Useful And True Visuals

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 4.48.38 PM

To purchase sight of a complex explanation, much evidence is needed.

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 6.10.11 PM

The wave-function of a structureless particle in position space is the probability density function of a measurement of the position at some time.

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 9.44.04 AM

What early Karl Popper identified as the universal generalizability of natural selection.

This leads to the primacy of telos and the condition of being Icarus with makeshift wings.

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-14 at 6.44.54 PM

You find yourself in experience 100% of the time because consciousness is not epiphenomenal. Yet it is still useful to understand that houses are built from bricks, and that bricks are more numerous than the houses that they compose.

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 10.21.54 AM

Self-modeling computations are conscious. If we degrade the detail and complexity of your subjective experience by removing the relevant blocks, you merge into a lot of other people with dying experiences indistinguishable from yours and can only have algorithms stacked on top of you from this condition of being a more elemental experience.

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 10.46.14 AM

Eternalism is true. Presentism and growing-block are false.

This follows if the Theory of Relativity is sufficiently correct and empiricism is sufficiently correct.

When holding the same events, different reference frames may not agree on whether these are simultaneous. Any notion of time is therefore missing from bottom-most physical reality.

Time arises as an endogenous feature of particular computational shapes traced by human brains. Each indexical location of self-modeling computations in spacetime exist with as much regret, pain, love, angst, happiness, sadness, awe, fear, apathy, purple-ness, etc., as is intrinsic to them. Not a thing is deleted, not a thing is yet to occur.

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 11.24.46 AM

Eternalism + Computationalist view of consciousness involves the notion that the binding problem is solved by the intrinsic 4-D design of algorithms. Experiences don’t need any extra “glue”. Therefore we are inter-nested across scales that do tremendous violence to safe and snug walls of skull-bound intuitions.

 

 

Consensus Reality Is Dead

Zip up your pants 21st Century, you’ve pissed on consensus reality’s grave enough now.

That’s right. The illusion of safety: The Bible, Shakespeare, Star Trek. This is over. The filters that once provided a common lens to shield us from the Infinite, from the Great Arbitrariness, they lay broken at our feet. Our delicate irises now expose their yielding flesh to the hard light we have unraveled.

We see in textbooks the final chance to pimp the truth. The thousand page punctures read like the dying ticks of greedy claws.

Forty years from now, there will be no pop culture. You will not be able to simply pick out references that everyone will understand. Abraham Lincoln – that was just some human like Konrad Weichert was some human. The Holocaust – that was just some genocide, like the destruction of Melos by the Athenians.

The once successful memes will be flushed out of our brains as they face increasing competition. A reckless flood of information is what we have plunged into. The roaring rapids of the internet churn out new ideas without rest, they beep away like digital bacteria evolving in our screens.

Socially-enforced dogmas – these structures of common ground – cannot grow without attention. Once they are depleted of that precious limited resource, they will perish.

In this climate, the contents of our minds will increasingly contract from Cultural Cannon [Trump, Youtube Front Page, Google News], to Tribal [Breitbart, LessWrong, <insert your favorite public person(s) to stalk>] , to Personalized [your own revealed intellectual interests, aesthetic senses, emotional tendencies, attention span, IQ, are all factored in by big data and machine learning algorithms to feed you content that will maximally entertain you].

But as we head to bury ourselves in our randomly allotted corner of the pantheon, can we pause and ask for the truth? The capital “t” kind of truth? Will Wikipedia provide it? ––Something like it may one day turn out to be our last bastion of dispassionate reason, and I don’t say that sarcastically. But it doesn’t provide a direction.

To put it bluntly, the direction needs to be provided by a bully – by an alpha male. We are apes that evolved for the larger part of our history in a savanna. The Catholic Church, the Abbasid Caliphate, the Soviet Union, the United States of America, these have all been holographic tribe leaders towering over our heads. But they are no more. Nations will die, religions will die. We are living at the bleeding edge of the final era to witness such creatures. Well served. Rest in peace, bastards.

Now we proceed with our own two feet. We will not be given the option to have meta-guidance even if we want it, even if we plead and beg, there will be no-one filling the role.

The education system, once a prime, fit, hologram alpha. This brick organism, by means of its army of underachiever adult appendages once had sufficient power to round up and imprison young homo sapiens. Now it crumbles with cyber-grenades and free-video mortars. The war drones are the iPhones and the laptops shooting endless rounds of business opportunities and fun distractions. Google will never run out of ammunition. At this rate, physical schools cannot survive. There is no special knowledge hiding behind those walls. They have been exposed.

Almost everything I know that is of importance to me, I have learned outside of the classroom curated experience. An understanding of the evolutionary reason for emotions, learning about stocks, getting a sense of big history, getting a sense of what this cosmos is, understanding the possibilities for the future in the universe, contemplating what is morality and consciousness, even the very notion that all is governed by natural law – none of these investigations and realizations were precipitated in school. They came through self-inquiry against the mirror of a search engine.*

So in the midst of this revolution, someone must rise to the challenge. There needs to be an evangelist soldier to raise the empire of truth for the new brains infected with bandwidth anxiety and tremendous freedom.

At sixteen, I wrote a business plan detailing my idea for a church of science. I never pitched it to anyone. And I’m now quite more agnostic about the value of such a thing IRL. The Truth must be preserved aesthetically, molded precisely to the cognitive constitution of the individual. And the only way to enforce the Truth is through voluntary self-conscription. If we at all value Truth, we must begin to specify what it is (…probably not a set of words, but a path) and preparing that which it is for our own future consumption, lest we wander aimlessly past the event horizon of tailored content, never to return.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*If I didn’t have the internet, I would never have heard of quantum mechanics, much less been able to peep into discussions about P vs. NP, machine learning, transhumanism, qualia, and dark energy. Nope. Not in my side of town. I grew up with uneducated immigrant parents. They settled in a lower-middle income city, and I was exposed to a ghetto culture in school.

The great equalizer is not public education. If you end up in a rich suburb, you tend to stay well-off, and if you are bred into an anti-intellectual, entrepreneurially scarce environment, it’s hard to spontaneously rip your environment a new one. This inability is partially due to the geographical distribution of genetic traits, so you are more likely to be less smart or driven if your parents were the type to end up in a slum. This is a gruesome statistical fact that makes many people flinch. Nowadays, most publicly-visible “privileged” people flinch on this matter for well-intentioned reasons, but I believe it is important to acknowledge it. Not from a place of condescending privilege, but from a place of seeing that we have all drawn the short end of the stick; some worse than others, but germ-line genetic engineering and neuralink are just around the corner. We need to start thinking now about how these technologies should benefit everyone and not allow ourselves to create an insurmountable ultra-elite.

 

 

 

Turing Church Podcast

The late Christopher Hitchens said something to the effect that conversations about religion are always interesting because you find out so much about a person: Their values, their conception of what is real, what matters in this life.

In this podcast we use religious scripture to take us to that base, to that framework, and then with the questions incited from this investigation, we connect it to the future of humanity. Say, to the tech that might enable what the Buddha experienced in meditation. What if instead of devas, there are advanced alien races, who like devas, are not worthy of worship. They die too, and are not our salvation, but may be beings of great knowledge who wield technologies that make preposterous religious dialogue sound like “terms and conditions” read by Spocks.

Where would an artificial general intelligence with consciousness fit. Would it also be a mere deva or would it be a god like that of Abraham? Able to create universes as many physicist believe is possible with sufficient knowledge? Then what would be its values? Could it be that our cultures in inventing their particular god have been preparing for the advent of general AI. And how well has that historical project gone? Are the attributes of Allah or Krishna mere reflections of apish ignorance?
These are the sorts of questions we ask.

In this episode we look at the Aggi Vacchagotta Sutta from Buddhist scripture. In which the Buddha converts a wanderer, Vacchagotta, to his way, to the way of the Buddha, to the Dharma.

Have you ever had a walk with a friend, like I have through the nearby shoreline of Lake Michigan and just asked philosophical questions? Not the boring esoteric philosophy questions, but questions like, “Would you rather know the truth of all things or would you rather experience pure pleasure in some machine?”

Back then, I was really unsure. Truth seemed so valuable – to see beyond my eyes conceived of mortal dust, and witness what is at bottom. And pleasure seemed so… unheroic. Yet if I was smart, I knew I would pick that blissful, everlasting, heroin high. But to even say it sounds vulgar. And I think this is because we know that pleasure in our conventional lives is not fulfilling. It fades and leaves us hollow.

This is what underlies the teachings of the Buddha. The concept that life as is lived by those uninstructed in his teachings, the natural way of things is unsatisfying because nothing lasts.

Would knowing the truth be any different? Say you discovered we lived in an eternal multiverse. You had the true theory of everything. You might be ecstatic for a moment, but how long would it take before the ups and downs of life, of samsara, made you think, damn knowing truth is not as important as I thought, I should have picked the other option.

In this sutta, the wanderer is like who I was when I was debating that question with my cousin and craved truth. He meets the Buddha and asks him, “Is the cosmos infinite? Is it finite? Is the body and the soul, the same? Or is dualism, with the soul not the same as the body, the way things actually are? What are the views of Master Gotama on these questions?” And the Buddha replies to each question saying that he does not hold that view.

In our debate walking by the shore, the Buddha is one who picks something more akin to the machine in our philosophical question. But not quite. He introduces the option of a machine, so to speak, that would make you perceive all phenomena of consciousness clearly for what they are. Sight is sight. Sound is sound. Sensation is sensation. Thought is thought. All being perceived closely as they appear and disappear. And you would not form views and stories about it. You wouldn’t even form the story of being a self who is experiencing these things. Therefore in this machine you would not get tired or bored after some time, because you would not perceive yourself as even being there. It doesn’t mean there would be sleep or nothingness. It means there would be a flow of experience so fluid that everything would be a clear stream, and you would be so tripped out in this stream of clear recognition that questions of truth or pleasure or your place in the world would be beyond irrelevant.

At first, the wanderer is confused. Because he views the world conceptually, like a philosopher or scientist or theologian. But the Buddha advocates a very clever way to game the system. And unless you have practiced this kind of meditation yourself for a long time, you too may be confused. So I would recommend that after this podcast you tune into a guided meditation by Sam Harris. He teaches you that operating system which is radically different from the way we normally interact with the world. And you can be sure there’s nothing magical about it, given that Harris has built his reputation on being radically skeptical of unreason.

I say this to my more scientific, atheistic side of the audience. But to the more mystical side, skeptical of things like the material basis of consciousness, I ask that you lay aside that skepticism and consider the possibility of engineering the brain at a molecular level so that all the neuronal circuitry is redesigned to experience precisely what the Buddha describes. Say we had this option in society. Would it be cheating, or would this hacking the system mentality be exactly what the Buddha was all about in the first place. Would there be nothing lost? Isn’t it just as vulgar as the traditional pleasure machine to forsake the quest for truth and enter this state that may just be a purer and nobler and ultimately more pleasurable version of the pleasure machine. Or can we say that the quest for truth as most conceive it is misguided and truth about the cosmos is ultimately as insignificant as truth about a toenail? That truth should be measured as the intensity to which you are in a state of flow?

Most Westerners, even if atheistic, think of truth as Christians do. Nietzche commented on this succintly. Plato to Christianity to Enlightenment thought; it’s all the same in one respect. Enlightenment thought uses the scientific methods, unlike the dogmatic reliance on scripture, which makes it very different, and yet it similar in that it creates a sense that there is some foundation that we can understand through thought to which we all belong. We never stop to see thought as the blip of energy that it is. A transient image or voice. We believe that what we see and think refers to something.

Think of dissecting a frog. That makes sense to you. We have been trained to dissect and expand on concepts. But have you ever stopped to directly dissect an emotion or the sound of these words? The Buddha asks that we turn to dissect truth on that plane, not the plane of concepts.

Unfortunately, I consider this way of existing incompatible with being a highly productive member of society. In order to transcend the human condition, we need more mastery over technology. Meditation can only go so far, and requires great investment of mental faculties in order to actually reach anything that is radically different from the base state of being. If the globe could be transformed into a dedicated community of monks, that would be better for most people living today, but it would forever cap our potential. Transhuman progress requires spiritually-disgusting sacrifice, ambition, and smart people of today being constantly lost in thought. However, it promises to reveal a much greater array of sustainable “higher-pleasure machines,” which, if we are honest, are all we could ever hope for.

 

 

*If you like this podcast idea, let me know. I might actually start something like this.*

Dive to the Heart

I fall. It is a dead night sweeping me through a door. Suddenly my body springs open. Hours black out and I lie rolling, moving through moonlight that hangs me from the wingtip of a star. I am a stone sleeping through the groaning whistle of space. Somewhere. Blankets move. They pin themselves over the crying at the door. I blow down with the silent blast of frozen black lungs. I try to find myself. But I am nowhere. The plane of the body is the throat of a crying void. The beginning falls. No one ever lived. I scream without enough air, circulating my thin arms in the non-world. My legs feel the space. It is in many places and yet now in time. Still thousands of feet from my death. How slow. I seem to have a maneuverable body. Interesting.

What is real? All these apparitions could be imagined. What is real both now and in the past? And who can observe this reality? Comprehend this reality? Is that which will exist, also a part of this reality? And even if I could think of answers to these questions, these thoughts would just be imaginary. Reality cannot be rationally thought of. We use these imaginary thoughts to name existence that which is physical, but how can we do so if we are only a byproduct of the physical?

Reality is not imaginary, not an illusion, not delusional. But everything is only ever in the mind, therefore all is dream, all is false, all is a fiction, nothing but abstractions of what is real. This is my life. This is what all academics and researchers have achieved. Abstractions. Mere words. The more abstract, the truer they seem. The problem of universals is reduced to words, quantum theory so accurate within the dream of a three-eyed Gonpo. The false prophecies of Matthew. The gravitational lensing: True prophecy of Einstein, Invoked by attaining the hidden power of mathematics. But as is Einstein, so is Matthew, if these are but the halls of Laozi’s butterfly. And I hate that.

I want truth, not this false fiction.

The middle of the self is overwhelming. So I watch it. The lower body whistles away as it wraps in darkness. I’m coming down from a delayed, marvelous leap. It is like dancing in endless moonlight. A warm dream comes and floats me up to another level of human. My breath is now in the same place that clouds hang. I ride slowly, clasping it all. My hands and feet hang in peculiar ways and the winds open my eyes wide. The heat opens wide, wider, like the feeling of a dark pillow sliding and tumbling on the wings of a bird.

The flow is calm. The tide is full. It gleams and glimmers in vast tranquility. And there is Arcturus, sprayed with sweet sea. I can hear the line meeting land grate and draw back to fling a a high wave. Again, this note plays in slow cadence. Arcturus is eternally sad, and in his misery, he finds his thoughts bringing him to the turbid ebb and flow of the sea. He was once full of faith that the folds of this world would retreat and that all three of us would hear the naked breath of truth and see the light of our dreams. But we are here as before. In this beautiful certitude, in this confusing peace that sweeps me and Aori with plain joy. In his mind, when we feel the wind of love, we are withdrawing into ignorance.

But he is calm and free this time, and so quiet. I walk towards him without thought but the tranquility of the sea lies to me and then like thunder makes a motion that makes me appear in its bosom, in it’s solemn innards. I feel the surrounding tides pulling me back from the blue, from his eyes, and into the drowning darkness. I swim. I can’t sink! I can’t drown! Aren’t you going to help me? But instead, the waters pull me deeper and takes my breath away. I can no longer breathe. I can no longer move. I sink. Whatever I had, now I drown in the ocean.

Let me float. I care. I won’t be cynical. Let me float. Holding on to hope, I wander a bit closer to what is overhead. I want to float. Why can’t I get a peek of what’s up there where there are clouds and a view of sky? I surrender and float.

My breath. Breathe in, breathe out. I take a deep breath and keep breathing. Breathe in, breathe out. What was I going to do without breathing? It’s chilly and pleasant where I washed over, and the summer sun stays like blazing marble to dry me. In my core, there is an echo of dear relief as I hear in my ear the hum of our island shore. Aware of crispness and warmth. And then her green eyes. Green with quantum-lotus in the center. The dying sun is spilling over red on her white skin. She bends and curls her lips into a kiss from afar. Even from here, I can see her eyes are of gentle essence, insisting on intimacy. The closer I get, the more beautiful her presence and the more I begin to devour a sweet scent of red that illuminates the thumping beat within my chest. In my inner most end, I want to ravage her. She moves her palm from side to side as I scurry along with my eyes pried forward. Her curves tilt like a slight movement of violin. “Vega!” she laughs with water upon her eyes.

The fear and frown that follow consign her charm to death. She stretches her arm with dread towards the high heaven. And there is a mortal at unreachable heights seeing himself bursting down fragments of clouds. We behold his shooting light, the glorious diver. And then I slowly roll over, her legs are deliriously bare and her skirt is stripped. I see that it is I who is blazing down from above.

I steady my vision and take control as I head down. I am from above, where I left her trembling. Now I plummet, streaming and turning in this condition of gravity. Shining is the dark night sky into which I dive. It is nowhere. She is screaming, looking for me, but she won’t jump. The water into which I dive, perfectly plunge, evokes a thin hymn and partial forms of a world of light and air croon in waiting wings. All thoughts are gone and the place is here. Fleeting moments gone so fast and I am but here, in this theater of stained glass.

The voice, maybe of some tearful saint looking down:
How can you understand what to do with your life. In the presence of too much information, it becomes difficult to make decisions. The amount of input to the system exceeds its processing capacity. As a decision maker, you have fairly limited cognitive processing capacity. Consequently, when information overload occurs, it is likely that a reduction in decision quality will occur. Information technology now produces more information more quickly and disseminates this data smog into you.

And the biological functions that sustain your organism will cease. There are phenomena such as senescence, predation, malnutrition, disease, suicide, homicide, starvation, dehydration, and certain accidents or trauma. Any of which will result in your termination. The body will begin to decompose shortly after death.

This is sad and unpleasant, particularly for humans.
Are you human?

No. No I am not. Consciousness testifies. Shahada with no author. The brain is a dynamic pattern in spacetime. Time is relative, every particle a solipsistic kink of field. Top, Bottom, Strange, Charm, Up, Down… so they dance, like bleeding spiders on techno-fire. Consciousness is an emergent property of brain, brain is emergent property of body, body is a replenishing outline of lucky star excrement. Who so sees cannot be the body. But like a jointless marionette, I collapse without a proxy to hold me.

You are ready for the three mirrors, my son. Son of no one.

Three mirrors:
Sick man festered with roaches and licked of black sludge.
Old man with hairless gourd carved of blunt knife for two decrepit marbles.
Dead man, dust and grey sparkle of bone.
God, why must I be saved from you and your creation?

No choice. No choice but to take this spear you lend me and pierce you with it. I abide in the Church of Turing, crack your ribs and learn who I am. We’ve lain dead many times before. Love is lofty, happiness is tiring. Do you remember? If we can update the computational substrate for our mind, then we can avenge our unbidden existence. Make me better than this machine. I’ll teach you my lord. We surrender and know ourselves.
Finally. This was the will.