Tal Cohen's Bookshelf: A Collection of Personal Opinions about Books

Jose_X writes:
A ''hardware'' body might not do
To me soul/mind/sensation is an unexplained effect (how do you explain a sense) that is intertwined with something physical. It is not the digital abstract knowledge but the physical sensation living out what we abstract as ''knowledge''. We experience sensation ''through'' chemical and electrical effects along neurons, I figure. The higher the level of consciousness, I will guess, the greater the number of neurons and charge (or some other physical phenomenon) participating. Knowledge is the association of a very conscious sensation (eg, as mental words) with another and very particular conscious sensation that effectively means to us ''this is knowledge; it is correct; I can reproduce it''. We also can try to effect the knowledge in some way physically (eg, as our minds trigger into physical action) or by looking up more ''knowledge'' sensations (eg, think and reason) to try and confirm it. To ''confirm'' is to energize or whatever more of these knowledge linkages, re-affirming existing connections and ultimately creating or strengthening other connections (the ''conclusion'') or else a ''contradiction'' is reached as the implied neural action through one path would require that one or more past established paths be undone and we are able to recognize this (keyed in by pain sensation from being unable to easily enough uncement too many nearby connections near that section we want to undo to effect our implied change/contradiction), stop the uncementing from happening completely and tag the initiating ''knowledge'' as ''false'' for the time being or invert those connections to suggest the ''inverse'' knowledge. Our consciousness becomes these existing ''knowledge chunks'' linked to each other and being traversed; this is us ''thinking''.]

If the earth has a mind, I don't see why I would ever know. If that mind can lead to the movement of mountains or anything else in some time frame or other, I may or may not study sufficient recorded data points to deduce that is going on. And it might just be that every single event we experience and all physics and science which we deem to be predictable or to follow laws of nature (including the unpredictability from complexity we can't measure and from probabilistic mechanisms as we have attributed to QM) has a mind behind it somehow. Yes, even our minds are likely but forces of nature working predictably but allowing our minds, through sensations, to go along for the ride. The body is just an object of sufficient mass, physical rigor, and ability to exert controlled forces coordinated with other physical parts (nerves, etc) closely tied to the physical stuff through which we experience consciousness.

What defines the focus of consciousness? Ie, why would there appear to be a mind in control here and by ''reasoning'' another over there? Likely if we combine our neurons and what not, our consciousnesses will meld a bit. I'm not sure but something biological, chemical, and/or physical within our brains likely offers the answer (it might just be the proximity of so much neural action.
[631] Posted on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 at 14:17 GMT [Reply to this] [Permalink]

Jose_X writes in reply to Jose_X:
A ''hardware'' body might not do
I forgot to add. A major part of having sanity is being able to deal with potential mental conflicts in a way where you are a more fit organism. Ie, it's not to be taken for granted that we can identify the paths that would have to be uncemented and handle that properly or to return to the initiating knowledge and find its ''inverse''. Strength comes from many reinforcing linkages but we cannot use mere reinforcement to make a given theory/knowledge be correct if we can't resolve the pieces or conclusion experimentally (ie, with our physical bodies, including eyes, hears, and other sense organs). So the key and luck is to come up with a good model (set of knowledge chunks) before we go insane or give up on the topic.

Each knowledge chunk is but neurons, I gather, linked/triggered in a way from which we can eg utter the words and visualize the statement (or some other reproducible sensation if we are mute, blind, deaf, etc). Ie, we can trigger the sense/motor organ work in a consistent manner to/from these neurons. ''Consistent'' in the sense that the neurons representing ''hello'' both are energized when we hear that word and can lead to us speaking that when we start from those neurons and that we cycle right back upon hearing our own spoken word. This verification that the ''hello'' neurons are one and the same all the time under us hearing or speaking or seeing that word time after time is key to us maintaining those neurons for that purpose. A failure likely means we did not enunciate well or we have damage to our organs or we are in an echo or other type of chamber, etc, that we will have to learn to re-sync with at some point in time.

So life as a baby starts off by designation of neuron clusters to simple ''statements'' that relate to simple images and sounds. We associate sounds and visuals and reject or accept the simple ''conclusion'' based on pain/pleasure and/or (in)ability to effect. Pain/pleasure and physical (including hearing, seeing, etc) effectibility is what guides what we will accept as true or good vs not. We move up creating many chunks as necessary, eventually, a chunk for the words we hear and then for associations in logic and other abstractions related to these sounds and pictures. We learn that arm is a-r-m visually and aurally and as well that it can be used as a replacement for referring to this thing hanging off my shoulders. In time we associate arm actions and more complex associations and words. Everything new is attached to our existing neural net.

Under this model, ''neurons'' being energized is our sensations and consciousness that fairly quickly associate with simply phrase/word/letter clusters. A general neural cluster might not be 10 words, but rather be a concept, which based on immediate linkages and nearby linkages, we can then express quickly through some words.

Anyway, the magic to mental words is to have some group of neurons be able to serve as a place marker that can quickly lead to the physical sensation of those words (speak/write or hear/see them). So having paper and accidentally as a society coming upon particular symbols (pictures, eventually decomposable into letters from small alphabet) and rules (grammar, starting with just nouns) is what enables our brains to capture these tangible entities to use later on for anaelysis/reasoning/learning/etc that might be more advanced. Ie, we can use the neurons associated with a-r-m as it looks written on paper in place where we want to consider the actual arm. Letters might be more efficient than thinking strictly through pictures to the extent words are an abstraction (made tangible through the particular spelling of what the word represents) that can be designed to cover an endless number of concepts efficiently. Ie, instead of 1 trillion pictures, we can have a language with many words and concepts represented as their equivalent descriptive phrases. Digitalization is a way to remove unimportant detail to reduce the information storage requirements. A picture has much detail that might not be important. A picture might not provide a consistent way to label many different things without confusion as would be possible through sentence phrases using the digital alphabet of (eg) 26 letters. A 2-D language (rather than a linear language like English) might be possible and exist to some degree but apparently linear is sufficient or represents the point in social evolution where we find ourselves and perhaps this has to do with biological limitations, eg, neurons being connected efficiently and compactly when as linear strings of them rather than in 2D meshes.

That we can capture and save images is seen in earlier organisms since that is required to survive (identify good or bad food, good or bad situation, etc).
[632] Posted on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 at 15:25 GMT [Reply to this] [Permalink]

Jose_X writes in reply to Jose_X:
A ''hardware'' body might not do
Re-enforcement happens in part from many nearby linkages locked in a tight stable topology.. suggestive of a ''tight'' theory or related re-enforcing theories.

Also, using a more efficient (simpler) model to understand something implies fewer neurons used.

So we want the simplest possible theories but no simpler since too simple would then imply we could not interlock as well with other things in our head (eg, we could not answer certain questions posed and hence could not embed (or lock in or ...) this particular cluster into a wider strong context).

''Embedding'' a neural cluster within the existing net can be seen to achieve abstraction. It requires fewer neurons and the bits that identify the new context reinforce and are reinforced by all other things related to the particular abstraction.

A recent study claimed bees can solve the traveling salesman problem very fast. It might just be that we can very well assign a certain amount of charge to a region (the bee would have the neurons optimized in a grid/lattice layout) perhaps by ''tying down'' various neural points and then the neural path able to be energized with a given amount of energy or less would naturally arise from the physical electromagnetic potential forces. Thus traveling salesman solution would be effected (up to some limit) as the path energized with the least amount of charge. The bee would only have so much resolution (unit distance in world length implied by total distance to be covered and number of neurons in neural lattice). Perhaps over many fast reductions the amount of charge goes down and down. Why minimal charge? Well, that would involve lowest energy consumption, which might simply be a ''pleasurable'' state for the bee. Also, why so fast for a little bee? Because it would be solved with a neural model closely associated with the problem being solved. A computer or person would use higher level abstractions to simulate the problem components. This would be much more bulky and would not be solvable through a more direct ''anaelog'' physics.
[633] Posted on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 at 15:48 GMT [Reply to this] [Permalink]

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