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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 10

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Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
@Pharoah

As I've noted in the past, if one presupposes that sentience is there from the start, and that this sentience-as-substrate just is the thing doing the interacting and differentiating—rather than presupposing that sentience emerges from a purely material, insentient background as something ontologically new—then HCT instantly becomes much richer and robust.

The organism/physiology and its phenomenal perspective on the world no longer hold an ontologically distinct relationship; instead the organism/physiology just is a phenomenal perspective on the world.
There are different interpretations of particular theoretical approaches. I would not advocate the position you suggest here, but each to their own. I can understand why someone might argue that sentience is there from the start. Such a position has particular problems of its own to answer to...
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
@Pharoah

As I've noted in the past, if one presupposes that sentience is there from the start, and that this sentience-as-substrate just is the thing doing the interacting and differentiating—rather than presupposing that sentience emerges from a purely material, insentient background as something ontologically new—then HCT instantly becomes much richer and robust.
Can you/would you explain how and why HCT would or could become "much richer and [more] robust" if @Pharoah began with your presupposition? I've found Pharoah's HCT to have become increasingly satisfactory -- "richer and [more] robust" -- as he has developed it in phenomenological as well as biological terms.

You go on to identify what seems to me to be your own continuing motive for rejecting Pharoah's theory --> a desire to avoid the challenge of recognizing that with knowledge of the evolution of life, awareness, reflectivity, consciousness, and mind in nature we are indeed called upon to understand that a purely physicalist ontology is inadequate to describe the world as we self-consciously exist in it: as an experientially lived world -- one in which we find ourselves unable to understand ourselves/account for the character of our experiential being in the purely physicalist terms that have been used to describe the development and developing interaction of physical forces and fields over the history of the world/universe before consciousness or mind came into it. You claim that, if we simply accept your ontological presupposition,

The organism/physiology and its phenomenal perspective on the world no longer hold an ontologically distinct relationship; instead the organism/physiology just is a phenomenal perspective on the world.
Can you either prove that, or at least persuade us on the basis of existing evidence that we should believe it?

It seems unmistakably clear, rather, that organisms cannot be reduced to 'physiologies' once we recognize the difference that awareness of being-in-a-world makes, beginning with the autopoiesis of single-celled organisms identified by Maturana and Varela. Autopoiesis is the beginning of a "phenomenal perspective on the world" that becomes multiplied and expanded in the evolution of species of life. Where is the data that can persuade us that the chemical processes that enabled biological life to appear in the world were already 'sentient' and thus capable of achieving the sense of awareness of being-in-an-environing-situation that is the root of the evolution of consciousness and the mind-body problem? The physiologies of organisms and animals, including us, cannot be equated to the organized and interacting systems identified in physics as forming and interacting in increasing complexity over the history of the universe beginning with the theorized 'big bang'. There is a difference that makes an enormous difference between the living and the nonliving.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Can you/would you explain how and why HCT would or could become "much richer and [more] robust" if @Pharoah began with your presupposition?
I think HCT provides a compelling story about the evolution of a "subjective" point of view, but fails to resolve the hard problems regarding the origin and nature of phenomenal consciousness. I believe HCT fails to resolve these problems because phenomenal consciousness simply does not weakly nor strongly emerge from insentient, physical processes. I think @Pharoah would make more headway if he abandoned his current Strong Emergentist approach as he apparently did the physical monism approach.

You claim that, if we simply accept your ontological presupposition,

>>The organism/physiology and its phenomenal perspective on the world no longer hold an ontologically distinct relationship; instead the organism/physiology just is a phenomenal perspective on the world.

Can you either prove that, or at least persuade us on the basis of existing evidence that we should believe it?
It's actually pretty simple. If the mind does not emerge from the organism as a distinct ontological phenomenon but rather monism is true, then the mind and body are one and the same. Thus, the organism/physiology just is a phenomenal perspective on the world.

It seems unmistakably clear, rather, that organisms cannot be reduced to 'physiologies' once we recognize the difference that awareness of being-in-a-world makes, beginning with the autopoiesis of single-celled organisms identified by Maturana and Varela. Autopoiesis is the beginning of a "phenomenal perspective on the world" that becomes multiplied and expanded in the evolution of species of life. Where is the data that can persuade us that the chemical processes that enabled biological life to appear in the world were already 'sentient' and thus capable of achieving the sense of awareness of being-in-an-environing-situation that is the root of the evolution of consciousness and the mind-body problem? The physiologies of organisms and animals, including us, cannot be equated to the organized and interacting systems identified in physics as forming and interacting in increasing complexity over the history of the universe beginning with the theorized 'big bang'. There is a difference that makes an enormous difference between the living and the nonliving.
The trick is moving past dualism. Instead of matter emerging from mind or mind emerging from matter, we recognize that mind is matter and matter is mind. How could this be? If you are sincerely curious about this approach, I recommend the following:

https://www.quora.com/Could-David-P...ialism-and-quantum-physics-in-simple-language

Could David Pearce explain his views on consciousness, materialism, and quantum physics in simple language?

1) Consciousness.


First-person facts are objectively real. From the experience of a beautiful sunset, to the sound of distant thunder, to an introspective thought-episode, all you ever know, except by inference and conjecture, are the subjective contents of your own mind.

Compare this expansive conception of consciousness with the narrow conception implicit in perceptual direct realism. Perceptual direct realists believe that while awake, they enjoy direct access to material objects in their mind-independent local surroundings.

In contrast to commonsense direct realism, inferential realists about perception believe that e.g. the empirical skull that you can feel right now with yourempirical hands differs from the theoretically-inferred transcendental skull that encases your world-simulation. On occasion, poets grasp the human predicament better than philosophers or scientists (“The brain is wider than the sky…”). Perhaps see Antti Revonsuo or Steve Lehar for contemporary expositions of the world-simulation model of perception.

You can appreciate that your empirical and transcendental skulls are distinct when having a lucid dream. When lucid dreaming, you know that everything beyond your phenomenal mind and its world-simulation is theoretical – though no less real. Contra perceptual direct realism, “waking up” doesn’t change this theoretically inferred status. “Waking up” does not confer direct access to physical reality that transcends your skull-bound virtual world. Rather, on waking from a dream, you may infer that the mind-independent external environment now partially selects – not creates – the contents of your consciousness, including the phenomenal world-simulation run by your CNS.

Hard-nosed scientists sometimes dismissively say things like “What do you mean by ‘consciousness’?” Yet consciousness isn’t something that is, by its very nature, subtle, elusive, and hard to define, as are your introspective thought-episodes and meta-cognitive self-awareness. Other examples of consciousness include the medium-sized dry objects populating your everyday world-simulation – the chairs and tables and coffee-mugs that one normally thinks of as exemplifying the physical. And solid rocks.

Note that the world-simulation model of perception isn’t a sceptical or a solipsistic view. Nor does the world-simulation model of perceptual experience commit us to any sort of idealist ontology, although non-materialist physicalismis the option I tentatively favour. Rather, evolution over millions of years via natural selection has thrown up countless skull-bound world-simulations besides one’s own. These macroscopic world-simulations are each centred on a different body-image. Selfish DNA ensures that all of us conceive ourselves to be the centre of our own world. Other body-images play walk-on parts. Virtual universes die with the minds that run them.

For around a tenth your life, your world-simulation is psychotic (“dreaming”). For another fifth or so of your life, you are dreamlessly asleep, a phenomenally-unbound pack of effectively classical neurons. But for around fourteen hours a day, your skull-bound mind runs a seemingly law-governed virtual world. This robustly classical-seeming world-simulation tends to track genetic fitness-relevant features of your local environment, not least the state of your extra-cranial body. This inferred – but not directly perceived – environment may be described by an approximation of classical physics, and more accurately by quantum field theory (QFT), our best mathematico-physical description of the universe. In my view, quantum field theory also explains the properties of our minds and their macroscopic world-simulations.

Yet how are our conscious minds physically possible, given what we think we know about the fundamental properties of matter and energy?

2) Materialism versus physicalism.

The triumph of the Standard Model suggests the world can exhaustively be described by the equations of mathematical physics. Physicalism is true. With two big complications, no “element of reality” is lacking of from the formalism of quantum field theory, or more strictly, its M-theoretic extension.
And the two complications?

First, consciousness. Why aren’t we p-zombies?
Second, the intrinsic nature of the physical. We don’t know what “breathes fire into” the equations of physics and makes a universe for them to describe. Stephen Hawking doesn’t know. Ed Witten doesn’t know.
Despite our ignorance, “materialist” physicalists make a seemingly modest metaphysical assumption. The unknown essence of the physical is non-experiential. Quantum field theory is about fields of insentience. It’s an intuitionI share.

Why not trust such an intuition?
Well, if “materialist” physicalism is true, then we face the Hard Problem of consciousness. The Hard Problem is a rather grand way of saying that materialism is inconsistent with the empirical evidence. I am not a p-zombie. I suspect that you aren’t either.

Faced with the empirical refutation of our best-developed story of reality, some scientifically-minded philosophers and philosophically-minded scientists go into denial and lose their minds, figuratively at any rate (cf. Are radical eliminativists about consciousness p-zombies?). Other folk intellectually despair and turn to dualism or mysterianism. Some philosophers invoke “complexity”, but tacitly accept what philosophers call “strong” emergence. The reality of strong emergence would spell an end to the ontological unity of science. Imagine, fancifully, that molecular biology had proved irreducible to physics. If lawless ontological eruptions into the fabric of reality are real, then New Agers and religious believers can rejoice. Physicalism is the god that failed.

Or has it?
Non-materialist physicalism simply drops the metaphysical assumption. You are made up of exactly the same subjective field-theoretic stuff as the rest of the universe. By contrast, fields of insentience are on a par with fields of luminiferous aether.

Perhaps also compare non-materialist physicalism with traditional forms ofpanpsychism and pre-scientific animism. Traditional panpsychists recognise the existence of physical properties as normally understood. But panpsychists also believe that experience is attached to, or associated with, these physical properties in some fundamental way. By contrast, non-materialist physicalism doesn’t claim that consciousness is inseparably associated with the world’s fundamental fermionic and bosonic fields. Rather, non-materialist physicalism proposes that fermionic and bosonic fields are fields of consciousness. “P-zombies” are impossible because they are unphysical.

According to non-materialist physicalism, what makes biological minds so unusual is how our consciousness is phenomenally bound into macroscopic world-simulations, not the existence of subjective experience per se. For subjective experience is the essence of the physical. Only the physical can have causal efficacy. If consciousness weren’t the essence of the physical, then consciousness would lack the causal power to talk about its own existence, as we’re doing here. Without phenomenal binding, however, you are no more a unitary subject of experience than a rock or a lettuce or a Mexican wave – or a classical digital computer.

So how is phenomenal binding physically possible?
On the face of it, neither classical nor quantum physics can explain how a pack of biological nerve cells can support feature-bound phenomenal objects, for example live cats, i.e. “local” binding, or perceptual unity, i.e. “global” binding, embracing the unity of perception and the unity of the self. If physicalism is true, then why aren’t you at most just 86 billion discrete pixels of micro-experience – what American psychologist and physician William James christened “mind-dust”? Phenomenally-bound virtual world-making should be impossible for a bunch of decohered, membrane-bound neurons. Granted, probes of the central nervous system disclose tantalising hints of a structural match between mind and brain. Thus when you see e.g. a live cat, neuroscanning can identify neuronal edge-detectors, motion-detectors, colour-mediating neurons (etc) synchronously firing. But neuroscanning reveals no cat, nor even the formal structural shadow of cat. Membrane-bound “pixels” of experience are just aggregates of Jamesian mind-dust. What David Chalmers calls the “structural mismatch” between your experience and the microstructure of your CNS seems unbridgeable.
“Naturalistic” dualism beckons.
But let’s not surrender yet…

3) Quantum physics, definite outcomes, and phenomenal binding.

As far as we know, the formalism of quantum mechanics is complete.Experiment faithfully matches theory. The superposition principle of QM has universal validity. Neither consciousness not anything else “collapses the wavefunction”, i.e. the ostensibly non-unitary transformation of the state vector into a single definite state upon measurement. The big mystery is definite outcomes. Why do you see a live cat, or a dead cat? The normally sober expert on the foundations of quantum theory, Maximilian Schlosshauer, is worth quoting here. Schlosshauer notes how the problem of definite outcomes is “a dire warning something is irrevocably rotten at the core of quantum mechanics, something that could prompt this theoretical edifice to collapse at any moment, like a house haphazardly erected on swampy grounds.”

Some physicists are brave (or IMO foolhardy) enough to tamper with theunitary Schrödinger dynamics. I’m conservative on that score. My response to the measurement problem nonetheless sounds like schizophrenic word-salad. Recall Schrödinger’s “infernal device”. Neither before, during, or after opening the chamber do you perceive a definite classical outcome. Nor are there decohered (“split”) Everett branches where you perceive a definite classical outcome. Ever. Anywhere. Definite outcomes don’t exist, only coherent neuronal superpositions subjectively experienced as definite classical outcomes. Real definite outcomes would create information ex nihilo. A cardinal principleof quantum physics is that information can never be created or destroyed. More speculatively, a zero ontology suggests the information content of reality itself isnil.

On the face of it, the claim that definite outcomes are fiction is nonsense. You observe live cats. You observe dead cats. You never observe superposed live-and-dead cats. What else could a “definite outcome” mean?

Yet recall our discussion of perceptual consciousness (1) above. “Observations” are just one kind of subjective experience internal to your skull-bound virtual reality. On my view, only the universal validity of the superposition principle allows biological minds to undergo the fitness-enhancing experience of classicality. If, counterfactually, perceptual direct realism were true, then the superposition principle would indeed demonstrably break down whenever a measurement or observation is made. See the Born rule. But perceptual direct realism is false. Your mind is running a world-simulation. And only the superposition principle allows you to undergo the coherent phenomenally-bound superpositions of neuronal feature-processors subjectively experienced as a classical live cat or a classical dead cat. Superpositions are individualphysical states, not classical aggregates or mixtures. Environmentally-induceddecoherence explains how neuronal superpositions progressively become unbound – fast.

Again, this proposal is intuitively insane. Theoretical physicists, notably Max Tegmark, have done the maths. Thermally-induced decoherence alone is stupendously powerful. The effective lifetime of “cat states” in your warm and wet CNS can be calculated. It’s femtoseconds or less. Even if superpositions areexperienced, “cat states” in your CNS must at most be psychotic noise. Even ifnon-materialist physicalism is true, psychotic noise is computationally useless. Performing interferometry experiments to test this assertion would be as pointless as using interferometry to investigate whether the superposition principle breaks down in the central processing unit of your PC. No, it doesn’t; but your PC functions as a classical Turing machine. Likewise, your waking world-simulation seems well-ordered, law-governed, effectively classical. You are not a universal quantum computer.

Indeed. So why not treat sub-femtosecond decoherence times as a reductio ad absurdum of quantum mind – or at least, a reductio of theoretically-conservative (“no collapse”) quantum mind proposals that don’t invoke any new principle of physics like the Penrose-Hameroff Orch-OR theory? Sure, if coherent superpositions of distributed neuronal feature-processors in the CNS endured for milliseconds, then we’d have a credible candidate for a perfect structural match between our phenomenally bound minds and the architecture of the CNS, and hence ultimately physics. Two disparate kinds of holism, a single elegant explanation. Voilà! But the numbers don’t add up. The respective lifetimes of neuronal superpositions and our mental states aren’t even close. Femtoseconds versus milliseconds: it’s a different ballpark.

Enter Quantum Darwinism.
“Quantum Darwinism” sounds like quantum healing and quantum tarot. It’s not. Quantum Darwinism is the name that theoretical physicists give to the selection mechanism that explains the emergence of observer-independentquasi-classicality from quantum reality. The best non-technical account I know is John Campbell’s “Quantum Darwinism as a Darwinian process”:https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/pape....
But Wojciech Zurek himself is well worth reading, e.g. “Quantum Darwinism”:
https://arxiv.org/pdf/0903.5082v....
Together with H-Dieter Zeh, Zurek is one of the pioneers of the decoherence program in post-Everett quantum mechanics.

What happens when the selection mechanism of quantum Darwinism plays out inside your head? On the temporally coarse-grained scale of milliseconds captured by today’s neuroscanning, yes, dynamically stable quasi-classical neurons emerge from bedrock quantum reality. But at temporal resolutions of picoseconds, femtoseconds and attoseconds? Will the non-classical interference signature reveal functionless “noise”, or a perfect structural match between phenomenology and physics?

I don’t know. I hope experiment will tell us. See Schrödinger’s Neurons?Evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky once observed, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution". Maybe nothing in any true biological science of mind will make sense except in the light of quantum Darwinism in the CNS.

The experimental signature we’re looking for is subtle (cf. Double-slit experiment - Wikipedia), but not because the empirical evidence for quantum mind is subtle. Rather, in my view, the evidence that our minds are quantum minds consists in the phenomenally bound classical-seeming world-simulation that you’re undergoing right now. The superposition principle creates the illusion of definite outcomes. A classical mind couldn’t phenomenally simulate a classical extra-cranial world. Phenomenal binding is classically impossible. But of course this is a philosophical argument, not a novel prediction (cf.Quantum computing: the first 540 million years). A good experiment needs to convince critics. And only a genuinely novel empirical prediction – in this case, a telltale non-classical interference signature that implicates precisely the feature-processing neurons that neuroscanning identifies with any given phenomenally bound perceptual experience. If synchrony is really superposition, then the non-classical interference signature will tell us.

[I’ve just read my reply. It’s not as simply worded as I’d like. Sorry. I’ve added some hotlinks. To stress: this is a conjecture I’d like to see experimentally falsified, not a declaration of belief. Most scientifically educated people who appreciate the power of decoherence will reckon a “Schrödinger's neurons” conjecture too insane to be seriously worth testing. Maybe they are right. I am just curious.]
 
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smcder

Paranormal Adept
@smcder My latest paper has stuff to say on language and its 'emergence'.
btw. I like your critical points on overdetermination and downward causation. It is very tricky to overcome these arguments. My rantings are my working through the problem because I don't have a clear idea in my head how to nail it.... but that is hardly surprising because other philosophers have the same problem, hence the debates.
Nail it the same way you would nail jello to a tree ...
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
I think HCT provides a compelling story about the evolution of a "subjective" point of view, but fails to resolve the hard problems regarding the origin and nature of phenomenal consciousness. I believe HCT fails to resolve these problems because phenomenal consciousness simply does not weakly nor strongly emerge from insentient, physical processes. I think @Pharoah would make more headway if he abandoned his current Strong Emergentist approach as he apparently did the physical monism approach.


It's actually pretty simple. If the mind does not emerge from the organism as a distinct ontological phenomenon but rather monism is true, then the mind and body are one and the same. Thus, the organism/physiology just is a phenomenal perspective on the world.


The trick is moving past dualism. Instead of matter emerging from mind or mind emerging from matter, we recognize that mind is matter and matter is mind. How could this be? If you are sincerely curious about this approach, I recommend the following:

https://www.quora.com/Could-David-P...ialism-and-quantum-physics-in-simple-language
What is the timeline for this to happen?

Insane or otherwise, the conjecture is testable – and can be independently (dis)confirmed by molecular matter-wave interferometry to the satisfaction of proponent and critic alike.


If it's soon ... we can just wait around here for a bit.

<insert Jeopardy them song here>
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
phenomenal binding | Qualia Computing

"This paper argues that the answer lies under our virtual noses – though independent physical proof will depend on next-generation matter-wave interferometry."

dang ... next generation ... interestingly Pearce's wikipedia page doesn't list his age, but it looks to me like he has about 20 yrs to go (if he fails to achieve his transhumanist ambitions) - so I'm gonna guess he'll say the relevant technology will be available in about ... 25 years ...

yes, yes we are a skeptical lot!

;-)
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I think HCT provides a compelling story about the evolution of a "subjective" point of view, but fails to resolve the hard problems regarding the origin and nature of phenomenal consciousness.
Your quantum-based monistic hypothesis also fails to solve "the hard problems regarding the origin and nature of phenomenal consciousness." You simply assert that the origin of consciousness must be the q substrate, but neither you nor anyone else has provided evidence to support that assertion. Hoffman's computational metaphor is merely a metaphor.

Re the problem of comprehending "the nature of consciousness," your hypothesis fails to address the varieties and levels of consciousness we recognize to have come into existence over the evolution of species. Surely you don't believe that the nature of corvid consciousness is indistinguishable from the nature of human consciousness.

Further variations exist among consciousness in various humans. Some human consciousnesses are capable of receiving anomalous information, achieving telepathy, experiencing precognition of events in the future, etc. Some other humans are capable through practicing meditative disciplines of attaining states of mind and insights unavailable to most of us, and even thereby changing parts, aspects, and degrees of their own neural functioning according to fMRI studies.

Clearly consciousness develops along a spectrum of capabilities in species and in individuals, and, also clearly, the 'nature' of consciousness includes preconscious, prereflective, subconscious, and supraconscious influences on that which can be [ETA: sensed and thus] thought by species like our own.

I believe HCT fails to resolve these problems because phenomenal consciousness simply does not weakly nor strongly emerge from insentient, physical processes.
I think what you meant to write is: "I believe HCT fails to resolve these problems because I believe that phenomenal consciousness simply does not weakly nor strongly emerge from insentient, physical processes." The apparent fact is that you reject Pharoah's emergentist thinking because you reject all emergentism, tout court, not because Pharoah fails to think and write constructively and persuasively in an emergentist vein.

I think @Pharoah would make more headway if he abandoned his current Strong Emergentist approach as he apparently did the physical monism approach.
Of course that's what you think. For the same reason you accepted HCT in its earlier version, whereas I was skeptical about it, I'm impressed by this later development of HCT because Pharoah has expanded the bases of his research to include phenomenological perspectives on consciousness.

It's actually pretty simple. If the mind does not emerge from the organism as a distinct ontological phenomenon but rather monism is true, then the mind and body are one and the same. Thus, the organism/physiology just is a phenomenal perspective on the world.
Actually it's too simple. Everything you say there hangs from an 'If' clause that presents only a wish, a desire, a thing hoped-for, rather than an established fact. If only it could be proved that mind does not emerge from organisms, living beings, embodied consciousnesses interacting with a palpable world and palpable, comprehensible 'others', the perennial mind-body problem could be dissolved. If you would only finally engage phenomenological philosophy you might not be so vexed by the mind-body problem. But at least you face that problem, despite your desire to efface it, disappear it.

The trick is moving past dualism. Instead of matter emerging from mind or mind emerging from matter, we recognize that mind is matter and matter is mind.
'Recognize' begs the question. Some humans speculate that mind is matter and vice versa.

How could this be? If you are sincerely curious about this approach, I recommend the following:

https://www.quora.com/Could-David-P...ialism-and-quantum-physics-in-simple-language
I am curious about monist theories; the best I've seen in that direction is Max Velman's Reflexive Monism. But I'll read the quora link you've provided and let you know if I'm struck down like Paul on the road to Damascus after I've read it.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
What is the timeline for this to happen?

Insane or otherwise, the conjecture is testable – and can be independently (dis)confirmed by molecular matter-wave interferometry to the satisfaction of proponent and critic alike.


If it's soon ... we can just wait around here for a bit.

<insert Jeopardy them song here>
I'm reading at the site linked through your embedded link in the word Insane above.
Very interesting stuff, particularly this:

"An example of a very interesting location worth trying to travel to is the mythical city of Shambhala, the location of the Kalachakra Tantra. This city has allegedly turned into a pure land thanks to the fact that its king converted to Buddhism after meeting the Buddha. Pure lands are abodes populated by enlightened and quasi-enlightened beings whose purpose is to provide an optimal teaching environment for Buddhism. One can go to Shambhala by either reincarnating there (with good karma and the help of some pointers and directions at the time of death) or by traveling there directly during meditation. In order to do the latter, one needs to kindle one’s subtle energies so that they converge on one’s heart, while one is embracing the Bodhisattva ethic (focusing on reducing others’ suffering as a moral imperative). Shambhala may not be in a physical location accessible to humans. Rather, Buddhist accounts would seem to depict it as a collective reality built by people which manifests on another plane of existence (specifically somewhere between the 23rd and 27th layer). In order to create a place like that one needs to bring together many individuals in a state of consciousness that exhibits bliss, enlightenment and benevolence. A pure land has no reality of its own; its existence is the result of the states of consciousness of its inhabitants. Thus, the very reason why Shambhala can even exist as a place somewhere outside of us is because it is already a potential place that exists within us."

Been there yet?
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
I'm reading at the site linked through your embedded link in the word Insane above.
Very interesting stuff, particularly this:

"An example of a very interesting location worth trying to travel to is the mythical city of Shambhala, the location of the Kalachakra Tantra. This city has allegedly turned into a pure land thanks to the fact that its king converted to Buddhism after meeting the Buddha. Pure lands are abodes populated by enlightened and quasi-enlightened beings whose purpose is to provide an optimal teaching environment for Buddhism. One can go to Shambhala by either reincarnating there (with good karma and the help of some pointers and directions at the time of death) or by traveling there directly during meditation. In order to do the latter, one needs to kindle one’s subtle energies so that they converge on one’s heart, while one is embracing the Bodhisattva ethic (focusing on reducing others’ suffering as a moral imperative). Shambhala may not be in a physical location accessible to humans. Rather, Buddhist accounts would seem to depict it as a collective reality built by people which manifests on another plane of existence (specifically somewhere between the 23rd and 27th layer). In order to create a place like that one needs to bring together many individuals in a state of consciousness that exhibits bliss, enlightenment and benevolence. A pure land has no reality of its own; its existence is the result of the states of consciousness of its inhabitants. Thus, the very reason why Shambhala can even exist as a place somewhere outside of us is because it is already a potential place that exists within us."

Been there yet?
This is from David Pearce...we discussed his work back in Sept maybe before
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Also love this, linked by the author at your link:

sonder
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

sonder

Similar to an experience I've had once or twice, in which I suddenly saw my small point of consciousness -- my 'self' -- as a thread woven within a limited spacetime [ETA: a limited spacetime region, part of a vast and always unfolding immensity of spacetime] constituting a fabric comprising the existences of all consciousnesses in the World writ large. An immensely comforting sense/thought.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
This is from David Pearce...we discussed his work back in Sept maybe before

... This is from the material @Soupie posted...is the question for him?
No, the question was for you since you are the one among us who has apparently explored the inner reaches of your consciousness, where you've sensed or seen levels of being that most of us do not encounter.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Your quantum-based monistic hypothesis also fails to solve "the hard problems regarding the origin and nature of phenomenal consciousness." You simply assert that the origin of consciousness must be the q substrate, but neither you nor anyone else has provided evidence to support that assertion. Hoffman's computational metaphor is merely a metaphor.
Barring any scientific evidence, I believe the best "evidence" we have is this:

"The triumph of the Standard Model suggests the world can exhaustively be described by the equations of mathematical physics. Physicalism is true. With two big complications, no “element of reality” is lacking of from the formalism of quantum field theory, or more strictly, its M-theoretic extension.
And the two complications?

First, consciousness. Why aren’t we p-zombies?
Second, the intrinsic nature of the physical. We don’t know what “breathes fire into” the equations of physics and makes a universe for them to describe. Stephen Hawking doesn’t know. Ed Witten doesn’t know."


Re the problem of comprehending "the nature of consciousness," your hypothesis fails to address the varieties and levels of consciousness we recognize to have come into existence over the evolution of species. Surely you don't believe that the nature of corvid consciousness is indistinguishable from the nature of human consciousness.

Further variations exist among consciousness in various humans. Some human consciousnesses are capable of receiving anomalous information, achieving telepathy, experiencing precognition of events in the future, etc. Some other humans are capable through practicing meditative disciplines of attaining states of mind and insights unavailable to most of us, and even thereby changing parts, aspects, and degrees of their own neural functioning according to fMRI studies.

Clearly consciousness develops along a spectrum of capabilities in species and in individuals, and, also clearly, the 'nature' of consciousness includes preconscious, prereflective, subconscious, and supraconscious influences on that which can be [ETA: sensed and thus] thought by species like our own.
You misunderstand. On the non-materialist physicalist approach sentience is to mind as energy and matter are to organisms.

Therefore, non-materialist physicalist holds that mind evolves with life.

Consider:

Sentience is matter/energy, energy/matter is sentience

Life is mind, mind is life

I think what you meant to write is: "I believe HCT fails to resolve these problems because I believe that phenomenal consciousness simply does not weakly nor strongly emerge from insentient, physical processes." The apparent fact is that you reject Pharoah's emergentist thinking because you reject all emergentism, tout court, not because Pharoah fails to think and write constructively and persuasively in an emergentist vein.
Of course. I was a bit too evangelical there. I reject Strong Emergence bc of its well established problems and bc I feel monism best approaches the mind-body problems.

Of course that's what you think. For the same reason you accepted HCT in its earlier version, whereas I was skeptical about it, I'm impressed by this later development of HCT because Pharoah has expanded the bases of his research to include phenomenological perspectives on consciousness.
I did not accept earlier versions of HCT.

Actually it's too simple. Everything you say there hangs from an 'If' clause that presents only a wish, a desire, a thing hoped-for, rather than an established fact. If only it could be proved that mind does not emerge from organisms, living beings, embodied consciousnesses interacting with a palpable world and palpable, comprehensible 'others', the perennial mind-body problem could be dissolved. If you would only finally engage phenomenological philosophy you might not be so vexed by the mind-body problem. But at least you face that problem, despite your desire to efface it, disappear it.
I thought we had established that phenomenology does not rule in nor rule out Strong Emergence.

'Recognize'
begs the question. Some humans speculate that mind is matter and vice versa.

I am curious about monist theories; the best I've seen in that direction is Max Velman's Reflexive Monism. But I'll read the quora link you've provided and let you know if I'm struck down like Paul on the road to Damascus after I've read it.
I agree. I actually think Velmans holds a view that is essentially the same as non-material physicalisms. I've gone back and reread a few of his papers to see if this is the case. However Velmans writing/explanations are so convoluted it's hard to tell. But I'm pretty it's the case. And I had actually discovered Velmans reflexive monism first many many moons ago before Hoffman and Pierce.

Looks like it was back in September ... @Soupie I believe you attempted to contact him with a question and that he "followed" you on Quora - did you hear back from him?
I never did reach out to him re filtering vs combining or about cosmopyschism. Or about predictive processing. I would still like to.

I'll begin to formulate some questions and run them through here before firing them off.
 

Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
@Soupie I have been thinking about your why, how, and what (WHW)? You say that I don't WHW phenomenal consciousness.
This is how you determine a paper's WHW score (not to be confused with the WHF score):
why proceeds with a 'because'. How proceeds with a 'by'. what proceeds with an 'is'.
Search the paper for those terms (some, particularly 'is's, will be blind alleys of course)
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
@Soupie I have been thinking about your why, how, and what (WHW)? You say that I don't WHW phenomenal consciousness.
This is how you determine a paper's WHW score (not to be confused with the WHF score):
why proceeds with a 'because'. How proceeds with a 'by'. what proceeds with an 'is'.
Search the paper for those terms (some, particularly 'is's, will be blind alleys of course)
Why, how, and when, actually. I will try to pull those answers out of your latest with commentary.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Looks like it was back in September ... @Soupie I believe you attempted to contact him with a question and that he "followed" you on Quora - did you hear back from him?
One of the reasons I did not reach out to him yet is bc I'm not whether he may have already answered the questions I was going to ask. If you recall, you seemed to think he did. I haven't had time to really pin it down. But here again is some writing that indicates he may have:

Quora Answers by David Pearce (2015, 2016, 2017)
  • Are we, human beings, 100% particle and 100% wave?
    If the unitary dynamics of post-Everett quantum mechanics is correct, then we're 100% wave – not in the sense of spatial waves, but rather wavefunctions in configuration space. However, experimentally testing this conjecture will be difficult.

    Philosophers like David Chalmers claim that we must embrace dualism because of the "structural mismatch" between the phenomenology of our minds and the microstructure of the mind-brain and [ultimately] physics, i.e. the phenomenal binding/combination problem:
    http://consc.net/papers/combination.pdf
    For scientifically unexplained reasons, our phenomenally bound organic minds are not simply aggregates of discrete, decohered, membrane-bound neuronal "mind-dust".

    Yet is such a structural mismatch real? Or just an artefact of our clumsy temporally coarse-grained tools of investigation and a naive classical conception of the dimensionality of the physical? [This is the question I was going to ask him. - Soupie]

    Directly testing such a conjecture would be demanding even to posthuman superintelligence because quantum superpositions of 86-billion-odd neurons of the CNS are "destroyed" (i.e. effectively lost to the wider extra-neural environment via thermally-induced decoherence in a thermodynamically irreversible way) at sub-femtosecond timescales beyond the reach of contemporary molecular matter wave-interferometry. However, I'd love to learn the result of the conceptually simple but still technically tricky experiment outlined here:

    Non-materialist physicalism: an experimentally testable conjecture.

    A summer project for a postgrad perhaps?

    My own best guess is that next-generation interferometry will reveal a perfect isomorphism between the phenomenology of our minds and the formalism of (unmodified and unsupplemented) quantum physics.
    Alas the intuitions of armchair physicists are cheap.
I also want to ask him whether, given an analog background a la QFT, the combination problem can be re-framed as a filtering problem. I'll look to see whether he has already addressed this and if not, try to formulate a question about it.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I agree. I actually think Velmans holds a view that is essentially the same as non-material physicalisms. I've gone back and reread a few of his papers to see if this is the case. However Velmans writing/explanations are so convoluted it's hard to tell. But I'm pretty it's the case. And I had actually discovered Velmans reflexive monism first many many moons ago before Hoffman and Pierce.
As I recall you wrote to Velmans a while back to ask a question and received a reply. I'll search the thread to find out what your question was and what his response was. In the meantime it would be interesting to hear his response if you write to him again concerning the conjecture underscored above.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
@Soupie I have been thinking about your why, how, and what (WHW)? You say that I don't WHW phenomenal consciousness.
This is how you determine a paper's WHW score (not to be confused with the WHF score):
why proceeds with a 'because'. How proceeds with a 'by'. what proceeds with an 'is'.
Search the paper for those terms (some, particularly 'is's, will be blind alleys of course)
Pharoah, what is the reference of 'F' in "the WHF score"? Thanks.
 
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