What is "Mind?"

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TomCochrane

Trad climber
Cascade Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 9, 2018 - 10:43pm PT
Actually these bodies are not designed to deteriorate once they reach maturity. And they are incredibly tolerant of insults to their integrity. It takes a lot of poisoning of our air, water, food, electromagnetic radiation, combined with spiritual attacks to overcome our immune systems and convince us to go into agreement with succumbing.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Cascade Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 9, 2018 - 11:20pm PT
It seems to me that emotions are properties of awareness on a gradient scale from
apathy to grief, fear, anger, antagonism, boredom, conservative, up to enthusiasm
It may be possible to associate each of these with specific mental frequencies related to the discussion on the levels of awareness. If the different emotions are associated with frequencies, that's not something I know about, but seems likely to me
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Cascade Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 10, 2018 - 03:16pm PT
Clearly the question, 'What is "Mind?"', is an interesting topic to think about.

So do you control your mind or does it control you?

Can you turn off your mind and stop thinking?

Can you be fully aware in present time without having to think?

Does your mind enhance awareness or does it get in the way of awareness?

Are you your mind?

Or are you simply possessed by it?

Do love, beauty, joy, and creativity arise as properties of the mind or from somewhere beyond the mind?

eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Feb 10, 2018 - 05:25pm PT
Jan, in response to your last question, I would emphasize reproduction because of how life must have started out. Somehow, at a particular point in time, the replication process involving the DNA molecule started on earth. We don't know a lot of things about it's earliest stages, but once the replicators came on the world stage, it led to a couple of billion years of unicellular life followed by another billion of mixed unicellular and multicellular life leading, on one branch to humans and human mind.

When you're a replicator (as opposed to a jet), your success is a function of your relative numbers in future generations. It is in this sense that I suggest that fecundity is the prime directive. By the way, we are not replicators; our genes are. We are vehicles built by replicators to help them replicate (little rascals).
xCon

Social climber
909
Feb 10, 2018 - 05:35pm PT
"Do love, beauty, joy, and creativity arise as properties of the mind or from somewhere beyond the mind?"

mind is responsible for turning basal facts into notions such as love beauty and joy

creativity stretches out toward an actions to the point that I would disagree on a point but obviously its recognition is based on a particular state of mind
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Cascade Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 10, 2018 - 06:51pm PT
"Do love, beauty, joy, and creativity arise as properties of the mind or from somewhere beyond the mind?"

mind is responsible for turning basal facts into notions such as love beauty and joy

creativity stretches out toward an actions to the point that I would disagree on a point but obviously its recognition is based on a particular state of mind

I should probably switch this part of the discussion to the other thread...
xCon

Social climber
909
Feb 10, 2018 - 07:03pm PT
ive never come across a good analysis of creativity

that is its productions as result of stress and its produce as direct in confront of the situation which produced it
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Cascade Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 10, 2018 - 07:45pm PT
ive never come across a good analysis of creativity

You've just put your finger on the key problem with artificial intelligence.

To the extent that we can identify and chart out a thought process, we can replicate it in computing hardware/software.

And AI systems can very quickly restructure and reorganize thought processes in random/quasi-creative ways.

However AI systems will not and can not do original creative thought. That requires creative consciousness...preferably and optimally unencumbered by thinking...

Some members of the AI community fail to see the humor in a couple of my comments on the subject:

AI is what you study when you lack your own.

Artificial Intelligence ... just add water ...

This is the limiting problem and the huge risk that Elon Musk warns against about AI and the drive towards Tranhumanism.

The Transhumanists lack creative intelligence and are trying to entrap the human race in a state of robotic slavery. In this enslaved state, the creative intelligence will be entrapped as an energy source and nothing else.

This is why in the The Matrix movie, we see Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) holding up a battery and telling Neo that this is what the human race has been turned into within the Matrix.

This is what the human race has been turned into
This is what the human race has been turned into
Credit: TomCochrane
jstan

climber
Feb 10, 2018 - 08:13pm PT
Expect nothing new here, but bear with me.

In pursuit of our ultimate goal the brain integrates past experiences(threats), recent problems, and it attempts the earliest possible warning. A climber who has had one or more bad falls, particularly recent ones, is going to behave differently( more cautiously). This processing goes through at a logical level. The integrative function actually can go through below the logical level.

An example. When I started on statins I began to run into hallucinations upon awakening in a dark room. The brain goes through the list of possible dangers and presented clear visual images and a very strong feeling that there was someone in the room. It will do anything to provide an early warning. Logically of course I knew the whole thing was artificial. Vision itself is apparently far more artificial than we think, As I understand it,the optic nerve intersects the retina right in the center of the visual field of view. We are blind there but the eye constantly rasters and then uses those images to construct an interpolated image in the center of the field of view. In the interest of immediacy some part of this post processing goes on right in the nerve pathways and is already completed before reaching the larger neural structures.

Don't always believe what you see. Even our courts have begun to realize this. Evolution sometimes has no choice but to cut a few corners. Computer programmers do the same thing, Quite simply, this is that with which we have to work.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Cascade Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 10, 2018 - 08:37pm PT
jstan, i think that is exactly what we are trying to discuss on the 'consciousness' thread. All our senses work sort of that same way, sensing complex electromagnetic wave forms, transmitting them to the brain as electrical signals via the nervous system, where the brain performs Fourier transforms to create holographic images viewed by conscious awareness via the mind. Much of this mental imagery is dubbed in to fill in the blanks, as our five senses are not adequate to populate the level of detail that we view as our improperly assumed 'reality'. This works sort of ok in familiar territory and people are fiercely adamant about how solid that reality is, but it goes all wonky when faced with unfamiliar domains of perception ... a phenomena that pilots inadequately slang as 'vertigo'

I still have pretty 'clear' memories of my first skydive with a static line out of a Cessna 185 at Livermore airport on November 12, 1966 ... particularly how my mind was completely unable to process the sensory inputs ... even though by that time I had experienced a number of long leader falls
jstan

climber
Feb 10, 2018 - 09:02pm PT
TC:
The vertigo with which I am very familiar comes about because when I was a fish nerves got all jammed into what is now the inner ear. The output from the balance function there is what allows us to fix our sight on an external point even when tilting our heads back. When the balance signal gets corrupted by disease the pointing of the eye goes bonkers. But yes, I find thinking about how we actually work is fascinating. It is not as simple as we generally assume, But there is no evidence pointing to a magic hand,
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Cascade Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 10, 2018 - 09:24pm PT
Yes, the proper use of the term 'vertigo' has to do with signals from the inner ear getting confused in the brain. Pilots use the term for want of a better one to describe situations such as flying in clouds or at night over the ocean when normal visual references get fooled. A pilot can be logically convinced of flying straight and level, while actually entering into a 'death spiral', even though the inner ear correlates with the turn and bank indicator instrument to say all is fine until it's too late ...

The FAA has a portable flight simulator called The Vertigon designed to fool pilots in just this manner unless you pay careful attention to all the instruments. I have a little cert in my log book that says I passed it fine.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Feb 11, 2018 - 08:40pm PT
Since the study of mind must rely heavily upon studies of the brain, the analysis of data relating thereto is of prime importance. In general, in science a huge amount of data is accumulating, in some cases awaiting analysis that has yet to be perfected.

I've been reading about the world's most successful mathematician - in monetary terms. Jim Simons, who is 79, received his PhD from Berkeley at the age of 23, and over the years has made significant contributions in his specialties. But in the 1960s he began investing and later created a hedge fund (Renaissance Technologies) that utilized algorithms he has devised to great advantage. Today, he is worth 18.5 billion dollars.

He endows the Flatiron institute in NYC, devoted entirely to computational science - the development and applications of algorithms to analyze enormous caches of scientific data. Scientists that produce this data are generally not professional programmers, and some even give their grad students this assignment. Even if, by chance, the student is an effective programmer, they leave and frequently leave behind piles of figures for other hapless students to deal with.

It's unfortunate that sometimes a brilliant experiment produces significant heaps of data that are inadequately interpreted. Simon's group aims to help top researchers by supplying programmed algorithms that can detect the faintest patterns - those hitherto unrecognizable. This might benefit research into the paranormal, although those studies might be a very low priority.

Simon was surprised to learn that astronomers cannot confirm the accuracy of their most complex models. The many-fold calculations that are required all arise in programmed algorithms that make simplifications. Solutions to fundamental equations never occur, only approximations made by different algorithms, with results that could vary significantly. This reminded me of a standard mathematical ploy: approximating non-linear math by linear math.

Simons funds these efforts to the tune of 75-80 million dollars each year - chicken feed for this mathematical tycoon. He comments that more and more private donations and foundations fund research, whereas in the past research, particularly basic research, was mostly supported by federal grants. This can be a sword having two edges.

Regarding neuronal processes, one of the promising programs, MountainSort, improves the parsing of brain-electrode recordings, in part by automating the interpretation of data. The program can tell, before a rat moves, whether it is thinking of turning left or right.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 11, 2018 - 11:05pm PT
Interesting thing about EEG and qEEG research is that you start with elecrterochemical brain artifact, but what you capture in the machine is a digitized extraction of what is not digital - the brain. Then the signal is organized into bandwidths, amplitudes and so forth, none of which are inherently IN the brain. Just a metric to quantify what IS going on, and it allows us to work with it in surprisingly effective ways.

I've always wondered what a really good programmer could do in wrangling the data in ways that would possibly disclose some embedded harmonic in the matrix. Harmonics are vibrating energy, like hammered strings in a piano. Currently we have phase and coherence and some other patterns but these I suspect are just scratching the surface. Both have been around for decades.

Another thing is that normal EEGs only record few channels derived from specific spots on the cortex. A qEEG derives from a global activation pattern, derived from (top end) high-density 256-channel EEG sensor arrays, but 35 channels (electrodes) are probably sufficient to map the patterns.

My sense of it is this is overkill with the focus on capture as opposed to seeking other ways to interpret the data from a 35 channel rig. So instead of pasting on even more electrodes, I think future breakthroughs will come by way of advances in interpretation, which breaks down to creative organizing though novel programs. Again, I'm convinced that there are many possible patterns at play here, but the tricky part is you don't know what you are looking for.

Bottom line is what you are doing is trying to extract meaningful patterns from the ongoing tumult of electrical activity in the brain. This global electrical activity is built from the firing of individual neurons. A single neuron responds to a stimulus in an all or nothing manner—if the stimulus reaches a certain threshold, the neuron “fires” an electrical signal. Groups of neurons firing in a coordinated way create a local electrical field that is in itself a signal that can vary in pattern. These local field potentials (LFPs) have been a target of research, but that research has largely been limited to detecting coherence patterns.

I say look for other patterns. They must be there.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Feb 12, 2018 - 09:50pm PT




What do you see? What is it you desire? Ask the Djinn.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 12, 2018 - 10:17pm PT
A single neuron responds to a stimulus in an all or nothing manner—if the stimulus reaches a certain threshold, the neuron “fires” an electrical signal.

actually there is a period, initiated by the neuron having "fired", when the neuron will not fire

this is an important attribute which makes the "medium" of the neural net non-linear. interestingly, the identical properties work e.g. in your heart to propagate a wave of contraction from the pace maker point.

the period of "repose" organizes the network behavior in time.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2018 - 09:01am PT
Per what Ed just said, artificial neuron work also wrangles with the non-linear aspects just mentioned. From a recent article:

Sigmoid Function

Well, this looks smooth and “step function like.” What are the benefits of this? First, it is nonlinear in nature. Combinations of this function are also nonlinear. Now we can stack layers. What about non binary activations? Yes, that too. It will give an analog activation unlike step function. It has a smooth gradient as well."

But this is just fiddling around with activation patterns. The interesting work, for me, is in watching the interface and mutual feed-back activity between brain and subjectivity/mind.

One of the most interesting thing is to discover for yourself that brain states and mind states are not identical. This is most obvious during neurofeedback protocols involving "entrainment," where the brain, by way of reward signals (usually sound), carefully programmed micro LED lights ("light stim"), mag stimulation, and some other procedures too complicated to explain, wheedle the brain into activation patterns, usually either increasing activity or coherence in certain band widths, or inhibiting activation by either flattening out neural spiking or supressing activation across all bandwidths, essentially dialing off all the white noise in consciousness.

Early on people thought, Hey, let's entrain a person's brain into the same patterns of the Zen master, except people's brains were not accustomed to that much Delta (slow wave) activity and some seizured. Attempts to treat ADD patients by increasing Beta were less successful than supressing the flood of Theta waves common to this disorder. Increasing Alpha usually increases expansiveness but someone not accustomed to this tends to space out, rather than maintain a relaxed focus.

What's more, suppressing activation usually brought better results than trying to boost a particular bandwidth.



jogill

climber
Colorado
Feb 13, 2018 - 02:32pm PT
Sigmoid function: Well, this looks smooth and “step function like.” What are the benefits of this? First, it is nonlinear in nature. Combinations of this function are also nonlinear

Seems a little curious, but what do I know? "Step function like" is not generally smooth, having jumps. Nonlinear is good? Usually linear is easier to deal with, but the particulars here are missing, so I'm probably wrong. The Sigmoid function is simply a non-linear S-shaped function of a real variable, and it is smooth by definition.

I tend to think in terms of well-defined linear functions and functionals, and not in less specialized notions of linear and non-linear processes.


Pay no attention. Just rambling.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 13, 2018 - 07:46pm PT
nonlinear is required for memory...

chainsaw

Trad climber
CA
Feb 13, 2018 - 07:59pm PT
Approaching 20,000 replies and counting! Cheers to you John! Bump this thread.
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