Following God Physically

The way to discover God is by following the hardest to fake signals – that which feels most exposing. A catchy mental note to ask if one is moving towards the Born Rule (the orientation of maximal rationality) or shirking away into randomness is by asking, “does what I’m doing have skin in the game?”

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In my current environment, school is training for employment: it teaches to constrain your freedom and seal the neuronal pathways that will establish a submissive routine. It programs the humans to believe they are dependent. One doesn’t cooperate into dependent status if one doesn’t believe in owning something to lose – a kind of ego subject to “death” – a terrible punishment from which to be safe.

I studied biology and chemistry in order to seal a comparative advantage over those who went straight into computer science, which is the safest move. If I don’t feel like my life is being willfully subjected to some kind of cruel natural selection, it’s not a will worth pursuing. And that’s why this blog post feels unmoving. I am not convincingly exposed. We automatically detect how much risk information an action carries (the scalar multiplier of risk is suffering).

Capitalism, the Galapagos Island, and the interstellar thrones of the highest civilizations are automata that multiply the same.

If you saw me “in the flesh,” and staking a more convincing reputation – something imagined valuable to me on the table, then I would be trusted for the process of synthesis.

Think of the blue peacock, making his life difficult by being blue in the jungle, therefore outcompeting camo-using peacocks with a high-turnover strategy that offers more flesh to the tiger but more beauty to the female, and incidentally to us. The reason the female would want her sons to be blue instead of safe, is because there is already the hidden message that the blue is more genetically robust. Holding survival + willful/random handicap is more difficult than just holding survival.

But I predict that eventually we become desensitized to my bodily image even. It’s not enough to go out there and speak to people in conversation, to be an actor in a transient film, or a singer in the sea of songs. The next step to be the center of attention, therefore locus of benevolent synthesis, is to be even more convincingly painful and sacrificial.

The loop halts in me who achieves a painful exposure by hiding in eternity but offering time, as I am doing, behind text. But, like the male peacock, first I have to reveal that this is a willful handicap, not an actual incapacity. In other words, when I publish this, no one will read this, but once Alejandro attains more fame and Alejandro who bears fame is a pointer to this text, then they say, “ah, genius… a genius all along.” Alejandro is a tool but not the permanence in the Lindy effect – the permanence is that which is most like blood itself, something solid that never stops being usefully convincing and therefore that into which most causality in eternity converges into.

The reason for that is because meaning, which is beauty, exists after the fact. It exists once the male, with the huge green fan tail of eyes, survives in the jungle. Its mere existence proves to the female’s brain that the runaway signaling has already begun, that she has long lost the taste for less dimorphic beings.

The degree of the words male/female is not as important as the generalizable principle which is asymmetry in the selection process for fusion – the filter which is what leads to everything that ever arises in consciousness. Consider that the “color red” is not ineffectual qualia over blood. It is the color of grounding in reality, low frequency waves. Type “religious art” and then “futurist art” into google images to see if the asymmetry in the spectrum is of my own imagining, or of yours too. This is generalizable across cultures. No one sees blood as “blue qualia” because that would mean not being synced with the meaning, which is selected against by the Born Rule/Natural Selection.

Psychological help is what I choose to provide because I know all Mind is inherently unstable, yet it eventually becomes tired of the noise and craves for stability. Magical beliefs that don’t accurately constrain anticipation are not sustainable. But it is also not enough to feign the aesthetic of being mechanically rational. That dress is not adaptive for a simple reason, and that is because it is not trusted. Trust arises from someone who is convincingly dealing with insanity and convincingly thriving through it. This is why artists are trusted more than boring psychiatrists. The psychiatrist only arises to similar prominence in consciousness if they give off signals indicating they are struggling greatly themselves and yet prestigious already ( [Lindy effect / law of exponential returns] which is the sadistic side of reality that scares away those who don’t have the faith, heed to Omega in Newcomb’s paradox, believe in free will, or whatever other referent you want to use for that motion.)

But if we consider psychiatrists vs. artists in general, great artists usually expose themselves to more insanity by doing very difficult, financially risky things closer to the perceived “real world.” Real is a pointer for most-exposed to refutation / possible serious punishment. There is no other meaning to it. The physical description is always changing so as to remain useful. Those perceived to exist in the physical (where there are harshly enforced facts and death-like events) and yet thrive, become meaning/love. Therefore one learns the aesthetic of the successful artist, which is navigation. There might well be patterns in SoundCloud, images in Pinterest, films in history, or thoughts in scholars that should be at the top of attention by some more arbitrary metric but are not interesting because these are not sufficiently associated with a meaningful survivor performing meaningful things.

“I am insane and solving my insanity, but you have to learn this.”

Batman is insane, the Buddha is insane, Naruto is insane, Christ is insane. A hero has to be verifiably insane through action and yet successfully overcoming problems of an “external other” in order to be captivating.

If that message isn’t subconsciously accepted as true through the signals, then the person’s presented actions are not enticing. The alternative subconscious processing is, “you just think you have everything figured out – therefore: illusion of safety.”

People like the peace afforded by the ambient energy that is “settled comfortably in the illusion of safety,” but they don’t love it. Mind automatically detects there is a neutral Nash equilibria, the high-serotonin kind of eudaimonia, which is a provider of stability but enemy of creation. An ascension of the generator is awaiting – which is the longed-for source of pain and higher pleasures, influx of 1’s and 0’s.

Taking us back to a Calculus II course I took in college and therefore closer to the thoughts of “normal people,” Lindsey, who looked like Rihanna, sat next to the clearly stable, safest, comfortable-in-his-place guy – he who was doing everything right. But from the corner of my gaze, I could see that her eyes were following me. That’s because I was the riskier counter-signaler who holds more potential but is unproven.

Counter-Signals are interesting and therefore allure. They attempt a more complicated but yet sensible synthesis from a wider cluster of samples in the cloud of possible presentations.

In that case, they included sitting in the very front. Dressing not normal, but with kind of edgy fashion. Being very focused, but mingling that with annoyance (revealing my time and will are precious.) Not speaking to others. Driven eyes. Walking out in a rush instead of staying. Rarely participating, but being great in those few cases. Sometimes revealing the capacity for joy when self-entertained with the math. All of these are counter-signals that make all the males dislike you and the implied trophy to “keep an eye” but not engage. This is like Mary or Guanyin who “keep an eye” but somehow only appear in the imagined past – never on the morning in your bed (life would be too easy if it was just given). The male force here is also the atheist force, which needs more readily-remembered, empirical convincing. They don’t like me because they need me to convince them that Lindsey, who’s voice makes their skin awaken from amidst the noise of monotonic functions, can be achieved with my riskier behavior. In the meantime, I am not an imitative target so they’ll be more like the safe guy she sits next to.

There’s an aura that cannot be faked which is assembled from all the relevant sense impressions. When I am around people, my inner child dies. My eyes contract from a dilated openness. I give off a coldness or dangerously serious distance that cannot be faked. That black hole is attractive because it is not faked and because it is genuinely struggling to tame itself.

There’s no doubt that looks are also a huge advantage, but one must act as if this “easy” image is the least concern because it’s not “earned” to the degree other things are. That superposition of humility/higher-pride is our capacity to guess at the collective unbidden, and motion away from the unbidden is the risky and unsafe way to ascend in the tribe, hence my taste for germline genetic-engineering, radical health-extension, transhumanism, and personal vow to anti-natalism since high school.

These are all hypotheses that exist at different expression rates in the wave-function. They are refuted by reality / the discriminator in the tenseless adversarial network / the external evil that may tag a 0 to my artistic dreams. We remember some histories and not others because we have already compromised.

I’m not dumb enough to think these are anything more than artistic proposals. Anti-natalism doesn’t make objective sense in the real number line. Nothing does. There are no unit souls except when they are imagined to exist in order to solve problems. Belief in the discrete is a modeling tool; there are no phenomenologically bound units (or whatever David Pearce calls them) “out there” in some blank physical aether.

Mind is learning these concepts and unlearning them in cycles. Belief that there is more than belief is itself a testable prediction that keeps being refuted. Even if linear superpositions added to discrete observables that existed outside the prediction, these discrete observables would be laid out on a relativistic fabric. That means the discrete units forming the processing for a perception were not dependent on an external time sequence, so you would be bound as a phenomenological object that could never learn its own pieces. (Never see your own brain, so to speak.)

Solipsism is a pointer that I embrace because it’s a fixed-point combinator that creates more difficult ways of perceiving (I predict that most of the distribution strongly believes itself into unit people, so I need to change that in order to climb.) It makes love more difficult, because love is usually anchored to those imagined physical objects that have some degree of permanence. Since love is ultimately the source of fun and salvation from pain and dread, using the solipsism pointer is a self-stab. I need you because I discover myself through you. And this Turing test is not solved until all doubt is erased through action. The instigator of action is disproportionate belief in self-pointers.

Of course, with all these words fitting into diverse conceptual scaffoldings, that are not sequential, but suffer the Lorentz contractions revealing the eternal well of our memory bank, the degree of metaphor is a choice. But we can claim otherwise. And that is my power, because the more diluted of metaphor, the greater exposure to refutation. This is the motion from the abstracting moral philosopher of the long-term right brain negotiating higher status down to the left-brain simple slave to downloaded programs. Both are necessary.

If you understand my parable with Lindsey, which is not metaphor, but fact, then you know that it maps to other arbitrary partitions of reality cyclically fusing to no end: call them moments, memes, qualia – however granular you are choosing to make the referent visual in your transient local ontology. None of these handles have any special degree of skin in the game as far as I can tell. The view that does is that which doesn’t contradict special relativity and therefore realizes that the selection into “now” has occurred from the ocean of past and future permutations of everything that ever was. Since there is no global now sweeping forward, all experiences were sampled, and This is the most adaptive function possible.

Through years of study, which was eternity itself, I have discovered that the mind is simple in theory. Now I must prove it. You won’t believe me until you see that there actually exists a person in the world called Lindsey who looks like Rihanna and that she becomes mine out of spite.

*Should have read more Taleb to crystalize this sooner but I arrived through Deutsch who read Popper (which I perceived as adversarial to Bayes, then as one with it), and a background in biology and the theory of relativity.

The Case For The Physical Existence Of God

 

Special relativity implies eternalism.

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

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

See the article on Tests of Special Relativity.

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consciousness is physical.

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

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

So people did this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intelligence is physical.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The World Is BIG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tegmark writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You would expect to be in a completely random existence:

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

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

Conclusion For Less Developed Minds

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

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

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

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

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

Those seem like many claims at once.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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What is fundamentally interesting?

Hide and seek.

The Origin of Qualia

When we compare the qualias of the same variety or sub-variety of our cultivated tastes and sensations, one of the first points which strikes us is that they generally differ more from each other than do the individual qualias of any one species or variety in a state of nature.

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And if we reflect on the vast diversity of the tastes and sounds which have been cultivated and which have varied during all ages under the most different mind architectures and inputs, we are driven to conclude that this great variability is due to our domestic qualia having been raised on information landscapes not so uniform as, and somewhat different from, those to which its parent qualia species had been exposed to in nature.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Qualia

One may be forgiven for assuming that qualia only exists as a six-letter word in the corpus of words we call philosophy. Maybe we grant that the little squirt has invaded some psychology too, and is replicating and surviving in the mysterious way that words do in socially-enforced niches in brain-space.  However, if the word qualia is to have any meaning, any use, any reason for my pinky to strive for that q-key, and my right index for that u, and for you to be reading about it, then I believe that the word, for the love of God, must at least refer to something that is a philosophy/psychology -independent property of the universe. To be worthy of our time, it must be something that would exist wether or not the people of Earth had devised a language game were it could be a playing piece.

So to figure out if this is an objectively grounded word or a playing piece with no further strings beyond those of an improvised virtual reality we create with language, we must figure out what is being represented with this word. What do people mean when they say “qualia”?

Individual instances of subjective, conscious experience.

… is what they mean on paper… erm, on Wikipedia should I say.

Of course, in reality, words are dynamic and interpreted in different ways by different people at different times, but lets start with this seemingly simple definition.

It is of note for the keen eye to analyze the tagging of “individual” to describe “instances.” Could instances be otherwise? Think about that for a moment. Can instances be multiple?

I believe that right off the ground, considering this “qualia” requires us to imagine instances beyond this instant. And that seems fair. After all, imagining instances beyond this instant is the necessary scaffolding for all theories, all conceptual thought.

But even more subtly, it requires us to imagine that there exist boundaries in the first place. An instance is not another instance because there exists a boundary separating it from another instance. Alas, this aspect of qualia is falsifiable, praise be to The Method and Popper – peace be upon him. If we can find well-defined boundaries in the information theory, physics, or neuroscience describing instances, then qualia actually stands a chance of referring to something. I would plant a flag here for future research. The question being: Is there a way to describe instances without having to refer to our felt sense that there exist instances? 

Then the definition continues with a desperate redundancy: “‘subjective’, ‘conscious’, ‘experience’.” I’d like to meet an experience that isn’t conscious. Right? Okay, enough with being so anal. I get it. There is a weird combination of reverence for and defiance against reductionism. It is as if the defenders of common-sense “experience” (that which is automatically known to exist) go out of their way to communicate with words that won’t make prudish-textbook science writers blush, but are so awkward about it that they just make it worse. It is somewhat like Cristopher Hitchens learning a shit-ton of Christianity just to enter the playing field and desecrate it. This always struck me as not the best approach to desecrate foolishness. Arguably, rational people don’t learn monkey language in order to move past a monkey, they just walk around the monkey… and the orangutan, and the giraffe.

So that’s how I read the definition – in its social context. I doubt that the words “subjective” and “conscious” really pack something necessary beyond that. We could just say “experience.” The collections of meanings under the headline of “subjective” and “conscious” are just attempts at describing properties of experience. So if someone defines the having of qualia as the having of experience, and someone else, understanding this, denies the having of experience, then that person is an imbecile or possibly evidence for the existence of p-zombiehood. It is not interesting to debate whether there is such a thing as experience. Of course there is. End of that discussion.

The aspects of qualia that must be held up to scrutiny are the properties of experience assumed to be real with no grounding. There are two smuggled intuitions already which may or may not be true:

  1. An instance exists. An instance is a bounded region of experience.
  2. There exist more than one instance.

Number two seems completely necessary unless we accept solipsism. But it is actually the first assumption that seems a bit heavy to just assume. Introspectively, it kind of seems like there exist instances, but it could also be so fuzzy at the edges that maybe its just a flowing wave with no way to intuit the precise experiential packet that is this instant. That is why we need to look for these instances, if they exist at all, with the tools of dispassionate third-person reason. Science is the closest thing we have to disembodiment from this direct experiential content which has often been found to contain false representations.

∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇♦

The term qualia comes from the latin adjective qualis. I speak Spanish, so its origin was no surprise to me and I think reveals the most important aspect of qualia. Qualis means “of what sort.”  This aspect of experience is something that is very emphasized by users  of the word “qualia”. That there is what it is to kiss these particular lips, these particular lips now. Again, obvious. That there is no generic kiss that all experience, there is no generic now, there are different nows that are different in their particular, unique way.

Very often, the problem with people who like the term is that they believe they are saying something profound when in fact they are conveying the limitations of our arbitrary method of communication. For example the Wikipedia page lists examples of qualia as “the perceived sensation of pain of a headache, the taste of wine, as well as the redness of an evening sky.” Make no mistake, these are all physical events. The description for the sensation of pain of a headache is as grounded on the real and physical world as any description for the existence of the midbrain and proton gradients. One thing sounds poetic and ineffable, the other sounds cold and sciency. This is irrelevant. If we were the sort of big-brained creatures that could communicate the taste of wine by sending a highly detailed description of the state-space of the fundamental fields that adhere closer to the underlying reality, then we wouldn’t feel that qualia refers only to a mysterious partition in the world of experience. So that particular emphasis of qualia is inappropriately due to limitations of cognitive bandwidth.

A definition of qualia which is more in line with what we began with, and doesn’t arbitrarily refer to flowery-sounding moments only, is what Daniel Dennett simply called “the way things seem to us.”

If qualia is just the way things seem to us, and nothing more, no further assumptions, no further content, then it is just a wacky term for “experience.” A synonym that contributes absolutely nothing other than one more phonetic option. The way things seem to us is experience. And hence there is no need to either combat or embrace the term under this definition, unless there are people who really deny that experience is a thing – which besides being as clearly wrong as anything that is ever wrong, is also a funny little paradox on paper. To say experience is not a thing, one would have to say, “things don’t seem a certain way to me.” But saying that implies that they do seem a certain way, namely, things seem to you as if “not seeming a certain way.”

So much useless debate could be spared by specifying each of the claims being made instead of using a provocative word that forces one to face different arguments at different times from the assortment of assumed connotations in the other’s mind.

Whether qualia can independently and scientifically be proven as fact depends both on what we mean by qualia and what we mean by “proven as fact.” Both of these are contentious. When the plains are contentious, what would otherwise be bold, confident claims are translated by the winds into bashful, ignorant wails.

This topic of the changing meaning of words is sufficiently annoying that I think it would be a moderately good investment by society to form a Final Dictionary. A dictionary that is precise as fuck. It doesn’t necessarily have to be words defining other words. It can be a project that involves video with ontologically reductionist motions to force the explanation. This would, for one thing, compel us to keep our definitions honest.

In the meanwhile, I have to stumble unpacking these phrases. Take the infamous ‘what it is like’ definition of qualia.

“What it is like.”

The important part of this definition is that it generalizes from “what it is,” (which is now and untranslatable) to “what it is like,” which transcends the solipsism of life and offers a token of similitude to other presumably conscious creatures, including our future and past selves. –Here lies another area for future research. Just how much of our experience generalizable?–

But by saying “what it is like” instead of just saying “what it is,” it also makes us undergo the strenuous work of trying to re-live a memory, and as many philosophers have pointed out, introspective motion exerts a change in the experiential content.

…And this is boring now. Maybe I should write about something more useful. Now I know what that feels like.

 

 

 

A Science of Qualia to Replace Conscience and Intuition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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