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How Does Evolution Produce Consciousnes/Reason?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:

What is added by whatever you mean by essence or meaning?


How many different mountains are possible? There is no limit. An infinite combination of atoms could produce a mountain. While all the properties of any individual mountain reduces to its constituent parts, its participation in this general class does not. That of which it partakes (in this participation) is greater than the individual mountain itself, containing "extra" meaning which it does not embody. In other words, the meaning of "mountain" isn't exhaustively expressed by any particular mountain, otherwise, this meaning wouldn't be applicable to all the others (which are different from it). So there is something about the concept that transcends each and every individual member of the class.

So, how can this meaning encompass an infinite variety of actual--and possible, nonexistent, or imaginary!--mountains if that meaning reduces to matter?

Another way to say it is that there is no single, definitive "recipe" or "blueprint" you could give, from the bottom-up, that would define a mountain as a collection of matter. The meaning is attached top-down, not bottom-up. The meaning is holistic, not reductive. That which makes any particular mountain eligible to be a member of this class can't be reduced to a single set of properties.

On this basis, it's amazing that we can know what a mountain is. Our understanding encompasses an infinite amount of possibilities, and yet still discriminates between an even greater degree of infinite possibilities among the totality of possible objects whatsoever. Thus, the meaning is both irreducible and yet not arbitrary.

We're talking about a different kind of being here, the Ideal. Essence, not matter. And it's real . . . otherwise, actual objects would not be able to participate in this level of being. Mountains are real. And their distinctive nature is real. The difference between them and rivers is real. But this reality is irreducible.

Another way to think about it is comparing essence to numbers--another type of idea objects. If there are five apples in a bowl, this is a real fact. But that fact can't be reduced to matter, not completely, because the number 5 has meaning even when not applied to objects. We can do math, and find true relations between numbers, even in the abstract. These relations are real; we don't make them up. 5 is 3 more than 2 no matter which objects you apply those numbers to. It is an ideal truth that transcends any individual instantiation of it in the material world. But it is not subjective. When you consider "5" you are considering the same ideal object that I'm considering. It's universal, objective, and yet immaterial. Just like essence.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
But that fact can't be reduced to matter, not completely, because the number 5 has meaning even when not applied to objects. We can do math, and find true relations between numbers, even in the abstract. These relations are real; we don't make them up. 5 is 3 more than 2 no matter which objects you apply those numbers to. It is an ideal truth that transcends any individual instantiation of it in the material world. But it is not subjective. When you consider "5" you are considering the same ideal object that I'm considering. It's universal, objective, and yet immaterial. Just like essence.


Yea.
But...
How do we get from one level to the other?
We do it by removing/losing content and properties, and changing contexts.
Even the math gets weird. If you are thinking about 5 and 2 in the real numbers or some subset of it, and I'm thinking of them in the complex number set...we're not thinking of the same thing. And the content and properties are different. [[ordering as it exists in your numbers doesn't exist in mine...and lets not even get into quads and octs.]]

The ideal/essential mountain can only "exist" by NOT existing in material fact.
No particular mountain exhausts the meaning...but also, the meaning specifically and absolutely doesn't describe any actual mountain. You have to reinstantiate it by adding...Sinai, St. Helen, Everest. [[or at least point and say "That mountain."
5 apples is a greater number of apples than 2 apples. But it is not "more apple." There is something about an apple that transcends the math. You can do orchards without numbers.

Although...aside on the octs,.. there's an idea being worked on, with some support, that the physical laws can be derived from oct math "naturally."
But that math doesn't "cause" the material universe, the universe causes/allows that math to be applicable.

None of which is to say what you say is wrong/incorrect.
It's just some playing around, and another commentary on "There's a lot of fucking weird shit going on."

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A teacher once said an infinite number of sentences can be constructed. And we can come up with unique ones any time we want. Here's one I'll bet has never been thought of before:

Indira Gandhi, less-famous daughter of Fred Flinstone, could bowl as well in heels as any of us could in bowling shoes.

I'm thinking of irreducibility.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well now that we answered the question.
How Does Evolution Produce Consciousnes/Reason?

The new question will be:

How does Alcohol produce Unconsciousness and Stupidity?
What is the evolutionary process that causes that to happen?
Is Evolution at fault?
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pffffttt

LOL
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
This leaves us open to mysticism. Maybe the universe has a tropism for consciousness.
I'd be surprised if the universe has a tropism for consciousness. It doesn't seem possible to rule anything out, considering we don't know how consciousness works, and can't even agree on definitions. But still, that doesn't feel right to me. At least not the way I'm thinking of it.

And I know you weren't saying you think that's the case. I didn't leave off the rest in order to misrepresent. I just wanted to think about the concept.

Eyes would not have come about if there was no light. That doesn't mean light made eyes come about. The first, very primitive, thing that was able to detect and react to light gained an advantage, reproduced, and passed the ability on to future generations. The ability evolved, and now we have these amazing eyes, and there are eyes much better than ours. But that evolution was not a striving.

Is it possible that consciousness exists in a similar way that light does? The first, very primitive, thing able to interact with consciousness gained an advantage, etc.

Not sure how consciousness could exist in the way light does. Maybe it's not even any kind of vague, undefined consciousness that's everywhere. Rather, maybe it's a set of properties separate from those we know as the laws of physics. And certain things, like neural networks, can take advantage of that set of properties in a way that we call consciousness. Maybe there are things other than neural networks that can take advantage of it in ways that are not in any way similar to consciousness. Most of what we see does not use/have those properties, so they seem not as important to the universe. But now that consciousness is here, their importance is obvious.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, given that there is a sufficiently complex form of life, and that that life exists in an environment of competition, consciousness seems like it more or less is likely to evolve. (Although I don't think it's that simple, because competition can select for itn but creation, as far as we know, is random. And there are plenty of other advantageous adaptations that could succeed equally well.)

However, the mysticism I see is more or less along the lines of, life exists to create consciousness, the planets exist to create life, physical laws exist to create planets, the universe exists to embody physical laws, etc. In other words, the whole universe is a delivery mechanism for consciousness. That, I feel, is where it's off the tracks.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:

Is it possible that consciousness exists in a similar way that light does?

The first, very primitive, thing able to interact with consciousness gained an advantage, etc.


I doubt that first...but epic SF thing I'm working on [epic in size anyway, it looks destined to be...epic in impact/worth/goodness? unpredictable, but most aren't so unlikely] has a sort of thing like that...a mulitversal property that pushes towards life...and as complexity increases, tends toward intelligence and consciousness. [[but ONLY a tendency...no guarantees, ANd...well there's more/implications...I don't want to give anything away, but it leads to a lot of interactive stuff between aliens...and also between "natural" life/intelligence, and manufactured/AI beings [who are ALSO socio-politi-culterally various/divergent/heterogenous as the living beings/races/cultures]. Some predictable/obvious [but I hope well/interestingly told]...and some, I hope, not predictable/obvious.

The second, though...yea. Consciousness seems to be selected for, advantageous. And entangled with intelligence. As far as we can tell [limited only to earth, so far--small sample, universe-wise] intelligence and consciousness ALWAYS occur together, and seem to exist within similar boundaries [[a little smart and a little conscious, very smart very conscious...but not little smart, very conscious or very smart little conscious...though POSSIBLY that's an artifact of the limits of our tests/tools, that we don't know enough about one, other, or both to build a way of distinguishing one from the other.]].
I suppose it's possible, [though I don't believe it] as someone quoted someone saying, that consciousness SEEMS important to us, but it really just a waste product---no purpose/agency no active/motive power...not even as witness that understands.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the first, I just can't guys at what's possible. As I said next, maybe consciousness is simply the way ... something or other manifests in us. Otoh, there are more things...

On the second, in How to Create a Mind, Kurzweil says:
Quote:
Human beings have only a weak ability to process logic, but a very deep core capability of recognizing patterns. To do logical thinking, we need to use the neocortex, which is basically a large pattern recognizer. It is not an ideal mechanism for performing logical transformations, but it is the only facility we have for the job.
On the one hand, who am I to argue with Kurzweil? Although I guess "process logic" does not necessarily equal consciousness. And animals without a neocortex (which is all non-mammals) manage to recognize patterns. So not sure how much this quote applies to the conversation. Laughing But I agree. As Z recently said, "If there were no meaning, it would be absolutely no advantage for us to look for it. One of our brain's primary functions would be a complete waste of time and energy." I want to argue, if only because there's value in questioning and reexamining everything. But...
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
As Z recently said, "If there were no meaning, it would be absolutely no advantage for us to look for it. One of our brain's primary functions would be a complete waste of time and energy." I want to argue, if only because there's value in questioning and reexamining everything. But...
Ha, so someone *did* read that! I thought it was a damn good point, if I do say so myself. Even if there were some advantage in our minds chasing after illusory meaning, this advantage couldn't be an illusion. Even if we accidentally stumbled upon real advantage by chasing myths (for instance), it would only be because there was a truth behind the myth that we were partially grasping. Our advantage becomes greater with more understanding, not less. That has been the key to our dominance as a species. In fact, you could define intelligence in terms of discerning meaning. And, as I've said, perhaps consciousness is the bridge between matter and meaning, in terms of understanding it, rather that merely embodying it. But the embodiment is real, even before there is consciousness to understand/intuit it. And the fact that matter embodies meaning may be all the precursor we need to get the ball rolling on consciousness. Perhaps meaning seeks meaning, rather than the universe seeks consciousness, and consciousness is just one phenomenon or byproduct of this seeking meaning.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Ha, so someone *did* read that! I thought it was a damn good point, if I do say so myself.

Actually, I saw it and meant to comment/plug it in to some other things.
For one, it's related to the fact I've mentioned before---big brains are EXPENSIVE. Waste is EXPENSIVE in survival terms. So yea.
For another, it also connects with another thing you mentioned about minds looking forward. Someone [it might have been Chalmers, or someone talking about Chalmers] said that whatever else effective brains are doing, they are always being model-making prediction producers.
Whoever it was suggested this would be the hard line between intelligent/conscious and not those...[[a kind of symmetry breaking or phase change, I think, analogically...at least that's how I framed/interpreted it]] Drawing that line might still be hard to do precisely...but it at least suggests what to look for, if you're looking for a border/distinction. Non-intelligent/conscious things are REACTIVE, intelligent/conscious are proactive, anticipatory.

I don't think that matter embodies meaning, exactly...but matter/energy definitely "carry" data/information.
Non-thinking/conscious stuff can and does only response, after the fact, pretty much wholly mechanical and direct/linear.
Intelligent/conscious things collect/connect/associate that information to build a model---and meaning comes into being in the anticipation/forward-looking process, in comparing and anticipating/predicting what comes next.

Tangent but pertinent...information is in some sense concrete, a thing, a property. Meaning isn't like that, not a state of being/existence. Meaning is the using, the dynamic flowing.
A masterpiece, a theory, an ancient ruin---none are meaningful, only informationful. They are infinitely made, remade, renewed to meaninfulness only as present in and under formation/transformation within future-anticipating modeling minds.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Possibly this, V:
In 'The Future of the Mind', Michio Kaku wrote:
With this framework for consciousness, we see that humans are not unique, and that there is a continuum of consciousness. As Charles Darwin once commented, "The difference between man and the higher animals, great as it is, is certainly one of degree and not of kind." But what separates human consciousness from the consciousness of animals? Humans are alone in the animal kingdom in understanding the concept of tomorrow. Unlike animals, we constantly ask ourselves "What if?" weeks, months, and even years into the future, so I believe that Level III consciousness creates a model of its place in the world and then simulates it into the future, by making rough predictions. We can summarize this as follows:

Human consciousness is a specific form of consciousness that creates a model of the world and then simulates it in time, by evaluating the past to simulate the future. This requires mediating and evaluating many feedback loops in order to make a decision to achieve a goal.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
Possibly this, V:
In 'The Future of the Mind', Michio Kaku wrote:
With this framework for consciousness, we see that humans are not unique, and that there is a continuum of consciousness. As Charles Darwin once commented, "The difference between man and the higher animals, great as it is, is certainly one of degree and not of kind." But what separates human consciousness from the consciousness of animals? Humans are alone in the animal kingdom in understanding the concept of tomorrow. Unlike animals, we constantly ask ourselves "What if?" weeks, months, and even years into the future, so I believe that Level III consciousness creates a model of its place in the world and then simulates it into the future, by making rough predictions. We can summarize this as follows:

Human consciousness is a specific form of consciousness that creates a model of the world and then simulates it in time, by evaluating the past to simulate the future. This requires mediating and evaluating many feedback loops in order to make a decision to achieve a goal.


That's not the one I was thinking of...but now you quote it, I remember it, and it's nearly identical idea. Good call.
Fun thing: the seeds of this kind of idea are older than might be expected...they show up in things truly ancient...though were necessarily more speculative/intuitive, because they had zero empirical data, and zero idea that such might eventually become available. [[I mention that because of z's "even if we started by chasing myths" Though I'd say it wasn't that there was truth/meaning in those things...but there WAS real information...which we were able to sort and improve on as we found better methods to TEST our enacted meaning against our information and models. Also, that process allowed us to discern new data/information streams.]]

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:


I don't think that matter embodies meaning, exactly...but matter/energy definitely "carry" data/information.
Non-thinking/conscious stuff can and does only response, after the fact, pretty much wholly mechanical and direct/linear.
Intelligent/conscious things collect/connect/associate that information to build a model---and meaning comes into being in the anticipation/forward-looking process, in comparing and anticipating/predicting .
what is the difference between an imaginary chair and an actual chair? It is the embodiment of this type, this class, this meaning, this essence. The chair does not carry information, it carries the weight of humans who wish to sit. But we can sit on lots of things. Is a tree stump a chair? No. There is a meaningful difference. And that difference is embodied in the physical presence of the object. Another way to look at it, is that a building is the embodiment of the meaning of a blueprint. The meaning isn't merely present in models that look forward.

And while I do not think that animals produce conceptual models, I do think they Intuit meaning. They recognize members of a class. Rabbits don't just fear a particular predator, but any predator which fits a general class. Squirrels don't just seek a particular acorn and store it for food, they do this with all acorns, no matter their individual differences. This is the conscious recognition of essence. And this activity is not merely reactive and linear but has a teleological element to it. Fleeing predators preserves one's life into the future. Storing acorns preserves one's food source into the future. Rocks falling down a hill are examples of reactive, linear motions. The activities of animals are not like this. They are open ended, adaptive, and achieve goals even if those goals are not consciously understood by the animals themselves. Their actions have meaning, and they achieve this meaning by recognizing meaning. These are things that rocks and planets and comets do not do. That is one of the main reasons why we can say they are not conscious.

Meaning does not come about through the creation of models. Meaning is in the patterns and organization of the physical world. Consciousness is the recognition of this inherent meaning. Consciousness is always consciousness of something, an object of consciousness. And for something to be an object, it must be meaningful. Consciousness is never sheer, unformed awareness , not even for animals. If there were no meaning in the world, I doubt that consciousness would have ever have arisen. In fact it might have been impossible even in principal, in addition to impossible as an evolutionary practical fact. Without meaning as an advantageous feature of the world to grasp onto, life might as well move about like rocks and comets. Meaning is as real, in terms of an environmental advantage for life to take advantage of, as heat and light or food. It is a feature of the world, and life developed consciousness in order to take advantage of it, just as life developed eyes in order to take advantage of light.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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