On Oct 19, 11:41 am, benjayk <benjamin.jaku...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> I am not responding to some parts of the post, I don't really see the
> importance of the more detailed discussion...

No worries. I'm all in favor of compressing things whenever

> 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.

To me, the purpose of the thought experiment is to encourage

> >> 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.

Mm, I don't know, I don't have a problem saying that there is a
difference between voluntary actions and involuntary actions in our
body. It may not be a cut and dried difference, but our ordinary
experience pretty clearly distinguishes between our heart beating and
our legs walking. It's true that the thought experiment doesn't show
anything that we couldn't get from just thinking about the ordinary
way we act, but by reframing it in this context, I think it might be
easier for people to see their own prejudice against subjectivity.

> >  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.

Right, we can't. That is what I'm arguing. Others are perfectly fine
with the idea of creating an artificial brain  but they don't follow
the consequences through to what that means as far as our own high
level will to influence and control low level neurology. The thought
experiment just spells it out.

> >> >  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).

Why can't you control it? If you move, the image in the mirror moves
from your perspective. You could break the mirror too. That exerts a
kind of control as well.

> 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.

The brain can be controlled easily. Bullets, drugs, electroshock,
images and sounds... take your pick. The brain is as much an external
object as anything. It's just that objects have subjective qualities
that we can't experience directly unless they are the objects that we
happen to actually be.

> > 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 ;).

Oh of course it's possible. It's just advanced biofeedback.

>The brain is not some machine that
> is controlled by a homunculus.

It's not a machine completely, but many aspects of it are mechanical
and certainly many are controlled by us.

>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?

Do you think that you can control whether or not you stand up? If so
that means that you must control the firing of the neurons in your
brain which fire the neurons which contract the muscles which
articulate your legs. Just because we can't control all of our
thoughts or habits doesn't mean that we have no control over anything.
If that were the case the idea of control itself would be
inconceivable. We could have no laws or courts.

> 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.

I agree that it is like a mirror, but it's a funny kind of mirror in
that sometimes you are moving the mirror and other times the mirror is
moving you. We can change someone's state of consciousness by putting
drugs into their bloodstream. We can also change the chemistry of our
brain by thinking about certain things and having certain feelings.
Both sides of the mirror can drive and be driven. But yes, it's like a
reflection not a mechanism.

> >> >> 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.

 We can use that word instead if you want. What is the cause of
causality itself?

> 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.

That's what I'm saying. It's absurd to make a strong teleological
assertion that the universe is devoid of the possibility of strong

> >> >> >>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).

That is what I call the profound meridian. (http://s33light.org/post/
11179599552) The extreme ends of the continuum meet in the opposite
way that they do at the mundane meridian (ordinary naive perception of
the outside world as exterior to oneself). The profound meridian is
the most masculine-abstract orientation along the continuum, seeing
the cosmos as logos and both physical and subjective containers as

> >  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.

It's both a cocktail of different things and one unified absolute.
It's only our limited participation in this specific form that sees a
difference between the two.

> 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.

It's not a middle ground, it's just a map of every ground and how they
relate. It's an approach which works everywhere.

> >> >  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.

I say magical not because they are the source of consciousness, but
because of the belief that they somehow cannot be controlled
themselves. Yeah if they are committed to the absurd position that
neurons determine consciousness but consciousness cannot determine
neuron behavior then probably no thought experiment will help.

> >> >> 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.

We would have to exert the will to live that way in the first place.

> >> >> 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.

I'm both having some fun and having some compulsion to continue. I
don't much question it, it just seems to be what is available for me
to do at this time.


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