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.
> 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.
Obviously there is. But what you call voluntary and involuntary, is, seen
from a deeper level, more like "happening within your attention" and
"happening outside of your attention". The feeling of it being voluntary (or
not) is more like something added to this for the purpose of making it
clearer, but it is not deeper than that.

Take the example of breathing. Normally it is happens without our attention
being on it, involuntarily. If we focus our attention on it, it may seem
voluntary (I "control" the breath) or involuntary (I just breath naturally).
There is nothing special about feeling to have control over it, it works
even better if you don't - it is more natural, the feeling of control is
confusing (it seems to make a seperation between your mind and your body,
which feels artificial and not true).
It is a bit like seeing something beautiful on the one hand and seeing
something beautiful and thinking "This is beautiful" on the other hand. That
we can think "This is beautiful" is not what makes it beautfiful, in the
same way the feeling of control is not what makes something happen, but is a
feeling that comes as we attribute an action / impulse to "us" as personal

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.
> 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.
Ah, OK. If we pretend that neurology is the controlling factor, and we don't
want to make it into something magical, we indeed get problems if the
neurons are controlled by other neurons, as then the question is "Where does
the control really arise, then?".
We could then say that the neurons are controlled by past factor and outside
influence, but we can't continue that forever. So where do we stop? Is the
big bang the ultimate controller? But we can't even describe it (and if we
could, this would be abitrary - as we have no clue that our description is
true, or why it is true), so to state that would get us back to magic, which
materialist wanted to avoid.
So ultimately they are either dishonest ("BS - you just don't understand
it"), or make excuses ("There is nothing magical about, we just don't
understand it *yet*..." - which you could say for every other mysterious
explanation) or they ignore the problem ("That's not a real problem anyway"
- like the hard problem of cosciousness) or, if they are honest, they admit
that matter is inherently mysterious (which rises the question why we can't
use consciousness as a primitive mysterious source, *that we can directly
experience*, in contrast to the mysterious essence of matter, which makes it
infinitely more plausible).

I think I get now where you are coming from with this experiment...

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).
> Why can't you control it?
There is nothing to control. The reflection is no independent "real" object
that can be influenced in the first place.

That's a good metaphor for everything, really. If there is just the subject
/ consciousness, and everything simply appears in it, there is no one that
could control anything, so ultimately whatever control there seems to be is
just a feeling that stemps from a distorted perspective.
I guess if you assume that there is a person and a world seperate from it,
you can say it can "control" its mirror image, or its brain. However, you
could as well say that mirror image controls you (you may make strange
gestures, but only since the mirror is there!), or the brain controls you,
then. To say the human control is merely an egocentric viewpoint (not
necessarily invalid, though). But if everything mutually controls
everything, the word control doesn't mean much anymore.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> 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.
I don't see how any of what you mentioned actually controls the brain. It
influences, that's for sure, but in order for it to be control it would have
to have a predictable, broad/deep, and directable influence. You can control
all sorts of "superficialities" (like whether a person feels good or bad),
but there is MUCH more to the functioning of the brain than that.

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 ;).
> Oh of course it's possible. It's just advanced biofeedback.
Influencing pain is a long way from what you say...

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>>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.
Who exactly is this "us" that you speak of? If there is no magical soul
entity that is seperate from the brain that can control something, where can
it come from?

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>>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?
No... It just happens, and a feeling of control appears. There is no
"actual" control to find, nor even an entity that could control anything.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>  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.
Or the firing is the simply a correlation of my feeling. It doesn't mean
that I cause it.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>  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.
That's not true. We can imagine to be in control, even if there is no
substantially real control - just as you can imagine a unicorn, which is
only real in so far as it is an appearance that "really" appears.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
> We could have no laws or courts.
These could simply function to show the consequences of certain action and
enforce compensation in terms of eg money. There is no necessary relation to
control, just psychlogically there may be.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> 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.
That's why I see it as more accurate to not label it control in the first
place. If control is entirely mutual, what is the meaning of control?
Control normally means that some kind of domination is going on, which
obviously can't be true if it is mutual. I think this is nicely reflected in
our history. We try to mutually control and dominate each other, and it just
leads to total unorganized chaos (effects of war) - which is itself not
controllable. So control+control=non-control.

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:
>> >
>> > 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. (
> 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
> illusory.
It is not abstract at all, and not really masculine (except for the fact
that it is radical, but it is also "feminine" as it is non-rational). It is
directly experiencable, and in that way the opposite of abstract. Right now
you are simply conscious. There is no real world outside of that to find,
and neither a real subject aside from that (who posses consciousness).

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.
> 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.
I agree in a relative sense (our relative everyday reality is certainly is a
mish mash of many different things), but ultimately reality can't be a
cocktail, as there are no different things it could be a cocktail of.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> 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.
I find something essential missing. I guess that every map misses
99,999....9% of the grounds.

You could make dozens of spectrums that are as fundamental as the ACME OMMM
Like seeing from a perspective of unicity and diversity, perceiving and
feeling, concrete and vague, simple and complex, naive and skeptic, open and
narrow, good and bad, multdimensional and nondimensional, static and
variable, subtle and obvious, cosmic and earthbound, subjective and
I am not saying what you write is worthless. But it is not a description of
the "extreme edges of possible worldviews". You just compiled some of the
poles into stereotypes.
For example you can be very well be a spiritual hard core skeptic
(experience is obviously there and everything that the content seems to
suggest is totally open to doubt) and a very naive materialist ("we have the
TOE in the next years"), a pessimistic superstitious person (belief in bad
spirits or hell) and an optimistic materialist (the singularity will come
soon and bring heaven on earth), a subjective materialist (the variety that
is not interested in science and rationality and is just sure that matter is
all there is anyway, and even believes qunatum mechanics is BS because it is
to unmaterialist), an objective spiritual person (bruno - there are
objective 3p facts that are the ontology, yet the 1p world is fundamentally
spiritual), an open minded materialist ("yeah, matter is all there is, but
it may fundamentally be linked to consciousness") and close minded spiritual
person ("2012 all people that are as spiritual as me will ascend, and all
others are fucked")  so on...

We really can't touch the reality of "everything" with words. I am not
critizing your attempt (I think what you write is fun and somehow poetic), I
am just trying to open you to a broader perspective. If we "think it
through" we miss SOOO much, especially if we think we "get really close".
And as you use words like "extreme edges of possible worldviews" I am a bit
worried you get lost in your map of what you think the possibilites are,
especially as almost everyone gets lost in thoughts regularly. I am
preaching to myself that I should give more attention to my subjective
experience instead of thinking, yet am I still thinking and thinking and
thinking and thinking....
Words and concepts are such powerful pointers that we are almost guaranteed
to mistake them as the actual important thing, which leads us straight into

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.
> We would have to exert the will to live that way in the first place.
But it is not the result of the will (ask any spiritual teacher, you can't
will your way to enlightenment!). The feeling of will is just a by-product
of the self-reflective capability of indiviudals, so ultimately, there is no
reason to call the spontaneous activity of consciousness "free will".

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