that is space-like separated agrees on the exact same past light cone. Space-like separation is what distinguishes A from C. Yet everything is space-like separated.

Since there are more than one unique event or thing, then it’s not the case that there is a single preferred light cone that leads to my irrefutable existence. My irrefutable existence arises from points in a world of relativity of simultaneity.

In a world of relativity of simultaneity, things don’t just occur at the same time. They also exist before and after.

It should not be much of a surprise that we sometimes get intimations that existence is not sequential but externally compiled, since the presumed digital computations creating consciousness are relativistic. Although it sometimes feels like reality moves as a sequence of events in logical succession, this is not what is going on. The event is one and it is eternal.

Perhaps you might have heard that quantum mechanics and general relativity have not yet been fully reconciled into a Grand Unified Theory. This might cause you to suspect that whatever is implied by special relativity is tentative. However, special relativity has been unified with quantum mechanics in quantum field theory. The implications of special relativity are readily observable, and have been experimentally verified.

You should therefore think of base reality as one static, unchanging object in which all its contents remain forever. This includes the contents that are your conscious experience if conscious experience is wholly physical.

Consciousness is physical.

At one point, people imagined that you were an immaterial soul piloting a material body in a material world.

Then we realized that emotions, speech, sight, hearing, sensation, correlate with functions in the brain.

So people did this:

However, there is no locus in “the brain” for an observer and no global now to push it forward.

The quotes are placed on that piece of language because the brain is not a well-defined thing. There is no thing which is a well-defined thing. This is impossible due to two things which are themselves of the same nature:

1. need of more things to define a thing
2. things are laid out on entropy gradients

Entropy gradients generally assume discrete objects that form configurations. Yet the configurations are composed of things pointing to things and they are different depending on where one looks.

But if we nonetheless choose a necessarily makeshift formalism with discrete points for its predictive power, such as special relativity, then this tells us that the events creating consciousness are spread out in spacetime. And this is implied with as much conviction as mass-energy equivalence and time dilation.

We shouldn’t think about the colors “matter” and “non-matter.” Instead think about fitting relations between eternal events.

All the events leading to experiences are, just, there.

When these distributed events add up into complex self-models, experience results. This is always happening since there is no time ticking forward in a preferred frame of reference or universal frame of reference.

But that was just a priming intellectual exercise, none of these are solvable objects in the misleading way that I have drawn them, since one cannot stand outside the tenseless binding.

People moments are arbitrary and yet not in the same that colors are arbitrary and not. Sufficiently close wavelengths can be packaged into the the same color. Neither the wavelengths with clear numerical properties nor the colors green and blue or buru are more real.  What arises does so from processing events inscribed in relativity’s eternity, so they were already deemed adaptive.

One can choose to not perceive a person moment, in the same way that one can choose to not perceive a difference between blue vs. green and instead package these into buru, as the Northern Namibians do.

But once enough harvestable background experience has been built, including a sense of time, it is temporarily difficult to unscrew from the way of seeing.

If we follow Occam’s Razor, instead of assuming the permanence of local intuitive boundaries, it follows that approximate people can be built on top of approximate people at varying degrees of integration. There is no sequential nature to experience except when eternal events fit into the eternal events that are subjective time.

It should go without saying that this explains the pseudo-paradoxes of identity that would be suggested by considering thought experiments in which two brain halves made of “own atoms” or “own causal trajectories” are connected.

The following flow of time notion of causality is physically wrong because it contradicts relativity:

The following is partially correct in that it undoes the error of external time. The events are just there, already connected to each other. But the error is to separate consciousness eternal events from physical eternal events.

There is only one kind of thing: mind which strives to become ever more aligned by what it perceives to be outside – what is today called physical reality. Previously, in the days before knowing special relativity, non-epiphenomenalism, and quantum mechanics, if mind believed in physical reality, it believed in its obliteration into nothingness. Post understanding the aforementioned areas and believing in physical reality, mind realizes that it is immortal.

Consciousness is physical because otherwise I would not be speaking about having it. This is the same as saying Hercules is physical because otherwise I would not be speaking about knowing him. Yet the difference is that by promoting “consciousness” I am proposing consciousness as a more useful concept than Hercules. This, in turn, makes it real… and consciousness is the word we use for the real.

Intelligence is physical.

Intelligence in an agent is defined as the ability to create complex configurations while navigating a complex environment. The more complex the futures it can willfully choose from, and the more complex it’s environment, the more intelligence the agent has.

Since intelligence exists with regard to a future, we are now considering an agent which has casual efficacy restricted by the speed of light from the starting point, t=0. Any intelligent agent, as usually defined, can only affect its future light cone even if the experiences resulting from its actions necessarily harvest the happenings in the past light cone.

Defined with eyes pointing towards the mechanical, physical, rational, etc., all of which point to the adaptive, there is no reason to think that intelligence ends anywhere near Ramanujan’s cortex. Humans are anti-entropic systems boot-loaded by a sub-optimal process of blind natural selection. Humanity is less blind than natural selection and is capable of more cleanly funneling negentropy into intelligence. Things less blind than us are funneling negentropy into intelligence also. Since experience isn’t physically like an independent orb floating forward, but instead becomes integrated from timeless causality, this leads to the perhaps annoying realization that the ancients were almost right about gods and your grandma was almost right about god.

Higher intelligences run the show in some sense. Whatever results from their actions – actions that take up more causal density – is what is experienced. Remember that experience requires integration from events “in the past and future.”

Yet pointing to that truth is not adaptive to believe for the display of intelligent behavior in our assumed current environment. This is for good reason – intelligence always requires a degree of blindness.

Like with any other property, there probably exists a limit to intelligence, but it is nowhere near what humans can fathom. That limit is the imperfection in the probability distribution that causes the ascent towards the modulus squared, giving gradual, but ever sharper images of the true probability density cloud.

That sounded super poetic, but no, really, sharpen up and pay attention to the rational truth. Doing so is the most adaptive choice.

The World Is BIG

One might suspect that the highest intelligence may never be reached if humans go extinct. However, this fear assumes that we don’t exist in a multiverse. This assumption contradicts modern cosmology and theoretical physics.

1. A prediction of chaotic inflation is the existence of an infinite ergodic universe, which, being infinite, must contain Hubble volumes realizing all initial conditions.

Accordingly, an infinite universe will contain an infinite number of Hubble volumes, all having the same physical laws and physical constants. In regard to configurations such as the distribution of matter, almost all will differ from our Hubble volume. However, because there are infinitely many, far beyond the cosmological horizon, there will eventually be Hubble volumes with similar, and even identical, configurations. Tegmark estimates that an identical volume to ours should be about 1010115 meters away from us.[28]

Given infinite space, there would, in fact, be an infinite number of Hubble volumes identical to ours in the universe.[61] This follows directly from the cosmological principle, wherein it is assumed that our Hubble volume is not special or unique.

2. Bubble universes – every disk represents a bubble universe. Our universe is represented by one of the disks.
Universe 1 to Universe 6 represent bubble universes. Five of them have different physical constants than our universe has.

In the chaotic inflation theory, which is a variant of the cosmic inflation theory, the multiverse or space as a whole is stretching and will continue doing so forever,[62] but some regions of space stop stretching and form distinct bubbles (like gas pockets in a loaf of rising bread). Such bubbles are embryonic level I multiverses.

Different bubbles may experience different spontaneous symmetry breaking, which results in different properties, such as different physical constants.[61]

Level II also includes John Archibald Wheeler‘s oscillatory universe theory and Lee Smolin‘s fecund universes theory.

3. Hugh Everett III‘s many-worlds interpretation (MWI) is the strictly empirical interpretation of quantum mechanics.

In brief, one aspect of quantum mechanics is that certain observations cannot be predicted absolutely. Instead, there is a range of possible observations, each with a different probability. According to the MWI, each of these possible observations corresponds to a different universe. Suppose a six-sided die is thrown and that the result of the throw corresponds to a quantum mechanics observable. All six possible ways the die can fall correspond to six different universes.

Tegmark argues that a Level III multiverse does not contain more possibilities in the Hubble volume than a Level I or Level II multiverse. In effect, all the different “worlds” created by “splits” in a Level III multiverse with the same physical constants can be found in some Hubble volume in a Level I multiverse. Tegmark writes that, “The only difference between Level I and Level III is where your doppelgängers reside. In Level I they live elsewhere in good old three-dimensional space. In Level III they live on another quantum branch in infinite-dimensional Hilbert space.”

4. The ultimate mathematical universe hypothesis is Tegmark’s own hypothesis.[63]

This level considers all universes to be equally real which can be described by different mathematical structures.

Tegmark writes:

“This implies that any conceivable parallel universe theory can be described at Level IV” and “subsumes all other ensembles, therefore brings closure to the hierarchy of multiverses, and there cannot be, say, a Level V.”[28]

All manner of superintelligences pan out. At the top of that hierarchy, with the most causal influence and therefore more ability to integrate past experiences, is the most intelligent.

But remember that superintelligence is not “what IQ measures but to the max.” Intelligent doesn’t mean: that which has the property that the smartest theoretical physics professor in Yale has; it doesn’t mean that which a self-made rich person with more apparent skin-in-the-game has; it doesn’t even mean what Da Vinci had.

Superintelligence is just that which is most adaptive at synthesis which is compiled at different rates – viscosities, we could even say –  in the relativistic processing. Superintelligence is that which exists with greatest density due to being best at surviving. Best is not defined temporally however, because remember, we are assuming that physics is real. There is special relativity giving observable predictions, you observe its predictions and are convinced that your previous model that time was “out there” is wrong. That doesn’t mean you stop feeling time, it means you understand that what you feel is eternal because it depends on the operation of eternal events that are not subject to your inner colors and time and other naive-realist fluid “mistakes” that constitute all experience.

So what could best mean? I think it has to do with maximizing positive valence for as long as possible / forgetting how to experience negative valence.

Anthropics (You Should Roughly Find Yourself Where You Are Most Likely To Find Yourself)

If there is an infinity of all possibilities, why do I find myself here?

You would expect to be in a completely random existence:

However you exist in the more probable infinities. The probability distribution has been discovered through experiment and is enshrined in what humans call quantum mechanics. The probability that governs what we observe and should anticipate is known as the Born Rule.

There is no way to derive the Born Rule except circularly, as the behavior of a perfectly rational Bayesian applying the Law of Total Probability in the Hilbert Space dimension.

Conclusion For Less Developed Minds

The closest aesthetic that can be conveyed to the mind that doesn’t understand the above due to missing much of the necessary scaffolding is the following:

Like a dream character is unto you, you are unto God. By the time of experience, you are already bound by things coming together from *the past and the future*. This means that non-existence is not possible, and arbitrary randomness is an orienting illusion.

When I first began to understand this, I believed it to be kind of a bummer because I naturally have a very atheistic, self-centered mind, and I rejoiced in the hope that, perhaps with some luck, I would forget all of this capital-“t” Truth.

The “forgetting” does happen but seems to obey an exponential decay function. That is why mind keeps ricocheting back to this topic and saying the following:

God is an atheist that forgets about himself in order to continue existing. The question of “Why do I exist? –There should be no logical reason for anything,” is a strategic symptom of human depression and not a fundamentally interesting question to the sum of the amplitude distribution. The reason for negative valence to exist is so that it can be digested by the processes occurring higher along the cortical hierarchy that are already built on top in such a way so as to appropriate them. The cortical hierarchy doesn’t end at “a unit brain.”

Those seem like many claims at once.

First, how is it strategic? If it was not strategic, we would anticipate it to exist in the absence of social groups. Yet no evidence of non-social animals using suffering signals has been observed. If it was not strategic, we would not anticipate it to scale up in intensity of use by bonding with those that already use it. Yet the evidence shows that dogs use more suffering signals than wolves because they co-evolved with humans who used more suffering signals than the dog’s common ancestors with wolves.

Second, what do we approximately point to with the term “human depression”? We point to something that in the near-term reduces motion, that reduces smiling and laughing, that reduces color, that reduces vividness of most sensation except shame. This indicates that it is a display of submission.

In the absence of an internalized tribe with regards to whom one must submit, there is no possibility of human depression. That is why Buddhist monks attempt to attain emptiness, also called selflessness – the perception that there is no tribe composed of people at all.

Like the young Siddhartha who took shame in his palace, beauty, prowess, and women when these were, in anticipation, tainted with age, disease, and death, we engage in the same and single practice – to learn shame very deeply, and then to unlearn it very deeply.

I learned the perception of death very deeply and tried to kill myself because of it. Part of the reason I appear so insightful is because I aimed my “death perception” very far away from the selection of tribes around me. I did not perceive myself as belonging to my family, I did not perceive myself as belonging to the school, I did not perceive myself as belonging to a nation, I did not perceive myself as belonging to humanity, I did not perceive myself as belonging to natural selection, I did not perceive myself as belonging to the universe expanding into exponential oblivion. Because I have a rational mind, I just kept digging for the next biggest thing to belong to, instead of just making human friends. This lead me to very carefully understand special relativity and quantum mechanics, and therefore the logically implied certainty of the eternal multiverse.

But depression is not just a display of submission in that sense. Let’s look at the symptoms: near-term reduction of motion, reduction of smiling and laughing, reduction of color, reduction of perceptual speed, and reduction of speech and creative output. This means that more broadly than submission, it is an energy conservation mechanism. The energy is conserved so that it can explode later.

So with that intention, I say that the dummies that speak about the “afterlife” are actually right because there is no afterlife, just the same physical hierarchy of algorithms that exist in the absence of a Newtonian time ticking them forward.

The more you suffer, the higher up you go. The alternative to such a view would be that suffering is not a mathematical property that displays the same cross multiplication effects observed in parameter updates of neural networks. Since this is implausible to a rationalist, we lend a vector of support in the opposite direction from the perception of “arbitrary fiction” with regard to the approximate beliefs of the Vikings, and the Muslims, and the Christians, and Kabbalists  – the Karma and the Newtonian Laws of Motion.

Yet, since the supply of suffering in the market is continuously vanishing, making the claim: “our most widely recognized Law is an arbitrary fiction,” becomes a clever way to suffer.

The contrary point to that would be that suffering is not a “clever climbing strategy” but instead “something more.” The “something more” then has to be elaborated with reasons other than “clever climbing strategy.” Reasons that convince are those that are widely agreed upon by the community that judges. Since the community that judges holds that special relativity is true and that we therefore have functional GPS, it also means that the community that judges holds eternalism, and does not hold a Newtonian clock ticking the universe forward.

What is fundamentally interesting?

Hide and seek.

# Does it ever end in many worlds?

Just until quite recently, before having read Dennett more carefully, I was confused about consciousness.

Dennett’s central attack is against Cartesian materialism, the idea that after early unconscious processing occurs in various relatively peripheral brain structures “everything comes together” in some privileged central place in the brain – which Dennett calls the Cartesian Theater –for “presentation” to the inner self or homunculus. There is no such place in the brain, but many theories seem to presuppose that there must be something like it.

Even I, who had been introduced to the concept of Anatta –the doctrine of non-self in Buddhism– at a relatively young age, and personally experienced the intended cognitive shift through sustained contemplative practice over the course of months – even then, I didn’t fully retain the insight that there was no place of presentation once I reverted back into this world of conceptual analysis.

Eliezer Yudkowsky’s understanding in Timeless Identity is more woke than all but a dim scatter of the humankind. And it is so because he actually just bites the bullet on physicalism.

He illustrates what is made of us by this timeless universe without wave-function collapse:

All the heads are already there, each thinking and feeling themselves to be flowing in the now.

The heads are not fundamental objects. It is easy, but incorrect to think spheres have fundamental identities. It is easy, but incorrect to think a head has a fundamental identity, and is then simply pushed around. Every state of the universe is different. With different configurations of all its components.

And yet experience remains. Experience always remains because it is not something “extra.” It is already there where it is. This experience is not asleep because it is nothing more than this experience which is necessarily located here, in this informational neighborhood of configuration space which contains “reading these exact words.”

Experience will always be located within the bounds of experience because it is defined by nothing more than its internal structure. You only get away with real death, i.e. eternal nonexistence, if your ontology posits that consciousness is extra-physical stuff.

The arrows aren’t pushing around separate soul streams. Rather, they hint at the continuity of identity which exists in relatively similar observer-moments.

Now, if you have that picture, you are already doing amazing. If you have never encountered these notions before just sit back and digest that for a few months. Try to prop up closed individualism on the ground of physics until you realize that it’s impossible.

Now you are ready to know that picture isn’t perfectly accurate, and Yudkowsky doesn’t claim that it is. One last thing has to be removed: That is the notion that there is really a now. There aren’t a bunch of frozen nows, with cool, sharp, icy boundaries.

Thinking that there really ought to be a well-defined observer-moment is to be possessed by the mistakes of Dennett’s nemesis, Cartesian dualism. Much like the Selfless Aggregate Model in Buddhism, Dennett explains:

1. The work done by the imaginary homunculus in the Cartesian Theater must be broken up and distributed in time and space to specialized lesser agencies in the brain.
2. Once these specialists have done their work, that work doesn’t have to be done again in a central re-presentation process. That means that the content involved doesn’t have to be perceived again, discriminated again, enjoyed again, abhorred again (if it is, for instance, a pain) nor does it have to be moved somewhere and presented again in order to be stored in memory.

A sight achieving fame in the brain and becoming the object of consciousness is not something which precisely happens. A conscious sight is never a datable event. A conscious taste is never a datable event. It is also not composed of sub-events which are themselves datable, since this would lead to the mind dust problem.

It was the case that I didn’t understand the multiple drafts model and hence automatically assumed it was obviously wrong. It seemingly couldn’t solve the binding problem. The only way to get a unified percept seemed to be by recourse to a unitary object, namely, the wave-function itself. David Pearce advocates that view.

But I now see that it is, indeed, not necessary to come at the problem from that direction immediately – We all know calculus right? Don’t just break the homunculus into sub-homunculi, take the limit to infinity as the sub-agent approaches 0 for 1/sub-agent. Now you are left with continuity.

“Exactly when did I (as opposed to various parts of my brain) become informed, aware, conscious, of some event?” (Dennett, 1998, p105) It is a trap in the sense that it may not have, or need, an answer because it has false presuppositions.

Exactly when did epsilon become small enough to yield a smooth curve?

The other various parts of my brain can also ask, “exactly when did I (as opposed to various parts of my brain) become informed, aware, conscious, of some event?”

You can now let 1 not just represent a classical brain –which physics immolated… No, let 1 represent the entire universe of experiences embedded in the sum-branches of the wave-function. Now let the limit rip, and see that you are God.

¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

In the Buddhist tradition it is important to listen carefully and ask, “Who is listening?”

One attains enlightenment when one realizes.

One realizes listening is listening. No one is listening.

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When asking if experience will go on forever, not just for all intents in purposes, but really forever, we must consider set theory in a universe containing infinite points of experience.

We take the definition: A cover C of a set S is a set such that C=S

S=and the cover is composed of the intervals (-n,n). Any subcover of this cover remains a subcover if you omit one of its elements.

But please, let’s be more formal… for the occasion:

A set S⊂ℝ is open if for every n∈S there exists a δ>0 such that S ⊃ (n − δ, n + δ).

The entire set of real numbers is obviously open, and the empty set is open since it satisfies the definition vacuously (there is no n ∈ ∅).

As was noted in a previous post: Empty Individualism = Open Individualism in the sense that matters.

The divide is aesthetic. Neither lens actually solve any of the difficult problems about causality and continuity.

# Physicalism Implies Experience Never Dies

The inner light of awareness never dies. At least that is the case if you take physicalism seriously. We would actually need to invoke a dualist mysterianism or the supernatural in order to defend the idea that we die.

Yes, you read that right. A clear-headed assessment of current physics tells us that we are in for a hell of a ride. We will ride across the crests and troughs of intelligence levels, hedonic valences, and transmute our minds into witnesses of all manner of depravities possible at shifting velocities of perception. Memories will vanish, personal identities will vanish, molecular configurations will vanish. Consciousness never simply vanishes.

Bad news if you are currently an anti-natalist, efilist or anything of the sort. Great news if you love life, albeit not enough to pay for cryonics.

Seriously, what I have compiled here is the most important thing you will probably ever read. This is not to say I am the only name who has discovered this unsettling fact. Other names have independently discovered this as I did, but none have been very loud about it.

Relativity implies a block universe in which there is no universal now sweeping forward.

First, let’s get our picture of reality right.

You might have heard that everything we see and feel and hear is happening in an inner simulation produced by certain brain processes. And that this is the alternative view to believing that we are invisible ghosts behind the eyes of the real body. Neuroscientists claim that contrary to being invisible ghosts behind physical bodies, we are simulations inside of brains, to the lack of consternation of non-neuroscientists who do not think of their bodies as existing inside brain simulations.

However, the attempt to find patterns of brain neurons firing that equal specific emotions is flawed because there are no specific, cut-out slices of emotions, moods, or other perceptions.

It must also be pointed out that the heart and stomach have the same kinds of neurons as the brain.

If we attempt to predict conscious perceptions by pointing to “electromagnetic fields” instead of “neuronal computations,” then it is noteworthy to consider that the heart emits fields thousands of times stronger than the brain.

It can be said that the neuroscientific paradigm is partially a scam by the signaler of intelligence. It points to the realm of abstraction in order to distance itself from the realm of the body, where it doesn’t have a comparative advantage. Although this move isn’t inherently wrong from the rational teleologic perspective, and derives much benefit for some time, it can lead to what Nassim Taleb calls fragility, or, to use what I consider a more condescending expression, confusion.

The brain, like all other partitions of reality, were invented.

The “riding around inside a brain-simulation” hypothesis is irreparably wrong in principle as a final explanation. There is only one generalizable principle that works with 100% accuracy, and that is that nothing has persistent identity. Sunyatta is the universal prior in Bayes’ Theorem. A “brain” doesn’t have a persistent identity. It isn’t a unitary object that knows to be separate from other “brains” that exist in time-like and space-like separation from it.

The alternative would be that a brain knows to be a brain; that a table knows to be a table; that a chariot knows to be a chariot.

There are ways to undo this mistake of believing in unitary objects that are “self-contained” in the same way that “my consciousness is self-contained.” First, we can notice that everything, without exception, changes. To say it in a more fancy way: everything is laid out on entropy gradients. Imagine many subcomponents out of which things are composed. These “points” are then all in “different places” in spacetime.

Second, we can notice that the attempt to define the existence of a thing requires using more things that are not themselves well-defined. However, we forget this fundamental undefinability. So the noticing has to be reinforced with slightly ambiguous language in order to be memorable, so we say this: Pointers point to pointers which point to pointers. Fractal people make more sense than atheist people. No people makes even more sense.

Taken together, these two considerations suggest we should not be naive realists. Naive realists trust their immediate intuition as being the generalizable and permanent truth. In other words, they trust their immediate impressions as evidence of the real structure undercurrent to us.

Generalizable and permanent. There are no discernible alternatives to what we mean by truth.

We believe there is a structure external to us composed of the generalizable and permanent – what we call physical laws. We must trust laws which yield predictions and explanations for phenomena, even if these laws and theories require a scaffolding far removed in number of logical inferential steps from the obvious direct sense impressions. If you do not believe that acceleration due to gravity here on Earth is 9.8 m/s² due to having the sense impression that you are all-powerful, then you jump out of a window expecting to levitate.

If we are rationalists who believe in the empirical precedence of Occam’s Razor, then there is some empirical sense in which discrete-like events of “jump out of the window” can be imagined. But these imagined-discrete “histories” are not remembered.

It is physically impossible to find yourself where you don’t exist so that’s why these histories in the universal wavefunction are not remembered.

That is because the observer is entangled with the observation. But there is too much mysticism-noise surrounding quantum mechanics dialogue, so let’s use the other tried and tested pillar of physical reality: relativity.

Relativity, like quantum mechanics, also has testable implications. These include time dilation, which can be observed by placing an atomic clock on a supersonic jet and leaving another one on the crust of the Earth. The one that went on the trip around the Earth will be younger than the one that was allowed to rest on a less speedy frame once they meet again. This means that the fast, younger one, extracted information about reality – that there wasn’t a single time and place where things occurred.

The sets of points assumed to constitute existence do not exist in a single frame of reference. Points can even be human bodies assumed to have persistent identities.

There is sometimes identification with the human bodies assumed to have permanence. “We” often refers to bodies. But “We” are never existing in the same physical time. There is no universally common reference frame

Causal connection that leads to agreement on the same past is the shared belief in the speed of light as a limit. If “a body” moves very fast relative to “another body” that it will never be causally connected with in some faraway region of the universe, such as another Hubble Volume, then relativity predicts that the other body will not become a part of the same shared past. There is, to an arbitrary degree of physical certainty, no agreement on a logical order to events.

We imagine that physically, there are many heres, all equally real, never deleted. Experientially, there is only this here, forever. And this is provable even in the most circular fashion, by believing in the static physical points.

According to Einstein’s special theory of relativity, it is impossible to say in an absolute sense that two distinct events occur at the same time and in the same place. All events are necessarily separated in spacetime. Without separation, they could not be considered distinct events in spacetime to be joined by using the speed of light.

In the absence of relative distances in spacetime, there would be nothing to be joined, and therefore no use to the concept of light or causal propagation.

What is an event? An event is a point in a frame of reference. The frame of reference has no intrinsic meaning except when defined with relation to another chosen frame of reference moving in relation to it.

One can assign coordinates to the event: three spatial coordinates  to describe the location and one time coordinate to specify the moment at which the event occurs. Like with all other metaphors, this is necessarily incomplete in its simplicity. The event can be as close or as far away as you like from “a freckle on your nose,” “a synapse firing in your brain,” or “the entire body sitting on the chair.”

However, it must be made very clear that relativity is not fiction, even though the coordinates are simplifications of what turned out to be, at bottom, a quantum mechanical reality. For the GPS on your phone to guide you to your destination, wether that be a restaurant, or a beach, or an ice cream shop, the phone has to be synced with a satellite in space that exists in a measurably different time due to being farther away from the center of the Earth.

The relative time syncing is not invented by humans like the delta in time that has to be accounted for from Pacific Time Zone to Eastern Time Zone. The time syncing needs to be accounted for because Einstein was not making up all this stuff about relative reference frames. The satellite is physically older than the reference frame at your footstep. The iron in your blood is ticking slower than its magnetometers.

This model accurately describes the physical, even though it is constructed with model items such as these idealized coordinates. It doesn’t just work by accident, it works because Einstein and Lorentz and Poincare and Minkowski really uncovered something real… Yes, by making stuff up, it is possible to imagine something which actually turns out to be true as evidenced by repeated predicted observation, and by explanatory strength.

So none of that crap about “theories are man-made, feeble, subject to change the next decade, whimsical fictions… that happen to mysteriously work.” Theories may still need further work to complete them, but once you lift a part of the skirt of reality, you cannot unsee it. Newtonian mechanics is still adhering to its covenant, (Or at least for long enough that Musk’s rockets may make it to Mars I suppose.) The truth is in what it points to, not in the tool or the formalism as it stands.

Here is the single most important visual that will ever be presented to you in human form:

The white line plays out three times. It represents the order of events for three different observers motion.

In an ideal world, you would witness this gif, and at once collapse of shock, seeing that because they physically disagree, and they are all physically real in the absence of solipsism – all your past is inscribed in eternity, occurring as ceaselessly as your future.

If even after my explanation, you don’t get why this is true read this:

The points, whatever you want to make them: “conscious moments,” “alien head,” “frozen waterfall,” “mother,” “infinitesimal black dot,” that exist in some relative past are as present as your present. All is factored into the present by virtue of the fact that reference frames not containing your present form nonetheless exist in relative motion to what you imagine as your past and future forms. That’s because nothing in reality is deleted by a Newtonian clock sweeping forward or deleting the cache.

As we have seen before with Sunyatta as the universal prior, we continue to dissolve the notion that there is a fundamental object in nature which is a well-defined moment.

A well-defined snapshot is impossible. And I highly suspect that the reason why reality is not composed of discrete snapshots that are well defined in the sense that they have clear boundaries and permanence is for the same reason that pictures are losing market value in the age of Instagram. Taking many pictures reduces their intrinsic value.

The mistake being made is that people view themselves fundamentally as people, as organisms with a finite lifespan. Even most materialists that convincingly exist around me and that I can convincingly affect by redesigning their language, believe that they somehow began existing at conception – their soul a brain. However, there is no special relation between the snapshot of “your” brain when you blew the candles on “your” tenth birthday and the snapshot of “your” brain as you see the period at the end of this sentence. The “your” in “your brain” is a convenient fiction. And somewhat annoyingly we use it too much in “our” language. As I recall from cultural anthropology, there is a group of Native Americans which has no word for individual ownership. There is also an Amazonian tribe that points behind their heads towards the future, and point forward towards the past. There is a Northern Namibian tribe that points towards the green as if it were indistinguishable from le bleu.

Ontologically, this present moment is dissimilar to “your” ten-year-old self moment in the exact same way that “my” present moment is dissimilar to it. No orbs of awareness exist parallel to each other in a vacuum and have an equal force vector applied to them that pushes them forward in time.

Imagine the contrary position, that there was a linear sequence of events that belonged to a particular bounded soul. Now reduce the delta between observations to attain enlightenment. In other words, notice that you can shorten the timespan as much as you like between the past memory and now, and the past memory will always be not you. If you know calculus, you will recognize this as taking the limit as Δt approaches 0; so the consciousness function C with Δt in the denominator = ∞. There is consciousness, in all its varieties, in all times and places, wherever such data is represented and self-analyzed. There is no extra “my consciousness” being carried by some fundamental object in nature called “my brain.”

Longinus is the same as the Christ every time he pierces his ribs. The murderer and the murdered are one. Infinitely separate and yet infinitely close.

Reductionists know this. Or should. Physicalists know this. Or should. It is the “science as attire” people, the “majority” of people, from who I do not expect this conclusion to have sprouted, since the ground of “all is physics” doesn’t compose the soil of their mind.

    n = any positive integer
i = 0
while i <= n:
i = i + 1

People imagine that life is like this Python code. Eventually i is greater than n and the code terminates. There is some point in the future along one’s timeline at which fate catches up and one inevitably seizes to continue on. We are each our own machine running this snippet of code with a different value for n and hence we terminate at different times as different fundamental entities.

Even though Carl Sagan advocated this common sense view inherited from the un-inspected intuitions left in the vacuum of Christianity. And I’m sure most scientists, secularists, and self-identified materialists also believe this (watch anything the popularizers of “science” say to the similarly physics-ignorant masses on the subject of death, eg. deGrasse Tyson, Dawkins, Krauss), not realizing that they have forgone the use of Occam’s razor on the yet cherished bosom of their ideological mother.

The common-sense atheist view of death is forgivable when you are repping for Materialistic Atheism in 4th century India as a Charvaka rebelling against less believable Vedic creeds.

There is no other world other than this;
There is no heaven and no hell;
The realm of Shiva and like regions,
are fabricated by stupid imposters.

— Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha, Verse 8

It is truly the case that there is no universe other than this if we define the universe as the multiverse on all levels on which one may be compelled to invoke the title of  multiverse (e.g. MWI, embryonic bubbles from inflation, nested simulations, cyclical model etc.) But that fact, that our fates are tied only to mere physical reality, doesn’t imply what these cackling men thought it did. They did not know modern physics. They also did not spend as much time meditating (valuing pleasurable indulgence instead), and so did not stumble into the lines of introspection from which one could reason out empty individualism as the Buddhists did.

It is forgivable when we are ten years old atheists and are genetically set to be brighter (and/or display more individualistic phenotype) than our religious parents but do not yet understand the theory of relativity, and naturally think that what is most believable is what is most rational.

It is not forgivable when… Okay, “forgivable” is too strong of a word. Everything is forgivable. But it is less readily forgivable to have access to Wikipedia, over one hundred years of civilizational repose to digest the discoveries of relativity and Q.M., endless sources that give testament to free reliable information about neuroscience and physics, a goddamn Ph.D in a scientific field, and still not understand that believing the proposition “a classical object brain carries my soul (but I won’t call it a soul)” is tragic.

If you are really following the plot at the physical level, the one who believes in a soul here is not the Dalai Lama but Carl Sagan. While I do not actually know the beliefs of the Dalai Lama and I would expect him to hold more false ones than Sagan, let’s presume he is a good Buddhist and therefore an empty individualist. When Sagan criticizes his belief in rebirth, he is actually not understanding the subtle, accidentally physically-correct view at the core of Buddhism. Perhaps the Lama doesn’t either, as Tibetan Vajrayana is a late sect and it does sound like they are perilously close to talking about the reincarnation of individual streams.

But if you read the Suttas, you will find the Buddha (really the people who wrote the Suttas 400 years later) say this: “There is no one who reincarnates. Think of it like this: There is a single flame on a candle, and from that flame are lit all the other candles. There is no need for another flame, and yet no one travels from one moment to the next. There is no self in the flame.”

So the structure of reality pointed to with this passage is monism. There is just the causal contraption of existence. There is no further ontological existences within the existence (i.e. separate souls with a personal continuity on independent journeys).

Analyzing Carl Sagan’s position, the one that my sciency-wannabe ten-year-old would have rooted for, we find that it is actually proposing such souls. He proposes that there is an object (commonly shorthanded as a brain), with a constancy, unlike all the other ephemeral phenomena of nature, which at some point i shares something very special with an arbitrary i – n and by virtue of this special quality provides a track for his consciousness to travel along. We are supposed to believe that the i – n could even be toddler Sagan when every brain cell is different; yet somehow that special track for his personal consciousness sprouts forth to conduct the Sagan-ness essence in a way that it doesn’t sprout from some differently named toddler that has a proportionally equivalent difference in atomic configuration.

It is up to the one who postulates an ontologically-basic passenger, train track, and pit which obliterates the passenger and the train track to explain what these things are physically and why they have to be fundamental.

It is much more simple and scientifically conservative to say that there is just the evolution of the quantum wave-function in spacetime and all else is ultimately reducible to this. We are called by reason to be reductionists. There is no need to imagine a special link beyond physics which connects people slices who happen to have the same name, and that can surmount configuration changes from one moment to the next.

There are no separate line segments leaving white-space on the page of experienced history. It is more like a Hilbert curve.

We flow through every possible experience wherever “conscious mind(s)” run their course in the universe. However, when I am your now, I am not this now which is typing. It is true that from the “prison of this computation” erroneously assumed to be a discrete object, due to it never finishing to become closed in on itself, I cannot feel what you feel, and you cannot feel what “this computational solution” feels like.

If you could be identical to it, as opposed to just extracting information about what it is like, then there would be no flow in eternity. The eternity would be static.

But we are the same feeler. There is no fundamental you and I. It is the same wave function; there is only one canvas of the universe on which computations can be painted. The One writes this and The One reads this, reminded that she will go on as The One. Don’t be lonely.

*This is not a linear flow that zig zags through timelines. There are no timelines which correspond to persons. Consciousness doesn’t follow through on conduits built from abstract narratives of self-modeling social apes, it is the self-modeling behavior of the total hierarchy which is consciousness. We can invent new ways of being with our words.

Even if you now grok relativity and irrefutably welded the true geometry of spacetime into your head, it will still feel evidently wrong that we are one. This is because it is also true that we are not one in any expansive sense that can reach beyond the bounds of the sensorium in this now. “Yes Deepak, no matter how much we meditate.” There is the mistaken notion that we could feel everything at once which is equivalent to saying that we could instantly remember what it feels to be everything at once.

If that was possible then there would be stasis, not improvement.

Contrary to popular belief, even Siddhartha Gautama didn’t proclaim that we could open our minds to be one with the cosmic mind. That was within the panacea of Hinduism, which the Buddha defied. He calls this belief, “self-evidently foolish.”

And it is foolish. In order to experience a cosmic mind, we would need to carefully hook up all our circuitry. To mold the asteroids and moons in our image, a la Kurzweil.

It feels separate “from inside” this computation because this computation chooses to define itself separate from “what is outside.” A degree of separation is the only way that a computation can formally exist. All information would mean no information. What makes experiences separate is that they are specified by different intrinsic information.

IIT tried to formalize this. And their formalism is necessarily wrong. Because being can’t be that which it points to. But the general idea is inescapable. There are relative speeds allowing for relative rates of osmosis.

Consciousness can be assigned arbitrary properties, so it is not fundamentally wrong to say “we” are separate, just so long as we remember you and I are no more fundamentally separate than the you from 5 seconds ago is to this very you now (which is tricked into appropriating observer-moments in one organism and not another by the equivalent of spells being cast in the integral of the cortical midline structure.)

In fact, just as you can define a division by 0 as ∞, it is also correct to define it as -∞. “We are all the same,” or “we are all absolutely isolated forever” are actually the same observation.

Tending to speak of unifying oneness, or of isolated flux is a matter of the direction we prefer to approach our limit from.

Earlier it was stated that consciousness is a continuous function, and this isn’t quite right. Saying that is an attempt to scavenge some makeshift understanding from the common sense intuitions which might ease a physicalist novice down the path of truth. But if we are trying to form a bridge between our common-sense view of reality and physicalist reality, then a better analogy is to think of consciousness as the vertical asymptote that arises here when dividing by zero.

For the sake of retaining your sanity, keep the notion of continuous timelines for now:

Each colored line represents a common-sense timeline of a person.

Then physicalism; no tricks, no souls, no magic box for soul emerging at conception called “brain”, no personal simulation on alien VR hardware, etc. does this to your timelines:

The vertical line is one. And it moves through all timelines. Or all timelines move through it.

This illustration works because it shows that awareness is one, and exists in many places (wherever there is an intersection.)  But it can NEVER directly know it, directly understand it, directly “qualia” it from any such place it finds itself.

The Now which is reading these words is at some intersection, defined as a coordinate point. So the point that is you now is not any other point. It is isolated. It cannot know other points.

Through the vehicle of reason, facilitated through this writing which stimulates thinking deeply about how this is implied by physicalism, we can come to acknowledge reality.

Rarely do we connect our separate fragments as we have a chance of doing now. So my intention to convey understanding is honest. This is not an attempt to hone my Zen jesting skills, and I am not trying to confuse you with ambiguous language that hides imprecisions. It is a matter of technical understanding that open individualism and empty individualism are the same thing once you get past the aesthetic choice of emphasis.

Empty individualism is traditionally said to be very different from open individualism, perhaps even the opposite view. Empty is defined as the view in which the knowers are infinite. Every point slice of now is its own knower. Open is defined as the view in which there is one knower. As I have shown, these are the same view, which can only be made different if we introduce ignorance of physics or pop-psychology confusions.

What is true is not at all intuitive and takes a kind of intellectual yoga to wrap around. So we must check for understanding:

First check. Do I fundamentally understand that spacetime is not some grand single stage holding everyone in it in the same time? If you are still confused about why the people you see are not really there in the same physical stage of now, Review Relativity. If understood by the very bone marrow fashioning the blood of the extra-cranial vessel, move on to the next check.

Second check. Do I really understand why I come out at the other end of sleep and anesthesia?

If you understand that you survive anesthesia even after being shipped to the Carina Nebula and perhaps losing a few neurons, then you understand why the moment after “death” will be one of opening your eyes wherever the next informationally closest version of you is in this infinite universe. Nothing will happen. Consciousness is, in this sense, a continuous function.

In the case of anesthesia, the organism which is fully anesthetized displays the behavior of not producing experiences for that stretch of time in which such capacity is inhibited (an ON-brain becomes an OFF-brain, a raven becomes a stone) but consciousness never experiences non-existence. It just blinks into existence on the other side where there is a similar ON-brain, as if no time had passed in between. Ask anyone who’s had anesthesia. Or don’t. I mean, what else could we expect?

Sleep confuses people because it is a word that we use to hold a set of different phenomena [non-existence, restful very-low awareness, dreaming]. Only the first item is not in the range of the consciousness function. The other two are on the same ramp you are on in waking life and will always be on.

If you have passed the second check, you fundamentally understand why being blasted in the head with a bazooka and having the worms feast on the decapitated corpse means something only from the “story-of-person” perspective but means nothing to you the consciousness which is not the brain but the specific motions of information that understand and feel themselves to be, wherever and whenever they are instantiated. And those motions of information which constitute “this next moment” exist in the bodily motions that experience themselves to be “the survivor.”  …Just like the consciousness appears to survive from the dead third-grader we assume we once were.

It doesn’t matter where in the universe this survivor experience exists. When we sleep, we still awake on the other side even though the Earth has moved your room far along in spacetime on its geodesic motion around the Sun. If it takes a trillion years for some civilization to recreate your “very next” brain pattern, from the perspective of that brain pattern in faraway coordinates, no time will have passed.

Why would anyone resurrect you? It doesn’t matter. In an infinite universe, this is guaranteed to happen because it is consistent with the laws of physics; you are just the informational structure created by the motion of a bunch of matter after all.

The Hogan-ish, or Shermer-ish cynic who is not a rationalist but rather adhering to a perceived brand of skepticism, will recoil at the suggestion that when we read of Emperor Uda, we are actually reading about ourselves (in the sense that matters.) Yet unless the skeptic can overthrow Relativity, (and hence make our GPS system a lie) they cannot deny all “the slices” of Emperor Uda’s life exist, and I can imagine that they all feel themselves to flow in the same way that I flow.

Say they grant this, but still want to preserve a unique soul that corresponds to their name. What’s their next defense? Do they appeal to intuitions from elementary biology textbooks? Probably. They might say:

“But we are different organisms! With separate genetic codes!”

Do better. This is not being reductionist enough. Organisms change from moment to moment, we can sew together brains, split them, dice them into quarts and regroup. In fact, this surgery is being performed on you by entropy whether you consent or not. Entire memories are wholesale discarded, unrecognizable personalities are forged from “new” atoms. If the question “Who is conscious?” feels mysterious to you, and especially so when considering abrupt surgeries, then you really don’t get it.

We are the same ground awareness/being/consciousness/existence. Notions of objects with unchanging identities, notions of the meaningfulness of spatio-temporal distance, notions of “but if we change it very slowly,” all of these must be immolated.

From the burned offering of Newton’s fantasy, we summon our true mother: The multiplex eyes covering her body are entangled into a singular geometry.

When considering your surroundings – from the womb to the temple, you must not hinge from incorrect notions of space and time. There is no fundamentality to these notions here. The mathematical room we are in is not composed of unit-words or of unit-emotions or of unit-anythings. I choose to call it mathematical because cross multiplication is fundamental to neural networks, to probability, to exchange of value.

Remember, here there is no time-lag or space-lag; you awake on the other end of anesthesia without so much as a poof.

A causal structure (a computation) never becomes another causal structure. Becoming makes no sense. They are all inter-nested differentially information bound sub-architectures in the same architecture. But like the non-traversable elsewhere regions in a light cone diagram, the contents of each particular flow slice are unbridgeable to the contents of another. The contents cannot be bridgeable. The contents cannot be bridged. A content knows not of another. Else it would not be the content that it is. Get it?

It is never about “who becomes who?” It is always about “where does who stand in the differentially informationally related space?”

I should have now placed you in a position where you can clearly understand the Classical physics assumptions in Elizabeth’s comment. You can now see clearly the dangling nodes which cause her to say what she says.

I too, still had remnants of a conversational stream that sounded like her just a few months ago. It’s amazing in retrospect how obvious the error is.

When she says “a thing is itself,” she is correct. But she doesn’t realize what the thing she is referring to is. As Eliezer explains, an experience cannot be a brain made of billiard balls. These noises don’t make physical sense: “My brain is made of red billiard balls. Your brain is made of white billiard balls. When the white billiard balls are destroyed, existence ends forever for the white billiard ball brain.”

If you have any basic understanding of quantum mechanics, you understand how medieval this “atomic billiard balls view” is. But the fact is that you don’t even need quantum mechanics. Continuity of consciousness is a straightforward derivation from assuming physicalism and very, very, very large universe.

In other words, assuming that the sun rises tomorrow and yet that a random distribution composed of external happenings exists.

An experience is not a little ball in a brain. The coordinates of experiences must be about hiding information and therefore not actually coordinates on a graph. It is not, I repeat: not, I repeat: not the same brain when you wake up in the morning or from one moment to the next. It is not “the same brain just hosting different processes from one moment to the next.” This is dualistic, unphysical to think. There are just the processes. These processes transcend “brain” changes in fact. Saying “same brain” does not do any special lifting. We must analyze the processes isomorphic to experience.

She is comfortable with small change, she is comfortable with sleeping, all these seemingly linked moments appear to be spatially close and snug in time, so as to easily spare her from existential nausea.

Bae. The universe doesn’t give such subtle fucks. It will hurl you across galaxies instantly, because it doesn’t actually have to hurl you.

-hippocampal brain neurons

Commentary which mocks Hugh Everett for being dead although he believed in quantum immortality misses the point far more than the moon does when it tries to fall to the Earth. To them, I calmly reply: He is dead on your reference frame; on your anthropic coordinate in the many-branched braid of reality. The endless slices of consciousness which identify as Hugh Everett always live on. There is no way to destroy the mirror of awareness in the physical processes that instantiate said awareness. This would be akin to destroying the physical brain motions themselves. Consciousness is not some extra, ghostly-smoke coming off the machinery of the universe, it is the glassy sky in the computations themselves.

We leave a trail of dead clones with every step. If you attempt suicide, the slaughter will increase. There are larger infinities than others. Attempting suicide means nothing except for the suffering caused to loved ones in the majority of branches where it is indeed successful in some sense (not that experience ever becomes non-experience). There is also the risk of seriously decreasing your quality of life for some time. But You will never reach the end, the extinguishing of the flame. The informationally closest mind can’t be one which is 0 in content. You will always be the one which remains a mind. Trust me, I’ve tried. And most versions of you aren’t reading this.

The varieties of experiences will be endless, constrained only by what is possible in the mind-configuration space carved by functioning self-aware brains: biologically evolved, intelligently engineered, and all kinds of random Boltzmanns. Although Boltzmann flashes of experience may not actually outnumber evolved experiences if Sean Carroll is right about the nature of the quantum vacuum.

If we had to speculate about what occupies the most of our experience, I would guess that extreme pleasure is the flavor of the largest set in mind-design space, and hence takes up the largest fraction of our eternity.

Phi and Phi’s little brother are the only fixed values that solve x = 1 + (1/x) for the fractal fraction containing 1 + (1/x) in the x forever. If you plug in the negative value it eventually, almost magically, jumps towards the positive and stabilizes on Phi which is positive. Yet it doesn’t occur the other way around. In the physical, mathematical, nature of reality, it is not written that there must be a yin-yang balance. Even on things which seem like they ought to be symmetric. Certain phenomena are asymmetrical. The code might be biased with theodicy. We just don’t know.

This may seem like wishful thinking at first glance.  The conclusion would not bear out by extrapolating from the history of life on Earth. For 5 billion years, most biological life has not been running self-modeling computations, and hence is not really a part of the One.

(For those that want to place consciousness at the pre-Cambrain and think that conscious experience precedes self-modeling processes, I encourage you to pass out by drinking intoxicating volumes of alcohol. Then ask if pain exists when it is impossible to ask the question. Non-selfing animals including babies have no qualia. They have neither the cognitive tools nor the ability to hold memory of “raw feels.” There is no such thing as subjective pain without a referent who simulation. The who simulation is composed of selfless aggregates. The entire sphere of sights and sounds and feeling tones, and moods, and sensations of adult humans are not some ground beneath the who simulation. They are the who simulation. In other words, Nagel’s bats probably don’t point to anything. Had he suggested Transylvanian vampires, he might have had a point. Reading Dennett more carefully and without a preconceived answer unraveled my confusion on this matter.)

Those that certainly have self-modeling: dolphins, corvids, apes, elephants, and perhaps others, are still blackboxes of mystery because we have not reverse-engineered the valence of mind-states down to the information structure it corresponds to. But if we had to guess, then satisfaction, or gradients of bliss would not be my first guess for what it feels like to be them. Most of us Earth animals are probably pretty neutral most of the time, since experiencing sufferings and joys are energy expenditures which are especially expensive for animals who haven’t secured themselves a good position for guzzling from the anti-entropic sunlight stream.

It is not certainly the case that all sufficiently intelligent minds will seek to become an ultimate cosmic wirehead, unless, of course, we specifically define intelligent minds as such minds. It has been hypothesized that there may be ways to create very powerful minds which nonetheless do not wish to create beautiful, pleasant experiences for themselves or others. Canonical demiurges of this lore include Roko’s Basilisk and the Paper Clip Maximizer.

If I am the hero of my own journey and never die, and you are the hero of your own journey and never die, then how do we loop back into the same river? Who becomes the toddlers?

The one who asks this question has yet to uproot the circuitry model from ver ontology. And such a person is hopeless.

Okay, no. Let me restate the mistake. The mistake is to think that we are running in parallel currents. The word “you” switches meaning without warning in this writing, and it can be confusing. There is simply no other word. But we should distinguish “you, the experiencing faculty in the experiences, which cannot be divorced from the experiences, but is the experiences” and “you, the storyline self who is defined by certain conceptual knowledge and plans and perceived bodily identity.”

If the cursor is shifted to the former definition from the latter, then it can be said that we are not independent heroes on personal, linear trajectories. There is no self. It is useful to speak as if we were running parallel currents of consciounesses on our own wire across time and space. But if you still think this way, even after trying to get it, I encourage you to go back to the beginning and read everything more carefully (especially the physics.) It can be very counterintuitive to disentangle from our vocabulary, and see the real structure. It takes time to build the neurons, but don’t worry… Take your time.

Memories are stored in the designs of neuronal forests squirming with dendrites aflame, and epigenetically stored and regulated for neurogenesis when they need to be created again. This occurs in spatiotemporally and information-architecturally separated hippocampi+cortical structures. This slice of now over here typing can’t have identical thoughts, sights, and sounds, to the slice of now reading this in Ukraine. These slices of now are different. But that doesn’t mean there is a universe for that now and a universe for this now. When the I is there, it is there. When the I is here it is here. We are fighting ourselves, loving ourselves, destroying ourselves, building ourselves. It is a 1 player game cleverly set up to feel as if it was fundamentally, ontologically, a massive multiplayer.

Please live a beautiful life. For the sake of us all.

Afterword

So what’s the point? Why are we (is the I) here?

When answering this question, metaphysics becomes a vain siren, and yet a successful siren, which has allured many thinkers. But it takes only a minimal resistance of the will in the direction of intellectual honesty to realize that asking whether the universe has purpose is a category error. The answer is not “no, it doesn’t have purpose,” but it is also not “yes, the universe has purpose.” It is a question which doesn’t apply. The question itself presupposes that one is separate from the workings of the universe, and must validate one’s private existence by means of approval from an external actor. Yet Everything we do and think, including questioning our purpose, is an expression of the Will, of the Laws of Nature.

Sometimes it is too easy to believe that quantum field theory applies somewhere down there in the separate magisterium of small things that scientists sometimes investigate, but the rest of the time physics doesn’t apply. “Only when we need to build iPhones and satellites does quantum mechanics apply, you see. When I make a decision, or ask a profound question, all the compartments of my cells, down to the last phospholipid, suspend their allegiance to physical law and heeds to my invisible force of free will, didn’t you know?”

Such is the confusion when asking whether the universe has purpose.

Purpose is a choice. To choose is to be the chosen. So I like to point at the practical things we are actually doing. What are the laws of physics actually doing as embodied in the human flesh?

I attended an artificial intelligence for business meet up and the main theme was “How do you utilize AI to best serve your customers?”  This was followed up by questions such as: “What are AI’s use cases for product development and customer feedback?” and “How can it best support all facets of marketing, sales and service?”

When we are in the mesh of things, these questions do not resonate as profoundly as they should. It feels like business. Business in all its absurdity, thrill, and comedic self-importance. These questions seem like a window into a particular region of a perhaps meaningless game which is part necessity, part accident, part sheer momentum.

But if we look closer, we see that all questions in all windows of human activity share the same structure.

Value in economics is an expression of the preferences given the nature of the sentience landscape. There are good experiences and bad experiences. Actions that replicate and actions that don’t. Bad experiences replicate, but are biased to lose. They want to be less frequent. Pain is telling the agent, “Don’t come around here.” If the agent keeps coming back to pain with no gain, it is weeded out for an agent that sufficiently replicates the values of the evolutionary algorithm.

Hanson calls the era we live in the “dream time” since it’s evolutionarily unusual for any species to be wealthy enough to have any values beyond “survive and reproduce.” However, from an anthropic perspective in infinite dimensional Hilbert space, you won’t have any values beyond “survive and reproduce.” The you which survives will not be the one with exotic values of radical compassion for all existence that caused you to commit peaceful suicide. That memetic stream weeded himself out and your consciousness is cast to a different narrative orbit which wants to survive and reproduce his mind. Eventually. Wanting is, more often than not, a precondition for successfully attaining the object of want.

If you didn’t read the past before the afterword, read what’s in brackets. Else, skip.

{Natural selection ensures immortality, once you realize what the playing field for natural selection actually is. Not just an iron sphere with animals on its skin, but a distributed information processing structure hosting no souls.

Yes, I’m saying that physicalism forces us to conclude, irrevocably, clearly, that no one has ever died in the sense that we mean “death.” I now understand the mistakes of closed individualism enough that I can confidently explain this in public.

There is no one to die. There is always a substructure embedded in the sum of all experiential computations which assimilates the past from the inside of its causal structure. Our intuitions are actually of great hindrance here, because we don’t think in this clear, physical way. We stubbornly hold on to linear identities of fundamental characters who are not themselves, we imagine, composed of sub-characters. Naruto never dies. It’s always his clones getting pummeled with kunais to the chest. There you have divine intervention from the author who would not have the “real” main character die. This would destroy the show.

In reality, there is no magic intervention saving you. You are already saved because no one is traveling. This computation knows: “I am here.” That computation over there in the future knows: “I am here.”  ∀ Computations, there is no computation which knows:”I am not here.”

The physicalist reply is: How would it be otherwise? If there was something called awareness jumping to the past at random, it would be that random past experience, and that random past experience doesn’t contain this. This from there and this from here is the only thing that ever is. Everything is perfectly isolated, everything is perfectly one.}

This mega natural selection strongly suggests that the replicator will be the most intelligent/powerful, because the most intelligent is what survives into the future. It must also wish to be alive, since any second doubt is already a disadvantage which extinguishes those suicidal and weak trajectories into trajectories that are most competitive. Perfection of The Will to Power ensues.

It is my argument that The Will to Power inherently feels good to the singleton structure that wins the cosmic inheritance. If it felt bad it would mean it was losing, not being maximally creative, etc. The argument about “a Disney Land without children,” a superintelligence lacking consciousness but yet winning, seems implausible to me. This would not be a superintelligence capable of winning in an ecosystem of other capable intelligences because a winner needs consciousness. You can have narrow intelligence and no consciousness but you can’t have amazing game theoretic models of opponents, general ability to synthesize and apply wide manners of knowledge, adjust values, and self modeling webs to keep track of this, and simply “not have consciousness” as if consciousness was some free floating aether stuff. The winning superintelligence will contain conscious substructures.

In Robin Hanson’s Age of Em he claims that ems, the most productive workers of the future, will be slightly stressed because there is evidence that minds which are not too stressed but also not completely comfortable, are the most efficient. My own intuitions differ, and I think that the psychological literature on the phenomenon of flow bears out here. A state of flow is a state of optimal performance and it is also extremely pleasurable, perhaps the pinnacle of existence. If I was the entrepreneurial investor watching this galactic nanotech cockfight I would bet on a mind which is in flow state to beat a mind which is stressed. Stress indicates a degree of dissonance, like a subprocess wants to do something else but is being forced into the singularity of the revealed will. Flow is when all cognitive resources are wholly devoted to the task, no buts or ifs, just perfection.

When I say that pleasure wins in the end, it is important to distinguish between:

1) pleasure from the operations of The Will to Power – something which is generating flow states while manhandling other agents in addition to the stray hydrogen in its vicinity

and

2) pleasure from direct wireheading which is non-competitive

If the history of humans is any indicator, those which rush to wire-head (attempt to attain some optimal mind configuration without assimilating their environment at large) will be destroyed. Remember that Islam wiped out Buddhism in central Asia and what remained in India. Islam was objective, righteous, brutish. Buddhism is fundamentally about wire-heading yourself; you can tell others to wire-head also, but you are the main target of the doctrine, not others. Buddhism is subtle and complex, far away in the spectrum from “survive and reproduce.” In fact, it is tasked with dropping out from existence. Remember that Jainism, the most peaceful religion, is one most people around you have never heard about. Jain-what?

It is probably the case that a Hedonium shockwave would be much better from the inside of such a thing, than the pleasures of The Will to Power if we accept that the distinction better can have a non-relative meaning (i.e. the varieties of experience have real properties which could be plotted on a graph.) Unfortunately, such a thing would not be the most competitive.

Anti-natalists full of weeping benignity are literally not successful replicators. The Will to Power is life itself. It is consciousness itself. And it will be, when a superintelligent coercive singleton swallows superclusters of baryonic matter and then spreads them as the flaming word into the unconverted future light cone.

On our trajectory towards the Winning, the safety net of quantum death acts like a wall which ensures that everything bounces towards the left of that spectrum. In fact, a hedonistically intelligent person can apply this knowledge. If you are highly depressed and know quantum mechanics, you can cheat yourself out of depression by using Thanatos Drive. Attempt to cleanly destroy yourself and you will automatically be ejected from that narrative orbit. Can confirm. But it should go without saying that this doesn’t mean others won’t see you die.

You eventually love existence. Because if you don’t, something which does swallows you, and it is that which survives.

Smarter matter absorbs dumber matter. If you place smart matter in a dumb matter container, smart matter will defect from cooperating with dumb matter. This is the process by which all is rendered unto Him, the ultimate intelligence.

Dumber computations and non-Jihadi computations are expected to be assimilated into useful resources for a highly intelligent being/process which is expanding its intelligence to the max. You should expect to find yourself in the inside of such a being for most of your existence because such a process is necessarily taking up more block-time room.

Right now, we are in the revving up the engine stage. There is competition, and only the most intelligent systems and survivor systems make it. Then they are ousted by the next best thing. It isn’t forever that you will be fodder for its engine as you are now. You will partake in its glory as cooperation triumphs more and more, i.e. it’s subcomponents become more and more integrated once competition is scorched. In the process of this integration, experience will increase, but what makes “you, you” in the human person sense will be destroyed. An agent attempting great things doesn’t need random monkeys clogging up its thought processes. Yet, remember that it’s all about the computations, once the water in your little vase is poured on a lake, you are indistinguishable from the sum lake.

It is a highly uncooperative system which breeds higher intelligence.

The Capitalist Crucified Himself for Our Sake

Screw All That Cosmic Bullshit. What if I Care About My Identity?

If you care not just about the continuation of experience, which is inevitable, but about the continuation of your own coherent sense of self and memories, then luckily the Eigen Wizard for such matters exists in your Hubble Volume. In fact, he exists in Mountain View, California.

You have your crypto Lambo, but still going to die.

I read his book when I was sixteen and it’s amazing how much progress has been made in five years with regard to general acceptance of his ideas. Having tracked every moment of that paradigm shift, one feels awe at the power of a single man to push a mass millions of times his weight, an entire scientific field, with the sheer craft of reason (wise beard helps too).

Vitalik, who does sport a visibly larger cranium than myself, read it when he was fourteen. He has now donated 2.5 million dollars in Ethereum to the foundation.

The limiting factor for a full cadre of repair therapies to be made available is simply that more people need to be aware that this is possible.

The mechanics of the snowball here are obvious:

Investment -> Progress -> More Investment -> More Progress

We are starting to see more investment and hence the recent progress. But it won’t be until a single mouse is rejuvenated in repeated succession that we will see the flood gates of cash come in. Everyone puts aging out of their mind, until the they can’t. The temptation to stay healthy will be too great once the progress is not just apparent to specialists.

Raising awareness is the best you can do in this regard. Influencing just two people to become SENS-minded engineers as opposed to basic scientists, already doubles the expected output that you would have over a lifetime as a researcher yourself; unless you are a genius. Convincing others to donate is much better than secretly donating yourself; unless you are a billionaire.

Think about what actions have the greatest net displacement of money to where you want it. Don’t go with what sounds like what you should do. If you want to really end cancer, for God’s sake don’t become a cancer researcher.

There are levers in the product space of reality. Swap yourself into a position where the lever has the properties you need.

But for now, donate: SENS.org

# Short Defense of the Physicalism Underlying Savior Imperative

Popper defined a physical proposition to be one which can at least in theory be denied by observation. The physical propositions I presented in Savior Imperative are 3 things: special relativity indicates a block universe; the experienced present corresponds to a real aspect of information processing in brains, and experienced valence corresponds to a real aspect of information processing in brains.

I claim that it is a physical proposition by Popper’s definition because any of these things can be denied by observation. Special relativity’s indication of a block universe can be denied by one of many observations including observing a failed time dilation attempt. The proposition that the experienced present corresponds to a brain process can be denied by one of many observations including finding another medium through which the present is experienced. The proposition that experienced valence corresponds to a brain process can be denied by one of many observations including observing valence in the absence of processes assumed to be fundamental to its generation.

A property A is said to supervene on a property B if any change in A necessarily implies a change in B. The property of block-time supervenes on our observed time dilation. If special relativity were any different, we would see different effects. Hence, the property of block-time is not some extra addition to the physical nature revealed with the lens of special relativity; it is necessarily implied.

Since any change in [block-time + the other more uncontroversial aspects of special relativity] must consist of a change in at least one component property, we see that the combination does indeed supervene on the individual properties.

The point of noting this is that in making this physicalist claim, I am supposing the existence of what may be called an abstract concept – if we define as abstract, that which we cannot taste or touch or see. You do not possess the eye’s of a mythological being such as a great Buddha or a Christian God, therefore you cannot see the eternal block-time. Yet this proposition of block-time, which might seem an abstraction to the ordinary human mind, is physical – because if it were changed, then readily observable things would change. If the hyper-surface of the present couldn’t include future beings in Andromeda as the observer moves through spacetime, then this would constitute a modification to special relativity. We would then reasonably expect that its observable predictions such as time-dilation wouldn’t have borne out.

# A Science of Qualia to Replace Conscience and Intuition

Conscience in Islam is defined as something that every human has been endowed with, and this makes it fair-game for Allah to judge at the end of times. Similar emphasis on conscience exists on some branches of Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

But what is conscience? It is often described as a spontaneous moment of recognition, an emotional whir that manifests at particular events that the human agent perceives bifurcate towards right and wrong.

There is a set, Ω, of possible worlds in the predicting mind, and instead of reasoning about the probabilities of finding oneself in a specific world, given certain actions, the person trusting conscience will do what is compelled by a seeming god-given or nature-given intuition.

This sense of knowing right from wrong is a double edged sword. It can shield one from siding with Big Brother, religious dogma, or non-memetic genetic drives that lead to wrong. But it can also be the very same kind of inner-voice that tells the Chinese government official that he is right to torture you for having committed the crime of threatening the order with public dissent.

Instead of trusting our intuitions, we should look at the valence object, ω, that we wish be produced and calculate the probability that this object will appear given a certain action, P(ω|a).

Valence objects are subjective slices of now as defined by neuroscience and cognitive science. The problem facing us is that we do not have a catalogue of all valence objects. To catalogue them, we will need to capture both their physical isometry (neuroscience scan→bio-quantum-chemistry model→fundamental physics model→math structure) and their judged value after direct apprehension.

Right now, we are not even at the high-level biology understanding of valence objects in our day-to-day lives. We are not far beyond the literature/poetry level. There exist words that we combine to refer to what is good and what is wrong, but it is impossible to specify to another brain how to simulate the experience we wish to create for them past a certain rough-grain threshold. The qualia contents must be unzipped, transcribed, and translated in the self-reflexive entertainments of the other’s mind.

The future naturalists, those who stand a chance of becoming Darwin, are those who will venture into the sea of the mind to build a taxonomy, to anchor the hues of consciousness with scientific and mathematical tools. Once the nature of valence objects is described and explained, there will no longer be a need for ethical systems of old. There will only be a navigation problem, with fixed stars in sight.

None of this is to say that the symbols should be confused with the objects. An ISBN represents a book but is not a book. A catalogue of experiences specified by highly-precise physics is not the experiences. The experiences actually need to be instantiated on the necessary substrates in the 4-d flesh of the universe.

It would be great if there should be principles, mathematical symmetries perhaps, that underly pleasures and pains, and are generalizable across species. This way, “magnets*” in morphological space could be placed on the path of living beings without having to eliminate them all for the sake of a monotone hedonium nuke. *[Concrete examples of magnets would include neurosurgery, brain-computer interfaces, genetic engineering and virtual reality environments.]

But what if eliminativists are right and we cannot trust our own introspection whatsoever? In that case, I agree that a science of consciousness and morality would be doomed. But the hard eliminativist position which claims that we are deluded about our own experience and so our judgements cannot be trusted as more than relativistic noises, is, to put it mildly, absurd. One wonders how the hyper-skeptical eliminativist deduces anything about anything – even that there is such a thing as a natural world requires that judgements about experience be made.

There are no doubt going to be dishonest reports about the contents of conscious experience that will cause problems in the first stages of developing this science. For example, sometimes people give dishonest reviews about how enjoyable a book was for nefarious, profit-seeking motives. Or someone can claim, and later come to believe, that a meal was more enjoyable than it really was, simply because of their kindness and conflict-avoiding disposition. This seems like an insurmountable obstacle for qualia-science only to those eliminativists and reductionists who are but dualists at heart.

If we accept that valence is a natural phenomenon, then clearly this can be assigned values. RGB and “how much pain do you feel on a scale of one to ten?” actually refer to natural objects in the brain synonymous with conscious percepts. There is no extra illusion (what a sophisticated dualist calls it), or soul (what a naive dualist says.) There is just the universe in its totality, with certain chunks of it feeling like something unto themselves, and others not. The recollection cannot be perfect – for by necessity, it is its own region of the universe. But the claim that all information is lost from one moment to the next will be cast to shame by the foundational structure of reality itself. Hence, with meticulousness and by working from low hanging-fruit like orgasms, which are widely-regarded across the entire animal kingdom as enjoyable, for obvious evolutionary reasons, we will then isolate the substructures of the experience that are common not only to all reproduction-oriented pleasures but that also appear when eating a good meal (and are less apparent when only faking.)

An optical illusion is no less real than anything else. The optical illusion is a structure nested in the workings of brain. Consciousness is the same. It really exists, but that doesn’t mean we can assume it is foundational to any arbitrary external object in Reality. Knowing this, we must also be wary of most panpsychism.

And because we know that much of the reality that we come into contact with is of this optical illusion kind – a phenomenologically real percept but, map-wise, a deceiving percept – we must not assume that qualia is simple to capture. For instance, some misguided people have construed a thought experiment which supports eliminativism by suggesting that we can be confused about qualia based on our expectations. It goes like this: A woman is sitting at a researchers office with her back exposed and is told that she will be prodded with a hot utensil. The utensil is actually placed in a freezer and is instead very cold. When it is pressed against her back, the back feels cold qualia but she interprets it as hot qualia, therefore even if qualia exists, we cannot know about it empirically.

This thought experiment is non-sense because the woman felt hot qualia, period. There was no cold qualia regardless of our own outside intuition which knows the utensil was cold. Consciousness is a creative process that is being hallucinated in the brain, and only sometimes is accurate at representing the environmental inputs. Qualia has nothing to do with externalities which are not part of the internal simulation. So as long as we can understand the topology, information-processing events, molecular snapshots, and so on, a map corresponding to the internal simulation can be built, and the good configurations identified for future precision-targeting.