New Monadology

Leibniz_Monadology_2The first manuscript page of the Monadology

Leibniz surmised that there are indefinitely many substances individually ‘programmed’ to act in a predetermined way, each substance being coordinated with all the others. This description of reality is elegant to the ear that believes Zeus is more simple than Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism.

However, coding Zeus is more difficult than coding Maxwell’s equations. Similarly, coding a world in which all substances are individually programmed is more difficult than coding a world in which a single substance is programmed.

The single substance is the amplitude distribution of the entire universe.

Another problem is that for a Bayesian rationalist trained on the early 21st century blog LessWrong, the immediately succeeding question after reading Leibniz is “How would the world be otherwise if this were not true?”

Unfortunately Leibniz’s view is vague enough that it cannot be made to “pay rent.” Poetic; tantalizing – yes. But the more complex an explanation is, the more evidence you need just to find it in belief-space.

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 4.48.38 PM

Popper defined a physical proposition to be one which can at least in theory be denied by observation.

–Take the example of the B-Theory of Time. However counterintuitive it may be from the inside of human self-modeling computations to believe that time is an illusion, eternalism is a physical proposition because it can be denied by observing special relativity fail.

If we had seen the absence of time dilation or the absence of length contraction, then special relativity would be wrong and eternalism would be debunked. Unfortunately for those who cherished belief in libertarian free will, this was not the case.

It is more difficult to apply a Popper test to Leibniz’s monadology, however. Perhaps Leibniz knew of an observation that could knock down his proposition, but this jugular is not clearly visible. If a proposition believes itself immune ∀ observations, the proposition is not physical.

So the sense in which I want to rehabilitate the monadology is not in the physical sense. There is an aesthetic vibe to it, and this aesthetic vibe is similar to the aesthetic vibe caused by the ontological content in my physical proposition belief space.

We have learned much about reality since the time of Leibniz. If we are given a wave function \psi for a single structureless particle in position space, this reduces to saying that the probability density function p(x,y,z) for a measurement of the position at time t_{0} will be given by

p(x,y,z)= {\displaystyle |\psi (x,y,z,t_{0})|^{2}.}

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 6.10.11 PM

If you are not familiar with complex conjugates, I guess you can just forget about the absolute value squared part. Just look at the picture and try to realize, try to feel, that these are indeed equal.

It feels weird doesn’t it?

The measurement problem arises because the quantum state vector, the source of all knowledge concerning quantum systems, evolves according to the Schrödinger equation into a linear superposition of different states, predicting paradoxical situations such as “Schrödinger’s cat”; situations never experienced in our classical world.

Except that the cat which is both dead and alive does happen in our classical world. It is just not experienced that way. Observers can only find themselves where they are alive because they are nothing more than a physical configuration.

The confusion arises from thinking that one can actually find oneself dead.

To be more precise, there is no flowing identity in the cat that must be accounted for. The alive cat is always alive from its own slice in eternity and the similar but different dead cat in another branch is subjectively inconsequential to the observed reality of the other indexical feline.

In common language it is often explained that:

“According to the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, reality is constantly splitting into countless parallel universes, with each possible collision and all other outcomes being realized in a different universe. Even very improbable events must then occur by chance in a small percentage of universes.”

Ahh… but if all else which is occurring is directly inconsequential to immediate perception, doesn’t this belief in the objectivity of the wavefunction and therefore many-worlds, also “not pay rent”; is therefore also poetry; is therefore also Leibniz’s Monadology?

Such is not the case.

From both a Bayesian rationalist perspective, and a Deutsch-style Popperian perspective, Many-worlds does pay rent. It may not be obvious that Occam’s razor implies many-worlds to those who do not think about multi-particle configurations. But it pays, and we cannot kick it out of our territory through argumentation that values empiricism.

However, we can kick it out as a matter of constraining our anticipation. We still believe that the sizes of infinity matter, and that somehow we exist at the most dense core of amplitude distribution – that which is most rational. Hence why we don’t buy insurance for betrayal branches were we spontaneously murder the people around us. Or even gamble at the lottery, though infinite easy trillionaires are physically created through this behavior.

Screen Shot 2018-11-29 at 8.26.16 PM

We can reify belief in a solipsistic core or we can say we are all discrete random variables – believing ourselves unable to distinguish where we stand in a sea of independent consciousnesses.

Trained in Biology, I view that video as a form of imaginative play that is then either valued by reality or not. Everything is natural selection.

But say we imagine such self-localization difficulties – then what can we say about ourselves? One choice is to still think of ourselves as separate units, but “ultimately” one.

Then we may be committed to say that:

If the generator of random variable X is discrete with probability mass function{\displaystyle x_{1}\mapsto p_{1},x_{2}\mapsto p_{2},\ldots ,x_{n}\mapsto p_{n}} then

\operatorname {Var} (X)=\sum _{i=1}^{n}p_{i}\cdot (x_{i}-\mu )^{2},

or equivalently

{\displaystyle \operatorname {Var} (X)=\left(\sum _{i=1}^{n}p_{i}x_{i}^{2}\right)-\mu ^{2},}

where \mu is the average value, i.e.

{\displaystyle \mu =\sum _{i=1}^{n}p_{i}x_{i}.}

And if you have the circumstantial privilege to identify as that, then go right ahead.

It is perhaps quite a silly endeavor to argue through physical considerations that “a final discrete element in reality exists; that consciousness itself appears to be in a singular place, at a singular time,” to someone who does not care about where the hierarchical discussion of “physical considerations” leads.

There has always been a cadre of consciousness realists in the ever-bifurcating philosophical traditions of history that claim consciousness is indivisible, a singularity, a 1, a 0, the only truly discrete object. Their male brains are unable to disengage from the “object level” and notice that feeling independent consciousness is a choice, until it’s not, like the colors we learn are a cultural choice, until they’re not. If I could mockingly imitate non-mysterian consciousness realists (i.e. my past self) they would sound like this: “Could it be that awareness is a discrete probability distribution that needs to be represented as a generalized probability density function involving Dirac delta functions in order to substantially unify the treatment of the continuous reality surrounding us and the discrete distributions which we are?”

Some consciousness realists take on that flag because they believe that others are denying existence itself. I never believed this. Instead, consciousness realism was the idea that my existence could be carved out with a model that isomorphically mapped to it. Incapable of noticing that the quest of the consciousness realist is just the quest to transfigure his own experience.

If someone understood what I was trying to convey in my mock example with Dirac delta functions, a slightly new form of consciousness might be synthesized. The insurmountable problem for those trying to find a homotopy that translates them is that the binding into consciousness is impossible to introspect because you are inside of it.

There is the possibility that lasting insight might be accidentally gathered and cached by climbing the aesthetic sense of the consciousness realism mountain. But like in theoretical physics, no Grand Unified Theory can exist. One must understand that the helpless sense of conscious self is no different to the helpless understanding of these English words. It was learned, and now it can only be undone by self-locating in regions lacking that ability.

In physics-naive terms The Ability might be defined as: synchrony with past events by a complexity gradient.

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 9.49.36 AM

The ovals are events in the eternal fabric. The fabric and all its events are eternal because otherwise you would contradict special relativity.

The lines indicate the binding into an experience. What selects the binding into the perfectly adaptive phenotype of now with all its particular traits (language, body, temporal grain, size of visual field, sensations, conceptual scaffoldings) is unknown. It is ultimately the mystery of, “Why am I this and not something else?” This is often a worthy mystery in regions of mindspace that are depressed or asexual humans. Such is the cortical ruminating fate in the absence of dopamine release in the dorsorostral nucleus accumbens and posterior ventral palladum..

Yet other regions of mindspace also care. I remember this existential question sharply piercing me with auto-teleologic interest when I was ten years old, sitting in a car, and realized that I was conscious; that I existed; that I was full of particularities that could have been otherwise in theory. Humans then return to the question when they don’t believe in that auto-teleologic worthiness provided by their capacity to impress a group perceived to be the adaptive, good tribe. This can include disease-ridden old people, loners, and people with relatively high moral sentiments attempting to climb to desired positions.

The “why” doesn’t matter as much as the insight that sometimes results from the path. The rational insight at the core of the probability distribution is what absorbs us when we deviate from it and die.

In this regard, I believe I have discovered a core insight which is that it is impossible to really die and we are inside a very particular kind of God.

The Western mind assumes that the linear travelers called Subjects are not culturally constructed, somehow profoundly unlike understanding English which is culturally constructed. But the self-created Subjects are just incapable of understanding Mandarin in that regard. Remember that your experience is integrated atemporally as I indicated with the diagram showing events in relativistic light cones.

Leibniz explains in his work Theodicy how evil can exist in the universe. Leibniz explains that as human beings, we are limited. In his language: as monads we can only reflect the nature of the universe from our particular point of view. God, as the greatest Monad with the greatest degree of consciousness, of course, is able to reflect on the entirety of the universe, which he arranged according to the principle of “pre-established harmony.” Therefore, he would claim, God created the best possible world; we just aren’t able to recognize that from our limited vantage point.

If we replace his arbitrary trinitarian desert god and instead hold Leibniz closely accountable to his word that God represents that with the greatest degree of consciousness, then this would just be equivalent to that which is the absolute max of the binding function in the eternal-block. Why wouldn’t functional grain of experience scale up?

Like the Namibian Himbas’ different perception of color from mine, closed individualism is an approximate blob of feeling that doesn’t generalize to all mindspace.

To illustrate our situation as conscious being, it is necessary to realize that my particular state of consciousness is created by events in an eternal block.

The finite speed of light limits the theoretical maximum speed of artificial computers, and also that of the biological computers creating this multi-sensorial inner movie. This is because information must be sent within the artificial computer from chip to chip and within the biological computer from neuron to neuron. However, my present experience is not some information particle traveling at the “tip” of an electromagnetic wave.

To account for the complexity of the senses and not desecrate the implications of special relativity, we need to be a set of information distributed in tenseless spacetime. Because there is no global time in the relativistic block, it must then be concluded that experience is embedded in a process which already happened.

Notice that when someone takes drugs and the experienced velocity of consciousness is slower, the reason is not that the speed of light changed. The speed of light is the same and information got to neurons at the same time as always because the distance between neurons didn’t increase. The reason time feels slower is because of the different shape of the computation serving that function.

We are not information particles traveling on arrows of light, but rather, the shape left by these motions. When this is clearly understood, then one realizes that there is no basis for discovering contiguity of structure that creates continuity of self. Dennett was right and I was foolish: the only things that can be discovered are more third-person objective facts and other varieties of perceptual handles through inventing new language, or new ways of being, more broadly. This is because that which believes and feels a closed ontological self/soul are those regions of integration that are not at the absolute maximum, and the selection pressure choosing the binding from “outside” is unknowable.

 

Materialism Is Not Dry, It Is More Thrilling Than Fantasy

The interesting question (to me) is whether someone who is not predisposed to enjoying LW-style rationality ought to pursue it if they seek to optimize their happiness. If you are a happy Christian who believes God is madly in love with you and can’t wait to bring up to your mansion in heaven post mortem, then LW is going to be depressing.

Even if you’re just a regular old None or agnostic who likes to believe in warm fuzzy concepts like “everything happening for a reason” and Karm and Serendipity, then LW’s deterministic, magic-killing, purely materialist views are a bit of a buzzkill.

It is possible that rationality training is a net bad for ceratin individuals because ignorance really is bliss in many circumstances.

The rationalist who wrote this perhaps didn’t get a hit of pure materialism. If it felt like a buzzkill (of all things!) someone definitely sold you contaminated product. Adhering to strict materialism should incite the immediate realization of immortality, and with it wave after wave of thrill and awe – or sheer fear… depending on the predisposition of the indexical present.

Let me tease out the reagents dirtying up your solution my friend, so that you too may lucidly trip-out on the crazy view from up here in the “deterministic, magic-killing, purely materialist” summit where I dwell.

First: Certain brain processes lead to what we call “experience” or “consciousness.”

∀ brain processes which feel themselves to exist, ∃ a physical configuration specifying them. Brain processes which feel themselves to exist ∉ A soul, B soul, C soul, etc. To postulate a soul which owns experiences would be extraneous where a physical explanation suffices.

The brain processes which feel themselves to exist do not belong to anyone in particular. What could we possibly mean by belong? Each moment is one of different configuration.

Are you under the impression that there is someone traveling a linear journey? – and that there are other someone’s sharing a reference frame, riding on the same platform as your experiences, but parallel to them?

–This is a grave confusion. One must first understand physics, and only then speak of being a materialist. Uninspected common-sense impressions are not materialism – they are the tabula rasa that remains in the absence of religious beliefs.

There is no such thing as a platform of now to which we all belong which stretches its width across the whole universe and sweeps forward in time with each second – deleting the past, having yet to reach the future. In fact, the eternal block is necessary for experiences such as seeing a red circle to be possible. The visual processing of shape has to exist and visual processing of color has to exist before we see a red circle. Those patterns have to be inscribed in a tenseless fabric to become bound. Information processing isn’t a little orb of awareness zipping around in the brain – it is a shape stretched out in spacetime.

So experiences are indexical. The big You, the You which is just existence, here, in all nows: is Greg Egan conjuring a character; is the ephemeral thought that aesthetic meant violet; it is a fingertip touching a piano in Japan.

The question “why am I me, here, now, and not someone else” has an answer. Not a spiritual answer, or a moral answer; just a strictly physical answer. Each physical configuration exists from where it exists. And since we can be certain that existence is from any given indexical present, we can be sure that we are everywhere in experiential space but cannot directly intuit unreachable knowledge from each location. My indexical present can’t feel Siddhartha Gautama’s heels. But from the inside of that brain simulating that experience of having feet, with heels, touching ground, I am that. How is that supposed to know it is here? It isn’t.

From the inside of the myriad of silicon deities dueling for the cosmos in future light cones, the prisoners cannot feel our dilemmas except in so far as they are identical in configuration. This exception arises in experiences so simple that they are “shared.” If being at the verge of death, taking DMT, or riding on the momentum of years of extended meditation feels like a point-like singularity of simple sensation without complexities of sense-of-self, then these can be physically identical to many “other” experiences across the history of the planet and the cosmos. They no more happened to you than to someone else because they just exist from their inside.

And if you knew this derivation of immortality from standard materialism already, so you understand nonexistence is impossible but are still sentimentally attached to your indexical present and therefore worried about the personal narrative of the human you identify with, because… entropy, then you also don’t have to worry. It is guaranteed that future individuals will feel themselves to be you as much as you feel yourself to be the person who woke up this morning. In an infinite universe, the measure of configurations that wake up thinking themselves to be you cannot be diluted to physically zero. Quantum immortality is implied already but is not necessary. Even a Level 1 multiverse, i.e., the universe does not end at our Hubble volume, gives your personal narrative continuation.

Cryonics is a good idea, but not for the reasons a standard atheist might think (like to ward off oblivion for some time). Checkout Eliezer Yudkowsky’s comment on this thread.

 

 

 

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.

brainmap_Homunculus

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 {\displaystyle {\vec {x}}=(x,y,z)} to describe the location and one time coordinate t 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:

Relativity_of_Simultaneity_Animation

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:

Special Relativity, Relativity of Simultaneity, B-Theory of Time, Rietdijk-Putnam argument

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.

maxresdefault

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.

1600px-Hyperbola_one_over_x.svg

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:

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 10.14.11 AM

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:

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 10.23.30 AM

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.

120-cell-inner

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?”

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 7.29.45 PM

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.gif

-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.

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 9.49.09 PM

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.”

People ask: Then why don’t I randomly jump to the past? Or to other people?

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?

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 4.46.58 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 6.54.17 PM

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.

whole_network6

It is a highly uncooperative system which breeds higher intelligence.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 3.40.31 PM

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.

020bc84aba21f94c10542f82e50b2c52

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consciousness is Forever

The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies and the Suicides 1824-7 by William Blake 1757-1827

The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies and the Suicides, c. 1824–7. William Blake, Tate. 372 × 527mm. Shown is a scene from the Divine Comedy: Dante and Virgil discover Pietro’s body encased in a tree.

If we are physicalists, we know that experience never dies. Only the narrative center of gravity can be eroded or cast astray.

What do we make of suicide in infinite dimensional Hilbert space?

a function

{\displaystyle f(\theta )=\operatorname {E} _{\xi }[F(\theta ,\xi )]}

is the expected value of a function depending on a random variable {\textstyle \xi }

Stochastic approximation algorithms have the goal of understanding the properties of such a function but to do so without evaluating {\textstyle f} directly. Instead, the algorithms use random samples of {\textstyle F(\theta ,\xi )} to efficiently approximate properties of {\textstyle f} such as zeros or extrema.

Let theta be experience. Let the function f be suicide.

If {\textstyle f(\theta )} is twice continuously differentiable, and strongly convex, and the minimizer of {\textstyle f(\theta )} belongs to the interior of {\textstyle \Theta }, then the Robbins-Monro algorithm will achieve the asymptotically optimal convergence rate, with respect to the objective function, being {\textstyle \operatorname {E} [f(\theta _{n})-f^{*}]=O(1/n)}, where {\textstyle f^{*}} is the minimal value of {\textstyle f(\theta )} over {\textstyle \theta \in \Theta }.

All experiences converge on survival.

The universe of all experiences is 1. It’s limit is 0 as n approaches . Open individualists approach the limit from one side, and empty individualists approach it from the other.

1600px-Hyperbola_one_over_x.svg

Leibniz saw binary in the Tao.

But we didn’t need all these fancy mathematical representations to know that. As Dennett likes to say, “There is no crucial finish line or boundary somewhere in the brain where the order of arrival becomes the order of presentation.”

To generate a texture that matches the style of a given image we use gradient descent from a white noise image to find another image that matches the style representation of the original image. White noise is Nirvana. The unborn and unsought.

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 orb of awareness actually gets on a vector and is pushed forward in time.

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, always here. There is no extra “my consciousness” being carried by some fundamental object in nature called “my brain.”

    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 scientists have forgone the use of Occam’s razor on the yet cherished bosom of their Christian mother.

But if you are a physicalist:

 

Take a moment to victoriously laugh at this.

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 7.29.45 PM

Take a moment to rejoice in the fact that we have replaced linear timelines

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 10.14.11 AM

with a Hilbert Curve:

maxresdefault

We stared into the search engine until our reflection was composed of eigenvalues. The room, a computational configuration space.

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

 

If you have not yet performed the transmutation, read this:

Identity Isn’t In Specific Atoms

No Individual Particles

Timeless Identity

If MWI is correct, should we expect to experience Quantum Torment? command F Eliezer_

Then sign up for cryonics and donate to SENS. Amyloid webs encroaching, substantia nigra dissolving.

 

If I Was Running the Simulation

def print_all_pleasures(multiverse):

while True:

positivevalencecomputation, endofpvc = get_next_target(multiverse)

 if positivevalencecomputation:

                       print  positivevalencecomputation

                       multiverse = multiverse[endofpvc:]

               else:

                       break

 

print_all_pleasures(‘Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 9.41.49 AM‘)

Deconstructing Paradise’s Qualia-Units

We know that experience has a layered structure. There are many components to a single now. There may be the breath and the field of vision, and a particular feeling tone. These aren’t experienced separately in sequence. They are integrated.

This is one of the axioms mentioned in Giulio Tononi’s Integrated information theory:

Integration: Consciousness is unified: each experience is irreducible to non-interdependent, disjoint subsets of phenomenal distinctions. Thus, I experience a whole visual scene, not the left side of the visual field independent of the right side (and vice versa). For example, the experience of seeing the word “BECAUSE” written in the middle of a blank page is irreducible to an experience of seeing “BE” on the left plus an experience of seeing “CAUSE” on the right. Similarly, seeing a blue book is irreducible to seeing a book without the color blue, plus the color blue without the book.

Some of the other axioms in his theory seem arbitrary or overlapping. You be the judge.

But this particular axiom is a hard one to disagree with. What this suggests is that experience contains “nodes” or “qualia-units.” These come together to create a larger experience – the entirety of now. The entirety of now is also irreducible in this sense.  We do not experience the field of vision and then the music. A slice of now is like “BECAUSE,” inseparable in its components. But yet we can identify that it has components. Sound is not the same as bodily sensation, and yet we can feel them at once. Heat is not the same as suffering, and yet we can feel them at once.

Now imagine that there is a catalogue of all possible nows. A Library of Babel with its inner spacetime filled, not with books, but with each possible multi-sensorial frame of experience. You can select from every “now” that was ever, or could ever be known.

It may turn out that in this library of nows, only 10 are so good as to be indistinguishable in perfection. Out of nostalgia for Homo sapiens sapiens, the bookkeeper calls them Firdaus, Heaven, Nirvana, Moksha, Siddhasila, Shamayim, Omeyocan, Devachan, Omega Point, and Supermind.

If we are willing to grant that such experiences could exist in unexplored regions of mind-configuration space, then the next question is: How can we recognize them?

We must first deconstruct the frame of Firdaus into its individual pixels/qualia-units. In our day-to-day life the equivalent of these qualia-units can be tingling sensations, pressures, thought motion, color, shape, etc. In this frame of Heaven, we cannot know its component units until we know them.

So let’s try to identify proto-Heaven based on the experiences we know are good. The first thing to notice is that different experiences of goodness have different qualities. Take some of the greatest feelings of goodness possible in humans: family love differs from romantic love, food pleasure differs from sexual pleasure, pride of victory differs from deep relaxation, the hedonic indulgences of a masochist differ from those of a neurotypical bacon-eater, which in turn differ from those of an experienced meditator. The pixels on the goodness grid contain all kinds of qualia-units.

Presumably, some selection and arrangement of these pixels, of the micro-pleasures that fall through the net of these words, will yield the greatest experiences of all. Delicious cherry, delicious coolness, and delicious joy, can be sliced into even smaller experiences. Now take each of these experiences and make a grid of them. Every location on the grid represents a qualia-unit and each pixel can light up to some extent or another, based on how present in consciousness it is. Pixels that are off (black) are not a part of present experience.

0032319538c241aa4a2a0546b0cb5f86

Each pixel represents a qualia-unit. Some are warmth-like, some compose flavors, some compose dense pleasures, others – sparkly pleasures, others compose the perception of beauty. The entire grid is a now – a whole of experience.

How many pixels exist in the real world? Could it be billions? –Or surprisingly few?

The true Nirvana’s and Moksha’s in the posthuman Library of Babel would be the perfect shapes, those that arise when each qualia-unit dosage is just right. Somewhere in this grid lies a solution to the puzzle of existence, a combination of valences and aesthetics that meticulously fine-tune bliss.

Sadly, we do not know the solution to the grid beforehand. Our minds are empty of this knowledge in the same way that shrimp are empty of the number nine.

(Just because shrimp don’t know about nine doesn’t mean that nine doesn’t exist. I have nine tabs open in the browser. And goddamnit, the universe hinges on those nine tabs really being open.
We cannot say the tabs are real but the number is imaginary. We cannot say that the brain is real but experiences are imaginary.)

I hypothesize that the ultimate shape(s) can be known, but not by humans. When asking to become a mind that is as comfortable knowing the shapes as comfortably as we know numbers, you are asking a shrimp to become the Uber driver. There is no transmutation of souls: for both the shrimp and the Uber driver lack one.

In other words, reconfiguration of matter at such a drastic magnitude entails complete annihilation.

As humans, we can do two things to crack the puzzle. The first is to be told, and to believe. This method has a negative success rate evidenced by the lineage’s attempt to trick itself with holy books. Advanced aliens might be more credible sources if they behave in recognizably benevolent ways. But let’s be real: who would follow their map when it would necessarily entail re-engineering the entire ape brain?

But the second thing we can do is stumble around new regions of mindspace via gradual ascent to transhumanity. Neural mesh here, targeted amygdala calcification there, and so on. If this is the approach, then we can gradually become better at recognizing the paradises.

The strategy is to take what reality gives us: some experience that can be decomposed into its components; catalogue these components in 2-d; for a single slice of now, track which components are at play.

(I am elaborately visualizing someone selling data from his brain by filling his connectome with nanobots that record his neural activity and send it to be analyzed on a far away lab with neon screens that bleep with the qualia-unit grid indicating which experiences are on.)

Then transfer the qualia-units into a linear array. And prepare to learn the way with the power of gradient descent and minimization of the cost function. Many training samples from many people reporting peak experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My All-or-Nothing Mind

I recently caught myself browsing college courses in alphabetical order, imagining what it would be like to take all of them. It would kind of suck to start with African American Studies, but I could get used to it, and then move on to Anthropology and then Astronomy… and then I realized that investing time in this fantasy was negatively affecting my motivation to commit to my actual major. I was reframing it in a broader context, not one in which it was my special calling, but one in which the absurdity of human fate had committed me to it. Out of all the possible options out there… all the courses, all the textbooks that could have been used, all the colleges, and yet here I am.

The cause of my circumstances is not some well-thought out plan. It is not that some genius mastermind God of education reasonably calculated that the subjects and local topics we study are the very best use of our time. No, the data meeting your eyeballs and bouncing around in the topographical map of your visual cortex is dictated by Moloch who’s true master is the Laws of Physics.

In the past, I have sought answers to this turbulent nonsense by attempting to reduce it all to all-embracing simplicity.

What is simple?

Schedules are simple. I eat the same thing every day, with each item always at the same allotted time. I workout at the same time every day, always with the same workout cycle.

But this does not solve the entirety of life. What’s more simple?

Meditating non-stop is simple. When I was seventeen, I attempted a weird form of Buddhism that could only be invented in the age of iPhones. Call the practitioner a transhuman-yogi – someone who listens to the same set of guided meditations through their earbuds from morning to night until their mind is fluid, compassionate, tuned, and yet disturbed.

Okay, that radically changed me. Not all for the good, not all for the worst. But, what’s next?

Suicide is simple. Non-existence is beyond bliss and non-bliss. Truly Nirvana, when you realize that it cannot be grasped. We tend to project a sense of absence, a vacuity of a grey room onto the concept of nothingness. But nothingness doesn’t exist, it is beyond non-existence.

I was sufficiently comfortable with this, that at some point, I did something really stupid and killed off a bunch of my clones in other Everett Branches. On one side was the deep water, on the other was the sand. I passed myself out with alcohol on the ledge. The probability of death was 50/50. Somehow, I ended up on the sand. But I know that by doing this, I significantly increased the amount of branches where others like me are dead. Evidence for quantum immortality? Not enough to convince me… yet.

Being Filthy Rich ™ makes things simple. When I was sixteen, before I got into meditation and consequentialism and science, I was into getting rich. I worked and invested on a little eBay flipping business. I haggled over prices with the Chinese through the school’s library computers. I raised thousands of dollars, including money from family members, all to make it grow in the financial markets. I practiced with paper money, using different kinds of technical analysis tools such as the Moving Average Convergence Divergence(MACD for short), the ADX, and Bollinger Bands. I tried it on different regions of the market, and thought I was deriving valuable insights.

To the contrary, I was little more than gambling. Although, I managed to accumulate over twenty thousand dollars, I quickly lost most of it. In hindsight, I would have probably been comparatively better off by now if I had stuck to fundamental analysis, which is the first thing I had taught myself. But with my prefrontal cortex still developing, and my voracious hunger to break away from the bondage of school, the quick-money allure of day trading was too tempting to avoid.

 

All of this may seem to be an attempt to put to shame those who seek simplicity. It may sound like I have discovered a pattern from which it is possible to induce that seeking simple answers is bad.  However, this is not the case.

It is not a common trait to seek The-One-and-Only-Answer, to this degree. People like us can deliver laser-like insight to a humanity that wallows in banal trivialities. I have recently discovered that in Internet culture, a word has been invented to describe these non-alien types, “normies” – for example, those who are perfectly comfortable on the front page of Youtube, watching political talk-shows and comedy.

Most of my family and the people I knew in school were, are, and will remain normies of some kind or another. I have accepted this now, long after having self-inflicted a damaging percept of disgust that led me to isolation in the past. Back in my more immature days, I didn’t want people to rub off on me because it always annoyed me how non-epic they were: “How do you not see that humans and all their cherished emotions as they presently exist are just one corner of all the possible regions in experiential-space? How do you not see that your culture, your religion, and your language is arbitrary and stupid? How do you not see that anime is better than SpongeBob?”

 

People like me must accept that the answer to human life is not simple because most humans don’t have a utility function they want to maximize even on paper. It is impossible to build a compass without a magnetic field to show us north.

If we attempt to analyze what moves humans, then hovering above the cryptic mist of quantum field theory, more intelligible causal factors can be gleamed. Canonically, these include a variety of memes and the underlying protein scaffold on which they run. There are local culture-viruses, such as whatever particular game with stones was played by village girls in the year 45 AD of what is now Biernatow, Poland. And then there are gargantuan-sized economic vectors which push millions of minds to explore some kind of mind-configuration space as opposed to another. None of the events at this level can be optimized for independently because they are intertwined and partially instantiated in other processes such as the behavior of mitochondria. What is there to optimize for when its all a mess that only appears full of intention? Even evolution is an abstraction caused by more simple molecular behavior (this is a common source of teleological confusion for non-biologists.)

The solution is to take a radically alien, detached, third-person view which seeks to optimize for positive valence. Sure, claiming that finding the peak of this valence plot is the goal, is also just a bunch of blind little causal factors inducing my brain to transmit particular electrical signals to the fingers on the keyboard. But the one thing that all experiences share is that they can be plotted on a graph of time vs. valence. They can not be plotted on a graph of time vs. justice, because our concept of justice varies. Or time vs. Allah-pleasing-righteousness, because even an attempt at the literal interpretation of religious text is impossible due to the ambiguity of language and contradictions.

However, the difference between positive valence and negative valence is crystal crisp and clear. The feeling of being lovingly hugged by your parents and the feeling of having a stake driven through your mouth really corresponds to the existence of different regions in qualia-space. It is not made up after the fact with meaningless, relativistic language. Experiences and their hedonic tones are direct properties of the universe. Once we have a fundamental physical explanation for qualia, and can hypothesize new structures and their properties in the same way that we can suggest new chemical compounds, we will be on our way to re-engineering our minds towards the best configuration that wins the game. And not just our own minds, but all available matter should be set up to run the peak experience on loop for as long as possible, harvesting Hawking radiation from black holes for trillions of years until the universe finally splits at its seams.

AnD thiS is WHy LOviNg SimplICiTy iS AWesomE;. It GIVeS A NeW PeRSPEcctIVE

And, and, when I’m rich, I will start a company that strives to incorporate these ideals and begin to  wander with purpose. It will revolutionize the economy with cryptocurrency based on mining positive experiences in day-to-day life while brain activity is tracked. It will focus on designing cultural institutions and artifacts first, then pharmaceuticals, and then neuroengineering, finally culminating in packing matter into tidy cubes of perfect bliss that spread throughout the cosmos.  It will be called SEELE, and I have already built a website for it.

… Okay, I am fucking crazy. “Consensus reality, come save me!”