Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Multisense Realism


1. The Competition

The Failure of Emergentism
When it comes to conceptualizing the origin of consciousness, the non-theological possibilities are limited, in the largest sense, to either emergentism or panpsychism. Either awareness came about at some point in the history of the universe through evolutionary accident, or it was here all along. Like gender preference, handedness or the ability to see Magic Eye 3D images, the trait of being able to conceptualize the irreducibility of awareness appears to be innate rather than learnable. There may be exceptions, but for the most part, people who are very interested in scientific approaches to consciousness are fixated on it as an emergent medium rather than a fundamental principle. This medium is presumed to have developed from, or is an emergent property of the communication of zoologically relevant facts to a neurochemical computer.
There is nothing wrong with emergence which follows inevitably – i.e. a bumpy ride emerges from a flat tire, but the idea of a metaphysical universe of colors, flavors, people, etc “emerging” as a data compression schema is absurd because it can’t be justified in any way. If the laws of physics can generate a functioning immune system without this kind of aesthetic theatrical presentation, then the bumblings of an unremarkable hominid looking for some food and shelter should certainly not require that such a thing would or could emerge.
The problem, as Raymond Tallis discusses in his book “Aping Mankind” is that most people approach consciousness retrospectively – after the fact. It’s easy to make a story, given that consciousness does exist, which makes its existence seem plausible to itself. Trying it the other way however, with a prospective view of consciousness in which we start from the universe which physics gives us – devoid of experience and aesthetics, and see how you can get from a wavelength of electromagnetic activity to the color ‘blue’. Why blue? Why not xlue or itchy#7? Why not simply retain the frequency in its precise quantitative form? Consciousness as an emergent property of data processing makes as much sense as installing a TV camera in a CPU so that it can look at a diagram of its own activity on a tiny TV screen, or including a beautifully designed dashboard inside a computer driven car.
To use an example of a bumpy ride emerging from a flat tire as a defining image for emergence may not be entirely fair. Something like the sound of whistle emerging from the articulation of lips and breath may be a better representation of what inspires legitimacy for the emergentist view.  The flat tire example isn’t a straw man however, because the point that emergence must require mechanical justification is just as true with whistling as it is with driving on a defective wheel, but the wheel example exposes the logic of that requirement simply and clearly. The whistle example is more seductive. The emergentist can say “Aha! You see? You could not have predicted that a whistle sound could appear just from this kind of mechanical process of lips and breath, yet there it is!”
This would be compelling, except that the whistle sound is dependent upon a sense of hearing. Mechanically, there is a quantitatively measurable difference, I am sure, between the material resonance of a whistling exhale and a non-whistling exhale, and that measurable difference corresponds to the sympathetic resonances of walls, floors, eardrums, etc. The pattern may indeed be statistically significant. There is a sudden change in the behavior of matter when the exhalation is compressed in such and such a way, and that can be understood mechanically, and reproduced with a simple notched tube.  Still – there is no mechanical reason why any of those transmissions of acoustic data would be rendered as any kind of experience, let alone as sonic experience.
Rather than the an emergent property of machine behaviors, consciousness makes more sense as a pervasively available potential, a pansensitivity which serves to immediate differences and mediate discernment. The ancestor of human consciousness cannot be only an aggregate of unconscious mechanisms as mechanism itself can only arise from a meta-lectic of sensory-motive capacities: to be and do, to know and evaluate.
Antrhopmorphism and Mechanemorphism
1. What is meant by mechanemorphism?
Anthropomorphize = To attribute human form or personality to things not human
Mechanemorphize = To attribute machine form or impersonality to things not mechanical.
The Multisense Realism perspective is grounded in a philosophy of science which seeks to be more objective about objectivity itself. In Western models of consciousness, experience is generated by the objective mechanism, the forms and functions of the brain.  As a result, the subjective experience itself, which does not seem mechanically necessary, becomes orphaned. I have heard it referred to as an illusion, an emergent property, epiphenomena, or even a spandrel (evolutionary side effect which plays no role in further developments). These kinds of terms are necessary to overlook the dualism which mechanemoprhism creates. It is a way of silencing or explaining away the very phenomenon which give rise to the inquiry into consciousness in the first place. This phenomenon of human inquiry is very much the opposite of mechanism. It is a personal participation which arises from meaning and motive rather than blind energy. It is a ‘Why?’ as well as a ‘How’.
When we, as upstanding citizens of the Western scientific consensus, mechanemorphize ourselves it is because we are considering only the public facing aspects of {the total phenomenon that we are} and finding them mechanistic. The conjecture of MSR is that because consciousness is more likely to use mechanism for differentiation and extension than machines are to use consciousness for anything (why would they?), we should not assume the public presentation of our own mechanism is the fundamental phenomenon. MSR suggests that perceptual relativity itself, the sense of the contrast between private qualia and public quanta, is in fact the most likely universal primitive. While human perception may be local to this planet during a relatively short era, perceptual relativity as a phenomenon is larger, older, and more universal than physics. Mechanism must be learned. Feeling and being is innate.
If we examine the nature of mechanism carefully, we should see that the essence of mechanism is unconsciousness. What is an automaton? What does it mean to automate a process? It means that we squeeze out all requirements for our own participation. It is a function which happens without us.
Why is that important? Because a machine will serve whatever master that it is constructed to serve. It will do the same thing over and over until it breaks, because it can’t tell the difference and it can’t care. The machine itself {the totality of the phenomenon that is the machine} has no presence as a genuine whole which is independent of our expectations of it. Outside of our uses of it, it is only an assembly of unrelated parts.
Natural phenomena are not assembled unconsciously, they are spun off and broken out from larger wholes. They are conceived through fusion and fission of their own sense and motive. As a result, the awareness of something like a human being, which is self-elaborated to an almost perverse degree, has a footprint in many different levels of awareness and interaction. While the public effect of what we are seems mechanistic to us, the private affect of who we are does not seem that way. If we were to recreate the universe and we wanted to recreate it faithfully, we would have to include this non-mechanistic experience, as it is the primary experience of the universe for ourselves, and perhaps for all participants in the universe as well.
To say that someone is ‘robotic’, or ‘acting like a machine’ is to say that they are impersonal, cold, relentless, unfeeling. These meanings are not there by accident, they are universal intuitions. As impartial scientists, we should recognize that it is no more scientific to presume that the universe is fundamentally mechanistic than it would be to presume that it is fundamentally anthropomorphic. We have many indications in non-ordinary consciousness, the placebo effect, quantum mechanics, synchronicity, and the anthropopological universality of spiritual concepts that objectivity is not a matter of what “simply is” but may in fact be, on a more primitive level, the complex interplay of “what seems to be the case”. There is no evidence that this ‘seeming’ can be taken for granted in a physical or mathematical system. There is no argument that I know of which should persuade a neutral party why mechanemorphism deserves more consideration than anthropomorphism as a default ontological assumption. Instead, MSR argues that this contrast of extremes known as anthropomorphism and mechanemorphism are a clue as to the template of the underlying nature of nature – that it is in fact an aesthetic agenda from which human subjectivity is directly descended.
Sense is more than mathematics.
The argument that mathematics is the ultimate reality of the universe is a strong one that has been around for a long time. I would agree that mathematics is an irreplaceable tool for understanding the universe, and for understanding knowledge, but mathematics alone is not sufficient to derive the actual universe which we experience.
Implicit within Multisense Realism is the understanding that mathematics can only be an emergent property of representation and therefore ephiphenomenal. The underlying (and overarching) phenomena of presence or presentation is fundamentally aesthetic and consists of sensory-motor experiences. This is not a biocentric view as inorganic matter is also, by my understanding, a tokenization of aesthetic experiences. The universe can be said to be a significance-building machine, where significance is the temporal super-saturation and transcendence of sensory qualities.
In comparing mathematics to computation, mathematics seems to be a broader category which would embrace ideas which computation cannot, such as irrational numbers and geometric forms. While computation can be used to drive a sensory experience in which geometric forms are inscribed visually or sculpted tangibly, those outputs are irrelevant to the computation itself and are desirable to us purely for aesthetic reasons.
Computation is, however, closer to empirical realism than other kinds of mathematics, since it is rooted in digital interactions which can be reproduced and re-presented in any solid-body/persistent-position form-function. If there is no discrete fundamental unit which is subject to reliable inspection (which is an experiential and aesthetic property that is generally overlooked ) then computation cannot be initiated or preserved. I get into this a bit here.
Mathematics requires both something like a mind and a something like a brain while computation requires only the brain-like machine. By this I mean that the mechanism of computation is a low level sensory-motor interaction (binary switching or lock-stepping) through which higher level interactions can be transported (but not interpreted) from one location to another. This transportation offers the opportunity for reconstruction only if the receiver has the appropriate frame of reference to imitate the sender’s intents. We use a computer to listen to music or watch a video, but in the absence of human receivers, there would only product would be disconnected instants of acoustic or optical activity.
Mathematics similarly owes its universality to its exploitation of a low level ‘common sense’ which depends on similarly overlooked assumptions of the validity of purely conceptual realism. Beyond the isolated axioms upon which Turing computationalism depends, mathematics also depends on a logical, intellectual sense. It presumes an aesthetic minimalism, but does espouse a sense of elegance in spite of its austerity and formalism.  Where computation can be more clearly seen to depend on concrete mechanisms of read/write/erase, storage, pattern recognition, loops, etc., mathematics seeks a loftier and more anesthetic representation – as Baudrillard might have said, a simulacra: A representation without any presentation. In my understanding, mathematics can be thought of as an ultimate reality only in the sense that all of our intellectual models of reality can be rendered in mathematical ways.
Unfortunately, most people conflate the idea of reality with the reality of experience, and have developed a misplaced authority for “information” as the progenitor of physics and awareness. This is, in my view, almost correct, but actually upside down as information can only ride on top of an exchange of aesthetic experiences, which involves public to private extractions of significance and private to public export of entropy. Information, by itself, has never done anything. No byte of data will ever feel anything, be anything, want anything, go anywhere, etc. Mathematics deals in figures, which have no form or function but represent forms and functions. What figures cannot represent is presence itself. There is no substitute for experience, and that is why it is experience which is the ultimate reality – the absolute and authentic substrate of the universe is a unique agenda of aesthetics, not a generic consequence of configured figures.
The conjecture of Multisense Realism is that this unique agenda or agenda of aesthetic uniqueness can be understood as ordinary sense. Sense as in sensation, sense as in cognitive coherence, sense as in intuition, and sense in order and categorization (in which sense?). The word sense is just a word, so it is not absolutely accurate in circumscribing the Totality of all phenomena, but the ‘sense’ which is conveyed through the language of all of those ‘senses’ gives a good hint of what is behind it. The capacity to feel and to do; to discern a difference and to make a difference. That fundamental physical capacity is beneath all form, all function – it is being itself; perception and participation. Without perception (afference) there can be no possibility of participation (efference), and therefore no matter, energy, or time.

In contemporary culture, largely because of the success of computers, it is very popular to believe that information (‘data’) is the underlying reality behind physics. As mentioned above, part of the aim of Multisense Realism is to explain why this belief is almost true, and therefore compelling, but in the case of universal fundamentals, being almost true means being exactly false. Data is not sense, it is not presentation, not aesthetic nor participatory. To the contrary, information without the presence of a sensory-motor experience is anesthetic, theoretical, and re-presentational only. Information is a conceptual entity which we derive by projecting our own experience of being informed onto disembodied functions.

Math can be understood to be sense’s self-negating orthogonal reflection. Where sense is proprietary and signifying, math is universal and generic. Sense takes place ‘here’ and ‘now’, while math can only be used to address ‘then’ and ‘there, there, and there’. Math is position without disposition – a skeletal inference abstracted from logical vectors. It is this minimalistic universality which makes it so powerful for science, and so disastrous for understanding consciousness. Computation is the essence of mechanism, of impersonality – pure extension with no intention. It is nature’s perfect imposter.
The main advantage of Multisense Realism over competing approaches is the recognition that any successful approach to understanding consciousness will have to meet consciousness halfway. This means not just looking for forms and functions which yield some kind of experiential product, but understanding that all forms and functions themselves are products of some level of sensory-motor participation. If thought and feeling are generated by cells and molecules, then cells and molecules must also think and feel in some sense, otherwise we are talking about metaphysical magic in never-never land.exgap
1. Hard Problem = Why is X presented as an experience?
(X = “information”, logical or physical functions, calcium waves, action potentials, Bayesian integrations, etc.)
2. Explanatory Gap = How and where is presentation accomplished with respect to X?
3. Binding Problem = How are presented experiences segregated and combined with each other? How do presentations cohere?
4. Symbol Grounding = How are experiences associated with each other on multiple levels of presentation? How do presentations adhere?
5. Mind Body Problem = Why do public facing presences and private facing presences seem ontologically exclusive and aesthetically opposite to each other?
My argument in a nutshell:
  • Sense is not an emergent property of information or matter.
  • Matter is a persistence of sense through time which we perceive as volume-densities in space.
  • To be informed is to recover significance through sense.
  • Significance is the inherent property of private experience to seek its own sensory saturation.
  • Sense is primordial, concrete, visceral, and physically real.
  • Terms like “information” or sense data are misleading in that they imply a substance-like phenomenon – which is, in my understanding, precisely the opposite of the the physical reality.
  • A worldview based on the premature assumption of sense as dependent upon functions and forms (which are actually aesthetic categories within sensory experience) is a worldview in which sense is an accidental product of non-sense, effectively undermining the intellectual authority which produces it.
In my view, theses are all the same issue which can only be resolved one way – and that is that presentation itself is the purpose of the universe. Once we assign absolute priority to presence, and understand presence as  identical to sensory-motor participation (again this has nothing to do with *human* consciousness, I am talking about physics here), then all of the above conundrums tie up without much effort.
1. Why is X presented? Because all there can ever “be” is presentation, and presence and being are the same thing. Participatory perception (sense) is fundamental, X is derived. We have the Hard Problem upside down because we are taking our own experience too literally on one hand, seeing the universe as fundamentally X, and too figuratively on the other, seeing ourselves as a de-facto metaphysical ‘illusion’. What we miss, in the modern Western mode of thought, is that of course we are not going to perceive our own perceptual capacity as being as ‘real’ as X, because the whole point of being human is to perceive the universe as a human quality edition of X.
Looking backward into the camera lens to find the photographer doesn’t work. Looking into the movie to find the director doesn’t work. All that we can do is deduce and infer our own realism by virtue of the fact that our unrealism cannot ultimately make sense on any level unless we buy into the presumption that X is more ‘real’ than the experience of X. As long as the quality of realism is attributed to X rather than the experience of X, then we cannot  honestly address the Ouroboran nature of the universal relation.
The universal relation, I submit, is the same as our own human subject-object dichotomy, and that all X is the public tip of a private iceberg – though the nature of that privacy may not be anything like what we would expect. All that we see as carbon atoms in the universe could be part of a unified experience in which a single instant is both a million years and a Planck time in duration simultaneously (i.e. our own lifetime is simultaneously decades long but the active window is ~0.1 seconds)
2. Explanatory Gap = How and where is presentation accomplished with respect to X?
This one’s easy. There is no how or where with respect to presentation since it is the universal ground of being already. It is not presentation which needs to be explained, because experience itself is the only possible explanation of experience. “You had to be there” is not just a figure of speech – explanation of presence requires us literally to to a priori possess presence. It cannot be ex-‘plained’ in any way since it is what is already only ‘that which is plain’.
What we are looking at in neuroscience is not about how and where this presumed simulation is being generated, but the public correlates of human privacy. A human being is a single, self-replicating event which appears as a single organism on one level, and as organs, tissues, cells, and molecules on other levels. Each structure on each level has its own history which dates back to the beginning of matter, and together they all have potentials which extend beyond our lifetime.
Rather than diminishing the importance of neuroscience, I think it enhances it. Our mission is not to replace the brain, but to practically realize benefits for the quality of human life.
3 & 4 = How does presentation cohere and adhere?
My hypothesis is that these issues of cognitive science can be clarified by the addition of the sensory-motor foundation. Coherence and adherence are accomplished inherently through the foundation of sense – not because sense is magic, but because as the sole physical principle in the universe, all experiences are derived as second order consequences. Any way that you slice the universe, it makes sense with respect to everything else. All conflicts are temporary from an absolute perspective…although temporary can seem to be an infinite duration from any given local perspective.
It probably sounds too crazy and obscure, but there are a lot of concepts which have touched on this nature of the Totality in mathematics and mysticism alike. I have called it the Big Diffraction, Sole Entropy Well, or Negentropic Monopoly, but others have used words like Tao, Tsimtsum, the Absolute. I can see similar themes in the cardinality of aleph-null and ordinality of omega, the Cantor set. Perhaps the Big Diagonalization is more understandable to the STEM crowd? (Just don’t forget that what is being diagonalized is not arithmetic quantities but experienced qualities). I think that the current QM model’s version of this is the quantum vacuum zero point energy, but that is a misinterpretation in my opinion, as it posits a ‘universe from nothing (which is really oscillations of potential anythings)’ whereas the Sole Entropy Well is a Singularity of Everything within which coherent microcosms are diffracted or insulated temporarily from the Whole. The fabric of the universe is not just the big fish in the small pond, but the big pond in the small fish.
5. Mind-Body Problem
It seems to me that the cleanest way to understand the perplexing nature of our own human experience is to avoid the temptation to buy into substance dualism. Within our subjectivity, it seems that mind and body are not distinct. Deprived of external stimulation, we are quickly subsumed into a fugue of interior experiences. In lucid dreams we seem to be able to directly influence our dream world and all of the contents of the psyche are free to combine polymorphously. It is only through our body’s interaction with other bodies in public space that our attention is captured by a distinctly exterior world of overwhelmingly convincing realism in relation to our own privacy. Simply put, we don’t know that privacy can exist until we are presented with public experiences, primarily through the visual and tactile senses. Combined with the cognitive sense of logic, we participate as a body in a world of other, seemingly stable, macrocosmic bodies.
Without getting into Descartes, Locke, and Kant, I think that the mistake in Western philosophy thus far as been to assume that the realism of the outer world is the ground of being simply because our experience suggests that it is very very important that we take it seriously. That is not in question – of course we should take realism seriously from the perspective of our own human survival… we are mortal, we should avoid flying bullets even if it means cutting our meditation retreat short. The trouble with Idealism was that it came too early. Berkeley and others understanding of the supervenience of all forms of realism on perception was taken to mean *human perception*, which, at the time, was the only thing which anyone cared to consider.
In the intervening years, science has, by extending what we can see and touch into the microcosm, given us every reason to believe that non-human social interaction is commonplace. Even on the bacterial level, group communication and decision making suggests that perception and participation could easily be embedded in the fabric of existence on every level. Indeed, the mind-body problem is no less difficult on any level. Whether it is a neuron, molecule, bacterial, or entire nervous system, the conceptually unbridgeable gap which is nonetheless bridged functionally at all times is identical. It is no easier to explain how we see the world than how we see a neurochemical model of the world, and no easier to explain how a neuron mistakes cell membranes for a hallucinatory fragment of a remembered moment.
My solution, then, can be said to rehabilitate both Berkeleyan idealism, panpsychism, and substance dualism to arrive at a multivalent, multi-level, Ouroboran symmetry from which private experience and public realism emerge. Metaphysical arguments are retired and the whole of private and public phenomena are united in a single involuted continuum or spectrum. This so-called multisense continuum is a range of experiential aesthetic qualities which degrade as increasingly quantified, anesthetic conditions. Private time is a fugue of feeling saturated narratives seeking self-augmentation and resolution. Public space is the opposite – a plenum of body relations and relativistic perspectives.
Despite accusations to the contrary, my views are not the result of any political agenda or fervent wish to believe in any particular view of the universe. I arrive at my conjectures from simple-minded interest in the totality of nature and how to reconcile all that I can of it into a picture that makes as much sense as possible. The advantage of my view is nothing other than that it seems to honor everything that can be honored and leaves out only what truly won’t be missed.

Common Criticisms of Multisense Realism

The most common issues that people have tend not to be with the content of my ideas themselves, but the way that I present them or argue them. From my perspective, it seems clear that they have no intention of entertaining a new set of ideas about consciousness, so my admittedly wordy and often overwrought writing style becomes the reason why my ideas are objectionable.  I generally hear that they 1) don’t make any sense, 2) are wrong, and 3) are unfalsifiable. This is an interesting complaint, since they are all mutually exclusive. Ideas which don’t make sense can’t be wrong, and ideas which are wrong can’t be unfalsifiable.
While I make no claim to special knowledge regarding the truth of the ideas of multisense realism, I feel confident that if they turn out not to be true, it will be because of reasons other than those listed here. The arguments which I find myself defending against are not of a carefully considered scientific nature, but are what I would consider reflexive responses to any cosmological framework which threatens the status quo.
Let’s begin with
1) They don’t make any sense.
I don’t expect that all of the ideas will make sense to everyone immediately.  All of the ideas do, however, make sense to me, even if I come to realize later that the way I wrote about them is in need of editing or re-working. I’m not saying that I’m not crazy, but I have never been so crazy that I have looked back on my own writing and not been able to figure out what I was trying to say. What I write makes sense to me, and it does, believe it or not, make sense to enough people who have expressed to me that they understand it that I am not threatened by this #1 accusation. Ultimately, it is just an accusation, as being unable to make sense of an unfamiliar idea says nothing about the merits of the idea, or the author of the idea.
2) They are wrong.
Once people have tired themselves out yelling about how my writing irritates them, they often will find a way to make enough sense of my writing to announce that I make this or that ‘claim’ which contradicts this or that Law.  Of course that’s nonsense. Nothing that I propose here can be construed as contradicting any natural observation. Not only do my ideas about the relation between body and mind or matter and sense not require any additional force within public physics, but they explicitly avoid it by definition. My interpretation is a commentary on the umbilical-symmetric-nested nature of the relation of public bodies and private experience, not a squeezing of private experience into public mechanics. If you cannot grasp this concept, I suggest that you stop reading now. You will never be able to understand Multisense Realism and you will be wasting your time to go on.
Another criticism along these lines is the mistaken impression that some make that I am a naive idealist. Because I say that physics and sense are in fact the same thing, and that there is no ‘existence’ independent of sense, many people cannot get the idea out of their mind that Multisense Realism is built on a Berkeleyan straw man where the tree falls in the forest and doesn’t make a sound unless a human being hears it. Not so. Lots of organisms have ears, and the event of a tree crashing to the ground has lots of sensory opportunities with or without he benefit of the presence of Homo sapiens. If you get rid of all ears, however, the you would have eliminated all possible experiences of sound. Physics, in my view, does not merely depend on both public and private transmitter-receivers of experience, physics is that which twists itself into public and private ontologies (or ‘verses’) in the first place.
In the context of Artificial Intelligence, I get a lot of flack for insisting that mechanical approaches to assembling consciousness are doomed to failure. People assume that my ideas are sentimental and reflect some sort of patriotic attachment to human beings, or an aversion to technology. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have always been a both a technophile and a misanthrope so that nothing would please me more than a Kurzweilian singularity in which I could be uploaded out of this nasty human civilization. Unfortunately, in the course of developing Multisense Realism, I could not avoid that the nature of the juxtaposition between private experience and public bodies is such that no experience could ever be generated by bodies alone. Forms and functions both, are a consequence and reflection of sense, not an independent source of it. You can’t build a mind out of forms and functions, only a sculpture of a mind – a recording. Without using some kind of biological organism to start, with its own agendas and sensitivity driven values, there can be no artificial intelligence – only simulated intelligence.
This position leads people to jump to the conclusion that I am a biocentrist – that I think there is something magical about living cells which allows them to progress to higher quality consciousness than molecules alone. Nope, you can’t hang that on me either. It is not the substance of the cells that matters, it is the experience which is represented by the cells. The cell is a game piece, a marker. What it represents is a sub-personal experience which has been around a lot longer than we have been. The fact that only certain organic configurations have led to biological cells should not be taken as a sign that no other forms of life or consciousness can occur – but it should not be ruled out either.
Once it is understood that the universe is an experience in which significance is produced, and significance has to do with monopolizing negentropy (signals), then the development of biology as a consequence of nucleic acids can be seen as more akin to a second big bang than a random development. Biology is a single thread and plays a unique role in the cosmos as far as we know. If we have learned anything by being living organisms it is that we are both very adaptable and very finicky. We can eat a million different kinds of roots and leaves, but not even a little serving of arsenic. We should not blow off the difference between life and death, organic and inorganic, until we really know what we are talking about. We still have not made anything live from scratch, even after knowing how to make primordial soup for decades, so it is premature to proclaim that my conservatism here is unwarranted.
3) It is unfalsifiable
In my view, the question here is not so much whether MR is falsifiable or not, but rather how legitimate of an expectation is that. Since the idea of things being true or false or provable is a quality of the mind, it is circular to attempt to use experiences within consciousness to prove something about consciousness itself, especially when we know already that the problem with consciousness is that we can’t find any trace of it when we look inside someone’s brain. What we find is something like a coral reef, which pulses and throbs with teeming microbiotic events that correspond to subjective reports of consciousness, but without such reports, and our own to draw on, we would certainly be looking at an intra-cranial reef and not a ‘person’. If you found this thing growing under your sink, you would not ask it what it is thinking about.
I should offer an another ultimatum then. If you can’t understand exactly, precisely, why it may never be possible to present a theory of consciousness which is falsifiable to consciousness itself, then you should probably stop reading as you will only waste your time and become frustrated. This does not mean that we can’t appeal to other epistemological standards and make more sense of consciousness than has ever been made before, but may mean that this sense-making comes at a cost. We may not expect to receive this understanding with Enlightenment Era methodology, with our arms crossed, waiting to be bowled over by incontrovertible evidence.
This new understanding reveals that all physics is participatory to the core. We have to meet the universe halfway, and our theory of consciousness has to meet us half way. We can’t be trapped in a corner between some ion channel and an action potential, or squashed under a millions years of hominid evolution. To find consciousness, we must stay put and let the pieces to the puzzle fit together in the best way that they can. The big picture has always been unfalsifiable, but at the same time, it has never required proof. If you can doubt your own existence, then you can’t doubt that you are the one who is doubting it. Is that unfalsifiable? Does it matter?
Craig Weinberg – 3/7/13
There is another criticism which comes up regularly:
4) It doesn’t serve any practical purpose.
While I can understand that most of us are used to encountering theories of settled science, in which technology has been produced as a consequence, but that is not how theory works. The practical applications of any new theory in physics or mathematics especially are not readily knowable at the time of their inception. Copernican-heliocentric theory was less accurate than Ptolemaic-geocentric for all practical purposes for many years before technology in astronomy improved enough to take advantage of it.
There are a lot of applications that I can think of for Multisense Realism in psychology, psychiatry, politics, perhaps much more. Mainly I am excited that there is a plausible way to reconcile all of the major introspective questions of the human condition with the observations of science. Isn’t that enough?
4/20/13
More rants in defense of a Post-Occidental cosmology:
Leave Shannon Alone – Toward a New Theory of Information
There seems to be a lot of confusion resulting from Claude Shannon’s use of the term entropy, and conflating it with thermodynamic entropy. I maintain that Shannon Entropy™ is closer to the inverse of thermodynamic entropy than it is a synonym for it.
From what I understand, Shannon entropy is the dissipation of information processing efficiency in the context of data compression, not a general property that relates to physical materials involved. If information is highly compressible, ie, 10,000 zeros in a row, then it has a very low Shannon entropy – it is easy to compress, and not a lot of *extra* information needs to be sent on top of the text to allow the text to be reconstituted on the other end.
This is almost the opposite of thermodynamic entropy, in which a box of half hot coals and half ice cubes has lower entropy than that same box when it has reached equilibrium as warm coal mud. The uniform distribution of warmth gives it higher physical entropy, because, in this case, it would be harder to do work with the energy going on in the mud when it has already reached an equilibrium within its closed system.
I could be wrong about this but I think I have it straight.
If we throw in QM and get a whole other idea of information and physics, where physics itself is pure information. I sympathize with the effort to unify under something like pattern or information, but ultimately it fails to explain how or why information would make up its mind to pretend to be the universe. It’s kind of a mess, and I think it takes us away from the more relevant issue of information’s direct relation to consciousness (sense) and consciousness’s direct relation to physics (motive). When you put a subject in the mix, there is a body of semiotic work to approach it with – semantics, syntactics, and pragmatics. Trying to link ‘information’ with physics directly I think destroys any possibility of understanding awareness. It is like trying to build a car out of exhaust.
The Extreme Physical Information (EPI) principle builds on the well known idea that the observation of a “source” phenomenon is never completely accurate. That is, information present in the source is inevitably lost when observing the source.
I think that Multisense Realism offers is a more elegant possibility for a Full Spectrum Information theory where:
  1. Information is not passively received by an observer but rather an observer is informed by mutual collaboration on multiple levels with the source.
  2. Since we can only be sure of how it feels to be informed as a human being, we cannot speculate meaningfully on non-human semantic observers. Non-human observers presumably have fewer levels of senory-motive collaboration.
  3. The human experience of being informed occurs on multiple levels or castes, which can be modeled in a hierarchy or holarchy from low level or bottom up phenomena such as physical and chemical interaction, to high level or top down phenomenology such as cultural or creative insights.
  4. Multisense Realism suggests the interior/external symmetry of each layer (‘horizontal’ interaction) is such that it can be described externally as objects in space, and internally is subjects through time.
  5. What EPI considers a loss of information from source to observer, MR considers a refraction of sensation such that rather than a net loss of information, there is a qualitative enhancement on the observer end. The less horizontally complete the information received from the source, the more vertically rich the observer’s contribution to their sensation will be.
  6. This principle of subject-object qualia-quanta fungibility I think may be novel and experimentally discoverable property. We can see it informally ourselves. The role that mystery plays in fantasy and perception. The banality of purely literal expressions. The more there is to know about the source that the observer is uncertain about, the more the observer can generate enthusiasm and fertile subjectivity.
  7. As the observer’s personal contribution to the sensation-observation increases, the supposed EPI loss of (horizontal) source information into a gain of (vertical) observer qualia and conserving the equilibrium significance of the sensation/observation as a whole.
  8. Thus, the more complete the information we already have of an external object, the less we can subjectively invest in it. To understand the world of objects, we have to ‘go horizontal’ and flatten our subjective imagination to an impersonal, generic, and universal mode.
  9. MR posits that information transfer is entirely dependent on sense, which is an internal, semantic, essential property of the cosmos. Not ‘a’ process, but the only process, which gives rise to all second order logic like sequence, identity, symmetry, mind, and time.
  10. Computation is the flattest sensation; a 100% non-mysterious, horizontal movement or replication of low caste sense so that it is literal, discrete, digital, and a-signifying. Pure quanta has no sense to it other than vectors in ‘computational space’. It is no different here or there, close or far, mine or yours.
  11. Consciousness is the deepest ‘container’ of sense within sense; a 100% mysterious, vertical range of stillness or uniqueness. A source* of genuine high caste motive-will that is figurative, compact, analog-synthetic, and semantic. Pure consciousness has no computation to it other than an inferred invariance of awareness through time. It is proprietary and defined precisely by it’s capacity to discriminate mine and yours, before and after, high and low, etc.
*see etymological relatives: soul, solitude, solitary, solace, solemn, solar, self, soleil/sun/solar, isolated, solution, insoluble, solid, consolation, stand, stable, static, stasis, sol, whole, holistic.
Multisense Realism model with information processing integration.

TimeCube ahoy!
Breaking down information into its realistic constituents, inform and formation, where informing is to decode meaning or receive semantic value and formation is to encode for semiotic expression.
The breaking of information into inform and form as stages within the cycle of perspective transformation parallels the breaking of spacetime into Space and Time (really Spacetime and Timespace, but this is crazy looking enough as it is) and Matter and Energy.
I use the term Process to denote serial and parallel arrangements of encoded forms into process protocols, as the processor motive executes them as object transformations or changes to states of material inertia across space.
The cycle begins and ends with sense – the initiation of experience or afferent input.
As usual with these syzygy diagrams, all of the derived symmetries and cyclic phases are meaningful. Entropy opposes Form, Significance opposes Process, Subject and object are to significance and entropy are to matter and energy and spacetime, etc. The curved arrows here are useful to connote the inside-outside topological involution throughout.
(Thanks and apologies to whoever drew the cartoon which I appropriated and modified.)

The above originates from the following..

Multisense Realism   Blog

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