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Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Mar 30, 2017 - 12:00pm PT
Point is, codes, and virtually all information are meaningful only in the presence of a decoding mechanism that has the capacity to take the information and turn it into something else.

Right you are. In computers its called the operating system. The OS is also comprised of code. The code self-describes. So 1s ad 0s might be converted to and from sound waves via speakers and mic, by the action of other 1s and 0s that convert into the operating system. The computer does its own decoding.

We humans haven't (yet) deciphered the brain OS. But as we discussed re neural interface (a new I/O), there are many working on it. Jury is still out.

DMT
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Mar 30, 2017 - 12:58pm PT
And exactly what part of your direct, 1st person experience am I purportedly able to see. If you told me what to look for I find have an easier time.

Well, I like walks on the beach at sunset, dogs, Dixieland music, seafood, and Brunello wine.

I do not like those battery-operated pop up waste cans, one faucet showers, and stubborn people with bad tempers.

MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Mar 30, 2017 - 12:59pm PT
Jgill: Testosterone yields to estrogen as men age. I never thought I could cry at a Bronco's game - until last season. Buy some Kleenex and keep a stiff upper lip.

These are more along the lines I was trying to point to:

. . . that which is dark, shadowy, moody, melancholic, sad, weak, hopeless, useless, chaotic, heartfelt, imaginal, creative, mythological, psychological, senex- or puer-consciousness, lustful, hateful, rage, waking dreams, magical, death, love, tragedy, fantasy, nursing, being, mysterious, depression, helplessness, pathology, dreams, natural urges, memories, reflection, passion, suffering, visualization, energetic, lunacy, internal, unconsciousness, labyrinthine, archetypal, troubles, sorrow, weeping, instinct, cryptic, occult, reveries, sin, faith, dreams, spontaneity, ambiguity, confusion, subjectivity, the lila, theatre, drama, the poetic, expression rather than impression, polytheism, multiple identities, mana, symbolic, metaphorical, ritualistic, experiential, despair, prayer, mantra, shamanistic, right hemispheric, rites of passage, psychological dissociations, fools (in a Shakespearian sense), numina, alchemy, pagan, ecstatic, trance, participation mystique, amulets & charms, Jungian complexes, anima, community, altered states of consciousness, forms of duress, culture, muse, and so on.

These are more than simply feminine traits. These are often referred to as the shadow in psyche. These are elements of personality condemned by the ego for negative values as determined by cultural canons. The dark side, evil if you will, is said to be necessary for defense psychologically and to maintain one’s otherness against the collective. Only by making friends with the shadow can one gain a friendship with the self. (These things are also called “soul.” Soul is a complement of what is considered spiritual.)


I’m studying creativity these days, especially improvisation. trance, etc.. The farther I get into those topics, the more they look like the dharma to me.

It’s been said that emotion stimulates us and sets us in motion. Where there is no emotion, there is only deadness (dead facts, dead knowledge, meaningless data, disconnected lifeless detail, and dead relationships). Instead, everywhere life seems to be studded with the results of transpersonality culturally imprinted. Birth, death, maturity, marriage, child birth, sickness, recovery, happiness, unhappiness all link our personal fates with what appears to be transpersonal.

The only exception to this observation appears to be the great individualist—a hero of sorts who conquers life by sacrificing his community values. The true individualist shatters the old and ushers in the new with insights that spring from the unconscious. Campbell and Neumann tell us that the hero is really fighting for his soul. All great teachers, leaders, masters, and creative individuals are personalities who have surcharges of unconscious activity—and (heh heh) the conscious capability to withstand those surcharges.

Spirit—especially the Christian and new-age myths of spirituality—seems particularly unbalanced, IMO. They seem to say that high is better than low; spirit is greater than matter; light is better than dark; masculine is better than feminine; dogma, creed and belief are better than image, symbol, or ritual; the right-hand side is better than the left-hand side; unity of consciousness is better than a plurality of identities; rationality is greater than irrationality; etc. In these regards, spirituality and science both seem dry and lifeless (unsoiled). Instead, linking-up dirty, messy soul / unconsciousness with ascetic spirit and reason and rationality makes for more complete individualizations, self-realizations, self-reflective experiences, fuller awareness of what we are—a fullness of being.

Improvisation, artistry, creativity, collaboration, integrating complexity, and rapid adaptation are becoming increasingly important capabilities we need in my field of teaching today. To that point, here are a few verbatim comments about improvisation from coaches and artists. (Note how almost all of these comments are particularly difficult to tie-down analytically or rationally.)

—Art theory only teaches rules of grammar, not what to say. Music teaches how to listen, not just to sound, but to who you are.
—What is sacred is what is play.
—If we let go of play, our work becomes ponderous and stiff; if we let go of what’s sacred, our work loses its connection to the ground on which we live.
—The creative process is a spiritual path.
—“I’m not in the creativity business . . . I’m in the surrendering business.”
—One needs to pass beyond competence, to presence
—Being in a meditative state is like an un-sculpted block of time.
—The simplest and most elusive lesson in life is learning how to listen to a guiding voice of inner knowing.
—All creative acts are forms of play; without play, learning and evolution are impossible.
—Anthropologists have found that “galumphing” is a prime talent of higher life forms: rambunctiousness, inexhaustible, seemingly useless elaboration and ornamentation of activity leads to proliferation, excessiveness, and uneconomical exaggerations that guarantee an oversupply of “requisite variety” [a term used in evolutionary biology]. They sharpen capacities to deal with changing worlds.
—Chi, ki, kundalini, prana, mana, orende and manitu, elan vital, axe, baraka . . . all say that the person is a vessel or conduit through which the transpersonal flows.
—For art to appear, we must disappear.
—We can become what we are doing—out you go, and there is only the work. The noun of “self” becomes a verb: samadhi—an absorption in the pure fascination of the game, of textures, or resistances, nuances, or limitations of media.
—When you say “yes, yes, yes,” the world becomes larger and more visible; when you say “no, no, no,” the world becomes smaller and heavier. The sun’s radiation and the lilies say to each other (via chlorophyll, sugar, protein, and water) “yes, yes, yes.”
—The more one is relaxed, the more inspiration can pass unimpeded down the mind, nerve, and muscle channels.
—Weber-Fechner’s Law says that the objective value of stimulation to sensation of what we feel occurs most often against a background that is quiet and stress-free. Then subtle sounds and movements are dramatically perceivable.
—Practice is art; meditation is enlightenment.
—“Practice makes perfect” carries subtle and serious problems. It exposes rigid forms of professionalism (“competence”). The Western Idea is that practice creates and acquires skill; the Eastern idea is that practice creates the person, revealing what is actually there.
—In practice, work is play.
—When one’s skill hides in the unconscious, it reveals the unconscious.
—One’s studio is a laboratory where one experiments with his or her own consciousness.
—In life and zen koans, we create things by shifting our perspective to the point where interruptions are the answers.
—Surrender must be genuine, uncontrived, wholehearted; one must abandon all fear, with nothing to gain or lose; it leads to real emptiness, and in that place, one can be prolific and free. Do nothing; let things happen.
—To a mind that is still, all the universe surrenders.
—By not caring, you play better. Music can shoot through the musician like lightning through the sky, if that music is unobstructed by thoughts.
—No one can define play.
—Fear-based listening is *trying* to play with others while being occupied with yourself.
—Keep doodling. the longer you resist identifying the work, the more “stuff happens.” As you detach, the piece writes itself.
—When Miles Davis approached the microphone, he focused himself into a meditative space before playing the first note. There would often be long silences between phrases.
—Horowitz showed absolute stillness and concentration as he “watched his hands” play the piece.
—When you have made that inner connection, playing [or writing or acting or painting or designing] becomes more like taking dictation from within. Just put your hands on the instrument and trust them.
—Mastery is playing whatever you’re capable of without thinking.
—Do not study technique; let your arms and hands find their way without interference.
—Practice thoroughly and patiently until material plays itself.
—The meditative space is the teacher. Life becomes centered around learning how to connect to that space.
—You remember performances not how well you played but by how much you let go.
—Try to imagine as much as possible that someone else is doing this for you. If you are short of patience, awareness, or stillness necessary for this exercise, then stop. Keep it light.
—When inspired, everything is right. When trying to get things right, it’s a disaster.
—When teaching spontaneity, don’t try to control the future or win. Have an empty head and just watch. When it’s your turn, do just what you’re asked, and see what shows up.
—Many so-called primitive painters went to school to improve themselves—and lost their talent.
—An artist used to be seen not as someone who was expressive, but as a medium which something else operated . . . a servant of the god.
—Schiller: The watcher at the gates of the mind examines ideas too closely. In the case of the creative mind, the intellect has withdrawn its watcher from the gates, and ideas rush in pell-mell, and only then does it review and inspect the multitude.
—Don’t choose anything. Trust your mind. Take the first idea it give you. The artist who is inspired is being obvious. He’s not weighing or making decisions. He’s accepting his first thoughts. Ordinary people search for an original thought because they want to look clever.
—Improvisation means abandoning conscious control, letting words come their own accord.
—Vakhtangov [an actor and director] forced students to act spontaneously. The process produced a light trance state in which the actors felt as if something else was controlling them. The state is regressive, but actors reported they experienced no consciousness.
—Actors can be possessed by the character they play just as they can become possessed by masks. [Masks are devices for driving the personality out of the body and allowing spirit to take possession of it. The Church sees masks as pagan; our culture is hostile to trance states. Both distrust spontaneity and has tried to replace it with reason.]
—Most people only recognize trance when a subject looks confused, that is, out of touch with reality around him. But in many trance states, people are more in touch, more observant. Zen masters, sorcerers, etc. are notoriously difficult to creep up on. In mask work, people report more intense perceptions. Although they see differently, they see and sense more.
—When a mask is worn by a skilled performer, its expression changes. Garbo had a great mask. Her face had an extraordinary plasticity to it, a mirror-like quality for people. People could see conflicts and desires of their own in it. Yet Garbo’s face did not change. Her eyes expressed what she needed.
—Mindless listening is like attending to a mask. Great Noh actors would look at their masks for an hour before a play.

I’m organizing a forum for practicing artists in the area in order to have on-running conversations about vision, practice, creativity, process, and so forth. This post has been a good exercise for me today. Sorry if it’s way too long.
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Mar 30, 2017 - 01:25pm PT
None of these have yet reached the level of information, because as yet they carry no meaning. They may serve as a code that triggers experience, but where is the decoding mechanism? Here, we have reached consciousness

Cogent statement, Wizard.


This post has been a good exercise for me today. Sorry if it’s way too long


A very impressive exercise, Mike. If I were down there I might join your forum and speak of artistry in mathematics.


WBraun

climber
Mar 30, 2017 - 01:40pm PT
We humans haven't (yet) deciphered the brain OS.

Not true.

Only the gross materialists and western materialistic imprisoned scientists are in that failed category ......
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 30, 2017 - 02:27pm PT
Yo, Dingus, I think what people are driving at (who insist Hard AI is strictly Sci-Fi) is that the OS in a computer and consciousness in a human brain don't operate in remotely the same fashion.

For computers, an operating system "is system software that manages computer hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer programs. The operating system is a component of the system software."

In this sense, the OS is modular, and the output is a direct result of a process determined entirely by the causal relations of the modular parts. In this view, human experience itself is seen also as a modular output that we can shuttle from one system to another and "decode" once received. All we need is the black box and we too can "know" exactly what MH2 is feeling.

No cigar on that one, IME.

And wonderful stuff, Mike. I need to take the time to really drop into that post.

And Ward, you said: And exactly what part of your direct, 1st person experience am I purportedly able to see. If you told me what to look for I find have an easier time.

Well, I like walks on the beach at sunset, dogs, Dixieland music, seafood, and Brunello wine.

I trust we all might see you walking on the beach at sundown, playing with your poodle, tapping your toes to Satchmo, eating prawns, and guzzling vino. But who among us would ever claim to be able to see your direct, 1st person experience of "liking" these most fine things?

Seeing the stuff we all like, the symbols we all use, the behavior we all have, etc, is clear to anyone with eyes. The question concerns what the eye cannot physically see, but which you directly experience. The work arounds and wonky logic people use to try and make these selfsame stalls out the adventure.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Mar 30, 2017 - 02:44pm PT
Yo, Dingus, I think what people are driving at (who insist Hard AI is strictly Sci-Fi) is that the OS in a computer and consciousness in a human brain don't operate in remotely the same fashion.

Ok, that's cool but you brought it up. I merely pointed out the self-defining nature of how the computer hardware uses those 1s and 0s you mentioned to not only do something (make a sound) but to also define and control the very system that does the work.

Simply a point / counter-point. AI is not required to interpret something, our laptops do this with every keystroke. I'm pretty dang sure our brains and nervous systems do this too. No observer required.

In this view, human experience itself is seen also as a modular output that we can shuttle from one system to another and "decode" once received.

I get that you and others insist this is flat-out never-never-land impossible. I'm not convinced. If the brain can tickle a receiver into moving a mechanical arm to lift a glass of water to the paralyzed man's mouth, as I saw yesterday on the evening news, I'm pretty dang sure humans will learn how to use a transmitter to tickle the brain into thinking it did lift the glass of water to the paralyzed man's mouth. That will be a big step forward into replicating experience.

Could there still be an 'observer' in there, getting tricked? Sure, I suppose so. But as with a mirage, there is an experience getting relayed nonetheless.

Cheers
DMT
WBraun

climber
Mar 30, 2017 - 02:53pm PT
No observer required.

Observer is 100% always required in all living entities.

The modern gross materialists always remain clueless and are nothing but mental speculators spouting sh!t they know nothing about
all while masquerading their so-called scientific authoritative incomplete and inconclusive limited know it all .......
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Mar 30, 2017 - 02:55pm PT
So sayeth the preacher man.

DMT
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Mar 30, 2017 - 03:43pm PT
So, lately I've definitely been influenced in my thinking on this subject by Harari (Homo Deus). He characterizes emotions and feelings as highly evolved biological algorithms. The biological is the part I'm trying to get my head around when it comes to "storing a person" to a computer. Memories, seemingly, could easily be stored to "disk". But all of the emotions and feelings that went with those experiences would seem to need an organism with those highly-evolved algorithms to actually experience the events/memories. I'm not saying that it's impossible, it just seems that experience includes this different thing over and above information. It might be that the computer has to be a biological one to truly be like a human.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 30, 2017 - 03:44pm PT
Dingus, I have often wondered how it is - at least to my understanding - that you are not getting what some of us are driving at. When I stop and consider what stance you have taken on all of this, I suspect you are not appreciating the difference (and this difference defines the difference between a conscious man and a blind machine) between syntactic and semantic.

You mentioned how a computer's OS is comprised of code, and how the code, as programmed, self-describes. "So 1s and 0s might be converted to and from sound waves via speakers and mic, by the action of other 1s and 0s that convert into the operating system. The computer does its own decoding."

You have just described a "syntactic engine." There is no awareness, no consciousness, no internal sense or experience and certainly no meaning going on in the computer in any way at any time in any function. There is simply the processing of 1s and 0s. In other words, the computer is totally blank inside, running on auto pilot. It has no semantic sense or quality whatsoever, because the only process that's going on is the shuffling of meaningless 1s and 0s.

The structure of the computer and the process of the shuffling 1s and 0s does not infer any form of semantic value on the computer. My sense of it is that you think semantic value is also a kind of output from strictly mechanical processes.

And when you say, "If the brain can tickle a receiver into moving a mechanical arm to lift a glass of water.." you are looking at a biofeedback system. I have followed this closely.

"Researchers demonstrated movements for Mr. Kochevar to perform and monitored how his brain interpreted the commands to create an algorithm for the motions. When Mr. Kochevar thinks about repeating the movements, his brain signals activate the electrodes in his arm."

Try and see what happens when Kochevar does not consciously think about moving his arm.

You getting this?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Mar 30, 2017 - 04:22pm PT
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Mar 30, 2017 - 05:09pm PT
You getting this?

Nope.

I don't mean to be disrespectful, but my quibble with you is not in that you point out things that humanity does not know and perhaps has not learned. You use inapt comparisons like the 1s and 0s, or quantum mechanics, and then get lost in the 'semantics' as you put it.

If you simply stayed in the realm of 'we don't know' I'd find little to quibble about, frankly. I'm perfectly ok with 'we don't know' and I enjoy when you point those things out.

What I get and don't get is pretty much irrelevant. I'm the first to admit I don't know.

Cheers
DMT
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Mar 30, 2017 - 05:19pm PT
MH2, I don't "see" that you have ideas.


Okay. You sense that I have ideas.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 30, 2017 - 07:01pm PT

Point is, codes, and virtually all information are meaningful only in the presence of a decoding mechanism that has the capacity to take the information and turn it into something else.


oh, you mean like DNA, RNA, etc...
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 30, 2017 - 07:39pm PT
Dingus, where, specifically, do you believe I'm getting lost in semantics? What I am doing is cutting anyone off whenever they try and excise out the conscious observer from the discussion of mind. Every example anyone can list is logically incoherent so long as the conscious observer is left out in favor or a brain itself doing all the work.

Look at the example of the paralyzed guy who had to imagine raising his arm to create brain patterns that could be decoded. The conscious imagining creates a motor signal that gets played out by the mechanical assist. This is the genius of biofeedback, something I have advocated since college. My issue is when people think that this kind of process is the same as Ed recalling himself shivering in the rain on Chickenhead Ledge, 2,600 feet up the Shield on El Cap, beaming Ed's neural signals to a computer and having said computer have an inner experience of shivering on Chickenhead.

The raising the arm miracle is pretty strong proof that consciousness does have an immediate effect on physical reality. The mind-body connection is not just hippy jive, but a simple fact.

And Ed, when I use the word "codes," I am using it in terms of "a system of words, letters, figures, or other symbols substituted for other words, letters, etc." IOWs, a symbolic reference of something else.

A DNA strand itself is not a symbolic representation of something else.
WBraun

climber
Mar 30, 2017 - 07:46pm PT
Ed recalling himself shivering in the rain on Chickenhead Ledge, 2,600 feet up the Shield on El Cap, beaming Ed's neural signals to a computer
and having said computer have an inner experience of shivering on Chickenhead.


LOL .....
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 30, 2017 - 08:23pm PT
A DNA strand itself is not a symbolic representation of something else.

what is a DNA strand, itself? and what does it do?

My issue is when people think that this kind of process is the same as Ed recalling himself shivering in the rain on Chickenhead Ledge, 2,600 feet up the Shield on El Cap, beaming Ed's neural signals to a computer and having said computer have an inner experience of shivering on Chickenhead.

my brain directs me to pick up my walkie-talkie to call Werner at the YOSAR Cache and ask him to send up a steaming bowl of chicken soup... oh rats! I've got to talk to Merry, I forgot... and also I know it's going to be a bowl of steaming carrot soup... even though it's not Carrothead ledge...

I seem to be able to beam my own neural state just fine.
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Mar 30, 2017 - 08:34pm PT
The raising the arm miracle is pretty strong proof that consciousness does have an immediate effect on physical reality.


Not sure why it would take a miracle to convince you, but Amen nevertheless.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 30, 2017 - 09:45pm PT
Ed said: my brain directs me to pick up my walkie-talkie ...

My brain directs me to do all kind of whacky things. It's called impulses. However I find that with practice, I can chose other options and not be directed entirely by my brain. Ever notice how that works, Ed?

Ed went on: "I seem to be able to beam my own neural state just fine."

My sense is that the same "I" that's able to beam your own neural state (actually your experiential state) here and there is the one that can choose to ignore directions from your brain. The undeniable part of this is that a brain impulse arose that told you to grab that walkie-talkie and you did something else (hypothetically).

Now if you're thinking that said "I" that did something else and the brain are selfsame, that means the brain gave an order for the sheer pleasure of ignoring it.

Not so much ...

Ditching the observer results in howlers every time.

And MH2, you must have missed the part about me being involved in biofeedback for decades, ergo I needed no convincing per the bunkum of dualism. But I suspect that many on this thread hold that if consciousness exists at all, it is merely an observer on an entirely determined bus.
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