Mark Peaty wrote:
Bruno, Stathis, Brent, Peter,Brent, Tom, Hal and others,
I have to be very impertinent here and try to draw your attention to
something you are just not getting.
There is NO ultimate answer to the meaning of life, the universe and
everything except that IT IS, and you are here to take part in it
and observe yourself and others doing so. Existence is the source of
value, indeed it is the essence of value.
I am not in the habit of putting myself forward, but here I believe
the ideas are what count and I believe the issue is very important.
No, problem - we're all human beings here.
mean at 55 yo I know I have already attained 'old fart' status for
most people I meet. But one thing I know for sure is that, just like
me, YOU are not going to live for ever.
Bruno thinks he will :-)
As most of you seem a fair
bit smarter than me I assume that you can/will mostly choose how you
spend your limited lifetime. Choose wisely 'cause it's a once-off.
I really do think that before any of you get much older you should
take a VERY careful look at what I have been writing here. Have a
look also at the common meanings for the word physics [samples
I don't need to read definitions of physics - I are one. :-)
If you don't then I think you are going to spend the
rest of your lives chasing shadows, and end up a bunch of old men
sitting on the cyberspace equivalent of a park bench, STILL chewing
over the same old problem! Of course, if that is what you want then
that's fine. But don't say you weren't warned! :-)
There's something to be said for chewing the metaphysical fat. But
worry about yourself - I race motorcycles on the weekend.
the fact is, being conscious is inherently paradoxical, and there is
no escape from the paradox, just like there is no escape from the
universe - until you die that is. Your impressions, perceptions,
feelings, intuitions, etc. of being here now [where you are of
course] is what it is like to be the updating of the model of self in
the world which you brain is constantly constructing all the time you
are awake. When you sleep there are times when enough of the model
gets evoked that you have a dream that you can remember. The paradox
is that for most of the time we assume that this awareness -
consciousness, call it what you like - IS the world, i.e. what it is
like to be 'me' here now, whereas in fact it is only what it is like
to be the model of 'me' here now. This does not mean that you don't
exist; you do exist, and you must pay taxes in partial payment for
the privilege, until you die that is. [I work for the Australian
Taxation Office so I know about these things :-] There is however a
lot more stuff going on in your brain than is actually explicitly
involved in your consciousness of the moment, as far as I can see
there are usually a couple or triple of very sophisticated tasks
going on in parallel but swapping in and out of focussed attention as
needs and priorities of the moment require. There are often also
several other tasks simmering away like pots on the back burners of
I agree. Consciousness is a very small part of thinking - even of
logical and mathematical thinking (c.f. Poincare' effect).
I believe it is the hippocampus which maintains the tasks in process
through re-entrant signalling to the relevant cortical and other
areas which embody the salient features of the constructs involved.
Binding is achieved through re-entrant signalling of resonant wave
forms such that each construct EXISTS as a dynamic logical entity
able to maintain its own structure sufficiently to prevent certain
other things happening and to invoke through association [or perhaps
through reaction to patterns of inhibition, whatever] other
constructs as necessary. Note the key word 'exists'. The energy is
supplied through the work done as the neurons re-establish the
resting potential of their cell membranes. And here I should point
out that most of the posts on this list do not seem to talk much
about structure, and yet it is the spatia-temporal structures of
interacting cell assemblies which embody the patterns of information
which make muscles move. Think about it! This is what you should be
really concentrating on, because you and I are NOTHING if our muscles
can't be made to move in exactly the right way and the right time.
Except it is obvious that it doesn't take that specific structure to
make the muscles move - anything that sets off the appropriate
efferent nerve will work. Do you agree that your brain could be
replaced, say neuron by neuron, with electronic neurons and still move
your muscles...and still maintain your consciousness?
I know I have written 'I believe' up there a few times, but if you
wish I can go hunting for you and find a bunch of references that
back up what I am saying. I do not have access to pay-as-you-go
academic journals, so I have been gleaning ideas and items of
interest about this for the last couple of decades. I put it to you
that if you seriously think I am wrong, then you have a moral duty to
show me on the basis of clear and unambiguous empirical evidence
where it is that I am wrong about this. Because otherwise it is just
a matter of opinion and speculation, in which case mine is as good as
anybody else's that I have seen on consciousness related lists and
what I am proposing is not in contradiction to any good evidence that
I have heard about. I think William of Occam would be more than happy
with what I am putting forward.
I hope no one is offended by this. Is they are, sorry! But time
returns for no one and you do not have for ever, just all the time
there is - for you. That is what entropy is about.
Entropy is about possibilities.