On Oct 19, 6:53 am, benjayk <benjamin.jaku...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> Craig Weinberg wrote:
> >>For the keyboard, you
> >> don't need to, but the brain has no lever which you can use to make it do
> >> what you want, because, contrary to the keyboard, it has not been
> >> designed
> >> for that task - it is a holistic system, if you control a part of it
> >> (sticking a electrode into you brain for example), it still won't do what
> >> you want it to, as a whole.
> > I agree that whatever you seek to control may have unintended
> > consequences that would have to control with a second order of
> > control, and so on, but the brain has millions of levers to make it do
> > what you want. Pharmacology, political science, neuroscience,
> > advertising, law enforcement, etc have identified many reliable
> > methods of controlling the brain, either directly or indirectly.
> They can't control the brain, they can influence it. To control it would
> mean that it (almost) solely does what you want, and even the most vicious
> means of control are not control in that sense (eg torture is reliable for
> controlling short term actions of people, but not their brain as such).
> Relative control, as in "he likes to control other people" is not sufficient
> for the thought experiment If understood it correctly.
You don't think that a sufficiently sophisticated implementation of
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation could control the brain? I don't
think that the brain is all that difficult to control. A picture of a
pizza makes my brain tell me I'm hungry.
> >> So to control it, you'd have to do it on a broad scale and a fundamental
> >> level. But we can't do that, and if someone could, the brain would just
> >> be a
> >> puppet steered by a puppeter and as such it wouldn't be a brain as
> >> working
> >> system, but rather a mass of flesh that is being manipulated.
> > Right, that's what my Overlords Gambit is about. What are the
> > mechanics of manipulation and what happens when they themselves are
> > manipulated?
> OK... So the one end of the spectrum seems clear to me, if they manipulate
> their brain enough they will make themselves unconscious. At the other end
> of the spectrum, the consciousness would be a bit clouded by the influence
> they exert, like being on neuroleptics. In the middle, they will be like
> people that wake out of coma for a few seconds and fall apsleep again.
> I don't see that anything special comes out of the fact that they both
> manipulate each other, except that it leads to KO quite fast, the more
> control they have, the quicker. One of them may randomly give up if he is
> sees the futility of what they do, or he just forgets what they are doing.
The fact that they both manipulate each other is just to help frame it
to expose the prejudice that exists against subjectivity. Some of the
thinkers here are very impressed with our ability to control physical
matter but do not apply that ability to controlling ourselves (even
though that would be a prerequisite to controlling anything outside of
ourselves). I'm showing that our high level processes are no less
capable of controlling low level processes than the other way around -
this is just a literal example of that, where each person's low level
processes are being controlled by the other person's high level
processes. I'm not looking at what would actually happen if we tried
to do such an experiment, I'm only looking at the problem with the
principle of exclusively bottom-up processing.
> >> >> The closest one can get to controlling the brain is to make it
> >> >> dysfunctional. It's a bit boring, but the most realistic answer is
> >> that
> >> >> both
> >> >> would fall unconscious, as that is the only result of exerting
> >> excessive
> >> >> control over a brain.
> >> >> It's the same result as if you try to totally control an ecosystem, or
> >> an
> >> >> economy. It'll destroy the natural order, as control is not a
> >> fundamental
> >> >> ordering principle.
> >> > I generally agree. The thought experiment is to make people consider
> >> > the fallacy of exclusively bottom up processing. I don't think that
> >> > you could actually control a brain, I'm just saying that if you could,
> >> > how do you get around the fact that it violates the assumption that
> >> > only neurons can control the brain.
> >> I don't think that many people would claim that. You probably mean that
> >> the
> >> neurons control your behaviour,
> > Controlling your behavior begins with controlling your brain. The
> > people I have been debating with here do claim that neurons alone
> > control brain as a whole, while I maintain that control is shared from
> > the top down as well.
> Isn't their claim that the neurons alone *determine* the behaviour of the
> brain? I don't see the necessary relationship with control.
What distinction do you make between determine and control?
> The thought
> experiment doesn't mean much in that case, it is simply neurons determining
> the behaviour of two brains. I don't see that it matters what the outcome of
> the experiment is.
But the neurons are also having their behavior determined as well.
That's the point. One person's high level behavior is now determining
the low level behavior of another person's neurons. That is what is
being argued cannot happen, so I'm showing that it can. The mutual
control is supposed to expose the absurdity of the absence of top-down
determination. If we have no say in our own neurons behavior, how can
we say that we can have a say in someone else's neural behavior?
> > The psyche can voluntarily control entire
> > regions of the brain, and does so routinely.
> I don't think so. The psyche is reflected in the brain, but I don't see how
> it controls it. The brain doesn't do what the person want, it reflects what
> the person want. For it to be control, the person had to have a choice in
> which way the brain mirrors the state of the psyche, and from my experience
> this is not the case.
What distinction do you make between reflection and control? If I want
a cookie and reach for one, that intention and action is reflected in
the brain. My intention changes the behavior of my brain. If I had an
MRI that would show me patterns in real time of my brain, I could
practice different feelings or motions until I might be able to draw a
pattern on the MRI that looks like the letters 'IBM' or a smiley face
or something. Is that not control?
> You can't tell your brain: "Use this neurons and this neurons!". It'll just
> "do what you want" because it is your avatar that reflects what you do.
When I move my finger, I am telling my brain 'use this and this bundle
of neuron', I just don't know it. But yes, sure you can tell your
brain what to do if you can see it and learn to coordinate with what
it looks like when it's functioning. It may take a long time but in
principle we should be able to learn how to light up any region of our
brain that is susceptible to our voluntary control.
> > The neurons which make up
> > the brain reflect that voluntary will rather than assemble an illusion
> > of will through the mechanics of their biology.
> I agree. No one has shown yet that the mechanics of biological functioning
> alone make intelligent behaviour (for example by simulating a brain that
> shows as intelligent behaviour as a real brain). It's just assuming a
> mechanistic kind of materialism.
> >> but I don't think many people believe that,
> >> either. Materialist would rather claim that the neurons are the physical
> >> cause for behaviour, and consciousness arises as a phenomenon alongside.
> > Not the people I've talked to. They mostly all consider consciousness
> > an epiphenomenon or emergent property of neurological function.
> Isn't that compatible with my statement?
The distinction between phenomenon and epiphenomenon in this context
is important. Epiphenomena aren't causally efficacious, so to say that
consciousness is a phenomenon alongside implies a legitimate parallel
equivalence, but that isn't what people here (and most places) are
arguing for. They are looking for an irrelevant fiction of
consciousness which arises out of mechanism as a matter of course.
> >> I don't see how this is any problem with regards to control, it just is a
> >> claim of magic (mind coming out of non-mind, with no mechanism how this
> >> could happen) that is not even directly subjectively validated (like the
> >> magic of consciousness that we can directly witness).
> > Some people argue that will is an illusion caused by neurological
> > function. I'm showing that the neurological function can also be made
> > into an epiphenomenon of conscious control. It has to be bi-
> > directional.
> My interpretation of would happen seems to be compatible with your first
> sentence; the neurological function of the brain is disturbed, and so the
> feeling of conscious control is disturbed.
Sure, yes, you can disturb the feeling of control just with really
> >> > The point was to show that bottom up exclusivity fails,
> >> > and that we must consider that our ordinary intuition of bi-
> >> > directional, high-low processing interdependence may indeed be valid.
> >> Yes, I guessed that this was your point, but I am not sure that your
> >> thought
> >> experiment helps it. Neurons making thought is quite meaingless from the
> >> start, I don't see how it is affected by what controls what.
> > It's not about thought per-se, it's just the idea of supervenience
> > doesn't stand up to this thought experiment. If the brain is nothing
> > but predictable, controllable, emulable functions, then what happens
> > when we turn that control on itself? What happens when we, as the
> > deterministic puppets of our neurology, control someone else's
> > neurology. Whose puppet do they become then?
> Nothing special happens, as they become unconscious. This would rather be a
> confirmation that their neurons are what determines their state of
> consciousness, as they interfer with the functioning of the other persons
> neurons, the brains don't work properly anymore, and so does consciousness.
Why do you think they become unconscious? If I juice the areas of the
brain that are associated with the feedback you get from moving your
arm and with the intent to move your arm, I think that you are going
to feel like you want to move your arm and that it is in fact moving,
whether it actually is or not.
> >> >> It seems like you think of control or will as something fundamental,
> >> and
> >> >> I
> >> >> don't see any reason to assume that it is.
> >> > That's a reasonable objection. If it's not fundamental, what is it
> >> > composed of, and why is there an appearance of anything other than
> >> > whatever that is?
> >> It is not composed of anything (I am not a reductionist). Rather it
> >> arises
> >> like other feelings/perceptions, for example being hungry (it is just
> >> more
> >> essential to our identity).
> > Doesn't that make it fundamental?
> Fundamental in comparisons with mind constructs maybe, but not fundamental
> to reality or to consciousness.
I agree. I'm not arguing for some kind of Nietzschean importance of
will, I'm just saying that it can't be reduced to any particular
physical or arithmetic mechanism (although it can be elaborated and
amplified through them).
> > If it's real yet has no reducible
> > precursor, then it's primitive, isn't it?
> It can be a phenomenon in consciousness (and thus secondary to it) without
> being reducible to it (nothing can be "reduced" to consciousness, as it is a
> source that gives rise to phenomena in and as itself and not something that
> things are constructed out of).
I think this is semantic. Subjects are different from objects. Objects
are nested within each other through relations of scale, velocity,
density, volume, etc. They have clear supervenience and reducibility.
Subjects relate through significance and timeliness, synchronization
and context-appropriateness. Any subjective phenomenon - feeling,
will, love, pain, blue, etc; any qualia could be said to be primitive
in the standard which we use for objects, just because there is no
object that qualia can be reduced to.
> > I could agree that it is
> > just like any other feeling or perception, or that it has ontological
> > efficacy. Either way it's the same really. It makes no difference,
> > both possibilities invalidate pure determinism in my opinion.
> >> The reason for its appearance is simply as a feedback mechanism, it shows
> >> us
> >> that "we" are the source of the actions,
> > Why should we want to be shown that if we aren't the source of the
> > actions really? A feedback mechanism would be just as effective
> > without any feeling/perception at all.
> Do you mean with regards to materialism? Good question, from this standpoint
> it is just a kind by-product. It has no use, just as nothing else has any
> ultimate use.
Exactly. Materialism says that everything has to have a physical
purpose, but what is the purpose of purpose itself?
> Craig Weinberg wrote:
> >> which bring attention to our
> >> actions (which is obviously quite useful). As such it is not more
> >> fundamental than other such mechanism (like pain, which shows us
> >> something
> >> is wrong in our body).
> >> Also, in a state of "enlightenment", the feeling of being in control
> >> vanishes (together with the ego that is supposed to be the controller),
> >> and
> >> people still function normally, which shows that it can't be that
> >> fundamental.
> > If by fundamental you think I mean that it is of some kind of
> > superlative phenomenon underlying all others, then no, I don't think
> > that. I just think will is a part of the sensorimotive experience of
> > living organisms.
> Ah, OK. Somehow your thought experiment seems to suggest that control has a
> special place, and if it isn't I fail to see the significance of the thought
The thought experiment is supposed to be very narrow in scope. It's
not my usual style at all, I'm just trying to address microcosmic
materialism in terms it can relate to. It's intended to expose
microcosmic prejudice and reveal the man behind the curtain of
materialism is, after all, a man and not a neuron multiplied.
> >> >>Honestly I that we think that we
> >> >> have "free", independent will is just the arrogance of our ego that
> >> feels
> >> >> it
> >> >> has to have a fundamentally special place in the universe.
> >> > I used to think that too, but now I see that it's every bit as much of
> >> > an egotistical arrogance to De-anthropomorphize ourselves. It's an
> >> > inverted, passive aggressive egotism to perpetually look to other
> >> > processes above and below our native level of individual cohesion to
> >> > give credit or blame, while all the while hiding invisibly behind the
> >> > voyeur's curtain.
> >> I understand where you coming from, but I don't see the necessary
> >> relationship to will. We can be the genuine free source of our actions,
> >> whether our will is free or not.
> > Sure, it's never free in the sense that our will is only a
> > relativistic means to an end which is already defined by sense. We are
> > presented with 'the good choice' and 'the bad choice', so there really
> > is no free choice about it. We will choose whatever we think is better
> > (even though determining that isn't always easy - sometimes we prefer
> > what might be seen as the 'bad choice') or more appropriate. But the
> > fact that we experience this formality of decision shows that the
> > universe is not mere automation.
> Not really if it is just a meaningless by-product, which makes sense if the
> universe is meaningless in the first place.
> This is a sad way of viewing the world, but I don't see our experience shows
> something here in any rationally arguable way.
> We can only directly appeal to experience, but there is not much to argue
> about in this case. "But you experience it that way!" - "So what? It is an
> illusion." - "But how can it be an illusion if it is direct experience! Just
> look, it is here!" - "Direct experience an illusion." - "How can it be an
> illusion if it is direct?" - "It isn't really direct, it just appears to
> be." etc... We can do that for an abitrary long time, it most likely won't
> have any effect.
That's why I have organized the two extremes into a continuum:
You can see the universe from a purely objective perspective, and it
will make one kind of sense, or you can see it from a purely
subjective perspective and it will make the opposite kind of sense.
Both extremes I think, if taken seriously, are pathological. To
understand what is really going on, we need to see the relationship of
the extremes and that they both need each other to make any sense.
Fact is a kind of fiction, fiction is a kind of fact, but also they
are opposites to each other as well. It is an involuted continuum. The
inside becomes the outside but the two topologies remain separate
It's hard to imagine because the inside is experience through time and
the outside is substance across space but I think that's only because
we participate directly in this thing as an experiencer rather than an
object. Our view of experience and time is, therefore, taken for
granted and made ephemeral to us while the exterior world seems
concrete. That makes perfect sense to me since our purpose in being a
person is mainly to experience the world as a person (rather than
explore the infinities within the self).
> Craig Weinberg wrote:
> >> That we place so much attention on our will, is due to us seeing us as
> >> mere
> >> doers. Actually we are much more (conscious beings with rich inner life),
> >> so
> >> if anything it is humanizing to give more attention to that, than mere
> >> will.
> >> It is important that we *are* free, not that we can decide "freely" what
> >> we
> >> do in particular, if you ask me.
> > Oh, absolutely. As far as personal philosophy goes, I generally let my
> > will evaporate whenever possible. I'm down with the wu-wei my friend,
> > believe me. My motto is "never do anything".Human beings instead of
> > human doings. I second that motion completely.
> Cool :).
> Craig Weinberg wrote:
> > This thought experiment
> > is much more primitive than that. I'm just showing how low level
> > processes must be susceptible to control from high level processes as
> > well.
> You are not really showing that, frankly. You just show you can imagine that
> it could be so, or that it feels that way.
> These thought experiments may be fun, but they really show nothing, except
> if someone happens to agree with you already.
I think it presents a counterfactual. If neurons were always
controlling our will and never the other way around, then we should
not be able to control neurons outside of our own body either. We have
to decide if it makes more sense that control passes in both
directions, or if neurons are magical sources of control which can
never be controlled themselves.
> >> When I say that your will is not really free, I am not saying that you
> >> are a
> >> puppet that is controlled by your brain. An opinion is valuable to you,
> >> whether you just have it, or you claim to use your will to have it.
> >> The cosmos does not need free will, as it is free without a will. It just
> >> does what it does, including having opinions, talking to interesting
> >> people,
> >> etc... Why is all of that nothing worth if there is no controller of
> >> them?
> > Why isn't just doing 'what it does' free will?
> Because the feeling of will need not be involved, so why call it will then?
Why should we assume there is no need for a feeling of will to be
involved? I think that it's the same feeling behind a magnet seeking a
magnet as it is a molecule seeking a molecule, a cell or organism
seeking food, etc. It may be one trillionth the level of depth or
richness as what we feel, but I think since our own feeling arises
through these kinds of electromagnetic interactions, we have no choice
but to realize that these interactions are themselves feelings,
> >> I mean, it is natural to want to be the owner of things (these are MY
> >> actions), but we can also "learn" to transcend this, or rather, see that
> >> there is no owner in the first place (just the appearance of one). I find
> >> this liberating, not dehumanizing.
> > Right, but that's a whole other conversation. I'm just talking to the
> > functionalists among us who claim that there is nothing to want to own
> > anything in the first place. That it can all only be functions
> > satisfying microcosmic physical laws.
> I am not sure you can convince someone by argueing against that, just like
> you are unlikely to convince a hard headed christian fundamentalist. It is
> just dogma and you (mostly) can't touch that with any words. It is more an
> emotional attachment. A materialistic world may be meaningless, but it is
> potentially understandable and controllable, so if that's important to you,
> you won't let go of that belief.
True, yes. I think it may even go beyond that to a kind of
neurological orientation like handedness or gender. I don't know that
my intention is to convince anyone of anything exactly, I'm mainly
trying to see if there is something that I haven't thought of before
which would throw doubt on my own ideas, and I think it helps me
develop ways of sharing my ideas with those who might be less
> >> >> That is not to say that we are predetermined by a material universe,
> >> >> rather
> >> >> control is just a phenomenon arising in consciousness like all other
> >> >> phenomena eg feelings and perceptions.
> >> > Sure, but that's all that it needs to be. As long as we get the
> >> > sensory feedback that we expect from our motives, then we might as
> >> > well have free will. It just seems violate parsimony unnecessarily.
> >> > Why does it make sense for consciousness to be completely dominated by
> >> > the experience of control in a universe where that would be utterly
> >> > meaningless? How would such an illusion even work in the sense of how
> >> > does a feeling of will get invented in the first place? If you keep
> >> > throwing dice long enough they will start hallucinating that they are
> >> > an organism with a conscious will? Why? How? It's totally nuts and
> >> > explains nothing.
> >> OK, I agree with you that it is not a meaningless by-product, certainly
> >> not.
> >> That doesn't make it fundamental, though. It is fundamental to our
> >> self-image, but that doesn't say much (money or fame is also, for some
> >> people). Self-image is important in the development for consciousness, so
> >> it
> >> makes sense it uses the feeling of being in control. But ultimately we
> >> don't
> >> want to idolize an image, but actually be directly aware (of)/as the Self
> >> (it seems to me there is just one).
> > I think we are on the same page, I didn't intend to say that free will
> > was a super important feature, just that it's appearance suggests
> > quite a bit more flexibility in the universe than determinism would
> > predict or allow.
> For a materialist appearance in terms of consciousness suggests nothing,
> except purely subjectively to an individual (usually not to the materialist
> of course, since he is more objective than that). Just matter matters,
> because this is how it is.
> They start from the assumption that matter is all that is, and therefore
> they end with that conclusion, no matter what appears to be the case.
Right, that's what the Overlords Gambit is about - trying to show that
there are consequences to high level will which are not just
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