On Wednesday, February 13, 2013 10:15:53 PM UTC-5, Craig Weinberg wrote:
> On Wednesday, February 13, 2013 7:05:39 PM UTC-5, freqflyer07281972 wrote:
>> Hi Craig, 
>> Thank you for your very well considered point of view on my original 
>> post. I have some interjections that I would enjoy hearing a response to:
> Thanks Dan, I'll try my best.
>> On Sunday, January 27, 2013 9:37:03 PM UTC-5, Craig Weinberg wrote:
>>> On Sunday, January 27, 2013 5:35:22 PM UTC-5, freqflyer07281972 wrote:
>>>> Hey everyone,
>>>> I've been following this group a lot. I read it everyday and enjoy all 
>>>> of the wonderful stuff that comes up, even if some of it tends towards ad 
>>>> hominem, argument from authority, and petitio principi. Hey, we're humans, 
>>>> right? That means we get to make these fallacies, in good conscience or 
>>>> bad. 
>>>> Anyway, I wondered about what anyone/everyone thought about the notion 
>>>> of 'chosenness' as a way to understand where we are here in the world. It 
>>>> seems to me that concepts like MWI, Bruno's comp/mech hypothesis and the 
>>>> 'dreams of numbers' ideas of subjectivity, and even Leibniz's 'best of all 
>>>> possible worlds' don't actually do something like flee away from our 
>>>> everyday responsibility to accept the basic fact that we have been CHOSEN 
>>>> -- and when I say this, please don't immediately put a bunch of 
>>>> theological 
>>>> baggage on it. I'm not saying God chose this reality as opposed to 
>>>> another, 
>>>> although this might be a convenient shorthand. But what I am saying is 
>>>> that, out of all the staggering possibilities that we know exist with 
>>>> regards to our universe, our galaxy, our solar system, our planet, our 
>>>> society, and even our individual selves, things could have very easily 
>>>> turned out to be different than they were. The fact that they have turned 
>>>> out in just this way and not another indicates this kind of chosenness, 
>>>> and 
>>>> along with it, comes a certain degree of responsibility, I guess? 
>>>> It seems to me that all the various 'everything' hypotheses (MWI, comp, 
>>>> Leibniz, and others) try to apply the Copernican principle to its breaking 
>>>> point. True enough, there is from a purely 3p point of view nothing 
>>>> special 
>>>> about our cosmic situation re: our planet and our sun. BUT, from an 
>>>> existential 1p point of view there is a huge privilege that we have, i.e. 
>>>> we are sentient observers, who love, feel pain, feel desire, and long for 
>>>> transcendence. 
>>>> Moreover, the 3p point of view is a pure abstraction, kind of like 
>>>> eating the picture of a meal rather than the actual meal. How do we know 
>>>> what any kind of 3p account of truth would be? What would it even look 
>>>> like? A universe with no observers. A falling tree without a 
>>>> hearer/listener. This, to me, is nonsense. 
>>>> Aren't things like MWI of quantum physics and comp hypothesis of 
>>>> universal dovetailer trying to, at a fundamental and existential level, an 
>>>> attempt to try to run away from the concreteness and absolute 'givenness' 
>>>> (gift) of the world as we find it? And isn't our role, in creation, as 
>>>> freely choosing beings (sorry, John Clark, free will is more than just a 
>>>> noise) to choose what will make other people with us now and in the future 
>>>> feel more love and less pain? And isn't this why we were chosen? 
>>>> I'll go back to lurking now, but I'd appreciate any thoughts you might 
>>>> have on this reflection of mine. 
>>>> Cheers,
>>>> Dan
>>> What I propose is that a complete description of the universe must 
>>> include:
>>> 1. The experience of significance.
>>> This speaks to the idea of chosen-ness, of choice, of free will, of 
>>> improbability as a quality as the subject of appreciation. 
>> There is a difference between choosing and being chosen. The former takes 
>> place on the level of the agent -- it is where 'free will' is exercised. 
>> The latter has no free will associated with it 
> Sure, but they are ontological conjugates, i.e. you can be chosen locally 
> without having the ability to make choices yourself (theoretically 
> anyways), but you can't be chosen without the presence of some choosing 
> agency in the universe.
BINGO - here's a smuggled premise, the premise of 'choosing agency' - why 
would there be agency to any choosing force? this is like making the same 
mistake as eager adaptationist versions of evolution that import 'just so' 
stories to explain what are, in essence, really quite blind and arbitrary 
design decisions that propagate from one generation to the next (spandrels- 
steven j. gould), for the simple reason that they a) didn't die before they 
had more offspring and b) had offspring to propagate that feature...I would 
say, on the contrary, that is is quite easy to be chosen without the 
presence of a choosing agency, and the fact of natural selection proves 
this (as far as i am aware, no one has ever said natural selection is an 
'agent', complete with all of the free will ramifications that this term 

>> -- if you are chosen to go to war by your government, then you go, 
>> regardless of what you personally want (barring conscientious objection, 
>> but you get my meaning, I hope). Our free will, internally, may have many 
>> features of improbability and uncertainty, but the fact that we were 
>> 'chosen' (i.e. came into this world without any kind of vote or say or 
>> decision on our own parts) is a different matter.  
> Right. In general I don't have an opinion on human experience in 
> particular. I'm happy to speculate for fun, but I don't have any special 
> insight into whether we choose to incarnate or anything like that. Could 
> be? Doesn't have to be.
But then what metaphysical work does the postulate that 'sensation is 
basic' (which I take to be your fundamental postulate, and I could 
certainly be wrong) do? We need our theories to do work for us, or else 
they are nothing, no? What work (i.e. predictions, possible calculated 
values (even qualitative, ok), saying about post-death/pre-death) does your 
'sensationism' theory (for lack of a better word) do for the ultimate 
questions of 'Who was I before I was born?' and 'Who will I be after I 

>>> 2. The experience of the significance of the idea of insignificance.
>>> I word "the significance of the idea of insignificance" in this 
>>> convoluted way to reflect the natural sequence in which the revelation of 
>>> objectivity has occurred across all human societies. Since as far as I know:
>>>    a.  *all* cultures begin their history steeped in animistic 
>>> shamanism, divination, creation myths and charismatic deities and 
>>>    b.  *no* cultures develop eliminative materialism, mathematics, and 
>>> mechanism earlier than philosophy or religion, and
>>>    c.   *all* individuals experience the development of their own psyche 
>>> through imaginative, emotional, and irrational or superstitious thought
>>>    d.   *no* individuals are born with a worldview based only on generic 
>>> facts and objectivity. Healthy children do not experience their lives in an 
>>> indifferent and detached mode of observation but rather grow into 
>>> analytical modes of thought through experience of the public world.
>> I really like what you said here. I had honestly never thought of things 
>> in these terms, and I thank you for that insight. That being said, however, 
>> is it merely enough to point out that this is the natural sequence of 
>> things and then attach some greater significance to it? Or could we say 
>> indeed that the cultures that DO in fact develop eliminative materialism, 
>> mathematics, etc. and the adults that DO in fact see the world through the 
>> perspective of generic facts and objectivity succeed more because their 
>> view is closer to the truth? (and I'm not challenging anything here that 
>> you've said, just exploring the premises).  
> Yes, definitely it is a big advantage to move beyond the primary 
> orientation. It's a huge deal, on the order of 'In the land of the blind, a 
> one eyed man is king.' Even though Western materialism is pathological when 
> taken literally, it is a tremendous improvement over Oriental idealism by 
> itself. It is not at all surprising that the Enlightenment carries such a 
> strong charge against spiritual ideas, it's just a little sad that it can 
> be so blind to the possibility that the opposite of religion isn't 
> necessarily the whole answer either.

Agree completely with you here, but not sure of the character or properties 
of the answer to this problem (i.e. think an opposite to Enlightenment 
thinking that is not 'eastern' -- difficult, no?) 

> I only say that you can have the idealism without materialism and survive, 
> but you can't have just materialism from the start. You would be laughed 
> off the island if you tried to suggest that all is meaningless collisions 
> of invisibly small crumbs of dense energy. 
This is true, I think. But this bears little upon the question of 'ultimate 
truth', which is given, as we all know, by the equations and their uncanny 
matchup with the way things are... so your point is really more a point 
about what people do in groups and less about what the reality of nature 
actually is....  

>>> We are so convinced by the sophisticated realism of objective 
>>> insignificance that we tend to project it into a default position, when in 
>>> fact, it does not occur naturally that way. It is we who choose 
>>> subjectively whether or not to project objectivity beneath our own ability 
>>> to choose it.
>> OK. But just because it doesn't occur naturally that way doesn't mean 
>> that our sophisticated realism of objective insignificance is no closer to 
>> the truth. Indeed, I would argue the opposite -- it is precisely because 
>> the view of objective insignificance, as you put it, is so hard won and 
>> leads to so many practical successes in achieving what 'we' want (as a 
>> species, at least, even though social justice is still something we have 
>> yet to master and seems a long way off) that it would seem the 'more 
>> correct' of the two. 
> Yes, I completely agree. Two eyes are absolutely better than just one. The 
> (Western) sophisticated realism is like Windows running on the DOS of 
> Oriental naive realism. If you compare Windows and DOS side by side (dating 
> myself here), Windows is clearly superior - But - you can't compare them 
> side by side because you can't ever run Windows unless you write it in DOS. 
> You need to have religious ideas before you can write a philosophy program 
> to question them, then in the language of philosophy you can write the 
> science application as a performance enhancing philosophy.
Don't you worry, my friend, I'm probably as dated as you ;=) 

>> Taking your viewpoint seems to lead to a kind of nebulous relativism, 
>> although I admittedly might have either misread you or else overlooked 
>> something. 
> I know it seems like that, but no, just the opposite, I am trying to show 
> how sense itself is a continuum of specific qualities, with each quality 
> defining the others in the specificaly most appropriate ways. 
But must sense not rely upon a kind of substrate in order to make 'sense'? 
Isn't there an 'outside' reality that guarantees the continuity of the 
'inside' one? Isn't this what the consistency of scientific observations in 
all fields demonstrates?  

>>> The fact is, that were it that simple; were objectivity be the final 
>>> word, then we should have had no reason to be separated from it in the 
>>> first place. The whole notion of illusion depends on the non-illusory 
>>> capacity of our own reason to deduce and discern illusion from reality, so 
>>> that to question our own ability to freely choose, to some extent, how we 
>>> reason, gives us no possibility of ever contacting any truth to deny.
>> Again, not sure if I'm misreading you (or vice versa), but my idea of 
>> 'being chosen' is in the sense of a third-person point of view -- we choose 
>> things, true enough, but there was already a reality given that formed the 
>> context in which we could make such choices. It is this reality that we 
>> have no say over, much like we have no say over the mass of the proton. 
>> Further, I would submit that, of the two notions (subjective, 1p, sensory, 
>> qualitative vs. objective, 3p, mental/mathematical, quantitative), the 
>> latter are 'ultimately' more real than the former, although I would be hard 
>> pressed to try to qualify what I mean by 'ultimately' in this case other 
>> than referring once again to some kind of 'brute fact' structure of reality 
>> in which our lives are purely inconsequential and arise merely as an 
>> epiphenomenal byproduct of 'the way things are.'  
> It's complicated because what we are as human beings is a really 
> convoluted collection of subjective and objective interactions. What I am 
> interested in is explaining the fundamentals - the physics of sense itself, 
> not of human psychology especially (although of course that comes up). 
> Because we are these crazy nestings of nervous system within organism made 
> of organisms - yes *to us humans in our human lives* the 3p is more real. 
> What I am saying shouldn't be construed to contradict that, I only say that 
> from an absolute perspective, it is actually the opposite. To us, as 
> players in the game, what's real is defined by the game. To the universe 
> however, we are the only reason there is a game, and the game is actually 
> the disposable end of it while the experiences of the players is the 
> enduring significance of the cosmos beyond our limited window of human 
> scaled 'now'.

Here, it seems as though your position really devolves to a kind of 
complicated and qualified solipsism.If " we are the only reason there is a 
game, and the game is actually the disposable end of it while the 
experiences of the players is the enduring significance of the cosmos 
beyond our limited window of human scaled 'now'", as you said, I can't see 
how that is any different from the full privileging of the 1p in the scheme 
of things, a privileging that in the face of even the most meager empirical 
tests (i.e. I go to catch the bus and miss it because I was late!!) is 

Please comment/defend,

Cheers and much admiration, 


>>> Looking at 1. and 2. more scientifically, I would link significance with 
>>> teleology (choice) and insignificance with teleonomy (chance). I have 
>>> proposed that while these two opposite potentials seem mutually exclusive 
>>> to us from our subjective experience, that from an absolute perspective, 
>>> they are in adjacent ranges of the same continuum. I suggest that the 
>>> subjective experience of sensation, and nested layers of meta-sensation 
>>> constitute significance, and that this significance is what allows the 
>>> possibility of choice based on personal preference. It is the choice 
>>> capacity itself which divides the sense of the world for the chooser 
>>> between the chosen and the unchosen. This ontological fracture is what 
>>> gives the impression that there is a difference between chance and choice 
>>> and creates the possibility of feedback loops in which we can both question 
>> I guess my question here would be: in an 'absolute perspective,' what 
>> possible role could choice (in the first person perspective) have without 
>> doing violence to the very notion of absoluteness?  
> The choice is key to the physics of privacy. It is how the absolute hides 
> itself or diffracts itself into other fractal narratives. Choice is the 
> pointer which drives the subroutines.
>> Our chosenness, objectively, is on the other hand, an absolute fact, 
>> because we can contemplate the cosmological alternatives and yet 
>> nevertheless conclude that we are here to discuss the matter. 
> Our chosenness can only matter if choice exists in the universe, otherwise 
> it would be pointless to have an illusion of alternatives or a capacity to 
> contemplate such things.
>>>   a.  the reality of choice by choosing to adopt the perspective of 
>>> impersonal chance, as well as 
>>>   b.  question the reality of chance by choosing to adopt the 
>>> perspective of super-personal chance.
>>> In both cases we cannot arrive at a perspective without exercising our 
>>> will to choose one over the other, even for hypothetical consideration. 
>>> There is no ontological possibility of our abdicating our choice 
>>> altogether, although the position which elevates insignificance compels 
>>> through an appeal to do just that. This is true of contemporary forms of 
>>> science in general, as the outside-in bias inherently demands compulsory 
>>> and involuntary acceptance of facts and unambiguous inferences between them 
>>> rather than recognizing the self-same subjective autonomy which drives the 
>>> scientific consideration from beginning to end. Science relies on 
>>> peer-review to enforce the belief in disbelief - the faith that peer-review 
>>> itself is an unexplained artifact of human weakness, and that the rest of 
>>> the universe has no need for such deliberations, nor could it generate them 
>>> even if it were useful.
>>> In practical terms, what this means is that 
>>>   a.  you can choose to pursue the chosen-feeling significance of your 
>>> experience, but you risk increasing possibility of delusion and conflicting 
>>> intuitions. 
>>>   b.  you can choose to pursue the unchosen analytical feeling of the 
>>> significance of insignificance, but you risk cutting yourself off from the 
>>> most unbelievable experiences of personal truth and participation.
>>> In both cases the potential rewards are equally intense. If you open the 
>>> door, you open the door to Heaven and Hell. If you close the door, you can 
>>> be more effective as a practical agent on Earth. Sometimes the choice seems 
>>> to be coerced by circumstance. Sometimes we open the door in some contexts 
>>> more often and close it more in others. Our choices can change and evolve. 
>>> Sometimes it doesn't matter either way.
>>> The universe that we find ourselves in is chosen on the inside, chance 
>>> on the outside, but it is only because we are inside that we can discern 
>>> the difference. Without an inside, nothing can choose to recognize a 
>>> difference.
>> I really liked your parsing of  the two approaches -- we go too 
>> subjective, we get into woo and 'what the bleep do we know' - we go too 
>> objective, and we simply become nihilists. Again, though, I think the real 
>> idea of 'being chosen' by whatever (nature, God, mathematical probability) 
>> is something forced upon us, and something we had little choice in 
> No argument there - but again, you're talking about human psychology, I'm 
> talking about raw and very broad strokes physics. We as individuals are 
> nested layers deep in the game, but the fact that the game includes *even a 
> feeling* of choice for us forces us to abandon hard determinism as a 
> uniform physical law.
>> -- who was I before my mother met my father? This is what I would like to 
>> ask and get an answer to... A probability? a half genetic code stored in 
>> one of my mother's eggs? Also, what will I be after I die? A bunch of atoms 
>> in a disorganized state? Do I simply disappear? I think we construct 
>> theories of everything to make sense out of chosenness, to try to 
>> universalize that which is singular. I enjoy the activity, I just wonder 
>> about the basic existential motivations for everyone here.
> Oh jeez, yeah sure I wonder about all of that too. Being a person is 
> mostly a drag. Why me? Why not me? Meh, so much futility and anguish.
> Thanks,
> Craig
>> Cheers,
>> Dan
>>> Craig

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