I am not responding to some parts of the post, I don't really see the
importance of the more detailed discussion...

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >> 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.
OK. In my opinion the best, and really only way to show the problems with
that is introspection (can I really find these supposed fundamental entities
that determine everything?), I am skeptical if any theoretical thought
experiment helps here.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> 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.
It only works with the premise is that it can happen, otherwise neurons are
determining the behaviour and some experience may arise alongside (or not).
The thought experiment doesn't show anything beyond what the normal
functioning of the brain and the feelings that correlate with it show.
That's not a fault of the thought experiment, I don't think it is possible.
I think what the thought experiment shows the most is the absurdity of
control. If there is a controller, who controls the controller, and who
controls that controller, etc...? Ultimately, there can't be any control, or
controller, just as there can't be any designer to the universe.
The same goes for causes.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>  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 answer would be: We can't, just as it seems we control our neurons
behaviour, so it seems that we control other persons behaviour. I don't see
any difference, except that the situation in the thought experiment is more
absurd, and so probably shows even less.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >  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?
I see my reflection in the mirror, but I can't control it, since it is not
an independent entity that could be controlled in the first place
(ultimately nothing is, so nothing can be controlled). The brain is a
phenomena that arises in consciousness as a means of self-reflection, and it
is not an external object that could be controlled.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
> If I had anMRI 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?
I don't think that would be possible ;). The brain is not some machine that
is controlled by a homunculus. Even though you admit that control is not
necessarily fundamental, you talk as if it is. Just be realistic, we can't
even control our own thoughts, or habits, why should we be able to control
the way the neurons fire in the brain?

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> 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.
I don't think you are telling the brain anything. Instead it is you telling
what the physical reflection of your experience looks like. It is like a
mirror, not like a car that you can drive.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >> 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?
I doubt that materialist say everything has a physical purpose. I have never
heard such a statement. Physcial *cause*, yes.
Back when I was a materialist I would have said that nothing has any
objective purpose. The universe is like a clockwork working according to the
laws of nature. And these just have to be the way they have to be, and this
has nothing to do with purpose or meaning or consciousness or anything like
that. Of course the question why they are the way they are then remains
essentially unsanswered (and neither is it obvious that they have to be that
way), so we end up with an absurd universe.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >> >>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:
> http://s33light.org/ACMEOMMM
> 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.
Hm, I would take a radical trans-personal subjective standpoint (only the
absolute subject, God, exists). This doesn't really fit with any category
(it certainly has nothing to do with superstition and imagination, but
neither with matter). But it is also not really a middle ground, but more an
extreme of both sides (total subjectivity and total absoluteness; no room
for interpretation).

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>  Tounderstand 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
> also.
That's kind of a mish-mash vague perspective. I like it more radical and
clear. I doesn't seem to me like reality is like cocktail of different
things, but one unified absolute.
Not that it is wrong to find a middle ground of different perspectives, but
your page seems to want to deal with the fundament of all ("A ManifesTOE"),
and this approach doesn't work there.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> 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.
If we believe that neurons (and matter in general) are the magical source of
(apparent) consciousness (and control), the thought experiment doesn't
really show anything. It might show to you how absurd that is, but if they
buy the absurd premise, it can't work.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >> 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?
Because humans can be freely living without feeling to exert will.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >> 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
> dogmatic.
OK, it is always a good intention to develop doubt about one's ideas. It
helps to go beyond ideas altogether, and face the unfathomable reality
beyond ideas.
I am not sure that materialists will help you much there, when I discuss(ed)
with them, it seems to me it is largly a frustrating waste of time. But if
it is fun to you, why not, I just observed in me that I often was leading
discussions because I felt compelled to, not because it was fun.


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