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What Exists? No, Really.


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#18 Thunderbird

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 08:29 AM

The non physical mind is inseparable from our physical reality. The mind is like water that retains all the memories of being rain, sleet, snow,cloud, steam, These memories act as a map. An internal program that does not rely on external forces to shape it. There are in fact no external realities, only internal memories. What lies outside the mind/map ? nothing.

#19 Thunderbird

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 09:16 AM

Okay, what Korzybski (and I) was trying to do was make sense of the world, in the simplest possible way with the fewest assumptions. He assumed there was no mystic solution, no supernatural solution. Your explanation is quite complicated and gives definitions to Map and Territory that Korzybski did not intend.
See? All these extra layers and entities are not necessary. Additionally, I haven't said much about the Mind, except to say that it exists within the brain -- as dynamic patterns -- that from one POV are electro-chemical signals, and from another POV is a self-organizing semantic structure.

"Quantum" doesn't come into this at all.

Again, from Korzybski, there is just ONE reality. He calls it the Territory. What the human brain does is to build a replica, a simulacrum of the Territory. This replica is constructed of memories and semantic structures (think of Lego structures, only the Lego blocks are "words"). This replica of reality, he calls the Map. Ideally, the Map should match the Territory, point for point. But it doesn't and it can't. The brain is just not big enough to to model the whole world, not even the parts we can see. But for our purposes, we can say that the Map corresponds to the Territory pretty damn well.

If you start putting Consciousness (self-awareness) outside the Map, then you might as well put it physically outside the brain. This leads nowhere. DeCartes made the same mistake. The Mind, all parts of the Mind, are physically in the brain, and therefore, they MUST be part of the Map. The very concept of "I", aware of itself, is not a physical object, not even an invisible physical object. The "I" in our Minds is a logical construct, a semantic construct. And the individual Lego blocks, are the atomic elements of Languaging itself. And Languaging is the concept and process of storing, retrieving, communicating, evaluating, and assigning meaning to Information. The Mind, the "I", is built out of Languaging.

So, we don't have to get supernatural here, or propose multiple Territories or multiple Maps.

We don't have to bring in the Id, the Conscious, the Subconscious, or intelligence. These are all just made-up words attempting to give labels to different aspects of the Mind.

Finally, we can speak of "exists" versus "is real". Let's define "is real" as the fundemental property of anything that has mass, physical size, energy, form or substance.

The Territory is real and it exists. The Map exists, but it is not real. Just as the letters "book" are NOT really a book, so is any simulacrum constructed entirely out of logical/semantic Lego blocks NOT the thing that is simulated. But the simulacrum exists, and it can be compared to the real thing it simulates.

The Mind, imprisoned within the skull, is totally cut off from all contact with the Territory. The Mind only has access to the Map. This is where the Mind exists, lives, loves, laughs, has sex, learns to read and write, wonders at the stars in the sky, goes to work every day, understands gravity and how to make cornbread, and carries on deep involved discussions about the Nature of Reality. Your entire subjective world is the Map. And you are an element of that Map.

Does that make more sense?



In quantum mechanics when we perceive “quanta” it's still within the realm of the mind and subject to perception and visa versa. Theses underling pulses could in fact represent the origin of consciousness. A basic binary code that all complexity is built upon. Utilizing the water analogy once more think of converging wave pulses that overlap each other curling around each other and collapsing to a point. This interaction resulting in a oscillation point, a clock constructed by time itself.

A self-organizing quantum process operating at the interface between quantum and macroscopic states, objective reduction (OR) is Penrose's (1989; 1994; 1996) quantum gravity solution to the problem of wave function collapse in quantum mechanics. According to quantum theory (and repeatedly verified experimentally), small scale quantum systems described by a wave function may be "superposed" in different states and/or places simultaneously. Large scale "macroscopic systems," however, always appear in definite "classical" states and/or places. The problem is that there is no apparent reason for this "collapse of the wave function," no obvious border between microscopic quantum and macroscopic classical conditions. The conventional explanation (the "Copenhagen interpretation") is that measurement or observation by a conscious observer collapses the wave function. To illustrate the apparent absurdity of this notion, Schrodinger (1935) described a now-famous thought experiment in which a cat is placed in a box into which poison is released when triggered by a particular quantum event. Schrodinger pointed out that according to the Copenhagen interpretation, the cat would be both dead and alive until the box was opened and the cat observed by a conscious human.

To explain this conundrum, many physicists now believe that intermediate between tiny quantum-scale systems and "large" cat-size systems some objective factor disturbs the superposition causing collapse, or reduction to classical, definite states and locations. This putative process is called objective reduction (OR). One increasingly popular OR viewpoint (initiated by Karolyhazy in 1966 Karolyhazy, et al., 1986) suggests this "largeness" is to be gauged in terms of gravitational effects and in Einstein's general relativity, gravity is spacetime curvature. According to Penrose (1989; 1994; 1996), quantum superposition actual separation (displacement) of mass from itself causes underlying spacetime to also separate at the Planck scale due to simultaneous curvatures in opposite directions. Such separations are unstable and a critical degree of separation (related to quantum gravity) results in spontaneous self-collapse (OR) to particular states chosen non-computably.

In Penrose's OR the size of an isolated superposed system (gravitational self-energy E of a separated mass) is inversely related to the coherence time T according to the uncertainty principle E=h /T, where h (actually "hbar") is Planck's constant over 2 pi. T is the duration of time for which the mass must be superposed to reach quantum gravity threshold for self-collapse. Large systems (e.g. Schrodinger's 1 kg cat) would self-collapse (OR) very quickly, in only 10-37 seconds. An isolated superposed single atom would not OR for 106 years. Somewhere between those extremes are brain events in the range of tens to hundreds of milliseconds. A 25 millisecond brain event (i.e. occurring in coherent 40 Hz oscillations) would require nanogram (10-9 gram) amounts of superposed neural mass.

In the Penrose-Hameroff "Orch OR" model (e.g. Penrose and Hameroff, 1995; Hameroff and Penrose, 1996a; 1996b), quantum coherent superposition develops in microtubule subunit proteins ("tubulins") within brain neurons and glia. The quantum state is isolated from environmental decoherence by cycles of actin gelation, and connected among neural and glial cells by quantum tunneling across gap junctions (Hameroff, 1996). When the quantum gravity threshold is reached according to E=h/T, self-collapse (objective reduction) abruptly occurs. The pre-reduction, coherent superposition ("quantum computing") phase is equated with pre-conscious processes, and each instantaneous OR, or self-collapse, corresponds with a discrete conscious event. Sequences of events give rise to a "stream" of consciousness. Microtubule-associated-proteins "tune" the quantum oscillations and the OR is thus self-organized, or "orchestrated" ("Orch OR"). Each Orch OR event selects microtubule subunit states non-computably which classically regulate synaptic/neural functions. Because the superposed protein mass separation is also a separation in underlying spacetime geometry, each Orch OR event selects a particular "funda-mental' experience http://www.hameroff....f/cambrian.html



#20 modest

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 03:32 PM

If you start putting Consciousness (self-awareness) outside the Map, then you might as well put it physically outside the brain. This leads nowhere. DeCartes made the same mistake.


I don't believe Descartes puts consciousness or "I" off the map.

Two things are being used in Korzybaski's system: a map and a territory. The map is part of the territory in the sense that the brain is part of the physical world. And, the territory is part of the map in the sense that everything we consider physical or part of the territory is itself a construct on the map.

Considering this, the following doesn't make sense to me.

The very concept of "I", aware of itself, is not a physical object, not even an invisible physical object. The "I" in our Minds is a logical construct, a semantic construct. And the individual Lego blocks, are the atomic elements of Languaging itself. And Languaging is the concept and process of storing, retrieving, communicating, evaluating, and assigning meaning to Information. The Mind, the "I", is built out of Languaging...

Finally, we can speak of "exists" versus "is real". Let's define "exists" as the fundemental property of anything that has mass, physical size, energy, form or substance. Everything that exists is also real. But there are things which are "real" which do not exist.


Here "I" has been put on the map and denied any place in the territory while other parts of the map are allowed to exist in the territory. The distinction seems to be that only things with "mass, physical size, energy, form or substance" have a correlating physical existence in the territory. But, these are distinctions we make on the map and are themselves constructs of the map.

As I understand Korzybaski's system, we are not constructing the territory with these concepts on the map—we are constructing the map. To try and *prove* what physically exists (apart from (or outside) the map) in the territory seems to be exactly what Descartes is taking issue with.

In the language of Korzybaski, I believe Descartes means only that there is a map. That is the only absolute. We cannot even prove that there is a territory. Making distinctions like—the part of the map that correlates with mass or energy also are part of the territory—could be wrong. But, you cannot be mistaken in saying "the map exists". For one part of the map to question another part of the map means a priori there is a map.

~modest

#21 Pyrotex

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 06:46 PM

In quantum mechanics when we perceive “quanta” it's still within the realm of the mind and subject to perception and visa versa. Theses underling pulses could in fact represent the origin of consciousness. A basic binary code that all complexity is built upon. Utilizing the water analogy once more think of converging wave pulses that overlap each other curling around each other and collapsing to a point. This interaction resulting in a oscillation point, a clock constructed by time itself.

I've read Penrose and his "The Emperor's Mind". Penrose is a genius, I agree. But the whole quantum mind thing of his is a crock of psychobabble, pseudoquantumbabble, and just plain babblebabble. I feel it's a waste of time going down that tunnel.

The explanation of Korzybski, though created in the 1930's and obviously a bit dated, still stands on its own. There are no "mysteries" remaining to be explained. Penrose and others keep looking for the "code" that translates between semantic objects (words, ideas) and chemical storage in cells. but a definitive "code" is not even necessary! Chaotic cellular electro-chemical activity only needs to interact with other mental activity in an exact analogous manner as some external reality object interacts with its real environment. As long as that correspondence is there, no "code" is necessary.

And I find all that quantum twaddle just too, too tiresome to even read. Sorry.

#22 Pyrotex

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 11:00 AM

Yes, your comments make sense, but the question is, are they an accurate representation of the relationship of the Mind and Map to the Territory ? It would appear that Korzybski places the Mind within the Map, I take the opposite view. I hold the Map to be within the Mind. My reason is because Korzybski gives a very specific and limited function to the Map--e.g., to form a 'replica of the Territory'......

Okay, I have done a little research -- not much because I only have one book by Korzybski anymore. I will give you the point. Certainly it is correct to say that the Map is in the Mind. To an extent.

Here is where it gets tricky. The very concept of 'inside / outside' takes a beating here.

Let's start by defining "Mind". Korzybski did not consider ALL brain electrical activity to be part of the "Mind", as we generally do. His analogy was a pile of bricks. A pile of bricks is NOT a "house" unless the bricks are ordered in a certain way. Cows have brain activity and can even learn, but he insists they do not have Minds. Therefore, much of the activity in OUR brains is not actually part of the Mind. All the mechanical switching that your brain does to control muscles, the central hippocampus region that "experiences" emotions (fight or flight), the areas that recieve sensory information, and on and on---these are not parts of the Mind, according to K.

The Mind does what it does NOT with chemical signals, NOT with electrical signals. The actions of Mind (AOT) are mediated with something new, an emergent thing, which I shall give a made-up name to: the Semanton. It is the "atomic unit" of semantic information. Yeah, it is obviously some combination of electrical and chemical activity of course, but it is a self-reinforcing entity, much like a "wave" is a self-reinforcing entity which travels across the surface of water -- an independent entity. The properties of the Semanton are not predictable from the properties of electrical and chemical activity in the brain.

Semantons are the Lego blocks. Here is where things get tricky. The Map is obviously constructed of Semantons--it is a semantic structure. We're all agreed.

The Mind is also constructed of Semantons--it is a semantic structure, too. It is a semantic structure that processes semantic structures, and generates Meanings (more semantic structures) for semantic structures.

Think of yourself--be self-aware for a moment. (This may be hard for some of you, but try.) Be aware of the "I" that defines who you are. You may even localize the "I" as being somewhere behind your eyes. Good. Your Mind is "sensing" (in a sense) yourself.

What sensing ability does the Mind have? Woops. The Mind can only have access to the Map--it only senses and interacts with the Map. So, what is that "I" right there in the middle of the Map. That's you! But the "I" is a part of the Map, it must be, because the Mind ONLY has access to the Map. But if your Mind is part of the Map, what's doing the thinking? Is that Mind inside the Map doing the thinking? Then, isn't it accessing an even smaller Map inside the Mind inside the Map??? :phones: :eek_big: :confused:

Can you say, "infinite regression", boys and girls??? :lol:

Korzybski breaks this conundrum like Hadrian untied the Knot. With a swift blow from his sword.

There is no inside / outside relationship between Map and Mind. Our arbitrary schemes of naming things -- (material things) -- and referring to the attributes of things and the properties of things leads us to assuming inapropriate properties for the Map and Mind. We naturally assume that one must be "inside" the other. Korzybski says, NO.

There is a single (one only) dynamic self-organizing, self-reinforcing, semantic structure within the brain. This semantic structure has many functions, some of which are localized within the brain tissue and some of which are hologrammatically distrubuted across vast regions of the brain. There is one function which builds and accumulates information from the Territory (though the senses) and incorporates this information into the Map. There is one function that localizes the Self within that Map. There is one function that is the Self, or arguably, constructs a dynamic model of an emergent entity that operates just like a "Self" within the semantic structure that is the Mind/Map.

The Mind is simultaneously one of the elements of the Map -- AND is the senior function that organizes and gives meaning TO the Map.

The Mind "contains" the Map. But equally true, the Map "contains" the Mind.

Penrose and others make the fatal mistake of trying to compare the Mind/Map to other physical paradigms in the Universe. Like quantum mechanics, or digital computers, or a bunch of cells talking to each other.

The Mind/Map entity is unique in the Universe. There ARE NO OTHER paradigms that can be used to explain it. :hihi: :hihi: :hihi: :naughty:
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#23 arkain101

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 11:02 PM

................................................................The Mind "contains" the Map. But equally true, the Map "contains" the Mind.

Penrose and others make the fatal mistake of trying to compare the Mind/Map to other physical paradigms in the Universe. Like quantum mechanics, or digital computers, or a bunch of cells talking to each other.

The Mind/Map entity is unique in the Universe. There ARE NO OTHER paradigms that can be used to explain it.


Although there is lots to respond to, I want to begin with this.

Through my study of physics and cosmology or cosmological physics, I started to make some similar findings. I believe these would be findings of the territory.

In order for any meaning to occur of any event there must be a relative relationship.

For example: If we travelled to an undisclosed location in the universe where nothing, not even EMR (photons) is detectable from any other sources (imagining there is a place) and we place an object in this location, such as billiard ball (which is only there to represent a reference frame and position) and ask some questions what will we discover?
Note: We the mental observer, does not count as a reference frame.

a)How fast is the billiard ball moving (velocity)?
It is undeterminable, and the question has no meaning.
b)Which direction is the billiard ball moving?
It is undeterminable, " ".
c)What is the kenetic energy of the ball?
d)What point of view were you visualising the billiard ball?
e)What billiad ball? You are the ball.

The point I am trying to bring to light here is that there are some meanings that do no exist when all else is excluded.

Pyrotex you said:

it must be, because the Mind ONLY has access to the Map. But if your Mind is part of the Map, what's doing the thinking? Is that Mind inside the Map doing the thinking? Then, isn't it accessing an even smaller Map inside the Mind inside the Map???


Just like the billiard ball, when all else (the map) is removed from the mind, and the mind is all that remains, what does it have access to in order generate reasoning?

The mind and the ball must have a relative relationship.

The billiard ball requires another billiard ball that is in some form detectable and observable to be added in order for certain level of meaning to come into being. Prior to the second ball being added the first ball can have no meaning attributed to it (as long as we stay in the intended boundries and specifics I have set an example of).

The mind must have a map before it can have meaning. The mind can not exist on its own. Which is another way to say meaning (the painting by the mind that is the brush) can not exist in absolute seclusion.

The Mind is also constructed of Semantons--it is a semantic structure, too. It is a semantic structure that processes semantic structures, and generates Meanings (more semantic structures) for semantic structures.


This statement is the same as a statement I made earlier only with a different face.

I said, If we define things that exist as things that have the ability to produce an effect on other things that also have an effect on those things that have an effect on other things.

We are essentially making the same point from two different perpectives. The difference being whether we are analyzing the map (your statement) or the territory (my statement).

In either case it appears to me at this time that there is no fundamental singular element that 'declares' it is absolute existence or maybe better said 'produces' absolute existence, neither the mind or a physical object.

As you have helped describe (Pyrotex). The mind is brought into being by a broad spectrum of constructs (non physical structures) that form the map. Likewise, it seems to me the territory is brought into being by a broad spectrum of structures that might be made possible by relative relationships.

However, I think it is possible that these two are intimitly connected, and almost inseperable. It may be that it is the mind that creates (the opportunity for) meaning for the territory and it is the territory that creates (the opportunity for) a map.

For whatever reason, be it practice or accident, I have had experiences where I temporarally lost touch with all short term memory. That is, that "I" neither knew or did not know "I" was or was not, nor did "I" experience the notion of time, and in that moment it was neither awhile, no time, or an enternity. And from that I felt confident in concluding that in order to have things exist we must experience the memory (even if it is .05seconds old) in order to experience anything at all, anything that is, that we 'think' is the present. From this I think it is safe to say that it is our ability to contain "the 'mind' map" that produces an experience, that brings forth existence (as we know it).

Whether this gives us any insight for creating more accurate theories on our universe I have no clue.

#24 Pyrotex

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 04:32 PM

...Just like the billiard ball, when all else (the map) is removed from the mind, and the mind is all that remains, what does it have access to in order generate reasoning?....

According to Korzybski, there would be nothing left. No map and no mind.

Here's an analogy: I have a drawing done in black ink on white paper. The black ink defines the foreground, a beautiful picture of butterflies and castles -- the white defines the background.

Now... Remove the foreground, leaving only the background. What do you have?

Answer: nothing. You have neither foreground nor background. The one cannot exist without the other.

#25 Rade

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 11:23 PM

There is no inside / outside relationship between Map and Mind.....There is a single (one only) dynamic self-organizing, self-reinforcing, semantic structure within the brain....
Penrose and others make the fatal mistake of trying to compare the Mind/Map to other physical paradigms in the Universe. Like quantum mechanics...The Mind/Map entity is unique in the Universe. There ARE NO OTHER paradigms that can be used to explain it.

Thank you for all these very helpful explanations of what Korzybski as a philosopher was saying about relationship of Mind/Map as a dialectic entity. But, I do not agree that there are no other comparable paradigms. What Korzybski rationalized as the relationship between Mind/Map has been put into formal terms by Per Bak via his concept of 'self-organized criticality'...see this Wiki link for information:

Self-organized criticality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

His concept of the 'Mind/Map entity" as an emergent property is not in any way "unique in the universe"--in fact, it is a property of many, many dynamic systems, living (for example brain) and non-living (a pile of sand grains). See Per Bak nice book, "How Nature Works":

Per Bak: How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organised Criticality

I would also argue that Korzybski idea of 'Mind/Map entity', as where "inside and outside no longer exist" has direct application to quantum theory. Here is my outline. The Brain state where Mind and Map form the Korzybski dialectic (that is where inside and outside merge) is what is called the Critical Point in physics which results in an Attractor leading to Self Organized Criticality, and this process is explained mathematically by quantum Conformal Field Theory. All the terms in bold can be found at Wikipedia.

So, as I see it, I agree with Korzybski's philosophy if one takes it to mean that, first, both Mind and Map exist within the Brain, but there is a Critical Point within the Brain where the two form an Attractor physical existence (a philosophic dialectic), and this superposition leads to an emergent property of Self-Organized Criticality within the Brain that the Philosopher Korzybski could only call the the "I" in the 1930's, but which today can be explained via quantum mechanics using Conformal Field Theory.

Now, since the Territory is also a dynamic entity with Self-Organized Criticality that follows the same quantum rules as the Map, it is rational that the priori existing Territory would evolve over time to form a dynamic system that could create a Map of it--existence (reality) evolved to map itself, but the Map that exists is not real.

Finally, your comments about having the reader think about themselves. Most humans in early teens undergo a very emotional mental state, what has been called the Existential Moment. I found it to be a very disturbing experience--why was it needed that my mind inform me that "I" Exist ? I did not will nor want such an experience--yet there it was, multiple times. Now I wonder, is it at that moment in the time of each human life when Korzybski would say that the 'Mind/Map Entity' first appears as the "I" ?

#26 Pyrotex

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 04:59 PM

Let me ponder all this and read the Wiki references.
I'll get back to you.

#27 AnssiH

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 04:12 PM

I was not sure if I should reply to this thread or not, because it has proven to be such a hard issue to communicate clearly enough. It's far too easy to misinterpret what is being said, and I see a lot of "groping among mere concepts" already... Decided to give it a go anyway, especially as this is critically related to what Doctordick is talking about. I think if you can wrap your head around what Korzybski was really saying, you can understand what DD is doing.

So I guess I should being with the "map-territory relationship". Some confusion seems to exist as to what Korzybski meant exactly. Pyrotex is close, but there are few critical clarifications that I need to make.

The map-territory relationship refers to the fact that our comprehension of reality contains purely epistemological facets that cannot be considered part of ontological reality. The "map" constitutes a language by which we make sense of (sensory) data, whose ontological meaning is unknown.

The map is essentially the human made definitions for certain patterns. I.e. such and such data pattern means "a cliff", etc.

So the difference between "the map" and "the territory" does not refer to something like "the location of a cliff". If you had a map which had the cliff located in wrong place, that would still be a map which works in terms of "cliffs" or "solid matter" and "space" etc.

The difference between the map and the territory refers to the fact that devoid of "sensible human definitions", the raw form of reality is unintelligible. And any intelligible form contains human definitions. That is why "the map is not the territory".

So think of it this way, the territory is the undefined form of reality (it is the form you cannot "think of"), and the map is the set of defined entities and concepts that offers a way to predict that data in meaningful way. It is always possible to build many very different kinds of maps that explain the same exact raw data; they merely explain it using completely different terminology.

Every map that could ever exist operates on certain entities or concepts being seen as "fundamentally real", or as "ontological elements". For example, back in the days world used to be built out of "Fire", "Air", "Earth", "Water" and "Void". Those were the only "real" elements, the rest was combinations of. And for example "friction" and "temperature" were considered to be "real" properties of "matter", but now they are seen as entirely human definitions on such and such type of "motion".

If you look at this issue closely, you can realize that all facets of reality (including "motion") that you can think of, are understood in terms of some human definitions.

If you feel like saying "But I can feel the tennis ball in my hand, surely that is not just a human definition!", you just did not understand what Korzybski said, and you are still clinging on naive realistic view of reality. (Don't jump to conclude that the alternative is any form of idealism, it is not)

The comprehension of "a tennis ball in my hand" is a result of a map which contains a definition for a "tennis ball" and "my hand", and the expected interaction between the two. Even though the ball does not fall through your hand, those things are not to be considered ontologically "solid things". The physics explanation of today is already an explanation of specific interaction between the atoms of the ball and the hand. The atoms themselves are not "solid" (just like they are not "slippery" or "hot"). The atom does not have an ontological "wall" to itself, unless you form some very specific (arbitrary) definition and device an appropriate way to measure the location of that "wall".

Likewise the atom does not even "look" like anything, as the physics definition is that an electron gives off an photon, which causes a reaction in the eye etc... The nucleus does not give photons, so what does it look like? The electron that gives off a photon cannot be seen either; you just see the photon!

Likewise, nothing has got any "colour" or "shape" to it without specific definitions as to how to measure those properties with other defined entities. Different definitions give different results, simple as that.

If you actually manage to shake off your naive realistic ideas, it's quite plain to see that our ideas of what the fundamental building blocks of reality are, are formed of naive realistic ideas, and of purely arbitrary assumptions as to what constitutes an "identity" of a thing.

Also it is plain to see that absolutely any given definition gets its meaning from how it is understood against other definitions. An issue that arkain101 touched when he said "The point I am trying to bring to light here is that there are some meanings that do no exist when all else is excluded." Think even harder and you will see that there is no "meaning" that could be understood independently from other meanings. The comprehension of one concept is dependent on the comprehension of many other concepts, which is dependent on... etc, until you come around and realize you understand the meaning of everything in circular fashion. X is true if Y is true, which is true if Z is true, which is true if X is true. Oops. The set of definitions in a map are self-supporting each others in circular and self-coherent fashion, and because we can often understand the same things through different set of self-coherent definitions, we say we understand things semantically. That is the issue General Semantics touches; everything is understood in semantical terms, i.e. self-coherent set of "truths".

Rade, you should understand that "map" is not referring to an ontological entity, nor is "mind". Mind is also something you need to form a very specific definition of inside your personal worldview, and you understand what it means in terms of very many other concepts, that you also understand in your own way. Different people understand the word "mind" very differently, and when you don't spend the time to really try and understand HOW people mean their words, you will be hopelessly "groping among mere concepts". I can honestly tell you I always put in a lot of effort to try and understand how you mean your words before I reply to you (I hope it shows), simply because you use such a different perspective on things that otherwise I could not converse meaningfully with you. I think likewise you should put in some effort to understand what is meant by map-territory relationship exactly.


Well, I guess this gets us to the definitions of "self". We all have our own idea as to what our self is. Often people tend to equate their self with the material that is their brain. On the other hand, everyone's brain is similar material and the difference is more accurately in the exact configuration between neurons. If you were to cast your current configuration onto the brain of your friend and vice versa, the subjective experience "inside your friend" would be the belief, or the semantical idea, that you switched from one body to the next. That's not ontologically right nor wrong, it's just an idea; a way to conceive the situation in a "meaningful way"; in terms of a map. If you think of this, you can see that there's no reason to suppose any ontological identity even to yourself, even though subjective experience exists. It could be said (vaguely) that it exists, because the map is of the form "these things are happening to myself"

On a related note, if you guys were able to wrap your head around the above, you might be able to understand exactly why there exists such a "paradox" as "the hard problem of consciousness", and what effectively resolves it. Can you figure it out?

If you don't know what it is:
Hard problem of consciousness - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So, perhaps now I can make a meaningful reply to the OP :)

The question is, in scientific terms, what exists and how do we know that it does exist?

Let's discuss what exists, and how and why it does.

I believe this can be broken down into two categories.
1)What our senses can tell us exists
2)What reasoning, mathematics, and experimental data can tell us


Starting with #1, one way we can prove things exist is through our sensory capabilities. If we can see it (sight), touch it (spacial awareness), smell it (scent), feel it (texture touch), hear it (sound), taste it, then we can know that it exists. Why? I think if it can affect us, then it exists.


There are few pitfalls with that sort of definition for "exists", because whatever you can perceive is a result of interpreting the unknown sensory data in a very specific way (while many alternative interpretations exist).

If you have a brain dysfunction that causes you to hear voices in your head, you might come to interpret that as a voice of god. Therefore, with the terminology of your map (your explanation of reality), "god affects you", therefore god exists?

I'm sure you'd be prone to tell such a person that it is not god that exists, but such and such dysfunction in their brain. If so, a coherent terminology requires you to say "sounds" don't exists, only air pressure fluctuations that is interpreted as sound. And not even air pressure fluctuations, but actually a specific motion of atoms that is defined as "air pressure". And not even atoms as that sort of map too is a function of a specific definition of raw sensory data! See what Korzybski was on about?

The other is when we exclude all our sensory methods. How then can we test and define that something exists?

One could say, we know something exists if it has the ability to affect other things that exist. Say what? :)

Let's try this again. What exists is, that which can have an effect on that which can have an effect on those things that produce effects on other things that have effects on others. :)

If I try to describe the universe when excluding the awareness produced by senses, that is, to exclude the consciousness, I end up with trying to explain that which is not absolute. For example, Let's say I know an object exists because it can have an effect on another object. This lets us know it exists but it does not define how. Or, I know light exists because it has an effect on an atom. But why do I know that atom exists? Because it produces energy?


I'm getting the feeling that what triggered these questions was that you started to see how things really are up to human definitions (hence such a lengthy reply of the issue).

You can't see an effect on a "thing" unless you have defined that "thing" (that such and such patterns mean there is such a "thing"). After you have defined something, and perceive it, and see an effect on it, you are free to form all sorts of hypothetical entities that are capable of explaining what you just saw, without really ever seeing that entity itself. Photons and any single "fundamental entity" you can think of is a result of a map building in exactly that manner. You cannot probe their existent apart from trying to find out whether some observable data behaves the way that such and such model of "photons" says they should. Probing reality in a meaningful way depends on first having some hypothetical model of it, giving some meaning to your probing. Your map being prediction-wise valid, is different from it being ontologically correct.

If you are willing to follow the epistemological analysis of DD (I assume you've seen it discussed around this forum), it should shed a lot of light on exactly the issues you are starting to have questions about.

-Anssi
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#28 belovelife

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 06:30 PM

wow, i dig this tread its right up my ally
i had this conversation on thanksgiving
first and intro to my phlosophy
psycedelic transcendental
saying that on your own you may choose to
read or ignore
based on the current stautus of the constant conditioning game we are all a part of ( i mean no disrespect)
now it is an interesting idea that we, as humans, all react similar to similar situations
someone smiles or laughes, usually bring a sense of a good feel
conversly, you get punchen in the nose, it usually brings a sence of bad feel
yelling/soft tones, smile/frown, these things could be genetic language, like as we evolved, these were constant cues, that in the process of our brain formation it is mapped that these should have specific responses
(with ecception, i.e. being lauged at, your friend gets mad when you get hit)
but that of course could be the double negative effect
now the stream of conciousness, we only have one stream as an individual, and by that i mean, even if you have several things on your mind, only one word is present at any given time (word could be symbolic, language, smell taste, etc.)
and it is the flow of these words that define what we believe to be self

now this is where my ideas get sticky!!!!!
according to the knowledge we as humans have gathered to this point, everything is made of energy
and there appears to be more levels of the universe then we scence directly as humans, by that i mean we are bound by the rules of the particular section we name space-time
and at any time we are only at one point in space-time
although we understand there could be other levels, it is hard to comprehend, being our only experience is in space-time
now the map that has been so talked about in this thread
i consider to be more like a bookmark
for this particular form of your energy
since energy cannot be destroyed, it only changes
now dreams.......
you could say that it is the brains way of keeping warm while the body is in a state of upkeep,
now i believe it is more complex
(based on this theorey how much of the universe can you remember is equal to how much of your dream you can remember)
now anything you remember is purely symbolic for each individual
i mean only you can interprit it
(i speak of spirit or soul or any of the many names given to this particular concept)
and how much of each dream did you choose to learn about
then ideas that can relate betweeen different levels of the universe would be symbolically transcribed between the dreams that can relate to the subject matter

exe.
if the universe was purely mathematical, then every interaction that occurs from you meeting that one dude on the street, to being influenced by the words that someone said, would be predictable, everything would be like a book, and every word thought movement etc. could be defined by knowing how each atom and each energy particle interacted with all others

but have you ever called someone and they said i was just thinkin of you
or have you ever been about to do something, decided not to in an instant, and saved yourself alot of grief

these could be considered coincidence
but i believe that it is more like levels of conciosness flowing
for each individual, and as the base for each individual (spirit)
the level of the base defines how in tune with the area of the univese around it
(kinda like which grade in school are you in)

(now here is the real gnarly part, those without open mind may not want to read)

psycedelics
when on psycedelics many things happen
it is strange how similar your thought processes are to those who you are with
(all tripping)
you will all choose to go to the same place, or all start thinking the same thing (be it bad or good)
for instance, i met a girl who was telling me about her bad trip
as she told me the story, i listened, then at the end she said she talked to the guy she was tripping with, and they were both tripping on their parents
so they were in tune, althought they tuned to a bad channel
now when i was in contact with her, at first when i say her, her aura was really dark and sad, thats why i talked to her
after she told me her story i adjusted the level of understanding of what happened for her, and her energy went back up right away, like what i said clicked for her to the point she felt much better

now when i noticed her energy
was it body language, that my map interpreted as a sighn that something was wrong, hence giving me the visual of that condition
or is it another scence
like someone who lost hearing at one part in their life
it can be given back to them using teqnology
but someone who was born deaf cannot hear at all because they have no relation in the map to draw from

now if humans are all born with this scence
like a baby being born able to interprit facial expressions
and we dissaccociate from it, since it is not commonly understood
you know all the tree-huggin-hippie-crap about aura could just be another scence
either that or it is a genetic language that is being tapped into

anyway that is my phylosophy, it gets deeper, but i think this is a good intro

and i love all these post they were all awsome

#29 arkain101

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 08:41 PM

I was not sure if I should reply to this thread or not, because it has proven to be such a hard issue to communicate clearly enough. It's far too easy to misinterpret what is being said, and I see a lot of "groping among mere concepts" already... Decided to give it a go anyway, especially as this is critically related to what Doctordick is talking about. I think if you can wrap your head around what Korzybski was really saying, you can understand what DD is doing.


I am glad you did reply. Overall it was a clear and concise post.

An issue that arkain101 touched when he said "The point I am trying to bring to light here is that there are some meanings that do no exist when all else is excluded."

Think even harder and you will see that there is no "meaning" that could be understood independently from other meanings.


This is quite a broad claim. I would not be able to say if I agree or do not agree to any kind of certainty since there are an extensive amount of meanings that are out there to be covered. However, so far in my own investigations evidence does tend to lean towards this principle. In the context I am working in, the principle being, no "meaning" that could be independently from any or all other meanings. I suppose to understand what all of our definitions of meaning is, would be a very important first step to making a constructive conversation on the subject.

I have not studied much into philosophy formally. This is the first time I have encountered the Map-Territory concept. I believe it does justice to getting the topic on its feet. However, it can't lead us all the way. As it is a methodology of finding a common ground and understanding. But I notice that understandings can happen somewhere in the middle of a concept and a relation to the concept, and the experience can be more focused on the connection occurring than the two events being connected. For example, If I hold a circular ring, in one hand and hold platform in the other (like a board), we see a circle and a platform, but if I combine them together and spin the circle on the platform, for a moment at least, we see neither the circle or the platform but a form of a globe.

Anyway, thanks for the post, but I am not ready to fully respond.

now if humans are all born with this scence
like a baby being born able to interprit facial expressions
and we dissaccociate from it, since it is not commonly understood
you know all the tree-huggin-hippie-crap about aura could just be another scence
either that or it is a genetic language that is being tapped into

anyway that is my phylosophy, it gets deeper, but i think this is a good intro

and i love all these post they were all awsome


Another worthy comment. I agree that the fact we have senses (that most of us share, yet not all) is a miraculous thing in itself, and because of this, senses that seem miraculous, could very well be a possibility. (like two people thinking the same thing). However, I think the miraculous is all to often a so called phenomena (event) that is poorly understood, and alternatively comprehended, more so than it is the effect of some unknown property that pervades the universe.
For example: AnssiH said here:

you should understand that "map" is not referring to an ontological entity, nor is "mind". Mind is also something you need to form a very specific definition of inside your personal worldview, and you understand what it means in terms of very many other concepts, that you also understand in your own way. Different people understand the word "mind" very differently, and when you don't spend the time to really try and understand HOW people mean their words, you will be hopelessly "groping among mere concepts"


The very version of an individual's map can create an entirely different choice of words to say precisely the same thing. words like energy, mood, aura, state, emotions, intention, all to refer to another persons impact by their presence.

#30 AnssiH

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 08:17 AM

This is quite a broad claim. I would not be able to say if I agree or do not agree to any kind of certainty since there are an extensive amount of meanings that are out there to be covered. However, so far in my own investigations evidence does tend to lean towards this principle. In the context I am working in, the principle being, no "meaning" that could be independently from any or all other meanings. I suppose to understand what all of our definitions of meaning is, would be a very important first step to making a constructive conversation on the subject.


Well, think of it this way; since you have a worldview (a map), you can recognize "things" from the sensory data. I.e. the "map" holds some definitions as to what sort of pattern constitutes an entity or an event "X".

That is, you place a specific meaning on a specific pattern. How would you explain that meaning to someone who does not share any concept of your worldview? Someone who does not even understand any definition of space and time.

Of course communication with someone like that would be impossible, unless you managed to first explain quite a few concepts and how you understand them from your personal worldview.

I think with this you can figure that there simply cannot exist any "meaning on any pattern of data" that could be independently understood. You could say that the meaning of a concept is how it relates to other meanings/concepts in your worldview, and vice versa. The idea of "space" gets its meaning from the idea of how objects behave in it. The idea of "objects" gets its meaning from how they exist in space (it's actually a bit more complex than that but you get the idea). You can't really expect to find definitions (on the patterns) that are explicitly known and understood without any other definitions.

The situation is actually quite analogous to a dictionary, which explains each word with other words. There is no excplicitly understood fundamental words that explain the rest of the words. Instead the (meanings of the) words in the dictionary support each others in a circular and self-coherent fashion.

I have not studied much into philosophy formally. This is the first time I have encountered the Map-Territory concept.


I've never studied philosophy formally. I'm not sure what's the purpose of that, to understand the history of philosophy? I think that with some thought very many people are capable of ending up to similar conclusions as Korzybski. The point of philosophy is to think for yourself, me thinks :shrug:

-Anssi

#31 Pyrotex

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 03:05 PM

...Self-organized criticality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
...is not in any way "unique in the universe"--in fact, it is a property of many, many dynamic systems...
Per Bak: How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organised Criticality

I would also argue that Korzybski idea of 'Mind/Map entity', as where "inside and outside no longer exist" has direct application to quantum theory. Here is my outline. The Brain state where Mind and Map form the Korzybski dialectic (that is where inside and outside merge) is what is called the Critical Point in physics which results in an Attractor leading to Self Organized Criticality, and this process is explained mathematically by quantum Conformal Field Theory. All the terms in bold can be found at Wikipedia.

So, as I see it, I agree with Korzybski's philosophy if one takes it to mean that, first, both Mind and Map exist within the Brain, but there is a Critical Point within the Brain where the two form an Attractor physical existence (a philosophic dialectic), and this superposition leads to an emergent property of Self-Organized Criticality within the Brain that the Philosopher Korzybski could only call the the "I" in the 1930's, but which today can be explained via quantum mechanics using Conformal Field Theory....?

Whoa! :)

Okay, I have read the links, and I think you are on to something! I just don't know exactly what it is yet. I like the "Korzybski Dialectic" (KD) -- it sets up exactly the mental imagery that I was trying for. :)

It seems to me as I write this, that our thoughts on "Reality" are compatible. The KD sets out to describe how the Mind relates to Reality, without knowing how it came to be, or what precisely the "Lego Bricks" (LB) are and how they operate.

YOU appear to be describing, with attractors and CF Theory, and fractally orchestrated SOC systems, the "how" and the "what" and the "why" of the KD.

My take on all of this is that the Territory is simply itself. It evolves because it comprises MANY instances and levels of SOC. We can ignore this for the moment, accepting that it just does its thing "out there".

LIFE developed sensors to improve its odds of survival. These sensor/reaction systems probably started as unrelated clumps of cells -- each clump was sensitive to one thing (heat?) and could trigger one reaction (jump?).

But then :) LIFE evolved the "general purpose nerve cell" (GPNC). A GPNC could be hooked up to ANY sensor and deliver a signal to ANY set of muscles (or other reaction cells). GPNC's could be strung together so that a light sensor at the tail, could trigger legs at the front.

Of course, it was more energy efficient to grow as many of these GPNC's together in one place so that simple logic could take place: if the light sensor at the tail AND the wetness sensor in the gills, BUT NOT the mating sensor in the nose -- are ON, then trigger the legs to run.

Some sensors, such as eyes and ears, can produce a LOT of information. :D Did you know that you can "map" the entire Universe in a circle of radius 1 cm? Yup. It is called Conformal Mapping, and is very useful in advanced Calculus. For every point "out there", you can mathematically define exactly one point "inside" the circle. The further out the real point, the closer to the center of the circle will be the conformal point. The exact center of the circle cooresponds to all points at an infinite distance from the circle.

Eyes and Ears can perform Conformal Mapping of the environment (of any arbitrary size) to a clump of nerve cells (of any arbitrary size). By the time the proto-Lizards were exploring dry land, brains had evolved that produced an accurate Conformal Mapping of Territory onto Map. But only using sensory information.

By the time early proto-Hominids were developing, they were also Conformally Mapping the sounds that each other made, AND the internal sensations of hunger, fear, lust, anger, heat, pain, worry, discomfort, et al.

Then came the Saltatory Leap. :eek2::eek2::eek2: The brain was always evolving to build better maps. Suddenly (in evolutionary terms) the brain evolved an icon in the Map that was NOT Conformally Mapped from the Territory. It was mapped from hoots and hollers in the herd/clan, but it wasn't "that sound came from there". It was "that sound means THIS!"

The first Semantic Structure. [Picture a dozen monkeys touching a huge black obelisk, with a really crazy choir in the background singing out of tune, really LOUD.]

Now, HOW this came about, may be described by your Conformal Field Theory, by Darwinian evolution, and/or by SOC theory -- or some combination.

But first, there were sensor/effectors.
Then, there was generalized nerve cells and brains.
Then, there was conformal mapping of the Territory into purely representational icons of the physics of that Territory.
Then, there was the creation of the first icon with semantic meaning.

THEN, there was the creation of the Uber-Map, the KD, the Mind, the map containing not just representational icons, but also icons of MEANING.

[Imagine the 2001 theme song, Thus Spake Zarathustra, played with full orchestra.]

:) I can't go on. You take it from here. ;)

#32 Pyrotex

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 03:32 PM

...In order for any meaning to occur of any event there must be a relative relationship
....a)How fast is the billiard ball moving (velocity)?
It is undeterminable, and the question has no meaning.
...The mind must have a map before it can have meaning. The mind can not exist on its own.
...However, I think it is possible that these two are intimitly connected, and almost inseperable. It may be that it is the mind that creates (the opportunity for) meaning for the territory and it is the territory that creates (the opportunity for) a map.
....

Arkain, hi there.
You made some good points.
So, in my previous post [above], I reflected this in giving the "map" TWO identities: its identity as merely a Conformal Mapping of external Reality. (that tree, those clumps of dirt, that moving shadow...)
The primitive Mind has this Proto-Map to work with. All icons in the Proto-Map are merely representational icons.
The Mind builds ever more complex icons to represent ever more complex "entities" out there in the Territory: Zebra. Mated pair of zebras. Mated pair of zebras that smell like me. Herd of zebras. My herd of zebras. Other herds of zebras. Other herds that are different from zebras. Etc.

At this point, the Mind is a Icon Generating Machine. (IGM)

At some point, in its drive to create new icons, the Mind creates an icon for a sound that other hominids make, and that THIS hominid makes, and the icon is not for the sound, but for the MEANING of the sound: "Alarm! Grab the babies and Run!"

At this point, the Mind begins construction of the Uber-Map (which is initially based entirely upon the Proto-Map) -- constructed of Semantic Structures, where all of the new entities in the Uber-Map are Meanings, not objects or groups of objects. And those Meanings are all associated with sounds that the hominids make. (At least, initially). And "I" can communicate a chosen Meaning to another hominid by making that associated sound.

Over time, the number of sounds increase. The complexity of their arrangements and organization increase exponentially. Enabling the creation of an Uber-Map of near infinite complexity and richness. Enabling the hominids to "live" in an Uber-Map containing not merely objects, but relationships, associations, memories, plans, and things like "justice" "love" "hate" "friendship" "loyalty".

Humans awoke to find themselves living in a "World" (the Map's reflection of the Territory) of Meaning, Communication, and Reasoning.

At this point, the Mind is a Meaning Generating Machine. (MGM)

Thanks for your post. It really made me think.

#33 Pyrotex

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 03:50 PM

I was not sure if I should reply to this thread or not, because it has proven to be such a hard issue to communicate clearly enough.

Well, seems to me you did one fantastic bangup job!!! :)

...The map-territory relationship refers to the fact that our comprehension of reality contains purely epistemological facets that cannot be considered part of ontological reality. The "map" constitutes a language by which we make sense of (sensory) data, whose ontological meaning is unknown.

Bingo!!

...So the difference between "the map" and "the territory" does not refer to something like "the location of a cliff"....intelligible form contains human definitions. That is why "the map is not the territory".

Bingo!!

So think of it this way, the territory is the undefined form of reality (it is the form you cannot "think of"), and the map is the set of defined entities and concepts that offers a way to predict that data in meaningful way.

Bingo!! Defining and predicting can be done by the Mind because it has a "representation" of external reality to play with. That "representation" is what Korzybski called "the Map".

...If you feel like saying "But I can feel the tennis ball in my hand, surely that is not just a human definition!", you just did not understand what Korzybski said, and you are still clinging on naive realistic view of reality...."a tennis ball in my hand" is a result of a map which contains a definition for a "tennis ball" and "my hand", and the expected interaction between the two. ...That is the issue General Semantics touches; everything is understood in semantical terms, i.e. self-coherent set of "truths"...

Bingo!! :) :) :eek2: :eek2:

Wow, Anssi, you did a better job at explaining Korzybski than I did. Have you ever read his 1930's set of lectures? Or "Science and Sanity"???

#34 AnssiH

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 02:20 PM

Wow, Anssi, you did a better job at explaining Korzybski than I did. Have you ever read his 1930's set of lectures? Or "Science and Sanity"???


Well no, I haven't really read much philosophy. I had come to think of the same issue in the context of AI, and come to same conclusions, so by the time I heard about Korzybski's writings it was pretty easy to understand what it was about. Of course the same issue has been raised by other people with different words, Kant comes to mind, and I'd like to say Kuhn too (to an extent).

Yeah haven't really spent much time actually reading any of their full works either, I guess I just like to think things through myself more, and I suppose then I tend to levitate towards material that makes sense to me. After that, seems like Wikipedia explanations are enough to align myself to the same terminology if needed.

-Anssi