Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Experience IS Reality

As I "wind on down the road" (rendition of which tugs at the heart of a Boomer), my thinking and writing become less linear, so for the VERY few that have followed my musings for the nearly 2 decades of blogging, some repetition will be seen. (usually with updates)

A the linked is a likely important article that I may return to and dig deeper into. Apparently, the physical universe can be replaced with "a conscious entity" and at least this new model still "works" (makes rational sense).
As a conscious realist, I am postulating conscious experiences as ontological primitives, the most basic ingredients of the world. I’m claiming that experiences are the real coin of the realm. The experiences of everyday life—my real feeling of a headache, my real taste of chocolate—that really is the ultimate nature of reality.
"Ontological" meaning "exists in the context of these philosophical assumptions".  Our Western standard ontology is Materialism ... everything is "matter" (although Quantum Wave Theory postulates that everything is actually waves (no particles). 

There’s a metaphor that’s only been available to us in the past 30 or 40 years, and that’s the desktop interface. 
Suppose there’s a blue rectangular icon on the lower right corner of your computer’s desktop — does that mean that the file itself is blue and rectangular and lives in the lower right corner of your computer? Of course not. But those are the only things that can be asserted about anything on the desktop — it has color, position, and shape. Those are the only categories available to you, and yet none of them are true about the file itself or anything in the computer. 
They couldn’t possibly be true. That’s an interesting thing. You could not form a true description of the innards of the computer if your entire view of reality was confined to the desktop. And yet the desktop is useful. That blue rectangular icon guides my behavior, and it hides a complex reality that I don’t need to know. That’s the key idea. 
Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. They guide adaptive behaviors. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be. If you had to spend all that time figuring it out, the tiger would eat you.
It's always intriguing to me that a super intelligent guy, so non-traditional he is willing to question the MOST fundamental aspects of the nature of existence, still finds "evolution " as somehow a worthy explanation for how we came to be (or "not to **BE** as in being physical", but rather "be" as experience only in his model) in a non-physical reality. It is always possible that the computer desktop "just evolved" after all. Actually, if you are an evolutionist, the development of the computer and the desktop metaphor is simply evolution still operating in what we have no doubt mistakenly labeled "consciousness", meaning "something special", but in evolutionary "reality", it is just more evolutionary adaptive algorithms ... a mathematical model. 
Gefter: A mathematical model of consciousness.

Hoffman: That’s right. My intuition was, there are conscious experiences. I have pains, tastes, smells, all my sensory experiences, moods, emotions and so forth. So, I’m just going to say: One part of this consciousness structure is a set of all possible experiences. When I’m having an experience, based on that experience I may want to change what I’m doing. So, I need to have a collection of possible actions I can take and a decision strategy that, given my experiences, allows me to change how I’m acting. That’s the basic idea of the whole thing. I have a space X of experiences, a space G of actions, and an algorithm D that lets me choose a new action given my experiences. Then I posited a W for a world, which is also a probability space. Somehow the world affects my perceptions, so there’s a perception map P from the world to my experiences, and when I act, I change the world, so there’s a map A from the space of actions to the world. That’s the entire structure. Six elements. The claim is: This is the structure of consciousness. I put that out there so people have something to shoot at.
This may be a "little deep" ... a reference to this post on "The Matter with Things" may help understand this a bit more. 

So, a mathematic attempt to understand consciousness replaces "the world" with "a conscious agent" and it all works ... and it doesn't give him any inking that God would fill that "conscious agent" role quite nicely?

The discoveries of quantum mechanics, the mystery of consciousness and things like the insane small amount of information that seems to be coming in through our optic nerves for us to create what we are "seeing" all point to some fundamental misconceptions about what "observed reality" is -- if it "is" in a material sense (ontology again) at all! 

"I think, therefore I am" was always tenuous -- perhaps, a universal consciousness is reality, and "I" am an illusion. Perhaps when God speaks to Moses and says "I am that I am" he was really de-referencing the THAT!  (C++ programming, the "this pointer" is the pointer to the object itself) "I'm THAT" I am" ... the ultimate base of existence. 

"Somehow the world affects my perceptions". There is always a "somehow" in there somewhere! 

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