What is "Mind?"

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MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Mar 15, 2019 - 07:56am PT
MH2 and Ed,

I have empathy for your feelings and appreciation for what you talk about when we look into the dark night sky. I look perhaps at the same things and honestly wonder how I could possibly doubt that what my eyes show me is partial or what I see is perceptually erroneous. How is it that these two eyes of mine could see to the beginning of time? One can blithely describe the image the eyes paint and mind constructs, but I cannot help but read the description in those words and phrasing. The meaning they import are honestly beyond experiential comprehension to me. "See to the beginning of time?" I don't think there is anyone here who has a felt sense of that . . . only conceptually.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 15, 2019 - 08:53am PT
I don't think there is anyone here who has a felt sense of that . . . only conceptually.

I feel that sense very much when I look at the "Deep View" Hubble photographs, the sense of an absolutely clear view, where the light from those objects has travelled an incredible length of time to be observed here on Earth. This is the feeling I had from the very first time I looked in the eye piece of a telescope.

The structure of the universe, it's fabric is dictated by Lorentz Invariance, and a wonderful by product of that is the constancy of the speed-of-light. The farther away we look the longer it took that light to reach us, and at some point, the length of time corresponds to the time of the electron-proton freeze out, when the universe has cooled off from the Big Bang so that atoms are formed. The universe transitions from an opaque plasma to a crystal clear expanse. There light from this transition still glows, though even cooler still, as the backdrop of cosmology.

At some time not too long after, the first stars begin to burn and herald those things to be that we know. This is the beginning of our time, and we will see that light in the coming decade, light created as far back as we can see.

Modern fairy tales (without the fairies).


Hubble deep field


Optical clock comparison test of Lorentz symmetry
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2019 - 09:27am PT
"conducting itself" will always be carried out by way of magic or woo, as described.


No. It is carried out by way of neurons influencing the activity of other neurons. As described.
-


You didn't describe it. Not the actual process. You have to demonstrate how objective functioning (dancing neurons) crosses the threshold to consciousness, by way of measurements etc. Since you can't, you have to go with, "The neurons ARE consciousness," that is, the objective IS subjective. That's panpsychism.

Emergence is not an explanation, as noted many times by many people.

Per the felt sense of "the beginning of time," remember that time is derived from visible change in the stuff "out there." No change, no time.

One can also get a felt sense of this from simply watching their own minds. Watch a thought or impulse or feeling or memory pop into awareness, then fade away like an image on an Etch-A-Sketch. And in between ... nothing.
Trump

climber
Mar 15, 2019 - 09:54am PT
We’ve got to believe that we’re conscious of something - that’s how we work. We’ve got to perceive stuff, be aware of stuff, be conscious of stuff, and then we manipulate that stuff in our minds in order to compute behaviors.

If our consciousness is derived from photorector cells and genes coding for the intelligence of phototropism, ok, then that’s what it is for us. Maybe we’re a blade of grass.

But if we’re a human, we have a more complex system of doing it.

And if that means that we need to fill in the blank spaces of our information and understanding with leprechauns or whatever, then that’s what we do. Or if for whatever reasons we personally prefer to imagine that we have no unknown unknowns, and that our probability estimates are fully informed and spot on, then that’s what we do.

But one way or another we need to believe it and use our beliefs to form behaviors. That’s just how we work. If you do it with leprechauns, cool. If you do it by imagining that there are no unknown unknowns in your perceptions, and that your consciousness is actually factually fully conscious, cool.

We’re all doing the same thing, it just looks a little different in different people. Maybe your skin pigments create a pinkish hue, and maybe they create more of an umber.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
Mar 15, 2019 - 10:53am PT
"Here's my current way of looking at the big picture. Relatively early on in the history of life, Mother Nature discovered software patterns".

How about relatively late in the history of the planet earth, a species called homo sapiens discovered software patterns from looking at nature. Before that they learned how to make clocks and watches by recombining elements of the natural world. In both cases, they mistook their copies and manipulations for explanations of the natural world and its origins.


Meanwhile Ed, this is probably very naive but I'm unclear as to how we can know we are looking at the beginnings of cosmology when we don't even know where we are in the universe? If we looked one way and saw nothing but darkness and the other way was stars, we could locate ourselves and presumably conclude that we were at the beginning and among the first flung or emerged. However, we're totally surrounded, so how do we know? Are you saying that we will be able to see to the edge of the lighted universe sometime in the future and then know where we are and the relative ages of ourselves and other objects?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 15, 2019 - 11:33am PT
...when we don't even know where we are in the universe?

how do you come to this conclusion? Our current physical cosmology has every place in the universe being equivalent. So there is no "edge" and no "center" of the universe, the Earth, and even more specifically, you are the center of the universe. The distance from our eye to the light travel time of the age of the universe constitutes the "edge of the observable universe," beyond which we infer that the universe is the same as it is locally.

As far as what is close to us, we know that very well, I've posted the map several times...
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2019 - 12:53pm PT
Our current physical cosmology has every place in the universe being equivalent. So there is no "edge" and no "center" of the universe, the Earth, and even more specifically, you are the center of the universe.
--


Now you're talking Ed! At least in my experience.

But wait, there is more. Conclusions drawn from a process of elimination, which is what meditation is, as it works a kind of reverse direction from trying to understand the location or existence of a place or thing, so to speak, to experiencing the ephemeral nature of the "you" which in the apparent center of the universe, to the consciousness that reifies a universe to experience, a provisional center and a provisional "you" that experiences - all arising out of nothing at all.In a sense, every thought and perception is a big bang, and what goes bang is just one of an infinite sea of probability/possibilities.

My sense is that quantum mechanics is possibly the best rational analogue to the experiential reality we all live, with consciousness being synonymous with the "sea of possibilities," or another even more fantastically strange (fill in the blank).

I think Xeno was onto something here, so long ago, but in ways I'm still unclear about. As with most of this...
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Mar 15, 2019 - 03:16pm PT
You didn't describe it. Not the actual process.

I agree.

It was just and idea that came to me while watching Glenn Gould in the NYC recording studio. His right hand was waving at his left hand on the piano keys.

With probably some help from MikeL:

My hands "know" more than my head.


But with regards to, “What is ‘Mind?’ what do you have to offer?

In the absence of any answer to that question from you, my ‘mind is brain conducting itself (by way of neurons)’ will stand. As metaphor, at least.

I did not say anything about consciousness. Why do you?

you have to go with, "The neurons ARE consciousness," that is, the objective IS subjective. That's panpsychism. 


No. I go with “the subjective is objective.” I don’t think that is panpsychism.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2019 - 03:29pm PT
No. I go with “the subjective is objective.” I don’t think that is panpsychism.
-

So long as you are saying that one is actually the other, you're stuck in identity theory, because "is" implies "identical." You're wording, and your question, "What do you got?" both apparently betray yet another search for a linear-causal "reason" for mind, aka, "mechanitus."

If you gander at biocentrism, they don't say the objective is the subjective, rather that all we see and measure pops from the void of consciousness. They are not identical.

Ultimately they are, but no one has the right to start braying about the perfect unity of things (non-duality) till they have struggled long and hard to know the differences.
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Mar 15, 2019 - 05:50pm PT
So long as you are saying that one is actually the other


That's too simple. I say that subjective feelings come from activity in neurons. That is not saying that the subjective is identical to the objective, whatever you mean by that. It is more like saying that the top floor of a house, with it's wider view of the surroundings, is held up in the air by what lies beneath it.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2019 - 07:54pm PT
It is more like saying that the top floor of a house, with it's wider view of the surroundings, is held up in the air by what lies beneath it.


The problem with this is that there aren't any metaphors that work with mind, since the building and the top floors (in your example) are physical structures. This line of reasoning is also heard in the fact that there were many phenomenon in reality that were once thought to be "created" or sourced by God, or otherwise mysterious causes that science eventually discovered were physical processes birthing physical results. Pointing out otherwise is not, in fact, shooting the gaps, or working the gaps, because all previous gaps existed between observable, physical processes and phenomenon.

Mind in this regards is the outlier. That's why, again, Information Theory, Biogenesis and many others are taking a different tact. The angle you are working has resulted in fantastic discoveries in neuroscience, and the value in that cannot be overstated.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Mar 15, 2019 - 08:15pm PT
"But wait, there is more. . . . to experiencing the ephemeral nature of the "you" which in the apparent center of the universe, to the consciousness that reifies a universe to experience, a provisional center and a provisional "you" that experiences - all arising out of nothing at all.In a sense, every thought and perception is a big bang, and what goes bang is just one of an infinite sea of probability [or] possibilities."


Nicely said, but to me it appears you have moved from Quantum Mysticism to Cosmic Mysticism.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
Mar 15, 2019 - 10:56pm PT
Perhaps we are the center of the universe in terms of its vastness and the small part of it that we can ever know, though such a view is certainly earth centric and anthropocentric.

I guess I'm thinking of the center of the universe as the place where the Big Bang originated. Then if the universe is expanding, there should be less matter near the site of the Big Bang, maybe just a dark void surrounded by Galaxies that are retreating from the center? So what lies just beyond the edge of the expansion? Some say it is like a mobius strip folding in on itself.

Perhaps it's all just too much for our ape brains to conceptualize so we just concern ourselves with what we can measure in our neighborhood which is quite a lot and keeps expanding outward from planet earth as we build better instruments?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 15, 2019 - 11:02pm PT
no, there is no "special" place in the universe, no point where the Big Bang happened, no place in the universe is different than any other place.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expansion_of_the_universe

"we" conceptualize it fine... no problem.
WBraun

climber
Mar 16, 2019 - 10:45am PT
No big bang ever happened.

Pure horesh!t made by clueless brainwashed gross materialists.

We are from ape ancestor horesh!t is also pure brainwashed horesh!t.

You, gross materialist, are locked into dead matter and have become brain dead .....

Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
Mar 16, 2019 - 11:10am PT
Thanks Ed, it will take me awhile to digest that reference and then I doubtless will have more questions.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Mar 16, 2019 - 08:27pm PT
From everyday experience we usually associate the concept of "center" with a two or three dimensional object or space, one that has a boundary. If I am confronted with such a space I can approximate a geometrical center by calculations involving that boundary, under a standard metric. Sometimes I can find its exact coordinates. Not so in the universe I would guess.
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Mar 16, 2019 - 09:49pm PT
Ed: "we" conceptualize it fine... no problem.

Now just a minute. You seem to imply that the conceptualizations are fine, not just that people may be facil with the practice of conceptualization. And, I think you know that there are always problems with concepts. Maps . . . territories. Maps and territories both need reference points (centers, edges, or what not). Those reference points need not be geographical. Without any reference point of any sort, you're referencing an image at least. One cannot describe any thing without references.

Therein lies the emptiness.
WBraun

climber
Mar 16, 2019 - 10:37pm PT
conceptualize is just another fancy word jugglery for guessing masqueraded as science .....

You cannot invent anything which is not in the substance.

The origin is always already there ..... form precedes idea.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Mar 17, 2019 - 09:02am PT


https://youtu.be/TZSUSaftipU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFXTCGeAV9s
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