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What Exists? No, Really.


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#35 Thunderbird

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 11:46 AM

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 corresponds to all points at an infinite distance from the circle.


Fascinating !



Intuitively and intellectually it is hard for me to shake idea that this map of the “real” universe is at its very core organized around an attractor that is constantly moving toward an extremely stable point. This “movement” of time we see gravity and organized evolving systems that we perceive as a dynamic universe manifest as an interplay between a single point of stability at the exact center of our sphere and the instability of conscious biological life that surrounds it. “Organized Reality” is generated as a constant oscillation between theses contained points. The center point that has no movement simply because of its central location within the sphere and all the infinite possible points revolving and interacting around that single point. This is not a novel idea in physics until we place it in the sole context of all physical phenomenon existing as a self contained conscious reality.





Dynamical systems theory also deals with probability and can therefore allow us to synthesize thermodynamics and so-called "Chaos", (which is really a highly complex form of hierarchical, enfolded order that appears to be disorder). The really interesting area here though, is the entities at the transition zone between ordered, stable systems at equilibrium (maximum entropy) and "disordered" (but complex) and unstable Chaotic (minimum entropy) ones. According to the Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine, these far from equilibrium dissipative systems locally minimize their entropy production by being open to their environments --- they export it in fact, back into their environments, whilst importing low entropy. Globally, overall entropy increase is nevertheless preserved, with the important caveat that the dissipative system concerned often experiences a transient increase (or optimization) of its own complexity, or internal sophistication, before it eventually subsides back into the flux.
This is known as the region of alternatively, Emergence, Maximum Complexity, Self-organized Criticality, Autopoiesis, or the Edge of Chaos. (Nascent science debates nomenclature routinely - and appropriately, in this case, the crucial point being that they are all different terms for essentially the same phenomena.)
Life forms, ecosystems, global climate, plate tectonics, celestial mechanics, human economies, history and societies, even consciousness itself - all manifest this feedback-led, reflexive behavior; they maximize their adaptive capacities by entering this region of (maximum) complexity on the edge of Chaos, whenever they are pushed far from their equilibrium states, thereby incrementally increasing their internal complexity, between occasional catastrophes.
Remarkably, this transition zone is mathematically occupied by The Golden Mean. This ratio acts as an optimized probability operator, (a differential equation like an oscillating binary switch), whenever we observe the quasi-periodic evolution of a dynamical system. It appears in fact, to be the optimal, energy-minimizing route to the region of maximum algorithmic complexity, and to be a basin of attraction for the edge of Chaos. Universo: Dynamical Symmetries, by Nigel Reading


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#36 Pyrotex

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 03:42 PM

Fascinating !
...it is hard for me to shake idea that this Map of the “real” universe is... organized around an attractor... that we perceive as a dynamic ...interplay between a ...point of stability at the ...center and the instability of ...biological life that surrounds it. “Organized Reality” is generated as an...oscillation between these ...points... existing as a self contained conscious reality.

Fascinating!2

I took the liberty of discarding words and phrases that were redundant [IMO], even merging sentences, and came up with the pithy statement above. I'm not sure this accurately reflects what YOU meant to say, but it seems to me that it does. But it really strikes a chord with me. Consciousness is not a static pattern, but a dynamic one, constantly interacting with the sensory floods, and (in your words) "oscillating between" two attractors. One attractor would be where the Map has conformally mapped the self: going from the limbs, the skin, the inner sensations, the feelings, the thoughts, the emotions, the sense of self, to the inner *I*.

At this conjunction of the Map, the Mind is interacting with the conformally mapped image of the Mind.
:confused: :( :eek_big:

Consciousness?

Thanks for a great post.
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#37 belovelife

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 04:19 PM

what do you think of the "mapping"
sequences described by the movie the matrix
do you think we could do that with tecnology that communicates in
"thought process" ?

#38 Pyrotex

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 05:22 PM

what do you think of the "mapping"
sequences described by the movie the matrix
do you think we could do that with tecnology that communicates in
"thought process" ?

I dunno. :eek_big: I don't remember the mapping sequences you speak of, though I've seen the movie a dozen times. Say some more about this.

#39 belovelife

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 05:24 PM

you know the part where neo learns all the kungfu and stuff and the parts where trinity was like
"i need a pilot program for helicopter thingmaduzie"

#40 Pyrotex

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 05:30 PM

you know the part where neo learns all the kungfu and stuff...

Don't get your hopes up. The human brain has evolved to get its inputs through several equally evolved biological channels, like the optic nerves. The brain's ability to remember, and relate training to muscular reactions is also the product of megayears of evolution. In my opinion, you're not gonna come up with some electronic means of "instant training" that's gonna bypass all the wetware.
Sure would be nice, however.

#41 belovelife

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 05:34 PM

i agree
its already in the works though
watching a science channel show gives much more meaning to concepts
then old shool classroom educational films
keeps interest, you know that 10 min intrest rule
it resets interest level at each one of these intervals
and the visualizations are better

#42 Pyrotex

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 11:20 AM

Well, let's get this conversation back on topic. "What is Reality?"

The question has two interpretations, which I summarize as follows: What is going on "out there" independent and apart from our several senses, our brain and our mind?

And: What is the nature of the "Reality" that we live in "inside" our senses, our brain and our mind?

I discovered a few clues this weekend. In the game "Alpha Centauri", one of the characters, Academician Zahkarov says the following:

Take a set of sensory input data. Feed it into a function of arbitrary complexity. Now, take the output, square it, and feed it back into the function, adding in a new set of sensory data. Repeat, ad infinitum. What do you have? The basic operating principle of the human mind."

This is from a game, mind you. And yet, it strikes a certain chord of reality. If it seems familiar to you, it should be.

The Mandelbrot function [note that my avatar is obtained from it] is calculated almost exactly the same way! Take a point in the complex plane as your starting point. Square it. Whatever point this calculates to, add those coordinates into the value and square again. Repeat until the absolute value of your operation exceeds 4. Count the number of repetitions until this occurs and plot that number at the original point in the complex plane. Then take the next point in the complex plane and do it all again...

As the Mandelbrot Function jumps from point to point in the complex plane, the coordinates of each jump becomes the "sensory input data" -- which modifies the MF by "taking it to a new location".

I hope you see the parallels. Now consider the human mind as a function, call it the Consciousness Function, CF. In tiny asynchronous steps, input sensory data is fed into the receiving lobes of the brain (like the visual cortex). From there the input is "added" to the current "state" of the oscillating mind as it scans the Map from "far away" to the "self *I* point" (which may be the two attractors). This addition causes the Map to be updated.

This in turn triggers the mind to focus on certain aspects of the updated Map that are critical or unusual, thereby redirecting the mind. (This may be the function of "arbitrary complexity") The mind then modifies its relationship to the perceived Reality, triggering the creation of Minsky Agents http://www.amazon.co...y/dp/0671657135 Minsky Agents, which in turn cause muscles to twitch and the body to move, speak and react.

Repeat ad infinitum.

The point in all this which excites me is that the mind itself is represented by an icon in the Map! Cows can't do this, because their Maps contain only representational icons ("the sensations at this location"). Humans have Maps containing semantic structures (Ubermaps), out of which the mind can build not only relational icons ("the sensations being felt by this mind have the following meaning"), but can also build a function of arbitrary complexity that can read and interpret the semantic meanings within the Ubermaps.

The icon of the mind in the Ubermap, must be built entirely of semantic structures. It is not so much a "thing" as it is a cluster of dynamically inter-related "meanings". As the Mind "thinks", the content and meaning of the thinking is updated in the Ubermaps icon for the mind.

And the semantic structure for the Mind (function of arbitrary complexity) can "observe" the mind icon in the Ubermap just as it "observes" the icons for automobiles in evening traffic. The Mind can observe the mind icon. The mind icon reflects what has been going on in the Mind, including a "history", if you will, of the Mind's "train of thought".

I don't know how I can define consciousness any better than this. So far. Any questions or comments???

#43 Thunderbird

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 11:57 AM

Well, let's get this conversation back on topic. "What is Reality?"

The question has two interpretations, which I summarize as follows: What is going on "out there" independent and apart from our several senses, our brain and our mind?

And: What is the nature of the "Reality" that we live in "inside" our senses, our brain and our mind?

I discovered a few clues this weekend. In the game "Alpha Centauri", one of the characters, Academician Zahkarov says the following:
This is from a game, mind you. And yet, it strikes a certain chord of reality. If it seems familiar to you, it should be.

The Mandelbrot function [note that my avatar is obtained from it] is calculated almost exactly the same way! Take a point in the complex plane as your starting point. Square it. Whatever point this calculates to, add those coordinates into the value and square again. Repeat until the absolute value of your operation exceeds 4. Count the number of repetitions until this occurs and plot that number at the original point in the complex plane. Then take the next point in the complex plane and do it all again...

As the Mandelbrot Function jumps from point to point in the complex plane, the coordinates of each jump becomes the "sensory input data" -- which modifies the MF by "taking it to a new location".

I hope you see the parallels. Now consider the human mind as a function, call it the Consciousness Function, CF. In tiny asynchronous steps, input sensory data is fed into the receiving lobes of the brain (like the visual cortex). From there the input is "added" to the current "state" of the oscillating mind as it scans the Map from "far away" to the "self *I* point" (which may be the two attractors). This addition causes the Map to be updated.

This in turn triggers the mind to focus on certain aspects of the updated Map that are critical or unusual, thereby redirecting the mind. (This may be the function of "arbitrary complexity") The mind then modifies its relationship to the perceived Reality, triggering the creation of Universo: Dynamical Symmetries, by Nigel Reading



#44 Pyrotex

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 02:36 PM

...have no contextual context without the firsts cause space-time point of origin.

Do you mean "first cause" point of origin? The beauty of attractors is, you don't really need a point of origin. Any random point will generally do--it's just a matter of time before the iterations fall into place in the dynamic oscillations around the one (or more) attractors. :)

The quoted text was absolutely great. It does require a good bit of experience using the complex plane in mathematics and physics to fully appreciate its relevance to our discussion of Reality.

The one thing I hit on the hardest was the description of the Mandelbrot Set as having an infinite boundary, but finite area--perhaps the most complex math model ever constructed, one that even contains an infinite number of near-copies of itself!!!!!

One could argue that this function should enable one to store a near infinite amount of information in a finite volume. Hmmmm... Kinda sounds like the Mind, doesn't it. --- More later. I've got to get busy on work stuff.
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#45 Thunderbird

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 03:27 PM

Do you mean "first cause" point of origin? The beauty of attractors is, you don't really need a point of origin. Any random point will generally do--it's just a matter of time before the iterations fall into place in the dynamic oscillations around the one (or more) attractors. :)

The quoted text was absolutely great. It does require a good bit of experience using the complex plane in mathematics and physics to fully appreciate its relevance to our discussion of Reality.

The one thing I hit on the hardest was the description of the Mandelbrot Set as having an infinite boundary, but finite area--perhaps the most complex math model ever constructed, one that even contains an infinite number of near-copies of itself!!!!!

One could argue that this function should enable one to store a near infinite amount of information in a finite volume. Hmmmm... Kinda sounds like the Mind, doesn't it. --- More later. I've got to get busy on work stuff.



“Any point will do” yes, its like the hands of a clock that move in relation to one other but have the same origin at the center of the clock face.
The center does not move even though the watch carried by the owner follows the cycle’s of time place to place time to time.

The earth spins the sun rises the earth tilts back in forth season to season and we all updated our calendars at the Monday morning meeting to synchronize our activities for the week and than I think to myself, "I’m just a cog in some giant clockwork that keeps grinding my life away. Its time for a smoke.":sherlock:

#46 Pyrotex

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 04:32 PM

...Its time for a smoke." :)

"Watson, this looks like a three pipe problem!" :singer: :sherlock:

#47 Pyrotex

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 04:38 PM

Here's a quickie description of Marvin Minsky's A Society of Mind, obtained from the Amazon.com link mentioned above:

From Publishers Weekly
Minsky, cofounder of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab, is a charter member of the community of AI pioneers committed to understanding the workings of the human mind and mimicking its processes by computer. Here he takes his place as this generation's Buckminster Fuller... But Minsky's difference is his style: he writes aphoristically, with wit and precision, and makes the most of his perception that the mind learns by images, which perform as agents that connect, interact and even "censor" in a staggeringly subtle "society" of microprocedures. This holistic view of the mind's learning stages is the culmination of Minsky's study, and its insights into the developing world of computers-as-machines are matched by paradoxically intuitive glimpses of the growth of a sense of "self" through introspection, short- and long-term memory, mind-frames utilizing pictures and language. Minsky's creative terminology for freshly perceived mental processes is a major contribution to the future of mind-science. Illustrated. Major ad/promo; Macmillan Book Club alternate.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.



#48 Moontanman

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 04:42 PM

I have news for all of you, nothing exists beyond the reach of my senses. Every thing is either a figment of my imagination or or a construct of my mind, You better hope I don't forget you :)

#49 arkain101

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 05:55 PM

Here's a quickie description of Marvin Minsky's A Society of Mind, obtained from the Amazon.com link mentioned above:

From Publishers Weekly
Minsky, cofounder of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab, is a charter member of the community of AI pioneers committed to understanding the workings of the human mind and mimicking its processes by computer. Here he takes his place as this generation's Buckminster Fuller... But Minsky's difference is his style: he writes aphoristically, with wit and precision, and makes the most of his perception that the mind learns by images, which perform as agents that connect, interact and even "censor" in a staggeringly subtle "society" of microprocedures. This holistic view of the mind's learning stages is the culmination of Minsky's study, and its insights into the developing world of computers-as-machines are matched by paradoxically intuitive glimpses of the growth of a sense of "self" through introspection, short- and long-term memory, mind-frames utilizing pictures and language. Minsky's creative terminology for freshly perceived mental processes is a major contribution to the future of mind-science. Illustrated. Major ad/promo; Macmillan Book Club alternate.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.


What I have done is highlight the words that have reference to sighted people.

I suppose this an interesting model but what about the 'minds' born 'blind' ? :sherlock:

Aw, now that is a query. The mind learning without images. An icon developed through sounds and spacial awareness? :)

And what of the ones born blind and deaf, who still learn to communicate with their surroundings?

It seems pictures in the mind are not the cause of the effect, but a bit more of an effect produced in the cause. I agree the mind does a lot with images as its most tuned and focused sensory function, but there are a combination of other sensory functions that can take part in the manifestation of the icon self.

#50 belovelife

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 06:25 PM

i wonder, some say the entire body is the observer
so say you got burned by grabbing something hot
then when you remember it, your body looks at the burn
adding a data access point like a pointer
so not only does your image effect your obesrvation
but your observation + outside refrence points (other people's reactions)
effect your image (based on a communal map)

#51 Symbology

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 06:43 PM

Thanks Belovelife for bringing up that subject. I think one of the main barriers to high speed brain dumps that Pyrotex is alluding to would be this:

A key part of learning something is where the instructor asks the student a question, or spar's with the student. IE the student is interacting with the environment. If instead the teacher only made a statement, the lesson wouldn't "stick" nearly as well. By getting the student to come up with "their own" answer it forms the correct set of connections in the brain structure.

One day the student asked the Master how he was able to remain calm when others disrespected him.

The Master asked: "If I offer you a gift and you refuse to accept it, to whom does it still belong?"

To which the student replied: "I suppose if I refuse to accept it, it still belongs to you."

The Master continued: "My second questions is: If I refuse to accept your abuse, to whom does it still belong?"


Note that the lesson and quote do not end with the actual answer. The answer is left for the student (and the reader) to form in their own mind/map.

Another key aspect is that the teacher has to introduce a base vocabulary of concepts to the student before the student can even grasp the next layer of instructions. If an advanced subject on genetics or gourmet cooking is presented prior to the student understanding what "fold" means then the student only hears something approximating the teachers voice on Charlie Brown - "wah wahh wah wahhh wah wah wah wah"

To my observation this layer of vocabulary needs to be tested to let it cure and harden before going on. Hence the need for testing. You may have experienced a day or a conversation where too many concepts were presented and your brain reached overload. But I think that was also being directly addressed in The Matrix when they were being impressed with what Neo could absorb in a single session:
"He's a machine"
"http://bioliteracy.net/Graphics/my_brain_is_full.gif"[/IMG]

Sometimes this process is done with a highly traditional and intense "Induction" or "Initiation" process to see if the student "is up for it" or "has what it takes" to be a member at the next level. In college this is sometimes know as "the weeder course".

It seems that it is most effectively done when the physical body is put under stress from sleep/food/water deprivation, extreme temperature, and/or hallucinogenics. Classic examples are Special Forces "hell week", Monks inductions, Fraternity hazing, Indian sweat lodges, and the Masons. Some take as little as 12 hours, or as much as 12 months.

And they each then have their own unique set of stories and metaphors that are ingrained as part of the process.

I think the process makes the mind especially pliable and willing to accept nonsensical things without question and brands the knowledge into the mind (and sometimes the body). It gets the inductees mind "over the hump". The resulting arcane knowledge often evokes a sense of pride and unity among the members that share this knowledge. And also serves as a subtle or even secret form of communication that can be woven into everyday speech and used in broad daylight to identify other members. The disarrangement of that knowledge can be used to identify frauds.

Complexity is just the disarrangement of Simplicity.
- George Abell


Once that is in place, then in locations where average minds view a barrier, the inducted mind sees easy access and solution, and an entire new section of the map is open for them. In addition I think this training then can let the inducted mind take "great leaps" across the map - leaving others lost and confused as to where they went.

Magicians and Illusionists have a huge spectrum of these things in their map of the world.


From what I understand of brain biochemistry, there is a chemical backwash that happens when we sleep which cements the adjustments we have made during the day and resets everything for fresh learning when we awake. I believe that a key part of the reason why we dream is to both help verify what we have learned against a metaphorical comparison of everything else we know, as well as a joining in of the new knowledge with everything else we know.

The Cyc project had that step as a key part of its learning process. The instructors fed it new knowledge every day, and overnight a batch process compared that new knowledge against all other knowledge and presented a list of new conclusions as well as identified contradictions the next morning to have those concepts readjusted by the instructors.

"You can't do that"
"Just watch me officer!"


One man's magic is another man's engineering
- Robert A. Heinlein
One man's religion is another man's belly laugh
- Robert A. Heinlein
One man's inconsistency is another man's power
- Pam Kemper
One man with courage makes a majority
- Andrew Jackson